Daniel 1:15
And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
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(15) Appeared fairer.—Thus was God beginning to assert His power among the Babylonians. This change in the appearance of Daniel was the effect of his free grace, not of the meat that came from the king’s palace. May it not have been that the young exiles thought of the words of Isaiah (Isaiah 52:11), “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out thence, touch no unclean thing”?

Daniel 1:15. At the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, &c. — The poor pulse, seeds, and roots, nourished and strengthened Daniel and his companions more than the rich food which the others ate from the king’s table nourished them. Although this might, in part, be the natural effect of their temperance, yet it must chiefly be ascribed to the special blessing of God, which will make a little go a great way, and a dinner of herbs more nutritive and strengthening than a stalled ox.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.And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer - Hebrew, "good;" that is, they appeared more beautiful and healthful. The experiment was successful. There was no diminution of beauty, of vigour, or of the usual indications of health. One of the results of a course of temperance appears in the countenance, and it is among the wise appointments of God that it should be so. He has so made us, that while the other parts of the body may be protected from the gaze of men, it is necessary that the "face" should be exposed. Hence, he has made the countenance the principal scat of expression, for the chief muscles which indicate expression have their location there. See the valuable work of Sir Charles Bell on the "Anatomy of Expression," London, 1844. Hence, there are certain marks of guilt and vice which always are indicated in the countenance. God has so made us that the drunkard and the glutton must proclaim their own guilt and shame.

The bloated face, the haggard aspect, the look of folly, the "heaviness of the eye, the disposition to squint, and to see double, and a forcible elevation of the eyebrow to counteract the dropping of the upper eyelid, and preserve the eyes from closing," are all marks which God has appointed to betray and expose the life of indulgence. "Arrangements are made for these expressions in the very anatomy of the face, and no art of man can prevent it." - Bell on the "Anatomy of Expression," p. 106. God meant that if man "would" be intemperate he should himself proclaim it to the world, and that his fellow-men should be apprised of his guilt. This was intended to be one of the safeguards of virtue. The young man who will be intemperate "knows" what the result must be. He is apprised of it in the loathsome aspect of every drunkard whom he meets. He knows that if he yields himself to indulgence in intoxicating drink, he must soon proclaim it himself to the wide world.

No matter how beautiful, or fresh, or blooming, or healthful, he may now be; no matter how bright the eye, or ruddy the cheek, or eloquent the tongue; the eye, and the cheek, and the tongue will soon become indices of his manner of life, and the loathsomeness and offensiveness of the once beautiful and blooming countenance must pay the penalty of his folly. And in like manner, and for the same reason, the countenance is an indication of temperance and purity. The bright and steady eye, the blooming cheek, the lips that eloquently or gracefully utter the sentiments of virtue, proclaim the purity of the life, and are the natural indices to our fellow-men that we live in accordance with the great and benevolent laws of our nature, and are among the rewards of temperance and virtue.

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." There be three things here to be observed.

1. The hand of God, in persuading Melzar to incline to Daniel’s request.

2. The goodness of God, to make good Daniel’s words.

3. That the blessing of God upon homely fare affords oftentimes more healthful nourishment and strength, than more costly fare to them that eat the fat and drink the sweet. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and fatter in flesh,.... At the time fixed for the trial of them, when they came to be examined, they appeared to be of a better complexion, and a more healthful look, and even plumper and fatter, with good solid flesh, and not swelled up as persons in a dropsy:

than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat: who appeared at the same time, and were compared with them, being under the care of the same persons: now this was owing to the blessing of divine Providence, as Jacchiades observes; for, how healthful soever pulse may be, or the several things designed by it, particularly rice, of which Aben Ezra on the place gives great encomiums, as very salutary and nourishing, and a purifier of the blood; yet neither that, nor any of the things before mentioned, tend to make persons fat in flesh, as these were.

And at the end of ten days their {q} countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.

(q) This bare feeding and that also of Moses, when he fled from the court of Egypt, declares that we must live in such sobriety as God calls us to, seeing that he will make it more profitable to us than all dainties: for his blessing alone suffices.

15. and (they were) falter in fleshy &c.] the expression as Genesis 41:2; Genesis 41:18 (of the kine) ‘fat-fleshed.’

the children, &c.] the youths which did eat the king’s delicacies.Verse 15. - At the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. The Septuagint is a little paraphrastic, and renders, "After ten days their countenance appeared beautiful and their habit of body better than that of the other young men who ate of the king's meat." Theodotion is painfully faithful to the Massoretic text. The Peshitta translates טוב (tob), "good," "fair," by sha-peera, "beautiful." We have here the result of the experiment. At the end of the ten days these youths who had lived plainly are fairer and fatter than those who partook of the royal dainties - a result that implies nothing miraculous; it was simply the natural result of living on food suited to the climate. The grammar of the passage is peculiar; mareehem, which so far as form goes might be plural, is construed with a singular verb and adjective, but bere'eem, "fatter," is plural. The explanation is that while "countenance," the substantive, is in the singular, it is not the substantive to the adjective "fat," but "they" understood. The sentence is not intended to assert that their faces merely were fatter than those of the other youths of their rank and circumstances, but that their whole body was so. This contrast of reference is brought out in the Septuagint paraphrase. Any one looking on the Assyrian and Babylonian sculptures, and comparing them with the sculptures and paintings of Egypt, will observe the relatively greater stoutness of the Assyrians. In the eunuchs especially, one cannot fail to notice the full round faces and the double chins of those in immediate attendance on the king. Among savage nations and semi-civilized ones, corpulence is regarded as a sign of nobility. The frequent long fasts, due to failure of their scanty crops or the difficulty of catching game, would keep the ordinary savage spare; only one who could employ the sinews and possessions of others would be sure of being always well fed, consequently the corpulent man was incontestably the wealthy nobleman. In semi-civilized countries, as Babylon, this was probably a survival. On the sculptures the kings are not unwieldy with corpulence, but the eunuchs have an evident tendency to this. A king, abstemious himself, might feel his consequence increased by having as his attendants those who bore about in their persons the evidence of how well those were nourished who fed at his table. There is no reason to imagine that Nebuchadnezzar was superior to his contemporaries in regard to this. The melzar, having thus seen the result of the experiment, must see that, so far as externals were concerned, the Hebrews who fed on pulse were better than their companions. The period of ten days was a short one, but not too short for effects such as those mentioned to be manifested. Jephet-ibn-Ali thinks that special leanness was inflicted on those who were unfaithful or had failed in courage. That, however, is an unnecessary supposition. The Holy Heave from the Land. - Ezekiel 45:1. And when ye divide the land by lot for an inheritance, ye shall lift a heave for Jehovah as a holy (portion) from the land; five and twenty thousand the length, and the breadth ten (? twenty) thousand. It shall be holy in all its circumference round about. Ezekiel 45:2. Of this five hundred shall belong to the Holy by five hundred square round about, and fifty cubits open space thereto round about. Ezekiel 45:3. And from this measured space thou shalt measure a length of five and twenty thousand, and a breadth of ten thousand, and in this shall be the sanctuary, a holy of holies. Ezekiel 45:4. A holy (portion) of the land shall this be; to the priests, the servants of the sanctuary, shall it belong who draw near to serve Jehovah, and it shall be to them the place for houses and a sanctuary for the sanctuary. Ezekiel 45:5. And five and twenty thousand in length and ten thousand in breadth shall belong to the Levites, the servants of the house, for a possession to them as gates to dwell in. Ezekiel 45:6. And as a possession for the city, ye shall give five thousand in breadth and five and twenty thousand in length, parallel to the holy heave; it shall belong to the whole house of Israel. Ezekiel 45:7. And to the prince (ye shall give) on both sides of the holy heave and of the possession of the city, along the holy heave and along the possession of the city, on the west side westwards and on the east side eastwards, and in length parallel to one of the tribe-portions, from the western border to the eastern border. Ezekiel 45:8. It shall belong to him as land, as a possession in Israel; and my princes shall no more oppress my people, but shall leave the land to the house of Israel according to its tribes. - The domain to be first of all set apart from the land at the time of its distribution among the tribes is called תּרוּמה, heave, not in the general sense of the lifting or taking of a portion from the whole, but as a portion lifted or taken by a person from his property as an offering for God; for תּרוּמה comes from הרים, which signifies in the case of the minchah the lifting of a portion which was burned upon the altar as אזכּרה for Jehovah (see the comm. on Leviticus 2:9). Consequently everything that was offered by the Israelites, either voluntarily or in consequence of a precept from the Lord for the erection and maintenance of the sanctuary and its servants, was called תּרוּמה (see Exodus 25:2., Ezekiel 30:15; Leviticus 7:14; Numbers 15:19, etc.). Only the principal instructions concerning the heave from the land are given here, and these are repeated in Ezekiel 48:8-22, in the section concerning the division of the land, and to some extent expanded there. The introductory words, "when ye divide the land by lot for an inheritance," point to this. (See the map on Plate IV.) הפּיל, sc. גּירל (Proverbs 1:14), to cast the lot, to divide by lot, as in Joshua 13:6. Then shall ye lift, set apart, a heave for Jehovah as a holy (portion) from the land. מן is to be closely connected with קדשׁ, as shown by Ezekiel 45:4. In the numbers mentioned the measure to be employed is not given. But it is obvious that cubits are not meant, as Bttcher, Hitzig, and others assume, but rods; partly from a comparison of Ezekiel 45:2 with Ezekiel 42:16, where the space of the sanctuary, which is given here as 500 by 500 square, is described as five hundred rods on every side; and partly also from the fact that the open space around the sanctuary is fixed at fifty cubits, and in this case אמּה is added, because rods are not to be understood there as in connection with the other numbers. The correctness of this view, which we meet with in Jerome and Raschi, cannot be overthrown by appealing to the excessive magnitude of a τέμενος of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth; for it will be seen in Ezekiel 48 that the measurements given answer to the circumstances in rods, but not in cubits. The ארך before and after the number is pleonastic: "as for the length, twenty-five thousand rods in length." Length here is the measurement from east to west, and breadth from north to south, as we may clearly see from Ezekiel 48:10. No regard, therefore, is paid to the natural length and breadth of the land; and the greater extent of the portions to be measured is designated as length, the smaller as breadth. The expression אשׂרה אלף is a remarkable one, as עשׂרת אלפים is constantly used, not only in Ezekiel 45:3 and Ezekiel 45:5, but also in Ezekiel 48:9-10,Ezekiel 48:13, Ezekiel 48:18. The lxx have εἴκοσι χιλιάδας, twenty thousand breadth. This reading appears more correct than the Masoretic, as it is demanded by Ezekiel 45:3 and Ezekiel 45:5. For according to Ezekiel 45:3, of the portion measured in Ezekiel 45:1 twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand in breadth were to be measured for the sanctuary and for the priests' land; and according to Ezekiel 45:5, the Levites were also to receive twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand in breadth for a possession. The first clause of Ezekiel 45:3 is unintelligible if the breadth of the holy terumah is given in Ezekiel 45:1 as only ten thousand rods, inasmuch as one cannot measure off from an area of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth another space of the same length and breadth. Moreover, Ezekiel 45:1 requires the reading עשׂרים אלף, as the "holy terumah" is not only the portion set apart for the sanctuary and the priests' land, but also that which was set apart for the Levites.

According to Ezekiel 48:14, this was also "holy to Jehovah;" whereas the portion measured off for the city was "common" (Ezekiel 48:15). This is borne out by the fact that in the chapter before us the domain appointed for the city is distinguished from the land of the priests and Levites by the verb תּתּנוּ (Ezekiel 45:6), whilst the description of the size of the Levites' land in Ezekiel 45:5 is closely connected with that of the land of the priests; and further, that in Ezekiel 45:7, in the description of the land of the prince, reference is made only to the holy terumah and the possession of the city, from which it also follows that the land of the Levites is included in the holy terumah. Consequently Ezekiel 45:1 treats of the whole of the תּרוּמת קדשׁ, i.e., the land of the priests and Levites, which was twenty-five thousand rods long and twenty thousand rods broad. This is designated in the last clause of the verse as a holy (portion) in its entire circumference, and then divided into two domains in Ezekiel 45:2 and Ezekiel 45:3. - Ezekiel 45:2. Of this (מזּה, of the area measured in Ezekiel 45:1) there shall come, or belong, to the holy, i.e., to the holy temple domain, five hundred rods square, namely, the domain measured in Ezekiel 42:15-20 round about the temple, for a separation between holy and common; and round this domain there is to be a מגרשׁ, i.e., an open space of fifty cubits on every side, that the dwellings to the priests may not be built too near to the holy square of the temple building. - Ezekiel 45:3. המּדּה, this measure (i.e., this measured piece of land), also points back to Ezekiel 45:1, and מן cannot be taken in any other sense than in מזּה (Ezekiel 45:2). From the whole tract of land measured in Ezekiel 45:1 a portion is to be measured off twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth, in which the sanctuary, i.e., the temple with its courts, is to stand as a holy of holies. This domain, in the midst of which is the temple, is to belong to the priests, as the sanctified portion of the land, as the place or space for their houses, and is to be a sanctuary for the sanctuary, i.e., for the temple. Ezekiel 45:5. A portion equally large is to be measured off to the Levites, as the temple servants, for their possession. The Keri יהיה is formed after the והיה of Ezekiel 45:4, and the Chetib יהיה is indisputably correct. There is great difficulty in the last words of this verse, עשׂרים לשׁכת, "for a possession to them twenty cells;" for which the lxx give αὐτοῖς εἰς κατάσχεσιν πόλεις τοῦ κατοικεῖν, and which they have therefore read, or for which they have substituted by conjecture, ערים לשׁבת. We cannot, in fact, obtain from the עשׂרים לשׁכת of the Masoretic text any meaning that will harmonize with the context, even if we render the words, as Rosenmller does, in opposition to the grammar, cum viginti cubiculis, and understand by לשׁכת capacious cell-buildings. For we neither expect to find in this connection a description of the number and character of the buildings in which the Levites lived, nor can any reason be imagined why the Levites, with a domain of twenty-five thousand rods in length and ten thousand rods in breadth assigned to them, should live together in twenty cell-buildings. Still less can we think of the "twenty cells" as having any connection with the thirty cells in the outer court near to the gate-buildings (Ezekiel 40:17-18), as these temple cells, even though they were appointed for the Levites during their service in the temple, were not connected in any way with the holy terumah spoken of here. Hvernick's remark, that "the prophet has in his eye the priests' cells in the sanctuary, - and the dwellings of the Levites during their service, which were only on the outside of the sanctuary, were to correspond to these," is not indicated in the slightest degree by the words, but is a mere conjecture. There is no other course open, therefore, than to acknowledge a corruption of the text, and either to alter לשׁכת `srym עשׂרים into לערים לשׁבת, as Hitzig proposes (cf. Numbers 35:2-3; Joshua 21:2), or to take עשׂרים as a mistake for שׁערים: "for a possession to them as gates to dwell in," according to the frequent use of שׁערים, gates, for ערים, cities, e.g., in what was almost a standing phrase, "the Levites who is in thy gates" ( equals cities; Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 14:27; Deuteronomy 16:11; cf. Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14, etc.). In that case the faulty reading would have arisen from the transposition of עש into שע, and the change of ב into כ.

Beside the holy terumah for sanctuary, priests, and Levites, they are also (Ezekiel 45:6) to give a tract of twenty-five thousand rods in length and five thousand rods in breadth as the property of the city (i.e., of the capital). לעמּת: parallel to the holy heave, i.e., running by the longer side of it. This portion of land, which was set apart for the city, was to belong to all Israel, and not to any single tribe. The more precise directions concerning this, and concerning the situation of the whole terumah in the land, are not given till Ezekiel 48:8-22. Here, in the present chapter, this heave is simply mentioned in connection with the privileges which the servants of the Lord and of His sanctuary were to enjoy. These included, in a certain sense, also the property assigned to the prince in Ezekiel 45:7 as the head of the nation, on whom the provision of the sacrifices for the nation devolved, and who, apart from this, also needed for his subsistence a portion of the land, which should be peculiarly his own, in accordance with his rank. They were to give him as his property (the verb תּתּנוּ is to be supplied to לנּשׂיא from Ezekiel 45:6) the land on this side and that side of the holy terumah and of the city-possession, and that in front (אל־פּני) of these two tracts of land, that is to say, adjoining them, extending to their boundaries, 'מפּאת ים , "from" (i.e., according to our view, "upon") the west side westward, and from (upon) the east side eastward; in other words, the land which remained on the eastern and western boundary of the holy terumah and of the city domain, both toward the west as far as the Mediterranean Sea, and toward the east as far as the Jordan, the two boundaries of the future Canaan. The further definition 'וארך לעמּות וגו is not quite clear; but the meaning of the words is, that "the length of the portions of land to be given to the prince on the east and west side of the terumah shall be equal to the length of one of the tribe-portions," and not that the portions of land belonging to the prince are to be just as long from north to south as the length of one of the twelve tribe-possessions. "Length" throughout this section is the extent from east to west. It is so in the case of all the tribe-territories (cf. Ezekiel 48:8), and must be taken in this sense in connection with the portion of land belonging to the prince also. The meaning is therefore this: in length (from east to west) these portions shall be parallel to the inheritance of one of the twelve tribes from the western boundary to the eastern. Two things are stated here: first, that the prince's portion is to extend on the eastern and western sides of the terumah as far as the boundary of the land allotted to the tribes, i.e., on the east to the Jordan, and on the west to the Mediterranean (cf. Ezekiel 48:8); and secondly, that on the east and west it is to run parallel (לעמּות) to the length of the separate tribe-territories, i.e., not to reach farther toward either north or south than the terumah lying between, but to be bounded by the long sides of the tribe-territories which bound the terumah on the north and south. ארך is the accusative of direction; אחד, some one (cf. Judges 16:7; Psalm 82:7). - In Ezekiel 45:8, לארץ with the article is to be retained, contrary to Hitzig's conjecture לארץ: "to the land belonging to him as a possession shall it (the portion marked off in Ezekiel 45:7) be to him." ארץ, as in 1 Kings 11:18, of property in land. In Ezekiel 45:8, the motive for these instructions is given. The former kings of Israel had no land of their own, no domain; and this had driven them to acquire private property by violence and extortion. That this may not occur any more in the future, and all inducement to such oppression of the people may be taken from the princes, in the new kingdom of God the portion of land more precisely defined in Ezekiel 45:7 is to be given to the prince as his own property. The plural, "my princes," does not refer to several contemporaneous princes, nor can it be understood of the king and his sons, i.e., of the royal family, on account of Ezekiel 46:16; but it is to be traced to the simple fact "that Ezekiel was also thinking of the past kings, and that the whole series of princes, who had ruled over Israel, and still would rule, was passing before his mind" (Kliefoth), without our being able to conclude from this that there would be a plurality of princes succeeding one another in time to come, in contradiction to Ezekiel 37:25. - "And the land shall they (the princes) leave to the people of Israel" (נתן in the sense of concedere; and הארץ, the land, with the exception of the portion set apart from it in Ezekiel 45:1-7). - The warning against oppression and extortion, implied in the reason thus assigned, is expanded into a general exhortation in the following verses.

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