Daniel sees the king (Dan 4:8-4:9)

“At last Daniel

Came in

Before me.

He was named

Belteshazzar,

After the name

Of my god.

He was endowed

With a spirit

Of the holy gods.

I told him the dream.

‘O Belteshazzar!

Chief of the magicians!

I know

That you are endowed

With a spirit

Of the holy gods!

No mystery

Is too difficult

For you.

Hear!

This is the dream

That I saw.

Tell me

Its interpretation.’”

Finally, Daniel came in to see the king. As with his companions, King Nebuchadnezzar had given Daniel a Babylonian name, Belteshazzar, based on the name of his Babylonian god, Bel. The king realized that Daniel, like Joseph with the Egyptian Pharaoh, had special spiritual powers. After all, in chapter 2, Daniel knew and interpreted his dream. The king called Daniel the chief of the magicians. He thought that no mystery would be too difficult for Daniel, because of the special divine powers that he had. Thus, the king was not afraid to tell Daniel, or Belteshazzar, his dream or ask for an interpretation.

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King Nebuchadnezzar explains his situation (Dan 2:3-2:3)

“The king

Said to them.

‘I have had such a dream

That my spirit

Is troubled

By the desire

To understand it.’”

The Babylonian king told these men of the royal court that he had a dream that troubled him. He had a great desire to understand it, since dreams were important in ancient civilizations as a way of communicating with higher spirits. Thus, this king wanted to know what his dream was all about. He spoke in the first-person singular. Remember Joseph with the Egyptian Pharaoh in Genesis, chapters 40-41.

The useless Pharaoh cannot help (Ezek 17:17-17:18)

“Pharaoh,

With his mighty army,

With his great company,

Will not help him

In war.

When ramps are cast up

With siege walls built

To cut off many lives,

It is difficult.

Because he despised

The oath.

He broke the covenant.

Because he gave

His hand.

Yet he did

All these things.

He shall not escape.”

If the King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was expecting big things from the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was going to be disappointed. Even Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company would not be able to help him in a war, where there were so many ramps and siege walls. The king of Judah had despised his oath and broken his covenant with the King of Babylon. He had given his hand. Yet he did all these things. Thus he was not going to escape.

The speech of Rabshakeh (Isa 36:4-36:7)

“Rabshakeh said to them.

‘Say to King Hezekiah.

Thus says the great king of Assyria.

On what do you base this confidence of yours?

Do you think that mere words are strategy?

Do you think that power is for war?

On whom do you now rely?

You have rebelled against me.

See!

You are relying on Egypt,

That broken reed of a staff,

That will pierce the hand

Of any man who leans on it.

Such is the Pharaoh King of Egypt

To all who rely on him.

But you say to me.

‘We rely on Yahweh our God.’

Is it not he whose high places

That King Hezekiah has removed?

Is it not he whose altars

King Hezekiah has removed?”

In words that are word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 18, Isaiah presents this speech from Rabshakeh meant for King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE). His diatribe, in the name of King Sennacherib of Assyria (706-681 BCE), implies that King Hezekiah had rebelled against the King of Assyria, since he now had a treaty with the Egyptian Pharaoh. Rabshakeh maintained that Judah had to be with either Assyria or Egypt. Rabshakeh told them not to be tricked by Egypt since they were a broken reed that would pierce their hands. He mocked the Israelites for saying that they relied on Yahweh, since King Hezekiah had torn down all the idol shrines during his religious reforms. However, there was no mention of the altar at Jerusalem here.