The vision in Susa (Dan 8:1-8:2)

“In the third year

Of the reign

Of King Belshazzar,

A vision appeared

To me,

Daniel.

This was after

What appeared to me

At first.

In the vision,

I was looking.

I saw myself

In Susa,

In the capital,

In the province

Of Elam.

I was by

The river Ulai.”

Daniel once again assumes the first-person singular. His second vision took place two years after the first dream, around 542 BCE, the 3rd year of King Belshazzar. In this vision, he was in Susa, the winter capital of Babylon, also mentioned in the Book of Esther. Susa was the ancient capital of the province of Elam. The Ulai River or the Eulaeus River, or as it is known today as the Karkheh River flowed through Susa. Today Susa is known as Shush, in Iran.

Daniel’s dream (Dan 7:1-7:1)

“In the first year

Of King Belshazzar,

King of Babylon,

Daniel

Had a dream.

He had visions

In his head

As he lay in his bed.

Then he wrote down

The dream.”

The second half of this book has a series of visions by Daniel. This is one of Daniel’s own dreams, even though there have many other dreams mentioned already. This dream seemed parallel to the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2. This took place during the first year of King Belshazzar. That would put this dream around 554 BCE, the first year that this king was the viceroy with his father, King Nabonidus (556-539 BCE). Strangely enough, there is hardly any mention of King Nabonidus, the father of King Belshazzar, in this Book of Daniel. This time, Daniel had this vision at night as was laying in his bed. The difference, of course, is that he wrote the dream down.

Daniel the president of the whole kingdom (Dan 6:2-6:3)

“There were

Three presidents

Over these satraps.

Daniel was one of them.

The satraps

Gave account

To these presidents.

Thus,

The king

Might suffer no loss.

Soon

Daniel distinguished himself

Above all the other presidents,

Above all the other satraps.

Because an excellent spirit

Was in him.

The king planned

To appoint him

Over the whole kingdom.”

Daniel seemed to have a unique role. He already had an important role under King Belshazzar (550-539 BCE) of Babylon, as indicated at the end of the last chapter. Here, he took on a bigger role as president of the whole country. However, Daniel would be an old man at this time. First, he was 1 of the 3 presidents. Then the king decided to put in charge of everything because of his excellent spirit. Thus, this Judean exile Daniel was in charge in Persia and Babylon, just under the king.

Daniel is rewarded (Dan 5:29-5:29)

“Then King Belshazzar

Gave the command.

Daniel was clothed

In purple.

A chain of gold

Was put

Around his neck.

A proclamation

Was made

Concerning him.

He should rank third

In the kingdom.”

Despite the fact that Daniel had said that he did not want any rewards or gifts, the king gave him purple royal clothing. Daniel was to be a royal member, the 3rd in command in the kingdom of Babylon, after King Belshazzar and his father. Daniel would wear a chain of gold around his neck. Thus, this Judean exile would become the 3rd most powerful person in the great Babylonian kingdom.

The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.

Pride led to his downfall (Dan 5:20-5:21)

“But when his heart

Was lifted up,

His spirit

Was hardened.

Thus,

He acted proudly.

He was deposed

From his kingly throne.

His glory

Was stripped

From him.

He was driven

From human society.

His mind was made

Like that of an animal.

His dwelling was

With the wild asses.

He was fed grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

Finally,

He learned

That the Most High God

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdom

Of mortals.

The Most High God

Sets over it

Whomever he will.”

Daniel reminded this King Belshazzar of what had happened in the preceding chapter of this work to his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, with his hard-prideful heart. Thus, the Most High God deposed him of his kingly throne and stripped him of his glory. The king was driven from human society, as his mind was like that of an animal, living among wild asses. He ate grass like an ox. He was bathed with a heavenly dew. He finally learned that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of mortals, because God decides who will be in charge.