Daniel 2 – Part Two (Joseph 2.0)

We continue in our series in the OT book of Daniel, with a three-part study in Daniel 2. Yesterday was all about the story surrounding the dream (which you’ll need to read first), and on Monday we’ll look at the content of the dream itself. Today, however, we look at how Daniel’s story reminds us of another famous dream interpreter.*

Joseph 2.0

There are many similarities between Daniel 2 and the story of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dream in Genesis 41. Here’s a quick overview:

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Daniel 2 – Part One (I have a dream)

We continue in our series in the OT book of Daniel, with a three-part study in Daniel 2. Today will be all about the story surrounding the dream. Tomorrow we’ll look at how the story intersects with that of  Joseph, and on Monday we’ll look at the content of the dream itself.

By the end of chapter one, Daniel had risen to importance as one of king Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men. His wisdom gets put to the test, as Nebuchadnezzar has a dream.

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Daniel 1 (with vegetarian option)

In our Daniel series so far, we’ve looked at three background stories: Daniel in exile in Babylon in the sixth century BC, Jews living under Greek rule in the second century BC, and us. Despite their differences, they all have something in common. They involve the the people of God facing the dilemma of how to remain faithful to God while living in a world that doesn’t acknowledge him.

Today, we look at the first story in the book of Daniel, where Daniel himself is confronted with this dilemma right from the get-go.

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Introducing Daniel – Part Two

Please start with yesterday’s post. We’re looking at the background to the book of Daniel, and three stories that will help us work out what it’s doing in our Bible. The first story was that of Daniel and his friends, exiled in Babylon in the sixth century BC. Today, we look at the other two stories.

Antiochus IV and the Maccabean Revolution

There’s a second story that’s important for us in understanding the book of Daniel – not the story of Daniel and his compatriots, but the story of its first readers.

You see, although Daniel lived in the sixth century BC, the book of Daniel in the form we have it probably* dates to the early second century BC. And the stories of Daniel and his friends in exile would have been significant for Jews living in this period. Why? Let’s take a quick look at their history.

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Introducing Daniel – Part One

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at the Old Testament book of Daniel (chapters 1-6; we’ll come back and do 7-12 later in the year). The first half of Daniel contains a number of familiar stories: Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, the fiery furnace, the writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, and Daniel’s visit to the lions’ den. All Sunday School favourites, despite the “mature themes” – mental illness, combustible henchmen, idolatrous orgies, and women and children being fed to lions. (Who needs Game of Thrones?) But what are they supposed to teach us? What are they doing in our bibles?

Today and tomorrow, we’re going to look at three stories that will help us answer this question over the coming weeks. One story is set in Babylon, in the sixth century BC. Another is set in Judea, in the second century BC. And the other – well, you’re living it at the moment. (Later on in the week, we’ll also briefly meet a fourth story that predates all of these.) Confused? Let’s get started!

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