Book of Daniel Chapter 1:3-5, 8-10, 12-15, 17-19 Antique Commentary Quotes

Pulpit Commentary

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah. After the defeat and death of Josiah, the people of the land put on the throne Jehoahaz, or Shallum (Jer_22:11), one of the sons of their late monarch (2Ki_23:30). We see, by comparing 2Ki_23:31 with 2Ki_23:36, that in taking Jehoahaz to be their king they had passed over the law of primogeniture. The reason of this would not unlikely be that he represented the policy of his father Josiah, which may have meant the preference of a Babylonian to an Egyptian alliance. Dean Farrar thinks his warlike prowess might be the reason of the popular preference (Eze_19:3). Whatever was the reason of popular preference, Pharaoh-Necho, on his return from his victorious campaign against the Hittites and the Babylonians, deposed him, and carried him down to Egypt. Necho placed on the throne in his stead, Eliakim, whom he named Jehoiakim. The change of name is not very significant: in the first case, it is “God raises up;” in the second, the adopted name, it is “Jehovah raises up.” The assumption was that he claimed specially to be raised up by the covenant God of Israel. It might have been expected that he would be very zealous for the Lord of hosts, instead of which we find that “he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.” As he is presented to us in the prophecies of Jeremiah, he appears a cruel, regardless man. Necho did not mean the subjection of Jerusalem to be merely nominal, so he laid a heavy tribute on the new-made king. With all his defects, Jehoiakim seems to have been faithful to Egypt, to whose power he owed his crown. It should be noted, as one of the differences between the Septuagint Version and the text of the Massoretes, which is followed in our Authorized Version, that there is no word representing reign in the Septuagint. Came Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. Nebuchadnezzar is one of the greatest names in all history. Only here in Daniel is Nebuchadnezzar spelled in the Hebrew with a in the penultimate syllable. In Jeremiah and Ezekiel the name is generally transliterated differently and more accurately Nebuchad-rezzar. This more accurately represents Nabu-kudurri-utzur of the monuments, but alike in Kings and Chronicles the רis changed into a .נ When it passed into Greek it became Ναβυχοδονόσορ, even in Jeremiah. This is the form it assumed in Berosus. Abydenusis more accurate. The name, which means “Nebe protects the crown,” had been borne by a predecessor, who reigned some five centuries earlier. The two forms of the name represent two processes that take place in regard to foreign names. Nebuchadrezzar (Jer_21:2) is a transliteration of the Babylonian name Nebu-kudduri-utzur. Nebuchadnezzar, as here, is the name modified into elements, each of which is intelligible. Nebu was the god Nebo, chad meant “a vessel,” and nezzar, “one who watches.” He succeeded his father Nabopolassar, the founder of the more recent kingdom of Babylon, in the year b.c. 606. Few historical inscriptions of any length have come to hand dating from the reign of either father or son. We have the fragments of Berosus, and epitomes of portions of his worlds; and further, fragments of Megasthenes and Abydenus preserved chiefly in the Fathers. It may be observed that Herodotus does not so much as mention Nebuchadrezzar. Nabopolassar ascended the throne of Babylon in the year b.c. 625, so far as can be made out at present, on the overthrow of the Assyrians of Nineveh. Taking occasion of this event, Egypt, which had been conquered by Esarhaddon and Asshurbanipal, reasserted itself. The Assyrians had broken up Egypt into several principalities, over each of which they had set vassal kings. Psammetik, one of these vassal kings, rebelled, and united all Egypt under his rule. About sixteen years after the fall of Nineveh, his sou Pharaoh-Necho—determined to rival his predecessors, Thothmes and Rameses—invaded the territory of Babylon. He maintained his conquest only a little while, for Nebuchadnezzar, the young heroic son of the peaceful Nabopolassar, marched against the Egyptians. A great battle was fought at Carchemish, and the Egyptians were totally defeated. After this victory Nebuchadnezzar pursued his flying enemy toward Egypt, and probably visited Jerusalem and laid siege to it. He was not yet king, hut it is not to be reckoned an anachronism that the writer here calls him king. We speak of the Duke of Wellington gaining his first victory at Assaye, although his ducal title was not attained till long after. If we follow Berosus, as quoted by Josephus, while Nebuchadnezzar was engaged on the campaign of Palestine and Syria, he was summoned back to Babylon by the death of his father Nabopolassar. “Leaving the heavy-armed troops and baggage, he hurried, accompanied by a few troops, across the desert to Babylon.” Josephus professes to be quoting the very words of Berosus, and no doubts have been thrown on his accuracy or good faith in such cases. Berosus was in a position to be well informed, and had no motive to speak other than the truth. The evidence of Berosus establishes that before his accession to the throne, [Nebuchadnezzar had made an expedition into Syria. If we take the statement in the verse before us along with that of Jer_26:1 (where the text is, however, doubtful, as the clause is omitted in the LXX.), that the fourth year of Jehoiakim was the first of Nebuchadnezzar, and look at them in the light of the account given by Berosus of the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, we come to the conclusion that he ascended the throne the year after he visited Jerusalem. Moreover, we must remember that the first year of Nebuchadnezzar was not the year of his accession, but was the year following the next new year alter that event. If a monarch ascended the throne actually in the month Iyyar of one year, that year would be reckoned as “the beginning of his reign;” not till the first of the mouth Nisau in the following year did his first year begin. In Jerusalem the calculation of the years of a monarch began from his accession, and v/as independent of the calendar. Hence, if the Babylonian method of reckoning w,s applied to Jehoiakim’s reign, what was reckoned his fourth year in Jerusalem would be only his third. Against both these texts and 2Ki_25:8, and, moreover, against Berosus, is the statement in Jer_46:2, which asserts the battle of Carchemish to have been fought in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. This contradicts the other statement, unless the battle were fought in the very beginning of the fourth year of Jehoiakim, of which we have no evidence. It has been noted by Dr. Sayce, as a characteristic instance of the carefulness with which the materials have been treated in Kings, that while Shalmaneser is said to have besieged Samaria, it is not said that he (Shalmaneser) took it. It is to be noted that there is an equal carefulness in the verse before us Nebuchadnezzar, we are told, came unto Jerusalem, and “besieged it.” The usual and natural conclusion to such a statement would be “and took it;” the fact that this phrase is not added proves that the writer does not wish to assert that Nebuchadnezzar required to push the siege to extremities.

Pulpit Commentary

And the Lord gave Jehoiakim King of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god. The Greek versions of this verse agree with each other and with the Msssoretic text, save that the Septuagint has Κυρίου instead of Θεοῦ in the end of the first clause, and omits οἴκου. The Syriac Version omits the statement that it was “part” of the vessels of the house of God that was taken. It is to be observed that our translators have not printed the word “Lord” in capitals, but in ordinary type, to indicate that the word in the original is not the sacred covenant name usually written in English “Jehovah,” but Adonai. That the Lord gave Jehoiakim into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar does not prove that Jerusalem was captured by him. Far from it, the natural deduction is rather that he did not capture the city, although he captured the king. Thus in 2Ki_17:4 we are told that Shalmaneser shut up Hoshea “and bound him in prison;” in the following verse we are informed that the King of Assyria “besieged Samaria three years.” That is to say, after Shalmaneser had captured Hoshea the king, he had still to besiege the city. A similar event occurred earlier in the history of Judah and Israel. When Joash of Israel defeated Amaziah and took him prisoner, he proceeded then to Jerusalem. The city opened its gates to the conqueror, and he carried off all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king’s house, and all the vessels of the house of the Lord, and a large number of hostages, and then returned north. Something like this seems to have occurred now. The king was taken by the Babylonians, and the city submitted and ransomed the king by handing over a portion of the vessels of the house of the Lord. The city, however, was not taken by assault. Miqtzath, “part of,” occurs also in Neh_7:70 in this sense: we have it three times later in this chapter—Neh_7:5, Neh_7:15, and Neh_7:18; but in .these cases it means “end.” A word consonantally the same occurs in the sense before us in Jdg_18:2, translated “coasts.” Gesenius would write the word miqq tzath, and regard mi as representing the partitive preposition min. He would therefore translate, “He took some from the numbtr of the vessels.” Kranichfeld objects to Hitzig’s assertion that קאת means “a part,” and is followed by Keil and Zöckler in regarding it, as a short form of the phrase, “from end to end,” equivalent to the whole, thus making miqtzath mean “a portion from the whole.” The omission from the Syriac of the words which indicate that the vessels taken were only a portion of those in the house of the Lord, shows how natural it was to imagine that the deportation was total, and therefore we may lay the more emphasis on its presence as proving that the temple was not plundered, but these vessels were the ransom paid for the freedom of the king. Several times had the treasures of the house of God been taken away. In the days of Rehoboam (1Ki_14:26) Shishak, acting probably as the ally of Jeroboam, took away all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king’s house, “he even took away all.” It may be doubted whether Jerusalem was captured (2Ch_12:7); certainly the name of Jerusalem has not been identified in the list of captured towns on the wall of the temple at Karnak. We have referred to the case of Joash and Amaziah. The succession of the phrases,” Jehoiakim King of Judah,” and “part of the vessels of the house of God,” is remarked by Ewald as being abrupt, and he would insert,” together with the noblest of the land.” There is, however, no trace of any such omission to be found in the versions. It is possible that this chapter may be the work of the early collector and editor, and that he condensed this portion as well as, not unlikely, translated it from Aramaic into Hebrew. Captives certainly were taken as well as booty, as is implied by the rest of the narrative. Which he carried into the land of Shinar to, the house of his god. There is no word in the Hebrew corresponding to” which.” The literal rendering is, “And he carried them,” etc. It has been the subject of discussion whether we are to maintain that it is asserted here that Jeboiakim, along with the vessels and unmentioned captives, were carried to Babylon. Professor Bevan admits that it is doubtful. Were we dependent merely on grammar, certainly the probability, though not the certainty, would be that the plural suffix was intended to cover Jehoi-skim, but the conclusion forced on us by logic is different. He “carried them (יְבִיאֵם) to the house of his god.” This seems to imply that only the vessels are spoken of. So strongly is this felt by Hitzig (‘Das Buch Daniel,’ 5) that he would regard the phrase, “the house of his god,” as in apposition to “the land of Shinar,’ and refers to two passages in Hosea (Hos_8:1; Hos_9:15) in which “house” is, he alleges, used for “land.” Irrespective of the fact that these two instances occur in highly wrought poetical passages, and that to argue from the sense of a word in poetry to its sense in plain prose is unsafe, there is no great plausibility in his interpretation of these passages. He regards the last clause as contrasted with the earlier: while the captives were brought “into the land of Shinar,” the vessels were brought into “the treasure-house of his god”—an argument in which there is plausibility were there not the extreme awkwardness of using בית, “house,” first in the extended sense of “country,” and then in the restricted sense of “temple.” The last clause is rather to be looked upon as rhetorical climax. The land of Shinar is used for Babylonia four times in the Book of Genesis, twice in the portion set apart as Jehovist by Canon Driver; the remaining instances are in Gen_14:1-24; both as the kingdom of Amraphel, which Canon Driver relegates to a special source. In the first instance (Gen_10:10) it is the laud in which Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh were. In the next instance (Gen_11:1-32.) it is the place in which the Tower of Babel is built. The name is applied to Babylonia in Isa_11:1-16. and Zec_5:11. One of the titles which the kings of Babylon assumed regularly was “King of Sumir and Accad.” From the connection of Shinar and Accad in Gen_10:20 we may deduce that “Shinar” is the Hebrew equivalent for “Sumir.” It is not further removed from its original than is “Florence” from “Firenze,” or “Leghorn” from “Livorno,” or, to take a French instance, “Londres” from “London.” The ingenious derivation of “Shiner” from שני, “two,” and אר, “a river,” which, however, implies the identification of and ,א may have occasioned the modification, the more so as it was descriptive of Babylonia; hence the name “Aram-Naharaim,” and its translation “Mesopotamia,” applied to the tract between the Euphrates and the Tigris, north of Babylonia. In the Greek versions it becomes Σεναάρ. It is omitted by Paulus Tellensis. The treasure-house of his god. The word rendered “god” here is the plural form, which is usually restricted to the true God, otherwise it is usually translated as “gods” To quote a few from many instances, Jephtha uses the word in the plural form of Chemosh (Jdg_11:24), Elijah applies it to Baal (1Ki_18:27), it is used of Nisroch (2Ki_19:37) In Ezr_1:7 we have this same word translated plural in regard to the place in which Nebuchadnezzar had deposited the vessels of the house of God. In translating the verse before us, the Peshitta renders path-coroh, “his idol” This suits the translation of the LXX. εἰδωλείῳ. Paulus Tellensis renders it in the plural, “idols.” The god in whose treasure-house the vessels of the house of God in Jerusalem were placed would necessarily be Merodach, whom Nebuchadnezzar worshipped, almost to the exclusion of any other. The treasure-house of his god. Temples had not many precious gifts bestowed upon them by their worshippers which were not taken by needy monarchs; nevertheless, the treasures of kingdoms were often deposited in a temple, to be under the protection of its god. The temple of Bel-Merodach in Babylon was a structure of great magnificence. Herodotus (1:181) gives a description, which is in the main confirmed by Strabe (16:5): “In the midst of the sacred area is a strong tower built a stadium in length and breadth; upon this tower is another raised, and another upon it, till there are eight towers. There is a winding ascent made about all the towers. In the middle of the ascent there is a resting-place, where are seats on which those ascending may sit and rest. In the last tower is a spacious shrine, and in it a huge couch beautifully bespread, and by its side is placed a table of gold. No statue has been set up here, nor does any mortal pass the night here.” There are still remains of a structure which suits to some extent the description here given, but investigators are divided whether to regard Birs Nimroud or Babil as most properly representing this famous temple of Bel-Merodach. In the “Standard Inscription” Nebuchadnezzar appears to refer to this temple, which he calls E-temen-ana-ki,” the house of heaven and earth.” He says, among other matters concerning it, that he “stored up inside it silver and gold and precious stones, and placed there the treasure-house of his kingdom.” This amply explains why the vessels of the house of God were taken to the temple of Bel-Merodach. The fact is mentioned that the vessels of the house of God were carried to Babylon, and, as a climax, “and he placed them in the treasure-house of his god.” We know what befell the statue of Dagon when the ark of God was placed in its presence, and the Jew, remembering this, relates awestruck the fact that these sacred vessels were placed in the temple of Bel. If no such disaster befell Bel-Merodach as befell Dagon, yet still the handwriting on the wall which appeared when these vessels were used to add to the splendour of the royal banquet, and which told the doom of the Chaldean monarchy, may be looked upon as the sequel to this act of what would necessarily appear to a Jew supreme sacrilege.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:3

3. Ashpenaz] No satisfactory explanation of this name has yet been found. Açp in old Persian means a horse (Sansk. açpa); but the name as a whole, in its present form, is not explicable from either Persian or Babylonian. LXX. has Αβιεσδρι. The word is not improbably a corrupt form (like ‘Holophernes,’ in Judith; or ‘Osnappar,’ Ezr_4:10).

the master of his eunuchs] Eunuchs were, and still are, common in Oriental Courts; they sometimes attained to great influence with the monarch, and were treated by him as confidential servants. Eunuchs are often represented on the Assyrian monuments, where they are readily recognizable by their bloated and beardless faces (cf. Smith, D. B.2 s. v.; Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies4, i. 496–8, iii. 221–223). The ‘master,’ or superintendent, of the eunuchs would have the control of the eunuchs employed in the palace, and would naturally hold an important position at court. The principal eunuch, with other eunuchs under him, would have the care of the royal harem; and the training of youths for the service of the king was a duty which would be naturally entrusted to him[178]. Cf. the prophecy, 2Ki_20:18 (= Isa_39:7); though it is not said that Daniel and his companions were made eunuchs, and it is too much to infer this (as has been done) from the statement that they were put in charge of the ‘master of the king’s eunuchs’: in Persia eunuchs superintended the education of the young princes (Rawl. Anc. Mon.4, iii. 221); and in Turkey, Rycaut states (see the note below), a eunuch had charge of the royal pages.

[178] In Turkey, as described by Rycaut in 1668 (The Ottoman Empire, p. 35 ff.) the office was divided, the women being under the charge of a black eunuch, called Kuzlir Agasi, and the selected youths who were being educated in the Seraglio as pages for the royal service (together with the white eunuchs employed about the Court) being under the superintendence of a white eunuch, the Capa Aga (p. 25 ff.).

bring] bring in (R.V.), viz. into the palace (Dan_1:18).

children of Israel] The expression would include, at the time here referred to, men of Benjamin and Levi, as well as of Judah (cf. Ezr_1:5; Ezr_4:1; Ezr_10:9), perhaps also men of other tribes who had migrated into the territory of Judah.

and of the seed royal, and of the nobles] If the first ו (‘and’) is to be taken in its obvious sense, the reference must be to members of the royal family and nobility of Babylon (so Prof. Bevan). Most commentators render both (cf. Dan_8:13; Jer_32:20; Psa_76:7 [A.V. 6]), though that is hardly a sense which it would naturally convey in the present sentence. Perhaps it is best to understand it in the sense of and in particular (cf. Dan_8:10).

of the seed royal] Lit. seed of royalty, or of the kingdom: so Jer_41:1 (= 2Ki_25:25); Eze_17:13. Not necessarily the descendants of the reigning ‘king.’ LXX. ‘of the royal race.’

nobles] Heb. partĕmim, elsewhere only in Est_1:3; Est_6:9 : the Pers. fratama, Sansk. fratema, akin etymologically to πρότ-ερος, πρῶτ-ος. “The phrase martiyâ fratamâ, ‘foremost men,’ occurs several times in the Achaemenian inscriptions” (Bevan).

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:4

4. children] youths (R.V.).

blemish] here of physical imperfection, as Lev_21:17-18, &c.

well favoured] An archaistic English expression for good-looking: so Gen_29:17; Gen_39:6; Gen_41:2 al. As Mr Wright (Bible Word-Book, s. v. Favour) shews, ‘favour’ in old English meant face[179], so that ‘well favoured’ means having a handsome face. The Heb. (lit. good in looks) is the same as in Gen_24:16; Gen_26:7. An Oriental monarch would attach importance to the personal appearance of his attendants.

[179] Bacon, Essays, xxvii. p. 113, ‘As S. James saith, they are as men, that looke sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape, and favour’; Cymbeline, dan 1:5, 93, ‘His favour is familiar to me.’

intelligent in all wisdom, and knowing knowledge, and understanding science] i.e. men of sagacity and intelligence, the combination of synonyms merely serving to emphasize the idea. ‘Cunning’ (i.e. kenning) in A.V., R.V., is simply an archaism for knowing, skilful, though the word is used generally where the reference is to some kind of technical knowledge (Gen_25:27; Exo_38:23 [where, for ‘cunning workman,’ read ‘designer’]; 1Sa_16:16; 1Ch_25:7 [not R.V.]; 2Ch_2:7; 2Ch_2:13-14; Jer_9:17; Jer_10:9 al.). The modern associations of the word prevent it, however, from being now a good rendering of the Hebrew.

science] In the Heb. a (late) synonym of ‘knowledge’ (as it is rendered Dan_1:17; 2Ch_1:10-12), and derived from the same root: the word is not to be understood here in a technical sense, but simply as a Latinism for ‘knowledge,’ used in default of any more colourless synonym.

ability] Properly, power; i.e. capacity, both physical and mental.

to stand] to take their place—with a suggestion of the idea of serving, which, with ‘before’ (see on Dan_1:5), the word regularly denotes.

learning] literature: lit. book(s), writing(s), cf. Isa_29:11-12.

and the tongue of the Chaldeans] ‘Chaldeans’ is used here, not in the ethnic sense, which the word has in other books of the O. T., but to denote the learned class among the Babylonians, i.e. the priests, a large part of whose functions consisted in the study and practice of magic, divination, and astrology, and in whose hands there was an extensive traditional lore relating to these subjects (see more fully below, p. 12 ff.). The word has the same sense elsewhere in the Book of Daniel (Dan_2:2; Dan_2:4-5; Dan_2:10, Dan_3:8 (prob.), Dan_4:7, Dan_5:7; Dan_5:11). The literature on the subjects named is what is referred to in the present verse. The ‘tongue of the Chaldeans’ would be Babylonian, a Semitic language, but very different from Hebrew, so that it would have to be specially studied by a Jew. Many of the magical texts preserved in the cuneiform script are also written in the non-Semitic Sumerian (or ‘Accadian’); but it is hardly likely that the distinction between these two languages was present to the author.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:5

5. a daily portion of the king’s delicacies] Superior food, such as was served at the table of the king himself, was to be provided for the selected youths. It was a compliment to send anyone a portion of food from the table of a king or great man (Gen_43:34, in Egypt; 2Sa_11:8, in Israel: 2Ki_25:30, in Babylon, may be similar); and at least in Persia the principal attendants of the king, especially his military ones, seem to have had their provision from the royal table (Plut. Quaest. Conv. VII. iv. 5; Athen. iv. 26, p. 145 e, f.). The word rendered ‘delicacies’ (pathbâg) is a peculiar one, found in the O.T. only in Dan.: it is of Persian origin, and passed (like many other Persian words) into Syriac (Payne Smit[180] Thes. Syr. col. 3086 f.), as well as into late Hebrew. The Persian original would be patibâga, ‘offering,’ ‘tribute’ (from pati, Sanskr. prati, Greek ποτί, προτί, to, and bâg, tribute, Sk. bhâga, portion). The Sansk. pratibhâga actually occurs, and means ‘a share of small articles, as fruit, flowers, &c., paid daily to the Rája for household expenditure[181].’ The Pers. patibâga originally, no doubt, denoted similarly choice food offered to the king[182], though in Heb. and Syriac pathbâg was used more widely of choice food, or delicacies, in general. The word recurs in Dan_1:8; Dan_1:13; Dan_1:15-16, Dan_9:26.

[180] yne Smith R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

[181] Gildemeister, as quoted by Max Müller, ap. Pusey, p. 565.

[182] Dinon in his Persica, writing c. 340 b.c., says (ap. Athen. xi. 503) that ποτίβαζις (which must be the same word) denoted a repast of cakes and wine, such as was prepared for the kings of Persia (ἔστι δὲ ποτίβαζις ἅρτος κρίθινος καὶ πύρινος ὀπτὸς καὶ κυπαρίσσου στέφανος καὶ οἶνος κεκραμένος ἐν ᾠῷ χρυσῷ οὗ αὐ αὐτὸς βασιλεὺς πίνει).

and that they should be nourished] or brought up: lit. made great: so Isa_1:2; Isa_23:4 al.

stand before the king] as his attendants, to wait upon him: Deu_1:38; 1Ki_10:8; 1Ki_12:8.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:8-10

8–10. Daniel and his companions crave to be allowed not to use the provision supplied from the royal table. The meat might be that of animals not slaughtered in the proper manner (Deu_12:23-24), or of animals prohibited to the Jews as food (Lev_11:4-7; Lev_11:10-12; Leviticus 13-19, 20); while both the meat and the wine might have been consecrated to the Babylonian gods by portions having been offered to them in sacrifice, so that to partake of either would be tantamount to the recognition of a heathen deity (cf. 1Co_10:20; 1Co_10:27-29). The Jews, especially in later times, attached great importance to the dietary laws, and were also very scrupulous in avoiding acts which, even indirectly, might seem to imply the recognition of a heathen deity. Antiochus Epiphanes, in his endeavour (b.c. 168) to Hellenize the Jews, sought to compel them both to sacrifice to heathen deities and to partake of unclean food; and resistance to his edict was a point on which the utmost stress was laid by the loyal Jews (1Ma_1:47-48; 1Ma_1:62-63; cf. 2Ma_6:18 ff; 2Ma_7:1). Comp. also 2Ma_5:27; Add. to Esther 14:17; Jdt_12:1-2 (see Dan_10:5); Tob_1:10-11 (where Tobit says that when he and his companions were taken captive to Nineveh, ‘all my brethren and those that were of my kindred did eat of the bread of the Gentiles, but I kept myself from eating’). Josephus (Vita 3) speaks of certain priests who, being sent to Rome, partook on religious grounds of nothing but figs and nuts. For the abrogation of the principle, in the new dispensation, see Mar_7:19 (R.V.), Act_10:9-16,—comparing, however, also, 1Co_8:4-13.

with the king’s delicacies] as Dan_1:5.

purposed in his heart] lit. laid (it) on his heart, i.e. gave heed (Isa_47:7; Isa_57:11, Mal_2:2). ‘Purposed’ is too strong.

John Trapp
Daniel 1:9

Dan_1:9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

Ver. 9. Now God had brought Daniel into favour.] God is never wanting to the truly conscientious. Let them choose rather to offend all the world than to do things sinful, and they shall be sure of good success. The prince of the eunuchs dared not yield to Daniel’s request, but he connived at the steward’s yieldance.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:10

10. for why should] i.e. ‘lest,’ which would in fact be the better rendering. The expression is the translation into Hebrew of the ordinary Aramaic idiom for ‘lest’ (cf. Theod. μή ποτε).

worse liking] An old English expression for ‘in worse condition.’ Cf. ‘well-liking’ in Psa_92:13, P. B. V.; properly ‘well-pleasing,’ i.e. in good condition; and 2 Hen. IV. iii. 2, 92, ‘You like well, and bear your years very well.’ The Heb. is zô‘ǎphîm, ‘gloomy,’ ‘sad,’—in Gen_40:6 used of Pharaoh’s butler and baker, who were troubled mentally, here of the dejected appearance produced by insufficient nutriment. Theod. σκυθρωπά; cf. Mat_6:16.

than the youths (Dan_1:4) which are of your own age (R.V.); so should ye (Bevan) make my head a forfeit (lit. make my head guilty) to the king] The two sentences might be rendered more concisely, ‘lest he see …, and ye make my head a forfeit,’ &c. The officer who had charge of the Hebrew youths dreaded his master’s displeasure if he should see them thriving badly under his care.

age] The word (gîl), which occurs only here in the O. T., is found in the same sense in the Talmud (Levy, NHWB[185] i. 324); and in Samaritan, as Gen_6:9; Gen_15:16; Gen_17:12, and often (not always), for the Heb. dôr (‘generation’).

[185] HWB. M. Levy, Neuhebräisches und Chaldäisches Wörterbuch, 1876–89.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:12

12. ten days] a round number of days (cf. Gen_24:55; Gen_31:7), sufficiently long to test the effects of the proposed diet.

let them] i.e. the people appointed for the purpose. A Hebrew idiom, the force of which would here be better expressed in English by the passive, ‘let there be given us’ (cf. Job_7:3 b, lit. ‘they have appointed,’ Psa_63:11 a [A.V. 10a], Psa_64:9 a [A.V. 8a]; and on ch. Dan_4:25).

pulse] rather vegetable food in general; there is no reason for restricting the Heb. word used to leguminous fruits, such as beans and peas, which is what the term ‘pulse’ properly denotes. Cf. Isa_61:11, where almost the same word is rendered ‘the things that are sown,’ i.e. vegetable products.

Pulpit Commentary

At the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. The Septuagint is a little paraphrastic, and renders, “After ten days their countenance appeared beautiful and their habit of body better than that of the other young men who ate of the king’s meat.” Theodotion is painfully faithful to the Massoretic text. The Peshitta translates טוב (ṭōb), “good,” “fair,” by sha-peera, “beautiful.” We have here the result of the experiment. At the end of the ten days these youths who had lived plainly are fairer and fatter than those who partook of the royal dainties—a result that implies nothing miraculous; it was simply the natural result of living on food suited to the climate. The grammar of the passage is peculiar; mareehem, which so far as form goes might be plural, is construed with a singular verb and adjective, but bere‛eem, “fatter,” is plural. The explanation is that while “countenance,” the substantive, is in the singular, it is not the substantive to the adjective “fat,” but “they” understood. The sentence is not intended to assert that their faces merely were fatter than those of the other youths of their rank and circumstances, but that their whole body was so. This contrast of reference is brought out in the Septuagint paraphrase. Any one looking on the Assyrian and Babylonian sculptures, and comparing them with the sculptures and paintings of Egypt, will observe the relatively greater stoutness of the Assyrians. In the eunuchs especially, one cannot fail to notice the full round faces and the double chins of those in immediate attendance on the king. Among savage nations and semi-civilized ones, corpulence is regarded as a sign of nobility. The frequent long fasts, due to failure of their scanty crops or the difficulty of catching game, would keep the ordinary savage spare; only one who could employ the sinews and possessions of others would be sure of being always well fed, consequently the corpulent man was incontestably the wealthy nobleman. In semi-civilized countries, as Babylon, this was probably a survival. On the sculptures the kings are not unwieldy with corpulence, but the eunuchs have an evident tendency to this. A king, abstemious himself, might feel his consequence increased by having as his attendants those who bore about in their persons the evidence of how well those were nourished who fed at his table. There is no reason to imagine that Nebuchadnezzar was superior to his contemporaries in regard to this. The melzar, having thus seen the result of the experiment, must see that, so far as externals were concerned, the Hebrews who fed on pulse were better than their companions. The period of ten days was a short one, but not too short for effects such as those mentioned to be manifested. Jephet-ibn-Ali thinks that special leanness was inflicted on those who were unfaithful or had failed in courage. That, however, is an unnecessary supposition.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:17

17. Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge (the word rendered science in Dan_1:4), and intelligence (cf. intelligent, Dan_1:4) in all literature (Dan_1:4) and wisdom] ‘Wisdom’ is used here, in a concrete sense, of an intelligently arranged body of principles, or, as we should now say, science. The term must be understood as representing the popular estimate of the subjects referred to: for the ‘wisdom’ of the Chaldaean priests, except in so far as it took cognizance of the actual facts of astronomy, was in reality nothing but a systematized superstition.

and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams] or, ‘in every kind of vision and dreams.’ This was a point in which Daniel excelled the rest. The words are intended as introductory to the narrative following.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:18

18. And at the end of the days that the king had appointed (Dan_1:5) for bringing them in (R.V.)] viz. to attend upon the king. ‘Appointed’ is lit. said, i.e. commanded, decreed, a common use in late Hebrew: cf. Dan_1:3. As Dan_1:19 (‘among them all,’ &c.) shews, the pron. them refers, not as the connexion with Dan_1:17 might suggest, to the four Hebrew lads alone, but to the whole number of youths mentioned in Dan_1:3-4.

Cambridge Bible Driver
Daniel 1:19

19. communed] talked. The Heb. word is the usual one for ‘speak,’ or ‘talk’; and nothing different from ordinary conversation is meant. ‘Commune’ occurs elsewhere in A.V., R.V., for the same Heb. word, and with exactly the same meaning; as Gen_18:33; Gen_23:8; Gen_34:6; Exo_25:22; Exo_31:18; 1Sa_9:25; 1Sa_19:3, &c.

and (i.e. and so) they stood before the king] i.e. became his personal attendants (Dan_1:5).


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