The name Daniel is an Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge”, no wonder all that Daniel went through in Babylon God was careful enough to be his Judge. Let us consider the life style of Daniel while he was in Babylon- a place of bondage and captivity, but despite all this Daniel was blameless in all his ways. Let us see the account of Daniel and that of the other three Hebrew  children that were also in Babylon as we proceed with our meditation.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.  Daniel 1:3-8 (KJV).

The opening verse of Daniel succinctly give the historical setting which includes the first siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. According to Daniel, this occurred “in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah,” or approximately 605 B.C. Parallel accounts are found in 2 Kings 24:1-2 and 2 Chronicles 36:5-7. The capture of Jerusalem and the first deportation of the Jews from Jerusalem to Babylon, including Daniel and his companions, were the fulfillment of many warnings from the prophets of Israel’s coming disaster because of the nation’s sins against God. Israel had forsaken the law and ignored God’s covenant (Is 24:1-6). They had ignored the Sabbath day and the sabbatic year (Jer 34:12-22).

The seventy years of the captivity were, in effect, God claiming the Sabbath, which Israel had violated, in order to give the land rest.

Jewish Youths Selected for Training

Dan 1:3-7 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful, in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.

In explanation of how Daniel and his companions found the way to Babylon, Daniel records that the king “spake unto Ashpenaz,” better translated “told” or “commanded,” to bring some of the children of Israel to Babylon for training to be servants of the king. The name Ashpenaz, appears in the Aramaic incantation texts from Nippur as‘SPNZ, and is probably attested in the Cuneiform records as Ashpazdnda.” Horn goes on to identify him as, “the chief of King Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuchs ( Dan 1:3) The significance of the name Ashpenaz has been much debated, but it seems best to agree with Young that “its etymology is uncertain.” said  Siegfried H. Horn

It is probable that by eunuchs reference is made to important servants of the king, such as Potiphar (Gen 37:36), who was married. It is not stated that the Jewish youths were made actual eunuchs as  assumes. Isaiah had predicted this years before (Is 39:7), and Young supports the broader meaning of eunuch by the Targum rendering of the Isaiah passage which uses the word nobles for eunuchs. However, because the word saris means both “court officer” and “castrate,” scholars are divided on the question of whether both meanings are intended. Montgomery states, “It is not necessary to draw the conclusion that the youths were made eunuchs, with the alleged fulfillment of Is 39:7.  In commenting on the description in Daniel 1:4, no blemish, “The perfection here asserted is physical, as in Lev. 21:17. Such perfection could not belong to eunuchs.” All agree, however, that saris,translated “eunuch” in Isaiah 56:3, refers to a castrate. Ultimately the choice is left to the interpreter, although, as indicated above, some favour the thought of “court officer.”

I can see this is the age that Daniels, Abednegoes, shadrachs and Meshachs, are coming to birth and manifestation. Daniel of old learnt witchcraftcy, Necromancy, Sciences in Babylon but not defiled, rather they were ten times better than all magicians and astrologers of Babylon. Amazing celebration, how the strange learning can make us a snare to the princes of this earth, rejoice greatly and fear not, for God is about striping darkness of its coverings and removing boundaries from them, bringing them bear at noonday, Nebuchadnezzar thought he was showcasing magicians for glory but it turned out for shame. Oh Lord let the old victory redounded again today, for you are the God unending and unfading and changeless.

 May we see this as a wake up call to prepare our kids in their appetite to be selective like Daniel and resolute at heart. Shalom!

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