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[216] A little after this the king saw in his sleep again another vision; how he should fall from his dominion, and feed among the wild beasts, and that when he halt lived in this manner in the desert for seven years, 1 he should recover his dominion again. When he had seen this dream, he called the magicians together again, and inquired of them about it, and desired them to tell him what it signified; but when none of them could find out the meaning of the dream, nor discover it to the king, Daniel was the only person that explained it; and as he foretold, so it came to pass; for after he had continued in the wilderness the forementioned interval of time, while no one durst attempt to seize his kingdom during those seven years, he prayed to God that he might recover his kingdom, and he returned to it. But let no one blame me for writing down every thing of this nature, as I find it in our ancient books; for as to that matter, I have plainly assured those that think me defective in any such point, or complain of my management, and have told them in the beginning of this history, that I intended to do no more than translate the Hebrew books into the Greek language, and promised them to explain those facts, without adding any thing to them of my own, or taking any thing away from there.


1 Since Josephus here explains the seven prophetic times which were to pass over Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:16) to be seven years, we thence learn how he most probably must have understood those other parallel phrases, of "a time, times, and a half," Antiq. B. VII. ch. 25., of so many prophetic years also, though he withal lets us know, by his hint at the interpretation of the seventy weeks, as belonging to the fourth monarchy, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the days of Josephus, ch. 2. sect. 7, that he did not think those years to be bare years, but rather days for years; by which reckoning, and by which alone, could seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, reach to the age of Josephus. But as to the truth of those seven years' banishment of Nebuchadnezzar from men, and his living so long among the beasts, the very small remains we have any where else of this Nebuchadnezzar prevent our expectation of any other full account of it. So far we knew by Ptolemy's canon, a contemporary record, as well as by Josephus presently, that he reigned in all forty-three years, that is, eight years after we meet with any account of his actions; one of the last of which was the thirteen years' siege of Tyre, Antiq. B. XI. ch. 11., where yet the Old Latin has but three years and ten months: yet were his actions before so remarkable, both in sacred and profane authors, that a vacuity of eight years at the least, at the latter end of his reign, must be allowed to agree very well with Daniel's accounts; that after a seven years' brutal life, he might return to his reason, and to the exercise of his royal authority, for one whole year at least before his death.


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