The Prophet Daniel

The Prophet Daniel was descended from the royal family. While still a  young boy, he was taken prisoner to a Babylonian prison. In prison, by  the will of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was chosen with several other  imprisoned youths of the children of Israel to serve in the King’s  palace. The King ordered that they be brought up in the palace, taught  in various fields of knowledge and in the language of the Chaldeans. The  King appointed them a daily provision of food from his own table. Among  those chosen besides Daniel were Ananias, Azarias, and Misael.

Daniel and his three friends firmly kept faith in  the true God. They did not wish to eat the King’s meat in order to avoid  being defiled by anything forbidden by the Law of Moses. They begged  the prince of eunuchs to give them only bread and vegetables. The prince  would not agree for fear they would lose weight, and the King would  decapitate him. But Daniel asked him to do as they asked for ten days.  When ten days had passed, Daniel and his friends not only did not lose  weight, but they appeared fatter, more healthy and fairer than all the  other children. After this they were not required to eat the King’s  food. For such strict observance of the Law, for their fasting and  piety, God rewarded these young boys with great ability and success in  their studies. In tests, they proved to be more intelligent and better  than the others, and they were given positions in the King’s palace. To  Daniel, God gave the gift of interpreting dreams, as He had once to  Joseph.

The rise of the Hebrew youths benefited the Jews in  captivity. The piety of the youths served to defend the Jews from  oppression and to better their life in captivity. Furthermore, through  them the pagans were able to come to a knowledge of the true God and to  glorify Him.

One day Nebuchadnezzar had an unusual dream, but  when he awoke in the morning, he could not remember it. This dream  greatly distressed the King. He convened all his wise men and magicians  and ordered them to recall this dream and explain it. But they were not  able do it and said, “There is not a man upon the earth that can recall the dream for the king” (Dan. 2:10). Nebuchadnezzar was infuriated and wanted to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

Then Daniel asked the King to give him some time,  and he would explain the dream. Going home, Daniel fervently implored  God to reveal to him this mystery. In a vision at night, God revealed to  him the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its meaning.

Daniel went to the King and said, “O king, thy  thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass  hereafter …Thou, O king, sawest and behold a great image. This great  image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form  thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and  his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of  iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay” (Dan. 2:29, 31-33).  Then from a mountain, by itself, a stone was cut out without hands, and  it smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke  them in pieces, then the whole image fell apart and turned into dust,  and the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This, O  King, is thy dream!

This dream,” continued Daniel, “means the following.  Thou art a king of kings, for the God of Heaven hath given thee a  kingdom, power, and strength, and glory, and He hath made thee ruler  over all. Thou art this head of gold. After thee shall arise another  kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass which shall  bear rule over all the earth. The fourth kingdom shall be as strong as  iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and all these shall it break  in pieces and bruise. But at the same time that the kingdom shall be  divided, the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken. In the  days of these last kings shall the God of Heaven set up an eternal  kingdom which shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in  pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Thus  the great God hath made known to the King what shall come to pass  hereafter.”

Hearing this, King Nebuchadnezzar stood up and bowed down to the earth before Daniel, and said, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings!” (Dan. 2:47).

He honored Daniel greatly by giving him great gifts,  seating him in the gate of the King, and making him ruler over the  whole province of Babylon and chief of the governors, over all the wise  men of Babylon. His three friends Ananian, Azarias, and Misael were set  over the affairs of the province of Babylon.


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