Saturday, March 26, 2016

Daniel Chapter 2: Discovering Emphasis through Literary Structure, Part I

After I finished the first full draft of Discovering Emphasis in the Bible: Hearing God's Voice through Literary Structure, I opened my Bible to see if there was more to be written. I was led to chapter 2 of Daniel, a book that I had not closely studied in the recent past. I was surprised to see so many of the Discovering Emphasis in the Bible techniques in that chapter. One of them is transposition.

Transposition
The process I present is called RIDL:
Read the passage in context
Identify the theme of the structure
Discover the emphasis
Listen to the voice of God regarding this emphasis

Read the passage in context
If you would, please read Daniel 2:1-49. The subject of this lesson is hearing God's voice through transposition.

Identify the theme of the structure
Compare the dream in Daniel 2:35A with the interpretation in v45B:
35 Then
1   the iron,
2   the clay,
3   the bronze,
4   the silver,
5   and the gold,
all together were broken in pieces, (v35A)

45 And that it broke in pieces
1   the iron,
2   the bronze,
3   the clay,
4   the silver,
5   and the gold.
A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. (v45B)
The above structure is two different lists of the same thing. Lists are common in the Bible. Less common is the transposition of items in two subsequent lists.

Discover the emphasis
In a transposition, the presented order is somehow changed. One of the relocated items becomes the point of emphasis. In the second list, the bronze and clay have switched places. The third item, clay, is the emphatic one because it is now in the middle.

Based on your knowledge of clay and pottery, why would it be considered emphatic?

The image that Daniel saw, with Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold, completely collapsed. It was rendered useless because the stone pushed the statue over. This emphasis draws our attention to the clay and why the stone was so successful: the weak clay was in the feet.

Listen to the voice of God regarding this emphasis

How does the Holy Spirit speak to you once you have understood this transposition?