Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
not king of Babylon at the time the prophet is writing,
for the prophet is recording these events some 70 years
later. Daniel is describing what took place when
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Palestine and the outcome of that
and besieged it
through His prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel and another prophet
Uriah, proclaimed the message of doom. Uriah was executed.
THE LORD GAVE JEHOIAKIM KING OF JUDAH INTO HIS HAND, WITH
PART OF THE VESSELS OF THE HOUSE OF GOD: WHICH HE CARRIED
INTO THE LAND OF SHINAR TO THE HOUSE OF HIS GOD; AND HE
BROUGHT THE VESSELS INTO THE TREASURE HOUSE OF HIS GOD.
And the Lord
gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand
fulfilled the prophecy recorded by Isaiah in
6,7. "Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine
house, shall be carried to Babylon: and thy sons shall be
eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."
With part of
the vessels of the house of God
doubt took the most valuable and finest of the temple
vessels to be used in the service of his god Marduk.
carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god
Shinar is a term
used for Babylonia.
To the house of
The chief god of
the Babylonians was Marduk, earlier on he was called Bel.
At first he was only a local god but rose in importance in
the time of Hammurabi, when Babylon became the capital of
an empire. From that time on he was considered the chief
of all the Babylonian gods.
And he brought
the vessels into the treasure house of his god
The treasure house
was a building called the Palace Museum. Excavators have
called this building the Palace Museum because they found
there many sculptures and inscriptions collected from
conquered cities. As in a modern museum, objects from
different parts of the empire were also exhibited.
interesting statements from the Spirit of Prophecy
describe what happened to the Ark of the Testament at this
crucial time in Israel's history.
'In view of the
fast-approaching destruction of the Temple, some of the
righteous in Jerusalem determined to place the sacred ark
beyond the reach of ruthless hands of the invading
armies...with mourning and sadness they secretly carried
the ark to a safe hiding plane in a cave, where it is "yet
hidden." It has never been disturbed since it was
secreted." Prophets and Kings p.453. Within the ark were
the tables of stone on which God had written the Ten
Commandments with His own finger. (Deut 10:1-5)
"And He (Christ)
gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communicating
with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables
of stone, written by the finger of God." Nothing written
on those tables could be blotted out. The precious record
of the law was placed in the Ark of the Testament and is
still there, safely hidden from the human family. But in
God's appointed time He will bring forth these tables of
stone to be a testimony to all the world against the
disregard of His commandments and against the idolatrous
worship of a counterfeit Sabbath." M.S. 122. 1901.
THE KING SPAKE UNTO ASHPENAZ THE MASTER OF HIS EUNUCHS,
THAT HE SHOULD BRING CERTAIN OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL
AND OF THE KING'S SEED, AND OF THE PRINCES:
And the king
spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs
Ashpenaz - the
meaning of this name is not certain, however it is thought
to be Persian in origin. It is possible that this high
officer was a Persian for many foreigners won rank and
honour in the service of the Chaldeans.
CHILDREN IN WHOM WAS NO BLEMISH, BUT WELL FAVOURED, AND SKILFUL IN ALL WISDOM, AND CUNNING IN KNOWLEDGE, AND
UNDERSTANDING 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.
- rather youth or young men.
Daniel had reached
the age of 18 years.
- Physical soundness and a handsome form were considered
indispensible to officers of high rank among the ancient
Chaldeans - Scholars who were proficient in
sciences such as mathematics, magic and astrology. Also
they received a thorough training in the classical
language and script of the country, that is the Babylonian
language and Aramaic.
THE KING APPOINTED THEM A DAILY PROVISION OF THE KINGS
MEAT, AND OF THE WINE WHICH HE DRANK: SO NOURISHING THEM
THREE YEARS, THAT AT THE END THEREOF THEY MIGHT STAND
BEFORE THE KING.
Being members of
the royal school for courtiers, the youth were given
rations from the royal household.
them three years
These three years
must be counted inclusively for they represent:
Nebuchadnezzar's accession year in which the Hebrew
captives arrived in Babylon and entered their training;
Nebuchadnezzar's year 1, which was the calendar year
beginning the next New Years Day after his accession.
Nebuchadnezzar's year 2, in which Daniel graduated and
stood "before the king," and the year in which he
interpreted the dream. Prophets and Kings p. 491.
AMONG THESE WERE OF THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH, DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH:
means" God is my judge,"
It was a very
common name among the Semitic people.
- meaning "Jehovah is gracious."
name. There are at least 14 individuals with that name
mentioned in the Old Testament.
- means "who belongs to God."
characters with this name.
- meaning "Jehovah helps," a name that frequently appears
in the Bible.
Whom they might
teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans
in the cuneiform script, with its hundreds of characters
was not easy to acquire, a good educational background, a
natural ability to learn easily, and the gift of picking
up a new language readily would be deemed desirable
prerequisites for acceptance into the royal school for
WHOM THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS GAVE NAMES:_FOR HE GAVE
UNTO DANIEL THE NAME OF BELTESHAZZAR; AND TO HANANIAH, OF
SHADRACH; AND TO MISHAEL, OF MESHACH; AND TO AZARIAH, OF
The first syllable
"Bel," refers to Bel, the popular name of Babylon's chief
god, Marduk. It is believed it means "Bel, protect his
(the kings) life".
All attempts to
explain the name, which does not seem to be of Babylonian
origin, have so far failed.
The meaning is not
known either, it is not a Babylonian name.
Servant of (the
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.
He would not
defile himself with the portion of the king's meat
There are several
reasons why a Hebrew would not wish to eat of the royal
1. The Babylonians
like other heathen nations ate unclean foods.
2. The beasts had
not been properly killed according to the Levitical law in
3. A portion of
the animals eaten was first offered as a sacrifice to
pagan gods. (Acts 15:29)
4. The use of
luxurious and unhealthful food and drink was contrary to
strict principles of temperance.
5. Daniel and his
friends wished to avoid a flesh-food diet.
GOD HAD BROUGHT DANIEL INTO FAVOUR AND TENDER LOVE WITH THE
PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS.
blessings of God were upon them, especially Daniel. Like
Joseph who won favour among his enemies Daniel also won
the respect of his superiors, he must have been a very
personable young man.
THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS SAID UNTO DANIEL, I FEAR MY
LORD THE KING, WHO HATH APPOINTED YOUR ME AT AND YOUR
DRINK: FOR WHY SHOULD HE SEE YOUR FACES WORSE LIKING THAN
THE CHILDREN WHICH ARE OF YOUR SORT? THEN SHALL YE MAKE
ME ENDANGER MY HEAD TO THE KING.
The chief eunuch
would be held responsible if those under his care
He had reason to
fear for later on we notice the severity of king
Nebuchadnezzar in punishing those who failed in their
SAID DANIEL TO MELZAR, WHOM THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS HAD
SET OVER DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH,
means "guardian," or "warden."
had been friendly and sympathetic to Daniel's request, he
nevertheless hesitated to help the young captive. So
Daniel went to the official who was the immediate tutor
and placed before him his request.
THY SERVANTS, I BESEECH THEE„TEN DAYS; AND LET THEM GIVE
US PULSE TO EAT AND WATER TO DRINK.
This seems a short
period of time in which to produce any appreciable change
in appearance and physical vigor.
But habits of
strict temperance had already provided Daniel and his
companions with sound constitutions. (Prophets and Kings
In the case of
Daniel and his three companions divine power was united
with human effort and the result was remarkable.
Pulse to eat
"Food derived from
plants," such as cereals and vegetables. According to
Jewish tradition, berries and dates were also part of this
LET OUR COUNTENANCES BE LOOKED UPON BEFORE THEE, AND THE
COUNTENANCE OF THE CHILDREN THAT EAT OF THE PORTION OF THE KING'S MEAT: AND AS THOU SEEST, DEAL WITH THY
certain that an abstemious diet would make these young men
pale and sickly in appearance
whereas the rich
food of the king's table would make them healthy and
robust in appearance.
CONSENTED TO THEM IN THIS MATTER AND PROVED THEM TEN DAYS.
childhood these young men had been trained in strict
habits of temperance. They were well aware of the
detrimental effects of a stimulating diet so they
determined to resist any indulgence in appetite.
AT THE END OF TEN DAYS THEIR COUNTENANCES APPEARED FAIRER
AND FATTER IN FLESH THAN ALL THE CHILDREN WHICH DID EAT OF
THE PORTION OF THE KINGS MEAT.
God honoured these
young men because of their unswerving purpose to do what
THUS MELZAR TOOK AWAY THE PORTION OF THEIR MEAT, AND THE
WINE THAT THEY SHOULD DRINK; AND GAVE THEM PULSE.
Meizar was well
satisfied as he looked on those ruddy faced young men for
they were the picture of health.
FOR THESE FOUR CHILDREN, GOD GAVE THEM KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL IN ALL LEARNING AND WISDOM: AND DANIEL HAD
UNDERSTANDING IN ALL VISIONS AND DREAMS.
Not only were
these young men tested as far as diet was concerned but
the instruction they received was also a test of
The wisdom of the
Chaldeans was allied with idolatry and pagan practices,
who mixed sorcery with science, and learning with
superstition. How these Hebrews managed to maintain their
integrity we do not know nor are we told. But despite all
these corrupting influences they held fast to their faith
and loyalty in God.
The only way we
can understand how they did it is by noticing their
conduct in face of trial.
They made a firm
resolution to remain true to God whatever happened.
that they had to depend on God fully.
They made a firm
stand right from the start in the question of diet.
They were men of
three companions were endowed with exceptional mental
qualities, and equaled him in their loyalty to God, Daniel
was a prophet, he was called of God to do a special work
and was wonderfully blessed with the gift of prophecy.
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.
apprentices were to be trained three years in order to
"stand before the King" and it was "at the
end of the days" specified that they were brought before
the king for examination.
KING COMMUNED WITH THEM: AND AMONG THEM ALL WAS FOUND NONE
LIKE DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH: THEREFORE STOOD
THEY BEFORE THE KING.
The questions asked
may have required the explanation of riddles which has
always been a favored sport in the court life of Oriental
Also the solving of
mathematical problems, in which the Babylonians were
masters, as their documents reveal, or a demonstration
of the ability to read and write the difficult cuneiform
The superior wisdom
of Daniel and his youthful companions was not the result of
chance or destiny, or even a miracle. The young men applied
themselves diligently and conscientiously to their studies
and God blessed their endeavours.
IN ALL MATTERS OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING, THAT THE KING
ENQUIRED OF THEM, HE FOUND THEM TEN TIMES BETTER THAN ALL
THE MAGICIANS AND ASTROLOGERS THAT WERE IN ALL HIS REALM.
And in all
matters of wisdom and understanding
Daniel and his
friends excelled the men of their profession in matters of
exact science, such as astronomy and mathematics and in
matters of linguistic studies. They had mastered cuneiform
writing, the Babylonian and Aramaic languages, and the
Aramaic square script.
This is not a
Babylonian name but comes from the Hebrew Bible Pentateuch.
exorcism, and astrology were widespread among the ancient
peoples, but in some countries like Babylonia, they were
practiced by the men of science.
It is a mistake to
assume that the wise men of Babylon were only diviners and
knowledge had attained to a surprisingly high degree of
development, though the peak of Babylonian astronomy came
after the Persian conquest. Astronomers were able to predict
both lunar and solar eclipses by computation. Their
mathematical skill was highly developed. They employed
formulas whose discovery is erroneously but generally
attributed to Greek mathematicians.
DANIEL CONTINUED EVEN UNTO THE FIRST YEAR OF KING CYRUS.
This does not mean
that Daniel's life did not extend beyond the first year of
Cyrus for in
chapter 10 it states that Daniel had a vision
in the 3rd year of Cyrus.