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the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs 10 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. Then 11 said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us
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. uh Tote).
worse liking] An old English expression for 'in worse condition. Cf. 'well-liking' in Ps. xcii. 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 zoʻåphim, 'gloomy,' sad,'—in Gen. xl. 6 used of Pharaoh's butler and baker, who were troubled mentally, here of the dejected appearance produced by insufficient nutriment. Theod. Oku pwrd; cf. Matth. vi. 16.
than the youths (v. 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 (gil), which occurs only here in the 0. T., is found in the same sense in the Talmud (Levy, NHWB. i. 324); and in Samaritan, as Gen. vi. 9, xv. 16, xvii. 12, and often (not always), for the Heb. dôr ('generation').
11—16. From the answer given by the chief of the eunuchs, Daniel gathers that he does not view his request unfavourably, though he declines the responsibility of acceding to it himself. He therefore applies to the subordinate officer who has the immediate charge of himself and his companions, and induces him to try them temporarily with vegetable diet. The result of the experiment being satisfactory, the royal food is withdrawn from the Jewish youths.
11. Melzar] the melzar,-'melzar' being the title of some officer, or attendant, of the court. What officer is intended is, however, uncertain, as the word has not hitherto been satisfactorily explained. Friedr. Delitzsch thinks that Melgar may be the Ass. mazzaru, ‘keeper (as in mazzar babi, 'keeper of the gate'), the 2 taking the place of the doubled (cf. Baloanov from bassām); and Schrader agrees that this explanation is possible. The term evidently denotes some subordinate official, appointed by the chief of the eunuchs to be in personal charge of Daniel and his companions.
12. ten days] a round number of days (cf. Gen. xxiv. 55, xxxi. 7), sufficiently long to test the effects of the proposed diet.
let them] i.e. the people appointed for the purpose. A Hebrew
13 pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances
be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the
children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as 14 thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them
in this matter, and proved them ten days. 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 16 king's meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their
meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had under
idiom, the force of which would here be better expressed in English by the passive, “let there be given us' (cf. Job vii. 36, lit. "they have appointed,' Ps. lxiii. Ila (A.V. 10a], lxiv. ga [Ă.V. 8a]; and on ch. iv. 2 5).
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. Is. Ixi. II, where almost the same word is rendered 'the things that are sown,' i.e. vegetable products.
13. of the youths that eat the king's delicacies) as vv. 5, 8.
14. consented] hearkened (R.V.), -the expression exactly as i Sam. XXX. 24
15. and (they were) fatter in flesh, &c.] the expression as Gen. xli. 2, 18 (of the kine) 'fat-fíeshed.'
the children, &c.] the youths which did eat the king's delicacies.
16. And the melzar continued taking away their delicacies, and giving them vegetable food] The Heb. idiom employed implies that the treatment which they received was now continuous.
17—19. At the end of the three years (v. 5), Daniel and his three companions are brought before the king; and being found by him to be the most proficient of all whom he had directed to be educated, are promoted to a place among his personal attendants.
17. Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge (the word rendered science in v. 4), and intelligence (cf. intelligent, v. 4) in all literature (v. 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.
standing in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the 18 days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchad
And the king communed with them; and among 19 them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in 20 all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
18. And at the end of the days that the king had appointed (v. 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. v. 3. As v. 19 ('among them all,' &c.) shews, the pron. them refers, not as the connexion with v. 17 might suggest, to the four Hebrew lads alone, but to the whole number of youths mentioned in D. 3, 4:
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. xviii. 33, xxiii. 8, xxxiv. 6; Ex. xxv. 22, xxxi. 18; 1 Sam. ix. 25, xix. 3, &c.
and (i.e. and so) they stood before the king] i.e. became his personal attendants (v. 5).
20. The king found further, upon putting to them difficult questions, that in a knowledge of the technicalities of their science the four Jewish youths excelled even the wise men of Babylon themselves.
and in every particular of reasoned wisdom) lit. wisdom of understanding, i.e. wisdom determined or regulated by understanding, * wisdom' having the same concrete sense of 'science' which it has in v. 17. Marti, however, following Theod., reads 'wisdom and understanding.'
magicians] ħarțummim, recurring in ii. 2, 10, 27, iv. 7, 9, v. 7, probably of Egyptian origin (though not at present known to occur in Egyptian inscriptions), used otherwise only of the 'magicians' of Egypt (Gen. xli. 8, 24; Ex. vii. 11, 22, viii. 7, 18, 19, ix. 11), and no doubt borrowed from the Pent. by the author of Daniel. The precise sense of the term is difficult to fix. It is not improbable that originally it denoted the sacred scribes (iepoypaumatels)' of Egypt; but, even if this opinion be accepted, it is doubtful how far the idea was consciously present to the Hebrews who in later times used the word. In Gen. the ḥarțummim appear as interpreters of dreams (LXX. ényntal), in Ex. as men able to work magic (LXX. Étaoldol, in ix. Il pappakol): Theod. in Dan. renders by érraoidol. Probably the word was used by the author
On the functions of these sacred scribes, and the nature of the literature with which they had to deal (which included a knowledge of magic and charms), see Brugsch, Aegyhtologie (1891), pp. 77, 85, 149–159.
i Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. 36; cf. Ebers, Aeg. u. die Bb. Mose's, pp. 343, 347;
And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
of Daniel in the sense of men acquainted with occult arts in general, so that the rendering ‘magician' may be allowed to stand.
astrologers) enchanters, Heb. 'ashshāph, Aram. 'āshaph, found only in the Book of Daniel (ii. 2, 10, 27, iv. 4, v. 7, 11, 15), the Assyrian ashipu (Schrader, KAT. ad loc.), which passed also into Syriac, where it is used specially of the charmers of serpents.
21. A remark on the long continuance of Daniel—with the reputation, it is understood, implied in v. 20—in Babylon. The first year of Cyrus (B.C. 538) would be nearly 70 years after the date of Daniel's captivity (v. I), so that he would then be quite an aged man. continued even unto] lit. was until. The expression is an unusual
but the meaning, it seems, is that Daniel survived the fall of the empire of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors, and remained, unaffected by the change of dynasty, till the first year of Cyrus, the year in which (Ezr. i. 1, v. 13, vi. 3) the Jews received permission to return to Palestine. He is mentioned indeed as still alive in the third year of Cyrus (x. 1); but that fact is here left out of consideration.
Cyrus] Heb. Kõresh, as regularly. The Persian form is Kuru(sh), the Babylonian Kuråsh.
Additional Note on the term 'Chaldaeans.' The term 'Chaldaeans' (Heb. Kasdîm) is used in the Book of Daniel in a sense different from that which it has in any other part of the Old Testament. In other parts of the Old Testament (e.g. in Jeremiah, passim) it has an ethnic sense: it denotes a people which in the inscriptions at present known) is thought to be first alluded to about 1100 B.C., and is certainly named repeatedly from 880 B.C. : they lived then in the S.E. of Babylonia, towards the sea-coast; afterwards, as they increased in power, they gradually advanced inland ; in 721 B.C. Merodach-baladan, king of the land of the Kaldu,' made himself king of Babylon; and ultimately, under Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar, they became the ruling caste in Babylonia. In the Book of Daniel (except in v. 30, ix. I, where the term plainly has its ethnic sense), *Chaldaean' is the designation not of the ruling caste at large, but of the class—or one of the classes-of wise men (i. 4, ii. 2, 4, 5, 10, iii. 8 (prob.), iv. 7, v. 7, 11). Of this sense of the word there is no trace in the inscriptions; it is first found in Herodotus (C. 440 B.C.), and is common afterwards in the classical writers; and it dates really from a time when ‘Chaldaean' was no longer used in its ethnological sense, and when virtually the only 'Chaldaeans' known were members of the priestly or learned class. The following passages will shew how the classical writers understood the term.
Hdt. i. 181 (in the description of the 'ziggurat' of Bel, i.e. [Tiele] Merodach, in Babylon): 'as the Chaldaeans, being priests of this god, say.'
i. 183: 'On the greater altar (in the precincts of the temple at the foot
of the 'ziggurat'] the Chaldaeans burn also 1000 talents of frankincense every year, when they celebrate the festival of this god.'
Also, in the same chapter, 'as the Chaldaeans said,' and 'I did not see it, but I say what is said by the Chaldaeans.'
Strabo (1 cent. B.c.) XVI. I § 6: ‘There is also a quarter reserved in Babylon for the native philosophers called “Chaldaeans," who pursue principally the study of astronomy. Some claim also to cast nativities ; but these are not recognized by the others. There is moreover a tribe of the Chaldaeans, and a district of Babylonia, inhabited by them, near the Arabian and the Persian Gulf?. There are also several classes (yévn) of the astronomical Chaldaeans, some being called Orcheni [i.e. belonging to Orchoe, or Uruk], others Borsippans, and others having other names according to the different doctrines held by their various schools.'
Diodorus Siculus (1 cent. B.c.) describes them at greater length. The 'Chaldaeans,' he says (ii. 29), form a caste, possessing a fixed traditional lore, in which successive generations are brought up, and which they transmit unchanged to their successors. They are among the most ancient of the Babylonians, and hold in the state a position similar to that of the priests in Egypt. Appointed primarily to attend to the worship of the gods, they devote their lives to philosophy, enjoying especially a reputation for astrology. They are also much occupied with divination (uavtikń), uttering predictions about the future; and by means partly of purifications, partly of sacrifices, and partly of incantations (étudal), endeavour to avert evil [cf. Is. xlvii. 9, 11- -13] and to complete happiness. They are moreover experienced in divination by means of birds, and interpret dreams and omens (Tépara); they are also practised in the inspection of sacrificial animals (iepoo kotla), and have a character for divining accurately by their means. And he proceeds (cc, 30, 31) to give some account of the astronomical doctrines of the 'Chaldaeans,' and to speak of their remarkable skill in predicting the destinies of men from observation of the planets.
In the view of the classical writers, the Chaldaeans' were thus a caste of priests, who were also diviners, magicians, and (especially) astrologers. Except in what concerns the name 'Chaldaeans,' the statements of Diodorus, as far as they go, are correct, and substantiated by what is now known from the inscriptions. Here is what is said in the most recent and best work upon the subjects:
“The general name for priests was shanga, which by a plausible etymology suggested by Jensen, indicates the function of the priest as the one who presides over the sacrifices. But this function represents only one phase of the priestly office in Babylonia, and not the most important one, by any means. For the people, the priest was primarily the one who could drive evil demons out of the body of the person smitten with disease, who could thwart the power of wizards and witches, who could ward off the attacks of mischievous spirits, or who
1 This sentence (cf. § 8 and 3 $ 6) is interesting, as it shews that 'Chaldaeans,' in the original ethnic sense of the name, were still
resident in their ancient homes. 2 Cf. also Cic. Divin, 1. i., xli., 11. xli-xliii., xlvii.; Tusc. 1. xl.; de Fato viii. (a criticism of their astrological claims): Juv. x. 94, xiv. 248, with Mayor's notes.
Jastrow's Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, U.S.A. 1898), p. 656 f.