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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-49

Chapter 2

Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep was taken from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to show the king his dream. So they came and they stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I've dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. So the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Syriac ( Daniel 2:1-4 ),

And so part of this book is written, and in fact, at this point from chapter 2 verse Daniel 2:4 on to chapter 7 verse Daniel 2:28 , this book is written, because it says they spoke to him in Syriac, the book is written in this language of Aramaic, which it was the ancient Syrian language.

O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show you the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, I forgotten it: if you will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation, you'll be cut to pieces, and your houses shall be made of dunghill. But if you show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive from me gifts, rewards, great honor: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation. They answered again and said, Let the king just tell the servants his dream, and we will show you the interpretation. And the king answered and said, I know of certainty that you would gain the time, because you see that I have forgotten the dream. But if you will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for you 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 you can show me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, Look there's not a man on the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that has asked such things of any of his magicians, or astrologers, or Chaldeans ( Daniel 2:4-10 ).

Oh, come on, king, you know. Let's be fair. No man knows what a man dreams. No man can show you this. Look in history, no king has ever demanded such a ridiculous thing from his counselors.

It's a rare thing that the king requires, there's none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh ( Daniel 2:11 ).

Now, they were dealing with the wrong man because Nebuchadnezzar was a hothead. He was always becoming angry and very furious, until his conversion.

For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and he commanded that all of the wise men be destroyed. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain ( Daniel 2:12-13 ).

Now, we notice the tremendous power of Nebuchadnezzar. Autocratic control. He was the final word. His word was law. He could order these men all eliminated. Cut them to pieces. His word was law. When we get into the next empire, as we get into chapter 5 and 6, as we get into the Medo-Persian Empire, we notice that when the king made a decree and signed it, that he was subject then to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which once a decree had been signed it could not be changed. He did not have the same type of autocratic control and power as did Nebuchadnezzar. Probably no man has been vested with so much power in the history of mankind as was Nebuchadnezzar. So much control over the world and over the lives of people. That is why in the interpretation of his dream, he said, "Your kingdom will be replaced by an inferior kingdom." Not inferior as far as strength, but the Medo-Persian Empire was very powerful and very wealthy, but as far as the as the control by the king, much less. He was subject to the laws of the land, whereas Nebuchadnezzar was the law himself. His word became law.

So he was very furious. He ordered the execution of his wise men.

And Daniel answered with the counsel and wisdom to Arioch who was the captain of the king's guard, who was commissioned to go out and to slay all of the wise men: And he said to Arioch, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Daniel went in, and he desired of the king that he would give him a little time, then he promised to show the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 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 2:14-18 ).

So Daniel went in to the king and he said, "Look, give me a little time. I'll come and I'll tell you the dream and the interpretation." Then he went to his buddies and said, "Hey, it's time for a prayer meeting, fellows. We got to get some information, you know. Our necks are on the line."

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

Now it is, I think, important to the story and for us to know that Daniel at this point was probably around nineteen or twenty years of age. He was probably around sixteen years old when he was carried as a captive to Babylon. Just a very young man. Just a very young man when he purposed in his heart he wasn't going to defile himself with the king's meat. It shows that somewhere along the line Daniel had excellent training in the ways of God and in the things of God. That even by the age of sixteen these things were so deeply embedded that as he is carried away to far country, where he is away from the influences, the spiritual influences under which he grew up, still he maintains such integrity in spiritual matters. Absolutely glorious to behold. And to realize that even as a very young man he had such high principles, high ideals. And the depth of his spiritual character is expressed here after God reveals to him the dream and the interpretation. As we read Daniel's response to God and realize, here is just a young man in a far country, but he shows such depth of spiritual character.

Daniel answered [the Lord] and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and has made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for you have now made known unto us the king's matter ( Daniel 2:20-23 ).

And this to me is just a marvelous expression of praise and thanksgiving unto God, which shows a real depth of spiritual character in such a young man. I think that a lot of times we perhaps think, "Well, you know, he's too young to really have much spiritual maturity or to be able to share much in spiritual things." But I look at Daniel; I look at Jeremiah. These young men who started their ministry so early and the depth of spiritual understanding that they had, even while young.

Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went in 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. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. 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? And Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret in which the king has demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magician, the soothsayers, show unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and makes known unto the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these ( Daniel 2:24-28 );

Now, first of all, make note that Daniel does not take personal credit for the interpreting of the dream. King says, "I understand you can make known to me the dream and the interpretation." Daniel says, "Look, the wise men, the astrologers, none of them can do it, but there is a God in heaven who reveals things." And he gives credit to God for the interpretation, for the understanding and the interpretation of the dream. I think that this is something that if anyone is at all interested in becoming involved in the work of the Lord it is important to note this particular aspect of Daniel. That he was not about to take credit for what God had done. He immediately points to God as the source and he gives credit to God. He does not let the king give him credit or give him honor, but he points the king to God. "There's a God in heaven who reveals things and He has made known."

Secondly, the dream is for the latter days. So it is a dream that has prophetic significance. The things that are going to come to pass here on the earth.

But as for me ( Daniel 2:30 ),

Now notice he is not taking credit.

as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than anyone else, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, that you may know the thoughts of your heart ( Daniel 2:30 ).

"God didn't do this for me 'cause I'm something special or because I have anything over anybody else." He's not trying to exalt himself in this at all. He does seek to exalt God, but not seeking to promote or exalt himself. It so important for anyone involved in any kind of ministry not to try to exalt yourself, but to just seek to bring glory to God.

Now he tells the king what he dreamed. But notice he said,

Thou, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; in the form thereof was awesome ( Daniel 2:31 ).

So you saw this great image, awesome, bright.

The image head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part iron and part of clay. And you were watching till a stone was cut without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, the gold, broke into 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 eaRuth ( Daniel 2:32-35 ).

So this was the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had that troubled him.

This is the dream; [Daniel said,] and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beast of the field, the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and have made thee ruler over them all. For thou art this head of gold ( Daniel 2:36-38 ).

Now, we skipped a verse, and it is an important verse, and I'm going to go back to it, verse Daniel 2:29 . He said,

As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thine mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that reveals secrets is made known unto thee what should come to pass ( Daniel 2:29 ).

Before Nebuchadnezzar had gone to sleep, he was wondering in his mind, "What's going to happen to the world? What does the future hold?" And so this dream pertains to the future. God is in this dream giving him history in advance, as He lays out the kingdoms that would rule over the earth. The first world-governing empire, the Babylonian Empire, the head of gold.

But after thee there shall arise another kingdom that is inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which will bear rule over all the eaRuth ( Daniel 2:39 ).

Notice these are world-dominating empires bearing rule over all the earth.

And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all things, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas you saw the feet and the toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly weak, or brittle. And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men ( Daniel 2:40-43 ):

That is, there would not be a monarchy but there would be more of a democracy kind of a thing, a confederacy of states, but not a strong dictatorship or monarchy as such. "You saw the iron mixed with the miry clay they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men."

and they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 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. Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: the dream is certain, the interpretation is sure ( Daniel 2:43-45 ).

So, this great image, the head of gold representing the Babylonian Empire, the first world-dominating empire, which was to be replaced by an inferior empire. The arms and chest of silver or the Medo-Persian Empire, which was to be replaced by the brass stomach or the Grecian Empire, which was to be supplanted by the legs of iron, the Roman Empire. But then he saw the feet of iron and clay with ten toes, weaker than just the iron because you have the mixture of iron and clay. Not a strong monarchy, but more of a confederacy. And yet, it is related to the Roman Empire because it is part iron. So because of this, and of course, the subsequent vision of Daniel in chapters 7 and 8, in which Daniel declares that the second empire will be the Medo-Persian and the third would be the Grecian. And, of course, we know from history that the fourth was the Roman Empire.

Bible scholars for years have been looking for a confederacy of European nations to join together with treaties that would become and will become the final world-governing empire. Since the Roman Empire, there has not been a world-governing empire. It was, of course, Hitler's dream to become a world ruler. And he sought to establish a world-governing empire through the super race. But he never accomplished his dream. It is the goal of communism to develop a world-dominating empire. The communists will not fulfill their dreams. But Bible scholars, and I can show you books that were written back in the twenties, back in the thirties by Bible scholars, Dr. Talbot, Arnold Gabbling, William Newell, who all in their books predicted that there will arise in Europe a confederacy of ten nations who will link themselves together with treaties. And that this ten-nation federation in Europe will become the final world-dominating empire. Because the ten toes are part iron, the nations that become, or joined together, will be related to the Roman Empire, or nations that were involved in the Roman Empire. But because there is also the mixture of clay, so that you have a democracy among them, the nations having equal parts it won't be one nation ruling over them all, but the nations ruling together as a confederacy. So that we as Bible students have been watching Europe for the development of a ten nation European community. And, of course, at the beginning of this year, among the Bible scholars there was tremendous excitement as Greece signed the treaty and became officially the tenth nation of the European community.

Now, the thing that is especially relevant and significant is verse Daniel 2:44 of chapter 2, where the Lord said, "And in the days of these kings," that is the ten kings when this ten nation European confederacy has been formed, "in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed." So that he does declare that the coming of Christ will take place during the time of the rule of these ten kings of the European community.

The fact that the European community has been formed is extremely significant from a biblical standpoint. Now there are many other passages that relate to this in the scriptures. The ruler that will ultimately arise from this ten-nation European confederacy. The power that will be given to him and his rule over the earth as is described in other passages throughout the Bible. As well as Daniel gives us quite a bit of insight towards the latter part of the book of Daniel concerning this man of sin that is going to arise. But to me, the really exciting thing is that we, in seeing the formation of the European community, could very well be seeing exactly what Daniel was prophesying here as we see the Roman Empire, in a sense, being revived in the European community. And we see its growing strength, especially in economy. And we see its industrial might as it is being developed. The European community has a potential GMP that is double that of the United States. And it is certainly one of the most powerful forces in the world today as far as economic and industrial. It is not yet a military force. That will come later, but I'm always excited to realize that it's during the time of the ten kings that the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed. The coming of Christ and the kingdom of Christ upon the earth. The stone, not cut with hands, that grows into a mountain that cover the earth. And to realize that we are coming to those days. We see, it's just almost incredible that we see the ten-nation European community being formed. Now, they say, "But Spain and Portugal want to come in." That is correct, then there'll be twelve. Well, there will be ten. Maybe Greece will drop out or maybe the Lord will come before Spain and Portugal can get in. But there will be ten.

We will get in Daniel, chapter 7, a corresponding vision of Daniel, in which it will amplify just a little more fully. This ten horns that come out of this Roman Empire, and the little horn that arises and destroys three and all, but we'll get to that when we get to chapter 7. But nonetheless, I cannot read this second chapter of Daniel and look at what's happening in the world today without getting extremely excited. Because we're coming right down. And like the Lord said, "The dream is certain and the interpretation is sure." And it has followed the very sequences that were predicted. And it is significant that since the Roman Empire you have not had a world-governing empire. And yet there will be one final world-governing empire, ten kings related to the Roman Empire.

Then king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and he commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him. And the king answered 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 that you can reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him a ruler over a whole province of Babylon, and a chief of the governors over the wise men of Babylon. And then Daniel requested of the king, that he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: that Daniel sat in the gate of the king ( Daniel 2:46-49 ).

So Daniel spoke to them about his three friends and got them important positions. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/daniel-2.html. 2014.
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