OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 45
Daniel 1; 3; 6; Esther 3-5; 7-8
- Daniel and his friends refuse to eat King Nebuchadnezzar's food; they
are blessed with good health and wisdom.
- The Lord saves Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from death in the fiery
- Daniel prays in spite of the king's decree and is thrown into a den
of lions. The Lord sens an angel to protect Daniel.
- Esther risks her life to save her people.
A study of this lesson should inspire us to have the courage to live
according to gospel standards.
Who Was Daniel?
- Apparently of the royal lineage of Judah.
- He was taken captive to Babylonia in abt. 606 BC.
Nebuchadnezzar made him a ruler over the whole province of Babylon
and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
He continued in prominence in the Babylonian court throughout the period
of the captivity, until the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia.
Date of his mission: 606-536 BC.
Prophesied to: kings of Babylonia and Persia.
Contemporary prophets: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Lehi.
- This was a minor deportation of chosen Jewish children who were selected
to serve in the Babylonian court.
Brother Duane Crowther wrote: "Daniel came to Babylon eight
years earlier than Ezekiel and was a younger man. He rose to prestige and
power in the Babylonian court and lived in comfort there. Much of Daniel's
ministry involved the receiving and interpreting of difficult dreams and
visions. His ministry was primarily concerned with the affairs of state
and the rise and fall of empires." (Prophets & Prophecies
of the Old Testament, pp496-497)
- Nebuchadnezzar, Babylonian prince, was in command of his father's troops
in 605 BC when they soundly defeated the Egyption forces at Carchemish.
This marked the beginning of the end of the Egyptian empire as a world
power. They were defeated further thus securing Syria and Palestine for
the Babylonian empire.
- It was at this time that Daniel was taken captive to Babylon and shortly
thereafter Nebuchadnezzar rose to king.
Daniel & His Friends Refuse To Eat King Nebuchadnezzar's
- READ DANIEL 1:1-4. The historical background.
- READ DANIEL 1:5,8. Daniel objects to the royal
Daniel 1:10: "And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel,
I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for
why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of
your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
- WHAT OBJECTIONS MIGHT DANIEL HAVE HAD TO EATING THE KINGS FOOD?
- Some of the foods used by the Babylonians were likely among items forbidden
for consumption in the Mosaic law.
- The Babylonians, like other heathens, ate beasts that had not been
properly drained of blood and thereby violated the Mosaic law.
- The heathens consecrated the food of their feasts by offering up part
of the food and drink as sacrifices to their gods. This would be participating
in the worship of false Gods.
- Jewish law also considered food unclean when it was prepared by anyone
"Then said Daniel to Melzar,
whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael,
"Prove thy servants, I beseech
thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink."
READ DANIEL 1:15,17,19. Daniel and his associates
- Pulse is such seeds and grains as peas, wheat, barley, & rye.
Likening The Scriptures Unto Us.
- WHAT BLESSINGS DID DANIEL AND HIS ASSOCIATES RECEIVE FOR OBEYING THE
LORD'S DIETARY LAW?
- They looked better than those who had been eating the king's meat (15).
- God gave them knowledge, skill in learning and wisdom (17).
- Daniel gained an understanding of visions and dreams (17).
- WHAT CAN DANIEL'S DECISION NOT TO EAT THE KINGS FOOD TEACH US ABOUT
HOW TO REACT WHEN WE FEEL PRESSURE TO DO SOMETHING WE SHOULDN'T DO?
- There is no need to compromise.
- WHAT ISSUES AND SITUATIONS IN TODAY'S WORLD TEST OUR FAITH IN LIVING
- Integrity: an honest day's work, keeping commitments, copyright laws.
- Morality: do we allow evil influences to enter our homes through the
- Word of Wisdom.
- WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR RESPONSE TO THESE PRESSURES?
- Consider the sobering words of President Kimball: "When we
see the depravity of numerous people of our own society in their determination
to force upon people vulgar presentations, filthy communications, unnatural
practices, we wonder, has Satan reached forth with his wicked, evil hand
to pull into his forces the people of this earth? Do we not have enough
good people left to stamp out the evil which threatens our world? Why do
we continue to compromise with evil and why do we continue to tolerate
sin?" (Teachings SWK, p267)
- HOW CAN WE DEVELOP THE COURAGE NEEDED TO OBEY IN SUCH SITUATIONS?
- I think it comes from having the courage to be obedient in the small
situations we face almost every day. As we exercise integrity in our daily
choices, we build the strength to withstand the Satan's full assault.
- President McKay quoted these words by E.D. Boardman:
Sow a thought, reap an act,
Sow an act, reap a habit,
Sow a habit, reap a character,
Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny.
(CR, Apr. 1962)
- Courage really begins with our thoughts. We are assaulted daily with
evil influences that are dressed up to look attractive. How we deal with
influences in our thoughts does determine our destiny. If we choose to
dwell on them, we will reap accordingly. If we choose to expel them from
our minds, we have exercised integrity and strength. As we do so, we build
spiritual muscles that enable us to have courage when we face our most
difficult challenges in life.
- I like these words by Harriet Beecher Stowe: "When you get
into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though
you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is
just the place and time that the tide will turn." Was not this
the case when Joseph first went into that sacred grove?
- In our own day the Lord has given the Word of Wisdom to help govern
how we care for our bodies.
- WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD IS CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WE TAKE INTO OUR
BODIES AND HOW WE CARE FOR THEM?
- Elder Boyd K. Packer: "I have come to know...that a fundamental
purpose of the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation. From the time
you are very little we teach you to avoid tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco,
narcotics, and anything else that disturbs your health.... If someone 'under
the influence' can hardly listen to plain talk, how can they respond to
spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings? As valuable
as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable
to you spiritually than it is physically." (Ensign, Nov. 1979,
- WHY WOULD SATAN WANT TO INFLUENCE HOW WE TREAT OUR BODIES?
- Daniel and his associates were blessed for being obedient to the Lord's
- WHAT DOES THE LORD PROMISE US IF WE OBEY THE WORD OF WISDOM?
- D&C 89:18-21: "And all saints who remember to keep and
do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive
health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
"And shall find wisdom and great
treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
"And shall run and not be weary,
and shall walk and not faint.
"And I, the Lord, give unto them
a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children
of Israel, and not slay them."
Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
- READ DANIEL 3:1-7. Nebuchadnezzar creates image
and commands all to worship.
- READ DANIEL 3:13-18. The 3 refuse to worship.
READ DANIEL 3:20-25. Shadrach, Meshach, &
Abednego cast into the fire.
- HOW DID THESE THREE REACT TO GREAT PRESSURE?
- They were absolutely unyielding to the king's pressure.
- CAN YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF BEING IN SUCH A SITUATION?
- Each summer, during my teen years, my friends and I participated in
the annual climb up Mount Timpanogos, in Utah County. As part of the festivities,
on the Friday night before the climb, a program was culminating in the
lighting of a huge bonfire. I would guess that the timber was stacked to
a height of ten to twelve feet. Once the fire reached its full fury, it
was as if there was an invisible wall of heat beyond which one could not
endure for even a moment. The heat literally pushed the crowd back. It
is hard to imagine being pushed into that heat and retaining one's resolve.
- HOW DOES LEARNING ABOUT THIS KIND OF COURAGE MAKE YOU FEEL? DOES IT
STRENGTHEN YOUR RESOLVE TO BE UNYIELDING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS?
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell related this incident to our own trials, "Sometimes
we must 'take the heat,' even if we are not certain the thermostat of trial
will soon be turned down." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience,
READ DANIEL 3:28-30. Results of courage and faith.
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "When we have that kind of courage,
neither will we walk alone in our own 'fiery furnace,' for, as is recorded
in Daniel, there was a fourth Form in that fiery furnace with the valiant
threesome, and the Form was 'like the Son of God'!" (All These
Things Shall Give Thee Experience, pp48-49)
- Prior to performing the first baptisms of the Church in England, Heber
C. Kimball, Williard Richards, and Orson Hyde had a horrible encounter
with the legions of Satan. Orson F. Whitney in his biography of Heber C.
Kimball wrote: "Years later, narrating the experience of that awful
morning to the Prophet Joseph, Heber asked him what it all meant, and whether
there was anything wrong with him that he should have such a manifestation.
'No, Brother Heber,' he replied, 'at that time you were nigh unto the Lord;
there was only a veil between you and Him, but you could not see Him. When
I heard of it, it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God
had taken root in that land. It was this that caused the devil to make
a struggle to kill you'." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp131-132)
- WHAT RESULTS MIGHT WE ENJOY FROM UNYIELDING FAITH?
- HOW HAVE YOUR ACTIONS AFFECTED THE WORK OF GOD AMONG YOUR NEIGHBORS?
- When the Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi preached to wicked King Noah,
he was burned to death.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD ALLOWED ABINADI TO DIE, BUT PRESERVED SHADRACH,
MESHACH, AND ABED-NEGO?
- WHY DOESN'T OUR OBEDIENCE ALWAYS GUARANTEE EASE AND WELL-BEING IN THIS
LIFE? WHAT DOES OUR OBEDIENCE GUARANTEE?
Daniel & The Lion's Den
- King Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son Belshazzar. When Belshazzar
was slain, Darius, the Median, received the kingdom of Babylon as viceroy
from Cyrus of Persian. This is not the same Darius that ruled after Cyrus
READ DANIEL 6:4-9. A plot against Daniel because
of his favored status.
Daniel 6:10: "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,
he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward
Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and
gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime."
- Darius set Daniel as one of the three presidents who ruled over 120
princes of the kingdom because of his faithfulness and spiritual gifts.
READ DANIEL 6:18-24. Daniel removed & the
- As we all know, Daniel was placed into a den of lions as required by
HOW DO YOU SUPPOSE DANIEL ACQUIRED THE FAITH TO SURVIVE IN THE LIONS'
DEN? HOW CAN WE ACQUIRE THAT FAITH?
WHAT MIGHT THE SIXTH CHAPTER OF DANIEL SUGGEST ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD
RESPOND TO THE ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH?
- Darius makes a decree that all in the kingdom should fear and tremble
before the God of Israel (6:26).
- "So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the
reign of Cyrus the Persian" (6:28).
- Daniel did not start a counterplot against his enemies. He did not
argue against their decree. He simply stayed on the sure path of doing
what he knew was right.
- Joseph Smith: "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing;
persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may
defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent,
till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every
country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of god shall be accomplished,
and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (History of
the Church, 4:535-541)
- Elder L. Tom Perry: "Not only did Daniel's service benefit
the king, but because of the faith that Daniel had in the Lord, it affected
an entire land. The king sent forth a proclamation that all the people
of the kingdom should worship the true and living God, the God that Daniel
worshiped. How might was the power of the service of one righteous man,
affecting so many, as he served 'in the world' in which he lived! How effective
will be the results of our service if we continue to serve in our own personal
way 'in the world' in which we live!" (Ensign, May 1988, p15)
Esther Risks Her Life To Save Her People
- Esther was a Jewish woman who lived shortly after the time of Daniel.
After her parents died, she was raised by her cousin Mordecai. Esther was
beautiful and Ahasuerus, the king of Persia and Media, was so pleased with
her beauty that he made her his queen.
- A man by the name of Haman was promoted by King Ahasuerus to be the
- READ ESTHER 3:2-5. Mordecai refuses to bow to
READ ESTHER 4:10-11. Consequences of approaching
the king uninvited.
- Another man of courage.
- Haman's anger persuaded the king to order the destruction of all the
Jews in the kingdom. "... letters were sent by posts into all the
king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews,
both young and old, little children and women, in one day" (3:13).
- When the Jews learned of the king's decree, "there was great
mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many
lay in sackcloth and ashes" (4:3).
- Esther learned of this mourning and sent a messenger to Mordecai to
ask what was wrong (4:4-6).
- Mordecai gave the messenger a "copy of the writing of the decree
that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and
to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the
king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for
her people" (4:8).
READ ESTHER 4:13-14. Mordecai's return message
- WHY WAS IT DANGEROUS FOR ESTHER TO GO IN AND SPEAK WITH THE KING?
- The law allowed the king to kill anyone who approached him uninvited.
READ ESTHER 5:1-3. Esther approaches the king.
- WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT MORDECAI'S MESSAGE?
- "...who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such
a time as this" (4:14).
- He suggests to Esther that this might be her calling, to help the Jews
in this time of great need.
- Esther tells Mordecai, "Go, gather together all the Jews that
are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three
days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will
I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish,
I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther
had commanded him" (4:16-17).
- HOW CAN THE UNITED FASTING AND PRAYERS OF MANY PEOPLE HELP US?
- HOW DID ESTHER'S DECLARATION OF, "IF I PERISH, I PERISH"
SHOW HER DEVOTION TO HER PEOPLE AND TO GOD?
Because of Esther courage and faith, the Jews of her time were blessed.
- Esther requested that the king and Haman come to a banquet that she
had prepared (5:4-8).
- On the second day of the banquet, the king said to Esther, "What
is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is
thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom"
- Esther's request: "If I have found favour in thy sight, O king,
and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and
my people at my request" (7:3).
- When the king asked who had made the request, Esther informed him that
it was Haman (7:5-6).
- The king had Haman hanged on the gallows that Haman had prepared for
- Esther requested the king to reverse the decree to destroy the Jews
(8:5-6). Not only did the king reverse the order to destroy the Jews, he
"granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves
together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause
to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault
- Esther 8:17-18: "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy,
"And in every province, and in
every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the
Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people
of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them."
- WHAT BLESSINGS HAVE YOU RECEIVED BECAUSE OF THE COURAGE AND FAITH OF
- We have received the blessings of the gospel because Joseph Smith was
willing to stand against great opposition to serve as a tool of the Lord
in restoring his Church to the earth.
- This great gospel blessing continues becauses of those who had the
courage to carry the torch after Joseph died and stand in the face of opposition.
Consider this incident after Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and others had
been arrested at Far West. Heber C. Kimball wrote in his journal: "William
E. McLellin wanted to know where Heber C. Kimball was. Someone pointed
me out to him as I was sitting on the ground. He came up to me and said:
'Brother Heber, what do you think of the fallen prophet now? Has he not
led you blindfolded long enough? Look and see yourself, poor, your family
stripped and robbed, and your brethren in the same fix; are you satisfied
with Joseph?' I replied, 'Yes, I am more satisfied with him a hundred-fold
than ever I was before, for I see you in the very position that he foretold
you would be in; a Judas to betray your brethren, if you did not forsake
your adultery, fornication, lying and abominations. Where are you? What
are you about? You, and Hinkle, and scores of others; have you not betrayed
Joseph and his brethren into the hands of the mob, as Judas did Jesus?
Yes, verily, you have; I tell you Mormonism is true, and Joseph is a true
prophet of the living God; and you with all others that turn therefrom
will be damned and go to hell, and Judas will rule over you'."
(Life of Heber C. Kimball, p218)
It was this kind of courage among so many
of the Saints that preserved the Restoration and made it possible for us
to receive the great blessings of the gospel.
- WHAT CHALLENGES DO WE FACE TODAY THAT REQUIRE COURAGE LIKE ESTHER'S?
- WHAT BLESSINGS WILL WE RECEIVE AS WE STRIVE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT EVEN
WHEN WE ARE FACED WITH DIFFICULT CONSEQUENCES?
The stories in the books of Daniel and Esther provide wonderful examples
of those have had the courage to stand for the right in the face of opposition.
These stories remind us that we will be blessed for striving to do what
is right. Like the angel that appeared in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego, when we strive to do right we are being watched over.
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