Daniel 1

Daniel 1

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Daniel Taken to Babylon

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 vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.

Daniel’s Faithfulness

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.

(ESV)


Daniel 1 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think of you.”

John Wooden

Twenty-five centuries ago, Nebuchadnezzar took siege of Jerusalem and carted off many prospects who would by all rights be conscripted to his service. He specifically chose men of nobility, those who were without physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude of every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand and qualified to serve him in every way. (Daniel 1:3,4) Of these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The testing of their faith in God would be put to the test from the very beginning. They would undergo 3 years of rigorous training and preparation of which Daniel drew a line in the sand as to whom He served.

Such training ordered them to eat at the king’s table, royal food that was against Jewish Law. What’s fascinating is Daniel didn’t say no, he gave an alternative. Realizing this food was against the Law of God he spoke to the official in charge asking to test and see what would take place if they merely ate vegetables and water. For 10 days they would have this diet and at the end was told to simply compare their appearance to the others in training. At the end of the 10 days, they looked healthier and better than those who ate the royal food. The chief official honored Daniel’s request from there on out serving them the food requested.

God was faithful to these men who stood firm.

And not only was He faithful, he elevated them within the kingdom beyond anything imaginable. He gave them wisdom and knowledge incomparable to any of the others who served him.

“As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who werein all his realm.”

Daniel 1:20

This was the beginning of unbelievable things to come for these men, where their faith would be tried again and again; becoming trusted advisers through the revolving door of kings whom Daniel, in particular, was looked upon for insight. Circumstances would put their trust in God to the test who trumped every time the schemes of man.

The character of these men rested solely on obedience and serving their God. Their reputation followed as the stage was set for His absolute glory to shine. They always remembered who they were and who they represented.

People say our character is who we are when no one’s looking. It is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. For these, even though they were strangers and aliens within the land they were carted off to and eventually died in; they knew God’s approval of them was what mattered, not what others thought.

Our character is shaped by choices. Choices that come from the heart which resonate through our actions and behavior. Have we become more conscious and determined to do what others think is best or what we believe we know God to give approval to? Where does that leave us? What does that say about the very character that has marked our lives currently?


Daniel 1 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

There is some speculation (as there is with many books of the Bible) as to who actually wrote the book of Daniel. So, let’s first dispel this myth that Daniel might not have written it. We can believe with assurance that it was indeed Daniel because these words came straight from the mouth of Jesus.

“So when you see the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand),  16  “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!

Matthew 24:15-16 HCSB

David Guzik gives a very interesting background of the people and events taking place during the life of Daniel.

  • Construction on the Acropolis in Athens began
  • Mayan civilization flourished in Mexico
  • Aesop wrote his fables
  • Confucius and Buddha lived
  • Greek art began to truly excel
  • The Phoenicians made the first known sea journey around Africa
  • The Greeks introduced the olive tree to Italy

Similarly to Jeremiah when he was in captivity, Daniel and his crew experienced much the same. They are in a new land with new laws and new rituals. They were living in complete captivity. In fact, the name changes they were given indicated a sort of “brainwashing” taking place in order to integrate them into Babylonian culture.

“A key factor in the “brainwashing” process of the Babylonian training was a name switch. This was to link the inductees with local gods rather than let them continue to support their former religious loyalty. Daniel means “God is my judge,” but became Belteshazzar, or “Bel Protect the King.” Hananiah, “the Lord is Gracious,” was changed to Shadrach, “Command of Aku,” another Babylonian god. Mishael, meaning “Who is like the Lord?” was given the name Meshach, “Who is what Aku Is?” Finally, Azariah, “the Lord is my Helper,” became Abed-nego, “Servant of Nego,” also called Nebo, a god of vegetation.” -John MacArthur

John MacArthur

Imagine… you are taken away from your home to live in a completely different culture as a slave to their society under a completely different name where everyone believes in a different god and the one true God is not worshipped. This is such a foreign concept to us… no pun intended.

Seriously though, how would you respond? Would your faith persevere? Would you compromise to make life easier and more comfortable? How do you respond to exile? Oh, these are relevant questions!

When the world we know and trust caves in, how will we respond? Is our faith adaptable or is it dependant upon our circumstances? Do we value our “Christian rights” more than the suffering that Jesus promised we would endure? Yes, I know, these are all difficult and challenging questions. The answers are not natural to the flesh. We can’t simply “make up our minds” and act accordingly. We have wrestling and struggle. We have pain and grief. We have catastrophic upheaval.

However, the practical example of such answers is found in the life of Daniel. What is the primary concern of Daniel in Chapter 1?

Conviction. His decisions were all about clinging to His God when everyone else was going against the grain. When the tide pulled him toward the shore, Daniel paddled deeper into the sea. But probably the most fascinating aspect to Daniel was his ability to discern the battles he was called to fight. He let the name changes happen – no big deal. However, he would not budge on the food issue because it was his conviction. He believed it so much that he was willing to be tested and potentially killed for this decision.

Daniel determined that he would not defile himself and then we read of how God blessed him.

Daniel 1:17 HCSB  God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.

Daniel 1:17 HCSB

A lack of conviction leads to a lack of faith which leads to compromise which then places us in a position to miss God’s blessing. Daniel was determined. Are you determined today? Do you trust that when you place your confidence in His faithfulness, He will protect and deliver you?

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