Daniel

This prophet was a great interpreter of dreams.

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The astonished king acknowledged the supremacy of God and, to show his gratitude and appreciation, appointed Daniel governor of the province of Babylon and head of all the wise men in the kingdom.

Daniel also had visions of his own in which he saw grotesque creatures, which symbolized different successive kingdoms. But his visions also showed that one day the kingdom of God would be established and last forever.

The King's Dream of his Downfall

Sometime later, King Nebuchadnezzar made a large idol of gold and invited all the princes, governors, and leading personalities of the kingdom to come to the dedication of the image. During the celebration, a herald proclaimed that all should fall down and worship the statue upon hearing the sound of musical instruments. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, however, refused to worship the golden idol.

Nebuchadnezzar had the three men brought to him and said that if they continued to refuse to worship the idol, he would have them thrown into a fiery furnace. The men still refused and so were thrown into the furnace, which was so hot that it burned to death the men who pushed them in.

An angel came into the furnace and protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego from injury. The amazed king told them to come out of the fire, recognized the supremacy of God, and decreed that nobody should dare speak against God.

The king had another dream. This time he dreamed of a tree of great height with beautiful foliage and abundant fruit, which a holy man ordered to cut down and leave just the stump of the roots.

Daniel, asked to interpret the dream, told Nebuchadnezzar that the king was the tree, and that God would make him eat grass like an animal and live with the beasts of the field.

A year later, while the king was boasting of his power, a voice from heaven told him that the kingdom had departed from him and that he would dwell with the beasts of the field and eat grass as oxen do. The king became insane and thought that he was an ox. Later, when the king had recovered his sanity, he praised God and was restored to his former exalted position.

The Writing on the Wall

Years later, Belshazzar, who was by then the ruler in Babylon, invited 1,000 guests to a great banquet, where he and his wives drank from the gold and silver utensils that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple when Jerusalem was conquered.

While the men and women at the feast were praying to idols and getting drunk, a hand wrote a mysterious message on the wall. No one, including the king's astrologers and counselors, was able to read or understand the message.

The queen suggested that Daniel be brought to the palace. He was promised gifts and a high position in the royal court if he could interpret the writing on the wall. Daniel refused the rewards but explained the message:

"Mene, mene--God has numbered your kingdom and finished it--tekel--you have been

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David Mandel studied at the University of Pennsylvania under Bible scholar Moshe Greenberg, and moved to Israel in 1970, where he founded Computronic Corporation, an Israeli software development company that specializes in biblical software.