Daniel 1
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary


DANIEL, whose name signifies "the judgment of God," was of the royal blood of the kings of Juda, and one of those that were first of all carried away into captivity. He was so renowned for his wisdom and knowledge, that it became a proverb among the Babylonians, "as wise as Daniel;" (Ezechiel xxviii. 3.) and his holiness was so great from his very childhood, that at the time when he was as yet but a young man, he is joined by the Spirit of God with Noe[Noah] and Job, as three persons most eminent for virtue and sanctity. (Ezechiel xiv.) He is not commonly numbered by the Hebrews among the prophets, because he lived at court, and in high station in the world: but if we consider his many clear predictions of things to come, we shall find that no one better deserves the name and title of a prophet; which also has been given him by the Son of God himself. (Matthew xxiv.; Mark xiii.; Luke xxi.) (Challoner) --- The ancient Jews ranked him among the greatest prophets. (Josephus, Antiquities x. 12., and 1 Machabees ii. 59.) Those who came after Christ began to make frivolous exceptions, because he so clearly pointed out the coming of our Saviour, (Theodoret) that Porphyrius has no other method of evading this authority except by saying, that the book was written under Epiphanes after the event of many of the predictions. (St. Jerome) --- But this assertion is contrary to all antiquity. Some parts have indeed been questioned, which are found only in Greek. They must, however, have sometime existed in Hebrew or Chaldee else how should we have the version of Theodotion, which the Church has substituted instead of the Septuagint as that copy was become very incorrect, and is now lost? (Calmet) --- Some hopes of its recovery are nevertheless entertained; and its publication, at Rome, has been announced. (Kennicott.) --- In a title, it seems to make the Daniel visited by Habacuc, a priest; but it is abandoned. (Calmet) --- This version of course proves that the original was formerly known; and the loss of it, at present, is no more decisive against the authenticity of these pieces, that that of St. Matthew's Hebrew original, and of the Chaldee of Judith, &c. will evince that their works are spurious. (Haydock) ---Extracts of (Calmet) Aquila and Symmachus seen by St. Jerome, (Worthington) are also given in the Hexapla. Origen has answered the objections of Africanus, respecting the history of Susanna; and his arguments are equally cogent, when applied to the other contested works. The Jews and Christians were formerly both divided in their sentiments about these pieces. (Calmet) See St. Jerome in Jeremias xxix. 12. and xxxii. 44. --- But now as the Church (the pillar of truth) has spoken, all farther controversy ought to cease; (Haydock) and we should follow the precept, Remove not the landmarks which thy fathers have placed. (Deuteronomy xix. 14.) See N. Alex. [Alexander Noel] t. ii. St. Jerome, who sometimes calls these pieces "fables," explains himself, by observing, that he had delivered "not his own sentiments," but those of the Jews: quid illi contra nos dicere soleant. (Calmet) --- If he really denied their authority, his opinion ought not to outweigh that of so many other (Haydock) Fathers and Councils who receive them. They admit all the parts, as the Council of Trent expressly requires us to do. See St. Cyprian, &c., also the observations prefixed to Tobias, (Worthington) and p. 597. (Haydock) --- Paine remarks that Daniel and Ezechiel only pretended to have visions, and carried on an enigmatical correspondence relative to the recovery of their country. But this deserves no refutation. By allowing that their works are genuine, he cuts up the very root of his performance. (Watson) --- Daniel, according to Sir Isaac Newton, resembles the Apocalypse (as both bring us to the end of the Roman empire) and is "the most distinct in order of time, and easiest to be understood; and therefore, in those things that relate to the last times, he must be made a key to the rest." (Bp. Newton.) --- Yet there are many difficulties which require a knowledge of history; (St. Jerome; Worthington) and we must reflect on the words of Christ, He that readeth, let him understand. (Matthew xxiv. 15.) Daniel (Haydock) is supposed to have died at court, (Calmet) aged 110, having written many things of Christ. (Worthington) --- His name is not prefixed to his book, yet as Prideaux observes, he sufficiently shews himself in the sequel to be the author. (Haydock)

Third, at the conclusion, so that it is called the fourth. (Jeremias xxv. 1.) (Cornelius a Lapide; Menochius) --- Nabuchodonosor began his expedition into Syria a year before he was king; (Salien, A. 3428 [in the year of the world 3428 or 624 B.C.]. Josephus, &c.) or he had the title before his father Nabopolassar's death. (Usher, A. 3397 [in the year of the world 3397 or 607 B.C.].) --- The following year he took Joakim, with a design to convey him to Babylon; but left him on hard terms, and seized many of the sacred vessels, Daniel, &c. (Calmet) --- Joakim reigned other eight years. (2 Paralipomenon xxxvi. 5.) (Worthington)

His god; Bel, or Belas, the principal idol of the Chaldeans. (Challoner) --- The king pretended to derive his pedigree from Belus, (Abyd. Eusebius, prזp. 1.) and greatly enriched his temple, (Calmet) which Xerxes demolished. (Arrian.) --- God. Some part might be kept in the palace. (Chap. v. 10. and 2 Paralipomenon xxxvi. 7.)

Eunuchs, or chief officers. The Jews assert that Daniel was made an eunuch. (Isaias xxxix. 7.) But he might be so styled on account of his dignity. (Calmet) --- Princes. Literally, "tyrants." (Haydock) --- This name was afterwards only rendered odious by the misconduct of several kings. (Calmet) --- Hebrew parthemim, (Haydock) seems to be of Greek derivation, alluding to Greek: protimoi, or protoi, "the first or most honoured." (Drusius) --- We find here other Greek words. (Calmet)

Blemish. Deformed people were excluded the throne, or the king's presence. (Procopius 1.) --- Science; well educated, or apt to learn. They were first to be taught the Chaldee letters, which then differed from the Hebrew. (Calmet)

Meat: more exquisite. (De Dieu.) --- All was first served on the king's table. (Atheneus vi. 14.)

Juda. It is thought all four were of royal blood. (Calmet) --- Others were also kept at court. (Menochius)

Baltassar, or as Chaldees ((Calmet) or Masorets. (Haydock)) pronounce, Beltesasar, "the treasurer of Baal." The names were changed to testify their subjection, (Calmet) and that they might embrace the manners of the Chaldees. (Menochius) --- The new names alluded to the sun. (Calmet)

Daniel, as head and nearer the throne, gave good example to the rest. (Worthington) --- Defiled, either by eating meat forbidden by the law, or which had before been offered to idols. (Challoner) --- It was customary among the pagans to make an offering of some parts to their gods, or throw it into the fire. (Theodoret; Calmet) --- These reasons determined the pious youths, (Haydock) who desired also to keep free from gluttony and other vices. (Theodoret) (Worthington)

Malassar, another inferior officer. It means also one appointed over the mouth or provisions, (Calmet) and might be Asphenez (ver. 3, 9.) (Haydock)

Pulse. That is, pease, beans, and such like. (Challoner) --- St. Basil hence shews the advantages of fasting; and Catholics, who imitate Daniel, may expect the like reward in heaven: and the hope that such a pattern would not displease their dissenting brethren, but rather screen them from their profane sarcasms. (Haydock)

Dreams. He was learned in all the sciences of the country, like Moses. (Acts vii. 22.) (Calmet) --- They studies these things, in order to refute what was erroneous: discunt....ut judicent. (St. Jerome) --- The Chaldeans paid great attention to dreams. Daniel acquired the knowledge of such as were sent from heaven by the gift of God, as Joseph had done. To pay any regard to common dreams would be childish (Calmet) and sinful, if the person depend on them for the knowledge of futurity. (Haydock)

Diviners, or fortune-tellers. --- Wise men. Septuagint, "philosophers." (Calmet) --- Hebrew, Ashaphim, may come from the Greek sophoi. (Grotius) --- They had been educated three years. (ver. 5) (Haydock)

Cyrus; and also to the third, (Chap. x) and of course during the whole of the captivity. (Worthington) --- He was maintained in power by the conqueror of Babylon. (Chap. vi. 18. and xiv. 1.) He first displayed his sagacity in the cause of Susanna, (Chap. xiii. (Calmet)) whose history was placed at the head of the book, in Theodotion, (St. Jerome in Isaias iii. 1.) as in its natural order. (Calmet)

Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary

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