DANIEL WAS WRITTEN IN TWO DIFFERENT LANGUAGES:
CHAPTER 1 IS IN HEBREW,
CHAPTERS 2 -7 IN ARAMAIC,
CHAPTER 8 - 12 IS IN HEBREW.
THIS FACT HAS ALLOWED SCRIPTURE SKEPTICS TO SAY THAT DANIEL WAS WRITTEN BY AT LEAST 2 DIFFERENT AUTHORS AT TWO DIFFERENT TIMES. BUT THAT COMPLETELY OVERLOOKS THE FACT THAT THE LANGUAGE OF BABYLON (WHERE DANIEL WAS CAPTIVE) WAS ARAMAIC (BABYLONIAN HEBREW). THE PASSAGES OF DANIEL THAT SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE HEBREWS CONCERNING YISHARAL ARE IN HEBREW, WHILE THE PASSAGES
THAT SPEAK DIRECTLY TO GENTILES CONCERNING THE GENTILE KINGDOMS AND NATIONS ARE WRITTEN IN ARAMAIC, THE GENTILE LANGUAGE OF THAT ERA AND REGION.
AS THE BOOK OF DANIEL OPENS, JUDAH HAS ALREADY BEEN CARRIED OFF IN EXILE TO BABYLON. AND SINCE THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH BASICALLY REPRESENTED BUT 1 TRIBE, JUDAH, EVEN THOUGH BENJAMIN AS WELL AS SOME UNKNOWN PART OF SIMEON HAD BEEN LARGELY ABSORBED INTO JUDAH, STILL IT IS TECHNICALLY CORRECT TO CALL THIS PEOPLE GROUP JEWS.
1During the third year that Jehoiakim (YAHUYAQIM) was King of Judah (about 605 B.C). Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to Jerusalem and surrounded it with his Army. 2And YAHUAH allowed Nebuchadnezzar to defeat Jehoiakim King of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar even took all the dishes and other things from YAHUAH’S Temple (THAT SOLOMON BUILT) and carried them to Babylon (Shinar/Sumer), placing them in the Temple of his own deities.
IT SEEMS THAT WHEN KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR FIRST SENT HIS TROOPS AGAINST JERUSALEM HE NOT ONLY RETURNED HOME WITH VALUABLE ARTICLES AND VESSELS LOOTED FROM THE SET-APART TEMPLE OF SOLOMON, BUT HE ALSO COMMANDEERED SEVERAL JEWISH YOUTHS OF UNUSUAL APTITUDE, PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND ARISTOCRATIC LINEAGE. HE WISELY INTENDED ON USING THEIR INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR HIS OWN ROYAL COURT. THEY WERE TURNED OVER TO SOME CHALDEAN TUTORS TO BE EDUCATED IN THE WAYS OF THE BABYLONIANS, TO LEARN TO READ, SPEAK AND WRITE THEIR ARAMAIC LANGUAGE, AND ASSIMILATE.
BUT BE AWARE THAT THE THESE YOUNG JEWISH MEN ALMOST CERTAINLY ALREADY HAD A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF ARAMAIC SINCE IT WAS THE MOST SPOKEN LANGUAGE OF THE REGION AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NEEDED FOR BUSINESS AND POLITICAL TRANSACTIONS WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD, AS WELL AS THE MANY RESIDENTS OF JUDAH WHO WERE ALSO FOREIGNERS.
THIS MILITARY EXPEDITION OF NEBUCHADNEZZER (SPOKEN OF IN THE 1ST VERSE) HAPPENED WHEN KING JEHOIAKIM WAS RULER OF JUDAH, AND WE FIRST HEARD OF IT BACK IN 2ND KINGS 24.
IT WAS IN THE YEAR 605 B.C. THAT NEBUCHADNEZZAR SENT MOSTLY MERCENARY FORCES TO JERUSALEM TO ATTACK IT IN RESPONSE TO JEHOIAKIM’S REBELLION AND THIS COULD BE CONSIDERED THE TIME THAT THE FIRST WAVE OF JEWISH CAPTIVES WERE HAULED OFF TO BABYLON. DANIEL AND EZEKIEL ARE SAID TO BE PART OF THE FIRST GROUP TO BE TAKEN. SO THEY WOULD BE IN BABYLON TO PERSONALLY WITNESS LIFE THERE FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE, IN EXILE, BUT WOULD NOT BE IN JERUSALEM TO BE EYE WITNESSES TO THE LATER BABYLONIAN MILITARY TRIPS INTO THE SET-APART LANDS AND THE LATER DEPORTATIONS. SO THEY WOULD HAVE HAD TO RELY ON OTHERS TO GIVE THEM ACCOUNTS
3Then King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz, the man in charge of his Eunich officials, to bring some of the boys into the palace to train them. He was to include boys from among the Yisharalites, nobles from important Judean families, and from the Royal family of Judah. 4King Nebuchadnezzar wanted only healthy boys who did not have any bruises, scars, or anything wrong with their bodies. He wanted handsome, smart young men who were
able to learn things quickly and easily to serve in his palace. He told Ashpenaz to teach these young men the language and writings of the Chaldeans.
IN THE SCRIPTURE, A EUNUCH (HEBREW SARIS) CAN BE USED EITHER NARROWLY TO MEAN A MALE WHO HAS BEEN CASTRATED (THE REMOVAL OF THE TESTICLES) AND THEN USED IN SPECIALISED SERVICE TO THE KING (SUCH AS BEING A GUARDIAN OVER HIS HAREM) ... OR IT CAN BE USED BROADLY TO MEAN A MALE WHO IS A STEWARD OF SOME SORT FOR THE KING AND CASTRATION IS NOT INVOLVED. ONE NOTABLE EXAMPLE OF THE BROADER USE OF THE WORD SARIS (A EUNUCH) WHO WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT A CASTRATED MALE WAS POTIPHAR, CHIEF STEWARD OF PHARAOH IN JOSEPH’S DAY. POTIPHAR WAS MARRIED AND WE EVEN HEAR OF HIS WIFE TRYING TO SEDUCE A YOUNGER JOSEPH.
WHILE WE CAN’T KNOW FOR CERTAIN, IT APPEARS THAT IN BABYLON, AND IN THIS SETTING, THE TERM 'EUNUCH' HAD COME TO BE THE NAME OF SOME OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT OFFICE RATHER THAN A TERM INDICATING MALE CASTRATION. SO LATER WHEN WE ARE TOLD RATHER OFF-HANDEDLY THAT DANIEL HAD BECOME THE SARIS FOR THE KING, IT IS CLOSE TO UNTHINKABLE THAT DANIEL HAD BEEN CASTRATED; RATHER HE JUST ASSUMED A HIGH OFFICE.
DANIEL AND HIS 3 FRIENDS WERE SOME MIXTURE OF NOBILITY AND THESE ARE JEWISH YOUTH WERE ALREADY GIVEN THE FINEST HEBREW EDUCATION, CONSIDERED THE BRIGHTEST AND MOST REFINED OF JUDAH, AND WERE TO BE VERY GOOD LOOKING. AND THIS WAS BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE SERVING AND REPRESENTING THE KING OF BABYLON SO THEY WERE TO LOOK AND ACT THE PART.
THE FIRST THING THAT WOULD HAPPEN IS THAT THEY WOULD BE GIVEN OVER TO THE CHALDEANS (A SPECIAL DISTRICT OF ELITE BABYLONIANS) TO BE EDUCATED IN THE FINER NUANCES OF HISTORY, CUSTOMS, AND LANGUAGE.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR WAS A SMART MAN, AND HE WAS GOING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHATEVER BRAIN-POWER HE COULD EXTRACT FROM JUDAH. FURTHER, THIS WOULD SERVE TO WEAKEN JUDAH, TEAR AT THEIR SOCIAL FABRIC, AND HOPEFULLY MAKE THEM LESS LIKELY TO CAUSE TROUBLE. DANIEL AND HIS MATES WERE NOT TECHNICALLY MADE SLAVES. THEY INDEED WERE TAKEN AGAINST THEIR WILL, BUT THEY WERE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT AND OFFERED PRESTIGIOUS POSITIONS IN THE BABYLONIAN GOVERNMENT. SOME OF THIS HAD TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THEY WERE JUDEAN NOBILITY AND SOME MIGHT HAVE EVEN BEEN PART OF THE ROYAL FAMILY.
5King Nebuchadnezzar gave the young men a certain amount of food and wine every day, which was the same kind of food that he ate (from his own table). He wanted them to be trained for three years, and after that they would become servants of the King of Babylon. 6Among those young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the Tribe of Judah.
7Ashpenaz also gave them Babylonian names. Daniel’s new name was Belteshatzar, Hananiah’s was Shadrach, Mishael’s was Meshach, and Azariah’s was Abednego.
IT WAS THE PREROGATIVE AND A STANDARD PRACTICE OF CONQUERING KINGS TO CHANGE THE NAMES OF THE SERVING KINGS AND THOSE WHO THEY CAPTURED AND USED NEAR THEM IN THE ROYAL COURT. THE IDEA WAS PARTLY THAT THEIR OLD LIFE AND STATUS HAD TERMINATED, AND SO WITH A NEW LIFE AND STATUS CAME A NEW NAME TO SYMBOLISE IT.
BEING FED FROM THE KINGS TABLE DID NOT MEAN THAT THEY DINED WITH KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR, RATHER IT MEANS THAT THEY ATE FOOD FROM THE ROYAL PANTRY, WHICH WAS THE BEST OF THE BEST FOOD IN THE LAND. IT MEANS THAT THE FOOD WAS PROVIDED FOR THEM, MADE PAND SERVED TO THEM AS WOULD BE SERVED TO AN ARISTOCRAT. AND WE’RE TOLD THAT THE PERIOD OF THEIR EDUCATION WAS TO BE FOR THREE YEARS. ASSYRIOLOGISTS ARE CONVINCED THAT THIS MENTION OF 3 YEARS OF EDUCATION INDICATES A FORM OF ORGANISED INSTITUTIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION, AND THAT ESSENTIALLY A STUDENT GOT A 3
YEAR DEGREE UPON GRADUATION. SO THIS WASN’T SOME SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT ONLY FOR THESE JEWISH IMMIGRANTS. WE READ OF THE SAME THING CONCERNING AN EDUCATION SYSTEM IN LATER PERSIAN DOCUMENTS. NATURALLY, ONLY THE MOST PRIVILEGED AND NOBLE WERE GIVEN ACCESS TO SUCH A VALUABLE EDUCATION.
8Daniel did not want to eat the King’s rich food and wine because it would make him unclean. So he asked Ashpenaz for permission not to make himself unclean in this way. 9And for his loyal obedience to YAHUAH’S Instruction, YAHUAH caused Ashpenaz, the man in charge of the Eunichs, to be kind and loyal to Daniel. 10But Ashpenaz told Daniel, “I’m afraid of my Master, the King. He ordered me to give you this
13Then after ten days, compare us with the other young men who eat the King’s rich food. Then see for yourself who looks healthier, and decide how you want to treat us, your servants.”
14So the guard agreed to test Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah for ten days. 15And after ten days (and lots of push-ups?) Daniel and his mates looked healthier than all the young men who ate the King’s food !
food and drink, and if you don’t eat, you’ll start to look weak and sickly. And if the King sees you looking worse than the other young men your age, he’ll be angry with me, and might even cut off my head. And it would be your fault!” 11Then Daniel talked to the guard who had been put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by Ashpenaz, 12saying, “Please test us for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink.
"EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!"
16So the guard continued to take away the King’s rich food and wine and to only give Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah vegetables to eat.
THE FOOD BEING OFFERED WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COMPATIBLE WITH YAHUAH'S LAW AND WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RITUALLY CLEAN. SO HERE WE SEE DANIEL EMERGE AS THE LEADER OF THE GROUP AS HE STEPS FORWARD TO ESTABLISH THAT HE WILL NOT GIVE UP HIS SET-APARTNESS TO COMPLY EVEN WITH THE ORDERS OF A KING.
NO DOUBT DANIEL SEES THIS AS A DIVINE TEST OF HIS TRUSTWORTHINESS. THE ISSUE WAS NOT NECESSARILY THAT THE PREPARATION OF THE FOOD WOULD NOT HAVE MET LEVITICAL STANDARDS AS IT WAS THAT THE MEAT WOULD HAVE BEEN UNCLEAN DUE TO ALOT OF IT BEING SACRIFICED TO THE BABYLONIAN IDOLS (THIS WAS THE COMMON PRACTICE).
BUT WHY CAN’T THEY DRINK THE KING’S WINE ?
WINE IS PERMITTED BY YAHUAH, SO NO ONE REALLY HAS A PROVABLE ANSWER EXCEPT THAT PERHAPS THE WINE USED BY THE BABYLONIAN ROYALTY WAS A MUCH HIGHER ALCOHOL CONTENT THAN HEBREW TABLE WINE - AND IT IS FERMENTED WITH THE EXPRESS PURPOSE TO GET YOU DRUNK AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, SO THESE YOUNG MEN OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T WANT THAT.
THERE IS NO NUTRITIONAL OR FOOD-SAFETY ISSUE BEING SHOWN HERE, FOR THE KING’S FOOD WAS FIRST RATE - SO DON’T GO THINKING THAT THIS 'VEGETARIAN DIET' WE SEE DANIEL AND HIS BUDDIES EATING WAS SOMEHOW CAUSING THEM TO LOOK BETTER. RATHER, THIS IS A SPIRITUAL ISSUE.
DANIEL AND HIS FRIENDS KNEW YAHUAH’S LAWS WELL. BUT NOW THAT THEY WERE UP IN BABYLON, WOULD THEY STILL STRIVE TO OBEY THOSE DIETARY LAWS EVEN IN A FOREIGN PLACE UNDER CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES? WOULD THEY BE A GOOD WITNESS FOR YAHUAH IN A PAGAN PLACE BY STEADFASTLY REMAINING OBEDIENT, OR WOULD THEY GO ALONG WITH THE CROWD AND EMPLOY THE MOTTO “WHEN IN ROME, DO AS THE ROMANS DO…”? AND DANIEL PASSED THIS DIVINE TEST AND IN RETURN YAHUAH FAVOURED DANIEL AND HIS FRIENDS NOT ONLY WITH SUSTAINED HEALTH ON SUCH A LIMITED DIET, BUT THEY ACTUALLY RATED BETTER THAN THOSE WHO ATE THE FULL MENU.
AGAIN, THIS WAS NOT A NATURAL RESULT OF EATING ONLY VEGETABLES AND WATER - IT WAS A SUPERNATURAL BLESSING BY YAHUAH. AND NO DOUBT IT MADE A FAVOURABLE IMPRESSION ON BOTH MELZAR AND HIS BOSS ASHPENAZ. SO JUST LIKE JOSEPH (WHO WAS MADE A SLAVE IN EGYPT) THESE YOUNG MEN SOUGHT TO ACTIVATE THEIR BELIEF PRACTICALLY THROUGH THEIR DAILY BEHAVIOUR - AND AS A RESULT - YAHUSHA SUPERNATURALLY HELPED THEM, GAVE THEM A GREAT REPUTATION AND LIFTED THEM UP (EVEN IN THIS PAGAN BABYLONIAN SOCIETY).
NEBUCHADNEZZER SOUGHT TO CHANGE THESE INTELLIGENT TRUSTWORTHY JEWISH BOY'S IDENTITIES BY SEPARATING THEM FROM THEIR HERITAGE, THEIR NATION, AND THEIR BELIEF. THE GOAL WAS TO HAVE THEM (IN TIME) THINKING DIFFERENTLY THAN WHEN THEY HAD FIRST ARRIVED. AND THE WAY TO DO THIS WAS TO CHANGE: LOCATION, NAME, EDUCATION AND DIET.
ADAM AND EVE WERE NOT POISONED BY THE FRUIT - IT WAS NOT ONLY EDIBLE BUT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS IT WAS DELICIOUS. THE RESULT OF BREAKING YAHUAH'S INSTRUCTION AND FAILING THE TEST WAS THE EMERGENCE OF SIN ITSELF. AND THE RESULT OF SIN IS DEATH, (PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL DEATH).
OBEDIENCE TO YAHUSHA RESULTS IN SUPERNATURAL BLESSING AND DISOBEDIENCE RESULTS IN SUPERNATURAL CURSES AND CONSEQUENCES! THE TEST IS NOT ACTUALLY ABOUT THE SPECIFIC SITUATION IN FRONT OF US (IN THIS CASE FOOD) - BUT ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE WILL HONOR YAHUSHA AND BE LOYAL TO WHAT HE'S TOLD US TO DO ! IE TEST!
17And YAHUAH gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. 18At the end of the three years of training, Ashpenaz brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar, 19who talked to them and found that none of the young men were gifted like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
THESE 4 YOUNG MEN HAD BEEN GIVEN TREMENDOUS SPIRITUAL GIFTS. HOWEVER DANIEL (UNLIKE HIS 3 FRIENDS) WAS GIVEN THE GIFTS OF UNDERSTANDING DREAMS AND VISIONS. AND LET’S BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT IS MEANT ABOUT THE TYPE OF LEARNING AND WISDOM THAT THESE GUYS WERE GIVEN SPECIAL GIFTS FOR: IT WAS OF ANY TYPE.
THESE BOYS WOULD HAVE HAD GREAT ABILITY TO LEARN AND DIGEST THE BABYLONIAN LANGUAGES, MAGIC ARTS, DEITY-SYSTEMS, ETC. BUT WITH WISDOM THEY COULD ALSO DISCERN WHAT WAS TRUE AND WHAT WAS FALSE.
So these four young men stood before the King, as his servants. 20And every time the King asked them about important issues, they showed great wisdom and understanding. Infact the King found that they were ten times more talented than all the magicians, astrologers and wise men in his Kingdom. 21So Daniel served the King until the first year (539–538BC) that Koresh was King
(THE PERSIAN KING CYRUS).
THEY WOULD HAVE ALL BECOME EXPERTS IN THE WAYS OF THE BABYLONIANS AND CHALDEANS, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THEY SUBSCRIBED TO THEIR POWER OR SOCIETAL MORALITY. DANIEL (ESPECIALLY) WOULD RISE IN KNOWLEDGE OF THE BABYLONIAN SYSTEM ABOVE EVEN THE BEST OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S BRAIN TRUST.
AND THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME WE’VE HEARD OF THIS:
ACTS 7:22 - SO MOSES WAS TRAINED IN ALL THE WISDOM OF THE EGYPTIANS AND BECAME BOTH A POWERFUL SPEAKER AND A MAN OF ACTION.
BUT IN THE END, THIS KNOWLEDGE WAS USED BY MOSES AND SOON BY DANIEL FOR A RIGHTEOUS PURPOSE AS DIRECTED BY YAHUAH. SUCH ACQUISITION OF HEATHEN KNOWLEDGE WAS ARRANGED, “SO AS TO PUT TO SHAME THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD BY THE HIDDEN WISDOM OF YAHUAH”.
SO AFTER THE 3 YEARS OF TRAINING, ASHPENAZ PRESENTED DANIEL AND HIS 3 COMRADES TO KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR. THE KING CAREFULLY INTERVIEWED THEM AND WAS SO IMPRESSED BY WHAT HE SAW AND HEARD THAT AMONG ALL OF THE JEWISH YOUTHS HE HAD COMMANDEERED AND HAD TRAINED IN BABYLONIAN WAYS, THESE 4 WERE SUPERIOR IN EVERY MANNER. NO DOUBT THE KING GAVE THEM DIFFICULT PROBLEMS TO SOLVE AND PONDER AND THEIR ACUTE DEGREE OF DISCERNMENT IN THESE MATTERS SET THEM APART FROM ALL OTHERS.