July 7, 2001 – July 13, 2001
MEMORY VERSE “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11.
STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, 15–17.
“Since the death of good King Josiah, those who ruled the nation had been proving untrue to their trust and had been leading many astray. Jehoahaz, deposed by the interference of the king of Egypt, had been followed by Jehoiakim, an older son of Josiah. From the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jeremiah had little hope of saving his beloved land from destruction and the people from captivity. Yet he was not permitted to remain silent while utter ruin threatened the kingdom. Those who had remained loyal to God must be encouraged to persevere in rightdoing, and sinners must, if possible, be induced to turn from iniquity.” Prophets and Kings, 412.
“The Lord Gave Jehoiakim into His Hand”
1 What calamity befell Jerusalem in the reign of Jehoiakim? Daniel 1:1; II Chronicles 36:5–7.
NOTE: “‘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.’” Review and Herald, March 14, 1907.
2 What sort of person was Jehoiakim? Jeremiah 36:1–3, 21–25.
NOTE: “Some in the experience of the past few years have virtually repeated the act of King Jehoiakim in burning the messages of the Spirit of God. But today as of old these messages of warning have been repeated. . . . The Lord has been trifled with by His people. The time that should have been devoted to repentance and reform has been spent in criticism and in following man-formed opinions and ideas. A terrible influence for evil is exerted when men turn from the right way to follow selfish devisings. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and he is gaining victory. We can learn from a study of King Jehoiakim’s example what men will do when they pass the boundary line.” The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, 80.
3 Why was Nebuchadnezzar victorious? Daniel 1:2.
NOTE: “The prophet Nehemiah presents the evil-doings of the Jewish nation as the cause of their calamities. After recounting the Lord’s dealings with them, and their oft-repeated rebellion, he declares: ‘They were disobedient, and rebelled against Thee, and cast Thy law behind their backs, and slew Thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to Thee, and they wrought great provocations. Therefore Thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies.’” Youth’s Instructor, May 14, 1903.
“Children in Whom Was No Blemish”
4 What plan did Nebuchadnezzar devise for some of his captives? Daniel 1:3, 4. Compare II Kings 20:16–18.
NOTE: “Daniel early gave promise of the remarkable ability developed in later years. He and his three companions who were selected to serve in the court of the king, were of princely birth, and are described as ‘children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skilful 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 both physical and intellectual discipline.” Youth’s Instructor, June 4, 1903.
5 What change did Nebuchadnezzar make to their names? Daniel 1:6, 7.
NOTE: The name Daniel means, “God is my Judge.” His new name meant “Keeper of Bel’s treasures.” The name Hananiah means “Jehovah has been gracious,” but his new name was “Illumined by the Sun.” Mishael, which means “He who is like God,” became “One who is like Shach.” Azariah, whose name means “He whom Jehovah helps,” became “Servant of Nego.”
“The names of Daniel and his companions were changed to names representing Chaldean deities. Great significance was attached to the names given by Hebrew parents to their children. Often these stood for traits of character that the parent desired to see developed in the child. The prince in whose charge the captive youth were placed, ‘gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.’ The king did not compel the Hebrew youth to renounce their faith in favor of idolatry, but he hoped to bring this about gradually. By giving them names significant of idolatry, by bringing them daily into close association with idolatrous customs, and under the influence of the seductive rites of heathen worship, he hoped to induce them to renounce the religion of their nation and to unite with the worship of the Babylonians.” Prophets and Kings, 480, 481.
“Daniel Purposed In His Heart”
6 What special favor did Nebuchadnezzar bestow on his captives? Daniel 1:5.
NOTE: “At the very outset of their career there came to them a decisive test of character. It was provided that they should eat of the food and drink of the wine that came from the king’s table. In this the king thought to give them an expression of his favor and of his solicitude for their welfare. But a portion having been offered to idols, the food from the king’s table was consecrated to idolatry; and one partaking of it would be regarded as offering homage to the gods of Babylon. In such homage, loyalty to Jehovah forbade Daniel and his companions to join. Even a mere pretence of eating the food or drinking the wine would be a denial of their faith. To do this would be to array themselves with heathenism and to dishonor the principles of the law of God.” Prophets and Kings, 481.
7 What resolve did Daniel make concerning this matter? Daniel 1:8.
NOTE: “Had Daniel so desired, he might have found in his surroundings a plausible excuse for departing from strictly temperate habits. He might have argued that, dependent as he was on the king’s favor and subject to his power, there was no other course for him to pursue than to eat of the king’s food and drink of his wine; for should he adhere to the divine teaching, he would offend the king and probably lose his position and his life. Should he disregard the commandment of the Lord he would retain the favor of the king and secure for himself intellectual advantages and flattering worldly prospects. But Daniel did not hesitate. The approval of God was dearer to him than the favor of the most powerful earthly potentate—dearer than life itself. He determined to stand firm in his integrity, let the result be what it might. He ‘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.’ And in this resolve he was supported by his three companions.” Prophets and Kings, 482, 483.
“Prove Thy Servants”
8 What was the reaction when Daniel explained his unwillingness to partake of the king’s food and wine? Daniel 1:9-10.
NOTE: “To carry out his purpose not to defile himself with the king’s food, Daniel made request of the prince of the eunuchs for a simpler diet. ‘Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.’ This officer saw in Daniel good traits of character. He saw that he was striving to be kind and helpful, that his words were respectful and courteous, and his manner possessed the grace of modesty and meekness. It was the good behavior of the youth that gained for him the favor and love of the prince. But the prince of the eunuchs hesitated to grant the request of Daniel, fearing that such rigid abstinence as he proposed would cause the Hebrews to become less ruddy in health than those who ate of the king’s dainties.” Youth’s Instructor, November 12, 1907.
9 What proposal did Daniel then make? Daniel 1:11–14.
NOTE: “When they preferred their request, the Hebrew youth knew the seriousness of their position, and by earnest prayer they braced themselves for duty and for trial. Severe criticism was passed upon them by their companions; they had to meet ridicule and abuse; but sneers could not weaken their piety. With watchfulness and prayer they guarded every avenue of temptation. They had learned the principles of true service. They were captives, lonely, and in peril; but they were in possession of a treasure of priceless worth,—unbending integrity. They feared to do wrong.” Youth’s Instructor, November 12, 1907.
10 What was the outcome of the ten-day test? Daniel 1:15, 16.
NOTE: “Melzar, though fearful that by complying with this request he would incur the displeasure of the king, nevertheless consented; and Daniel knew that his case was won. At the end of the ten days’ trial the result was found to be the opposite of the prince’s fears. ‘Their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.’ In personal appearance the Hebrew youth showed a marked superiority over their companions. As a result, Daniel and his associates were permitted to continue their simple diet during their entire course of training.” Prophets and Kings, 484.
“God Gave Them Knowledge and Skill”
11 How did God honor the faithfulness of Daniel and his three friends? Daniel 1:17.
NOTE: “The Lord regarded with approval the firmness and self-denial of the Hebrew youth, and their purity of motive; and His blessing attended them. He ‘gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.’ The promise was fulfilled, ‘Them that honor Me I will honor.’ I Samuel 2:30. As Daniel clung to God with unwavering trust, the spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While receiving instruction from man in the duties of court life, he was being taught by God to read the mysteries of the future and to record for coming generations, through figures and symbols, events covering the history of this world till the close of time.” Prophets and Kings, 484, 485.
12 What was the outcome of their final examination? Daniel 1:18–20.
NOTE: “When the time came for the youth in training to be tested, the Hebrews were examined, with other candidates, for the service of the kingdom. But ‘among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.’ Their keen comprehension, their wide knowledge, their choice and exact language, testified to the unimpaired strength and vigor of their mental powers. ‘In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm;’ ‘therefore stood they before the king.’ At the court of Babylon were gathered representatives from all lands, men of the highest talent, men the most richly endowed with natural gifts, and possessed of the broadest culture that the world could bestow; yet among them all, the Hebrew youth were without a peer. In physical strength and beauty, in mental vigor and literary attainment, they stood unrivaled. The erect form, the firm, elastic step, the fair countenance, the undimmed senses, the untainted breath—all were so many certificates of good habits, insignia of the nobility with which nature honors those who are obedient to her laws.” Prophets and Kings, 485.