Footsteps in the temple (Dan 14:19-14:20)

“But Daniel laughed.

He restrained the king

From going in.

He said.

‘Look at the floor!

Notice

Whose footsteps these are!’

The king said.

‘I see the footsteps

Of men,

Of women,

Of children.’”

Daniel laughed. He kept the king from going into the temple. He told the king to notice the footsteps on the floor among the scattered ashes. The king then said that these footsteps appeared to be that of men, women, and children. How could they have gotten in, if the door was shut and sealed?

The king leaves the food for Bel (Dan 14:14-14:15)

“After they had gone out,

The king set out

The food for Bel.

Then Daniel ordered

His servants

To bring ashes.

They scattered them

Throughout the whole temple,

In the presence

Of the king alone.

Then they went out.

He shut the door.

He sealed it

With the king’s signet.

Then they departed.

During the night,

The priests came,

As usual,

With their wives,

With their children.

They ate everything.

They drank everything.”

After the priests of the Bel temple had left, the king put out the food for the idol god Bel. Then Daniel ordered that the king’s servants scatter ashes throughout the whole temple, in the presence of the king alone. Then, they went out, shut the door, and then sealed it with the king’s insignia. After that, they left. During the night, as usual, the Bel priests came with their wives and children. They entered through the secret entrance to the temple, so that they were able to eat and drink everything in there.

Daniel closes the book (Dan 12:4-12:4)

“But you!

Daniel!

Keep the words secret!

Keep the book sealed,

Until the time

Of the end!

Many shall be running

Back and forth.

Knowledge with evil

Shall increase.”

Gabriel then told Daniel to keep these words a secret.  He was to keep the book of life sealed until the end times.  Many people would be running around all over the place.  However, between then and now both knowledge and evil would increase.

The den was sealed with a stone (Dan 6:17-6:18)

“A stone was brought.

They laid it

On the mouth

Of the den.

The king sealed it

With his own signet,

As well as with the signet

Of his lords.

Thus,

Nothing might be changed

Concerning Daniel.

Then the king

Went to his palace.

He spent the night

Fasting.

No food was brought

To him.

Sleep fled from him.”

They took a stone and put it at the mouth of the den. The king sealed the opening to the den with his own signet, as well as that of his lords. Nothing would be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace that night and fasted. He did not sleep. He was still a little uneasy about this whole Daniel affair.

Daniel prays to God (Dan 6:10-6:10)

“Although Daniel knew

That the document

Had been signed,

He continued to go

To his house.

It had windows

In its upper room

Open toward Jerusalem.

He got down

On his knees

Three times a day

To pray

To God.

He praised him

As he done previously.”

Daniel knew that his fate had been sealed. The king had signed the decree. However, that did not faze him. He continued to pray in his house that had open windows facing Jerusalem on the second floor or the upper chambers. He got down on his knees, as he usually did, 3 times a day. He then prayed and praised God, as he had done so often before.

The restoration of good fields (Jer 32:43-32:44)

“‘Fields shall be bought

In this land

Of which you are saying.

‘It is a desolation!

It is without humans!

It is without animals!

It has been given

Into the hands

Of the Chaldeans.’

Fields shall be bought

For money.

Deeds shall be signed,

Sealed,

As well as witnessed

In the land of Benjamin,

In the places about Jerusalem,

In the towns of Judah,

In the towns of the hill country,

In the towns of the Shephelah,

In the towns of the Negeb.

I will restore their fortunes.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said, via Jeremiah, that the time of the desolation of the land was over. Fields were going to be bought and sold. It is not clear who owned some of these fields, since they might have changed hands a few times, since the beginning of the exile. However, the land was desolate, since there were no humans or animals on them after the Chaldeans took over. Who was going to sell this land? However, there would be a legal process. Money would exchange hands with deeds signed, sealed, and witnessed. The example of Jeremiah buying a field in the preceding chapter may be an example of how things would operate. Now this restoration would take place in the Benjamin territory, around the city of Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah. However, there are places mentioned, like the towns in the hill country of Judah, the Shephelah, the old Dan territory next to Benjamin, as well as the Negeb, the semi arid land southeast of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea. There was no mention of the northern territory from the old northern Israelite kingdom and their tribal territory.

The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

From my cousin Hanamel.

I weighed out

The money to him,

Seventeen shekels of silver.

I signed the deed.

I sealed it.

I got witnesses.

I weighed the money on scales.

Then I took

The sealed deed of purchase,

That contained the terms

With the conditions,

As well as the open copy.”

This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.