procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Desired in Daniel

One thing which hit the cutting room floor on Sunday's sermon on Daniel 10.1-12.4 was the root chamad (חמד) which is used several times in these chapters.
The first three are the most interesting, and may bear on the later uses:
10.3 - desirable food
10.11,19 - esteemed man (cf. 9.23 for the only other use in Daniel)
In repentance Daniel refrains from eating choice food, meat and wine, as an outward expression of his repentance.
In answer to his acts of penance, God sends his messengers, for Daniel is a man of high esteem.
Putting this together, it is because of his self-denial of that God has recognised him. Or perhaps, to use synonyms, out of Daniel's desire to please God, he has withheld desired food, and now God has desired him.

In contrast, the further four uses of chamad are with regard to things opposed to God:
11.8 - precious vessels
11.38, 43 - costly things
11.37 - a false god worshipped by women

The first three in the list are quite similar - they are things desired by people. Things which are bestowed worth by the desire accorded them.
The fourth (11.37) is referring to an idol that women get right into. Perhaps it is women's Baal, to men's Ashteroth. 
Whatever the case, all of these things are desired by people who have no self control, whereas food - a good thing created by God to be enjoyed - Daniel refrains from, that he might better focus his affections on God. And because he does this, he is acknowledged by God.

There are surely a bunch of implications that flow from this (I'm thinking 1 Corinthians and food and freedom). But no time on Sunday. Oh well. Enjoy.

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