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Week 3 Revealer of Secrets

Year 4, Nebuchadnezar, Daniel 2:1-25

Nebuchadnezar's name means "Nebo (Chaldean God of Wisdom and Prophecy, Son of Marduk), protect your servant!" in Chaldean. However, for a little Jewish numerology, in Hebrew, the consonants can be creatively divided into 3 words meaning:
  1. נבא (navi) - Prophet
  2. כידוד (kidod) - red hot spark, or כד (chad) - jar
  3. נצר (nasar) - guard or keep, or נזר (nazar) - be separated from the people
Nebuchadnezar is given prophetic dreams, his anger flares red hot (sometimes literally!), he is clay in the Potter's hands, he is separated from his people, and his person and kingdom preserved.

Proverbs 21:1

The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Babylon U - The High Gods

The high gods, or great gods, all had a city of origin. However, they continued to rule after their cities fell. They did not deal directly with men. They employed intermediaries (lower gods and deified men). They alone could reveal secrets.
  1. Anu, king of angels and spirits, lord of the city of Erech.
  2. Bel, lord of the world, father of the gods, creator, lord of the city of Nipur.
  3. Hea, maker of fate, lord of the deep, god of wisdom and knowledge, lord of the city of Eridu.
  4. Sin, lord of crowns, maker of brightness, lord of the city of Ur (Genesis 11:31). Moon.
  5. Merodach (Marduk), just prince of the gods, lord of birth, lord of the city of Babylon. Jupiter.
  6. Vul, the strong god, lord of canals and atmosphere, lord of the city of Muru.
  7. Shamas, judge of heaven and earth, director of all, lord of the cities of Larsa and Sippara. Sun. Son of Sin.
  8. Ninip, warrior of the warriors of the gods, destroyer of wicked, lord of the city of Nipur.
  9. Nergal, giant king of war, lord of the city of Cutha.
  10. Nusku, holder of the golden sceptre, the lofty god.
  11. Belat, wife of Bel, mother of the great gods, lady of the city of Nipur.
  12. Ishtar (Easter), eldest of heaven and earth, raising the face of warriors. Venus. Daughter of Sin.
In the oldest stories, Anu, Hea, and Elu (Bel: LORD) are the greatest, with Elu most active in the affairs of men. Later, Bel became a title for the lord of the gods, and Ishtar was also applied to several goddesses.

Merodach, god of Babylon, appears in all the earlier inscriptions as the agent of his father Hea; Merodach is an active agent in creation, but is always subordinate to his father Hea. In later times, after Babylon had been made the capital, Merodach, the god of that city, was raised to the head of the Pantheon. Merodach or Bel was identified with the classical Jupiter, but the name Bel, "the lord," was only given to him after the rise of Babylon.

Family of Nebuchadnezar

Around the time Nebuchadnezar was born c. 630 BC, Nebuchadnezar's father, Nabopolassar, revolted against the Assyrian empire in an alliance with the Medes. Ninevah was sacked in 612 BC Tobit 14:15. The Assyrians retreated to Harran, which was in turn taken in 609. From 610 until his death, he fought against Egypt. In 605, apparently wounded or in ill health, he sent his son Nebuchadnezar to fight the Egyptians. That year, he abdicated, making his son King, and died shortly thereafter. He had laid the foundations of a stable empire for his son, who took full advantage of the opportunity, and expanded it immensely.

As a young military commander, Nebuchadnezzar II defeated Egyptian forces at Carchemish, giving his father control over Syria. His first ambition when he ascended to the throne was to expand his empire, taking Jerusalem and Judah, and attacking Egypt. His second ambition was to rebuild the city of Babylon, making it one of the wonders of the ancient world.

According to Berossus, he married Amytis of Media, daughter or granddaughter of Cyaxeres, King of the Medes, thus uniting the Median and Babylonian dynasties.

Upon ascending to the throne, Nebuchadnezzar spoke to the gods, in his inaugural address, saying, “O merciful Marduk, may the house that I have built endure forever, may I be satiated with its splendor, attain old age therein, with abundant offspring, and receive therein tribute of the kings of all regions, from all mankind.”

The King's Dream

In the second year of his reign (2:1), Nebuchadezar was thinking about what would happen to his empire (2:29) when he fell asleep, and God revealed the future to him in a dream. As the first King of the "Time of the Gentiles", God reveals the end of that age to him, and not to Daniel. At first, he suspects a plot, but God uses his suspicion to establish, from the mouths of the wise men he suspects, that a "high god" has revealed a secret to Daniel.