Hippolytus discusses his purpose behind his commentary
The most holy Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome,
1. Wishing to precisely demonstrate1 the times of the captivity which befell the sons of Israel and the prophetic dreams2 of the blessed Daniel, and also the manner of his life from childhood3 in Babylon, I myself come forward to speak in order to testify to the holy and righteous prophetic man, even to him who became a witness4 of Christ, who not only then in those times, revealed the visions of king
Nebuchadnezzar, but also similarly, having thoroughly taught his youths5, led the faithful witnesses6
onward into the world.
2. Now this occurred during the kingdom of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, according to the times of the prophecy of the blessed Jeremiah, who…7 together with the rest of the captives was captured and brought with them into Babylon.
3. And Daniel8, being a young boy, refuted the decrepit elders who were engaged in wicked desires9, demonstrating in in this the heavenly judge, who, though being a youth of twelve years, was destined to refute the elders who were transgressors of the law in the temple.
4. And so this well known account1 occurred long ago in in Babylon under the lawless elders, the judges who, forgetting the law of God and being enslaved to fleshly lusts, became plotters against the chaste Susannah, unrighteously grasping to destroy her righteous blood.
5. Accordingly it was necessary that these things be fulfilled in this way by the elders,2 so that namely the chosen race of righteousness may be manifested to all and the chastity of the blessed Susannah
may be clearly shown and the righteous and holy prophet Daniel, then a young prophet, may be demonstrated to the people.
1 Lit: demonstrate the exactness of the times
2 Lit: prophecies given by means of dreams
3 Lit: manner of life from childhood of this one
4 Or: martyr
5 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
6 Or: martyrs
8 Lit: he
9 Lit: who were of a yearning of a wicked desireI
1 Or: history
2 Lit: them
Chapter 2 : Hippolytus discusses the historical background to the Book of Daniel.
1. Therefore it is necessary for us, while making a proof of these matters3, to precisely take up for the persuasion of our listeners, the things set before us; and we shall not pass over what captivities4 befell the people, and what befell some5 of the kings.6
2. For these are the five sons of the blessed Josiah: Jehoahaz, Eliakim who was also called Jehoiakim, Johanan, Zedekiah who was also called Jeconiah, and Shallum.7
3. And Jehoahaz, after the death of his father, was anointed by the people into the kingdom, being twenty-three years old.
4. Pharaoh Necho arose against him in the third month of his kingdom and, taking him prisoner, he brought him into Egypt. And the Jews1 set a tribute upon the earth of one hundred talents of silver and ten talents of gold and Pharaoh Necho2 set in his place Eliakim, his brother, as king of the land, who also changed his name to Jehoiakim. He reigned for eleven years.
5. Then, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon arose against him and, taking him prisoner, brought him and some of the vessels of the House of the Lord, which were in Jerusalem, into Babylon.
6. As a friend of Pharaoh he was imprisoned3 and the king, having been restored by the next king of Babylon4 in the thirtieth year, was brought out by Evil Merodach king of Babylon. And he raised5 his head and was his adviser and ate with him at his table until the day in which he died.
3 Or: events
4 Lit: over what and what kind of captivities
5 Or: to which kings
6 Lit: what and what kind of captivities happened to the people, and we
shall not pass over what happened to some of the kings
7 These names and their spellings differ greatly between Hebrew and
Greek versions of the Old Testament.
1 Lit: they
2 Lit: he
3 Lit: shut up
4 Lit: him
1. And so after his deportation his son Jehoiakim6 reigned three years.7
2. And so Nebuchadnezzar arose against him and deported both him and ten thousand men of the people into Babylon and set in his place Jeconiah the brother of his father, whom also changed his name to Zedekiah, with whom he, having made oaths and covenants, returned to Babylon.
3. He, after reigning eleven years, withdrew from Nebuchadnezzar1 and gave himself to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
4. But in the twelfth year, Nebuchadnezzar and all the power of the Chaldeans came against him and besieged the city and camped around it and pressed in on it from all sides; from then on many of them were destroyed by famine, others killed by the sword, and some of them were taken as captives. The city was burned in fire and the temple and the wall were demolished.
5. And the power of the Chaldeans took all the treasures which were found in the House of the Lord and all the vessels, both the gold and silver and all the copper vessels. Nebuzaradan the captain cut them out and brought them into Babylon, and Zedekiah himself, who was also called Jeconiah, fled through the night with seven-hundred men, but the powers of the Chaldeans pursued Zedekiah and seized him in
Jericho and brought him to the king of Babylon in Deblatha.2
6. And the king and those with him were judged in spirit because he transgressed the oath of the Lord and the covenant, which Nebuchadnezzar3 set before him.
7. And taking his sons, Nebuchadnezzar4 slaughtered them before him and he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah who was also called Jeconiah, and shackled him in iron fetters and brought him into Babylon and he ground at the mill until the day in which he died.
8. And when he died they took his body and hurled it behind the wall of Nineveh.
9. At this the prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, who said, “As I live, says the Lord, though Jeconiah, who is the son of Josiah the king of Judah, is the signet ring upon my right hand, I will remove you from there and I will deliver you into the hands of those who seek your life, of whom you were wary of their face, into the hands of the Chaldeans. And I will cast you and your mother who bore you into a land, in which you were not born1, and there you will die. But to the land which they pray for in their souls, they will certainly not return. Jeconiah is dishonored as a useless vessel which is not needed, on account of this he is cast out and banished to a land which he does not know. O Land, land! Hear the word of the Lord! Mark this man as an exiled man, because in truth he is not worthy to have one from his seed grow to sit upon the throne of David, a ruler still in Judah2.”3
6 Whom we call Jehoiachin, but Hippolytus uses the same spelling as
his father’s name, Jehoiakim.
7 Hippolytus is here attempting to harmonize the three dates of
Jehoiakim (Jerhoiachin’s) reign). Which are 3 years (Daniel 1:1), 3
months (2 kings 24:8, 2 Chron. 36:10) and 8 years (2 kings 24:12).
Hippolytus is also assuming that the king in Daniel is the son of
Jehoiakim and not Jehoiakim himself.
1 Lit him
2 Hebrew text says “Riblah”
3 Lit: he
4 Lit: he 0.
1 Or: of which you were not born by her
2 Or: who still reigns in Judah
3 Jeremiah 22:24-30
1. And so after all of the people were deported and both the city was deserted and the Most Holy Place destroyed, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord, which he spoke through the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet, “The Most Holy Place will be deserted seventy years,”4 we find the blessed Daniel in
Babylon as a prophet5 and as6 an avenger7 of Susannah.
1. For Scripture says, “And there was a man living in Babylon and the name for him was Jehoiakim and he took a wife, whose name was Susannah, daughter of Hilkiah, who was exceedingly beautiful and who feared the Lord, and her parents were righteous and taught their daughter according to the Law of Moses.”8
2. And so this account occurs later, but it is written before as the beginning of the book.9 For it was the custom of the scribes to place many things in reverted order in the Scriptures.
3. For we also find in the prophetic visions that some visions which occurred first are even fulfilled at the end, and in turn again what is spoken last occurs even first.
4. This happens by the economy of the Spirit, so that the devil may not understand what was spoken by the prophets in parables and then, having ensnared a man again a second time, kill him.
8 Susannah 1-3
9 Lit: written first as the first of the book Αὕτη µὲν οὖν ἡ ἱστορία
γεγένηται ὕστερον, προεγράφη δὲ τῆς βίβλου πρώτη
Chapter 6 : Daniel and his companions are chosen by the king
1. This is the beginning of the book, “In the third year of the kingdom of Jehoiakim the king of Judah,
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came into Jerusalem and blockaded it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand as well as some of the vessels of the House of God and he brought them into the land of Shinar, into the house of his god.”1
2. And so Scripture describes these things in this way so that it may indicate the occurrence of the captivity of the people, when Jehoiakim, the son of Eliakim who was also called Jehoiakim2, was deported and the three youths3 together with Daniel were taken along with him.
3. Thus, Jehoiakim was the husband of Susannah.
1 Daniel 1:1-2 2 This was the king of Judah 3 These are the Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
1. And Scripture says, “And the king told Ashpenaz the chief of the eunuchs to bring in some of those from the sons of the captivity of Israel and from the seed of the king and from the princes,4 young men, who have no blemish, who are beautiful in appearance and are understanding in all wisdom, being well versed in knowledge,1 disposed to prudence, and who have in themselves the strength to stand in the house of the king, and to teach them the letters and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them on that very day to be nourished from the table of the king and from the wine which he drank in order for them to be nourished three years, and after these things to stand before the king. And there was among them from the sons of Judah, Daniel and Hanniah, Mishael, and Azariah.2”3.
2. It is necessary that those who love learning to no tread these things cursorily, but to prepare4 the mind for the things that lie before us. For the divine writings do not idly preach to us, but their admonition is meant for us5 and also the blessing of these prophets and the demonstration of all the things which are spoken by them are for us as well.
3. For when Hezekiah king of Judah was sick unto death, then “Isaiah the prophet came to him and told him ‘Set in order your sons and your daughters and your father’s house, for you will die and you will not live.’”6
4. Having been grieved at this word, “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord saying, ‘Lord remember me just as I have walked before you in truth and in faith and with a full heart and I have done what is pleasing in your presence.’ And Hezekiah wept with great weeping.”7
5. After this occurred, Isaiah was sent to him a second time and he said to him, “The Lord the God of David your father says this, ‘I have heard your prayer and have seen your tears. Behold, I set before you the days of your life, ten and five years and I will deliver you from the hand of the king of the Assyrians. This will be a sign to you from the Lord that the Lord will bring about this word which he spoke. Behold, I turn back the shadow on the stairs of the house of your father which the sun descends upon, the shadow shall descend ten steps so that there will be in that day thirty two hours.’”1
6. For after the sun ran its course and arrived at the tenth hour and the shadow had descended ten steps of the house of the temple, then the sun reversed again upon those ten steps behind it according to the saying of the Lord, and there were twenty hours in the day. And again the sun having encircled its
own course according to its own path, it went to the west.2 Therefore there were thirty-two hours of daylight.3
4 φορθοµµὶν This is a transliterated Hebrew word. See Hill (2006) p.23
1 Lit: knowledgeable in knowledge
2 These are the Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
3 Daniel 1:3-7
4 Lit: set
5 πρὸς µὲν τὴν ἡµῶν αὐτῶν νουθεσίαν
6 2 Kings 20:1, also see Isaiah 38:1
7 2 Kings 20:1-3
1 2 Kings 20:9
2 Or: to its setting
3 After ten of the twelve hours of daylight had elapsed the sun reversed
ten hours and then went back over the ten hours, making twenty extra
hours and thirty total hours, and then it completed the final two hours,
making thirty-two total hours of daylight.
1. But perhaps one will say, “This is not possible.” O man, what is impossible for God? From the beginning did not he himself design all creation from what was not and set the measures in creation4 for illumination of day and night, and to whom do all things, being in subjection, serve and to whom does creation5 tremble at the hearing of his voice? And so what is impossible for men, these things are possible for God.6
2. But we also have another witness regarding this demonstration.7
3. For when Joshua the son of Nun was warring with the Amorites, the sun having descended already to the west and the battle nearly won, the blessed Joshua was shrewd lest night come to pass and the foreigners flee, so he shouted saying, “Stand still sun at Gibeon and moon at the chasm of Aijalon,1 as long as I war with this people.”2 And the sun and moon stopped in their position and the sun3 did not go to set until the end of one day, so that that day was twenty-four hours of daylight. And on account of this Scripture testified saying, “There was never a day like that
before when God heeded a man.”4
4. And so from the beginning, having fixed the measures in heaven and having prescribed for these things perpetual courses according to his own authority, how could he not also divert and turn and change these things whenever he should will it to be possible?5
5. For before Joshua the sun stopped at Gibeon and the moon at the chasm of Aijalon for one day, but before Hezekiah the moon together with the sun reversed backwards, so that there would not be a
disorderly collision of the two intervals6 of time, which follow one another. These periods7 of time not only happened before the Lord, when he suffered, but also the same day and all the world was shaken.8
4 Lit: it
5 Lit: it
6 Matthew 19:26
7 Lit: exhibit
2 Joshua 10:12-13
3 Lit: it
4 Joshua 10:14
5 Lit: it is possible
6 Or: shadows
7 Or: measures
8 Hippolytus may be referring to his belief that these events all took
place on the Passover, as is evident in his Chronicon §693-694 and the
table of his Canon.
1. For also then, Berodach9 the Chaldean, the king of Babylon, because he practiced the astrological art and precisely measured out the course of the sun and moon10, and learning the cause of the phenomenon, was astounded at what happened to Hezekiah, and sent letters and gifts to Hezekiah.
2. Just as in a similar manner also the Magi1 did, who came from the east. For after the Lord was born in Bethlehem and a star shone in heaven, according to what was prophesied, the Magi, being astonished at the occurrence of the sign, came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has
been born the King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.”2
3. And so similarly also the Chaldeans then, not finding the habitual course of the sun, honored Hezekiah with gifts and letters as a God fearing and righteous man, having been amazed at the sign which was given by his God.
4. Hezekiah rejoiced at these things and showed the Chaldeans3 all the treasures which were in the house of the Lord; next he showed them all the wealth and his glory.
5. And so afterward, when Isaiah the prophet said “Who are these men and from where have they come to you?” Hezekiah answered, “They have come from a far off land to me, from the land of Babylon.”
6. Isaiah said to him, “What did they see in your house?” And Hezekiah said, “They saw all the things which are in my house and there is nothing which I did not show them, but even the things which are in my treasuries.”
7. And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord, the all powerful Lord of Hosts. ‘Behold, days are coming’, says the Lord, ‘when even all of the things which are in your house and as much as your fathers treasured until this day shall even go into Babylon and not one thing shall be left behind,’ says the Lord, ‘And from your children, who have come from you, being begotten by you, they shall be taken and be eunuchs in the house of the king of Babylon.’”1
9 Or: Merodach
10 Lit: them
1 µάγους This word may also be translated as “magician” as it is in
other parts of the commentary.
2 Matthew 2:2
3 Lit: them
1 Isaiah 39:1-7
1. And so therefore what was spoken by the Lord was fulfilled and the prophet, who spoke truthfully, showed that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came and took all the treasures which were found in the house of the Lord and made the people captives, he also took to himself the sons of the king and from those who were wellborn of nobility2 from boyhood, among whom were also called Daniel, Hanniah,
Mishael and Azariah, whose lineage Scripture passes over in silence, but it describes their piety and faith and the acts which occurred there.
2. For these, having acquired the fear of God from boyhood, did not want to partake from the table of the king nor to drink from the wine which he drank.3
3. O blessed boys, who guarded the covenant of the fathers and did not transgress the law which was given through Moses, but who feared God on account of his preaching!
4. These captives who were in a strange land were not beguiled by the many foods nor enslaved by the pleasure of the wine, nor enticed by the kingly glory. They who were plundered kept their mouths undefiled and pure, as a pure word, which comes forth from a pure mouth, hymns through the mouth4
to the heavenly Father, just as it is written, “If you shall bring forth honor from worthlessness you will be as my mouth.”5
5. And so, you know, O man, what has been spoken. A mouth brings forth the paternal honorable6 Word from itself, so that again a second time the Word is shown as being begotten by the saints, which always begets the saints and itself is begotten by the saints.
2 φορθοµµὶν This is a transliterated Hebrew word. See Hill (2006) p.23
3 Lit: wine of his drink
4 Lit: it
5 Jeremiah 15:19
6 Or: precious