BIBLE: Daniel Chapter 1- Headline “Babble On” []

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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Daniel 1

Background History

  • A common historical practice for a conqueror, upon conquering a nation, would leave the conquered king in power forcing him to pay an astronomical “homage” and take an oath not to rebel against him. To make sure the puppet king kept his oath, the conqueror would take hostages from the royal family, with the danger of being murdered if the puppet king should break his oath and rebel. During this time an assimilation process takes place of differing cultures.
  • Such is the background of Nebuchadnezzar taking Daniel and his friends as well as others as hostages.
  • Never before had Judah been conquered. It must have been inconceivable for the inhabitants to believe they could be conquered, even though the prophet Jeremiah begged and pleaded and endured every inhumane treatment from the leaders of Judah, to get them to believe God’s unalterable prophecies.
  • Leading up to Daniel’s captivity, Daniel would have been born under King Josiah’s rule when the nation prospered. Everything changed when Josiah met Pharaoh Necco and his armies from Egypt to stop them from helping the Assyrians fighting against Babylon.

  • No one knows why Josiah would have interfered, however, it cost him his life and put Judah under the reign of Egypt. When Babylon conquered the Pharaoh, the field was open to lay siege to Judah.
  • Jehoiakim is the son of King Josiah. Jehoiakim is now a puppet king of Judah under Babylon.

The old testament prophetic book of Daniel cannot be understood without the new testament book of Revelation.

“The New is in the Old contained; The Old is by the New explained.”~Augustine

The Old is the new concealed. The New is the old revealed.

Daniel and His Friends Obey God

(Daniel chapter one was originally written in Hebrew.)

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
YearJerusalem’s King JehoiakimBabylon Approach of determining years of reigning.Event
605 BCJehoiakim3rd YearJerusalem besieged. Daniel is taken hostage.
  • ►Timeline: 605 BC: Fourth year of Jehoiakim by Jewish reckoning but the 3rd year by Babylonian reckoning. The Babylonian approach would call this his third year.
    • This is Nebuchadnezzar’s accession year.
  • ►History: As General Nebuchadnezzar left Jerusalem with the Jewish hostages he received word of his father’s (Nabopolassar’s) death.

    According to Jewish Chronology of the World in the “Seder Olam Rabbah”, Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 67 years after he came to power. When his father died, Nebuchadnezzar, in the process of taking Daniel and his friends to Babylon into captivity, upon hearing the news of his father’s death, took off across the desert with a small envoy in order to secure the throne, leaving others to take the captives the rest of the way to Babylon.
    • When the hostages arrived in Babylon Nebuchadnezzar was king.
  • ► Name: “Babylon”: Located in modern day Iraq, the name Babylon is derived from the biblical “Tower of Babel”. The modern day English word “Babble” comes from the bible when God divided the languages of men at the Tower of Babel.  Gen 11:1-9


  1. Babylon is spiritually symbolic for idolatry, which God calls “harlotry”.
    • Revelation 17:5 (prophetic: when the Antichrist sets up his reign in Jerusalem during the seven years of tribulation and declares that he, the Antichrist, is ‘god’). And on her (Jerusalem’s) forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH
  2. Babylon is called the mother of Harlots and any nation which follows her idolatry is called Babylon.
  3. Babylon is symbolic for idolatry and globalism, Sodom is symbolic for debauchery and Egypt for worldliness.
    • Revelation 11:8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city (Jerusalem) which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
  4. Babylon instituted the first banking system charging exorbitant interest rates linked to its temples. Its temples of worshiping false gods were used for idolatry, a corrupt economic system, and prostitution.
    • The Encyclopedia Britannica (1943 Ed., Vol. 3, “History of Banks,” p. 67) notes that the Babylonians had developed a banking system “as early as 2000 BC.” The same article notes that the banking system began as an invention of the sun-god temples, and it states: “the temples of Babylon…were also the banks.” This Britannica article cites a document from that period which mentions a person who had borrowed silver and that: “He will pay the sun-god’s interest. At the time of the harvest he will pay back the sum and the interest upon it.” Farmers were even then borrowing money from banks to plant their crops. About 575 BC, there was the Igibi Bank of Babylon…the records of this bank show that it “loaned on crops, attaching them in advance…loaned on signatures and on objects deposited, and received deposits on which it paid interest.” We know that modern banking practices had their origins with the sun-god temples of ancient Babylon in Mesopotamia. The description of Babylonian banking practices in the 6th century BC gives us an insight into Babylonian banking practices in previous centuries as well.
    • Gwendolyn Leick’s book, The Babylonians, pp. 88-89 states that typical Babylonian interest rates were “20-33%,” and adds the following about Babylonian business practices: “…they would squeeze from the primary producers as much return as possible…such ‘capitalist’ practices contributed…to the impoverishment of the farming population. More and more [producers] lost control over their means of production by having to sell their fields, boats, livestock and…enter into a serf-like dependency on their creditors.” Leick adds that these money lending practices were “intimately linked to…temple institutions.”
  • ►Jehoiakim King of Judah
    • Jehoiakim was one of the sons of King Josiah, Josiah was one of the rare kings of Judah God called a “good” king. However, Josiah’s sons refused the wisdom of God and the prophets.

Note: black arrows show the progression of power. The last four were puppet kings at the end of Judah.

  • ► Royalty
    • When Daniel was born in 620 BC, Josiah had reigned for 21 years. Daniel’s family was related to Mattanyahu (His royal name, Zedekiah) one of King Josiah’s sons.
    • After Zedekiah was captured, Nebuchadnezzar killed Zedekiah’s immediate family in front of Zedekiah’s eyes as well as family members of his royal household.
  • Had Daniel not been taken as a hostage and gained favor with King Nebuchadnezzar, he and his friends may well have been killed at Zedekiah’s capture.
    • Daniel’s family was probably victims of the 3rd and final siege.
    • Ezekiel 14:14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it (Jerusalem), they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.
Daniel 1:And the Lord (‘ăḏōnāy) gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand, with some of the articles of the house of God (‘ĕlōhîm) (the temple), which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
  • ►Note: “His god” accentuates Babylon’s idolatry.
  • ►Note: Nebuchadnezzar also brought certain hostages to Shinar (Babylon). This was customary to ensure that the puppet king, Jehoiakim, did not rebel – or the hostages would be killed. For this reason the hostages came from the king’s family. Scripture does not reveal how they were related. Daniel and his friends were among these hostages.
  • ►Note: Later on, in the second and third siege of Jerusalem the Jews were no longer hostages, but captives.
Daniel 1:Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles,

►Types of hostages

1) Some were children of Israel
2) Some were the king’s descendants
3) Some were nobles

Daniel 1:young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature (Lit. writing or book) of the Chaldeans.
Daniel 1:And the king appointed for them (the children of Israel) a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.

In 605 BC Daniel and his friends begin their 3 year training program probably ending in 603 BC, which would be the same year Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue made of various medals.

►How is the number three used in the Bible? Some examples are as follows:

  1. On Mount Carmel Elijah had the sacrifice doused with water three times
  2. Moses’ mother was able to hide her baby for three months (Exod 2:3; cf. Acts 7:20; Heb 11:23)
  3. Three encapsulates the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  4. The Resurrection happened after three days.
  5. After two days He will revive us, on the third day He will restore us. Hosea 6:1-2

It is a spiritual motif of spiritual activity and completeness: beginning, middle, and end.

In creation there are a significant number of threes:

  1. Accounting of Time: Hours, minutes, seconds – Past, present, future
  2. Physical Dimensions: Height, width, and depth
  3. Man: Mind, soul, spirit
  4. Matter: Gas, liquid, solid
  5. Words: Spoken, written, living
  6. Family: Father, mother, children,

Symbolically, the number 3 signifies wholeness, divine perfection, and creativity.

Daniel 1:Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
Daniel 1:To them the chief of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz) gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
  • ►This tells us that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were young, good-looking, fast learners and gifted. They were the sons of Judah, (Jewish, or literally from the lineage of Judah, the son of Jacob) Furthermore, they were from the royal family of Josiah.
    • “The king ordered . . .  to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility…Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah,” Dan 1:3,6
* Physical Attributes
Tribe of Judah
Family line of Josiah
Good Looking
Fast Learners
Without blemish
* Spiritual Attributes
Rejected the Kings Delicacies
Three Friends: Refused to Bow Down to the Statue
Three Friends: Put in a Furnace without Being Burnt
Daniel: Put in a Lion’s Den
Daniel: Supernaturally deciphered the kings’ dreams
Daniel: Prayed Three Times a Day
  • ►The meanings of their names:
Meanings of Daniel and His three friends names
Daniel 1:But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz) that he might not defile himself.
  • Why would the king’s delicacies defile Daniel? Probably due to the fact that the king’s food would not be kosher.
Daniel 1:Now God (‘ĕlōhîm) had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill (kindness) of the chief of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz).
  • ►Again, it is God working in Daniel’s life that brought about the favor of Ashpenaz.
  • ►It is believed Daniel was made a eunuch based on the following scripture:
    • 2 Kings 20:18 And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ”
  • ►What is a eunuch?
    • A eunuch is defined as someone (usually a man) whose testes (and sometimes also penis and scrotum) have been destroyed or removed. This leads to sterility and (depending on the stage of life at which it is done) to various degrees of impotence and loss of libido.
    • Pre-pu-bertal castration causes a “eunuchoid” build (tall, with broad hips, narrow shoulders and breasts like that of a woman), impotence, absence of libido and secondary sexual characteristics (small genitals, lack of beard and unbroken voice).
    • Castration after puberty does not lead to degeneration of secondary sexual characteristics; the build remains un-changed, and reduction of sexual activity is unpredictable. Although sterile, the castrate may remain potent for a year or longer, and some even retain libido throughout their lives. There is a reduction in aggression, but abnormalities of the psyche usually represent a psychological reaction to forced castration and the accompanying humiliation and rejection by the community, in addition to the effects of hormonal deprivation (Grey 1974:579-85)
    • According to Penzer three varieties of eunuchs were recognized in antiquity: 1) castrati, clean-cut, both penis and testicles were removed; 2) spadones, testicles only were removed; and 3) thlibiae, testicles were bruised and/or crushed.
  • Daniel was ~15 years of age when he was taken hostage.
  • Most boys begin puberty between the ages of 9 and 14.
Daniel 1:10 And the chief of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz) said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”
  • ►Did Ashpenaz have reason to fear the disposition of Nebuchadnezzar? See Daniel 2:12-13
  • Daniel 2:12 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
Daniel 1:11 So Daniel said to the steward (Or: Melzar, a title) whom the chief of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz) had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
Daniel 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.  
  • ► This would leave the reader to believe that Daniel and his friends might be vegetarians.
Daniel 1:13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”
Daniel 1:14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.
Daniel 1:15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.
Daniel 1:16 Thus the steward (Or: Melzar) took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
  • In scripture, vegetables signify worldliness while fruit signifies spirituality. Vegetables usually grow under the ground or laying on the surface of the ground ie the earth, or world. Whereas fruit usually grows on trees or vines, in the air ie: of the Spirit.
  • Daniel found himself ruled by a gentile king in a worldly nation, renowned for its idolatry. He ate vegetables.
  • Summary: The people of the world cannot understand how anything can be successful without the things of the world. Daniel and his friends operated in a higher reality which means making spiritual decisions.
Daniel 1:17 As for these four young men (of stability), God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
  • ►Note: God was the source of their knowledge, skills, and wisdom. 
    ►Daniel, specifically, had understanding in visions and dreams.
    ►What does the number four mean?
Daniel 1:18 Now at the end of the (ten) days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs (Ashpenaz) brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Ten is symbolic of a foundation, a cornerstone. The young men are setting a foundation for the relationship between the Babylonians and the Jews.
  • Ten is the number of accountability: We have ten fingers and we are accountable for the work of our hands. We have ten toes and we are accountable for our walk in life.
Daniel 1:19 Then the king interviewed them (Lit. talked with them), and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.
  • To serve before the king is the highest of stations.
 Daniel 1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm (conquered territories).
  • ►Why ten times better? The number ten is used repeatedly in Daniel chapter one: ten days and ten times better. The number ten is significant. (See Daniel 1:14)
  • ►Magicians and astrologers were considered to be wise men, originating from Chaldeans. They are also known as the Magi in the New Testament who came to worship the newborn Jesus when they saw His star in the sky.
Daniel 1:21 Thus Daniel continued (serving in the palace) until the first year of King Cyrus (when the Persians defeated Belshazzar, king of Babylon) (70 YEARS ACCORDING TO THE PROPHECY OF JEREMIAH).

►the Seventy Year Prophecy

  • Daniel was taken hostage in 605 BC at approximately 15 years of age. He served in the palace until the first year of King Cyrus in 535 BC for a total of 70 years fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah.
    • Jeremiah 25:1 [Seventy Years of Desolation] The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon),
    • Jeremiah 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
    • Jeremiah 25:12 ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.
    • Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.
  • ►The meaning of the number 70: Gentile Nations
    • There are seventy gentile nations.
    • There were twelve palm trees and seventy wells.
      • Exodus 15:27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.
    • The Three Babylonian Kings reigned seventy years. The chronology of the three Babylonian kings is given in the Talmud as follows: Nebuchadnezzar reigned forty-five years, Evil-merodach twenty-three, and Belshazzar was monarch of Babylonia for two years, being killed at the beginning of his third year on the fatal night of the fall of Babylon. A total of 70 years.
    • Seventy is has the factors of seven and ten. Seven is Perfection and Completion and Ten is the number of Authority.

Review on the symbolic meaning of numbers.

NOTE: For a timeline on these events see: TIMELINE BC which tracks all historical events according to the genealogies in the bible from Adam to Masada; it also includes schoolbook history. Scroll to 605 BC.

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