Introduction to DanielSome BackgroundDaniel was born in Judea about 622 BC to an upper-class Jewish family. He one of the numerousnobility of the royal line of David. When Daniel was between seventeen and eighteen years old,Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Jewish nation and took a number of carefully-chosen youth to Babylon to serve in his government. Daniel was one of those captives.Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant and aggressive ruler. Over the next 43 years he developedBabylon into one of the greatest empires ever built. After his death, a series of incompetent rulersopenly defied God and so mismanaged Babylon that in 539 BC—twenty-three years afterNebuchadnezzar’s death—Babylon fell to the armies of the Medo-Persian empire. For about70years Daniel served in high positions in both of these empires.The Organization of the BookThe first six chapters of the book of Daniel are a record of the major events that occurred inBabylon during his years of service. These chapters also record two prophetic visions given toNebuchadnezzar during this time:Chapter 1: 606 BC. Capture and EducationChapter 2: 603 BC. Nebuchadnezzar’s Image Dream—Future World EmpiresChapter 3: 593 BC. The Fiery FurnaceChapter 4: 569 BC. Nebuchadnezzar’s Tree Dream—A Warning about His Own FutureChapter 5: 539 BC. The Fall of BabylonChapter 6: 538 BC. The Lion’s DenThe last six chapters of Daniel are a record of the prophetic visions he received from God duringhis lifetime. These prophecies are some of the most remarkable in the Bible. They foretell theemergence of major world powers from that period to the end of earth’s history, and they markthe exact time of the first coming of Jesus as the Messiah/Christ.Chapter 7: 553 BC. Four Great Beasts—JudgmentChapter 8: 551 BC. Ram and Goat—the 2300 Day ProphecyChapter 9: 538 BC. 70 Weeks—The MessiahChapter 10, 11, and 12: 525 BC. King of the North, King of the South—The Time of the EndThe historical section of Daniel sets the stage for the prophetic portion. From the stories of God’sinteraction with the rulers of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus), wediscover a loving and sovereign God in a great controversy with evil, who works behind thescenes arranging events in the nations of the world to make “all things work together for good, tothem that love God.” Romans 8:28. This pervasive theme continues throughout the propheticsection, culminating in a complete restoration of God’s kingdom, people and sanctuary in theearth made new.
Daniel 1 KJV Commentary1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakimking of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar kingof Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besiegedit. 2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king ofJudah into his hand, with part of thevessels of the house of God: which hecarried into the land of Shinar to the houseof his god; and he brought the vessels intothe treasure house of his god.3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz themaster of his eunuchs, that he should bringcertain of the children of Israel, and of thekings seed, and of the princes; 4Childrenin whom was no blemish, but wellfavoured, and skilful in all wisdom, andcunning in knowledge, and understandingscience, and such as had ability in them tostand in the kings palace, and whom theymight teach the learning and the tongue ofthe Chaldeans.5 And the king appointed them a dailyprovision of the kings meat, and of the 1:5-17 Daniel risked death by choosing to reject thewine which he drank: so nourishing them king’s food and drink, but he determined to be truethree years, that at the end thereof they to God and obey the dietary requirements set out inmight stand before the king. His law. See Leviticus 11; 17:12; Deuteronomy6 14:3-21. Daniel also knew that the royal diet would Now among these were of the children of not be good for his health. Instead of “choice food”Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Daniel asked for pulse—plant foods such as grains,Azariah: 7Unto whom the prince of the fruits and vegetables—and instead of wine he askedeunuchs gave names: for he gave unto for plain water.Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and toHananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of The ten-day test showed that Daniel and his friendsMeshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. were noticeably healthier than those who ate the8 king’s rich foods. Modern science has shown that the But Daniel purposed in his heart that he best diet for optimal health is a plant-based, highwould not defile himself with the portion fiber and low cholesterol diet. People who chooseof the kings meat, nor with the wine which these foods tend to live longer, have more energyhe drank: therefore he requested of the and be more mentally alert. The key word is “defile,”prince of the eunuchs that he might not which in Hebrew means just that, to “pollute, defile.”defile himself. 9Now God had brought Thus, for these young men, the issue was not justDaniel into favour and tender love with the healthful living or a mere personal preference; it wasprince of the eunuchs. 10And the prince of a moral issue as well.the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear mylord the king, who hath appointed your
meat and your drink: for why should hesee your faces worse liking than thechildren which are of your sort? then shallye make me endanger my head to the king.11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom theprince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel,Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12Provethy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; andlet them give us pulse to eat, and water todrink. 13Then let our countenances belooked upon before thee, and thecountenance of the children that eat of theportion of the kings meat: and as thouseest, deal with thy servants.14 So he consented to them in this matter,and proved them ten days. 15And at the endof ten days their countenances appearedfairer and fatter in flesh than all thechildren which did eat the portion of thekings meat.16 Thus Melzar took away the portion oftheir meat, and the wine that they shoulddrink; and gave them pulse.17 As for these four children, God gave 1:17 Because Daniel and his friends were faithfulthem knowledge and skill in all learning God blessed them with superior wisdom andand wisdom: and Daniel had intelligence.understanding in all visions and dreams.18 Now at the end of the days that the kinghad said he should bring them in, then theprince of the eunuchs brought them inbefore Nebuchadnezzar. 19And the kingcommuned with them; and among them allwas found none like Daniel, Hananiah,Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood theybefore the king.20 And in all matters of wisdom andunderstanding, that the king enquired ofthem, he found them ten times better thanall the magicians and astrologers that werein all his realm. 21And Daniel continuedeven unto the first year of king Cyrus.