BOOK OF DANIEL – Order in the Court

Posted by on Apr 12, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Order in the Court

Order in the Court

Many of us can relate how irritable and grumpy we can be if we have not had enough sleep. Often sharp words are said to loved ones or acquaintances that very often make us cringe when we realize our misgivings. In our next reading of Daniel that cannot be said of Nebuchadnezzar. He wasn’t just irritable or grumpy. He was on a war path with his own officials. Daniel 2:2-3 begins by telling us, “Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. The king said to them, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.” (NASB) Here is that singular term again that he had a “dream” and wanted it interpreted. How many of us have consulted a doctor or a sleep specialist to tell us what our dreams have meant?  Very few of us if any. The indication here is that the dream was so intense and troubling that Nebuchadnezzar wanted the expertise of all of Babylon to figure it out. Let us consider who, or rather what, these so-called experts had in terms of experience that led Nebuchadnezzar to believe he could find out what the dream meant.

What is interesting is that in the original text the Scripture reads sorcerers, conjurers and horoscopists. The Hebrew word for sorcerer is kashaph. It occurs six times in the Bible and means to whisper a spell, to enchant or practice magic or a sorcerer. The Hebrew for conjurer is ashshaph and means enchanter. Often the enchanter would offer incantations to deliver a person from evil magical forces. Today, we would call that exorcising a demon. They also were involved in fortune telling via the use of astrology. Another term for the enchanter would be a conjurer or a person who performed tricks by illusions. Finally, the Hebrew name for a horoscopist was chartom meaning magician. This person involved themselves with drawing magical lines or circles. This person was also known as a diviner [a person who dealt in divination – also called a soothsayer] that described some type of occult activity. While the modern translations list magicians, conjurers and sorcerers in that order, there is no ambiguity in this versus the original text for all of the main descriptions are covered in both texts. One can do an in-depth study of the magical practices of Babylon due to the extant records the Babylonians left on clay tablets that recorded their craft. It is not the intention of this author to go into great depth as to the practices of the magic performed by these Babylonians. Nor do I recommend it. As Christians we are commanded to have no part in being involved with such things. That, in my opinion, should include not delving too long into the study of them either, for any reason or purpose.

The final group that is mentioned which, again, the original text mentions first, are the Chaldeans. These were understood to be the wisest of all the four groups called before Nebuchadnezzar. The Chaldeans were those who held the higher offices in the hierarchy of Babylon. Some scholars say they were astrologers, which they may have been. If so, they were marked or considered to be, higher by them specifically being mentioned from the other three groups.

Once called by King Nebuchadnezzar, all four groups stood before him. We are not told how many or if they were only from the city of Babylon or from farther away. That is of no consequence in any event. Once everyone had been assembled, Nebuchadnezzar declared, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream”. One may wonder why Nebuchadnezzar called all of these so-called experts to interpret his dream. For one who studies ancient Babylon, it is not unusual at all. The Babylonian’s actually had a system in place that recorded the dreams of individuals whom they believed could track the life pattern of the individual. These were not some hodge-podge ideas of one or two individuals whom everyone else thought eccentrics. On the contrary, historical records have left us with whole volumes of manuals that the Babylonian’s recorded and studied. This included their interpretation of such dreams. So, if you were a Babylonian, you came to the right place, as far as Nebuchadnezzar was concerned. However, when we return, there’s a problem. All of the dream manuals contained dreams that the person who had had them related to these “experts”. That situation only worked if the person could remember and relay the dream to them. As we will learn in due course, Nebuchadnezzar had forgotten it.