We go on to Daniel 1:3-21
v3 Ashpenaz is called “chief/master of the eunuchs” in many of the versions. It is possible that Daniel and his 3 friends were emasculated/castrated.
v4 The word translated “young men” is from a Hebrew word that literally means “children”. They were assimilated into the Babylonian (Chaldean) culture from a very young age and were equipped to be an asset to the Babylonian leadership.
v6 The meaning of their Hebrew names:
· Daniel: ‘G-d is my judge.’
· Hananiah: ‘Grace, mercy (of G-d).’
· Mishael: ‘Who is like G-d?’
· Azariah: ‘G-d has helped.’
v7: The meaning of the Babylonian names given to these four children, which many scholars say reference pagan/false gods:
· Belteshazzar: ‘Protect the life of the king.’
· Shadrach: ‘Tender’
· Meshach: “That draws with force’
· Abed-Nego: ‘Servant of Nego’
Could this have been part of a spiritual battle? A battle to change their identities from ‘followers of G-d’ to ‘followers of idols’?
Another principle we can learn: We are all in a spiritual battle. It is going to get even more intense as we come to the end of the ages. We need to learn how to be strong in the L-rd (Eph 6:10-18)
v8 The word “BUT” is a contrasting word. Daniel resolved/made a decision not to be defiled. He desired the opposite to what we have just read. He wanted to remain faithful to G-d in a very unfaithful location. Faithful with little, ruler over much (Luke 16:10)
v9 The story might have been very different if the “in charge” (i.e Ashpenaz) had said “No”.(we see this scenario in chapter 3) However, G-d moved in this circumstance -and these young men (children) were shown supernatural favour. G-d was gracious to give these young boys a testimony to start building their lives upon…a testimony of the faithfulness of G-d.
v12 Tested for 10 days reminds me of Revelation 2:9-11. We are called to be overcomers. After this testing period Daniel and his friends were “better and fatter’ (v15) then all the other young men who had not gone through this testing period.
v14 It was a miracle that Ashpenaz agreed to the test. It made no sense for him to take the risk – but he did anyway.
v16 These boys honoured the Word of the L-rd and wanted to submit to the dietary laws found in it. Following laws do not save us. However, because we are saved (and it is in our hearts to submit to and
obey G-d) the Holy Spirit helps us to keep the laws and live in a way that pleases G-d (1 Thess 4:1-8, John 16:7-15, Titus 2:11-14)
v17 These boys honoured G-d with their decisions – G-d moved in their lives to supernaturally provide them with what they needed to be useful to G-d.
v18 “At the end of the days” was three years later (v5)
v21 The first year of Cyrus was when the Babylonian empire came to an end – Cyrus was a Persian king.