Notes: March 20, 2009 – Daniel 1 & 2

(What is now) Iraq invades Israel

Babylon, that land that has become known as Iraq, invaded Israel 600 years before Christ.

God had, through the prophet Jeremiah, predicted both the invasion and the subsequent carrying away of many Israelites to Babylon.

In today’s reading we learn why God ordered the captivity, and we see that some of those captives became high-level public servants in the Babylonian government.

2 Kings 24:1-7 & 2 Chronicles 36:5-8

  • Humanly speaking, it was the rebellion of Jehoiakim that incurred the greater wrath of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
  • Behind (shall we say, above) the earthly conflict was God who sent Nebuchadnezzar, along with the Syrians, the Moabites, and the Ammonites.
  • God’s commandment was that Judah should be cast out of God’s sight.
  • The sins of king and kingdom brought the wrath of God upon the nation.

Daniel 1

  • Four Hebrew men were chosen to be groomed for leadership in the Babylonian government.
  • One of them is known by his Hebrew name, Daniel; and the others by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
  • These were chosen because of their physical and mental abilities.
  • Although captives in a foreign land, they would not offend their God by growing accustomed to the food and drink of Babylon.
  • Three years was considered sufficient time to educate these captives in the language and make them teachers of the culture and laws of Babylon.
  • A ten-day test was proposed; and the four He(brew) men proved to be better, not worse, for refusing the King’s food.
  • God gave to all of them knowledge and skill above their peers; and to Daniel God gave an understanding of visions and dreams. Remember Joseph in the Egyptian prison?
  • The King found them to be 10 times better in understanding and wisdom than the native magicians and astrologers.
  • Daniel continued in government service until the fall of the Babylonian empire at the hands of Cyrus. We do not know how longed the other three men lived.

Daniel 2

  • Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him.
  • He consulted his regular magicians, astrologers and sorcerers; but none of them could tell him the dream or its meaning.
  • Only the God whose dwelling is not with flesh, they said (Daniel 2:11), could give the King the answers he so desperately sought.
  • Daniel asked for a little time to consult his God; and the secret was revealed to Daniel (Daniel 2:19).
  • Daniel asked that others be saved based upon his own good work (Daniel 2:24).
  • Daniel gave God all the glory for the interpretation of the dream (Daniel 2:28).
  • The dream was about an image with four parts: gold, silver, brass, and iron mixed with clay. These represented four successive kingdoms: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman.
  • In the dream, a large stone, not of human making, smashed the image. This represented God’s eternal kingdom replacing the earthly ones.
  • Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged Daniel’s accuracy and accepted his interpretation. Moreover, Nebuchadnezzar glorified Daniel’s God and promoted the four Hebrew men in the Babylonian government.