The Prayer of Daniel the Prophet, 1998
Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 59 3/8
Collection of the artist
“. . . And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” Daniel 6:10
Daniel was a prophet who emphasized the fact that God is in control of world history. As a young man he was among the first group of captives taken from Jerusalem to Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonian monarch was on his way home to secure his throne after the death of his father, Nebopolassar in 605 B.C. Of noble blood, intelligent and good-looking, Daniel was admitted to the king’s court, where he was instructed in the language and literature of the Chaldeans. After three years of training, Daniel was found, in wisdom and understanding, to be ten times better than the magicians and astrologers in the Babylonian realm. He served as counselor to the king until the empire fell to the Medo-Persians in 539 B.C. The Persian ruler, Cyrus, recognized the ability of Daniel, now an old man, and made him chief administrator of the Babylonian government.
God gave Daniel the supernatural ability to interpret dreams. God also gave him divine revelation concerning many future events, including successive world empires, the coming of the Jewish Messiah and events at the end of the age. Daniel was a man of integrity. He remained faithful to the God of Israel throughout his life, refusing to worship the idols of Babylon and Persia. He served his rulers with wisdom and diligence, earning respect from the king and envy from the satraps (viceroys who ruled provinces within the Persian Empire).
The satraps, jealous of Daniel’s influence and power, sought to discredit him. Unable to find him guilty of legitimate charges, they realized that the only way to accuse him was regarding the service to his God. They conspired to entrap Daniel by persuading the king to issue an edict prohibiting for thirty-five days the worship of any god other than an image of himself. Daniel ignored the king’s edict and continued to openly pray to the true and living God. He was apprehended and thrown into a den of lions. God intervened on behalf of His faithful servant and shut the lions’ mouths. The elderly prophet is shown praying on the rooftop of his home in Babylon. Flanking him are threatening images of Babylonian gods. The satraps are ascending the stairs to arrest him.
The Prayer of Daniel the Prophet, color study, 1996
Oil on paper mounted to board, 9 x 18
Daniel, drawing, 1998
Pencil, 5 7/8 x 5 3/8
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