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Chaldees: Or Chaldeans, the inhabitants of the country of which Babylon was the
capital. They were so called till the time of the Captivity
(2 Kings 25:1)
(Isaiah 13:19; 23:13) when, particularly in the Book of Daniel
(Daniel 5:30; 9:1) the name began to be used with special reference to
a class of learned men ranked with the magicians and astronomers.
These men cultivated the ancient Cushite language of the original
inhabitants of the land, for they had a "learning" and a "tongue"
(Daniel 1:4) of their own. The common language of the country at that
time had become assimilated to the Semitic dialect, especially
through the influence of the Assyrians, and was the language that was
used for all civil purposes. The Chaldeans were the learned class,
interesting themselves in science and religion, which consisted, like
that of the ancient Arabians and Syrians, in the worship of the
heavenly bodies. There are representations of this priestly class,
of magi and diviners, on the walls of the Assyrian palaces.