The king answered and said to the Chaldeans
In the same language they spoke to him: the thing is gone from me;
either the dream was gone from him; it was out of his mind, he had forgot it, and could not call it to remembrance; he had been dreaming of monarchies and kingdoms, which are themselves but dreams and tales, and empty things that pass away, and which he might have learned from hence: or, as it may be rendered, "the word is confirmed by me" F26. Saadiah says, that some observe that the word here used has the signification of strength or firmness; and so Aben Ezra interprets the word, is stable and firm; to which agrees the Syriac version,
``most sure is the word which I pronounce;''referring not to the dream, but to what follows the king's declaration, both with respect to threatenings and promises: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation
the king speaks as if he thought it was in their power, but they were unwilling to do it; though no doubt, had they been able, they would have readily done it, both for their credit and advantage: ye shall be cut in pieces;
not only cut in two, but into various pieces, limb by limb, as Agag by Samuel, and the Ammonites by David; and which was a punishment often inflicted in the eastern nations; as Orpheus was cut to pieces by the Thracian women, and Bessus by order of Alexander the great F1; much the same punishment as, with us, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered: and your houses shall be made a dunghill;
be destroyed, and never rebuilt more, but put to the most contemptible uses: and this was common among the Romans; when any were found plotting against the government, or guilty of treason, they were not only capitally punished, but their houses were pulled down, or the names of them changed; or, however, were not used for dwelling houses; so the house of Caius Cassius was pulled down and demolished for his affectation of government, and for treason; and that of M. Maulins Capitolinus, who was suspected of seizing the government, after he was thrown from the rock, was made a mint of; and that of Spuflus Melius for the same crime, after he had suffered, was by reproach called Aequimelium; and of the like kind many instances are given F2 and so among the Grecians; Pausanias F3 relates of Astylus Crotoniata, that by way of punishment, and as a mark of infamy upon him for a crime he had done, his house was appointed for a public prison. Herodotus F4 reports Leutychides, general of the Lacedemonians in Thessalian expedition, that having received money by way of bribery, for which he was tried and condemned, though he made his escape, his house was demolished; and the same usage and custom remains to this day in France: thus the unhappy Damien, a madman, who of late stabbed the French king; one part of his sentence was, that the house in which he was born should be pulled down, as he himself also was pulled and cut to pieces; see ( 2 Kings 10:27 ) .
F26 (adza ynm atlm) "verbum a me firmum, [vel] firmatum", Michaelis; "a me decretum et statutum", L'Empereur.
F1 Vid. Curtium, l. 7. c. 5. p. 206.
F2 Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 23.
F3 Eliac. 2. sive l. 6. p. 366.
F4 Erato, sive I. 6. p. 72.