Ashpenaz

ASHPENAZ (ăsh'pĕ-năz). Prince of the eunuchs in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. He gave Daniel and his companions their new heathen names: Belteshazzar, et al. (Dan.1.3, Dan.1.7).


ASHPENAZ ăsh pə năz (אַשְׁפְּנַ֖ז, LXX ̓Αβιεσδρι). A name in Daniel 1:3 for the chief marshal of Nebuchadnezzar’s court, responsible for bringing to Babylon certain Heb. youths for training.

Although found also in non-Biblical texts, the etymology of the word is uncertain. The LXX uses the variant word Abiesdri in Daniel 1:3 as well as in 1:11 in place of Melzar (RSV, steward).

Ashpenaz was “chief” (Heb. rab, a term used for foreign officials, Jer 39:3) of the leading men (Heb sārîs, eunuch, or broader, officer, even married, as Potiphar, Gen 37:36.)

Bibliography

E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (1949), 39.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The master of the eunuchs of Nebuchadnezzar was an officer into whose hands the king entrusted those of the children of Israel, and of the princes, and of the seed of the king of Judah, whom he had carried captive to Babylon, that they might be taught the learning and tongue of the Chaldeans in order to serve in the king’s palace. He is mentioned by name in Da 1:3 only. It used to be supposed that the name was Persian; but it now seems more probable that it is Babylonian. We would suggest Ashipu-Anu- Izzu, "the Aship-priest of Ann is mighty," as a possible form of the original.

R. Dick Wilson