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:"

"Ashpenaz master of the eunuchs"

  • [This] title was applied to the royal confidant.... Isaiah prophesied that some of Hezekiah's descendants would become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (Isaiah 39:7). ...commentators have held that Daniel and his three companions were included in this prophecy. (4BC)
  • As "chief palace servant" Ashpenaz was the person in charge of the education of the royal youth. He was directly responsible to the king himself for their successful training (Daniel 1:18). (ZS)
  • It was the age when most of the young men in the capital of Judah were wild and reckless. They were excusing themselves because of the youth. But God chose from their midst certain ones whom He could trust in a foreign land. Daniel and his three companions were snatched from the shelter of home, and with others were placed under the charge of Ashpenaz, master of the eunuchs in Babylon. (SNH 23)

"bring certain of the children of Israel"

  • After the destruction of Samaria in 723/722 B.C., when the ten northern tribes ceased to exist as a separate nation, the kingdom of Judah remained the sole representative of the descendants of Jacob or Israel. Hence, the name Israel is frequently employed during the Exile and in the post-exilic period to designate the representatives of the southern kingdom. (4BC)
  • Here is recorded the probable fulfillment of the judgments predicted by the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah more than a hundred years before. When this king had vaingloriously shown to the messengers of the king of Babylon all the treasures and holy things of his palace and kingdom, Hezekiah was told that all these good things would be carried as trophies to the city of Babylon, and that even his own children, his descendants, would be taken away and be eunuchs in the palace of the king there. (2 Kings 20:14-18).... The word "children" as applied to these captives is not to be confined to the sense to which it is limited at the present time. It included youth also. We learn from the record that these children were already "skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and...had ability in them to stand in the king's palace." In other words, they had acquired a good degree of education, and their physical and mental powers were so far developed that a skillful reader of human nature could form an accurate estimate of their capabilities. They are supposed to have been about eighteen or twenty years of age. (US)
  • You can trace on any biblical map, ancient or modern, and follow the route this teenaged prisoner took, going from Jerusalem north along the Mediterranean Sea, then heading east to Carchemish, and southeast along the Euphrates River, eastern boundary of the Fertile Crescent, and finally into Babylon, near a city we think quite a bit about even today: Baghdad, in Iraq.... Daniel's captor, Nebuchadnezzar, however took the shorter express route right across the Syrian Desert, having heard that his father, King Nabopolassar, had just died. No doubt he wanted to get home as quickly as possible to assert his own claim to the throne. But Daniel and his fellow captives took a thousand-mile trek, probably a two [to three] month trip, to a foreign enemy's capital city, knowing in their hearts that they probably would never see their homes or their families again. (DBS)
  • The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God; they did not maintain his principles unadulterated with the sentiments of the nations around them. The people who should have been a light amid the surrounding darkness, disregarded the word of the Lord. They lived for themselves, and neglected to do the special work God had appointed them. And because of their failure to fulfil his purpose, he permitted them to be humbled by an idolatrous nation. (Youth Instructor May 14, 1903)
  • "In the fourth year of Jehoiakim,” (Jeremiah 25:1) very soon after Daniel was taken to Babylon, Jeremiah predicted the captivity of many of the Jews, as their punishment for not heeding the Word of the Lord. The Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. Their punishment was to be in proportion to their intelligence and to the warnings they had despised. “This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment,” the prophet declared; “and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon¬†seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” (Jeremiah 25:11-12). (4BC 1158; RH March 14, 1907)
  • It was indeed a wise policy for Nebuchadnezzar to gather into his court the wisdom of all nations. It not only assured him the best of counsel, but it also helped to win the allegiance of all subject people and made them feel that they were a part of his empire. (TGB 9)
  • Daniel and his friends must have read these words (Isaiah 39:5-7) more than once, which would have helped them understand the place of God's providence in their lives and also in Judah's history. Their trust in God's leading "did not prevent them from being taken into exile, but it did give them the opportunity to witness for their faith during that exile." (ZS 55)
  • When the Jews were dispersed from Jerusalem, there were among them young men and women who were firm as a rock to principle, men and women who had not pursued a course to make the Lord ashamed to call them His people. These were sad at heart for the backsliding which they could not prevent. These innocent ones must suffer with the guilty; but God would give them strength sufficient for their day. It was to them that the message of encouragement was sent. The hope of the nation lay in those young men and maidens who would preserve their integrity. And in their captivity these obedient ones had an influence over their idolatrous companions. Had all who were taken captive held firmly to correct principles, they would have imparted light in every place where they were scattered. But they remained impenitent, and still heavier punishment came upon them. Their calamities were sent for their purification. God would bring them to the place where they would be instructed. (4BC 1144; Manuscript 151, 1899)
  • Among the children of Israel who were carried captive to Babylon at the beginning of the seventy years' captivity were Christian patriots, men who were as true as steel to principle, who would not be corrupted by selfishness, but who would honor God at the loss of all things. In the land of their captivity these men were to carry out God's purpose by giving to heathen nations the blessings that come through a knowledge of Jehovah. They were to be His representatives. Never were they to compromise with idolaters; their faith and their name as worshipers of the living God they were to bear as a high honor. And this they did. In prosperity and adversity they honored God, and God honored them. (PK 479)
  • Daniel was not more than eighteen years of age... when he was snatched from his home and marched at least 800 miles to Babylon, the capital of idolatry. As far as we know, none of those first exiles ever saw his homeland again. The date of Daniel's birth could not have been later than 623 B.C. This coincided with the rise of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom, which, having conquered the warring empire of the Assyrians, quickly grained world renown. (RAA)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's brainwashing Techniques 1 of 6: First remove them from their home and their support system. (KC 26)
  • The agreement of the sources is impressive. Josephus says that Nebuchadnezzar had Jewish captives sent to Babylon shortly after the death of his father; Daniel indicates that he and his companions were captured by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon in the third year of Jehoiakim; and Jeremiah makes it clear that the third year of Jehoiakim was that immediately preceding the first year of Nebuchadnezzar. (Jeremiah 25:1). Thus it would seem that Daniel was transported to Babylon in what is now called the "accession year" of Nebuchadnezzar, which would be, according to the Babylonian tablets, in the late summer or autumn, 605 B.C. (Froom 36)
  • It was their conscientious observance of the commands of Holy Scripture, that in the days of Jeremiah's ministry brought to Daniel and his fellows opportunities to exalt the true God before the nations of earth. The instruction these Hebrew children had received in the homes of their parents, made them strong in faith and constant in their service of the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. When, early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar for the first time besieged and captured Jerusalem, and carried away Daniel and his companions, with others specially chosen for service in the court of Babylon, the faith of the Hebrew captives was tried to the utmost. But those who had learned to place their trust in the promises of God found these all-sufficient in every experience through which they were called to pass during their sojourn in a strange land. The Scriptures proved to them a guide and a stay. (PK 428)

"king's seed, and of the princes"

  • When Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem in 605 B.C. he took hostages from the royal house of Judah as well as fro the first families of [the] country. It was an old custom of conquerors to carry away princely hostages to guarantee the loyalty of the conquered foe. Such a practice is reported in the annals of Thutmose III of Egypt, who, after defeating an alliance of Syrian and Palestinian rulers at the battle of Megiddo in the 15th century B.C., allowed the defeated kings to retain their thrones, but carried to Egypt one prince from each of his defeated enemies. In Egypt they were educated in the Egyptian way of life, and when one of the satellite kings of Palestine or Syria died, one of the deceased's sons, educated in Egypt and friendly to the Pharaoh, was put on the vacant throne. (4BC)
  • Daniel and [his] friends probably knew of the experiences of Hezekiah as recorded in Isaiah 39. Because of the king's vanity in showing the ambassadors from Babylon the treasures of his kingdom, when he should have been giving glory to God and leading these visitors to a knowledge of Jehovah, Isaiah declared that his posterity would be "eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." (Isaiah 39:7). (RAA)
  • Ancient traditions relate the four young men to either king Zedekiah (Josephus) or king Hezekiah (Jerome). (ZS 52)
  • Upon the Judeans' arrival in Babylon, the king's officials immediately take charge of them. After careful screening by the chief eunuch, the Babylonian administrators carefully select young men of royal blood... in perfect physical condition and superior intellect to be trained for the king's service. Those chosen include the prince Daniel, probably a direct descendant of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. That the chief eunuch Ashpenaz is in charge of the screening operations hints at the painful tragedy of the new captives. It may well be that Daniel and his companions underwent castration and became eunuchs to serve at the royal court, a common practice in the ancient Near East, as evidenced by Assyrian carvings of court life. Thus the upper-class eunuchs slaves were often exiled men of foreign origin. As the princes of Judah underwent the humiliating procedure, they may have remembered Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 39:7) that [foretold] that the offspring of Hezekiah would become eunuchs at the Babylonian court. (JBD 16)
  • It seems that the first captivity in which Daniel and his companions shared was composed mostly "of the king's seed, and of the princes,".... This captivity was a fulfilment of a prophecy by Isaiah made 100 years before (2 Kings 20:14-18). The four Hebrews were therefore princes of the royal blood and Daniel was a descendant of King Hezekiah and a relative of Zedekiah. According to rabbinical tradition and also Josephus, the Jewish historian, Daniel was of royal descent. (Josephus, Ant. X:10,1). (TGB 7)
  • Choice captives were selected for special training so they could serve at the court. Then, if they ever returned to their homeland, they would function as vital links between the palace and the provinces in the empire. (ZS 53)
  • Explains how Daniel and his friends arrived in Babylon. (KC 9)
  • In giving light to His people anciently, God did not work exclusively through any one class. Daniel was a prince of Judah. Isaiah also was of the royal line. David was a shepherd boy, Amos a herdsman, Zechariah a captive from Babylon, Elisha a tiller of the soil. The Lord raised up as His representatives prophets and princes, the noble and the lowly, and taught them the truths to be given to the world. (MH 148)
  • Daniel the Prophet was probably a prince from the royal line of Judah. Born perhaps about 623B.C., into a family of prominence he had many educational and social advantages. Physically without blemish, and intellectually skilled in knowledge, wisdom and science, Daniel was chosen as one of a small group to be trained "to stand in the king's palace." (Daniel 1:4). Taken to Babylon at the beginning of the seventy years' captivity, "he continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus" (Daniel 1:21) of Persia, whose reign marked the ending of the seventy years' captivity. (Froom 36-37)