1. How did Nebuchadnezzar come to possess the vessels of the house of God?
The Lord gave Judah and into his hand including the temple and all therein: “(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 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” (Daniel 1:1-2).
- Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem during the reign of Jehoiakim (II Kings 24:1-2; 10).
- The city remained besieged for a while (II Kings 24:17-25:2).
- Within the gates of Jerusalem things were terrible. They had even punished faithful prophets during this time (Jeremiah 32:1-5 and Ezekiel 6:12).
- After those days the city was “broken up” (Jeremiah 39:1-10).
- The Lord gave Jehoiakim into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (II Kings 24:3-6).
- The Lord’s house was looted (II Chronicles 36:5-7).
2. What did Nebuchadnezzar tell Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to seek out?
“(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” (Daniel 1:3-4).
- God told Hezekieh that his sons would be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (II Kings 20:12-20).
- The king was looking for those who were without blemish [likely speaking of in the flesh (II Samuel 14:25)], well-favored, skillful in ALL wisdom, science, etc. (Proverbs 22:29).
3. How did Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah come to be given pulse [something sown; vegetables] to eat and water to drink?
“(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. (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 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. (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” (Daniel 1:5-12).
- This shows how badly starvation and illness had effected Jerusalem (Jeremiah 14:14-18, Jeremiah 16:1-13, Jeremiah 21:9, Jeremiah 27:1-18, Jeremiah 38:2, Lamentations 4:1-10, and Lamentations 5:1-10).
- Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah continued to be companions (Daniel 2:17).
- The changing of a servants name was a long ago world practice (Genesis 41:45).
- Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. There was the point of what Jews would not eat (Leviticus 11:1-47) as well as a point of wisdom to consider in this (Proverbs 23:1-8 and Proverbs 30:8-9).
- As a prophet of God, the Lord looked out for him and gave Daniel favor with this prince of the eunuchs (Genesis 39:21 and Acts 7:9-10; cf. Proverbs 16:7).
- Don’t read into this text and think being a vegetarian is the principle teaching. It is not (Genesis 9:1-4, Romans 14:1-2, Romans 14:20, and I Timothy 4:1-5).
4. After Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah ate their adjusted diet, were they healthy in appearance?
Yes: “(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. (14) So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. (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” (Daniel 1:13-16).
- No doubt, God’s direct hand is in play here (Exodus 23:25) to show his servants to be what they were (Daniel 4:1-3 and Mark 16:15-20).
5. What did God give Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah?
“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” (Daniel 1:17).
- This was not natural, through learning as any child of God could have gained (Proverbs 2:1-11 and Proverbs 4:1-8).
- This was miraculous like as was given to Solomon (I Kings 3:3-28).
- These gifts were used going forward (Daniel 2:19-23).
6. How did Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stand above all the magicians and astrologers in the realm belonging to Nebuchadnezzar?
“(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” (Daniel 1:18-20).
- Daniel 4:9 and Daniel 9:20-23; cf. Numbers 12:6, Amos 3:7, and II Peter 1:20-21
7. How do we know Daniel outlived Babylonian captivity?
“And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus” (Daniel 1:21).
- Daniel lived through the captivity period (Daniel 6:28).
- We see that Daniel recalled the words of Jeremiah (Daniel 9:1-5; cf. II Chronicles 36:17-23 and Ezra 1:1-2).
- Regarding Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-8, Ezra 5:13-17, and Isaiah 44:26-45:5).
- Don’t take this to mean Daniel died in the first year of king Cyrus (Daniel 10:1).
© 2019 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.