on Daniel 1 :21
The first year of king Cyrus - That is, to the end of the Chaldean empire. And we find Daniel alive in the third year of Cyrus, see Daniel 10:1.
on Daniel 1 :21
And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus - When the proclamation was issued by him to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, Ezra 1:1. That is, he continued in influence and authority at different times during that period, and, of course, during the whole of the seventy years captivity. It is not necessarily implied that he did not "live" longer, or even that he ceased then to have influence and authority at court, but the object of the writer is to show that, during that long and eventful period, he occupied a station of influence until the captivity was accomplished, and the royal order was issued for rebuilding the temple. He was among the first of the captives that were taken to Babylon, and he lived to see the end of the captivity - "the joyful day of Jewish freedom." - Prof. Stuart. It is commonly believed that, when the captives returned, he remained in Chaldea, probably detained by his high employments in the Persian empire, and that he died either at Babylon or at Shushan. Compare the Introduction Section I.
In view of the exposition given of this chapter, the following remarks may be made:
(1) There is in every period of the world, and in every place, much obscure and buried talent that might be cultivated and brought to light, as there are many gems in earth and ocean that are yet undiscovered. See the notes at Daniel 1:1-4. Among these captive youths - prisoners of war - in a foreign land, and as yet unknown, there was most rich and varied talent - talent that was destined yet to shine at the court of the most magnificent monarchy of the ancient world, and to be honored as among the brightest that the world has seen. And so in all places and at all times, there is much rich and varied genius which might shine with great brilliancy, and perform important public services, if it were cultivated and allowed to develope itself on the great theater of human affairs. Thus, in obscure rural retreats there may be bright gems of intellect; in the low haunts of vice there may be talent that would charm the world by the beauty of song or the power of eloquence; among slaves there may be mind which, if emancipated, would take its place in the brightest constellations of genius. The great endowments of Moses as a lawgiver, a prophet, a profound statesman, sprang from an enslaved people, as those of Daniel did; and it is not too much to say that the brightest talent of the earth has been found in places of great obscurity, and where, but for some remarkable dispensation of Providence, it might have remained forever unknown. This thought has been immortalized by Gray:
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
"Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest.
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood."
There is at any time on the earth talent enough created for all that there is to be done in any generation; and there is always enough for talent to accomplish if it were employed in the purposes for which it was originally adapted. There need be at no time any wasted or unoccupied mind; and there need be no great and good plan that should fail for the want of talent fitted to accomplish it, if what actually exists on the earth were called into action.
(2) He does a great service to the world who seeks out such talent, and gives it an opportunity to accomplish what it is fitted to, by furnishing it the means of an education, Daniel 1:3. Nebuchadnezzar, unconsciously, and doubtless undesignedly, did a great service to mankind by his purpose to seek out the talent of the Hebrew captives, and giving it an opportunity to expand and to ripen into usefulness. Daniel has taken his place among the prophets and statesmen of the world as a man of rare endowments, and of equally rare integrity of character. He has, under the leading of the Divine Spirit, done more than most other prophets to lift the mysterious veil which shrouds the future; more than "could" have been done by the penetrating sagacity of all the Burkes, the Cannings, and the Metternichs of the world. So far as human appearances go, all this might have remained in obscurity, if it had not been for the purpose of the Chaldean monarch to bring forward into public notice the obscure talent which lay hid among the Hebrew captives. He always does a good service to mankind who seeks out bright and promising genius, and who gives it the opportunity of developing itself with advantage on the great theater of human affairs.
on Daniel 1 :21
1:21 Continued - in the court of Babylon until Cyrus, and then he was in the Persian court, and he lived in honour and high employment all that time, yea, after Cyrus began to reign. For chap.10:1, he had visions and revelations in the third year of Cyrus.