Daniel 1:1 meaning

Nebuchadnezzar conquers Judah and establishes his reign over the kingdom.

Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was conquered during the reign of Hoshea around 722 B.C. by the Assyrians (1 Kings 18:9-12). The Northern Kingdom of Israel had split from the southern kingdom of Judah after Solomon’s reign, around 930 BC (1 Kings 12). Judah under the reign of Hezekiah was also attacked by Assyria, but was spared by God (1 Kings 18-19). Assyria fell in 612 BC and Babylon became a world power. The southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon during the reign of Jehoiakim around 605 BC by the Babylonian prince Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar became king after his father’s death that same year.

In Ezekiel 17:11-21 the Prophet Jeremiah warned Israel that if they would keep their treaty with Babylon and not trust Egypt He would spare them. In the passage, it is told that Israel will not heed this warning and will break their treaty with Babylon, disobeying God. Jeremiah warns that this will result in serious judgment. 

The prophet Jeremiah also warned the rulers of Judah that this would happen if they did not stop disobeying God. In Jeremiah chapter 7, we see the prophet warn Judah that if they continue to disobey God’s commandments and continue worshiping other gods (false idols) then God would allow their enemies to conquer them. God also promised that if the people of Judah turned back to Him, he would allow them to “dwell in this place…forever and ever”:

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:5-7)

But the people of Judah continued to worship others gods (even sacrificing their children to these gods—Jeremiah7:31; Jeremiah19:4-6) and disobeyed the mosaic law for 23 years until God’s promised destruction came in the form of Nebuchadnezzar; as Jeremiah prophesied:

“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about” (Jeremiah 25:8-9).

God used Nebuchadnezzar to take away the land of Judah from His people, just as He promised.

Biblical Text:
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.

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