Daniel 1:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility--

New Living Translation
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives.

English Standard Version
Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility,

New American Standard Bible
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles,

King James Bible
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility--

International Standard Version
Later, the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief officer, to bring in some Israelis of royal and noble descent.

NET Bible
The king commanded Ashpenaz, who was in charge of his court officials, to choose some of the Israelites who were of royal and noble descent--

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The king told Ashpenaz, the chief-of-staff, to bring some of the Israelites, the royal family, and the nobility.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the king spoke unto Ashpenaz the prince of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the sons of Israel of the royal lineage of the princes,

King James 2000 Bible
And the king spoke unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's descendants, and of the princes;

American King James Version
And the king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

American Standard Version
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the king spoke to Asphenez the master of the eunuchs, that he should bring in some of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed and of the princes,

Darby Bible Translation
And the king spoke unto Ashpenaz the chief of his eunuchs, that he should bring of the children of Israel, both of the royal seed and of the nobles,

English Revised Version
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;

Webster's Bible Translation
And the king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

World English Bible
The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in [certain] of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;

Young's Literal Translation
And the king saith, to Ashpenaz master of his eunuchs, to bring in out of the sons of Israel, (even of the royal seed, and of the chiefs,)
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 3, 4. - And the king spoke unto Ash-penaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well 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 learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. The version of the LXX. here becomes important: "And the king spoke to Abiesdri, his own chief eunuch (τῷ ἑαυτοῦ ἀρχιευνούχῳ), to lead to him from the sons of the nobles of Israel, and from the seed royal, and from the choice ones, four young men, without blemish, of goodly appearance, and understanding in all wisdom, and educated, and prudent, and wise, and strong, so that they may be in the house of the king, and may be taught the letters and tongue of the Chaldees." The version of Theodotion is in closer accordance with the Massoretic text, only it inserts "captivity" where the LXX. had "nobles," and reads, "from the sons of the captivity of Israel." In this version the name of the chief of the eunuchs is the same as the Massoretic; the word rendered "princes" in the Authorized Version is transliterated φορθομμίν. The rendering, "the seed of the kingdom," is more literal than that of the Authorized, "the king's seed" The Peshitta is in close agreement with the Massoretic text, save that, instead of "Ashpenaz," the name of the chief of the eunuchs is written "Aspaz," and the word translated "princes" (parte-mira) is transliterated Parthouia, which means literally "Parthians." Symmachus reads Παρθῶν. The king spake unto Ashpenaz. There is assumed here that there were a large number of Israelitish hostages who would be reckoned captives whenever the conquered state gave cause of suspicion to the regnant power in whose hands the hostages were, and they were possibly eunuchized. It is possible that Nebuchadnezzar wished to use these hostages about the court, in order that, having tasted the pleasure and dignities of the magnificent court of Babylon, their influence would be exercised on their relatives to maintain them in fidelity. The phrase, "spake unto," has. in later Hebrew, the force of "command," especially when followed by an infinitive, as Esther 1:17. As translated in the Authorized Version. the impression conveyed is that of consultation. The name "Ash-penaz" has caused much discussion. As it stands, it is not Assyrian or Babylonian. The form it has suggests a Persian etymology, and on this fact, along with other similar alleged facts, an argument against the authenticity of Daniel has been based. One derivation would make it ashpa, "a horse;" nasa, "a nose," "horse nose" - by no means an impossible personal name for a Persian or Median. In one or two cuneiform inscriptions of the Persian period the name occurs. Nothing can be built on this, as in the Septuagint the name is given as Ἀβιεσδρὶ: in the Peshitta it becomes "Ash-paz," as we have mentioned above. It would be easily possible to derive" Ashpaz" from "Ashpenaz," or vice versa; but there seems no relation between Abiesdri and either. By some, as Hitzig, the name has been identified with "Ashkenaz" (Genesis 10:3), and that again derived from אֶשֶׁד, "the cord of the testicle," and has, a Sanskrit root, "to destroy," and therefore the name would simply be "eunuch." Over and above the general improbability that is always present in regard to etymologies which imply the word in question to be a hybrid word, there is the improbability that one eunuch would receive a name applicable to the whole class of which he was a member. The name, as it appears in the Septuagint, is, as we have said, totally unconnected with that in the Massoretic text, but both may have sprung from some common source. Thus the French word eveque has not a single letter in common with "bishop," yet both words are derived from ἐπίσκοπος. The changes that a name might undergo in passing from any language, even a cognate one, into Hebrew wine very great; thus Assur-bani-pal became "Asnapper." Lenormant has endeavoured to recover the name in the present case. The process he has followed is the somewhat mechanical one of combining the two names, as if we were to strive to reach Asshur-bani-pal item a combination of "Asnapper" and "Sar-danapalus." He arrives at the name Ash-ben-azur, which is a possible Babylonian name. Professor Fuller has suggested Aba-(i)-istar, "the astronomer of the goddess Ishtar." The main objection to this is that it is drawn solely from the Septuagint Version. If we look at the tendency exhibited by the Hebrew equivalents of Babylonian names, we find that shortening was one that was nearly invariably present, as Asshur-akhi-iddin na became Esarhaddon, and Sin-akhi-irba became Sanherib. The only exception to this shortening process which occurs to us is Brodach for Marduk, and even it is scarcely an exception. Next there is a tendency, which Hebrew shares with other languages, of suiting a foreign word to the genius of the language. Hence we find "Ashpenaz" has such a close resemblance to "Ashkenaz" of Genesis 10:3, and that "Abiesdri" is identical with the form "Abiezer" - the name of the father of Gideon - assumes in the Septuagint. Judging from "Asnapper," the name might even begin with Asshur, only that, as Asshur was the national god of the Ninevites, names which contained the name of that divinity are rare in Babylon. The first element in the word might not impossibly be ablu, "son." The final element seems certainly to have been ezer or utzur. As to the office he tided in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, "the master of eunuchs," the name of the office in the text is Rab-Sarisim, which occurs in a slightly different form in 2 Kings 18:17, along with Rab-Shakeh, as if it were a proper name. From the fact that persons thus mutilated were employed in Eastern courts, the word became equivalent to "officer;" hence we find Petiphar is called saris, or "eunuch;" yet he had a wife. It therefore may be doubted whether Daniel and his companions are to be understood as placed in that condition. The title here given - Rab-Sarisim - becomes Sar-Sarisim in vers. 7 and 10, Sat being the Hebrew equivalent of the more Babylonian Rab. It is also Aramaic. That he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes. It may be doubted at first sight whether these may not be separate classes - a view that seems to have been taken by most of the old translators, or whether the first class, "the children of Israel," does not include the two classes that follow. The rendering part'mim, as "Parthians," adopted by Symmachus and the Peshitta, would make a contrast between "the children of Israel" and "the Parthians." That, however, is utterly unlikely. Were that translation the true one, a strong argument could be advanced for the late origin of Daniel. The fact that the text before Symmachus and the Peshitta translator admitted of that translation shows how far the tendency to modify the text into suitability with the knowledge of the scribe had gone, and therefore how little weight ought to be given to lateness of individual words. According to the LXX. and Theodotion, there is a word awanting in the first clause; the Septuagint translator would supply "nobles" (μεγιστάνων) "from the nobles of Israel." Theodotion renders, "from the sons of the Captivity of Israel." If the sentence ran בני שרי ישראל, one might understand how it could be read בני שבי ישראל; the natural phrase for this is בני גלותי ישראל, but that would not explain the LXX. rendering. The name "Israel" is the covenant name of the whole nation, equally applicable to the southern and to the northern kingdoms. All the more so that the captivity of Judah contained members of three other tribes besides that of Judah, namely, those of Benjamin and Simeon an l Levi. Further, Josiah seems to have extended the bounds of the Davidic kingdom to embrace the remnant of the ten tribes (2 Chronicles 34:6, 9), therefore his sons would claim the same boundaries, and therefore hostages might be taken by Nebuchadnezzar from them to Babylon. And of the king's seed and of the princes. The two "ands" might be rendered "both... and," or "alike ... and." The king's seed means, literally, "the seed of the kingdom," as it is translated by Theodotion. The phrase, "children of the kingdom," is applied by our Lord (Matthew 8:12) to all the Jews, and in Matthew 13:38 to the members of the true Israel - perhaps with a latent reference to the children of the true King thus in captivity to the beggarly elements of this world, compelled to stand as servants in the court of Mammon, of which Nebuchadnezzar may well be the type. The word partemim is one which has caused difficulty; it only occurs here, and twice in Esther (Esther 1:3; Esther 6:9). In these passages it is rendered by the Peshitta as here, Parthouia, "Parthians." It would seem that the Septuagint translator had before him, not partemin, but bahureem, connecting it with yeladeem," children" (youths), the opening word of the succeeding vers,., In Esther the word part°mim is applied to a special class of nobles among the Persians, and certainly was not applied to the princes of Judah. Theodotion does not understand what it means, and so transliterates it φορθομμίν. Symmachus and the Peshitta make it "Parthians;" the Targum on Esther makes the same blunder. The LXX. Version of Esther renders it ἔνδοξοι, as if it were connected with פְאֵר and תום. It certainly has Zend (frathema) and Pehlevi (pardun) congeners, so it may have come over from Aryan sources into the Babylonian. Equally certainly it has disappeared from Aramaic Eastern and Western. If partemim is to be held as part of the original text, it must belong to a period before the Greek domination, as the meaning of the word had disappeared by that time. It might, on the other hand, have been a word in the Babylonian court, or, again, a copyist might have inserted it as a more known word than that originally in the text. This latter, we think, is the probable solution. If the division of the verses had in the Massoretic become deranged, then bahureem would be unintelligible, standing, as it would, at the end of the verse. In Egypt this derangement did not take place, and hence bahureem was retained. Children in whom was no blemish. There is no limit to the age implied in yeled, the word the plural of which is translated "children;" thus to young counsellors who had been brought up with Rehoboam are called yeladeem. As they had been brought up with Rehoboam, they were of the same age with him, yet he was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne. Joseph is called yeled when he was at least seventeen, and Ishmael when he was probably sixteen. Benjamin is called yeled when he was nearly, if not quite, thirty years old; it is said of him immediately before he went down to Egypt, and then he was the father of ten sons. It is used also of new-born infants (Exodus 1:17). When we look at the various qualifications they were to possess - skilful in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, understanding science - sixteen to eighteen seems the lowest limit we can set. Aben Ezra comes to the conclusion that they were fourteen when they came to Babylon; that, however, even when all allowance is made for the precocity of warm climates, seems too low. On the whole, we may say that Daniel, when he was taken to Babylon, was the same age as Joseph when he went down into Egypt. The Septuagint rendering (νεανίσκους) supports our view. We may note that this command to Ashpenaz was in all likelihood given at Jerusalem. In whom was no blemish, but well-secured. If we may judge of the taste of the Babylonians and Assyrians from the sculptures that have come down to us, they had a high standard of personal appearance - especially fine in appearance are the eunuchs that stand before the king. The word moom, "blemish," is used of the priesthood; presence of a "blemish" excluded from the priesthood (Leviticus 21:17). It is used of Absalom (2 Samuel 14:25); it is equivalent in meaning to μῶμος, which not impossibly was derived from some early form of this word; tovay mar'eh," goodly in appearance," almost identical with our colloquial "good-looking." Skilful in all wisdom. The word "wisdom" has, in general, a somewhat technical meaning in Hebrew, "skill in interpreting riddles and framing proverbs." It became widened in meaning in certain cases, as we see in the description of wisdom in the beginning of Proverbs and Job 28. Yet wider is the sphere given to it in Ecclesiasticus and the Book of Wisdom. The word translated "skilful," maskileem, means, in the first instance, "attending to;" then, the result of this attention, especially when followed by the preposition בְ, "in," The LXX. suits this, "skilled in all wisdom." Theodotion renders, "understanding (συνιέντας) in all wisdom." Professor Bevan would render maskil, "intelligent;" Hitzig adopts Luther's einsichtig in allerlei Wissenschaft, "intelligent in every kind of science," adding, "that is, they would be were they placed in suitable circumstances." He objects to De Wette rendering "experienced," as unsuitable to boys. Cunning in knowledge; literally, knowing knowledge. The distinction is here between the faculty of intelligence and the actual acquirements. It might be rendered "intelligent and well-educated" - a view that is supported by the Septuagint rendering (γραμματικοὺς). Understanding science; "discriminating knowledge," as it is rendered in Theodotion. The Septuagint translator had another text before him; instead of reading mebine madda, he had before him mebinim yod'eem, that is to say, he divided the letters differently, so that he read it along with mebine, and had a yod inserted after it, not as connected, but as separate. The word madda is late, found in Chronicles and Ecclesiastes, and as Aramaic well known; the change in the Septuagint must have been due to a different reading. The fact that madda is late, and was not in the Septuagint text, throws a suspicion on all the late words in Daniel, as all of them may be due to the same modernizing tendency. The phrase, according to the Septuagint reading, may be rendered, "having good powers of discrimination and acquisition." And such as had the ability in them to stand in the king's palace. The word used for "ability" (koh) usually means "physical strength," as of Samson (Judges 16:6), applied to animals as of the unicorn (wild ox) (Job 39:11). Here, however, it refers rather to mental capacity. The idea is that those should be chosen who showed signs of future ability, and therefore afforded a probability that they would be of use in the royal council-chamber. The translator of the Septuagint Version puts a point after ἰσχύοντας, and unites the two following clauses under it. And whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. The LXX. renders, "to teach them letters and the Chaldean dialect." There were three tongues used in Babylon. There was the Aramaic of ordinary business and diplomacy, called in 2 Kings 18:26 "the Syrian language," and in this book (ch. Daniel 2:4) "Syriack." This was commonly understood, as is shown by the fact that tablets have been found inscribed in Assyrian, but having a docquet behind in Aramaic, telling the contents. Next there was the Assyrian, a Shemitic tongue, cognate with Hebrew, though further removed from it than Aramaic is. This is the language of historic and legal documents, much as Norman French was for long the language of our Acts of Parliament, while the people spoke a tongue not far removed from our modern English. The system of writing was cumbrous in the highest degree, the same sign standing for several different words, and the same word represented by several different signs. As a spoken language — if it ever were a spoken tongue — it was cumbrous also. It was eminently a monumental tongue. Lastly, there was Accadian, the sacred tongue, a language belonging to a different class from the Aramaic and Assyrian. In it the great bulk of the magical formulae and ritual directions of Babylon and Nineveh were written. In the huge library of Asshurbanipal, now in the British Museum, a large portion is composed of translations of those Accadian texts. A number of syllabaries have also been found, which enable scholars to investigate this antique tongue. It seems not impossible that Accadian was meant by the learning (סֶפֶר, sepher, "book") and tongue of the Chaldeans. Their learning involved some astronomy, a great deal of astrology, and not a little magic, incantations, interpretations of dreams and omens. We ourselves, though so far removed both geographically and chronologically from them, feel the effects of their ideas, and enjoy some of the results of their knowledge. We cannot tell whether the Babylonians were the earliest to fix the course of the sun, moon, and planets. At all events, they made observations on the basis of these discoveries; and our week, with its Sunday and Monday, conveys to us still the fact that the Babylonians believed the planets to be seven; the planets strictly so called were associated with deities similar in attributes to those associated with them by the Latin and Teutonic peoples, and the same days were sacred to them in Babylonia and Germany. The Chaldeans, כַשְׂדִים, Kasdeem, of the Bible, do not seem to have been originally inhabitants of Babylon. They formed a cluster of clans to the south-west of Babylon, who invaded Babylonia, and occasionally secured the supremacy in the city. The Assyrians had frequent encounters with them, and carried on against them many prolonged wars. The name in the Assyrian monuments is most frequently Kaldu, from which the Greek Ξαλδαῖοι comes. It is doubtful whether there is a form Kassatu to explain the Hebrew term. In the days of Nabo-polassar, the Chaldeans being supreme in Babylonia, all the inhabitants of that province may have been called Chaldeans. Latterly there was a restricted use of the term, due to the great attention paid in Babylonia to astrology. It is doubtful whether this restricted use of the word occurred in the genuine Daniel, from which our canonical Daniel has sprung. Certainly Daniel, and those hostages selected with him, were to be educated so as to become member's of this sacred college of augurs and astrologers.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs,.... That is, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon spake to this officer of his, whose name was Ashpenaz; which, according to Saadiah, signifies a man of an angry countenance; but Hillerus (e) derives it from the Arabic word "schaphan", as designing one that excels in wit and understanding; for which reason he might have the command of the eunuchs, many of which the eastern princes had about them, particularly to wait upon their women, or to educate youth, as the Turks have now; though, as R. Jeshuah in Aben Ezra observes, the word signifies ministers, and may intend the king's nobles and courtiers, his ministers of state; and so this Ashpenaz may be considered as his prime minister, to whom he gave orders,

that he should bring certain of the children of Israel; whom he had taken and brought captive to Babylon, and were disposed of in some part or another of the city and country; and out of these it was his will that some should be selected and brought to his court:

and of the king's seed, and of the princes: or, "even (f) of the king's seed, and of the princes"; not any of the children of Israel, but such as were of the blood royal, or of the king of Judah's family, or some way related to it; or, however, that were of princely birth, the children of persons of the first rank, as the word (g) may signify; or of nobles and dukes, as Jarchi interprets it.

(e) Onomast. Sacr. p. 752, 753. (f) , so is sometimes rendered; see Noldius. p. 276. (g) "ex Graeca voce" Grotius, Junius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. master of … eunuchs—called in Turkey the kislar aga.

of the king's seed—compare the prophecy, 2Ki 20:17, 18.

Daniel 1:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Daniel Removed to Babylon
2The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god. 3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, 4youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king's court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.…
Cross References
2 Kings 20:18
And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."

2 Kings 24:15
Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king's mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land.

Isaiah 39:7
And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."
Treasury of Scripture

And the king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

Foretold.

2 Kings 20:17,18 Behold, the days come, that all that is in your house, and that which …

Isaiah 39:7 And of your sons that shall issue from you, which you shall beget, …

Jeremiah 41:1 Now it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of …

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