Introduction - God's Got ALL This
Does He Though?
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
The Lord Gave Judah to Babylon
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
The Babylonian Kings Plan
They had beautiful Hebrew names that godly parents might meaningfully give their children. All four names testify to Israel’s God, Yahweh. Daniel means, “El (God) is my judge.” Hananiah means, “Yah (Yahweh) has been gracious.” Mishael means, “Who is what El (God) is?” and Azariah means, “Yah (Yahweh) has helped.”
Unfortunately, the first thing the palace master does is to replace these beautiful names. These young men need to be cut off from their past and cut off from their God. Their identity needs to change from Israelite youths to Babylonian wise men. So the palace master replaces the beautiful Hebrew names with Babylonian names with references to Babylonian gods. Verse 7, “The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar,” which probably means “May Bel protect his life”—Bel means “lord,” referring to the Babylonian head god, Marduk. “Hananiah he called Shadrach,” which means “The command of Aku,” the moon god, or “The command of Marduk,” the head god. “Mishael he called Meshach,” which may mean, “Who is what Aku is?” And, finally, “Azariah he called Abednego,” which means “Servant of Nebo,” the Babylonian god of wisdom and agriculture. Instead of serving Yahweh, the God of Israel, from now on these young men are in the service of Babylon and its gods.