Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sample of Daniel

Chapter 1

Daniel and His Friends Stand Firm.

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
The third year of Jehoiakim was the first or second year of Nebuchadnezzar, around 526BC (about 3520 after Creation).
2 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.
God is in control of all that happens. He allowed this foreign king to conquer Judah to punish them for their disobedience.
The land of Shinar is the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This area is also known as Mesopotamia, Sumer, and the Fertile Crescent.
3 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;
4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful 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.
The king wanted to take the best young men of the land to work for him. At this point in history it was common for conquerors to both take male captives and castrate them so they would be less aggressive slaves or to take children of the royalty of the defeated land and treat them well, educate them and prepare them to rule in the assumption that they would return to their homeland and rule favorably for their conquerors (meanwhile they would also act as hostages keeping the conquered land from attacking in order to keep their children safe). We don’t really know which was the motivation for Daniel’s captivity.
We do know he was highly intelligent and received a high level education from his captors.
5 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.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how old these young men were, but they were most likely in their teens. In America in the 1800’s it was common for boys as young as fourteen to enter college. That is essentially the education Daniel now receives; a college degree.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 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 Abednego.
Men by the names of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are listed in the book of Ezra as returnees from Babylon around seventy years later. It is possible they are the same men.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
The king’s food mentioned here was food commonly offered to idols before being eaten by the people. Since there is no prohibition in the Bible for eating either meat or drinking wine (though alcoholism is forbidden), we can assume that Daniel’s objection to the king’s food was the connection to the idols. Vegetables were not offered as often, being considered vulgar peasant food.
9 Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king?”
The common belief was that meat and wine was necessary for optimum health. Today we know that those who become vegetarians have a significant increase in over all health in the short-term, though in the long term they often suffer more cancers and anemia.
Tea-totalers have lower cancer rates than drinkers do. Most health benefits from drinking wine are easily obtainable from grape juice and other sources without the negative side effects of alcohol. If someone chooses to drink, it should be with moderation.
11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
12 “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 “Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.”
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
There are a couple of explanations for this; the known short term effects of a vegetarian diet, less digestive trouble from a possibly radical change in
diet, and Divine intervention. It was probably a combination of all three.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Here it tells us outright that God gave special gifts to Daniel and his friends. He had plans for them and equipped them to carry them out.
God will always give us whatever we need to accomplish His will in our lives. That may be money, but probably isn’t. It is the talents and oppurtunities we need to follow Him.
18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
They were selected to work closely with the king- closer than anyone else.
20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
Daniel served the kings of Babylon until there were no more kings of Babylon.

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