Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now among these . . .—Four persons only are mentioned here, because the narrative of the book is only concerned with four. Daniel calls our attention to the fact that the very four whom Providence had endowed with the greatest natural gifts were those by whose constancy and example the king was converted. The names of these four were subsequently changed, with the view of showing that they had become nationalised Chaldee subjects. (Comp. 2Kings 23:34; 2Kings 24:17.) The name Belteshazzar must be carefully distinguished from Belshazzar. It is said to mean, protect his life (balatsu-usur). Daniel appears, if this be the true meaning of the name, to have endeared himself at a very early period to Ashpenaz. (See Daniel 4:18.) Abed-nego is apparently Servant of Nebo, the b and g having been designedly interchanged, on account of Azariah’s unwillingness to bear a heathen name. Shadrach and Meshach have not as yet been explained, but probably the clue to their interpretation is to be found in the last syllable, ach, which occurs also in Merodach and Arioch.Daniel 1:6-7. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, &c. — All their names had some affinity with the name of Jehovah, the God whom they worshipped. Daniel signifies, God is my judge, or the judgment of God; Hananiah, God has been gracious to me, or, one favoured of Jehovah; Mishael, the powerful one of God; Azariah, the help of Jehovah, or, Jehovah is my succour. In like manner, the prince of the eunuchs, in changing their names, as a mark of dominion and authority over them, gave them such as had an affinity with the names of the gods of the Chaldees; Belteshazzar, the name given to Daniel, being derived from Bel, or Baal, the chief idol of Babylon, and signifying the treasurer of Baal, or, the depositary of the secrets, or treasure, of Baal. Shadrach, according to some, means the inspiration of the sun; being derived from shada, to pour out, and rach, a king, a name given to the sun by the Babylonians. Meshach, derived from a Babylonian deity called Shach, or from a goddess called Sheshach, is thought to signify, He who belongs to Shach, or Sheshach. Abed-nego imports the servant of the shining light, or, as Calmet thinks, of the sun, or the morning star, unless the word should be written Abed-nebo, referring to the idol so called, which gave name to several distinguished personages among the Babylonians: see Isaiah 46:2. It is certain from Herodotus, lib. 1., that the Chaldeans worshipped Jupiter Belus, Venus, and other idols, or the same under other names; and from these it is probable that the names were given, according to Chaldee usage, to these young men.Daniel 1:3. The phrase "the children of Judah" is only another term to denote that they were Hebrews. They belonged to the tribe, or the kingdom of Judah.
Daniel - This name (דניאל dânı̂yê'l) means properly "judge of God;" that is, one who acts as judge in the name of God. Why this name was given to him is not known. We cannot, however, fail to be struck with its appropriateness, as the events of his life showed. Nor is it known whether he belonged to the royal family, or to the nobles of the land, but as the selection was made from that class it is probable. Those who were at first carried into captivity were selected exclusively from the more elevated classes of society, and there is every reason to believe that Daniel belonged to a family of rank and consequence. The Jews say that he was of the royal family, and was descended from Hezekiah, and cite his history in confirmation of the prophecy addressed by Isaiah to that monarch, "Of thy sons which shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon," Isaiah 39:7. Compare Introduction Section I.
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah - Of the rank and early history of these young men nothing is known. They became celebrated for their refusal to worship the golden image set up by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:12, following.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; who are particularly mentioned, because they were the most famous and renowned of them, and are concerned in the subsequent history and account of facts: their names are expressive and significant: Daniel signifies "God is my Judge"; Hananiah may be interpreted "God is gracious to me"; Mishael is by some thought to be the same as Michael, "he who is God", or "as God"; and by others, "asked of God", by his mother, as Samuel was by Hannah, so Saadiah interprets it; and Azariah may be explained, "God is my help", or "helps me".Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. Mishael] ‘Who is what God is?’ (cf. Michael, ‘Who is like God?’), a name found also in Exodus 6:22, Leviticus 10:4 (of a cousin of Moses’); and in Nehemiah 8:4.
6, 7. Among the noble youths thus selected were four belonging to the tribe of Judah, who are named specially as forming the subject of the following narratives.Verse 6. - Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The versions present no difficulty here, only the Septuagint adds a clause to bring this verse into harm(my with ver. 3: the Septuagint rendering is, "And there were of the race of the sons of Israel that came from Judaea, Daniel, Ananias, Mishael, and Azarias." That they were of "the children of Judah" seems to exclude the possibility of these four belonging to any other tribe, all the more that the whole children of Israel are spoken of in the third verse. The version which we find in the Septuagint leaves the matter tree. At the same time, the addition is one that is so naturally suggested by the third verse, that we cannot claim that the reading of the Septuagint is the more probable. The names of the four companions all occur elsewhere, and, as is usual with Hebrew names, all are significant. Daniel means either "Judge of God" or "God my Judge." As Hebrew grammar is now, the latter is the meaning; but there was an older form of the construct state, which appears in proper names like "Gabriel," which makes it probable that "Judge of God" or "Divine Judge" is the meaning intended to be conveyed. This meaning is in,plied in the story of Susanna and the eiders. David's son by Abigail the Carmelitess is called Daniel in 1 Chronicles 3:1. In the case of the son of David, the name would probably indicate the confidence in God which his father felt, rather than any description of the son. In Ezra 8:2 a Daniel is mentioned who seems to be a son of Ithamar. We say "seems to be," because it is evident that there is an omission somewhere of a name; if the omission has taken place before m'bne Phinhas, then Daniel becomes the representative of the sons of David, and Hattush the representative of the sons of Pabath. In Nehemiah 10:6 in the number of the priests who sealed the covenant, is a "Daniel" named, who may be the same as the preceding. In the LXX. version of the apocryphal additions to Daniel, the prophet is identified with the priest. The first verse in the story of Bel and the Dragon is, "There was a certain man, a priest, whose name was Daniel, the son of Abal, the familiar friend of the King of Babylon." There is nothing to make it certain, it we do not take the phrase here in its absolute sense, that Daniel did not belong to the family of Aaron; if we take the phrase in its restricted sense, then the balance of probability is that he was a member of the Davidic family. Hananiah (Hananyah; Greek, Ἀνανίας: the Hebrew form, as in the case of other names with the same termination, is sometimes lengthened to Hananyahu). The name means "The Lord Jehovah is gracious." This name is one of the most common in the Bible. Sometimes it is reversed, and becomes Jehohanan or Johanan, and hence "John." The earliest is the head of the sixteenth of the twenty-four courses into which David divided the Hemanites (2 Chronicles 25:4). In the reign of Uzziah there appears one as a chief captain (2 Chronicles 26:11). In Jeremiah there are three; most prominent, however, is the false prophet who declared that Jeconiah and all his fellow-captives would be brought back in the space of two years (Jeremiah 28:15). One of the ancestors of our Lord, called in Luke (Luke 3:27) Joanna, the son of Rhess, grandson of Zerubbabel, is called in 1 Chronicles 3:19 Hananiah, and reckoned a son of Zerubbabel. In the Book of Nehemiah there are several persons spoken of as bearing this name, not impossibly as many as six. In New Testament times it was still common: Ananias the husband of Sapphira (Acts 5:1); the devout Jew of Damascus, sent to Paul (Acts 9:10); the high priest in the time of Paul (Acts 23:2). Unlike Hananiah, Mishael is one of the rarer names It occurs as the name of one of the sons of Uzziel, the uncle of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:22; Leviticus 10:4), and again as one who stood at Ezra's left hand when he read the Law (Nehemiah 8:4). There is some question as to the meaning of the name. Two interpretations have been suggested; the simplest and most direct is, "Who is what God is;" the other is, "Who is like God." The objection to the first is that the contracted relative is employed, which does not elsewhere appear in this book. This, however, is not insuperable, as the contracted form of the relative was in common use in the northern kingdom, and might, therefore, appear in a name; the objection to the second is that a letter is omitted, but such omissions continually occur. Hitzig refers to ימים, from יום, as a case in point. Azariah, "Jehovah is Helper," is, like Hananiah, a very common name throughout Jewish history It is the name by which Uzziah is called in 2 Kings 14:21: 15:1, 7, 8, 17 (called Uzziah in vers. 13, 30, as also in 2 Chronicles 27.) It is the name of four high priests:
(1) one (1 Chronicles 6:10)during the reign of Solomon, the grandson of Zadok;
(2) the high priest during the reign of Jehoshaphat (1 Chronicles 6:11);
(3) high priest during the reign of his namesake Azariah or Uzziah King of Judah (2 Chronicles 26:17-20);
(4) high priest in the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:10-14). There is also a prophet of this name (2 Chronicles 15:1) in the days of Asa King of Judah. While this name is so common before the Captivity, it is not so common after it, though there is a captain of the army of Judas Maccabteus called "Azarias." While all the names contain the name of God, either in the covenant form "Jehovah" or the common form "el," yet there is nothing in the names to suggest the history before us. Jewish tradition made them out to be of the royal family; of this there is no certainty. In the time of Jerome it was held they were eunuchs, and thus the prophecy in Isaiah (Isaiah 39:7) was fulfilled. Others have held that Isaiah 56:3, "Let not the eunuch say, I am a dry tree," had a reference to those captives. So far, however, as we know, eunuchs might be attendants of Assyrian and Babylonian monarchs might bear the state umbrella over their heads, might give the cup to them, might arrange their couch for them, or announce their approach to the harem, but were not their councillors or warriors. That was left for the days of the Byzantine Empire, when the eunuch Narses retained Italy for the empire. Ezekiel 44:17. And it shall come to pass, when they go to the gates of the inner court, they shall put on linen clothes, and no wool shall lie upon them, when they serve in the gates of the inner court and serve toward the house. Ezekiel 44:18. Linen turbans shall be upon their head, and linen drawers upon their hips; they shall not gird themselves in sweat. Ezekiel 44:19. And when they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall take off their clothes in which they have ministered, and put them in the holy cells, and put on other clothes, that they may not sanctify the people with their clothes. Ezekiel 44:20. And they shall not shave their head bald, nor let their hair grow freely; they shall cut the hair of their head. Ezekiel 44:21. And they shall not drink wine, no priest, when they go into the inner court. Ezekiel 44:22. And a window and a divorced woman they shall not take as wives, but virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, and the widow who has become the widow of a priest they may take. Ezekiel 44:23. And they shall teach my people, make known to them the difference between holy and common, and between unclean and clean. Ezekiel 44:24. And they shall stand to judge concerning disputes; and they shall observe my laws and my statutes at all my feasts, and sanctify my Sabbaths. Ezekiel 44:25. And one shall not go to any corpse of a man to defile himself; only for father and mother, for son and daughter, for brother, for sister who had no husband, may they defile themselves. Ezekiel 44:26. And after his purification shall they reckon seven days more to him; Ezekiel 44:27. And on the day when he comes to the holy place, into the inner court, to serve in the holy place, he shall offer his sin-offering, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Ezekiel 44:28. And so shall it be with their inheritance, that I am their inheritance, ye shall not give them a possession in Israel: I am their possession. Ezekiel 44:29. The meat-offering, and the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering, these shall they eat, and everything banned in Israel shall belong to them. Ezekiel 44:30. And the firstlings of all the first-fruits of everything, and every heave-offering of everything, of all your heave-offerings, shall belong to the priests; and the firstlings of all your ground meal shall ye give to the priest, that a blessing may come down upon thy house. Ezekiel 44:31. No carrion nor anything torn in pieces of fowl and of beast shall the priests eat. - To the directions, who are to perform the service in the new temple, there are appended corresponding instructions concerning the bodily condition in which this service is to be performed, as the bodily condition shadows forth the state of the soul, or the spiritual constitution of the servants of God. The dress prescribed in Exodus 28 for the priests to wear during the holy service had this signification. The same rule is here presupposed as still in force; and it is simply renewed and partially emphasized by the enumeration of some of the leading points. At the service at the altar and in the holy place the priests are to wear linen clothes, and, after the performance of the service, they are to take them off again when they go into the outer court (Ezekiel 44:17-19). In the Mosaic law, שׁשׁ, white byssus, or בּד, white linen, is mentioned as the material used for the priests' clothing (Exodus 28:39, Exodus 28:42); here the material is more distinctly designated as פּשׁתּים, flax linen; and צמר, animal wool, is expressly forbidden, the motive being assigned for this regulation, namely, that the priest is not to cause himself to sweat by wearing woollen clothing. Sweat produces uncleanness; and the priest, by keeping his body clean, is to show even outwardly that he is clean and blameless. With regard to the putting on and off of the official clothes, the new thorah accords with the Mosaic. For we cannot agree with Kliefoth, who detects a deviation in the fact that, according to Exodus 28:43, the priests were to wear the official clothes only when they entered the tabernacle and when approaching the altar, and, according to Leviticus 6:4; Leviticus 16:23, were to take them off when the service was ended; whereas, according to Ezekiel 44:17 of the chapter before us, they were to put them on as soon as they entered the inner court, and were never to come before the people in the official costume. If, according to the Mosaic law, the priests were to go before the altar of burnt-offering in the court in their holy official dress, and not otherwise, they must have put on this dress on entering the court; for they could not wait till they were in front of the altar before they changed their clothes. For the expression צאת אל העם does not imply that, according to Ezekiel, they were never to appear in the presence of the people in their official costume, as it does not mean "come before the people," but "go out to the people," or "walk among the people;" nor is this involved in the words 'ולא יקדּשׁוּ , they shall not sanctify the people in their clothes (by their clothes). The latter by no means affirms that they are to sanctify the people by intercourse with them, but are not to do this in official costume; the meaning is simply that they are not to move among the people in the outer court while wearing their official clothes, that they may not sanctify them by their holy clothes.
This sanctification cannot be understood in any other way than as analogous to the rule laid down in the law, that touching most holy sacrificial flesh would sanctify (Leviticus 6:11, Leviticus 6:20), which Ezekiel repeats in Ezekiel 46:20, and which does not stand in anything like an isolated position in the law, but is also affirmed in Exodus 29:37 and Exodus 30:29 of the altar of burnt-offering and the vessels of the sanctuary. The same thing which applied to these vessels - namely, that their holiness passed from them to any one who touched them - is here predicated of the holy dresses of the priests; and the moving of the priests among the people in their holy clothes is forbidden, because such holiness, acquired by contact with holy objects, imposed upon the person to whom it had passed the obligation to guard against all defilement (Leviticus 21:1-8), which the people could not avoid in the ordinary relations of life, and thus a weakening or abolition of the distinction between things holy and common would inevitably have ensued. לשׁכות הקּדשׁ are the holy cell-buildings described in Ezekiel 42:1-14. - To the clothing there is simply appended in Ezekiel 44:20 the direction concerning the hair of the head, the natural covering of the head, in relation to which excess on either side is prohibited, either shaving the head bald or wearing the hair uncut. Both of these were forbidden to the priests in the law: shaving in Leviticus 21:5, and letting the hair grow freely in Leviticus 10:6; and the latter was simply imposed upon the Nazarites for the period of their vow (Numbers 6:5). כּסם only occurs here; but its meaning, to cut the hair, is obvious from the context. - Ezekiel 44:21. The prohibition of the drinking of wine when performing service agrees with Leviticus 10:9; on the other hand, the instructions concerning the choice of wives are sharpened in Ezekiel 44:22, as that which only applied to the high priest in the law is here extended to all the priests. In fact, Ezekiel throughout makes no distinction between the high priest and the common priests. In Leviticus 21:14, marrying a widow is only forbidden to the high priest, who was to marry a virgin of his own people, whereas no such restriction is laid down for the ordinary priests. Here, on the other hand, marrying a widow is forbidden to all the priests, marriage with the widow of a priest being the only one allowed. מכּהן belongs to תּהיה, who has become the widow of a priest.
(Note: The Rabbins (Targ. Talm. and Masor. according to their accentuation) have endeavoured to obliterate this distinction, by applying the first hemistich to the high priest alone, and explaining the second thus: "The widow, who is really a widow, the priest may take," interpreting מכּהן by quidam sacerdotum, or aliqui ex ordine sacerdotali, or ceteri sacerdotes. But this is contrary to the usage of the language, as מכּהן cannot possibly be understood in a partitive sense in this passage, where the priests generally are spoken of, and the plural יקּחוּ follows.)
In Ezekiel 44:23 and Ezekiel 44:24 the general official duties of the priests are mentioned, viz., to teach the people, and to instruct them concerning the difference between the holy and the unholy, the clean and the unclean, as in Leviticus 10:10 (cf. Deuteronomy 33:10 and Ezekiel 22:26); also to administer justice in questions in dispute according to the rights of God-a duty which had already been committed to the priests in its highest form in Deuteronomy 17:8., Deuteronomy 19:17, and Deuteronomy 21:5. על ריב, concerning, in the case of, matters in dispute. עמד , to stand to judge, i.e., to appear or act as judge (compare העמיד שׁפטים, to appoint or institute judges, in 2 Chronicles 19:5). The Keri למשׁפּט is a needless emendation after 2 Chronicles 19:8. The Chetib ושׁפטהוּ, on the other hand, is a copyist's error for ישׁפטהוּ. Lastly, at all the feasts they are to observe the laws and statutes of Jehovah, that is to say, to perform all the priestly duties binding upon them at the feasts, and to sanctify the Sabbaths, not merely by offering the Sabbath sacrifices, but also by maintaining the Sabbath rest (cf. Leviticus 23:3). - In Ezekiel 44:25-27 there follow regulations concerning defilement from the dead, and its removal. Ezekiel 44:25 is a simple repetition of Leviticus 21:1-3. But the instructions concerning the purification from defilement from the dead are sharpened, inasmuch as not only is the purification prescribed by the law (Numbers 19:1.), and which lasted seven days, required (this is meant by טהרתו), but a further period of seven days is appointed after these, at the expiration of which the presentation of a sin-offering is demanded before the service in the sanctuary can be resumed. By this demand for a heightened purification, the approach to a corpse permitted to the priests, which was prohibited to the high priest in the Mosaic law, even in the case of father and mother (Leviticus 21:11), is tolerably equalized.
For these duties and obligations of service the priests are to receive corresponding emoluments. These are treated of in Ezekiel 44:28-31. They are not, indeed, to receive any share of the land as their property in time to come any more than in former times; but in the place of this Jehovah will be their property and possession, and give them the necessary room for their dwellings from His own property in the land (Ezekiel 45:4), and let them draw their maintenance from His altar (Ezekiel 44:29 and Ezekiel 44:30). The promise that Jehovah will be the נחלה and אחזּה of the priests is a simple repetition of the regulation in the law (Numbers 18:20; Deuteronomy 18:1; Deuteronomy 10:9). So far as the construction in Ezekiel 44:28 is concerned, the words אני נחלתם are really the subject to 'והיתה להם לן, which we are obliged to render obliquely, "the inheritance for them shall be, I am their inheritance." For the proposal of Hitzig to take the words from אני נחלתם to the close of the verse as a parenthesis, and to regard 'המּנחה וגו in Ezekiel 44:29 as the subject to 'והיתה, is untenable, not only on account of the great harshness which such a parenthesis would involve, but principally because these portions of the sacrifices and heave-offerings which belonged to the priest were not a נחלה, and are never designated as נחלה, inheritance, i.e., property in land. Ezekiel 44:28 treats of the property in land, which God assigned to the Levites and priests under the Mosaic economy, by appointing them towns to dwell in, with meadows for the feeding of their cattle, within the territory of the other tribes, but would assign to them in future from the heave-offering set apart from the land for the sanctuary (Ezekiel 45:4). It is not till Ezekiel 44:29 and Ezekiel 44:30 that the means of support for the priests are spoken of. They are to be supported from the sacrifices and the tithes and first-fruits which Israel has to pay to Jehovah as the lord of the land, and which He transfers to His servants the priests. For the priests' share of the meat-offering, sin-offering, and trespass-offering, see Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 6:9, Leviticus 6:11, Leviticus 6:19; Leviticus 7:6-7; for that which is put under the ban, Leviticus 27:21; for the first-fruits, Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Deuteronomy 18:4; Numbers 18:13; for the תּרוּמות, Numbers 15:19; Numbers 18:19; for the ראשׁית עריסות, Numbers 15:20-21. In 'להניח, "to cause a blessing to rest upon thy house," the individual Israelite is addressed. For the fact itself, see Malachi 3:10. - To the enumeration of the means of support there is appended in Ezekiel 44:31 an emphatic repetition of the command in Leviticus 22:8, not to eat of any dead thing (i.e., anything that has died a natural death), or anything torn to pieces, either of birds or beasts, on account of its defiling (Leviticus 17:15).
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