Introduction to Daniel Chapter 1
Chapter one is an introduction to the rest of the book Daniel. Here, we learn Daniel’s background and
the cause of his success, with God and men. Daniel begins in the year 605
B.C. a period of upheaval in the world, when Jehoiakim was king of Judah.
Before 605 B.C., God had warned Jerusalem
and Judah of coming judgment, largely through the Jeremiah’s
ministry. Israel, the northern kingdom, captured by the Assyria in
722 B.C., ceased to exist. Judah, the southern kingdom, averted
God’s judgment through the ministry of Isaiah, and Hezekiah, a
righteous king, in 701 B.C. (Isaiah 37)
Hezekiah’s great grandson, Josiah brought a short-lived revival in
Jerusalem during the ministry of Jeremiah from 630 to 609 B.C.
Though the revival had influence on the sincere, most gave lip
service to the warnings of judgment for idol worship. God asked
Jeremiah, find a righteous person in Jerusalem
and he would spear the city. Though there were righteous people such
as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zephaniah living in the city, they
were rare and odd.
1 "Run to and fro
through the streets of Jerusalem; See now and know; And seek in her
open places If you can find a man, If there is anyone who executes
judgment, Who seeks the truth, And I will pardon her. 2 Though they
say, 'As the Lord lives,' Surely they swear falsely."
In addition to idolatry, Jerusalem fell into
sexual perversion, assembling in numbers at the houses of cult
prostitutes, and committing adultery with their neighbor’s wives.
After Josiah’s death in 609 B.C. Jehoiakim, reverted back to the
sin’s of his ancestors, allowing Judah to sin openly, and bringing
judgment on the city. (2 Kings 23:35-36). Judah worshiped the gods
of the Babylonians and Canaanites.
7 "How shall I
pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me And sworn by
those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, Then they
committed adultery And assembled themselves by troops in the
8 They were like
well-fed lusty stallions; Every one neighed after his neighbor's
9 Shall I not punish
them for these things?" says the Lord. "And shall I not avenge
Myself on such a nation as this?
The 605 B.C. was a transition year for the whole Middle East;
Nebuchadnezzar was general of the Babylonian forces. In May-June of
605 B.C. Egypt
was defeated at the battle of Carchemish (Jeremiah 46;2, 25;1),
removing Judah hope in Egypt. Refusing Jeremiah’s pleas for
repentance, the city faced God’s judgment. Also in 605 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar,
died making Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon’s
Nebuchadnezzar, on his return to Babylon defeated
Egypt’s ally Judah, taking hostages from the royal family and
treasures from the Temple and returned to Babylon.
The Captivity of Judah
Babylon nations record
Tablets found in Babylon, dated 595 BC and 570 BC. List
rations of oil and barley delivered by the royal storehouses
to the deposed Jehoiachin and his entourage. This is
important because it confirms what the biblical account of
his treatment in 2 Kings 25:27. Jehoiachin was released by
Evil-merodach, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor in 37th year of
his captivity (561 BC)
In the third
year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of
Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
And the Lord gave
Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of
the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the
house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure
house of his god.
of the first attacks against Daniel begins here, Daniel says
Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem in the third year, Jeremiah
says fourth year. Critics of the Bible say, Daniel is in error
because Jeremiah says Nebuchadnezzar came in the fourth year.
(Jeremiah 25:1, 46:2) Daniel, however used the Babylonian method
of accounting, which means the first year of a king’s reign is his,
“year of ascension” and the following years considered the years of
fourth year would be Daniel’s third year for Jehoiakim’s reign.
Daniel schooled in Babylon, used the Babylonian method for
determining a king’s reign.
(609-598 B.C.) The second son
of Josiah, Eliakim replaced his brother’s 3-month reign, after his
father’s death in 609 B.C., Pharaoh Neco of Egypt installed him.
Neco changed his name to Jehoiakim; he reigned as king for 11 years,
from age 25 to 36. Jehoiakim was wicked king, who executed the
prophet Urijah (Jeremiah 26:20-24), he burned Jeremiah’s prophesies
in the fire and ordered Jeremiah arrest (Jeremiah 36:20-26), he
rejected God’s word spoken through Jeremiah.
surrendered to Babylon in 605 B.C., after Egypt was defeated, but
three years later, he rebelled against Babylon. His son Jehoiachin
succeeded him for about 3 months, and was carried off into Babylon
in 598 B.C. when Babylon defeated Jerusalem again. His brother,
Mattaniah known as Zedekiah, became Judah’s last king (598 to 586
of Babylon, (605-562 B.C.) succeeded his father Nabopollasar who
founded the Neo-Babylonian Empire after rebelling from the Assyrian
overlords in 621 B.C. Chapters 1 to 4 of Daniel cover his reign.
Daniel Chapter four is written by a converted King Nebuchadnezzar,
who writes his testimony for the world to know the power of Daniel’s
Babylon conquered Jerusalem three times. First in 605 B.C.,
following the Battle of Carchemish,
Second, in 598 B.C., following the rebellion of Jehoiakim, who died
before the siege was ended, and his son Jehoiachin was taken captive
along with Ezekiel the prophet. The third time is 586 B.C.,
Babylonian armies destroy the city, the walls and the Temple. Most
people are killed, some hostages are taken to Babylon, the poorest
people are left in the land and some escape to Egypt, taking
Jeremiah there as a captive. Lamentations covers this period,
the third fall of Jerusalem.
is the first captivity, 605 B.C., hostages and Temple treasures are
removed to Babylon. Judah realized with the defeat of Egypt there
was little hope holding out, and Jehoiakim switched alliances to
Babylon for three years.
Nebuchadnezzar did not defeat Jerusalem, God defeated Jerusalem as
punishment for their sins. Babylon was only an instrument for
judgment, this is the theme of Habakuk, how a wicked nation
could be used for judgment.
One of the main
themes in the book of Daniel is the sovereignty of God. Here, even
Jerusalem’s defeat was because of sin, not the strength of Babylon.
The sins of
Jerusalem, included idolatry, sexual perversion and child sacrifice
caused their defeat. For these reasons, God gave Jerusalem into the
hand of Babylon. God is control of the nations.
"and say, 'Hear
the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will
bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it,
his ears will tingle. "Because they have forsaken Me and made this
an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods
whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known,
and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents
Articles of the
house: This refers to
the Temple treasures in Solomon’s Temple. Not all the treasures
were taken, some were removed in 598 B.C. at the second conquest and
the rest in 586 B.C., the third conquest. (Jeremiah 27:19-20).
Belthazzar, would use these Temple treasures in a drunken orgy in
Daniel chapter five, bringing his defeat and God’s wrath. Cyrus, the
Persian would restore the treasures to Judah after he defeats the
old name (Genesis 11:2, 14:1, Isaiah 11:11, Zechariah 5:11),
the location where all of humanity settled following the flood,
where the tower of Babel was located.
His god: The chief
god of Babylon was Marduk also known as Bel, along with his consort
Ishtar the goddess of love and war. Nelson’s Bible dictionary,
describes the pantheon of Babylonian gods,
Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar symbolized Mother Earth in
the natural cycles of fertility on earth. Ishtar was the daughter of
sin, the moon god. She was the goddess of love, so the practice of
ritual prostitution became widespread in the fertility cult
dedicated to her name. Temples to Ishtar had many priestesses, or
sacred prostitutes, who symbolically acted out the fertility rites
of the cycle of nature. Ishtar has been identified with the
Phoenician Astarte, the Semitic Ashtoreth, and the Sumerian Inanna.
Strong similarities also exist between Ishtar and the Egyptian Isis,
the Greek Aphrodite, and the Roman Venus.
Ishtar was the young god Tammuz (Ezek. 8:14), considered both divine
and mortal. In Babylonian mythology Tammuz died annually and was
reborn year after year, representing the yearly cycle of the seasons
and the crops. This pagan belief later was identified with the pagan
gods Baal and Anat in Canaan….Another kind of god in both Babylonia
and Assyria was a national god connected with politics. In Assyria
it was Ashur, and in Babylonia it was Marduk, who became prominent
at the time of Hammurapi
(1792–1750 b.c.). The
ancient ideas about the ordering and governing of the universe were
taken over by these two gods. Marduk, for example, achieved his
prominence by victory over Tiamat, goddess of the ocean. This cosmic
conflict, described also in ancient Sumerian and Canaanite myths,
was believed to have established order.
his anger, against Judah, by allowing desecration of his Temple to
demonstrate their disobedience and his displeasure (2 Chron. 7:19),
brining his wrath on a deserving Babylon at a future date.
Daniel and his
DA 1:3 Then the
king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some
of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and
some of the nobles,
DA 1:4 young men
in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all
wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had
ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the
language and literature of the Chaldeans.
DA 1:5 And the
king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies
and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for
them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the
DA 1:6 Now from
among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and
DA 1:7 To them
the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name
Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to
According to Walvoord’s commentary on Daniel, Siegfried H. Horn,
reports, the name Ashpenaz,
“appears in the
Aramaic incantation texts from Nippur as ‘SPNZ, and is probably
attested in the Cuneiform records as Ashpazanda”. Horn goes
on to identify him as, “the chief of King Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuchs
Josephus, Daniel and his friends were made eunuchs in Babylon. The
four young men were descendents of Judah and of the nobility of
Jerusalem. Josephus also reports the four were descendents of
Zediakiah, Josiah’s youngest son and Judah’s last king. Since
Zedekiah was 21-years of age in 598 B.C. when he came to power, and
Daniel had already been in Babylon for 7-years, they were related in
extended way to him.
Now among these
there were four of the family of Zedekiah, of most excellent
dispositions, one of whom was
another was called Ananias, another Misael, and the fourth Azarias;
and the king of Babylon changed their names, and commanded that they
should make use of other names. Daniel he called Baltasar;
The Hebrew word
for eunuch is saris and means ‘Court officer” and
“castrate”. Servants to the king were often castrated, because they
would interact with the king’s wives and concubines. Isaiah
foretold the offspring of Hezekiah; would serve as eunuchs in
Babylon. (2 Kings 20:18).
Some of the
children: The children
taken in 605 B.C. by the Babylonians would serve several purposes.
1. They were
hostages, to keep the nobility from rebelling against Babylon.
2. They would
help Babylon administer the territory.
3. They would
help Babylon, understand the customs and cultures of their new
Hebrew word, dlyYeled,
translated young man is most likely a male about 14 to 15
years of age.
Serve: These boys
were the best Judah had to offer. They would help administer the
Babylonian kingdom. They needed to understand Babylonian culture,
traditions and religion. The Babylonian culture was a very
religious system, with the King acting out the role of Marduk, the
chief god of Babylon in the annual festival. In order to serve, they
needed to be part of the Babylonian system.
Teach: Daniel and
his friends were to be taught the literature and language
of the Chaldeans. The common language of the masses was Aramaic, but
the priestly language was Akkadian. This was the more ancient
language, much in the same way Latin, became the language of the
religious community in Europe.
Moses was educated in the learning and science of land of his
captivity. Daniel sets an example for believers, we can learn the
teachings and philosophy of the world, but we don’t have to accept
them. Daniel’s learning gave him the opportunity to be a witnesses
for the true God. In the same way, God can use our service in this
world as way to reach those who are lost.
has a dual meaning. The word means the people of an area of lower
Mesopotamia in one sense, but in a second sense the word by
extension means wise men, such as astrologers. According to the
International Bible Encyclopedia, Chaldeans in this respect
study of Sumerian, Akkadian, Aramaic (Chaldee), and other languages
as well as extensive literature written in them. Historiography as
well as sciences of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine formed a
large part of the specialist work.
provisions: Babylon was a
highly religious society with, continual animal sacrifice and
rituals. Since the King was also a religious leader, the food from
his table would have been sacrificed to the Babylonian pantheon.
The food provided to Daniel and his friend’s was part of the
King’s very own diet, to reject the food outright would be an act of
rebellion. Daniel and his friends needed to be very careful how
they approached the subject.
The training Daniel and his friends was to receive would be a
three-year training program, after which they would be tested by the
King himself. The educators, knew their lives were on the line for
their students. If their students looked bad, they could die, life
was a cheap commodity in Babylon.
was also known for his harshness. In 586 B.C., King Zedekiah, the
youngest son of Josiah, tried to escape from the Babylonian siege at
night. When he and his sons were caught, they saw the cruel actions
of Nebuchadnezzar, who blinded Zedekiah after he witnessed the
murder of his sons (Jeremiah 39:5). Nebuchadnezzar, was also known
for burning people alive as we see in Daniel chapter 3.
officials were terrified at offending him, and more then likely told
Daniel of the consequences of making him mad.
Chief of the
eunuchs: Daniel and his
friends were under the control of Ashpenaz, and were more then
likely eunuchs. The point they are renamed by Ashpenaz, reinforces
they were under his direction and his responsibility. The wives and
concubines of the king were part of the religious system of
Babylon. Another part of the system, was the temple prostitutes,
whose Babylonian system found it way to Judah. The eunuch’s in
part were shielded from the corruption of the Babylonian system.
We see they
religious emphasis in Babylon by the names given to Daniel and his
friends. The adoption of foreign names is not unique to Daniel,
Joseph was given an Egyptian name by Pharaoh, and so was Moses,
whose name means “Drawn” in Egyptian.
Living in the
world, causes us to make some concessions on what the world
imposes. There are limits to the concessions a believer should
make. Daniel and his friends demonstrate we can live in the world,
and still be true to our relationship with the Lord.
The Meaning of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah
Bel protect his life
Jehovah is gracious
Command of Aku
is he that is God
is what Aku is?
Jehovah has helped
Servant of Nebo
DA 1:8 But
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself
with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine
which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the
eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
DA 1:9 Now
God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief
of the eunuchs.
DA 1:10 And
the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the
king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he
see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your
age? Then you would endanger my head before the king."
purposed: In the first
eight verses, we see what separated Daniel from most of the
people living in Jerusalem. He sought to please God, regardless
of his circumstances. Try to imagine the perspective of this
young man, he was taken to a foreign land, away from parents and
family, forced to submit to a violent and pagan people, yet he
had purpose. Daniel knew who he was and who God was.
word, ~wXSuwm, literally
means, “to put, place, set or appoint”. Daniel, knew the
direction he needed to God and he set course to accomplish his
Here the Hebrew word is bl Leb,
and means, “inner man, mind or will”. Daniel at an early
learned the secret of spiritual success, to be real with God, to
trust God and be obedient. Solomon learned this principle also,
at the end of his life, Daniel learned at the start of his.
Solomon, who was the wisest man world, fell because of his
flesh. He was not willing to purpose in his heart, for this
reason he lived a compromised with sin. (Nehemiah 13:6) God
could use Daniel, because Daniel wanted to be used and made
himself available, by being sincere.
further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books
there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. 13
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and
keep His commandments, For this is man's all. 14 For God will
bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
himself: Daniel knew
the provisions from the King’s table were sacrificed to Idols,
and by eating the meat he would be defiled. The meat more then
likely includes foods violating the Mosiac law, in addition to
being sacrificed to the pantheon of Babylonian deities. Wine,
would also have had portions poured out as offerings in drink
offerings. (Deuteronomy 32:8)
requested: Daniel knew
if God was willing, God would make away. Daniel, did not just
God to rescue him, he stepped
forward in faith. He gave God the opportunity
to work, by asking the for an exception.
had faith in God’s ability, and because Daniel was willing to
trust God, God could use Daniel. Peter was instructed to put his
foot out of the boat on the water, he only began to sink when he
lost faith. (Matthew 14:28-30)
stepped forward in faith, and allowing God work in his life.
Ashpanaz was a high official who answered directly to the King.
Nebuchadnezzar terrified him, he knew what he was capable of
doing. Throughout scripture, we see this same principle applied
in the success of other Bible heroes of faith.
Offered a better sacrifice (Gen. 4;4)
respected his offering
Trusted God, was a just man (Gen. 6;9)
Saved from the flood
his fathers house and family and went to Moriah (Gen.
established his offspring forever
Resisted Potipher’s wife (Gen. 39:8)
Prince of Egypt
Choose to serve God rather then Pharaoh, (Exd. 2:11)
Deliver of Israel
Believed God could deliver Canaan to Israel. (Num.13:17)
Israel into the promised land, defeated God’s enemies
Goliath because he insulted God of Israel (1 Sam. 17)
king of Israel, forefather of the Messiah.
DA 1:11 So
Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set
over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
"Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us
vegetables to eat and water to drink.
"Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the
appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's
delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants."
DA 1:14 So
he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.
DA 1:15 And
at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter
in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the
DA 1:16 Thus
the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine
that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
steward: The chief of
the eunuchs, even though Daniel found favor with him was still
terrified of Nebuchadnezzar, and resisted Daniel request. Most
people at this point would resign themselves to fate. Daniel,
had purposed in his heart and was not going to let the fear of
the highest ranking person right under the King stop him. He
went to the steward, the guardian, appointed by Ashpenaz and
asked him, and he consented.
the sincerity of our hearts, by allowing obstacles, if we trust
God, we give him the opportunity to work in our lives. For
example, If you have a desire to serve God on the mission field
and can’t raise support, or the doors are closed. How do you
respond? Do you give God the opportunity to work or do you shut
the door and give up? Do you start learning the language? Making
preparations despite the current circumstances?
“purposed”, in his heart not defile himself, and he was going to
give God every opportunity to reward his faith.
your servants: Daniel made
a deal with the steward in charge of him, if he didn’t look good
after ten days, then he would relent. The ten days gave Daniel
and his friends time to have God intervene on their behalf.
Daniel’s back was to the wall, and by asking for a test, Daniel
found favor with the steward. He let the steward benefit from
around us benefits from our trials. When they see God reward
our faith, God gets the glory. Here the steward saw God at
and water: The word for
vegetables here is, [rzZeroa`, meaning
vegetables from sown seed, translated pulse in the King
James Version. Daniel was more concerned with righteousness,
then his comforts. He was willing to live on a meager diet, to
righteous then indulge himself and sin, even though he had every
excuse to do so.
consented: The steward
agreed to Daniel’s test, and he saw God work. Daniel looked
better not because of the food, but because of faith. God gave
Daniel favor because Daniel was willing to used by God.
principle we can see from Daniel, is if we are willing to be
used God will use us. Daniel was contagious not only to his
three friends but to all around him, who saw his faith in
action. By the time we get to chapter 4, we see the most
powerful man in the world confessing the God of Daniel as his
Daniel and his friends
DA 1:17 As
for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in
all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all
visions and dreams.
DA 1:18 Now
at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should
be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before
DA 1:19 Then
the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found
like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they
served before the king.
DA 1:20 And
in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king
examined them, he found them ten times better than all the
magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.
DA 1:21 Thus
Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.
them: First, we
see these four teenagers, willing to give up the best food in
Babylon for vegetables and water. They are rewarded with a
better appearance and favor before those in charge of them.
However, this was only a trial run for them. Their step forward
allowed God to reward them. They learned their hope and trust
was in God alone.
them with his wisdom, though they knew the wisdom of Babylon, it
was foolishness to them. For this reason, the wisdom from God’s
spirit was brighter then any wisdom that could be offered in
principle of God’s wisdom is available today for all who see it,
the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. God used four
teenage slaves, who trusted in God to be his testimony to a
pagan world. God uses weakness for his glory, God does not need
human strength to accomplish his purpose.
7 The law of
the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the
Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to
27 But God
has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the
wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to
shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the
base things of the world and the things which are despised God
has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing
the things that are,
teenage boys were given a super natural understanding by God,
not for their glory, but for God’s glory. God was able to use
them as an example, to encourage those who would follow in
generations to come, how to live a successful spiritual life.
his ministry in 605 B.C. as hostage/slave of Babylon. He
continued till 536 B.C.