Daniel Chapter 1
Nebuchadnezzar – king of Babylon
Jerusalem besieged. Golden vessels taken from God’s temple and placed in the treasure house of the Babylonian gods.
King tells his master of the eucuchs to take young men (12-15 yrs, without blemish, handsome and smart) to be trained in the ways of Babylonians for three years then brought to the king’s palace
Daniel “God my Judge” was renamed Belteshazzar “Bel’s Prince” (the chief god of Babylon)
Hananiah “whom Jehovah has favored” was renamed Shadrach “illuminated by the Sun-god”
Mishael “who is comparable to God was renamed Meshach “Humbled before my god”
Azariah “Jehovah has helped” was renamed Abednego “Servant of Nebo (son of Bel)
These captives were to eat the king’s meat and drink the king’s wine. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s food. God had brought Daniel into favor with the prince of the eunuchs. Daniel went to his authority with his request. The prince of the eunuchs was afraid to help. Then Daniel goes to his immediate authority. Test us for 10 days then YOU decide if we can continue to eat our foods. After 10 days they were fairer and fatter in flesh than the other young men. God gave them knowledge and skill. Daniel had understanding in visions and dreams. King found them 10x better than all of his magicians and astrologers and wise men.
Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. Not only does he want an interpretation of the dream, he wants to know the dream itself (he can’t remember it) His offers gifts and rewards and great honor to the man who can reveal these things. No one can do this so the king orders that all the magicians and astrologers and wise men be killed. The captain of the king’s guard comes to kill Daniel and the three friends. Daniel says give me time and I will show the king the interpretation. He tells Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to “desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret.” The secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Daniel thanks and praises God. The king asks Daniel, “Are you able to make known the dream and the interpretation?” Daniel says, “There is a God in heaven that reveals secrets and makes known the interpretation to the king.” Daniel reveals the dream. The king acknowledges Daniel’s God, rewards Daniel and makes him ruler over the provinces and chief governor over the wise men. .Daniel requests that his 3 friends be put over the affairs of the province of Babylon. They are. But Daniel “sat in the gate of the king”.
Nebuchadnezzar made a 90 ft golden statue of himself. At the dedication of the statue, it is announced that whenever music is played, all must bow and worship the statue. Anyone who does not worship the image of the king will be thrown in the fiery furnace. Certain wise men approach the king and accuse Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. These will not bow and worship the image. (vs 12) The king calls them in and asks is this true. He gives them a chance to show their allegiance. They say we will not worship the image. Our God has the power to save us but even if He chooses not to, we will not worship the image. The king is furious. Make the fiery furnace 7 times hotter than normal. Get the mightiest warriors to throw these men into the furnace. These warriors die from the heat of throwing the three into the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar looks into the furnace and sees four men walking around inside. The king calls to the three to come out. They come out. Their clothes are not singed, their coats are not changed and they don’t even smell of smoke. Nebuchadnezzar extols the powers of their God and promotes them.
Nebuchadnezzar has another dream. He dreams of a huge tree that provides food for all, shade for the animals and homes for the birds. A watcher and a holy one announces from heaven. The tree is to be cut down but the stump will be left. God rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he will. The stump is left in the field with the beasts and is wet by the dew till seven times pass. The magicians and astrologers and wise men can not interpret the dream but Daniel interprets the dream. Nebuchadnezzar is the tree.
Twelve months later Nebuchadnezzar says Look at this great Babylon that I have built by the might of my power and the honor of my majesty. Pride. While the words were in his mouth, the dream is fulfilled and a voice from heaven says The kingdom is departed from thee. The king’s mind leaves him. For seven years he eats in the field as a beast and the dew wet him. At the end of the seven years, the king lifts up his eyes to heaven and understanding returns to him. He praised and extolled and honors the King of heaven. Those who walk in pride God is able to abase.
Belshazzar is now king. He has a feast. He takes the golden vessels that were taken from God’s temple, and he drinks wine from them and praises his gods of gold and silver and wood. A hand appears and writes on the wall. The queen remembers Daniel. Daniel interprets the writing. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin – God has numbered your kingdom and finished it. You are weighed in the balance and are found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. Daniel is rewarded and made third ruler in the kingdom. That night Belshazzar is killed and Darius the Median takes the kingdom.
Darius has 120 princes over the provinces. He appoints three presidents over the princes. Daniel is the first president. The others are jealous. They can’t find any fault in Daniel. We must find occasion against him concerning the law of his God. They trick Darius into making a law. The laws of the Medes and Persians can not be changed once they are signed. No one can make petition to any man or god except the king for 30 days. Any man who does will be thrown in the lions’ den. Daniel hears of the law. He does as he always does and prays to God. The other rulers accuse Daniel before the king. Daniel must be thrown into the lions’ den. Darius is not pleased but he can not save Daniel. He tells Daniel, your God will deliver you. The king spends a sleepless night. He rushes to the den early the next morning to see if Daniel is alive. Yes, he is. Daniel says, My God has sent an angel and has shut the mouths of the lions that they have not hurt me because I am innocent before him and before you. Those who had accused Daniel were killed. Darius made a decree that men would tremble and fear the God of Daniel, who delivers and rescues and works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.
Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus.