Daniel 1:6-7

6. Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah;

6. Et fuit in illis ex filiis Jehudah Daniel, Hananiah, Misael, et Azariah.

7. Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah. of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

7. Et imposuit illis princeps eunuchorum 1 nomina imposuit inquam, Danieli Balthsazar, et Hananiae Sadrak, et Misael Mesack, et Azariae Abednego.


The Prophet now comes to what properly belongs to his purpose. He did not propose to write a full narrative, but he touched shortly on what was necessary, to inform us how God prepared him for the subsequent discharge of the prophetic office. After he had stated their selection from the royal and noble seed, as excelling in talent, dexterity, and eloquence, as well as in rigor of body, he now adds, that he would his companions were among them. He leaves out the rest, because he had nothing to record of them worthy of mention; and, as I have said, the narrative hitherto is only subsidiary. The Prophet's object, then, must be noticed, since he was exiled, and educated royally and sumptuously hi the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar, that he might afterwards be one of the prefects, and his companions be elevated to the same rank. He does not say that he was of the royal house, but only of the tribe of Judah; but he was probably born of a noble rather than of a plebeian family, since kings more commonly selected their prefects from their own relations than from others. Moreover, since the kingdom of Israel was cut off, perhaps through a feeling of modesty, Daniel did not record his family, nor openly assert his origin from a noble and celebrated stock. He was content with a single word, -- he and his companion were of the tribe of Judah, and brought up among the children of the nobility. He says -- their names were changed; so that by all means the king might blot out of their hearts the remembrance of their own race, and they might forget their own origin. As far as interpretations are concerned, I think I have said enough to satisfy you, as I am not willingly curious in names where there is any obscurity, and especially in these Chaldee words. As to the Hebrew names, we know Daniel's name to mean the judge, or judgment of God. Therefore, whether by the secret instinct of God, his parents had imposed this name, or whether by common custom, Daniel was called by this name, as God's judge. So also of the rest; for Hananiah has a fixed meaning, namely, one who has obtained mercy from God; so Misael means required or demanded by God; and so Azariah, the help of God, or one whom God helps. But all these flyings have already been better explained to you, so I have only just touched on these points, as the change has no adequate reason for it. It is enough for us that the names were changed to abolish the remembrance of the kingdom of Judah from their hearts. Some Hebrews also assert these to have been the names of wise men. Whether it was so or not, if, was the kings plan to draw away those boys that they should have nothing in common with the elect people, but degenerate to the manners of the Chaldeans. Daniel could not help the prince or master of the eunuchs changing his name, for it was not in. his power to hinder it; the same must be said of his companions. But they had enough to retain the remembrance of their race, which Satan, by this artifice, wished utterly to blot out. And yet this was a great trial, because they suffered. from their badge of slavery. Since their names were changed, either the king or his prefect Aspenaz wished to force them under the yoke, as if he would put before their eyes the, judgment of their own slavery as often as they heard their" names. We see, then, the intention of the change of name, namely, to cause these miserable exiles to feel themselves; in captivity, and cut off from the race of Israel; and by this mark or symbol they were reduced to slavery, to the, king of Babylon and his palace. This was, indeed, a hard trial, but it mattered not to the servants of God to be contemptuously treated before men, so long as they were not infected with any corruption; hence we conclude them to have been divinely governed, as they stood pure and spotless. For Daniel afterwards says --

1 That is, the master of the eunuchs. -- Calvin