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Daniel The Man who Feared God 2016


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Daniel – The Man who Feared God
2016

| James R. Hughes

A Study Guide on the Life of Daniel

>>

Table of Contents

Scripture references and quotations are from the following:



  • The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2001), Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society.

  • The Holy Bible: New International Version (1984), Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

  • New American Standard Bible: 1995 update (1995), LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

  • The New King James Version (1982), Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

  • The Holy Bible: King James Version (2009), (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version), Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

  • Swete, H. B. (1909), The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: with Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit Morphology (2006),. Logos Bible Software.

Divine Time (1.1-2)

  1. Why should we study the book and life of Daniel?

    1. It is part of God’s word, and therefore it can teach us how to live (2 Tim 3.16, 17). Specifically it teaches us about:

      1. Comforting Lift – Daniel is not a biographical (or auto-biographical) account, nor is it a historical chronicle. It is not intended to provide us with a continuous record of events from the lives of the Babylonian kings. The events recorded in this book, were intended to encourage the Jews living in captivity and to remind them that God is sovereign over all nations. It gives us the same encouragement when see crazy things happening around us, such as the expurgation of Christianity from public forums and the coddling of Islam.

      2. Christian Living – Daniel is held up as a model of Godly living and wisdom, both in the book of Daniel, but also in the few references to him outside of the Book of Daniel (e.g., Ezk 14.14, 20; 28.3). His life presents us with examples of Christian living.

      3. Challenging Lessons – Daniel faces the serious challenge of living as a Christian (a believer in the true God and his Son, the Messiah, sent from Heaven) in a pagan society, and gives examples of how to stand steadfast in the face of those challenges. The examples from Daniel’s life show us that Christians are to be circumspect and wise, and not to be belligerently confrontational when dealing with those who opposed the true religion of Christianity.

      4. Civic Leadership – Daniel teaches us about Christian leadership, and especially leadership in a pagan government. His examples of principled leadership can be applied in government, business, and church settings wherever God places us.

      5. Confirming Light – Jesus refers to Daniel as an historical figure (Mt 24.15) whose prophecies were to be understood as relevant for his (Jesus’) day. The prophetic portions of Daniel teach us about God’s providence and his control over the nations. The fulfillment of the prophecies in Daniel vindicates the trustworthiness of Scripture.




  1. When do these events occur? (Compare Jeremiah 25.1)

    1. Third year of Jehoiakim:

      1. This appears to conflict with Jeremiah’s statement that the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer 25.1).

      2. However, there are a number of possible alternative explanations:

        1. Daniel may be referring to the date on which Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and began the siege, whereas Jeremiah may be referring to a different date, e.g., the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar’s father had not died when he began the siege of Jerusalem.

        2. The two authors may have been using different calendar systems: Babylonian versus Jewish. The Babylonian calendar began in the spring (March-April) whereas the Jewish calendar began the year in Tishri (September October).

        3. The OT scholar, Keil, suggests that the Hebrew word that is translated ‘came’ should be translated as ‘set out’

        4. It may be that Daniel uses the Babylonian method of reckoning the dates of a king’s reign whereas Jeremiah uses the method of Palestine. By Jewish reckoning, a king’s reign began in the year in which he ascended the throne, even if he reigned for only a short period during that year. In the Babylonian system, the period of the first year was referred to as the ascension year and only the first full year thereafter was called the first year. Jeremiah may have counted Jehoiakim’s year of accession (which was only part of a full year) as the first year.

    2. Year – 6051 BC

    3. What is the Mesopotamian historical context leading up to, and following, this date?

      1. Assyrian (Akkadian) Empire based in the upper reaches of the Tigris River. Founded around 2350 BC. Re-founded about 1225 BC and covered much of northern Palestine, Syria, parts of northern Iraq and into Turkey and along the Zargos Mountains to the east.

        1. The Empire was large and hard to govern and protect. The Scythians were on the NE boarder in the Caucasus Mountains (between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea). The Medes (NE), Elemmaites (E) and Persians (SE) were on the East in what is today Iran. The Cimmerians were on the north in Turkey, and Egypt was on the SE beyond Judah.

        2. Capital at Asshur on the Tigris (in northern Iraq about 200kms north of modern Baghdad). Nineveh was a bit further north (still in modern Iraq) on the Tigris.

        3. Kings such as Shalmaneser [2 Ki 18.9], Sennacherib [2 Ki 18.13], Esarhaddon [2 Ki 19.37], Ashurbanipal .

        4. Around 640 BC the Assyrian Empire extended south-east into Babylonia/Chaldea and south-west into Egypt.

      2. Neo Babylonian:

        1. Babylon was an ancient kingdom that goes back to the time before Hammurabi (1790–1750 BC). It was founded out of the Sumerian civilization that arose after the flood.

        2. It was focused in the southern part of what is today called Iraq where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers converge toward the Persian Gulf..

        3. It included cities such as: Ur, Erich, Eridu, Kish, Nippur, and Babylon.

        4. By around 560 BC the territory of the Assyrian Empire was included in the Babylonian Empire. However, the combined empire had lost some of portions of the territory to the north-east and east into Persia (Iran), to the Median Empire (Medes and Persians).

        5. Persian Empire about 500 BC:

          1. Covered all of ME. From Indus River (including modern Afghanistan and Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, parts of Kazakhstan; reaching the western borders of modern China) through Turkey (including all of Iran, and Iraq) into Macedonia and to Egypt and Libya),

          2. Its capital was at Susa (which was situated about where the Iraq-Iran boarder is, in the foothills of the Zargos Mountains, about ~375km SE of modern Baghdad.

          3. A highway ran from Susa to Sardis on the Aegean Sea.

    4. What is happening in the rest of the world around this time?

      1. In India, the Brahminic form of Hinduism defines the six stages of the soul (c 690).

      2. Kaleus (Caleus) sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar (first recorded sailing) followed within the next century by a circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians that took three years (c 650).

      3. Zoroaster/Zarathustra (c 630-553 BC), founder of the Persian religion.

      4. Lao-tse, a Chinese philosopher, was born (c 604).

      5. Thales of Miletus: uses geometry to calculate the height of large structures, postulates the necessity of water for life, predicts a solar eclipse from measurement (c 600).

      6. Epimenides, a Cretan philosopher form Knossos, creates the logic paradox: “Cretans are always liars” (quoted by Paul; Tit 1.12), (c 660).

      7. Kung Fu-tse (Confucius) (c 551-479) the Chinese philosopher was teaching.

      8. Siddhartha Gautama Buddha (c 551-480 BC) leaves his home to devote himself to philosophy and asceticism and preaches his first sermon in a deer park in the holy city of Benares (c 521). This was followed by his ‘Inspiration’.

      9. The Greeks have Solon’s laws, the oracle at Delphi and its priestesses are at their height; and Pythagoras (c 580-497) a philosopher and mathematician is writing.




  1. From your prior knowledge of the book of Daniel, what events come immediately to mind?

    1. The stories recorded in the book of Daniel are well known because they are exciting. Most children growing up in a Christian home or who attend Sunday School or VBS have heard of Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace, or have heard the story of Daniel in the lions’ den.

    2. It is the stories based around the miracles that we remember most easily from the book of Daniel. This makes Daniel different from other historical accounts from that time. There are no obvious miracles recorded in these other accounts (e.g., Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ezekiel, Jeremiah). Daniel is unique among the accounts from the days of the Babylonian Captivity in that it records miracles.

    3. What are the ages of miracles that appear in the Bible?

      1. Creation – The initial age of the pre-Flood world. Includes the miracles of creation week, Enoch’s translation, and the animals coming to Noah at the Ark, and the Flood.

      2. Commencement – The patriarchal age in which God’s people are called out of paganism. God worked a miracle for Sarah, rained burning sulphur on Sodom, and turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt.

      3. Constitution – The age in which Israel is forged into a nation. Includes the plagues in Egypt and the wonders associated with the Exodus such as the manna, water from the rock, and Samson’s extreme strength.

      4. Commonwealth – The era of the Jewish monarchy. Includes the miracles associated with the prophets such as Elijah, Elisha and Jonah.

      5. Captivity – The time when Judah is in slavery during the Babylonian captivity. Miracles such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace, Daniel interpreting dreams and Daniel in the lions’ den.

      6. Christ – The commencement of the NT Church age. The sign miracles and wonders that validated Jesus and the Apostles who established the NT Church.

      7. Consummation – The end of this time-space universe, when Christ returns. The primary miracles of this age will be the resurrection of the dead and the re-creation of the world.

    4. Daniel’s set of miracles is the fifth age of seven in which God’s reveals himself through the miraculous. Just as the book of Daniel turns its focus on the future last days, so the placement of the miracles at the time of Daniel, in the progress of redemptive history, tells us that we are near the end (logically, not necessarily chronologically) of God’s unfolding plan for revelation and providence. God has started to wrap up history by the time we reach Daniel and the year 605 BC. By the time of Daniel we have passed the half-way point in the history of the world—from a redemptive perspective. It is hard for us to understand this perspective with our Western focus on the ‘great’ ages that follow: Greek philosophy and Athenian democracy; Roman Empire building; the European kingdoms, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution, colonialism, the World Wars and the Cold War, and the Islamic ascendancy in the West.




  1. Why is the first verse of Daniel important for us?

    1. Wil Durant in his world history2 refers to the book of Daniel as “vengeful and legendary” but then quotes Nebuchadnezzar’s words in Daniel 4.303 as historical.

    2. This verse anchors the book of Daniel in history. It records reality, and does not contain myth. It refers to events that actually happened, or would happen (as predicted), between the time of Daniel and the time of Christ.

    3. Contrast Daniel with the writings of other religions, such as the following (written down about the same general time as the Book of Daniel):

      1. “Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.”4

      2. “Whilst Kakudmin, surnamed Raivata, was absent on his visit to the region of Brahmá, the evil spirits … destroyed his capital Kuśasthalí. His hundred brothers, through dread of these foes, fled in different directions; and the Kshatriyas, their descendants, settled in many countries. … Ikshwáku was born from the nostril of the Manu, as he happened to sneeze. He had a hundred sons, of whom the three most distinguished were Vikukshi, Nimi, and Dańd́a. Fifty of the rest, under Sakuni, were the protectors of the northern countries. Forty-eight were the princes of the south. Upon one of the days called Asht́aka, Ikshwáku being desirous of celebrating ancestral obsequies, ordered Vikukshi to bring him flesh suitable for the offering. The prince accordingly went into the forest, and killed many deer, and other wild animals, for the celebration. Being weary with the chase, and being hungered, he sat down, and ate a hare; after which, being refreshed, he carried the rest of the game to his father. Vaśisht́ha, the family priest of the house of Ikshwáku, was summoned to consecrate the food; but he declared that it was impure, in consequence of Vikukshi's having eaten a hare from amongst it (making it thus, as it were, the residue of his meal). Vikukshi was in consequence abandoned by his offended father, and the epithet Śaśáda (hare-eater) was affixed to him by the Guru. On the death of Ikshwáku, the dominion of the earth descended to Śaśáda, who was succeeded by his son Puranjaya. In the Treta age a violent war broke out between the gods and the Asuras, in which the former were vanquished. They consequently had recourse to Vishńu for assistance, and propitiated him by their adorations. The eternal ruler of the universe, Náráyańa, had compassion upon them, and said, “What you desire is known unto me. Hear how your wishes shall be fulfilled. There is an illustrious prince named Puranjaya, the son of a royal sage; into his person I will infuse a portion of myself, and having descended upon earth I will in his person subdue all your enemies. Do you therefore endeavour to secure the aid of Puranjaya for the destruction of your foes.” Acknowledging with reverence the kindness of the deity, the immortals quitted his presence, the king was attended by his sons, to the number of twenty-one thousand; and all these, with the exception of only three, perished in the engagement, consumed by the fiery breath of Dhundhu. The three who survived were Drídháśwa, Chandráśwa, and Kapiláśwa; and the son and successor of the elder of these was Haryyáśwa; his son was [many generations]… Yuvanáśwa. Yuvanáśwa had no son, at which he was deeply grieved. Whilst residing in the vicinage of the holy Munis, he inspired them with pity for his childless condition, and they instituted a religious rite to procure him progeny. One night during its performance the sages having placed a vessel of consecrated water upon the altar had retired to repose. It was past midnight, when the king awoke, exceedingly thirsty; and unwilling to disturb any of the holy inmates of the dwelling, he looked about for something to drink. In his search he came to the water in the jar, which had been sanctified and endowed with prolific efficacy by sacred texts, and he drank it. When the Munis rose, and found that the water had been drunk, they inquired who had taken it, and said, “The queen that has drunk this water shall give birth to a mighty and valiant son.” “It was I,” exclaimed the Rájá, “who unwittingly drank the water!” and accordingly in the belly of Yuvanáśwa was conceived a child, and it grew, and in due time it ripped open the right side of the Rájá, and was born, and the Raji, did not die. Upon the birth of the child, “Who will be its nurse?” said the Munis; when, Indra, the king of the gods, appeared, and said, “He shall have me for his nurse” (mám dhásyati); and hence the boy was named Mándhátri. Indra put his fore finger into the mouth of the infant, who sucked it, and drew from it heavenly nectar; and he grew up, and became a mighty monarch, and reduced the seven continental zones under his dominion. And here a verse is recited; “From the rising to the going down of the sun, all that is irradiated by his light, is the land of Mándhátri, the son of Yuvanáśwa.”“5

      3. “1. Ahura Mazda spake unto Spitama Zarathushtra, saying: I have made every land dear (to its people), even though it had no charms whatever in it: had I not made every land dear (to its people), even though it had no charms whatever in it, then the whole living world would have invaded the Airyana Vaeja.

2. The first of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the Airyana Vaeja [the holy land of Zoroastrianism: Zarathushtra was born and founded his religion there], by the Vanguhi Daitya. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created the serpent in the river and Winter, a work of the Daevas.

3. There are ten winter months there, two summer months; and those are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there, the worst of all plagues. ...

4. The second of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the plain which the Sughdhas inhabit. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created the locust, which brings death unto cattle and plants.

5. The third of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the strong, holy Mouru. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created plunder and sin.

6. The fourth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the beautiful Bakhdhi with high-lifted banner. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created the ants and the ant-hills.

7. The fifth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was Nisaya, that lies between the Mouru and Bakhdhi. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created the sin of unbelief.

8. The sixth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the house-deserting Haroyu. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created tears and wailing. ...

10. The eighth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was Urva of the rich pastures. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created the sin of pride.

11. The ninth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was Khnenta which the Vehrkanas inhabit. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created a sin for which there is no atonement, the unnatural sin [pederasty].

12. The tenth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the beautiful Harahvaiti. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created a sin for which there is no atonement, the burying of the dead.

13. The eleventh of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the bright, glorious Haetumant. Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created the evil work of witchcraft.

14. And this is the sign by which it is known, this is that by which it is seen at once: wheresoever they may go and raise a cry of sorcery, there the worst works of witchcraft go forth. From there they come to kill and strike at heart, and they bring locusts as many as they want.”6




  1. Who was Jehoiakim (or Jehoikim)? (Refer to 2 Kings 23.31-24.7; 2 Chronicles 36.1-8)

    1. A king of Judah (609-598BC).

    2. A (younger) son of Josiah from his wife Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.

    3. The half-brother of Jehoahaz who reigned as king in Judah for only three months and was deposed by Pharaoh Neco and bound in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath in Egypt where he eventually died.

    4. Formerly named Eliakim. His name was changed by Pharaoh Neco, who placed him on the throne, to Jehoiakim (‘he whom Jehovah/Yahweh has set up’).

    5. A vassal king to Pharaoh Neco of Egypt. He had to pay a heavy tribute levy (NIV footnote: about 3.4 metric tonnes of silver and 34 kilos of gold), presumably annually, that was made available through a taxation of the people of Judah.

    6. After about three years Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah and made Jehoiakim his vassal (2 Ki 24.1). However Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon’s suzerainty after about four years.

    7. He did evil in the eyes of God, for example by being disrespectful of God’s prophecy by burning the scroll Jeremiah had written (Jer 36).

    8. He was 23 when he was made king and reigned for 11 years, at which point Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah again and captured Jehoiakim and took him to Babylon.

    9. Nebuchadnezzar appointed his son, Jehoiachin (aged 18) born of his wife Nehushta, to succeeded him as a vassal king. But, because of his evil, he left him on the throne for only 3 months and 10 days and then took him captive to Babylon.

    10. Nebuchadnezzar then appointed as king, Mattaniah (whom he named Zedekiah) a (half-) brother of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, and the uncle of Jehoiachin.




  1. Who was Nebuchadnezzar?

    1. King of Babylon (605-562 BC).

    2. Or Nebuchadrezzar, which means ‘Nabu protect the boundary’.

    3. Son of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, in 625 BC.

    4. At the point of besieging Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar was not yet king of Babylon.7 On returning from the siege he ascended the throne of his father and became king of Babylon.

    5. He was the most powerful monarch the world had ever seen until this time. He was king in a succession of warrior-kings from before the time of Hammurabi, of the Assyrian-Babylonian Empire,

      1. He attempted to take Tyre, and besieged the city from 585-573 but was unsuccessful.

      2. In 572-569 he invaded Egypt, defeating Pharaoh Apries/Hophra. The Babylonian’s occupied Egypt until 536.

    6. Nebuchadnezzar appears to have been more than just a conqueror. He seems to have been interested in establishing a more permanent system of territorial government with a significant capital.

    7. He spent considerable effort and resources, during his long reign, of 43 years undertaking public works projects such as:

      1. Digging canals.

      2. Making artificial lakes and reservoirs.

      3. Lining the Euphrates with brick (bricks were baked and often faced with coloured glazed enamel and included animals in relief).

      4. Building a bridge across the Euphrates (and possibly a tunnel under the river that was 5m wide, 4m high and almost 1km in length).

      5. Building large cities and associated public works. Much energy went into building up his capital city—Babylon:

        1. He is reputed to have been the king who built the tiered Hanging Gardens (mistakenly shown in medieval art as a ziggurat, or pyramid-like temple tower), which the Greeks included among the Seven Wonders of the World. He is reported to have built the gardens for one of his wives, the daughter of Cyaxares King of the Medes who was not accustomed to the heat and dust of Babylon and pined for her native hills. Slaves worked hydraulic engines that moved water through hollow pillars to the upper terraces where gardens of tall trees, exotic shrubs and fragrant flowers were planted.8

        2. Diodorus Siculus (c 90-30 BC), a Greek historian, said that “The approach to the Garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier. … which consisted of huge slabs of stone covered with layers of reed, asphalt and tiles and lead sheets to prevent rotting ... On all this, the earth had been piled ... and was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great size and other charm, gave pleasure to the beholder. ... The water machines [raised] the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it.”9 Note however, that Siculus lived four centuries after the Gardens were destroyed and may not have had an accurate account of them.

        3. Herodotus, the Greek historian, refers to Babylon as “the most powerful and renowned” of all cities which “surpasses in splendour any city of the known world.”10 He goes on to refer to the city as being situated in a wide plain with the Euphrates river flowing through the center of the city and enumerates the dimensions of city wall, which he describes as being “fifty royal cubits wide and two hundred high” (approximately 85feet and 335 feet) which had “a circuit of some fifty-six miles.”11 He also discusses the construction techniques used to build the buildings, houses, walls and moat. He mentions houses of three and four storeys, a grid-like layout of straight streets, and a seven-tiered ziggurat (e.g., tower, pyramid, or temple). He said that “[t]here is a fortress in the middle of each half of the city: in one, the royal palace surrounded by a wall of great strength, in the other, the temple of Bel, the Babylonian Zeus.”12 Some archaeologists question whether Herodotus actually visited Babylon, as the remains of the city (e.g., the extent of the foundation of the walls which appear to be closer to 12 miles around) do not seem to match what he described (e.g., with the palace and ziggurat on opposite sides of the river). They question whether it was possible to use mud-brick construction techniques to build such high walls and three- or four-storey buildings. Herodotus does not mention the famous ‘hanging gardens’ of Babylon, but he does refer, in some detail, to the temple of Bel [Marduk], the ‘Babylonian Zeus’, the altars (one of pure gold) outside the temple, the golden statue of Marduk in a shrine near the top of the temple-ziggurat, and the ritual of the god (possibly the king acting as the god’s surrogate) meeting with a virgin. Even the foundations of this temple-ziggurat no longer exist at the site of Babylon since apparently it was quarried from the time of Alexander the Great, for its baked bricks until all that was left was a hole in the ground.13

    8. What is known of his history (Biblical or extra-Biblical) appears to show Nebuchadnezzar as being of a humane disposition compared with the typical cruelty of Assyrian emperors. For example, Jerusalem was spared repeatedly in the face of rebellion and Jeremiah was treated kindly by him. He also repeatedly put in place Jewish kings as vassals to rule over Judah until his patience ran out.

    9. After his death in October, 562 BC, having reigned approximately 43 years, he was succeeded by:

      1. His son Amel-Marduk (or Evil-Merodach; 2 Ki 25.27; Jer 52.31) (561-560 BC).

      2. Neriglissar (or Nergal-shar-usur, or Nergal-sharezer;; Jer 39.3, 13) (559-555 BC), son-in law to Nebuchadnezzar by his marriage to Nitocris. He murdered Evil-Merodach.

      3. Labashi-Marduk (555 BC). Son of Neriglissar, a child-king.

      4. Nabonidus (555-539 BC).14 His relationship with the previous Chaldean kings of Babylon is uncertain. He may have been at the head of the conspiracy to overthrow the young king Labashi-Marduk. It appears that he substantiated his claim to the throne by marrying the widow of Nergal-sharezer—i.e., Nitocris the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. In 549 BC he left Babylon to live at Tayma, a rich oasis city in Arabia, leaving his son Belshazzar to rule the empire in his place.

      5. Belshazzar (co-regent, but may not have actually been crowned king) (549-539 BC). Little is known (e.g., he is only mentioned in the Nabonidus Cylinders) of him outside of what is recorded about him in Daniel 5.

      6. Cyrus (539-530 BC) Less than a quarter of a century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar Cyrus the Great came from the east and defeated the Assyrian-Babylonian Empire. He led the combined armies of Media and Persia (in modern terms, think of Iran/Afghanistan/Pakistan beating Iraq/Syria/Lebanon/Egypt). It is claimed that his dynasty lasted longer than two and a half millennia.15 Iran, under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (the Shah of Iran) celebrated the 2,500th anniversary of the Iranian monarchy in 1971. It was toppled eight years later (in 1979) in the Iranian Revolution (also known as the Islamic Revolution) that transformed Iran from a monarchy into an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic.




  1. What significant events transpired in that year (605 BC) in Judea?

    1. Besieging of Jerusalem. Extra-Biblical history does not provide much (if any) additional information about the siege of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar at the time he assumed the throne from his father.

      1. Note: this is not the siege of Jerusalem that led to the destruction of the Temple and the city walls, and the removal of the people into captivity.

      2. The destruction of Jerusalem occurred in 586 BC (traditionally 586 BC, and apparently well-attested through comparison of Babylonian astronomical data associated with the years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign16). Eventually Nebuchadnezzar lost his patience with the rebellions in Jerusalem and destroyed it. The book of Daniel includes the entire reign of Nebuchadnezzar and beyond, to the destruction of the Assyrian-Babylonian Empire by the Medo-Persian Empire.

      3. God punished Israel (Judah) for its sin (2 Chron 36.15-19; Jer 52.12-14), in accordance with numerous prophecies (Deut. 28.49-68; Is 33.20; 64.10; Jer 9.11; 20.5; 26.18).

    2. Captivity of Jehoiakim, God delivered him to Nebuchadnezzar because of his sin (2 Chron 36.5, 6).

    3. The sacking of the Temple, with the removal of some of the vessels (articles) from the Temple.

      1. Ezra 1.9-11 lists the articles that were taken. It was a significant amount of wealth, which had been contributed to the Temple by Solomon (2 Ki 24.13) and others.

      2. Was the Ark of the Covenant taken from the Temple at this time? If the Ark was still in the Temple at this time (604 BC) it may have been left there for another 18 years. When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 they plundered the Temple for its remaining artefacts (2 Chron 36.18). The Ark may have been among the articles taken. Or, it may have been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar soldiers. However, around this time the Ark entered the realm of legend. Some of the suggestions of what happened to it, include:

        1. It was concealed under the Temple mound. There are catacombs and tunnels under the Dome of the Rock but they are closed by Muslims to any archaeological activity.

        2. It was removed from Jerusalem in advance of the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians and transported to Ethiopia and placed in the care of prince Menelik I (purported to be the son, or descendant, of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It was removed by Jewish priests during the reign of Manasseh of Judah and taken to a Jewish temple at Elephantine in Egypt (not Tanis where Indiana Jones is supposed to have found it in Raiders of the Lost Ark).

        3. It was taken by Shishak when he plundered Jerusalem (1 Ki 14.25-26) in 925 BC. With a reduced Egyptian chronology17, this could have been Thutmosis III (others say it was Shoshenq I) who left a pictorial record on his wall in Karnak near Luxor (on the Bubastite Portal to the temple of Amon) of the loot he had captured. In that record are many articles that are similar to the treasures in the temple, including 300 gold shields (1 Ki 6.23) and a golden box with staves that looks like the ark described in Exodus (25.10-13).

        4. It was miraculously removed by God from the earth.

        5. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies who took the gold plating from it.




  1. Where did Nebuchadnezzar take the vessels (articles) from the temple in Jerusalem?

    1. To the treasury of the temple of his god in Babylonia/Shinar.

      1. Where was Shinar (Heb/NKJV)?

      2. First appears in Gen 10.10; 11.2; 14.1, 9; (in NKJV also in Is 11.11 and Zech 5.11 where the NIV uses Babylonia)

      3. It is the older name for the general area of Mesopotamia (Greek for ‘between the rivers’ μέσος + ποταμός), the plain (Gen 11.2) in Iraq and Syria between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. It is probably used here as an intentional archaism to remind the Jews in Babylon (and us) that God controls the nations and the allocation of their territories. Babylon was overstepping its bounds to fulfill God’s purposes, but it would be temporary. God controlled Babylon.




  1. Who was Nebuchadnezzar’s god?

    1. Possibly Bel (Dan 4.8) or Marduk, the chief god in the Babylonian pantheon; the god of water (storms), vegetation, and judgement. Bel is a title (meaning ‘master’ or ‘lord’) more than a name, and is applied to a number of gods in the Babylonian pantheon as a prefix (e.g., Bel Marduk) but when used alone as ‘Bel’ it could refer to Marduk. Marduk later became equated with the Greek god Zeus (Latin: Jupiter). ‘Bel’ is equivalent to ‘Baal’ a Canaanite title and honorific meaning ‘master’ or ‘lord’ that is applied to various gods in the Western Levant (as in Baal Zebub).

    2. Possibly Nabu, since his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) name includes a reference to Nabu, as ‘Nabu protect the boundary’. Nebo (Is 46.1) is the Hebrew variant spelling of Nabu. Nabu was the Babylonian god of wisdom and writing and patron of the scribes who was worshipped as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum.




  1. What is the significance of his taking the articles to the temple of his god?

    1. He was giving a tribute to his god; thanking his god for protection or asking for future favours.

    2. Placing the articles in the temple of his god would be viewed as a sign that his god could conquer the God of Judah.

    3. The concept of giving tribute to a god is derived from the legitimate tribute that is owed to the true God by all men in the form of a tithe.

      1. The purpose of the tithe is to remind us that God is sovereign, that he owns everything (Job 41.11; Ps 50.10), and that we are his subjects.

      2. As subjects in God’s kingdom, we are required to pay an ongoing tribute of a portion of all of our life to God.18 This tribute is an obligation of the covenant (between God and man), in addition to obedience to his law, and is to be paid with our: life (e.g., firstborn are to be ransomed, the life-blood belongs to God), worship, possessions (tithes), and time (the Sabbath).

      3. The requirement to tithe of our income to God continues to be a requirement today.19

    4. Men have perverted tithing, as they have perverted all aspects of the true religion and worship.

      1. They give honour to their false gods in the form of idols. What are some modern examples?

      2. Offerings of flowers and fruit placed in front of statues of Buddha, even in ‘Western’ homes.

      3. Offerings of flowers, trinkets, etc. placed at a memorial for Princess Diana.

      4. They have turned tithes and offerings into a payment system, whereby they believe that if they give offerings to God, he in turn should pay them with salvation or blessings.




  1. Is this the end of the temple articles?

    1. They reappear in chapter 5.2-4 and 23 (539 BC), where they are used for a drinking party and used to praise pagan gods in idolatrous revelry.

    2. They reappear again in Ezra 1.7-11 (539 or 538 BC), where they are returned to the Jews by Cyrus.

    3. God had prophesied, through Jeremiah, that the temple articles would be preserved and returned to Jerusalem (Jer 27.21-22; 28.3, 6).

    4. The symbolism should not be missed: what was paid in tribute to a false pagan deity would be returned to its rightful owner, the God of the universe. God will not be mocked and plundered. What is rightfully his, he will demand and exact in the end.




  1. What are some lessons that we can derive from this section?

    1. Providence – In verse 2, Daniel tells us that the “Lord delivered” both the king and the Temple articles into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. This reminds us that:

      1. God is in control of the nations and of all events that transpire on this earth. A key message of the book of Daniel—from God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar, through his dealings with subsequent rulers, to the prophecies of his disposition of nations that follow until the time of his supreme king Jesus Christ—God raises up and disposes the nations (Dan 2.21). Just as King Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilling God’s purposes, so also do kings, dictators, presidents, and prime ministers today.

      2. God is working out his plan and redemptive purposes. His purposes are not arbitrary or capricious. They are directed to one primary purpose—to save a people for himself.

    2. Purity – God demands religious purity from his people. When his people drift away from observance of true worship and follow pagan gods and indulge in materialism they should expect to suffer the consequences.

      1. That God permitted the ransacking of the Temple, his holy dwelling place on earth, is an indication that the people had placed a superstitious faith in the Temple and its articles and were no longer focusing their lives on serving God.

      2. We must be cautious that we do not make religious observance into a mere ritual or place our faith in faith or religious practice. We must, in particular, never venerate the physical objects associate with worship (buildings, cups, pulpits, etc.) Our faith must be in a living person not in a material object of veneration. Our only hope is in God (Ps 32.22; Jer 14.22; 1 Tim1.1). Our faith must be in the living and true God as he is revealed in Jesus Christ.

    3. Punishment – Nebuchadnezzar was the means, or instrument, God used to execute punishment on his disobedient people.

      1. Moses had warned the people, about a thousand years before, that captivity would be the consequence of disobedience (Dt 28.15-68; esp. 41, 48-57).

      2. The northern kingdom (Israel) had been taken into captivity in 722 BC as a warning to the southern kingdom (Judah).

      3. The southern kingdom heeded the warning for a time, but then drifted into debauchery and idolatry. The particular sins that led to the captivity were neglect of the Sabbaths (Jer 17.19-27; 34.8-22) and idolatry (Jer7.30-31).

      4. God will tolerate individual, congregational, and national sin only to a certain point and then he will bring it under judgement. For those who are his people, this judgement will come in the form of chastisement to bring them back to their God (Rev 2-3).


Daniel’s Training (1.3-21)
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