Daniel 1 (1)
The captivity of Judah in 586 BC was because of her sin. As a people, they had despised God and looked to pagan ways to meet their needs and satisfy their wants. They claimed to know Him, but it was clear they did not. They had neglected God’s Law, though they continued going through the motions of worship. They listened to His prophets only as the prophets spoke words of comfort and convenience. And they banked on their kings and politicians to protect their freedoms. Ever since the days of Solomon, prophets like Asaph had warned of the compromises God’s people were embracing. The people didn’t listen then. Are we listening now?
Read Psalm 74, a Psalm of Asaph.
Read Daniel 1.1, 2.
1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
Think it Through
1. The people of Israel (the northern kingdom) had been carried away captive to Assyria in 740 BC. God warned Judah to repent, lest a similar fate should befall them. But the people of Judah (the southern kingdom) would not listen, and the fall of Judah and Jerusalem, and their being carried away to Babylon, were the result. The worst part of this catastrophe was what Israel’s sin said to the world about God. How would you describe Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude toward God, as it is suggested in these verses? How would you describe the world’s attitude toward God today? Do we share some responsibility for this attitude? Explain.
2. Note the mention of “some of the articles of the house of God” also being carried away. We recall a similar incident in which articles related to God were carried away and brought into the house of a pagan deity. Look at 1 Samuel 5. What happened at that time? The Philistines got carried away with their “victory” over God, and it cost them severely. Now Nebuchadnezzar was similarly carried away. Do you suppose Daniel (we will assume he is the author of this book) remembered the incident in 1 Samuel 5? Daniel mentioned these articles here as a kind of foreshadowing of things to come (cf. Dan. 5.1-4). Daniel 1.1, 2, sad as these verses are, lay the foundation for the ultimate victory of the Lord over Babylon, Persia, and all other nations. Explain.
“These words, ‘and the Lord gave,’ are written that no one, in reading the introduction to the book, may attribute their capture to the strength of the captors and the slackness of their chief. And it is well said ‘with part,’ for the deportation was for the correction, not the ruin, of the whole nation, that there might be no misapplication of the cause.” Hippolytus (fl. 222-245 AD)
O God, how long will the adversary reproach?
Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever? Psalm 74.10
Whatever was written before time, Lord, is for our instruction (Rom. 15.4), and that includes the words of Asaph and Daniel. Help me to…
We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
O God, how long will the adversary reproach?
Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Psalm 74.10-14 (Rockingham Old: O Lord Most High, With All My Heart)
How long, O Lord, must they prevail and mock and spurn Your holy Name?
Why stay Your hand? Deploy it now, and bring Your foes to lasting shame!
Our God is King from long ago, Who works deliv’rance in the land;
He split the sea, He crushed His foes; against Him none can ever stand.
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.