Daniel 1:1-7 ESV
Daniel Taken to Babylon
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family[a] and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
The book of Daniel is located between Ezekiel and Hosea in the Old Testament.
Daniel is a major prophet of God, whose name means “God is my judge.”
When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, he was taken captive by the Babylonians along with three of his friends named Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
From the scriptures, we learn that Daniel was a bright young man of Jewish nobility, who was born in Jerusalem. He and his friends were taken to Babylon because of their intellect and looks.
They were then trained in the Babylonian court, and each were given new names. Daniel became Belteshazzar, and his friends became known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
You can read the story of the “fiery furnace” in Daniel chapter 3, where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the furnace, for refusing to worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Like Daniel, they would not compromise their beliefs and obedience to God.
Daniel and his friends remained true to their Hebrew faith while in captivity. Their faith was steadfast and sure. They maintained their prayer life, even though there were rules prohibiting it.
Because of their relationship with God, they were much greater than “all the magicians and enchanters of the kingdom.”
Daniel was trained in the King’s court and elevated to a high rank in the Babylonian and Persian kingdoms. He was recognized for his intelligence and faithfulness to his God.
Daniel 5:12 NIV
"This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”
God gave Daniel the ability to interpret visions and dreams. King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams that only Daniel could interpret.
Daniel became so relied upon that later, King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom.
Because of the success of Daniel, jealousy arose among other advisers and they came up with a plan to do away with Daniel.
They achieved their goal and had Daniel thrown into the den of lions. It didn’t end up as they planned, as you will see when you read the book of Daniel (Daniel chapter 6).
Daniel 6:22 NIV
"My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”
One of the main prophecies of Daniel is found in Daniel 2:32-35. Daniel told the King that the image represented four empires, which the stone would demolish.
Daniel 2:30-35 NIV
30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
These four empires would be the Babylonian empire, Medo-Persian empire, Greek empire and the Roman empire. The stone represents Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Over a period of approximately 70 years, Daniel was a reliable and needed administrator.
More importantly, he was known as a faithful servant of God whose life was an example of holy living, with faith and obedience to God.
One major lesson from Daniel is that we can and should be true to God. Daniel never compromised his beliefs or convictions. He was willing to suffer pain or death for his beliefs. For us, the lesson is clear. Regardless what friends, relatives or society in general is doing, we can and must be faithful and obedient to the teachings of God.
Another lesson from Daniel is that God is in total control.
If you haven’t read the Book of Daniel in some time, please take the time to study the life of a truly committed servant of God.
Study his prophecies and most importantly his life. There are many lessons here for us.