BOOK OF DANIEL-The Golden Image

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL-The Golden Image

[Before I start today’s blog please accept my apologies for a typing error I made in the previous blog. I wrote that critics claim the book of Daniel was written in the 2nd century AD. This should have read the 2nd century BC.]

A Golden Image

As we now move into the third chapter of Daniel we notice Daniel himself does not feature at all in this chapter. We are given no reason for this. Many scholars, in fact, suggest this chapter and, indeed, chapters four through six also are merely an historical narrative of the time during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and should not hold too much significance. One author on the book of Daniel I notice even omits chapters 3-6 in an otherwise well-written book. I would challenge such thoughts and actions as premature. There is much to be gained by studiously examining the third chapter of Daniel. One very important point is that God shows up in a very significant way here in chapter three. To ignore the contents of this chapter, or any chapter, is to ignore God Himself. He isn’t in the business of having several chapters inspired by those moved by the Holy Spirit just to give us a history lesson. Pay attention to EVERY scripture for it is for our instruction. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (NASB) I caution you, strongly, never to ignore one word that God has placed in His word for every word is there for a reason.

We are told in Daniel 3:1 that, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.” (NASB) A cubit was/is approximately eighteen inches so this image of gold stood ninety feet tall and was nine feet wide. Much debate has been heard as to who this image represented. Some have said Nebuchadnezzar had the image made to honor his father Nabopolassar. Others have suggested it was for the god Bel or Marduk. But the absence of the text specifically stating it was for his father or a god would seem to suggest that the image was supposedly of himself. All we are told is that he made an image of gold. The only reference prior to this image appearing was Daniel informing him that the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had a head of gold and it represented him. One wonders if this image possibly bore the king’s own image.

We are told that this golden image, which some suggest was made up of gold plating affixed to some internal structure such as wood as opposed to solid gold, was erected on the plain of Dura. Dura is derived from the Aramaic word duwra which means a circle or dwelling. Dura is named in several places in Babylon and is also referred to as a walled area. Wherever the exact location was, it was obviously located on a plain. The Babylonian geography was predominantly flat having two main rivers (the Tigris and the Euphrates). Mountains were/are located to the north and east of the land mass of Mesopotamia which were a substantial distance from Babylon. To the west lay the Syrian and Arabian deserts which were much closer. Hence, wherever this plain of Dura was it appears to have been a location where a ninety-foot statue could be viewed from a great distance. Some scholars have suggested that the statue could have possibly been smaller than ninety feet if it had a base to hold it secure. The other charge to support this is that the proportions of the height and width of the image [if it were of a human form] would be very skinny. If the image was mounted on a base and the total height was ninety feet this would make the image more proportionate in size and structure. There is no indication in the Scripture that suggests that and, indeed, one could argue the other way – that the total height could have exceeded far in excess of ninety feet had it been secured by a base. This portion of the debate is purely academic and in of no consequence. I find it amusing when you look at all of the artistic impressions of this image never once do you see a skinny, disproportionate image of the one found in Scripture but there is no shortage of critics claiming such deformities.

In any event, the point to take away from all of this is the heart of Nebuchadnezzar. We are not told how long after the events in Daniel chapter two concluded to our current discussion. Some say two years while others insist it could be as much as 10 or 20 years. We are not told, so the timing as far as this passage is concerned is of no relevance.

In our next blog, we will develop the thought of the heart of this pagan king further. In short, he quickly forgets his experience of meeting Daniel’s God via the interpretation of his dream.