|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:8-16 The interest we think we make for ourselves, we must acknowledge to be God's gift. Daniel was still firm to his religion. Whatever they called him, he still held fast the spirit of an Israelite. These youths scrupled concerning the meat, lest it should be sinful. When God's people are in Babylon they need take special care that they partake not of her sins. It is much to the praise of young people, not to covet or seek the delights of sense. Those who would excel in wisdom and piety, must learn betimes to keep the body under. Daniel avoided defiling himself with sin; and we should more fear that than any outward trouble. It is easier to keep temptation at a distance, than to resist it when near. And we cannot better improve our interest in any with whom we have found favour, than to use it to keep us from sin. People will not believe the benefit of avoiding excess, and of a spare diet, nor how much they contribute to the health of the body, unless they try. Conscientious temperance will always do more, even for the comfort of this life, than sinful indulgence.
Verse 13. - Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. The Septuagint Version here differs considerably from the Massoretic text; it is as follows: "And should our countenance appear more downcast than (διατετραμμένη παρὰ) those other youths who eat of the royal feast, according as thou seest good (θέλῃς), so deal with thy servants." In the text before the Septuagint translator לְפָנִיך (l'phaneka), "before thee," is omitted, and instead of מַרְאֵה (mareh)," appearance," is read זְלֺעַפִים (zo'aphim), and after is inserted מִן (min), "from," the sign of the comparative, equivalent to "than." Theodotion, Jerome, and the Peshitta represent accurately the Massoretic text. Against the Septuagint reading is the fact that in the Massoretic, marayeeaen is construed a singular, but in Ezekiel 15:10 it is plural. The vocalization of tirayh, "thou shalt see," is Aramaean, and therefore confirms the idea that this chapter is a translation in which the original shines through. The reading of the Septuagint implies that a different meaning must be put on the last clause from that in the English Version. It means that, should the experiment prove a failure, they were willing to suffer any punishment that the official in question saw good. Such an interference with the arrangements of the king would be a crime to be punished with stripes. Although a perfectly consistent sense can be brought from the text behind the Septuagint, yet, from the fact that the phrase, לֺזְעַפִים מִן־חַיְלָדִים (zo'apheem min-hay'ladeem), occurs in the tenth verse, and therefore may be repeated here by accident, we would not definitely prefer it. Further, the Massoretic text follows more naturally from the context. Let the steward see the result of the experiment after ten days, and, as he sees, so let him judge and act. Daniel and his companions leave the matter thus really in the hands of Providence.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee,.... And be thoroughly examined, whether any alteration is made therein for the worse:
and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat; who were either Chaldean youths brought up in this manner; or rather young men of the Jews, who were not so scrupulous as Daniel and his companions, and made no objection to eating the king's food; let their countenances and ours be compared together:
and as thou seest deal with thy servants: if there is no difference, or we are not the worse for abstaining from the king's meat, then grant us our request, and continue to indulge us in this manner; but, if otherwise, do as thou wilt. Daniel, no doubt, in putting the matter on this issue, as it should turn out at the end of ten days, had a revelation or assurance from God how it would be, or he would never have ventured to put it to such a trial.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-15. Illustrating De 8:3, "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord."
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