“Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.”
Then the king instructed Ashpenaz,
Critics of the Bible claim that the name “Ashpenaz” was pure fiction because it never appeared in the records of Babylon. However, an Assyriologist found the name on a brick retrieved from the ruins and presently preserved in the British Museum.
the master of his eunuchs,
Ashpenaz was the chief of the court officers (Da. 1:7-11, 18).
to bring some of the children of Israel
Nebuchadnezzar wanted to establish sound leadership in his new kingdom, so he instructed the master of his eunuchs to find outstanding executives from the captives of his campaign.
and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles
Nebuchadnezzar brought from Jerusalem some of the royal family and the nobility of Israel.
young men in whom there was no blemish,
The reference to “no blemish” is a physical blemish.
Again, this is a physical good look. Appearance was important to serve in the Neo-Babylonian kingdom’s palace.
gifted in all wisdom,
These nobles from Judah were “gifted in wisdom.” It is important to note that the reference is to “wisdom” rather than “knowledge.” Knowledge is the accumulation of facts, whereas wisdom is the correct use of facts.
possessing knowledge and quick to understand,
It was not enough to possess “wisdom”; these young men had to have “knowledge” and quickness to understand.
who had ability to serve in the king’s palace,
The aristocratic young men of Judah would be assets to the administration of the Chaldean kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar, therefore, attempted to assimilate them into his government. These men would preside over the affairs of Nebuchadnezzar.
and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans
Nebuchadnezzar wanted to teach the young men from Judah the “language and literature of the Chaldeans.” This was a three-year period of training in architecture, astrology, astronomy, agriculture, law, mathematics, and the challenging Akkadian language, an East Semitic cuneiform language.
Literally, the word “Chaldeans” means clod-breakers. The Chaldeans lived in the area known as lower Mesopotamia, which bordered on the Persian Gulf. More specifically, this area was on the lower Euphrates and Tigris rivers. These were the original Aramaic-speaking people. These people invaded Babylonia, and it was this group to whom the Neo-Babylonian kings belonged.
Living in God’s Word keeps us from yielding to the values of the world system.
The four young men from Judah fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that the “sons” of Judah will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
Is 39:7, “And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
God’s Word never fails. If we apply the principles of God’s unfailing Word to our lives, it is possible not to yield to the philosophy around us. Just a few verses after the previous quote in Isaiah 39, Isaiah gives a promise about the unfailing Word of God.
Is 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
Mt 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Dear sir. You and some others say the name Ashpenaz had been found and is in the british museum on a brick-Do you have a picture of that as that would be very clear evidence.
Arthur, I did this study in 2002. I cannot remember where I got that information but it may be in a book on archeology. I am traveling until November and will try to find it then and get back to you at that time.
The text mentions “certain of the children of Israel” as receiving the full scholarship to the University of Babylon, but then only four names are singled out, four who remained faithful to their God. How many, however, might have matriculated in the school with these four, the others referred to in verse 15?
Don, it appears that v.15 still refers to the four. However, many other youth from Israel in captivity could have put their trust in God as well. The “youths” of v.15 were probably pagan.