Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. (Daniel 1:6-7)
NOTICE THE WORDS: "AMONG THESE...." We need to borrow some words from Bible Knowledge Commentary to shine a light on these words. All the royal seed that were deported to Babylon (Iraq) from Judah were not outstanding and God-fearing, it seems. We need to be careful and not go too far in assuming things. However, as the story unfolds it’s only these four that stand for God and pay the price of the lions’ den and the fiery furnace.
WHO WAS THE MOTHER OF THESE YOUNG MEN? The father was evidently the King of Judah since they were of the royal seed, princes. Upon the death of their father, they would have been candidates for the throne to replace their father. We can assume that the royal seed had several different mothers. That’s how things were done in this setting. BKC comments:
“NO MENTION WAS MADE OF HOW MANY CAPTIVES were taken but four are mentioned here by name because of their later significant role in Babylon. Because all four bore names that honored Yahweh, the God of Israel, their names were changed. El means God and -iah (or -yah) is an abbreviation for Yahweh, thus suggesting that the young men’s parents were God-fearing people who gave them names that included references to God.
“DANIEL, WHOSE NAME MEANS "GOD HAS JUDGED" (or “God is my Judge”), was given the name Belteshazzar (Bēlet-šar-uṣur in Akk.), which means “Lady, protect the king.” Eight of the 10 times “Belteshazzar” occurs in the Old Testament are in the Aramaic section of the Book of Daniel (Dan_2:26; Dan_4:8-9, Dan_4:18-19 [3 times]; Dan_5:12). The other 2 occurrences are in Dan_1:7 and Dan_10:1.
“HANANIAH (“YAHWEH HAS BEEN GRACIOUS") became Shadrach probably from the Akkadian verb form šādurāku, meaning “I am fearful (of a god).”
“MISHAEL ("WHO IS WHAT GOD IS?") was given the name Meshach, which possibly was from the Akkadian verb mēšāku, meaning “I am despised, contemptible, humbled (before my god).”
“AZARIAH ("ZARIAH)(“YAHWEH HAS HELPED") was named Abednego, “Servant of Nebo” (Nego being a Heb. variation of the Babylonian name of the god Nebo). Nebo (cf. Isa_46:1), son of Bel, was the Babylonian god of writing and vegetation. He was also known as Nabu (cf. comments on Dan_1:1 on Nebuchadnezzar’s name).
“THUS THE CHIEF COURT OFFICIAL (Ashpenaz, Dan_1:3) seemed determined to obliterate any testimony to the God of Israel from the Babylonian court. The names he gave the four men signified that they were to be subject to Babylon’s gods.” (BKC)
THE MOTHERS OF THESE FOUR YOUNG MEN HAD THE EARLIEST and the most dominate influence on their sons. It works that way today. The mother is dominant in the life of most boys for the first 3-4 years. After those formative years, the boy wants to be like his daddy. So, the mother gets the first shot at shaping the life of her son. Make it good.
IF THE MOTHER MUST GO INTO THE WORK PLACE and the child is placed in kindergarten (meaning: a garden of children), the teacher of that group has the most important job in the whole school. She is not merely there to keep the children safe. She is also their co-developer alongside the parents at home.
MOTHERS AND TEACHERS ARE NOT MARKING TIME until the child is old enough to “learn something important.” Learning to count and recite the ABC’s are important, but not as important as what the child develops in character traits. The child comes out of the womb learning. The first five years of the child’s life is the most important five years. Child development experts who know a lot more about this than I, also believe it.
MY GRANDMOTHER RICHARDS (my mother’s mother) named me. She took the initiative in ordering a Bible story book for me and the cover of the book featured Daniel in the lions’ den. As I went to church and mingled among grownups at outdoor Sunday dinners, they would ask me: “Are you the Daniel in the lions’ den?” After a steady diet of that, a boy has to wonder who was this Daniel in the lions’ den?
FROM THE BIBLE STORY BOOK, I learned mostly by looking at Daniel on the book cover. They didn’t read the book to me. I guess they thought it was above my head. It was in my grandmother’s house and I looked at it often. Sometimes it was used as a door prop of the bedroom door. Later, it was replaced by a big green frog made from chalk.
NEVERTHELESS....THAT EXPOSURE, AS FLAWED AS IT WAS, went deep and influenced me for life. My name was Daniel and it came from the Daniel of the Bible. I wasn’t born with a label tattooed on me. They gave me that name! Why?
TODAY, A GOOD NUMBER OF BOYS AND GIRLS ARE BEING GIVEN BIBLE NAMES. My strongest impulse is to say to each one: “You have a good name. Who named you?” Another thing that surprises me is the number of young mothers who are praying for God to save their children when they name them. Some mothers are asking God to call their sons to preach or to be missionaries.
DID YOU KNOW THIS IS GOING ON? Evangelist Paul Ferguson’s mother prayed for her son to be a preacher. They are heavily influenced by the story of Hannah, praying for a child and giving him to he Lord. I have no explanation for why I began “preaching” at a little table when I was five. It just seemed like the thing to do.
AMERICA NEEDS HUNDREDS OF GOD-CALLED, GOD-ANOINED PREACHERS preachers more than it needs politicians. (It needs both but I think the need for God-anointed preachers is the greatest need.)
LET'S NOT WRITE OFF THE STORY OF THIS QUARTET OF TEEN-AGERS that God placed on the stage of His program. God never leaves Himself without a witness. Like these stalwart teens in Babylon, today there are some of the finest teenagers who love God and are paying a price to be different from the rest of the crowd. Don’t be surprised at what God does with young people today He has laid His hand on to serve Him.
PRAY FOR THEM AND PRAY FOR GOD TO RAISE UP THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE today to serve Him as faithfully as did this quartet in the Book of Daniel. They paid a price to serve God. To begin, they were castrated and made into eunuchs to serve the king of Babylon. That was God’s appointed place for them. When God calls you to do this or that, don’t try to be like anybody else. Just be what God called you to be and do what He has called you to do. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
SEPTEMBER 18, 2018 – TUESDAY
A.M. Ecclesiastes 4-6 P.M. 2Corinthians 10
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16) (Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
Song for Today:
Standing on the Promises (1:49) (Calvary Christian School)
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