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Daniel One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

Daniel 1:2 And 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.

into his hand. This event marked the beginning of Judah's seventy year captivity, prophesied by Jeremiah (2 Chronicles 36:6, 21; Jeremiah 25:1, 11).

land of Shinar. Shinar is confirmed here by Daniel as the name of the country of Babylon. Babel was founded by Nimrod in the land of Shinar at least 1500 years earlier. The land of Shinar is known to secular archaeologists as Sumer.

his god. The chief “god” of the Babylonians was Bel, also known as Marduk, or Merodach, possibly originally the deified Nimrod.

Daniel 1:3 And 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;

children of Israel. Evidently, if these men were to “stand in the king's palace” (Daniel 1:4) and were placed under “the master of the eunuchs,” the four Hebrew children must have consented to be made eunuchs in order to have a testimony for God in the Babylonian capital, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 39:5-7. These may well have been in the mind of Christ when He said that some “have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake” (Matthew 19:12).

Daniel 1:4 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.

Daniel 1:5 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.

Daniel 1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

Azariah. All four of these chosen men of Judah must also have had godly parents, for they selected names for their sons that expressed their faith in God. Thus Daniel means “God is my Judge;” Hananiah means “The Lord's Beloved;” Mishael is “Who is as God?” and Azariah is “The Lord is my help.”

Daniel 1:7 Unto 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 Abednego.

Abed-nego. The prince of the eunuchs evidently thought their names were inappropriate, so renamed them in honor of the gods of Babylon. Thus, Daniel became Belteshazzar (“Favored by Bel”); Hananiah became Shadrach (“Illumined by Rak,” the sun god); Mishael was renamed Meshach (“Belonging to Shak,” the wine goddess); and Azariah was changed to Abednego (“Servant of Nego,” considered to be equivalent to Lucifer). One can imagine that this was deeply resented by these godly young men, who resolved more firmly than ever to stay true to the true God of creation, at all costs.

Daniel 1:8 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.

defile himself. The king's gourmet food would have been defiling to godly Jews in at least three ways: (1) it would have contained blood, contrary to Leviticus 17:10-14; (2) it would have included the meat of swine, forbidden in Leviticus 11:7-8; and, most seriously, (3) it would have been consecrated to the pagan gods of Babylon. Nevertheless, Daniel was gracious and respectful in making his request to be excused.

Daniel 1:9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

Daniel 1:10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat 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.

Daniel 1:11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

Daniel 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

Daniel 1:13 Then 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 servants.

Daniel 1:14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

Daniel 1:15 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 1:16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

pulse. The term “pulse” means any seed vegetable.

Daniel 1:17 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.

wisdom. In Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). To those who sincerely study, believe, and obey God's Word and who are determined to stand for His truth in an ungodly society, God will provide the necessary wisdom and knowledge to accomplish the work He calls them to do.

Daniel 1:18 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.

end of the days. Daniel and his friends were in Nebuchadnezzar's training program (actually, it was God's program, as a result of His overruling providence) for three years (Daniel 1:5). Significantly, this was also the length of time used by Christ in training His twelve disciples, as well as the time Paul spent with the Lord in the desert after his conversion (Galatians 1:15-18).

Daniel 1:19 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.

stood they before the king. That is, they were accepted as accredited wise men to serve among the king's counselors. See Daniel 1:4-5, 20; also 2:13.

Daniel 1:20 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.

Daniel 1:21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

continued. Thus Daniel survived in Babylon throughout the entire seventy year period of the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:1-2).