We begin with the current events (read the overview from last night if you need help).
People: and their “name changes”
- Nebuchadnezzar-(Name given from his father)”Nabu protect my eldest son”. (Nabu was a god)
- Daniel-‘God is my Judge’ changed to Belteshazzar- “Protect the Life of the King.”
- Hannaniah- “the Lord is Gracious” changed to Shadrach meaning “Commander of Aku” (a Sumerian god)).
- Mishael-“who is what God is” changed to Meshach meaning “Who Is What Aku Is?”
- Azaraiah- “The Lord is our helper” changed to Abednego meaning “Servant of Nego (Nebo).”
The names were changed to make them “Babylonian citizens” in their eyes, as well as the eyes of the Babylonians since they were being trained to serve in the king’s palace.
Daniel challenged the chief official on their dietary needs (according to the Law in Leviticus 7 and 11). They performed a 10 day test period and passed with flying colors. (what do flying colors mean anyway?) Actually, they were healthier than those who ate the royal food.
20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Wait! We know that name from Isaiah! King Cyrus! The Persian who God uses to set the captives free!!
Chapter 2- The dream (that God put in his head). He tells his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers not just to interpret the dream (anyone can make stuff up), but he says tell me what my dream was! Uhhhh what?? Nebi knows their game of telling him what he wants to hear. Long story short…(and this story reminded me of Joseph’s calling) God gives Daniel the dream and the interpretation.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly, and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
Here is the interpretation: Each material will get stronger but less valuable.
- Head of Gold: represented the kingdom of Babylon which the LORD gave Nebuchadnezzar to rule. The Gold symbolizes superior power, and eventually, it would be destroyed by a less inferior kingdom.
- Chest and Arms of Silver: represented the kingdom of Medo-Persia which is the power that would take over Babylon. Remember it this way, 2 arms, first one arm raised up (Darius the Mede) will conquer Babylon without even a fight and then the other arm, Persia, will gain control over. But eventually will be conquered by a lesser nation…
- Belly and Thighs of Bronze: represent Greece (whose is not even on the scene yet as a threat). In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great will conquer the entire area. It’s all Greek to me! But eventually, Greece would be conquered by an even lesser kingdom.
- Legs of Iron and Feet of Clay: this evidently refers to the Roman Empire. The kingdom would be a mixture of people who would not be united (one leg is East, the other is West). The 10 toes will represent 10 future kings to come.
- Finally the ROCK……WOW!! The rock was cut out , but not by human hands, and it will break the whole statue to pieces and will be carried away by the wind. Then the stone will become a MOUNTAIN and will fill the whole earth! Please tell me you just said AMEN out loud. The stone in Chapter 2 is Jesus Christ. Despite the wealth and power of all the nations, the promise of a covenant was made to Abraham and that promise will be fulfilled.
48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.
Chapter 3- Just when things were looking up, Nebuchadnezzar builds a statue made of all gold. Ummm, did he “zone out” during the interpretation, or was his ego so big he didn’t believe he would fall to another nation. (I think the latter)
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not only did not bow down, but they also said God will save them from the fire…and even if He chooses not to save us…we still won’t worship your false god or idol worship. WOW!!! Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace to be made SEVEN 😉 times hotter than usual. So hot that even the guards that put the 3 men in were licked up by the flames.
Word of the Day: Theophany: the appearance of God in human form.
I usually shy away from pointing them out, we have read several of them, but this one…this one is my favorite!
The ending is bittersweet.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses are turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
The first time I read it I loved it!
The second time I noticed what I underlined.
C’mon Nebi! He is the ONLY God and He can be YOURS too!
4 thoughts on “Daniel 1-3”
I remember these stories from Sunday school as a child and seeing pictures of Daniel as an old skinny bearded man. From what I have learned more recently Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, were probably teenagers when taken. They were smart, good looking, and followers of Christ. I also read one of the first criteria for being forced to be trained in the way of the Babylonians, they would be made eunuchs, that one I had to look up, because nowhere in scripture does it actually say that happened but Isaiah kinda gives that hint when he told Hezekiah in 39:7 Some of your own sons who came from you will be taken and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of Babylon. It’s bad enough that they have been taken, but this strips them of the hope of ever returning and having children of their own. It gives new meaning to “you never know that God is all you need until He is all you have.”
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Do you think Daniel was a Eunich? I never thought about it.
I don’t know. The commentary made comment that it doesn’t tell us for sure but that would have been a common practice to do to male slaves and it had several other comments that leads one to believe it was very likely. I love the Bible is full of mysteries. It doesn’t change the story but it tugs at my heart to think of what these boys went through, and yet they remain so strong and kind.
I love everything about this read, loved listening to the audio version of it and then going back and re-reading. Loved the reminder of Daniel going to his friends and asking them to pray for the situation with the king, the reminder that GOD gives wisdom, understanding, insight, abilities, etc. beyond what is humanly possible; the reminder that God caused the palace official to have compassion for Daniel (like we saw with Joseph). Just so many amazing points in these 3 chapters teaching us God’s sovereignty, power and the depth of His love for us. So exciting!
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