Daniel 1:1-2 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. When you think of the book of Daniel, what comes to mind?

When you think of the Book of Daniel, what comes to mind? For some people it is the adventure stories they first learned in Sunday School: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace or Daniel in the lions’ den. For others it is the mysterious visions of the future that occupy the latter half of the book. Why was the Book of Daniel given by the Holy Spirit? What is the overarching purpose of the book? It was given to remind and reassure God’s people that, despite the fact they found themselves dominated by an alien and pagan empire (as the consequence of their own sin), our God reigns.

2. What did the Babylonians do to Judah? See 2 Chronicles 36:17-20 (printed below)

…the king of the Babylonians…killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary…(18) He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God…and the treasures of the king and his officials. (19) They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the walls of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. (20) He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons… (2 Chronicles 36:17-20)

The Babylonians conquered the nation of Judah. They killed the young men in the very sanctuary of the Lord. They plundered both the temple of God as well as the king’s treasures, carrying everything away to Babylon. Then they set fire to God’s temple, broke down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and destroyed everything of value. King Nebuchadnezzar then carried way the remnant of the survivors to Babylon where they became servants to him and to his sons who succeeded him.

3. Contrast the results of the Babylonian invasion with that of the Assyrian invasion that occurred in the days of King Hezekiah. See Isaiah 37:20,33,36-37 (printed below)

Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: Now therefore, O Jehovah our God, deliver us out of his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O Jehovah, are God. (Isaiah 37:20)

Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord assured His people: Therefore, this is what Jehovah says about the king of Assyria, He will not enter this city, nor will he shoot an arrow at it. He will not come against it with a shield, nor will he build a siege ramp against it. (Isaiah 37:33)

Then the angel of Jehovah went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the Assyrians got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! (37) So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew from Jerusalem. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. (Isaiah 33:36-37)

The Babylonians conquer Judah, destroy the Lord’s temple, carry His people away into captivity, and the Lord did nothing to stop them. Nothing happens to prevent this calamity, unlike the days of Hezekiah when the Lord miraculously intervened to save Jerusalem from the Assyrian army. As noted above, Hezekiah prayed to the Lord for deliverance. In response to his prayer, the Lord assured His people that He would come to their defense. Then, in accordance with His promise, the Lord proceeded to deliver Jerusalem by routing the Assyrian army.

4. What agonizing questions do you suppose must have been raised in the minds of the Lord’s people at the time of the Babylonian conquest?

No doubt such questions as these came to mind: Is the Lord unable to save us? Are the gods of Babylon stronger than the God of Israel? Can you feel something of the spiritual struggle that the people of God experienced in the time of Daniel? Rather than seeing the kingdom of God advancing, they witness the pagan empire of Babylon asserting itself. Rather than being rescued by the Lord their God, they find themselves being carried away into exile to a foreign land.

5. What important fact is made known to us in Daniel 1:2 (printed below?)

And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels from the temple of God. He carried them to the land of Shinar to the temple of his god, and he put the vessels in the treasure house of his god. (Daniel 1:2)

We are informed that the Lord delivered Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonians did not conquer Judah by their own might; on the contrary, the Lord gave them the victory over Judah. He did so as punishment for the sins of His people when they refused to heed His many warnings and calls to repentance (note 2 Chronicles 36:15-17). Note: The fact that He caused a remnant to be spared shows His mercy and covenant faithfulness, He did not cast away His people completely. At the very outset of the Book of Daniel—and throughout the entire book—the emphasis is on the sovereignty of the Lord, the God of Israel. This truth is intended to be a great comfort and assurance to God’s people as they face the spiritual adversaries in this present world. As Christians, let us always remember the blessed truth that our God reigns!