DANIEL – The Man, the Myth, the Legend

               DANIEL – The  Man,  the  Myth, the Legend

… of Israel … of the royal  family  and of the nobility, youths
without blemish, handsome  and  skillful  in all wisdom, endowed with
knowledge, understanding learning,   and competent to serve in the
King's palace …

But Daniel resolved that he  would  not  defile himself with the King's
rich food, or with the wine  which  he drank … and God gave Daniel
favor and compassion in the  sight  of the chief  of the eunuchs  …

At the end of ten days it  was  seen  that they were better  in appearance
and fatter in flesh … God  gave  them learning and skill  in all
letters and wisdom; and Daniel  had  understanding in all visions  and

Age at capture:  12-13

By this age, Daniel had  been  taught the most important priorities   of
his life.  It  is assumed  that  he  had been trained and educated  by  his
father and mother, and the  wise  men of his time  in the ways of  an
obedient and upright life before  the Lord.  Daniel was told that his
FIRST priority throughout his  whole life must be to obey God.   We
enter the story  of his life  at this step – establishing priorities.

In his upbringing, Daniel had  firm goals set before him.  These were
not his goals, but he was taught  to follow them.  This phase  in
Daniel's life  was a time  of  preparation.  He was taught …

          That there must be  no  other God in his life, but only the
God of Israel.

          That God is a  jealous  God – he must serve only Him, and  bow
down only to Him.  God shows  constant love to those who love  and obey

          That he must not  speak  against God.

          That he and all under  him must rest, as God did, on the
seventh day  –  the Sabbath.  Keeping it holy.

          That he must have  high  respect for his parents.

          That he must not  kill.

          That he must not  commit adultery.

          That he must not  steal.

          That he must not  testify  incorrectly against his neighbor,
or desire his neighbor's possessions for himself,

Although Daniel had lived  in  obedience, he was faced with a decision
to either follow the ways of  his  upbringing, or take pleasure  in the
richness of a royal life.  (It  must  have been a difficult decision  to
pass up so many wonderful foods  when  all he had ever eaten were the
simple staple-foods of Israel.)   Daniel then made one of the most
important decisions of his  life  – he  chose to take what had once been
someone else's priorities set  before  him, and make them his own.   This
is the decision for good,  in  freedom  of will.  Daniel's love and fear
of God outweighed his love  of  food, and fear of King Nebuchadnezzar
and the chief eunuch.

God IMMEDIATELY blessed Daniel's  decision by giving him favor  and
compassion in the eyes of the  chief eunuch who supported Daniel's
resolve .

Interestingly, two whole years passed during which Daniel and  his
friends simply grew in knowledge  and  wisdom.  Daniel was "hip" to
anyone's visions or dreams  –  a gift given through revelation by God
(the Holy Spirit is not mentioned.)  Daniel must have exercised this
gift at least a few times before  his  encounter with King
Nebuchadnezzar, since he had  confidence and was known for his
abilities prior to that  interpretation.

Daniel is now approximately  15 years  old.

Daniel served King Belshazzar  (Daniel's appointed name was
Beltesshazzar), King Nebuchadnezzar's son, for about three years –
revealing to him the meaning  of  the writing on the wall at the end of
this time.  The King was murdered that night.

Daniel had two major visions  during that three year service.   Both
visions closely paralleled  The Revelation later given to the apostle
John  in the New Testament.   He tried  to understand the meaning behind
both dreams, for three years,  into  the first year of the reign of
Darius the Mede.  This is TRUE perseverance  !  At 20 years of  age,
Daniel was given insight  into  the time of fulfillment for a prophesy
made by Jeremiah the prophet.  Daniel basically learned that Jerusalem
would suffer for 70 years under  the rule of foreign Kings before it
would be restored.  Naturally, this distressed Daniel, seeing  the
hardships his people were enduring  and Knowing that the 70 years had
just started seven years earlier.  They had 63 years of struggling
left !

Daniel immediately went to  prayer with fasting and received the answer
from Gabriel beginning at Daniel  9:22.  Gabriel simply explained what
would happen to Jerusalem for  the next 63 years.

There  is no  indication of how  long  the reign of Darius lasted, except
that he probably had more  than  one  year.   Daniel 1:21  indicates that
Daniel's position as wise-man to  the King lasted until the first  year
of Cyrus of Persia, presumably  the  next King after Darius.  His last
recorded vision was in Cyrus' first year  of reign and  seemed to deal
with the near-future of Jerusalem.   The book of Daniel ends with
Daniel apparently unemployed at age 21, and God's messenger simply
telling him to  "go your way till  the end; and you shall rest, and
shall stand in  your alloted place at the  end of the days."

Seems like Daniel served God's  purpose for his life by being a
"shooting-star" Christian.  He  had  a brief time of intense ministry
after which, he simply faded out  of knowledge.
Daniel's life was characterized  by:

           1. Establishing  priorities
                    God  first
                    Others  second
                    Himself  last

           2. Perseverance  –  Daniel  would set out to understand  God's
mind  in his visions, and  stick  with  it for three years  !

           3. Obedience  –  This  may  be what caused Daniel to be
considered so greatly beloved  in Heaven, and why his prayers were  so
thoroughly answered.   His  life  was  blessed.

G. Stewart