Monday, May 4, 2015

Daniel, Day 1 Readings

Jews in the Babylonian Court and King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream 

Today's first reading is the introduction to Daniel, which describes how certain exiled Jews came to have influence in the Babylonian court.  Four were chosen to serve the king and educated in the Babylonian style.  However, the four men (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) refused to violate Jewish law in order to be in the king's circle of advisers.  In the introduction, they refuse to disobey dietary laws.  They persuade the Babylonians to accept an experiment about whether a different diet will be a problem.  When it is discovered that they are in better physical condition than those who eat the normal diet, they are allowed to follow their food customs.  This, however, is not the only time it will be uncomfortable for them to obey Jewish law in Babylon.

Read Daniel 1:1-21  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading tells of how the Babylonian court prophets, including Daniel and his Jewish comrades, where instructed by the king to interpret a dream he had recently dreamed; however, the king refused to describe the dream and demanded that the prophets instead describe it to him before they interpreted it.  The entire company of prophets said that the request was impossible, and Nebuchadnezzar responded by threatening to kill all of the prophets if they could not do as he asked.  So Daniel, through prayer, intercedes, and God reveals the dream and its interpretation.  It involves a large statue with different sections made of different materials.  Daniel explains that this represents the different empires which will rule the earth until they all fall and are replaced by a kingdom of God's design.  One interesting aspect of the dream is that the interpretation suggests that Babylon is the best of the remaining kingdoms (until God's, of course) and that worse is yet to come.

Read Daniel 2:1-49  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Daniel 1-2 today.