Daniel 1:1
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Jerusalem, and besieged it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) In the third year.—Two questions are involved in this verse. (1) Is it historically true that Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign? (2) Does the language of the verse imply that he did so? The second question is rightly answered in the negative. The word came means went, as Genesis 45:17; 2Kings 5:5, and it is the natural word for a Hebrew to use who wrote from Babylon, and may be translated marched. It is therefore implied in this verse that Nebuchadnezzar started from Babylon in the third year of Jehoiakim. The rest of the history is easily supplied from other portions of Scripture. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim he conquered Pharaoh at Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2), and then advanced upon Jerusalem. (See marginal reference.) The name Nebuchadnezzar is sometimes more correctly spelt Nebuchadrezzar, but no argument can be based upon the different modes of spelling the name, as the difficulties of transliteration of Babylonian names into Hebrew characters are considerable.

Daniel 1:1-2. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim came Nebuchadnezzar, &c. — See notes on 2 Kings 24:1-4. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim into his hand — He took Jehoiakim prisoner, and put him in chains, with a design to carry him to Babylon; but he having humbled himself, and submitted to become tributary, he was restored to his kingdom. “At this time,” says Lowth, “Jehoiakim having become tributary to the king of Babylon, consequently the seventy years of the Jewish captivity and vassalage to Babylon began.” With part of the vessels of the house of God — Some of the vessels were still left, which Nebuchadnezzar seized when he carried Jeconiah captive: see the margin; which he carried into the land of Shinar — That is, he carried the vessels, and not, as some would understand it, the captives also; for Jehoiakim only is mentioned, who died, as we have seen, in the land of Judah. Shinar was the original name of the country about Babylon, (Genesis 11:2,) and it was still sometimes called by this name by some of the prophets: see the margin. And he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god — Of his idol Bel, (see note on Jeremiah 50:2,) from whence they were taken by Cyrus, and delivered to Zerubbabel, Ezra 1:7-8. To this agrees the testimony of Berosus, who tells us that Nebuchadnezzar adorned the temple of Bel with the spoils of war which he had taken in that expedition: see Joseph. Antiq., lib. 10. cap. 11. 1:1-7 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, took Jerusalem, and carried whom and what he pleased away. From this first captivity, most think the seventy years are to be dated. It is the interest of princes to employ wise men; and it is their wisdom to find out and train up such. Nebuchadnezzar ordered that these chosen youths should be taught. All their Hebrew names had something of God in them; but to make them forget the God of their fathers, the Guide of their youth, the heathen gave them names that savoured of idolatry. It is painful to reflect how often public education tends to corrupt the principles and morals.In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem - This event occurred, according to Jahn ("History of the Hebrew Commonwealth"), in the year 607 b.c., and in the 368th year after the revolt of the ten tribes. According to Usher, it was in the 369th year of the revolt, and 606 b.c. The computation of Usher is the one generally received, but the difference of a year in the reckoning is not material. Compare Michaelis, Anmerkung, zu 2 Kon. xxiv. 1. Jehoiakim was a son of Josiah, a prince who was distinguished for his piety, 2 Kings 22:2; 2 Chronicles 35:1-7. After the death of Josiah, the people raised to the throne of Judah Jehoahaz, the youngest son of Josiah, probably because he appeared better qualified to reign than his elder brother, 2 Kings 23:30; 2 Chronicles 36:1. He was a wicked prince, and after he had been on the throne three months, he was removed by Pharaoh-nechoh, king of Egypt, who returned to Jerusalem from the conquest of Phoenicia, and placed his elder brother, Eliakim, to whom he gave the name of Jehoiakim, on the throne, 2 Kings 23:34; 2 Chronicles 36:4.

Jehoahaz was first imprisoned in Riblah, 2 Kings 23:33, and was afterward removed to Egypt, 2 Chronicles 36:4. Jehoiakim, an unworthy son of Josiah, was, in reality, as he is represented by Jeremiah, one of the worst kings who reigned over Judah. His reign continued eleven years, and as he came to the throne 611 b.c., his reign continued to the year 600 b.c. In the third year of his reign, after the battle of Megiddo, Pharaoh-nechoh undertook a second expedition against Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, with a numerous army, drawn in part from Western Africa, Lybia and Ethiopia. - Jahn's Hist. Heb. "Commonwealth," p. 134. This Nabopolassar, who is also called Nebuchadnezzar I, was at this time, as Berosus relates, aged and infirm. He therefore gave up a part of his army to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who defeated the Egyptian host at Carchemish (Circesium) on the Euphrates, and drove Nechoh out of Asia. The victorious prince marched directly to Jerusalem, which was then under the sovereignty of Egypt. After a short siege Jehoiakim surrendered, and was again placed on the throne by the Babylonian prince.

Nebuchadnezzar took part of the furniture of the temple as booty, and carried back with him to Babylon several young men, the sons of the principal Hebrew nobles, among whom were Daniel and his three friends referred to in this chapter. It is not improbable that one object in conveying them to Babylon was that they might be hostages for the submission and good order of the Hebrews in their own land. It is at this time that the Babylonian sovereignty over Judah commences, commonly called the Babylonian captivity, which, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 25:1-14; Jeremiah 29:10, was to continue seventy years. In Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 46:2, it is said that this was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; in the passage before us it is said that it was the third year. This difference, says Jahn, arises from a different mode of computation: "Jehoiakim came to the throne at the end of the year, which Jeremiah reckons as the first (and such a mode of reckoning is not uncommon), but Daniel, neglecting the incomplete year, numbers one less:" For a more full and complete examination of the objection to the genuineness of Daniel from this passage, I would refer to Prof. Stuart on Daniel, "Excursus" I.((See App. I. to this Vol.)

And besieged it - Jerusalem was a strongly-fortified place, and it was not easy to take it, except as the result of a siege. It was, perhaps, never carried by direct and immediate assault. Compare 2 Kings 25:1-3, for an account of a siege of Jerusalem a second time by Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the city was besieged about a year and a half. How long the siege here referred to continued is not specified.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL. Commentary by A. R. Faussett

INTRODUCTION

Daniel, that is, "God is my judge"; probably of the blood royal (compare Da 1:3, with 1Ch 3:1, where a son of David is named so). Jerusalem may have been his birthplace (though Da 9:24, "thy holy city," does not necessarily imply this). He was carried to Babylon among the Hebrew captives brought thither by Nebuchadnezzar at the first deportation in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. As he and his three companions are called (Da 1:4) "children," he cannot have been more than about twelve years old when put in training, according to Eastern etiquette, to be a courtier (Da 1:3, 6). He then received a new name, by which it was usual to mark a change in one's condition (2Ki 23:34; 24:17; Ezr 5:14; Es 2:7), Belteshazzar, that is, "a prince favored by Bel" (Da 1:7). His piety and wisdom were proverbial among his countrymen at an early period; probably owing to that noble proof he gave of faithfulness, combined with wisdom, in abstaining from the food sent to him from the king's table, as being polluted by the idolatries usual at heathen banquets (Da 1:8-16). Hence Ezekiel's reference to him (Eze 14:14, 20; 28:3) is precisely of that kind we should expect; a coincidence which must be undesigned. Ezekiel refers to him not as a writer, but as exhibiting a character righteous and wise in discerning secrets, in those circumstances now found in his book, which are earlier than the time when Ezekiel wrote. As Joseph rose in Egypt by interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, so Daniel, by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's, was promoted to be governor of Babylonia, and president of the Magian priest-caste. Under Evil-merodach, Nebuchadnezzar's successor, as a change of officers often attends the accession of a new king, Daniel seems to have had a lower post, which led him occasionally to be away from Babylon (Da 8:2, 27). Again he came into note when he read the mystic writing of Belshazzar's doom on the wall on the night of that monarch's impious feast. Berosus calls the last Babylonian king Nabonidus and says he was not killed, but had an honorable abode in Carmania assigned to him, after having surrendered voluntarily in Borsippa. Rawlinson has cleared up the discrepancy from the Nineveh inscription. Belshazzar was joint king with his father, Evil-merodach or Nabonidus (called Minus in the inscriptions), to whom he was subordinate. He shut himself up in Babylon, while the other king took refuge elsewhere, namely, in Borsippa. Berosus gives the Chaldean account, which suppresses all about Belshazzar, as being to the national dishonor. Had Daniel been a late book, he would no doubt have taken up the later account of Berosus. If he gave a history differing from that current in Babylonia, the Jews of that region would not have received it as true. Darius the Mede, or Cyaxares II, succeeded and reigned two years. The mention of this monarch's reign, almost unknown to profane history (being eclipsed by the splendor of Cyrus) is an incidental proof that Daniel wrote as a contemporary historian of events which he knew, and did not borrow from others. In the third year of Cyrus he saw the visions (the tenth through twelfth chapters) relating to his people down to the latest days and the coming resurrection. He must have been about eighty-four years old at this time. Tradition represents Daniel as having died and been buried at Shushan. Though his advanced age did not allow him to be among those who returned to Palestine, yet he never ceased to have his people's interests nearest to his heart (Da 9:3-19; 10:12).

Authenticity of the Book of Daniel. Da 7:1, 28; 8:2; 9:2; 10:1, 2; 12:4, 5, testify that it was composed by Daniel himself. He does not mention himself in the first six chapters, which are historical; for in these it is not the author, but the events which are the prominent point. In the last six, which are prophetical, the author makes himself known, for here it was needed, prophecy being a revelation of words to particular men. It holds a third rank in the Hebrew canon: not among the prophets, but in the Hagiographa (Chetubim), between Esther and Ezra, books like it relating to the captivity; because he did not strictly belong to those who held exclusively the profession of "prophets" in the theocracy, but was rather a "seer," having the gift, but not the office of prophet. Were the book an interpolated one, it doubtless would have been placed among the prophets. Its present position is a proof of its genuineness, as it was deliberately put in a position different from that where most would expect to find it. Placed between Esther, and Ezra and Nehemiah, it separated the historical books of the time after the captivity. Thus, Daniel was, as Bengel calls him, the politician, chronologer, and historian among the prophets. The Psalms also, though many are prophetical, are ranked with the Hagiographa, not with the prophets; and the Revelation of John is separated from his Epistles, as Daniel is from the Old Testament prophets. Instead of writing in the midst of the covenant people, and making them the foreground of his picture, he writes in a heathen court, the world kingdoms occupying the foreground, and the kingdom of God, though ultimately made the most significant, the background. His peculiar position in the heathen court is reflected in his peculiar position in the canon. As the "prophets" in the Old Testament, so the epistles of the apostles in the New Testament were written by divinely commissioned persons for their contemporaries. But Daniel and John were not in immediate contact with the congregation, but isolated and alone with God, the one in a heathen court, the other on a lonely isle (Re 1:9). Porphyry, the assailant of Christianity in the third century, asserted that the Book of Daniel was a forgery of the time of the Maccabees (170-164 B.C.), a time when confessedly there were no prophets, written after the events as to Antiochus Epiphanes, which it professes to foretell; so accurate are the details. A conclusive proof of Daniel's inspiration, if his prophecies can be shown to have been before the events. Now we know, from Josephus [Antiquities, 10.11.7], that the Jews in Christ's days recognized Daniel as in the canon. Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah, centuries before Antiochus, refer to it. Jesus refers to it in His characteristic designation, "Son of man," Mt 24:30 (Da 7:13); also expressly by name, and as a "prophet," in Mt 24:15 (compare Mt 24:21, with Da 12:1, &c.); and in the moment that decided His life (Mt 26:64) or death, when the high priest adjured him by the living God. Also, in Lu 1:19-26, "Gabriel" is mentioned, whose name occurs nowhere else in Scripture, save in Da 8:16; 9:21. Besides the references to it in Revelation, Paul confirms the prophetical part of it, as to the blasphemous king (Da 7:8, 25; 11:36), in 1Co 6:2; 2Th 2:3, 4; the narrative part, as to the miraculous deliverances from "the lions" and "the fire," in Heb 11:33, 34. Thus the book is expressly attested by the New Testament on the three points made the stumbling-block of neologists—the predictions, the narratives of miracles, and the manifestations of angels. An objection has been stated to the unity of the book, namely, that Jesus quotes no part of the first half of Daniel. But Mt 21:44 would be an enigma if it were not a reference to the "stone that smote the image" (Da 2:34, 35, 44, 45). Thus the New Testament sanctions the second, third, sixth, seventh, and eleventh chapters. The design of the miracles in the heathen courts where Daniel was, as of those of Moses in Egypt, was to lead the world power, which seemed to be victorious over the theocracy, to see the essential inner superiority of the seemingly fallen kingdom of God to itself, and to show prostrate Israel that the power of God was the same as of old in Egypt. The first book of Maccabees (compare 1 Maccabees 1:24; 9:27, 40, with Da 12:1; 11:26, of the Septuagint) refers to Daniel as an accredited book, and even refers to the Septuagint Alexandrian version of it. The fact of Daniel having a place in the Septuagint shows it was received by the Jews at large prior to the Maccabean times. The Septuagint version so arbitrarily deviated from the Hebrew Daniel, that Theodotius' version was substituted for it in the early Christian Church. Josephus [Antiquities, 11.8.5] mentions that Alexander the Great had designed to punish the Jews for their fidelity to Darius, but that Jaddua (332 B.C.), the high priest, met him at the head of a procession and averted his wrath by showing him Daniel's prophecy that a Grecian monarch should overthrow Persia. Certain it is, Alexander favored the Jews, and Josephus' statement gives an explanation of the fact; at least it shows that the Jews in Josephus' days believed that Daniel was extant in Alexander's days, long before the Maccabees. With Jaddua (high priest from 341-322 B.C.) the Old Testament history ends (Ne 12:11). (The register of the priests and Levites was not written by Nehemiah, who died about 400 B.C., but was inserted with divine sanction by the collectors of the canon subsequently.) An objection to Daniel's authenticity has been rested on a few Greek words found in it. But these are mostly names of Greek musical instruments, which were imported by Greece from the East, rather than vice versa. Some of the words are derived from the common Indo-Germanic stock of both Greek and Chaldee: hence their appearance in both tongues. And one or two may have come through the Greeks of Asia Minor to the Chaldee. The fact that from the fourth verse of the second chapter to the end of the seventh, the language is Chaldee, but the rest Hebrew, is not an argument against, but for, its authenticity. So in Ezra the two languages are found. The work, if that of one author, must have been composed by someone in the circumstances of Daniel, that is, by one familiar with both languages. No native-born Hebrew who had not lived in Chaldea would know Chaldee so well as to use it with the same idiomatic ease as his native tongue; the very impurities in Daniel's use of both are just such as were natural to one in his circumstances, but unnatural to one in a later age, or to one not half Hebrew, half Chaldean in residence as Daniel was. Those parts of Daniel which concern the whole world are mostly Chaldee, then the language of the world empire. So Greek was made the language of the New Testament, which was designed for the whole world. Those affecting the Jews, mostly Hebrew; and this not so impure as that of Ezekiel. His Chaldee is a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic. Two predictions alone are enough to prove to us that Daniel was a true prophet. (1) That his prophecies reach beyond Antiochus; namely, he foretells the rise of the four great monarchies, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (the last not being in Daniel's time known beyond the precincts of Italy, or rather of Latium), and that no other earthly kingdom would subvert the fourth, but that it would divide into parts. All this has come to pass. No fifth great earthly monarchy has arisen, though often attempted, as by Charlemagne, Charles V, and Napoleon. (2) The time of Messiah's advent, as dated from a certain decree, His being cut off, and the destruction of the city. "He who denies Daniel's prophecies," says Sir Isaac Newton, "undermines Christianity, which is founded on Daniel's prophecies concerning Christ."

Characteristics of Daniel. The vision mode of revelation is the exception in other prophets, the rule in Daniel. In Zechariah (Zec 1:1-6:15), who lived after Daniel, the same mode appears, but the other form from the seventh chapter to the end. The Revelation of St. John alone is perfectly parallel to Daniel, which may be called the Old Testament Apocalypse. In the contents too there is the difference above noticed, that he views the kingdom of God from the standpoint of the world kingdoms, the development of which is his great subject. This mode of viewing it was appropriate to his own position in a heathen court, and to the relation of subjection in which the covenant-people then stood to the world powers. No longer are single powers of the world incidentally introduced, but the universal monarchies are the chief theme, in which the worldly principle, opposed to the kingdom of God, manifests itself fully. The near and distant are not seen in the same perspective, as by the other prophets, who viewed the whole future from the eschatological point; but in Daniel the historical details are given of that development of the world powers which must precede the advent of the kingdom [Auberlen].

Significance of the Babylonian Captivity. The exile is the historical basis of Daniel's prophecies, as Daniel implies in the first chapter, which commences with the beginning, and ends with the termination, of the captivity (Da 1:1, 21; compare Da 9:1, 2). A new stage in the theocracy begins with the captivity. Nebuchadnezzar made three incursions into Judah. The first under Jehoiakim (606 B.C.), in which Daniel was carried away, subjected the theocracy to the Babylonian world power. The second (598 B.C.) was that in which Jehoiachin and Ezekiel were carried away. In the third (588 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and carried away Zedekiah. Originally, Abraham was raised out of the "sea" (Da 7:2) of the nations, as an island holy to God, and his seed chosen as God's mediator of His revelations of love to mankind. Under David and Solomon, the theocracy, as opposed to the heathen power, attained its climax in the Old Testament, not only being independent, but lord of the surrounding nations; so that the period of these two kings was henceforth made the type of the Messianic. But when God's people, instead of resting on Him, seek alliance with the world power, that very power is made the instrument of their chastisement. So Ephraim (722 B.C.) fell by Assyria; and Judah also, drawn into the sphere of the world's movements from the time of Ahaz, who sought Assyrian help (740 B.C., Isa 7:1-25) at last fell by Babylon, and thenceforth has been more or less dependent on the world monarchies, and so, till Messiah, was favored with no revelations from the time of Malachi (four hundred years). Thus, from the beginning of the exile, the theocracy, in the strict sense, ceased on earth; the rule of the world powers superseding it. But God's covenant with Israel remains firm (Ro 11:29); therefore, a period of blessing under Messiah's kingdom is now foretold as about to follow their long chastisement. The exile thus is the turning point in the history of the theocracy, which Roos thus divides: (1) From Adam to the exodus out of Egypt. (2) From the exodus to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity. (3) From the captivity to the millennium. (4) From the millennium to the end of the world. The position of Daniel in the Babylonian court was in unison with the altered relations of the theocracy and the world power, which new relation was to be the theme of his prophecy. Earlier prophets, from the standpoint of Israel, treated of Israel in its relation to the world powers; Daniel, from Babylon, the center of the then world power, treats of the world powers in their relation to Israel. His seventy years' residence in Babylon, and his high official position there, gave him an insight into the world's politics, fitting him to be the recipient of political revelations; while his spiritual experiences, gained through Nebuchadnezzar's humiliation, Belshazzar's downfall, and the rapid decay of the Babylonian empire itself, as well as the miraculous deliverances of himself and his friends (the third through sixth chapters), all fitted him for regarding things from the spiritual standpoint, from which the world's power appears transient, but the glory of God's kingdom eternal. As his political position was the body, the school of magicians in which he had studied for three years (Da 1:4, 5) was the soul; and his mind strong in faith and nourished by the earlier prophecies (Da 9:2), the spirit of his prophecy, which only waited for the spirit of revelation from above to kindle it. So God fits His organs for their work. Auberlen compares Daniel to Joseph: the one at the beginning, the other at the end of the Jewish history of revelation; both representatives of God and His people at heathen courts; both interpreters of the dim presentiments of truth, expressed in God-sent dreams, and therefore raised to honor by the powers of the world: so representing Israel's calling to be a royal priesthood among the nations; and types of Christ, the true Israel, and of Israel's destination to be a light to lighten the whole Gentile world, as Ro 11:12, 15 foretells. As Achilles at the beginning, and Alexander at the end, of Grecian history are the mirrors of the whole life of the Hellenic people, so Joseph and Daniel of Israel.

Contents of the Book. Historical and biographical introduction in the first chapter. Daniel, a captive exile, is representative of his nation in its servitude and exile: while his heavenly insight into dreams, far exceeding that of the magi, represents the divine superiority of the covenant-people over their heathen lords. The high dignities, even in the world, which he thereby attained, typify the giving of the earth-kingdom at last "to the people of the saints of the Most High" (Da 7:27). Thus Daniel's personal history is the typical foundation of his prophecy. The prophets had to experience in themselves, and in their age, something of what they foretold about future times; just as David felt much of Christ's sufferings in his own person (compare Ho 1:2-9, 10, 11; 2:3). So Jon 1:1-17, &c. [Roos]. Hence biographical notices of Daniel and his friends are inserted among his prophecies. The second through twelfth chapters contain the substance of the book, and consist of two parts. The first (the second through seventh chapters) represents the development of the world powers, viewed from a historical point. The second (the eighth through twelfth chapters), their development in relation to Israel, especially in the future preceding Christ's first advent, foretold in the ninth chapter. But prophecy looks beyond the immediate future to the complete fulfilment in the last days, since the individual parts in the organic history of salvation cannot be understood except in connection with the whole. Also Israel looked forward to the Messianic time, not only for spiritual salvation, but also for the visible restoration of the kingdom which even now we too expect. The prophecy which they needed ought therefore to comprise both, and so much of the history of the world as would elapse before the final consummation. The period of Daniel's prophecies, therefore, is that from the downfall of the theocracy at the captivity till its final restoration, yet future—the period of the dominion of the world powers, not set aside by Christ's first coming (Joh 18:36; for, to have taken the earth-kingdom then, would have been to take it from Satan's hands, Mt 4:8-10), but to be superseded by His universal and everlasting kingdom at His second coming (Re 11:15). Thus the general survey of the development and final destiny of the world powers (the second through seventh chapters) fittingly precedes the disclosures as to the immediate future (the eighth through twelfth chapters). Daniel marks the division by writing the first part in Chaldee, and the second, and the introduction, in Hebrew; the former, referring to the powers of the world, in the language of the then dominant world power under which he lived; the latter, relating to the people of God, in their own language. An interpolator in a later age would have used Hebrew, the language of the ancient prophets throughout, or if anywhere Aramaic, so as to be understood by his contemporaries, he would have used it in the second rather than in the first part as having a more immediate reference to his own times [Auberlen].

CHAPTER 1

Da 1:1-21. The Babylonian Captivity Begins; Daniel's Education at Babylon, &C.

1. third year—compare Jer 25:1, "the fourth year; Jehoiakim came to the throne at the end of the year, which Jeremiah reckons as the first year, but which Daniel leaves out of count, being an incomplete year: thus, in Jeremiah, it is "the fourth year"; in Daniel, "the third" [Jahn]. However, Jeremiah (Jer 25:1; 46:2) merely says, the fourth year of Jehoiakim coincided with the first of Nebuchadnezzar, when the latter conquered the Egyptians at Carchemish; not that the deportation of captives from Jerusalem was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim: this probably took place in the end of the third year of Jehoiakim, shortly before the battle of Carchemish [Fairbairn]. Nebuchadnezzar took away the captives as hostages for the submission of the Hebrews. Historical Scripture gives no positive account of this first deportation, with which the Babylonian captivity, that is, Judah's subjection to Babylon for seventy years (Jer 29:10), begins. But 2Ch 36:6, 7, states that Nebuchadnezzar had intended "to carry Jehoiakim to Babylon," and that he "carried off the vessels of the house of the Lord" thither. But Jehoiakim died at Jerusalem, before the conqueror's intention as to him was carried into effect (Jer 22:18, 19; 36:30), and his dead body, as was foretold, was dragged out of the gates by the Chaldean besiegers, and left unburied. The second deportation under Jehoiachin was eight years later.Jehoiakim's captivity, Dan 1:1,2. By the king of Babylon's order the master of the eunuchs taketh Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, to instruct them, and changeth their names, Dan 1:3-7. They refusing to eat of the king' s meat thrive upon pulse and water, Dan 1:8-16. Their proficiency in wisdom, Dan 1:17-21.

Comparing this with 2Ki 24:1, and with 2Ch 36:6, the meaning is, after the Lord had taken away that good king Josiah for the sins of Judah and Manasseh, which were very great, by Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt, the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king; he reigned but three months, wherein he did so much evil in the sight of the Lord, that the said Pharaoh-necho put him in bands at Riblah, and afterwards carried him to Egypt, where he died, and made Eliakim his brother king in his stead, and turned his name to Jehoiakim; he became Nebuchadnezzar's servant three years, for that king of Babylon had overthrown Pharaoh's army at Carchemish by the river Euphrates. Jehoiakim rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar, made him come up from Babylon and take Jehoiakim, and bind him in fetters to carry him to Babylon; of whom, and his death and burial, you have a sad account, Jer 22:17-19.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah,.... At the close of it, and at the beginning of the fourth, which was the first of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 25:1. Jerusalem seems to have been taken twice in his time, and two captivities in it: the first was in the third or fourth year of his reign; when humbling himself, he was restored to his kingdom, though he became a tributary to the king of Babylon; Daniel and his companions, who were carried captive with him, were retained as hostages; but after three years he rebelled, but it was not until his eleventh year that Nebuchadnezzar came against him again, took him, and bound him, in order to carry him to Babylon, but he died by the way; see 2 Kings 24:1, some, as Jarchi and Saadiah Gaon, make this to be the third year of his rebellion, and the last of his reign; they suppose that he was conquered by the king of Babylon, and became subject to him in the fifth year of his reign; that he served him three years, and rebelled against him three years: at the end of which

came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it; with his army, and took it; and the same way it is accounted for in the Jewish chronicle (p) according to Bishop Usher (q), this was in the year of the world 3398 A.M., and before Christ 607 or 859; according to Mr. Bedford (r), 605.

(p) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 25. in principio. (q) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3398. ((r)) Scripture Chronology, p. 676.

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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. In the third year &c.] Whether this is historically correct is doubtful. Jehoiakim’s reign lasted eleven years (b.c. 608–597); and the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:1) equates his fourth year with the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. Early in the same year (if the date in Jeremiah 46:2 is correct[171]) there had taken place the great defeat of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish on the Upper Euphrates, the effect of which was to transfer the whole (virtually) of Western Asia from the power of Egypt to that of Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 25:9-11; Jeremiah 25:18-26; Jeremiah 46:25 f.; 2 Kings 24:7). We learn, now, from Berosus (ap. Josephus, Ant. x. xi. 1) that in this campaign Nebuchadnezzar was acting on behalf of his father, Nabopolassar, who was too infirm to conduct the war himself: ‘hearing soon afterwards of his father’s death, and having arranged the affairs of Egypt and the remaining country (i.e. Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, mentioned just before), and committed the Judaean, Phoenician, and Syrian prisoners, as well as those of the nations in Egypt, to some of his friends to convoy to Babylon with the heavy part of his army, he himself hastened home across the desert accompanied only by a few attendants.’ Although Judahite captives are here mentioned, nothing is said of any siege of Jersalem; and the terms in which Jeremiah speaks, not only in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 25:9 ff.), but also in his fifth year (Jeremiah 36:29, see Daniel 1:9), seem to imply that a Chaldaean invasion of Judah was still in the future (Ewald, Hist., iv. 257, n. 5, Keil), and that Jehoiakim had not already, in his third year, fallen into Neb.’s hands[172].

[171] See the Introduction, p. xlix.

[172] The invasion of Judah by Neb., and the three years’ submission of Jehoiakim, mentioned in 2 Kings 24:1-2, are also certainly to be placed after Jehoiakim’s fourth year—most probably, indeed, towards the close of his reign (cf. Ewald, l. c.).

According to Josephus (Ant. x. vi. 1) Neb., after the battle of Carchemish, ‘acquired possession of the whole of Syria, as far as Pelusium, except Judah’; and only made Jehoiakim tributary four years afterwards (2 Kings 24:1).

On the other hand, in the summary of Jehoiakim’s reign which, in 2 Chronicles 36:6-7, takes the place of 2 Kings 24:1-4, we read, ‘Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon. And some of the vessels of the house of Jehovah brought Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; and he put them in his palace in Babylon’: but the year in which this invasion took place is not specified; and a statement which rests on the authority of the Chronicler alone, and is not supported by contemporary testimony, is of slight value. It bears witness, however, to the existence, at about 300 b.c., of a tradition respecting an attack upon Jerusalem, and the carrying away of a part of the sacred vessels of the Temple, during Jehoiakim’s reign, which is also no doubt the basis of Daniel 1:1-2. The tradition, it must be owned, wears the appearance of being a Haggadic development of 2 Kings 24:1. Those who defend the accuracy of the statement of Daniel sometimes (Hengst., Keil, Zöckler) understand בא (‘came’), with reference to the starting-point, virtually as equivalent to set out, sometimes suppose that Nebuchadnezzar made an attack upon Jerusalem either (Hävernick, Pusey, p. 401) the year before the battle of Carchemish, or (Behrmann, p. xvii) after it, but that more serious consequences were for the time averted by Jehoiakim’s timely submission, and the surrender of some of the valuable vessels of the Temple. The first of these explanations is opposed to Heb. usage; the second, though possible in the abstract, is not strategically probable; the third, though it cannot be categorically rejected, seems scarcely consistent with what appears, from other indications, to have been the historical situation at the time. Cf. Ewald, iv. 264, n. 2.

Nebuchadnezzar] So Daniel 1:18, and uniformly in this book. The more correct form of the name is Nebuchadrezzar (properly Nabû-kudurriuṣur, i.e. (probably) ‘Nebo, protect [Heb.נָצַר] the boundary!’), which is the one usually found in contemporary writers, as Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 21:7 (and generally in Jer.); Jeremiah 26:7; Jeremiah 29:18-19; Jeremiah 29:30[173].

[173] The incorrect form with n is found in Jeremiah 27-29 (except Jeremiah 29:21 : see Baer’s note on Jeremiah 21:2); in 2 Kings 24-25; and in Chr., Ezr., Neb., Est.

king of Babylon] Nebuchadnezzar did not become ‘king of Babylon’ until after the battle of Carchemish, in Jehoiakim’s fourth year (Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 46:2), so that the title must be used here (as in Jeremiah 46:2) proleptically. There is no authority in either Berosus or the Inscriptions for the supposition sometimes made that Nebuchadnezzar was associated on the throne by his father, Nabopolassar.Verse 1. - In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah. After the defeat and death of Josiah, the people of the land put on the throne Jehoahaz, or Shallum (Jeremiah 22:11),Requisites for the Administration of the Priests' Office, and the Obligations and Privileges of that Office. - Ezekiel 44:17. And it shall come to pass, when they go to the gates of the inner court, they shall put on linen clothes, and no wool shall lie upon them, when they serve in the gates of the inner court and serve toward the house. Ezekiel 44:18. Linen turbans shall be upon their head, and linen drawers upon their hips; they shall not gird themselves in sweat. Ezekiel 44:19. And when they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall take off their clothes in which they have ministered, and put them in the holy cells, and put on other clothes, that they may not sanctify the people with their clothes. Ezekiel 44:20. And they shall not shave their head bald, nor let their hair grow freely; they shall cut the hair of their head. Ezekiel 44:21. And they shall not drink wine, no priest, when they go into the inner court. Ezekiel 44:22. And a window and a divorced woman they shall not take as wives, but virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, and the widow who has become the widow of a priest they may take. Ezekiel 44:23. And they shall teach my people, make known to them the difference between holy and common, and between unclean and clean. Ezekiel 44:24. And they shall stand to judge concerning disputes; and they shall observe my laws and my statutes at all my feasts, and sanctify my Sabbaths. Ezekiel 44:25. And one shall not go to any corpse of a man to defile himself; only for father and mother, for son and daughter, for brother, for sister who had no husband, may they defile themselves. Ezekiel 44:26. And after his purification shall they reckon seven days more to him; Ezekiel 44:27. And on the day when he comes to the holy place, into the inner court, to serve in the holy place, he shall offer his sin-offering, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Ezekiel 44:28. And so shall it be with their inheritance, that I am their inheritance, ye shall not give them a possession in Israel: I am their possession. Ezekiel 44:29. The meat-offering, and the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering, these shall they eat, and everything banned in Israel shall belong to them. Ezekiel 44:30. And the firstlings of all the first-fruits of everything, and every heave-offering of everything, of all your heave-offerings, shall belong to the priests; and the firstlings of all your ground meal shall ye give to the priest, that a blessing may come down upon thy house. Ezekiel 44:31. No carrion nor anything torn in pieces of fowl and of beast shall the priests eat. - To the directions, who are to perform the service in the new temple, there are appended corresponding instructions concerning the bodily condition in which this service is to be performed, as the bodily condition shadows forth the state of the soul, or the spiritual constitution of the servants of God. The dress prescribed in Exodus 28 for the priests to wear during the holy service had this signification. The same rule is here presupposed as still in force; and it is simply renewed and partially emphasized by the enumeration of some of the leading points. At the service at the altar and in the holy place the priests are to wear linen clothes, and, after the performance of the service, they are to take them off again when they go into the outer court (Ezekiel 44:17-19). In the Mosaic law, שׁשׁ, white byssus, or בּד, white linen, is mentioned as the material used for the priests' clothing (Exodus 28:39, Exodus 28:42); here the material is more distinctly designated as פּשׁתּים, flax linen; and צמר, animal wool, is expressly forbidden, the motive being assigned for this regulation, namely, that the priest is not to cause himself to sweat by wearing woollen clothing. Sweat produces uncleanness; and the priest, by keeping his body clean, is to show even outwardly that he is clean and blameless. With regard to the putting on and off of the official clothes, the new thorah accords with the Mosaic. For we cannot agree with Kliefoth, who detects a deviation in the fact that, according to Exodus 28:43, the priests were to wear the official clothes only when they entered the tabernacle and when approaching the altar, and, according to Leviticus 6:4; Leviticus 16:23, were to take them off when the service was ended; whereas, according to Ezekiel 44:17 of the chapter before us, they were to put them on as soon as they entered the inner court, and were never to come before the people in the official costume. If, according to the Mosaic law, the priests were to go before the altar of burnt-offering in the court in their holy official dress, and not otherwise, they must have put on this dress on entering the court; for they could not wait till they were in front of the altar before they changed their clothes. For the expression צאת אל העם does not imply that, according to Ezekiel, they were never to appear in the presence of the people in their official costume, as it does not mean "come before the people," but "go out to the people," or "walk among the people;" nor is this involved in the words 'ולא יקדּשׁוּ , they shall not sanctify the people in their clothes (by their clothes). The latter by no means affirms that they are to sanctify the people by intercourse with them, but are not to do this in official costume; the meaning is simply that they are not to move among the people in the outer court while wearing their official clothes, that they may not sanctify them by their holy clothes.

This sanctification cannot be understood in any other way than as analogous to the rule laid down in the law, that touching most holy sacrificial flesh would sanctify (Leviticus 6:11, Leviticus 6:20), which Ezekiel repeats in Ezekiel 46:20, and which does not stand in anything like an isolated position in the law, but is also affirmed in Exodus 29:37 and Exodus 30:29 of the altar of burnt-offering and the vessels of the sanctuary. The same thing which applied to these vessels - namely, that their holiness passed from them to any one who touched them - is here predicated of the holy dresses of the priests; and the moving of the priests among the people in their holy clothes is forbidden, because such holiness, acquired by contact with holy objects, imposed upon the person to whom it had passed the obligation to guard against all defilement (Leviticus 21:1-8), which the people could not avoid in the ordinary relations of life, and thus a weakening or abolition of the distinction between things holy and common would inevitably have ensued. לשׁכות הקּדשׁ are the holy cell-buildings described in Ezekiel 42:1-14. - To the clothing there is simply appended in Ezekiel 44:20 the direction concerning the hair of the head, the natural covering of the head, in relation to which excess on either side is prohibited, either shaving the head bald or wearing the hair uncut. Both of these were forbidden to the priests in the law: shaving in Leviticus 21:5, and letting the hair grow freely in Leviticus 10:6; and the latter was simply imposed upon the Nazarites for the period of their vow (Numbers 6:5). כּסם only occurs here; but its meaning, to cut the hair, is obvious from the context. - Ezekiel 44:21. The prohibition of the drinking of wine when performing service agrees with Leviticus 10:9; on the other hand, the instructions concerning the choice of wives are sharpened in Ezekiel 44:22, as that which only applied to the high priest in the law is here extended to all the priests. In fact, Ezekiel throughout makes no distinction between the high priest and the common priests. In Leviticus 21:14, marrying a widow is only forbidden to the high priest, who was to marry a virgin of his own people, whereas no such restriction is laid down for the ordinary priests. Here, on the other hand, marrying a widow is forbidden to all the priests, marriage with the widow of a priest being the only one allowed. מכּהן belongs to תּהיה, who has become the widow of a priest.

(Note: The Rabbins (Targ. Talm. and Masor. according to their accentuation) have endeavoured to obliterate this distinction, by applying the first hemistich to the high priest alone, and explaining the second thus: "The widow, who is really a widow, the priest may take," interpreting מכּהן by quidam sacerdotum, or aliqui ex ordine sacerdotali, or ceteri sacerdotes. But this is contrary to the usage of the language, as מכּהן cannot possibly be understood in a partitive sense in this passage, where the priests generally are spoken of, and the plural יקּחוּ follows.)

In Ezekiel 44:23 and Ezekiel 44:24 the general official duties of the priests are mentioned, viz., to teach the people, and to instruct them concerning the difference between the holy and the unholy, the clean and the unclean, as in Leviticus 10:10 (cf. Deuteronomy 33:10 and Ezekiel 22:26); also to administer justice in questions in dispute according to the rights of God-a duty which had already been committed to the priests in its highest form in Deuteronomy 17:8., Deuteronomy 19:17, and Deuteronomy 21:5. על ריב, concerning, in the case of, matters in dispute. עמד , to stand to judge, i.e., to appear or act as judge (compare העמיד שׁפטים, to appoint or institute judges, in 2 Chronicles 19:5). The Keri למשׁפּט is a needless emendation after 2 Chronicles 19:8. The Chetib ושׁפטהוּ, on the other hand, is a copyist's error for ישׁפטהוּ. Lastly, at all the feasts they are to observe the laws and statutes of Jehovah, that is to say, to perform all the priestly duties binding upon them at the feasts, and to sanctify the Sabbaths, not merely by offering the Sabbath sacrifices, but also by maintaining the Sabbath rest (cf. Leviticus 23:3). - In Ezekiel 44:25-27 there follow regulations concerning defilement from the dead, and its removal. Ezekiel 44:25 is a simple repetition of Leviticus 21:1-3. But the instructions concerning the purification from defilement from the dead are sharpened, inasmuch as not only is the purification prescribed by the law (Numbers 19:1.), and which lasted seven days, required (this is meant by טהרתו), but a further period of seven days is appointed after these, at the expiration of which the presentation of a sin-offering is demanded before the service in the sanctuary can be resumed. By this demand for a heightened purification, the approach to a corpse permitted to the priests, which was prohibited to the high priest in the Mosaic law, even in the case of father and mother (Leviticus 21:11), is tolerably equalized.

For these duties and obligations of service the priests are to receive corresponding emoluments. These are treated of in Ezekiel 44:28-31. They are not, indeed, to receive any share of the land as their property in time to come any more than in former times; but in the place of this Jehovah will be their property and possession, and give them the necessary room for their dwellings from His own property in the land (Ezekiel 45:4), and let them draw their maintenance from His altar (Ezekiel 44:29 and Ezekiel 44:30). The promise that Jehovah will be the נחלה and אחזּה of the priests is a simple repetition of the regulation in the law (Numbers 18:20; Deuteronomy 18:1; Deuteronomy 10:9). So far as the construction in Ezekiel 44:28 is concerned, the words אני נחלתם are really the subject to 'והיתה להם לן, which we are obliged to render obliquely, "the inheritance for them shall be, I am their inheritance." For the proposal of Hitzig to take the words from אני נחלתם to the close of the verse as a parenthesis, and to regard 'המּנחה וגו in Ezekiel 44:29 as the subject to 'והיתה, is untenable, not only on account of the great harshness which such a parenthesis would involve, but principally because these portions of the sacrifices and heave-offerings which belonged to the priest were not a נחלה, and are never designated as נחלה, inheritance, i.e., property in land. Ezekiel 44:28 treats of the property in land, which God assigned to the Levites and priests under the Mosaic economy, by appointing them towns to dwell in, with meadows for the feeding of their cattle, within the territory of the other tribes, but would assign to them in future from the heave-offering set apart from the land for the sanctuary (Ezekiel 45:4). It is not till Ezekiel 44:29 and Ezekiel 44:30 that the means of support for the priests are spoken of. They are to be supported from the sacrifices and the tithes and first-fruits which Israel has to pay to Jehovah as the lord of the land, and which He transfers to His servants the priests. For the priests' share of the meat-offering, sin-offering, and trespass-offering, see Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 6:9, Leviticus 6:11, Leviticus 6:19; Leviticus 7:6-7; for that which is put under the ban, Leviticus 27:21; for the first-fruits, Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Deuteronomy 18:4; Numbers 18:13; for the תּרוּמות, Numbers 15:19; Numbers 18:19; for the ראשׁית עריסות, Numbers 15:20-21. In 'להניח, "to cause a blessing to rest upon thy house," the individual Israelite is addressed. For the fact itself, see Malachi 3:10. - To the enumeration of the means of support there is appended in Ezekiel 44:31 an emphatic repetition of the command in Leviticus 22:8, not to eat of any dead thing (i.e., anything that has died a natural death), or anything torn to pieces, either of birds or beasts, on account of its defiling (Leviticus 17:15).

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