See Introduction. The chronology is uncertain, and dates given are not necessarily precise.
Third year of Jehoiakim: 607 or 606 B.C.E.
Nebuchadnezzar became king in 605; but see 2 Kgs. 24.1–6
. The first deportation took place in 598; see 2 Kgs. 24.10–17
Shinar was in southern Mesopotamia.
Ashpenaz is otherwise unknown.
Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were common names; Azariah appears in Neh. 10.2
, and Hananiah in Neh. 10.23
This was also the case with Joseph in Gen. 41.45
Determined not to become contaminated: compare 1 Macc. 1.62; see Ezek. 4.13; Hos. 9.3
The total abstinence from meat was a safeguard against eating forbidden meats such as pork.
Visions and dreams: the practice of dream interpretation in Mesopotamia, and the special significance attributed to them, goes back to the third
This verse anticipates the plots in chs. 2; 4; 5
. Magicians and exorcists: the Heb. terms are borrowed from the ancient Akkadian, meaning, respectively, “interpreters of dreams” and “incantation officials.”
First years of King Cyrus: 539 B.C.E., sixty- eight years after the date (607 or 606) in v. 1
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