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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Daniel 2

 

 

Verses 1-13

The King Condemns His Wise Men for Failing to Recall His Dream - In Daniel 2:1-13 we have the opening setting of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Upon waking from his troublesome dream the king immediately consults all of his wise me for assistance in order to recall his dream. However, no one in his kingdom could do such a thing. These wise men then counsel the king that "there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." ( Daniel 2:11) It is amazing how God sets up and divinely orchestrates a situation so that He gets the glory and His servants are rewarded. When Daniel does step forward to give the king a description of his dream with its interpretation, the king has already been convinced that only God could reveal it to Prayer of Manasseh , for the wise men had told him that such a task was beyond man's ability. Thus, the king immediately gives God the glory and rewards Daniel as well.

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.

Daniel 2:1 — "And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar" - Comments- We know that young Daniel and his three friends were taken to Babylon in the third year of King Jehoiakim (605-604 B.C.).

Daniel 1:1, "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it."

We are told in Jeremiah 25:1 that the fourth year of Jehoiakim was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar (604-603 B.C.).

Jeremiah 25:1, "The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;"

In addition, we are told by Josephus that Nebuchadnezzar went out on his first expedition to conquer Egypt while his father was still reigning. While pursuing his enemies in western Asia his father died (Antiquities 10111). 71] Thus, the reference to the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar may not have been the second year of Daniel's captivity, but a few years later.

71] Josephus says, "Now when king Nebuchadnezzar had reigned forty-three years, he ended his life. He was an active Prayer of Manasseh , and more fortunate than the kings that were before him. Now Berosus makes mention of his actions in the third book of his Chaldaic History, where he says thus: "When his father Nebuchodonosor [Nabopollassar] heard that the governor whom he had set over Egypt, and the places about Coelesyria and Phoenicia, had revolted from him, while he was not himself able any longer to undergo the hardships [of war], he committed to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who was still but a youth, some parts of his army, and sent them against him. So when Nebuchadnezzar had given battle, and fought with the rebel, he beat him, and reduced the country from under his subjection, and made it a branch of his own kingdom; but about that time it happened that his father Nebuchodonosor [Nabopollassar] fell ill, and ended his life in the city Babylon, when he had reigned twenty-one years;" (Antiquities 10111)

Depending upon how a king's reign is counted, Daniel had been in Babylon at least two years and perhaps three, having finished his three years of required training ( Daniel 1:5) when King Nebuchadnezzar had the dream that is recorded in chapter 2. The king had this dream around 603-602 B.C.

"Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him" - Comments - Although Daniel interpreted one dream for King Nebuchadnezzar, the king had been receiving many troublesome dreams. Perhaps these dreams were the same, repeating themselves, dreams that left a deep impression upon the king when he awoke.

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

Daniel 2:2Comments- People of all ages are seeking to know and understand the future. They seek counsel from the ways of this world and Satan's supernatural realm. This goes on today.

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 shew the interpretation.

Daniel 2:4Comments- The phrase "in Syriack" means, "in the Aramaic language." Some scholars, such as F. F. Bruce, understand the phrase "in Syriack" as more of a marginal note rather a part of the original text informing the reader that the text is about to turn from the Hebrew language to Aramaic. 72] This language will make up the book of Daniel from Daniel 2:4 b to Daniel 7:28. The Hebrew language will be not be used again until Daniel 8:1.

72] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company), 1963, 51.


Verses 1-28

Daniel's Ministry to Gentile Kings - Daniel 1-6 contains the historical section of the book, while Daniel 7-12is called the prophetic section. Chapters 2-6 emphasize Daniel's ministry to the kings of Babylon and Media. In these passages he interprets two dreams and the writing on the wall for these Gentile kings. Note that the stories recorded in the first six chapters of the book of Daniel have been arranged in chronological order. In addition, chapters 3,6 tell of the persecutions that Daniel and his three Hebrew friends faced from the Gentiles, while chapters 2, 4,6 tell of Daniel's ministry to these Gentile kings. But the underlying theme of each of these stories is the glorification of the God of Israel.


Verses 1-49

Predestination: The Four Periods of the Times of the Gentiles and the Kingdom of Heaven (Daniel Interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's First Dream) (603-602 B.C) - Daniel 2:1-49 records the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel's amazing divine recollection of the dream and his prophetic interpretation. This dream reveals four periods of the Times of the Gentiles predestined by God in His divine foreknowledge, and the fall of the fourth kingdom through the rising dominion of the Kingdom of God. The stone symbolizes the redemptive work of Christ Jesus in establishing the Kingdom of God upon earth during the Times of the Gentiles, which will ultimately bring the downfall of Gentile dominion upon earth and the sovereign reign of Christ Jesus at His Second Coming.

The passage in Daniel 2:1-49 tells us about King Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's interpretation of it. The first act of Daniel's ministry to the Gentile kings is the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. This event takes place early into Nebuchadnezzar's reign as king over Babylon. It is interesting to note that a similar event occurred in the book of Genesis when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream regarding future events. The Lord gives the king a dream in order to reveal to him the things that are coming to pass after him, for this was on the king's mind as he lay in bed that night. However, God only gave him insight into the history of the Gentiles, and revealed nothing about the history of Israel and of the Messiah. The Lord would reveal more about God's redemptive work among the Gentiles later in Daniel's life through dreams and visions.

The events recorded in Daniel 2:1-49 most likely took place shortly after Daniel and his three friends had completed their three-year training course in the king's courts. This story served to confirm Daniel as a prophet of the God of Heaven and earth and to position him in the service of these Gentile kings.

When Daniel divinely recalls and interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he operated in the gifts of the Spirit, that Isaiah , the gifts of revelation and of utterance (see 1 Corinthians 12:1-11). He operated in the gift of a word of knowledge by supernaturally recalling the details of the dream. He operated in the gift of prophecy by interpreting the dream. In Genesis 41:25-36 we have the account of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dream. Joseph operated in the gift of prophecy as he interpreted the dream. He operated in the gift of wisdom to explain what needed to be done as a result of the interpretation.

It is important to interpret the rest of the symbolism found in the book of Daniel within the context of the four phases of God's plan of redemption for the Gentiles. For example, the four symbolic creatures revealed to Daniel in Daniel 7:1-18, the ram and the goat in Daniel 8:1-27, the 70-year fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy in Daniel 9:1-27, and the lengthy prophecy of the battles between the king of the north and the king of the south ( Daniel 11-12) should be interpreted in light of these four phases of redemptive Gentile history, understanding that the Second Coming of the Messiah would usher the world into a new era of history, bringing a close to the Times of the Gentiles. Thus, Daniel 2:1-49 lays a foundation for the prophecies in the book of Daniel.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The King Condemns His Wise Men — Daniel 2:1-13

2. The Lord Gives Daniel the Interpretation — Daniel 2:14-30

3. Daniel Describes the King's Dream — Daniel 2:31-35

4. Daniel Interprets the Dream — Daniel 2:36-45

5. The King Honors Daniel — Daniel 2:46-49

God Reveals His Time-line of Redemption to the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church - We know from 1 Corinthians 10:32 that God's plan of redemption for mankind involved three people-groups. He began with the Jews, then moved to the Gentiles and finally created the Church out of the Gentile nations.

1 Corinthians 10:32, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God."

Each of the groups of people plays an important role in man's redemption. To each one of them has been revealed God's time-line to work redemption through them. When I first began to study end-time prophecy I looked for a single passage of Scripture that gave me an outline, or structure of end-time prophecy. I did not find one comprehensive time-line, but rather, three separate time-lines, one for each people-group. Daniel 2:1-49 gives us the time-line of God's redemptive plan for the Gentile nations with the vision of the image made up of different types of metals. In addition, Daniel 9:1-27 gives a time-line for the Jews, which is explained in the Seventy-Week Prophecy. We have to go to the New Testament to find the time-line for the Church, which Jesus gave to us in His Eschatological Discourse of Matthew 24:1-46.

God revealed this time-line to King Nebuchadnezzar because he was asking for an understanding of the future events that related to him and his kingdom ( Daniel 2:29). Thus, God showed him the "Times of the Gentiles" in which there will be four periods involving four earthly kingdoms. Later in Daniel's ministry the angel Gabriel visited him and revealed to him the interpretation of Jeremiah's seventy-year prophecy of Israel's Babylonian Captivity. This was revealed because Daniel was seeking to know what was going to take place in the future for His people. When Jesus was leaving the Temple for the last time, His disciples asked Him about the future events of His Second Coming ( Matthew 24:3). This is why He explained to them the events leading up to the end of the Church Age.

Royal Dreams in Biblical and Extra-biblical Literature - God spoke to men by dreams and visions throughout the Holy Scriptures. On a number of occasions, the Scriptures give the account of dreams He gave to kings for divine guidance, such as Abimelech ( Genesis 20:3-7), Pharaoh ( Genesis 41:1-8), Solomon ( 1 Kings 3:5-15), and Nebuchadnezzar ( Daniel 2:1). While the Lord spoke directly to Abimelech and Solomon in a dream, He gave Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar symbolic dreams with a message that revealed the future of the kingdom. Accounts of such royal dreams are not limited to biblical literature. The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) records the symbolic dreams of Median and Persians rulers and how they sought wise men for the interpretation (1107-8, 209-10; 330; 712-19).

Illustration- How often the Lord has given to me spiritual dreams while sleeping that give me understanding. If I do a lot of late night Bible study, I have the Lord speak to me more often in the night. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in the night. Daniel explained to him that it was because the king had been meditating on what would take place in the future. God spoke to him in the night season to show him. Unfortunately, the king was too undisciplined to write down his dream, so he forgot the dream and needed the ministry of Daniel to recall his dream and to interpret it. Even Daniel had to sleep on it so that God would reveal it to him in a night vision ( Daniel 2:19). Daniel had to get into the presence of God in order to hear the voice of God. This is why Daniel told the king that he had been with God and this is why he had the revelation of the dream and its interpretation.


Verses 14-30

The Lord Gives Daniel the Interpretation of the Dream - In Daniel 2:14-30 the Lord gives Daniel the interpretation of the king's dream.

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

Daniel 2:20Comments- The king's dream of which Daniel received the interpretation reveals God in His infinite wisdom and might, far above all kings of the earth.

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:

Daniel 2:21 — "And he changeth the times and the seasons" - Comments- The king's dream of which Daniel received the interpretation reveals how God was changing the times and seasons of man's history in order to fulfill His divine plan of redemption. The time of Israel's preeminence in history was ending and the "Times of the Gentiles" ( Luke 21:24) was being ushered in. This dream reveals the kings and the kingdoms that would rise and fall during the Times of the Gentiles.

Luke 21:24, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

God can literally change time and seasons on earth. We have several dramatic examples in the Old Testament.

A. Illustrations of times:

1. God changed the calendar.

Exodus 12:2, "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."

2. God stopped the sun and moon.

Joshua 10:12-13, "Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies."

3. God moved back time.

2 Kings 20:11, "And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz."

B. Illustration of seasons:

1. Aaron"s almond rod budded almonds.

2. Isaac reaped 100-fold during a famine.

3. Elijah prayed on Mt. Carmel for rain.

4. God brings rain and drought.

Daniel 2:21Comments - Daniel 2:1-49 places emphasis upon God's predestined plan of redemption for the Gentiles. Thus, Daniel's comments in Daniel 2:21 regarding the fact that God changes times and seasons, and removes kings and sets up kings reflects God divinely orchestrates and predestines the "Times of the Gentiles."

Illustration- Daniel 2:21 not only refers to the divine changing of the times and seasons of God's plan for the redemption of mankind, but it also refers to the fact that God divinely appoints for us as His children certain times and seasons on our spiritual journey. I have seen God's hand divinely changing the seasons, or types of ministry, in my life on a number of occasions. After having helped start a church in my hometown from 1985-88, the Lord spoke to my heart to return to Fort Worth and finish my seminary training. I moved back to Fort Worth in 1988 after receiving a word from the Lord and multiple dreams. I took the job that He divinely gave to me and worked faithfully. After four years as a maintenance man at an apartment complex while finishing my master's degree, I felt that a change was about to come. I waited and within weeks was promoted as a supervisor in the same company. I worked this job for four years while learning how to manage a company under a godly businessman who taught me many principles of management. In 1997, after eight wonderful years with this company, I had four dreams of being interviewed by my pastor and his colleague. I also felt restless on my job that I had enjoyed and prospered in for so many years. Within a few weeks, I was called to my pastor's office and asked to go to the mission field. All of these seasons of change in my life have been orchestrated by God. This is the way that we enter into God's plan for our lives. We should learn how to wait upon the Lord and let Him guide us through our particular times and seasons.

Daniel 2:20-21 — "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his. And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings" - Comments- Daniel is about to interpret the king's dream by describing a great statue which represents the kingdoms that are going to rule over the earth. These empires are Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece and finally Rome. Bible scholars suggest that the fall of the nation of Israel and the rule of Babylon ushered in the "times of the Gentiles," which refers to the period in human history when the world is ruled by Gentile nations. Thus, Daniel is speaking prophetically in Daniel 2:20-21 about the changes in times and seasons which God, in His infinite wisdom and might, is about to implement as a part of His divine plan of redemption. Within the context of Daniel this statement in Daniel 2:20-21 refers to the fact that the time of the Gentiles has begun. This phrase is placed beside the phrase "He removes kings and sets up kings," suggesting that these times and seasons will be determined by the change of kings and kingdoms, as revealed in the interpretation of this dream. Note Jesus' reference to the "Times of the Gentiles." Jesus described it in the plural as "times" because there are four kingdoms that make up this period of divine history.

Luke 21:24, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

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

Daniel 2:22Comments- The king's dream of which Daniel received the interpretation reveals deep and secret things of God regarding His plan of redemption for mankind.

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 2:23Comments- Daniel expresses his thankfulness for God revealing these things to him in a night vision.

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 2:26Comments - The king wanted more than an interpretation. He demanded that the wise man reveal his dream prior to its interpretation as evidence of a divine interpretation.

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;

Daniel 2:28Comments - Daniel was careful to give the Lord glory in all situations.

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.


Verses 31-35

Daniel Describes the King's Dream - Comments- In Daniel 2:31-35 the prophet Daniel described the dream that the king was given in the night from God. He could not have known the dream had it not been divinely revealed to him. This would be the word of knowledge operating in Daniel's life.

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 2:31Comments- The fact that this image is in the shape of a man reveals to us that these kingdoms are built by man and not by God.

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 2:34Comments- The Hebrew allows the text to say that this stone struck the feet of this great image, rather than another part of its body. This wording is used in some modern translations.

BBE, "While you were looking at it, a stone was cut out, but not by hands, and it gave the image a blow on its feet, which were of iron and earth, and they were broken in bits."

NIV, "While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them."

We know that the stone cut without hands represents the Kingdom of God. The rock that crushed the image was cut out of the mountain without man's hands ( Daniel 2:45). This means that God will intervene in the history of mankind and do a divine work of judgment and redemption. The kingdom that is set up by God refers to the Church ( Daniel 2:44). Jesus told Peter that upon this rock He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it ( Matthew 16:18). We see this final kingdom prevailing in these last days over the earth.

If the stone struck this image in its feet, which had ten toes, it would indicate the period in history in which this event took place. The ten toes represent the ten kings that will rise up during the Great Tribulation and persecute the Church. It is at the close of this seven-year period that Christ will strike these earthly kingdoms and bring an end to what is called the "Times of the Gentiles" by ushering the world into the Millennial Reign of Christ. This is exactly how Daniel gives the interpretation of the dream. In Daniel 2:44 he says that this stone will strike during the days of these kings and set up His kingdom.

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."

Thus, we can say that it represents the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period when He will return and set up His Kingdom on earth and rule and reign from Jerusalem. The "time of the Gentiles" will end shortly with the seven-year Tribulation period after which Jesus will rule His kingdom from the city of Jerusalem. The rock will have crushed these other kingdoms with the Sword of His mouth and the Church will rule and reign with Him with a rod of iron to subdue rebellious nations.

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.


Verses 36-45

Daniel Interprets the Dream - In Daniel 2:36-45 the prophet Daniel gives the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Many Bible scholars believe that these kingdoms symbolized in this image represent the "Times of the Gentiles," referred to in Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25, a period of history in which follows the failure of the kingdom of Israel and precedes the restoration of the nation of Israel.

Luke 21:24, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Romans 11:25, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."

It is important to note that today the world is still on the "Roman" calendar. The years that we record were made under the Roman Empire. Thus, in this sense we can say that we are still in the period of the Roman Empire. But we also have to acknowledge that influences of the previous cultures have trickled down to us through the centuries. It is as if each of these four Gentile empires have mixed with one another and have built upon one another to form the various world views that are in the world today. We have the mindset of Western civilization, which has been influenced by the Roman and Greek cultures. We have the Middle Eastern mindset that has been influenced by the Babylonian culture and Oriental cultures. These two world views are in conflict today as they try to live side by side in an increasingly smaller world brought together through technology and the media.

The head of gold represented the kingdom of Babylon which would rule for seventy years and fall at the hands of Darius the Mede in 539 B.C. ( Daniel 2:37-38). The breast and arms of silver represented the second kingdom of the Medes and Persians ( Daniel 2:39). Thus, this double kingdom was represented by two arms. This empire would rule for about 200 years and fall under the hands of Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. The belly and thighs of brass represent the third kingdom of Greece ( Daniel 2:39). The Grecian Empire ruled the world for 134years and fell to the Romans in 197 B.C. The fourth kingdom of iron legs represents the kingdom of the Roman Empire. The two legs and two feet symbolize that the Roman Empire will be divided into the East and West ( Daniel 2:41). The length of the legs may represent the lengthy duration of this fourth empire. The Roman Empire lasted approximately five hundred years and fell from within and was overrun by barbarians.

Many scholars suggest that the feet and ten toes represent the revived Roman Empire, but we clearly live today under the Roman calendar that was created during the time of this ancient Empire. The number ten represents the concept of many in the Old Testament, perhaps representing the many nations that will fall under the influence of Roman culture prior to the consummation of the "times of the Gentiles." ( Luke 21:24) The feet and toes made up of part clay and part iron represent two civilizations that are unable to exist peacefully together. Some scholars interpret this as the Western Christian and capitalistic culture coming into conflict with the Eastern cultures of Islam, Hindu, and Buddha religions. Others give different interpretations. The ten toes may represent the ten kings who are prophesied to arise out of the old Roman Empire, perhaps from Europe ( Daniel 7:24, Revelation 17:12).

Extra-biblical Literature Portraying Historical Periods Using the Symbolism of Precious Metals - The book of Daniel was not the first ancient writing to characterize people groups using precious metals. John Goldingay says the earliest testimony is found in the writing of the Greek poet Hesiod (f. c 750 to 650 B.C.), who divided the ages of humanity into five periods using the symbols of gold, silver, bronze, and iron to portray their characteristics similar to Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. 73] Goldingay says such analogies are also found in ancient Zoroastrian literature. For example, the ancient Persian texts of the Bahman Yasht (c. A.D 6th century) 74] and the Denkard (c. A.D 10th century) 75] describe four periods of human history symbolized by gold, silver, steel, and that mixed with iron. Although these two texts were written in the medieval period, they are believed to reflect religious Zoroastrian beliefs of a much earlier time. 76]

73] Hesiod writes, "First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven…then they who dwell on Olympus made a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far. It was like the golden race neither in body nor in spirit…Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong…Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more…And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth…For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night…" (Works and Days 106-201) See Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and the Homerica, trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1920), 10-17.

74] The text reads, "Aûharmazd spoke to Zaratûst the Spitâmân thus: ‘That root of a tree which thou sawest, and those four branches, are the four periods which will come. That of gold is when I and thou converse, and King Vistâsp shall accept the religion, and shall demolish the figures of the demons, but they themselves remain for. .. concealed proceedings. And that of silver is the reign of Ardakhshir the Kayân king (Kal shah), and that of steel is the reign of the glorified (anôshakrûbân) Khûsrô son of Kêvâd, and that which was mixed with iron is the evil sovereignty of the demons with dishevelled hair of the race of Wrath, and when it is the end of the tenth hundredth winter (satô zim) of thy millennium, O Zaratûst the Spitâmân!"" (Bahman Yasht 13-5) See E. W. West, Pahlavi Texts, part 1, in The Sacred Books of the East, vol 5, ed. F. Max Müller (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1880), 192-193.

75] The text reads, "The seventh fargard, T-ve-urvt, is about the exhibition to Zaratst of the nature of the four periods in the millennium of Zaratst. First, the golden, that in which Aharmazd displayed the religion to Zaratst. Second, the silver, that in which Vistsp received the religion from Zaratst. Third, the steel, the period within which the organizer of righteousness, Atrpd son of Mraspend, was born. Fourth, the period mingled with iron is this, in which is much propagation of the authority of the apostate and other villains, as regards the destruction of the reign of religion, the weakening of every kind of goodness and virtue, and the disappearance of honour and wisdom from the countries of Irn." (Denkard 981-5) See E. W. West, Pahlavi Texts, part 4, in The Sacred Books of the East, vol 37, ed. F. Max Mller (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), 180-181.

76] John E. Goldingay, Daniel , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 30, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), 40.

Figurative Meaning of the Number "Ten" in Scripture- The Hebrew phrase "ten times" ( פְּעָמִ֔ים עֶ֣שֶׂר) is used several times in the Old Testament, being made up of two words, "ten" ( עֶשֶׂר) (H 6235), and "times" ( פַּעַם) (H 6471). Although the literal translation Isaiah , "ten times," John Gill understands the phrase "ten times" in Numbers 14:22 as an idiom to mean a rounded number, which is equivalent to "time after time," thus "numerous times." He says that although the Jews counted ten literal occasions when Israel tempted the Lord during the wilderness journeys, Aben Ezra gives this phrase a figurative meaning of "many times." 77] T. E. Espin adds to the figurative meaning of Numbers 14:22 by saying that Israel had tempted the Lord to its fullness, so that the Lord would now pass judgment upon them, even denying them access into the Promised Land, which is clearly stated in the next verse. 78]

77] John Gill lists ten literal occasions, "twice at the sea, Exodus 14:11; twice concerning water, Exodus 15:23; twice about manna, Exodus 16:2; twice about quails, Exodus 16:12; once by the calf, Exodus 32:1; and once in the wilderness of Paran, Numbers 14:1, which last and tenth was the present temptation." John Gill, Numbers , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Numbers 14:22.

78] E. T. Espin and J. F. Thrupp, Numbers , in The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version (A.D 1611), with an Explanation and Critical Commentary and a Revision of the Translation, by Bishops and Clergy of the Anglican Church, vol 1, part 1, ed. F. C. Cook (London: John Murray, 1871), 702.

We can see the same phrase "ten times" used as an idiom in several passages in the Scriptures:

Genesis 31:7, "And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me."

Numbers 14:22, "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;"

Nehemiah 4:12, "And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you."

The NAB translates this phrase in Genesis 31:7 as "time after time."

NAB, "yet your father cheated me and changed my wages time after time. God, however, did not let him do me any harm."

The number ten represents a counting system that is based on ten units. Thus, the number ten can be interpreted literally to represent the numerical system, or it can be given a figurative meaning to reflect the concept of multiple occurrences.

Illustration- Jesus told Peter that we are to forgive seventy seven times ( Matthew 18:22). In this passage, Jesus did not literally mean that we were to forgive only seventy seven times, but that we were to forgive as often as was necessary to forgive, which is many times.

Matthew 18:22, "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

Thus, the ten toes probably carry the figurative meaning of many kingdoms under the control of the Roman Empire.

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.

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.

Daniel 2:39-40Comments- The Decreasing Values of the Metals of the Image- Note the fact that the metals found in the image have a decreasing value as it goes from head to toes, but the metals also have an increasing strength. Daniel said that the succeeding kingdoms would be inferior to the first in wealth, power and size. However, the fourth kingdom would make up for its inferiority by its fierceness and brutality throughout its domain.

The Roman Empire was known for its brutality towards those under its dominion, particularly the Jewish nation. Josephus describes horrors experienced by his Jewish brother during the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D 70 (War of the Jews).

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.

Daniel 2:43Comments - The fourth kingdom holds a distinct characteristic from the other three kingdoms in that it becomes a melting pot of diverse cultures. The Roman Empire fits this characteristic in that it was a mixed culture from the beginning of the Empire, and it has dispersed its distinctive culture into modern times throughout all of the nations of the world. For example, the world today adheres to a Roman calendar, a Roman clock, and follows similar governmental structures.

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.

Daniel 2:44Comments - The fifth kingdom is the Kingdom of Heaven, established upon the earth at Jesus' First Coming and its members being the New Testament Church.


Verses 46-49

The King Honors Daniel - In Daniel 2:46 the king responses to Daniel's interpretation by honoring him. He gave him great power in his kingdom.

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

Daniel 2:47Comments - According to Ira Price, ancient Babylonian inscriptions record King Nebuchadnezzar referring to his pagan god Merodach ( Mark -duk) as "the great lord," "the exalted governor," king of the heavens and the earth," and "the supreme god." 79] Thus, King Nebuchadnezzar was a very religious individual, being careful to give credit to the gods whom he worshipped.

79] Ira M. Price, "Merodach," in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol 3, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901), 347.

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Daniel 2:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/daniel-2.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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