Week #112; Wed, Feb 19: Daniel 1:1–5:31

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Daniel 1:1, Daniel Taken to Babylon

I. KEY TEXT: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding and learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hannah he called Shadrach, Michael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.” (1:1-7)

A. INFERENCE: “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked  the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, ‘I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.'” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah, ‘Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.’ So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths that ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. (1:8-16)

1. FINDINGS: Daniel demonstrated early on that he was not prepared to accept the kings prescribed food for him, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah, choosing vegetables and water instead. (1:8-16)

2. CRITERIA: Daniel followed the Lord God regarding food to eat; he refused to defile himself. God honored his loyalty.

3. CONDITION: David is gaining respect for his daring to adhere to God precepts and not the Babylonian life of worldliness and pleasure.

4. CAUSE: David realized he could only eat the food authorized by God and stay pure.

5. EFFECT: As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

6. RECOMMENDATION: David should remain faithful to God; remembering that serving king Nebuchadnezzar is integral to God’s plan.

B. INFERENCE: “As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which he inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.” (1:17-21)

1. FINDINGS: None was found like Daniel, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah when they were brought before the king.

2. CRITERIA: Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

3. CONDITION: King Nebuchadnezzar selected Daniel, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah to learn the literature and language of the Chaldeans.

4. CAUSE: God gave them learning and skill in all literature, and wisdom.

5. EFFECT: Daniel, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah were revered by the king.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Daniel, Hannah, Michael, and Azariah to perform as seers; Daniel was made head over all of them in a very short time while keeping his loyalty to God.

Daniel 2:1, Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

I. KEY TEXT: “In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadneaar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, ‘I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.’ Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, ‘O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.’ The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, ‘The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.’ They answered a second time and said, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.’ The king answered and said, ‘I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm–if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation. The Chaldeans answered the king and said, ‘There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.'” (2:1-11)

A. INFERENCE: “Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arch, the captain of the king’s guard who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, ‘Why is the decree of the king so urgent?’ Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” (2:12-19)

1. FINDINGS: God revealed the king’s dream to Daniel. (2:19)

2. CRITERIA: . . . and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (1:17)

3. CONDITION: King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. He commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, and sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. He demanded that they interpret his dream without giving them the dream.

4. CAUSE: It is likely that the dream was the vehicle God used to bring about victory and success for Daniel and his companions as an incremental step.

5. EFFECT: Daniel and his companions prayed to the Lord God for mercy in understanding the mystery, God supplied the answer to Daniel.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Daniel’s success eventually propelled him and his companions to great success and promotions.

II. KEY TEXT: “. . . there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries and made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.” (2:28-30)

A. INFERENCE: “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, it legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (2:31-35)

1. FINDINGS: God in heaven revealed the mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel.

2. CRITERIA: It appears the Lord God had a message for Nebuchadnezzar choosing Daniel to deliver it in a mysterious way.

3. CONDITION: Nebuchadnezzar is getting the Lord God’s message.

4. CAUSE: God’s plan included other nations in his plan to restore Israel; Cyrus of Persia is in the race to eventually get it done.

5. EFFECT: King Nebuchadnezzar spared his seers along with Daniel and his companions. Daniel and his companions were ultimately promoted.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Daniel remains in Babylon and continued to learn and gained additional training and wisdom.

B. INFERENCE: “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all–you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure. Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, ‘Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.” (2:36-49)

1. FINDINGS: God in heaven revealed the mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel.

2. CRITERIA: It appears the Lord God had a message for Nebuchadnezzar choosing Daniel to deliver it in a mysterious way.

3. CONDITION: It appears the Lord God had a message for Nebuchadnezzar choosing Daniel to deliver it in a mysterious way. Daniel is becoming more powerful and given more strength.

4. CAUSE: Nebuchadnezzar is getting the Lord God’s message.

5. EFFECT: King Nebuchadnezzar spared his seers along with Daniel and his companions. Daniel and his companions were ultimately promoted.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Daniel remains in Babylon and continues to learn and gain additional training and wisdom while Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were given charge over the affairs of the province of Babylon.

Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image

I. KEY TEXT: “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image the King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, ‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.” (3:1-7)

A. INFERENCE: “Therefore, at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'” (3:8-12)

1. FINDINGS: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to fall down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image.

2. CRITERIA: Turn or burn.

3. CONDITION: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will not serve the king’s gods or worship the golden image that he set up.

4. CAUSE: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will only worship the Lord God of Israel.

5. EFFECT: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Pray to the God of Israel for rescue and protection.

II. KEY TEXT: “Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. ” (3:19-20)

A. INFERENCE: “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘True, O king.’ He answered and said, But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods [Jesus can be seen here].'” (3:21-25)

1. FINDINGS: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not perish in the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar called for them to come out of the fiery furnace along with a fourth man who looked like a son of the gods; none of them were harmed and did not smell of smoke.

2. CRITERIA: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were following the Lord God of Israel rather than the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar (a false god).

3. CONDITION: The kings counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.

4. CAUSE: An angel delivered his servants from the fiery furnace, who trusted in him.

5. EFFECT: Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego need to continue to be faithful to the Lord God of Israel.

B. INFERENCE: “Therefore, I (Nebuchadnezzar) make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.’ Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.” (3:29-30)

1. FINDINGS: Nebuchadnezzar made a decree to protect Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from harm by anyone; they were promoted in the province of Babylon.

2. CRITERIA: Remain loyal to the Lord God of Israel even under harsh treatment.

3. CONDITION: The certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews of not worshiping Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image–it backfired.

4. CAUSE: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey Nebuchadnezzar and remained loyal to the Lord God of Israel.

5. EFFECT: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were protected by the king’s decree and they were promoted in the province of Babylon.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should continue to remain loyal to the Lord God of Israel.

Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

I. KEY TEXT: “King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” (4:1-3)

A. INFERENCE: “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in my bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretations of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation. At last Daniel came in before me–he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods–and I told him the dream, saying, ‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: ‘I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of man.’ This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.” (4:4-18)

1. FINDINGS: Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream. (4:22-27)

2. CRITERIA: Voice from heaven reaffirming Daniel’s interpretation. (4:31)

3. CONDITION: The Lord God spoke confirming Daniel interpretation saying to Nebuchadnezzar that “The kingdom has departed from you.” (4:31)

4. CAUSE: King Nebuchadnezzar had to understand that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (4-32)

5. EFFECT: Nebuchadnezzar was restored after seven periods of time passes over him and he understood that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. (4:25, 34)

6. RECOMMENDATION: Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar to break off his sins by practicing righteousness, and his iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of his prosperity. At the end of the days, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his eyes to heaven, and his reason returned to him, and he blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting, dominion, and his kingd0m endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ Nebuchadnezzar complied with Daniel and he was restored with more greatness added. (4:34-36)

Daniel 5, The Handwriting on the Wall

I. KEY TEXT: “King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone . . . Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand . . . And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.” (5:1~5)

A. INFERENCE: “The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, ‘O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father–your father the king–made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” (5:10-12)

1. FINDINGS: Daniel was called to interpret the writing on the wall. The writing that was inscribed stated: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

2. CRITERIA: Like his father Nebuchadnezzar, his father, Belshazzar’s heart was lifted up and his was spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.

3. CONDITION: That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

4. CAUSE: The fingers began to write on the wall when they drank wine from the vessels from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem.

5. EFFECT: Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed on the same night he drank wine from the golden and silver vessels taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar his father.

6. RECOMMENDATION: Daniel must be prepared to deal with Darius and be protective of the law of his God.

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