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Commentary On Daniel Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Daniel 1:16

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

16. Et factum est, ut Melsar tolleret sibi portionem cibi illorum et vinum potionum eorum, et daret illis legumina.

After Melsar saw it possible to gratify Daniel and his companions without danger and promote his own profit, he was humane and easily dealt with, and had no need of long disputation. For an intervening obstacle often deters us from the pursuit of gain, and we forbear to seek what we very much crave when it requires oppressive labor; but when our profit is at hand, and we are freed from all danger, then every one naturally pursues it. We see, then, what Daniel means in this verse, namely, when Melsar saw the usefulness of this plan, and the possibility of his gaining by the diet assigned by the king to the four youths, then he gave them pulse. But we must notice also Daniel's intention. He wishes to shew that we ought not to ascribe it to the kindness of man, that he and his companions could preserve themselves pure and unspotted. Why so? Because he never could have obtained anything from this man Melsar, until he perceived it could be granted safely. Since, therefore, Melsar consulted his own advantage and his private interest, and wished to escape all risks and hazards, we easily gather that the benefit is not to be ascribed entirely to him. Daniel and his companions obtained their wish, but God's providence rendered this man tractable, and governed the whole event. Meanwhile, God openly shews how all the praise was due to himself, purposely to exercise the gratitude of Daniel and his associates.

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