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The king relates his remarkable


dream, and what followed.


Ol. cir. LII. 3.

Nebuchadnezzar, after having subdued all the neighbouring countries, and greally enriched and adorned his

own, became so intoricated with his prosperity, as to draw down upon himself a very remarkable judgment, of which this chapter gives a particular account, in the very words of the, edict or proclamation which the Babylonish monarch issued on his restoration to the throne. This state document begins with Nebuchadnezzar's acknowledging the hand of God in his latè malady, 1-3. It then gives an account of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which portended the loss of his kingdom and reason for seven years, on account of his pride and arrogance, 4-18. So it was explained by Daniel, 19-27, and so it was verified by the erent, 28–33. It then recites how, at the end of the period fixed by the God of heaven for the duration of his malady, the Chaldean monarch became sensible of his dependence on the Supreme Being, and lifted up his eyes to heaven in devout acknowledgment of the sovereign majesty of the King of kings, the Ruler of the

earth, whose dominion alone is universal, unchangeable, and everlasting, 34–37. B.MC. cir. 3*** NEBUCHADNEZZAR- the logers, the Chaldeans, and the A. M. cir

. 3431.

B. C. cir. 570. Ol. cir. LII. 3. king, “ unto all people, na- soothsayers: and I told the dream Servii Tullii,

Servii Tulli, R. Roman., tions, and languages, that dwell before them ; but they did not R. Roman.,' cir, annum 9.

cir, annum 9. in all the earth; Peace be mul- make known unto me the intertiplied unto you.

pretation thereof. 2. I thought it good to show the signs and 8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, wondersc that the high God hath wrought whose name was Belteshazzar, according to toward me.

the name of my god, k and in whom is the 3 How great are his signs! and how mighty spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told are his wonders ! his kingdom is an ever- the dream, saying, lasting kingdom, and his dominion is from 9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, generation to generation.

because I know that the spirit of the holy gods 4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell house, and flourishing in my palace :

me the visions of my dream that I have seen, 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the interpretation thereof. fand the thoughts upon my bed and the 10 Thus were the visions of mine head in visions of my head 8 troubled me.

m I saw, and behold n a tree in the 6 Therefore made 1 a decree to bring in all midst of the earth, and the height thereof was the wise men of Babylon before me, that they great, might make known unto me the interpretation 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the of the dream.

height thereof reached unto heaven, and the 7 h Then came in the magicians, the astro- sight thereof to the end of all the earth :

my bed ;

Chap. iii. 4; vi. 25.—__ Chald. It was seemly before me. Chap. ii. 2. i Chap. i. 7.- *Isa. Ixiii. 11; ver. 18; chap. ¿ Chap. iii. 26. — Chap. vi. 27. — Ver. 34; chap. ii. 44 ; vi. ii. 11; v. 11, 14. Chap. ii. 48; v. 11. - Chald. I was see 26. Chap. ii. 28, 29.- Chap. ii. 1.

:Ezek. xxxi. 3, &c.; ver. 20.



Verse 4. Iwas at rest] I had returned to my Verse 1. Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people) palace in Babylon after having subdued Syria, PheThis is a regular decree, and is one of the most an- nicia, Judea, Egypt, and Arabia. It was probably cient on record ; and no doubt was copied from the these great conquests that puffed him up with pride, state papers of Babylon. Daniel has preserved it in and brought that chastisement upon him which he the original language.

afterwards describes. See the dream of the emblemaVerse 2. I thought it good to show] A part of the tical tree explained. decree was 'à recital of the wonders wrought by the Verse 5. I saw a dream] See this dream circumhand of the true God in his kingdom and on his stantially explained in the following verses. person.

Verse 10. I saw-a tree) This vision NebuchadVerse 3. How great are his signs! There are no pezzar says made him afraid. What a mercy it is preternatural signs like his! His wonders—miracu- that God has hidden futurity from us! Were he to lous interferences, are mighty—they surpass all human show every man the lot that is before him, the misery power.

He is the Sovereign of all kings, and his do- of the human race would be complete. minion is everlasting; and every generation is a proof Great men and princes are often represented in the of his all-governing influence. These are very fine language of the prophets, under the similitude of trees ; sentiments, and show how deeply his mind was im- see Ezek. xvii. 5, 6 ; xxxi. 3, &c.; Jer. xxi. 15; pressed with the majesty of God.

Psa. i. 3 ; xxxvi. 35.

B. C. cir. 570.

cir. annum 9.

R. Roman., cir. annum 9.

The king relates his remarkable CHAP. IV.

dream, and what followed, A. M. cir. 3434.

12 The leaves thereof were fair, | know w that the Most High ruleth 4. M. cir. 3434. 01. cir. LII. 3. and the fruit thereof much, and in the kingdom of men, and Ol. cir. LII.3. Servii Tullii,

Servii Tullii, R. Roman., in it was meat for all: • the giveth it to whomsoever he will,

beasts of the field had shadow and setteth. up over it the basest under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in of men. the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. | 18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have

13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the bed, and, behold, P a watcher and a holy one interpretation thereof, * forasmuch as all the came down from heaven;

wisc men of

my kingdom are not able to make 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, *Hew known unto me the interpretation : but thou down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake art able ; y for the spirit of the holy gods is off his leaves, and scatter his fruit : t let the in thee. beasts get away from under it, and the fowls 19 Then Daniel, z. whose name was Beltefrom his branches.

shazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and roots in the earth, even with a band of iron said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Beltelet it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let shazzar answered and said, My lord, a the his portion be with the beasts in the grass of dream be to them that hate thee, and the the earth :

interpretation thereof to thine enemies. 16 Let his heart be changed from man's, 20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and and was strong, whose height reached unto the let seven a times pass over him.

heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 17 This matter is by the decree of the 21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit watchers, and the demand by the word of the thereof much, and in it was meat for all; holy ones: to the intent. " that the living may under which the beasts of the field dwelt, • Ezek. xvii. 23 ; xxxi. 6; see Lam. iv. 20.-- Psa. ciii. 20; Chap. xi. 13 ; xii. 7.

Chap. ii. 21 ; v.2); ver. 17, 23. —Deut. xxxi. 2; chap. viii. 13; Zech. xiv. 5;

--Gen. xli. 8, 15; chap. v. 8, 15. Ver. 8. -- Chald. with might.

- See 2 Sam. xviii. 32 ; Jer. xxix. 7.- Ver. 10,

- Psa. ix. 16.


Matt. iii. 10.-Ezek.

Jude 14. xxxi. 12.

ver. 25, 32.
- Ver. 8.
11, 12

Verse 13. A watcher and a holy one] These are fortuitous occurrences. What are thus called are his both angels; but, according to the Chaldean oracles, agents ; they are no moving causes. of different orders. They appear, according to their And setteth upthe basest of men.] opinions, to be a kind of judges of human actions who “ Tyrants and kings from Jove proceed; bad the power of determining the lot of men ; see Those are permitted, these decreed." ver. 17.

The throne ennobles no man: to be properly filled, Verse 14. Hew down the tree] As the tree was to the man must be noble. Some of the greatest and be cut down, the beasts are commanded to flee away some of the meanest of men have sat on the throne. from under his branches. His courtiers, officers, &c., Kings differ in education, seldom in intellect, from the all abandoned him as soon as his insanity appeared ; common mass of men ; the power and authority are but he soon fled from the society of men.

from God. The king himself may be given either in Verse 15. Leave the stump] Let him not be de

mercy or in wrath.

When James II. ruled this kingstroyed, nor his kingdom alienated.

dom, it might well be said, God hath set up over it the Verse 16. Let his heart be changed] Let him con- basest of men. His, successor was one of the best. ceive himself to be a beast, and act as such, herding The former nearly ruined it both in a civil and religious among the beasts of the field.

point of view; the latter was the means of restoring it Let seven times pass over him.] Let him continue in both these respects. in this state for seven years. I knew a man who was Verse 19. Danielwas astonied for one hour] He thus changed in his heart-in his imagination. He saw the design of the dream, and he felt the great debelieved himself to be a bear, and would imitate the licacy of interpreting it. He was not puzzled by the ursal growl, &c. ; and the case did not appear to be difficulties of it. He felt for the king, and for the nation; hypochondriacal. Whether he ever came to sound and with what force and delicacy does he express the mind, I know not.

general portent ; 6. The dream to them that hate thee, Verse 17. This matter is by the decree of the watch and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies !" ers) See on ver. 13.

Verse 20. The tree that thou sawest]. The dream The Most High ruleth] He never leaves the go- is so fully interpreted in the following verses that it vernment of the world to man, to second causes, or to needs no comment.

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B. C.
Ol. cir. LII. 3.

R. Roman., cir. annum 9.

Daniel interprets the dream.

DANIEL Nebuchadnezzar becomes insane. A. M. cir. 3134. and upon whose branches the 28 All this came upon the king & M. cir. 3434.

Qi. cir. LII. 3. fowls of the heaven had their Nebuchadnezzar.
Servii Tullii,

Servi Tullii,
habitation :
29 At the end of twelve months

R. Roman.,

cir. annum 9. 22 . It is thou, king, that art he walked in the palace of the grown and become strong: for thy greatness kingdom of Babylon. is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, d and thy 30 The king 'spake, and said, Is not this dominion to the end of the earth.

great Babylon, that I have built for the house 23. And whereas the king saw a watcher of the kingdom by the might of my power, and a holy one coming down from heaven, and for the honour of my majesty ? and saying , Hew the tree down, and destroy 31 *

31 * While the word was in the king's mouth, it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof there fel} a voice from heaven, saying, 0 in the earth, even with a band of iron and king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; brass, in the tender grass of the field ; and The kingdom is departed from thee. let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and 32 And u they shall drive thee from men, let-his portion be with the beasts of the field, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of till seven times pass over him;

the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as 24 This is the interpretation, o king, and oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, this is the decree of the Most High, which is until thou know that the Most High rúleth in come upon my lord the king :

the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whom25 That they shall & drive thee from men, soever he will. and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled the field, and they shall make thee h to eat upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his over thee, í till thou know that the Most High hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it his nails like birds' claws. to whomsoever he will.

34 And at the end of the days A M. cir. 3441 26 And whereas they commanded to leave I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom-eyes unto heaven, and mine unshall be sure unto thee, fter that thou shalt derstanding returned unto me, have known that the heavens do rule. :, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised

27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose acceptable unto thee, and m break off thy sins dominion is * an everlasting dominion, and his by righteousness, and thine iniquities by kingdom is from generation to generation : showing mercy to the poor; " if it may be a P 35 And y all the inhabitants of the earth are lengthening of thy tranquillity.

reputed as nothing: and 2 he doeth according Chap. ii. 38. d Jer. xxvii. 6, 7, Ver. 13. – Chap. pi Kings xxi. 29.

- Prov. xvi. '18; chap. 1. v. 21.-_ Ver. 32; chap. v. 21, &c.- b Psa. cvi. 20.-i Ver. 20.- Chap. v. 5:. Luke xii. 20.- - Ver. 24. Ver. 25. 17, 32; Psa. Ixxxiii. 18.- Lk Jer, xxvii. 5.—Matt. xxi. 25; Ver. 26.—w Chap. xii. 7; Rev. iv. 10. —Psa. X. 16; chap. Luke xv. 18, 21, Pet. iv. 8. Psa. xli. 1, &c. Lo Or, 1 ii. 44; vii. 14; Mic. iv. 7; Luke i. 33. y Isa. xl. 15, 17. a healing of thinc error.

z Psa. cxv. 3; cxxxv. 6. Verse 26. Thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee) No royal palace, all built by Nebuchadnezzar, made it the new king was set up; Evil-mèrodach his son was re- greatest city in the world. gent during his father's insanity.

Verse 31. While the word was in the king's mouth] Verse 27. Break of thy sins by righteousness] Do How awful to a victorious and proud king : “ Thy justice. Thou hast been an oppressive man; show kingdom is departed from thee!" All thy goods and mercy to the poor, many of whom have been made gods are gone in a moment ! such by thyself: witness the whole nation of the Jews. Verse 32. They shall make thee, gc.] Thou shalt He was to cease from his sins-repent, and bring forth be made to eat grass as oren. The madness that fell fruits meet for repentance, in order that he might find upon him induced him to forsake society, and to run mercy at the hand of God.

to the woods and deserts, where he lived like a wild Verse 30. Is 'not this great Babýlon] Here his beast, his hairs growing long and thick, so as to be a heart was inflated with pride ; he attributed every substitute for clothing; and his nails strong and hooked, thing to himself, and acknowledged God in nothing. that he might the better climb trees and grub up the The walls, hanging gardens, temple of Bel, and the ground, in order to get roots and earth-nuts. It was

B. C. cir, 563.

01. LIV. 2, Servii Tolli,

R. Roman, cir. annum 16.

- Or, upon.

cir. annum 16.

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The profane feast


of Belshazzar. 4. M. cir

. 344. 10 his will in the army of heaven, unto mé; and I was established A. M. cir. 3441, B. C.

B. C.
Ol. LIV. 2. ånd among the inhabitanış of the in my kingdom,, and excel- OI. LIV. 2.
Servii Tullii,

Servii Tullii, R. Roman., earth : and a none can stay his lent majesty was d added unto R. Roman., cir. annum 16. hand, or say unto him,

• What me. doest thou ?

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol 36 At the same time my reason returned and honour the king of heaven, e all whose unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, works are truth, and his ways judgment: mine honour and brightness returned unto and those that walk in pride he is able to me; and my counsellors and my lords sought abase. a Job xxxiv. 29.b Job ix. 12; Isa. xlv. 9; Rom. ii. 20. • Ver. - Psa. xxxvi. 4; Rev. xv. 3;.xvi. 7, Exod. xviii. 11; chap.

- Job xlii. 12; Prov. xxii. 4; Matt. vi. 33. the mercy of God that thus clothed and accoutred palace, he found his counsellors and his lords, who rehim. His case seems much like that of the maniac ceived him gladly, and cleaved to and served him as in the Gospel, whose dwelling was among the tombs they had formerly done. and in the mountains, and who shunned the society Verse 37. Now I praise and extol] It is very of men.

probable that Nebuchadnezzar was a true convert; Verse 36. My reason returned] Every thing was that he relapsed no more into idolatry, and died in the fulfilled that was exhibited by the dream and its inter- | faith of the God of Israel. It is supposed that he lived pretation. It is very likely that this unfortunate king seventeen years after his restoration. But the authohad so concealed himself that the place of his retreat rized Version, which is followed in the margin, states was not found out; and the providence of God had so the date of this deeree to be B. C. 563, the year pre-watched over every thing, that, on his return to his I ceding Nebuchadnezzar's death.


v. 20.

In the commencement of this chapter we are informed how Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar,

when rioting in his palace, and profaning the sacred vessels of the temple, 1-4, was suddenly terrified
with the appearance of the fingers of a man's hand, which wrote a few words on the wall before him, 5, 6.
The wise men and astrologers were immediately called in to show the king the interpretation ; but they
could not so much as read the writing, because (as Houbigant and others have conjectured) though the
words are in the Chaldee tongue, yet they were written in the Samaritan or ancient Hebrew characters,
with which the wise men of Babylon were very probably unacquainted, as the Jews were at that time a
despised people, and the knowledge of their language not a fashionable attainment, 7-9. Daniel, who
had been so highly esteemed by Nebuchadnezzar for his superior wisdom, appears to have been altogether.
unknown lo Belshazzar, till the queen (the same who had been the wife of Nebuchadnezzar according to
the general opinion, or the queen consorl according to others) had informed him, 10-12. Upon the queen's
Tecommendation, Daniel is called in, 13-16; who boldly tells this despotic king, that as he had not bene-
fited by the judgments inflicted on his grandfather, but gave himself up to pride and profanity, and had
added to his other sins-an utter contempt for the God of the Jews by drinking wine out of the sacred ves-
sels of Jehovah in honour of his idols, 17-23; the Supreme Being, the Ruler of heaven and earth, had
written his condemnation in three words, Mene, Tekel, Peres, 24, 25; the first of which is repeated in
the copies containing the Chaldean original ; but all the ancient Versions, except the Syriac, are without
this repetition. Daniel then gives the king and his lords the fearful import of the writing, viz., that the
period allotted for the duration of the Chaldean empire was now completed, (see Jer. xxv. 12-14,) and
ihat the kingdom was about to be transferred to the Medes and Persians, 26–28. However unwelcome
such an interpretation must have been to Belshazzar, yet the monarch, overwhelmed with its clearness and
certainty, commanded the prophet to be honoured, 29. And that very night the prediction was fulfilled,
for the king was slain, 30, and the city taken by the Medes and Persians, 31. This great event was
also predicted by Isaiah and Jeremiah ; and the manner in which it was accomplished is recorded by Hero-

dotus and Xenophon.
A. M. cir. 3466.
the king drank wine before the thou- 4. M. cir

: 3466.

B. C. cir. 538. Ol. cır. LX. 3. made a great feast to a sand.

Ol. cir. LX.3. Servii Tulli,

Servii Tullii, R. Roman, thousand of his lords, and 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted

R. Roman., cir. annum 41.

cir, annum 41. Esther, chap. i. 3. NOTES ON CHAP. V.

after the seventh and eighth. There are difficulties in Verse 1. Belshazzar the king made a great feast) the chronology. After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, This chapter is out of its place, and should come in Evil-merodach his son ascended the throne of Baby

B. C. cir. 538 BELSHAZZAR


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"The Divine message


to Belshazzar

Nah it.

M. cir. 3466. the wine, commanded to bring | 5 8 In the same hour came 4. M. cir. 3468 Ol. cir. LX. 3. the golden and silver vessels forth fingers of a man's hand, and Ol. cir. LX. 3. Servii Tullii,

Servii Tullii, R. Roman.,

· which, his father Nebuchad- wrote over against the candle- R. Roman., cir. annum 41. nezzar had

e taken out of the stick, upon the plaster of the wall cir. annum 11. temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, of the king's palace : and the king saw the part and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, of the hand that wrote. might drink therein.

6 Then the king's h countenance i was chang3 Then they brought the golden vessels that ed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the were taken out of the temple of the house of joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, smote one against another. and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the drank in them.

astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the sooth4 They drank wine, fand praised the gods sayers.. And the king spake, and said to the of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read wood, and of stone.

this writing, and show me the interpretation 51 Chron. xxviii. 17; Ezra vi. 5; ver. 3, 23.- Chap. i. 2; h Chald. brightnesses ; ver. 9.- - Chald. changed it. - Or, Jer. lii. 19. - Or, grandfather ; as Jer. xxvi. 7; 2 Sam. ix. 7; girdles ; Isa. y. 27. - Chald. bindings, or knots.m 2 Chron. xv. 16; ver. 11, 13.- Le Chald. brought forth. -- Rev. 10.- Chap. ii. 2; iv. 6. - Chald. with might,-p Ísa. -ix. 20. Chap. iv. 31.

xlvii. 13. lon. Having reigned about two years, he was slain consequence not be acknowledged in the Babylonish by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar. He reigned four chronology, nor by the sacred writers, any more than years, and was succeeded by his son Laborosoarchod, finally unsuccessful rebels are numbered among the who reigned only nine months. At his death Bel- kings of those nations which they have disturbed. I shazzar, the son of Evil-merodach, was raised to the believe the only, sovereigns we can acknowledge here throne, and reigned seventeen years, and was slain, as are the following: 1. Nabopolassar; 2. Nebuchadnezwe read here, by Cyrus, who surprised and took the zar; 3. Evil-merodach; 4. Belshazzar; and with this city on the night of this festivity. This is the chro- last the Chaldean empire ended. nology on which Archbishop Usher, and other learned To a thousand of his lords) Perhaps this means chronologists, agree; but the Scripture mentions only lords or satraps, that were each over one thousand Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, and Belshazzar, by men. But we learn from antiquity that the Persión name ; and Jeremiah, chap. xxvii. 7, expressly says, kings were very profuse in their entertainments; but “ Alt nations shall serve him (Nebuchadnezzar,) and it does not follow that the Chaldeans were so too. his son (Evil-merodach,) and his son's son (Belshaz- Besides, one thousand lords and their appropriate zar,) until the very time of his land come;" i. e., till attendants would have been very inconvenient in a the time in which the empire should be seized by Cy- nocturnal assembly: The text, however, supports the rus. Here there is no mention of Neriglissdr nor common translation.' Literally, “ Belshazzar the king Laborosoarchod'; but as they were usurpers, they made bread for his lords a thousand ; and against the might have been purposely passed by: - But there re- thousand he drank wine.” That is, say some, he was mains one difficulty still : - Belshazzar is expressly a very great drinker. called the son of Nebuchadnezzar by the queen mo- Verse 2. Whiles he tasted the wine] He relished it, ther, ver. 11 : “ There is a man in thy kingdom, in got heated by it, and when WINE got fully in, wit went whom is the spirit of the holy gods : and in the days wholly out; and in consequence he acted the profane of THY Father light and understanding and wisdom, part of which we immediately read. like the w om of the gods, was found him : whom Verse 4. And praised the gods of gold) They had the king NEBUCHADNEZZAR THY FATHER, the king, I gods of all sorts, and of all metals ; with wooden gods, say, thy father, made master of the magicians." The and stone gods, beside! solution of this difficulty is, that in Scripture the name Verse 5. Fingers of a man's hand] . The fingers of son is indifferently given to 'sons and grandsons, were collected about the style or pen as in the act of and even to great grandsons. And perhaps the repe- writing. tition in the above verse may imply this : “ The king, Verse 6. The king's countenance was changed] Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king thy father.” The Here is a very natural description of fear and terfor. king thy father's father, and consequently thy grand- 1. The face grows pale ; 2. The mind becomes greatfather. If it have not some such meaning as this, it ly agitated; 3. Pains seize on the lower part of the must be considered an idle repetition. As to the two back and kidneys; 4. A universal tremor takes place, other kings, Neriglissar and Laborosoarchod, men- so that the kņees smite against each other; 5. And tioned by Josephus and Berosus, and by whom the lastly, either a syncope takes place, or the cry of dischronology is so much puzzled, they might have been tress is uttered, ver. 7: “ The king cried.” some petty kings, or viceroys, or satraps, who affected Verse 7. Whosoever shall read this writing] He the kingdom, and produced disturbances, one for four knew it must be some awful portent, and wished te years, and the other for nine months ; and would in know what.

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