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  • Writer's pictureSew for Christ

Daniel 1:17 - Bookish

This is a bookmark I made as a gift for my brother. The pattern is directly based off of a favorite pattern of his on his bedspread, and I tried to use the same stitches as on the original piece. The vertical lines are chain stitches as the fill is back stitches.

The Bible mentions reading quite a bit, often used in terms of reading the Law. This is a great topic, but for this post I want to highlight a different case featuring reading and literature in the Bible.

Daniel was a Hebrew who was brought to Babylon. It's implied in the first chapter of the book that Daniel was good-looking and already possessed an impressive amount of intelligence, enough to earn him a place in the courts to be trained. The purpose of bringing Daniel over was to teach them the culture and literature of Babylon so they would in turn become teachers. This would've been a pretty cushy position, as shown when the trainees are giving food fit for the king. (v. 4-5)

Daniel doesn't want to eat the food likely dedicated to idols, as that's against Torah, so he asks if he can just eat vegetables and water. The chief official overseeing Daniel and the other trainees was worried that this diet would harm their health, which would in turn look bad on the overseer for allowing the Hebrews to waste away. Daniel proposes a trial run, it works, the Hebrews get to observe Torah even in Babylon. (v. 8-16)

Already here we can see the intelligence and wisdom that earlier verses mentioned that Daniel possessed. The Hebrews were mentioned to be sons of royals and nobles, meaning that they would've had an impressive education while still in Judah. This meant an extensive amount of reading of all types of books. In Babylon, their education was continued.

Verse 17 shows us the blessings that God gave the Hebrews boys in Babylon:

"Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and proficiency in every kind of wisdom and literature, and Daniel could understand all sorts of visions and dreams." (Daniel 1:17 TLV)

Literature here being the key word for books. Now I'm not an ancient bookmark historian, so I doubt Daniel would've used something similar to what I've made. I'd like to note that in verse 4, the purpose for the Hebrew boys is to teach them the Babylonian culture, but verse 17 shows us that God gave them the knowledge of every kind of literature. They were undoubtedly well-read.

The result of this education? The king found the Hebrew boys to be the best of all of the students, better than his experienced learned men already in his court. Daniel was blessed by God, likely because of his adherence to God's law even in a foreign land. However, Daniel and the other Hebrew youths also took the gifts that God gave them and used their three years of training wisely, becoming indispensable wise men for God in Babylon.

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