Day 238: Fall of Jerusalem

Jeremiah 20:1-6 Pashhur the priest took Jeremiah into custody and had him beaten and placed in stocks overnight. Nevertheless, upon release, Jeremiah picked up the prophecy where he left off, pronouncing condemnation upon Judah with a particular aim at Pashhur. 

Ch 20:7-18 The fifth “confession” of Jeremiah is perhaps his most powerful. He complained about his difficulties and rejections but remained steadfast in his faith and trust in God, knowing that the Lord would not abandon him. The prayers of the prophets sometimes complained or took issue with God, but even in such instances they were essentially prayers of intercession for the people awaiting the coming of the Messiah. (CCC 2584)

Ch 21:1-14 After their first conquest of Jerusalem in 597 BC, the Babylonians installed a new king, Zedekiah, as a vassal lord over Judah. Zedekiah tried to win some allies and revolt against Babylon, but it was a futile effort; the Babylonians returned in 587 BC to inflict more damage. As they approached, Jeremiah suddenly became important to Zedekiah, who asked the prophet to perform a miracle or to ask God to turn back the offensive. However, it was too late: God was set on using Babylon’s victory to punish his people who had refused to heed God’s exhortations to rely on him alone.

The Book of Daniel

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(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Daniel 1-14 This book is set in Babylon during the Babylonian Exile under the reign of both Nebuchadnezzar and the subsequent Persian rule. Some scholars view this setting as a coded allegory for the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid Greek leader who desecrated the Temple in 167 BC. The Book of Daniel was written partly by a narrator in the third person, (Chapters 1-6, 13-14) and partly in the first person voice of Daniel (Chapters 7-12). The Greek Septuagint, Latin Vulgate, and Hebrew texts have significant differences, including several blocks of text appearing in some versions but not others. This book is prophetic and apocalyptic; the visions pertain to his present day as well as to the coming of the Messiah and to the end of the world. The story of Daniel’s miraculous survival in the lion’s den is among the best known stories of the Old Testament.

Ch 1:1-7 There is some discrepancy in the dates, as the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign would have been nearly a decade before the first deportation to Babylon (Shinar, in Greek) in 597 BC. 

To serve in the king’s palace: It was a fairly common practice for conquering kings to appoint some members of the conquered people to government positions, particularly in matters pertaining to their own people.

Ch 1:8-16 The faithfulness of Daniel and the three companions was rewarded. Their refusal to eat the meat of pagan cuisine was a clear demonstration of their unswerving fidelity to the Law. The food prepared in the king’s court may have violated Jewish dietary laws or could have been used in pagan sacrifices. Sympathetic court officials accommodated Daniel’s desires and prepared meals consistent with Jewish regulations. (CCC 307)

Ch 1:17-21 It was abundantly clear that Daniel and his coterie of companions enjoyed divine assistance. This was especially reflected in their profound wisdom. True wisdom transcends academic knowledge and involves an integrated moral life and a sound will. (CCC 216, 2690)

Ch 2:1-12 None can show...the gods: The seers spoke the truth, except in their reference to a multitude of gods. Only the one true God, endowed with infinite wisdom and power, could reveal the king’s dream to them. (CCC 2117, 2138)

Ch 2:13-24 Daniel’s affiliation with the palace seers is not clear, but his intervention on their behalf suggests that they enjoyed a good relationship. A deep spiritual life coupled with a deep wisdom enabled Daniel and his companions to interpret the king’s dream effectively. (CCC 2104)

Ch 2:25-35 In his audience with the king, Daniel gave all the credit and glory to God for having revealed the dream to him. In doing so he excused the king’s seers for their inability to understand the dream and likely saved them from execution. The dream was highly symbolic: the pieces of various metals represented different kingdoms in their respective eras of history. The stone signified the power of God, which would shatter the idol completely. The destroying stone is a type of Christ (TYPOLOGY!!), who overcame sin, falsehood, and the Devil through the power of his redemptive Sacrifice. (CCC 288)

Ch 2:36-49 Daniel acknowledged Nebuchadnezzar’s power as something given by God to accomplish his will among the Jewish people. The underlying interpretation pointed to God’s absolute sovereignty over the world and its historical development. The king was moved by Daniel’s wisdom and, consequently, acknowledged the God of Israel. The interaction between Daniel and the king demonstrates God’s intervention in drawing the pagan people to the truth. Christ noted that all civil authorities derives from the authority of God, and the Catechism teaches that civil authority has an obligation to rule in accord with God’s will as expressed in natural law. (CCC 1899, 1901, 1918, 2234, 2238)

Proverbs 15:28 St. Peter wrote, concerning the proper response to insult and persecution, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who may revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Pt 3:15-16). (CCC 1716)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Key Event 46: Image of the Five Kingdoms (Daniel 2)

Daniel reveals and interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, in which the king saw an images representing four kingdoms that will rule over the people of God: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Daniel prophesies that in the time of the fourth kingdom, God will establish his own kingdom, which will have no end.

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we thank you so much. We give you praise and glory. Lord God, thank you so much not only for your wisdom in Proverbs, but also for helping us follow along with Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet, and thank you for introducing us to Daniel and his companions, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. We thank you so much for the gift that you are, the gift that these prophets have been to us, to the world, to history, and how they just keep pointing back to you, keep pointing to your truth. Help us to walk in your truth and live in your truth this day and every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”