The Jewish Eye
Sefer Daniel: Part 1 - Perek 1: Nevuchadnezzar Quells The Rebellion In Yerushalayim and Brings His "Spoils" to Bavel
"In the third year of the kingdom of Yehoyakim, the King of Yehudah, Nevuchadnetzer the King of Bavel, came to Yerushalayim and besieged it. Hashem gave Yehoyakim the King of Yehudah, into his hand and some of the keilim of the House of Hashem..."
A rebellion was taking place in the city, and Nevuchadnetzer had to come personally to Yerushalayim to subdue it, and was only able to conquer the city after besieging it. The Alshich comments that in light of such rebellion, Nevuchadnetzer might have been expected to destroy the whole city and murder all its inhabitants, but he only captured Yehoyakim and stole some of the keilim. This made it obvious that Nevuchadnetzer's actions were a result of hashgacha rather than logical military actions, as the passuk says "Hashem gave Yehoyakim into his hand." Bnei Yisrael were not yet deserving of the final destruction.
"The king told Ashpenav, the head of his officers, to bring from Bnei Yisrael, from the children of royalty and from the nobles, unblemished children, handsome, knowledgeable in all wisdom..."
Nevuchadnetzer was aware of Bnei Yisrael's superior wisdom due to the Shechinah and the nevuah among them, and he wished to take advantage of it.
"Among them, from the children of Yehudah, were Daniel, Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya."
They were the descendant of Chizkiyah, the King of Yehudah. This was a fulfillment of the nevuah in Yeshaya "And of your sons that will stem from you, they will take away and they will be officials in the place of the king of Bavel." Some say that only Daniel was a descendant of Yehudah. Daniel was renamed Balshetzar, which was the name of a Bavli idol, and his three companions were renamed with typical Bavli names. The Malbim says that the fact that Nevuchadnetzer named Daniel after his own god showed that he sensed his greatness immediately and discerned the spirit of Hashem within him.
"Daniel resolved not to be defiled by the king's food or by his wine and he asked the chief officer that he not be defiled."
Daniel did not want to defile himself with food prepared by ovdei avodah zara, and was moser nefesh to abstain from it. He successfully avoided eating the king's food, and was rewarded by Hashem.
"Hashem gave these four youths knowledge and skill in every sefer and wisdom and Daniel understood every chazon and dreams."
Hashem rewarded all four with knowledge and skill since they all avoided eating the king's food. Daniel, however, was the one who initiated it and risked his life, and his reward was greater.
"At the end of the years after which the king had said to bring them, the chief officer brought them before Nevuchadnetzer. The king conversed with them, and of them all, none compared to Daniel, Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya."
Back to top
A Different Kind of News
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © The Jewish Eye 2008 All Rights Reserved