25 November 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading starts our study of Daniel in the Old Testament. Daniel begins by recounting how Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and king Jehoiakim. This refers to a siege that took place in 606/605 b.C. The Babylonians besieged Jerusalem again in 597 b.C., then a finally destroyed it in 587/586 b.C. During the siege spoken of here, promising young men from the royal court were chosen and taken to Babylon. In Babylon, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah enter training for the civil service. Daniel and his companions were promoted. Daniel has understanding in dreams and visions.
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 3 The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in some of the children of Israel, even of the royal offspring and of the nobles; 4 youths in whom was no defect, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and endowed with knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king appointed for them a daily portion of the king’s dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at its end they should stand before the king. 6 Now among these were, of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The prince of the eunuchs gave names to them: to Daniel he gave the name Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, Shadrach; and to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s dainties, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. 10 The prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths who are of your own age? so would you endanger my head with the king. 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 Test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our faces be looked on before you, and the face of the youths who eat of the king’s dainties; and as you see, deal with your servants. 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 At the end of ten days their faces appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths who ate of the king’s dainties. 16 So the steward took away their dainties, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse. 17 Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the days which the king had appointed for bringing them in, the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them; and among them all was found no one like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding, concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters who were in all his realm. 21 Daniel continued even to the first year of king Cyrus.
2 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him. 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream. 4 Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in the Syrian language, O king, live forever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 5 The king answered the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you don’t make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream and its interpretation. 7 They answered the second time and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 8 The king answered, I know of a certainty that you would gain time, because you see the thing is gone from me. 9 But if you don’t make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation. 10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth who can show the king’s matter, because no king, lord, or ruler, has asked such a thing of any magician, or enchanter, or Chaldean. 11 It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went out, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain. 14 Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15 he answered Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so urgent from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. 16 Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation. 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then was the secret revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. 21 He changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings, and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals the deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 I thank you, and praise you, you God of my fathers, who have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we desired of you; for you have made known to us the king’s matter.
1 Peter 3:8-4:6
8 Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tender hearted, courteous, 9 not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“He who would love life,
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil,
and his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil, and do good.
Let him seek peace, and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears open to their prayer;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: 16 having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. 18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; 2 that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries. 4 They think it is strange that you don’t run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: 5 who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.
65 Do good to your servant,
according to your word, Yahweh.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted, I went astray;
but now I observe your word.
68 You are good, and do good.
Teach me your statutes.
69 The proud have smeared a lie upon me.
With my whole heart, I will keep your precepts.
70 Their heart is as callous as the fat,
but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver.
73 Your hands have made me and formed me.
Give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you will see me and be glad,
because I have put my hope in your word.
75 Yahweh, I know that your judgments are righteous,
that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Please let your loving kindness be for my comfort,
according to your word to your servant.
77 Let your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the proud be disappointed, for they have overthrown me wrongfully.
I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me.
They will know your statutes.
80 Let my heart be blameless toward your decrees,
that I may not be disappointed.
14 Blessed is the man who always fears;
but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble.