2006-11-05 - Daniel
I remember my uncle, who was well-read in the scriptures. He had probably read the Bible more than a lot of Christians. He was a Jew who was educated in a Jesuit school, and had a close friend who was a Christian Scientist. My uncle was one confused man. My wife and I witnessed to him for many years, and I pray he finally accepted the Lord. He did say on one occasion that he believed Jesus was the Messiah. The problem is even with that acknowledgement, I'm not sure he understood what that meant. So ...
Nebuchadnezzar's response to his realization of the power of God didn't lead to his becoming a "believer," or delving into what it meant to follow and obey God, following the example of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. We can see that because of what we find in the next chapter.
It seems that the information from Nebuchadnezzar's dreams has not moved him towards God, but rather inflated his view of himself because ...
Verses 1-3: He has decided to build a golden image, a physical manifestation of the golden head of his dreams. Some believe the flow of the text would lead to the conclusion there is a direct link between the dreams and the building of the idol. This certainly has some merit.
" ... the image was ... a statue put up for the glory of the king. The purpose of the image was intertwined with Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. In the dream, Babylon was represented by the golden head. Thus gold was the symbol for Babylon. By constructing an image identical to the one in his dream, but made entirely of gold, he symbolized the substitution of Babylon - the kingdom of all gold - for the kingdoms represented by the other materials. The worship of this image by all the nations implied the symbolic submission of all the nations destined to succeed the Babylonian empire to Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the world's future." 2
And so, the idol is built. It was probably not solid gold, simply because its size would take more than was available. But it was overlaid with gold. Dr. McGee describes the statute as:
" ... sixty cubits high and six cubits in breadth - that was a pretty good-sized image. A cubit is approximately eighteen inches, which would make the image ninety feet high. Babylon was situated on a plain, surrounded by flat country. Although it was a city of skyscrapers for its day, the sheer height of the image made it visible for a great distance." 3
And once it was completed, it was to be a center of worship for all who were living under Babylonian domination. It appears the ones who were required to worship were all those in civil service. This was a way of showing allegiance to the throne and the king.
2 Goldwurm, Rabbi Hersh, Daniel, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, NY, 2002, p. 112-113.
3 McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 3, "Daniel," Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN 1982, p. 543.
To be continued.
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