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Preparing the Way of the Lord

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 Darius the Mede came after Belshazzar. 

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,  which order is the chapters given during the reigns of:  Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 1, 2, 3, 4: Belshazzar Dan 7, 8, 5: Darius Dan 6, 9: and Cyrus Dan 10, 11, 12).

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 carried off to Babylon. The four were chosen for their intellect and beauty 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 skill.  

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

 

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.

A brief history of the Babylonian sieges of Jerusalem

Daniel was taken to Babylon in the removal 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 invaded Judah. To avoid the destruction of Jerusalem, 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 to Babylon.

The King of Babylon sought out the 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 for the great Babylonian construction  projects.

Some years later king Jehoiachim died  and the regents of the new young king Jeconiah (about eight years old) rebelled against Babylon.

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 also 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 thirty 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.

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, and the population that had remained and those who had returned from the surrounding nations then fled to Egypt for safety.  In Egypt, they settled in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Noph, and Pathros

Daniel 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 conquered nations 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 served the Chaldean’s well.

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

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; with 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 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 asks 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 [of the three years 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 the spiritually called out; that if we partake of the unclean things of worldliness, then we shall 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 spiritual wisdom and we shall stand with the King of kings in that day! 

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