In the Old Testament, the word of God was addressed to the Israelite people through prophets. They, when they had to deliver the message received from God, had to express themselves by saying: “So Sayeth the Lord” Among them, there are a few who have particularly shone by the depth and accuracy of their prophecies. This is the case of Daniel, who in his youth was sent as a captive to Babylon, but became a high official of the king’s court thanks to his faith and great wisdom. Let us discover who is the prophet Daniel and some highlights of his life, contained in the book of Daniel.
Born around the 7th century BC, Daniel was deported to Babylon with other good-looking young Israelites from noble families. However, he quickly distinguished himself from other young people by his fear of God. Indeed, it is written: “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” (Daniel 1:8) Thus, he and three other young people decided to take only fruits and vegetables. “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” (Daniel 1:17) It is this gift of God in Daniel that allowed him to know and interpret the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and thus to save all the wise men of Babylon from death.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, we discover the strength that is contained in faith. Chapter 11 cites the greatest figures of faith in the Old Testament and all their exploits. Thus, “... who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions...” (Hebrews 11:33). We do not know what prayer Daniel made to God to not be devoured by lions, but what we know is that Daniel trusted God. Despite the threat of an awful death, Daniel remained firm in choosing to continue praying to God. Let us follow Daniel’s example and on a daily basis, even if illness, shame, fear or death threaten us, pray to remain faithful to God.
“At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” (Daniel 10:2-3)
“Daniel answered, ‘May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.’ The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” (Daniel 6:21-24). Discover the entire passage of Daniel in the lions’ den.
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. (...). Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.” (Daniel 7:1-2, 27-28)
“Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, ‘Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.’ Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.’ The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), ‘Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” " (...) The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court. (Daniel 2:24-48)