The Clear Word 

A Ministry Of Mid-State Ministries  

 
DANIEL 1:11


[11] Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,

 
MELZAR:  A Persian word meaning master of wine, i.e., chief butler; the title of an officer at the Babylonian court Daniel 1:11-16 who had charge of the diet of the Hebrew youths.
 
DANIEL:  The name Daniel means God is my judge, or judge of God. Daniel is one of the four great prophets, although he is not once spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended from one of the noble families of Judah Daniel 1:3,  and was probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right bank of the river.

His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon Daniel 1:4 was to fit him for service to the empire. He was distinguished during this period for his piety and his strict observance of the Mosaic law,  and gained the confidence and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to excel his compeers.


At the close of his three years of discipline and training in the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation of dreams Daniel 1:17 & 2:14,  and rose to the rank of governor of the province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother  who could have been Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzer, interpret the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne Daniel 5:16.  Daniel interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain."


After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius, a Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents" of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs, no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive Jews Daniel 9, whom he had at last the happiness of seeing restored to their own land, although he did not return with them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" Daniel 6:26.  He "prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of the decree which put an end to the Captivity B.C. 536.


He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded. He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.

Ezekiel, with whom he was contemporary, mentions him as a pattern of righteousness Ezekiel 14:14-20, and wisdom Ezekiel 28:3. 


PRINCE:  Prince is the title generally applied to the chief men of the state. The "princes of the provinces" I Kings 20:14 were the governors or lord-lieutenants of the provinces. So also the "princes" mentioned in Daniel 6:1-77 were the officers who administered the affairs of the provinces; the "satraps." These are also called "lieutenants" Esther 3:12 & 8:9. The promised Saviour is called by Daniel Daniel 9:25.  "Messiah the Prince."  Compare this with Acts 3:15 & 5:31.  The angel Micheal Daniel 12:1 a "prince"


EUNUCH:  A eunuch literally a bed-keeper or chamberlain, and not necessarily in all cases one who was mutilated, although the practice of employing such mutilated persons in Oriental courts was common II Kings 9:32 & Esther 2:3. The law of Moses excluded them from the congregation Deuteronomy 23:1.  They were common also among the Greeks and Romans. It is said that even to-day there are some in Rome who are employed in singing soprano in the Sistine Chapel. Three classes of eunuchs are mentioned in Matthew 19:12.



DANIEL 1:12



[12] Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
 
PULSE:  Pulse is a diet of herbs, vegetables, or foods in general of this kindred.  A pulse diet can consist of various non-meat foods such as leguminous plants, their seeds, beans or peas.


DANIEL 1:13-14



[13] Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.  [14] So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
 
The challenge/request of Daniel was to allow Daniel and his companions to use the pulse diet for ten days.  And then compare Daniel and his companions to the young boys who ate the kings food, which had been offered to the satanic gods of the Babylonians, and see who looks the best.


DANIEL 1:15-21



[15] And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. [16] Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. [17] As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. [18] Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. [19] And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.  [20] And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.  [21] And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

 
NEBUCHADNEZZAR:  Nebuchadnezzar,  sometimes alternately spelled Nebuchadrezzar, was king of Babylonia from approximately 605 BC until approximately 562 BC. He is considered the greatest king of the Babylonian Empire and is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned by name around 90 times in the Bible, in both the historical and prophetic literature of the Hebrew Scriptures.

In Biblical history, Nebuchadnezzar is most famous for the conquering of Judah and the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 586 BC. Judah had become a tribute state to Babylon in 605 BC but rebelled in 597 BC during the reign of Jehoiachin and then again in 588 BC during the reign of Zedekiah. Tired of the rebellions, and seeing that Judah had not learned its lesson when he invaded, conquered, and deported Judah in 597, Nebuchadnezzar and his general, Nebuzaradan, proceeded to completely destroy the temple and most of Jerusalem, deporting most of the remaining residents to Babylon. In this, Nebuchadnezzar served as God’s instrument of judgment on Judah for its idolatry, unfaithfulness, and disobedience Jeremiah 25:9.

Secular history records Nebuchadnezzar as a brutal, powerful, and ambitious king, and the Bible, for the most part, agrees. However, the book of Daniel gives additional insight into his character. Daniel chapter 2 records God giving Nebuchadnezzar a dream about what kingdoms would arise after his own. In the dream, Nebuchadnezzar was a “head of gold” on a statue, with the descending parts of the body, comprised of silver, bronze, iron, and iron mixed with clay, representing the less powerful kingdoms that would come after him. Nebuchadnezzar demanded the astrologers and wise men to interpret his dream without him telling it to them and, when they were unable to, Nebuchadnezzar ordered all of the astrologers and wise men to be killed. Daniel spoke up and, through a miracle from God, interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The king then promoted Daniel to be one of his most influential advisers. Interestingly, when Daniel interpreted his dream, Nebuchadnezzar declared, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery” Daniel 2:47. 

In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar created a gold statue of himself and required all the people to bow down to it whenever the music played. Daniel’s three friends,  Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego,  refused, and the king had them thrown into a blazing furnace. Miraculously, God protected them, and when they came out of the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way” Daniel 3:28-29.

In Daniel chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar is given another dream by God. Daniel interpreted the dream for Nebuchadnezzar and informed him that the dream was a warning to the king to humble himself and recognize that his power, wealth, and influence were from God, not of his own making. Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the warning of the dream, so God judged him as the dream had declared. Nebuchadnezzar was driven insane for seven years. When the king’s sanity was restored, he finally humbled himself before God. In Daniel 4:3,  Nebuchadnezzar declares, “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” Nebuchadnezzar continued in Daniel 4:34-37.   “For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ … “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”

The exclamations of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in the book of Daniel have led some to consider the possibility that Nebuchadnezzar became a believer in the one true God. History records Nebuchadnezzar being a follower of the Babylonian gods Nabu and Marduk. Is it possible that Nebuchadnezzar renounced these false gods and instead only worshiped the one true God? Yes, it is possible. If nothing else, Nebuchadnezzar became a polytheist, believing in many gods but worshipping only one God as supreme. Based on his words recorded in Daniel, it definitely seems like Nebuchadnezzar submitted himself to the one true God. Further evidence is the fact that God refers to Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant” three times in the book of Jeremiah Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6 & 43:10.   Was Nebuchadnezzar saved? Ultimately, this is not a question that can be answered dogmatically. Whatever the case, the story of Nebuchadnezzar is an example of God’s sovereignty over all men and the truth that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will” Proverbs 21:1.  
VISION:  A vision is a vivid apparition, not a dream Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23; Acts 26:19 & II Corinthians 12:1.
 
DREAM:  God has frequently made use of dreams in communicating his will to men. The most remarkable instances of this are recorded in the history of Jacob Genesis 28:12 & 3:10,  Laban 31:24, Joseph 37:9-11, Gideon  Judges 7,  and Solomon I Kings 3:5.  Other significant dreams are also recorded, such as those of Abimelech Genesis 20:3-7,  Pharaoh's chief butler and baker 40:5,  Pharaoh 41:1-8, the Midianites Judges 7:13, Nebuchadnezzar Daniel 2:1-18,   the wise men from the east Matthew 2:12 & Pilates wife Matthew 27:19.

To Joseph "the Lord appeared in a dream," and gave him instructions regarding the infant Jesus Matthew 1:20 & 2:12-19.  In a vision of the night a "man of Macedonia" stood before Paul and said, "Come over into Macedonia and help us" Acts 16; 18:9 & 27:23.

WISDOM:  True wisdom is a moral rather than an intellectual quality. To be "foolish" is to be godless Psalms 14:1; Judges 19:23 & II Samuel 13:13.   True wisdom is a gift from God to those who ask it Job 28:12-28; Proverbs 3:13-18; Romans 1:22; 16:27; I Corinthians 1:17-21; 2:6-8 & James 1:5. "Wisdom" in Proverbs 1:20; 8:1 & 9:1-5 may be regarded not as a mere personification of the attribute of wisdom, but as a divine person, "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" I Corinthians 1:24.  In Matthew 11:19 it is the personified principle of wisdom that is meant.  

Is there a place in the Bible which gives a complete definition as to what true wisdom is?  The answer is yes.  You will find the true definition of wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-31.

MAGICIAN/MAGI:  In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament the word magi will  occur but twice, and then only incidentally. Jeremiah 29:3-13. "Originally they were a class of priests among the Persians and Medes who formed the king's privy council, and cultivated as trology, medicine and occult natural science. They are frequently referred to by ancient authors. Afterward the term was applied to all eastern philosophers."
 
They appear in Herodotus' history of Astyages as interpreters of dreams, i. 120; but as they appear in Jeremiah among the retinue of the Chaldean king, we must suppose Nebuchadnezzar's conquests led him to gather round him the wise men and religious teachers of the nations which he subdued, and that thus the sacred tribe of the Medes rose under his rule to favor and power. The Magi took their places among "the astrologers and star gazers and monthly prognosticators." It is with such men that, we have to think of Daniel and his fellow exiles as associated. The office which Daniel accepted Daniel 5:11 was probably rab-mag --chief of the Magi.
The word presented itself to the Greeks as connected with a foreign system of divination and it soon became a byword for the worst form of imposture. This is the predominant meaning of the word as it appears in the New Testament. Acts 8:9 & 13:8.
 
In one memorable instance, however, the word retains its better meaning. In the Gospel of St. Matthew.  In  Matthew 2:1-12  the Magi appear as "wise men"--properly Magians --who were guided by a star from "the east" to Jerusalem, where they suddenly appeared in the days of Herod the Great, inquiring for the new-born king of the Jews, whom they had come to worship. As to the country from which they came, opinions vary greatly; but their following the guidance of a star seems to point to the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, where astronomy was Cultivated by the Chaldeans.  Why should the new star lead these wise men to look for a king of the Jews'   These wise men from Persia were the most like the Jews, in religion, of all nations in the world. They believed in one God, they had no idols, they worshiped light as the best symbol of God.   The general expectation of such a king. "The Magi, express the feeling which the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius tell us sixty or seventy years later had been for a long time very widely diffused. Everywhere throughout the East men were looking for the advent of a great king who was to rise from among the Jews. It had fermented in the minds of men, heathen as well as Jews, and would have led them to welcome Jesus as the Christ had he come in accordance with their expectation." Virgil, who lived a little before this, owns that a child from heaven was looked for, who should restore the golden age and take away sin.  This expectation arose largely from the dispersion of the Jews among all nations, carrying with them the hope and the promise of a divine Redeemer. Isaiah 9-11 & Daniel 7. Daniel himself was a prince and chief among this very class of wise men. His prophecies: were made known to them; and the calculations by which he pointed to the very time when Christ should be born became, through the book of Daniel, a part of their ancient literature.  According to a late tradition, the Magi are represented as three kings, named Gaspar, Melchior and Belthazar, who take their place among the objects of Christian reverence, and are honored as the patron saints of travellers.
 
ASTROLOGER:  An astrologer, according to the Hebrew word `ashshaph',  is an enchanter or one who professes to divine future events by the appearance of the stars. This science flourished among the Chaldeans. It was positively forbidden to the Jews as per Deuteronomy 4:19;18:10; Isaiah 47:13; Daniel 1:20-22 & 10:27.
 
 
 
CYRUS:  Cyrus was known as the celebrated "King of Persia" who was conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the Jews Ezra 1:1-2.  He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army  B.C. 538  on the night of Belshazzar's feast Daniel 5, and then the ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire Isaiah 21:2.  

Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" Isaiah 44:28 & 45:1.  God employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some knowledge of their religion.

The "first year of Cyrus" Ezra 1:1,  is not the year of his elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon after its fall. At this time only  B.C. 536  Cyrus became actual king over Palestine, which became a part of his Babylonian empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem Marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people II Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17 & 6:3-5.  


This decree was discovered "at Achmetha in the palace that is in the province of the Medes" Ezra 6:2.  A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus/Nabunahid, the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the conqueror. GobryasUgbaru,  the governor of Kurdistan, was then sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the daily services in the temples continued without a break. In October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile, Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated honorably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.