Daniel 1:6
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
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(6) 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.

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.Now among these were of the children of Judah - That is, these were a part of those who were selected. They are mentioned because they became so prominent in the transactions which are subsequently recorded in this book, and because they evinced such extraordinary virtue in the development of the principles in which they had been trained, and in the remarkable trials through which they were called to pass. It does not appear that they are mentioned here particularly on account of any distinction of birth or rank, for though they were among the noble and promising youth of the land, yet it is clear that others of the same rank and promise also were selected, 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.

6. children of Judah—the most noble tribe, being that to which the "king's seed" belonged (compare Da 1:3). Doubtless most of them of the royal lineage of Judah, to which tribe God had a special respect, upon the account of David; and this tribe of Judah had the pre-eminence in many things.

Now among these were of the children of Judea, Among those youths that were selected from the rest, and brought up in the above manner, and for the above purposes, who were of the tribe of Judah, and very likely of the house of David, and of royal descent, were the four following persons:

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:
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. Daniel 1:6Daniel and his three friends were among the young men who were carried to Babylon. They were of the sons of Judah, i.e., of the tribe of Judah. From this it follows that the other youths of noble descent who had been carried away along with them belonged to other tribes. The name of none of these is recorded. The names only of Daniel and his three companions belonging to the same tribe are mentioned, because the history recorded in this book specially brings them under our notice. As the future servants of the Chaldean king, they received as a sign of their relation to him other names, as the kings Eliakim and Mattaniah had their names changed (2 Kings 23:34; 2 Kings 24:17) by Necho and Nebuchadnezzar when they made them their vassals. But while these kings had only their paternal names changed for other Israelitish names which were given to them by their conquerors, Daniel and his friends received genuine heathen names in exchange for their own significant names, which were associated with that of the true God. The names given to them were formed partly from the names of Babylonish idols, in order that thereby they might become wholly naturalized, and become estranged at once from the religion and the country of their fathers.

(Note: "The design of the king was to lead these youths to adopt the customs of the Chaldeans, that they might have nothing in common with the chosen people." - Calvin.)

Daniel, i.e., God will judge, received the name Belteshazzar, formed from Bel, the name of the chief god of the Babylonians. Its meaning has not yet been determined. Hananiah, i.e., the Lord is gracious, received the name Shadrach, the origin of which is wholly unknown; Mishael, i.e., who is what the Lord is, was called Meshach, a name yet undeciphered; and Azariah, i.e., the Lord helps, had his name changed into Abednego, i.e., slave, servant of Nego or Nebo, the name of the second god of the Babylonians (Isaiah 46:1), the בbeing changed by the influence of בin עבד into ג (i.e., Nego instead of Nebo).

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