This chapter introduces Daniel including his lineage, his situation, his character and how he came to be an influential member of Nebuchadnezzar’s administration.
This verse clearly gives the historical setting for the book of Daniel.
The OT records these events in 2 Kings 24:1-2 and 2 Chronicles 36:5-7
The 70 years of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah’s had begun (Jeremiah 34:12-22)
texts say it was late spring or early summer (May/June) of 605 BC when
Nebuchadnezzar moved through the
46:2 says the battle of
Daniel 1:1 says this battle and the invasion occurred in Jehoiaki’s 3rd year . . . the Judean way of counting years of a kings reign
Nabopolassar (father and king) died in August of 605 BC according to Babylonian documents.
Nebuchadnezzar worshipped Marduk. Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s dad, worshipped Nabu and so called his son Nabu-chadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar’s son was named Amel-Marduk (or, Evil-Merodach in English such as in Jer. 52:31-34 and 2 Kings 25:27-30) which means Man of Marduk. (Evil-Marodach ruled after his father, Nebuchadnezzar, but was assassinated which indicates he may have followed his father’s new found faith in the Jewish God, especially since the Bible indicates he released Jehoichin from prison.)
The name of Daniel’s God is “adonai” in the Hebrew and translated “Lord” indicating he is the “owner, ruler and sovereign lord” of this event. Yahweh, or the LORD, is the sovereign Lord.
“Delivered” is the translation of the Hebrew word “natan” which literally means “gave” indicating Daniel’s God “gave” Judan and her king to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar did not take them.
“the God” vs. “his god” (Nebuchadnezzar’s god Marduk). Through out the book of Daniel Yahweh is referred to as “the God” in the Hebrew. In the Hebrew there is always an article in front of “elohim”. Nebuchadnezzar worshipped one of his gods from the Babylonian Pantheon. But, Yahweh is “the God,” or the God over all the gods.
Ashpenaz – chief of Nebuchadnezzar’s court officials
The Hebrew word “saris” means “court officer” and “castrate”
Isaiah 39:7 prophecies to Hezekiah that:
“Some of your descendants, your own
flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will
become eunuchs in the palace of the king of
Josephus assumes that Daniel was made a eunuch that was physically altered.
But, Daniel is described as having “no blemish” and the meaning of this in Leviticus 21:17 and 21:20 is just this kind of physical wholeness.
The word “saris” in Isaiah 56:3 means eunuch as in “a dry tree.”
The word "saris" in Genesis 37:36 describes Potiphar who was a "court officer" of Pharoah and married.
It is possible but highly unlikely Nebuchadnezzar would seek out perfect young men and then give them a major defect.
“Royal Family” is literally Hebrew for “of the seed of the kingdom”
is “partemim” which is a Persian word for “princes” (but, the origin of this
word is unknown and may have been used before
says Daniel and his three friends "were four of the family of Zedekiah (the
last king of
These royal Jewish hostages could be used later for helping administer the Jewish situation later.
of royal Jewish blood these young Israelites had already received some training
The word “Chaldean” (“Babylonians” in the NIV) may refer to the specific class of people educated men among the Babylonians. That is the meaning in Daniel 2:2 where the NIV translates the same word “astrologers”.
"astrologers" or "Chaldeans" were the guardians of the
traditional history and study preserved in
To be a powerful and accurate witness in the Babylonian court Daniel had to have a handle on the presuppositions of his audience.
Daniel did not resist this education for it did not violate Jewish law, but some of the practices and customs did present a problem.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah made it through the situation with out collapsing to Babylonian corruption. Many other Jews of royal birth must have. No other names are mentioned.
Daniel - "My judge is God" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Belteshazzar - "Bel's prince"
Hananniah - "Yahweh has shown grace" . . . . Shadrach - "Command of Aku"
Mishael - "Who is what God is?" . . . . . . . . . . . Meshach-"Who is what Aku is?"
Azariah - "Yahweh has helped" . . . . . . . . . . . . Abednego "Servant of Nebo"
Defiled by two means:
1) Violating the covenant 2) worshipping other gods
The ten day test
Daniel address the steward which is not the same as Ashpenaz – chief of Nebuchadnezzar’s court officials
Daniel had first asked Ashpenaz for a permanent change in diet.
Daniel now asks the steward under Ashpenaz for a ten day trial.
The steward is further from the king and is in a controlled situation. Less risk.
God moves the hearts of men - 1 Kings 8:50; Psalm 106:46
Daniel eats foods that are grown. The Hebrew word is "zeroa" and means "that which grows from sown seed"
The vegetable diet proved to be more healthy than Nebuchadnezzar's.
There is no need for a miracle of God's supernatural intervention here, although it is possible.
"God" has an article indicating "The God" or the true God.
Calvin says that Daniel and his friends were kept from the study of religious superstitions and magic, but this is only something Calvin wants to believe. Daniel would have had to learn this (like Moses) to function in their culture at the level he did.
A personal interview with Nebuchadnezzar after the three years of training.
"ten times" better is literally "ten hands" which indicates they were very noticeably better trained and more prepared for their jobs.
This indicates that God's word and God's ways align with natural reality.
Things make more sense. Problems are approached with correct formulas.
Science, history, math along with dreams and the supernatural can be approached from the correct perspective.
Again, Daniel's wisdom and insight does not have to be supernatural or miraculous. Like the food, it simply might be due the fact that God is truth. God is light. God is the author of the reality that we all live in.
MAIN POINT: God's word not only effects us for spiritual success. God's truth effects our physical life and our mental life (our bodies and our souls)