“As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. […] Therefore they stood before the king.” (Daniel 1:17, 19)
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah got an education in Babylon which lasted three years, and at the end of this period the king found them “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.”
Today’s text tells us where their excellence came from: God blessed them with learning and skill in all literature and wisdom. Daniel even had a special gift; he could interpret visions and dreams.
So, there they were, four talented youths in the palace of the king who had exiled them. That was not a situation they had asked for; they probably would have preferred to return to their home country as soon as they were allowed. But they were not allowed to go anywhere; they “stood before the king” instead.
In Jeremiah 29:7, the prophet Jeremiah tells the Israelites how they should behave during exile: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare”. That’s exactly what Daniel and his friends did: they used their talents in the place where God had put them. That way, they became a blessing to the Babylonian king and his government.
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