Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.Analysis and Annotations
I. DANIEL IN BABYLON, NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM, AND HISTORICAL EVENTS
CHAPTER 1 Daniel and His Companions in Babylon
1. The introduction (Daniel 1:1-2)
2. The king’s command (Daniel 1:3-5)
3. Daniel and his companions (Daniel 1:6-21)
Daniel 1:1-2. Divine judgment, which had threatened so long, had finally fallen upon Jerusalem. It was executed by the divinely chosen instrument, Nebuchadnezzar. Three times he came against Jerusalem. In 606 B.C. he appeared the first time. This is the visitation mentioned here. In 598 he came again and carried away more captives, including Ezekiel. In 587 he burned the city and the temple.
Daniel 1:3-5. As already stated in the introduction the young captives of the king’s seed and of the princes (both of Judah) was in fulfillment of prophecy. They were to be added to the king’s court and to receive special royal favors, instructions in the wisdom and language of the Chaldeans and have the privileges of the king’s table.
Daniel 1:6-21. Daniel means, “God is my judge”; Hananiah, “Beloved of the Lord”; Mishael, “Who is as God”; Azariah, “The Lord is my help.” These beautiful names were soon changed into names of heathen meaning, to blot out the very memory of Jehovah. Daniel becomes Belteshazzar (Bel’s prince); Hananiah is named Shadrach (illumined by the sun-god); Mishael is called Meshach (who is like Shach-- Venus); and Azariah is changed to Abednego (the servant of Nego).
The purpose of the four expressed their loyalty to the God of their fathers and their obedience to His law. The Lord rewarded them for their loyalty and faithfulness, as He is still the rewarder of all who trust in Him and walk in separation.