I will make a man more precious than fine gold
Which may denote either the scarcity of men in Babylon, through the slaughter made of them; so things that are scarce and rare are said to be precious, ( 1 Samuel 3:1 ) or the resolution of the Medes to spare none, though ever so much gold were offered to them, they being not to be bribed therewith, ( Isaiah 13:17 ) or that such should be the fear of men, that they would not be prevailed upon to take up arms to defend themselves or their king, whatever quantity of gold, even the best, was proposed unto them, a man was not to be got for money: even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir;
which designs the same thing in different words. The Targum gives another sense of the whole, paraphrasing it thus,
``I will love them that fear me more than gold, of which men glory; and those that keep the law more than the fine gold of Ophir;''understanding it of the Israelites, that were in Babylon when it was taken, and who were precious and in high esteem with the Medes and Persians, more than gold, and whose lives they spared. Jarchi interprets it particularly of Daniel, and of the honour that was done him by Belshazzar, upon his reading and interpreting the writing on the wall, ( Daniel 5:29 ) . This is interpreted by the Jews also of the King Messiah; for in an ancient writing F7 of theirs, where having mentioned this passage, it is added, this is the Messiah, that shall ascend and be more precious than all the children of the world, and all the children of the world shall worship and bow before him. Some take "Phaz", the word for fine gold, to be the name of a place from whence it came, and therefore was so called; and that the kingdom of Phez, in Africa, has its name from hence; and Ophir is taken to be Peru in America; though others place it in India; and the Arabic version renders it, "a man shall be more precious than a little stone that is" brought "from India"; and the Septuagint version is, "than a stone in", or "of sapphire".
F7 Zohar in Gen. fol. 71, 1.