Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Most High God - Daniel 2:1-13

Previous: Daniel 1:17-21

Now that Daniel and his three friends are in Babylon what will happen to them? Certainly God brought them here for a reason. Let's see.

Daniel 2:1-13 (KJV)
1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.
5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
6 But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.
7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.
8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.
10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

Side note: Daniel 2:4-7:28 is written in Aramaic and not Hebrew. Why might this be? Aramaic was the language that many people spoke and understood. The section that is written in Aramaic deals with God's rule over the Gentiles. It seems like this was the section that God specifically intended the Gentiles to be able to read. This seems to confirm that God is not solely interested in one group of people but is rather concerned with all. (Although His concern with other groups does not change God's special interest in and love for the Jewish people.)

What has happened to Nebuchadnezzar (verse 1)? He has been dreaming something unsettling to the point that it woke him up. When he woke what did he do (verse 2)? He called the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans. Why would he do this? Remember that these people were very superstitious and placed high esteem on abilities in magic. Who are the Chaldeans? The term is often used in place of Babylonians. However, in this context it is used for a specific group in Babylon who were "versed in occult learning" (the Free Online Dictionary). In verse 3 Nebuchadnezzar tells the assembled group that he was disturbed by his dream. In verse 4 the Chaldeans tell the king to relate the dream to them so that they could give him the interpretation. But does Nebuchadnezzar do as they requested (verse 5)? No, he says that he doesn't remember the dream. What does Nebuchadnezzar want the magicians to do? He wants them to tell him what the dream was first and then give the interpretation. This is really pretty shrewd on Nebuchadnezzar's part if he really did remember the dream or at least some part of it. The magicians had a very cushy job. Hear the dream and then give any interpretation that they wanted. The king would never be any wiser. But if these magicians were not really as talented as they purported to be, they would surely demonstrate it by relating an incorrect dream. What does Nebuchadnezzar say he will do if they cannot relate the dream and its interpretation (verse 5)? He threatens to cut them in pieces and make their houses dunghills. What would be the reward if they can tell him the dream and its interpretation (verse 6)? He would give them gifts, rewards, and great honor. What is the Chaldeans' response (verse 7)? They reiterate that the king must tell them the dream in order to get the interpretation. How does Nebuchadnezzar respond to this (verse 8)? Nebuchadnezzar tells them outright that they are using a delaying tactic since the king would lose more of the dream as time goes by. Nebuchadnezzar presses them further in verse 9. How do the Chaldeans respond in verse 10? They inform the king that there is no man on earth that can tell him the dream and that no one has ever made such a request before. According to verse 11 who are the only ones who know what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed? The gods are the only ones who know. What is Nebuchadnezzar's response to this (verse 12)? He is angry and commands that the all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. This decree would affect whom? Remember that Daniel and his friends were also considered to be a part of this group. What happens in verse 13? The decree goes out that all the wise men were to be killed. Daniel and his three friends are included.

What will happen next? Since there is a lot of the book of Daniel left, he obviously can't be killed, at least not yet. Will Daniel escape? Will he be able to save himself in some way? Stay tuned for the next part!


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