Recently as I was doing personal studying on the scriptural meaning of the word “interpretation” I noticed the word “shew” in a parallel usage with the term “make known” in Daniel 5:15…
Daniel 5:15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:
Then I backed up and saw in verses 7 and 8 the words “shew me the interpretation thereof” and “make known to the king the interpretation thereof.”
While there are many people (text critics most notably) who treat “shew” as an “archaic” word in need of revising (maybe thinking the average reader won’t know what “shew” means?), the fact is that God has chosen to use certain special words in his one and only version of the scriptures – King James Bible (KJB) – that he has given to the English-speaking world for these last days, and in “sundry times and divers manners” (Hebrews 1:1) he has provided the meaning – the definition of his words – within his holy scriptures. These special words and phrases are one of the ways in which he separates his voice from the voices of the world – and by which his sheep can know his voice (John 10:4-5). And in so-doing, he did not leave us with a need for the scriptures … a-n-d … a dictionary (like he did not leave us with a need for Jesus … a-n-d … fill in the blank). All we need is the Word of God (Jesus Christ), and likewise all we need is the word of God (the KJB – which is the Holy Ghost’s perfect interpretation into English). Let’s look at all the occurrences of “shew” and “make known” just in Daniel chapter 5:
v7 Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof…
v8 but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.
v12 an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel … now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
v15 the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:
v16 I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof…
v17 I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
Notice that “hard sentences” is a reference to writings that are in another tongue in which the “reader” does not have understanding. And consider this well: interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8), not to man, because it is God alone who can give the perfect interpretation of the thing. For the English-speaking world, God has given his one perfect interpretation – the KJB – and therein God has defined his words – with “shew” defined as “make known” being just one example.
Parallel words and phrases is just one way (of many ways) that God uses in his word to define his words: thus God eliminates the need for us to go to a (potentially dangerous) dictionary and risk selecting the wrong definition from the litany of possible definitions reported therein. Remember: context determines meaning: the meaning of God’s words are to be determined by their usage in the context of scripture, and not by how they might be used in various other (mostly pagan) contexts that dictionaries report. We are to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13) – God’s words with God’s words – which is the only certain way in which we can rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).