1:1 In the a third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of
Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem,
and besieged it.
The Argument - The great providence of God, and his singular
mercy towards his Church are set forth here most vividly,
who never leaves his own destitute, but now in their
greatest miseries and afflictions gives them Prophets, such
as Ezekiel and Daniel, whom he adorned with special graces
of his Holy Spirit. And Daniel above all others had most
special revelations of such things as would come to the
Church, even from the time that they were in captivity, to
the last end of the world, and to the general resurrection,
as of the four Monarchies and empires of all the world, that
is, of the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, and Romans.
Also of the certain number of the times even until Christ,
when all ceremonies and sacrifices would cease, because he
would be the accomplishment of them: moreover he shows
Christ's office and the reason of his death, which was by
his sacrifice to take away sins, and to bring everlasting
life. And as from the beginning God always exercised his
people under the cross, so he teaches here, that after
Christ is offered, he will still leave this exercise to his
Church, until the dead rise again, and Christ gathers his
own into his kingdom in the heavens.
(a) Read (2Ki 24:1, Jer 25:1).
1:2 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 b Shinar to the house of his god;
and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his
(b) Which was a plain by Babylon, where the temple of their
great god was, and is here taken for Babylon.
1:3 And the king spake unto c Ashpenaz the master of his d
eunuchs, that he should bring [certain] of the children of
Israel, and of the e king's seed, and of the princes;
(c) Who was as master of the guards.
(d) He calls them "eunuchs" whom the King nourished and
brought up to be rulers of other countries afterwards.
(e) His purpose was to keep them as hostages, and so that he
might show himself victorious, and also by their good
entreaty and learning of his religion, they might favour
him rather than the Jews, and so to be able to serve him
as governors in their land. Moreover by this means the
Jews might be better kept in subjection, fearing
otherwise to bring hurt upon these noble men.
1:4 Children in whom [was] no blemish, but well f 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
g learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
(f) The King required three things: that they should be of
noble birth, that they should be intelligent and
learned, and that they should be of a strong and
handsome nature, so that they might do him better
service. This he did for his own benefit, therefore it
is not to praise his liberality: yet in this he is
worthy of praise, that he esteemed learning, and knew
that it was a necessary means to govern by.
(g) That they might forget their own religion and country
fashions to serve him the better to his purpose: yet it
is not to be thought that Daniel learned any knowledge
that was not godly. In all points he refused the abuse
of things and superstition, insomuch that he would not
eat the meat which the King appointed him, but was
content to learn the knowledge of natural things.
1:5 And the king appointed them a h daily provision of the
king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing
them i three years, that at the end thereof they might
stand k before the king.
(h) That by their good entertainment they might learn to
forget the mediocrity of their own people.
(i) With the intent that in this time they might learn both
the manners of the Chaldeans, and also their language.
(k) As well as to serve at the table as in other offices.
1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs l 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.
(l) That they might altogether forget their religion: for
the Jews gave their children names which might always
put them in remembrance of some point of religion.
Therefore this was a great temptation and a sign of
servitude, which they were not able to resist.
1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not m
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.
(m) Not that he thought any religion to be in the meat or
drink (for afterwards he did eat), but because the king
should not entice him by this sweet poison to forget his
religion and accustomed sobriety, and that in his meat
and drink he might daily remember of what people he was
from. And Daniel brings this in to show how God from
the beginning assisted him with his Spirit, and at
length called him to be a Prophet.
1:10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, n 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.
(n) He supposed they did this for their religion, which was
contrary to the Babylonians, and therefore in this he
represents those who are of no religion: for neither
would he condemn theirs, nor maintain his own.
1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, o ten days; and let
them give us p pulse to eat, and water to drink.
(o) Meaning that within this space he might have the test,
and that no man would be able to know about it: and
thus he spoke, being moved by the Spirit of God.
(p) Not that it was a thing abominable to eat dainty meats,
and to drink wine, as both before and after they did,
but if they would have by this been won to the King,
and had refused their own religion, that meat and drink
would have been accursed.
1:15 And at the end of ten days their q countenances appeared
fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did
eat the portion of the king's meat.
(q) This bare feeding and that also of Moses, when he fled
from the court of Egypt, declares that we must live in
such sobriety as God calls us to, seeing that he will
make it more profitable to us than all dainties: for
his blessing alone suffices.
1:17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and
skill in all learning r and wisdom: and Daniel had
understanding in all s visions and dreams.
(r) Meaning in the liberal sciences, and natural knowledge,
and not in the magical areas which are forbidden;
(s) So that he alone was a Prophet, and none of the others:
for by dreams and visions God appeared to his Prophets;
1:18 Now at the t end of the days that the king had said he
should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs
brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
(t) Of the three years mentioned above as in (Dan 1:5).
1:21 And Daniel continued [even] unto u the first year of king
(u) That is, he was esteemed in Babylon as a Prophet as
long as that commonwealth stood.