Annotated Commentary with Links

Chapter 2 occurs three years after the events of Chapter 1. King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and he demands that his advisors not only interpret the dream for him, but also tell him the contents of his dream. The Chaldeans, a group of diviners, tell the king only the gods and tell him the contents of his dream, and Nebuchadnezzar sentences them, and his other advisors, to death for their failure. Daniel, who is now an advisor to the king, asks for more time and promises the fulfill the king’s requests.

God gives the answer to Daniel, and Daniel shares it with the king. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is a prophetic vision of the kingdoms that will follow after the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. This dream begins to lay the foundations of Biblical eschatology, or the study of end times.

1In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him.Chapter 2 occurs 3 years after the events of chapter 1.
2Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.The Chaldeans were a class of professional diviners who claimed to use supernatural means for advising the king. Originally the term referred to a people group who had immigrated to southern Mesopotamia several hundred years earlier.
3The king said to them, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”
4Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king is the Syrian language, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”With the phrase, “O king,” the text switches from the Hebrew language to Aramaic. Aramaic was one of the two official languages used in the Neo-Babylonian kingdom. The second language was Akkadian.
5The king answered the Chaldeans, “The thing is gone from me. If you don’t make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be cut in pieces, and your houses will be made a dunghill.Nebuchadnezzar tells the Chaldeans he does not remember the dream. It is unclear from the text if Nebuchadnezzar truly does not remember his dream, or if he claiming to have forgotten in order to test the Chaldeans.
6But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you will receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.
7They answered the second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
8The king answered, “I know of a certainty that you would gain time, because you see the thing is gone from me.Nebuchadnezzar accuses the Chaldeans of stalling for time.
9But if you don’t make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the situation changes. Therefore tell me the dream, and I will know that you can show me its interpretation.Nebuchadnezzar refuses to give the Chaldeans more time, because they will just lie, hoping the king will forget the request. The king apparently doubts the abilities of the Chaldeans.
10The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, “There is not a man on the earth who can show the king’s matter, because no king, lord or ruler, has asked such a thing of any magician, or enchanter, or Chaldean.The Chaldeans response that the king’s request is unreasonable; no other king has ever asked such a thing.
11It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”The Chaldeans admit they cannot do as the king requests, because telling the king the contents of his dream is a supernatural task, something only the gods can perform.
12For this case the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13So the decree went out, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain.Since Daniel is included among the ranks of the Chaldeans, it appears he has completed his schooling and is now an advisor to the king.
14Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, who was gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;
15he answered Arioch the king’s captain, “Why is the decree so urgent from the king?” Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
16Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation.Daniel asks, and is granted, from Nebuchadnezzar the one thing the king refused to give the Chaldeans, more time. Maybe it is because Daniel promised to tell Nebuchadnezzar the contents of the king’s dream, something the Chaldeans refused to do.
17Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
18that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
19Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.A vision is an image that is experienced while awake while a dream occurs while asleep. Some translations specify that Daniel has a vision that occurs at night, which is more in line with a literal, word-for-wrod translation of the original Hebrew, which reads, “During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel.”
20Daniel answered,
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever;
for wisdom and might are his.
21He changes the times and the seasons.
He removes kings, and sets up kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise,
and knowledge to those who have understanding.
God is all powerful. No king can rule on earth without his permission, and the times and season change because of God. All knowledge and wisdom come from God.
22He reveals the deep and secret things.
He knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
In the Bible, darkness is a symbol of evil, or chaos, and light in a symbol of good, or creation.
23I thank you, and praise you, you god of my fathers,
who have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we desired of you;
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
24Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and said this to him: “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon. Bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.
25Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said this to him: “I have found a man of the children of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.”
26The king answered Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”
27Daniel answered before the king and said, “The secret which the king has demanded can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers, show to the king;Daniel agrees with the Chaldeans, and tells the king that no man can tell the king the contents of his dream.
28but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed are these:Daniel then tells the king that only God can perform the miracle the king has requested, and then proceeds to tell the king the contents of his dream.
29“As for you, O king, your thoughts came on your bed, what should happen hereafter; and he who reveals secrets has made known to you what will happen.God sent the dream to Nebuchadnezzar, so the king would known the future.
30But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.God gave the interpretation to Daniel so that Nebuchadnezzar may have understanding of “the thoughts of your heart.” Nebuchadnezzar does come to believe that God is the “God of gods” and ends up praising God before his death. His journey toward belief started with a dream given to him by God.
31“You, O king, saw, and behold, a great image. This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and its aspect was awesome.Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of an impressive statue, bright and mighty.
32As for this image, its head was of find gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass,The image of a statue would have been familiar to Nebuchadnezzar, because a succession of different metals, each representing a successive kingdom, was a common motif in the Ancient Near East.
33its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay.
34You saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.A stone that is “cut out without hands,” suggests a supernatural origin, one the man has no part in.
35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.In ancient times, wheat was taken the the threshing floor, a large, flat area. The wheat was thrown into the air. The chaff, the inedible portion, was lighter and was blown away by the wind. The wheat was heavier and would fall to the ground where it could be collected. In the Bible, chaff represents something that is useless and should be discarded.
36“This is the dream; and we will tell its interpretation before the king.
37You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory;God gives Nebuchadnezzar his authority.
38and wherever the children of men dwell, he has given the animals of the field and the birds of the sky into you hand, and has made you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.This language reflects the language of Genesis 2, where God directs Adam to name all the creatures and to “cultivate and keep” the garden of Eden.
39“After you, another kingdom will arise that is inferior to you; and another third kingdom of brass, which will rule over all the earth.Later in Daniel we learn the second kingdom will be the Medo-Persian Empire and the third kingdom will be the Greeks.
40The fourth kingdom will be strong as iron, because iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things; and as iron that crushed all these, it will break in pieces and crush.The majority of commentators agree the fourth kingdom is the Roman Empire.
41Whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but there will be in it of the strength of the iron, because you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.When the iron transitions to iron mixed with clay, commentators begin to disagree. One explanation is this verse still refers to the Roman Empire while another explanation is it refers to a kingdom still in the future.
42As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom will be partly strong and partly broken.
43Whereas you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, they will mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they won’t cling to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay.There is no consensus on the meaning of this verse proposed explanation include the mixing of the Romans with foreign people groups, the mixing of Roman elites with the common folk, and the mixing of fallen angels with human woman (Genesis 6).
44“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, nor will its sovereignty be left to another people; but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever.God will destroy all of the four kingdoms and establish a kingdom where he rules. The Kingdom of God will last forever.
45Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what will happen hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”Daniel reiterated that God has revealed the future to Nebuchadnezzar. He also repeats that the Kingdom of God will destroy all the four (five kingdoms) when it is established.
46Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his was, and worshiped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him.
47The king answered to Daniel, and said, “Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret.”Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that God is more powerful than all the other gods that Babylon and other nations worship.
48Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon.Daniel is appointed as the governor of the province of Babylon and is appointed as the head of the wise men.
49Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel was in the gate of the king.Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are appointed as officials under Daniel. In the Ancient Near East, the official at the gate of the city was given authority to resolve disputes and actn i the name of the king.
World English Bible

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