Daniel 1:18-21--Result of the training
The four men--referred to here by their Hebrew names, incidentally (v.19)--are found to be the best of the bunch. Who is surprised?? But we do learn that "Daniel stayed in the king's service until the first year of King Cyrus" (v.21). Does that mean all four of them were there that long, or just Daniel? And why does it matter that he stayed until King Cyrus took over? This brings several questions to mind, but they are not terribly relevant to reading on in Daniel.
Daniel 2:1-13--An impossible challenge
Let's be honest, Nebuchadnezzar sounds kind of goofy. I guess the way the scripture tells it doesn't help, when it says, "The dreams made him anxious, but he kept sleeping." Umm...duh. And then he threatens his experts with death if they can't guess his dreams--that's kind of ridiculous!
Verse 7--What else would the people say? They can't tell him his dream! And then he accuses them of stalling in verse 8. Well, duh! What else are they going to say? So they spell it out for him in 10-11--they. can't. do. what. he. wants.
Now, verse 13 ratchets up the suspense because it finally lets us know that Daniel is involved in this. He and his friends are in danger because of this decree by the king. They might be killed, too! Dunh, dunh, duhhhh!
Daniel 2:14-23--God reveals the mystery
Daniel asks one of the king's servants in verse 15 why the king's command is so unreasonable--that's a good question! After he finds out the answer to his question, he tells the guys, and they all pray about it. God answers their prayers and tell Daniel what the king's dream is. See, prayer matters! And after that, Daniel praises God--that's important, too!
Daniel 2:24-35--Daniel recounts the dream
The king's official Arioch is so proud of himself that he claims he found Daniel...what a goober.
In verse 28, Daniel just up and tells the king that God's involved in this. That took some guts!
My study Bible points out that verse 30 tells us that Daniel is more about having special knowledge of God than it is about having faith in hard times, which is what some people say Daniel is about. I think that's an interesting point. I guess that is the way that we teach the stories of Daniel to children--that you just have to be brave and have faith, no matter what. God definitely does more than that in this book, though. Daniel finds favor with the king and saves himself and all the sages in Babylon because he knows God and God gives him special knowledge.
We'll talk about the dream and what Daniel says it means next time...