God of glory,
touch our lips with the fire of your Spirit,
that we with all creation
may rejoice to sing your praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, ‘I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.’ The Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic), ‘O king, live for ever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.’ The king answered the Chaldeans, ‘This is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you do tell me the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honour. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.’ They answered a second time, ‘Let the king first tell his servants the dream, then we can give its interpretation.’ The king answered, ‘I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see I have firmly decreed: if you do not tell me the dream, there is but one verdict for you. You have agreed to speak lying and misleading words to me until things take a turn. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.’ The Chaldeans answered the king, ‘There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.’
Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; he asked Arioch, the royal official, ‘Why is the decree of the king so urgent?’ Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation.
Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
‘Blessed be the name of God from age to age,
for wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons,
deposes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my ancestors,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and power,
and have now revealed to me what we asked of you,
for you have revealed to us what the king ordered.’
Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, ‘Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.’
Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my lamentation.
Hearken to the voice of my crying, my King and my God,
for to you I make my prayer.
In the morning, Lord, you will hear my voice;
early in the morning I make my appeal to you, and look up.
For you are the God who takes no pleasure in wickedness;
no evil can dwell with you.
The boastful cannot stand in your sight;
you hate all those that work wickedness.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful the Lord will abhor.
But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy,
I will come into your house;
I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you.
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness,
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before my face.
For there is no truth in their mouth,
in their heart is destruction,
their throat is an open sepulchre,
and they flatter with their tongue.
Punish them, O God;
let them fall through their own devices.
Because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them sing out their joy for ever.
You will shelter them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
and with your favour you will defend them as with a shield.