Article #7 of the Daniel Series
Recall in our previous article that Daniel had just made a plea with his Babylonian trainer Ashpenaz. We learned that “An inscription was found on a monument that is now housed in the Berlin museum” confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” confirming the historical (secular) accuracy of Daniel. Daniel did not wish to violate his Hebrew culture and Judaism.
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. The prince’s fear is certainly justified! As we will see in the following chapters, Ol’ King Neb had a habit of cutting people to pieces and turning their house into a dunghill! This was just too risky an experiment regardless of how much Ashpenaz liked Daniel. We should also note Daniel was with “others” in the same situation. They are not mentioned by name other than Daniel’s three other teenage captives from Judah we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Aben-nego.
Then said Daniel to (the) Mel[t]zar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel,
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Not wanting to take ‘no’ for an answer, Daniel then goes to Melzar, that is, the guard– this is what the Jews call ‘hutspa’. This is a little like “mommy says ‘no’ so let’s ask daddy!” This is the young teenager character of Daniel revealing itself though he is Spirit lead life. The word “Melzar” is not actually a name but a position; a title. King James calls this guard a “steward.” Strong’s interpretation makes it similar to what one would call a “butler”; i.e. melzar
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [vegetables & perhaps kosher meat] to eat, and water to drink. (Isaiah 61:11 – vegetables/pulse)
This time Daniel suggests a 10 day trial. Pulse is not like it sounds! It would be vegetables and possibly kosher meat, but not meat sacrificed to idols.
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 [pulse] ten days.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating I’m not sure if ‘consented’ means ‘gave in’. The Hebrew word used for consented is shâma‛. It means to be intelligent about it.
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 Mel[t]zar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
Can anyone imagine how this went down with all the other Hebrew and possibly foreign captives! In all seriousness, this may have been the start of Daniel’s unpopularity with his colleagues that we see fester and grow in our subsequent chapters. He demonstrates that he is already a “take charge” guy and convincing. Again, note this verse states “than all the children” who were subject to this training. We also should note that the others in training did eat of the non-kosher foods.
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.
We strive so often to gain knowledge but without much understanding. Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding [Desire then Action]. It is the Lord who increases knowledge and gives understanding. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Only a short while ago Daniel and his friends were being taken captive and led to a foreign land uncertain of their future. But like Joseph in Egypt they remained true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He gave them favor exalting them in due time.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
18 Now at the end of the days [3 years] 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.
“For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Ps 75:6-7)
Notice that Daniel uses their Hebrew names! “We will not let go of the truth we know.” Perhaps this also suggests that the Israelites were God’s chosen from all mankind thus the use of their Hebrew names, not the gentile ones the Babylonians gave to them. This brings to mind the old hymn “There’s a New Name Written Down in Glory.” Perhaps the composer/lyrics of this song had insight we don’t entertain. Once we are saved we get a new name and IT is written down in heaven (Burl Ives wrote the lyrics to this song)
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. Ten times better? This can only mean they were standouts. This surely added to the contempt of three years earlier when Daniel convinced the Mel[t]zer for exception to the food they ate. Now it included ALL of the king’s magicians and *astrologers; not just the other captive Hebrews boys held for three years of training.
Next article we meet the magicians & astrologers again, but now in chapter 2, so we’ll talk about them there, but regardless Daniel was ten times better. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
*See appendix per astrologers.
Here is an ahamoment for some and a reminder to those who have followed the articles in ahabiblemoments.com. Many times we read right through bible verbiage not catching its total context. History is not comprised of the bible as a religion and culture or nations and history. They are one and the same thing. The bible records history just as a study in high school or college would be if the topic was Middle East History. The following comes from the History of the Medes, neighbors of the Babylonians and Persians.
The Medes were an people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portion of present-day Iran. [Babylon would be near the eastern portion of present-day Iran (Persia) but in Iraq] By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes were able to establish an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves to be descended from the ancient Medes.
Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown. It was most likely similar to the Avestan and Scythian languages. [Scyths are descended from dispersed Jews from Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Many are those who remained behind after the Judeans were released by King Cyrus of Babylon to return to their homelands. Take note of the six tribes that made up the people of the Medes. Pay particular attention to the sixth tribe listed below. Now think of the birth days of Jesus]
The Six Median Tribes
Herodotus lists the names of six Mede tribes or castes. Some of these are similar to tribal names of the Scythians, suggesting a definitive link between these two groups.
- The Busae group is thought to derive from the Persian term buza meaning indigenous (i.e. not Iranian). Whether this was based on an originally Iranian term, or their own name, is unknown.
- The second group is called the Paraetaceni, or Parae-tak-(eni) in Persian, and denotes nomadic inhabitants of the mountains of Paraetacene. This name recalls the Scythian Para-la-ti, the people of Kolaxis, believed to represent the common people in general, but whom Herodotus calls the “Royal Scythians”.
- The third group is called Strukhat.
- The fourth group is the Arizanti, whose name is derived from the words Arya (noble), and Zantu (tribe, clan).
- The fifth group were the Budii, found also among the Black Sea Scythians as Budi-ni. Buddha was of the tribe Budha, the Saka (eastern Scythian) form of the name.
- The sixth tribe were the Magi…They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism [astrology]. The name Magi implies a link with the Sumerians, who called their language Emegir, over time becoming simplified to Magi. Hungarian tradition also traces pre-European Magyar (Hungarian) ancestry back to the Magi. In time, the Sumerian-influenced religion of the Magi was suppressed in favor of a more purely Iranian form of Zoroastrianism, itself evolved from its somewhat dualist beginnings into the monotheistic faith that it is today (also known as Parsi-ism).