DANIEL – THE MAN – LESSON 4
The first two chapters of the Book of Daniel speak often of the Chaldeans, so it is important to know who they were, where they came from, their language, and their role in Babylon and their connection to Israel.
In Daniel 1:4 it states that the king ordered Daniel and friends (along with others) to be educated in “all wisdom…knowledge…science…learning (skills) and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”
Geographically, Chaldea was located in the southernmost part of Babylon, which is modern day Iraq. It was at the south part of the Euphrates river where it expanded just above the Persian Gulf. This was part of the “fertile crescent of Mesopotamia” considered by scientists to be the cradle of modern man, our human origins of civilization. This can be biblically affirmed in Genesis 11:1-9 with the story of the Tower of Babel (Babylon) in the land of Shinar, which is Babylon. Civilization and all its “knowledge” were concentrated there (circa 2200-2300 B.C.) before God dispersed them. Chaldea could possibly have been the original language, considering the location, the concentration of knowledge, and its traces found in other related languages.
Chaldeans were considered the “wise men” of antiquity. Their knowledge and skills were sought after even as far off as Egypt. They were astrologer/astronomers who understood the times and seasons that God had written in the stars. (Not to be confused with modern-day “astrologers” and their demonic source.) They studied “science” and all available knowledge of the centuries. That is why they understood the meaning of the “Bethlehem Star” that led them to baby Jesus.
Dr. Emmet Russell (Gordon College of Theology) wrote of the Chaldeans that “astrology was more respectable in ancient times than it is today. It was inextricably mixed with astronomy. Theirs was both the best science of the day, and the purist religion outside of the spiritual strain of Judaism.”
Babylonian Emperor Nabopolassar, upon overthrowing the great Assyrian Empire, brought in many Chaldean “wise men” to help advise him in ruling his new Babylonian Empire. Upon his death, his son, Nebuchadnezzar “inherited all these wise men and set forth to train young new captives in all their skills and knowledge. This is where Daniel and friends enter the picture.
As Dr. Russell pointed out, these Chaldeans had the purist religion and knowledge of God outside of Israel. In fact, Israel’s bloodline descended directly from Chaldea.
When God decided to raise up a nation to call his own, through which He would truly reveal Himself, He called out a Chaldean upon whom He would build his nation. This Chaldean (from about 1900-2000 B.C.) was named Abram. God later changed his name to Abraham.
Abraham and his wife Sarah were of pure Chaldean blood as was their son Isaac and his wife Rebekah. Jacob and his two wives (Rachel and Leah) were also pure Chaldean along with their eight sons. Jacob’s other four sons were one-half Chaldean blood.
Spiritual giftings are frequently passed through blood lines. This could partly account for Joseph’s gifting in dreams as well as Daniel’s.
God chose Chaldean blood to sanctify (set apart) a chosen people for Himself. The Chaldeans of Daniel’s time, although “wise” astronomers, astrologists, scientists, and “magicians” (magi) no longer had the pure knowledge of God passed down to us through Abraham. Daniel, as we shall see tomorrow, was truly connected to the higher power.