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

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, Ph.D.

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