The bible is a collection of books some of which are narratives and others are poetic. The New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament is a historical collection, which talks about the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings and that of the apostles. Most of these books are historical narratives while some are epistles filled with the knowledge of God. They are narratives, which describe the life and teachings of Jesus Christ using all types of persons. On the other hand, the Old Testament is conglomeration of narratives books and the poetic books. The narratives books also talk about manifestations of God with His children and the mighty and awesome deeds that He did. The poetic books are also inclusive as part of the Old Testament, and they talk about the praises to God and knowledge of God (Buttrick, 1957). Therefore, narrative and poetic books are many in the Bible, and dilemma comes when choosing the right and relevant passage in the course.
However, there is a book in the bible concerning a young men and massive encounters with God,and it makes the reader motivated to live a holy life and fearing God all the times. The awesome chapter is a prophetic book written by Daniel the prophet while in the exile of Babylon. The book of Daniel is found in the Old Testament as one approaches the end of the Old Testament version. It has twelve chapters, and it narrates the life of Daniel and his brothers (Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego) in the times they were living in Babylon as slaves. Though as slaves, they trusted in their God and did not eat unclean food nor worshipped the idol and the actions made them desirable in the eyes of God (Lowry, 2006).
Summary of Daniel chapter1-12(narrative passage), identification of passage and content
The book of Daniel starts when king Nebuchadnezzar calls his eunuch and orders him to get wise, handsome and knowledge men from the land of Judah so that they may be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans. Among the men chosen is Daniel, who is later, called Belteshazzar, Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego and they are to be living in the palace eating the food of the king and wine. However, the men request the eunuch to spare them eating the foods of the King since according to their God; it was a sin to do that. Therefore, the men continued eating vegetables and water, and when the time came for them to appear before the king, the four men appeared fatter and energetic compared to other men who were eating the king’s diet. God increased the knowledge and understanding amongst the men, and it was good for them and for the kingdom (The Holy Bible, 1985).
As Daniel and his friends continued living in the palace, King Nebuchadnezzar had a strange dream, and it troubled him very much, He called for all the Wiseman, astrologers, soothsayers and sorcerers to tell him the dream. He requested that if the wise men would not tell the dream then he would order their killing. Since they did not tell him the truth, he started ordering them to be killed, and Daniel requested the commander of the army to take him to the king and he would tell him his dream. Upon the king hearing this, he pardoned the wise men until Daniel told the dream. Finally, Daniel told the dream to the King, and he was awarded with all gifts and was put in charge of the province. He later, requested the king take along his friends that are Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego (The Holy Bible, 1985).
When Daniel was the head of the province, Nebuchadnezzar built a very big image of gold and ordered all the people to bow down and worship upon hearing the sound of the horn. However, Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego did not bow to the image and the Chaldeans reported them to the King. The king was very angry and he asked them why they could not worship the image. They told him they should not worship any other God, apart from the living God. Then Nebuchadnezzar told them that they wait and see whether their God would save them from his hand, they told him that their God would save them but even if he would not, they would never worship any image. The king was very angry, he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times, and the three men were bound together and put in the furnace. However, the men and could not burn, and mighty men of valor who took them to the fire died. Additionally, Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego were bound and yet in the fire they were free. Nebuchadnezzar saw that and affirmed that s it was the son of God that is amongst them and ordered the men outside the fire (The Holy Bible, 1985). After the incidence, the king ordered and said that for all the languages of the earth, they should not worship any other God apart from the God of Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego. That marked another point where God was glorifying himself. After the incidence of Meshach Shadrach and Abed-Nego, the king promoted them in the entire province of Babylon.
The book continues to explain the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and how was likened to the tree which was very magnificent and ultimately what came of him. The tree in the dream was his kingdom and how he would be taken away from the throne by Almighty God and later returned to the throne by Almighty God so that he can know that there is no other God and he gives honor and kingdom to whoever he may desire. Nebuchadnezzar ate the grass for a period of seven years, and he had developed claws and feathers like that of an eagle and through that, and he came to learn that God was the true God. Later on, God restored the kingdom to Nebuchadnezzar and he ruled fearing God and His statues. After the death of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king’s son by the name Belshazzar became the king, and he did not fear the God, who had made his father a beast for seven years. He continued worshipping the iron and wood gods, and this made God angry. He even organized a party and called a party where his men and concubines drank wine with the gold vessels which were taken from the temple by his father Nebuchadnezzar. He used those vessels and the hand of man wrote of the wall “MENE MENE TEKEL UP HARSIN”, and he could not understand the language. Then he called on Daniel who interpreted the meaning of the message, and it meant his reign had to come an end for God was angry because he had used the vessels of the house of God. Finally, King Darius came, overthrew Belshazzar, and continued to rule the kingdom (The Holy Bible, 1985).
Daniel was an honest man, and King Darius set him to be overall governor since he was exceptional, and he had the spirit of God. The satraps and governors sought ways to get him, but they could not since he was a straight man in all his dealings. Then they agreed with the other people to lure king Darius t o set aside, days where they would not worship any other God apart from the king. They knew that they would get Daniel for he routinely worshipped God in the morning, noon and evening. Therefore, the king sealed the law, which he passed. Unfortunately, they caught Daniel playing to his God, and he was taken before the king. The king was upset for he found that it was not right to punish Daniel. However, he had to fulfill the law and Daniel was thrown in the den of lions. The King was very upset by the action and that night he did not eat nor drank. He rose very in the morning and ordered the den to be opened only to find that Daniel was sound alive and he was taken out. The king was happy, he ordered the men who brought the heresy to be thrown in the den of lions with their families, and the lions devoured them. Daniel was saved from the den of lions, and he continued praying and fasting waiting the day they would b released from the slavery (The Holy Bible, 1985).
Daniel kept dreaming and seeing the visions, which he prayed to God, and the Lord gave him answers. Once he dreamt a vision, which disturbed him very much, and for that reason, he started fasting and asking God for an answer. Then God answered him but the angel who was sent by God was blocked by the prince of Persia but Daniel continued praying and fasting and God sent the archangel Michael and the message was released. The angel delivered the message, which God had given his servant Daniel, and it was concerning what would happen in the last days. In the vision, God showed him how, there nations will be and how knowledge will be increased in the world (The Holy Bible, 1985). Moreover, he was shown how the mighty kingdom that will come and spearhead the worship of gods that have never been heard. More also, he prophesies the fall of Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia and sustenance of Moab and Edom. Finally, King Cyrus the great came and Daniel befriended him and through the friendship, he allowed the Israelites to back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the fallen wall.
An analysis of the literary style and characteristics of the passage
According to the above passage, it is pivotal to note that the book of Daniel is more of prophetic though a lot of the descriptive narrative has been used. Both the past events and those in the future are narrated clearly throughout the passage. There are various literary styles, which have been used in the writing of the book of Daniel. Use of symbolism is highly used in the book and most of the symbols, which are narrated throughout the book, are visions and dreams from God. In the beginning of the chapter, king Nebuchadnezzar, dreams and demands astrologers and other wise men to tell him the dream. However, only Daniel manages, and it is a form of a symbol. The golden symbol of a man and its breaking is interpreted as the breaking of king Nebuchadnezzar and fate that awaits him upon him. The symbol is the image that is made the king and orders the people to worship it. The men chosen by God refuse to worship the image and the rescue is the triumph that saints will get upon refusing to worship the idols and the antichrist that is coming in the world. In a vision, Daniel sees the symbol of the goat that is destroyed by another goat that has two sharp horns. The symbols refer to the kingdoms that will come and go towards the end of time (Buttrick, 1957).
Moreover, aesthetics and distinguished way of life is another literary style that is evident in the book. There is distinguished way of life amongst the Jews and that of the Chaldeans. The Jews have some foods that they are not supposed to eat while the Chaldeans still have their diet.the interaction of the two cultures brings a group of people who know their God refuse to eat defiled food and God makes them distinguished. Finally, the story of Daniel and the encounters of Babylon are told in all persons, which include omniscient narrator, the second person and even the first person. The narration styles make the entire narration interesting hence terming it as the ultimate book to study (Buttrick, 1957).
Application of the appropriate exegetical approach
Exegetical analysis is the critical examination of the text of a given text with the aim of explanation, clarification and interpretation. It is breaking the bible in different parents reading them and finally befitting at the individual level. The reading helps a Christian to understand the principles of God that are vital in the last days that Christians are living today. Exegetical reading helps the bible readers to be redactors of the bible meaning that they draw their information from the bible (Taylor, 2007).
Using the exegetical approach to study the book of Daniel various issues will be brought out which are paramount for any individual who is a Christian today. First, the book starts with Daniel refusal to defile himself with the food and wine of the King since the bible dictates what children of God should eat and what they should not eat .For instance, the bible said that the Israelites were not supposed to eat dead meat or that which has blood in it. Since, the food of the king of Chaldeans had all things Daniel resolved not to defile himself with that food. God saw commitment that Daniel had to please Him and He gave him favor in the eyes of the eunuch and allowed him to be eating vegetables. He and his brothers were much fatter and energetic compared to all other, men who were eating the food of the king. This shows that obedient to God is important, and God follows those who are obedient to him just to bless and maintain them (Taylor, 2007).
Knowledge of God is important since God reveals even the hidden secrets, which men cannot know. Not all the astrologers and wise men could know the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar but God revealed it to his servant Daniel, and he told it to the king. After Knowing, the dream, he was rewarded with wealth and leadership, these shows that service, and obedient to God is important and the Lord values such attitude. Quoting from the book of Joshua and Deuteronomy, God chastened the children of Israel in the wilderness to whether their hearts was directed to God. Similarly, he allowed Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego to be tested so that He could glorify himself through them. He allowed them to be put in the fire but the fire could not harm for he was with them. The word of God and this episode shows that God will allow his children to pass through fire and later on glorify himself with them. After Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego survived the fire, the king promoted them, and this shows that temptations are stairs into the higher place in the kingdom of God and in the world (Wilson, & Allis, 1972).
Having good fellowship with God allows one to know all things, which are in secret, and those things, which are to come. God loved Daniel, and he used to show him all things, he would show him visions of what will happen in the later days. God Showed Daniel the vision of the later days and since the devil did not want him to know the truth; he blocked the angel of God so that Daniel would not know the truth. However, God kept waiting, and finally God revealed to him what will happen in the later days. In the vision, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Him, and showed all what would happen (Wolf, 1961). He showed him how the king would come and destroy the city and the blood of the saints he will shed. Moreover, the angel of the showed him how knowledge will increase in the last days and also how people will turn away from God and worship God, which their forefathers did not know. Chapter 10 and 11 of the book of Daniel is very relevant to what is happening in these days and what is expected to happen before the Lord Jesus Christ comes for his Church. In short, the book of Daniel is a real manifestation of the power of God His actions towards the people who fear and honor Him. It is a practical book that every Christian should read for knowledge of God which is paramount for survival in the dangerous times that we are living(Buttrick, 1957).
In conclusion, the boom of Daniel is applicable in the contemporary world. Today’s society does not value God, and all their actions are aggressions against God. Just as the Chaldeans did not know God, the society does not know God and that is why there is evil all over the world. However, this can be avoided through reading the book of Daniel. Through it, one can get to understand how God rewards those who love him and those who hate him. God loved Daniel and all the people who wanted to harm him God punished. Therefore, it is important for people be friends of God through obedience and loving His holy name. If people love and honor God, they will not engage in some practices that are happening today as homosexuality and lesbianism. Moreover, people have turned to other gods, and they sacrifice their children and people to them. These gods will not save them in the day of trouble and they will be destroyed together in the lake of fire. Therefore, the book of Daniel is important and contemporary for all the people, Christians and non-Christians.
Buttrick, G. A. (1957). The Interpreter’s Bible: the Holy Scriptures in the King James and Revised standard versions with general articles and introduction, exegesis, exposition for each book of the Bible.. New York,: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press.Lowry, B. (2006, January 5). The Book of Daniel.(Television Program Review). Daily Variety, 3, 12.Taylor, R. A. (2007). The Book of Daniel in the Bible of Edessa. Aramaic Studies, 5(2), 239-253.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments.. (1985). Nashville, Tenn.: Gideons International.
Wilson, R. D., & Allis, O. T. (1972). Studies in the book of Daniel. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.
Wolf, C. U. (1961). Daniel and the Lord’s Prayer: A Synthesis of the Theology of the Book of Daniel. Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, 15(4), 398-410.