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Daniel and the Garden Greens
[Daniel 1:1] IN THE THIRD YEAR OF THE REIGN OF JEHOIAKIM KING OF JUDAH CAME NEBUCHADNEZZAR KING OF BABYLON UNTO JERUSALEM, AND BESIEGED IT.
Some Historical background:
Our brief outline of the Kings of Israel and Judah took us up to the reign of Hezekiah of Judah.
In the time of Hezekiah the last remnants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were exiled by the Assyrians apart from a small minority of survivors who moved southwards and attached themselves to Judah and became identified as part of Judah
as explained by Nachmanides.
After Hezekiah there reigned over Judah, King Menasseh followed by Amon followed by his son Josiah. Josiah the son of Amon threw off the yoke of Assyria and joined forces with a portion of the exiled Israelites who had been absorbed into the Assyrian Armed Forces and Imperial Structure and then managed for a short period to take over the Assyrian Empire.
This is described in detail in our works especially "The-Tribes".
The exiled Israelites are known to history as part of the Cimmerians and Scythians. In co-operation with King Josiah they set up a center in Beth-Shean in the North of Israel in the former territory of Manasseh. The Scythian-Israelites later lost their control over the Assyrian Empire which was besieged by rebellious Babylonians and Medes. The Scythian-Israelites at first went to the aid of Assyria but then changed sides and allied themselves with the Medes and Babylonians. They played the major role in destroying the Assyrian Empire. King Necho of Egypt marched northward to assist Assyria and restore the balance of power. King Josiah tried to stop the Egyptians but was killed at Megiddo in Israel (2-Kings 23:29).
The Egyptians in turn were eventually beaten by the Babylonians at Carcamish in Northern Syria.
The leaders of the Scythian-Israelites were invited to a feast by the Medes who go them drunk and then killed them all. Their followers were driven to the north while the Medes and Babylonians divided the former Assyrian Empire between them.
After Josiah the son of Amon there reigned Jehoahaz for three months who was then demoted by the Egyptians and replaced by his brother Eliakim whose name was changed to JEHOIAKIM ("YehoYakim" i.e. "God Will raise Up"). The Book of Daniel takes up the story from the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim. In the reign of Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar came against Judah and took children of the ruling house and of the aristocracy into captivity to Babylon. Jehoiakim was followed by his son Jehoiachin ("YehoYaKhin" i.e. "God Will Make Certain"). After three months Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin and most of the Royal House and aristocracy to Babylon (2-Kings 24:12). Jehoiachin was replaced with his uncle Mataniah (brother of Jehoiakim) whose name was changed to Zedekiah ("Tsedekiah" i.e. "The Righteousness of God", 2-Kings 24:17). King Zedekiah rebelled so Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, burnt the Temple, destroyed the city, killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and then blinded him and took him captive along with most of Judah to Babylon (2-Kings chapter 25). A small portion of Judah remained under the supervision of Gedaliah who was murdered by one of the Royal Family named Ishmael. The remaining Jews in Judah being afraid of Babylonian wrath because of the assassination of Gedaliah then fled to Egypt for refuge (2-Kings 26:26).
"Nebuchadnezzar" is also referred to as "Nebuchadrezzar" (with an "r") in both the Hebrew and Babylonian sources.
[Daniel 1:2] AND THE LORD GAVE JEHOIAKIM KING OF JUDAH INTO HIS HAND, WITH PART OF THE VESSELS OF THE HOUSE OF GOD: WHICH HE CARRIED INTO THE LAND OF SHINAR TO THE HOUSE OF HIS GOD; AND HE BROUGHT THE VESSELS INTO THE TREASURE HOUSE OF HIS GOD.
<<Nebuchadnezzar was the oldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. According to Berossus, he married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.
<<Necho II, the king of Egypt, had gained a victory over the Assyrians at Carchemish. This secured Egypt the possession of Phoenician provinces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, including parts of Palestine. The remaining Assyrian provinces were divided between Babylonia and Media. Nabopolassar was intent on reconquering from Necho the western provinces of Syria, however, and to this end dispatched his son with a powerful army westward. In the ensuing Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, the Egyptian army was defeated and driven back, and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the sway of Babylon. Nabopolassar died on August 15, 605 BC and Nebuchadnezzar quickly returned to Babylon to ascend to the throne.
<<After the defeat of the Cimmerians and Scythians, all of Nebuchadrezzar's expeditions were directed westwards, although a powerful neighbour lay to the North; the cause of this was that a wise political marriage with Amuhia, the daughter of the Median king, had insured a lasting peace between the two empires.
<<Nebuchadrezzar engaged in several military campaigns designed to increase Babylonian influence in Syria and Judah. An attempted invasion of Egypt in 601 BC met with setbacks, however, leading to numerous rebellions among the states of the Levant, including Judah. Nebuchadrezzar soon dealt with these rebellions, capturing Jerusalem in 597 BC, and bringing King Jehoiachin to Babylon. When Pharaoh Apries attempted an invasion of Palestine again, in 589 BC, Judah and other states ot the region once again rebelled. Another siege of Jerusalem occurred in 587/586 BC, ending in the destruction of both the city and the Temple and the deportation of many prominent citizens to Babylon. These events are described in the Bible. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadrezzar engaged in a 13 year long siege of Tyre (585-572 BC), which ended in a compromise, with the Tyrians accepting Babylonian authority.
<<It would appear that following the pacification of Tyre, Nebuchadrezzar turned again to Egypt. A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following inscription referring to his wars:
<<In the 37th year of Nebuchadrezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad.
<<Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadrezzar now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts and reservoirs.
<<Nebuchadrezzar died in Babylon between the second and sixth months of the forty-third year of his reign.
Shinar is another name for Babylon also known as Chaldea. Shinar may be a form of the name we refer to as "Sumer". The King of Babylonia at the moment spoken of took away sacred utensils from the Temple. He was destined to return and destroy the Temple altogether.
[Daniel 1:3] 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;
<<EUNUCHS>> From the Hebrew "saris" which does usually mean "eunuch" though in some cases it could also apply to simple servants of the Palace.
[Daniel 1:4] 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.
[Daniel 1:5] AND THE KING APPOINTED THEM A DAILY PROVISION OF THE KING'S MEAT, AND OF THE WINE WHICH HE DRANK: SO NOURISHING THEM THREE YEARS, THAT AT THE END THEREOF THEY MIGHT STAND BEFORE THE KING.
[Daniel 1:6] NOW AMONG THESE WERE OF THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH, DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH.
[Daniel 1:7] UNTO WHOM THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS GAVE NAMES: FOR HE GAVE UNTO DANIEL THE NAME OF BELTESHAZZAR; AND TO HANANIAH, OF SHADRACH; AND TO MISHAEL, OF MESHACH; AND TO AZARIAH, OF ABEDNEGO.
[Daniel 1:8] BUT DANIEL PURPOSED IN HIS HEART THAT HE WOULD NOT DEFILE HIMSELF WITH THE PORTION OF THE KING'S MEAT, NOR WITH THE WINE WHICH HE DRANK: THEREFORE HE REQUESTED OF THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS THAT HE MIGHT NOT DEFILE HIMSELF.
[Daniel 1:9] NOW GOD HAD BROUGHT DANIEL INTO FAVOUR AND TENDER LOVE WITH THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS.
[Daniel 1:10] AND THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS SAID UNTO DANIEL, I FEAR MY LORD THE KING, WHO HATH APPOINTED YOUR MEAT AND YOUR DRINK: FOR WHY SHOULD HE SEE YOUR FACES WORSE LIKING THAN THE CHILDREN WHICH ARE OF YOUR SORT? THEN SHALL YE MAKE ME ENDANGER MY HEAD TO THE KING.
[Daniel 1:11] THEN SAID DANIEL TO MELZAR, WHOM THE PRINCE OF THE EUNUCHS HAD SET OVER DANIEL, HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH.
[Daniel 1:12] PROVE THY SERVANTS, I BESEECH THEE, TEN DAYS; AND LET THEM GIVE US PULSE TO EAT, AND WATER TO DRINK.
<<PULSE>>: In English means "edible seeds" which is a translation of the Hebrew "zera-onim". Yehudah Kiel ("Daat Mikra") explains it to mean garden greens.
[Daniel 1:13] 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.
[Daniel 1:14] SO HE CONSENTED TO THEM IN THIS MATTER, AND PROVED THEM TEN DAYS.
[Daniel 1:15] 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.
[Daniel 1:16] THUS MELZAR TOOK AWAY THE PORTION OF THEIR MEAT, AND THE WINE THAT THEY SHOULD DRINK; AND GAVE THEM PULSE.
[Daniel 1:17] 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.
[Daniel 1:18] 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.
[Daniel 1:19] 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.
[Daniel 1:20] AND IN ALL MATTERS OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING, THAT THE KING ENQUIRED OF THEM, HE FOUND THEM TEN TIMES BETTER THAN ALL THE MAGICIANS AND ASTROLOGERS THAT WERE IN ALL HIS REALM.
[Daniel 1:21] AND DANIEL CONTINUED EVEN UNTO THE FIRST YEAR OF KING CYRUS.
Daniel remained in the Palace of the King as a counselor until the first year of Cyrus the Persian Ruler who conquered Babylon.
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