Divine retribution – Tuesday, 34th Week in ordinary time – Daniel 2: 31- 45

When Nebuchadnez’zar destroyed Jerusalem he carried to Babylon the sacred vessels and leaders of the Jewish people.  Among them were some young men without physical defect, handsome and intelligent to serve as royal pages and who were to be trained for three years and then presented to the King.

The book of Daniel tells us of four such young men. Daniel, meaning ‘God (El) has judged’, Hannaniah, meaning ‘Yahweh has been gracious’, Mishael, which means ‘who is what God is’ and Azariah means Yahweh has helped.  The chief eunuch in charge of them changed their names to Belteshazzar, Shardrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Yesterday we ready how Daniel and his companions were rewarded by the King for their fidelity. Today’s reading has the previous story in mind. We see how none of the court wise men could compare with Daniel. 

In chapter one the emphasis was on faithfulness to those elements of religion concerning private living; here we find a complementary emphasis on the faithfulness to religion in public duties. In chapter one, the Jews of the second century were encouraged to remain faithful to the law by observance of its prescriptions.  Here they were encouraged to hold fast to national hope of a coming kingdom.

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