Journey Through The Scriptures

Daniel

Lesson 1: Interpreting the King’s Dream

(Scripture to Read: Daniel 1:1–2:49)

Daniel is one of the most intriguing and admirable figures in the Bible. And the book that bears his name provides both important glimpses into Jewish life during the Babylonian exile, and visions of future earthly kingdoms. Daniel was extraordinarily well suited for his unique place in history. Some sources say he was born in 622 BCE to a Jewish royal family, which would make him about 17 years old when he was taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 605 BCE. But more important than Daniel’s noble birth was his endowment by God with unusual wisdom, impeccable integrity, and great courage. God also gave Daniel insight into the future, for “Daniel could understand visions and dreams” (1:17).

Daniel and his friends were among the first exiles taken from Israel to Babylon. The Jews’ deportation was made in several stages in the years 605, 598, and 587—the latter date being the final siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple. Daniel refused to violate the Torah, God’s Law, by eating forbidden food, although this could have cost him his life. But God was with Daniel, who started his service to King Nebuchadnezzar in spectacular fashion by doing the unheard of. He repeated the king’s dream to him and interpreted it when even the king refused to tell anyone the content of the dream. Daniel’s actions saved the lives of himself, his fellow Jewish servants, and all of the king’s wise men and advisors. For his amazing giftedness, Daniel was lavished with benefits and promoted to one of the highest positions in the kingdom.


Study Questions

  1. Why did Daniel and his friends seem healthier, more alert, and more capable than the other young men being trained for the king’s service?
  2. Why did Nebuchadnezzar demand that his wise men tell him the meaning of his dream?
  3. How do we know that Daniel did not take personal credit for his abilities?
  4. What did the interpretation of the king’s dream reveal?

Something to Think About

The story of Daniel is a wonderful example of how God can accomplish great things through people who choose faithfulness to Him regardless of the consequences. Let us not overlook the fact that if Daniel had chosen the easier path of conformity to the king’s demands, his story might well have ended before it began!