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
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
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.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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".
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in
all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions
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
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.
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.