First Baptist Church Laredo
10-2-19 - Daniel 1
  • Daniel chapter 1 gives us a historical marker for the context of the story. Daniel would have been alive in the historical period of 605 to 539 B.C. The first chapter also reminds us of the theme for the entire book: God is in control. God is sovereign over the affairs of man. Even though the people of Israel are in exile, they can still remain faithful and can be prosperous.

    1. The Fall of Judah ()

    A. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem ()

    Daniel 1:1–2 CSB
    1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. 2 The Lord handed King Jehoiakim of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.

    B. Nebuchadnezzar plundered the Temple in Jerusalem. ()

    Nebuchadnezzar was victorious over the kingdom of Judah and as a symbol of his dominance, he took some of the vessels from the defeated nation and put them in the temple of his god.

    C. It is God, not Nebuchadnezzar, who is responsible for the fall of Jerusalem. ()

    The Lord gave King Jehoiakim over the Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was simply the tool God used to chastise the people of Judah for their disobedience. The word for Lord is adonai and denotes the control and ownership of God.

    2. The beginning of the captivity ()

    A. Nebuchadnezzar orders Ashpenaz to begin training some of the Israelite young men for service in his administration.

    Daniel 1:3–4 CSB
    3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility—4 young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.
    Daneil 1;
    He wanted the cream of the crop to serve in his administration. You have to ask, “Why?” Why would Nebuchadnezzar want young men from Israelite nobility in his service? To understand his political motivations, we need to remember that although Judah had been defeated, Nebuchadnezzar was trying to control Judah without actually taking it over completely. He had put Zedekiah, a political puppet, on the throne of Judah. By taking some of the best and brightest of the young men of Israel into his service and training them in Babylonian ways, he was essentially making a 5th column. They would, hopefully, fall in love with the Babylonian way of life and be propagandists, and maybe even be sent back to rule over Judah while supporting the Babylonians.
    Nebuchadnezzar was a pragmatist. His rapidly expanding empire needed people who were supportive of the Babylonian government and administration. He couldn’t met all of the needs through his own people. He had to enlist the service of native populations he had conquered.

    B. The captured Israelites would receive the best Babylon had to offer. ()

    Daniel 1:5 CSB
    5 The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to attend the king.

    C. They are given new names to symbolize their new allegiance. ()

    Daniel 1:7 CSB
    7 The chief eunuch gave them names; he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah.
    Daniel 1:6–7 CSB
    6 Among them, from the Judahites, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The chief eunuch gave them names; he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah.

    Daniel - God is my judge becomes Belteshazzar - May a god protect the king

    Hananiah - Yahweh has been gracious becomes Shadrach - a reference to the god Marduk

    Mishael - Who is what God is? becomes Meshach - a reference to the god Marduk

    Azariah - Yahweh is my help becomes Abednego - servant of Nabu

    Basically, they took the names from them which associated them with Yahweh and gave them name to associate them with Babylonian gods. They wanted to completely transform their identity and allegiance. They would be trained, some may say brainwashed, for 3 years.

    3. Staying faithful in Babylon ()

    Up to this point, Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah provided no resistance to the assimilation into Babylonian culture. They submitted themselves to their new situation. However, there was a line they could not cross.
    Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah

    A. The young men refuse to defile themselves with the Babylonian diet. ()

    Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), .
    Daniel 1:8 CSB
    8 Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief eunuch not to defile himself.
    There are multiple possibilities for why the young men refused the king’s food and wine. It could be that the diet of the Babylonian violated some kosher laws, but that wouldn’t explain the wine because wine was not restricted. It could be that the food and wine was offered to the Babylonian gods; however, they did not avoid all of the food. They would eat the veggies. It could be that they viewed the king’s provisions as an acceptance of the sovereignty of the king over them. However, again, he accepted the veggies.
    I think this is about who they wanted to attribute their success. If their minds and bodies are fed by the Babylonians, they Babylonians could take credit for their success. If they refused the best stuff, only a miracle of God could help them.

    B. Daniel proposed a test. ()

    Daniel 1:9–14 CSB
    9 God had granted Daniel kindness and compassion from the chief eunuch, 10 yet he said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and drink. What if he sees your faces looking thinner than the other young men your age? You would endanger my life with the king.” 11 So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief eunuch had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king’s food, and deal with your servants based on what you see.” 14 He agreed with them about this and tested them for ten days.
    I want to make a note here because this was a recent fad. The Daniel Diet is not a pattern for us to follow in our diets. That was not the purpose. The purpose was to show who was in control of their prosperity and success. This was a temporary thing. Daniel would enjoy the Babylonian foods later in life. () Also note that the diet was private, not public. Only the guard and the young men knew what they were doing. Not even the chief eunuch knew.

    C. God miraculously gave Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah success. ()

    Daniel 1:15–16 CSB
    15 At the end of ten days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 16 So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.
    Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah
    They had no food strikes. They asked for permission to engage in the activity. The chief official declined to allow them to do what they requested. Daniel chose another strategy to accomplish the goal. God brings them success. They literally are eating for the glory of God.

    3. Their faithfulness to God is rewarded ()

    A. God gave the four young men prosperity and success ()

    Daniel 1:17 CSB
    17 God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.

    B. They are presented to Nebuchadnezzar ()

    Daniel 1:18–20 CSB
    18 At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief eunuch presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to attend the king. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and mediums in his entire kingdom.
    They had gained wisdom. Not because of their education, but because God had given it to them. They had grown physically, not because of their diet, but because God had caused it.

    4. Daniel’s length of service ()

    Daniel 1:21 CSB
    21 Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
    Daniel would span the entire Babylonian captivity and outlast those who brought him into exile.
    In all of these stories, we are going to struggle because we need to caution against running out and doing exactly what these 4 young men did. They did take a stand against their culture and we should too. The questions is how to properly take a stand. They had to draw a line and trust in God.
    Jesus called for wisdom in these matters.
    Matthew 10:16 CSB
    16 “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.
    Many of the situations we are going to be faced with in life are not clear cut. Take for example the questions of education. Public, Private, Homeschool. What movies and shows are appropriate. How about interaction on social media? What our culture permits does not mean it is right to engage it. We have to realize that we are not in the same situation or context as these 4 young men and yet we are philosophically connected.
      • Daniel 1:1–2CSB

      • Daniel 1:1–2CSB

      • Daniel 1:2CSB

      • Daniel 1:2CSB

      • Daniel 1:3–4CSB

      • Daniel 1:5CSB

      • Daniel 1:5CSB

      • Daniel 1:6–7CSB

      • Daniel 1:6–7CSB

      • Daniel 1:8–16CSB

      • Daniel 1:8CSB

      • Daniel 1:8CSB

      • Daniel 1:9–14CSB

      • Daniel 1:15–16CSB

      • Daniel 1:15–16CSB

      • Daniel 1:17–21CSB

      • Daniel 1:17CSB

      • Daniel 1:17CSB

      • Daniel 1:18–20CSB

      • Daniel 1:18–20CSB

      • Daniel 1:21CSB

      • Matthew 10:16CSB

      • Daniel 1:21CSB

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