Daniel 1

Daniel Introduction:

The people who organized the book of Daniel have placed the various prophecies in the wrong order. 

Daniel himself tells us this when he dates his prophecies by the reigns of various kings. 

For example, we know that Belshazzar was the son [descendant] of Nebuchadnezzar, actually his grandson; and we know that Cyrus the Persian became ruler of the Persian Empire after Belshazzar; and Darius the Mede became ruler of the Persian Empire after Cyrus’ son Cambyses 2.

Daniel specifically dates his writings by the regnal years of the various kings.  In spite of that the organizers of chapters and verses have mixed up the prophecies given to Daniel from their proper sequence.  It may be helpful in the understanding by reading them in the proper order in which they were given to Daniel.

I will provide the various prophecies in their proper order as recorded by Daniel, while maintaining the given chapter identifications for easier reference. The proper order of the chapters runs through the reigns of:  Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 1, 2, 3, 4: Belshazzar Dan 7, 8, 5: Cyrus Dan 10, 11, 12) and Darius Dan 6, 9.

wiki Daniel (Hebrew: דָּנִיֵּאל, Modern Daniyyel Tiberian Dāniyyêl ; Arabic: دانيال, Meaning “God is my Judge”)

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim (c. 605 BC), Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the young Jewish nobility sent to Babylon. The four were chosen for their wisdom to be trained as advisers to the Babylonian court (Daniel 1). Daniel was given the name Belteshazzar, i.e. prince of Bel or Bel protect the king, not to be confused with the neo-Babylonian king Belshazzar.  Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were given the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego respectively.

 One might initially think that these men were being taken captive because of some sin when quite the contrary, they were sent to Babylon to be set up in high authority as men of considerable administrative wisdom and skill.  

It would appear that God was removing these faithful men from that wicked city, Jerusalem,  BEFORE the terrible war, siege and famines which a few years later destroyed so many of the wicked.

A brief history of the Babylonian sieges of Jerusalem

Daniel was taken to Babylon with a small number of the elite from Jerusalem in c 605-604 BC.

In 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon defeated Pharaoh Necho at the Battle of Carchemish, and subsequently King Jehoiakim of Jerusalem, in his third year, changed allegiances from Egypt to Babylon.

Judah then made an alliance with Babylon and paid tribute from the treasury in Jerusalem, giving Babylon some temple artifacts, and sent some of the royal family and nobility [including Daniel] to Babylon to aid Nebuchadnezzar in building his empire.

The King of Babylon sought out skilled and wise men to teach them the language of Babylon, so that they might provide wise advice in running the kingdom and help the Chaldeans in their massive building projects in Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel,  Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and other prominent citizens and craftsmen, along with about 10,000 Master Craftsmen of many nations for the great Babylonian construction projects.

Nebuchadnezzar and his army stopped at Jerusalem where he entered into an alliance with the king of Judah Jehoahaz.  The king of Judah cemented his alliance with the king of Babylon by sending a large company of administrators, managerial personnel and craftsmen to help Nebuchadnezzar build and administer his empire.  Among those who went to Babylon as allies of the Babylonian king in 604 B.C. were Ezekiel, Daniel and Daniel’s three friends.

The Egyptians were not happy with the king of Judah aligning with the king of Babylon and three months later Pharaoh Necco king of Egypt went to Jerusalem and overthrew the throne of Jehoahaz King of Judah and placed his brother Eliakim on that throne.

Jehoahaz was then taken to Egypt where he died, Eliakim allied himself and Judah with Egypt and Eliakim reigned for seven years, then Nebuchadnezzar who had been busy elsewhere returned to Jerusalem and laid siege to the city. 

During the siege Eliakim was killed and the kingdom was overturned to Jehoichin also known as Jeconiah.

Jeconiah reigned for only three months and ten days until Jerusalem finally fell in 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar then replaced King Jeconiah with Zedekiah and took Jeconiah to Babylon where he lived and ended his life in exile.

Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem the first time on 2 Adar (16 March) 597 B.C. and took Ezekiel and the new young king Jeconiah to Babylon.  Dates in the book of Ezekiel are given according to the year of captivity of Jeconiah (i.e. the first fall of Jerusalem, 597 B.C.). 

Following the siege of 597 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar installed Zedekiah as tributary king of Judah at the age of twenty-one. However, Zedekiah later revolted against Babylon, and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt.

Nebuchadnezzar responded by invading Judah and began a siege of Jerusalem in January 589 BC. During this siege, which lasted about eighteen months, “every worst woe befell the city, which drank the cup of God’s fury to the dregs.”

In 587 BC, the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar broke through Jerusalem’s walls, conquering the city.  Zedekiah and his followers attempted to escape, but were captured on the plains of Jericho and taken to Riblah. There, after seeing his sons killed, Zedekiah was blinded, bound, and taken captive to Babylon, where he remained a prisoner until his death.

After the fall of Jerusalem, the Babylonian general Nebuzaraddan was sent to complete its destruction. Jerusalem was plundered and Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. Most of the elite were taken into captivity in Babylon. The city was razed to the ground in 586 B.C.

Only a small number of people were permitted to remain to tend to the land. Gedaliah was made governor of the remnant of Judah, which became the Yehud Province of Babylon with a Chaldean guard stationed at Mizpah. On hearing this news, the Jews who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and in other countries returned to Judah.

Gedaliah was assassinated two months later by a royal prince being supported by the king of Ammon, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Judea execute justice in 581 B.C. Then many Jews fled down into Egypt while the Jews who remained were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.  All of the Jews who had ignored the word of God by Jeremiah  settled in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Noph, and Pathros where they were later destroyed byin 568 B.C. by the Babylonian invasion of Egypt.

 

Daniel 1

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 

1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel [Judah], and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;

1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

People were chosen from among all the nations associated with Babylon including the Jews, and taught the language of Babylon and the king’s court procedures over three years.

1:5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years [during which they were trained], that at the end thereof they might stand before [serve] the king.

1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Daniel requested that he not be forced to partake of wine [that might befuddle him] or any unclean meat.

1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Daniel made the best of his opportunity to learn and wisely advise Nebuchadnezzar and he served the Chaldean’s well.

1:9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

At that time many eunuchs in Babylon were entrusted with important positions which does not mean that Daniel was also a eunuch as some suppose.  Daniel’s overseer feared the king lest Daniel’s request would make Daniel become weak and sickly.

1:10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

Then Daniel asked Melzar to test them for only ten days and Malzar agreed.  Notice that Daniel uses the plural servants and us, which was a strong indication that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [and possibly unnamed others] were making this same request together with Daniel.  We see that these people were determined to avoid any unclean thing and yet used wisdom in how they made their request, proving themselves to be among the wise men of Judah. 

1:11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [grain or bread made of grain only and water] to eat, and water to drink.

Daniel asked that after ten days they be examined and their health and appearance be compared to those who ate the unclean things.

1:13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

1:14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

1:15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

1:16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

These four were blessed by God for their zeal for his Word even in Babylon.

1:17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

1:18 Now at the end of the days [the end of the three years that had been given them to learn the language and customs] that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

Because of their faithfulness to the Word of God under extremely adverse conditions, God gave them understanding and wisdom above their fellows; and they were chosen to advise and serve the king at his side.  By the grace and gift of God, they were wiser than all the wise men of Judah or the wise men of the Chaldean’s.

1:19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.

1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

1:21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

This is a lesson for today’s spiritually called out; that if we partake of the unclean things of worldliness, then we will fall by the wayside; yet if we hunger and thirst for the meat of God’s Word, to learn it and to do it; God will give his faithful, spiritual wisdom and we shall stand with the King of kings on that day! 

 

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