In the third year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel dreamed he was standing beside the Ulai Canal in Susa where he saw a mighty ram with mighty horns that rammed everyone and everything that came in its path. But then a one-horned goat appeared and charged the ram and broke its horns. Then the goat ruled the canal. Only its horn broke and four grew in its place. One of these new horns grew all the way to heaven and demanded that everyone worship it. Then a voice said in 2300 days, the Temple will be rebuilt! Then the voice said, Gabriel, explain to Daniel what all this means. So an angel appeared and told Daniel that the ram represented the Persian empire and the goat represented the Greek kingdoms, which would dominate the world until they too were toppled.
Then Daniel awoke, but he was so disturbed he stayed in bed for like a week.
In the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel had a dream. In the dream were four beasts that emerged from the sea. The first beast was a winged lion, but then the wings were torn off and it stood on its hind legs and spoke and thought like a human. The second beast was a bear. This one also stood on two legs, only it was a back and a front paw. It had bones in its mouth and ate voraciously. The third beast was a winged leopard with four heads and it was the king. The fourth beast…the fourth beast was a monster with ten horns, and iron teeth, and great crushing feet. Then a tiny horn grew in place of three of the horns. This tiny horn had eyes and a mouth and it looked at Daniel and said, The Ancient of Days, in his white robes with his white woolly hair, sits on his throne with his court of thousands.
Then all the beasts died and burned up. Then an angel came and went before the Ancient of Days and became the ruler of the world.
In the dream, Daniel was freaking out, so he asked one of the court to tell him what the hell was going on. That guy was all, The four beasts are four kings that will rule and then fall and then the followers of God will finally get a forever ruler.
Daniel was a really long-lived man. Not only did he outlast the Babylonian empire, he managed to live through four Persian emperors as well. This fourth Persian emperor, Darius I, really like the old man and put him in charge of a huge province. Unfortunately, a lot of the other bureaucrats didn’t like Daniel. They kept trying to find things to get him in trouble, but Daniel was an ideal administrator. So they knew they’d have to find some way to get him in trouble for being Jewish. Thus, they played on Darius’s ego and got the emperor to issue a decree that no one was allowed to pray to anyone or thing for but the emperor himself for thirty days–or be fed to lions.
Daniel didn’t care and went right on with is normal prayer routine. Of course the bureaucrats narked him out. Darius was sad, but he had to appear tough on crime, so he was all, Sorry about this, Daniel, I really hope your god saves you. And had him tossed into the lion’s den at the royal menagerie. The door was shut and sealed.
Darius spent a restless night, and first thing in the morning, he hurried down to the zoo to see what happened. When the guards unfastened the door, there was Daniel standing amid a bunch of sleeping lions!
Darius was so happy. He ordered Daniel to be lifted out and restored to his post. Then he made a new decree that everyone in the empire needed to worship the Jewish god too.
Years after Nebuchadnezzar had died, and Babylon had gone through several kings in quick succession, the last king of Babylon, King Belshazzar, was having a party. He thought that the party was lacking something, though, something special. But then he hit on the idea of having cool dishes, so he ordered that the Temple vessels be cleaned up and used to serve his guests.
The party was hoppin’. The music was rockin’. The concubines were laughing and tugging on the beards of officials. The queen was looking tipsy. But everything screeched to a halt when a giant disembodied hand manifested and wrote MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARIAN. No one knew what it meant. The mood was killed. Unimportant guests quietly slinked out. The concubines buzzed back to the harem. Continue reading “Daniel 5: The writing on the wall”
Nebuchadnezzar had another bad dream. He dreamed of an enormous tree, full of fruit and sheltering many animals–like the Tree of Souls. But then an angel appeared and ordered, Cut down the tree and bronze the stump! Then the angel looked through Nebuchadnezzar and intoned, Let him swap minds with an animal and live like one for seven years!
No one could interpret the dream but Daniel. But Daniel didn’t want to upset the king. Nebuchadnezzar was all, It’s alright. Just give me the news.
Daniel answered, Um, well. I really wish this dream was about someone else, like the king’s enemies. But here goes. God is mad at you and has decided that you are going to become a crazy homeless man for seven years. But there’s hope! The roots left in the ground means you will be restored. Continue reading “Daniel 4: More bad dreams”
Some time later, Nebuchadnezzar had a giant golden statue erected on the plain of Dura. At the dedication ceremony, he decreed, Anytime music plays, you will fall on your face and worship the statue. Anyone who fails to do so will be thrown into a furnace! Then he cued the band. Everyone present fell on their faces and worshiped.
But later, some astrologers went to Nebuchadnezzar and were all, Those Jews you put in charge of the province, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They DO NOT fall on their faces to worship the statue when music plays.
This enraged Nebuchadnezzar, and he had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego arrested and dragged before him, and was all, Is it true? You do not worship when music plays? If you don’t I will have you thrown into the palace furnace!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were all, Whatever. God will protect us. Continue reading “Daniel 3: The fiery furnace”
Some time later, Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream. So he called all of his enchanters, magicians, astrologers, and other psychics to tell him what it meant. They were all, Tell us the dream, o king, and we will interpret it for you.
But Nebuchadnezzar was all, No. You tell me the dream and tell me what it means.
The wise men were all, Surely the king is joking. Tell us the dream, sire, and we will tell its meaning.
Nebuchadnezzar was all, You guys are a bunch of fakes! If you’re really psychic, then you could tell me the dream and its meaning.
The wise men were all, With all due respect, no one can do what you’re asking.
This really pissed Nebuchadnezzar off, so he decreed that all magicians, wizards, astrologers, enchanters or interpreters of dreams should be executed immediately. Continue reading “Daniel 2: Dream reader”
In 597 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jehoiakim, took the Jewish nobility hostage, and looted the Temple.
But Nebuchadnezzar was a generous man and believed that the barbarian Jews might be civilized, so he ordered his chief of staff to select all the likely Jewish lads for a three-year education program in which they would be taught the language and literature of Babylon. He even condescended that these Jewish scholars should be fed with the leftovers from his own royal table.
Among those chose were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were renamed Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, respectively. These boys were particularly devout and were revolted at the thought of not keeping kosher meals. So they begged the chief of staff to allow them eat vegetarian. Continue reading “Daniel 1: About those Jewish boys”
And lo, Israel was restored and the land divided among the tribes. Finis.
(Next time, the adventures of Daniel and his friends in Babylon)
There should be a river flowing from the Temple area to the sea abounding in fish.
Also make sure to divide the new Israel up fairly among the tribes!