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We know that Daniel was in captivity in Babylon at the beginning of King Nebuchadnezzar' s reign. (Daniel 1). We know that Daniel was still there when King Cyrus came to power and set the captives free. Ezra chapter 1. We know that the Jewish people were in Babylon as captives for 70 years. Daniel 1:3 "Then the King instructed Ashpenaz, the master of the eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king' s descendants and some of the nobles young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge, and quick to understand, who had the ability to serve in the King' s palace, and whom they might teach the language of the Chaldeans." The King James Bible in verse 4 of Daniel chapter 1, says "understanding science". I think this is a hint at the ages of these boys. If we take seventy years in captivity, and we know that they are beyond young childhood, I think we might assume that they were about 11-13 years old.
According to the bible they were young "men". In the bible, and according to Jewish tradition, based on the laws of Moses, bare minimum they were 13. That is when a boy becomes a "man". Anything younger would not be considered a young man, rather a child. I would say that they would be anywhere between 13-20, as they bible states that Babylon was calling for young men gifted in wisdom, possessing knowledge. Not too many would possess any of this at 13 years of age, nor would they be considered a man prior to being 13. So, it's doubtful that they were just 13. Usually they determine whether a young man would be worthy of Rabbitical school around 15 years of age, so more than likely 15-20 years old. Very young men!
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