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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 Nebuchadnezzar. 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: 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 vv. 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] hartummim, 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 (iepoypaμμateîs)1 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 harṭummim appear as interpreters of dreams (LXX. ¿§nyntal), in Ex. as men able to work magic (LXX. èπaoidol, in ix. II pарμакol): Theod. in Dan. renders by ẻπaoidoi. Probably the word was used by the author
1 Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. 36; cf. Ebers, Aeg. u. die Bb. Mose's, pp. 343, 347. 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, Aegyptologie (1891), pp. 77, 85, 149-159.
21 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, KAT2 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. 1), so that he would then be quite an aged man.
continued even unto] lit. was until. The expression is an unusual one; 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. Kōresh, as regularly. The Persian form is Kuru(sh), the Babylonian Kurâsh.
Additional Note on the term 'Chaldaeans.'
The term 'Chaldaeans' (Heb. Kasdim) 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' had become synonymous with 'Babylonian' in general, 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 (I cent. B.C.) XVI. 1 § 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 Gulf1. 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 (μavrikń), uttering predictions about the future; and by means partly of purifications, partly of sacrifices, and partly of incantations (èrudaí), 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 (répara); they are also practised in the inspection of sacrificial animals (iepooкoría), 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 planets2.
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 subject3:
"The general name for priests was shangu, 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.
could prognosticate the future and determine the intention or will of the gods. The offering of sacrifices was one of the means to accomplish this end, but it is significant that many of the names used to designate the priestly classes have reference to the priest's position as the exorciser of evil spirits, or his power to secure a divine oracle or to foretell the future, and not to his function as sacrificer. Such names are mashmashu, the general term for 'the charmer'; kalû, so called, perhaps, as the ' restrainer' of the demons, the one who keeps them in check; lagaru, a synonym of kalû; makhkhû1, 'soothsayer'; surrû, a term which is still obscure; shâilu, the 'inquirer,' who obtains an oracle through the dead or through the gods2; mushêlu3, 'necromancer'; âshipu1 or ishippu, sorcerer'."
The antiquity, if not of the 'Chaldaeans' under this name, yet of the priests in whose hands the traditional lore mentioned by Diodorus was, is also well established: "the magical texts formed the earliest sacred literature" of Babylonia5; and the great astrological work, called NûrBel, 'the Light of Bel,' is earlier than B.C. 2000.
Babylonia was the land of magic (cf. Is. xlvii. 9—13); and a very extensive literature, dealing with different branches of the subject, has been brought to light during recent years. Demons, or evil spirits, were supposed to be active upon earth, bringing to mankind diseases, misfortunes, and every kind of ill; the heavens were supposed to exercise an influence over the destinies of men and nations; all kinds of natural occurrences which we should describe as accidental, such as an animal entering a building, were supposed to be declarations of the will of the gods; and methods had to be devised for the purpose of dealing with the occult agencies concerned, of interpreting all significant phenomena, and of averting, where this was held to be possible, the evils which they portended. The demons were ever present and ever active: so sorcerers and sorceresses sprang up, who, by means of various magical devices, could invoke the demons at their will, and bring such persons as they chose within their power. On the other hand, the priests were ready with means for protecting people who were thus assailed; and many collections of 'incantations have come down to us, each dealing with some particular kind of demonic evil, or providing some particular method of protection against demons. In particular, every kind of disease was attributed to the action of some malignant spirit, either attacking a person spontaneously, or induced to do so by bewitchment; and the cure was effected by exorcising the demon through prescribed formulae of supposed power, accompanied by symbolical acts (e.g. burning the image of the witch). Omens were also carefully observed, and tables were drawn up describing the significance of all kinds of occurrences, including the most trifling, in heaven and earth. "Fully one-fourth of the portion of Asshurbanabal's library
1 Whence, probably, the 'Rab-mag,' i.e. 'chief of the soothsayers,' of Jer. xxxix.
Cf. the Heb. in Deut. xviii. 11; Jud. i. 1; 1 Sam. xxiii. 2, xxviii. 6, &c. 8 Lit. the 'bringer up,' from elu: comp. 1 Sam. xxviii. 11.
4 Comp. on Dan. i. 20.
5 Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, p. 327.
6 Jastrow, pp. 253-293.
that has been discovered consists of omen-tablets of various sizes in which explanations are afforded of all physical peculiarities to be observed in animals and men, of natural phenomena, of the positions and movements of the planets and stars, of the incidents and accidents of public and private life-in short, of all possible occurrences and situations1."
The principles upon which the explanations of all these phenomena were drawn up were, no doubt, partly the association of ideas (as when the sight of a lion symbolized strength, or success), and partly the extension of a single coincidence between a given phenomenon and a particular subsequent occurrence, into a general law. It is, however, evident to what long and elaborate treatises the systematization of rules for dealing with, and explaining, such an immense variety of phenomena would ultimately lead.
There are six terms used in the Book of Daniel as designations of diviners or magicians, viz. (1) wise men (D), (2) enchanters (D'DWN), (3) magicians (D'), (4) ‘Chaldeans' (1), (5) determiners (of fates) (1), (6) sorcerers (DDD), which are distributed as follows:
i. 20 the magicians and the enchanters.
ii. 2 the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans.
ii. 10b any magician, enchanter, or Chaldean.
ii. 27 wise men, enchanters, magicians, (or) determiners (of fates).
iv. 7 the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the determiners (of fates). v. 7 the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the determiners (of fates).
V. II (of Daniel) 'master of magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, (and) determiners (of fates).'
V. 15 the wise men, (even) the enchanters.
Wise men occurs besides, alone, in the expression '(all) the wise men of Babylon,' in ii. 12, 13 ('the wise men'), 14, 18, 24, 48, iv. 6, 18 ('all the wise men of my kingdom'), v. 7, 8 ('the wise men of the king'): 'Chaldeans' also occurs alone in i. 4 'the literature and language of the Chaldeans' (seemingly in a general sense); in ii. 4, 5, 10a (as speaking on behalf of the 'wise men' generally); and in iii. 8: and hartummim is used in a generic sense in iv. 9 (where Daniel is called 'master of the hartummim'; cf. ii. 48 and v. 11).
A comparison of the passages shews that the terms in question are used with some vagueness. The generic term appears certainly to be 'wise men'; but in ii. 27 even this appears to be coordinated with three of the special classes. In Diodorus Siculus 'Chaldaeans' is the generic term; but in Daniel that, except once, appears as the name of one class beside others: in i. 4, however (unless, which is improbable, there was no special literature' connected with any of the other classes), it is used in a generic sense. In iv. 7 and v. II 'determiners (of fates)' appears to take the place of 'sorcerers' in ii. 2, although the two terms do not seem to be by any means synonymous. Nor are the several classes of wise men named in Daniel known to correspond to any division or classification indicated by the inscriptions. The attempts
1 Jastrow, pp. 352-406. See further Lenormant, La Magie chez les Chaldéens (1874), and La Divination et la Science des Présages chez les Chaldéens (1875); the translations of magical texts in Sayce's Hibbert Lectures for 1887, P. 441 ff. ('to be accepted with caution,' Jastrow, p. 713); and the literature cited by Jastrow, P: 717 ff. Minuter details would here be out of place, as they would not really illustrate anything in the Book of Daniel.