Week 46, Day 3 in the LEB

Nov 15, 2023

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The reading for today is Daniel 4-6; John 18.

Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.

Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar the king to all of the nations, the peoples and languages that live in the whole earth: "May your prosperity increase! It is pleasing to me to recount the signs and wonders that the Most High God worked for me. How great are his signs and wonders, how strong is his kingdom, an everlasting kingdom; and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.

"I, Nebuchadnezzar, was content in my house and prospering in my palace. And I saw a dream and a revelation on my bed and it frightened me, and the visions of my head terrified me. And a decree was sent out, ordering that all the wise men of Babylon were to be brought in before me so that they may make known to me the explanation of the dream. Then the magicians, the conjurers, the astrologers and the diviners came in and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its explanation. Then at last Daniel came before me whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom was the spirit of the holy gods, and I related the dream to him.

"‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I myself know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Now tell me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its explanation. Now these were the visions of my head as I was lying on my bed: I was gazing and, look, a tree was in the midst of the earth, and its height was exalted.

The tree grew and it became strong,
    and its height reached to heaven,
    and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.
Its foliage was beautiful,
    and its fruit abundant,
    and in it was provision for all.
Under it the animals of the field sought shade,
    and in its branches the birds of heaven nested,
    and from it all the living beings were fed.

"‘I was looking in the vision of my head as I lay on my bed, and look, a watcher, and a holy one, came down from heaven.

He cried aloud and so he said:

"Cut down the tree and chop off its branches;
    shake off its foliage and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from under it,
    and the birds from its branches.
But the stump of its roots
    leave in the earth,
along with a band of iron and bronze;
    leave it in the grass of the field.
And in the dew of heaven
    let it be watered,
and with the animals
    let his lot be in the grass of the earth.
Let his mind be changed from that of a human,
    and let the mind of an animal be given to him,
    and let seven times pass over him.
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers,
    and the decision by the command of the holy ones,
in order that the living will know
    that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind,
and to whomever he wills he gives it,
    and he even sets the humblest of men over it."

"‘This is the dream that I, Nebuchadnezzar the king, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its explanation, for all of the wise men of my kingdom were not able to make the explanation known to me, but you are able because the spirit of holy gods is in you.’

"Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was distressed for some time, and his thoughts disturbed him. The king answered and he said, ‘Belteshazzar, let the dream and its explanation not disturb you.’ Belteshazzar answered and said, ‘My lord, may the dream and its explanation be for those who hate you and for your enemies. The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong and its height reached to heaven and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, and its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and so there was provision for all in it, and the animals of the field lived under it and in its branches nest the birds of heaven, —it is you, O king, who have grown great and you have grown strong, and so your greatness has increased and it has reached to heaven and your sovereignty to the end of the earth. And inasmuch that the king saw the watcher, a holy one coming down from heaven and he said, "Cut down the tree and destroy it, but the stump of its root in the earth leave with a band of iron and bronze in the grass of the field, and let it be watered with the dew of heaven and let his lot be with the animals of the field until seven times have passed over him." This is the explanation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: you will be driven away from human society and you will dwell with the animals of the field, and you will be caused to graze grass like the oxen yourself, and you will be watered with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time will pass over you until that you have acknowledged that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and to whom he wills he gives it. And in that they said to leave alone the stump of the tree’s root, so your kingdom will be restored for you when you acknowledge that heaven is sovereign. Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you and your sin remove with righteousness and your iniquity with having mercy on the oppressed, in case there might be a prolongation of your prosperity.’"

All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. And the king answered and said, "Is this not the great Babylon which I have built as a royal palace by the strength of my own power, and for the glory of my own majesty?" While the words were still in the mouth of the king, a voice from heaven came, saying, ‘To you, King Nebuchadnezzar, it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you, and you will be driven away from human society and your dwelling will be with the animals of the field and they will cause you to graze the grass like oxen, and seven times will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind and that he gives it to whom he wills.’ Immediately the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar, and he was expelled from human society and he ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair was like the hair of an eagle and his nails grew like a bird’s claws.

"But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and then my reason returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and the one who lives forever I praised and I honored.

"For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
    and his kingdom continues from generation to generation.
And all the dwellers of the earth
    are regarded as nothing,
and he does according to his desire
    in the host of heaven and among the dwellers of earth,
and there is not one who can hold back his hand,
    or ask him, ‘What are you doing?’

"At that time my reason returned to me, and also the glory of my kingdom and my majesty and splendor returned to me, and my advisers and my lords searched me out, and I was established over my kingdom and abundant greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and honor the king of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice and that he is able to humble those who walk in pride."

Daniel 5

Belshazzar the king made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and in the presence of the thousand lords he was drinking wine. When he tasted the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar his predecessor had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines may drink from them. Then they brought in the vessels of gold that they took from the temple, the house of God that was in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.

Immediately human fingers appeared and they wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the palace of the king, and the king was watching the palm of the hand that was writing. Then his face changed and his thoughts terrified him, and his hip joints gave way and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the conjurers, the astrologers and the diviners; the king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, "Any man that can read this writing and can tell me its explanation will be clothed in purple and will have a necklace of gold hung around his neck and he will rule as third in authority in the kingdom." Then all the wise men of the king came in, but they were not able to read the writing or to make known its explanation. Then the king, Belshazzar, became greatly terrified, and his facial features changed upon him, and his lords were perplexed.

Because of the words of the king and his lords, the queen came into the banqueting hall and the queen spoke up and said, "O king, live forever, and let not your thoughts terrify you and do not let your facial expressions grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. And in the days of your predecessor, enlightenment and insight and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods was found in him; and, O king, Nebuchadnezzar your predecessor appointed him as chief of the magicians, the conjurers, the astrologers, and the diviners. Your predecessor the king did this because there was found in him an excellent spirit and understanding and insight for interpreting dreams and explaining riddles and solving riddles; that is, in Daniel whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now, let Daniel be called and he will tell the explanation."

Then Daniel was brought in before the king, and the king spoke and said to Daniel, "You are Daniel who are one of the exiles of Judah whom my predecessor, the king, brought from Judah. And I have heard that a spirit of the gods is in you and enlightenment and insight and excellent wisdom was found in you. And now the wise men and the conjurers were brought in before me so that they could read this writing in order to make its explanation known to me, but they were not able to disclose the explanation of the matter. But I have heard concerning you that you are able to produce interpretations and to solve riddles; now if you are able to read the writing and to make known its explanation to me, you will be clothed in purple and a necklace of gold will be placed around your neck and you will rule as third in command in the kingdom."

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself or your rewards give to another; nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and I will make known to him the explanation. O king, the Most High God gave the kingdom and the greatness and the glory and the majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your predecessor. And because of the greatness that he gave to him, all the peoples, the nations and languages trembled and feared before him; whomever he wanted he killed, and whomever he wanted he let live, and whomever he wanted he honored, and whomever he wanted he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and his spirit became hard so as to act proudly, he was deposed from the throne of his kingdom and the glory was taken away from him. And he was driven away from human society and his mind was made like the animals and his dwelling was with the wild asses; and he was given grass like oxen to eat, and with the dew of heaven his body was bathed, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and whoever he wants he sets over it.

"But you his successor, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart even though you knew all this. And now you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven, and the vessels of his temple you have brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have been drinking wine from them, and you have praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that do not see and do not hear and do not know, but the God who holds your life in his hand and all of your ways come from him, you have not honored. So then the palm of the hand was sent out from his presence and this writing was inscribed.

"Now this was the writing that was inscribed: ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.’

"This is the explanation of the matter: ‘Mene’—God has numbered your kingdom and brought an end to it.

"‘Tekel’—you have been weighed on scales and you have been found wanting.

"‘Peres’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’"

Then Belshazzar commanded, and they clothed Daniel with purple and placed a necklace of gold around his neck, and they made a proclamation concerning him that he would be the third ruler in authority in the kingdom. That same night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old.

Daniel 6

It pleased Darius, and he set up one hundred and twenty satraps over the kingdom, that they were throughout the whole kingdom, and over them were three administrators, of whom Daniel was one, so that these satraps were giving account to them, and the king would not be suffering loss. Then Daniel began distinguishing himself above the administrators and the satraps because an exceptional spirit was in him, and so the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. Then the other administrators and satraps began to seek to find a pretext against Daniel in connection with the kingdom, but they were not able to find any pretext and corruption because he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. Then these men said, "We will not find any pretext against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."

So the administrators and the satraps conspired with respect to the king and so they said to him, "Darius, O king, live forever! All of the administrators of the kingdom, and the prefects, the satraps, the counselors and the governors took counsel and have agreed to establish an edict of the king and to enforce a decree that whoever will seek a prayer from any god or human except from you for up to thirty days will be thrown into the lion pit. Now, O king, establish the edict and you must sign the document so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be revoked."

So the king, Darius, signed the writing and the interdict. Now when Daniel realized that the document was signed, he went to his house (now he had windows in his upper room that were open toward Jerusalem), and three times daily he knelt on his knees and prayed and gave praise before his God, just as he had been doing previously. Then these men came as a group and they found Daniel praying and pleading for mercy before his God. Then they approached and spoke with the king concerning the edict of the king, "Did you not sign an edict that any person who would seek anything from any God or human within thirty days except from you, O king, would be thrown into the lion pit?" The king answered and said, "The matter as you have just stated is certain according to the law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be revoked."

Then they responded and said before the king, "Daniel, who is from the exiles of Judah, is not paying any attention to you, O king, or to the decree that you have signed, and three times daily he says his prayer." Then the king, when he heard that report, he was extremely distressed over it; and concerning Daniel he was determined to rescue him. And until the setting of the sun he was making every effort to deliver him. Then these men came as a group to the king and said, "Recall, O king, that with respect to the law of the Medes and Persians that any decree or edict that the king establishes cannot be changed."

Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought in and they threw him into the lion pit. The king said to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve faithfully, may he rescue you!" And a stone was brought and it was put on the entrance of the pit, and the king sealed it with his signet ring and with the signet rings of his lords, so that nothing would be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night in fasting, and no food was brought in before him and his sleep fled from him.

Then the king got up at daybreak, at first light, and he went in haste to the lion pit. And when he came near to the pit, he cried out to Daniel with a distressed voice, and the king spoke and said to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, your God whom you serve faithfully, was he able to rescue you from the lions?" Then Daniel spoke to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouth of the lions and they did not hurt me, because before him I was found blameless, and also before you, O king, I have not done any wrong."

Then the king was exceedingly glad over it and commanded that Daniel be lifted up from the pit; and there was not any wound found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king then commanded, and these men were brought who had accused Daniel, and they threw them and their children and their wives into the lion pit, and they had not reached the floor of the pit before the lions had overpowered them and they had crushed all of their bones.

Then Darius the king wrote to all the people, the nations, and the languages living in the whole earth, "May your prosperity become great! I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom people will be trembling and fearing before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God and endures forever and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed and his dominion has no end. He is rescuing, delivering, and working signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth, for he has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." So this Daniel prospered during the kingdom of Darius and during the kingdom of Cyrus the Persian.

John 18

When Jesus had said these things, he went out with his disciples to the other side of the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden into which he and his disciples entered. (Now Judas, the one who betrayed him, also knew about the place, because Jesus often gathered there with his disciples.) So Judas, taking the cohort and officers from the chief priests and from the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, because he knew all the things that were coming upon him, went out and said to them, "Who are you looking for?" They replied to him, "Jesus the Nazarene." He said to them, "I am he." (Now Judas, the one who betrayed him, was also standing with them.) So when he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. Then he asked them again, "Who are you looking for?" And they said, "Jesus the Nazarene." Jesus replied, "I said to you that I am he! So if you are looking for me, let these men go," in order that the word that he had spoken would be fulfilled: "Those whom you have given to me—I have not lost anyone of them."

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. (Now the name of the slave was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, "Put the sword into its sheath! The cup that the Father has given me—shall I not drink it?"

Then the cohort and the military tribune and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and tied him up, and brought him to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. (Now it was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was better that one man die for the people.)

So Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. (Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.) But Peter was standing by the door outside. So the other disciple who was known to the high priest went out and spoke to the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. Then the female slave who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "You are not also one of the disciples of this man, are you?" He said, "I am not!" (Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were warming themselves. And Peter was also standing there with them and warming himself.)

So the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus replied to him, "I have spoken openly to the world. I always taught in the synagogue and in the temple courts where all the Jews assemble, and I have said nothing in secret. Why are you asking me? Ask those who heard what I have said to them! Behold, these people know what I said." Now when he had said these things, one of the officers who was standing by gave a slap in the face to Jesus, saying, "Do you reply to the high priest in this way?" Jesus replied to him, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify about what is wrong! But if I have spoken correctly, why do you strike me?" Then Annas sent him, tied up, to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there and warming himself. So they said to him, "You are not also one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not!" One of the slaves of the high priest, who was related to the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?" So Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s residence. Now it was early, and they did not enter into the governor’s residence so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?" They answered and said to him, "If this man were not doing evil, we would not have handed him over to you!" So Pilate said to them, "You take him and judge him according to your law!" The Jews said to him, "It is not permitted for us to kill anyone," in order that the word of Jesus would be fulfilled that he had spoken, indicating by what sort of death he was going to die.

Then Pilate entered again into the governor’s residence and summoned Jesus and said to him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "Do you say this from yourself, or have others said this to you about me?" Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your people and the chief priests handed you over to me! What have you done?" Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here." Then Pilate said to him, "So then you are a king!" Jesus replied, "You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I have come into the world: in order that I can testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, "I find no basis for an accusation against him. But it is your custom that I release for you one prisoner at the Passover. So do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?" Then they shouted again, saying, "Not this man, but Barabbas!" (Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.)