|Daniel Chapter 1|
by Charles Dailey
(Black underlined words match words in the Bible text.)
Bible Background Reading:
1. Isaiah promised that the nation would be deported. 2 Kings 20:12 - 20.
2. Nahum predicted the fall of Assyria. Nahum 1:14 - 15
3. Jeremiah predicted 70 years of captivity. Jeremiah 25:1 -14
4. Pashur the priest will go into captivity. Jeremiah 20:1 - 6
5. Jeremiah predicts the end of David's line. Jeremiah 22: 24 - 30
6. The good figs and the bad figs. Jeremiah 24: 1 - 10
7. Jeremiah wrote to the exiles. 29: 1 -20
8. An overview of Jerusalem is given in 2 Kings 24:1 – 25:30
|1) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.||This was the fourth year as a Jew would reckon because they considered a part as a whole. Three and one-half equals four in their tradition. Jeremiah 25:1
– Nebuchadnezzar means "Nebo, protect the crown!" He was a warrior.
|2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god.||– The Lord was active and Neb served his purposes.
– Neb carried the vessels to Babylon, but not Jehoiakim. This is verified in 2 Kings 24:1-2.
- Shinar is where Babylon was located. Genesis 1:10.
- Not everything was taken from the Temple.
- For Neb, acquiring these vessels shows that his god was superior. These vessels were eventually restored. Ezra 1:7.
|3) And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;||– Eunuchs were desirable as administrators because they were not as susceptible to being compromised.
- Leadership ability may be born into some, and the king wanted to train some of these exiled royal teens to lead among their own people.
- It is extremely doubtful that Daniel was made a eunuch. Deut. 25:1. Also Ezekiel 14:20.
|4) youths in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and endued with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king's palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.||– It was important for them to be good looking as well as skilled. They already had a measure of wisdom.
- These Hebrew lads also had to learn the language of the ruling Chaldeans. This was not just recognition, they had to speak it perfectly.
|5) And the king appointed for them a daily portion of the king's dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at the end thereof they should stand before the king.||– As the Greeks of later times, Neb believed that his system was superior, including his diet.
- The Jewish diet was restricted and Neb's chefs probably served glazed baked ham or some ancient equivalent.
- Like Moses, they were to receive secular training from their conqueror so they could join his royal court.
|6) Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.||– Among these shows that the four teens were not the only Jewish boys chosen.
- Notice the interchangeable use of Israel (vs. 3) and Judah (vs. 6)
- Each original name related to Jehovah.
|7) And the prince of the eunuchs gave names unto them: unto Daniel he gave the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.||– The assigned names reflect the local deities. Belteshazzar means "protect his life;" Shadrach means "command of Aku (the moon god);" Meshach means "who is what Aku (the moon god) is?" and Abednego means "servant of Nebo."||8) But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.||– Daniel was not a vegetarian (10:3), but he would not eat the pork-laden food. He made a clear decision to refuse the king's dainties. The names of the four were changed, but not their convictions.
- His request for an exemption was courteous.
- Daniel could not have known how God would be involved.
- Daniel's parents, as well as the parents of the other young men, had taught them well.
|9) Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs.||– God intervened in the heart of the prince. The Lord uses whom he chooses.||10) And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your food and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths that are of your own age? so would ye endanger my head with the king||– The prince of the eunuchs rightly feared for his own life, but Daniel offered a 10 day test period to try out his restricted diet. And Ashpenaz himself could judge the outcome.
- Endangering his head probably meant that he risk being beheaded.
|11) Then said Daniel to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:||12) Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.||13) Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the youths that eat of the king's dainties; and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.||– Summary comment: The young men faced three issues. The education in heathen affairs, but they could believe whatever was the truth. Their names were changed, but they could not control that. The third issue was the eating of food not allowed for the people of God. This required that they express convictions and find a way out. This way out was provided by God after they took a stand.
Some of the Jewish lads (vs. 6) considered it too trivial to bother with, but it was these four that God elevated because they did not consider obedience trivial.
|14) So he hearkened unto them in this matter, and proved them ten days.||– This test had risks, but Ashpenaz was willing. The outcome was to his advantage.
- No doubt the intervention of God in verse 9 softened his stance on the diet issue.
|15) And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths that did eat of the king's dainties.||– The four Hebrew lads gained weight and had better skin appearance.||16) So the steward took away their dainties, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse.||– Daniel's stand won the day and the prince of the eunuchs was able to keep his head and be justified in modifying the diets of the four trainees.
- Pulse is from a Hebrew word that means vegetables.
|17) Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.||– God can grant knowledge and wisdom directly if he chooses to do it. Luke 21:15. He gave these lads that gift.
- Daniel received an added gift: the ability to understand visions and dreams. In this he was like Joseph of old. Genesis 21:12. This gift will be used shortly. .
|18) And at the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.||– This marked the end of three years of carefully managed diets and highly disciplined training. Verse 5.||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.||– This was the royal oral exam. The four young men passed with honors and joined Nebuchadnezzar's court.
- Their Hebrew names are used, even though have been officially changed.
|20) And in every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his realm.||– Not only did they pass the exam, but they excelled and Neb could see it clearly. This probably generated some professional jealousy among the rest of the advisors.
- Ten is a hyperbole. There was no objective way to quantify the superiority of the young men.
|21) And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.||– The book may have been written in two parts and this describes the end of the first part.||The Next Chapter|