The Bible: Daniel
So Daniel lived in a time when things weren't going so hot for the Jewish people.
The Babylonians had recently invaded their homeland, and they were scattered all over the place.
Daniel has three good buds, Shadrach
yikes…imagine trying to spell those names in elementary school….
and they're all well educated guys
who end up serving in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar
One night, the king has a terrible dream.
Probably the one where he's naked in front of his kingdom again…so embarrassing….
Anyway, good ol' Nebby calls in all of his wise men and is like, "Hey, y'all are wise.
Can you figure out the meaning of the dream I just had? Oh, and I'm not going to tell
you what the dream was…so can you do that too? Cool. Go for it."
Yup, you heard me. He wants them to tell him his own dream.
Oh. And he’s going to tear them all limb from limb if they can’t do it.
Super reasonable fella, eh?
The wise men are like, "What is happening right now. Are we dreaming?
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy… caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…."
Ahem. Sorry. That's my go-to karaoke song.
But they're unfortunately very much awake.
The wise men start freaking out, and presumably start guessing stuff like
"Did you start a folk band with Beyoncé in outer space?"
The king is like, "What? That's absolutely ridiculous. …Beyoncé's too cool to start
a folk band with me…"
Not that I'm saying Beyoncé has been around since Biblical times, but…I'm not not saying
that, either…. Anyway, the wise men can't figure it out,
and the king is like, "Yeah, lol, only a god could do this, #sorrynotsorry" and orders
all the wise men to be put to death.
And even though Daniel wasn't around for the dream interpretation, he's arrested with the
rest of the wise men.
But because Daniel isn't too keen on dying just yet, he's like "Okay, this whole situation
is kind of crazy, but put me in coach. Let me try figuring it out."
He prays to God, who lets him in on old Nebby’s dream, as well as what it means.
So Daniel heads back to Nebby and is like, "So God gave me the inside scoop…you dreamt
of this giant statue of a human. He had a gold head, silver chest and arms, his thighs
and stomach were bronze, his legs were iron, and his feet were iron and clay. But get this….the
statue is destroyed, and the stone that destroys it is turned into a giant mountain that covers
the entire earth."
Nebby's like, "That's some Big Brother stuff you just did…but okay, what does it all mean?"
Danny boy tells him what each part of the statue symbolizes, that the kingdom will eventually
be divided, and that the stone symbolizes the kingdom of God, which will annihilate
all the other kingdoms and permanently replace them, standing for all time.
Nebuchadnezzar is like, "Huh. I thought I was just dreaming about some weird Power Rangers
episode, or something…"
But he's pretty impressed and gives Daniel a big promotion, making him the ruler of the
province of Babylon. He also praises Daniel's God, and is like "This guy is clearly the
God of gods if he could figure out my trippy Power Rangers dream…"
But things are never easy, and we're about to run into a little trouble.
Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with Daniel’s God, yes, but he also thinks pretty highly
of himself. So he does what any rational person would do. He builds himself a giant gold statue,
and forces everyone to bow down and worship it.
…Do rational people not do that? …Hang on...
At Shmoop here we gotta cancel a sculptor we just hired…for….no reason….
Unfortunately, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are seen not bowing down to the statue because
they refuse to worship anyone but God. As you can imagine, this does not sit well with the king.
His totally rational response? Throw them in a furnace that's been heated to seven times
its normal temperature.
I suppose Nebby wanted to….fire….them….
In a shocking twist, Shad, Mesh, and Gogo are completely unharmed in the furnace,
and the king sees a fourth person––possibly an angel–– in the flames with them.
Nebuchadnezzar is even more impressed with the Jewish God, and outlaws any blasphemy
against him, or else––you guessed it––offenders would be torn limb from limb. This guy and
his limb tearing…
You would think the king would bow down to God at this point, but he really wants that
So God is like, "Enough of this," and punishes him by turning him mad and sending him out
into the wilderness for seven years.
Huh. Sounds like every camping trip we've ever been on…
Apparently Nebuchadnezzar is able to restore himself by praising God, and returns to being
king after seven years.
…I feel like the Babylonians should have had some reservations about that, but what
do we know here?
Anyway, Nebby doesn't mess up anymore, and ends his reign without throwing anymore people
After the Babylonians come the Persians. And even though we've got a new king in the mix––King
Darius––Daniel is still just doing his thing, interpreting dreams and signs, being
a cool advisor…the usual.
But he’s so trusted that King Darius’s other advisors start to get jealous, and they
trick the king into proclaiming that for a thirty day period, anyone who doesn’t worship
him will be thrown into a lions’ den.
Remember that excellent roar pun I made at the beginning of this?
If you say no, you're lion.
Anyway. Now we’re getting to the good stuff.
Daniel is oblivious, and keeps worshipping God, like always. He is arrested, and even
though Darius doesn’t want to throw him to the lions, the other advisors are like,
“Hey, rules are rules.”
Good to see all these kings have such strong backbones.
Anyway, before he tosses him in the lions’ den, Darius tells Daniel he hopes his god
will save him.
And guess what? In a completely unexpected twist that I'm sure no one saw coming, that’s
exactly what happens.
God sends an angel to keep the lions’ mouths shut, and Daniel comes out the next day without
a scratch, and with brunch plans for next Sunday with his new lion pal.
Darius is happy to see him alive and well, and decides to punish the conspirators by
throwing them, their wives, and their children, to the lions. No angels show up this time,
and the kids learn that Disney movies don't always tell the truth.
I'm not saying The Lion King existed back then….but the Bible doesn't say that it
The rest of the book deals with Daniel interpreting dreams and having visions of the end of time,
as well as speaking with angels. Some trippy stuff.
The book ends with angels telling Daniel to go and rest, and he will receive his reward
at the end of days.
Daniel's like "Hakuna Matata," and goes to take a nap.
And that's how the book of Daniel ends.
….Okay, maybe it doesn't end with a nap. But I'm pretty sure it does end with a rousing
rendition of "Hakuna Matata".
Join me for next time for The Twelve Minor Prophets. One of them may or may not be Beyoncé….
What a cliffhanger.