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
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
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
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.