Daniel 1:13
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Then let our countenances be looked upon - One of the "objects" to be secured by this whole trial was to promote their personal beauty, and their healthful appearance Daniel 1:4-5, and Daniel was willing that the trial should be made with reference to that, and that a judgment should be formed from the observed effect of their temperate mode of life. The Hebrew word rendered countenance (מראה mar'eh) is not limited to the "face," as the word countenance is with us. It refers to the whole appearance, the form, the "looks;" and the expression here is equivalent to, "Then look on us, and see what the result has been, and deal with us accordingly" The Greek is, αἱ ἰδέαι ἡμῶν hai ideai hēmōn - our appearance.

Of the children - Youths; young men. Notes, Daniel 1:4. The reference is, probably, to the Chaldean youths who were trained up amidst the luxuries of the court. It is possible, however, that the reference is to Hebrew youths who were less scrupulous than Daniel and his companions.

And as thou seest, deal with thy servants - As the result shall be. That is, let us be presented at court, and promoted or not, as the result of our mode of living shall be. What the effect would have been if there had been a failure, we are not informed. Whether it would have endangered their lives, or whether it would have been merely a forfeiture of the proffered honors and advantages, we have no means of determining. It is evident that Daniel had no apprehension as to the issue.

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." By these words Daniel secures Melzar against fear and danger, only by ten days’ trial; which was a fair and reasonable proffer. Thus the servants of God must carefully do, when they have good offices done them by the servants of princes, as Elijah was careful of good Obadiah, 1 Kings 18:11,12, to secure him from death.

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.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. of the youths that eat the king’s delicacies] as Daniel 1:5; Daniel 1:8.

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. Daniel 1:13When Daniel knew from the answer of the chief that he would grant the request if he were only free from personal responsibility in the matter, he turned himself to the officer who was under the chief chamberlain, whom they were immediately subject to, and entreated him to make trial for ten days, permitting them to use vegetables and water instead of the costly provision and the wine furnished by the king, and to deal further with them according as the result would be. המּלצר, having the article, is to be regarded as an appellative, expressing the business of the calling of the man. The translation, steward or chief cook, is founded on the explanation of the word as given by Haug (Ewald's bibl. Jahrbb. v. p. 159f.) from the New Persian word mel, spirituous liquors, wine, corresponding to the Zendh. madhu (μεθυ), intoxicating drink, and equals צרחara, Sanscr. חiras, the head; hence overseer over the drink, synonymous with רבשׁקה, Isaiah 36:2. - נס נא, try, I beseech thee, thy servants, i.e., try it with us, ten days. Ten, in the decimal system the number of completeness or conclusion, may, according to circumstances, mean a long time or only a proportionally short time. Here it is used in the latter sense, because ten days are sufficient to show the effect of the kind of food on the appearance. זרעים, food from the vegetable kingdom, vegetables, leguminous fruit. Daniel 1:13. מראינוּ is singular, and is used with יראוּ in the plural because two subjects follow. כּאשׁר תּראה, as thou shalt see, viz., our appearance, i.e., as thou shalt then find it, act accordingly. In this proposal Daniel trusted in the help of God, and God did not put his confidence to shame.

(Note: The request is perfectly intelligible from the nature of living faith, without our having recourse to Calvin's supposition, that Daniel had received by secret revelation the assurance that such would be the result if he and his companions were permitted to live on vegetables. The confidence of living faith which hopes in the presence and help of God is fundamentally different from the eager expectation of miraculous interference of a Maccabean Jew, which C. v. Lengerke and other deists and atheists wish to find here in Daniel.)

The youths throve so visibly on the vegetables and water, that the steward relieved them wholly from the necessity of eating from the royal table. Daniel 1:15. בּשׂר בּריאי, fat, well nourished in flesh, is grammatically united to the suffix of מראיהם, from which the pronoun is easily supplied in thought. Daniel 1:16. נשׂא, took away equals no more gave.

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