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 (2 Kings
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 god.
(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
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
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
(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.
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; (Deuteronomy
(s) So that he alone was a Prophet, and none of
the others: for by dreams and visions God appeared to his Prophets; (Numbers
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 (Daniel
Daniel continued [even] unto u the first
year of king Cyrus.
(u) That is, he was esteemed in Babylon as a
Prophet as long as that commonwealth stood.