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Daniel Chapter 1 Lesson

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
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We have restored on the WLC website, in the Scriptures quoted the Names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible.  Click here to download the Restored Names Version (RNV) of Scripture.  The RNV is a non-WLC resource.  -WLC Team

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

(Dan 1:2) And the Sovereign gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of Elohim: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his eloah; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his eloah.

Jeremiah 25:1 places the invasion in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. This does not mean that the Bible is wrong. Sieges take months, and the beginning of a siege is often in one year, and the end of it in another. The third and fourth years of Jehoiakim correspond to B.C.E. 606-605, and there is no such event known to historians. For this reason, some people say the book of Daniel is in error.

Liberal theory: Daniel 1:1-2 is really describing the siege of Jerusalem in 597 during the twelfth year of Jehoiakim and the first year of Jehoiachin, and this corresponds to 2Kings 24, Daniel 5:1-5, and 2Chronicles 36. Nebuchadnezzar was not yet king in 606, the third year of Jehoiakim, and the Egyptians still ruled. Jeremiah 36:9 refers to Jehoiakim in Jerusalem in his fifth year, two years later. Babylonian records show Judah to have become a vassal state in 603, while Jehoiakim is still king, but there is no record of a siege at the time.

By taking Daniel seriously as a historical source, none of this is a problem. It only becomes a problem when Daniel is doubted from the beginning as a source. Daniel reports a siege otherwise unknown in historical sources. That siege resulted in taking captives and some temple furnishings, but leaving the city, temple, and king intact. Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Necho at the Battle of Carchemish, inheriting the throne from his father Nabonidus during the campaign. He would thus have had time to complete the siege in 605. A rebellion on the part of Jehoiakim in 601 would have led to the greater depredation in 597, the one known from other historical sources.

(Dan 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;

(Dan 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.

The meaning of the name Ashpenaz is uncertain. He was chief of the courtiers, as the word does not necessarily refer to eunuchs, despite being so translated. The language and ethnic group to which the word Chaldeans refers is also uncertain. Because the word is used in Daniel 2:2 to refer to astrologers, some people say this shows the book of Daniel to be wrong. They think the word Chaldean was not used in that way until long after the time of Nebuchadnezzar. But the word obviously means an ethnic group here.

(Dan 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.

According to Plato Persian boys were trained for the royal court starting at the age of 14. Xenophon notes that they were taken into the court to serve at the age of seventeen. So the three years of training are typical of the time and place.

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

(Dan 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.

The names of the Hebrew youths have meaning: Daniel means El will judge. Belteshazzar contains the name of the chief deity of the Babylonians, Bel. Hananiah means Yahuwah is gracious. Mishael means who is what El is? Azariah means Yahuwah helps. His new name was Abednego, which means Servant of Nebo, the second-most revered deity of Babylon. Part of their education was to separate them from their faith by changing their names.

(Dan 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.

(Dan 1:9) Now Elohim had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

(Dan 1:10) And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my master 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.

The defilement referred to here would appear to be that of the prohibited kinds of meat mentioned in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, but the avoidance of wine suggests something more than that.

Vegetarianism or vegan diet is implied in only a few Bible texts, such as Genesis 1:29 and 3:18. These are pivotal texts, however, as they can be seen to represent the original ideal. Some later Jewish sects did have a vegetarian practice, among them the Essenes and the Therapeutae in Egypt. While these are several centuries later than Daniel, they demonstrate that such ideals did exist in Israel.

The prohibition of wine refers to the nazirite vow, but also to the priestly service as well, as stated in Lev 10:9. ”Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations.” While a certain amount of wine was tolerated among the people of ancient times, drunkenness was punished with death. Under the new covenant, all are priests and kings, as as priests serving in the temple of the Holy Spirit, which the human body is, complete abstenence from wine is important. But Leviticus 10:9 also implies that those who follow Yahushua into the service of the Most Holy Place in heaven, will also set aside intoxicating substances as being unfit for the sanctuary service in which we participate by our prayers.

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

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

The traditional staple of the area for centuries past has been lentils and barley bread, and the word pulse here probably refers to that primarily. We should nevertheless consider that a variety of vegetables both cooked and fresh is consistent with this expression. What is certain is that a meatless, alcohol-free diet is meant.

(Dan 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.

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

(Dan 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.

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

(Dan 1:17) As for these four children, Elohim gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

(Dan 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.

(Dan 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.

(Dan 1:20) And 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.

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