In the third year of Cyrus the king of Persia, a message came to Daniel
from G-d, and it was explained in a vision. The message was about a horrible
war, and it was true. Daniel wrote: For three weeks I was in sorrow. I ate
no fancy food or meat, I drank no wine, and I put no olive oil on my face
or hair. Then, on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, I was standing
on the banks of the great Tigris River, when I looked up and saw someone
dressed in linen and wearing a solid gold belt. His body was like a precious
stone, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming fires, his arms and
legs liked polished bronze, and his voice like the roar of a crowd. Although
the people who were with me did not see the vision, they became so frightened
that they scattered and hid. Only I saw this great vision. I became weak
and pale, and at the sound of his voice, I fell face down in a deep sleep.1
Darryl began to explain. "Before Daniel had this visit, King Cyrus
allowed the Jewish captives to return to Israel. Many of the captives did
not return to Israel, but chose to stay in Babylon. Daniel himself did not
return to Israel."
Jamie shook her head in disbelief, "Why didn't they go back? I would have been the first one to head home, if I had been captured!"
"In Daniel's case, he may have still held a position in the government and couldn't leave. Remember 70 years have passed and most of the people who were captured probably already died off or were too old to make the trip back. The younger people who had been born during the captivity did not have strong ties to their homeland and may not have had the desire to make the long dangerous trip back to Israel. Once back in Israel, they would have been faced with the job of rebuilding Jerusalem and other cities. I believe Daniel was discouraged about the small number of people who chose to make the trip back to Israel. He was spending time in prayer and fasting for their numbers to increase and for the safety of the ones who were returning. In chapter nine we saw that when Daniel began to pray, G-d sent Gabriel with an answer. Gabriel arrived immediately. In this case, we see that it took three weeks for Daniel to get an answer. In a few minutes, we will see why it took that long."
"Excuse me," Elizabeth interjected, "we talked earlier about the Euphrates River and just now we see Daniel beside the Tigris River. Both of these rivers flowed through the garden of Eden."
"I didn't know that!" Jamie exclaimed.