Daniel 2:1 “…in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar …”
Caught my attention as scripture tells us that Nebuchadnezzar had besieged Jerusalem before, and Daniel 1:5 tells us that they trained for service for three years. I have found in dealing with Daniel that you must take in the secular history of Babylon as Daniel will use the current time and circumstances in his references. Commentary notes this as well. Nebuchadnezzar had been serving under his father Nabopolassar. By this time he has now become the supreme regent so Daniel uses this as his time standard. It is now the second year that Nebuchadnezzar has ruled on his own. There will be a similar issue when we get to Belshazzar.
1 “…Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams…
God sent the dreams of the future to the king and not to the Hebrews. God can and will use whoever He wishes.
2 “…and the Chaldeans…
The Bible sometimes refers to Babylonians as Chaldeans. Here they are apparently different. Commentary suggests they were a particular order of priest/magician, which the context supports, and that they probably belonged to the original tribe of the Babylonian nation. Something else I forget is that conquering nations brought back other tribes and nations for assimilation, just as they are doing to the Hebrews here. The makeup of the nation is not pure as it might have been at the beginning. As so many other tribes/nations are brought into a country, and many of them consisting of a great number of people, those groups may have stayed primarily together as the Hebrews did as opposed to completely assimilating into the Babylonian culture and disappearing as a distinct nation. At any rate, there are many different people serving in Babylon.
3 “…to know the dream”
First time I read Daniel, my first thought was that he is wanting to understand the meaning of the dream. Further reading shows that Nebuchadnezzar meant he couldn’t remember the dream, only that he had it, and it was disturbing. He wants the counselors to tell him what the dream was and what it meant.
4 “…spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack…”
The King James Version refers to this as Syriack. No information on the different words or definition of either at the moment, although commentary refers to it as Aramean Chaldee. Until this point, Daniel has been writing in Hebrew. He switches here to Aramaic and continues through chapter 7. Commentary suggests Daniel mentions it here as part of his reason for the switch. Also, the main focus of what is written is toward Babylon and not the Hebrews.
4-11 “…tell thy servants the dream…make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation…”
Back and forth between the king and the counselors. They ask him what the dream was so they can interpret it. He insists that they tell him what the dream was and its interpretation. Since they can’t, he begins to get frustrated. Reminds me of seeing advertisements for fortune tellers. They always want to know some private info on you first. If they can tell the future, shouldn’t they be able to know that already?
8-9 “…I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me…ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed…”
I like this little tidbit of info here. Like watching a TV drama. The king is losing patience and thinks they are just stalling for time to figure something out to tell him.
10-11 “…not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter…no king…that asked such things at any magician…it is a rare thing that the king requireth…there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh”
They try to weasel out. They say no one can tell what the king wants and furthermore, no king has ever asked such a request. The king shouldn’t ask this of them since only the gods could give the answer. Sounds like a poor excuse, and the king doesn’t buy it.
12-13 “…king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon…the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain…sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain”
Bit of conflicting interpretation. It appears to say here that the order for execution was being carried out, some wise men were killed, and that they were searching for Daniel and his friends. Daniel gets the info from God and is ready to tell the king. Then verse 24 says Daniel tells the captain of the guard to not destroy the wise men until he has talked to the king. Seems to me from the context that Daniel was able to convince the captain to stop in verse 14. Now that he has the answer, he is saying there is no reason to continue with the order since he is going to tell the king what he wants to hear. The commentary merely states that verse 24 shows that the order had not been carried out when Daniel intervened. Between verses 14 and 24, I can agree the scenario would work. Daniel catches the captain as he was going out to execute the order and is able to get him to hold until Daniel can find an answer. But the commentary doesn’t explain verse 13 when it says they began killing the wise men. I guess you could interpret that as they were on their way out to execute the order, but why not say that? Why say began killing if some weren’t killed? Will need to check others’ ideas. You might say that the execution of the order involved rounding up the wise men first and then killing them. In that case, to say that they began killing them could be interpreted to mean that they had begun gathering them to kill them. So much over a few words. But shows the different ideas that can come up in interpretation.
NOTE: My notes were written using the NKJV, but as noted when I began posting, I have to use the KJV until I receive permission to print the NKJV. My commentaries also use the KJV, so their interpretation is based on that wording. NKJV uses the phrase “began killing” while the KJV says “decree went forth.” Another example of the difficulties encountered when dealing with different languages. The issue was when did the killing actually begin. From the two text interpretations, I think you could take it both ways, but that is merely my opinion. It’s not a major key to the story, just an interesting detail for consideration.
14 “…Arioch the captain of the king’s guard…”
The one tasked to execute the king’s order.
16 “…Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time…”
Daniel apparently had someone send word to the king as he asks Arioch in verse 24 to take him in before the king. Have to remember the Bible is written down by man so it reads conversationally, not like a scientific paper. Can make things interesting, but the Spirit can give direction.
17-19 “…Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…desire mercies of the God of heaven…Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision…”
He tells his friends the issue and they begin to pray about it. And God answered.
21 “…He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings…”
Part of Daniel’s praise to God in verses 20-23. Hints at the content of the answer.
24-25 “…Daniel went in unto Arioch…bring me in before the king…Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him…”
As mentioned earlier, Daniel must not have had direct access to the king unless summoned. He had to have someone with that authority to get him an audience.
27-30 “…there is a God in heaven…He that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass”
Daniel’s intro into the dream. He builds on what God has already done, namely shown the king that all earthly or manly wisdom is nothing compared to Almighty God. God exists and only He could have sent the dream and explained it. Daniel also leaves himself out of the revelation. He is only the vessel God is using and gives all the glory to God.
31-35 “…a great image…”
Description of the dream. Statue of a man. Gold head, silver chest and arms, bronze belly and thighs, iron legs, and feet made of iron and clay. Nebuchadnezzar will find out that the gold head represents him and his kingdom. Wouldn’t surprise me if his pride caused him to focus on the image and the gold which led him to build the similar image to himself in chapter 3. If so, how foolish. Here he is given a great revelation from God Himself, but he only sees himself in it. Missed the forest for the trees. Great example for us.
36-45 The interpretation of the dream/image. Daniel gives the progression of kingdoms after that of Nebuchadnezzar all the way to the end of time. He doesn’t know the names yet, but can see that, since they are of man, they become progressively weaker until they are destroyed by a kingdom not made by man. Daniel will be given more detail on the kingdoms in a later chapter, but here is the basic line. Babylon is the head of gold. Nebuchadnezzar could pretty much do as he pleased. Medes and Persians are the silver. Those kings had to work with other nobles, no absolute power in one person, as shown by Darius not being able to free Daniel. Bronze is the Greek empire which was somewhat scattered and split. Rome took over from the Greek as the legs of iron. Strong but nothing compared to what was. Rome had a senate so others’ opinions had to be addressed. And the feet of iron and clay speak of a kingdom made up of the Roman empire but not with its strength. This kingdom began when Christ came, but has been subdued during the church age. It will rise again in the time of the Antichrist and be destroyed by Christ Himself at the end. The main point is the weakness of all of the kingdoms compared to the one which will be of God. And regardless of their strength, each existed only because God allowed it.
47 “…Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets…”
The king is impressed, but he probably still only sees God as one of many. Refers to him as “your God” and “the God of gods.”
48-49 “…king made Daniel a great man…ruler over the whole province of Babylon…chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon…Daniel requested of the king…he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon…Daniel sat in the gate of the king”
Daniel is set over the province and all the other wise men. It is suggested that this is how the wise men from the east who visited Christ as a child knew to look for Him. They would have had access to the prophesies of Daniel.
Daniel is able to gain promotions for his friends also. They are put over the affairs of the province which we will see in chapter 3. Daniel remains in the king’s court which may explain why he is not mentioned in chapter 3. A difference of position and responsibility.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!