Daniel is one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament, and many of us think we know his story, but few of us do.
We’ve heard the stories of Daniel in the lion’s den or Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace, but there’s a lot you may not remember or have ever read. It’s easy to assume the point of Daniel is if we do the right things, and have enough faith, then God will deliver us too from whatever lions we face. But there is more to this story than what meets the eye.
Let’s check out five facts about Daniel and his life that you maybe didn’t know.
1. Daniel was born into royalty or nobility
Daniel 1:3 says, “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives.”
Daniel endured extreme amounts of hardship in his life, but from when he was born until about ten years old, Daniel was no ordinary man. As stated in the verse above, he was either born into royalty or esteemed nobility.
2. Daniel was a good-looking man
Verse 4 continues by saying, “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.
The NIV translation says that Daniel and his friends were “young men without any physical defect, handsome,” and the KJV says “children in whom was no blemish.”
Not only was Daniel born into Judean nobility, but we know he was born a handsome man. King Nebuchadnezzar had high standards for who was allowed to survive in the land that he conquered. He had even higher standards for who was allowed to serve in his high court of influence. Daniel fit that bill.
3. Daniel was likely never married
There is no mention of any spouse or family in the entire book of Daniel or the rest of the Bible.
In 2 Kings 20:18, it says, “Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king."
We have already established that Daniel was an attractive male, so to eliminate any problems, the kings of this time routinely had men from the land they conquered emasculated and turned into eunuchs.”
These observations give evidence to make a case that Daniel never married in his life.
4. Daniel was around 80 years old in the Lions' Den
When we outline the various kings' reigns throughout Daniel's book and compare that to what we know in our history books, we can pinpoint Daniel as around 80 years old when he was thrown into the lion’s den.
The total length of Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years, and Daniel was around ten or older when captured would put him close to 80 years old when King Darius took over, as stated in Daniel chapter 6.
5. The Bible has no negative insight on Daniel
Daniel 6:4 says, “Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.”
Daniel’s enemies in the king’s administration looked for any fault they could find in him, and they came up empty.
Other than Jesus, we can confidently say that every human that has or will exist falls short of the mark to live a sinless life. What’s fascinating to note is that the Bible doesn’t give us anything on Daniel's sinful nature and humanity.
We can read, in great detail, about King David (a man after God’s own heart) who committed adultery and murdered the husband of Bathsheba. Moses led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, but before that, murdered a man, and hid the body. Or Jonah, a prophet of God, called to deliver God’s messages to all people, chose to turn in the opposite direction and run away from God. These are just three of the dozens of accounts of famous, integral followers of God who fell short - yet this is a category that Daniel doesn’t fall into on record.
We know Daniel wasn’t perfect, and like us, fell short, yet the Bible doesn't highlight or mention any of those moments.
If you're interested in other content about Daniel, check out The Life of Daniel, a two-week Bible reading plan that dives into more of the hidden details of a life filled with courage, wisdom, visions, and futuristic dreams.
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