Daniel 1
Daniel and Friends Superior Lifestyle and Religion
Text Comments
.1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
.2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels [or "articles"] 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.
   1 - Third year Jeremiah said the fourth year. See note 1 below.
   1 - Nebuchadnezzar Although this spelling is more frequent, "Nebukadrezzar" is a better transliteration of the Babylonian name which means "May Nabu protect my borderstone."
   2 - The Lord gave God is in control. da0237. He allowed and planned the captivity (more below).
   2 - Jehoiakim 2ch3605f.
   2 - Articles of the house of God Hezekiah's unwise revelation resulted in this removal is3903ff
   2 - To the house of his god Religious trophies of war were taken to show the superiority of the god of the concurring country, according to a custom of the time.
 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;
.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.
   3 - Master of his eunuchs We may assume that Daniel was made a eunuch is3907.
   4 - Teach the learning ... tongue This would have been a source of temptation. We are reminded of someone else who was cast into a similar situation ex02.
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1 - In the third year
    But Jeremiah said it would be the fourth year je2501. Skeptics have pointed to this difference as evidence that Daniel's book was not reliable. The solution is in understanding how king years were counted. The year during which the king goes to the throne doesn't count. His first year is the first full year by the civil calendar. Jeremiah was counting the ascension year as was customary in Judah.

Why would God allow the captivity of His people?
    Because they didn't really want to be His people. They liked His name but preferred rebellion to the plan of happiness He had given them.
   "Thou [Nebuchadnezzar] art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider. . . With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid. . . . I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock. . . ." (Jer. 51:20-23).
    But God's use of the king's spirit of conquest to punish the people of Judah did not reduce Babylon's own guilt je5124. Let's read two more verses:.
    "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. . . . And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. . . . And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. (2 Kings 24:8-14) re1408a.

God would work even in Babylon
    "We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed:" (Jer. 51:9, predicting the fall of Babylon je5109.) God's people were to have been a witness to the people of this pagan nation. Certainly Daniel and his friends were.
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Text Comments
 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.
.6  Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
.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.
  3 - Bring certain A plan to develop the captives.
  4 - Tongue of the Chaldeans Of Babylon.
  7 - Daniel the name of Compare Joseph's new name ge4145.
.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.
.9  Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
 10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat [food] 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.
  8 - Purposed in his heart This is the kind of resolve we all need.
  9 - God brought ... favor The Holy Spirit can impress people. Of course He does not impress them with falsehood. As a servant of God, Daniel was a kind and unselfish person.
 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
 13 Then let our countenances [appearances] 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.
 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
   Comments  on these verses below.
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Purposed in his heart
    What a powerful example for us! When faced with unavoidable temptation, we may resolve to be faithful. We may lay hold of the strength of our Redeemer, and keep our heart tuned to his channel all through the experience.
    "For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be confounded [disgraced]; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed." (Isa. 50:7).
    Daniel's determination to be faithful was stronger than the fear of death (as seen in chapter 6).  What a challenge for us as we grow day by day seeking forgiveness for mistakes and the grace both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).  We may claim the gift of salvation through the kind of faith willing to trust our Lord enough to follow in the path He has marked out.

Daniel refused to be defiled
    "When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:  And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat." (Prov. 23:1-3)
    "Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee. . . . For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;" (Ex. 34:12-15)
    And what about the king's wine? "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. (Prov. 20:1).
   "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31). Also see pr2329ff ( ... ff means following verses), le10; ge0921.
    At some point in history fermented wine began to be used for the communion contrary to the advice in these passages re1408g. Tobacco producers have been under fire for the harm they cause but alcohol, which is a greater curse, gets attention from only a few special-interest groups and thrives. After all it is served at church!

Soul and body and health
    Elsewhere we discuss the influence of Greek philosophy on Judaism r14q and on the Christian church as it fell into apostasy. The idea is that the soul and the body are somewhat independent of each other and that abusing of the body does not effect the purity of the soul re0206.
    "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31).
    "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).
    Were they vegetarians? Daniel had requested, "give us pulse to eat, and water to drink." The word "meat" in the KJV which we quote means "food" in modern English; and "pulse," means vegetables. From verse 16 below, we may assume that the simpler diet excluded both flesh food and wine.

Miracles of healing
    I recently noticed a "faith healer" on television interviewing a man whose stiff neck he had "healed." Can Satan cause sickness and then release his hold making it appear that an individual has been healed? Yes. In cases of spirit possession, he has brought distress, then removed it mr0914ff. We may reasonably believe that he can cause and remove sicknesses as well. Miracles are becoming more common as predicted by the Bible re1313. God is allowing the forces of evil to have more power as the way of evil is chosen by more people.
    Does God do miracles? Certainly, but He is not in competition to produce the most spectacular demonstration or the loudest music.
    Should we pray for healing when we or someone we know is sick? Usually yes. Our prayer is presumption, however, if we ask for wellness while the person has no intention of stopping an abuse to his or her body that brought on the problem while ignoring the laws or health that God has established. Our bodies may be harmed by certain food, by alcohol, or by other such items or practices. ja0513.
 
 

Text Comments
.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.
.16  Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
  Notes below
.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.
 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.
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.
.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.
 21  And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
  20 - Magicians Hebrew, chartummim. ge4108, ex0711, ex0807, da0202.
  20 - Astrologers From a word meaning "exorciser." They also practiced astrology (an attempt to find secrets and the future by looking at the sun, moon and stars). The wise men of Babylon were also true scholars.
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Ten days
    This seems to be a relatively short time, but even the short-term effects of following health principles provide noticeable benefit. Also these fellows had been living right before they got to Babylon. Certainly God blessed their decision.

Countenance
    Fat was then taken to mean good health. We know now that too much fat is not good. The Holy Spirit was not giving Daniel a lesson in physiology.

God gave . . . knowledge
    Even when we follow health principles, it is God who gives us strength. Here He may well have provided an extra blessing. The glory is His. Notice that Daniel had a special gift beyond what the others had v17. It is the gift of prophecy r12w.
    "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." (Ps. 111:10).
    "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. . . . Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:5, 17; ja0105).

Chiastic Literary Structure of Daniel 1

   The book of Daniel, like many other portions of the Bible are found to have definite literary structure.  The form in Daniel 1 occurs frequently.  It is known as a "chiasm," from the Greek letter Chi which is pronounced like KI in "kind."  This structure is a pattern of matching pairs sequenced in patterns like: A B C D C B A. Below verses 1 and 21 match. Likewise for 2 and 20, and so on.
   The topics in Daniel 1 are shown below as they may be seen in the chiastic structure referenced by verse numbers.  Notice that the pairs generally compare the true religion with the false.

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1  Daniel's career begins
2  Articles from God's house taken [to be shown inferior]
3  Master of eunuchs brought young men to Babylon [at the end of the siege]
4  Young men capable of learning Chaldean language and literature
5  King appointed diet and training
6  Daniel and three friends among sons of Judah, chosen
7  New names given
8  Daniel chose not to be defiled [he feared God]
9, 10  Chief of eunuchs feared the king
11-14  New diet given
15  The four men among peers better health
16  King's diet discarded
17  God gave ability in all literature and knowledge
18, 19  Master of eunuchs brought Daniel and friends to the king at the end of the days
20  Daniel and friends superior to heathen worship leaders
21  Daniel's career ends.

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