In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim - This king was raised to the throne of Judea in the place of his brother Jehoahaz, by Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, 2 Kings 23:34-36, and continued tributary to him during the first three years of his reign; but in the fourth, which was the first of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 25:1, Nebuchadnezzar completely defeated the Egyptian army near the Euphrates, Jeremiah 46:2; and this victory put the neighboring countries of Syria, among which Judea was the chief, under the Chaldean government. Thus Jehoiakim, who had first been tributary to Egypt, became now the vassal of the king of Babylon, 2 Kings 24:1.
At the end of three years Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who, then occupied with other wars, did not proceed against Jerusalem till three years after, which was the eleventh and last of Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 23:36.
There are some difficulties in the chronology of this place. Calmet takes rather a different view of these transactions. He connects the history thus: Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, finding that one of his lords whom he had made governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia had revolted from him, and formed an alliance with the king of Egypt, sent Neubuchadnezzar his son, whom he invested with the authority of king, to reduce those provinces, as was customary among the easterns when the heir presumptive was sent on any important expedition or embassy. This young prince, having quelled the insurrection in those parts, marched against Jerusalem about the end of the third or beginning of the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. He soon took the city, and put Jehoiakim in chains with the design of carrying him to Babylon; but, changing his mind, he permitted him to resume the reins of government under certain oppressive conditions. At this year, which was A.M. 3398, the seventy years of the Babylonish captivity commence. Nabopolassar dying in the interim, Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to return speedily to Babylon, leaving his generals to conduct the Jewish captives to Babylon, among whom were Daniel and his companions.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem - This event occurred, according to Jahn (“History of the Hebrew Commonwealth”), in the year 607 b.c., and in the 368th year after the revolt of the ten tribes. According to Usher, it was in the 369th year of the revolt, and 606 b.c. The computation of Usher is the one generally received, but the difference of a year in the reckoning is not material. Compare Michaelis, Anmerkung, zu 2Kon. xxiv. 1. Jehoiakim was a son of Josiah, a prince who was distinguished for his piety, 2 Kings 22:2; 2 Chronicles 35:1-7. After the death of Josiah, the people raised to the throne of Judah Jehoahaz, the youngest son of Josiah, probably because he appeared better qualified to reign than his elder brother, 2 Kings 23:30; 2 Chronicles 36:1. He was a wicked prince, and after he had been on the throne three months, he was removed by Pharaoh-nechoh, king of Egypt, who returned to Jerusalem from the conquest of Phoenicia, and placed his elder brother, Eliakim, to whom he gave the name of Jehoiakim, on the throne, 2 Kings 23:34; 2 Chronicles 36:4.
Jehoahaz was first imprisoned in Riblah, 2 Kings 23:33, and was afterward removed to Egypt, 2 Chronicles 36:4. Jehoiakim, an unworthy son of Josiah, was, in reality, as he is represented by Jeremiah, one of the worst kings who reigned over Judah. His reign continued eleven years, and as he came to the throne 611 b.c., his reign continued to the year 600 b.c. In the third year of his reign, after the battle of Megiddo, Pharaoh-nechoh undertook a second expedition against Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, with a numerous army, drawn in part from Western Africa, Lybia and Ethiopia. - Jahn‘s Hist. Heb. “Commonwealth,” p. 134. This Nabopolassar, who is also called Nebuchadnezzar I, was at this time, as Berosus relates, aged and infirm. He therefore gave up a part of his army to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who defeated the Egyptian host at Carchemish (Circesium) on the Euphrates, and drove Nechoh out of Asia. The victorious prince marched directly to Jerusalem, which was then under the sovereignty of Egypt. After a short siege Jehoiakim surrendered, and was again placed on the throne by the Babylonian prince.
Nebuchadnezzar took part of the furniture of the temple as booty, and carried back with him to Babylon several young men, the sons of the principal Hebrew nobles, among whom were Daniel and his three friends referred to in this chapter. It is not improbable that one object in conveying them to Babylon was that they might be hostages for the submission and good order of the Hebrews in their own land. It is at this time that the Babylonian sovereignty over Judah commences, commonly called the Babylonian captivity, which, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 25:1-14; Jeremiah 29:10, was to continue seventy years. In Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 46:2, it is said that this was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; in the passage before us it is said that it was the third year. This difference, says Jahn, arises from a different mode of computation: “Jehoiakim came to the throne at the end of the year, which Jeremiah reckons as the first (and such a mode of reckoning is not uncommon), but Daniel, neglecting the incomplete year, numbers one less:” For a more full and complete examination of the objection to the genuineness of Daniel from this passage, I would refer to Prof. Stuart on Daniel, “Excursus” I. (See App. I. to this Vol.)
And besieged it - Jerusalem was a strongly-fortified place, and it was not easy to take it, except as the result of a siege. It was, perhaps, never carried by direct and immediate assault. Compare 2 Kings 25:1-3, for an account of a siege of Jerusalem a second time by Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the city was besieged about a year and a half. How long the siege here referred to continued is not specified.
WITH a directness characteristic of the sacred writers, Daniel enters at once upon his subject. He commences in the simple, historical style, his book, with the exception of a portion of chapter 2, being of a historical nature, till we reach the seventh chapter, when the prophetical portion, more properly so called, commences. Like one conscious of uttering only well-known truth, he proceeds at once to state a variety of particulars by which his accuracy could at once be tested. Thus, in the two verses quoted, he states five particulars purporting to be historical facts, such as no writer would be likely to introduce into a fictitious narrative: (1) That Jehoiakim was king of Judah; (2) That Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon; (3) That the latter came against the former; (4) That this was in the third year of Jehoiakim's reign; and (5) That Jehoiakim was given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, who took a portion of the sacred vessels of the house of God, and carrying them to the land of Shinar, the country of Babylon (Genesis 10:10), placed them in the treasure-house of his heathen divinity. Subsequent portions of the narrative abound as fully in historical facts of a like nature.DAR 24.2
This overthrow of Jerusalem was predicted by Jeremiah, and immediately accomplished, B. C. 606. Jeremiah 25:8-11. Jeremiah places this captivity in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Daniel in the third. This seeming discrepancy is explained by the fact that Nebuchadnezzar set out on his expedition near the close of the third year of Jehoiakim, from which point Daniel reckons. But he did not accomplish the subjugation of Jerusalem till about the ninth month of the year following; and from this year Jeremiah reckons. (Prideaux, Vol. I, pp. 99, 100.) Jehoiakim, though bound for the purpose of being taken to Babylon, having humbled himself, was permitted to remain as ruler in Jerusalem, tributary to the king of Babylon.DAR 25.1
This was the first time Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar. Twice subsequently, the city, having revolted, was captured by the same king, being more severely dealt with each succeeding time. Of these subsequent overthrows, the first was under Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, B. C. 599, when all the sacred vessels were either taken or destroyed, and the best of the inhabitants, with the king, were led into captivity. The second was under Zedekiah, when the city endured the most formidable siege it ever sustained, except that by Titus, in A. D. 70. During the two years' continuance of this siege, the inhabitants of the city suffered all the horrors of extreme famine. At length, the garrison and king, attempting to escape from the city, were captured by the Chaldeans. The sons of the king were slain before his face. His eyes were put out, and he was taken to Babylon; and thus was fulfilled the prediction of Ezekiel, who declared that he should be carried to Babylon, and die there, but yet should not see the place. Ezekiel 12:13. The city and temple were at this time utterly destroyed, and the entire population of the city and country, with the exception of a few husbandmen, were carried captive to Babylon, B. C. 588.DAR 25.2
Such was God's passing testimony against sin. Not that the Chaldeans were the favorites of Heaven, but God made use of them to punish the iniquities of his people. Had the Israelites been faithful to God, and kept his Sabbath, Jerusalem would have stood forever. Jeremiah 17:24-27. But they departed from him, and he abandoned them. They first profaned the sacred vessels by sin, in introducing heathen idols among them; and he then profaned them by judgments, in letting them go as trophies into heathen temples abroad.DAR 25.3
During these days of trouble and distress upon Jerusalem, Daniel and his companions were nourished and instructed in the palace of the king of Babylon; and, though captives in a strange land, they were doubtless in some respects much more favorably situated than they could have been in their native country.DAR 26.1
These, with the prophecies of the twenty-fifth chapter, are the letters and the records that Daniel the prophet, during “the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede,” prayerfully studied, three-score years and more after they were written (The Review and Herald, March 21, 1907). 4BC 1158.1
11, 12 (chs. 28; 29:14). Punishment in Proportion to Intelligence and Warnings Despised—“In the fourth year of Jehoiakim,” very soon after Daniel was taken to Babylon, Jeremiah predicted the captivity of many of the Jews, as their punishment for not heeding the Word of the Lord. The Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. Their punishment was to be in proportion to their intelligence and to the warnings they had despised. “This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment,” the prophet declared; “and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” 4BC 1158.2Read in context »
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8. UL 253.1
The first chapter of Daniel teaches the lesson that what we eat and drink has an influence upon the powers of the mind, and that if we would have healthful bodies and clear minds, we must be careful of our diet. If we are careless in this matter and eat simply to gratify taste, the digestive organs are impaired and the brain is confused, and neither can act their part as fully as God intended they should.... UL 253.2Read in context »
The prophet Daniel was an illustrious character. He was a bright example of what men may become when united with the God of wisdom. A brief account of the life of this holy man of God is left on record for the encouragement of those who should afterward be called to endure trial and temptation. FE 77.1
When the people of Israel, their king, nobles, and priests, were carried into captivity, four of their number were selected to serve in the court of the king of Babylon. One of these was Daniel, who early gave promise of the remarkable ability developed in later years. These youth were all of princely birth, and are described as “children in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them.” Perceiving the superior talents of these youthful captives, King Nebuchadnezzar determined to prepare them to fill important positions in his kingdom. That they might be fully qualified for their life at court, according to Oriental custom, they were to be taught the language of the Chaldeans, and to be subjected for three years to a thorough course of physical and intellectual discipline. FE 77.2Read in context »