Home > Uncategorized > Daniel 2:1-23; Daniel works to cool Nebuchadnezzar’s very short temper

Daniel 2:1-23; Daniel works to cool Nebuchadnezzar’s very short temper

As I read this passage of Scripture this afternoon after finishing up Acts 2, I smiled and thought of memories. Years ago, I had a hard-cover Bible book that was almost like a comic book. It had the Old Testament stories, including Daniel. You should’ve seen the look on Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar’s face when he realized his wise men weren’t wise enough to tell him what he dreamed and successfully interpret it.

An artist’s conception of what Nebuchadnezzar looked like.

Very angry. As I studied his face, I thought for sure he’d either explode from spontaneous combustion or turn into the Incredible Hulk.

Nebuchadnezzar (“Nebie”, for short) had a decent-sized reign, and with that temper it amazes me he did: anger can make you do stupid things, and when you’re the king, there’s always a contingency of people who want your job sooner rather than later. Killing people needlessly is almost certain to create even more enemies.

Daniel 2 tells the story about now Nebie had a very disturbing dream, but one that he couldn’t remember. So, he summoned all the wise men in his kingdom to tell him what he dreamed and the interpretation.

You can tell immediately that the wise men were worried about the king’s irrational request to tell him what he dreamed. They began by using that ancient world apple-polishing phrase of “O King, live forever.” Nebie proceeded to tell them two things: If you tell me what I dreamed and interpret it, you’ll receive great honors and great riches. If you don’t, you’ll be killed and your homes will be torn down.

This did no good for the wise men as they, as gently as possible, trid to tell Nebie they needed to know what he dreamed so they could interpret it.

“Stop this! You’re stalling and wasting my time!,” he told them. “Tell me what I dreamed and what it means so I can get back to sleep! I have a big day tomorrow and I need to get some sleep!”

Then his wise men told him what he almost certainly didn’t want to hear: no king or ruler has ever requested such a thing, your majesty! Your request is unusual, and only the gods could know it. And since they’re not easily accessible, we can’t help you!

(If only the Babylonian gods had e-mail or cell phones).

This, of course, made Nebuchadnezzar extremely furious. One has to wonder if this was how angry he became when a messenger from Israel said, “Y-y-your majesty, I have b-b-bad news. King Zedekiah of Israel has rebelled and refuses to s-s-s-serve you anymore.” The king then decreed all wise men to be executed.

Word soon reached Daniel as the king’s captain of the guard, Arioch, explained it to him. Daniel answered Arioch with wisdom and asked for time to be able to seek in prayer the dream and its interpretation.

Nebuchadnezzar must’ve remembered Daniel from when he and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah stood before him, because he apparently gave him and the others a stay of execution. Daniel and the three prayed, and as we finish the first half of the second chapter, we see that Daniel had the dream and its interpretation from God.

In giving thanks to God, Daniel reminds us that wisdom and power are God’s and that according to His choosing, He gives power to whomever He desires. God is also able to reveal the secret things of life.

Richard Zowie blogs at several sites, including three others on WordPress. Post comments below or e-mail richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

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