Thursday, April 2, 2009

Daniel & The Blessings of Faithfulness Pt.1

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. Dan.1:3-4

This story of Daniel and the three Hebrew children was a fulfillment of a prophecy made by Isaiah to King Hezekiah found in Isaiah 39:7. Isaiah prophesied that Hezekiah’s descendants would be taken captive and made eunuchs by the King of Babylon.

When the Babylonians captured a country, they took the best of the youth to stand before the king. Daniel and his three friends were taken before King Nebuchadnezzar and, according to Josephus, were greatly esteemed by him because of their good looks, intelligence, and wisdom.

They were permitted to live at the king’s house and to eat at his table – a very great honor. As with all foreign captives who shared the king’s house, the boys were made eunuchs and given new names that related to Babylon’s deities.

Daniel: “God is my judge”

became Belteshazzar: “Prince of Bel.”

Hananiah: “Beloved of the Lord”

became Shadrach: “Illumined by the Sun God.”

Mishael: “Who is like God”

became Meshach: “Who is like unto the Moon God.”

Azariah: “The Lord is my help”

became Abednego: “Servant of Nego, a shining one.”

Nebuchadnezzar was not content to allow them to keep names which connected them to their former lives. He wanted their allegiance to be to his kingdom and its gods. Babylon was the ancient center for science and learning and the king gave them personal tutors to instruct them in all the learning of the Chaldeans.

See tomorrow's post for an incredible blessing these youth received.

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