Enigmatic or puzzling statement, often based on the clever use of the ambiguities of language. The classic biblical example of a riddle is that posed by Samson to the Philistines. This riddle is in poetic form (judg 14:12-12), and the question, “What is it?” is implied. The Philistines’ reply is in the form of another riddle (v 18a) whose original answer was probably “love.” Samson’s retort may reflect yet another commonly known, and rather risque’ riddle (v 18b).
These were some of the same religious who had succeeded in having Jesus executed. They started thinking that His disciples might remove the body from the tomb and claim that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
The prophet Ezekiel is addressed as “son of man,” a title used for him over ninety times throughout the book of Ezekiel. The title shows the contrast between Ezekiel, a man, and the almighty Lord. This name would portray Ezekiel’s human limits and weaknesses in contrast to the glory and greatness of God.
The number four and groups of four connect with our sense of place in the horizontal world. Everything around us is in one of four directions: east, west, north, or south. In the worldview of the Old Testament, complete descriptions were often developed in sets of four. When the tax collector Zacchaeus expressed his practical faith in Jesus, he included a promise to “pay four times as much as I owe to those I have cheated in any way” (Luke 19:8). Jesus accepted that commitment as a sign of genuine repentance, symbolic of completeness. And there are four Gospels, a complete picture of the life of Christ.
The most fascinating of Daniel’s several prophecies involves Nebuchadnezzar’s “forgotten” dream. In the dream, a statue cast in five layers of material represents the Babylonian empire and the four world empires to follow. The rock that crushes them all represents the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which overcomes all secular authority and vindicates the rule of God.
Perhaps this was an early visit by Christ Himself or maybe an angelic companion God sent is protect the three faithful men. Whatever his identity, the fourth person’s appearance was different. The king described him as someone who “looks like a divine being,”
From a historical perspective, it seems that Daniel came of age at exactly the wrong time in Israel. He was born just in time to see his once-great nation fall to the Babylonians. As punishment for their centuries unfaithfulness and disobedience. God allowed his people to be defeated by their enemies. Daniel, along with other young, strong, and capable people in Israel, was carried away into captivity in Babylon.
Daniel realized that the law against prayer was really against him. Babylon had captured his homeland but not his soul. To compromise by yielding to a statute forbidding prayer would be to deny the very basis of his life, to deny God’s mercy and care for him.
Today intentional abstention from food and drink for a given period of time is more likely associated with preparation for a medical test or in conjunction with a weight-loss plan than with spiritual development. But in the Bible, the physical act of fasting was employed in order to enrich an awareness of mortal vulnerability and to sharpen awareness of the Lord’s ability to provide.