The book of Daniel is fascinating for many reasons, but largely because of the prophecies that it contains. It is the foundation for the study of prophecies that deal with the Gentile nations of the world (and that includes us!) But one of the most interesting things about it is that the events of the book are a fulfillment of prophecy. And this is demonstrated in chapter one very clearly. For many, many years God had been warning his people Israel, even pleading with them in some cases, to turn back to Him. And his message was that He could not continue to bless them if they refused to obey Him, and that ultimately their disobedience would cause them to go into captivity to other nations.
The books of first and Second Chronicles give a summary of the many kings who reigned over Israel and Judah in the years of the “golden age” of David and solomon – some were good and some were bad. But for the purposes of our study we are going to pick up on the last 6 kings of Judah. And these specific prophecies form the background of Daniel’s predecessors. Now the chronology of the fulfillment of these prophecies is found by reading through First and Second Chronicles, but we will just skip over the surface details. Hezekiah’s death is recorded in Second Chronicles 32:32. And that verse indicates that Hezekiah’s son Manasseh came next – for 55 years – a very wicked king (although he did repent at the end of his life and God forgave him. Then came his son Ammon for 2 years, and then came Godly Josiah for 31 years. During the first years of his reign he was under the guidance of advisors and tutors, but early on he had a heart for the Lord.
Things had gotten so bad in Israel that that the scrolls containing the Old Testament text had actually been lost in a warehouse and when they were found Josiah reinstated the worship and observance of of the Passover and all the other religious ceremonies. Ultimately he was killed in a battle with Egypt and he was mourned and lamented for years to come.
Then his son Jehoahaz reigned for three months before he was exiled to Egypt. You can see how things are deteriorating for Israel. Finally Jehoikim, Jehoihaz’ brother reigned for 11 years before the captivity actually took place. And his reign formed the completeness of the fulfillment. Second Chronicles 36:5 through 11 describes the last days of the once kingdom of Israel.
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem and he did evil in the sight of the LORD his God. (6) Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came up against him and bound him in bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon (7) Nebuchadnezzar also carried off some of the articles from the house of the LORD to Babylon and put them in in his temple at Babylon.
The remainder of the chapter tells how Nebuchadnezzar tried to rule Israel for a few years, but the next three or four kings were so wicked and rebellious and contrary that ultimately he just came in and wiped out the whole city of Jerusalem, including the temple and, took anything of any value back to Babylon with him.