Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ha! I'm back!

I sent my article in to Linux Journal almost two hours ago, so I'm back! It was three weeks ago that I took a short(?) break from these daily essays so I could write that article, and it's now done. I'll tell you all about it if it's accepted for publication.

Well, today's reading covers chapter 1 and about half of chapter 2 of the book of Daniel. Some years ago, when I decided that my former employer, particularly the boss, was behaving immorally and unethically, I contemplated leaving that company. I mentioned this to my friend Randy, who pointed out that Daniel worked for a corrupt boss, too. Good point, that.

King Nebuchadnezzar was egotistical, violent, and an idolater, but Daniel served him faithfully. It's interesting to note where Daniel draws the line, and where he doesn't. The Israelites are given food and wine from the king's table (1.5), and Daniel doesn't want to eat the rich stuff which he feels would defile him.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Daniel 1.8
What exactly was the defilement Daniel was trying to avoid? Perhaps he was a Nazirite, sworn to avoid drinking wine? Did the food include bacon or prawns? The text doesn't say. Perhaps Daniel wanted to distance himself from Jehoiachin, a king of Judah who ate regularly at the table of the king of Babylon (2 Kings 25.29)?

Whatever the reason, Daniel drew a line there. But the text doesn't tell us anything about the matter of the astrologers. Daniel is numbered among the "wise men" (2.13), that is, among the magicians, enchanters, astrologers (2.10). In tomorrow's reading, it appears that Daniel is made head over all these "wise men" - the astrologers, magicians, enchangers, diviners all report to him! And nothing in the text suggests that Daniel tries to reform the curriculum of instruction, engage the astrologers in debate about the true nature of events, or anything like this.

Well, my wife and daughter are back from their evening out, and it's about my bedtime. More tomorrow!

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