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Daniel 1

Even though Daniel’s “little book”[1] is only twelve chapters long, its pages are full of meaning for the believer in spite of it being more than two thousand, six hundred years old! Instead of his prophecies becoming obsolete and outdated, their relevance has increased exponentially with the passage of time.

Because of the astounding accuracy of the prophecies found in its pages, scholars have concluded its author lived many years later than the events depicted. They assume that these things must have been recounted from a retrospective viewpoint.

But we will not waste time on skeptical questioning, but rather, point out that Daniel’s contemporary, the prophet Ezekiel, classed him with two Bible heroes “Noah . . . and Job” (Ezekiel 14:14, 20) and said that his wisdom was exceeded only by that of a superhuman being called “the prince of Tyrus” (Ezek. 28:2, 3). Jesus Himself referred to the “abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Matt.24:15; Mark 13:14), proof that He believed Daniel genuine. The SDA Bible Commentary offers other convincing claims of its authenticity including such archeological findings as fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls containing portions of the book of Daniel.[2]

Therefore, as far as I am concerned, there is absolutely no question that: (1) the book of Daniel is the genuine article, (2) the events and prophecies contained are accurate and truthful, and (3) its sealed portion was complemented some six hundred years later by John in the open book of Revelation.[3]

Verse 1: In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

This catastrophic event befalling the city of Jerusalem took place around 605 or 607 B.C.[4] with Daniel himself, being only “eighteen years old.”[5] “Jehoiakim[6] king of Judah” “was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem, . . .” (2 Kings 23:36). But, he was only a vassal to the king of Egypt for his first three years up to the time Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. Then, of course, he became servant to Nebuchadnezzar. Interestingly, his original name was Eliakim, but the Egyptian king “Pharoahnechoh” put Eliakim in place of his brother Jehoaz and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:34) to remind him and his people he was in charge.

So, for three years thereafter, being Nebuchadnezzars’s servant, “he [foolishly] turned and rebelled against him” (2 Kings 24:1) in spite of repeatedly being warned, especially by Jeremiah, against doing so.

Evidently, then, Daniel who must have been some 15 years old when Jehoiakim became king, must also have been familiar with the good king Josiah, the father of Jehoiakim. Doubtless his parents had often recounted the good things Josiah did which compared unfavorably with the character and behavior of his son. Daniel never forgot what he heard.

The prophet Jeremiah, who had entered his ministry some years before, may have been a mentor to Daniel during his early years. [7]

So, during the three years Jehoiakim spent planning a vain rebellion, we find (verse 5) Daniel spending that time (through no choice of his) in the Babylonian court being trained to “stand before the king.”

Verse 2: And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Note the first phrase: “the Lord gave . . .” Judah into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. Nebuchadnezzar himself, of course, did not see it that way at all! Having confiscated the articles of the “house of [Judah’s] God” and placing them “into the treasure house of his god” was proof positive to him that his god was far stronger than Judah’s. It took a long time for him to recognize the superiority of Judah’s God, but thirty six years later, Nebuchadnezzar himself, after suffering an extremely humiliating experience, wrote: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniel 4:37).

This figure depicts Jehoiakim as older than 25 when he began to reign, and even older than the 46 years he would be at the end of his reign. Evidently, life for him was hard and he aged rapidly.

Another lesson to learn from this experience is that “giving” his people into the hand of their enemy is God’s usual method of punishment. We can call it His passive or indirect mode of discipline. But, God occasionally resorts to a direct mode. The prime example is Noah’s [its really God’s] flood. Another is seen in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah etc. Those are examples of His “strange act” (see Isaiah 28:21).

As it was, Daniel himself had no misgivings about God having abandoned him. The adverse circumstances he found himself in was all according to God’s plan and he, being separated from family and loved ones, determined right from the start where his loyalty was.

Verses 3 & 4: And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;  Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

According to some sources, Nebuchadnezzar’s “destruction of temples in Jerusalem and the conquest of Judah caused his vilification in the Bible.”[8] But these verses depict him as a person entirely lacking in xenophobic tendencies. His instructions to Ashpenaz portray one eager to find ways to improve the quality of his cabinet with racial matters of little concern.  His assumption was that good stock could be found in any nation he had subjugated.

So, the Bible, in spite of his many failings, does not at all depict him as a villain.  “An idolater by birth and training, and at the head of an idolatrous people, he had nevertheless an innate sense of justice and right, and God was able to use him as an instrument for the punishment of the rebellious and for the fulfillment of the divine purpose.”[9]

So, Nebuchadnezzar’s preoccupation was the prosperity of his kingdom and the welfare of his people, desiring to bring all the honor and glory to his god Bel, but mostly to himself. This becomes clear later on when he is heard to exclaim “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Dan.4:30). Hollow boasting, even megalomania to be sure, but not paranoia. He took evident pride in the prosperity of his kingdom.

With Ashpenaz being “master of his eunuchs” one wonders if Daniel was subjected to mutilating surgery. Whatever the case in this situation Isaiah predicted a hundred years before that “the days [will] come, that . . . of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 20: 17, 18). Undoubtedly, Daniel was fully aware of the prophecy and had resigned himself to it.

Verse 5: And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar provided his captives with the very same fare he ate and drank — the very best food known to man, as far as the king was concerned. But the consumption of food was not the only thing expected of the captives. At the end of three years they were required to “stand before the king” and be able to display the wisdom and knowledge they had gained throughout that period such as the “knowledge, and understanding [of] science” and of languages, especially “the tongue of the Chaldeans.” So, it was an oral examination taken while standing on their feet before the king with no notes available to refer to. Evidently, it was the king himself who acted as examiner.

Verses 6 & 7: Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

The words “among these” is the sole reference Daniel made to his fellow captives and we have no idea what happened to them later on. Possibly, they just blended into the background, keeping, as it were, a low silhouette so as to avoid doing any more or any less than what was expected of them. But, Daniel and his friends were not satisfied with second best. Quite likely they were responsible for saving the lives of their fellows later on during the tense situation described in the next chapter.

Although Daniel and his friends were not subjected to physical torture, they did have to withstand a subtle form of brain washing.  Their name changes were intended to gradually transfer their loyalty from God to the Babylonian god.

Note that Daniel’s Hebrew name meant “judge of God.”[10] It was changed to “Belteshazzar” meaning “lord of the straitened treasure.”[11] The Hebrew name of Hananiah meant “God has favored.”[12] It was changed to “Shadrach” meaning “royal or great scribe.”[13] The Hebrew meaning for Mishael was “who is what God is.”[14] It was changed to “Meeshach” meaning “guest of a king.”[15] Finally, Azariah, whose name in Hebrew meant “Jehovah has helped”[16] was changed to “Abednego” meaning “servant of Nebo.”[17] “Nebo,” in this case “was a Babylonian deity who presided over learning and letters.”[18]

Note that the name changes were flattering, rather than demeaning and calculated to turn their outward mindset from God inward to self esteem. It was an obvious attempt to engender pride, self-esteem, self-importance. The technique probably worked with the others, but not these four. As we will see in chapter 3, it proved powerless to modify their faith.

Verse 8: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

By the time Daniel and the others arrived in Babylon, they had traveled (by foot probably) some 1,000 miles over a period of two months.[19] In view of the special instructions given to Ashpenaz, it seems safe to conclude that they must have been fairly well taken care of. But, compared to the table laden with the “kings’ meat and wine,” their rations, up to this point, must have been quite meager.

Nevertheless, in spite of the sumptuous table spread out before him and a ravenous appetite, the temptation to partake of the king’s dainties must have been enormous. But, Daniel ignoring his fleshly desires made up his mind how he would relate to this situation. “Daniel and his companions [had] enjoyed the benefits of correct training and education in early life, but these advantages alone would not have made them what they were. The time came when they must act for themselves . . .”[20] and that “time” was now!  There was no hesitation recorded in the account, and whatever the cost, they were ready to let the consequences be what they may.

So, he approached the prince and made a special request “not to defile himself” which sounds rather abrupt especially in the ear of one who thought this the best food available to mankind! But, in spite of the wording here, “they did not move capriciously, but intelligently. They decided that as flesh-meat had not composed their diet in the past, it should not come into their diet in the future, and as wine had been prohibited to all who should engage in the service of God, they determined that they would not partake of it. The fate of the sons of Aaron had been presented before them, and they knew that the use of wine would confuse their senses, that the indulgence of appetite would be-cloud their powers of discernment.”[21]

It should be remembered, however, that “the Lord’s Passover” was to “be unto [them] a memorial . . . a feast unto the Lord throughout their generations . . . an ordinance for ever.” In that service the Israelites were required to kill a lamb, sprinkle its blood on the doorpost and eat its flesh roasted ‘with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat of it” (Ex.12:12, 14, 6-8).

Note in Daniel 10:3 that Daniel said “I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth  . . . till three whole weeks were fulfilled” implying that he did eat and drink those articles at other times. Needless to say, the meat was prepared in a very special way so that no blood contamination was in it and the “wine” was unfermented unlike that which was found on the king’s table.

Verse 9:  Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

The request must have stunned Ashpenaz. Never in his life had he been confronted with anything like this. To think that anybody would consider themselves polluted by eating the king’s food would be ludicrous if not downright rude! But, Daniel “… did not fly into a passion, neither did he express a determination to eat and drink as he pleased. Without speaking one word of defiance, he took the matter to God… With true courage and Christian courtesy, Daniel presented the case to the officer who had them in charge…”[22]

But, “Christian courtesy” nor diplomacy would be enough in such circumstance. Here we see that God worked a miracle on the heart of this heathen man who bent over backwards  to accommodate this strange request.

Verse 10: And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

Probably the farthest thing in the mind of the king while he was giving orders to Ashpenaz in verses 3 to 5 was that he be expected to heed the wishes of his captives!  Neither did the prince have any allusions about the results of Daniel’s refusing to eat what the king provided. His head would come off, not Daniel’s! So it was really quite miraculous that he did not immediately brush off Daniel’s request. So, although he may have been ready to listen, he was hesitant.

Verses 11–13: Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

So, what happened to Ashpenaz? Here we see Daniel proposing his plan to Melzar[23] whom Ashpenaz had placed over them. Consequently, in view of Ashpenaz’s hesitancy, we can assume he left the final decision to his underling, likely to distance himself from the situation and be able to cast the blame on Melzar in case things did not turn out well. It would be Melzar’s head not his!

Daniel, of course, was aware of and fully sympathetic with Ashpenaz’s plight. He knew why he was now speaking to Melzar and understood that God was giving him an opening for the realization of his request. But he did not take advantage of the situation by demanding his diet be changed “from now on!” He made it easy for Melzar and asked only for a “ten day” trial and then decide based on what he saw. His suggestion contained the basic elements of what  we could call “the scientific method.” The other captives could be thought of as “controls,” Daniel’s plan could be the “hypothesis,” and the results confirmed or failed by observation.

The “pulse” Daniel requested are ordinary vegetables.[24] The liquid he requested, just water.

Verse 14: So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

So, to Melzar, there was nothing to lose. A period of “ten days” would be unlikely to produce a profound change in appearance.

“Pulse” must have looked pretty bland and unappetizing to the others who were indulging themselves of the king’s meat and wine with great enthusiasm.  Daniel and his friends likely bore the brunt of many jokes as their companions judged the humble fare granted the four faithful men.  As it is, we have no way of judging what kind of background the others came from, but, at least, some must have come from circumstances similar to Daniel’s and his three companions. While the others were also “children of . . . of the king’s seed, and of the princes” (verse 3); many of them may have favored Jehoiakim and his pro-Egyptian policies and looked askance at Jeremiah’s warnings to cooperate with their captors. At this point, being held captive by a foreign nation, it was an easy matter to rationalize abandoning any dietary restriction they may have held in the past, for now it had become a matter of survival to cooperate with the king. Certainly, God would not hold them accountable—so they thought. So, “situation ethics” is not new. Most are more than willing to adjust their theology to coincide with the perceived needs of the moment.

Verse 15: And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

In view of what appears to be a low calorie diet, at least in comparison to the high fat diet of their peers  the result of this experiment is truly remarkable. But, “fatter,” from the Hebrew word “bariy” can also be understood to mean “firm”[25] or even strong.

Verse 16: Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

Melzar, who probably understood that Daniel was a real favorite of Ashpenaz (see verse 9) and that he would have to accept the blame for an unfavorable outcome, tacitly understood he was not to consult Ashpenaz. The responsibility was his. But, having seen the result, he felt very comfortable allowing this unusual exception. Also, being willing to take responsibility, he probably curried favor for himself with Ashpenaz.

In the meantime, Daniel and his companions must have been made laughing stocks. But, they were patient. Obviously, it did not affect their appetites. They probably laughed along with the rest and took it all in good spirit.  Did the other captives note the discrepancy in their appearance compared with Daniel and his friends? A ten-fold difference would be difficult to ignore. Ashpenaz and the butler certainly observed it, and made the arrangement permanent.

As it was, the “joke” was on the other captives; and while the jocularity may have been  silenced, we have no information as to whether any of the others might have decided to adopt Daniel’s dietary commitment to see if they too would realize its health benefits.

As old fashioned as it may seem even in our day, recent scientific investigation has shown that a plant based diet, first introduced to our parents in the garden of Eden when “God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Genesis 1:19), is still best and would protect us from most of the degenerative diseases that have been afflicting us such as cancer and heart disease. So, Daniel’s stand has not gone out of date; rather it was way ahead of his time!

Verse 17: As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

But, the success noted at the end of the ten-day trial period, did not end there. As their three year training period progressed, God’s blessings were very evident. But “they did not feel that the blessing of the Lord was a substitute for the taxing effort required of them. They were diligent in study; for they discerned that through the grace of God their destiny depended upon their own will and action. They were to bring all their ability to the work; and by close, severe taxation of their powers, they were to make the most of their opportunities for study and labor.”[26]

And there was much for them to study because the Babylonians were “scholars in the true sense. . . . Their astronomical knowledge had attained to a surprisingly high degree of development . . . [their] 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.”[27] Therefore Babylonian civilization was far less backward then we might think and the demands placed on the ability of Daniel and peers must have been awesome even by today’s standards!

Verse 18: Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

So, the “prince of the eunuchs” is obviously Ashpenaz. The “end of the days” is not the end of the “ten days,” but of the “three years” mentioned in verse 5. We can imagine that Ashpenaz was the head tutor all through that time and the better his pupils performed, the better it was for him. As he ushered Daniel and his companions into the audience chamber, we can imagine him giving them last minute coaching: “now do this, don’t do that, bow low, don’t speak unless spoken too, listen carefully to the questions, answer clearly” etc. He was probably more nervous than Daniel and his companions!

Verses 19 & 20: And the king communed with them; and among them all was 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.

Here we see the king himself as the examiner. This exercise took a lot of time from his busy schedule, evidence of a keen, inquiring mind and above average intelligence. It is especially intriguing that he would bother to trouble himself with this matter since his interviewees were all from a foreign country. Perhaps troubling thoughts about the quality of his cabinet had already been creeping through his mind and he was grasping at any means whereby he could draw on the talents of the nations he had conquered and thereby solidify his kingdom.

Finding “Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah . . . ten times better than all” the others in his kingdom, he must have felt he had hit “pay dirt!” Nevertheless, as we shall see in the next chapter, he seems to have forgotten about them for a while.

Verse 21: And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

Perhaps this verse should be written that “Daniel continued even unto the first year[s] of king Cyrus” because chapter 10, says “in the third year of Cyrus” a “thing” was revealed to him. Obviously, Daniel himself wrote these words during his final years, or it could have been added by an assistant after his death. Whatever the case, it is to be noted that the “first year of Cyrus” also marked the last year of Babylonian exile.[28]

Summary of chapter 1: This chapter gives us the background setting for the book of Daniel telling us how the prophet, as a young man, found himself to be an unwilling captive in the great kingdom of Babylon. However, he, and his three companions determined to make the best of the situation. They were among a select group of Hebrews chosen to be members of the king’s advisers to help him solve difficult matters of state and religion. The first thing the Babylonian captors did was to subject these men to a subtle form of brain washing. They gave them names designed to flatter and augment their self esteem. The rest of the group, which remain unmentioned anywhere else in the book of Daniel, appears to have gone with the “flow,” but Daniel and his three associates went against the current and remained true to God even on the point of diet. Daniel’s tactful, diplomatic manner of conduct when asking for favor in that sensitive matter is an example of true Christian courtesy that God approved by making “them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all [the kings’] realm.”

Here is a schematic overview of the things depicted in the book of Daniel and some other items of interest:


[1] See Rev.10:2, 8, 9 & 10 the name given by John the Revelator to the “little book” he saw in the hand of the “mighty angel”

[2] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4. page 744, paragraph 3, 4

[3] “In the Revelation all the books of the Bible meet and end. Here is the complement of the book of Daniel. One is a prophecy; the other a revelation. The book that was sealed is not the Revelation, but that portion of the prophecy of Daniel relating to the last days.” (Acts of the Apostles by E.G. White page 585)

[4] The dates used in this work have been taken largely from those given in the “Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible” which it adopted from Ussher’s chronology.  Maxwell (see God Cares Vol.1, page 15) and the SDA Bible Commentary (Vol.4, page 755) suggest 605 B.C. Whichever date is used, it is usually accepted as the beginning date for the seventy year captivity predicted by Jeremiah (see Jer.25:11,12; 29:10). If 605 is used, the ending date for Cyrus decree to free the Jews would be 536. If 607 is used, the ending date would  be 538. The internet and others support 538 B.C. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/530s_BC) while the Commentary supports 536 (Vol.4. page 856) or even “537?” (see diagram in Vol.3 page 326 referencing Ezra 1). Maxwell doesn’t really say although he suggests 535 as being the “third year of Cyrus” (page 267) in reference to Dan.10:1. Whichever date is chosen, it is really only of academic interest since no other prophetic time line hinges on it at least for SDA’s even though Daniel himself may have considered it to be the beginning point of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14. You will note on my comments on the great image of chapter 2 I refer to 605 B.C. as the beginning point. Not very consistent, but its the best I can do!

[5] Testimonies For The Church by E.G. White Vol. 4, page 570

[6] Nebuchadnezzar tried to be gracious to Jehoiakim even after he had “bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon.”[2 Kings 25:7; 2 Chronicles 33:11] Instead of slaying him or making him a slave, Nebuchadnezzar permitted him to remain on the throne if he agreed to be loyal to Babylon. As the story goes, Jehoiakim became [Nebuchadnezzar’s] servant [for] three years” after the initial siege at Jerusalem. But “he violated his word of honor to the Babylonian ruler, and rebelled” three years later. As a result of his insubordination he was “despised by the rulers of Babylon whose confidence he had betrayed—and all as the result of his fatal mistake in turning from the purpose of God as revealed through His appointed messenger” Jeremiah.

Nevertheless, his reign, which began three years before the first siege of Jerusalem, lasted at total of “eleven years.” After his rebellion, five more years remained, but, they were not trouble free. “Against him were sent ‘bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrian, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon,’ and he was powerless to prevent the land from being overrun by these marauders.”

So, while Nebuchadnezzar came to respect, even love Daniel, he lost all respect for Jehoiakiam who could not even keep a promise!

In spite of the counsel of God’s prophet to “seek the peace of the city whither I have cause you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it; for in peace thereof shall he have peace,” Jehoiakiam would have none of it. He spent the next three years plotting rebellion while Daniel and his companions were busily engaged in their three year training exercises.

[7] see God Cares, by Mervyn Maxwell, Vol.1, page 24

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebuchadrezzar_II

[9] Prophets and Kings by E.G. White page 514, 515 (italics supplied)

[10] This is according to Strong’s concordance word #1840

[11] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #1095

[12] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #2608

[13] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #7714

[14] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #4332

[15] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #4335

[16] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #5838

[17] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #5664

[18] According to the Online Computer Lexicon #5015

[19] God Cares by Mervyn Maxwell Vol.1, pages 15, 16

[20] Child Guidance by E.G. White page 167

[21] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, page 1166, 1167 (bottom right column to top of left)

[22] Testimonies to Ministers by E.G. White page 263

[23] “Melzar . . . according to recently recovered Babylonian cuneiform records . . . means ‘guardian,’ or ‘warden.’  . . . indication that a proper name was not intended. Hence, the name of the lower official who acted as immediate tutor of the Hebrew apprentices is not known. Although Ashpenaz had been friendly and sympathetic to Daniel’s request, he nevertheless hesitated to help . . .” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4 page 760 top right column)

[24] “pulse” from: “zeroa” vegetables “as sown” (Strong’s #2235) or “’food derived from plants,’ such as cereals and vegetables. According to Jewish tradition, berries and dates were also comprehended in the term. Since dates are a part of the staple food of Mesopotamia, they seem likely to have been included here.” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary page 761 left column, 2nd paragraph)

[25] For example Psalms 73:4  “but their strength is firm.”

[26] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, page 1167

[27] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, page 763

[28] see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4 page 764 (left column) referencing 2 Chron.36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4;  6:3