What was the birthplace of the prophet Daniel?

            That is a good question!  Because I wrote the book, "Daniel, Prophet
to the Nations" I have had to research this question somewhat carefully.  The best I
can tell, the Bible gives absolutely no direct information as to the lineage
of Daniel, or where he was born.  For this reason, one is left to speculate
based on the limited information available.  Speculation should always be taken
with a big grain of salt.  However, let me speculate. 

            We know that Daniel was taken to Babylon from Jerusalem with the
relatively small group of hostages when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem for
the first time in 605 BC (as proven by Daniel 1:1,2).  Larger deportations of
hostages did not occur until the second and third attacks on Jerusalem in 595 and
587 BC.  Additional information is that Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel and his three
friends Shadrach, Mechach and Abednego into service in his palace.  We know
all this from Daniel chapter one.  This tells me that these four were definitely
not "commoners."

            For this reason, I have concluded with pretty good confidence that
Daniel and his friends were children of the nobility of Jerusalem.  In other
words, it seems to me that they were taken by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon as hostages. 
Their being taken as hostages was meant to insure the good behavior of Jehoiachin
and the other leaders left behind in Jerusalem.  If they did not pay the annual
tribute to Nebuchadnezzar, the threat would have been that the lives of the
valued child hostages would be forfeit.  To some extent, I base this speculation
on the fact that this was a common practice in the ancient world.

            So if I am right (and remember that this is speculation), then Daniel
was taken as a young hostage to Bablyon from Jerusalem.  He was most likely
from a very influential family of the nobility which lived in Jerusalem or which
was closely associated with Jerusalem.

John Oakes

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