Introduction and Chapter 1
In Daniel is much history and a lot of inspirational stories. The Kingdoms were divided because of strife and rebellion.
Psalm 139 is sort of the type of pain that Israel was going through. The Babylonians had world power and were ruthless, but God was in control.
Psalm 139, A Psalm of David
1O LORD, thou hast searched me. 2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee, 13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. 19Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The king had the Hebrew children’s names changed and tried to brainwash them to help them forget their former life but it didn’t work for these boys had had some beautiful home training before they had been brought to Babylon.
God was working in their behalf.
The Book of Daniel is one of the most thrilling books in the Bible and it is a book on prophesy. One-fourth of the books in the Bible are of prophetic nature and the prophecy in the Scripture can be divided into fulfilled and unfulfilled prophecy.
The main subject of prophecy is the Lord Jesus Christ. Other topics include Israel, the Gentile nations, evil, Satan, the man of sin, which is the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation period and how this age will end. The church is also a subject of prophecy; however the church is never mentioned in the Old Testament, and thereof neither will be no reference to it in the Book of Daniel.
Every Christian should be a well-rounded student of Scripture including prophecy. The proper study of prophecy will not lead us to fanaticism, but it will lead us to a life of holiness and fear of God.
Taken to Babylon at the age of 16 and handpicked for government service, Daniel became God’s prophetic mouthpiece to the Gentile and Jewish world declaring God’s present and eternal purpose.
Nine of the twelve chapters in the Book of Daniel revolve around dreams, including God-given visions involving trees, animals, beasts and images. In both his personal adventures and prophetic visions, Daniel shows God’s guidance, intervention and power in the affairs of men.
The name Daniel means “God Is My Judge.” Daniel and his three friends were evidently born into noble Judean families and were “children in whom was no blemish.”
They were well favored and skillful in all wisdom and cunning, in knowledge and understanding in Science. They were given three years of training in the best Babylonian schools.
Daniel’s wisdom and divinely given abilities brought him into a position of prominence, especially in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. Daniel is one of the few well-known Bible characters about whom nothing negative is ever written.
His life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency and lack of compromise. He is mentioned three times in Ezekiel as an example of righteousness.
There are three words which characterize Daniel’s life: purpose, prayer and prophecy.
Daniel was a man of purpose. When the king made a decree that everyone had to eat the same food, Daniel and his friends decided they would abide by the Law of God and they did and Daniel had the fortitude to speak God’s Word.
Daniel was a man of prayer. There are several incidents recorded in this book about Daniel’s prayer life. Prayer got Daniel into the lions’ den, but God miraculously saved him from the lions’ den because of his prayer life.
Daniel was a man of prophecy. We will study his writings here in Daniel. Verse 1, In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. The city was not destroyed, but the first group of captives were taken to Babylon, among whom were Daniel and his three friends along with thousands of others.
When Jehoiakim died, his son Jehoiachin came to the throne. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who again besieged Jerusalem. Once more Jerusalem was not destroyed, but the king, his mother and all the vessels of the house of the Lord were taken away to Babylon, along with an even larger group of captives. Among this group was Ezekiel, 2 Kings 24:6-16.
2 Kings 24:6
So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
2 Kings 24:7
And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
2 Kings 24:8
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
2 Kings 24:9
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.
2 Kings 24:10
At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
2 Kings 24:11
And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.
2 Kings 24:12
And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
2 Kings 24:13
And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.
2 Kings 24:14
And he carried away all of Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained save the poorest sort of the people of the land.
2 Kings 24:15
And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 Kings 24:16
And all the men of might, even seven thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
Only some of the vessels were taken to Babylon at this time. The remainder were removed when Jehoiachin surrendered, 2 Kings 24:13. (Verse listed above)
Nebuchadnezzar took these vessels and carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god. We want to keep this in mind, because later on King Belshazzar (probably a grandson of Nebuhadnezzar) will bring them out for his banquet.
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of this children of Israel, and of the king’s seed and of the princes;
Nebuchadnezzar always took for himself the cream of the crop of the captives from any nation.
Daniel and his three friends were made eunuchs in fulfillment of Isaiah 39:7.
And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
Most Bible scholars believe that Daniel was taken captive when he was about 17 years old. He was made a eunuch and so you can understand why Daniel never married or had any children.
Making these eunuchs did not destroy the mental development of these young men. This enabled them to give all their time to the studies which were given to them. Daniel was in this group.
Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding in 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.
The Egyptians were quite advanced; they knew the distance of the sun and they knew that the earth was round. There were scientists in that day. Science taught that the earth was flat but the Bible never did teach that.
It is he (my note: God) that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Daniel as a young man was brilliant and outstanding. He rated high on the list of those young men who were given tests in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.
The apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, was in that bracket intellectually also; so was Moses.
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, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
This, of course, was the diet of pagans and it would include unclean animals. Remember Daniel was a Jew and was under the Mosaic Law. They had been told not to eat certain meats, certain fowl and certain fish.
We read in Daniel 1:6-7 where the prince of the eunuchs gave each of the children of Judah names. Daniel’s name became Belteshazzar and to Hananiah, Shadrack and to Mishael, Meshack; and to Azariah, he gave the name Abednego. So we know the names Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, the three that we will read about in the fiery furnace. These names were heathen names.
No doubt these four boys registered the highest IQs of the whole group. You see, Babylon wanted the best brains as well as good physical specimens.
These four young men from Judah are singled out and identified to us because they are going to take a stand for God.
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 takes a real stand for God, and he does it in a heathen court. Daniel was not trying to win a popularity contest; he wasn’t attempting to please the king. Daniel knew nothing of the policy “When in Babylon, do as the Babylonians do.” Daniel was not conformed to this world, but he was transformed by the renewing of his mind and this was the all-absorbing purpose of his life. Daniel and his friends represented in his day that Jewish remnant that God has had in all ages.
An attempt will be made to brainwash these young men to make them Babylonians inwardly and outwardly. They were supposed to eat like Babylonians, dress like Babylonians and think like Babylonians.
However, Daniel and his friends were under the Mosiac System and God made what they were to eat or not to eat very clear to His people in the Old Testament in Leviticus 11. God also said, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”. To be holy is to obey God’s Word.
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
Daniel is already a favorite and that is no accident. God was working on Daniel’s behalf, even as he worked in the life of Joseph down in the land of Egypt.
Daniel asked the prince of the eunuchs if they could have pulse to eat and water to drink.
The eunuch became afraid saying that this would endanger him to the king. Daniel said in
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
In other words, “Test us out!” So Melzar will make the test. Daniel purposed in his heart…we cannot serve God by following a set of rules; we must have a purpose in our hearts. Jesus said, “It is out of the heart that the issues of life proceed.”
Even though the eunuch was rather reluctant to go along with Daniel’s suggestion, because he had been brought up to believe that one’s diet was the thing which produced geniuses, but he liked Daniel and gave them 10 days to test it out.
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.
Daniel’s diet worked. This ought to tell us something. God wanted His people Israel to be different from the surrounding nations. God did not give them a special diet just to make them different; there was also a health factor involved.
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.
Just as God blessed Solomon, God is blessing these Hebrew children, who were in a foreign country. Daniel will eventually become Prime Minister to two great world empires.
Daniel was living in the time of revelation, the time in which God used dreams and visions. He speaks to us today in His Word. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, but it is not a crutch for a lazy person. We must study the Word of God, rightly dividing it. God was speaking to Daniel audibly.
Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
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.
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
With verse 1 and verse 21 we can learn Daniel’s life span, coming to Babylon at about age 16 or 17; he died when he was about 90 years of age. He bridged the entire 70 years of captivity. He did not return to Israel but apparently died before the people left Babylon. We actually have no record about that.