I didn’t blog. And, aside from two weeks teaching the book in Myanmar, I didn’t think about Daniel. Thus, I am in need of review. Presumably, so are you.
I will resist my teacherly urge to spend the next three blog entries reviewing (especially since I’m only writing once a week these days) and instead do a quick overview of where we’ve been during the past year and where we’re going, eventually. (Of course, you could go back and read all 52 blog entries and review for yourself. However, I really hope you have better things to do with your time.)
We’re studying the book of Daniel and we’re currently in the narrative section of the book – chapters 1–6. Specifically, we’re in chapter 4, where Nebuchadnezzar has another terrifying dream (his first was in ch. 2), for which he desperately needs an interpretation. His Babylonian experts will fail him again, and he will call on Daniel to help. This dream signals a turning point in Nebuchadnezzar’s life.
Chapter 4 is the third (and last) chapter in which Nebuchadnezzar is a main character, so before we’re done, we’ll want to think about how Nebuchadnezzar has changed – if indeed he has. Is he the same king we met in chapter 2 or is he different on account of his encounters with Daniel?
Chapter 4 is also the third chapter in a literary structure that controls the book: the Aramaic chiasm of chapters 2–7. So when we move to chapters 5 and 6, we’ll want to compare the familiar character of Nebuchadnezzar with his successors, Belshazzar and Darius. And when we finish chapter 7, we’ll want to ask what the chiasm contributes to our understanding of the book. At my current speed of blogging, we should get through chapter 6 by next September. When we get to chapter 7 and beyond, all bets are off. Our delightful narrative disappears and bewildering apocalyptic takes its place. If you simply cannot wait for that kind of fun, you have but to google “Daniel 7” and you can keep yourself busy long past the time you should.
This concludes our beginning-of-the-year review If your summer was as crazy as mine, you needed it.