In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
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.
&M. 3398. B.C. 606. the Lord.
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
The word yeladim, rendered children, is frequently used for lads, or young men. (see Ge 21:8, 14-16,) [neaniskous] as the LXX. render; and Daniel must have been at this time at least seventeen or eighteen years of age.
Rather, as Houbigant renders, "apt to understand wisdom, to acquire knowledge, and to attain science;" for it was not a knowledge of the sciences, but merely a capacity to learn them, that was required.
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
AthenÊus says the kings of Persia were accustomed to order for their courtiers the food left at their tables.
which he drank
Heb of his drink. stand.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Heathen nations not only ate unclean beasts, which were forbidden by Jewish law, but even the clean animals that were eaten were first offered as victims to their gods, and part of the wine was poured out as a libation on their altars. Hence AthenÊus calls the beasts served up at the tables of the Persian kings, [hieria] victims. Daniel was therefore resolved not to defile himself with their viands; yet he did not rudely refuse what was intended as a kindness, but mildly and modestly requested the proper officers to indulge him in this respect.
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
or, term, or continuance.
Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
or, the steward.
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
pulse to eat
Heb. of pulse that we may eat, etc. Pulse, zerˆim, denotes all leguminous plants, which are not reaped but pulled or plucked; which, however wholesome, was not naturally calculated to render them fatter in flesh than the others.
And 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.
As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Daniel had understanding
or, he made Daniel understand.
And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
A. M. 3401. B.C. 603. therefore
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
wisdom and understanding
Heb. wisdom of understanding. ten.
And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.