Shinar: ancient name for Babylonia, a deliberate archaism in this text: cf Gn 10, 10; 11, 2
The young men are given Babylonian names as a sign of their adoption by the king.
This defilement: the bread, meat, and wine of the Gentiles, which were unclean (Hos 9, 3; Tb 1, 12; Jdt 10, 5; 12, 1f
) because they might have been offered to idols or prepared over firewood taken from a sacred grove. Only raw vegetables and
water were safe from this danger (v 12
The first year of King Cyrus: the year of this Persian king's conquest of Babylon, 539/8 B.C.
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