Daniel was a teenager of 15 or 16 years when he was exiled to Babylon. Daniel and several of his friends were selected by the Babylonians to receive special training to become officers in the king’s palace. Three of Daniel’s friends included Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. It was a special privilege for an exile to get this honor.  During their years of training, Daniel and his friends refused to live by Babylonian customs that were contrary to God’s laws and customs. Despite the difficulties, they decided to obey God in a strange land under captivity. Daniel never stopped praying to Jehovah even when it was illegal to do so. It was an honor to be trained as officers in the king’s palace, but it was also a trial for these dedicated followers of God. They were required to follow the ways and thinking of the Babylonians. The purpose of their training was to transform them into acting, behaving, and worshiping like the Babylonians. Not only were Daniel and his friends brought to a new land, but they were also given new names, new customs, new ideas, and a new language. For three years, their Babylonian teachers would attempt to “brainwash” the four Jewish young men and teach them how to think and live like Babylonians. To force them to change their Jewish customs even their names were changed. The name Daniel means “God is my judge,” but it was changed to Belteshazzar or “Bel protect his life”; Bel is one of the Babylonian gods. Hananiah means “the Lord shows grace,” but his new name, Shadrach, means “command of Aku” (the moon god). Mishael means “Who is like God?” and the new name, “Meshach,” means “Who is as Aku is?” Azariah means “The Lord is my help,” but “Abednego” means “Servant of Nebo (Nego).” The name of the true and living God was replaced by the names of the false gods of Babylon


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