Archaeology

Daniel and the Prince of the Eunuchs

Consider Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: they not only lived in the time of Godís judgment upon their nation, they were stolen from their mother’s house, exiled into slavery, and fully appear to have been castrated by the Babylonians. Their freedom is gone and they will not marry nor see children, yet they did not forget their God.
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Daniel and the Prince of the Eunuchs

Article#: 1586

Proverbs 14:12:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Jesus Christ is the source of all that is right.  He is the source of all truth.  John 14:6:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Can you know truth without Christ?  Can you really?  For us, it didn’t start out too well:  In the Garden of Eden, God’s truth was replaced with Satan’s lie—a lie that seemed right, but at the end of that exercise, was the end of immortality, the end of Paradise, and the beginning of the law of sin and death.  The progeny of Adam and Eve are not faring any better. 

Today, man lives in a world filled with deadly addictions, laden with a host of phobias, bound by lustful and lying spirits, and his flesh is plagued with sexually transmitted diseases.  His heart is overcome with stress and hopelessness in the soup du jour.  We don’t know whether we’re boys or girls, biologically impossible same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and the big question is: Which bathroom do I use?  That is just a sampling. 

Jesus Christ is the truth.  Reject Him and actually live a lie.  Have you been born again—literally born a second time—this time of the Spirit of God?  Are you ready to have all your sin and shame expunged?  Will today be the day your spiritual bondages are broken?  You can make this move today.  Jesus said in John 8:32:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Click onto “Further with Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God.  NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT. 

GOD SAID, Daniel 1:1-7:

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

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.

MAN SAID: I am the captain of my ship!  I can navigate on my own!  God and His Bible aren’t part of my agenda.  I’m uninhibited by the Christian God! 

Now THE RECORD: The inerrancy of the Holy Bible is the foundation of a Christian life.  The blood-bought are required to build their lives upon this Book, and doing so has serious consequences—even eternal ones.  It will separate us from our closest friends and even family.  It will dictate career choices, mental and physical health issues, and even retirement accounts.  Recreation and entertainment choices take a 180.  The books we read, the foods and drinks we consume, and even the holidays we observe—all are affected.  Our surrender to the leadership of the Scriptures totally changes our self-perception—even the very physical formation of the brain.  Of course, it will also dictate where and with whom we will spend eternity.  We are required to build our lives here, and yes, our commitment to the Word of God has very serious consequences. 

Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature article 806 that will once again certify the inerrancy of God’s Holy Book.  All of these features are archived here in text and streaming audio for the up-building of the faith and as a soul-winning platform for God’s laborers in the field.  Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one.  Thank you for coming.  May God’s face shine upon you and your house. 

There are times in this life when bad things seriously challenge promises like Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.    

But, a confession of faith, coupled with first seeking the Kingdom of God, changes everything, even turning the dark clouds bright.  One of God’s greatest men, the prophet Daniel, epitomizes such an idea.  The book of Daniel chronicles the story of wayward Israel that had cast off the Word of God.  As a consequence, the Israelites were conquered and thoroughly spoiled; their best and brightest were carried away into Babylonian slavery. 

Israel became cursed as a result of their disregard for the God who had covered them with blessings; in the midst of them, however, God had preserved for Himself a righteous remnant of whom were four Hebrew children, named Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  The Bible does not directly say that these four children were castrated by the Babylonians, but does strongly imply it.  Even Babylonian names were given to them by Nebuchadnezzar’s Prince of the Eunuchs.  Daniel 1:7:

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.

Multiple times, the Hebrew children are shown to have been governed by the Prince of the Eunuchs.  The historian Josephus, who had in his possession the historic books of the Jewish temple, had this to say concerning the matter:

But now Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took some of the most noble of the Jews that were children, and the kinsmen of Zedekiah their king, such as were remarkable for the beauty of their bodies and the comeliness of their countenances, and delivered them into the hands of tutors, and to the improvement to be made by them.  He also made some of them to be eunuchs; which course he took also with those of other nations whom he had taken in the flower of their age, and afforded them their diet from his own table, and had them instructed in the institutes of the country, and taught the learning of the Chaldeans; and they had now exercised themselves sufficiently in that wisdom which he had ordered they should apply themselves to.  Now among these were four of the family of Zedekiah, of most excellent dispositions; the one of whom was called Daniel, another Ananias, another Misael, and the fourth Azarius: and the king of Babylon changed their names, and commanded that they should make use of other names.  Daniel he called Baltasar; Ananias, Shadrach; Misael, Meshach; and Azarias, Abednego.  These the king had in esteem, and continued to love, because of the very excellent temper they were of, and because of their application to learning, and the progress they had made in wisdom.  [End of quote]

Isaiah prophesies of the results of Israel’s rejection of their God in Chapter 39:6-7:

6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Consider Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: they not only lived in the time of God’s judgment upon their nation, they were stolen from their mother’s house, exiled into slavery, and fully appear to have been castrated.  Their freedom is gone and they will not marry nor see children.  Surely the curse has touched their very flesh, yet in all of this, they did not forget their God, but were zealous for His commandments which set up some of the greatest stories ever told and some of the greatest prophecies ever written.  God turned the dark clouds bright.  Take courage, saints, our Lord Jesus said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).  All things must work together for our good, for it is written. 

Excerpts from the GodSaidManSaid feature “The Astounding Book of Daniel—Minimalists Minimalized” follow:

The Old Testament book of Daniel records some of the most mesmerizing accounts of the entire Bible.  All of these accounts have been challenged, discounted, and discarded by the casual academics, but nevertheless, these miraculous accounts are all true—every single one.  Much of the Biblical record has been confirmed by the writings of ancient, non-Biblical historians, as well as a vast number of revelations uncovered by the archaeologists’ spades.  Consider the commentary and the actual ancient text of the non-Biblical and even anti-God Babylonian Chronicle.  The following excerpts are from the book Documents from Old Testament Times:

The following Babylonian account can be compared in detail with the O.T. account of the fall of Jerusalem in 597 B.C. as given in 2 Kings xxiv.10-18; 2 Chr. Xxxi.9f:

In the seventh year, in the month of Kislev, the Babylonian king mustered his troops, and having marched to the land of Hatti, besieged the city of Judah, and on the second day of the month of Adar took the city and captured the king.  He appointed herein a king of his own choice, received its heavy tribute and sent (them) to Babylon.  [British Museum Tablet No. 21946 rev. 11-13 (Plate 5)] 

[Notes:  the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar (598/7 B.C.) as recorded in 2 Kings xxiv.10f. is the month of Kislev.  The Babylonian army was mustered in the month commencing 29 Nov. 598 B.C. or about three months before Jerusalem was captured.  While this confirms that Judah was the main objective of this year’s expedition, it may also indicate that the call-up resulted from the news of the death of Jehoiakim. 

The second day of the month of Adar, i.e. March 597 B.C., thus giving a firm date in both O.T. and the Babylonian chronology.

Captured the king, i.e. Jehoiachin, together with his mother, servants, royal household, and certain soldiers and craftsmen (2 Kings xxiv.12)

A king of his own choice.  Nebuchadnezzar appointed the twenty-one-year-old Mattaniah to succeed his nephew Jehoiachin and changed his name to Zedekiah (2 Kings xxiv.17)  The use of a new name marked the subservience of Judah on oath to Babylon.] [End of quote]

Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Judah and Jerusalem marks the beginning of the book of Daniel.  Special note:  the land of Hatti mentioned above is what the Babylonians called Syria and Palestine.  The Babylonian Chronicle confirms the historic accuracy of the Word of God. [End of quotes]

Could all the amazing accounts in the book of Daniel be true? 

The following paragraphs are from the GodSaidManSaid feature, Archaeology Certifies Bible, Miracles and All:

Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace?

You’ll find the account in Daniel 3:19-30.  Fiery furnace of ca. 600 B.C.  Excavations at Babylon found what looked like a brick kiln; however, and inscription reads, “This is the place of burning where men who blasphemed the gods of Chaldea died by fire.”  An inscription of Ashurbanipal 668-627 BC reads, “Saulmagina my rebellious brother, who made war with me, they threw into a burning fiery furnace and destroyed his life.  

A king of Larsa (north of Ur), a contemporary of King Hammurabi gave sentence for a slave to be thrown into a furnace.  [End of quote]

They threw Daniel in the lion’s den, but he was not harmed.  Dr. McCoy continues:

Daniel 6:16.  Den of Lions ca. 538 B.C.  The excavator, Dieulafoy, at Babylon, fell into what looked like a well, but upon examination found an inscription, “The place of execution where men who angered the king died torn by wild animals.”

At the palace in Shushan (Suza), a record list was found of 484 men of high rank who had died in a lion’s den. 

One of Ashurbanipal’s inscriptions reads, “The rest of the people who had rebelled they threw alive among bulls and lions, as Sennacherib my father (grandfather) used to do, Lo, again following his footsteps, those men I threw into the midst of them.” [End of quote]

Daniel died an old man and his beautiful tomb is found at Shush, a small town near Khuzistan in southwest Iran. [End of quotes]

The book of Daniel also recounts the story of the animalization of the king of Babylon:

The following excerpts are from the GodSaidManSaid feature Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 4:33 reads, “The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.”  Could the Bible’s account of the seven years of bizarre madness that possessed Nebuchadnezzar actually be true?  Does extra-Biblical information exist to corroborate the veracity of the Word of God?  As you should suspect, the answer is “YES!” 

The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, is referenced in ten Old Testament books of the Bible and the book of Daniel is directly quoted by Jesus Christ.  Nebuchadnezzar’s existence is questioned by virtually no one. 

The animalization of Nebuchadnezzar is recorded in secular history and it has been shown to have happened to others.  The scientific term, Lycanthropy, describes a psychological, or as a Christian would suspect, a spiritual malady.  M. Henze, in his book The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar, quotes E. B. Pusey from his 1885 book published by Funk & Wagnalls.  It reads:

It is now conceded that the madness of Nebuchadnezzar agrees with the description of a rare sort of disease, called Lycanthropy, from one form of it, of which our earliest notice is in a Greek medical writer of the 4th century after our Lord, in which the sufferer retains his consciousness in other respects, but imagines himself to be changed into some animal, and acts, up to a certain point, in conformity with that persuasion.  Those who imagined themselves changed into wolves howled like wolves, and, (there is reason to believe, falsely) accused themselves of bloodshed.  Others imitated the cries of dogs; it is said that others thought themselves nightingales, lions, cats, or cocks, and these crowed like a cock. 

In his influential commentary from 1927, Montgomery followed Pusey’s medical explanation:

The amazing malady which possessed Nebuchadnezzar, known scientifically as Lycanthropy, is presented in a simple and natural way.  […] The disease is well known in the sad annals of the human mind and attested by scientific examination.  With it is associated the primitive werewolf superstition, which may have its rationalistic support in the actual frenzies of the human kind.  […] Even if the essence of the story were true, that Nebuchadnezzar was so afflicted, after the manner of “geniuses” and of many royal persons, as George III of England and Otho of Bavaria, corroboration of it can hardly ever be expected from archaeology, for royal families do not leave memorials of such frailties.  The alleged malady is not an impossibility.  [End of quote]

Agathangelos, a historian during the fifth century, wrote the book History of the Armenians, which is characterized as Christian hagiography, or in this case, the account of the Christianization of Armenia.  Hagiography is the study of the lives of saints.  The following excerpts are again from The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar:

Twice in his History, Agathangelos refers to Nebuchadnezzar’s metamorphosis in Dan 4.  The first reference occurs in an account about the punishment of King Trdat, following the martyrdom of Gregory and a group of nuns:

The king spent six days in profound grief and deep mourning because of his passionate love for the beautiful Rhipsime.  Then afterwards he arranged to go hunting; he had his soldiers gather the pack of hounds, the beaters scattered, the nets fixed and the traps set; then he went out to hunt in the plain of Parakan Shemak.

But when the king, having mounted his chariot, was about to leave the city, then suddenly there fell on him punishment from the Lord.  An impure demon struck the king and knocked him down from his chariot.  And in the likeness of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, he lost his human nature for the likeness of wild pigs and went about like them and dwelt among them.  Then entering a reedy place, in senseless abandon he pastured on grass, and wallowed naked in the plain.

And again, Henze reports:

Later in the History, Agathangelos returns to the comparison to lay out in greater detail the similarities in appearance between the two monarchs.

For his whole body had become hairy, and on his limbs bristles had grown like those of great boars.  And the nails of his hands and feet had hardened like the claws of beasts that dig the earth or eat roots.  Similarly the appearance of his face had turned into the likeness of the hard snout of an animal living among reeds.  Because of the beast-like nature of his way of life, he had fallen from the honor of his throne, and he roamed about in the likeness of pasturing beasts among the animals in the reeds, lost to the society of men.   [End of quote]

According to Agathangelos, King Trdat was possessed by an evil spirit that brought about his animalization.

While the name of Nabonidus (556-539 BC) is nowhere attested in the Hebrew Bible, we are nevertheless well equipped with written documents about this intriguing figure.  The series of discoveries relating to the last monarch of the Neo-Babylonian empire began in the middle of the nineteenth century with the excavations at Ur.  In 1854, a number of inscribed cylinders were found at the hitherto unidentified Tell al-Muqayyar.  The cylinders were soon deciphered and provided some astonishing information.  First, it was recognized that the site was none other than the famous “Ur of the Chaldeans,” known from the book of Genesis (Gen. 11:28.31; 15:7).  And second, one of the inscriptions refers to Nabonidus as king of Babylon and gives a certain Bel-sarra-usur as the king’s son.  The latter was quickly identified as Belshazzar, the protagonist in Dan. 5 and alleged son of Nebuchadnezzar.  [End of quote]

The Prayer of Nabonidus was discovered in “Cave 4” during excavation of the ruins of Qumran.  In the caves of Qumran, the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  The fragmented, non-Biblical text of the Prayer of Nabonidus (reprinted by Henze) follows:

    1. The words of the p[ra]yer which Nabonidus, king of [Baby]lon, [the great] king, prayed [when he was smitten]
    2. with a bad disease by the decree of G[o]d in Teima.  [I, Nabonidus, with a bad disease]
    3. was smitten for seven years and sin[ce] G[od] set [his face on me, he healed me]
    4. and as for my sin, he remitted it.  A diviner (he was a Jew fr[om among the exiles) came to me and said:]
    5. ‘Pro[cla]im and write to give honour and exal[tatio]n to the name of G[od Most High’, and I wrote as follows:]
    6. ‘I was smitted by a b[a] disease in Teima [by the decree of the Most High God.]
    7. For seven years [I] was praying [to] the gods of silver and gold, [bronze, iron,]
    8. wood, stone, clay, since [I thoug]ht that the[ey were] gods
    9. ] their [
      (frgs. 1, 2a, 2b, 3)
    10. ] apart from them.  I was made strong again
    11. ] from it he caused to pass.  The peace of [my] repo[se returned to me]
    12. ] my friends.  I was not able [
    13. ] how you are like [
    14. ] [

(frg. 4) [End of quote]

The above testimonial mirrors Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony in Daniel 5

According to F. M. Cross, author of The Ancient Library of Qumram, line three reads, “…for seven years, and from that time I was like unto a beast and I prayed to the Most High…” [End of quote]

There is some confusion regarding Nabonidus, who lived and reigned very close to the time of Nebuchadnezzar.  The Prayer of Nabonidus describes the same calamity that fell upon Nebuchadnezzar in many details, even to a Jewish minister who instructs him to humble himself and glorify the God of Israel.  Either Nabonidus suffered the very unlikely and identical judgment of God, as Nebuchadnezzar, or the historians have their monarchs switched. [End of quotes]

Concerning the prince of the eunuchs, spoken of earlier, who was given charge over Daniel and his three brethren, you’ll find the following excerpt in John Argubright’s book, Bible Believer’s Archaeology

According to the Bible, in Daniel 1:3-4, during the invasion of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, instructed Ashpenaz, the Master of his eunuchs, to bring back some of the children of Israel to serve in the king’s palace and to teach them the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 

He picked Daniel along with his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Remarkably, the office of Master of the Eunuchs has been confirmed by archaeology.  Housed in the British Museum is a clay tablet inscribed with the words “Rab-Saris.” In Aramaic, the word “Rab” interpreted means Master, and “Saris” (saw-reece) means Eunuchs.  [End of quote]

God’s Word is the foundation of that which is true and right.  I need to know it.  Everything depends on it. 

GOD SAID, Daniel 1:1-7:

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

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.

MAN SAID: I am the captain of my ship!  I can navigate on my own!  God and His Bible aren’t part of my agenda.  I’m uninhibited by the Christian God! 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Argubright, J., Bible Believer’s Archaeology, Argubright, 2013

GodSaidManSaid, “The Astounding Book of Daniel—Minimalists Minimalized

Josephus, F., The Complete Works of Josephus, Kregel, 1960

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