Daniel 12 – “An Apocalyptic Resurrection”

1797501_low1_sun_sky.33160824_stdHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
An angel warns Daniel about an apocalyptic resurrection. Daniel then overhears two other angels speaking about the amount of time left until the “end.” Daniel learns that the “end” will occur 1,290 days after the idol was set up in the Temple.

II. Photo
The angel tells Daniel what the world will be like at the “end”: “And the knowledgeable will be radiant like the bright expanse of sky…” (v. 3)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: At that time, the great prince, Michael, who stands beside the sons of your people, will appear. It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being. At that time, your people will be rescued, all who are found inscribed in the book. Many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, others to reproaches, to everlasting abhorrence.
v. 4: But you, Daniel, keep the words secret, and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will range far and wide and knowledge will increase.
vv. 6-7: One said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the water of the river, “How long until the end of these awful things?” Then I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river, swear by the Ever-living One as he lifted his right hand and his left hand to heaven: “For a time, times, and half a time; and when the breaking of the power of the holy people comes to an end, then shall all these things be fulfilled.”
vv. 8-9: I heard and did not understand, so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go, Daniel, for these words are secret and sealed to the time of the end.
v. 11: From the time the regular offering is abolished, and an appalling abomination is set up — it will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Happy the one who waits and reaches one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

IV. Outline
1-3. The apocalyptic resurrection
4. Daniel is sworn to secrecy
5-13. Daniel overhears the time of the end

V. Comment
The prophecies in the book of Daniel come to an end in chapter 12. Collins writes that the promise of resurrection (which he believes meant taking on a sublime physical position and shining like the stars, cf. Dan 12:3, 1 Enoch 104) is first presented here. He writes: “The hope for resurrection explains why the wise could let themselves be killed in the time of persecution. The traditional hope in ancient Israel was for a long life and to see one’s children’s children. This hope was changed radically by the idea of resurrection to a glorious afterlife. The goal of life would henceforth be to become like the angels, so that one could live with them forever. This new hope is central to the apocalyptic literature. It figures prominently in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it was essential to the rise of Christianity. Of course the transition in the nature of Jewish hope was not instantaneous and complete. Not all Jews accepted the idea of resurrection (the Sadducees did not). Those who did believe in resurrection did not necessarily give up their old ideas about fulfillment on earth. But the idea of individual resurrection, which occurs in the Hebrew Bible for the first time in Daniel, introduced a kind of hope for the future that was radically new in the context of Jewish tradition, and that would have far-reaching consequences for the development of religion in the Western world.” (570)

Verse 4 speaks about secrecy: “But you, Daniel, keep the words secret, and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will range far and wide and knowledge will increase.” Verse 9 echoes these sentiments: “He said, ‘Go, Daniel, for these words are secret and sealed to the time of the end.’” Why was Daniel told to keep the prophecies a secret? Collins writes: “We should not infer that the book of Daniel was to be kept secret. The time of the end was the time when the book was actually written. The command to keep it secret explained why these visions had not been known before the Maccabean period.” (571)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)

Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://light-up-your-world.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/1797501_low1_sun_sky.33160824_std.JPG

Daniel 11 – “A Political Prophecy”

alexander-the-great-biography-tm

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
An angel tells Daniel that the Persian empire will be superseded by a mightier Greek one. The Greek empire will then fragment into four regions, and eventually a deceitful tyrant will arise from the “kingdom of the north” (Syria). This ruler, who will attack many nations and desecrate the temple, is ultimately doomed to die.

II. Photo
Although he doesn’t mention his name, Daniel appears to describe Alexander the Great in vv. 3-4: “Then a warrior king will appear who will have an extensive dominion and do as he pleases. But after his appearance, his kingdom will be broken up and scattered to the four winds of heaven…”

III. Important Verses
vv. 2-4: And now I will tell you the truth: Persia will have three more kings, and the fourth will be wealthier than them all; by the power he obtains through his wealth, he will stir everyone up against the kingdom of Greece. Then a warrior king will appear who will have an extensive dominion and do as he pleases. But after his appearance, his kingdom will be broken up and scattered to the four winds of heaven, but not for any of his posterity, nor with dominion like that which he had; for his kingdom will be uprooted and belong to others beside these.
v. 31: Forces will be levied by him; they will desecrate the temple, the fortress; they will abolish the regular offering and set up the appalling abomination.
v. 41: he will invade the beautiful land, too, and many will fall, but these will escape his clutches: Edom, Moab, and the chief part of the Ammonites.
vv. 44-45: But reports from east and north will alarm him, and he will march forth in a great fury to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal pavilion between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain, and he will meet his doom with no one to help him.

IV. Outline
1-45. An angel predicts the political forecast for Persia, Greece, Egypt, Syria, and Judea

V. Comment
In chapter 11 the angel reveals much of Second Temple history to Daniel. Collins writes: “The angel proceeds to tell Daniel what is written in ‘the book of truth,’ a heavenly writing that is analogous to the tablets of destiny in Babylonian mythology… The implication is that the course of history is predetermined. The history in question begins with the last kings of Persia and extends down to the second century B.C.E. No names are mentioned, in accordance with prophetic style, so that the impression is given that the future is perceived dimly, though in detail. (Akkadian predictions have a similar style.) Kings of Syria (the Seleucids, in the Hellenistic period) are called the ‘the king of the north.’ Kings of Egypt (the Ptolemies) are called ‘the king of the south.’ In 11:21 we are told that ‘a contemptible person’ will arise. This is Antiochus Epiphanes. Verses 25-28 describe Epiphanes’ first invasion of Egypt, which took place in 170 C.E. [sic] and was relatively successful. Verse 29 describes his second invasion of Egypt, in 168, which was a disaster. He was confronted by the Romans (the Kittim) and ordered to withdraw. He obeyed. Daniel implies that he took out his frustration on Jerusalem. While the king was in Egypt, civil war had broken out in Jerusalem between the former high priest, Jason, and the current one, Menelaus (see 2 Macc 5:5-14). The king took it that Judea was in revolt, and sent in the troops.

“After this, for reasons that remain controversial, Antiochus attempted to suppress the Jewish cult. Some Jews collaborated. Daniel says: ‘he shall seduce with intrigue those who violate the covenant’ (11:32). The people who know their God, however, stand firm. The real heroes, from the viewpoint of Daniel, are the ‘wise’ (Hebrew maskilim) who instruct the common people, even though some of them do so at the cost of their lives.” (569) While Collins posits that Daniel belonged to the group known as the maskilim, he admits that there is controversy regarding who the group was. It is possible that they were the Hasidim mentioned in 1 Macc 2:42, 7:12-13, and 2 Macc 14:6. Also, it is unclear why Daniel makes no explicit mention of the Maccabees. Collins writes: “Daniel 11:34 says that the wise shall receive little help. This has often been interpreted as a slighting reference to the Maccabees. It is not clear, however, that Daniel would have regarded the Maccabees as a help at all. In his view, the battle would be won by the archangel Michael. The role of the Jews was to keep themselves pure and not do anything to obstruct their heavenly deliverer.” (ibid.)

While traditionalists might view Daniel 7-12 to be a proof to the authenticity of prophecy, many scholars believe that the “prophecies” are actually a retelling of history. According to scholars, when was the book written? Collins writes: “Daniel 11:40-45 describes the downfall of the king. Verse 45 claims that he would meet his death between the sea and the holy mountain., that is, in the land of Israel. This prophecy was not fulfilled. Antiochus Epiphanes died in Persia, from wounds received in an attempt to rob a temple, late in 164 B.C.E. The unfulfilled prophecy reveals the date of the composition of Daniel. All the ‘predictions’ are correct down to the persecution. This part of the prophecy was presumably written after the fact and served to inspire confidence in the real prediction of the end of the story, which was yet to come. The prophecy must have been written before the news of Antiochus’s death reached Jerusalem.” (570)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneaolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/alexander-the-great-biography-tm.jpg?w=280&h=350

Daniel 10 – “The Downfall of the Persian Empire”

135975706_76d49779d2Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Daniel is perplexed by a vision, and he fasts for three weeks in order to understand it. He sees an awe-inspiring angel who informs him about future events as follows: The angel Michael will destroy the Persian kingdom, and the Greek kingdom will rise in its place.

II. Photo
Daniel describes the angel in v. 6: “… his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches…”

III. Important Verses
vv. 2-3: At that time, I, Daniel, kept three full weeks of mourning. I ate no tasty food, nor did any meat or wine enter my mouth. I did not anoint myself until the three weeks were over.
vv. 4-6:  It was on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, when I was on the bank of the great river — the Tigris — that I looked and saw a man dressed in linen, his loins girt in fine gold. His body was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs had the color of burnished bronze, and the sound of his speech was like the noise of a multitude.
v. 14: So I have come to make you understand what is to befall your people in the days to come, for there is yet a vision for those days.
vv. 20-21: Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must go back to fight the prince of Persia. When I go off, the prince of Greece will come in. No one is helping me against them except your prince, Michael. However, I will tell you what is recorded in the book of truth.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-3. Daniel prepares for the vision
4-6. The angel described
7-21. Daniel’s experience with the angels

V. Comment
Chapter 10 begins the final prophecy of the book. A man who turns out to be an angel is described in vv. 4-6: “It was on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, when I was on the bank of the great river — the Tigris — that I looked and saw a man dressed in linen, his loins girt in fine gold. His body was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs had the color of burnished bronze, and the sound of his speech was like the noise of a multitude.” This description is surprisingly similar to that of Ezek. 8:2: “As I looked, there was a figure that had the appearance of fire: from what appeared as his loins down, he was fire; and from his loins up, his appearance was resplendent and had the color of amber.”

Collins summarizes the angel’s message as follows: “He explains to Daniel the real nature of conflicts on earth. He is engaged in combat with the ‘Prince of Persia,’ and after that the ‘Prince of Greece’ will come. Nobody helps him except ‘Michael your prince.’ Michael, prince of Israel, is the archangel. The princes of Persia and Greece are presumably the patron angels of those peoples In earlier times they would be called simply the gods of those peoples (cf. the speech of the Assyrian Rabshakeh in Isaiah 36). The implication is that conflicts on earth are decided not just by human actions but by the actions of the gods or patron angels.” (568-569)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)

Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneaolis: Fortress Press, 2004).

Photo taken from  http://farm1.static.flickr.com/51/135975706_76d49779d2.jpg

Daniel 9 – “A Reinterpretation of Jeremiah’s Prophecy”

indexWallfallHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Daniel is perplexed by Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah had said that Jerusalem would only suffer 70 years of desolation). Daniel petitions God on behalf of Jerusalem, and the angel Gabriel comes to speak with him. Among other predictions, Gabriel tells Daniel that when Jeremiah said “seventy years” he actually meant “seventy weeks of years,” i.e. 490 years.

II. Photo
Daniel describes the holy city’s fate: “[God] carried out the threat that He made against us, and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring upon us great misfortune; under the whole heaven there has never been done the like of what was done to Jerusalem.” (v. 12)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans — in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, consulted the books concerning the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD that had come to Jeremiah the prophet, were to be the term of Jerusalem’s desolation — seventy years.
vv. 4-6: I prayed to the LORD my God, making confession thus: “O Lord, great and awesome God, who stays faithful to His covenant with those who love Him and keep His commandments! We have sinned; we have gone astray; we have acted wickedly; we have been rebellious and have deviated from Your commandments and Your rules, and have not obeyed Your servants the prophets who spoke in Your name to our kings, our officers, our fathers, and all the people of the land.
vv. 11-13: All Israel has violated Your teaching and gone astray, disobeying You; so the curse and the oath written in the Teaching of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down upon us, for we have sinned against Him. He carried out the threat that He made against us, and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring upon us great misfortune; under the whole heaven there has never been done the like of what was done to Jerusalem. All that calamity, just as is written in the Teaching of Moses, came upon us, yet we did not supplicate the LORD our God, did not repent of our iniquity or become wise through Your truth.
v. 21: while I was uttering my prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had previously seen in the vision, was sent forth in flight and reached me about the time of the evening offering.

IV. Outline
1-2. Daniel wonders about Jeremiah’s prophecy
3-19. Daniel’s confession/petition
20-27. Gabriel relates the course of history

V. Comment
In chapter 9 Daniel is concerned with the prophecies of Jeremiah, which are spelled out in Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10-14: “This whole land shall be a desolate ruin. And those nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. When the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation and the land of the Chaldeans for their sins — declares the LORD — and I will make it a desolation for all time… For thus said the LORD: When Babylon’s seventy years are over, I will take note of you, and I will fulfill to you My promise of favor — to bring you back to this place. For I am mindful of the plans I have made concerning you — declares the LORD — plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a hopeful future. When you call Me, and come and pray to Me, I will give heed to you. You will search for Me and find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly. I will be at hand for you — declares the LORD — and I will restore your fortunes. And I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places to which I have banished you — declares the LORD — and I will bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.”

In regards to Daniel and Gabriel’s discussion, Collins writes: “After Daniel has finished his prayer, an angel appears to him and explains the prophecy. The seventy years are really seventy weeks of years, or 490 years. After seven weeks, the initial restoration of Jerusalem takes place. Then sixty-two weeks pass uneventfully. At the end of this period, an anointed one is cut off. The reference is not to the messiah in the usual sense of the term, but to the anointed high priest Onias III, who was murdered in 171 B.C.E. (see 2 Macc 4:23-28). Then, in the last week, troops come to destroy the city and the sanctuary. They disrupt the sacrificial cult for half of the week. The implication is that from the time that the cult is disrupted, and the ‘desolating abomination’ is installed in the temple, the time remaining is half a week or three and a half years (a time, times, and half a time).” (568)

Collins notes that Daniel 9 is an early and significant example of Biblical interpretation. He writes, “The interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecy is an important text for the history of apocalyptic speculation about the time of the end. It serves as the basis for such calculations already in the Dead Sea Scrolls… Daniel had discovered a way to defend the reliablity of any prediction. If seventy years could mean seventy weeks of years, could not the weeks of years also have a symbolic value? Speculation as to when the prediction would be fulfilled continued down through the Middle Ages.” (ibid.)

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneaolis: Fortress Press, 2004).

Photo taken from  http://detroityes.com/downtown/indexWallfall.jpg

Daniel 8 – “A Dream About the End of Days”

four_horn01Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Daniel has a dream about a two-horned ram that is trampled by a single-horned he-goat. The he-goat’s horn is replaced by four horns, and one horn sprouts another horn which halts the daily offerings, throws down the stars, and attacks God himself. The angel Gabriel informs Daniel of the dreams meaning: the two-horned ram represents the Persian and Median kingdoms, the single-horned he-goat represents Greece, and the other horns represent the subsequent kingdoms. Also, Daniel is informed that the offerings will return in 2300 days and nights.

II. Photo
Daniel dreams of a mythical creature: “Then the he-goat grew very great, but at the peak of his power his big horn was broken. In its place, four conspicuous horns sprouted toward the four winds of heaven.” (v. 8 )

III. Important Verses
v. 3: I looked and saw a ram standing between me and the river; he had two horns; the horns were high, with one higher than the other, and the higher sprouting last.
vv. 5-7: As I looked on, a he-goat came from the west, passing over the entire earth without touching the ground. The goat had a conspicuous horn on its forehead. He came up to the two-horned ram that I had seen standing between me and the river and charged at him with furious force. I saw him reach the ram and rage at him; he struck the ram and broke its two horns, and the ram was powerless to withstand him. He threw him to the ground and trampled him, and there was none to deliver the ram from his power.
v. 8: Then the he-goat grew very great, but at the peak of his power his big horn was broken. In its place, four conspicuous horns sprouted toward the four winds of heaven.
vv. 13-14: Then I heard a holy being speaking, and another holy being said to whoever it was who was speaking, “How long will [what was seen in] the vision last — the regular offering be forsaken because of transgression; the sanctuary be surrendered and the [heavenly] host be trampled?”
vv. 16-17: I heard a human voice from the middle of Ulai calling out, “Gabriel, make that man understand the vision.” He came near to where I was standing, and as he came I was terrified, and fell prostrate. He said to me, “Understand, O man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”
v. 26: What was said in the vision about evenings and mornings is true. Now you keep the vision a secret, for it pertains to far-off days.

IV. Outline
1-2. Introduction
3-4. A powerful ram with two horns
5-7. A powerful he-goat with one horn crushes the ram
8. The he-goat’s horn is replaced by four other horns
9-12. Another horn halts the daily offerings and attacks God
13-14. Angels reveal that the offerings will be suspended for 2300 days and nights
15-26. The angel Gabriel explains the dream: the animals and horns represent kingdoms
27. Daniel is distressed

V. Comment
Chapter 8 begins enigmatically, but the angel Gabriel informs us of the meaning of Daniel’s dream. Collins puts Gabriel’s explanation in its historical context: “At first Daniel sees a fight between a ram, representing Persia, and a goat, representing Greece. The goat wins, but ‘at the height of its power, the great horn was broken,’ a reference to the early death of Alexander the Great. In its place grew four horns, representing the successors of Alexander in the separate kingdoms of Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. One of these (Syria) sprouts the little horn that becomes Antiochus Epiphanes. This little horn grew as high as the host of heaven, and cast some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled on them. It then challenged ‘the prince of the host’ (God).” (567)

The shift of focus between the first half and second halves of Daniel is accentuated by Collins: “The setting of Daniel 7-12 also differs from that of chapters 1-6. The tales are set in the Diaspora, and generally reflect an acceptance of Gentile rule. The visions, in contrast, are focused on events in Jerusalem, and reflect a time of persecution. While no names are mentioned and the allusions are veiled, they point quite clearly to the persecution instigated by the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168-164 B.C.E., which provoked the Maccabean revolt and which is described in 1 and 2 Maccabees. At that time Syrian forces occupied the Jerusalem temple and installed a pagan altar on top of the sacrificial altar there. The pagan altar becomes known as ‘the desolating abomination’ or ‘abomination of desolation’ both in Dan 11:31 and in 1 Macc 1:54. Some Jews were put to death for observing the law of Moses (e.g., by having their sons circumcised) or for refusing to participate in pagan sacrifices. According to Deuteronomy, those who kept the Law should prosper and live long lives. Now Jews were confronted with a situation where those who broke the Law prospered and those who observed it risked losing their lives. It is against this backdrop that the visions of Daniel must be read.” (564)

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneaolis: Fortress Press, 2004).

Photo taken from http://www.nativehunt.com/images/four_horn01.jpg

Daniel 7 – “Daniel’s Frightening Dream”

lava_river_copyHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Daniel describes his dream as follows: four menacing beasts with great powers arise from the sea, and they are all vanquished by God. Additionally, a man-like creature is shown favor by God. An angel explains Daniel’s dream as follows: the four beasts are four kingdoms, and they will be superseded by an everlasting kingdom made up of God’s servants.

II. Photo
God appears in Daniel’s dream: “As I looked on, Thrones were set in place, And the Ancient of Days took His seat… His throne was tongues of flame; Its wheels were blazing fire. A river of fire streamed forth before Him…” (vv. 9-10)

III. Important Verses
vv. 7-8: After that, as I looked on in the night vision, there was a fourth beast — fearsome, dreadful, and very powerful, with great iron teeth — that devoured and crushed, and stamped the remains with its feet. It was different from all the other beasts which had gone before it; and it had ten horns. While I was gazing upon these horns, a new little horn sprouted up among them; three of the older horns were uprooted to make room for it. There were eyes in this horn like those of a man, and a mouth that spoke arrogantly.
vv. 9-10: As I looked on, Thrones were set in place, And the Ancient of Days took His seat. His garment was like white snow, And the hair of His head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was tongues of flame; Its wheels were blazing fire. A river of fire streamed forth before Him; Thousands upon thousands served Him; Myriads upon myriads attended Him; The court sat and the books were opened.
v. 27: The kingship and dominion and grandeur belonging to all the kingdoms under Heaven will be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High. Their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.
v. 28: Here the account ends. I, Daniel, was very alarmed by my thoughts, and my face darkened; and I could not put the matter out of my mind.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-8. Four beasts are described
9-10. The “Ancient of Days” is described
11-12. The fourth beast is killed and the other three are weakened
13-14. Power and dominion are given to one who looks like a human being
15-16. Daniel is shocked and asks an attendant what it all means
17-27. The dream is interpreted for Daniel
28. Daniel’s anxiety

V. Comment
Daniel 7 begins the second section of the book. Collins writes, “The visions in the second half of the book of Daniel differ from the tales in chapters 1-6 both in genre and in setting. Daniel 7-12 consists of four literary units, each of which reports a revelation. Chapters 7 and 8 are symbolic visions in the prophetic tradition (cf. especially the visions of Zechariah). In each case the visions are interpreted to Daniel by an angel. In chapter 9 the revelation takes the form of the interpretation of an older prophecy from Jeremiah, but again the interpretation is given by an angel. In chapters 10-12 Daniel has a vision of an angel, who then narrates the revelation to him. In each case the revelation is eschatological in focus [i.e. it deals with the end of days]. The final revelation culminates with a prediction of resurrection and judgment. This is the only passage in the Hebrew Bible that speaks unambigously of individual resurrection.” (562-563)

The second part of Daniel is apocalyptic in nature, and Collins defines what the genre connotes: “The apocalypses fall into two types. One type, represented by 1 Enoch 1-36 and by 2 Enoch and 3 Baruch, describes a wonderful journey to places that are normally beyond the range of human experience, or an ascent through the heavens. In these apocalypses the emphasis is on cosmology, and the visionary typically sees the abodes of the dead and the places of judgment. The other type of apocalypse has its paradigmatic example in the book of Daniel. In this case, the emphasis is on history, which is typically divided into a specific number of periods (four kingdoms, seventy weeks of years). In apocalypses of this type, the focus is on the time of the end, when God will intervene for judgment. The judgment in these apocalypses involves a public judgment of the nations, but it also involves the judgment of individuals, followed by a blessed afterlife or everlasting punishment. Both types of apocalypses give great prominence to angels or demons, and all expect a final judgment of the dead.” (pp. 563-564)

Daniel says in vv. 13-14: “As I looked on, in the night vision, One like a human being Came with the clouds of heaven; He reached the Ancient of Days And was presented to Him. Dominion, glory, and kingship were given to him; All peoples and nations of every language must serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, And his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.” Collins writes, “The identity of the ‘one like a son of man’ in its Jewish context is the most controversial issue in the book of Daniel, and one of the most controvesial in the entire Bible. Traditional Christian exegesis assumed that this figure was Christ, because of the way the phrase ‘Son of Man’ is used in the Gospels. This understanding of the figure could not have been available to Jews before the Christian era, but they could have taken the figure as the messiah. This understanding of the phrase was in fact standard in both Jewish and Christian exegesis for many centuries. Buth there is no other reference in Daniel to a messiah (a king who would restore the kingdom of David). Over the last century or so, there have been two main interpretations of the ‘one like a son of man.’ Many scholars assume that this figure is simply a symbol for the Jewish people. The alternative, and more satisfactory, interpretation is that he is an angel, most probably the archangel Michael, who represents the Jewish people on the heavenly level.” (565-566)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)

Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneaolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.volcanoman.com/gallery/albums/Hawaii-Volcanoes-National-Park/lava_river_copy.jpg

Daniel 6 – “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”

PH2009042301696Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
King Darius appoints Daniel to a prominent administrative position, and a group of covetous ministers plot to have Daniel killed. When Daniel breaks a new law that bans prayer, the ministers have him thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel emerges unscathed, and Darius has the ministers killed along with their families. He also sends a letter to all citizens praising Daniel’s God.

II. Photo
Verse 17 says: “By the king’s order, Daniel was then brought and thrown into the lions’ den. The king spoke to Daniel and said, ‘Your God, whom you serve so regularly, will deliver you.’”

III. Important Verses
v. 11: When Daniel learned that it had been put in writing, he went to his house, in whose upper chamber he had had windows made facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he knelt down, prayed, and made confession to his God, as he had always done.
vv. 22-23: Daniel then talked with the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel, who shut the mouths of the lions so that they did not injure me, inasmuch as I was found innocent by Him, nor have I, O king, done you any injury.”
vv. 26-28: Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language that inhabit the earth, “May your well-being abound! I have hereby given an order that throughout my royal domain men must tremble in fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God who endures forever; His kingdom is indestructible, and His dominion is to the end of time; He delivers and saves, and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, for He delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

IV. Outline
1. Darius the Mede takes control of the Empire
2-4. Daniel rises in stature
5-6. Other ministers conspire against Daniel
7-10. Darius decrees that all petitions must be made to himself, not any other god or man
11. Daniel prays to God
12-18. Darius reluctantly sends Daniel to the lion’s den
19-24. Daniel emerges unscathed
25. Darius throws the plotters to their deaths in the lions den
26-28. Darius publicly praises God
29. Conclusion

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Photo taken from http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2009/04/23/PH2009042301696.jpg