|The Book of Daniel|
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Go to Bible: Daniel 1
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah.” At first blush, Daniel 1:1 seems to contradict Jeremiah 25:1-9. Here in Daniel 1, in the third year of Jehoiakim of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar had already attacked Judah and taken captives, and Daniel was one of them (Dan. 1:2-6). In contrast, Jeremiah says it was Jehoiakim’s fourth year and Nebuchadnezzar had not even attacked yet.
Actually, both Jeremiah and Daniel are accurate. What the reader must know is that when dates are given in the Bible, they are usually, but not always, given from the point of the one who is writing. Jeremiah, living in Judah, was dated using Judean Nisan year (the Judean year started in Nisan in Judah, just as our modern year starts in January). In contrast, Daniel, a captive in Babylon, was using Tishri dating, starting in the month Tishri, which was 6 months different (in this case, later) than Nisan. So when Nebuchadnezzar started his first year, it was the third year according to Daniel’s Tishri year dating, but it was already the fourth year of Jehoiakim according to Jeremiah’s Judean dating system (cp. Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, Zondervan Pub. Co., 1983, p. 183).(top)
“Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.” The conquest of Judah by Babylon was in 605 BC, and that is the year that Daniel would have been taken captive to Babylon.
“vessels of the house of God.” The “house of God” is the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple had lots of different kinds of gold and silver vessels. Some were used to keep and or transport water, oil, wine, and blood. Some vessels were used in butchering the animals and offering them as sacrifices. Also, the priests got to partake of some of the offerings, so some were used by the priests when they ate and drank. It was some of these holy vessels that Belshazzar had brought to his banquet hall to drink from when God wrote on the palace wall and pronounced his doom and the doom of his kingdom.
“into the land of Shinar.” “Shinar” is the ancient biblical name for lower Mesopotamia, where the city of Babylon was located. By the time of this prophecy, the country of Babylon was huge and included all the territory that Nebuchadnezzar had conquered. By saying “the land of Shinar” instead of “the land of Babylon” the Author gives us a much more accurate understanding of where Daniel was taken. It is also possible that using the word “Shinar” links the Neo-babylonian empire with the ancient empire of Nimrod, whose capital was in the land of Shinar (Gen. 10:8-12).(top)
“the people of Israel.” The Hebrew phrase, “ben yisrael” (מִבְּנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל) is literally “sons of Israel,” but it is usually translated “children of Israel.” It refers to the people of Israel, who were the “children” (descendants) of Jacob, who was given the name “Israel.” Translating ben yisrael as “children of Israel” in this context would be misleading because most people would think that all the people that Nebuchadnezzar brought from Babylon were young people, which is not what the text is saying, “children of Israel” means “people of Israel” or “Israelites.” Historically what happened was that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and brought Israelites from there to Babylon. Although he brought many people, Daniel 1 focuses on Nebuchadnezzar’s special request to have intelligent young people brought that might become valuable to him, and among those young Israelites were Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego).(top)
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|Dan 1:5||- (top)|
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|Dan 1:16||- (top)|
“God gave them knowledge and skill.” The Bible does not specifically say that God put his spirit upon Daniel and the others like it often does in other places (CP. Num. 11:25; Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 1 Sam. 10:10; 16:13; 2 Chron. 15:1), but the fact that the text says “God gave them knowledge” shows that He had put His holy spirit upon them.
[For more information on revelation, what it is and how God gives it, see commentary on Galatians 1:12].(top)
|Dan 1:18||- (top)|
|Dan 1:19||- (top)|
|Dan 1:20||- (top)|
“even to the first year of Cyrus.” This verse is not saying that Daniel’s life and ministry stopped during Cyrus’ first year; that would contradict Daniel 10:1. It is saying that Daniel still continued up to that point, when the Babylonian Empire came to an end, which was an amazing feat in those days. Daniel was taken into captivity by the Babylonians when he was in his mid-teenage years, and yet was not only still alive, but was still performing his ministry when Cyrus the Great of Persia (c. 600-530 BC) began to reign over Babylon (the conquest was October, 539 BC). Daniel would have been around 80 years old when Cyrus conquered Babylon.(top)