Using the Brown, Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, we can define some of the key terms:
» "promoted" (rebah)—to grow long, tall, or great; to increase; to make great.
» "ruler" (shelet)—to have power, to rule (over), to make ruler.
» "chief" (rab)—(adj.) great; (n.) a captain, a chief.
» "administrator" (cegan)—a prefect, a governor.
» "wise men" (chakkiym)—(adj.) wise; (n.) a wise man
The verse tells us the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar elevated God's servant Daniel to the ranks of the great in Babylon. He made Daniel a ruler, an official of great power over his kingdom. This promotion made Daniel the chief or lord over all the other wise men (magi) of Babylon.
This act of Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel the power and the opportunity to make significant changes in the way the magi operated in Babylon. He may have held this post for the rest of his long life, and such a long tenure would ensure that many of his changes would endure. We could also speculate that, understanding the Seventy Weeks Prophecy (Daniel 9:20-27), he could have passed along to the magi the need to watch for strange tidings in Judea around this time.
We should also remember that a large number of Jews, Levites, and Benjamites still lived in Babylon and the surrounding areas, for only a small percentage of Judeans returned from exile to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:64-67). Some of them, following the example of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, may have been magi or governors. It is most probable, then, that the magi who visited the young Jesus would come under this second category of God-fearing, high-ranking rulers.
Who Were the Wise Men?