Daniel’s Training in Babylon- After Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, took over Jerusalem, he decided to take a bunch of King Jehoiakim of Judah’s sons (only the ones without physical and mental defect, mind you) under his wing and train them to work for him. Daniel was one of those sons. While in training, Daniel decided that he should not defile himself by drinking the wine and eating the food provided for the men. Daniel asked his guard if he could just eat veggies and drink water. The guard was unsure at first, but Daniel suggested that the man give Daniel and three of his buddies only veggies and water for the next ten days to see how they fared. The advisor agreed, and after ten days of eating only veggies and drinking only water, Daniel and his friends were way healthier than all the other men. So the advisor agreed to feed Daniel what he wished from there on out. Daniel and his friends were favored by God and were incredibly smart and talented. The King of Babylon took them on as servants, and they were way better than his other servants. Because they were vegans. Let that sink in. This all started because David wanted to be vegan.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream- At some point in his reign, King Nebuchad… King Nebby started having troubling dreams. He called on some of his best astrologists and magicians to tell him what the dreams meant. King Nebby told them that if they interpreted the dreams incorrectly, he would cut them into pieces and then burn down their houses. In that order. The astrologists and magicians told the king that it would be impossible to correctly interpret the dreams, only gods could do that. King Nebby got testy and decided to kill all of the wise men in his kingdom for this failing. Daniel and his friends were some of the wise men that would have been put to death, so Daniel took it upon himself to fix the problem. He and his friends prayed to God, who told Daniel what the dreams meant.
Daniel Interprets the Dream- So Daniel went to the King with this knowledge and answered the King’s questions. The King had dreamed about the statue of a man. The head was made of gold, the chest of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron and the feet a mixture of iron an clay. A rock came in and smashed the iron/clay feet, bringing down the entire statue and breaking it into pieces. Then the rock that had destroyed the statue became large, like a mountain. Daniel told the king that he was the gold head, with the other kingdoms of the world beneath him. But God would bring forth a great power, a kingdom that would smash the rest and eclipse them all in importance, lasting forever. King Nebby was grateful and lavished gifts upon Daniel, even appointing him in a high position.
The Image of Gold and the Fiery Furnace- Later, (after King Nebby had decreed that Daniel’s God was the true God for interpreting his dream in the last story) king Nebby had a giant idol (not God) made out of gold. He demanded that all people fall and worship the idol at the sound of music or be burned alive in a furnace. But three Jews refused to worship. True to his word, King Nebby had them thrown into a furnace, but the men were seen inside the furnace with a fourth man just casually walking around, so King Nebby called them back out of the furnace. The three men came out completely unharmed (the fourth man in the fire had been an angel), and King Nebby declared again that the Jewish God was the coolest god. And anyone who said anything against the Jewish God would be killed and his house destroyed. Once again, in that order.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree- Hey, Daniel, remember when you interpreted that dream for me (King Nebby)? Do it again, this one is super fucked up and terrifying. So there’s this giant tree; its branches reach to the ends of the earth and all life lives in or under it. But then this huge dude comes along and trims the branches, scattering the leaves and fruit. He just leave the trunk sitting there. What the heck, Daniel?
Daniel Interprets the Dream- Look Nebby, the tree is you. God told me (Daniel) that you will be torn from your people and forced to live like an animal until you renounce your sins and admit that God is the best god. It will take you seven years to figure it out, by the way.
The Dream is Fulfilled- King Nebby’s dream came true. He was cast out and forced to eat grass and live like an animal for seven years. At which point, he admitted that God was pretty cool and held dominion over everyone (like he has already done twice before). Afterward, Nebby was restored to his kingship and was even more powerful than he had been previously.
The Writing on the Wall- Nebby’s son, King Belshazzar, was having a fancy party. He wanted to show off, so he had some golden goblets-which had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem-brought out so that he and his guests could use them. While they were using them and talking about how cool idols and false gods are, a disembodied hand appeared and wrote on the wall. The King could not read it, so he had wise men brought in to read it, but they couldn’t make heads or tails of it either. Then, Daniel was brought in to solve the mystery. Daniel read the writing for the King, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.” Meaning, “God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” That same night the king was murdered and replaced by Darius, a Mede.
Daniel in the Den of Lions-When Darius took over the king job, he placed Daniel in an administrative role. David was so good at his job that Darius planned to place him above all other administrators. This made the administrators mad, and they plotted against him. They could find no fault with Daniel that would get him arrested, so they talked Darius into setting a new decree stating that anyone who worshipped anyone but Darius over the next thirty days would be put into the lion’s den. And the king did. Of course, Daniel gave zero fucks and continued to pray to his God. The other administrators caught Daniel praying, and went to Darius to tattle. Darius was very distressed and tried to save Daniel fromm the fate that he, himself had been tricked into bringing down on Daniel. Nevertheless, unable to change the decree, the king and his men put Daniel into the lion’s den. That night the king could not eat or sleep. The next morning, the king rushed to the lion’s den, where he found Daniel completely unscathed. Daniel said that God had sent an angel to save him. Then Darius had all of the administrators who had tricked him into the decree thrown into the den with their wives and families. They all died. Then Darius set another decree, that everyone was to fear and revere the God of Daniel, and Daniel continued to be a highly influential and important man throughout the reign of Darius and his successor, Cyrus.
Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts- This is a trippy, fucked-up dream that I can’t even describe. There are these four creepy animals: a lion, a bear, a cheetah and some metal, horrifying monstrosity. They all have weird features like wings and horns and shit. They have dominion, but then they are stripped of their powers and destroyed. And then there’s a son of man who gets dominion.
The Interpretation of the Dream- Thank goodness. Daniel was really troubled by his dream, as would be anyone who had that messed up dream. Apparently, the four beasts represent four kingdoms that will rise up and control the earth. But in the end, the saints will rule the earth and keep it forever. Clears that right up.
Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat- So there’s this ram. He’s a badass, beats up on everyone and rules over everything. But then this goat comes along and whips the ram’s ass. Then the goat becomes the ruler of stuff. And he has a horn, but it breaks. But then he grows a four new horns and then a fifth that is bigger than all of the others. The fifth horn grows up to the sky, threw some starry hosts to the ground and trampled on them.
The Interpretation of the Dream- The ram is Persia. The goat is Greece. The one huge horn that grows to the heavens represents a king that would become more powerful than any other king. That king would be completely evil, he would destroy might men and holy people, but in the end, he too would be destroyed.
Daniel’s Prayer- Dear God, we’ve been a bunch of jerks, I know, but would you kindly consider ending our punishment? Love, Daniel.
The Seventy “Sevens”- Gabriel (the angel, I think) spoke to Daniel while he made the prayer in the last passage. Gabriel told him that there would seventy “sevens” (seventy weeks, I think) until the “anointed one” (Jesus) showed up and saved the Jews from their repayment of sin. Then there would be sixty-two “sevens,” and the anointed one will be cut off. Your city will be razed, and the end will come.
Daniel’s Vision of a Man- Daniel was just going about his life, when one day he suddenly saw “a man” standing in front of him. This “man” had flaming eyes, he wore the finest linen and a golden belt, his arms and legs were bronze, his face was lightning. Totally sounds like a man. Anyway, the man spoke to Daniel.
The Kings of the South and the North- The man told Daniel that eventually, the kings of Persia would fall. Afterward, there would a faction in the north and another in the south. The two factions would war with each other constantly, like a never-ending season of Game of Thrones.
The King Who Exalts Himself- The man continued his war story. He said that one king would finally arise, who would take over much of the known world. He would rule ruthlessly, and honor himself above any god. Though he would rage though the world like a flood, eventually, he too would fall.
The End Times- At that time, the man continued, Michael, the prince of Daniel’s people would rise up. When that happens, those who are wise and God-Fearing will awake to everlasting life. Those who suck will awake to everlasting shame. Then the man told Daniel not to tell anyone about this conversation until the appropriate time. And the man was very unclear about when the appropriate time when be.
So yeah… Daniel. Cool dude. Huge winner. However, lots of negative stuff is going to happen, lots of people will die, etc. Nothing to see here, move along. Oh, except the end times. Be good, ya’ll.
Next up, Hosea!