Daniel 1:5-6. Review of Daniel 1:1-4

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1 Daniel 1:5-6 Daniel 1:5-Nebuchadnezzar Assigns Young Qualified Aristocratic Israelite Men A Daily Ration From His Food And Wine And Trained Them For Three Years Review of Daniel 1:1-4 Daniel 1:1 records king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacking Jerusalem in the third year of the reign of king Jehoiakim of Judah. Daniel 1:1 During the third year of Jehoiakim s reign, Judah s king, Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon s king arrived at Jerusalem and then he lay siege against her. (Author s translation) We noted that Daniel 1:1 appears to conflict with Jeremiah 25:1 and 46:2. The latter two state that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem during the fourth year of Jehoiakim s reign. The critics of the Bible have seized upon this apparent contradiction. However, it is easily resolved when we understand that Daniel is writing from the Babylonian perspective and Jeremiah from the Jewish perspective. The Babylonians considered the first year of a king s reign as the accession year, i.e. the year he ascended to the throne. That year would often last only a few months. The first regnal year or in other words his first full year of reign began with the first day of the new civil year. For the Babylonians this would have been the first of Nisan (late March and early April). Jeremiah was writing from the Jewish perspective who followed the accession year system. The Jews began their civil year on the first of Tishri (late September and early October). Pharaoh Neco of Egypt installed Jehoiakim as a vassal king under Egyptian authority in the fall of 609 B.C., changing his name from Eliakim to Jehoiakim. This year was Jehoiakim s accession year. His first regnal year was 608 B.C. After the downfall of Assyrian, Neco marched into Palestine. He did this to assist the Assyrian forces according to the Babylonian Chronicle published in 1923 by Gadd. Josiah did not want Neco to aid the enemies of Judah and thus sought to stop him at Megiddo. However he was assassinated there in 609 B.C. Jehoahaz II, the son of Josiah was installed as king but after three months he was ousted by Neco in favor of his elder brother Jehoiakim. Neco made him a tributary and demanded him to pay one hundred talents of silver and one of gold (2 Kings 23:33). In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar attacked Egypt in the Battle of Carchemish which resulted in the defeat of Egypt. Carchemish was destroyed by the Babylonians in approximately June of that year. The Babylonian king pursued the Egyptians and thus expanded his area of authority. He went into Syria and toward Palestine. Upon learning of the death of his father Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar returned from 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 1

2 Riblah to Babylon in August 605 B.C. where he was crowned king. After this he returned to Palestine and attacked Jerusalem in September 605 B.C. Thus, if Jehoiakim s first regnal year began in Nisan 608, Nebuchadnezzar s defeat of the Assyrian-Egyptian coalition at the battle of Carchemish would have taken place during Jehoiakim s third regnal year according to Babylonian reckoning, which again would have the first regnal year as beginning with the first of Nisan. On other hand, the civil year in the Jewish calendar began on the first of Tishri rather than the first of Nisan. Therefore, if Jehoiakim was appointed as a vassal king by Neco in the late fall of 609 his first regnal year according to the Jewish reckoning of time would have begun in Tishri 608. Consequently, Tishri 605 would have inaugurated his fourth regnal year. Thus, Jeremiah 25:1 and 46:2 have this first of Nebuchadnezzar s three invasions of Jerusalem as taking place during the fourth year of Jehoiakim s reign. Therefore, there is no contradiction or error in the Scripture and both Jeremiah and Daniel are using accession year chronology. When Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem during the third year of Jehoiakim s reign over Judah, he had not yet ascended the throne as king of Babylon. At that time in 605 B.C. his father Nabopolassar was king of Babylon. However, while fighting in battle, Nebuchadnezzar rushed back to Babylon to ascend the throne when he heard of his father s death. Daniel 1:1 was written at a later date after Nebuchadnezzar had assumed the throne. Nebuchadnezzar was one of the giants of the ancient world. He was not only a magnificent military commander but also a great builder. He restored many temples in Babylon. He constructed a raised processional street from the Ishtar gate and built a colossal, ornate palace. He was also known as a great lawgiver and judge. Archaeologists have found his code of laws and his regulations for Babylon and for his court. He was also involved in pagan idolatry and was considered very religious. He observed ceremonies of the Babylonian religion and made elaborate offerings to the gods of Babylon. His records also show that he made an image to himself which appears to be the one mentioned in Daniel 3:1. An archaeologist by the name of J. Oppert found remains of a forty-six foot square and twenty-foothigh brick platform that might have been used as the platform for the gold image mentioned in Daniel 3:1. Like the Assyrian and Babylonian kings, his archives do not make mention of any of his defeats. However, an inscription from the latter half of his reign indicates he was deposed from power for approximately four years. This no doubt is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar s seven year exile mentioned in Daniel chapter four in which he acted like a wild animal which was the result of his failure to acknowledge Daniel s God as sovereign over him William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 2

3 Babylon had long been the commercial and pagan religious center of the entire Mesopotamian region. The city was at its zenith when Daniel was taken captive. Nebuchadnezzar expanded the city and made it a magnificent capital of the Neo- Babylonian Empire. The city was a square and was approximately 14 miles on each side. It was surrounded by a double wall with a wide moat in between. The inner wall was about 75 feet high and 32 feet wide. The outer wall of the city was about 344 feet high and 86 feet wide. Four horse chariots could run on top of the wall, pass each other and turn. The Euphrates River flowed through the city. Orchards and fields were within the city walls. The famous hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The walls, palaces, temples and homes associate with the city were built with brick. The city of Jerusalem is located along the central mountain ridge of Palestine, 36 miles east of the Mediterranean and 16 miles west of the northern tip of the Dead Sea and is situated ft. above sea level in a relatively level plateau of the Benjaminite highlands. On the east, is the Kidron valley, which separates it from the Mount of Olives and on the west and south by the Hinnom valley. Nebuchadnezzar s attack of Jerusalem in 605 B.C. during the third year of Jehoiakim, Judah s king resulted in the first of three deportations of the Jewish people (Daniel 1:1; 2 Kings 24:1-2, 13; 2 Chronicles 36:5, 6, 7). Nebuchadnezzar s attack in 605 B.C. also resulted in the beginning of an important prophetic period called the times of the Gentiles, which is described in Daniel 2:31-45 and Daniel 7. This prophetic period refers to an extended period of time when the Gentiles are the dominant world powers and Israel is subject to those powers and extends from the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.) and continues through the Tribulation (Revelation 11:2). This period of history includes the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the church age and the Tribulation period. This phrase does not rule out temporary Jewish control of Jerusalem as has occurred in the past during the Maccabean era ( B.C), the first Jewish revolt against Rome (A.D ), the second Jewish revolt (A.D ) and now since 1967 and the Six-Day War. However, this control is only temporary because Revelation 11:1-2 predicts at least another threeand-one-half years of Gentile domination during the last half of Daniel s Seventieth Week, also known as the Tribulation. Daniel 1:2 records the Lord delivering Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar s power along with some of the articles of the temple. Daniel 1:2 Indeed the Lord delivered Jehoiakim, Judah s king into his power as well as a portion of articles from the one and only God s house. Then, he caused them to be transported to the land of Shinar, his god s house William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 3

4 Specifically, he caused these articles to be stored in his god s temple treasury. (Author s translation) This verse contains three statements. The first is emphatic, the second is sequential and the third is explicative. The first Indeed the Lord delivered Jehoiakim, Judah s king into his power as well as a portion of articles from the one and only God s house is emphatic in that it is advancing and intensifying the previous statement in verse 1. Verse 2 advances upon and intensifies verse 1 in the sense that it is providing more information for the reader with regards to Nebuchadnezzar laying siege against Jerusalem during the third regnal year of Jehoiakim s reign over Judah. This not only was an attack on Jerusalem but also a national tragedy that led to the deportation of the king of Judah. Verse 2 reveals that not only did Nebuchadnezzar attack Jerusalem during Jehoiakim s reign but also the Lord Himself delivered Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar s hand along with some of the articles from Solomon s temple. The Lord is the noun ʾā ḏôn, which is a reference to the Lord emphasizing His sovereign authority over the king of Judah, Jehoiakim as well as Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. It emphasizes the majesty of His sovereign rulership over the nations of the earth. It makes clear to the reader that Nebuchadnezzar s success in defeating Jehoiakim and sacking the city of Jerusalem was ultimately the result of the Lord sovereignly giving him success in the endeavor. The word teaches that the Judean monarchy fell because the Lord decreed for it to take place. It indicates that Nebuchadnezzar was only the human instrument that the Lord used to bring this about. The entire book of Daniel emphasizes that the Lord is Delivered is the verb nā ṯǎn, which denotes that the Lord handed over Jehoiakim and some of the articles from the temple to Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah 36:30-31 teaches that the reason why the Lord delivered Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar s power is because he committed evil in the sight of the Lord and rejected His Word through the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 25:1-11 also teaches that the Lord delivered Judah into Nebuchadnezzar s power because of their idolatry. Also, a comparison of Leviticus 25:1-12, 26:32-35, 43, Jeremiah 25:11, 29:10 and 2 Chronicles 26:21 indicates that the Lord delivered Judah into Nebuchadnezzar s power because they failed to respect the Sabbath Day and the sabbatic year in which every seventh year they were to let the land rest. Into his power denotes that the Lord delivered Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar s power or authority. It denotes that Jehoiakim was under Nebuchadnezzar s authority or power. The noun k e lî means vessels or articles and is used in the plural and refers to the various articles pertaining to the worship of the Lord in Solomon s temple. It does not refer to the main items of the temple such as the altar or lampstand but 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 4

5 rather it refers to the equipment used in serving these. Thus, Daniel 1:2 is recording that Nebuchadnezzar took the equipment in the temple which was symbolic of its owner and brought them to the temple of his god in Babylon. The adjunctive clause as well as a portion of articles from the one and only God s house is a reference to the tribute that Jehoiakim was forced to pay as tribute to Nebuchadnezzar. As part of this tribute the latter took the gold articles of the temple and brought them to Babylon. He placed them in the treasury of the temple of the god he worshipped, which cuneiform inscriptions reveal was Marduk. These articles were made of gold, silver and bronze according to Daniel 5:2-3. This tribute is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 36:7, 10, 18. These articles were restored seventy years later by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7). Taking these gold, silver and bronze articles would have religious significance in Daniel s day since removing them from Solomon s temple would be a sign of victory of Nebuchadnezzar s god over Yahweh, who was Jehoiakim s God. Wars were fought in a god s name in the ancient world and thus the plunder from a victory belonged to the victorious god. The temple articles are his booty. This adjunctive clause denotes that Nebuchadnezzar took a portion of the gold, silver and bronze articles of the temple and put them into the treasury of his god, Marduk. It indicates that Nebuchadnezzar took only a part or a portion of the gold, silver and bronze articles from Solomon s temple and placed them in the treasury of his god, Marduk, in Babylon. God s house refers to Solomon s temple, which was of course located in Jerusalem and was still standing during the reign of Jehoiakim. The one and only God s house denotes the uniqueness of Daniel s God, Yahweh in that He is the one and only God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind. It sets Daniel s God in contrast to Nebuchadnezzar s god, Marduk. It also emphasizes the transcendent character of God. Thus, the word emphasizes that Daniel s God is transcendent of His creation and creatures and thus superior to the gods of the Babylonian or the god of Nebuchadnezzar, Marduk. It refers to the Lord s complete sovereign power over Nebuchadnezzar and all the rulers of the earth. This word is employed here rather than the noun Yahweh since the latter is used to emphasize Israel s covenant relationship to God whereas the latter emphasizes that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were Gentiles and thus did not have a covenant relationship with God. Then, he caused them to be transported to the land of Shinar, his god s house refers to Nebuchadnezzar giving orders to carry these articles from Solomon s temple in Jerusalem to the treasury of the temple of Nebuchadnezzar s god in Babylon. Shinar was located in the southern region of Mesopotamia, south of Baghdad in Iraq. His god s house refers to the temple of Marduk William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 5

6 Specifically, he caused these articles to be stored in his god s temple treasury is an explicative clause meaning that it clarifies or specifies the exact location in which Nebuchadnezzar stored a portion of the articles from Solomon s temple in Jerusalem after subjugating that city and Jehoiakim to his rule. It refers to a storage vault which would hold valuables and was part of the temple of Marduk in Babylon. It would contain items of gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious stones. Daniel 1:3 Next, this king commanded Ashpenaz, his officials chief to cause some of the sons of Israel to be transported some of the royal family as well as some of the nobles. (Author s translation) This verse marks the next sequential event that took place after Nebuchadnezzar stored some of the articles of Solomon s temple in Jerusalem to be stored in the temple treasury of his god, Marduk. As part of the tribute that Nebuchadnezzar would require of Jehoiakim would be to provide him Israelite nobles and those of royal descent to serve in his government. The king of Babylon would enlist handsome, young, well-educated young princes from a conquered country like Israel and train them in the Babylonian language and literature. This included the ancient Sumerian and Akkadian syllabic cuneiform as well as the Aramaic alphabetic system that was used in international communication. We do not know for sure the background of the chief of Nebuchadnezzar s court officials. This individual is identified by Daniel as the chief of Nebuchadnezzar s court officials and he is mentioned in Daniel 1:7-11 and 18 but not by name. These passages indicate that this man had compassion toward Daniel and his friends and permitted them to abstain from the king s food and wine and eat vegetables and drink water in order to observe the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law. His official s chief indicates that Ashpenaz had supreme authority over Nebuchadnezzar s officials. More than likely, the word sā rîs, officials means officials and since the Babylonians adopted the practice of castrating those who served in the royal palace and the harems, Ashpenaz would have been a eunuch himself, that is, a castrated male, thus one who is sexually impotent. Nebuchadnezzar commands Ashpenaz to have certain Israelites to be deported to Babylon. He ordered Ashpenaz to select only a part or a portion of the Israelites to be trained to serve in his government. The proper noun yiś rā ʾēl, Israel means, one who fights and overcomes with the power of God since according to Genesis 32:28 the Lord gave Jacob this name because he fought with both God and men and prevailed. This name was 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 6

7 bestowed upon Jacob and constituted the essence of the blessing that he requested from the Lord recorded in Genesis 32:26. The expression sons of Israel was first used in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 32:32. Most of the time in the Old Testament, the designation the sons of Israel emphasizes the Jewish people s national identity of Israel/Jacob s sons or descendants. This designation speaks of the fact that the Jew is a member of a theocracy and is the heir of the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whose name was later changed by the Lord to Israel. It expresses the dignity and glory of a member of the theocratic nation in a unique covenant relation with God and was the Jew s special badge and title of honor. The term Israelites, as well as its cognate noun Israel denotes the Jews theocratic privileges and glorious vocation. So in Daniel 1:3, the name Israel speaks of the fact that the Jew is a member of a theocracy. It identifies them as members of a unique, privileged covenant people of God, heir of the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whose name was later changed by the Lord to Israel. Daniel 1:3 also clarifies or specifies which members of the sons of Israel that Nebuchadnezzar ordered his officials chief to transport to Babylon to be trained to serve in a governmental capacity. These would include members of the royal family and nobles. He wanted those Israelites who were descendants of the kings of Israel and Judah. He also wanted persons in Israel who were associated with the ruling class or royal family. The fact that Nebuchadnezzar deported some of the nobles and members of the royal family to Babylon was a fulfillment of prophecy since Isaiah predicted to King Hezekiah that this would happen to his descendants in the future (2 Kings 20:16-18; Isaiah 39:5-7). Daniel 1:4 Young men, whom there was no defect in them of any kind as well as a handsome appearance and in addition possessing skill in each and every branch of wisdom as well as well-educated and in addition possessing the ability to discern secret knowledge. Consequently, these who possess the capacity in them would serve as a dignitary in the court of this king. Another result is to habitually train them in the Chaldean literature as well as language. (Author s translation) Daniel 1:4 clarifies or defines specifically which nobles and members of the royal family that Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz to deport to Babylon to receive training in the language and literature of the Chaldeans. Nebuchadnezzar was seeking brilliant young Jewish men to help him govern his kingdom. There are five qualifications listed in this verse. The first was that these young men who to have no physical defect. The second was that they must be handsome 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 7

8 in appearance. The third is that they were to possess skill in each and every branch of wisdom, which would include various fields of learning such as math, science, agriculture, philosophy, medicine, languages, military, history and government. The fourth demanded that they be well-educated. The fifth was that they must possess the ability to discern secret knowledge which would be related to interpreting the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 1:4 teaches that the first result of meeting these five qualifications was that these young Israelite men would possess the capacity to serve as a dignitary in Nebuchadnezzar s court or palace, where he governed his kingdom. The second result was that they would receive training on a habitual basis by Babylonian teachers with regards to Chaldean literature and language. Daily Ration of Nebuchadnezzar s Food Daniel 1:5 records Nebuchadnezzar as assigning to young, qualified, aristocratic Israelite men a daily ration from his food and wine he drank. It also states that he trained these men in Chaldean literature and language for three years and upon finishing this course, they entered into service for him. This passage reveals that these young men were not treated as ordinary captives but as princes since they ate the food of the king on a daily basis. Daniel 1:5 The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king s personal service. (NASB95) The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king s choice food is composed of the conjunction wa ( (ו (waw), which is not translated and is followed by the third person masculine singular piel active imperfect form of the verb (ל ( lĕ (maw-naw), appointed and then we have the preposition (מ נ ה) mā nā(h) (lamed), of and its object is the third person masculine singular pronomial suffix -hē mā(h) ( ה מ ה) (hay-maw), them and this is followed by the articular masculine singular form of the noun mě lěḵ (meh-lek), the king and then (מ ל ) we have masculine singular construct form of the noun dā ḇār (דּ ב ר) (daw-bawr), (יוֹם) a ration which is modified by the masculine singular form of the noun yôm (yome), daily which is followed by the preposition bĕ ( (בּ (beth) and its object is the masculine singular construct form of the noun yôm (יוֹם) (yome) and then we have the third person masculine singular pronomial suffix hû ( הוּ) (who) and this is followed by the preposition min (מ ן) (min), from and its object is the masculine singular construct form of the noun pǎṯ- bǎḡ (פּ ת בּ ג) (pathpag), choice food and lastly we have the articular masculine singular form of the noun mě lěḵ king s. (meh-lek), the (מ ל ) 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 8

9 wa The conjunction wa is a marker of a sequence of closely related events meaning that it is introducing a clause that marks the next sequential event that took place after Nebuchadnezzar commanded the chief of his court officials, Ashpenaz to deport to Babylon certain qualified young Israelite men who were of royal and noble descent in order to serve in his court. Thus, we will translate wa, then. Melek The noun mě lěḵ means king and of course is used with reference to Nebuchadnezzar referring to the fact that he was governmental head of Babylon. The articular construction of the word is anaphoric meaning that the word is referring to the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar who is mentioned by name in verse 1 and referred to by the third person masculine singular pronomial suffix hû, his in verse 2 and this word in verses 3 and 4. Therefore, we will render the articular form of this word this king. mā nā(h) The fundamental idea of this verb mā nā(h) is to count out, to calculate, to reckon, to set in order. Counting something involves determining or even setting its limits. What cannot be numbered can never be controlled. This counting implies not just simple enumeration but also involves consciously directing counting that determines the extent of something and in this sense involves designation and control. This idea of control is even more evidence when the verb is in the piel (intensive) stem where it generally means to ordain, to appoint. In Daniel 1:5, the verb mā nā(h) is in the piel stem and means to assign and is used with Nebuchadnezzar as its subject and a daily ration of the food Nebuchadnezzar ate as its object and the young, aristocratic Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4 as its indirect object. The piel stem is customary or habitual meaning referring to activity that is done habitually or on a regular basis. This indicates that Nebuchadnezzar as the subject on a regular basis assigned a daily portion of the food to young, aristocratic Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. The active voice denotes that Nebuchadnezzar as the subject performs the action of the verb. The imperfect tense of the verb is an iterative imperfect describing the action of Nebuchadnezzar on a regular basis assigning a daily portion of the food he ate to these young, 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 9

10 aristocratic Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. We will translate mā nā(h), on a regular basis assigned to. hē mā(h) The pronomial suffix hē mā(h) refers to the young Israelite men who were deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and were of noble descent or from the royal family and who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. We will render the word them. lĕ This pronomial suffix is the object of the preposition lĕ, which functions as marker of advantage meaning that the word marks out these young, aristocratic, Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4 as benefiting from receiving on a regular basis a daily portion of Nebuchadnezzar s food. Therefore, we will translate the word for the benefit of. dā ḇār In Daniel 1:5, this noun means provision and specifically a ration. It refers to the ration of food that Nebuchadnezzar assigned to the young, aristocratic Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. yôm The noun dā ḇār is modifying the noun yôm, which means daily indicating that Nebuchadnezzar assigned to these young, aristocratic Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4 a ration of the food he ate on a daily basis. The word appears a second time and retains the same meaning. However, this time it is the object of the preposition bĕ, which functions as a marker of an extent of time. These two words thus indicate that Nebuchadnezzar assigned to these young Israelite men a daily portion of the food he ate during the course of the day. hû This pronomial suffix means their and is functioning as a possessive personal pronoun referring to these young Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. Thus, we have Nebuchadnezzar assigning to these young men a daily portion of the food he ate during the course of their day. This word implies that 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 10

11 they would have responsibilities during the course of the day, which is receiving a Babylonian education. pǎṯ- bǎḡ The noun pǎṯ- bǎḡ is probably a Persian loan word and means a portion (of food). This food would be of excellent quality since it would be the food the king ate. The word is related to the custom of Persian kings, described by Xenophon, as the sending of food or drink portions from the royal table to favored friends not present (Anabasis I.ix.25f; Cyropaedia VIII.ii.3f). So in Daniel 1:5, this word indicates that these young Israelite men who were deported to Babylon to serve in Nebuchadnezzar s court received from him a portion of his fine food. We will translate the word a portion of fine food. Min The noun pǎṯ- bǎḡ is the object of the preposition min, which functions as a marker of source indicating that Nebuchadnezzar assigned to these young, aristocratic Israelite men a daily ration during the course of the day from a portion of his food. We will translate the word from. mě lěḵ Once again, the noun mě lěḵ means king and of course is used with reference to Nebuchadnezzar referring to the fact that he was governmental head of Babylon. The articular construction of the word is anaphoric meaning that the word is used earlier in the verse and refers to the same individual. The noun pǎṯ- bǎḡ is in the construct state meaning that it is governing mě lěḵ, which follows it and expresses a genitive relation. Specifically it expresses a possessive idea. Therefore, we will render the articular form of this word this king s. A Daily Ration of the Nebuchadnezzar s Wine Daniel 1:5 The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king s personal service. (NASB95) (ו ( wa And from the wine which he drank is composed of the conjunction (waw), and which is followed by the preposition min (מ ן) (min), from and its object is the masculine singular construct form of the noun yǎ yin (י י ן) (yah-yin), 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 11

12 the wine and then we have the masculine plural construct form of the noun miš tě(h) (מ שׁ תּ ה) (mish-teh), drank and this is followed by the third person masculine singular pronomial suffix hû ( הוּ) (who), he. Wa The conjunction wa is adjunctive meaning that it is introducing a clause that refers to an additional item that these young Israelite men received on a daily basis from Nebuchadnezzar. Therefore, we will render the word as well as. yǎ yin The noun yǎ yin means wine which is the usual Hebrew word for a fermented grape and clearly refers to an intoxicating beverage when used in excess. Winemaking begins when the grapes are harvested in August and September where workers cut off the clusters with special knives and collect them in baskets. Sometimes the grapes are left in the sun as much as two weeks in order to increase the sugar content, but most often they are dumped immediately into the winepress. A winepress consisted of two round or rectangular basins, carved from rock or dug in the ground, then sealed with pitch. The larger basin where the grapes were actually squeezed might measure 75 square feet, with a depth of 8 to 12 inches. It would be deeper on one end where a trough allowed the juice to pour into a smaller catch basin, perhaps three feet or more deep. Barefoot men would tread the grapes (Isa. 16:10; Jer. 48:33) or large stones would be used to weigh them down. Sometimes the workers would use a pressing beam, which is a beam of wood with one end inserted in the rim of the basin and a large round stone tied on the other end, so that a lever action could be used to press down on the grapes. Once the juice had drained into the catch basin, it was transferred to earthenware pots (Jer. 13:12) or wineskins made from goat or lamb skins (Josh. 9:4, 13). Fermentation would begin within six to twelve hours and after fermentation was completed the wine was not to be left in the original containers with the lees, or residue at the bottom. It was poured or siphoned through a cloth filter into a permanent storage vessel. Wine jugs were often labeled with the kind of wine or the place of origin. The Arabs invented distillation during the Middle Ages, thus Old Testament wine was not fortified with extra alcohol. In natural wines, the percentage of alcohol is limited to half of the percentage of the sugar in the juice and when alcohol content reaches more than percent, it kills the yeast cells, so that fermentation 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 12

13 ceases. Ancient wines were probably 7-10 percent alcohol, which is still enough to cause drunkenness as in the case of Noah. Wine is often linked with pleasure in the Old Testament (Psa. 104:15; Ecc. 10:19) and was a normal part of feasts as well as being used as a drink offering when worshipping the Lord (Ex. 29:40; Lev. 23:13; Num. 15:5, 7, 10; 28:14). Wine could be used by Israel when rejoicing before the Lord in connection with the feasts of Israel (Deut. 14:26) and our Lord s first miracle was related to wine where in Cana He turned water into wine (Jn. 2:1-12). A number of passages warn against the dangers of drunkenness since it causes people to stagger (Ps. 107:27; Prov. 23:34), it makes them sick (Is. 28:8; Jer. 25:27), it makes the eyes red (Prov. 23:29), it puts a person into a stupor (Jer. 51:39, 57), it makes a person poor (Prov. 23:21), it interferes with a leader s work (Prov. 31:4f). The foolishness of drunkenness is shown by the examples of Noah (Gen. 9:21), Lot (Gen. 19:31-38), Nabal (1 Sam. 25:36-39), David (2 Sam. 11:13), Absalom (2 Sam. 13:28) and Belshazzar (Dan. 5:2). The Bible does not prohibit drinking alcohol but it does prohibit drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). Believers are not to associate with believers who are drunks (1 Cor. 5:9-11). Drunkenness is a manifestation of the old Adamic sin nature (Gal. 5:19-21). min The noun yǎ yin is the object of the preposition min, which functions as a marker of source again indicating that this wine came from Nebuchadnezzar s own stock. miš tě(h) This noun miš tě(h) refers to Nebuchadnezzar s alcoholic beverages as opposed to the food he ate. It refers to his private stock. Thus Nebuchadnezzar gave these young Israelite men the wine from his own private stock. These beverages were not given to these young Israelite men in order that they may indulge in drinking parties but rather was given to them for health reasons. We will render the word private stock. hû This time this pronomial suffix means his and is functioning as a possessive personal pronoun referring to Nebuchadnezzar. Thus, we have Nebuchadnezzar 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 13

14 assigning to these young men a daily portion of wine during the course of their day from his alcoholic beverages which drank. We will render the word his own. Three Year Training Program Daniel 1:5 The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king s personal service. (NASB95) And appointed that they should be educated three years is composed of (ל ( lĕ (waw), and which is followed by the preposition (ו ( wa the conjunction (lamed), that and its object is the piel active infinitive construct form of the verb gā ḏǎl (גּ ד ל) (gaw-dal), be educated and then we have the third person masculine plural pronomial suffix -hē mā(h) ( ה מ ה) (hey-maw), they and this is followed by the feminine plural form of the noun šā nā(h) (שׁ נ ה) (shaw-neh), years which is modified by the masculine singular form of the noun šā lîš (שׁ ל ישׁ) (shaw-leesh), three. Wa This conjunction is adjunctive meaning that it is introducing a statement which presents an additional order that Nebuchadnezzar gave to Ashpenaz with regards to these young Israelite men. Therefore, we will translate the word furthermore. Lĕ The preposition lĕ is prefixed to the infinitive construct form of the verb gā ḏǎl and functions as a marker of advantage meaning that the word marks out these young, aristocratic, Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in verse 4 as benefiting from receiving a Babylonian education. Of course, this is from the Babylonian perspective and not the Israelite perspective. Therefore, we will translate the word for the benefit of. hē mā(h) The pronomial suffix hē mā(h) refers to the young Israelite men who were deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and were of noble descent or from the royal family and who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. We will render the word they William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 14

15 gā ḏǎl The verb gā ḏǎl is in the piel stem and means to formerly train indicating that Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz to provide these young, aristocratic Israelite men a formal education. The piel stem is a customary or habitual piel indicating that these young Israelite men were to receive on a regular basis a formal Babylonian education. We will translate this verb on a regular basis, to receive a formal education. šā nā(h) This noun is in the plural and means years since it denotes a unit of time, involving a complete cycle of all four seasons. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar ordered that these young Israelite men were to receive a formal Babylonian education for three years. šā lîš This word is modifying the noun šā nā(h) and means three since it is a ordinal number of being third in a series involving time. This indicates that Nebuchadnezzar ordered that these young Israelite aristocrats were to receive a formal Babylonian education for three years. This three year Babylonian education resembled a modern graduate school training, which further indicates that these young Israelites were not young teenagers. The King s Personal Service Daniel 1:5 The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king s personal service. (NASB95) At the end of which they were to enter the king s personal service is composed of the conjunction wa ( (ו (waw), and which is not translated and is followed by the preposition min (מ ן) (min), at and its object is the feminine singular form of the noun q e ṣāṯ (ק צ ת) (kets-awth), the end of and this is followed by the third person masculine plural pronomial suffix -hē mā(h) ( ה מ ה) (hey-maw), they and then we have the third person masculine plural qal active imperfect form of the verb ʿā mǎḏ (ע מ ד) (aw-mad), enter service and this is followed by the preposition lĕ ( (ל (lamed) and its object is the masculine plural construct form 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 15

16 of the noun pā ně(h) (פּ נ ה) (paw-neh), personal and lastly we have the articular masculine singular form of the noun mě lěḵ king s. (meh-lek), the (מ ל ) Wa The conjunction wa is a marker of a sequence of closely related events meaning that it is introducing a clause that marks the next sequential event that took place after these young, aristocratic Israelite men received a formal Babylonian education for three years. Thus, we will translate wa, then. q e ṣāṯ This noun means end or completion referring to the end of an extent of time. It indicates that at the end of their three year formal Babylonian education, these young, aristocratic Israelite men would enter into service for Nebuchadnezzar. Min The noun q e ṣāṯ is the object of the preposition min, which means at since it marks the end of the three year formal Babylonian education. hē mā(h) Once again, the pronomial suffix hē mā(h) refers to the young Israelite men who were deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and were of noble descent or from the royal family and who met the qualifications listed in verse 4. We will render the word they. ʿā mǎḏ This word appeared in verse 4, where it means to serve in the capacity as a dignitary for Nebuchadnezzar. This same use appears here in verse 5. In both verses, the word denotes the young, aristocratic Israelite men who met the five qualifications listed in verse 4 would serve in the capacity of a dignitary for Nebuchadnezzar. It denotes that after their three year formal Babylonian education they would be in a position of obedience, respect, and readiness to serve Nebuchadnezzar. The qal stem of the verb is stative expressing the state or condition of serving as a dignitary in Nebuchadnezzar s court. The imperfect tense of the verb is a 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 16

17 potential imperfect expressing the ability to do something. Here it expresses the ability to serve in Nebuchadnezzar s court after a three year formal Babylonian education. We will translate this verb would serve in the capacity as a dignitary. li p e nê The noun pā ně(h) means presence and is employed with the preposition lĕ, which is marker of location. Together they mean in the presence of indicating that after the three year formal Babylonian education the young aristocratic Israelite men like Daniel would serve in the capacity as a dignitary in the presence of Nebuchadnezzar. mě lěḵ Once again, the noun mě lěḵ means king and of course is used with reference to Nebuchadnezzar referring to the fact that he was governmental head of Babylon. The articular construction of the word is anaphoric meaning that the word is used earlier in the verse and refers to the same individual. The noun pā ně(h) is in the construct state meaning that it is governing mě lěḵ, which follows it and expresses a genitive relation. Specifically it expresses a possessive idea. Therefore, we will render the articular form of this word this king s. Translation of Daniel 1:5 Daniel 1:5 Then, this king on a regular basis assigned for their benefit a daily ration during their day from a portion of this king s fine food as well as from the wine of his own private stock. Furthermore, for their benefit, they were on a regular basis to receive a formal education for three years. Then, at the completion, they would, for their benefit, serve as a dignitary in this king s presence. Exposition of Daniel 1:5 This verse contains three statements and referred to the next action Nebuchadnezzar took after ordering Ashpenaz to deport young Israelite men who were of noble descent or from the royal family in Israel. The first statement indicates that Nebuchadnezzar ordered that these young aristocrats were to receive a daily portion of his fine food he ate and drink the wine from his own private 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 17

18 stock. This was undoubtedly to not only Babylonianize them but also to promote good health among these deportees. However, eating Nebuchadnezzar s food and partaking of his wine would cause these young deportees to violate the dietary regulations of the Mosaic Law. These regulations prohibited Israelites from eating unclean animals (Leviticus 11; 20:15; Deuteronomy 14:3-21; cf. Leviticus 17:10-16; 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:15-25). The Israelites could only eat animals with split hooves and chew their cud. They could only eat fish with scales and fins. They could eat birds such as chicken and duck. Birds of prey were forbidden such as owl and hawk. Insects were forbidden. Israelites avoided meat if they could not be sure that the meat had been prepared in a kosher manner. Daniel and his friends did this in Babylon (Daniel 1:8; 10:3). The term kosher comes from a Hebrew word, the word is kashar, which means fit or right. Anything that is kosher is right, it is fit, it is proper, it is acceptable according to a Jew. Today in an orthodox Jewish home, a kosher animal is inspected as to how it is killed, animal is inspected when it is opened up, and if found less than what it should be like a spot on the lung, it will be rejected. There was a person called a shoket who ritually slaughtered animals and is usually very observant and knowledgeable and must pass an examination from board of Rabbis. Respect for the animal when slaughtering the animal is important. A shoket uses a very sharp blade and uses one sharp stroke to the jugular and the animal dies instantly. Road kill kosher animals are forbidden. For example, if the animal is considered kosher such as deer and is hit by a car and killed and can t be used. The Shoket uses one swift cut to the trachea esophagus the two Vegas nerves and the arteries. The blade must be nick free and if a kosher animal is killed with a nicked blade it will be rejected, thus knives must be inspected by a rabbi. All internal organs are inspected. The blood of the animal must be drained (Leviticus 17:11). The term unclean is a technical term to describe those foods, which were commonly consumed by Gentile peoples but the Israelites were forbidden by God under the Mosaic Law to partake. These dietary regulations, like circumcision, were given by God to Israel to distinguish her from the Gentile nations, which she was to dispossess in Canaan. The ceremonial aspect of the Law contained the list of those land animals, birds, insects and marine life that were designated by God as unclean or unfit for consumption for the Israelites and those which would be clean or fit for consumption. Christ fulfilled the ceremonial ordinances, the shadows and types of His person and work, by dying on the cross for us and in our place. Therefore, these dietary regulations in the Mosaic Law do not apply since Christ fulfilled 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 18

19 perfectly the Mosaic Law and is Himself the substance of the ritual aspect of the Law. Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days 17 these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ! 18 Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. 19 He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. 20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 21 Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch! 22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. 23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility achieved by an unsparing treatment of the body a wisdom with no true value they in reality result in fleshly indulgence. (NET Bible) The Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles whose teaching is in the New Testament make clear that the dietary laws of the Mosaic law did not apply to the church (Mark 7:2, 5; 14-19; Acts 10). Acts 10 records the Lord teaching Peter that the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law were no longer applicable. The gospels and Acts both record that the Lord Jesus taught no food is unclean (Matthew 15:10-20; Mark 7:14-19; Acts 10:1-15). Mark 7:14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated? (Thus He declared all foods clean.) (NASB95) Acts 10 records the Lord teaching Peter that the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law were no longer applicable. It is interesting that Peter had interpreted the vision as God accepting the Gentiles, which was true but it also should have been taken literally by Peter as well. Even though the Lord taught that there were no longer any unclean foods during the church age, Jewish believers like Peter had a difficult time shedding these Jewish practices. Paul confronted Peter with regards to his hypocrisy in not sitting to eat with the Gentiles when Jewish brethren came into the room, which is another manifestation 2011 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 19

20 of Peter having a difficult time understanding that dietary restrictions had ben set aside by God. Galatians 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he 1stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to beat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? (NASB95) Paul taught the churches throughout the Roman empire that all foods were fit for consumption. 1 Corinthians 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord s. (NET Bible) He taught Timothy and Titus the same thing. Titus 1:15 All is pure to those who are pure. But to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and consciences are corrupted. (NET Bible) Romans 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (NASB95) Hebrews 13:9 teaches that the Christian is not spiritually strengthened by eating meat, but by God s grace. Colossians 2:20-23 teaches that abstinence does not make us more spiritual. The Judaizers were causing divisions in the church by attempting to impose the ritual of circumcision upon the Gentile believers (Acts 15; Gal. 5) and by imposing the observance of laws of food of the Mosaic Law on the Gentiles (Col. 2:16-17). Now, the second statement in Daniel 1:5 reveals that the young Israelite men who met the qualifications listed in Daniel 1:4 were to receive a formal Babylonian education. This would include training in Babylonian culture, mathematics, astrology, astronomy, science, agriculture, philosophy, medicine, military history and tactics, Babylonian history as well as training in Babylonian government and law. Daniel 1:5 reveals that this would be a three year training program. The third and final statement in Daniel 1:5 reveals that at the completion of this education, these young Israelite men would serve as a dignitary in Nebuchadnezzar s presence. They would undoubtedly start out as minor government officials and if they excel they would receive promotions and climb in rank William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 20

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