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Daniel Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Daniel 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

troubled. Nebuchadnezzar's spirit was “troubled,” probably because, after he succeeded in establishing his kingdom as the most powerful in the world, he planned to require his subjects to worship him as a god, in the spirit of the coming world dictator of the last days (Revelation 13:15). Even though he could not recall his dream, he knew that it might somehow affect his plans.

Daniel 2:2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

Daniel 2:3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

Daniel 2:4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.

Syriac. From this point, significantly, Daniel's account is written in Aramaic (same as Syriac, the language of ancient Syria, and practically identical with the Chaldaic language of the Babylonians). It returns to Hebrew at Daniel 8. Thus the Babylonian section of Daniel is in the language of the Babylonians, a fact that helps confirm the authenticity of the entire book. Because of its remarkably fulfilled prophecies, skeptics and liberals have tried to assign its writing to a much later date, after the events prophesied had taken place. The internal evidence of the book, however, indicates that it could only have been written by a man fluent in the language of Nebuchadnezzar's court. The inclusion of certain Persian and Greek words in the account still further indicates that the writer was connected with the court of Nebuchadnezzar where he would have contact with emissaries from different nations. The authenticity of the book has been further confirmed by his contemporary Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 28:3) and by Christ Himself (Matthew 24:15). Also note Hebrews 11:32.

Daniel 2:5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

Daniel 2:6 But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

Daniel 2:7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.

Daniel 2:8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.

Daniel 2:9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.

Daniel 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

not a man upon the earth. These wise men, skilled in both human wisdom and the occult arts, no doubt able to communicate to some extent with demonic powers, nevertheless had to admit that there was a still greater source of wisdom and power that was beyond their own abilities. This would be a salutary admission by modern “wise men,” if they only would do it.

Daniel 2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

Daniel 2:12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel 2:13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

Daniel 2:14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

Daniel 2:15 He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

Daniel 2:16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.

Daniel 2:17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

Daniel 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel 2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Daniel 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

wisdom and might are his. In Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), and to Christ has been given “all power ... in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Daniel 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

times and seasons. God established the sun, moon, and stars with their motions, to serve for the measurement of time and the establishment of seasons (Genesis 1:14). The great Flood may well have resulted in changes in these. For example, the year may have been 360 days long in antediluvian times (Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:4, 14), and the distinctiveness of the seasons was probably accentuated by the upheavals of the Flood.

understanding. See on Daniel 1:17.

Daniel 2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

darkness. God “created darkness,” but “God is light,” He “dwelleth in the light,” and needed only to divide “the light from the darkness” when He created heaven and earth (Isaiah 45:7; xTerm 1:5; 1 Timothy 6:16; Genesis 1:4).

Daniel 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

Daniel 2:24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

Daniel 2:25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

Daniel 2:26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

Daniel 2:27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king;

Daniel 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

revealeth secrets. The Babylonian religious system maintained a variety of specially gifted and trained practitioners of the occult sciences—magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, Chaldeans, soothsayers (Daniel 2:2, 27)—but only the God of heaven can really reveal the future (which was the subject of Nebuchadnezzar's dream), for He controls the future.

Daniel 2:29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

Daniel 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Daniel 2:31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

Daniel 2:32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

Daniel 2:33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

part of iron. The metals of Nebuchadnezzar's dream image follow a definite order corresponding to the empires they represent, decreasing in intrinsic value, but increasing in strength. That is, gold at the head is the most beautiful and valuable of the metals, iron in the legs is the strongest. These empires decrease in structural likeness to God's ideal theocratic kingdom, but increase in worldly strength and geographical extent.

Daniel 2:34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

Daniel 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Daniel 2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

Daniel 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

head of gold. This begins the remarkable prophecy—later fulfilled in detail over the centuries—of Nebuchadnezzar's dream image. The emperor was very pleased when he learned that the golden head of the image represented himself and his empire. The universality of this kingdom referred to its influence, rather than its geographical extent. Babylon was, indeed, the source (or “head”) of all the world's false religions (Revelation 17:5) and materialistic greed (Revelation 18:3). It was conquered by the Medo-Persian empire in 538 b.c. (note Daniel 5:28).

Daniel 2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

another kingdom. The “breast and arms of silver” represented the two-sided kingdom of the Medes and Persians, which would dominate the known world from 538 b.c. to 334 b.c., when it was to be conquered by Alexander the Great, of Greece (see Daniel 8:20-21).

kingdom of brass. The “third kingdom of brass (or bronze),” was the great Greek empire, which continued until defeated by Rome, which became a world empire under Augustus in 31 b.c.

Daniel 2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

fourth kingdom. The fourth world kingdom, stronger than any before it, and longer in duration, dominated the world beginning about 129 b.c., becoming a monolithic empire under Augustus in 31 b.c., and continuing until its fall in a.d. 476. However, it divided in a.d. 285 under Emperor Diocletian into eastern and western branches, as indicated by the two legs of the image. The eastern leg, centered at Constantinople, did not fall until a.d. 1453.

Daniel 2:41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

kingdom shall be divided. The two divisions of the Roman empire, centered at Rome and Constantinople, respectively, continued for a long time, as suggested by the length of the legs. After the fall of political Rome, the empire continued in ecclesiastical form, as the Roman and Byzantine Catholic churches. In fact, in an extended sense, they continue even into the modern era, in the context, not of political unity, but of culture, language, legal structure, civilization and government. The change from political Rome to ecclesiastical Rome, at the knees of the image, as it were, became the Holy Roman empire in the west and the complex of Orthodox churches in the east. The western branch expanded throughout western Europe and into the Americas, the eastern into northern Eurasia, but the essential character of the old Roman empire persisted in both for many centuries.

Daniel 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

partly broken. Gradually, the feudal economies of the various kingdoms began to disintegrate, with the king (or czar, or emperor, or other monarch) yielding more and more of his power to his subjects.

Daniel 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

seed of men. The change of character and directions suggested by the change in the image from legs to feet apparently marks the rapid rise to dominance of the “seed of men” in the two divisions of the old empire of Rome. In the West, the American revolution was the first of many republics and democracies. In the East, the later emergence of communism had similar implications, but this also gave way to kingdoms “partly strong and partly broken,” continual conflict between totalitarianism and populism in the various nations.

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

days of these kings. The term “these kings” would indicate that at the very end of the age, the old Roman empire would develop into ten dominant kingdoms (corresponding to the “feet and toes” of the image), five in the western division, five in the east. Although the prophecies implicit in the rest of the image have largely been fulfilled already, the prophecy related to these extremities has not. Thus, it is not yet possible to identify these final ten kingdoms. They are probably the same as the “ten horns” of the tribulation period (Revelation 17:12).

kingdom. This kingdom “that shall never be destroyed” can be nothing less than the millennial kingdom set up by Christ when He returns and “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

Daniel 2:45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

without hands. The establishment of this final kingdom by “the God of heaven” is in no way an accomplishment by Christians and the church. The kingdom is established “without hands” by the conquering Lamb. “With the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 17:14; 19:15).

Daniel 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

Daniel 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

God of gods. The pagan king Nebuchadnezzar was willing to recognize the true God only as greater than all his own nature gods, but this is not enough. God is the only Creator and Redeemer; other gods are not just inferior gods, but false gods, and must be fully abandoned. The king's heart was not changed, as demonstrated by the events of Daniel 3 and 4.

Daniel 2:48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel 2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.