Chapter One of Daniel

Chapter One of Daniel can be sub-divided into four headings.

1. Daniel is taken captive with Jehoiakim (vv1-2)

2. Daniel a candidate for Court service (vv3-7)

3. Daniel the Conscientious Objector (vv8-16)

4. Daniel the Courtier with honours (vv17-21)

1. Daniel is taken captive (vv1-2)

The name “DanielGates of bayblonmeans “God is my judge.” Like Ezekiel, Daniel was carried with the captives to Babylon. As many as 100,000 Jews were killed at that time. Ezekiel was taken in the second invasion.

When Daniel was carried captive to Babylon, he was about 18 years of age (vv1-2). We may reflect on Psalm 137 to see the distress that was upon the nation of Judah.

He and others with him were styled children (Daniel1:4). Normally court training started in Babylon at 12 years of age.

Daniel lived in Babylon at least 70 years – “until Cyrus” (1:21; 10:1). He was then too old to return to Palestine. His life would therefore extend through the three periods – before, during, and after the captivity.

2. Daniel a candidate for Court service (vv3-7)

Daniel was of royal descent (v1:3), trained in court etiquette and educated in the Torah, Hebrew writings and other former prophets. He was well versed in Scripture.

He was admitted to the Babylonian Court service, and lived a pure and saintly life in a vile heathen court. In Ezekiel 14:14 he is referred to as especially righteous, and in Ezekiel 28:3 as wise.

The head eunuch gave new names to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, [1] (v7), a custom that rulers often did when they ascended the throne.

Daniel’s name which signifies “God is my Judge,” was changed to Belteshazzar – Bel, protects the king, the depository of the secrets of Bel.

Hananiah’s name, which signifies, “The Lord has been gracious to me,” was changed to Shadrach –”Let God preserve us from evil.”

Mishael, whose name signifies, “He who comes from God,” was changed to Meshach, – “He who belongs to the goddess Sheshach,”

Azariah, which signifies, “The Lord is my Helper,” was changed to   Abed-nego – “the servant of Nego,”

3. Conscientious Objector – uncompromising (vv8-16)

Daniel and his friends’ character of faith were shown when they were not afraid to reject the king’s food.

It may have been for many reasons such as quality, but the most obvious one reason is in regards to the violating of the food laws.

It is possible the food was unclean like a pig, or it had been strangled with the blood in it or the animal had been sacrificed to an idol all of which were forbidden by the Jewish law.

4. Courtier with honours (vv17-21)

danielHe rose to the highest position in Babylon, and exercised great influence over two empires, Babylonian, Median and Persian the Medo-Persian. The Medians and Persians ruled jointly and it was under Darius -We see Daniel serving in Babylon.

Daniel 1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, and he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus. (KJV)

So high was Daniel’s reputation he lasted through five Babylonian and four Medo-Persian kings.

In many respects his record is unique. No failure of any kind is recorded of him. In this he resembles Joseph, as he does also in his high position in a foreign, heathen court, and was used by God to interpret royal dreams.

[1] Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, [1831]

Tony Smits B.Th and Dr. Ian Traill

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The Book of Daniel Unfolds

The account of Daniel’s book appears to be written in his later years (92 years of age) and recorded for him by the scribes and one account from the writings of Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Daniel wants the readers to be encouraged and assured that God is in control. The thrust of the Book is kingdoms, empires, governments and governmental institutions, like the Roman Church, may come and rise to power, but in the end GOD is in total control. It is through understanding God’s un-conditional prophetic Word that Daniel proclaims and records God’s Kingdom come on earth.

Ezekiel, one of Daniel’s contemporaries, regarded him as a remarkable man. Daniel gave four prophecies; they are, ‘The Times of the Gentiles, The reign of the Antichrist, The victory of the Christ and the time of the Lord’s Return’. Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

This book covers the period that the Kingdom of Judah was in captivity serving under five Babylonian kings and then finally 4 more Medo-Persian kings, Cyrus and Darius who were co-rulers.

It start with King Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean taking Daniel captive.

King Nebuchadnezzar

King Nebuchadnezzar

King Nebuchadnezzar

King Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean reigned 605–562 B.C. We have the record in the second BOOK OF KINGS Chapters 24 – 25 in our Bibles of how he conquered Judah and Jerusalem and destroyed the temple He was the ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty.

King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah three times.

First in (or about) 606 B.C. The elite of Judah, including Daniel were carried away into captivity (Daniel 1:1 & 2 Kings 24:1, 2).

Next was in (or about) 598 B.C. when King Jehoiachin with other members of the royal family and Ezekiel were carried away (2Chronicles 36:5-6 & 9, 10 – 2Kings 24:15-17).

Finally, in or about 588 B.C. after a 3 year siege, King Zedekiah (the last king of Judah) was carried away, and Jerusalem with the Temple were destroyed (2Kings 25).

Carrying away Judah to Babylon

Carrying away Judah to Babylon

The first king Daniel served under in Babylon was the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar. Some say he may have slaughtered as many as 100,000. One reference made by the Jews is that Nebuchadnezzar was a schizophrenic dwarf (A Jewish ref – Genesis Rabbah 16:4).

A citizen of Babylon would call him “Nebuchadnezzar the Great”, because of his victories, but to a Christaian he may fall into the category of a type of the Beast, an abomination that caused desolation, because he destroyed Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, taking away its treasured articles.

When he conquered Judah and Jerusalem, he also took many prominent citizens to Babylon to be servants to him and his sons (Daniel 1:1 & 2Kings 24:1, 2). Josephus[1] states figures such as 5,000 Judeans and 7,000 from other tribes.

At this point in history, 606 B.C., and according to the Biblical account of Daniel the prophet, the Kingdom of Judah was going into captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

Daniel, a well educated young man was forced to serve the first tyrant, who had big problems with what we would call, “A small man syndrome”. So vicious was Nebuchadnezzar that he would put to death anyone in his court who did not know what he had dreamt and then failed to interpret it. Daniel was in line for the same treatment so he approached the King for a chance and to buy some extra time before he would deliver the interpretation.

Daniel’s education meant he had studied the Torah. The Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy had special significance while in captivity in conjunction with Jeremiah’s letter. Daniel could see that Jeremiah was well aware of the seven times punishment and more than likely he knew the Book of Isaiah that described Babylon being removed by the Medes and Persians. But the overall factor he knows that God is going to establish His Kingdom on Earth no matter what is happening.

In HIS hands Dr. Ian Traill

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