BOOK OF DANIEL 2:17-18

Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL 2:17-18

2:17-18

You can imagine the relief that Daniel had after gaining Nebuchadnezzar’s agreement to give him time to declare the interpretation of the dream. Without any delay Daniel 2:17-18 tells us, “Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” (NASB)

We have all experienced having to complete something on time. Whether it is a test paper, or catching a particular mode of transport whose time factor is beyond our control. We are not told in the text how long Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel to return with the interpretation. It is unlikely that it would have been of any great length and could very well have been within a twenty-four hour period. What is of note is why Daniel thought he could influence the king. Of course, one specific human motive he had was to not be executed. But the Scriptures show us that Daniel certainly had the courage of his convictions because those convictions were laid on the foundation of God. Although we read in Daniel 1:17b that, “Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams” (NASB) he did not know the content of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, nor its interpretation, at that time. His ability to understand all kinds of visions and dreams was confirmation of him being a prophet of God which is confirmed in the prophecies contained in the book of Daniel. He did not know it yet but the very interpretation of the king’s dream would be the beginning of that process.

It may appear confusing when we are told in Daniel 2:16 that Daniel requested an audience with the king “in order that he might declare the interpretation” but that is not ambiguous. Daniel knew he had been given such special abilities because of what we read in Daniel 1:17. That is why he immediately asked Arioch for an audience with the king. It was his clarion call, his moment, to step into the role that God had foreordained him to do. Daniel’s courage and trust is an example for every one of us today that we can be confident, no matter the crisis, that, if we are engaged in the will and work of God, He will provide us with the same courage and confidence anchored to the authority of His word.

Here we see Daniel standing outside of his own knowledge and trusting in God. He arrives back at his house where he informs his friends of the king’s decision. Notice the Scripture gives their Hebrew names and not the ones given by the Babylonians. The purpose of discussing the matter with Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah isn’t to see if one has a better idea than the other. It comes down to one decision that all four of them know is essential to their future and the success in returning with a positive answer to Nebuchadnezzar.

Prayer

The phrase in the text is “so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven”. Two specific points are of note here. The first is in reference to the word “compassion”. The Aramaic word used in Daniel 2:18 is rechem. This word corresponds to the Hebrew word racham which is more closely associated to mean mercy. Hence, the four young Hebrew’s prayer was to request God’s mercy by being given the interpretation of the dream.

The second point is in the address to God as the God of heaven. There is another contrast here which, again, shows the faithfulness of Daniel and his three friends. Addressing the God of heaven is in stark contrast to the Babylonians religious superstitions in worshipping the stars. Daniel would have known that Abraham used this term [for the first time in Scripture] in Genesis 24:7 and its frequent use elsewhere.

Notice their prayer was for mercy that God would provide them with the answer to the mystery [the dream and its interpretation]. The specific purpose of their request was for God to save their lives and not be among the other wise men who were under the condemnation of death or who had already been slain. As we move along in the narrative we see that Daniel does request that these other wise men are not put to death which could signify that, up to that point, executions had not begun.

 

While this portion of study refers to the run up to Nebuchadnezzar having his dream interpreted, it also speaks of faithful obedience and the power of prayer. None of us know if we will be called on to pray to the God of Heaven for mercy in saving our own lives. But if we are, then we are given the example of Daniel and his friends who, instead of panicking, turned to God in prayer. Daniel never expected to receive the interpretation of the dream without prayer. Without that prayer, the outcome could have been so different.

As Paul rightly admonished the Philippians in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication and with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (NASB)

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Discretion and Discernment

Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Discretion and Discernment

Discretion and Discernment

At first sight, there appears an odd statement in Daniel 2:13b which says that “they” [these being Arioch and those who were composed of Nebuchadnezzar’s bodyguards] looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them. The sentence immediately implies they did not know where Daniel and his friends were. Also, why does the Scripture go from the scene of Nebuchadnezzar’s court to immediately looking for Daniel and his friends? What happened to all the other wise men? A simple reasoning of Scripture should convince the reader there is no ambiguity involved. If every action and event that occurred in the Bible was written down the Bible would not be a single book but a whole library to hold its contents. The Apostle John elaborates this very point in John 21:25 saying, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” (NASB) Here John is confirming the point that it does not require every single detail in order for us to grasp the message that God is giving. In fact, if anything, it would possibly cloud the message rather than help it. God’s word is sufficient and complete for our understanding. The plans and purposes of God is the golden thread that traverses Scripture from Genesis through to Revelation. Part of that thread is the book of Daniel.

The translation of the word “looked” in the NASB Bible on this occasion is an unfortunate one. The word used in the original text is bea which occurs twelve times in the Hebrew Scriptures. This word means request, petition or to seek. It corresponds to the Aramaic word baah which means to inquire or search. So when we are told Arioch and his men looked for Daniel, the Scripture is telling us he was seeking Daniel. Rather than the implication that Arioch looked for Daniel and his friends to immediately kill them, he actually sought to find them. This, indeed, opens up how the dialog with Arioch and Daniel was able to occur. We can see this by the next verses in Daniel 2:14-15, “Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king’s bodyguard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon; he said to Arioch, the king’s commander, “For what reason is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter.” (NASB) Evidently, Daniel was able to reason with Arioch with his people skills using his discretion and discernment. We have said earlier in our studies that, by God’s providence, over the life of Daniel, people appeared to have no problem in listening to him. Daniel’s reputation had obviously been noticed by many in the court after Nebuchadnezzar’s testing of him when he went before the king after his training. The Scriptures are silent as to whether Daniel had met Arioch before these events. Given the fact that he, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had been in training and had “graduated” over three years of study by this point, it is more than likely that they would have met him, and possibly knew him, well. Daniel is shown here to be both respectful and careful in his question, which is a valid one, by reasoning with Arioch. This could imply that there was some level of relationship with the two. He asks for the reason that the decree been ordered and why it had become so urgent. Again, I think the inference that the two had some kind of relationship or even respect for one another is shown by Arioch’s answer. We are told Arioch informed Daniel of the matter. To be informed means having or showing knowledge of a particular subject or situation, based on an understanding of the facts of the situation. Had Arioch not known Daniel then he could have simply swept any questions aside and put the Hebrews to death right there and then, or arrested them in readiness for their executions. But no, he took the time to explain to Daniel the facts of what had transpired. As the king’s captain of the bodyguard he would have been present in the court while Nebuchadnezzar issued his decree. It is no different in the security detail of heads of state in our day where the ruler is open to possible attacks or assassination attempts. Wherever Nebuchadnezzar went his security detail were present. We are not told of how long the conversation between Arioch and Daniel lasted but we are told what happened next in condensed form. Daniel 2:16 tells us, “So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king.” (NASB) There are a couple of things to note in this verse which are very compelling. Before we get to them we are told Daniel went in to the king. This is the condensed version I am talking about and it reflects what we said at the beginning of this blog – that we are not given every single detail as to scenes. Given the discretion and discernment Daniel showed toward Arioch, he would not have simply jumped up and marched himself into the king. Neither would Arioch have allowed him to. There is no indication in Scripture that Daniel had that level of access or that he knew the king that well. Of course, proper protocol would have been observed. No doubt Daniel asked Arioch for permission to speak with the king which, despite whether or not Arioch himself had to go through other channels to gain permission, was inevitably granted.

Now, for the compelling points of this verse. Daniel asks the king for more time in order that he could provide him with the interpretation. You will recall, the king flatly refused the wise men any further time accusing them of delaying in the hope that he would change his mind. Instead, he ordered their executions. Secondly, Daniel only mentions the interpretation. He never speaks of the dream, just the interpretation, enforcing the point that the dream is the delivery system, the interpretation is the message that God has.

Daniel is clearly given the time because of what we will read next when we return.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Sentence of Death

Posted by on Apr 18, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Sentence of Death

Sentence of Death

The refusal of Nebuchadnezzar’s officials not answering his demands was met by an even stronger announcement which had immediate consequences not only on them but now also on Daniel and his friends. In Daniel 2:12-13 which reads, “Because of this the king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them.” (NASB)

To be fair, these officials didn’t refuse Nebuchadnezzar’s demands. They were unable to comply with them because they didn’t know the dream or its interpretation. Now the full weight of Babylonian law was pronounced upon them. Nebuchadnezzar isn’t just mad, he is burning with anger. By the choice of two words expressing his profound anger we see that Nebuchadnezzar lost all reasoning. That is what anger does. Anger knows no limits. It acts illogical and makes the poorest of decisions. While not condoning the anger that Nebuchadnezzar displayed I wonder if many of us have wondered why he became so enraged. Of course, we have said that he expected full cooperation from his subjects and demanded to know answers to questions he presented. He expected his “wise” men to know them all. But consider this. He had dreams that caused his sleep to flee away from him. In other words, those dreams troubled him so much he could not sleep. Could it be that he was so mad at his officials because he was secretly afraid? His deathly outbursts could have likely been because he was scared to death himself at what he had dreamt and he was desperate to quell those fears somehow. If we consider that he didn’t understand his dreams, he didn’t know how to interpret them and now, he has no one he can trust to free him of these dilemmas, his attitude, while not acceptable, is somewhat understandable. He may have been wondering what else have these so-called wise men hidden from him.

Scripture does not tell us whether his decree was to be implemented against all of the wise men of the land of Babylon or just the city itself. Given that it likely refers to the officials who generally served him on a day to day basis it is probable that the decree was more local in nature. We see a glimpse of why we could conclude it was the immediate area later when Daniel is appointed head of the province of Babylon. A province is generally an area or district of a country. Therefore, it fits well with the possibility that the order of executions of the wise men was localized. Nor are we told in Scripture whether those officials standing before Nebuchadnezzar in his court were immediately executed. This may have happened or it may have been a general order to arrest all of the wise men and then carry out a mass public execution. Again, we must be careful as to what we conclude. Killing those in the court where they stood could certainly have occurred for the reputation of Nebuchadnezzar was that he was ruthless. However, I personally do not believe that the wise men were immediately executed because we will read later that Daniel requests Arioch [who was the captain of the king’s bodyguard who was given the order to carry out the king’s decree] not to execute the wise men. In fact, the text never confirms that any of them are executed after this request of mercy is made by Daniel. That is remarkable that Daniel had thoughts of others while everything else is going on.

Others have argued as to why wasn’t Daniel in the court when the decree of the king was ordered if he was one of the wisest identified by Nebuchadnezzar when he was examining Daniel and his friends. The logical answer to that is because Daniel had recently completed his training. In the eyes of the wise men of the court, he was a mere novice. It may also be that Nebuchadnezzar did not trust the establishment that was in place in terms of those who served in his court which Daniel, up to that point, did not. But again, re-read Daniel 2:2. Nebuchadnezzar called four sets of experts. The Chaldeans. Daniel was not a Chaldean but a Hebrew. The magicians, conjurers, and sorcerers. Daniel was none of these. He was wise and knew of the falsehood of these men but remained untainted by them giving total allegiance to his God.

God also evidently gave Daniel people skills and a demeanor that appealed to several important people. He was able to speak with Ashpenaz who listened to his requests as to the diet he and his friends had been set by the king. He then successfully spoke with the official who Ashpenaz appointed to provide the food for them and who agreed to the young man’s request for a specific diet that would not defile them. As we will see in our next blog he was able to reason with Arioch also, which appears to change or cancel the king’s decree.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Exposure

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Exposure

Exposure.

There is no ambiguity in the next several verses that we will consider in today’s blog. Before I mention those, you will recall I said that Nebuchadnezzar had no qualms in dispatching both his enemies and those who did not obey him fully. Daniel 2:5 told us that he would tear his official’s limb from limb if they did not make known to him his dream and its interpretation. This included making their houses a rubbish heap. In the original Hebrew/Aramaic text the word used for the expression “rubbish heap” is nevalu or nevali which are Aramaic words that appear to represent an unused root, probably meaning foul. This meaning is further expanded to likely represent a refuse heap, a dunghill or outhouse. In fact, the word used in the original text, nevalu can be crossed referenced with Daniel 2:5; 3:29 and Ezra 6:11. Dunghill appears to be the preferred rendering of this word across a wide range of concordances. If that is the case, then one could consider that Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t just threatening to tear down their homes but was promising to make their former homes a degraded place of refuse, whose odor would have truly been repugnant in a final decree of dishonoring them.

We read in Daniel 2:6-9, “But if you declare the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and a reward and great honor; therefore declare to me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” The king replied, “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that the command from me is firm, that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the situation is changed; therefore tell me the dream, that I may know that you can declare to me its interpretation.” (NASB)

Talk about dangling the carrot! You can almost picture the frenzied scene. Nebuchadnezzar has just scared the living daylights out of his entire entourage by his threats of death and dishonor only to suddenly play Mr. Nice Guy! Now he is offering gifts and riches and great honor. His demeanor is short lived though, as he again switches to the purpose of his demands.

Have you ever been falsely accused of something only for the accusing party or parties to insist you tell them what you did? Often this scenario has played out in many of our lives when we were children. The accuser could even have been a parent or teacher who insisted you were going to be punished if you didn’t own up to what you had done. Being falsely accused and not even aware of the situation can be terrifying because you simply didn’t know the answer to what your parent or teacher was demanding of you. But they thought you were stalling for time. This is only a very faint example of the dilemma these magicians, conjurers, sorcerers and Chaldeans faced. They, again, ask the king the content of the dream more urgently now. I am sure they would have almost been begging him at this point, as their confidence left them, the fear of not answering him choking them in terror. Now we see Nebuchadnezzar accusing them of lying and collusion. He is convinced that they are stalling for time because of the command he has issued. The subsequent threat has not provided any satisfactory answer, despite the rewards he had promised. He makes it apparent that there is only one decree. He believes they are being deceitful by giving him corrupt answers and thinks that they are trying to extend the time in order for him to change his mind. It may well have been proof for him that everything they had ever said was total fabrication. He knew there were times when what they predicted had not come true. He was probably at a point where he had stopped believing anything they said. It is amazing to see how God maneuvers this man against his own systems of belief.

Now we, as the onlookers to the text, see the real fear in their answer in Daniel 2:10-11, “The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean. Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.” (NASB) Finally, we see them say something truthful. They finally admit that it is impossible to tell anyone what they have dreamt unless they are given full knowledge of it first. Moreover, they actually are brave enough to tell Nebuchadnezzar no king or ruler has ever asked anything like this. They, of course, likely meant anyone within their own history but the point would equally represent any previous power. They then say something which is false but somewhat true. Let me explain. They tell Nebuchadnezzar that the only one who could declare his dream would be the gods. While they may have fully believed that, it was still false. No false god can declare the contents of a dream, nor interpret it. But they unwittingly were on the right track. There was a God, the only true God, who could both declare the dream and its interpretation. Why? Because the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had was created, authored and placed into Nebuchadnezzar’s subconscious mind as he lay sleeping by God Himself.

But before things get better there is worse to come for these court officials who can give Nebuchadnezzar no satisfactory answer and Daniel and his friends find themselves in imminent danger.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – No Language Barrier

Posted by on Apr 16, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – No Language Barrier

No Language Barrier

Something that I must address that I did not make mention of in Daniel 2:4 is that the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic. Many previous scholars, theologians and expositors have argued that Aramaic was not used by Nebuchadnezzar and, therefore, the text is corrupted. But this erroneous comment is simply untrue. Nebuchadnezzar was, in fact, a Chaldean himself. This is another example of the folly of fallen men who have the audacity to question the words whispered by God by means of His Holy Spirit. That statement is, in itself, sufficient but to place a capstone on it, please note the following Scriptural and historical facts. In Daniel 1:3-4 we saw Nebuchadnezzar giving Ashpenaz [the chief of his officials] certain orders regarding the sons of Israel. The latter part of Daniel 1:4b clearly states that it was Nebuchadnezzar who ordered Ashpenaz to “teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans”. (NASB) Now, why would Nebuchadnezzar order that if he did not know Aramaic? How was he able to fluently talk to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and ascertain that “out of them all not one was found” like them in their understanding? If he did not know Aramaic, how was he able to determine they were “ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm”? (see Daniel 1:19-20 – NASB)

Chaldea was a Semitic-speaking nation which existed between the 10th and 6th centuries BC, after which it and its people were absorbed and assimilated into Babylonia. It was located in the far southeastern corner of Mesopotamia and briefly came to rule Babylon. The short-lived 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon (6th century BC) is conventionally known to historians as the Chaldean Dynasty which ruled from 626 – 539 BC (although the last rulers, Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar, were from Assyria (their rule was from 556 – 539 BC). The first of the Chaldean kings was Nabopolassar who was a former obscure and unknown Chaldean chieftain. He used tactics learned from previous Chaldean leaders to take advantage of the chaos and anarchy gripping Assyria and Babylonia and seized the city of Babylon in 620 BC. After Nabopolassar died after reigning for 21 years his son, Nebuchadnezzar, became the next Chaldean king.

The Chaldean language is known as Chaldaic and was a dialect of Aramaic. Many people within the region of the Middle East spoke this language. We can draw parallels today. Just like this Aramaic dialect had a universal appeal, so does English today. We know from the Bible that many people spoke Aramaic around the times of Daniel also. One example is the account of Hezekiah found in 2 Kings 18. When Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, attacked Judah in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah he sought mercy from the king of Assyria. Sennacherib sent, among others, the “Rabshakeh” which, in the Semitic Akkadian and Aramaic languages, means the “chief of the princes”. When Hezekiah was called by the Rabshakeh, Hezekiah sent Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, out to meet them. Notice the conversation in 2 Kings 18:26 which reads, “Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, “Speak now to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and do not speak with us in Judean in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” (NASB) Clearly, the Rabshakeh (an Assyrian) knew Aramaic. The Assyrians, Babylonians and Hebrews all knew the language or different forms of it. The Hebrews, in fact, wrote some of their text in Aramaic that is contained in the Talmud. This language was the official tongue of Babylon when they took Judah in captivity. Once Babylon had conquered many of the kingdoms and tribes that resided in these areas of the world, this language gained more use. These conquered peoples had to become familiar with this speech since the Babylonians governed their lives. It wasn’t until the Persians conquered Babylon that it began to lose its prominence.

I merely quote the account in 2 Kings 18:26 to highlight the point that Aramaic was widely known not only to the Assyrians but now, as we read in Daniel, to the Babylonians. This was not a language, in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, that would have been foreign to him. Hence, as I should have pointed out earlier, we see a shift of language from Hebrew, in Daniel 1:21 – Daniel 2:4a to Aramaic in Daniel 2:4b – Daniel 7:28. Daniel chapter eight then reverts back to Hebrew.

Although I have spent an entire blog on this subject let me say this. First, I did not forget to mention these points. I originally chose not to mention them for one reason and one reason only. They do not make any difference to the message that we now have in our English translations of the Bible. They would if the translation of both the Hebrew and Aramaic was translated incorrectly but they have not. The Holy word of God is NOT corrupted. Why? Because they are the words of God Himself. He does not lie. There is no falsehood in Him. Here’s some Scriptures I hope you will reflect on in knowing we can trust God’s word.

Numbers 23:19

Proverbs 3:5

Proverbs 16:20

Isaiah 40:8

Isaiah 55:10-11

John 17:17

2 Timothy 3:16-17

2 Peter 1:20-21

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Shocked Response

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Shocked Response

Shocked Response

As we have learned previously, the groups of experts now standing before Nebuchadnezzar had an array of experience and documents to assist them in interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. All they needed was what they asked him as recorded in Daniel 2:4, “Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: “O king, live forever! Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” (NASB) It should be apparent that, by their question, it was the norm for the dream to be interpreted. It is a normal question in our day too. When a young child is woken from a bad dream often the parent immediately asks them what has happened. Or, if your spouse said they had a nightmare, our immediate question is what was it about? Only until we read verse five do we see the problem. Daniel 2:5 says, “The king replied to the Chaldeans, “The command from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses will be made a rubbish heap.” (NASB) One can only imagine how startled those assembled were. They reacted with shock and surprise, which would soon turn into fear and trembling for their very lives.

I have the utmost respect for many theologians and scholars who have spent their lives studying God’s word. I also have respect for those who have studied at seminary, etc. That being said, I am not afraid to disagree with some of these academics when Scripture is not saying what some purport it is. Case in point is the popular belief in some well-known translations of the Bible that Nebuchadnezzar forgot his dream. A careful reading of Daniel does not reveal Nebuchadnezzar forgot his dream. The popular belief that he did is a result of several older translations. The translation of the King James Version and The Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible are good examples. In Daniel 2:5a of these versions it reads, “The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me.” (Both the KJV and the AKJV render this verse the same) [Underline in Scripture mine]. Even when one looks at the original text this phrase is nowhere to be found. It is my belief (and many others) that Nebuchadnezzar never forget his dream. I say this for several reasons.

  1. The text never says he forgot it.
  2. Had he forgotten the dream then surely the magicians, conjurers, sorcerers and Chaldeans could have simply made up the contents of his dream and he would not have known.
  3. The fact that his sleep went away from him and he was anxious and troubled suggests he knew the dream but was lacking what it meant.
  4. Nebuchadnezzar, for reasons unknown to us, may have wanted to test his dream tellers to see how genuine they were.
  5. It was God’s plan all along to introduce Daniel into His purposes.

Up until the point of Nebuchadnezzar’s warning, you can imagine these experts standing there smiling, ready to give their verdicts on his dream. They were completely unprepared for his demands. It has been suggested and it is a valid comment that many of these experts were much older than Nebuchadnezzar, possibly being servants of his father before him. Being a new king he probably had a good idea whom he could trust, whom he had his doubts about or, indeed, he wanted to test the whole lot of them to see just how accurate their interpretations were. All that being said, if anyone was to say to you or me “tell me what my dream was last night and interpret it” then we would be just as clueless as those standing before Nebuchadnezzar. This points directly to my fifth point above and we will actually see Daniel confirming this later – that the only possibility of Nebuchadnezzar having his dream interpreted was by God Himself because it was God who had placed those dreams in Nebuchadnezzar as he lay sleeping.

As we will read in the forthcoming verses of Daniel chapter two, had God not acted providentially by having Daniel brought before the king, not only would he and his three friends have been put to death but all of those now standing before the court. If one thinks this was an idle threat by Nebuchadnezzar one only has to read what he did to Zedekiah in Jeremiah 52:9-11.

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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.

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