Sabbath, January 29, 2011
“For God speaketh once, yea twice…. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed.” Job 33:14, 15.
1. What happened to King Nebuchadnezzar in the second year of his reign?
Daniel 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
“In the same year that Daniel and his companions entered the service of the king of Babylon events occurred that severely tested the integrity of these youthful Hebrews and proved before an idolatrous nation the power and faithfulness of the God of Israel.
“While King Nebuchadnezzar was looking forward with anxious forebodings to the future, he had a remarkable dream, by which he was greatly troubled, ‘and his sleep brake from him.’ Daniel 2:1. But although this vision of the night made a deep impression on his mind, he found it impossible to recall the particulars.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 34.
Human vs. divine wisdom
2. Whom did the king call to relate and explain his dream? How did his counselors try to hide their incompetence?
Daniel 2:2-4 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.
“He applied to his astrologers and magicians, and with promises of great wealth and honor commanded them to tell him his dream and its interpretation. But they said, ‘Tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.’ Verse 4.
“The king knew that if they could really tell the interpretation, they could tell the dream as well. The Lord had in His providence given Nebuchadnezzar this dream, and had caused the particulars to be forgotten, while the fearful impression was left upon his mind, in order to expose the pretensions of the wise men of Babylon.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 34.
3. Into what crisis did the king place these men? What request did they once again make of the ruler?
Daniel 2:5-7 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.
“Dissatisfied with their evasive answer, and suspicious because, despite their pretentious claims to reveal the secrets of men, they nevertheless seemed unwilling to grant him help, the king commanded his wise men, with promises of wealth and honor on the one hand, and threats of death on the other, to tell him not only the interpretation of the dream, but the dream itself.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 492.
4. What did the angry king threaten? What confession were the wise men and astrologers forced to make?
Daniel 2:8-11 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
“Filled with fear for the consequences of their failure, the magicians endeavored to show the king that his request was unreasonable and his test beyond that which had ever been required of any man.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 492.
The consequence of risking one’s life
5. In his fury, what did King Nebuchadnezzar command?
Daniel 2:12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
“The monarch was very angry, and threatened that they should all be slain if, in a given time, the dream was not made known.” –The Sanctified Life, pp. 34, 35.
6. Who was included in the vengeful decree?
Daniel 2:13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
“Daniel and his companions were to perish with the false prophets; but, taking his life in his hand, Daniel ventures to enter the presence of the king, begging that time may be granted that he may show the dream and the interpretation.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 35.
7. What did Daniel do, and to whom did he present his petition?
Daniel 2:14-16 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.
“Among those sought for by the officers who were preparing to fulfill the provisions of the royal decree, were Daniel and his friends. When told that according to the decree they also must die, ‘with counsel and wisdom’ Daniel inquired of Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, ‘Why is the decree so hasty from the king?’ Arioch told him the story of the king’s perplexity over his remarkable dream, and of his failure to secure help from those in whom he had hitherto placed fullest confidence. Upon hearing this, Daniel, taking his life in his hands, ventured into the king’s presence and begged that time be granted, that he might petition his God to reveal to him the dream and its interpretation.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 493.
“When the decree went forth from an angry, furious king, commanding that all the wise men of Babylon should be destroyed, Daniel and his fellows were sought for to be slain. Then Daniel answered, not with retaliation, but ‘with counsel and wisdom,’ the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon. Daniel asked, ‘Why is the decree so hasty from the king?’ He presented himself before the king, requesting that time be given him, and his faith in the God he served prompted him to say that he would show the king the interpretation.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 373.
For personal study
• The Faith I Live By, p. 10.