Background on Daniel 1

Introduction

Daniel was a man of great integrity;  a model of godliness in a very ungodly society.  As a teenager, Daniel was deported from Judah to Babylon.  Then, soon after arriving, he, and his 3 godly friends, were handpicked for governmental service.  Daniel’s ministry spanned the whole 70 years of the Babylonian captivity. Israel had lived 490 years in the land, but they did not give the land its required ‘Sabbatical’ rest (1 year rest every 7 years).  Thus, 490 divided by 7 = 70 years.   He was only 1 of 2 O.T. writers who wrote during this exile…the other being Ezekiel.

‘The Babylonians carried away Daniel, and many of his countrymen, in 605 B.C.  This was apparently the first of three waves of forced immigration to Babylon (595 and 587-86 B.C.).  Daniel’s prophetic work continued until the defeat of the Babylonians in 539; therefore, the prophet interacted with some of the most powerful men of his day (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and perhaps Evil-Merodach and Nabonidus).

The book has some distinctive features.  For instance, Daniel wrote the prophecy in two different languages.  Most of the book is written in Hebrew, but, beginning in 2:4, the prophet wrote in Aramaic [Chaldean] until the end of chapter seven.  Though many have speculated about this phenomenon, the reason for Daniel employment of two languages is unknown.

Daniel contains two types of literature.  The first portion of the book focuses on six historical narratives (chapters 1-6), while the second section centers on four great visions received by the prophet (chapters 7-12) [Chapter 2:31-45 has an overview of the Times of the Gentiles and these 4 visions].  The historical materials do not provide a comprehensive overview of the period; rather, the narratives are brief vignettes that clearly have theological significance for the thematic development of the book.  The prophetic visions have eschatological significance, and prove invaluable in interpretive issues related to The Revelation.’

But Daniel purposed in his heart!

Jehoiakim was the deported king of Judah.  Nebuchadnezzar was the empire reigning king of Babylon.  This was the beginning of the 70 years of captivity in Babylon.  Daniel continued to the first year of king Cyrus.  The best of the Jews were brought to the king’s palace to teach the language and culture of the Chaldeans, and then have these select men help rule over the Jews (kind of in a liaison fashion).  The king wanted very healthy subjects, so he wanted to make sure they ate well.  Daniel had convictions to not partake of Gentile foods;  he followed a very strict vegetarian type diet which in ten days proved to be much more healthy.  It is obvious that God blesses us when we stand strong on our godly convictions.  Daniel and his 3 friends were 10 times better than the best of the Babylonians.  This should be the case for a godly Christian (Baptist);  we should be 10 times better than the typical lost person.

 

Most likely, the Babylonians were hoping to cause the Jews to forget their God and their religion by changing their names to pagan ones.

Daniel (God is my Judge); changed to Belteshazzar (Bel protect his life…[Bel is a Babylonian god])

Hananiah (Jehovah is Gracious);  changed to Shadrach (The command of the moon god)

Mishael (Who is like God);  changed to Meshach (Who is like Aku…[another pagan god])

Azariah (Jehovah is my helper);  changed to Abednego (The servant of Nego….[yet another pagan god!])

John 14:6