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Daniel 1:11

ESV Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
NIV Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,
NASB But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
CSB So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief eunuch had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
NLT Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
KJV Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

What does Daniel 1:11 mean?

Daniel and three other boys were among those captured from Judah by the Babylonian Empire (Daniel 1:1–2). Some of these captives were placed in a reeducation program to make them advisors helping the king rule his new subjects (Daniel 1:3–7). However, Daniel's faith would not allow him to eat the unclean, idol-consecrated food given to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:8). The chief eunuch, Ashpenaz, was sympathetic, but concerned about fulfilling his obligations (Daniel 1:9–10).

Scripture is not clear about whether Ashpenaz approved Daniel's conversation with the steward. It's possible he simply said "no" because of his reservations, and Daniel arranged this test in response. Or the suggestion of a test might have been made to both Ashpenaz and the steward at the same time. Either way, the results would be dependent on God's intervention.

This steward is referred to as ha melsār' in Hebrew, apparently adapting a Persian word referring to a cupbearer (Genesis 40:1) or butler. Though some translations present this as a proper name, the Hebrew contains a definite article, meaning "the." To be a steward required being trustworthy in the eyes of the king in part because stewards served the food and wine, providing opportunity to poison their rulers. It seems Nehemiah held a similar position in King Artaxerxes' court. Nehemiah 2:1 quotes him as saying, "I took up the wine and gave it to the king [Artaxerxes]."
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