‘The Book of Daniel,’ by Russell M. Stendal

Book Excerpt (Chapter 1)
   The king chose the best and wisest of all the nations he was conquering and submitted them to three years of intense study in the writings and language of the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans believed there was a spirit behind everything, and they needed to get permission from all the spirits in order to be able to act. If anything went wrong, these spirits must be placated . . . even with human blood. Imagine what kind of course Daniel and his friends were required to study!
   “Now among these of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:”
   Daniel and his friends were taken captive along with the vessels of the temple of God. The vessels symbolize the true servants of God like Daniel, his friends and others. Compared to the rest of the people of God, Daniel and his friends were the cream of the crop. The LORD’s commandment was that they had to go to Babylon in captivity as a result of a collective sin of all the people of God. We do not know of any wrong that Daniel and his friends might have done before their captivity. They found themselves in an unfortunate situation, in the midst of those who supposedly were the people of God.
But God is the judge. Not only does “Daniel” mean “God is judge,” but the names of his friends express the goodness, the mercy and the benevolence of God. The Chaldeans, however, changed ...

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