46Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and worshipped Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense.
Not all translations render “worship”, but in any case, why didn’t Daniel say anything about the undue honour reserved to him and not to God, unlike the angel in the Apocalypse and Peter in Acts? Why, in your opinion, Daniel doesn’t stop the king and tell him not to offer anything to anyone but to God - if we omit the worshipping part?
Is the offering meant to be “to God through Daniel”?
Indeed the OP’s question is interesting. Though I will say only 2 of my 3 bibles use the term worship. One of them renders the passage thus:
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed to the ground and gave orders for sacrifices and offerings to be made to Daniel. 47 The king said, “Your God is the greatest of all gods, the Lord over kings, and the one who reveals mysteries. I know this because you have been able to explain this mystery.”
Also I think the passage is better understood if you read it along with verse 47 where Nebuchadnezzer specifically mentions he’s bowing or worshiping Daniel because of his God, not necessarily because of Daniel himself.
See also 2Kings 4:37. After Elisha saved her son’s life, she “paid him homage” Some translations say, “fell at his feet and bowed”, some say “prostrated herself”, some say “worshipped him”.
The word “worship” does not always mean “adoration”, which we owe to God, and God alone. Historically, it has carried a varying degree of meanings. Here, and likely in the instance you noted (chapter and verse, and version you are reading??) it mean “dulia” or “veneration/honor”, which we owe to authority figures, our parents, the Saints who have lived lives worthy of imitation, etc.
37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out. (NIV)
37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out. (KJV)
37 She came and fell at his feet, and worshipped upon the ground: and took up her son, and went out. (DR)
Scripture does not comment on Daniel’s response to Nebuchadnezzar. For all we know Daniel could have refused it just like Paul and Barnabas refused when the pagans mistook them for gods and offered sacrifice to them.
On one level, I guess the differences in culture might be a factor.
In Persian and Babylonian cultures, the act of prostration was usually something a social inferior offered towards a superior. It wasn’t specifically an act of worship or a gesture reserved for a god. Within the Bible itself, Abraham prostrates before the Hittites (Genesis 23:7; Abraham is the inferior in the negotiation) and courtiers prostrate before the higher-ranking Haman at the king’s command (Esther 3:2; Haman is offended at Mordecai’s refusal to prostrate because Mordecai is denying Haman the honor that was due to him as his social better).
You might say that Nebuchadnezzar here is not so much ‘worshiping’ Daniel as he was offering him the ultimate gesture of respect. (Which itself is quite interesting since it is usually the king who receives these prostrations - here he’s the one doing the prostrating.)
However, in Greek and Roman cultures, prostration or proskynesis was something else. Bowing, kneeling, or prostrating was only reserved for the gods. Alexander the Great’s decision to copy Persian court manners (which includes proskynesis) when he conquered the Achaemenid Empire was controversial among his Greek courtiers. The Greeks were bemused and offended when they saw Persians offering full-body prostrations towards the king. They thought that the Persians considered their king as a kind of god. (If you’ve ever read or watched 300, it’s the whole idea of Persians considering their king as a ‘god-king’ - which actual Persians (who were Zoroastrian and thus, monotheistic/dualistic) did not BTW.)
The Lycaonians’ prostration towards Paul and Barnabas carried with it a connotation of worship: “And they called Barnabas, Zeus; and Paul, Hermes.” That’s why in the New Testament, prostration is no longer a mundane gesture as it is in the OT: it already had a different meaning in the culture at that time.
Segid is just the Aramaic word for paying homage. The word was eventually borrowed in Hebrew as sagad, which only appears in a few verses in Isaiah, in the part that’s usually called the ‘Deutero-Isaiah’ (44:15, 17, 19; 46:6), where it is applied to the ‘worship’ of idols.
The same word is used in chapter 3, when Nebuchadnezzar makes the golden idol that everyone should ‘prostrate’ / ‘pay homage’ to.
The ISA program shows the (Aramaic) H5457 as used 12 times in 11 verses (all in Daniel). But the ‘form’ of “he worshipped” (sgd) only occurs once. Others are: we shall worship (nsgd), ones worshipping (sgdin), etc.
I think most of us are aware that worship did not always meean to adore. But my question then is also about the offering. Is offering incense and other sacrifices not problematic? It is true that we don’t know what Daniel thought of this, but I think the Bible would have shown here that only God is to be offered sacrifice.
…Daniel does not refuse the homage (contrast Acts 14:13-18): in the view of the writer, he is (cf. Daniel 2:47) the representative of the God of gods to Nebuchadnezzar. Compare the story in Jos. Ant. xi. viii. 5, according to which Alexander the Great prostrated himself before the Jewish high-priest, and when asked by his astonished general, Parmenio, why he did so, replied,
“I do not worship the high-priest, but the God with whose high-priesthood he has been honoured.”