Daniel’s Other Half

I started warning you early about the second half of Daniel (and by “early” I mean within the first month of this blog’s life), and now that we’ve finally arrived, I’m reposting something I said way back then just to get things started… -- I’m teaching Daniel to a group of urban ministry leaders on…

Darius the Precarious

"We've got some news, good King Darius We fear your position is precarious" These opening lines from the Veggie Tales song set in Daniel 6 are truer than the songwriters may have known. One of the many conundrums in the book of Daniel is the identity of Darius the Mede, the ruler who succeeds Babylonian…

Speed Bumps and Sermons

I have to drive over six particularly obnoxious speed bumps every time I leave my condo parking lot. “Bump” is what you’d properly call them if they were half their height. Bellingham seems to love such speed “bumps,” but I can’t figure out if their abundance means we live in the fast lane or the…

Look Who’s Talkin’

One of the unusual features of the story of Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall (Dan 5) is the amount of space it devotes to people talking. There are three unusually long speeches by three different characters. The first is by the queen (vv. 11-12), who is followed by the king (vv. 13-16). Finally…

Men of Few Words

The heroes of the fiery furnace story are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but they are quiet heroes, speaking a mere forty-one (Hebrew) words in a single speech (vv. 16–18). The Chaldeans and the king are regular chatterboxes by comparison. The Jews are also collective heroes – that is, never do we hear of just Shadrach…

Sticks & Stones & Unburned Bones

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is nowhere in the mind of the storyteller of Daniel 3. He fully intends to mock Nebuchadnezzar, and he does so through his use of repetition. But why is he picking on poor old King Nebuchadnezzar? Is he worth mocking just because he’s a…

Let the Music Play

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego step onto a stage that is set for them in Daniel 3:1–7. It’s a stage replete with pomp and ceremony and, I suggest, a fair bit of mockery. The king has orchestrated a grand occasion. You can tell it’s grand because everyone who’s anyone is summoned to be there (v.2). And…

Pete & Repeat…

I grew up a dog person, which might explain why I didn’t meet the book Millions of Cats until I took a children’s literature class in college. I don’t remember the plot (except that it involved lots of cats), but I can still recite half the book to you – every other page or so…