Daniel 1:1
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) In the third year.—Two questions are involved in this verse. (1) Is it historically true that Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign? (2) Does the language of the verse imply that he did so? The second question is rightly answered in the negative. The word came means went, as Genesis 45:17; 2Kings 5:5, and it is the natural word for a Hebrew to use who wrote from Babylon, and may be translated marched. It is therefore implied in this verse that Nebuchadnezzar started from Babylon in the third year of Jehoiakim. The rest of the history is easily supplied from other portions of Scripture. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim he conquered Pharaoh at Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2), and then advanced upon Jerusalem. (See marginal reference.) The name Nebuchadnezzar is sometimes more correctly spelt Nebuchadrezzar, but no argument can be based upon the different modes of spelling the name, as the difficulties of transliteration of Babylonian names into Hebrew characters are considerable.

Daniel 1:1-2. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim came Nebuchadnezzar, &c. — See notes on 2 Kings 24:1-4. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim into his hand — He took Jehoiakim prisoner, and put him in chains, with a design to carry him to Babylon; but he having humbled himself, and submitted to become tributary, he was restored to his kingdom. “At this time,” says Lowth, “Jehoiakim having become tributary to the king of Babylon, consequently the seventy years of the Jewish captivity and vassalage to Babylon began.” With part of the vessels of the house of God — Some of the vessels were still left, which Nebuchadnezzar seized when he carried Jeconiah captive: see the margin; which he carried into the land of Shinar — That is, he carried the vessels, and not, as some would understand it, the captives also; for Jehoiakim only is mentioned, who died, as we have seen, in the land of Judah. Shinar was the original name of the country about Babylon, (Genesis 11:2,) and it was still sometimes called by this name by some of the prophets: see the margin. And he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god — Of his idol Bel, (see note on Jeremiah 50:2,) from whence they were taken by Cyrus, and delivered to Zerubbabel, Ezra 1:7-8. To this agrees the testimony of Berosus, who tells us that Nebuchadnezzar adorned the temple of Bel with the spoils of war which he had taken in that expedition: see Joseph. Antiq., lib. 10. cap. 11.

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.In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem - This event occurred, according to Jahn ("History of the Hebrew Commonwealth"), in the year 607 b.c., and in the 368th year after the revolt of the ten tribes. According to Usher, it was in the 369th year of the revolt, and 606 b.c. The computation of Usher is the one generally received, but the difference of a year in the reckoning is not material. Compare Michaelis, Anmerkung, zu 2 Kon. xxiv. 1. Jehoiakim was a son of Josiah, a prince who was distinguished for his piety, 2 Kings 22:2; 2 Chronicles 35:1-7. After the death of Josiah, the people raised to the throne of Judah Jehoahaz, the youngest son of Josiah, probably because he appeared better qualified to reign than his elder brother, 2 Kings 23:30; 2 Chronicles 36:1. He was a wicked prince, and after he had been on the throne three months, he was removed by Pharaoh-nechoh, king of Egypt, who returned to Jerusalem from the conquest of Phoenicia, and placed his elder brother, Eliakim, to whom he gave the name of Jehoiakim, on the throne, 2 Kings 23:34; 2 Chronicles 36:4.

Jehoahaz was first imprisoned in Riblah, 2 Kings 23:33, and was afterward removed to Egypt, 2 Chronicles 36:4. Jehoiakim, an unworthy son of Josiah, was, in reality, as he is represented by Jeremiah, one of the worst kings who reigned over Judah. His reign continued eleven years, and as he came to the throne 611 b.c., his reign continued to the year 600 b.c. In the third year of his reign, after the battle of Megiddo, Pharaoh-nechoh undertook a second expedition against Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, with a numerous army, drawn in part from Western Africa, Lybia and Ethiopia. - Jahn's Hist. Heb. "Commonwealth," p. 134. This Nabopolassar, who is also called Nebuchadnezzar I, was at this time, as Berosus relates, aged and infirm. He therefore gave up a part of his army to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who defeated the Egyptian host at Carchemish (Circesium) on the Euphrates, and drove Nechoh out of Asia. The victorious prince marched directly to Jerusalem, which was then under the sovereignty of Egypt. After a short siege Jehoiakim surrendered, and was again placed on the throne by the Babylonian prince.

Nebuchadnezzar took part of the furniture of the temple as booty, and carried back with him to Babylon several young men, the sons of the principal Hebrew nobles, among whom were Daniel and his three friends referred to in this chapter. It is not improbable that one object in conveying them to Babylon was that they might be hostages for the submission and good order of the Hebrews in their own land. It is at this time that the Babylonian sovereignty over Judah commences, commonly called the Babylonian captivity, which, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 25:1-14; Jeremiah 29:10, was to continue seventy years. In Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 46:2, it is said that this was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; in the passage before us it is said that it was the third year. This difference, says Jahn, arises from a different mode of computation: "Jehoiakim came to the throne at the end of the year, which Jeremiah reckons as the first (and such a mode of reckoning is not uncommon), but Daniel, neglecting the incomplete year, numbers one less:" For a more full and complete examination of the objection to the genuineness of Daniel from this passage, I would refer to Prof. Stuart on Daniel, "Excursus" I.((See App. I. to this Vol.)

And besieged it - Jerusalem was a strongly-fortified place, and it was not easy to take it, except as the result of a siege. It was, perhaps, never carried by direct and immediate assault. Compare 2 Kings 25:1-3, for an account of a siege of Jerusalem a second time by Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the city was besieged about a year and a half. How long the siege here referred to continued is not specified.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL. Commentary by A. R. Faussett

INTRODUCTION

Daniel, that is, "God is my judge"; probably of the blood royal (compare Da 1:3, with 1Ch 3:1, where a son of David is named so). Jerusalem may have been his birthplace (though Da 9:24, "thy holy city," does not necessarily imply this). He was carried to Babylon among the Hebrew captives brought thither by Nebuchadnezzar at the first deportation in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. As he and his three companions are called (Da 1:4) "children," he cannot have been more than about twelve years old when put in training, according to Eastern etiquette, to be a courtier (Da 1:3, 6). He then received a new name, by which it was usual to mark a change in one's condition (2Ki 23:34; 24:17; Ezr 5:14; Es 2:7), Belteshazzar, that is, "a prince favored by Bel" (Da 1:7). His piety and wisdom were proverbial among his countrymen at an early period; probably owing to that noble proof he gave of faithfulness, combined with wisdom, in abstaining from the food sent to him from the king's table, as being polluted by the idolatries usual at heathen banquets (Da 1:8-16). Hence Ezekiel's reference to him (Eze 14:14, 20; 28:3) is precisely of that kind we should expect; a coincidence which must be undesigned. Ezekiel refers to him not as a writer, but as exhibiting a character righteous and wise in discerning secrets, in those circumstances now found in his book, which are earlier than the time when Ezekiel wrote. As Joseph rose in Egypt by interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, so Daniel, by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's, was promoted to be governor of Babylonia, and president of the Magian priest-caste. Under Evil-merodach, Nebuchadnezzar's successor, as a change of officers often attends the accession of a new king, Daniel seems to have had a lower post, which led him occasionally to be away from Babylon (Da 8:2, 27). Again he came into note when he read the mystic writing of Belshazzar's doom on the wall on the night of that monarch's impious feast. Berosus calls the last Babylonian king Nabonidus and says he was not killed, but had an honorable abode in Carmania assigned to him, after having surrendered voluntarily in Borsippa. Rawlinson has cleared up the discrepancy from the Nineveh inscription. Belshazzar was joint king with his father, Evil-merodach or Nabonidus (called Minus in the inscriptions), to whom he was subordinate. He shut himself up in Babylon, while the other king took refuge elsewhere, namely, in Borsippa. Berosus gives the Chaldean account, which suppresses all about Belshazzar, as being to the national dishonor. Had Daniel been a late book, he would no doubt have taken up the later account of Berosus. If he gave a history differing from that current in Babylonia, the Jews of that region would not have received it as true. Darius the Mede, or Cyaxares II, succeeded and reigned two years. The mention of this monarch's reign, almost unknown to profane history (being eclipsed by the splendor of Cyrus) is an incidental proof that Daniel wrote as a contemporary historian of events which he knew, and did not borrow from others. In the third year of Cyrus he saw the visions (the tenth through twelfth chapters) relating to his people down to the latest days and the coming resurrection. He must have been about eighty-four years old at this time. Tradition represents Daniel as having died and been buried at Shushan. Though his advanced age did not allow him to be among those who returned to Palestine, yet he never ceased to have his people's interests nearest to his heart (Da 9:3-19; 10:12).

Authenticity of the Book of Daniel. Da 7:1, 28; 8:2; 9:2; 10:1, 2; 12:4, 5, testify that it was composed by Daniel himself. He does not mention himself in the first six chapters, which are historical; for in these it is not the author, but the events which are the prominent point. In the last six, which are prophetical, the author makes himself known, for here it was needed, prophecy being a revelation of words to particular men. It holds a third rank in the Hebrew canon: not among the prophets, but in the Hagiographa (Chetubim), between Esther and Ezra, books like it relating to the captivity; because he did not strictly belong to those who held exclusively the profession of "prophets" in the theocracy, but was rather a "seer," having the gift, but not the office of prophet. Were the book an interpolated one, it doubtless would have been placed among the prophets. Its present position is a proof of its genuineness, as it was deliberately put in a position different from that where most would expect to find it. Placed between Esther, and Ezra and Nehemiah, it separated the historical books of the time after the captivity. Thus, Daniel was, as Bengel calls him, the politician, chronologer, and historian among the prophets. The Psalms also, though many are prophetical, are ranked with the Hagiographa, not with the prophets; and the Revelation of John is separated from his Epistles, as Daniel is from the Old Testament prophets. Instead of writing in the midst of the covenant people, and making them the foreground of his picture, he writes in a heathen court, the world kingdoms occupying the foreground, and the kingdom of God, though ultimately made the most significant, the background. His peculiar position in the heathen court is reflected in his peculiar position in the canon. As the "prophets" in the Old Testament, so the epistles of the apostles in the New Testament were written by divinely commissioned persons for their contemporaries. But Daniel and John were not in immediate contact with the congregation, but isolated and alone with God, the one in a heathen court, the other on a lonely isle (Re 1:9). Porphyry, the assailant of Christianity in the third century, asserted that the Book of Daniel was a forgery of the time of the Maccabees (170-164 B.C.), a time when confessedly there were no prophets, written after the events as to Antiochus Epiphanes, which it professes to foretell; so accurate are the details. A conclusive proof of Daniel's inspiration, if his prophecies can be shown to have been before the events. Now we know, from Josephus [Antiquities, 10.11.7], that the Jews in Christ's days recognized Daniel as in the canon. Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah, centuries before Antiochus, refer to it. Jesus refers to it in His characteristic designation, "Son of man," Mt 24:30 (Da 7:13); also expressly by name, and as a "prophet," in Mt 24:15 (compare Mt 24:21, with Da 12:1, &c.); and in the moment that decided His life (Mt 26:64) or death, when the high priest adjured him by the living God. Also, in Lu 1:19-26, "Gabriel" is mentioned, whose name occurs nowhere else in Scripture, save in Da 8:16; 9:21. Besides the references to it in Revelation, Paul confirms the prophetical part of it, as to the blasphemous king (Da 7:8, 25; 11:36), in 1Co 6:2; 2Th 2:3, 4; the narrative part, as to the miraculous deliverances from "the lions" and "the fire," in Heb 11:33, 34. Thus the book is expressly attested by the New Testament on the three points made the stumbling-block of neologists—the predictions, the narratives of miracles, and the manifestations of angels. An objection has been stated to the unity of the book, namely, that Jesus quotes no part of the first half of Daniel. But Mt 21:44 would be an enigma if it were not a reference to the "stone that smote the image" (Da 2:34, 35, 44, 45). Thus the New Testament sanctions the second, third, sixth, seventh, and eleventh chapters. The design of the miracles in the heathen courts where Daniel was, as of those of Moses in Egypt, was to lead the world power, which seemed to be victorious over the theocracy, to see the essential inner superiority of the seemingly fallen kingdom of God to itself, and to show prostrate Israel that the power of God was the same as of old in Egypt. The first book of Maccabees (compare 1 Maccabees 1:24; 9:27, 40, with Da 12:1; 11:26, of the Septuagint) refers to Daniel as an accredited book, and even refers to the Septuagint Alexandrian version of it. The fact of Daniel having a place in the Septuagint shows it was received by the Jews at large prior to the Maccabean times. The Septuagint version so arbitrarily deviated from the Hebrew Daniel, that Theodotius' version was substituted for it in the early Christian Church. Josephus [Antiquities, 11.8.5] mentions that Alexander the Great had designed to punish the Jews for their fidelity to Darius, but that Jaddua (332 B.C.), the high priest, met him at the head of a procession and averted his wrath by showing him Daniel's prophecy that a Grecian monarch should overthrow Persia. Certain it is, Alexander favored the Jews, and Josephus' statement gives an explanation of the fact; at least it shows that the Jews in Josephus' days believed that Daniel was extant in Alexander's days, long before the Maccabees. With Jaddua (high priest from 341-322 B.C.) the Old Testament history ends (Ne 12:11). (The register of the priests and Levites was not written by Nehemiah, who died about 400 B.C., but was inserted with divine sanction by the collectors of the canon subsequently.) An objection to Daniel's authenticity has been rested on a few Greek words found in it. But these are mostly names of Greek musical instruments, which were imported by Greece from the East, rather than vice versa. Some of the words are derived from the common Indo-Germanic stock of both Greek and Chaldee: hence their appearance in both tongues. And one or two may have come through the Greeks of Asia Minor to the Chaldee. The fact that from the fourth verse of the second chapter to the end of the seventh, the language is Chaldee, but the rest Hebrew, is not an argument against, but for, its authenticity. So in Ezra the two languages are found. The work, if that of one author, must have been composed by someone in the circumstances of Daniel, that is, by one familiar with both languages. No native-born Hebrew who had not lived in Chaldea would know Chaldee so well as to use it with the same idiomatic ease as his native tongue; the very impurities in Daniel's use of both are just such as were natural to one in his circumstances, but unnatural to one in a later age, or to one not half Hebrew, half Chaldean in residence as Daniel was. Those parts of Daniel which concern the whole world are mostly Chaldee, then the language of the world empire. So Greek was made the language of the New Testament, which was designed for the whole world. Those affecting the Jews, mostly Hebrew; and this not so impure as that of Ezekiel. His Chaldee is a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic. Two predictions alone are enough to prove to us that Daniel was a true prophet. (1) That his prophecies reach beyond Antiochus; namely, he foretells the rise of the four great monarchies, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (the last not being in Daniel's time known beyond the precincts of Italy, or rather of Latium), and that no other earthly kingdom would subvert the fourth, but that it would divide into parts. All this has come to pass. No fifth great earthly monarchy has arisen, though often attempted, as by Charlemagne, Charles V, and Napoleon. (2) The time of Messiah's advent, as dated from a certain decree, His being cut off, and the destruction of the city. "He who denies Daniel's prophecies," says Sir Isaac Newton, "undermines Christianity, which is founded on Daniel's prophecies concerning Christ."

Characteristics of Daniel. The vision mode of revelation is the exception in other prophets, the rule in Daniel. In Zechariah (Zec 1:1-6:15), who lived after Daniel, the same mode appears, but the other form from the seventh chapter to the end. The Revelation of St. John alone is perfectly parallel to Daniel, which may be called the Old Testament Apocalypse. In the contents too there is the difference above noticed, that he views the kingdom of God from the standpoint of the world kingdoms, the development of which is his great subject. This mode of viewing it was appropriate to his own position in a heathen court, and to the relation of subjection in which the covenant-people then stood to the world powers. No longer are single powers of the world incidentally introduced, but the universal monarchies are the chief theme, in which the worldly principle, opposed to the kingdom of God, manifests itself fully. The near and distant are not seen in the same perspective, as by the other prophets, who viewed the whole future from the eschatological point; but in Daniel the historical details are given of that development of the world powers which must precede the advent of the kingdom [Auberlen].

Significance of the Babylonian Captivity. The exile is the historical basis of Daniel's prophecies, as Daniel implies in the first chapter, which commences with the beginning, and ends with the termination, of the captivity (Da 1:1, 21; compare Da 9:1, 2). A new stage in the theocracy begins with the captivity. Nebuchadnezzar made three incursions into Judah. The first under Jehoiakim (606 B.C.), in which Daniel was carried away, subjected the theocracy to the Babylonian world power. The second (598 B.C.) was that in which Jehoiachin and Ezekiel were carried away. In the third (588 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and carried away Zedekiah. Originally, Abraham was raised out of the "sea" (Da 7:2) of the nations, as an island holy to God, and his seed chosen as God's mediator of His revelations of love to mankind. Under David and Solomon, the theocracy, as opposed to the heathen power, attained its climax in the Old Testament, not only being independent, but lord of the surrounding nations; so that the period of these two kings was henceforth made the type of the Messianic. But when God's people, instead of resting on Him, seek alliance with the world power, that very power is made the instrument of their chastisement. So Ephraim (722 B.C.) fell by Assyria; and Judah also, drawn into the sphere of the world's movements from the time of Ahaz, who sought Assyrian help (740 B.C., Isa 7:1-25) at last fell by Babylon, and thenceforth has been more or less dependent on the world monarchies, and so, till Messiah, was favored with no revelations from the time of Malachi (four hundred years). Thus, from the beginning of the exile, the theocracy, in the strict sense, ceased on earth; the rule of the world powers superseding it. But God's covenant with Israel remains firm (Ro 11:29); therefore, a period of blessing under Messiah's kingdom is now foretold as about to follow their long chastisement. The exile thus is the turning point in the history of the theocracy, which Roos thus divides: (1) From Adam to the exodus out of Egypt. (2) From the exodus to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity. (3) From the captivity to the millennium. (4) From the millennium to the end of the world. The position of Daniel in the Babylonian court was in unison with the altered relations of the theocracy and the world power, which new relation was to be the theme of his prophecy. Earlier prophets, from the standpoint of Israel, treated of Israel in its relation to the world powers; Daniel, from Babylon, the center of the then world power, treats of the world powers in their relation to Israel. His seventy years' residence in Babylon, and his high official position there, gave him an insight into the world's politics, fitting him to be the recipient of political revelations; while his spiritual experiences, gained through Nebuchadnezzar's humiliation, Belshazzar's downfall, and the rapid decay of the Babylonian empire itself, as well as the miraculous deliverances of himself and his friends (the third through sixth chapters), all fitted him for regarding things from the spiritual standpoint, from which the world's power appears transient, but the glory of God's kingdom eternal. As his political position was the body, the school of magicians in which he had studied for three years (Da 1:4, 5) was the soul; and his mind strong in faith and nourished by the earlier prophecies (Da 9:2), the spirit of his prophecy, which only waited for the spirit of revelation from above to kindle it. So God fits His organs for their work. Auberlen compares Daniel to Joseph: the one at the beginning, the other at the end of the Jewish history of revelation; both representatives of God and His people at heathen courts; both interpreters of the dim presentiments of truth, expressed in God-sent dreams, and therefore raised to honor by the powers of the world: so representing Israel's calling to be a royal priesthood among the nations; and types of Christ, the true Israel, and of Israel's destination to be a light to lighten the whole Gentile world, as Ro 11:12, 15 foretells. As Achilles at the beginning, and Alexander at the end, of Grecian history are the mirrors of the whole life of the Hellenic people, so Joseph and Daniel of Israel.

Contents of the Book. Historical and biographical introduction in the first chapter. Daniel, a captive exile, is representative of his nation in its servitude and exile: while his heavenly insight into dreams, far exceeding that of the magi, represents the divine superiority of the covenant-people over their heathen lords. The high dignities, even in the world, which he thereby attained, typify the giving of the earth-kingdom at last "to the people of the saints of the Most High" (Da 7:27). Thus Daniel's personal history is the typical foundation of his prophecy. The prophets had to experience in themselves, and in their age, something of what they foretold about future times; just as David felt much of Christ's sufferings in his own person (compare Ho 1:2-9, 10, 11; 2:3). So Jon 1:1-17, &c. [Roos]. Hence biographical notices of Daniel and his friends are inserted among his prophecies. The second through twelfth chapters contain the substance of the book, and consist of two parts. The first (the second through seventh chapters) represents the development of the world powers, viewed from a historical point. The second (the eighth through twelfth chapters), their development in relation to Israel, especially in the future preceding Christ's first advent, foretold in the ninth chapter. But prophecy looks beyond the immediate future to the complete fulfilment in the last days, since the individual parts in the organic history of salvation cannot be understood except in connection with the whole. Also Israel looked forward to the Messianic time, not only for spiritual salvation, but also for the visible restoration of the kingdom which even now we too expect. The prophecy which they needed ought therefore to comprise both, and so much of the history of the world as would elapse before the final consummation. The period of Daniel's prophecies, therefore, is that from the downfall of the theocracy at the captivity till its final restoration, yet future—the period of the dominion of the world powers, not set aside by Christ's first coming (Joh 18:36; for, to have taken the earth-kingdom then, would have been to take it from Satan's hands, Mt 4:8-10), but to be superseded by His universal and everlasting kingdom at His second coming (Re 11:15). Thus the general survey of the development and final destiny of the world powers (the second through seventh chapters) fittingly precedes the disclosures as to the immediate future (the eighth through twelfth chapters). Daniel marks the division by writing the first part in Chaldee, and the second, and the introduction, in Hebrew; the former, referring to the powers of the world, in the language of the then dominant world power under which he lived; the latter, relating to the people of God, in their own language. An interpolator in a later age would have used Hebrew, the language of the ancient prophets throughout, or if anywhere Aramaic, so as to be understood by his contemporaries, he would have used it in the second rather than in the first part as having a more immediate reference to his own times [Auberlen].

CHAPTER 1

Da 1:1-21. The Babylonian Captivity Begins; Daniel's Education at Babylon, &C.

1. third year—compare Jer 25:1, "the fourth year; Jehoiakim came to the throne at the end of the year, which Jeremiah reckons as the first year, but which Daniel leaves out of count, being an incomplete year: thus, in Jeremiah, it is "the fourth year"; in Daniel, "the third" [Jahn]. However, Jeremiah (Jer 25:1; 46:2) merely says, the fourth year of Jehoiakim coincided with the first of Nebuchadnezzar, when the latter conquered the Egyptians at Carchemish; not that the deportation of captives from Jerusalem was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim: this probably took place in the end of the third year of Jehoiakim, shortly before the battle of Carchemish [Fairbairn]. Nebuchadnezzar took away the captives as hostages for the submission of the Hebrews. Historical Scripture gives no positive account of this first deportation, with which the Babylonian captivity, that is, Judah's subjection to Babylon for seventy years (Jer 29:10), begins. But 2Ch 36:6, 7, states that Nebuchadnezzar had intended "to carry Jehoiakim to Babylon," and that he "carried off the vessels of the house of the Lord" thither. But Jehoiakim died at Jerusalem, before the conqueror's intention as to him was carried into effect (Jer 22:18, 19; 36:30), and his dead body, as was foretold, was dragged out of the gates by the Chaldean besiegers, and left unburied. The second deportation under Jehoiachin was eight years later.Jehoiakim's captivity, Dan 1:1,2. By the king of Babylon's order the master of the eunuchs taketh Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, to instruct them, and changeth their names, Dan 1:3-7. They refusing to eat of the king' s meat thrive upon pulse and water, Dan 1:8-16. Their proficiency in wisdom, Dan 1:17-21.

Comparing this with 2Ki 24:1, and with 2Ch 36:6, the meaning is, after the Lord had taken away that good king Josiah for the sins of Judah and Manasseh, which were very great, by Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt, the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king; he reigned but three months, wherein he did so much evil in the sight of the Lord, that the said Pharaoh-necho put him in bands at Riblah, and afterwards carried him to Egypt, where he died, and made Eliakim his brother king in his stead, and turned his name to Jehoiakim; he became Nebuchadnezzar's servant three years, for that king of Babylon had overthrown Pharaoh's army at Carchemish by the river Euphrates. Jehoiakim rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar, made him come up from Babylon and take Jehoiakim, and bind him in fetters to carry him to Babylon; of whom, and his death and burial, you have a sad account, Jer 22:17-19.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah,.... At the close of it, and at the beginning of the fourth, which was the first of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 25:1. Jerusalem seems to have been taken twice in his time, and two captivities in it: the first was in the third or fourth year of his reign; when humbling himself, he was restored to his kingdom, though he became a tributary to the king of Babylon; Daniel and his companions, who were carried captive with him, were retained as hostages; but after three years he rebelled, but it was not until his eleventh year that Nebuchadnezzar came against him again, took him, and bound him, in order to carry him to Babylon, but he died by the way; see 2 Kings 24:1, some, as Jarchi and Saadiah Gaon, make this to be the third year of his rebellion, and the last of his reign; they suppose that he was conquered by the king of Babylon, and became subject to him in the fifth year of his reign; that he served him three years, and rebelled against him three years: at the end of which

came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it; with his army, and took it; and the same way it is accounted for in the Jewish chronicle (p) according to Bishop Usher (q), this was in the year of the world 3398 A.M., and before Christ 607 or 859; according to Mr. Bedford (r), 605.

(p) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 25. in principio. (q) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3398. ((r)) Scripture Chronology, p. 676.

In the {a} third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

The Argument - The great providence of God, and his singular mercy towards his Church are set forth here most vividly, who never leaves his own destitute, but now in their greatest miseries and afflictions gives them Prophets, such as Ezekiel and Daniel, whom he adorned with special graces of his Holy Spirit. And Daniel above all others had most special revelations of such things as would come to the Church, even from the time that they were in captivity, to the last end of the world, and to the general resurrection, as of the four Monarchies and empires of all the world, that is, of the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, and Romans. Also of the certain number of the times even until Christ, when all ceremonies and sacrifices would cease, because he would be the accomplishment of them: moreover he shows Christ's office and the reason of his death, which was by his sacrifice to take away sins, and to bring everlasting life. And as from the beginning God always exercised his people under the cross, so he teaches here, that after Christ is offered, he will still leave this exercise to his Church, until the dead rise again, and Christ gathers his own into his kingdom in the heavens.

(a) Read 2Ki 24:1, Jer 25:1.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. In the third year &c.] Whether this is historically correct is doubtful. Jehoiakim’s reign lasted eleven years (b.c. 608–597); and the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:1) equates his fourth year with the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. Early in the same year (if the date in Jeremiah 46:2 is correct[171]) there had taken place the great defeat of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish on the Upper Euphrates, the effect of which was to transfer the whole (virtually) of Western Asia from the power of Egypt to that of Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 25:9-11; Jeremiah 25:18-26; Jeremiah 46:25 f.; 2 Kings 24:7). We learn, now, from Berosus (ap. Josephus, Ant. x. xi. 1) that in this campaign Nebuchadnezzar was acting on behalf of his father, Nabopolassar, who was too infirm to conduct the war himself: ‘hearing soon afterwards of his father’s death, and having arranged the affairs of Egypt and the remaining country (i.e. Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, mentioned just before), and committed the Judaean, Phoenician, and Syrian prisoners, as well as those of the nations in Egypt, to some of his friends to convoy to Babylon with the heavy part of his army, he himself hastened home across the desert accompanied only by a few attendants.’ Although Judahite captives are here mentioned, nothing is said of any siege of Jersalem; and the terms in which Jeremiah speaks, not only in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 25:9 ff.), but also in his fifth year (Jeremiah 36:29, see Daniel 1:9), seem to imply that a Chaldaean invasion of Judah was still in the future (Ewald, Hist., iv. 257, n. 5, Keil), and that Jehoiakim had not already, in his third year, fallen into Neb.’s hands[172].

[171] See the Introduction, p. xlix.

[172] The invasion of Judah by Neb., and the three years’ submission of Jehoiakim, mentioned in 2 Kings 24:1-2, are also certainly to be placed after Jehoiakim’s fourth year—most probably, indeed, towards the close of his reign (cf. Ewald, l. c.).

According to Josephus (Ant. x. vi. 1) Neb., after the battle of Carchemish, ‘acquired possession of the whole of Syria, as far as Pelusium, except Judah’; and only made Jehoiakim tributary four years afterwards (2 Kings 24:1).

On the other hand, in the summary of Jehoiakim’s reign which, in 2 Chronicles 36:6-7, takes the place of 2 Kings 24:1-4, we read, ‘Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon. And some of the vessels of the house of Jehovah brought Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; and he put them in his palace in Babylon’: but the year in which this invasion took place is not specified; and a statement which rests on the authority of the Chronicler alone, and is not supported by contemporary testimony, is of slight value. It bears witness, however, to the existence, at about 300 b.c., of a tradition respecting an attack upon Jerusalem, and the carrying away of a part of the sacred vessels of the Temple, during Jehoiakim’s reign, which is also no doubt the basis of Daniel 1:1-2. The tradition, it must be owned, wears the appearance of being a Haggadic development of 2 Kings 24:1. Those who defend the accuracy of the statement of Daniel sometimes (Hengst., Keil, Zöckler) understand בא (‘came’), with reference to the starting-point, virtually as equivalent to set out, sometimes suppose that Nebuchadnezzar made an attack upon Jerusalem either (Hävernick, Pusey, p. 401) the year before the battle of Carchemish, or (Behrmann, p. xvii) after it, but that more serious consequences were for the time averted by Jehoiakim’s timely submission, and the surrender of some of the valuable vessels of the Temple. The first of these explanations is opposed to Heb. usage; the second, though possible in the abstract, is not strategically probable; the third, though it cannot be categorically rejected, seems scarcely consistent with what appears, from other indications, to have been the historical situation at the time. Cf. Ewald, iv. 264, n. 2.

Nebuchadnezzar] So Daniel 1:18, and uniformly in this book. The more correct form of the name is Nebuchadrezzar (properly Nabû-kudurriuṣur, i.e. (probably) ‘Nebo, protect [Heb.נָצַר] the boundary!’), which is the one usually found in contemporary writers, as Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 21:7 (and generally in Jer.); Jeremiah 26:7; Jeremiah 29:18-19; Jeremiah 29:30[173].

[173] The incorrect form with n is found in Jeremiah 27-29 (except Jeremiah 29:21 : see Baer’s note on Jeremiah 21:2); in 2 Kings 24-25; and in Chr., Ezr., Neb., Est.

king of Babylon] Nebuchadnezzar did not become ‘king of Babylon’ until after the battle of Carchemish, in Jehoiakim’s fourth year (Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 46:2), so that the title must be used here (as in Jeremiah 46:2) proleptically. There is no authority in either Berosus or the Inscriptions for the supposition sometimes made that Nebuchadnezzar was associated on the throne by his father, Nabopolassar.

Verse 1. - In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah. After the defeat and death of Josiah, the people of the land put on the throne Jehoahaz, or Shallum (Jeremiah 22:11),Daniel 1:1Of this expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem it is related in the second book of Kings (2 Kings 24:1): "In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years; then he turned and rebelled against him;" and in the second book of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 36:6): "Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried off the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon." That both of these statements refer to the same expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiakim mentioned here, appears not only from the statement of the book of Chronicles agreeing with Daniel 1:2 of this chapter, namely, that Nebuchadnezzar took away a part of the sacred vessels of the temple to Babylon, and there put them in the temple of his god, but also from the circumstance that, beyond all doubt, during the reign of Jehoiakim where was not a second siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It is true, indeed, that when Jehoiakim threw off the yoke at the end of three years' subjection, Nebuchadnezzar sent Chaldean, Aramaean, Moabitish, and Ammonitish hosts against him for the purpose of bringing him into subjection, but Jerusalem was not again laid siege to by these hosts till the death of Jehoiakim. Not till his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne did the servants of Nebuchadnezzar again come up against Jerusalem and besiege it. When, during the siege, Nebuchadnezzar himself came up, Jehoiachin surrendered to him after three months, and was, along with the chief men of his kingdom, and the strength of the population of Jerusalem and Judah, and the treasures of the royal palace and of the temple, carried down to Babylon (2 Kings 24:2-16). The year, however, in which Nebuchadnezzar, in the reign of Jehoiakim, first took Jerusalem and carried away a part of the treasures of the temple to Babylon, is stated neither in the second book of Kings nor in Chronicles, but may be pretty certainly determined by the statements of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 25:1., Jeremiah 36:1.). According to Jeremiah 46:2, Nebuchadnezzar smote the Egyptian king Pharaoh-Necho with his army at Carchemish in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim. That same year is spoken of (Jeremiah 25:1) as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and is represented by Jeremiah not only as a critical period for the kingdom of Judah; but also, by the prediction that the Lord would bring His servant Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and against its inhabitants, and against all the nations round about, that He would make Judah a desolation, and that these nations would serve the king of Babylon seventy years (Jeremiah 25:2-11), he without doubt represents it as the beginning of the seventy years of Babylonish exile: In this the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the prophet was also commanded (Jeremiah 36:1.) to write in a book all the words which the Lord had spoken unto him against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day in which He had spoken to him in the time of Josiah even till then, that the house of Judah might hear all the evil which He purposed to do unto them, and might return every man from his evil way. Jeremiah obeyed this command, and caused these predictions, written in the roll of a book, to be read by Baruch to the people in the temple; for he himself was a prisoner, and therefore could not go to the temple.

The first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar cannot therefore have taken place in the third, but must have been in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, i.e., in the year 606 b.c. This, however, appears to stand in opposition to the statement of the first verse of this chapter: "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim בּא Nebuchadnezzar to Jerusalem." The modern critics accordingly number this statement among the errors which must disprove the genuineness of this book (see above, p. 508f.). The apparent opposition between the language of Daniel (Daniel 1:1) that Nebuchadnezzar undertook his first expedition against Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, and the affirmation of Jeremiah, according to which not only was Pharaoh-Necho slain by Nebuchadnezzar at the Euphrates in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, but also in this same year Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Judea is for the first time announced, cannot be resolved either by the hypothesis of a different mode of reckoning the years of the reign of Jehoiakim and of Nebuchadnezzar, nor by the supposition that Jerusalem had been already taken by Nebuchadnezzar before the battle of Carchemish, in the third year of Jehoiakim. The first supposition is set aside by the circumstance that there is no certain analogy for it.

(Note: The old attempt to reconcile the difference in this way has already been shown by Hengstenberg (Beit. z. Einl. in d. A. T. p. 53) to be untenable; and the supposition of Klief. (p. 65f.), that Jehoiakim entered on his reign near the end of a year, and that Jeremiah reckons the year of his reign according to the calendar year, but that Daniel reckons it from the day of his ascending the throne, by which it is made out that there is no actual difference, is wholly overthrown by the circumstance that in the sacred Scriptures there is no analogy for the reckoning of the year of a king's reign according to the day of the month on which he began to reign. On this supposition we might reconcile the apparent difference only if no other plan of reconciliation were possible. But such is not the actual state of the case.)

The latter supposition is irreconcilable with Jeremiah 25 and 36.

(Note: Following the example of Hofmann (die 70 Jahre Jer. p. 13ff.), Hvernick (Neue Krit. Unterss. ber d. B. Daniel, p. 52ff.), Zndel (Krit. Unterss. p. 20ff.), and others have decided in favour of it.)

If Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim announced that because Judah did not hearken unto his warnings addressed to them "from the thirteenth year of Josiah even unto this day," that is, for the space of three and twenty years, nor yet to the admonitions of all the other prophets (Jeremiah 25:3-7) whom the Lord had sent unto them, therefore the Lord would now send His servant Nebuchadnezzar with all the people of the north against the land and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, utterly to destroy the land and make it desolate, etc. - then it must be affirmed that he publicly made known the invasion of Judah by the Chaldeans as an event which had not yet taken place, and therefore that the supposition that Jerusalem had already in the preceding year been taken by Nebuchadnezzar, and that Jehoiakim had been brought under his subjection, is entirely excluded. It is true that in Daniel 25 Jeremiah prophesies a judgment of "perpetual desolations against Jerusalem and against all the nations," but it is as unwarrantable to apply, as Klief. does, this prophecy only "to the total destruction of Jerusalem and of Judah, which took place in the eleventh year of Zedekiah," as with older interpreters only to the first expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 24:1 and 2 Chronicles 36:6. In the words of threatening uttered by the prophet there are included all the expeditions of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem and Judah, from his first against Jehoiakim to the final destruction of Jerusalem under Zedekiah; so that we cannot say that it is not applicable to the first siege of Jerusalem under Jehoiakim, but to the final destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, as this whole prophecy is only a comprehensive intensified summary of all the words of God hitherto spoken by the mouth of the prophet. To strengthen the impression produced by this comprehensive word of God, he was commanded in that same year (Jeremiah 36:1.), as already mentioned, to write out in the roll of a book all the words hitherto spoken by him, that it might be seen whether or not the several words gathered together into a whole might not exert an influence over the people which the separate words had failed to do.

Moreover a destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans before the overthrow of the Egyptian power on the Euphrates, which took place in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, cannot at all be thought of. King Jehoiakim was "put into bands" by Pharaoh-Necho and made a tributary vassal to him (2 Kings 23:33.), and all the land from the river of Egypt even unto the Euphrates was brought under his sway; therefore Nebuchadnezzar could not desolate Judah and Jerusalem before Pharaoh-Necho was slain. Neither could Nebuchadnezzar pass in the presence of the Egyptian host stationed in the stronghold of Carchemish, on the Euphrates, and advance toward Judah, leaving behind him the city of Babylon as a prize to so powerful an enemy, nor would Necho, supposing that Nebuchadnezzar had done this, have quietly allowed his enemy to carry on his operations, and march against his vassal Jehoiakim, without following in the rear of Egypt's powerful foe.

(Note: With the above compare my Lehrb. der Einl. 131, and my Commentary on 2 Kings 24:1. With this Kran. agrees (p. 17f.), and in addition remarks: "In any case Necho would at once have regarded with jealousy every invasion of the Chaldean into the region beyond the Euphrates, and would least of all have suffered him to make an extensive western expedition for the purpose of conquering Judea, which was under the sway of Egypt.")

The statement in the first verse may indeed, literally taken, be interpreted as meaning that Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem and took in in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, because בּוא frequently means to come to a place. But it is not necessary always so to interpret the word, because בּוא means not only to come, but also to go, to march to a place. The assertion, that in this verse בּוא is to be interpreted (Hv. N. Kr. U. p. 61, Ew., and others) as meaning to come to a place, and not to march to it, is as incorrect as the assertion that the translation of בּא by he marched is inadmissible or quite impossible, because עלה is generally used of the march of an army (Staeh., Znd.). The word בּוא, from the first book of the Canon (cf. Genesis 14:5) to the last, the book of Daniel not excepted (cf. e.g., Daniel 11:13, Daniel 11:17, Daniel 11:29, etc.), is used of military expeditions; and regarding the very general opinion, that בּוא, in the sense of to march, to go to a place, occurs less frequently, Kran. (p. 21) has rightly remarked, that "it stands always and naturally in this sense whenever the movement has its point of departure from the place of him who observes it, thinks of it, or makes a communication regarding it." Therefore, e.g., it is used "always in a personal verbal command with reference to the movement, not yet undertaken, where naturally the thought as to the beginning or point of departure passes into the foreground; as e.g., in Genesis 45:17; Exodus 6:11; Exodus 7:26; Exodus 9:1; Exodus 10:1; Numbers 32:6; 1 Samuel 20:19; 2 Kings 5:5. In Jonah 1:3 it is used of the ship that was about to go to Tarshish; and again, in the words עמּהם לבוא, ibid., it is used when speaking of the conclusion of the journey." "On the contrary, if the speaker or narrator is at the terminus ad quem of the movement spoken of, then of course the word בּוא is used in the other sense of to come, to approach, and the like." Accordingly these words of Daniel, "Nebuchadnezzar בּוא to Jerusalem," considered in themselves, may be interpreted without any regard to the point of departure or the termination of the movement. They may mean "Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem," or that "he marched to Jerusalem," according as the writer is regarded as writing in Judah or Jerusalem, or in Babylon at the point of departure of Nebuchadnezzar's journey. If the book was composed by a Maccabean Jew in Palestine, then the translation, "he came to Jerusalem," would be the more correct, because such a writer would hardly have spoken of a military movement from its eastern point of departure. The case is altogether different if Daniel, who lived as a courtier in Babylon from his youth up to old age, wrote this account. "For him, a Jew advanced in years, naturally the first movement of the expedition threatening and bringing destruction to his fatherland, whether it moved directly or by a circuitous route upon the capital, would be a significant fact, which he had in every respect a better opportunity of comprehending than his fellow-countrymen living in the remote west, since this expedition was an event which led to the catastrophe of the exile. For the Jew writing in Babylon about the expedition, the fatal commencement of the march of the Chaldean host would have a mournful significance, which it could not have for a writer living in Jerusalem."

In this way Kran. has thoroughly vindicated the rendering of בּא, "he marched" to Jerusalem, and also the explanation of the word as referring to the setting out of the Chaldean army which Hitz., Hofm., Staeh., Znd., and others have declared to be opposed to the meaning of the word and "impossible," and at the same time he has set aside as groundless the further remark of Hitzig, that the designation of the time also applies to ויּצר. If בּא is to be understood of an expedition with reference to its point of departure, then the fixing of its time cannot of course refer also to the time of the arrival of the expedition at its termination and the siege then ensuing. The time of its arrival before Jerusalem, as well as the beginning, duration, and end of the siege, is not defined, and only its result, the taking of Jerusalem, is, according to the object of the author, of sufficient importance to be briefly announced. The period of the taking of the city can only be determined from dates elsewhere given. Thus from the passages in Jeremiah already referred to, it appears that this happened in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, in which year Nebuchadnezzar overcame the army of Necho king of Egypt at the Euphrates (Jeremiah 46:2), and took all the land which the king of Egypt had subdued, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates, so that Pharaoh-Necho came no more out of his land (2 Kings 24:7). With this agrees Berosus in the fragments of his Chaldean history preserved by Josephus (Ant. x. 11. 1, and c. Ap. i. 19). His words, as found in the latter passage, are these: "When his (Nebuc.) father Nabopolassar heard that the satrap whom he had set over Egypt and over the parts of Coelesyria and Phoenicia had revolted from him, he was unable to bear the annoyance any longer, but committing a part of his army to his son Nabuchodonosor, who was then a youth, he sent him against the rebel. Nabuchodonosor encountered him in battle and overcame him, and brought the land again under his dominion. It happened that his father Nabopolassar at this time fell sick and died at the city of Babylon, after he had reigned twenty-one years (Berosus says twenty-nine years). But when Nabuchodonosor not long after heard of the death of his father, he set the affairs of Egypt and of the other countries in order, and committed the prisoners he had taken from the Jews, the Phoenicians, and Syrians, and from the nations belonging to Egypt, to some of his friends, that they might conduct the heavy armed troops with the rest of the baggage to Babylonia, while he himself hastened with a small escort through the desert to Babylon. When he came hither, he found that the public affairs had been managed by the Chaldeans, and that the principal persons among them had preserved the kingdom for him. He now obtained possession of all his father's dominions, and gave directions that the captives should be placed as colonies in the most favourably situated districts of Babylonia," etc. This fragment illustrates in an excellent manner the statements made in the Bible, in case one be disposed to estimate the account of the revolt of the satrap placed over Egypt and the countries lying round Coelesyria and Phoenicia as only the expression of boastfulness on the part of the Babylonish historian, claiming that all the countries of the earth of right belonged to the monarch of Babylon; and it also shows that the rebel satrap could be none other than Pharaoh-Necho. For Berosus confirms not only the fact, as declared in 2 Kings 24:7, that Pharaoh-Necho in the last year of Nabopolassar, after the battle at Megiddo, had subdued Judah, Phoenicia, and Coelesyria, i.e., "all the land from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates," but he also bears witness to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar, after he had slain Pharaoh-Necho (Jeremiah 46:2) "by the river Euphrates in Carchemish," made Coelesyria, Phoenicia, and Judah tributary to the Chaldean empire, and consequently that he took Jerusalem not before but after the battle at Carchemish, in prosecution of the victory he had obtained over the Egyptians.

This does not, however, it must be confessed, prove that Jerusalem had already in the fourth year of Jehoiakim come under the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. Therefore Hitz. and others conclude from Jeremiah 36:9 that Nebuchadnezzar's assault upon Jerusalem was in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim as yet only in prospect, because in that month Jeremiah prophesied of the Chaldean invasion, and the extraordinary fast then appointed had as its object the manifestation of repentance, so that thereby the wrath of God might be averted. This Kran. endeavours to prove from 2 Kings 25:27, cf. Jeremiah 52:31. But in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah caused to be rehearsed to the people in the court of the temple his former prophecies, written by Baruch in a book according to the commandment of the Lord, and pronounced the threatening against Jehoiakim because he had cut to pieces this book and had cast it into the fire, Jeremiah 36:29. This threatening, that God would bring upon the seed and upon the servants of Jehoiakim, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all the evil which He had pronounced against them (Jeremiah 36:31), does not exclude the previous capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but announces only the carrying out of the threatened judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem and of the kingdom of Judah to be as yet imminent.

The extraordinary fast of the people also, which was appointed for the ninth month, was not ordained with the view of averting the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, which was then expected, after the battle at Carchemish; for although fasts were sometimes appointed or kept for the purpose of turning away threatened judgment or punishment (e.g., 2 Samuel 12:15.; 1 Kings 21:27; Esther 4:1; Esther 3:1-15 :16), yet, in general, fasts were more frequently appointed to preserve the penitential remembrance of punishments and chastisements which had been already endured: cf. e.g., Zechariah 7:5; Ezra 10:6.; Nehemiah 1:4; 1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 1:12, etc. To ascertain, therefore, what was the object of this fast which was appointed, we must keep in view the character of Jehoiakim and his relation to this fast. The godless Jehoiakim, as he is represented in 2 Kings 23:37; 2 Chronicles 36:5, and Jeremiah 22:13., was not the man who would have ordained a fast (or allowed it if the priests had wished to appoint it) to humble himself and his people before God, and by repentance and prayer to turn away the threatened judgment. Before he could ordain a fast for such a purpose, Jehoiakim must hear and observe the word of the prophet, and in that case he would not have been so enraged at the reading of the prophecies of Jeremiah as to have cut the book to pieces and cast it into the fire. If the fast took place previous to the arrival of the Chaldeans before Jerusalem, then neither the intention of the king nor his conduct in regard to it can be comprehended. On the other hand, as Znd. p. 21, and Klief. p. 57, have shown, both the ordaining of a general fast, and the anger of the king at the reading of the prophecies of Jeremiah in the presence of the people in the temple, are well explained, if the fast is regarded as designed to keep in remembrance the day of the year on which Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem. As Jehoiakim bore with difficulty the yoke of the Chaldean oppression, and from the first meditated on a revolt, for after three years he did actually revolt, he instituted the fast "to stir up the feelings of the people against the state of vassalage into which they had been brought" (Klief.), "and to call forth a religious enthusiasm among them to resist the oppressor" (Znd.). This opposition could only, however, result in the destruction of the people and the kingdom. Jeremiah therefore had his prophecies read to the people in the temple on that day by Baruch "as a counterbalance to the desire of the king," and announced to them that Nebuchadnezzar would come again to subdue the land and to destroy from out of it both man and beast. "Therefore the king was angry, and destroyed the book, because he would not have the excitement of the people to be so hindered; and therefore also the princes were afraid (Jeremiah 36:16) when they heard that the book of these prophecies was publicly read" (Klief.).

The words of 2 Kings 25:27, cf. Jeremiah 52:31, do not contradict this conclusion from Jeremiah 36:9, even though that drawn by Kran., p. 18, from this passage were adopted, viz., that since almost thirty-seven whole years had passed from the carrying away of Jehoiachin to the end of the forty-three years of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, but Jehoiachin had reigned only for a few months, the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar must be dated in the sixth of the eleven years' reign of Jehoiakim, the predecessor of Jehoiachin. For since, according to the testimony of Berosus, Nebuchadnezzar conducted the war against Hither Asia, in which he slew king Necho at Carchemish, and as a further consequence of this victory took Jerusalem, before the death of his father, in the capacity of a commander-in-chief clothed with royal power, and when in Hither Asia, as it seems, and on the confines of Egypt, he then for the first time heard tidings of his father's death, and therefore hastened by the shortest road to Babylon to assume the crown and lay claim to all his father's dominions, - then it follows that his forty-three years' reign begins after the battle of Carchemish and the capture of Jerusalem under Jehoiakim, and might possibly have begun in the sixth year of Jehoiakim, some five months after the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:9). Against this supposition the circumstance that Nebuchadnezzar, as stated in Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 25:1, and also Daniel 1:1, was called king of Babylon before he had actually ascended the throne is no valid objection, inasmuch as this title is explained as a prolepsis which would be easily understood by the Jews in Palestine. Nabopolassar came into no contact at all with Judah; the Jews therefore knew scarcely anything of his reign and his death; and the year of Nebuchadnezzar's approach to Jerusalem would be regarded in a general way both by Jeremiah and his contemporaries as the first year of his reign, and the commander of the Chaldean army as the king of Babylon, no matter whether on account of his being actual co-regent with his aged and infirm father, or merely because he was clothed with royal power as the chief commander of the army.

(Note: Thus not only Hgstb. Beitr. i. p. 63, Hv., Klief., Kran., etc., but also v. Lengerke, Daniel. p. 3, and Hitz. Daniel. p. 3. The latter, e.g., remarks: "The designation as king does not furnish any obvious objection, for Nebuchadnezzar, the commander-in-chief of the army, is to the Jewish writers (thus Jeremiah 25:1) a king when he first comes under their notice. They appear to have had no knowledge whatever of his father.")

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