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.

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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.

Daniel goes before the king (Dan 5:13-5:14)

“Then Daniel

Was brought in

Before the king.

The king said to Daniel.

‘So!

You are Daniel!

One of the exiles

Of Judah!

My father!

The king!

He brought you

From Judah.

I have heard

Of you.

A spirit

Of the gods

Is in you.

Light

Is found in you.

Understanding

Is found in you!

Excellent wisdom

Is found in you!’”

Daniel went before King Belshazzar. This king said to Daniel that he was one of the exiles from Judah that his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had brought from Judah. Then this king praised Daniel. He said that he heard of Daniel as someone who had the spirit of the gods in him. Also, Daniel had light, understanding, and excellent wisdom. This sounds like it is heading in the right direction as King Belshazzar met Belteshazzar, Daniel, since they had practically the same name.

The queen talked about the importance of Daniel (Dan 5:11-5:12)

“There is a man

In your kingdom,

Who is endowed

With a spirit

Of the holy gods.

In the days

Of your father,

He was found to have

Enlightenment,

Understanding,

Wisdom,

Like the wisdom

Of the gods.

Your father,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Made him chief

Of the magicians,

Of the enchanters,

Of the Chaldeans,

Of the diviners.

He had

An excellent spirit,

Knowledge,

Understanding.

He was able

To interpret dreams,

To explain riddles,

To solve problems.

These were found

In this Daniel,

Whom the king named

Belteshazzar.

Now let Daniel

Be called!

He will give

The interpretation.’”

This queen seemed to know all about Daniel and his ability to interpret dreams, probably because she was the queen mother. She reminded King Belshazzar that his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had found Daniel to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods. Thus, he made Daniel the chief of the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners. It is not clear why he was not still the chief. This Daniel had an excellent spirit, like that of gods, to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems. The former king gave him a new name, Belteshazzar. She said that this Belteshazzar should be called to give an interpretation to this mysterious writing.

The king wants the sacred cups from the Jerusalem Temple (Dan 5:2-5:2)

“Under the influence

Of the wine,

King Belshazzar

Commanded

That they bring

In the vessels

Of gold,

The vessels

Of silver,

That his father,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Had taken out

Of the temple

In Jerusalem.

Thus,

The king,

His lords,

His wives,

His concubines,

Might drink

From them.”

This King Belshazzar commanded his servants to bring the sacred gold and silver vessels that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. Here the author calls Nebuchadnezzar his father, but he was his grandfather. Thus, the king, these invited lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink wine from these sacred silver and gold cups. I am not sure if there were that many sacred vessels to accommodate a 1,000 people.

The feast of King Belshazzar (Dan 5:1-5:1)

“King Belshazzar

Made a great feast

For a thousand

Of his lords.

He was drinking wine

In the presence

Of the thousand.”

Now there is a switch to King Belshazzar, the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. He ruled Babylon from 550-539 BCE, as he reigned with his father, King Nabonidus (556-539 BC), as a co-regent. He apparently was more anti-Jewish than his grandfather. He had this great feast with over 1,000 important people. Obviously, he was drinking wine.

The restoration of the king (Dan 4:36-4:36)

“At the time

That my reason returned

To me,

My majesty

Was restored

To me.

My splendor

Was restored

To me,

For the glory

Of my kingdom.

My counselors,

My lords,

Sought me out.

I was re-established

Over my kingdom.

Still more greatness

Was added to me.”

King Nebuchadnezzar, in the first-person singular, remarked that once he was reasonable again, all his majesty and splendor was restored to him and his glorious kingdom. His former counselors and princes sought him out. He was re-established over his great kingdom. He even became greater yet.