Major Prophets (part 5) – Book of Daniel

English: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the...

English: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Furnace (Dan. 3:23-24,91-98) Русский: Седрах, Мисах и Авденаго в раскалённой печи (Дан. 3:23-24,91-98) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar brought young men of noble heritage in Judah back for service in the king’s court. Daniel and his friends were part of one of these groups (Daniel 1:3). So his life in captivity was quite different from that of Ezekiel and many others less fortunate. According to Daniel 1:21, he served there until the first year of the reign of Cyrus, which would be about 538 B.C.

Daniel is a very important book in the Old Testament. It contains much prophecy that was fulfilled with undeniable accuracy (critics and skeptics notwithstanding). As has always been the case, even disputed passages have held up under the test of time (take, for example, Daniel’s use of the name Belshazzar in Daniel 5). It also teaches through Daniel’s life and that of his friends, Shadrach, Meshach,, and Abednego, a great deal about living faithfully under very great adversity. Finally, and most importantly, it teaches us much about the power of God, and His faithfulness to His word.

Daniel's Answer to the King

Daniel’s Answer to the King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fulfilled prophecies from the Book of Daniel are a great source of assurance to believers for their accuracy. Skeptics and critics, as is always the case, dispute much concerning them of course. But they too have stood the test of time. A detailed account and analysis of all of these in one blog would be an exercise in futility. But for some great analysis of two of them, as well as answers for critics, take a look at this article from Apologetics Press concerning Daniel 2, and this article concerning prophecies in Daniel 8.

Belshazzar's Feast depicts a vision described ...

Belshazzar’s Feast depicts a vision described in the biblical Book of Daniel. –31&src= Daniel 5:1–31 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summary

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Daniel 2 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream is troubling him, and so he seeks the usual counsel of wise men to interpret it.  In the ancient cultures, a king’s dream was important to him for knowing what he might have to prepare for.  But the dream that God had given him had been made so important that he wanted to be certain that the one who interprets it does not do so falsely.  So his command to the wise men is that they will tell him his dream first – and then interpret it.  Of course none of them can do that; and the king orders all of the wise men destroyed – an order which would include Daniel and his companions (verses 12-13).

In a show of great faith, Daniel requested an appointment with the king to make the interpretation (verses 14-16).  He prays and has Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) pray as well; and the Lord makes the dream and its meaning known to him.  He praises God for the knowledge in verses 20-23, and gives him the credit in verses 27-28 when he appears before the king.  Daniel recounts the dream first, and then interprets it to Nebuchadnezzar in verses 31-45.  The statue in the dream is a representation of the four great kingdoms that would dominate the history of the world.  The current Babylonian empire was the first.  The Medo-Persian empire ruled by Cyrus beginning in 539 b.c., and then Greece, under Alexander the Great, in about 331.  These latter two are explicitly named in his vision in Daniel 8:20-21.  The fourth is the Roman Empire.  After that, the God of heaven would establish an everlasting kingdom (verse 44), pointing to the Christ.  Compare verses 44-45 to Luke 20:17-18.

Nebuchadnezzar shows his gratitude in verses 46-49, and made Daniel chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.  At Daniel’s request, he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province.  These young men, by being in position to look out for the welfare of the society they lived in, would be promoting their own welfare as well – just as Jeremiah had advised in Jeremiah 29:5-7.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Daniel 1 – Daniel Taken to Babylon

The Book of Daniel begins in 605 BC, at the beginning of the Babylonian exile.  This was the first deportation, before Jerusalem was burned and the Temple destroyed.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men that were taken captive and brought to Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar called the latter three Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These Chaldean names were representative of the Babylonian gods, “Marduk,” “Bel”, and “Nebo.”  The king had the young people educated for three years.  By doing so and giving them these names, as well as feeding them the luxurious foods of the king, he intended to strip them of their Hebrew identities, in order to complete their assimilation.  The food from the kings’s table would also serve to remind them of the source of their daily bread.

Passing lion, glazed terracotta, reign of Nebu...

Passing lion, glazed terracotta, reign of Nebuchadrezzar II (605 BC–562 BC), Babylon, Iraq. This panel decorated the Procession Way which ran from the Marduk temple to the Ishtar Gate and the Akitu Temple. Deposit of the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Daniel convinced the chief of the Eunuchs (in whose eyes God had given him favor – verse 9) to allow them to be fed only vegetables and water.  Verse 15 tells us that at the end of ten days on this diet, their appearance was better than the youths that ate the generous diet of the king – obviously more of God’s work.  Verse 17 states that God gave these four learning and skill in literature and wisdom.  Daniel was given understanding of dreams and vision.  When the time came for them to appear before the king, he was pleased to find their wisdom very great indeed ( verse 20).  Also, in verses 11 and 18, we see that Daniel referred to them by their real names.  The boys were refusing to be turned from serving the Lord, despite their circumstances.

Verse 21 says that Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus, when Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC.  These four youths demonstrated that it is possible to remain faithful to the Lord while living among the pressures of pagan influences.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.