Friday, June 22, 2012

Ezekiel 24-48, Daniel 1-10

This week, there was nothing specific that really jumped out at me. But in reading Daniel, i noticed something interesting: While Daniel has earned some honor and respect for himself in Babylon, the Babylonians have not converted to Judaism. They realize that his God is pretty powerful (witness the interpretation of dreams, the fiery furnace, the lion's den, etc), but they continue to worship their own. It is this, in fact, that gets Daniel thrown to the lions in the first place.

But every time there is some kind of confusion or emergency, and the king's advisers call on Daniel, they refer to the Hebrew God in glowing terms (Daniel 4:34-37, 6:24-28, etc). It's unlikely that "heathens" who worshiped a different god would be so complimentary of this one. They might recognize His power and authority in some areas, but they would not speak of him worshipfully. They would either convert or be a little less effusive.

History is written by the victors. I'm not saying that the "history" parts of the Bible are a pack of lies, but it is important to remember that the Hebrews themselves wrote it. It is possible to write an account that is 100% factual, and yet present the information in such a way that even other eyewitnesses wouldn't recognize the story. And i have to wonder how often the Hebrew scholars and historians painted up the facts a little. Did the king's advisers trust and respect Daniel? Yes, the ones who didn't want him dead. Did they have some respect for the God that was able to protect him from harm and interpret dreams? Yes, the ones who weren't so jealous of his success and his closeness to the King that they created religiously oppressive laws for the sole purpose of having him killed.

Those of you who remember Veggie Tales might recall one of my favorite songs, the one where the king's advisers are scheming against Daniel:
Oh no, what we gonna do?
The King likes Daniel more than me and you!
Oh no, what we gonna do?

We gotta get him out of here!

It's important, when reading the Bible, to keep in mind who wrote it and what motivations they may have had for presenting the truth in a certain light. A people enslaved by another nation need a reason to feel superior to their captors. Like the certainty that all the Babylonians were in awe of the Hebrew God.

Just something to think about.

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