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Introduction to Daniel

Daniel was a prophet of God as declared by Jesus Christ, (Matthew 24:15).  He was born in Jerusalem about 623 B.C. probably during the reign of the good king Josiah.  Daniel was most likely descended from one of the noble families of Judah so he probably resided at or near the palace of the king and had access to the best education possible at the time.  Daniel was obviously well trained in the mosaic law because he was only a young boy when he was taken to Babylon (Daniel 1:17), and he was strong enough in the Mosaic faith to refuse the king's food when he got there.  Daniel's exact age when he was abducted is not known but his age was given as 12 by at least one early source.   

Daniel and three other children were among several who were selected by Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, from a select group of the royal bloodline and others who exhibited exceptional qualities from among the Israelites as described in Daniel 1:4.  The three other children who are prominent figures in the book of Daniel were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 1:6).  All four of these children received Babylonian names.  Daniel was named Belteshazzar by the prince of the Eunuchs (Daniel 1:7) according to the god of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:8).  His name means "Bel protect his life". Bel was the name of a Babylonian god who was identified with the Canaanite god, Baal.  This god was also known as Marduk or Merodach. 

Hananiah, who's name meant, "God has shown mercy" was given the Babylonian name "Shadrach" (Daniel 1:7) which probably meant "I am very fearful of god".  We don't know which one but it was probably a Babylonian god.  Mishael's name meant "who is equal to God" was named Meshach which meant the "shadow of the prince".  There is some diversity among the scholars as to what his Babylonian name really meant.  One source said Meshach probably meant something in connection with a Babylonian god which is quite possibly the case.   Azariah, "whom God helps" was renamed Abed-nego which meant "servant of Nebo" who was the Babylonian god of literature and science.  Shadrach, Meschach and and Abednego come into view later on as the three young men who refused to bow down to the golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into a fire for it and survived unharmed (Daniel 3). 

All four of these young boys received thorough training in the writing and speaking of the Chaldaean language.  It was in this language that was composed the substance of all the Babylonian wisdom and learning of the time.  At the completion of this training they were taken before Nebuchadnezzar for inspection.  They were chosen as the best of the lot and they served in the Babylonian court before the king.  All three of these young men stood out among the Babylonians as people of distinction and religious resolve.  Their refusal to bow down to the Babylonian religious practices was rewarded with merit among their captors and eventually resulted in the kings proclaiming publicly that the God of the Israelites was the God of gods (Daniel 2:47, 3:28, 4:34, 6:26). 

Daniel lived his entire life as far as we know in the service of a line of various kings and rulers.  Nebuchadnezzar's successor Belshazzar was replaced by Darius when Babylonia fell to the Medes and Daniel continued in his service until Cyrus of Persia took over the Median empire where Daniel then served and prospered under him (Daniel 6:28).  The events surrounding the death of Daniel are unknown but it is likely he lived out his days and died peacefully in the Persian empire under king Cyrus. 

Daniel is an extremely relevant book for us today.  It is a book teaching conviction, commitment, faith and resolve for young Christians living in a world where God is not honored among the majority. It is a book that teaches young Christian men and women to take strong stands for the Lord. And to be stedfast in faithful witness, in devotion to the Word of God and in prayer.

It's basic theme is The sovereignty of God.  Daniel is a book about God's powerful rule over the mighty and powerful nations of this world. It teaches us about the dangers of sin, pride and the pursuit of pleasure and power.  Daniel teaches us about the nature and need of repentance and faith and of the necessity of an humble and submissive attitude towards God.

Daniel served God and His people in a humanistic and secular world much like our own.  Daniel and his friends were just youths when they were enslaved and taken to Babylon, to be educated by its finest scholars, in preparation of royal service before king Nebuchadnezzar.  They were immediately put into situations where their faith was in conflict with the society around them.   These young men were examples of costly obedience to God, having to face the serious questions of where to draw the lines of righteousness. 

Daniel became a leader in civil affairs, serving under and outlasting the rulers of several powerful kingdoms. Yet repeatedly Daniel had to confront these rulers with God's righteousness calling them to humble themselves in repentance and faith. Daniel was full of God's wisdom. He knew the scriptures, his prayers to God quoting several passages.  At the same time, Daniel, while a man just like any other, was an example and leader of God's people in their captivity in the empire of Babylon. They were unable to leave and go to Jerusalem.  They were forced to live without being able to offer their sacrifices and worship in the temple.  They lived in Babylon by faith, obedience, hope and prayer. 

By God's providence, Daniel and his friends were in high places in the Babylonian government as Jerusalem was finally destroyed and the people brought into captivity. Due to Daniel's influence, the welfare of the exiles was well provided for. God's workings through Daniel assured the Israelite captives in Babylon that God was still with them despite the destruction of their temple and their captivity in a pagan empire. God's people became God's missionaries among the heathen nations.  Daniel and the others were models for us of living in devotion and obedience to God's Word.  Their devotion to prayer and righteousness in a thoroughly pagan society illustrated the foolishness of the efforts of worldly man to build kingdoms apart from God.  Daniel and his companions trusted God to provide for and protect them in the midst of foes and trials. And finally Daniel, like Ezekiel, helped prepare a chastened and contrite people for the return and the rebuilding of Jerusalem which would come, and they helped to preserve and bolster the faith of the exiles with a careful policy of cooperation without compromise of God's righteousness. Daniel's influence on Cyrus almost certainly contributed to his decision to set them free and let them return to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding their city and their temple.  

Daniel chapter 1 is an introduction to Daniel, his three companions in captivity, the ruling king of Judah at the time of the first overthrow of Jerusalem and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  A great preface to a study of Daniel is found in 2 Kings 23:26 thru 2 Kings 25:30.  This is a detailed historical accounting of the events surrounding the overthrow of Jerusalem and the captivity of them by the Babylonian Empire. 

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

Nebuchadnezzar

His name meant "the prince favored by Nebo".  He was the son of Nabo-polassar who conquered and utterly destroyed  the Assyrian capitol of Nineveh making Babylon supreme.  He married his father's ally from the Median Empire, king Cyaxares' daughter, Amuhia, which marked the alliance of the Median and the Babylonian dynasties in 625 B.C.  It was at this time that Nabo-polassar revolted against Assyria.  Little further is known of Nebuchadnezzar during his father's lifetime.  When Nabo-polassar was old and infirmed, he placed Nebuchadnezzar at the head of the Babylonian army and sent him to war against Pharaoh-Necho of Egypt.  Necho had previously invaded Syria and taken the territory from Egypt to Carchemish on the upper Euphrates River.  Necho had held possession of these countries for about three years, when in B.C. 606, Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian army against him and defeated him at Carchemish in a great battle (Jeremiah 66:2-12).  He recovered all the lands taken by Necho and pressed forward to Egypt, and was conquering within or very near to its borders when he got news of his father's death back in Babylon.  Pharaoh-Necho had been defeated so badly that he returned to Egypt and never left the borders of his country again (2 Kings 24:7).   

With the throne vacant, Nebuchadnezzar knew he had to get back to Babylon quickly in order to secure his succession so he hurried back accompanied only by a few of his troops.  He crossed the desert in haste and reached Babylon before any disturbance over the death of his father had arisen and was able to enter peaceably into the city and assume the throne as the next king of the Babylonian Empire in 604 B.C.  The bulk of Nebuchadnezzar's army came along behind him on their way back to the capitol city.  It was at this time that Daniel and his three companions were brought to Babylon.  This marked the beginning of the Babylonian captivity.  In Daniel chapter 2 we see that Nebuchadnezzar's famous dream occurred in the second year of his reign.  It is likely that when Daniel and the rest of the Israelites were taken captive, they were immediately taken to Babylon while Nebuchadnezzar went on to Egypt to confront Necho.  Nebuchadnezzar probably ascended the throne of Babylon after Daniel and his fellow Israelite captives arrived in Babylon. 

Jehoiakim

was the second son of Josiah by Zebudah, daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.  He was born in 634 B.C. and was the eighteenth king of Judah for a period of eleven years from B.C. 609 to 598.  He was 25 years old when he began to reign.  His original name was Eliakim.  The name Jehoiakim was given to him by Pharaoh-Necho who placed him on his father's throne (2 Kings 23:34).  Jehoahaz was Jehoiakim's younger brother and was the people's choice for king over Judea but Necho replaced him with someone more favorable to Egyptian rule.  Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt and kept there until he died.   

Daniel 1:2
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.

Three years into the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar reclaimed Judea for the Babylonian Empire after a short siege on Jerusalem.  Jehoiakim and several  of the precious vessels of the the temple were taken to Babylon.  Later Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on the throne of Judea.  The vessels carried off were taken to the temple of Nebuchadnezzar's god which was called "Bel".

Jehoiakim was afterwards reinstated on the throne as a vassal of Babylon.  He never liked being in submission to them and held out hope of the Egyptians being able to help him out of his predicament notwithstanding the fact that Jeremiah the prophet warned him against such a thing.  In the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, Jeremiah caused a collection of his prophecies to be written out by Baruch and to be read publicly by him in the court of the Temple.  When Jehoiakim heard these prophecies he took them and burned them in a fire.  At the command of God, Jeremiah wrote another set with even more denunciations against Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim did not pay any heed to the prophecies and continued to walk in his evil ways. 

After three years of subjection to Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoiakim rebelled and withheld his tribute intending to gain independence from Babylon (2 Kings 24:1-2). This action, taken against the prophecies of Jeremiah was the ruin of Jehoiakim.  Nebuchadnezzar was occupied with wars elsewhere and sent other nearby vassal kingdoms of the Babylonian Empire against Jehoiakim.  These were countries who hated the Jewish nation and they ravaged Judea mercilessly for several years.  In the eleventh year of Jehoiakim's reign he was killed and his body was thrown on the ground outside the gates of Jerusalem and he was buried in a common grave as "with the burial of an ass" in fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy in Jeremiah 22:18-19.  Nebuchadnezzar replaced Jehoiakim with his eighteen year old son, Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:8), who was also known as "Coniah" and sometimes "Jeconiah" (Jeremiah 24:1; 37:1). 

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began his reign (2 Kings 24:8), and he was no better than his father.  After only three month of reign he found himself besieged by Nebuchadnezzar in fulfillment of the prophecies of Jeremiah in 22:24-30.  Jehoiachin would not only be taken captive to Babylon, but we also learn from Jeremiah 22:30 that no child of his seed would ever reign from the throne of David in Judah again. 

Jerusalem was once again besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:10).  This siege followed after three or four years of harassment by Nebuchadnezzar's vassal kingdoms in consequence to Jehoiakim's rebellion.  Jerusalem was unable to offer any substantial resistance and Jehoiachin surrendered.  He, and the queen mother, and all his servants, captains, and officers, came out and gave themselves up to Nebuchadnezzar, who treated them as prisoners of war (Jeremiah 29:2; Ezekiel 17:12; 19:9). He was sent away as a captive to Babylon, with his mother, his generals, and his troops, together with the skilled craftsmen and other inhabitants of Jerusalem, to the number of ten thousand.  Jehoiachin remained in Babylon until his death. 

Among the captives taken to Babylon was the prophet Ezekiel. Nebuchadnezzar also took the more of the treasures which were not taken in the first siege from palace and from the temple.  This time he destroyed the sacred vessels of gold which had been spared on the earlier conquest. They were cut up for use of the gold for other purposes or for more convenient transport back to Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar then placed Mattaniah, the only surviving son of Josiah on the throne of Judah and changed his name to Zedekiah. 

Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah swear allegiance to him by the name of God (2 Chronicles 36:13), but that didn't hold up for long.  Zedekiah followed in the evil footsteps of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin.  Jeremiah the prophet warned Zedekiah but he refused to listen to the word of God (2 Chronicles 36:13) and after reigning eleven years in Jerusalem he made the fatal mistake of rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar again.  This was the third time Nebuchadnezzar would punish Jerusalem for their rebellion and this time he made an example of them.  All of the treasures left behind from the second siege were then taken to Babylon and the temple was spoiled and burned (2 Chronicles 36:18-19).  The reason the temple was torn down and the stones were burned was so that the gold inlaid on the stone could be extracted.  Jerusalem and the temple was left in ruins.  The walls were torn down, the city was left in ruins.  All who escaped the sword were rounded up and carried into Babylonian slavery to Nebuchadnezzar and his sons and there remained until the end of the prophesied seventy year captivity (2 Chronicles 36:20-21, Jeremiah 25:11).

Daniel 1:3-4
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.  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.

This abduction and enslavement of the royal sons and nobles of the royal bloodline of Judah was in fulfillment of a prophecy by Isaiah to king Hezekiah about a hundred years earlier (2 Kings 20:18, Isaiah 39:7).  God knew the sons of Hezekiah and the Israelites would fall away into heathen abominations and left this warning in words that could not be misunderstood, yet the warning given a century earlier went unheeded. 

By direct order of the king, Ashpenaz who was the master of the king's eunuchs was directed to select certain outstanding children of noble blood from among the children of Israel.  This was by no means limited to just the nobles and princes.  Any outstanding individual who exhibited the desired qualities would have been included, however the princes and children of royal bloodline were preferred for a number of reasons.  The capturing and enslavement of the noble children of a conquered country was a symbol of the king's conquest before his people.  To have the children of a deposed king serving in one's court was like having a trophy of the conquest always present in view of the king, his subjects and the other captives from the overthrown nation.  It was customary for the conquering empire to exact a regular tribute, usually once a year, from the overthrown nation.  A puppet ruler would be set upon the throne having been forced to swear an oath of allegiance to the empire.  The conquering king would naturally try and select one that would be subservient to him and keep his oath of allegiance.  Having his brothers, sisters, cousins, and other relatives in captivity and within easy reach probably gave the king some leverage in that regard.  At the very least, it guaranteed a replacement for the throne if it became necessary to do so, especially in the mind of the puppet ruler should he decide to revolt and withhold the tribute money. 

Only the best of the best would do as trophies for Nebuchadnezzar's courts.  He wanted his servants in the palace court to look good and be able to serve well.  It is likely that since Daniel and his three companions were placed under the care of the master of the eunuchs that they became eunuchs as well.  This is not known for certain but it is a possibility, the likelihood of which is strengthened by there being no record of a wife or children of any of the four captives.  This practice was one way of assuring the docility of male captives within the palace of a king with a large collection of wives and concubines.  The Biblical record never comes out and directly affirms that Daniel and his companions were eunuchs but Isaiah's prophecy to king Hezekiah as recorded in 2 Kings 20:17-18 leaves little doubt:  "Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord .  And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon".

Daniel 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.

Jerusalem as well as most of the large cities at this time in history was surrounded by walls to help protect them against invaders.  The common method of overthrowing a walled city was to besiege it and deny food to its inhabitants until they are starved out.  Consequently when the besieged city has been conquered, the inhabitants have been starved down to a state of emaciation.  Nebuchadnezzar did not want his court servants to look like they were starved to death so he appointed them a three year regimen of the king's food so that they could appear sleek and healthy before the king at the end of this time period.  It was during this three year period that they received their Babylonian education.   

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

We are now introduced to the four youths of Judah who play a prominent role in the book of Daniel.  These young men were most likely of royal blood or nobles from the palace of Josiah.  Josiah was a righteous king of Judah and with these young men being raised under his reign, they likely received the finest training and upbringing available in the Mosaic Law which was demonstrated in their behavior in Babylon.  It is unlikely they received the level of knowledge they exhibited under Jehoiakim who cared little for the way of God.  Jehoiakim succeeded Josiah on the throne and had only been reigning three years when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem. 

There were more than just these four captives which are the chief Israelite figures of the book of Daniel.  The four which are named were the ones which were selected from among the entire group of captives.  We do not know what happened to the rest.  They probably went to service in lesser prominent places within the empire.  Daniel and his companions were eventually set in places of high authority over the empire so they were obviously men of great personal character and trustworthiness.   

Daniel 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 Abed-nego.

We here see that these four young men were placed under the care of the prince of the eunuchs.  This man's job was to be over all the eunuchs in the service of the king.  Those under his authority were therefore eunuchs.  This verse of scripture in conjunction with 2 Kings 20:18 and Isaiah 39:7 is the strongest scriptural evidence in support of Daniel and his companions being eunuchs in Babylon.  Though not conclusive in the absence of a declarative scripture stating Daniel and his companions were eunuchs, the inference can be reasonably drawn that they were. 

The prince of the eunuchs renamed these four young men with names more suitable to Babylonian custom.  Slaves in the palace service were often given names which reflected in some way the pagan gods of the conquerors and this appears to be the case here as discussed previously. 

Daniel 1:6
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.

Barely into Babylon and already Daniel has encountered a conflict between Mosaic law and the society he was forced to live in.  Obviously the king's food contained things which were forbidden under Mosaic law.  The text says meat and wine so we can reasonably infer that this was the source of the unclean food which Daniel did not wish to consume. 

Daniel started by making his request to the prince of the Eunuchs instead of belligerently refusing to eat the food.  This demonstrates that Daniel was wise enough to explore the options of a peaceful solution to his predicament first. 

Daniel 1:9
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

Daniel was obviously a likeable young man and the prince of the eunuchs favored him above the others.  Throughout the story of Daniel, we are given a picture of an extraordinary man who was wise and well thought of by everybody he encountered.  Twice in the book of Daniel we see him described as having an "excellent spirit" which was highly regarded by his captors (Daniel 5:12; 6:3).  We are unsure if the prince of the eunuchs here is the same man as the master of the eunuchs, Ashpenaz, which was introduced in verse 3, but it seems likely it was.  They had to spend some time together in order to develop the relationship they had in Babylon.  It is likely this relationship was fostered on the journey from Jerusalem to Babylon. 

Daniel 1:10
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.

The prince of the eunuchs was sympathetic to Daniel's plea but he knew his life would be forfeit if Daniel and his companions did not gain weight and appear healthy before the king.  There was obviously a relationship between the two because the master of the eunuchs wanted to know why Daniel would request something that would cause him to lose his head over so Daniel's request was at first refused.

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

Daniel then takes his case to Melzar who was placed in charge of Daniel and his companions. 

Daniel 1:12-14
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 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.  So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

Daniel made a deal with Melzar to feed them pulse instead of the king's diet.  The basic meaning of the term "pulse" in Daniel is "seeds"; the term here means "vegetables". What Daniel and his companions were requesting was the plain vegetable fare of the general populace rather than the richer, meaty diet of the royal table. In Deuteronomy 11:10 and 1 Kings 21:2  the Hebrew word for "pulse" is a collective noun referring to vegetables, herbs, and green plants growing together in a garden. The Greek equivalent for this word is used in Romans 14:2 as a general term for vegetables as opposed to meat protein.  What Daniel asked for was to be fed a vegetarian diet as opposed to the diet of the king which would include whatever meat he was eating at the time and wine. 

Just coming from the siege and overthrow of Jerusalem, Daniel and his companions would be gaunt and starved.  Under normal circumstances ten days would scarcely be enough time to notice a difference in someone from a diet but here ten days was sufficient to prove their case to Melzar.  Their request was granted and they were nourished on a diet of vegetables and probably plain water for ten days.

Daniel 1:15-16
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.  Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

All four of the children did well on their vegetable and non-alcoholic diet and were granted a totally vegetarian diet which sustained them during their training period of 3 years until such time they would stand before Nebuchadnezzar for inspection and selection. 

This event shows the first instance of the favor granted to Daniel and his companions by those of the Babylonian empire.  In a society where one could lose one's head at the nod of the king, this speaks volumes for the character of these four boys who inspired their overseers to go out of their way and risk their very lives in order to grant them their wishes in matters of righteousness.  It also shows evidence of compassion and care in a society known for cruelty.  Let's keep in mind that Daniel, his companions and many other children were captives facing a lifetime of slavery in the empire. 

Daniel 1:17
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.

These children were favored by God for their perseverance and efforts at following after God's righteousness despite their circumstances.  The application for us today is that when we withstand adversity and remain stedfast in our faith, God will approve and will bless our efforts.  These boys were given skill in learning and wisdom.  Daniel received an added blessing in that he could understand and interpret dreams and visions which served him and his companions well in the years to come. 

Daniel 1:18-20
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. 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.  And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

When their training was complete, all of the captives were brought before king Nebuchadnezzar for inspection.  Not only did these four young men outshine their fellow captives, they were found to be considerably brighter and more knowledgeable that even the magicians and astrologers of the empire.  These young men were outstanding among their peers and as we will learn later eventually found themselves in highly trusted and authoritative positions within the empire.  Nebuchadnezzar had found an extraordinary treasure in his captives from Judah and he was wise enough to recognize it and use it to his own advantage. 

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

This does not mean that Daniel died the first year of king Cyrus.  We know that Daniel did not die at that time because Chapter 10, verse one places Daniel as receiving a vision in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia.  Daniel was taken before king Nebuchadnezzar at the end of their training as we saw in verses 18-20.  He was chosen to go into the service of the king at that time.  And he spent the rest of his life up until the first year of the reign of Cyrus in some capacity of service to the various kings who ruled over Babylon.  By the first year of the reign of Cyrus, Daniel was quite aged being in his 90's.  He continued in palace service in some capacity until the first year of king Cyrus when he then likely was retired from public service and lived out the remainder of his days quietly.  Daniel received the vision revealed in chapter 10 in the third year of Cyrus' reign, he therefore spent some remaining time authoring the last chapter of the book bearing his name. 

In Ezra 5:13 we see that "in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God".   This placed Daniel in Babylon for the entire period of the Babylonian captivity.  Daniel would never get to see the temple again.  But he did live long enough to see his countrymen freed and released to return to Jerusalem and begin rebuilding the city. 

What an extraordinary accomplishment considering the times and tumults of the period.  World empires were being forged and conquered during this stage of time in history.  Daniel started out as a captive of the Babylonian Empire just a few years after Nebuchadnezzar's father and his Median ally broke the power of the Assyrian Empire which had lasted for centuries.  In all the uproar, the king of Egypt managed to seize control of some of the hotly disputed territory for a while but was unable to hold it in the face of the concentrated efforts of the Babylonian army.  When Nebuchadnezzar died in B.C. 562 he was succeeded by his son Amel-Marduk who was assassinated and replaced by Neriglissar who reigned from 559 to 556 when he was dethroned by Belshazzar who was the son of Nabonidus who then became king.  Belshazzar served as a co-regent of Babylon in the absence of his father who was out conquering more territories for the empire.  Darius the Mede overthrew Belshazzar and the Babylonian empire was split up between the Medes and the Persians.  In B.C. 539 Cyrus overthrew and took Babylon into the Persian empire. 

Daniel was taken into captivity in B.C. 606 and continued in Babylon until B.C. 539.  That is 67 years of Daniel's life we can account for.  If Daniel was 12 years old at the time he was taken into captivity then that would put him at near 80 years old when Cyrus conquered Babylon.  What an example Daniel leaves for us today.  He is one of the models of life long faith in God and perseverance in the ways of righteousness.  We can look back and see the imperfections of Moses and Abraham.  They had their faults as did Jacob and all the others.  No man is perfect and sinless before God, but in Daniel, we see a man who lived his faith throughout his entire life.  Daniel was an extraordinary man of God and lives in history as one of the greatest prophets of God ranking right up there with Jeremiah, Isaiah, Elijah and Elisha. 

The book of Revelation and the book of Daniel are inseparably connected to one another as is apparent in many of Daniel's visions.  It's no wonder that some of the prophecies of Daniel are directly tied to events and characters in Revelation.  Revelation is a book of hope, perseverance, endurance and triumph in the face of severe oppression from those in a pagan nation.  The Christians living under the great Roman persecution were required to reject the pagan worship and remain faithful to the one true and living God no matter what the consequences were.  And in Daniel, they had the perfect role model they could look back on and see just how it was to be done.

 

 

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 Amos | Obadiah | Jonah | Micah | Nahum | Habakkuk | Zephaniah | Haggai | Zechariah | Malachi

 

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1 Timothy | 2 Timothy | Titus | Philemon | Hebrews | James

1 Peter | 2 Peter | 1 John | 2 John | 3 John | Jude | Revelation

 

Matt 11:28-29
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."