Daniel 1-2

DANIEL 1

Introduction[2]

  • Dan 1:1-2 – Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem

David Guzik: “There is also no contradiction between Daniel, who says this happened in the third year of Jehoiakim, and Jeremiah 46:2, which says it was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Daniel reckoned a king’s years after the Babylonian method: the first year of a king’s reign begins at the start of the calendar year after he takes the throne. Jeremiah uses the Jewish method.

“It was customary for the Babylonians to consider the first year of a king’s reign as the year of accession and to call the next year the first year … Having spent most of his life in Babylon, it is only natural that Daniel should use a Babylonian form of chronology.” (Walvoord)”[3]

Zdravko Stefanovic: “The three major Babylonian invasions can be summarized as follows:

605 B.C. Members of the royal family and nobility, including Daniel and his friends were led to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1, 2; 2 Chron. 36:5-7).

597 B.C. King Jehoiachin, princes, and priests, including the prophet Ezekiel, were taken to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14; 2 Chron. 36:10).

586 B.C. King Zedekiah and all the remaining people other than the poor were exiled to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chron. 36:17-20).”[4]

Mark Copeland: “Daniel was contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel

Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem before and during the Babylonian exile (626-528 B.C.)

Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon among the exiles (592-570 B.C.)

Daniel prophesied in the capital of Babylon (605-586 B.C.)”[5]

Gene Taylor: “[Babylon] was also called “Shinar.” (Gen. 10:10; 11:2; Isa. 11:11) … and was later called “the land of the Chaldeans.” (Jer. 24:4; Ezek. 12:13).”[6]

Babylon’s system of indoctrination

Dan 1:3-4 – The best and the brightest of Jerusalem’s young men are chosen and taken to Babylon

Zdravko Stefanovic: “Daniel was one of the captives who were led from Jerusalem to Babylon. He and his friends were most probably between fifteen and eighteen years old when they were taken there.”[7]

Dan 1:5-7 – In Babylon, the Hebrew youths are groomed for the civil service

AIA Devotionals: “The conscious goal of the Babylonian captivity was cultural assimilation (making Jews think/act like Babylonians)”[8]

“…Daniel and his three friends also received new legal names that reflected the worldview Babylon wanted them to adopt. For example, in Hebrew the name Daniel means “God is my judge,” but Belteshazzar means “may a god protect his life” or “Goddess, protect the king” (vv. 6–7).”[9]

i) Hananiah: “Yahweh is gracious/merciful.”[10] became Shadrach: “The Command of [Aku].”

ii) Mishael: “Who is what God is!” (probable) became Meshach: “Who is What Aku Is?”

iii) Azariah: “Yahweh has helped.” became Abednego: “the servant of [the god] Nebo”[11]

Dan 1:8 – Daniel’s decision to be faithful

Zdravko Stefanovic: “As to why the young men decided to abstain from the rich royal food, scholars have put forward three proposals: dietary, political, and religious. The dietary reason had to do with the Mosaic prohibition against eating unclean animals and eating clean animals whose blood was not drained when slaughtered. The political reason had to do with the culture of the Bible: Eating with a person meant making an alliance or a covenant with that person. The religious reason may have been belief of the four Hebrews that no earthly king but only the God in heaven should be given credit for one’s success in life … The term choice food is consistently followed by the words “the king” to stress the fact that the king provided for the young men’s needs while they were in training. In other words, the young men were made “the king’s pensioners.””[12]

David Guzik: “Why did Daniel and his friends consider the king’s food defiled? First, it undoubtedly was not kosher. Second, it was probably sacrificed to idols. Third, it implied fellowship with Babylon’s cultural system.”[13]

The results of Daniel’s courageous decision

Dan 1:9 – God gives Daniel favor and goodwill with the authorities.

Dan 1:10-13 – Daniel suggests a plan

Dan 1:14-16 – Daniel and his companions are blessed for their faithfulness

Dan 1:17-21 – Daniel and his companions are blessed and promoted

DANIEL 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Dan 2:1 – The troubling dream

Dan 2:2-9 – Nebuchadnezzar demands to know the dream and its interpretation from his wise men

Dan 2:10-11 – The wise men explain the impossibility of Nebuchadnezzar’s request

Dan 2:12-13 – A furious Nebuchadnezzar sentences all his wise men to death

God reveals the dream to Daniel

Dan 2:14-16 – Daniel reacts to Nebuchadnezzar’s decree by asking for a brief extension

Dan 2:17-18 – Daniel asks his companions for prayer

Dan 2:20-23 – Daniel praises God for this revelation

The dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation

Dan 2:24-30 – Daniel is ushered into the king’s presence, and gives glory to God for revealing the dream

Dan 2:31-35 – Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

Dan 2:36-45 – The interpretation of the dream

J. Vernon McGee:

i) Babylon – head of gold

ii) Medo-Persia – chest & arms of silver

iii) Greece – belly and thighs of bronze / sides of brass

iv) Rome – legs of iron, with feet mixed with iron & clay[14]

Dan 2:46-49 – Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction to Daniel’s reporting of the dream and its interpretation

What can we learn from Daniel 1-2?

Daniel remained faithful to God when it seemed as though God was not faithful to him (1:1-4)

Daniel looked for God’s favour above man’s favour (1:4)

Daniel was persistent (1:8-11):

First – asked commander of the officials;

Second – asked overseer appointed by commander of the officials

Daniel was courteous in pursuing his convictions (1:12)

God is always in control (1:2, 9, 17)[1]

Daniel understood the importance of prayer (2:17-18)

Daniel had faithful friends alongside him (2:17)

It is by the will of God that kings are raised or deposed (2:21)

Daniel understood the importance of giving thanks to God (2:19-23)

Daniel was a witness for God (2:27-28, 47)

The kingdoms of men will result in destruction but the kingdom of God under the rule of the Messiah will result in glory (2:44-45)

Conclusion

Zdravko Stefanovic: “… in the story of chapter 2, Daniel is portrayed as a model of wisdom (Dan. 2:14), prayer (2:18), praise (vv. 19-23), and witness (vv. 27-28).”[15]

Thomas Nelson: “Daniel is one of the few well-known biblical characters about whom nothing negative is written. His life was characterized by faith, prayer, courage, consistency, and lack of compromise. This ‘greatly beloved’ man (9:23; 10:11, 19) was mentioned three times by his sixth-century B.C. contemporary Ezekiel as an example of righteousness.”[16]

 

[1] Thomas Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts (2010), p.236: “The theme of God’s sovereign control in the affairs of world history clearly emerges and provides comfort to the future church, as well as to the Jews whose nation was destroyed by the Babylonians. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His kingdom through His redeemed people forever.”

[2] William S. Deal, Baker’s Pictorial Introduction to the Bible (1967), p.200: “That Daniel is the author of this book has been received both by the Jews and the Christian church throughout the centuries”; see also Thomas Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts (2010), p.233: “Daniel claimed to write this book (12:4), and he used the autobiographical first person from 7:2 onward. The Jewish Talmud agrees with this testimony, and Christ attributed a quote from 9:27 to ‘Daniel the prophet’ (Matt. 24:15).”

[3] David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 14, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm

[4] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.49

[5] Mark Copeland, “Sermons from Daniel” (2002), p.3

[6] Gene Taylor, “A Study in the Book of Daniel” (1998), p.11

[7] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), pp.16-17; see also p.52: “The expression …, “young men,” [in Daniel 1:4] means that the youth were in their adolescent years (Gen. 37:30).”

[8] “Daniel 1 Living By Identity in a Secular World.” AIA Devotionals. Accessed December 1, 2017. https://www.princeton.edu/~aia/files/talks/daniel1.pdf

[9] “In the Court of a Pagan King.” Ligonier Ministries. Accessed December 1, 2017. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/court-pagan-king/

[10] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.56

[11] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.57; see also David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 15, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm: “Abed-Nego (meaning Servant of Nego).”

[12] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), pp.57-58; see also David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 15, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm: “”By eastern standards to share a meal was to commit one’s self to friendship; it was of covenant significance.” (Baldwin)”

[13] David Guzik, “Study Guide for Daniel 1.” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed December 15, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/studyguide_dan/dan_1.cfm

[14] J. Vernon McGee, “Notes & Outlines Daniel.” Thru the Bible. Accessed December 16, 2017. http://www.ttb.org/docs/default-source/notes-outlines/no19_daniel.pdf?sfvrsn=2

[15] Zdravko Stefanovic, Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise : Commentary on the Book of Daniel (2007), p.95

[16] Thomas Nelson, Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts (2010), p.233

2 Replies to “Daniel 1-2”

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