Daniel was a child of Israel (Dan. 1:3) who survived the siege of Jerusalem (Dan. 1:1).
He survived an estimated 900-mile trip to Babylon. Not only did he survive not eating the king’s food (Dan. 1:12-16), but he thrived (Dan. 1:15) eating pulse (edible plant seeds) and drinking water (Dan. 1:12).
He learned the Chaldean language (Dan. 1:4). He was orientated, educated and acculturated in Chaldean culture.
After Daniel’s three-year education (Dan. 1:5) he plus three other children of Judah (Dan. 1:6) —Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Dan. 1:11)— survived Nebuchadnezzar’s intensive oral interview (Dan. 1:19-20).
For accurately telling and prophetically interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling and apocalyptic dream, Daniel survived from being “cut in pieces” (Dan. 2:5).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) refused to serve Nebuchadnezzar’s gods and worship his golden image (Dan. 3:10). This golden image is believed to have been an obelisk that symbolized an erected phallus. Had they died inside the fiery furnace, Daniel too could had been burned or cut in pieces for defying Nebuchadnezzar and serving and worshipping the Most High God (Dan. 3:26). But Daniel survived.
Daniel survived Nebuchadnezzar’s mental decline, restoration and death. He also survived the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s two successors. As a member of a Jewish minority exiled from Jerusalem who survived amongst the Chaldean majority in Babylon, Daniel could have been just one misdeed, maybe one misstatement or perhaps one misstep from being summarily executed.
When large fingers of a man’s hand (Dan. 5:5) wrote “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” (Dan. 5:25-29) on the wall during Belshazzar’s “Thousands of His Lords” palace bash (Dan. 5:1), Daniel was a senior citizen, according to Bible scholars who surmised that he was an 80-year-old man by then.
I pose these six questions about that incident:
ONE: Did Daniel think that he was at the end of his days when he was called and brought before Belshazzar (Dan. 5:12-13) to decipher the man’s handwriting on the wall?
TWO: What did it look like for Daniel to stand there and courageously declare to Belshazzar that “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it?” (Dan. 5:26)
THREE: Was Daniel a wee bit nervous when he told Belshazzar and more than a thousand other partiers that ”thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting” (Dan. 5:27)?
FOUR: Was Daniel concerned when he prophesied Belshazzar’s kingdom would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Dan. 5:28)?
FIVE: Was Daniel pensive about his own survival when he reluctantly (Dan. 5:17) accepted a scarlet robe and chain of gold about his neck plus received a royal proclamation (Dan. 5:29)?
And SIX: Did Daniel quickly skedaddle from the king’s palace (Dan. 5:5) when his impromptu awards ceremony concluded?
Daniel survived just in time to avoid being collateral damage by those who slew Belshazzar. The 62-year-old Darius took the kingdom (Dan. 5:31) and Daniel survived that night.
From Daniel Chapter One through Daniel Chapter Five 5, Daniel survived King Josiah’s reign, King Jehoiakim’s fall and Nebuchadnezzar’s, Nabonidus’ and Belshazzar’s regimes.
Now onto Daniel Chapter 6. Daniel the Jewish survivor served and survived through the reign of Darius the Mede and then Cyrus the Persian (Dan. 10:1).
Noteworthy as it was for Daniel to survive, it was the LORD who caused Daniel to survive. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being,” Acts 17:28 reminds us.
Daniel was and is a survivor because he believed in and served God.
We too are and will be eternal survivors, if we believe in and serve God, who made the world and all things therein, for He is the LORD of Heaven and Earth (Acts 17:24)!