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Daniel 1-3 (Amplified Bible)

Daniel 1-3

The Choice Young Men

In the third year of the reign of [a]Jehoiakim king of Judah, [b]Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles of the house of God; and he brought them into the land of [c]Shinar, to the house of his god, and brought the articles into the treasury of his god.

And the [Babylonian] king told Ashpenaz, the chief of his [d]officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some from the royal family and from the nobles, young men without blemish and handsome in appearance, skillful in all wisdom, endowed with intelligence and discernment, and quick to understand, competent to stand [in the presence of the king] and able to serve in the king’s palace. He also ordered Ashpenaz to teach them the literature and language of the [e]Chaldeans. The king assigned a daily ration for them from his finest food and from the wine which he drank. They were to be educated and nourished this way for three years so that at the end of that time they were [prepared] to enter the king’s service. Among them from the sons of Judah were: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The commander of the officials gave them [Babylonian] names: Daniel he named Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abed-nego.

Daniel’s Resolve

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile (taint, dishonor) himself with the [f]king’s finest food or with the wine which the king drank; so he asked the commander of the officials that he might [be excused so that he would] not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, 10 and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has prearranged your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the young men who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.” 11 But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please, test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the young men who eat the king’s finest food be observed and compared by you, and deal with your servants in accordance with what you see.”

14 So the man listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it seemed that they were looking better and [g]healthier than all the young men who ate the king’s finest food. 16 So the overseer continued to withhold their fine food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all kinds of literature and wisdom; Daniel also understood all kinds of visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring all the young men in [before him], the commander of the officials presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king spoke with them, and among them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they were [selected and] assigned to stand before the king and enter his personal service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the [learned] magicians and enchanters (Magi) in his whole realm. 21 And Daniel remained there until the [h]first year of [the reign of] King Cyrus [over Babylon; now this was at the end of the seventy-year exile of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in Babylonia, as foretold by Jeremiah].

The King’s Forgotten Dream

In the second year (604 b.c.) of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams which troubled and disturbed his spirit and [interfered with] his ability to sleep. Then the king gave a command to call the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the [i]Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. The king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled and anxious to know the [content and meaning of the] dream.”

Then the Chaldeans said to the king in [j]Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” The king replied to the Chaldeans, “My command is firm and unchangeable: if you do not reveal to me the [content of the] dream along with its interpretation, you shall be cut into pieces and your houses shall be made a heap of rubbish. But if you tell [me] the [content of the] dream along with its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered again, “Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will explain its interpretation [to you].” The king replied, “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, because you have seen that my command [to you] is firm and irrevocable. If you will not reveal to me the [content of the] dream, there is but one sentence for you; for you have [already] prepared lying and corrupt words [and you have agreed together] to speak [them] before me [hoping to delay your execution] until the situation is changed. Therefore, tell me the dream [first], and then I will know [with confidence] that you can give me its interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can tell the king this matter, for no king, lord or ruler has ever asked such a thing as this of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 Furthermore, what the king demands is an unusual and difficult thing indeed! No one except the gods can reveal it to the king, and their dwelling is not with [mortal] flesh.”

12 Because of this the king was indignant and extremely furious and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went out that the wise men were to be killed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions to put them to death.

14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and wisdom to Arioch, the captain of the king’s [k]bodyguard, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; 15 he said to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree from the king so harsh and urgent?” Then Arioch explained the matter to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went in and asked the king to appoint a date and give him time, so that he might reveal to the king the interpretation of the dream.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and discussed the matter with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 in order that they might seek compassion from the God of heaven regarding this secret, so that Daniel and his companions would not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

The Secret Is Revealed to Daniel

19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered,

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21 
“It is He who changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and establishes kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
And [greater] knowledge to those who have understanding!
22 
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23 
“I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us [the solution to] the king’s matter.”

24 So Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and said this to him: “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon! Bring me before the king, and I will reveal to the king the interpretation [of his dream].”

25 Then Arioch hurriedly brought Daniel before the king and said this to him: “I have found a man among the exiles of Judah who can explain to the king the interpretation [of the dream].” 26 The king said to Daniel, whose [Babylonian] name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to reveal to me the [content of the] dream which I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king and said, “Regarding the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither the wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor astrologers are able to answer the king, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days (end of days). This was your dream and the vision [that appeared] in your mind while on your bed. 29 As for you, O king, as you were lying on your bed thoughts came into your mind about what will take place in the future; and He who reveals secrets has shown you what will occur. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because my wisdom is greater than that of any other living man, but in order to make the interpretation known to the king, and so that you may understand [fully] the thoughts of your mind.

The King’s Dream

31 “You, O king, were looking, and behold, [there was] a single great statue; this image, which was large and of unsurpassed splendor, stood before you, and its appearance was awesome and terrifying. 32 As for this [l]statue, its head was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay [pottery]. 34 As you were looking, a [m]stone was cut out without [human] hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them could be found. And the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The Interpretation—Babylon the First Kingdom

36 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37 You, O king, are the king of [earthly] kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, and the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, He has given them into your hand and has made you ruler over them all. You [king of Babylon] are the head of gold.

Medo-Persia and Greece

39 After you will arise another kingdom (Medo-Persia) inferior to you, and then a third kingdom of bronze (Greece under Alexander the Great), which will rule over all the earth.

Rome

40 Then a fourth kingdom (Rome) will be strong as iron, for iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things; and like iron which crushes things in pieces, it will break and crush all these [others]. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but there will be in it some of the durability and strength of iron, just as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42 As the [ten] toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and another part of it will be brittle. 43 And as you saw the iron mixed with common clay, so they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not merge [for such diverse things or ideologies cannot unite], even as iron does not mix with clay.

The Divine Kingdom

44 In the days of those [final ten] kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will its sovereignty be left for another people; but it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever. 45 Just as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has revealed to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Daniel Promoted

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell face downward and paid respect to Daniel [as a great prophet of the highest God], and gave orders for an offering and fragrant incense to be presented to him [in honor of his God]. 47 The king answered Daniel and said, “Most certainly your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery!” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel [to an exalted position] and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the court of the king.

The King’s Golden Image

Nebuchadnezzar the king made a [n]gold [-plated] image, whose height [including the pedestal] was sixty cubits (ninety feet) and its width six cubits (nine feet). He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the [o]satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and lawyers and all the chief officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and lawyers, and all the chief officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before it. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and speakers of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon (four-stringed harp), dulcimer, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” So when the people heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, dulcimer, bagpipe and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Worship of the Image Refused

At that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought [malicious] accusations against the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer, bagpipe, and all kinds of music is to fall down and worship the golden image. 11 Whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in a furious rage gave a command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; and these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be thrown at once into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can rescue you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!”

Daniel’s Friends Protected

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and his facial expression changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then he gave a command that the furnace was to be heated seven [p]times hotter than usual. 20 He commanded certain strong men in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 Then these [three] men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their turbans, and their other clothes, and were thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. 22 Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was extremely hot, the flame of the fire killed the men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. 23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [looked and] was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, “Did we not throw three men who were tied up into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” 25 He answered, “Look! I see four men untied, walking around in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the appearance of the fourth is like [q]a son of the gods!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the blazing furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, servants of the Most High God, come out [of there]! Come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. 27 The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s counselors gathered around them and saw that in regard to these men the fire had no effect on their bodies—their hair was not singed, their clothes were not scorched or damaged, even the smell of smoke was not on them.

28 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! They violated the king’s command and surrendered their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego shall be cut into pieces and their houses be made a heap of rubbish, for there is no other god who is able to save in this way!” 30 Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 1:1 Pharaoh Neco had killed Josiah king of Judah and installed Eliakim (Josiah’s son) as a vassal ruler. Neco changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim and he ruled for eleven years (2 Chr 36:4, 5).
  2. Daniel 1:1 Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldean Dynasty, more commonly known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, ruled Babylon from 605-562 b.c. He conquered Jerusalem in 597 b.c.
  3. Daniel 1:2 I.e. southern Babylonia.
  4. Daniel 1:3 Or eunuchs, and so throughout.
  5. Daniel 1:4 The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c. until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
  6. Daniel 1:8 The first portions of the food and wine would have been presented to idols before being served at the table.
  7. Daniel 1:15 Lit fat of flesh.
  8. Daniel 1:21 Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, ruled from 559-529 b.c. He conquered the Median (549 b.c.), the Lydian (546 b.c.), and the Neo-Babylonian (539 b.c.) kingdoms and formed the greatest empire the world had ever known. He returned a remnant of the Jewish population from Babylon to Jerusalem along with an edict to rebuild the temple.
  9. Daniel 2:2 I.e. Babylonian sages who were master astrologers, and so below.
  10. Daniel 2:4 In addition to their native language, most people involved in government or trade could speak and write in Aramaic. At this point in the book Daniel switches from writing in Hebrew to writing in Aramaic. He returns to writing in Hebrew in ch 8.
  11. Daniel 2:14 Or executioners.
  12. Daniel 2:32 Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream outlines the further history of Gentile world power. The four metals of which the statue was made represented four successive empires, each with the power to rule the inhabited earth—though each stopped short of that. They were: (1) Babylon (Jer 51:7); (2) Medo-Persia; (3) Greece under Alexander; and (4) Rome. The latter power was divided first into the two legs, corresponding to the eastern and western Roman Empires, and then (after a very long time apparently) into the ten toes, a confederacy made up largely of European nations (7:24-27).
  13. Daniel 2:34 The eternal kingdom of God, the Messianic kingdom, will extend over all the earth, and those who reject Jesus, the Messiah, the Stone, will be crushed. See also Ps 118:22, 23; Is 8:14; Matt 21:44; Luke 20:18; 1 Pet 2:4-8.
  14. Daniel 3:1 Large images like this one were not made of solid gold.
  15. Daniel 3:2 The title of an official or governor designated by the king to rule over one or more provinces in the Median and Persian Empires. The authority granted to a satrap would be similar to that granted to a vassal prince and required that he submit regular written reports to the king through one of his chief commissioners. The satrap did not have authority over military personnel stationed in his provinces.
  16. Daniel 3:19 I.e. units of intensity.
  17. Daniel 3:25 The kjv has “the Son of God” here, referring to the pre-incarnate Christ, because the usual term for God is Elohim, a plural form. Even if it was the pre-incarnate Christ, however, the pagan king would not have had Him in mind but a “son” of the Babylonian gods, perhaps a minor deity or an angel. The ancient rabbis of course would have fought any attempts by Christians to equate the fourth person in the furnace with the Son of God, so they portrayed God as turning Nebuchadnezzar over to Satan for punishment for the words he exclaimed here, as if he did in fact say “Son of God,” and they made out v 28 to be a confession on the king’s part that what he saw was after all just an angel.
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