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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary

Daniel - Chapter 1

Daniel - Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and besieged it.   אבִּשְׁנַת שָׁלוֹשׁ לְמַלְכוּת יְהוֹיָקִים מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה בָּא נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיָּצַר עָלֶיהָ:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim: Now is it possible to say so? Did he [Nebuchadnezzar] not reign in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, as is stated (Jer. 25:1) “in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah that is the first year of Nebuchadnezzar?” So what is the meaning of “In the third year?” In the third year of his rebellion, as is stated (II Kings 24:1): “and Jehoiakim was his vassal for three years; then he turned and rebelled against him” ; and in the third year, he overcame him, and that was the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar, for the master said (Seder Olam ch. 24): In his first year he conquered Nineveh, and in his second year he advanced and vanquished Jehoiakim, who served him for three years and rebelled against him for three years. That was the eleventh year of the reign of Jehoiakim: five years before he vanquished him, three years that he served him, and three years that he rebelled against him. And then Jehoiakim died under his hand, and in his stead, Nebuchadnezzar enthroned Jehoiachin, his son.  
2And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, and some of the vessels of the House of God into his hand, and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and the vessels he brought to the treasury of his god.   בוַיִּתֵּן אֲדֹנָי בְּיָדוֹ אֶת יְהוֹיָקִים מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה וּמִקְצָת כְּלֵי בֵית הָאֱלֹהִים וַיְבִיאֵם אֶרֶץ שִׁנְעָר בֵּית אֱלֹהָיו וְאֶת הַכֵּלִים הֵבִיא בֵּית אוֹצַר אֱלֹהָיו:
and some of the vessels of the House of God: he took, and some of them remained, as is stated (in Jeremiah 27:19): “so has the Lord of Hosts said concerning the pillars, concerning the sea, concerning the bases, and concerning the rest of the vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar did not take into exile (sic).”  
and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god: to praise his idols; he brought the entire captivity there, even the people, and the vessels he brought afterwards to the treasury.  
3Then the king said to Ashpenaz, his chief officer, to bring from the Children of Israel, from the royal seed, and from the nobles.   גוַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאַשְׁפְּנַז רַב סָרִיסָיו לְהָבִיא מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִזֶּרַע הַמְּלוּכָה וּמִן הַפַּרְתְּמִים:
the nobles: Heb. הַפַּרְתְּמִים, dukes.  
4Youths in whom there is no blemish, of handsome appearance, who understand all wisdom, [who are] erudite in knowledge, who understand how to express their thoughts, and who have strength to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the script and the language of the Chaldeans.   דיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר אֵין בָּהֶם כָּל מוּם (כתיב מאוּם) וְטוֹבֵי מַרְאֶה וּמַשְׂכִּילִים בְּכָל חָכְמָה וְיֹדְעֵי דַעַת וּמְבִינֵי מַדָּע וַאֲשֶׁר כֹּחַ בָּהֶם לַעֲמֹד בְּהֵיכַל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּלְלַמְּדָם סֵפֶר וּלְשׁוֹן כַּשְׂדִּים:
and who have strength: Our Sages explained (Sanh. 93b) that they should restrain themselves from laughing, speaking and sleeping, out of fear of the throne, and resist the urge when they feel the need to relieve themselves.  
and to teach them the script: This refers back to “who have strength.”  
5The king allotted them a daily portion of the king's food and of the wine that he drank, and to train them for three years, and at the end thereof, they would stand before the king.   הוַיְמַן לָהֶם הַמֶּלֶךְ דְּבַר יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ מִפַּת בַּג הַמֶּלֶךְ וּמִיֵּין מִשְׁתָּיו וּלְגַדְּלָם שָׁנִים שָׁלוֹשׁ וּמִקְצָתָם יַעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ:
allotted: Heb. וַיְמַן, an expression of preparation.  
of… food: Heb. מִפַּתבַּג. That is the name of the king’s fare in the language of the Chaldeans. Some interpret פַּתבַּג, [as] bread, but it does not appear correct, for it is written (below verse 16): “The steward would take away פַּתבָּגָם … and give them pulse.” Now pulse is not a substitute for bread, but a substitute for cooked food.  
6Now there were among them, from the Judahites, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.   ווַיְהִי בָהֶם מִבְּנֵי יְהוּדָה דָּנִיֵּאל חֲנַנְיָה מִישָׁאֵל וַעֲזַרְיָה:
7And the chief officer gave them names: he called Daniel Belteshazzar, Hananiah Shadrach, Mishael Meshach, and Azariah Abed-nego.   זוַיָּשֶׂם לָהֶם שַׂר הַסָּרִיסִים שֵׁמוֹת וַיָּשֶׂם לְדָנִיֵּאל בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּר וְלַחֲנַנְיָה שַׁדְרַךְ וּלְמִישָׁאֵל מֵישַׁךְ וְלַעֲזַרְיָה עֲבֵד נְגוֹ:
Belteshazzar: He named him after the god of Babylon, which was called Bel, as it is said (4:5): “whose name is Belteshazzar, like the name of my god.” Teshazzar is the Aramaic expression denoting wisdom.  
8Daniel resolved not to be defiled by the king's food or by the wine he drank; so he requested of the king's chief officer that he should not be defiled.   חוַיָּשֶׂם דָּנִיֵּאל עַל לִבּוֹ אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִתְגָּאַל בְּפַת בַּג הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבְיֵין מִשְׁתָּיו וַיְבַקֵּשׁ מִשַּׂר הַסָּרִיסִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִתְגָּאָל:
not to be defiled: Heb. לֹא יָתְגָּאַל, an expression of sullying.  
9God granted Daniel kindness and mercy before the chief officer.   טוַיִּתֵּן הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת דָּנִיֵּאל לְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים לִפְנֵי שַׂר הַסָּרִיסִים:
the chief officer: who was the chief over the king’s servants.  
10And the chief officer replied to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who allotted your food and your drink, for why should he see your faces troubled more than the youths like you? And you will forfeit my head to the king."   יוַיֹּאמֶר שַׂר הַסָּרִיסִים לְדָנִיֵּאל יָרֵא אֲנִי אֶת אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר מִנָּה אֶת מַאֲכַלְכֶם וְאֶת מִשְׁתֵּיכֶם אֲשֶׁר לָמָּה יִרְאֶה אֶת פְּנֵיכֶם זֹעֲפִים מִן הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר כְּגִילְכֶם וְחִיַּבְתֶּם אֶת רֹאשִׁי לַמֶּלֶךְ:
who allotted: who prepared and provided.  
like you: כְּגִילְכֶם, of your likeness. It is the language of the Mishnah; one of his likeness.  
and you will forfeit my head to the king: You shall bring about that I will be condemned to be beheaded.  
11And Daniel answered the steward whom the chief officer had appointed for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.   יאוַיֹּאמֶר דָּנִיֵּאל אֶל הַמֶּלְצַר אֲשֶׁר מִנָּה שַׂר הַסָּרִיסִים עַל דָּנִיֵּאל חֲנַנְיָה מִישָׁאֵל וַעֲזַרְיָה:
the steward: Heb. הַמֶּלְצַר, the one who arranges the portions and the plates, called maestre sala, seneschal, steward.  
12"Now test your servants for ten days, and let them give us some pulse that we should eat, and water that we should drink.   יבנַס נָא אֶת עֲבָדֶיךָ יָמִים עֲשָׂרָה וְיִתְּנוּ לָנוּ מִן הַזֵּרֹעִים וְנֹאכְלָה וּמַיִם וְנִשְׁתֶּה:
test: Heb. נַס an expression of (נִסָיוֹן) testing.  
some pulse: a type of beans instead of the food.  
13And let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be seen by you, and as you will see, so do with your servants."   יגוְיֵרָאוּ לְפָנֶיךָ מַרְאֵינוּ וּמַרְאֵה הַיְלָדִים הָאֹכְלִים אֵת פַּת בַּג הַמֶּלֶךְ וְכַאֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֵה עֲשֵׂה עִם עֲבָדֶיךָ:
and as you will see: According to what you see, do.  
14He heeded them in this matter and tested them for ten days.   ידוַיִּשְׁמַע לָהֶם לַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיְנַסֵּם יָמִים עֲשָׂרָה:
15And at the end of the ten days, they looked handsomer and fatter than all the youths who ate the king's food.   טווּמִקְצָת יָמִים עֲשָׂרָה נִרְאָה מַרְאֵיהֶם טוֹב וּבְרִיאֵי בָּשָׂר מִן כָּל הַיְלָדִים הָאֹכְלִים אֵת פַּת בַּג הַמֶּלֶךְ:
16And the steward would carry away their food and the wine they were to drink and give them pulse.   טזוַיְהִי הַמֶּלְצַר נֹשֵׂא אֶת פַּת בָּגָם וְיֵין מִשְׁתֵּיהֶם וְנֹתֵן לָהֶם זֵרְעֹנִים:
carry away their food: He would take it for himself.  
17And to these youths, the four of them, God gave knowledge and understanding in every script and wisdom, and Daniel understood all visions and dreams.   יזוְהַיְלָדִים הָאֵלֶּה אַרְבַּעְתָּם נָתַן לָהֶם הָאֱלֹהִים מַדָּע וְהַשְׂכֵּל בְּכָל סֵפֶר וְחָכְמָה וְדָנִיֵּאל הֵבִין בְּכָל חָזוֹן וַחֲלֹמוֹת:
18And at the end of the days that the king ordered to bring them, the chief officer brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.   יחוּלְמִקְצָת הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לַהֲבִיאָם וַיְבִיאֵם שַׂר הַסָּרִיסִים לִפְנֵי נְבֻכַדְנֶצַּר:
that the king ordered to bring them: that they come before him.  
19And the king spoke with them, and of all of them, no one was found to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and they stood before the king.   יטוַיְדַבֵּר אִתָּם הַמֶּלֶךְ וְלֹא נִמְצָא מִכֻּלָּם כְּדָנִיֵּאל חֲנַנְיָה מִישָׁאֵל וַעֲזַרְיָה וַיַּעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ:
20And in every matter of the wisdom of understanding that the king requested of them, he found them ten times better than all the necromancers and astrologers in all his kingdom.   כוְכֹל דְּבַר חָכְמַת בִּינָה אֲשֶׁר בִּקֵּשׁ מֵהֶם הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיִּמְצָאֵם עֶשֶׂר יָדוֹת עַל כָּל הַחַרְטֻמִּים הָאַשָּׁפִים אֲשֶׁר בְּכָל מַלְכוּתוֹ:
the necromancers: These are the ones who inquire of טִימֵי מֵתִים, the bones of the dead, as you say, “May his bones be crushed,” שְּׁחִיק טַמַיָא.  
the astrologers: These are the ones who “press” the constellation. So it is explained in Tanhuma (Miketz 2, Buber, Miketz 4).  
21And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.   כאוַיְהִי דָּנִיֵּאל עַד שְׁנַת אַחַת לְכוֹרֶשׁ הַמֶּלֶךְ:
And Daniel was there: in greatness in Babylon until the first year of King Cyrus. According to the one who says that Hathach (Esther; 4:5, 6, 9, 10) is Daniel; and why was he called Hathach? Because he was cut off (חֲתָכוּהוּ) from his greatness; [according to his explanation] we must say that this is Cyrus I, who preceded Ahasuerus. But according to the one who says that all royal affairs were decided (נֶחְתָּכִים) by his orders, we must say that this Cyrus was Darius II, [who came] after Ahasuerus, and in the days of Darius the Mede, when they cast [Daniel] into the lions’ den, he was not demoted from his greatness, as it is said (6: 29): “And this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and during the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” We learn that during the days of Cyrus I he was [still] in his greatness.  
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