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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Daniel 1



Verse 1

In the third year, &c. It was in the third year of Jehoiakim that Nebuchadnezzar set out from Babylon; and Daniel, writing there, speaks of the starting, not of the arrival at Jerusalem. See note on "came", below. In the fourth year Jehovah says by Jeremiah (Daniel 25:9), "I will send". The date would be 497 B.C. and Daniel"s sixteenth year, he being born probably in 513 B.C. (Josiah"s eighteenth year).

came = went, set out, or proceeded. Hebrew. bo", which means to go or come, according to the context and the point of view. It is rendered "went" in Genesis 7:9, Genesis 7:16; Genesis 15:17. Exodus 5:1. Numbers 8:22; Numbers 14:24. Judges 6:19; Judges 18:18. 1 Samuel 17:12. 2 Samuel 2:24; 2 Samuel 12:16; 2 Samuel 17:25; 2 Samuel 20:3, 2 Samuel 20:8. 1 Chronicles 2:21. Psalms 66:12. Ezekiel 36:20, Ezekiel 36:21, Ezekiel 36:22; Ezekiel 41:3. It is translated "go", in the sense of proceed or set out, in Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 6:18; Deuteronomy 8:1; Deuteronomy 11:8; Deuteronomy 12:26; Deuteronomy 22:13; Deuteronomy 26:3. Joshua 23:12. Ruth 3:4. 1 Samuel 25:5, &c. Jonah 1:3, &c. It is rendered "entered " (of setting out) in 2 Chronicles 27:2. Job 38:16, Job 38:22. Jeremiah 9:21; Jeremiah 14:18; Jeremiah 17:25; Jeremiah 22:4; Jeremiah 34:10; Jeremiah 37:16. Lamentations 1:10. Ezekiel 44:2; Ezekiel 46:2. Ezekiel 11:40, Ezekiel 11:41. Amos 5:5. Obadiah 1:11. Zechariah 5:4. Nebuchadnezzar did set out in Jehoiakim"s third year, but was delayed by fighting the battle with Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish. In the next (the fourth) year (Jeremiah 46:2), he carried out the object with which he set out. Compare 2 Kings 24:1, and 2 Chronicles 36:6, 2 Chronicles 36:7.

Nebuchadnezzar. This name is so spelled (i.e. with "n" instead of "r") by Berosus (who wrote his history from the monuments, Cent. 3, B. C). Both spellings were in vogue. Ezekiel uses the "r"; and Jeremiah uses "r" before en. 27; and then eight times the "n" (Daniel 27:6 where Nebuchadnezzar is once specially called Jehovah"s appointed servant, 8, 20; Daniel 28:3, Daniel 28:11, Daniel 28:14; Daniel 29:1, Daniel 29:3); and after that, always with "r" except twice (Daniel 34:1; Daniel 39:5). It is spelled with "n" in 2 Kings 24:1, 2 Kings 24:10, 2 Kings 24:11; 2 Kings 25:1, 2 Kings 25:8, 2 Kings 25:22; 1 Chronicles 6:15. 2 Chronicles 36:6, 2 Chronicles 36:7, 2 Chronicles 36:10, 2 Chronicles 36:13. Ezra 1:7; Ezra 2:1. Nehemiah 7:6. Esther 2:6).

Verse 2

the LORD*. One of the 134 places where the Sopherim say they altered "Jehovah" of the primitive text to"Adonai". See App-32.

gave. See Isaiah 39:6, Isaiah 39:7. Jeremiah 25:8-11. Ezekiel 21:26, Ezekiel 21:27.

part. Others were brought later (2 Kings 24:13. 2 Chronicles 36:10). See Ezra 1:7 for the subsequent restoration of them by Cyrus.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

the land of Shinar. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 10:10; Genesis 11:2; Genesis 14:1, Genesis 14:9). App-92. Outside the Pentateuch found only in Joshua 7:21 (Hebrew text). Isaiah 11:11. Zechariah 5:11; and here.

Verse 3

the master of his eunuchs. Hebrew. rab sarisayn = master or chief of the eunuchs; whence the title "Rab-saris" in 2 Kings 18:17. See note there. Called "prince" in Daniel 1:7.

children = sons.

and = even, or both. Some codices, with six early printed editions, omit this "and": reading "sons of Israel, of the king"s seed" (or "seed-royal").

princes = nobles. Hebrew. partemim, a Persian word, found only here and Esther 1:3; Esther 6:9. Not the same word as in verses: Daniel 1:7, Daniel 1:8, Daniel 1:10, Daniel 7:11, &c.

Verse 4

Children = Youths.

cunning = skilful.

in the king"s palace. The Inscriptions show that there was a palace school with elaborate arrangements for special education. See below on "Chaldeans", and notes on Daniel 2:2.

learning = character, or books. See Prof. Sayce"s Babylonian Literature: which shows the existence of a huge literature and famous libraries, in which were arrangements for procuring books from the librarian as in our own day. These books related to all subjects, and were classified according to their subjects (pp. 12-14).

tongue. This was a special and important department.

Chaldeans. A name not peculiar to Daniel. From Genesis onward it is met with, especially in Jeremiah. They were distinct from the Babylonians (Jeremiah 22:25. Ezekiel 23:23), and belonged to South Babylonia. Used here of a special class, well known as such at that time (Compare Daniel 2:2, Daniel 2:4, Daniel 2:5, Daniel 2:10), and distinct also from other learned classes (Daniel 2:4). The word (Hebrew. Chasdim) is used also in the wider sense of a nationality (Daniel 5:30). See Dr. Pinches on The Old Testament, p. 371; Rawlinson"s History of Herodotus, vol. i; pp 255, 256; and Lenormant"s The Ancient History of the East, i. pp. 493-5.

Verse 5

meat = food. Hebrew. pathbag. A Persian or Aryan word. Occurs only in Daniel.

wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27.

three years. Say 497, 496, and 495 B.C. See note on Daniel 2:1. It does not say these years were concluded before the events of Dan 2took place.

stand before the king. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 41:46).

Verse 6

Daniel = God is my Judge. See note on the Title.

Hananiah = Jah is gracious; or, graciously given by Jah.

Mishael = who is (or is as) El? App-4.

Azariah = helped of Jah, or Jah has helped.

Verse 7

prince = ruler. Hebrew. sar.

gave names. In token of subjection. See 2 Kings 23:34; 2 Kings 24:17. Compare Genesis 41:45.

Belteshazzar. According to Dr. Pinches, this is an abbreviated form of Balat-su-usur = protect thou (O Bel) his life. Many such abbreviations are found in the inscriptions; but compare "Belshazzar" (Daniel 5:1).

Shadrach. According to Delitzsch = Sudur-Aku (= command of Aku, the moon-god).

Meshach. Perhaps Misha-Aku = who is as Aku?

Abed-nego = servant or worshipper of Nego. It is not wise to suppose this to be a corruption of Abed- nebo, while any day the name may be met with in the Inscriptions.

Verse 8

purposed in his heart = made up his mind. Compare Proverbs 23:7.

defile himself, &c. This was because meat was killed with the blood (contrary to Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Leviticus 17:10-14; Leviticus 19:26), and offered to idols (Exodus 34:15. 1 Corinthians 10:20. Compare Acts 15:29). Not because they were acting on vegetarian and temperance principles.

Verse 9

God. Hebrew. Elohim.(with Art.) = the [Triune] God. App-4.

tender love = compassion.

Verse 10

And: or, Yet.

worse liking = sadder: i.e. thin and sad-looking. Compare Matthew 6:16.

your sort = your own age.

Verse 11

Melzar. Hebrew = the melzar = the steward or butler, who had charge of the wine, &c.

Verse 12

pulse = vegetable food (to avoid the idol-tainted meat).

Verse 17

understanding = discernment.

Verse 20

magicians and astrologers. See notes on Daniel 2:2. Some codices, with Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read this "and" in the text.

Verse 21

continued = continued in office. See first occurance: Exodus 25:30. Daniel 25:30, also Exodus 27:20; Exodus 28:29, Exodus 28:30, Exodus 28:38; Exodus 29:38, Exodus 29:42; Exodus 30:8, &c. Compare Ezekiel 39:14, "continual employment".

the first year of king Cyrus: i.e. during the whole period of Babylonian supremacy over Israel for sixty-nine years (495-426 = 69). It does not say that he did not continue longer, but that he lived to see that important epoch. Compare Daniel 10:1; and see App-57and App-58.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Daniel 1:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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