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Daniel 1:6-11

Context
1:6 As it turned out, 1  among these young men 2  were some from Judah: 3  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 4  1:7 But the overseer of the court officials renamed them. He gave 5  Daniel the name Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abednego. 6 

1:8 But Daniel made up his mind 7  that he would not defile 8  himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine. 9  He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel. 10  1:10 But he 11  responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided 12  your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? 13  If that happened, 14  you would endanger my life 15  with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden 16  whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

1 tn Heb “and it happened that.”

2 tn Heb “among them”; the referent (the young men taken captive from Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Heb “the sons of Judah.”

4 sn The names reflect a Jewish heritage. In Hebrew Daniel means “God is my judge”; Hananiah means “the Lord is gracious”; Mishael means “who is what God is?”; Azariah means “the Lord has helped.”

5 tc The LXX and Vulgate lack the verb here.

6 sn The meanings of the Babylonian names are more conjectural than is the case with the Hebrew names. The probable etymologies are as follows: Belteshazzar means “protect his life,” although the MT vocalization may suggest “Belti, protect the king” (cf. Dan 4:8); Shadrach perhaps means “command of Aku”; Meshach is of uncertain meaning; Abednego means “servant of Nego.” Assigning Babylonian names to the Hebrew youths may have been an attempt to erase from their memory their Israelite heritage.

7 tn Heb “placed on his heart.”

8 tn Or “would not make himself ceremonially unclean”; TEV “become ritually unclean.”

sn Various reasons have been suggested as to why such food would defile Daniel. Perhaps it had to do with violations of Mosaic law with regard to unclean foods, or perhaps it had to do with such food having been offered to idols. Daniel’s practice in this regard is strikingly different from that of Esther, who was able successfully to conceal her Jewish identity.

9 tn Heb “with the delicacies of the king and with the wine of his drinking.”

10 tn Heb “Then God granted Daniel loyal love and compassion before the overseer of the court officials.” The expression “loyal love and compassion” is a hendiadys; the two words combine to express one idea.

11 tn Heb “The overseer of the court officials.” The subject has been specified in the translation for the sake of clarity.

12 tn Heb “assigned.” See v. 5.

13 tn Heb “Why should he see your faces thin from the young men who are according to your age?” The term translated “thin” occurs only here and in Gen 40:6, where it appears to refer to a dejected facial expression. The word is related to an Arabic root meaning “be weak.” See HALOT 277 s.v. II זעף.

14 tn The words “if that happened” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.

15 tn Heb “my head.” Presumably this is an implicit reference to capital punishment (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT), although this is not entirely clear.

16 sn Having failed to convince the overseer, Daniel sought the favor of the warden whom the overseer had appointed to care for the young men.



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