Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 1

Outline and Background

Crisis Point - Daniel 1:1

Captive Situation - Daniel 1:2

Crucial Test - Daniel 1:3-7

Critical Choice - Daniel 1:8-13

Commendable Decision & Consequent Blessing - Daniel 1:14-20

Coincident Prophecy - Daniel 1:21

Application and Typical Prophecies

Commendable Decision & Consequent Blessing - Daniel 1:14-20

Having his request turned down, Daniel made another sincere effort to keep from sinning against his knowledge of God’s Law and therefore against his conscience. Instead of going up the ladder of authority, Daniel appealed to a subordinate of Ashpenaz.

Daniel expected the impossible in ten days—he knew all things are possible with God—his request was made with much more faith than a mustard seed (cf. Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6). The guard, who was appointed by the chief official, respected Daniel’s convictions. Daniel’s request was polite and fair; the guard agreed and tested the four youths for ten days. Of course, the foursome never ate the king’s fare.


Daniel resolved not to defile himself, and God provided a way out of the temptation. The official’s heart was supernaturally touched by Yahweh, who had metaphysically touched the bodies and minds of the teenagers. He had given the youths a healthier appearance as well as minds with wisdom and understanding. Why? They feared the LORD!

Daniel attributed his learning as well as his understanding of visions and dreams of all kinds to be gifts from God: “To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom” (NRSV).

Science began in Egypt and Babylon with the birth of mathematics, metallurgy, anatomy, and astronomy. To the Babylonians we owe the exact measurements of the lunar and solar cycles, the tracing of the paths of the planets, the division of the circle into 360 degrees, and the designation of constellations, notably those of the zodiac. Daniel was no doubt trained in all these sciences.

Daniel learned many language skills. The students would have learned the letters of the Chaldeans, a form of cuneiform or wedge-shaped script used throughout Mesopotamia. Mastering this form of writing was a long and difficult process, which only professional scribes and scholars learned. The language of the Chaldeans was Sumerian, an ancient language of
Mesopotamia, which was used as the language of religion and learning, just as Latin was preserved as the language of liturgy in the Roman Catholic tradition. Daniel knew Hebrew, but most likely was taught the Aramaic used in this prophecy. 

The extant inscriptions show that there was a palace school with elaborate arrangements for special education. There is no indication in the Babylonian records at what age this education began. The Persians commenced similar education at the age of fourteen and it lasted until the
youth was sixteen or seventeen. br>
NNebuchadnezzar was looking for court advisors with humanistic qualifications; God was seeking a prophet with distinct qualifications, which are inferred by the text. Daniel met the first qualification to become a prophet with his resolute purpose to be holy, undefiled, and separate
from sin. The second qualification was met by giving himself diligently to his studies. The third qualification was met when God gave him the gift of knowledge and understanding.

Graduation day for Daniel’s class of 602 B.C. came at last. They were ushered into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar with all the royal pomp and circumstance that the occasion demanded. After an intense oral examination, the king found no one was equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah among all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Final exam completed with flying colors! The students had excelled beyond their teachers. It was time for promotion—the four entered the king’s service.

King Nebuchadnezzar was pleased with the results of his training program and so was God. Ten days of trusting God for a better appearance and now ten times better in every matter of wisdom and understanding. Imagine their joy—wiser and firmer in their faith.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:2).

If Daniel had failed or compromised in his first test, how great would have been his loss! However, he did not fail; he persevered and lived to see the downfall of the empire.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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