Daniel 1:20 Index
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

"in all matters of wisdom and understanding"

  • Commentators have explained the Hebrew construction to be the result of a desire on the part of the author to express the highest form of understanding or science, or to convey... the thought that wisdom determined, or regulated, by understanding... hence there was no magical knowledge or supernatural science. This would suggest that Daniel and his friends excelled the men of their profession in matters of exact science, such as astronomy and mathematics, and in matters of linguistic studies. They had mastered cuneiform writing, the Babylonian and Aramaic languages, and the Aramaic square script. (4BC 762-763)

"...he found them ten times better..."

  • God "...is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah had sought Him in their daily lives and God honored their faith. Two gifts of the Holy Spirit, wisdom and knowledge, had been abundantly given to these worthy young men. (KC 29)
  • The presence of the same guide in educational work today will produce the same results as of old. This is the end to which true education tends; this is the work that God designs it to accomplish. (Ed 96)

"better than all the magicians and astrologers"

  • Divination, magic, exorcism, and astrology were widespread among the ancient peoples, but in some countries. like Babylonia, they were practiced by the men of science. Future events were divined by looking for signs in the entrails of sacrificed animals or in the flight of birds. Divination was especially practiced by inspecting the livers of sacrificed animals (hepatoscopy), and comparing them with inscribed "model" livers of clay. These models, like a modern manual of palmistry, contained detailed explanations of all form differences and directions for interpretation. Numerous clay liver models have come to light in the excavations of Mesopotamian sites. Ancient diviners had many methods. Sometimes they sought advice by pouring oil on water and interpreting the form of the spreading oil (lecanomancy), or by shaking arrows in the quiver and looking for the direction in which the first one falls (belomancy). (Ezekiel 21:21).... The diviner also interpreted dreams, worked out incantation formulas by which evil spirits or sicknesses allegedly could be banished, and asked advice from supposed spirits of the dead (necromancy).Every Oriental potentate had many diviners and magicians in his service. they were at hand on every occasion, and followed their king on military campaigns, hunting expeditions, and state visits. Their counsel was sought for various decisions, such as the route to be followed, or the date for an attack on the enemy. The life of the king was largely regulated and ruled by these men.... It is a mistake to assume that the wise men of Babylon were only diviners and magicians. Thought skilled in these arts, they were also scholars in the true sense. As in the Middle Ages alchemy was practiced by men of true scholarly education and astrological horoscopes were prepared by otherwise scientifically working astronomers, so the exorcisers and diviners of ancient times engaged also in strictly scientific studies. Their astronomical knowledge had attained to a surprisingly high degree of development, although the peak of Babylonian astronomy came after the Persian conquest. Astronomers were able to predict both lunar and solar eclipses by computation. Their mathematical skill was highly developed. They employed formulas whose discovery is erroneously but generally attributed to Greek mathematicians. Furthermore, they were good architects, builders, and acceptable physicians, who had found by empirical means the cure for many ailments. It must have been in these branches of knowledge and skill that Daniel and his three friends exceeded the Babylonian magicians, astrologers, and scholars. (4BC 763)
  • God wants men to cultivate force of character. Those who are merely timeservers are not the ones who will receive a rich reward by and by. He wants those who labor in His cause to be men of keen feeling and quick perception. They should be temperate in eating; rich and luxurious food should find no place upon their tables; and when the brain is constantly taxed and there is a lack of physical exercise, they should eat sparingly, even of plain food. Daniel's clearness of mind and firmness of purpose, his strength of intellect in acquiring knowledge, were due in a great degree to the plainness of his diet in connection with his life of prayer. (4T 515-516)
  • Why did Daniel and his companions refuse to eat at the king's table? Why did they refuse his meats and wines? Because they had been taught that this class of food would not keep the mind and the physical structure in the very best condition of health to do God's service.... They were very careful to keep themselves in touch with God. They prayed and studied, and brought into their practical life strictly conscientious, humble minds. They walked with God as did Enoch. The word of the Lord was their meat and their drink. “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” In the light of this Scripture history, all the testimony of man as to the advantages of a meat diet, or of a great variety of food, should not have the least weight with any human being. When the children of faith shall with earnest prayer dedicate themselves to God without reserve, the Lord will honor their faith and will bless them with a clear mind. (MM 276)
  • At the expiration of the three years of training, when their ability and acquirements were tested by the king, he “found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm." (SL 22-23)
  • So in Daniel God placed a light beside the throne of the world's greatest kingdom, that all who would might learn of the true and living God. At the court of Babylon were gathered representatives from all lands, men of the choicest talents, men the most richly endowed with natural gifts and possessed of the highest culture this world could bestow; yet amid them all the Hebrew captives were without a peer. In physical strength and beauty, in mental vigor and literary attainments, and in spiritual power and insight they stood unrivaled. “In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” While faithful to his duties in the king's court, Daniel so faithfully maintained his loyalty to God that God could honor him as His messenger to the Babylonian monarch. Through him the mysteries of the future were unfolded, and Nebuchadnezzar himself was constrained to acknowledge the God of Daniel “as a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets.” (Daniel 2:47). (6T 220)
  • Daniel and his companions passed through a strange school in which to become fitted for lives of sobriety, industry, and faithfulness. Surrounded with courtly grandeur. hypocrisy, and paganism, they exercised self-denial, and sought to acquit themselves so creditably that the Israelites, their down-trodden people might be glorified.... These children had the Lord as their educator. They were connected with the Fountainhead of wisdom, by the golden channel, the Holy Spirit. They kept continually a living connection with God, walking with Him as did Enoch. They were determined to gain a true education; and, in consequence of their copartnership with the divine nature, they became in every sense complete men in Christ Jesus. While diligently applying themselves to gain a knowledge of the language and sciences, they also received light direst from Heaven's throne, and read God's mysteries for future ages.... When at the end of three years, King Nebuchadnezzar tested the ability and acquirements of the royal princes whom he had been educating from other nations, none were found equal to the Hebrew youth; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They surpassed their associates ten-fold in their keen apprehension, their choice and correct language, and their extensive and varied knowledge. The vigor and strength of their mental powers were unimpaired. Hence they stood before the king.... These youth respected their own manhood, and their intrusted talents had not been enfeebled or perverted by indulgence of appetite. The good they wished to accomplish was ever in mind. They were faithful in the little things. God honored them; for they honored Him. God always honors them; that honored Him. God always honors adherence to principle. Among all the most promising youth gathered from the lands subdued by Nebuchadnezzar, the Hebrew captives stood unrivaled. Their regard for nature's laws and the God of nature was revealed in the erect form, the elastic step, the fair countenance, the untainted breath, the undimmed senses. It was not by chance that they attained to their marvelous wisdom. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Psalms 111:10). The foundation of the highest education is religious principle. Faith had been developed in childhood; and when these youth had to act for themselves, they depended upon God for strength and efficiency in their labors, and they were richly rewarded. (SNH 28-29)