Daniel is deported to Babylon. He lives as a vegetarian. After three years of training, he is appointed to the royal court of Babylon.
VERSE 1. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
The third year of the reign of Jehoiakim. That was in 605 BC.
VERSE 2. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god. He brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
The Lord. The Hebrew word is “Adonai.”
God. The Hebrew word is אֱלֹהִ֑ים (“Elohim”).
the land of Shinar. This was an ancient name for Babylon.
he carried them into the land of Shinar. When Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon from conquering Judah, he brought back spoils.
the treasure house of his god. Nebuchadnezzar’s god was Bel, also called Marduk, the chief god of the Babylonian people. See the photo above.
VERSE 3. The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in some of the children of Israel, even of the royal offspring and of the nobles;
the master of his eunuchs. Think: “Chief of Staff.”
the royal offspring. That is, “seed.”
VERSE 4. youths in whom was no defect, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and endowed with knowledge, and understanding science, and who had the ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the language of the Kasdim.
youths. That is, “young men.”
VERSE 5. The king appointed for them a daily portion of the king’s dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at its end they should stand before the king.
dainties. It means “food.” Many translations say “meat.”
three years. They would be trained for three years before they woul dbe permitted to serve the king.
The Hebrew names of these four men honored the LORD God of Israel. Here are their Hebrew names with their meanings:
Daniel: “God has judged”
Hananiah: “YHWH has been gracious”
Mishael: “Who is what God is?”
Azariah: “YHWH has helped”
VERSE 7. The prince of the eunuchs gave names to them: to Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
The four men are given new names that obliterate their testimony to the LORD God of Israel. And the new names signify they will be subject to the gods of Babylon.
Here are their new Babylonian names with their meanings:
Belteshazzar: “Lady, protect the king”
Hananiah: “I am fearful (of a god)”
Mishael: “I am despised, contemptible, humbled (before my god)”
Azariah: “Servant of Nebo”
VERSE 8. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s dainties, nor with the wine which he drank. Therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
purposed in his heart. Daniel resolved to walk with the LORD God, no matter what, even if he was punished. Daniel took a big risk by doing this.
defile himself. The king’s food and wine were probably offered to idols. Therefore they were impure for Daniel.
the king’s dainties. That is, the king’s food. Daniel would not take part in idolatry by eating food that had been offered to idols.
VERSE 9. Now God made Daniel find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs.
VERSE 10. The prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink. For why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths who are of your own age? Then you would endanger my head with the king.”
VERSE 11. Then Daniel said to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
VERSE 12. “Test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat, and water to drink.
give us vegetables to eat. Would you be willing to eat just vegetables for ten days?
water to drink. Would you be willing to drink just water for ten days?
VERSE 13. Then let our faces be examined before you, and the face of the youths who eat of the king’s dainties; and as you see, deal with your servants.”
VERSE 14. So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days.
VERSE 15. At the end of ten days, their faces appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths who ate of the king’s dainties.
VERSE 16. So the steward took away their dainties, and the wine that they would drink, and gave them vegetables.
VERSE 17. Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
NAB translation. To these four men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science, and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.
all literature. Daniel has knowledge and proficiency in all literature. This is the ideal for a believer. Sadly in our day, many professing Christians shun the knowledge of literature as if it were an enemy.
and science. Daniel has knowledge and proficiency in science. This too is the ideal for a believer. And like the above, sadly in our day, many professing Christians shun the knowledge of science as if it were an enemy.
VERSE 18. At the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
VERSE 19. The king talked with them; and among them all was found no one like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore stood they before the king.
VERSE 20. In every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters who were in all his realm.
the first year of king Cyrus. That would have been 539 or 538 BC.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.