Thursday, May 30, 2013

Source Texts for Tonight's Lesson: Daniel and "Not Acting Arrogantly with His Knowledge"

This week’s prophet is Daniel. It is worth noting that in Book 1, we explained how Week 38 is that of the lion. Daniel is known primarily for his being thrown in the den of hungry lions and miraculously being saved.

Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows how Daniel does not act arrogantly with his knowledge. Interpretation of the dreams comes from G-d. Everything comes from G-d:

And to these youths, the four of them, G-d gave knowledge and understanding in every script and wisdom, and Daniel understood all visions and dreams. And at the end of the days that the king ordered to bring them, the chief officer brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and of all of them, no one was found to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and they stood before the king. And in every matter of the wisdom of understanding that the king requested of them, he found them ten times better than all the necromancers and astrologers in all his kingdom. (Chapter 1:17-20)

Then Daniel entered and requested of the king that time be given him, and the interpretation would be told to the king. Then Daniel went home and let his colleagues, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, know of the matter. And to pray and beg of the G-d of heaven about this secret, that Daniel and his colleagues should not perish with the remaining wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in the vision of the night; then Daniel blessed the G-d of heaven.  

Daniel spoke up and said, "May the Name of G-d be blessed from everlasting even to everlasting, to Whom are wisdom and might. And He changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and sets up kings; He grants wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding. He reveals the profound and secret things; He knows what is in the dark, and light dwells with Him. To You, O G-d of my forefathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and might, and now You have let me know what I requested of You, for the matter of the king You have let me know." (…)

The king spoke up and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, "Do you have the ability to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?"   Daniel answered the king and said, "The secret that the king asks, no wise men, astrologers, necromancers, or demonologists can tell the king. But there is a G-d in heaven Who reveals secrets, and He lets King Nebuchadnezzar know what will be at the end of days; that is your dream and the visions of your head on your bed.  
You, O king, your thoughts came while on your bed, what will be after this, and the Revealer of secrets lets you know what will be. And I-not with wisdom that I possess more than all living, did He reveal this secret to me, but in order that they should let the king know the interpretation, and you should know the thoughts of your heart. (Chapter 2:16-30)

Daniel’s actions are like those of his predecessor, Joseph, in his first interaction with Pharaoh:

And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it, but I have heard it said of you [that] you understand a dream, to interpret it." And Joseph replied to Pharaoh, saying, "Not I; G-d will give an answer [that will bring] peace to Pharaoh." (Genesis 41:15-16)
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