Paragraph # 2 Study # 1
February 6, 2018
Moss Bluff, Louisiana
3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring [certain
] of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
4 Children in whom [was
] no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as [had
] ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 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.
1901 ASV Translation
3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in [certain
] of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;
4 youths in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and endued with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king's palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
5 And the king appointed for them a daily portion of the king's dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at the end thereof they should stand before the king.
6 Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
7 And the prince of the eunuchs gave names unto them: unto Daniel he gave [the name of
] Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, [of
] Shadrach; and to Mishael, [of
] Meshach; and to Azariah, [of
- I. The Instructions to Ashpenaz.
- A. Who was "Ashpenaz"?
- 1. He is known by his name in only one text in the Bible (this one).
- 2. He is called "the prince of the eunuchs" six times by Daniel in Daniel chapter one and is not mentioned again by Daniel anywhere in his book.
- 3. He is called "the master of his eunuchs" only in this verse.
- a. The word translated "master" is actually an adjective, not a noun. Thus, the main idea of our text is that he was "the highest ranking eunuch" of the king.
- b. The word translated "eunuch" actually had its origins in the word "castrated", but its use spread out from there to refer to highly placed men in the king's service who may, or may not, have been castrated.
- 1) Josephus claims that Daniel was made an eunuch along with the other three youths mentioned by Daniel.
- 2) Isaiah used the word three times (39:7; 56:3; and 56:4) and two of those three are unarguably references to men who have been made incapable of generating offspring by castration. Isaiah was also the prophet who told Hezekia that his sons would be taken away to Babylon and be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (2 Kings 20:18)
- 3) There is no particular reason to think that Daniel was not so mistreated by the Babylonians. Daniel knew the promise of God in Isaiah 56:5 that eunuchs that please The Lord will be given a better name than of sons and of daughters. If there was ever a man who exemplified 1 Peter 4:1, Daniel was such a man as Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 clearly testify. There are those who cannot abide the idea that God would allow His loyal servants to be so mistreated, but that inability arises out of their own aversion to the idea, not out of what is clear from the Bible about how God does, or does not, allow His loyal servants to be treated. Jesus was, after all, more mistreated than any of God's other loyal servants, or the whole of them combined, and it is not a bad reflection upon His beloved Father.
- B. What were his instructions?
- 1. He was to put the "best" of the children of Israel that were brought to Babylon into a program that would make it possible for them to be special servants to the king.
- a. These "best" were to be the children of Israel, the children of the king, and the children of the princes of Israel.
- b. These "best" were to be unblemished, well favored, and significantly intelligent.
- c. These "best" were to be capable of learning all things "Chaldean", including the language.
- 2. He was to provide these "best" with food and wine from the king's own table for the three years they were to be in the program with the goal of putting them into the king's service.
- II. The Particular Individuals Subjected to These Instructions.
- A. Four of the children of Judah.
- B. Four whose Hebrew names were changed to Babylonian names.
- 1. Daniel (meaning "judge of God" or "God is judge) was named Belteshazzar (unclear, but somehow connected to the god Bel and the issue of protection). This is likely to be a clear challenge to "El" being the "judge" or "protector" by putting Bel in Yah's place.
- 2. Hananiah ("Yahweh is gracious") was renamed Shadrach ("servant of Aku" -- the moon god). Likewise, this is likely a challenge to Yahweh's provision by making Aku the one whose commands provide.
- 3. Mishael ("Who is God?" was renamed Meshach ("who is Aku"). Pretty obvious.
- 4. Azariah ("Yahweh helps") was renamed Abednego ("servant of Nebo" -- god of wisdom). Only "wisdom" really "helps" say those for whom "wisdom" is a "god".
- III. The Point: Nebuchadnezzar's plan is to "babylonize" the Judean youth so that they will serve him and his gods.