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Day 241 – Daniel and the Den of Lions


Thoughts and Reflections

Today we read about Zedekiah of which the final wave of deportations to Babylon takes place. Jeremiah is shown two baskets of figs; one that is good and the other that is bad. The good figs represent those who have already been exiled while the bad ones represent those who have stayed in Jerusalem or gone to Egypt. Jeremiah went to Egypt and will remain with God’s people. He will remain with the bad figs.

Those in exile in Babylon will have their hearts set right and the Lord uses Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish this (although he enslaves and kills many). God will permit evil to accomplish his will. When the Lord’s people return to their land after the exile, idolatry ceases.

In Daniel, we see the Israelites’ refusal to conform to the people around them. Even if we are faithful to the Lord, people can still conspire against us. yet the Lord will save us if we trust in him. We have a description of Daniel’s vision of four beasts representing different kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persian Empire, Greece, and Rome. He also sees the Ancient of Days and “one like a son of man” coming in the clouds.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Jeremiah 24

1 Yahweh gave me a vision: set out in front of the Temple of Yahweh were two baskets of figs. This was after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had led Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, away into exile from Jerusalem, with the chief men of Judah, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, and had taken them to Babylon.

2 One basket contained excellent figs, like those that ripen first; the other contained very bad figs, so bad they were uneatable.

3 Yahweh said to me, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ ‘Figs,’ I answered, ‘the good ones excellent, the bad ones very bad, so bad as to be uneatable.’

4 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me,

5 ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, “As these figs are good, so I mean to concern myself with the welfare of the exiles of Judah whom I have sent from this place to the country of the Chaldaeans.

6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, to bring them back to this country, to build them up and not to break them down, to plant them and not to uproot them.

7 I shall give them a heart to acknowledge that I am Yahweh. They will be my people and I shall be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

8 As for the bad figs, the figs so bad as to be uneatable-yes, Yahweh says this — that is how I shall treat Zedekiah king of Judah, his chief men and what is left of Jerusalem, those who remain in this country and those living in Egypt.

9 I shall make them an object of horror, a disaster, to all the kingdoms of the earth, a thing of shame, a byword, a laughing-stock, a curse, wherever I shall drive them.

10 Sword, famine and plague I shall send against them until they have vanished from the soil I gave to them and to their ancestors.” ‘

Jeremiah 25

1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah about all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah (that is to say the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon).

2 The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed it before all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem:

3 ‘For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until today, the word of Yahweh has been addressed to me and I have never tired of speaking to you (but you have not listened.

4 Furthermore, Yahweh has untiringly sent you all his servants the prophets, but you have not listened or paid attention).

5 The message was this, “Turn back, each one of you, from your evil behaviour and your evil actions, and you will go on living on the soil Yahweh long ago gave to you and your ancestors for ever.

6 (And do not follow other gods to serve and worship them, do not provoke me with things you yourselves have made, and then I shall not harm you.)

7 But you have not listened to me (Yahweh declares, so that you have now provoked me with things you yourselves have made, and thus harmed yourselves).”

8 ‘So-this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says, “Since you have not listened to my words,

9 I shall now send for all the families of the north (Yahweh declares, that is, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant) and bring them down on this country and its inhabitants (and on all these surrounding nations); I shall curse them with utter destruction and make them an object of horror, of scorn, and ruin them for ever.

10 From them I shall banish the shouts of rejoicing and mirth, the voices of bridegroom and bride, the sound of the handmill and the light of the lamp;

11 and this whole country will be reduced to ruin and desolation, and these nations will be enslaved to the king of Babylon for seventy years.

12 (But when the seventy years are over, I shall punish the king of Babylon and that nation, Yahweh declares, for the wrong they have done, that is, the country of the Chaldaeans, and make it desolate for ever),

13 and against that country I shall perform all the words with which I have threatened it, that is, everything written in this book.” ‘

14 What Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. (‘For these in their turn are to be enslaved to powerful nations and great kings, and I shall pay them back as their deeds and handiwork deserve.’)

15 For Yahweh, the God of Israel, said this to me, ‘Take this cup of the wine of wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it;

16 they will drink and reel and lose their wits, because of the sword I am sending among them.’

17 I took the cup from Yahweh’s hand and made all the nations to whom Yahweh sent me drink it

18 (Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and its chief men, to make them a ruin, an object of horror and derision and a curse, as is the case today):

19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his officials, his chief men and all his people,

20 with the whole conglomeration of peoples there (all the kings of the country of Uz); all the kings of the country of the Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and what is still left of Ashdod;

21 Edom, Moab and the Ammonites;

22 (all) the kings of Tyre, (all) the kings of Sidon, the kings of the island across the sea;

23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, all the people with shaven temples;

24 all the kings of Arabia (and all the kings of the conglomeration of peoples) who live in the desert

25 (all the kings of Zimri), all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media;

26 all the kings of the north, near and far, one after another: in short, all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. (As for the king of Sheshak, he will drink last of all.)

27 ‘You will say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Drink! Get drunk! Vomit! Fall, never to rise again, before the sword that I am sending among you!”

28 If they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, you will say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: You must drink!

29 Look, for a start, I am bringing disaster on the city that bears my name, so are you likely to go unpunished? You certainly will not go unpunished, for next I shall summon a sword against all the inhabitants of the land, Yahweh declares.”

30 ‘For your part, you are to prophesy all these words to them. Say to them: “Yahweh roars from on high, he thunders from his holy dwelling-place, loudly he roars at his own fold, shouts aloud like those who tread the grape at all the inhabitants of the land.

31 The noise resounds to the remotest parts of the earth. For Yahweh is indicting the nations, arraigning all humanity for judgement; the wicked he assigns to the sword, Yahweh declares.

32 Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Look, disaster is spreading from nation to nation, a mighty tempest is rising from the far ends of the earth.

33 “Those slaughtered by Yahweh that day will be scattered across the world from end to end. No dirge will be raised for them; no one will gather them or bury them; they will stay lying on the surface like dung.

34 “Howl, shepherds, shriek, roll on the ground, you lords of the flock, for your days have come to be slaughtered and to be scattered, and like a choice vase you will fall.

35 No refuge then for the shepherds, no escape for the lords of the flock!

36 Listen! A shriek from the shepherds, a howl from the lords of the flock! For Yahweh has laid their pasture waste,

37 the peaceful sheepfolds are reduced to silence owing to Yahweh’s furious anger.

38 The lion has left his lair and their country is a wasteland now, owing to the devastating fury, owing to his furious anger.” ‘

Daniel 6

1 and Darius the Mede received the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

2 It pleased Darius to appoint a hundred and twenty satraps over his kingdom for the various parts,

3 and over them three presidents — of whom Daniel was one — to whom the satraps were to be responsible. This was to safeguard the king’s interests.

4 This Daniel, by virtue of the marvellous spirit residing in him, was so evidently superior to the other presidents and satraps that the king considered appointing him to rule the whole kingdom.

5 The presidents and satraps, in consequence, started hunting for some affair of state by which they could discredit Daniel; but they could find nothing to his discredit, and no case of negligence; he was so punctilious that they could not find a single instance of maladministration or neglect.

6 These men then thought, ‘We shall never find a way of discrediting Daniel unless we try something to do with the law of his God.’

7 The presidents and satraps then went in a body to the king. ‘King Darius,’ they said, ‘live for ever!

8 We are all agreed, presidents of the realm, magistrates, satraps, councillors and governors, that the king should issue an edict enforcing the following regulation: Whoever within the next thirty days prays to anyone, divine or human, other than to yourself, Your Majesty, is to be thrown into the lions’ den.

9 Your Majesty, ratify the edict at once by signing this document, making it unalterable, as befits the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.’

10 King Darius accordingly signed the document embodying the edict.

11 When Daniel heard that the document had been signed, he retired to his house. The windows of his upstairs room faced towards Jerusalem. Three times each day, he went down on his knees, praying and giving praise to God as he had always done.

12 These men came along in a body and found Daniel praying and pleading with God.

13 They then went to the king and reminded him of the royal edict, ‘Have you not signed an edict forbidding anyone for the next thirty days to pray to anyone, divine or human, other than to yourself, Your Majesty, on pain of being thrown into the lions’ den?’ ‘The decision stands’ the king replied, ‘ as befits the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.’

14 They then said to the king, ‘Your Majesty, this man Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, disregards both you and the edict which you have signed: he is at his prayers three times each day.’

15 When the king heard these words he was deeply distressed and determined to save Daniel; he racked his brains until sunset to find some way to save him.

16 But the men kept pressing the king, ‘Your Majesty, remember that in conformity with the law of the Medes and the Persians, no edict or decree can be altered when once issued by the king.’

17 The king then ordered Daniel to be brought and thrown into the lion pit. The king said to Daniel, ‘Your God, whom you have served so faithfully, will have to save you.’

18 A stone was then brought and laid over the mouth of the pit; and the king sealed it with his own signet and with that of his noblemen, so that there could be no going back on the original decision about Daniel.

19 The king returned to his palace, spent the night in fasting and refused to receive any of his concubines. Sleep eluded him,

20 and at the first sign of dawn he got up and hurried to the lion pit.

21 As he approached the pit he called in anguished tones to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God! Has your God, whom you serve so faithfully, been able to save you from the lions?’

22 Daniel answered the king, ‘May Your Majesty live for ever!

23 My God sent his angel who sealed the lions’ jaws; they did me no harm, since in his sight I am blameless; neither have I ever done you any wrong, Your Majesty.’

24 The king was overjoyed and ordered Daniel to be released from the pit. Daniel was released from the pit and found to be quite unhurt, because he had trusted in his God.

25 The king then sent for the men who had accused Daniel and had them thrown into the lion pit, and their wives and children too; and before they reached the floor of the pit the lions had seized them and crushed their bones to pieces.

26 King Darius then wrote to all nations, peoples and languages dwelling throughout the world: ‘May you prosper more and more!

27 This is my decree: Throughout every dominion of my realm, let all tremble with fear before the God of Daniel: He is the living God, he endures for ever, his kingdom will never be destroyed and his empire never come to an end.

28 He saves, sets free, and works signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth; he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.’

29 This Daniel flourished in the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel 7

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions that passed through his head as he lay in bed. He wrote the dream down, and this is how the narrative began:

2 Daniel said, ‘I have been seeing visions in the night. I saw that the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea;

3 four great beasts emerged from the sea, each different from the others.

4 The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings and, as I looked, its wings were torn off, and it was lifted off the ground and set standing on its feet like a human; and it was given a human heart.

5 And there before me was a second beast, like a bear, rearing up on one side, with three ribs in its mouth, between its teeth. “Up!” came the command. “Eat quantities of flesh!”

6 After this I looked; and there before me was another beast, like a leopard, and with four bird’s wings on its flanks; it had four heads and was granted authority.

7 Next, in the visions of the night, I saw another vision: there before me was a fourth beast, fearful, terrifying, very strong; it had great iron teeth, and it ate its victims, crushed them, and trampled their remains underfoot. It was different from the previous beasts and had ten horns.

8 ‘While I was looking at these horns, I saw another horn sprouting among them, a little one; three of the original horns were pulled out by the roots to make way for it; and in this horn I saw eyes like human eyes, and a mouth full of boasting.

9 While I was watching, thrones were set in place and one most venerable took his seat. His robe was white as snow, the hair of his head as pure as wool. His throne was a blaze of flames, its wheels were a burning fire.

10 A stream of fire poured out, issuing from his presence. A thousand thousand waited on him, ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was in session and the books lay open.

11 ‘I went on watching: then, because of the noise made by the boastings of the horn, as I watched, the beast was put to death, and its body destroyed and committed to the flames.

12 The other beasts were deprived of their empire, but received a lease of life for a season and a time.

13 I was gazing into the visions of the night, when I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, as it were a son of man. He came to the One most venerable and was led into his presence.

14 On him was conferred rule, honour and kingship, and all peoples, nations and languages became his servants. His rule is an everlasting rule which will never pass away, and his kingship will never come to an end.

15 ‘I, Daniel, was deeply disturbed and the visions that passed through my head alarmed me.

16 So I approached one of those who were standing by and asked him about all this. And in reply he revealed to me what these things meant.

17 “These four great beasts are four kings who will rise up from the earth.

18 Those who receive royal power are the holy ones of the Most High, and kingship will be theirs for ever, for ever and ever.”

19 Then I asked about the fourth beast, different from all the rest, very terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze claws; it ate its victims, crushed them, and trampled their remains underfoot;

20 and about the ten horns on its head — and why the other horn sprouted and the three original horns fell, and why this horn had eyes and a mouth full of boasting, and why it looked more impressive than its fellows.

21 This was the horn I had watched making war on the holy ones and proving the stronger,

22 until the coming of the One most venerable who gave judgement in favour of the holy ones of the Most High, when the time came for the holy ones to assume kingship.

23 This is what he said: “The fourth beast is to be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all other kingdoms. It will devour the whole world, trample it underfoot and crush it.

24 As for the ten horns: from this kingdom will rise ten kings, and another after them; this one will be different from the previous ones and will bring down three kings;

25 he will insult the Most High, and torment the holy ones of the Most High. He will plan to alter the seasons and the Law, and the Saints will be handed over to him for a time, two times, and half a time.

26 But the court will sit, and he will be stripped of his royal authority which will be finally destroyed and reduced to nothing.

27 And kingship and rule and the splendours of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High, whose royal power is an eternal power, whom every empire will serve and obey.”

28 ‘Here the narrative ends. ‘I, Daniel, was greatly disturbed in mind, and I grew pale; but I kept these things to myself.’

Proverbs 16:5-8

5 Every arrogant heart is abhorrent to Yahweh: be sure this will not go unpunished.

6 By faithful love and constancy sin is expiated; by fear of Yahweh evil is avoided.

7 Let Yahweh be pleased with someone’s way of life and he makes that person’s very enemies into friends.

8 Better have little and with it uprightness than great revenues with injustice.


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