- Dan. 1:3-20; 2:1-49
Daniel was a young man among the first wave of captives that Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylon in 604 B.C. Once in Babylon, the king ordered that some of the best and brightest Israelites be brought to serve in the king’s palace. They learned the language and literature of the Babylonians. Daniel was among this group, as well as his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The king ordered that all of these students be given wine and meat from the king’s selection of food. However, Daniel convinced the king’s servant to give him and his three friends only vegetables and water, because he didn’t want to defile himself with the king’s foods.
The king’s servant liked Daniel but said he was afraid that Daniel and his friends’ appearance would be worse than those who ate the king’s menu. Daniel convinced him to test them for 10 days, which he agreed to do, and after that time Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah’s appearance was superior to that of the other students. As a result the king’s servant ordered only vegetables and water for all of the students. Daniel and his friends were given new names. Daniel was called Belteshazzar, Hananiah was Shadrach, Mishael was Meshach, and Azariah was called Abednego.
GOD blessed these four young men with knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. Daniel could understand dreams and visions of all kinds. After the set period of time, the students were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar found Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to be the brightest and best of the group. He found them ten times wiser than all the magicians and enchanters in his own kindgom.
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream one night which prevented him from sleeping. The dream was so vivid and troubling that he asked all the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to help him by telling him the dream and its interpretation. They tried to convince the king to reveal the dream to them and they’d tell him the interpretation, but Nebuchadnezzar knew they would just trick him with a phony interpretation. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar told them if they couldn’t reveal the dream and its meaning to him then they would be put to death.
The king grew so furious about this dream that he ordered all the wise men within Babylon to be killed. Men were sent to find Daniel and his friends to put them to death. Daniel asked the king’s servant to give him a chance to talk to Nebuchadnezzar before putting the wise men to death. The servant agreed. Daniel asked the king for time to interpret the dream for him and he agreed. Daniel went home and told his friends to plead for mercy from GOD and to reveal the dream as well as the meaning to him so that they might not be put to death.
That night GOD revealed the mystery to Daniel in a vision. Daniel praised GOD, saying:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. 23 “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”
(Dan. 2:20-23 NKJV)
Daniel then went to Arioch, the king’s executioner, and stopped him from executing the wise men. He told Arioch to take him to Nebuchadnezzar, which he did. Daniel then told Nebuchadnezzar the dream and its interpretation.
27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
(Dan. 2:27-45 NKJV)
Nebuchadnezzar fell down at Daniel’s feet and praised GOD for revealing the dream and its interpretation to Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar then placed Daniel in a high-ranking position—ruler over the entire province of Babylon—and put him in charge of all the wise men. At Daniel’s request, Nebuchadnezzar put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in administrative positions underneath Daniel. Daniel lived at the royal court.
Note how Daniel gave the glory to GOD for revealing Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and interpretation. This is how the child of GOD ought to respond when we receive some form of recognition, respect or honor. Daniel had worked hard, no doubt, in his training, in order to reach his position as a lead student in Babylon. Yet, he recognized that it was GOD who deserved the honor for meeting his need. What a great example for us to follow!