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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Daniel 2

 

 

Verse 1

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.

Ver. 1. And in the second year.] Of Daniel’s advancement. [Daniel 1:19-20] Or, as Josephus hath it, post annum secundum Aegyptiacae vastitatis, in the second year after that Nebuchadnezzar had subdued Egypt, and other countries, and so established his monarchy, whereupon likely was begun a new computation of the years of his reign.

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams.] All was but one dream, (a) but of many and weighty matters.

Wherewith his spirit was troubled.] God can easily trouble the troublers of his Israel, and make the ringleader of their bondage the trumpeter of their trophy, even nomen illud prolixum et terrificum, Nebuchadnezzar.


Verse 2

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.

Ver. 2. Then the king commanded to call the magicians.] These had Ham for their founder, saith Pintus; but who can tell that? Daniel haply was forgotten by Nebuchadnezzar, as David had sometime been by Saul. [1 Samuel 17:55-56] A sweet providence it was that he was not called among the magicians. God will not have his matched or mingled with wicked ones.


Verse 3

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

Ver. 3. I have dreamed a dream.] His thoughts had been occupied belike about the issue of his kingdoms, and thereupon he had a divine vision. He that is moderately careful about the affairs of his lawful calling shall not be destitute of divine direction.

And my spirit was troubled.] Heb., Troubled itself. Jesus also troubled himself, but without sin. [John 11:33] {See Trapp on "John 11:33"}


Verse 4

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.

Ver. 4. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac,] i.e., In Chaldee, whence there is here no Chaldee paraphrase; or else, if the Syriac were then a distinct tongue from the Chaldee, as now it is, it was belike their learned language, as now the Arabic is among the Turks.

O king, live for ever.] In this most officious salutation they flatter him, say some, or aver the immortality of the soul, as others, or wish him a long life, as also Daniel doth afterwards.

And we will show the interpretation.] Impostors are great braggers; but as the peacock in setting up his tail showeth his posteriors, so do these get to themselves shame.


Verse 5

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.

Ver. 5. The thing is gone from me.] He had dreamed of monarchies, and now forgotten his dream. He might have hereby learned that kingdoms are but phantasmata, ludicra, empty bubbles, pleasant follies, children and tales of fancy, &c. "The fashion of this world passeth away"; [1 Corinthians 7:31] "Surely every man walketh in a vain shadow." [Psalms 39:6]

Ye shall be cut in pieces.] Practisers of unjust; flatteries do often meet with unjust frowns.


Verse 6

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

Ver. 6. He shall receive of me gifts and reward.] This was what they gaped after, but missed, and therefore out of envy called not Daniel and his companions, as some think, lest they should share with them.

And great honour.] Great learning deserveth great honour. Aeneas Sylvius was wont to say that popular men should esteem it as silver, noblemen as gold, princes prize it as pearls.


Verse 7

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

Ver. 7. They answered again and said, Let the king, &c.] Thus these proud boasters vaunt of a false gift, and become like "clouds without rain," as Solomon hath it. [Proverbs 25:14] See Daniel 2:4.


Verse 8

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.

Ver. 8. I know of certainty.] There is no halting before a cripple. Politicians can sound the depth of one another. [Daniel 11:27]

That ye would gain the time.] Chald., Buy or redeem it - that is, make your advantage of it to evade the danger. And indeed if these sorcerers could have gained longer time much might have been done; for either the king might have died or been employed in war, or pacified by the mediation of friends, &c. Time often cooleth the rage of hasty men. {as 1 Samuel 25:33} How Hubert de Burgo, Earl of Kent, escaped the king’s wrath by a little respite, see Goodwin’s Catalogue of Bish., p. 193.


Verse 9

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 shew me the interpretation thereof.

Ver. 9. There is but one decree for you.] But that was a very tyrannical and bloody one. It is dangerous to affront great men, (a) though in a just cause. [Ecclesiastes 10:4]

Saevum praelustri fulmen ab arce venit. ” - Ovid.

Till the time be changed.] The Latin hath it, Till there be another state of things. See on Daniel 2:8.

Tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.] If you cannot tell it, surely you cannot interpret it; since they are both of a divine instinct, and nothing is hidden from God.


Verse 10

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

Ver. 10. There is not a man upon earth.] Yes, there is. But this is the guise of worldly wisdom, fingit se scire omnia, excusat ac occulit suam ignorantiam, it would seem to know all things, and to be ignorant of nothing that is within the periphery of human possibility.


Verse 11

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

Ver. 11. And it is a rare thing.] Exceeding man’s wit.

Except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.] They cohabit not with men, that we might converse and confer with them. Here these wizards (1.) Superstitiously affirm a multitude of gods, which the wiser heathens denied, Thales, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Chrysippus, &c. (2.) They deny God’s providence, as did also the Epicures, who held that the gods did nothing out of themselves. The Peripatetics also held that they had nothing to do with things below the moon; yea, the Platonists and Stoics placed the gods in heaven only, and other spirits good and bad in the air, which conversed with men, and were as messengers between them and the gods. Thus these famous philosophers became altogether "vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." [Romans 1:21] (3.) They seem to affirm that man can know nothing of God, unless he cohabited in the flesh with him. "But we have the mind of Christ," [1 Corinthians 2:16] and "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him"; [Psalms 25:14] this is a paradox to the natural man. [1 Corinthians 2:14] Lastly, they deny the incarnation of Christ, that great "mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh." [1 Timothy 3:16 John 1:14]


Verse 12

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

Ver. 12. For this cause the king was angry and very furious.] A cutting answer may mar a good cause. [Proverbs 15:1] See on Daniel 2:9.

And commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.] So rash is rage, it is no better than a short madness. Sed de vita hominis nulls potest esse satis diuturna cunctatio, saith the orator. (a) In case of life and death nothing should be determined without mature deliberation; for, like as Saturn, the highest of the planets, hath the slowest motion of them all; so, saith one, (b) should princess which sit in their high thrones of majesty, be most considerate in their actions.


Verse 13

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.

Ver. 13. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain.] And the wise men were slain, saith the Vulgate; some of them likely were cut off. The end of worldly wisdom is certain destruction.

And they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.] Wicked decrees are wrested to the butchery of the saints; as was that of the six articles here in Henry VIII’s days.


Verse 14

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:

Ver. 14. Then Daniel answered with counsel.] Retulit consilium et causum; { a} he conferred with Arioch the chief slaughterman, giving him good reasons wherefor to defer further execution. This good turn he did for the magicians and astrologers who were his utter enemies.


Verse 15

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.

Ver. 15. Why is the decree so hasty from the king?] Daniel, though now in danger of his life, forgetteth not his old freedom of speech; and God so wrought, that the king, who was stiff to the magicians, was tractable to Daniel. [Daniel 2:16]


Verse 16

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

Ver. 16. Then Daniel … desired the king to give him time.] Not to study or deliberate, but to pray with fervency and perseverance, which is the best help to find out secrets. [Jeremiah 33:3]

And that he would show the king the interpretation.] Beatus, ait Plato, qui etiam in senectute veritatem consequitur, He is happy who findeth out the truth, though it be long first, saith Plato.


Verse 17

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

Ver. 17. Then Daniel went to his house.] A house then he had, though he had lost house and home for God, and thither he repaireth, as to his oratory, well perfumed with prayers.

And made the thing known to Hananiah, &c.] That they also might pray, setting sides and shoulders to the work, as countrymen do to the wheel, when the cart is stalled.


Verse 18

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.

Ver. 18. That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven.] All God’s children can pray. [Song of Solomon 5:8] Those daughters of Jerusalem, though not so fully acquainted with Christ, yet are requested to pray for the Church. But these three were men of singular abilities, no doubt, and were themselves deeply concerned.

Concerning this secret.] In case of secrets and intricacies or riddles of providence, prayer is most seasonable; as being Tephillah, the usual Hebrew word for prayer, a repair to the Lord for inquiry, or for his sentence. [Genesis 25:22-23]


Verse 19

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

Ver. 19. Then was the secret revealed.] Oh the power of joint prayer! It seldom or never miscarrieth. While the apostles were praying together, the house where they prayed shook; [Acts 4:31] to show that heaven itseff was shaken, and God overcome by such batteries.

In a night vision.] Vigiliae noctis; { a} as he watched in the night; for he watched as well as prayed. [Ephesians 6:18]

Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.] Who had "not turned away his prayer nor his mercy from him." [Psalms 66:20] They that pray heartily shall never want matter of praise, and such shall be ever driving a holy trade between heaven and earth, till they cease to pray; but praise God throughout all eternity.


Verse 20

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

Ver. 20. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God.] They who are slight in praying are usually as slight in praising; [Job 35:13 Daniel 2:10-12] but Daniel was serious and zealous in both.

For wisdom and might are his.] These and all other excellencies are in God originally, eminently, transcendently. Daniel found it in this secret thus revealed to him; how much more may we, in the mystery of the gospel now made manifest. [Romans 16:26]


Verse 21

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:

Ver. 21. He changeth the times and the seasons, &c.] And so showeth that strength is his, such as is irresistible.

He removeth kings, &c.] As by the king’s dream, Daniel was well advertised.

He giveth wisdom unto the wise.] And so showeth that wisdom is his; since all the wisdom found in the creature is but a spark of his flame, a drop of his ocean.


Verse 22

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

Ver. 22. He revealeth the deep and secret things.] Daniel hath never done, but is incessant and unsatisfiable in praising God; and although there was haste of answering the king’s expectation, yet he shall stay till God have his due.

He knoweth what is in the dark.] See Psalms 139:12.


Verse 23

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.

Ver. 23. I thank thee, and praise thee.] A gracious man is a grateful man; there is the same word in Greek ( χαρις) for grace and gratitude. See on Daniel 2:22. A thankful man will enumerate God’s mercies, and redouble his praises.

O thou God of my fathers.] The very best inheritance that we can leave our children is the true God.

Who hast given me wisdom and might.] Wisdom to dive into deep matters, and might to manage it.


Verse 24

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 shew unto the king the interpretation.

Ver. 24. Destroy not the wise men of Babylon.] Who yet wished Daniel destroyed. This was a noble kind of revenge, to "overcome evil with good."


Verse 25

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.

Ver. 25. I have found a man.] Aulici aliorum sibi usurpant inventa.

Of the captives of Judah.] His worth deserved better respect.


Verse 26

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?

Ver. 26. The king answered and said to Daniel, (a) whose name was Belteshazzar.] So the king and courtiers had called him; but he took no felicity in that idolatrous appellation, which signified a treasurer to Bel, or Baal.

Art thou able?] Interrogatio regis admiratoria.


Verse 27

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, shew unto the king;

Ver. 27. The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men … show unto thee.] And therefore thou hast done amiss, first in seeking to them, next in slaying them, though God hath a holy hand in it for their just punishment.


Verse 28

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;

Ver. 28. But there is a God in heaven.] The saints are ever tender of God’s glory. [Ezra 8:22] Let these that are indued with singular gifts beware of self-admiration, apt to steal upon them.


Verse 29

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.

Ver. 29. Thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed.] Kingdoms have their cares, crowns are stuffed with thorns. These thoughts in the text were preparatory to the ensuing dream, [Ecclesiastes 5:2] the chief efficient or author whereof was God.

And he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee.] Yea, maketh thee a conduit of divine revelation to the Church.


Verse 30

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.

Ver. 30. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me, &c.] So careful are God’s best saints to give unto him all the glory, which they look upon as God’s wife, in the enjoying whereof he is a "jealous God," admitting no co-rival in heaven or earth. "Thy talent hath gained ten talents," saith he in the Gospel; I have not done it. And, "Not I, but the grace of God that is in me," saith Paul. The glory of God and the good of his Church is the chief thing that saints aim at.

But for their sakes,] i.e., For the poor Jews’ sake, to whose prayer thou owest this revelation; toward whom, therefore, thou shouldst exercise more clemency, and alleviate their misery.


Verse 31

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.

Ver. 31. Thou, O king, sawest,] sc., By the force of thy fancy; for in sleep the reasonable soul cometh into the shop of fantasy, and there doth strange works, which are vented in our dreams.

And behold a great image.] A fit representation, and in a dream especially, of worldly greatness. An image, saith Theodoret, is but the figure of a thing, and not the thing itself; and this image in the text, speciem habet gigantaeam, et prorsus Chimaericam, was a kind of chimera.


Verse 32

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,

Ver. 32. The image’s head was of fine gold.] This is the first, and till now, altogether unheard of prophecy concerning the four monarchies of the world. Res plane digna quae memoriae tota commendetur, saith one; (a) a scripture worthy to be well remembered, because it briefly comprehendeth the history of all ages to the world’s end.

His breast and his arms of silver.] The elder they are the baser; so is Rome papal, of which one of her sons, (b) over two hundred years since, complained, not without good cause, that she was become of gold, silver; of silver, iron; of iron, earth; superesse ut in stercus abiret, and that she would turn next into dung.


Verse 33

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

Ver. 33. Part of clay.] The best things of the world stand in an earthly foundation (a) [Isaiah 40:6]


Verse 34

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.

Ver. 34. Which smote the image upon his feet, &c.] All the powers of the world are but a knock, soon gone. [Psalms 2:9]


Verse 35

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.

Ver. 35. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, &c.] Those four mighty monarchies had their times and their turns - their ruin as well as their rise.

And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain.] The kingdom of Christ, little at first, increaseth wonderfully. Nec minor ab exordio, nec maior incrementis ulla, said Eutropius, (a) concerning Rome; may we better say concerning the Church, which shall stand when all other powers shall quite vanish and disappear for ever, seem they for present never so splendid and solid. Sic transit gloria mundi. So transitory is the glory of the world.


Verse 36

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

Ver. 36. This is the dream.] By this time Nebuchadnezzar began much to admire Daniel, who modestly taketh in his associates, as Paul also doth Sylvanus and Timothy, when he saith, "And we will tell the interpretation thereof," sc., ουν Yεω, God assisting us.


Verse 37

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.

Ver. 37. Thou, O king, art a king of kings.] And yet the whole Babylonian empire was but as a crust cast by God, the great housekeeper of the world, to his dogs, as Luther somewhere saith of the Turkish.


Verse 38

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.

Ver. 38. Thou art this head of gold.] A "head" the Babylonian monarchy is called, because it was the first of the four; and "of gold," because administered with great wisdom, fortitude, justice, and other heroic virtues, because of the glory also and greatness of it in all manner of magnificence. See Isaiah 13:19; Isaiah 14:11, Jeremiah 27:6. Megasthenes and Strabo (a) say, that Nebuchadnezzar was the mightiest of all kings, and held of the Chaldeans to have exceeded Hercules in courage.


Verse 39

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.

Ver. 39. And after thee shall arise another kingdom,] (a) viz., That of the Persians, fitly set forth by silver, for their exceeding great wealth mentioned by many heathen authors. The two silver arms are the Medes and Persians, meeting both in Cyrus, as the two arms do in the breast; Cyrus also, by his great strength and much bodily labour all his life long, got this other empire.

Inferior to thee,] sc., In fame and felicity. Chald., Humilius; quia durius et minus tolerabile, saith one.

And another kingdom of brass.] This is the third monarchy, which is the Grecian, not the Carthaginian, as Orosius, and, out of him, Prosper, would have it; and it is fitly set forth by brass, which, as it is a metal strong and hard, so noisy and loud sounding. The belly noteth the beginning and greatness of this kingdom, saith one, (b) under Alexander the Great; the joints between the belly and thighs note the plucking up of this kingdom after Alexander’s death, to be divided into four, whereof the principal were two - the one of the Seleucidae, the other of the Lagidae, figured here by the two thighs of brass. See Daniel 11:4-5.


Verse 40

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.

Ver. 40. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron,] i.e., The Roman kingdom, fitly compared to iron for hardness and hardiness. (a) The two legs do note the division of the kingdom into the empire of the east and the empire of the west, first begun by Anthony and Augustus Caesar 40 B.C., afterwards established by Constantine, A.D. 330, and again more perfectly by Theodosius, A.D. 395.

And as iron that breaketh all these.] Of the Roman greatness much is written by many authors, how they subdued and kept under other potent nations by their legions quartered among them, and by their publicans exacting tribute of them. (b)


Verse 41

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.

Ver. 41. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, &c.] These "feet and toes" are the Roman empire, yet continuing, but weaker than it was before, while it consisted of "legs of iron," being now but of "feet and toes." And this empire is divided as the feet and toes are. One part is the kingdom of the Pope in the West (he whom we call the emperor hath now little or nothing to do with the empire, which was of Rome); the other part is the Turk in the East, before whom three of the horns of the empire are rooted out. See Daniel 7:8.


Verse 42

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.

Ver. 42. So the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.] Or, Brittle. This we see daily fulfilled in the tottering kingdoms both of that of the Turk (which laboureth with nothing more than the weightiness of itself, and yet hath been soundly battered of late by the Venetians) and the other of the Pope, which declineth also apace, and shall do every day more and more, according to that old distitch:

Roma diu titubans, variis erroribus acta,

Corruet, et mundi desinet esse caput. ”


Verse 43

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.

Ver. 43. They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men,] i.e., Endeavour by interchangeable marriages to reunite the divisions; but that can as little be as iron can be mixed with clay: cleave they might for a while together, but not incorporate.


Verse 44

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.

Ver. 44. And in the days of these kings,] i.e., Of this fourth monarchy; for the Roman emperors were kings, as Peter also calleth them, [1 Peter 2:17] though they, to avoid the hatred of the people, refused so to be styled. The Pope, by a like hypocrisy, calleth himself the servant of God’s servants, but yet stamps upon his coin, "That nation and country that will not serve thee, shall be rooted out."

Shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.] The kingdom of his Son Christ. And here we have in few words the whole sum of the gospel, and that "truth which is according to godliness," [Titus 1:1] for the revealing whereof this whole dream was revealed to the king.

But it shall break in pieces.] Christ shall reign, and all his foes be made his footstool.


Verse 45

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.

Ver. 45. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain.] Christ is called a stone, (1.) For strength; (2.) For continuance; (3.) For refuge; (4.) For offence. He is piorum rupes, reorum scopulus, as Val. Max. saith of Lucius Cassius’s tribunal.

Without hands,] i.e., Without man’s help.

And that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold.] Broughton’s (a) note here is, Wisely Daniel telleth first how the last shall be destroyed, and not how Nebuchadnezzar’s house first should fall; so Daniel 7:11-12, where he showeth his care to please the cruel tyrant, and his own readiness of wit in the allusion that is in the Chaldee between chaspa and caespa, clay and silver; which they that observe not cannot know why Daniel brake the native order of speech for clay, iron, brass, silver, and gold.


Verse 46

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.

Ver. 46. Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face.] Out of admiration, and an opinion of some divinity in Daniel. See the like, Acts 14:11; Acts 28:6. So the savages of Nova Albion stole upon the English, at their departure thence, a sacrifice, and set it on fire ere we were aware, saith Captain Drake, for they supposed us to be gods indeed.

And worshipped Daniel,] i.e., He was about to do it, but that Daniel utterly and earnestly refused it, directing him to God, the sole object of divine adoration, as appeareth by the next verse. And indeed it had been better for Daniel a thousand times to have been put to death than to have suffered an oblation and sweet odours to have been offered unto him. He had said enough before to prevent such a mischief. [Daniel 2:28-30] See here how Satan tempteth the saints by extremes. Daniel, who before was destined to death, is now deified; and this was the more dangerous temptation of the two. Be not "ignorant of his wiles."


Verse 47

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.

Ver. 47. The king answered unto Daniel.] Who dissuaded him, with all his might, from doing on that sort, and inculcated that God was the chief doer.

Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods.] Hoc fuit momentaneum, saith Calvin; this was but a flash, such as was found in Pharaoh, Saul, and other temporaries; for if it had been in truth, he would not have set up the golden idol, &c. [Daniel 3:1] Nevertheless Nebuchadnezzar showed more ingenuity than our stiff unpersuadable refractories, and especially than the perverse Jesuits, of whom it is noted that they are so cross grained and quarrelsome that they had rather quaerere than credere, start questions than believe truth, and pertinaciously dispute than rest in the plainest interpretations.


Verse 48

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.

Ver. 48. Then the king made Daniel a great man.] This was, saith Broughton, about two years before the captivity of Jeconiah, when the good figs were to be brought to Babylon; an encouragement for the faithful to go willingly, their own nobles being so advanced in that court.

And gave him many great gifts.] This Porphyry, that atheist, snarleth at, viz., that Daniel received these rewards and honours. But why might he not, since the gifts he could bestow upon the poor captives, his fellow brethren, and the honours he could also improve to their benefit, himself did neither ambitiously seek them, nor was vainly puffed up by them. A noble pair of like English spirits we have lately had among us, Dr Ussher and Dr Preston, contemporaries and intimate friends to one another. The former, (a) when he was consecrated Bishop of Meath in Ireland, had this anagram of his name given him, "JAMES MEATH, I am the same." The latter, (b) when he might have chosen his own mitre, but denied all preferment that courted his acceptance, had this anagram made of him, "JOHANNES PRESTONIUS, En stas pius in honore." Behold, you stand holy, in honour.


Verse 49

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.

Ver. 49. Then Daniel requested of the king.] Acquainting him likely that by their prayers also in part the secret had been brought to knowledge. [Daniel 2:18-19]

But Daniel sat in the gate of the king.] As chief admissional, so the civilians call it, without whose leave and licenee none might come into the king’s presence. Himself meanwhile had an excellent opportunity of treating with the king upon all occasions of such things as concerned the Church’s good; and this privilege no question but he improved to the utmost.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/daniel-2.html. 1865-1868.

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