Daniel is safe (Dan 14:40-14:42)

“On the seventh day,

The king came

To mourn

For Daniel.

When he came

To the den,

He looked in.

There sat Daniel.

The king shouted

With a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Lord!

God of Daniel!

There is no other

Besides you!’

Then he pulled

Daniel out.

He threw into the den

Those who had attempted

His destruction.

They were instantly eaten

Before his eyes.”

Thus, ends the great story of Daniel. On the 7th day, the king came to mourn the death of Daniel. Instead, he was surprised to see Daniel sitting in the den of lions. Then the king shouted out his praise for the God of Daniel, the Lord. There were no other gods like him. Next, he pulled Daniel out of the den. Finally, he threw those who had attempted the destruction of Daniel into the lion’s den. The lions immediately ate these men right before the eyes of the king.

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King Cyrus (Dan 14:1-14:1)

“When King Astyages

Was laid to rest

With his ancestors,

Cyrus the Persian

Succeeded to his kingdom.”

This last chapter of the Book of Daniel is often referred to as the story of Bel, the god, and the dragon. Daniel will show how each one was useless. Once again, this chapter is only in the Greek Septuagint, so that it is often called apocryphal. This story takes place at the later part of the life of Daniel, since Cyrus the Persian (598-530 BCE) was the King. His rule in Persia began in 559 BCE and lasted about 30 years. Here, he is still only the king of Persia that he received from his father, King Astyages (585-550 BCE). The sister of King Astyages was the wife of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Thus, you can see the connection, as Cyprus would have been the nephew of the Babylonian king. Eventually, Cyrus took over Babylon in 539 BCE.

The time frame (Dan 12:6-12:7)

“One of them said

To the man

Clothed in linen,

Who was upstream.

‘How long shall it be

Until the end

Of these wonders?’

The man clothed in linen,

Who was upstream,

Raised his right hand.

Then he raised

His left hand

Toward heaven.

I heard him swear,

By the one who lives forever,

That it would be for a time,

Two times,

Then half a time.

When the shattering

Of the power

Of the holy people

Comes to an end,

All these things

Would be accomplished.”

One of these two new men spoke to the man in the linen clothing, who had been upstream for some time.  This man wanted to know how long it would be until the end of all these wonders.  Thus, the man with the linen clothing upstream raised his right and then his left hand to heaven.  He swore, by the God who lives forever, that it would 3 ½ times, 1 time, 2 times, and ½ time.  Does this mean 3 ½ years?  Perhaps, this is a reference to the time between the desecration of the Temple by King Antiochus IV and its restoration around 165 BCE.  There then would be the shattering of the power of the holy people, when all these things would be accomplished.

 

The king’s decree (Dan 3:29-3:29)

Therefore,

I make a decree.

‘Any people,

Any nation,

Any language

That utters

Blasphemy

Against the God

Of Shadrach,

Of Meshach,

Of Abednego,

Shall be torn

Limb from limb.

Their houses will be

Laid in ruins.

There is no other god

Who is able

To deliver

In this way.’”

Now in a complete reversal, King Nebuchadnezzar issued a decree to all the people, all the countries, and all the language groups. Anyone who blasphemed the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be torn limb from limb. They would also lose their houses. Anyone speaking badly about the God of Israel would be punished. This king was able to accept a new better God in his polytheistic vision of the world, as his golden statute became less important.

Topheth (Jer 7:31-7:34)

“‘They go on building

The high place of Topheth.

That is in the valley of the son of Hinnom.

They burn their sons in the fire.

They burn their daughters in the fire.

I did not command this.

It did not come into my mind.

Thus the days are surely coming.’

Says Yahweh.

‘It will no more be called Topheth.

It will no more be called

The valley of the son of Hinnom.

But it will be called

The valley of Slaughter.

They will bury in Topheth,

Until there is no room.

The corpses of this people

Will be food

For the birds of the air,

For the animals of the earth.

No one will frighten them away.

I will bring to an end

The sound of mirth with gladness.

I will bring to an end

The voice of the bridegroom

From the cities of Judah.

I will bring to an end

The voice of the bride

From the streets of Jerusalem.

The land shall become a waste.’”

Topheth was a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites worshipped. Human sacrifices and children were offered to the god Moloch or Baal by burning them alive. It was in the Gehinnom area that later became Gehenna or even a symbol for hell itself. It may have been a place for the burning of rubbish, although there is no archeological evidence of this. King Josiah (640-609 BCE) in his religious reform may have ended the practice of sacrificing and burning children. However, Yahweh says that he never commanded or thought about this sacrificing of children. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it will become known for dead bodies after slaughters, where the birds and animals would feed on them. There will be no more mirth or gladness for the bride or bridegroom in the cities of Judah or on the streets of Jerusalem.