May 1972

“Daniel,” Friend, May 1972, 20


One night King Nebuchadnezzar had a troublesome dream and awoke in fright. Early the next morning he called all his wise men to come and stand before their king, and he said to them, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”

“Tell us your dream, O king,” they answered, “and we will tell you what it means.”

“The dream is gone from me,” the king explained. “If you tell me the dream and its meaning, you shall receive gifts and rewards and great honor.”

When they could not do what the king requested, Nebuchadnezzar was angry with them and ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be put to death.

Daniel and his friends had not gone before the king, and they were surprised when a servant of the king came to carry out the order. Daniel persuaded the servant to spare their lives until he could talk with the king.

Then Daniel and his friends prayed that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation might be given to them. And that night the secret of the king’s dream was revealed to Daniel in a vision, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. I thank thee and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast made known unto us the king’s matter.”

Then Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that no man, however wise, could have learned the forgotten dream and given its meaning, but that both had been revealed to Daniel so that he might tell the king and so that the king would know of the one true God.

After Daniel repeated the dream and explained its meaning, the king fell upon his face and said to Daniel, “Of a truth it is that your God is the true God and a revealer of secrets. His works are truth.”

Nebuchadnezzar later made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, the city of Babylon was captured by King Darius, who appointed a hundred and twenty princes over the whole kingdom. Over the princes were three presidents, and because of Daniel’s wisdom and kindness, he was named as the first of the presidents.

This made the other princes jealous and angry, and they plotted together in an effort to remove Daniel from his trusted position.

“Surely he has some fault,” said one prince, “that we can point out to King Darius.” But they could find no fault, nor could they find any error in his work.

Then some of the princes suggested that they look for a way to blame Daniel because of the law of his God.

So the princes went to King Darius and said, “O king, there is no one as great as you. No one should ask a favor of any man or god except you.” Then they persuaded him to sign a decree that anyone found giving thanks or praise during the next thirty days to any god or man other than the king should be cast into a den of lions. King Darius, thinking this was being done to honor him, signed the decree.

Early the next morning as Daniel knelt in his house in prayer, which he did three times each day, the jealous princes came and seized him and took him before the king. They told King Darius that they had found Daniel asking help and offering praise to his God. “Remember the decree you signed,” they urged.

And the king sorrowfully remembered. Although he loved Daniel and was displeased with himself that he had let the princes talk him into signing the decree, he could not change a law that he had made and signed.

As Daniel was being taken away, the king spoke to him and said, “Thy God, whom thou servest continually, will deliver thee.”

Then a stone was brought and laid at the opening of the den of lions in which Daniel had been placed, and the king sealed it.

After he had done so, King Darius returned to his palace and ordered that no music be played and that no food be served to him. He spent an anxious sleepless night, and when morning finally came, he hurried to the lion’s den and called out to Daniel.

Daniel calmly answered, “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lions’ mouths that they have not hurt me.”

Then King Darius rejoiced, and he wrote to all the people upon the earth proclaiming the God of Daniel to be “the living God and steadfast forever; He delivereth and rescueth and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth.”

From an engraving by Gustave Doré