The book of Daniel opened with the great tragedy of the fall of Judah, the southern kingdom. There had been a great cloud of moral decadence and a great decline of spiritual values in society. The Lord had sent Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and many other prophets to warn them of the consequences of personal and national backsliding, but they bluntly refused to heed the advice to return to God. The threatened judgment became imminent and eventually, Nebuchadnezzar, God’s instrument of vengeance, came calling against Judah with great anger. He besieged Jerusalem, fought against it, defeated it and led carried many of them to Babylon
While Joachim was king on the throne of Judah He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, King Jehoachim influenced Judah to sin greatly against God [2 Kings 23;34-37] and because of the great disobedience, there was great destruction, devastation, and deportations all from God.
Thousand of Jews had been carried from Judah to a foreign land, precisely Babylon, to be subjugated to the power of the heathen government. Amongst those carried away into captivity were Daniel, Hananiah, Shedrach, Misheal and Azariah [Abadnego]. In fulfillment of prophecy, Nebuchadnezzar decided to bring some of the captives from the royal family to serve in his palace but first, they would be trained and well equipped for the king’s service.
During the siege and the battle against Judah, Nebuchadnezzar had observed the resilience, endurance, ability and natural endowments of some of the Jews and the king desired to take advantage of gifts in these captives under his control. He was aware of the fact that great men are often found in most unlikely places. Amongst the Israelites who were mostly farmers with flocks to match, he found what he was searching for.
The king’s plan was to have men of ability and nobility, men of knowledge and wisdom, men of talent and training, men of foresight and focus and men that are true men around him.
His strategy was to search for young men who could be trained to serve and work for his interests, rather than the interest of their homeland. They were to be young men with superior natural endowments, men of fine figure and stature, young men of noble and royal birth. These would be trained over a period of three years and the successful ones would stand before the king and serve in his palace.
Their training included emasculations [to become eunuchs], education and examinations. The physical intellectual, social and natural skills which they already possessed were to be improved and developed. The Babylonian teachings which were also to make them forget their roots. They planned to brainwash them that they would forget the God of their fathers and learn the Chaldean language and their science of astrology and live in the tradition and the culture of ancient Babylon. The sudden curriculum was designed to swerve them from a faithful commitment to the only true God and reduce them to mere idol worshipers following the false gods of the land with their profane policies and practice of Babylon.
King offered them free education and furnished them with full support.
To achieve his purpose, the king offered them free education and furnished them with full support. He failed in trying to make them forget their religion and land.
But these Hebrew children were trained to serve the king, trained for the king’s service. They rather gave them the song. . .
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song, but how can sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.”
Babylon in all respects failed in that grand design to corrupt the Hebrew children, they were, however, on scholarship for the king’s service.