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Fashioned by humans or God?

‘Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.'(Daniel 4v8)

Who would have thought so much could be found in such a  short verse? Daniel and the Israelites have been captured and removed from their land to another country to begin the collective process of being assimilated into the Babylonian  culture. At the helm of this decision  is Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  But right from the start, Daniel is on the offensive as he refuses the meals of meat he’s offered, preferring to stick to a diet of vegetables rather than eat that which has been offered to idols.


Whether Daniel is deliberately late for Nebuchadnezzar we don’t know but the kings’s exasperation is evident in the word ‘finally.’ Possibly, Daniel (aka Belteshazzar) was on time but the King’s desire that he interpret the dream immediately may have got the better of him. However it is read, the most interesting insights that come at the end of v8 in which we learn that

  1. Daniel has been renamed ‘ Belteshazzar’ after Nebuchadnezzar’s  god (and)
  2. the spirit of the holy gods is in him (Daniel).

Now, I find it really interesting that although Daniel has been renamed ‘Belteshazzar,’ the king also observes that the spirit of a holy god(s) lives within him – it is an important distinction to note because if the king believed the opposite he would have said that ‘Daniel has been renamed Belteshazzar after Nebucahdezzar’s holy god that dwells within him – but he doesn’t say that. Why?  Because even the king has a growing awareness  that the capabilities of Daniel’s God goes far beyond the lifeless, mute idols that adorn the palace. A truth that as we shall see, has even greater implications for both of them.


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