Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Daniel
Book: Daniel
Chapter: 1

The Captivity of Daniel and his companions. (1-7) Their
refusal to eat the King's meat. (8-16) Their improvement in
Wisdom. (17-21)

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.

8-16 The interest we think we make for ourselves, we must
acknowledge to be God's Gift. Daniel was still firm to his
religion. Whatever they called him, he still held Fast the
Spirit of an Israelite. These youths scrupled concerning the
meat, lest it should be sinful. When God's people are in Babylon
they need take special care that they partake not of her sins.
It is much to the praise of young people, not to covet or seek
the delights of sense. Those who would excel in Wisdom and
Piety, must learn betimes to keep the body under. Daniel avoided
defiling himself with Sin; and we should more fear that than any
outward trouble. It is easier to keep Temptation at a distance,
than to resist it when near. And we cannot better improve our
interest in any with whom we have found favour, than to use it
to keep us from Sin. People will not believe the benefit of
avoiding excess, and of a spare diet, nor how much they
contribute to the health of the body, unless they try.
Conscientious temperance will always do more, even for the
comfort of this Life, than sinful indulgence.

17-21 Daniel and his fellows kept to their religion; and God
rewarded them with eminence in learning. Pious young persons
should endeavour to do better than their fellows in useful
things; not for the praise of Man, but for the honour of the
Gospel, and that they may be qualified for usefulness. And it is
Well for a country, and for the honour of a Prince, when he is
able to Judge who are best fitted to serve him, and prefers them
On that account. Let young men steadily attend to this Chapter;
and let all remember that God will honour those who honour him,
but those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed.