Daniel 1:1
Index

"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it."

2 Chronicles 36:15-16

And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.

BACKGROUND:

  • Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar was a General of Assyria. In 625 B.C., Media, Babylon and Egypt revolted against Assyria. Nabopolassar was sent to subdue Babylon. He was so successful, that as a reward he was made ruler of Babylon and given an honorary title of "King of Babylon". In 612 B.C., Nabopolassar led the same countries in revolt against Assyria. In this revolt Ninevah was destroyed. The result was Assyria [was] divided into three divisions.... Media ruled the north and north-east. Babylon ruled Elam and all the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris, Egypt, all west of the Euphrates and north Africa. Babylon and Media formed an alliance by the Median King's daughter's marriage to Nebuchadnezzar. (GB 13)
  • Egypt was defeated at Carchemish. Excavations testify to a terrible battle here between Babylon on the one side and the Egyptians and Hittites on the other. (Jeremiah 46:2-6). (GB 13)

"In the third year of Jehoiakim..." (2 Kings 24:1-4; 2 Chronicles 36:5-8; Jeremiah 25:8-11; Jeremiah 17:24-27; Jeremiah 36:1-32)

  • On the basis of Biblical synchronisms that correlate the reigns of several kings of Judah with that of Nebuchadnezzar, whose Babylonian regnal years have been astronomically established, Jehoiakim's 3d regnal year lasted, by the Jewish calender, from the autumn of 606 to the autumn of 605 B.C.... Hence the events recorded in this and the following verse must have taken place sometime during the Jewish civil year that began in the fall of 606 B.C., and ended in the fall of 605 B.C. Before the ancient systems of regnal reckonings were understood, this verse presented commentators with a seemingly insuperable problem because of the apparent contradiction with Jeremiah 25:1. As a result of modern archeological discoveries all historical and chronological difficulties on this point have vanished, and the evidence provides a completely harmonious pattern. The integrity of the Sacred Record has once more been vindicated.... Jehoiakim was the second son of Josiah. When Josiah lost his life at Megiddo the people made Jehoahaz, fourth son of Josiah (1 Chronicles 3:15), king in his father's stead. After Jehoahaz had reigned had reigned for a period of three months Necho of Egypt, during that summer's Mesopotamian campaign, deposed him and placed Jehoiakim on the throne (2 Kings 23:29-34). The new ruler of Judah, whose name was changed by the Egyptian king from Eliakim, "My God raises up," to Jehoiakim, "Jehovah raises up," was forced to pay a heavy tribute to Egypt (2 Kings 23:34, 35), but seems to have been content to be loyal to his Egyptian overlord. (4BC 755)
  • Jehoiakim was the 18th king of Judah. He was cruel, selfish and irreligious. He burdened the people with taxes to support his extravagant court, and he was universally hated by his own subjects. Jeremiah the prophet wrote in a scroll all he had prophesied concerning the fate of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah during the previous 23 years, and sent it to the king. One of his officials started to read the scroll to him while he was seated before his fire-place in his winter palace, and he became so angry that he snatched the scroll out of the reader's hand and cut it to pieces with his pen-knife and threw it into the fire. Under God's direction Jeremiah rewrote his messages to the rebellious king and people in another scroll and added a prophecy of how King Jehoiakim would die. He would be slain and his body cast out of the city to be exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night, and that he would receive "the burial of an ass." (Jeremiah 36). This prophecy was literally fulfilled and the king died like a dog and was buried like an ass. This rewritten scroll is doubtless the book of Jeremiah as we have it today. (TGB)
  • The third year of the reign of Jehoiakim was 606-605 B.C. In this year Nabopolassar associated Nebuchadnezzar with him as [co-regent] and sent him on the expedition here described. He left Babylon in the latter part of 606-605 B.C., but [due to the distance he had to travel and the battles he fought] he did not reach Jerusalem until the latter part of 605 B.C.... (TGB 6)
  • With a directness characteristic of the sacred writers, Daniel enters at once upon his subject. He begins his book in a simple historical style. The first six chapters, with the exception of the prophecy of Daniel 2, are narrative in content. With Daniel 7 we reach the prophetical part of the book.... Like one conscious of uttering only well-known truth, Daniel proceeds at once to state a variety of particulars by which his accuracy could be tested. The overthrow of Jerusalem recorded here was predicted by Jeremiah, and was accomplished in 605 B.C." (US 19-20)
  • At the very time messages of impending doom were urged upon princes and people, their ruler, Jehoiakim, who should have been a wise spiritual leader, foremost in confession of sin and in reformation and good works, was spending his time in selfish pleasure. “I will build me a wide house and large chambers,” he proposed; and this house, “ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion” (Jeremiah 22:14), was built with money and labor secured through fraud and oppression.... The wrath of the prophet was aroused, and he was inspired to pronounce judgment upon the faithless ruler. “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong,” he declared; “that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.... Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know Me? saith the Lord. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.“Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 22:13-19).... Within a few years this terrible judgment was to be visited upon Jehoiakim; but first the Lord in mercy informed the impenitent nation of His set purpose. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign “Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” pointing out that for over a score of years, “from the thirteenth year of Josiah, ... even unto this day,” he had borne witness of God's desire to save, but that His messages had been despised. (Jeremiah 25:2, 3). And now the word of the Lord to them was: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:8-11).... Although the sentence of doom had been clearly pronounced, its awful import could scarcely be understood by the multitudes who heard. That deeper impressions might be made, the Lord sought to illustrate the meaning of the words spoken. He bade Jeremiah liken the fate of the nation to the draining of a cup filled with the wine of divine wrath. Among the first to drink of this cup of woe was to be “Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof.” Others were to partake of the same cup—“Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people,” and many other nations of earth—until God's purpose should have been fulfilled. (See Jeremiah 24). (PK 429-431)
  • Although Daniel lived twenty-five hundred years ago, he is a latter-day prophet. His character should be studied, for its development reveals the secret of God's preparation of those who will welcome Christ at His appearing. His prophecies should be understood, for in them is the key which unlocks history to the end of time. The Saviour himself bore witness to this. When the disciples asked, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3). He said, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. ...whoso readeth, let him understand." (Matthew 24:15). In this we have the divine permission to read and understand the prophecies of Daniel. These prophecies are intended, therefor, to warn a people of the coming of Christ.... True, it was once a sealed book, for the prophet was told to shut up the words, and seal the book "to the time of the end," (Daniel 12:4) "for at the time of the end shall be the vision" (Daniel 8:17). And again, "the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end" (Daniel 12:9). But the time of the end has come. It began in 1798, and though "none of the wicked shall understand," (Daniel 12:10) yet "the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:10). With the book of Daniel in hand, and a heart open to hear the voice of God, man may come in touch with the Father of light. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith." (Revelation 2:7).... Daniel begins the book with the simple statement that "in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim," king of Judah, 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, "came unto Jerusalem and besieged it..." (Daniel 1:1). (SH 15-16)
  • We can summarize the message that the book (of Daniel) bears to people today in the following way: in the most difficult and dangerous times of earth's history or of one's personal life, children of God can be confident that (God) is in charge.... It is better... to view this chapter as the introduction to the whole book of Daniel. Its powerful story sets the stage for everything that follows, while at the same time it functions as a summary of the whole book's message.... 605 B.C. is remembered in history because of the battle for the control of an Egyptian military outpost at Carchemish, near the Euphrates River.... In the battle at Carchemish, the armies of Egypt and Babylon (in alliance with the Medes) clashed in their contest for control of Syria-Palestine. In the end, the Egyptians were defeated and pushed southward by the army called in Ezekiel "the most ruthless of all nations." (ZS 30-31)
  • Jehoiakim's father, King Josiah, was killed at Megiddo in the battle of Haran in 609 B.C. (2 Kings 23:34). Jehoiakim's brother Jehoahaz became king in place of Josiah but was later dethroned by the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco, who then appointed Jehoiakim king over Judah. This king's original name was Eliakim, but according to 2 Chronicles 36:2-4, Neco changed his name to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:34). Although in the year 605 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar had Jehoiakim bound in bronze shackles "to take him to Babylon" (2 chronicles 36:5-8), there is no evidence that he was actually taken there. In fact, 2 Kings 24:6 says that Jehoiakim died in the land of Judah. His son, Jehoiachin, was exiled to Babylon in the year 597 B.C. A published cuneiform text from Babylon speaks in detail of daily provisions of food given to Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and his sons.... The Israelites considered Jerusalem "beautiful..., the joy of the whole earth" (Psalms 48:2), while the Babylonians prized "...Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency" (Isaiah 13:19). The prophet Habakkuk had written in (Habakkuk 1) that God would use the Chaldeans from Babylon as instruments to judge his covenant people. Now... one such judgment had occurred, when this king of Judah surrendered to the Babylonians. Prior to this time, the king was a vassal of the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco, who had appointed him to rule over Judah.... (ZS 30-31)
  • As a result of apostasy, Israel, the northern kingdom, had come to its end in the century preceding Daniel's time, when the armies of Assyria had invested Samaria, captured the city, and taken into captivity the surviving remnant of the ten tribes. (2 Kings 17:1-41; 18:9, 10). The apostasy spread to Judah, the southern kingdom. It grew steadily worse, until "they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy." (2 Chronicles 36:16). (Froom 35)

"Nebuchadnezzar..."

  • "May [the god] Nabu protect the son," or "May Nabu protect my borderstone." Nebuchadnezzar's presence in Palestine in the early summer of 605 B.C., as Daniel 1:1 indicates, is confirmed by two Babylonian accounts: 1) a narrative by the historian Berosus, whose lost work has been quoted on this event by Josephus in his "Against Apion" (1.19) and 2) a portion of a hitherto unknown Babylonian chronicle (D. J. Wiseman, editor "Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings, 1956), which covers the entire reign of Nabopolassar and the first eleven years of his son Nebuchadnezzar.... Berosus, as Josephus quotes him, relates that Nebuchadnezzar was ordered by his father Nabopolassar to quench a rebellion in Egypt, Phoenicia, and Coele-Syria. Having completed his mission but still being in the west he received word of his father's death. Leaving the captives - among whom Jews are mentioned - in the hands of his generals, he hurried back to Babylon by the short desert route as quickly as possible. This haste was doubtless due to a desire to prevent any usurper from taking the throne. Berosus says that Nebuchadnezzar left Jewish captives with his generals when he hurriedly returned to Babylon. Daniel and his friends must have been among these captives. The statement of Daniel 1:1, 2 and that of Berosus were the only known ancient records that spoke of this campaign of Nebuchadnezzar until the discovery of the "Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings," a year-by-year account that yielded for the first time exact dates for the accession and death of Nabopolassar, the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, and the capture of a king of Judah, obviously Jehoiachin, eight years later (it also places the death of Josiah in 609 B.C., and the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C.).... The chronicle gives the very day the above events took place. It tells how, in his father's 21st year, Nebuchadnezzar decisively defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish and subdued Hattiland (Syria-Palestine); then, on hearing of his father's death on Ab 8 (approximately August 13) he hurried to Babylon and ascended the throne on Elul 1 (approximately September 7). Later in his accession year (605 B.C.) and again in his year 1 (which began in the spring of 604 B.C.) he returned to the west and received tribute from the subject kings.... This explained how Daniel could be taken captive in the 3d year of Jehoiakim, the year preceding the 1st of Nebuchadnezzar. (4BC 756)
  • Nabopoassar: the father of Nebuchadnezzar was a General of Assyria.... In 625 B.C., Media, Babylon and Egypt revolted against Assyria. Nabopolassar was sent to subdue Babylon. He was so successful, that as a reward he was made ruler of Babylon and given an honorary title of "King of Babylon." In 612 B.C., Nabopolassar [and Media] revolted against Assyria. In this revolt Nineveh was destroyed. The result was Assyria divided into three divisions: Media ruled the north and north-east, Babylon ruled Elam and all the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris, and Egypt ruled all west of the Euphrates and north Africa. Babylon and Media formed an alliance by the Median King's daughter marriage to Nebuchadnezzar. (GB 13)
  • Finally Judah fell before Babylon, which was called by inspiration "the hammer of the whole earth" (Jeremiah 50:23), conquering and punishing the nations. The kingdom of Babylon had, under Nabopolassar, taken advantage of the Scythian invasion to throw off the political yoke of the Assyrians and had allied itself with Media to hammer at the crumbling empire. Nineveh fell about 612 B.C., and finally the resistance of the last Assyrian king, who moved the capital to Harran, ceased by 606 B.C.; and thus the Chaldean dynasty, founder at Babylon in 626/625 B.C., by Nabopolassar, became firmly established. Under his son Nebuchadnezzar II, the Neo-Babylonian Empire became the political as well as the cultural center of the civilization of the time. (Froom 35-36)

"King of Babylon..."

  • When Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's 3d year, a few weeks or, at the most, a few months before his father's death, he was not yet king. But Daniel, recording these events [probably] in the 1st year of Cyrus (Daniel 1:21), some 70 years after the events described had taken place, calls Nebuchadnezzar "king of Babylon." When Daniel arrived in Babylon as a young captive, Nebuchadnezzar was already king. From then on he saw Nebuchadnezzar reigning for 43 years. Hence, it seems quite natural that Daniel would call him "king. (4BC 756)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's father, Nabopolassar, was a trusted general of the king of Assyria whose empire ruled the world and whose capital was at Nineveh. In the year 625 B.C., the countries of Media, Babylon, and Egypt revolted against the Assyrian rule. The king himself subdued the revolt in Media and sent Nabopolassar to subdue Babylon which he did so successfully that as a reward he was made ruler of the province with the honorable title "King of Babylon." In 612 B.C., Nabopolassar himself led the same countries in a revolt against Assyria which resulted in the division of the Assyrian Empire into three divisions. Media ruled in the north and northeast; Babylon ruled Elam and all the plain and valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris, and Egypt all the country west of the Euphrates and North Africa. The alliance between Babylon and Media was secured by the marriage of the Median king's daughter to Nebuchadnezzar. It was this revolution against the Assyrian rule that Nabopolassar captured and destroyed Nineveh. Nabopolassar reigned from 625 B.C. to 605 B.C. (TGB)
  • Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.) was the second ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which controlled the ancient Near East for almost a century. In this verse, as in Jeremiah 45:2, he is referred to as... "king". During the battle of Carchemish he was only the crown prince. Moreover, on more than one occasion, Jeremiah called King Nebuchadnezzar the Lord's servant (Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6). This fact explains why Daniel, when describing Babylon's capture of Jerusalem, says that "the Lord delivered" the king and the people of Judah into Nebuchadnezzar's hand (Daniel 1:2). (ZS 43)

"unto Jerusalem, and besieged it."

  • In the division of the Assyrian Empire the kingdom of Judah became a vassal of Egypt and the same was true of the Hittites. The growing power of Babylon and the growing ambition of its king and crown prince soon led to a clash with Egypt (and the remnants of the Assyrian kingdom). Pharaoh-Necho, the king of Egypt, led a large army (along with the last of the Assyrian army) against Babylon.... Nabopolassar sent his son, Nebuchadnezzar, with a large army against them and a great battle was fought at Carchemish... on the banks of the Euphrates.(Jeremiah 46:2-6).... In this great battle the Babylonian army under Nebuchadnezzar was victorious. Pursuing the Egyptians through Palestine toward Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar conquered as he went... The completeness of this victory is indicated in 2 Kings 24:7, "And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt." It was during this campaign that Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem (Daniel 1:1). Pharaoh-Necho had placed Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah and it was because he was a vassal of the king of Egypt that he and his kingdom were punished. (2 Kings 23:34, 35)... The events described in Daniel 1:1 and Daniel 1:2 took place in 605 B.C., and mark the beginning of the 70 years [of] captivity, and of the history of Babylon as a universal power.... The overthrows of Jerusalem and Judah by the Babylonians also marked the end of the Jewish nation as an independent kingdom, and it will never be restored. (Ezekiel 21:25-27). The throne and kingdom of Judah "shall be no more" till Christ comes the second time to occupy the throne and rule the kingdom of David. (Luke 1:31-33; Matthew chapters 25-31)... The invasion of Judea was a fulfilment of prophecy. (Jeremiah 25)... In 625 B.C., Babylon revolted against Assyria. Nabopolassar was sent to subdue Babylon. He was so successful, that as a reward he was made ruler of Babylon and given an honorary title of "King of Babylon."... In 612 B.C., Nabopolassar and Media revolted against Assyria. In this revolt Nineveh was destroyed. The result was [that] Assyria [was] divided into three divisions: 1) Media ruled the north and north-east, 2) Babylon ruled Elam and all the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris, and 3) Egypt all [the land] west of the Euphrates and north Africa. Babylon and Media [also] formed an alliance by the Median King's daughter's marriage to Nebuchadnezzar. (TGB)
  • The year was 605 B.C., and this was the first of three invasions of Judah by the Chaldean conquerors. Daniel and his companions, the only ones mentioned by name, were among those first taken to Babylon. The second invasion occurred in 598 B.C., when a much larger group was deported. Among them was a young priest, Ezekiel, who later wrote the book that bears his name. In the final invasion, in 586 B.C., the last large group of exiles, together with the remaining temple treasures, were taken to Babylon. Then the invading army destroyed Solomon's magnificent temple and the city of Jerusalem. (RAA 13-14)
  • Neither this verse nor any other biblical or extrabiblical text reports a battle for Jerusalem in the 605 B.C. Hence, it is most likely that Jehoiakim surrendered to the Babylonians without a fight, which may explain why he was not exiled to Babylon. (ZS 46)
  • The first stroke of the Babylonian hammer upon rebellious Judah fell in the third year of Jehoiakim, when Jerusalem was besieged and Judah was conquered, and part of the vessels of the Temple were carried to Babylon. This invasion, with which the book of the prophet Daniel opens, was the first of a series that climaxed with Nebuchadnezzar's complete destruction of Jerusalem in his nineteenth year (2 Kings 24, 25; 2 Chronicles 36:5-21; Jeremiah 52:1-23), or in 586 B.C. Daniel [was captured just before] the youthful Nebuchadnezzar was recalled from a military campaign by news of Nabopolassar's death. As commander of his father's forces, Nebuchadnezzar had moved west to put down revolts, and Jewish prisoners were among the captives sent to Babylon. In any event, this fits the year of Daniel's captivity. (Froom 36)
  • The invasion of Judah was a fulfillment of prophecy. (Jeremiah 25:1-9) (GB 6)
  • When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, it was really to overthrow Egypt's influence. Judah was trusting Egypt rather than the Living God. No foe is more dangerous than the friend who has taken the place of God in our trust and confidence. (Isaiah 30:1, 2, 1-15). (GB 13-14)