The Israelites were kept captive
for many years in Babylonia by
King Nebuchadnezzar. The King
chose some of the brighter young
Israelite youths from royal or noble
families and educated them.
He ordered that they be fed
the same food that the others
in his household ate. At that
time there was a law that allowed
Israelites to eat only certain foods.
One of the youths, by the name
of Daniel, refused to eat the
king's rich food. He asked
Nebuchadnezzar's servants to bring him
and his friends only vegetables and
water. The servant was afraid
that this kind of food would make
them weak and he would be in
trouble for doing as Daniel asked.
Daniel asked if he and his friends
could only eat the vegetables
and water while the others ate the
kings rich foods for ten days.
It was agreed. At the end of
the ten days, Daniel and his friends
were stronger than the other youths.
Because they had obeyed the laws,
God favored them and from then on,
Daniel was highly valued in court.
God gave Daniel's friends great
wisdom and skill in writing.
To Daniel, He gave the ability
to understand dreams and visions.
Nebuchadnezzar had been King for
two years when he began to be
troubled by many dreams. He was not
able to sleep because of these
dreams. He sent for his magicians and
said to them, "I had a strange dream
and my spirit is troubled to know
the meaning of it." The magicians
said, "Tell us what the dream is and
we will tell you what it means."
Nebuchadnezzar said to them,
"If you are really magicians,
you will be able to tell me what
the dream is as well as what it means."
He told his magicians that if they
granted his request he would give them
gifts and great honor, but if they
failed or lied about the meaning,
they would be put to death.
The magicians told Nebuchadnezzar that
this was impossible to do. The
King then ordered that Daniel and
his companions put the magicians
to death. Daniel heard this and
prayed that God would give him
the meanings of Nebuchadnezzars
dream as well as the dream,
so he might save these men.
That night God told Daniel in a
vision about the dream and
what it meant.
The next day, Daniel went to
the king and told him that
no wise men, magician, or astrologer
could tell him of the dream.
This was something that only
God could do. Then Daniel told
the king what God had revealed
the night before. The dream was
about things that would happen
in the future. In the dream,
the king stood before a mighty
statue of blinding brightness,
and it frightened him. The
head was gold, the chest and
arms of silver, the belly and
thighs of bronze, the legs of iron,
and the feet of iron and clay.
As the king looked at the image,
a great stone appeared and struck
the statues feet, breaking them to pieces.
And the rest of the statue
crumbled into dust, so that not a
trace could be found. But
the stone that struck the image
became a great mountain and filled
the whole earth.
Then Daniel described what the
dream meant. The head of gold stood
for Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom.
The parts of the statue that were
of silver, bronze, iron, and clay, stood
for the other kingdoms that would
come after Nebuchadnezzar for
many years to come. The stone
which struck the image represented
the kingdom that God had
set up in heaven. This kingdom
in heaven would never be destroyed
and would never lose its
dominion and would fill the
When Daniel finished, Nebuchadnezzar
fell upon his face and paid
tribute to Daniel and said to him,
"Truly your God is God of god's
and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries;
for you have been able to understand
my dreams." The king gave Daniel
many gifts and made him chief over
all the wise men in Babylonia.
When Nebuchadnezzar died, his
son Belshazzar took is place
as king of Babylonia and made
a great feast for his lords. During
the feast Belshazzar commanded
that his father's vessels of gold
and silver be brought so wine
could be drunk from them.
As they drank, they praised the
god's of gold and silver.
Suddenly the feast was interrupted
when a man's hand appeared and
began to write on the wall of the
palace. All those who saw this
were scared. When the hand disappeared,
the word, "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin"
were written on the wall.
Belshazzar was in a panic
and sent for his wise men
to interpret the message. The king
promised that whosoever could
interpret the message would be
clothed in rich purple garments
and wear a chain of gold
around his neck.
Then the queen remembered Daniel.
She had him brought to the
palace to quiet her husbands
fears. Daniel looked at the writing
on the wall. He knew exactly where
it had come from and what it meant.
He told Belshazzar that God had
sent the hand to condemn the king
and his people for praising the false
god's of gold and silver and for
failing to honor the Lord. Daniel
told the king that the word
"mene" meant that God would destroy
Belshazzar's kingdom in a number of
days. "Tekel" meant that the king's
actions had been weighed and found lacking
in goodness. "Upharsin" meant that
the kings kingdom would be divided
among the Medes and the Persians.
Belshazzar, as distressed as he
was at this news, kept his word.
Daniel was clothed in royal robes
and made the third ruler in the kingdom.
That very same night, Belshazzar
was slain and Darius the Mede
captured the kingdom.
Darius honored Daniel above all
the other presidents and princes.
Darius planned to make him the ruler over all
the kingdom one day. The other
presidents and princes became
very jealous of Daniel. They could
find no way to find fault with
Daniel. One day they decided
to trick Darius.
They went to King Darius and
advised him the strengthen the
power over the people, by ordering
them to leave their gods and worship
only the king for thirty days.
Anyone who disobeyed would be thrown
into the lions' den. Darius loved
the power he had and agreed
to this foolish rule.
Daniel knew that this rule had
been made, but he continued
to pray and worship God three
times a day as he had always done.
The other leaders knew he would
do this and spied on him.
Then they told the King that
Daniel had disobeyed and must
be punished. The king tried to excuse
him, but the others wouldnt let him.
They said, "The law of the
Medes and Persians is that
no decree which the king has
made may be changed."
So, Daniel was thrown into the
lions' den. The king said,
"May your God, whom you serve
continually, save you!!" Then
a stone was placed against
the entrance so Daniel could not
escape. Darius went back to
his palace, but he could not eat
or sleep because of his sadness.
The next morning the king hurried
to the lions' den. When he
came near, he cried out, "Oh Daniel,
has your God been able to save you
from the lions?" To the kings
surprise, Daniel answered,
"Oh king, live forever! My God sent
His angel and shut the lions' mouths."
Daniel had so much faith in God
that he was not hurt by the lions.
The king ordered the men who
had plotted against Daniel to be
thrown into the lions' den.
Before they reached the bottom,
the lions had killed them,
because they had no faith in God.
King Darius then proclaimed that
the God of Daniel was the
living God whose kingdom would
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