Book of Daniel Bible Study Commentary Chapter 1
Daniel Chapter 1: Stranded in Babylon
by I Gordon
 ↩ Ok, I stole this title from the name of a Larry Norman album. It emphasizes that all Christians, in a spiritual sense, are now stranded in Babylon (the world) while we wait for the establishment of our true home in the Heavenly Jerusalem.
 ↩ David Guzik lists a few other world events taking place at this approximate time:
- Construction on the Acropolis in Athens began
- Mayan civilization flourished in Mexico
- Aesop wrote his fables
- Confucius and Buddha lived
- Greek art began to truly excel
- The Phoenicians made the first known sea journey around Africa
- The Greeks introduced the olive tree to Italy
 ↩ Ok, a bit of background to the background. After the reign of Solomon, the Israelite nation split into two different kingdoms. The northern kingdom was called 'Israel' and consisted of 10 of the twelve tribes. The southern kingdom was called 'Judah' and consisted of the two remaining tribes. Both of these kingdoms would eventually be ruled by 20 different kings. Out of the 20 kings who ruled in the southern kingdom, the Bible says that 7 were generally considered godly kings. Could the northern kingdom top that? Um, nope. Not likely! Out of their 20 kings they had precisely 0 godly kings. Couldn't even find one! It is not surprising then that they were the first to fall. You can read about in 2 Kings 18:9-11. While you are there, you will see that one of Judah's godly kings, Hezekiah, is coming under siege by the same Assyrian army that defeated the northern kingdom of Israel. Have a look 2 Kings 18:17-19:37. It is a fantastic story and highlights the trust and godliness of Hezekiah and the faithfulness of the God of Israel in looking after His people! But then read 2 Kings 20 - Especially vs 12-19. It seems that in his older age, even Hezekiah began to allow 'things' to take the place that the Lord should have. And in a moment of pride and worldliness he shows the Babylonians all his gold, silver, armory and treasures. Fatal mistake as Isaiah tells Hezekiah 'Hear the word of the LORD: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. '
So what can we learn from this? A few things come to mind -
:: Hezekiah's courting and flirting with Babylon (the world) would ultimately lead to Israel's downfall even though he would not have known his decision would have led to such consequences. It can have the same affect in our lives and that of the church (which does seem to be pretty smitten by the world!)
:: If even a godly man such as Hezekiah can lose his focus and start taking pride in worldly things then so can you. And so can I.
:: Always remember that in any long distance race anyone can take off sprinting at the start... that's not that impressive. I used to do it at school races and then drop out! But going the distance and finishing well is impressive. Be mindful to endure and finish your Christian life well. Gal 5:7 'You were running well - who hindered you from obeying the truth?'
 ↩ Although this is easier said than done with the Jewish nation for the importance of their roots, background, beliefs and God are repeatedly taught to their young (in accordance with God's commands) from an early age. And it seems from Psalm 137 that the Jews in Babylon were in no mood to forget Jerusalem despite any attempts of the Babylonians to 'encourage' them to do so. It was by the rivers of Babylon, as Boney M used to sing about, that the Jews sat down and wept as they remembered Zion!
 ↩ It is interesting that the first trial in the book of Daniel is towards worldliness. Later in the life of Daniel will come direct persecution. It's a side note really but currently, in the Western world at least, the main trial or temptation is towards worldliness. But there is a sense that things are changing and persecution of Christians even amongst so called 'Christian' nations is beginning. First comes worldly compromise and then comes persecution. That is the order in Daniel and will probably be the case in the western world.
 ↩ Just a useful comment on this from the Bible Knowledge Commentary concerning 'defilement':
'Nebuchadnezzar had made abundant provision for the captives. Theirs was a life of luxury, not deprivation, for they were given a portion of food and wine daily from the king's own table. However, this food did not conform to the requirements of the Mosaic Law. The fact that it was prepared by Gentiles rendered it unclean. Also no doubt many things forbidden by the Law were served on the king's table, so to partake of such food would defile the Jewish youths. Further, without doubt this royal food had been sacrificed and offered to pagan gods before it was offered to the king. To partake of such food would be contrary to Exodus 34:15, where the Jews were forbidden to eat flesh sacrificed to pagan gods. Similar problems would arise in drinking the wine... Daniel's desire was to please God in all he did. So he resolved that even though he was not in his own land but in a culture that did not follow God's laws, he would consider himself under the Law. He therefore asked the chief court official to be excused from eating and drinking the food and wine generously supplied by the king. Daniel was courageous, determined, and obedient to God.'
 ↩ Proverbs tells us that wisdom builds her house on 7 pillars (Proverbs 9:1) James possibly picks up on this and lists 7 attributes of wisdom saying 'The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)' In Daniel's wise, gentle, reasonable, gracious response to this situation we see these characteristics in play.
 ↩ God watches, He notes and He acts. God is well able to look after His own. Whether it is Daniel in Babylon, Joseph in Egypt, Moses in the backside of the desert or even you! We are not called to totally separate ourselves from this world mind you. We are called to be in it, like Jesus was, but not of it (and yes, like Jesus again!)
 ↩ Please read Prov 2:1-11 about knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It is a very interesting passage. What is God looking for from us?