Daniel Chapter 1
By I Gordon
The book of
Daniel was written by, well, Daniel, in 537 B.C. Daniel identifies himself as
the author of the book in 12:4 and Jesus also identified him in Matt 24:15.
That's good enough for me! Daniel was led into exile as a youth in 605 B.C.
There he lived until the third year of Cyrus in 536 B.C. But how did Daniel, a
Jewish boy, find himself exiled in
Dan 1:1-2 In the third year of the reign of
Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of
Why did the
The goal of the Babylonians - Let the brain washing begin
Dan 1:3-7 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief
of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal
family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome,
showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to
understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them
the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily
amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for
three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among these
were some from
Now, it is
very interesting to see the method used to make good little “Babylonians” of
the exiled Israelites. So what was
Now in this passage we are introduced to four important Jewish youths – Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael abd Azariah - although you might know Daniel’s friends by their Babylonian names – Shadrach, Mechach and Abed-nego. Now it is interesting to look at the meaning of their names before and after the change. According to the Ryrie Study Bible:
Daniel ("God is judge") become Belteshazzar ("May Bel protect his life")
Hananiah ("Yahweh is gracious") becomes Shadrach ("command of Aku")
Mishael ("Who is what God is") becomes Meshach ("Who is what Aku is")
Azariah ("Whom Yahweh helps") becomes Abed-nego ("Servant of Nebo")
In each case, their Hebrew name spoke of the true God and their names were changed to speak of the Babylonian gods. The bottom line for our lives is clear: Don't let the world change your name or your character! So nearly all of Daniel's outward life was changed... But could they change his heart?
The inner resolve from God.
Dan 1:8-14 But
Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he
asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God
had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official
told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and
drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age?
The king would then have my head because of you.” Daniel then said to the guard
whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and
Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but
vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of
the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance
with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
Verse 8 is obviously
a key verse for anyone facing pressure from the ways of
Prov 25:26 states: "Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked."
If Daniel had given up his convictions and just become like the other Babylonians (as they wanted) then the Bible says he would have become like a muddied spring or a polluted well. That is, he would have become someone that once had the ability to give life and sustain the thirsty… but now was useless for that which it had been created!
But thankfully, Daniel had a greater resolve than that! He wasn’t someone who was going to buckle and nor should we. We read above that Daniel decided to only eat vegetables instead of defiling himself with the King’s food and wine. So would God honor such commitment or would Daniel and his friends be headed for the chop?
The God who watches…
Daniel 1:15-16 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
Does God watch and act for those who fear Him? We know from scripture that he does watch and He certainly does act when it is required. Please read Psalm 33:13-19 for it is very clear on this point. No please, go read it! So Daniel lives on only vegetables and water. Rather him than me! But that aside, God looks after Him because he fears the Lord and puts His thoughts first and after the 10 days he even ends up fatter on veges than those eating the King's choice food. Now that is a miracle!
We need a simple, uncomplicated faith. A faith that says God watches and God cares, and God acts. The Christians that really know God seem to be blessed by what I would call a 'divine simplicity'. They know the character of God and this makes all the difference.
Every good and perfect gift...
Dan 1:17-21 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Finally, we see that the abilities and giftings of these four teenagers were God given. Their knowledge, their understanding, their wisdom was all from God. I love it when simple folk with God first in their lives can confound the wise! But always remember what the Bible says is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge?
Proverbs 1:7 ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise
wisdom and discipline.’
young Jewish boys were 10 times better than any in the whole Babylonian
kingdom. That's God! Is He in the right place in your life? Are you being conformed to the world’s image
or being transformed into the Lord’s image? Do you have that divine simplicity
of faith that trusts the Lord in trying times? I hope we all do. Daniel and his
friends may be ‘Stranded in
|Bible Studies in the Daniel Series|
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 1: Stranded in Babylon
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 2: Faith under pressure and the God of the impossible
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 2 p2: A vision of things to come
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 3: When things get hot
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 4: Nebuchadnezzar and the tree of doom!
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 4 p2: Nebuchadnezzar - Lessons from a loon!
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 5: Ichabod and the writing is on the wall
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 5 p2: The Precarious Position of the Unbeliever
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 6: Lunch with Lions
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 7: The Times of the Gentiles - The Earthly Scene
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 7 p2: The Times of the Gentiles - The Heavenly Scene
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 8: Gods Declaration of the End... From the Beginning
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9: Daniel - Lessons from a Legend
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9 p2: Daniel's 70 Weeks P1
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 9 p3: Daniel's 70 Weeks P2
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 10: Lifting the Veil
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 11: A Tale of Three Madmen
Daniel Bible Study Chapter 12: How to Shine like the Stars
 Ok, I stole this title from the name of a Larry Norman
album. It emphasizes that all Christians, in a spiritual sense, are now
 Ok, a bit of background to the
background. After the reign of Solomon, the Israelite nation split into two
different kingdoms. The northern kingdom was called ‘
what can we learn from this? A few things come to mind -
Hezekiah’s courting and flirting with
:: If even a godly man such as Hezekiah can lose his focus and start taking pride in worldly things then so can you. And so can
:: Always remember that in any long distance race anyone can take off sprinting at the start… that’s not that impressive. I used to do it at school races and then drop out! But going the distance and finishing well is impressive. Be mindful to endure and finish your Christian life well. Gal 5:7 “You were running well – who hindered you from obeying the truth?”
 Although this is easier said than done with the Jewish
nation for the importance of their roots, background, beliefs and God are
repeatedly taught to their young (in accordance with God’s commands) from an
early age. And it seems from Psalm 137 that the Jews in
 It is interesting that the first trial in the book of Daniel is towards worldliness. Later in the life of Daniel will come direct persecution. It’s a side note really but currently, in the Western world at least, the main trial or temptation is towards worldliness. But there is a sense that things are changing and persecution of Christians even amongst so called ‘Christian’ nations is beginning. First comes worldly compromise and then comes persecution. That is the order in Daniel and will probably be the case in the western world.
 Just a useful comment on this from the Bible Knowledge
Commentary concerning ‘defilement’:
“Nebuchadnezzar had made abundant provision for the captives. Theirs was a life of luxury, not deprivation, for they were given a portion of food and wine daily from the king’s own table. However, this food did not conform to the requirements of the Mosaic Law. The fact that it was prepared by Gentiles rendered it unclean. Also no doubt many things forbidden by the Law were served on the king’s table, so to partake of such food would defile the Jewish youths. Further, without doubt this royal food had been sacrificed and offered to pagan gods before it was offered to the king. To partake of such food would be contrary to Exodus 34:15, where the Jews were forbidden to eat flesh sacrificed to pagan gods. Similar problems would arise in drinking the wine… Daniel’s desire was to please God in all he did. So he resolved that even though he was not in his own land but in a culture that did not follow God’s laws, he would consider himself under the Law. He therefore asked the chief court official to be excused from eating and drinking the food and wine generously supplied by the king. Daniel was courageous, determined, and obedient to God.”
watches, He notes and He acts. God is well able to look after His own. Whether
it is Daniel in
 Please read Prov 2:1-11 about knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It is a very interesting passage. What is God looking for from us?