Daniel 1:4
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.
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(4) Children.—If the Babylonian customs were similar to the Persian, it is probable that the course of education would commence at an early age. So elaborate a system of science as the Babylonian, whether theological, astronomical, or magical, would naturally require an early training. It is reasonable to suppose that these “children” were quite young. So much may be inferred from Nebuchadnezzar’s amazement at what he considered to be Daniel’s precocious genius (Daniel 2:26).

To stand, i.e., to act as courtiers or servants. (Comp. 2Kings 5:25, and below, Daniel 1:19.)

Learning . . . Chaldeans.—Many interesting specimens of this may be seen in the volumes of the Records of the Past, which are devoted to Assyrian and Babylonian subjects. Many more examples may be seen in the British Museum, and among them the large treatise on magic, which originally consisted of no less than two hundred tablets. It appears, from comparing this with Daniel 1:19, that some form of examination was held by the king, before he admitted the courtiers into his immediate service. The language of Chaldæa at this time was Semitic; but there was a sacred language in use besides, which probably belonged to the Turanian family. In both these languages was Daniel educated.

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.Children in whom was no blemish - The word rendered "children" in this place (ילדים yelâdı̂ym) is different from that which is rendered "children" in Job 1:3 - בנים bânnı̂ym). That word denotes merely that they were "sons," or "descendants," of Israel, without implying anything in regard to their age; the word here used would be appropriate only to those who were at an early period of life, and makes it certain that the king meant that those who were selected should be youths. Compare Genesis 4:23, where the word is rendered "a young man." It is sometimes, indeed, used to denote a son, without reference to age, and is then synonymous with בן bên, a "son." But it properly means "one born;" that is, "recently born;" a child, Genesis 21:8; Exodus 1:17; Exodus 2:3; and then one in early life. There can be no doubt that the monarch meant to designate youths. So the Vulgate, pueros, and the Greek, νεανισκους neaniskous, and so the Syriac. All these words would be applicable to those who were in early life, or to young men. Compare Introduction to Daniel, Section I. The word "blemish" refers to bodily defect or imperfection. The object was to select those who were most perfect in form, perhaps partly because it was supposed that beautiful youths would most grace the court, and partly because it was supposed that such would be likely to have the brightest intellectual endowments. It was regarded as essential to personal beauty to be without blemish, 2 Samuel 14:25 : "But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for beauty; from the sole of Iris foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him." Sol 4:7 : "thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee." The word is sometimes used in a moral sense, to denote corruption of heart or life Deuteronomy 32:5; Job 11:15; Job 31:7, but that is not the meaning here.

But well-favored - Hebrew, "good of appearance;" that is, beautiful.

And skillful in all wisdom - Intelligent, wise - that is, in all that was esteemed wise in their own country. The object was to bring forward the most talented and intelligent, as well as the most beautiful, among the Hebrew captives.

And cunning in knowledge - In all that could be known. The distinction between the word here rendered "knowledge" (דעת da‛ath) and the word rendered "science" (מדע maddâ‛) is not apparent. Both come from the word ידע yâda‛ to "know," and would be applicable to any kind of knowledge. The word rendered "cunning" is also derived from the same root, and means "knowing," or "skilled in." We more commonly apply the word to a particular kind of knowledge, meaning artful, shrewd, astute, sly, crafty, designing. But this was not the meaning of the word when the translation of the Bible was made, and it is not employed in that sense in the Scriptures. It is always used in a good sense, meaning intelligent, skillful, experienced, well-instructed. Compare Genesis 25:27; Exodus 26:1; Exodus 28:15; Exodus 38:23; 1 Samuel 16:16; 1 Chronicles 25:7; Psalm 137:5; Isaiah 3:3.

And understanding science - That is, the sciences which prevailed among the Hebrews. They were not a nation distinguished for "science," in the sense in which that term is now commonly understood - embracing astronomy, chemistry, geology, mathematics, electricity, etc.; but their science extended chiefly to music, architecture, natural history, agriculture, morals, theology, war, and the knowledge of future events; in all which they occupied an honorable distinction among the nations. In many of these respects they were, doubtless, far in advance of the Chaldeans; and it was probably the purpose of the Chaldean monarch to avail himself of what they knew.

And such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace - Hebrew, "had strength" - כח kôach. Properly meaning, who had strength of body for the service which would be required of them in attending on the court. "A firm constitution of body is required for those protracted services of standing in the hall of the royal presence." - Grotius. The word "palace" here (היכל hêykâl) is commonly used to denote the temple (2 Kings 24:13; 2 Chronicles 3:17; Jeremiah 50:28; Haggai 2:15. Its proper and primitive signification, however, is a large and magnificent building - a palace - and it was given to the temple as the "palace" of Jehovah, the abode where he dwelt as king of his people.

And whom they might teach - That they might be better qualified for the duties to which they might be called. The purpose was, doubtless (see analysis), to bring forward their talent, that it might contribute to the splendor of the Chaldean court; but as they were, doubtless, ignorant to a great extent of the language of the Chaldeans, and as there were sciences in which the Chaldeans were supposed to excel, it seemed desirable that they should have all the advantage which could be delayed from a careful training under the best masters.

The learning - - ספר sêpher. literally, "writing" Isaiah 29:11-12. Gesenius supposes that this means the "writing" of the Chaldeans; or that they might be able to read the language of the Chaldeans. But it, doubtless, included "the knowledge" of what was written, as well as the ability "to read" what was written; that is, the purpose was to instruct them in the sciences which were understood among the Chaldeans. They were distinguished chiefly for such sciences as these:

(1) Astronomy. This science is commonly supposed to have had its orion on the plains of Babylon, and it was early carried there to as high a degree of perfection as it attained in any of the ancient nations. Their mild climate, and their employment as shepherds, leading them to pass much of their time at night under the open heavens, gave them the opportunity of observing the stars, and they amused themselves in marking their positions and their changes, and in mapping out the heavens in a variety of fanciful figures, now called constellations.

(2) Astrology. This was at first a branch of astronomy, or was almost identical with it, for the stars were studied principally to endeavor to ascertain what influence they exerted over the fates of men, and especially what might be predicted from their position, on the birth of an individual, as to his future life. Astrology was then deemed a science whose laws were to be ascertained in the same way as the laws of any other science; and the world has been slow to disabuse itself of the notion that the stars exert an influence over the fates of men. Even Lord Bacon held that it was a science to be "reformed," not wholly rejected.

(3) Magic; soothsaying; divination; or whatever would contribute to lay open the future, or disclose the secrets of the invisible world. Hence, they applied themselves to the interpretation of dreams; they made use of magical arts, probably employing, as magicians do, some of the ascertained results of science in producing optical illusions, impressing the common with the belief that they were familiar with the secrets of the invisible world; and hence, the name "Chaldean" and "magician" became almost synonymous terms Daniel 2:2; Daniel 4:7; Daniel 5:7.

(4) It is not improbable that they had made advances in other sciences, but of this we have little knowledge. They knew little of the true laws of astronomy, geology, cheministry, electricity, mathematics; and in these, and in kindred departments of science, they may be supposed to have been almost wholly ignorant.

And the tongue of the Chaldeans - In regard to the "Chaldeans," see the notes at Job 1:17; and the notes at Isaiah 23:13. The kingdom of Babylon was composed mainly of Chaldeans, and that kingdom was called "the realm of the Chaldeans" Daniel 9:1. Of that realm, or kingdom, Babylon was the capital. The origin of the Chaldeans has been a subject of great perplexity, on which there is still a considerable variety of opinions. According to Heeren, they came from the North; by Gesenius they are supposed to have come from the mountains of Kurdistan; and by Michaelis, from the steppes of Scythia. They seem to have been an extended race, and probably occupied the whole of the region adjacent to what became Babylonia. Heeren expresses his opinion as to their origin in the following language: "It cannot be doubted that, at some remote period, antecedent to the commencement of historical records. "one mighty race" possessed these vast plains, varying in character according to the country which they inhabited; in the deserts of Arabia, pursuing a nomad life; in Syria, applying themselves to agriculture, and taking up settled abodes; in Babylonia, erecting the most magnificent cities of ancient times; and in Phoenicia, opening the earliest ports, and constructing fleets, which secured to them the commerce of the known world."

There exists at the present time, in the vicinity of the Bahrein Islands, and along the Persian Gulf, in the neighborhood of the Astan River, an Arab tribe, of the name of the "Beni Khaled," who are probably the same people as the "Gens Chaldei" of Pliny, and doubtless the descendants of the ancient race of the Chaldeans. On the question when they became a kingdom, or realm, making Babylon their capital, see the notes at Isaiah 23:13. Compare, for an interesting discussion of the subject, "Forster's Historical Geography of Arabia," vol. i. pp. 49-56. The language of the Chaldeans, in which a considerable part of the book of Daniel is written (see the Introduction Section IV., III.), differed from the Hebrew, though it was a branch of the same Aramean family of languages. It was, indeed, very closely allied to the Hebrew, but was so different that those who were acquainted with only one of the two languages could not understand the other. Compare Nehemiah 8:8. Both were the offspring of the original Shemitish language. This original language may be properly reduced to three great branches:


4. no blemish—A handsome form was connected, in Oriental ideas, with mental power. "Children" means youths of twelve or fourteen years old.

teach … tongue of … Chaldeans—their language and literature, the Aramaic-Babylonian. That the heathen lore was not altogether valueless appears from the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses; the Eastern Magi who sought Jesus, and who may have drawn the tradition as to the "King of the Jews" from Da 9:24, &c., written in the East. As Moses was trained in the learning of the Egyptian sages, so Daniel in that of the Chaldeans, to familiarize his mind with mysterious lore, and so develop his heaven-bestowed gift of understanding in visions (Da 1:4, 5, 17).

If the princes are so curious in their choice, no marvel that God was cautious in his, Leviticus 21:17-21 22:20-25. The reason why they were so delicately trained up was, that they being in the flower of their age should be allured with the delights of the court, and should: thereby be brought to forget their fathers’ house and their religion; this hath been the artifice of the Turk in taking Christians’ children, and making them Mamelukes and Janizaries, that thereby they may become, as renegades, the greatest champions for Mahomet, and enemies to the Christians.

To stand in the king’s palace: this notes men fit by their parts to give advice in arduous matters, 2 Chronicles 10:6: which shows that men only of promising abilities, and not incompetent, should be admitted to the presence of kings.

The learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans: for this cause Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, Acts 7:22; yet it must be supposed that neither Moses nor Daniel learned any thing that was ungodly, but only to search nature, and that which was only moral; wherein both the Chaldeans and Egyptians were skilled above any other nations of the heathens. And although their magi or wise men did at last degenerate into curious and vain arts, yet Daniel had no further design to know their wisdom than to choose the good of it, and to shun and reject that which was unlawful. The Chaldean tongue differed from the Hebrew in dialect and in pronunciation, which they learned in the right tone and accent, that they might be the more acceptable to the king and court, by their conformity in garb, language, and manners; for which they had the space of three years allotted them.

Children in whom was no blemish,.... Not mere children, but young men of fifteen or twenty years of age; about which age Daniel is by Aben Ezra supposed to be when he was carried captive; and less than this be cannot well be thought to be, since, in a few years after, he was put into posts of the greatest eminence and importance: such were ordered to be selected that had no deformity or defect in any parts of their body, or wanted any, as an eye, or a hand, &c.; or, "in whom was not anything" (h); vicious or immoral, or scandalous in their character:

but well favoured; of a good complexion, a ruddy countenance, and a healthful look. So Curtius (i) says, that, in all barbarous or uncivilized countries, the stateliness and size of the body is had in great veneration; nor do they think any capable of great services or actions, to whom nature has not vouchsafed to give a beautiful form and aspect. And Aristotle (k) says it was reported, that, in Ethiopia, civil offices of government or magistracy were distributed according to the bulk or beauty of men, the largeness and tallness of their bodies, or the comeliness of them; and not only among them, but this has always been the custom of the eastern nations, to choose such for their principal officers, or to wait on princes and great personages, and continues to this day. Sir Paul Ricaut (l) observes,

"that the youths that are designed for the great offices of the Turkish empire must be of admirable features and pleasing looks, well shaped in their bodies, and without any defects of nature; for it is conceived that a corrupt and sordid soul can scarce inhabit in a serene and ingenious aspect; and (says he) I have observed not only in the seraglio, but also in the courts of great men, their personal attendants have been of comely lusty youths well habited, deporting themselves with singular modesty and respect in the presence of their masters: so that when a pascha, aga, spahee, travels, he is always attended with a comely equipage, followed by flourishing youths, well clothed, and mounted in great numbers; that one may guess at the greatness of this empire by the retinue, pomp, and number of servants, which accompany persons of quality in their journeys.''

And no doubt Nebuchadnezzar had some of these ends in view, in ordering such persons to be selected and brought up at his expense; that they might be both for service and usefulness, and for his grandeur and glory.

And skilful in all wisdom: in the wisdom of the Jews, or had a liberal education according to the custom of their country; or were young men of good capacities, capable of being instructed, and of improving themselves in all kind of wisdom:

and cunning in knowledge; or "knowing knowledge" (m); having a large share of the knowledge of their own country, customs, and laws, civil and religious: and understanding science; the liberal arts and sciences; or however were persons of a good genius, and of retentive memories; young men of capacity, diligence, industry, and application, and of great docility, and so very promising to make great and useful men:

and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace; not only strength of body, which was requisite to a long waiting there, as sometimes they were obliged to do; but strength of mind, courage, and undauntedness, to stand before the king and his nobles, without showing a rustic fear, and timidity of mind:

and whom they might teach the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans; or, "the book and language of the Chaldeans" (n); book for books; such as contained their literature, history, and philosophy, mathematics, the knowledge of the stars, in which they excelled, as well as architecture and military skill; and it was necessary they should learn the Chaldean language, which differed from the Hebrew chiefly in dialect and pronunciation, that they might be able to read those books of science, and to speak with a good accent, and readily, before the king and his nobles; or rather the sense is, that they might understand the Chaldean language, the manner of reading, writing, and pronouncing it translated "learning", may signify the letters of the language, the Scripture or manner of writing, as Saadiah and Aben Ezra interpret it; which must be first learned in any language, in order to attain the knowledge of it; so it seems to be used in Isaiah 19:12. "I am not learned, or know not a book or letters" see John 7:15 and translated "tongue", may signify the rules, idioms, and properties of the language; the nature, genius, and dialect of it, and signification of the words and phrases used in it to be learned, so as to be thorough masters of it, understand it, speak it, and pronounce it well. But here a difficulty arises, since the form and character of the letters of the Chaldee and Hebrew languages now in use are the same; it may seem unnecessary that Hebrew youths should be put to school to learn the Chaldean letters and language, though the dialect and idioms of the two languages might in some things differ; but let it be observed, that it might be, and it is not improbable, that the letters of the Chaldean language were not the same then as they are now; and Hottinger (o) expressly says, that the ancient Chaldee character is not known; not to say anything of the difference of the Hebrew letters then from what they are now, which some have surmised: besides, it is a clear case that the Chaldee and Syriac languages are the same, as appears from Daniel 2:4, where the Chaldeans are said to speak to the king in Syriac; and yet, what follows is no other than Chaldee, their mother tongue, in which it was most proper and agreeable to speak to the king: and as it is the opinion of many learned men now that these languages are the same, so it was the sense of the ancient Jews. Says R. Samuel Bar Nachman (p), let not the Syriac language be mean in thine eyes, or lightly esteemed by thee; for in the law, in the prophets, and in the Hagiographa, the holy blessed God has imparted honour to it; in the law, Genesis 31:47, in the prophets, Jeremiah 10:11, in the Hagiographa, Daniel 2:4 in all which places it is the Chaldee language that is used; and that which was spoken in Babylon, the head of the Chaldean empire, is called the Syriac; for Cyrus, when he took that city, ordered a proclamation to be made, by men skilled, in the Syriac language, that the inhabitants should keep within doors, and that those that were found without should be slain (q); which orders were published in that language, that they might be universally understood, being the language of the common people. So Herodotus, speaking of the Assyrians, says (r), these by the Greeks are called Syrians, and by the barbarians Assyrians, among whom were the Chaldeans: and, as Strabo observes (s), the same language or dialect was used by those without Euphrates, and by those within; that is, by the Syrians, strictly so called, and by the Babylonians or Chaldeans: and elsewhere (t), the name of Syrians reached from Babylon to Sinus Issicus; and, formerly, from thence to the Euxine sea. Now it is certain that the form and character of the letters in the Syriac language are very different from the Hebrew, and difficult to be learned, and might be those which these Hebrew youths were to be taught at school, as well as the rudiments of it; and it is as evident that the language of the Jews, and that of the Syrians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians, were so different, that the common people of the former did not understand the language of the latter when spoke, as appears from 2 Kings 18:26 so that there was an apparent necessity for the one to be taught the language of the other, in order to understand it.

(h) "quidquam quod obstet", Gussetius. (i) Histor. l. 6. c. 5. (k) Politic. l. 4. c. 4. tom. 2. p. 224. (l) Present State of the Ottoman Empire, B. 1. c. 5. p. 13. (m) "et scientes scientiam, Pagninus, Montanus, intelligentes scientiam", Calvin. (n) "librum et linguam", Jo. Henr. Michaelis. (o) Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 3. p. 35. (p) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 74. fol. 65. 4. (q) Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 7. c. 23. (r) Polymnia, sive l. 7. c. 63. (s) Geograph. I. 2. p. 58. (t) Ibid. l. 16. p. 507.

Children in whom was no blemish, but well {f} 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 {g} learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

(f) The King required three things: that they should be of noble birth, that they should be intelligent and learned, and that they should be of a strong and handsome nature, so that they might do him better service. This he did for his own benefit, therefore it is not to praise his liberality: yet in this he is worthy of praise, that he esteemed learning, and knew that it was a necessary means to govern by.

(g) That they might forget their own religion and country fashions to serve him the better to his purpose: yet it is not to be thought that Daniel learned any knowledge that was not godly. In all points he refused the abuse of things and superstition, insomuch that he would not eat the meat which the King appointed him, but was content to learn the knowledge of natural things.

4. children] youths (R.V.).

blemish] here of physical imperfection, as Leviticus 21:17-18, &c.

well favoured] An archaistic English expression for good-looking: so Genesis 29:17; Genesis 39:6; Genesis 41:2 al. As Mr Wright (Bible Word-Book, s. v. Favour) shews, ‘favour’ in old English meant face[179], so that ‘well favoured’ means having a handsome face. The Heb. (lit. good in looks) is the same as in Genesis 24:16; Genesis 26:7. An Oriental monarch would attach importance to the personal appearance of his attendants.

[179] Bacon, Essays, xxvii. p. 113, ‘As S. James saith, they are as men, that looke sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape, and favour’; Cymbeline, dan 1:5, 93, ‘His favour is familiar to me.’

intelligent in all wisdom, and knowing knowledge, and understanding science] i.e. men of sagacity and intelligence, the combination of synonyms merely serving to emphasize the idea. ‘Cunning’ (i.e. kenning) in A.V., R.V., is simply an archaism for knowing, skilful, though the word is used generally where the reference is to some kind of technical knowledge (Genesis 25:27; Exodus 38:23 [where, for ‘cunning workman,’ read ‘designer’]; 1 Samuel 16:16; 1 Chronicles 25:7 [not R.V.]; 2 Chronicles 2:7; 2 Chronicles 2:13-14; Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 10:9 al.). The modern associations of the word prevent it, however, from being now a good rendering of the Hebrew.

science] In the Heb. a (late) synonym of ‘knowledge’ (as it is rendered Daniel 1:17; 2 Chronicles 1:10-12), and derived from the same root: the word is not to be understood here in a technical sense, but simply as a Latinism for ‘knowledge,’ used in default of any more colourless synonym.

ability] Properly, power; i.e. capacity, both physical and mental.

to stand] to take their place—with a suggestion of the idea of serving, which, with ‘before’ (see on Daniel 1:5), the word regularly denotes.

learning] literature: lit. book(s), writing(s), cf. Isaiah 29:11-12.

and the tongue of the Chaldeans] ‘Chaldeans’ is used here, not in the ethnic sense, which the word has in other books of the O. T., but to denote the learned class among the Babylonians, i.e. the priests, a large part of whose functions consisted in the study and practice of magic, divination, and astrology, and in whose hands there was an extensive traditional lore relating to these subjects (see more fully below, p. 12 ff.). The word has the same sense elsewhere in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 2:2; Daniel 2:4-5; Daniel 2:10, Daniel 3:8 (prob.), Daniel 4:7, Daniel 5:7; Daniel 5:11). The literature on the subjects named is what is referred to in the present verse. The ‘tongue of the Chaldeans’ would be Babylonian, a Semitic language, but very different from Hebrew, so that it would have to be specially studied by a Jew. Many of the magical texts preserved in the cuneiform script are also written in the non-Semitic Sumerian (or ‘Accadian’); but it is hardly likely that the distinction between these two languages was present to the author.

Daniel 1:4משׂכּיל, skilful, intelligent in all wisdom, i.e., in the subjects of Chaldean wisdom (cf. Daniel 1:17), is to be understood of the ability to apply themselves to the study of wisdom. In like manner the other mental requisites here mentioned are to be understood. דעת ידעי, having knowledge, showing understanding; מדּע מביני, possessing a faculty for knowledge, a strength of judgment. בּהם כּוח ואשׁר, in whom was strength, i.e., who had the fitness in bodily and mental endowments appropriately to stand in the palace of the king, and as servants to attend to his commands. וּללמּדם (to teach them) is co-ordinate with להביא (to bring) in Daniel 1:3, and depends on ויּאמר (and he spake). For this service they must be instructed and trained in the learning and language of the Chaldeans. ספר refers to the Chaldee literature, and in Daniel 1:17 כּל־ספר, and לשׁון to conversation or the power of speaking in that language. כּשׂדּים, Chaldeans, is the name usually given (1) to the inhabitants of the Babylonian kingdom founded by Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar, and (2) in a more restricted sense to the first class of the Babylonish priests and learned men or magi, and then frequently to the whole body of the wise men of Babylon; cf. at Daniel 2:2. In this second meaning the word is here used. The language of the כּשׂדּים is not, as Ros., Hitz., and Kran. suppose, the Eastern Aramaic branch of the Semitic language, which is usually called the Chaldean language; for this tongue, in which the Chaldean wise men answered Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:4.), is called in Daniel 2:4, as well as in Ezra 4:7 and Isaiah 36:11, the ארמית, Aramaic (Syriac), and is therefore different from the language of the כּשׁדּים.

But the question as to what this language used by the Chaldeans was, depends on the view that may be taken of the much controverted question as to the origin of the כּשׂדּים, Χαλδαίοι. The oldest historical trace of the כּשׂדּים lies in the name כּשׂדּים אוּר (Ur of the Chaldees, lxx χώρα τῶν Χαλδαίων), the place from which Terah the father of Abraham went forth with his family to Charran in the north of Mesopotamia. The origin of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, when taken in connection with the fact (Genesis 22:22) that one of the sons of Nahor, Abraham's brother, was called כּשׂד (Chesed), whose descendants would be called כּשׂדּים, appears to speak for the origin of the כּשׂדּים from Shem. In addition to this also, and in support of the same opinion, it has been noticed that one of Shem's sons was called ארפּכשׁד (Arphaxad). But the connection of ארפכשׁד with כּשׂד is unwarrantable; and that Nahor's son כּשׂד was the father of a race called כשׂדים, is a supposition which cannot be established. But if a race actually descended from this כשׂד, then they could be no other than the Bedouin tribe the כּשׂדּים, which fell upon Job's camels (Job 1:17), but not the people of the Chaldees after whom, in Terah's time, Ur was already named. The sojourn of the patriarch Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees finally by no means proves that Terah himself was a Chaldean. He may have been induced also by the advance of the Chaldeans into Northern Mesopotamia to go forth on his wanderings.

This much is at all events unquestionable, and is now acknowledged, that the original inhabitants of Babylonia were of Semitic origin, as the account of the origin of the nations in Genesis 10 shows. According to Genesis 10:22, Shem had five sons, Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram, whose descendants peopled and gave name to the following countries: - The descendants of Elam occupied the country called Elymais, between the Lower Tigris and the mountains of Iran; of Asshur, Assyria, lying to the north-the hilly country between the Tigris and the mountain range of Iran; or Arphaxad, the country of Arrapachitis on the Upper Tigris, on the eastern banks of that river, where the highlands of Armenia begin to descend. Lud, the father of the Lydians, is the representative of the Semites who went westward to Asia Minor; and Aram of the Semites who spread along the middle course of the Euphrates to the Tigris in the east, and to Syria in the west. From this M. Duncker (Gesch. des Alterth.) has concluded: "According to this catalogue of the nations, which shows the extension of the Semitic race from the mountains of Armenia southward to the Persian Gulf, eastward to the mountains of Iran, westward into Asia Minor, we follow the Semites along the course of the two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, to the south. Northwards from Arphaxad lie the mountains of the Chasdim, whom the Greeks call Chaldaei, Carduchi, Gordiaei, whose boundary toward Armenia was the river Centrites."

"If we find the name of the Chaldeans also on the Lower Euphrates, if in particular that name designates a region on the western bank of the Euphrates to its mouth, the extreme limit of the fruitful land watered by the Euphrates towards the Arabian desert, then we need not doubt that this name was brought from the Armenian mountains to the Lower Euphrates, and that it owes its origin to the migration of these Chaldeans from the mountains. - Berosus uses as interchangeable the names Chaldea and Babylonia for the whole region between the Lower Euphrates and the Tigris down to the sea. But it is remarkable that the original Semitic name of this region, Shinar, is distinct from that of the Chaldeans; remarkable that the priests in Shinar were specially called Chaldeans, that in the fragments of Berosus the patriarchs were already designated Chaldeans of this or that city, and finally that the native rulers were particularly known by this name. We must from all this conclude, that there was a double migration fro the north to the regions on the Lower Euphrates and Tigris; that they were first occupied by the Elamites, who came down along the Tigris; and that afterwards a band came down from the mountains of the Chaldeans along the western bank of the Tigris, that they kept their flocks for a long time in the region of Nisibis, and faintly that they followed the Euphrates and obtained superiority over the earlier settlers, who had sprung from the same stem (?), and spread themselves westward from the mouth of the Euphrates. The supremacy which was thus established was exercised by the chiefs of the Chaldeans; they were the ruling family in the kingdom which they founded by their authority, and whose older form of civilisation they adopted."

If, according to this, the Chaldeans are certainly not Semites, then it is not yet decided whether they belonged to the Japhetic race of Aryans, or, as C. Sax

(Note: In the Abhdl. "on the ancient history of Babylon and the nationality of the Cushites and the Chaldeans," in the Deutsch. morg. Ztschr. xxii. pp. 1-68. Here Sac seeks to prove "that the Chaldeans, identical with the biblical Chasdim, were a tribe ruling from ancient times from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, and particularly in Babylonia, which at length occupied the southern region from the mouth of the Euphrates to the Armeneo-Pontine range of mountains, but was in Babylonia especially represented by the priest caste and the learned." This idea the author grounds on the identification of the Bible Cushites with the Scythians of the Greeks and Romans, the evidence for which is for the most part extremely weak, and consists of arbitrary and violent combinations, the inconsistency of which is at once manifest, as e.g., the identification of the כּשׂדּים with the כּסלחים, Genesis 10:14, the conclusions drawn from Ezekiel 29:10 and Ezekiel 38:5. of the spread of the Cushites into Arabia and their reception into the Scythian army of the northern Gog, etc. In general, as Sax presents it, this supposition is untenable, yet it contains elements of truth which are not to be overlooked.)

has recently endeavoured to make probable, to the Hamitic race of Cushites, a nation belonging to the Tartaric (Turamic) family of nations. As to the Aryan origin, besides the relation of the Chaldeans, the Gordiaei, and the Carduchi to the modern Kurds, whose language belongs to the Indo-Germanic, and indeed to the Aryan family of languages, the further circumstance may be referred to: that in Assyria and Babylonia the elements of the Aryan language are found in very ancient times. Yet these two facts do not furnish any conclusive evidence on the point. From the language of the modern Kurds being related to the Aryan language no certain conclusion can be drawn as to the language of the ancient Chaldees, Gordiaei, and Carduchi; and the introduction of Aryan words and appellations into the language of the Semitic Assyrians and Babylonians is fully explained, partly from the intercourse which both could not but maintain with Iranians, the Medes and Persians, who were bordering nations, partly from the dominion exercised for some time over Babylonia by the Iranian race, which is affirmed in the fragments of Berosus, according to which the second dynasty in Babylon after the Flood was the Median. Notwithstanding we would decide in favour of the Aryan origin of the Chaldeans, did not on the one side the biblical account of the kingdom which Nimrod the Cushite founded in Babel and extended over Assyria (Genesis 10:8-12), and on the other the result to which the researches of the learned into the antiquities of Assyria regarding the development of culture and of writing in Babylonia,

(Note: The biblical tradition regarding the kingdom founded by Nimrod in Babel, Duncker (p. 204) has with arbitrary authority set aside, because it is irreconcilable with his idea of the development of Babylonian culture. It appears, however, to receive confirmation from recent researches into the ancient monuments of Babylonia and Assyria, which have led to the conclusion, that of the three kinds of cuneiform letters that of the Babylonian bricks is older than the Assyrian, and that the oldest form originated in an older hieroglyphic writing, of which isolated examples are found in the valley of the Tigris and in Susiana; whence it must be concluded that the invention of cuneiform letters did not take place among the Semites, but among a people of the Tauranian race which probably had in former times their seat in Susiana, or at the mouth of the Euphrates and the Tigris on the Persian Gulf. Cf. Spiegel in Herz.'s Realencyclop., who, after stating this result, remarks: "Thus the fact is remarkable that a people of the Turko-Tartaric race appear as the possessors of a high culture, while people of this tribe appear in the world's history almost always as only destitute of culture, and in many ways hindering civilisation; so that it cannot but be confessed that, so far as matters now are, one is almost constrained to imagine that the state of the case is as follows," and thus he concludes his history of cuneiform writing: - "Cuneiform writing arose in ancient times, several thousand years before the birth of Christ, very probably from an ancient hieroglyphic system of writing, in the region about the mouths of the Euphrates and the Tigris on the Persian Gulf. It was found existing by a people of a strange race, belonging neither to the Semites nor to the Indo-Germans. It was very soon, however, adopted by the Semites. The oldest monuments of cuneiform writing belong to the extreme south of the Mesopotamian plain. In the course of time it pressed northward first to Babylon, where it assumed a more regular form than among the Assyrians. From Assyria it may have come among the Indo-Germans first to Armenia; for the specimens of cuneiform writing found in Armenia are indeed in syllabic writing, but in a decidedly Indo-Germanic language. How the syllabic writing was changed into letter-(of the alphabet) writing is as yet obscure. The most recent kind of cuneiform writing which we know, the Old Persian, is decidedly letter-writing." Should this view of the development of the cuneiform style of writing be confirmed by further investigations, then it may be probable that the Chaldeans were the possessors and cultivators of this science of writing, and that their language and literature belonged neither to the Semitic nor yet to the Indo-Germanic or Aryan family of languages.)

make this view very doubtful.

If, then, for the present no certain answer can be given to the question as to the origin of the Chaldeans and the nature of their language and writing, yet this much may be accepted as certain, that the language and writing of the כּשׂדּים was not Semitic or Aramaic, but that the Chaldeans had in remote times migrated into Babylonia, and there had obtained dominion over the Semitic inhabitants of the land, and that from among this dominant race the Chaldees, the priestly and the learned cast of the Chaldeans, arose. This caste in Babylon is much older than the Chaldean monarchy founded by Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel and his companions were to be educated in the wisdom of the Chaldean priests and learned men, which was taught in the schools of Babylon, at Borsippa in Babylonia, and Hipparene in Mesopotamia (Strab. xvi. 1, and Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 26). Daniel 1:5. To this end Nebuchadnezzar assigned to them for their support provision from the king's household, following Oriental custom, according to which all officers of the court were fed from the king's table, as Athen. iv. 10, p. 69, and Plut. probl. vii. 4, testify regarding the Persians. This appears also (1 Kings 5:2-3) to have been the custom in Israel. בּיומו יום דּבר, the daily portion, cf. Exodus 5:13, Exodus 5:19; Jeremiah 52:34, etc. פּתבּג comes from path, in Zend. paiti, Sanscr. prati equals προτί, πρός, and bag, in Sanscr. bhâga, portion, provision, cf. Ezekiel 25:7. With regard to the composition, cf. The Sanscr. pratibhâgha, a portion of fruits, flowers, etc., which the Rajah daily requires for his household; cf. Gildemeister in Lassen's Zeits.f. d. Kunde des Morg. iv. 1, p. 214. פּתבּג therefore means neither ambrosia, nor dainties, but generally food, victuals, food of flesh and meal in opposition to wine, drink (משׁתּיו is singular), and vegetables (Daniel 1:12).

The king also limits the period of their education to three years, according to the Persian as well as the Chaldean custom. וּלגדּלם does not depend on ויּאמר (Daniel 1:3), but is joined with וימן, and is the final infinitive with וexplicative, meaning, and that he may nourish them. The infinitive is expressed by the fin. verb יעמדוּ, to stand before (the king). The carrying out of the king's command is passed over as a matter of course, yet it is spoken of as obeyed (cf. Daniel 1:6.).

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