Day 242: King Nebuchadnezzar's Role

Jeremiah 26:12-14 Around 608 BC Jeremiah again began predicting the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by foreign invaders. The people and princes were angered at this prediction and sought Jeremiah’s death but soon relented and allowed him to live. King Jehoiakim also wanted to have Jeremiah killed-just as he had the previous prophet Uriah-but Jeremiah was spared on account of his defenders.

Ch 27:1-22 Zedekiah met with several other kings of the region in 594 BC to plan a possible revolt against the Babylonians. The Lord had Jeremiah attend the meeting to explain that Judah must accept the Babylonian rule because it was God’s will and, therefore, any revolt would be met with disaster. Since the false prophets had the king’s ear, however, he paid heed to them and not to the true prophet, Jeremiah.

Ch 27:5 Because God is Omnipotent, he has the power to do whatever he wills at any time. Being the Creator of all things, he has sovereignty and control over everything. 

(CCC 269)

Daniel 8:1-14 The ram and the goat are allegories for the Greek expansion that would defeat the Medo-Persian Empire. The “first king,” represented by the goat’s horn, is Alexander the Great, who broke both horns of the ram, signifying the Persians and the Medes. Following the death of Alexander, his empire was divided among his four generals-Philip, Antigonus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy-who are represented here by the four horns that replaced the large horn. When Antiochus IV Epiphanes was elevated to power, he waged war against the other Greek generals; he is signified by the “little horn” that grows out of one of the four horns of the goat. The stars that are trampled are the people of Israel who were killed in his siege, and the overthrow of the sanctuary and its offerings refers to Antiochus’ destruction and desecration of the Temple. 

Two thousand and three hundred evenings: This figure is not meant as an exact measure of time; rather, it means that Antiochus’ reign would come to an end soon and that his days were numbered. 

Ch 8:15-27 Gabriel is presumably the same archangel who would later announce the virginal conception of Christ to both Mary and Joseph. This vision was unusual for Daniel insofar as the angel interpreted it. The language and symbolism here refer to the nations and individuals discerned by the book’s target audience without provoking anger from their conquerors. (CCC 148, 332, 335, 350)

Ch 9:1-19 Instead of a vision, Daniel received an illumination that was explained to him by an angel when he read a prophecy of Jeremiah. The passage immediately inspired him to compose a penitential prayer on behalf of all the people of Judah and Israel. Within this prayer, Daniel acknowledged that the people brought the exile upon themselves through their sins; the prayer humbly appeals to God’s merciful love and forgiveness. Lastly, these heartfelt words request the chance to return to the Promised Land and worship in the Temple. 

Ch 9:20-27 The number seven, as well as the multiples of seven, in Scripture represent perfection or completeness. The idea of completion refers symbolically to the restoration of Jerusalem and its Temple.

Ch 9:24-27 To anoint a most holy place: This is a prophecy referring to the reconsecration of the Temple.

An anointed one, a prince: Some Church Fathers saw this as a reference to Cyrus, king of Persia, who allowed the Jews to return to Judah; others see Zerubbabel, the descendent of David who helped build the Temple. Many also point to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who brought true freedom to his people.

Abominations: The Book of Daniel is set in the exile years but was likely written in the second century BC by scholars who couched their warnings and criticisms of Antiochus IV Epiphanes within the context of Babylon. The abominations could also refer to the Temple desecrations orchestrated by both Nebuchadnezzar and Antiochus.

Proverbs 16:9 Prayerful petition for light, a well-informed conscience, and decision-making in the presence of God are effective ways of knowing God’s will. “With the light of reason, human beings can know which path to take, but they can follow that path to its end, quickly and unhindered, only if with a rightly tuned spirit they search for it within the horizon of faith,” wrote St. John Paul II (Fides et Ratio, 16). (CCC 159)

Ch 16:12 Part of the proper exercise of authority involves a hatred of evil and the desire for justice in every decision and mandate. (CSDC 378) 

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

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. It is true that we plan our own ways, but you direct our steps. And when we belong to you, when we’re open to you, when we listen to you, when we obey your Word, even when we are simply humble, Lord, there is almost nothing that can replace just a humility before your voice, a humility before your will and before your Word. Yes, we plan our ways. But you direct our steps, Lord God. Help us to continually follow you, to be guided and shaped by your Word. And for every step we take, to be done in faith. For every step we take to be done in hope. And every step we take to be done out of love for you and for our neighbor. For you are love. And you call us to love you and to receive your love, to love our neighbor and to be your love for them. Help us to do this. Help us to be this. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”