Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar
had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.
(in: Da 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5 2Ch 36:5, 6, 7) (Nebuchadnezzar: Da 2:3
4:5 Ge 40:5, 6, 7, 8 41:1-36 Job 33:15, 16, 17) (and his: Da 6:18
while Daniel is a book of prophecy, the first 6 chapters deal
primarily with his personal life and the last 6 chapters deal with
prophecy, specifically prophecy that deals with the nation of Israel.
In Daniel 2 we do encounter a great prophecy which outlines the
history of the Gentile nations and their interaction with Israel.
THE BOOK OF DANIEL
IN HEBREW & ARAMAIC
for Gentile Nations
THE ABC'S OF
Harry Ironside has said
THIS second chapter has well been
called “The A, B, C of prophecy.” I suppose it contains the most
complete, and yet the most simple, prophetic picture that we have in
all the word of God. (Ironside, H. A. Lectures on Daniel the Prophet.
New York: Loizeaux Bros)
Note: If Daniel is
the ABC's, then Revelation is the XYZ's of Bible
Young's Literal - And in
the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, dreamed hath
Nebuchadnezzar dreams, and his spirit doth move itself, and his sleep
hath been against him
Daniel 2 is the "backbone of
John Walvoord opens his
comments on Daniel 2 with these remarks...
Beginning with the second chapter
of Daniel, the grand outline of the program of God for the period of
Gentile supremacy and chastisement of Israel is presented for the
first time. Tregelles, in his introduction to chapter 2 of Daniel,
observes, “The book of Daniel is that part of Scripture which
especially treats of the power of the world during the time of its
committal into the hands of the Gentiles, whilst the ancient people of
God, the children of Israel, are under chastisement on account of
their sin.” (Samuel P. Tregelles, Remarks on the Prophetic Visions in
the Book of Daniel, p. 6)
What is true of the book in general is especially true of chapter 2.
Nowhere else in Scripture, except in Daniel 7, is a more comprehensive
picture given of world history as it stretched from the time of
Daniel, 600 years before Christ, to the consummation at the second
advent of Christ. It is most remarkable that Daniel was not only given
this broad revelation of the course of what Christ called “the times
of the Gentiles” (Lk 21:24), but also the chronological prophecy of
Israel’s history stretching from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the
second advent of Christ. These two major foci of the book of Daniel
justify the general description of the book as world history in
outline with special reference to the nation of Israel...
Few chapters of the Bible are more
determinative in establishing both principle and content of prophecy
than this chapter; and its study, accordingly, is crucial to any
system of prophetic interpretation. (Daniel 2
Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision Of The Great Image)
- Once again the "higher" critics pounce on this verse as evidence of
the "inaccuracy" of this book, an attack they are forced to continue
because to accept the literal, historical account of Daniel as written
in the 6th Century BC is to be forced to accept a sovereign God Who
knows the future and is behind the scenes bringing every prophecy to
"letter perfect" fulfillment (let God's "Self Revelation" encourage
your faith [Ro 10:17] for
Himself declares -
Isa 42:9 44:7,8 46:9,10 45:21). So what does this mean? Ultimately,
the authenticity of Daniel and his prophecies means these critics and
all who have scorned and mocked God and His plan for the ages (2Pe
3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-note,
have a Supreme Being before Whom they will one stand to give an
accounting for their brief time on earth!
And so the second year is
in fact the second according to the Babylonian computation, but the third
according to that of the Jews, who reckon from the time he was
associated with his father. This corresponds to the calculation of the king's reign according to
Babylonian computation in Da 1:1 = third year of the reign of
Jehoiakim, and according to Jewish computation in Jer 25:1, 46:2 =
the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah. The following
time frame is adapted from John Walvoord's book (Daniel 2
Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision Of The Great Image) based on the information from
Wiseman's "The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings" (p159ff)
and J. Finegan's " Handbook of Biblical Chronology" (p. 38).
Babylonian victory by General
Nebuchadnezzar over the Egyptians and remnants of the Assyrian army at
the battle of
(3x in Scripture = 2Chr 35:20, Is 10:9, Jer 46:2) (Click
location of Carchemish next to Euphrates in modern day Syria)
map of Carchemish) (Picture
of Euphrates near Carchemish)
1) Jerusalem falls to General Nebuchadnezzar
and his friends are taken captive and deported to Babylon.
September 7, 605BC
1) King Nabopolassar dies
2) General Nebuchadnezzar son of Nabopolassar becomes
king of Babylon
September 7, 605BC
to Nisan (March-April) 604BC
1) Babylonian dating of king's
reign = no "credit" to Nebuchadnezzar.
2) Jewish dating king's reign = first year of
3) First year of Daniel in "Babylon U"
Nisan (March-April) 604BC
to Nisan (March-April) 603BC
1) Babylonian dating = First year
2) Jewish dating = Second year of Nebuchadnezzar
3) Second year of Daniel in "Babylon U"
Nisan (March-April) 603BC
to Nisan (March-April) 602BC
1) Babylonian dating = Second
year of Nebuchadnezzar
2) Jewish dating = Third
year of Nebuchadnezzar
3) Third year of Daniel in "Babylon U"
4) Year of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
Had dreams - KJV more
literal = dreamed dreams - Note that dreams is plural here and
singular in Da 2:3. This suggests that there was one primary dream
that recurred over several nights.
God used dreams elsewhere to
give revelation to Gentile rulers - Abimelech (Ge 20:3) and Pharaoh
(Ge 41:1-8). Note that dreams is plural in the Hebrew, suggesting that
this was a recurring dream, which he describes as one dream in Da 2:3.
The writer of Hebrews records
that God has used various methods to reveal Himself...
God, after He spoke long ago to the
fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
in these last days
has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things,
through Whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:1, 2)
Two vehicles God has used to
reveal Himself include dreams and visions, Moses
He (Jehovah) said, "Hear now My
words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself
known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.
Visions are divine
presentations to a person's mind while that person is awake, as for
example in Isaiah's famous vision of Jehovah (Isa 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, cp Jn 12:41 - Isaiah saw the glory of
Jehovah = Jesus).
(chalom) describes a series of thoughts, images, or
emotions occurring during sleep. There are 16 dreams recorded in the
OT (Ge 20:3, 6; 28:12; 31:10, 11, 24 ; 37:5, 9 ; 40:5 ; 41:1, 5 ; Jdg
7:13; 1Ki 3:5; Da 2:1; 4:5 ; 7:1 ) with Jacob having 3 dreams (Ge
31:10,11), three having 2 dreams (Joseph = Ge 37:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
42:9; Pharaoh = Ge 41:15, 17,
22, 32, Nebuchadnezzar - Da 2:1, 2, 3) and the rest only one dream
(Abimelech = Ge 20:3, 6, Laban = Ge 31:24, Pharaoh’s cupbearer = Ge
40:5, 8, 9-11, Pharaoh’s baker = Ge 40:5, 8, 16-17, a soldier = Jdg
Solomon = 1Ki 3:5, 15, Daniel = Da 7:1), indicating that the dreamers included Jews as
well as pagan Gentiles (many of the latter having very troubling
dreams as in Daniel 2!). Ten of these 16 dreams involved symbols which
necessitated interpretation. The two main interpreters of dreams were
Joseph and Daniel. In both the OT and NT God used dreams to
reveal His will. (See also
Dreams - Thompson Chain Reference Concordance)
Chalom - 55 verses - Ge
20:3, 6; 31:10, 11, 24; 37:5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 19, 20; 40:5, 8, 9, 16;
41:7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 17, 22, 25, 26, 32; 42:9; Nu 12:6; Dt 13:1, 3, 5;
Jdg 7:13, 15; 1Sa 28:6, 15; 1Ki 3:5, 15; Job 7:14; 20:8; 33:15; Ps
73:20; Ec 5:3, 7; Is 29:7; Jer 23:27, 28, 32; 27:9; 29:8; Da 1:17;
2:1, 2, 3; Joel 2:28; Zech 10:2. NAS = dream(41), dreamer*(1),
The following verses are all the
uses of dream (Hebrew and Aramaic words for "dream") in Daniel = Da
1:17; 2:1, 2, 3, 9, 26, 28, 36, 45; 4:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19; 5:12;
The canon of Scripture is
completed and has brought to close God's use of dreams to convey
divine revelation. The writer of Hebrews records that...
God, after He spoke long ago to the
fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways (including
dreams), in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He
appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (He
Moses alludes to God's
use of dreams as a mode of communication with His prophets
He said (Jehovah is speaking),
"Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD,
shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with
him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful
in all My household; With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and
not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD...." (Nu
gave strict guidelines for interpreting whether the dream was truly
given as Divine revelation...
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams
arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or
the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let
us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve
them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that
dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if
you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 "You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep
His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5
"But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death,
because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who
brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of
slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God
commanded you to walk (cp Jer 23:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, Jer
29:8). So you shall purge the evil from among you. (Dt 13:1-5)
What about dreams today?
Richard Ruble in his paper "The Doctrine of Dreams" wrote
Both Thomas Aquinas and A. J.
Gordon believed that dreams in the post-Biblical era could come from
God. However, it is doubtful that God has communicated with men by
dreams since the close of the canon. Arthur B. Fowler says that God
“could reveal His will in dreams today, but the written Word of God,
and the indwelling Holy Spirit have made dreams of this sort
There is no Biblical evidence for the contention that God speaks today
in dreams. God speaks today in His Word (2Ti 3:16, 17). He has given
the Holy Spirit to every Christian to lead him into the truth (John
16:13; 1Cor 6:19,20). With the Bible in his hand and the Holy Spirit
in his heart, the Christian has ample provision for guidance into
God’s perfect will. (Doctrine of Dreams
click for subscription info)
Dictionary Discussion -
Holman Bible Dictionary
Articles from Got Questions?
How Did God Use Dreams and Visions in the Bible?
Does God Still Give Visions to People Today?
What Does the Bible Say About Nightmares?
What is the Meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream in Daniel 2?
John MacArthur observes
that in ancient times "It was not abnormal at all for God
to speak in dreams. Now I would say it's abnormal today if God has
finished his revelation. So don't go to sleep at night hoping you'll
get a revelation from God in your dream. I don't think God is in a
business of revelations anymore since Hebrews 1:2-note
says He's spoken unto us finally in these last days
through His Son. I don't think there is any more revelation but in
those days God chose to speak through dreams. (The
Forgotten Dream and the Unforgettable Daniel)
ETHER DREAMS - An
Illustration - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., was a doctor. As
such he was very interested in the use of ether. In order to know how
his patients felt under its influence, he once had a dose administered
to himself. As he was going under, in a dreamy state, a profound
thought came to him. He believed that he had suddenly grasped the key
to all the mysteries of the universe. When he regained consciousness,
however, he was unable to remember what the insight was. Because of
the great importance this thought would be to mankind, Holmes arranged
to have himself given either again.
This time he had a stenographer present to take down the great
thought. The either was administered, and sure enough, just before
passing out the insight reappeared. He mumbled the words, the
stenographer took them down, and he went to sleep confident in the
knowledge that he had succeeded. Upon awakening, he turned eagerly to
the stenographer and asked her to read what he had uttered. This is
what she read: “The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of
turpentine.” (Bits & Pieces, November 12, 1992, pp. 20-22)
Troubled (Hebrew Pa'am = 5v - Ge 41:8;
Jdg 13:25; Ps 77:4; Da 2:1, 3) - disturbed, in mental state of
distress and worry; a deep disturbance inducing apprehension
Garland adds an
interesting insight based on the Hebrew verb form - The hithpael stem
indicates intensive reflexive action such that Nebuchadnezzar “was in
mental state of distress and worry relating to the situation” such that he
was causing his own anxiety. (Daniel
Defended - 3.2 - Daniel 2)
Here is a man who was truly the
king of the empire and who had what all men desire and yet he lacked
This same scenario occurred in
the life of Joseph...
Ge 41:8 Now in the morning his
spirit (referring to Pharaoh) was troubled, so he sent and called for all the
magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his
dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh...15
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret
it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you
can interpret it.”
Sleep left him - more
literally his sleep “was done for.” Although Daniel does not reference
God, in context clearly the dream and its disturbing aspects which
disturbed his sleep was ordained by God.
Esther 6 records a dream
that disturbed another king (See Esther 1:2, 3 = King Ahasuerus; sleep
disturbance Esther 6:1), a dream which God
allowed in order to provide providential, miraculous deliverance of
His people from utter destruction by the Persian king...
During that night the king
could not sleep (literally = "sleep fled away") so he gave an order
to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read
before the king. It was found written what Mordecai had
reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who
were doorkeepers, that they had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.
(Esther 6:1-2) (See also Ge 20:3)
Visions in sleep -Job 33:15; Daniel
Often by imaginary Job 20:8; Isaiah 29:8
Excess of business frequently leads to -Ecclesiastes 5:3
God’s will often revealed in -Numbers 12:6; Job 33:15
Pretended to -Jeremiah 23:25-28; 29:8
Not to be regarded in -Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Jeremiah 27:9
Condemned for pretending to -Jeremiah 23:32
Vanity of trusting to natural Ecclesiastes 5:7
Put great faith in -Judges 7:15
Often perplexed by -Genesis 40:6; 41:8; Job 7:14; Da 2:1; 4:5
Anxious to have, explained -Genesis 40:8; Daniel 2:3
Consulting magicians on -Genesis 41:8; Daniel 2:2-4
God the only interpreter of Genesis 40:8; 41:16; Da 2:27-30; 7:16
MENTIONED IN SCRIPTURE OF
Abimelech -Genesis 20:3-7
Jacob -Genesis 28:12; 31:10
Laban -Genesis 31:24
Joseph -Genesis 37:5-9
Pharaoh’s butler and baker -Genesis 40:5-19
Pharaoh -Genesis 41:1-7
Midianite -Judges 7:13-15
Solomon -1 Kings 3:5-15
Nebuchadnezzar -Daniel 2:1,31; 4:5,8
Daniel -Daniel 7:1-28
Joseph -Matthew 1:20,21; 2:13,19,20
Wise men -Matthew 2:11,12
Pilate’s wife -Matthew 27:19
Prosperity of sinners -Job 20:5-8; Psalms 73:19,20
Impure imaginations -Jude 1:8
Enemies of the church - Isaiah 29:7,8
Nave's Topical Bible = Dreams
Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the
sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came
in and stood before the king. (Ge 41:8 Ex
7:11 Dt 18:10, 11, 12 Isa 8:19 19:3 Isa 47:12,13)
What does the Bible say about magicians?
What does the Bible say about Astrology?
Should a Christian Consult Horoscopes?
does the Bible say about divination?
Da 2:27 includes another group
"wise men" (a misnomer because the only real wisdom of worth
is from God and they lacked divine wisdom) not mentioned in this passage (cp also Da 1:20 2:12, 13,
14, 18, 24, 48; 4:6, 18; 5:7, 8) and presumably a more general
designation for the entire cadre of occultists and advisors since this
term often is found by itself.
Oneiromancy - divination by
means of dreams
Call in the magicians, etc.
- Note that Daniel and friends are not in this group of
prognosticators, even though Daniel had "entered the king's personal
service" (Da 1:19) and had been found "ten times better than all the
magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm." (Da 1:20). And so
Daniel had not yet risen to the place of power and influence in
Babylon, but God would soon bring Daniel to "center stage" emphasizing
the overriding sovereignty of God in the affairs of man!
Magicians (Hebrew =
chartom - 10v - Ge 41:8,
24; Ex 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18, 19; 9:11 [Moses caused plagues to come upon
Egypt which the magicians could not reverse]; Da 1:20; 2:2) (Babylonian
"magicians" = Da 1:20; 2:2 and is related to the corresponding Aramaic word for magicians
in Da 2:10, 27; 4:4, 6; 5:11) - Always in the plural and means
scribes, writers of hieroglyphics, Egyptian or Babylonian sages,
magicians. They practiced the occult, sorcery, and incantations.
Baker - These people seem to have had
knowledge of astrology or divination and were commonly associated with
the magicians of Egypt in Pharaoh’s court. (Baker, W.. The Complete
Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament: AMG Publishers)
= Greek word
for magician = Epaoidos (Ex 7:11, 22; 8:3, 14, 15; Lev 19:31; 20:6,
27; 1Sa 6:2; 2Chr 33:6; Isa 47:9; Da 2:2, 27; 5:7, 8) = one who uses
charms or incantations to get what one desires. An enchanter.
Conjurers (KJV =
Astrologers). This Hebrew word is used only in Da 1:20 and Da 2:2 and
because of its limited use has a meaning that can only be determined
from these two contextual uses. It describes some variety of occultist
but we can say no more.
conjurers with the Greek word
magos. Thayer has an interesting note stating that...
a magus; the name given by the
Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men,
teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of
dreams, augurs, soothsayers, sorcerers etc. (Ed note: As
discussed in more detail below, this is the word
used in Mt 2:1, 7, 16 for the oriental wise men who discovered by the
rising of the star that the Messiah had just been born and came to
Jerusalem to worship Him). Magos is also used of false prophets and
sorcerers in Acts 13:6, 8.
Sorcerers (Hebrew =
kashaph - 6 uses = Ex 7:11; 22:18; Dt 18:10; 2Chr 33:6; Da 2:2; Mal
3:5) means to practice magi or sorcery. Properly meant to whisper a
spell, i.e. to enchant or practise magic. It is used in context with
words exhibiting a similar occult meaning in Dt 18:10 and 2Chr 33:6.
The penalty for practicing sorcery in Israel was death (Ex 22:18).
King Manasseh became deeply involved with the occult as recorded in
2Chr 33:6 (cp 2Ki 24:3, 4). Given the evil nature of this practice it
is amazing that Daniel asked that these and the other wise men not be
executed! (Da 2:24)
The Hebrew word is translated (Septuagint--LXX)
with the Greek noun pharmakos (English = pharmacology) who is
defined as "one who prepares and uses drugs for magical purposes or
ritual witchcraft" (Friberg - Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT) and
is used in Rev 21:8-note
"sorcerers" and Rev 22:15-note
(pharmakos - 14x in Scripture = Ex 7:11; 9:11; 22:17; Dt 18:10; Ps
57:6; Mal 3:5; Jer 34:9; Da 2:2, 27; 5:7, 8; Rev 21:8; 22:15). The
related word pharmakon is used in Rev 9:21-note
and another related word
pharmakeia [word study]
is found in the list
of the works of the flesh in Gal 5:20-note.
Pharmakon describes the sorcery by which Babylon deceived all
the nations (Is 47:9, 12; Re 18:23-note,
cp use of the Egyptian
sorceries = Ex 7:22).
Tony Garland comments - Drugs are used in association with
sorcery because they place the practitioner into an altered state of
consciousness whereby he or she becomes more open to contact with the
demonic realm. The following account of a shaman from the Yanomamo
tribe illustrates the connection between drug use and the demonic
realm—a connection well-known even among “primitive” peoples: "I recently interviewed a man who
had spent most of his life communing with spirit entities. There is no
doubt as to his “authenticity.” He was a shaman, a medicine man and
chief of his Yanomamo tribe, which resides deep in the Amazonian rain
forest of Venezuela. At odds with the lie promoted in anthropological
circles that the lives of primitive tribes-people are pure, natural
and Eden-like and therefore best kept from outside influence —Chief
Shoefoot and his peoples violent, fear-filled existence is documented
in a book titled The Spirit of the Rain Forest, written by Mark
Ritchie... As a young boy, Shoefoot was
singled out as one sensitive to the spirit realm and subsequently
initiated into the sorcerers world. Again, a shaman is one who,
through knowledge and power obtained from the spirits, heals and
guides his people. Although the initial process of enabling him to
contact the spirits was brutal, involving days of food and water
deprivation and having someone force hallucinogenic drugs into his
system by blowing them up his nose, the spirits he met were at first
benign and curiously captivating...Shoefoot increased his drug intake
in order to go deeper into the spirit world to find more trustworthy
and benevolent spirits. That led to even more wicked spirits (Luke
11:26), greater frustration, and intense despair. (from The Berean
Testimony of Jesus Christ - Rev 9:21)
Chaldeans (Da 2:2, 4, 5,
10) (NIV - translates them as "astrologers") - This word is
used in the book of Daniel both in an ethnic sense (referring to the
Babylonian people in general = Da 1:4, 5:30, 9:1) but in the present
context (of the wise men/occultists) Chaldeans refers
to a professional of Babylonian wise men which the NIV classifies as
"astrologers" but we don't really know for certain what their specific
role was in Babylon (Used with this meaning in Da 2:2, 4, 5, 10; 3:8;
4:7; 5:7, 11). The Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You
Believe.. This group may have been the leading advisors as they take
the lead in speaking in the following passages.
Constable - Daniel prepared the reader for the
failure of all the king’s counselors that follows by pointing out that
there were many different groups of them.
Whitcomb makes the
interesting observation that...
The very careful records which
Babylonian astronomers kept of the movements of planets, comets, and
the phases of the moon were mainly for the purpose of determining the
influence these "gods" might exert upon men and nations. Beginning
about 747BC, very accurate records were handed down (and carefully
recorded in Ptolemy's Almagest in the second century AD), so that the
Babylonian astronomer Naburimannu (c. 500BC) was able to calculate the
length of the year at 365 days, 6 hours, 15 minutes, 41 seconds—only
26 minutes and 55 seconds too long!...This is the caliber of men
Nebuchadnezzar had in his court, which is God's way of showing us that
the very best that men have to offer in the realm of worldly wisdom is
utterly insufficient to solve even the most basic spiritual needs of
the human heart. (Whitcomb, J. Daniel Everyman's Bible Commentary).
James Montgomery Boice
commenting on this verse writes that "If God does not control our
lives—from the actions of kings and others in positions of power to
the most minute circumstances—then everything in life is uncertain (Ed:
We are left in the hands of "fate" or "chance"). We
are victims of circumstances, and whatever happens will happen. Que
sera, sera! But if God is sovereign, as the Bible declares Him to be,
and if He is our God—if the promises He makes and the actions He takes
are certain of fulfillment—then we can be confident of the future and
know that we will be able to live our lives in a way that will please
God. (Boice, J. M. Daniel: An Expositional Commentary. Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Baker Books)
The king said to them, "I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to
understand the dream." (Da 2:1 Ge 40:8 41:15)
Anxious - Same word in Da 2:1.
Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: "O king, live
forever! Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the
interpretation." (in Aramaic: Ge 31:47 Ezra 4:7 Isa
36:11) (O king - Da 3:9 4:19 5:10 6:6,21 1Sa 10:24 1Ki 1:25,31 Ne 2:3
Mt 21:9 Mk 11:9,10) (tell: Da 4:7 5:8 Ge 41:8 Isa 44:25)
In Aramaic (Da 2:4KJV =
"Syriack") - This was the
lingua franca or common language of the Assyrian Empire as the
diplomatic and commercial language because of its comparatively simple
alphabetic script (cp 2Ki 18:26 which took place in about 701BC
indicates few Jews could understand it). It's use parallels Daniel's
prophecies that lay out the history of all subsequent Gentile empires
(Da 2:4-Da 7:28). In Da 8:1 through the end of the book Daniel returns
to the Hebrew language. It is interesting to note that Aramaic became
more familiar to the Jews in captivity than Hebrew so that after they
were released from captivity and a remnant returned to rebuild the
Temple, Nehemiah records that "they read from the book, from the law
of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood
the reading." (Neh 8:8) Note that some commentators favor "translate"
(NAS) to mean “to break down” the text into its parts so that the
people could understand it, much like a preacher would do today in
expository preaching of the Word. In any event we know that by the
time of Jesus' day, Aramaic was the language in which He usually
Some critics of Daniel question
whether this language was actually spoken in Daniel's day and use this
to inject uncertainty as to the overall authenticity but modern
scholarship has dealt a shattering blow to the "higher" critics as
evidence has surfaced that Aramaic was used prior to the late date
(e.g., 166BC) they postulate for the writing of Daniel.
Rob Salvato - we know from the (sentence)
structure...that the Aramaic is consistent with the Aramaic writing
style of the 6th century BC - The Aramaic used at the time of Christ
had a different sentence structure.
Henry Morris on the other
hand writes that "From this point, Daniel's account
is significantly written in Aramaic (same as Syriac, the language of
ancient Syria, and practically identical with the Chaldaic language of
the Babylonians). It returns to Hebrew at Daniel 8:1. Thus, the
Babylonian section of Daniel is in the language of the Babylonians, a
fact that helps confirm the authenticity of the entire book. Because
of its remarkably fulfilled prophecies, skeptics and liberals have
tried to assign its writing to a much later date, after the events
prophesied had taken place. The internal evidence of the book,
however, indicates that it could only have been written by a man
fluent in the language of Nebuchadnezzar's court. The inclusion of
certain Persian and Greek words in the account still further indicates
that the writer was connected with the court of Nebuchadnezzar where
he would have contact with emissaries from different nations. The
authenticity of the book has been further confirmed by his
contemporary Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:14,20; 28:3) and by Christ Himself
(Matthew 24:15; Hebrews 11:33).
Reginald Showers comments
that "Since chapters 2-7 of Daniel deal
with Jehovah’s rule over the Gentiles, Daniel wrote those chapters in
the language that Gentiles could understand. Had he written them in
Hebrew, their message would have been missed by most Gentiles of that
time." (Showers, R. E. The Most High God : Commentary on the Book of
Daniel. Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc)
O king (22x in Daniel =
Da 2:4, 29, 31, 37; 3:9, 10, 12, 17, 18, 24; 4:22, 24, 27; 5:10, 18;
6:7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 21, 22)
Live forever - Language
calculated to please the king (cp 1Ki 1:31, Neh 2:3, Da 3:9, 5:10,
Tell us the dream - The
chicanery and inadequacy of the wise men is exposed! To meet this
requirement required divine revelation, something they did not
Daniel 2:5 The king replied to the Chaldeans, "The
command from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and
its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses
will be made a rubbish heap. (Da 3:29 1Sa 15:33 Ps 50:22
58:7) (Rubbish heap - Dt 13:16 Jos 6:26 2Ki 10:27 Ezra 6:11)
The command from me is firm
- Note that the KJV rendering gives the opposite sense - "The
thing is gone from me", implying the king could not remember the
details. Obviously he knew he had a dream or he would not have given
these commands. The Greek Lxx uses a verb that conveys the sense that
the specifics of the dream had been forgotten. The upshot is that
either mode of translation may be correct and there is not enough
information to allow one to be dogmatic in separating there two
possibilities. The fact that the immediate context calls for the wise
men to make the dream known tends to support the fact that he was
unable to remember the specifics of the dream. Either way the pressure
would be on the wise men and occultists for they now they had to start
from scratch as it were.
The NET Bible is dogmatic
(but not everyone agrees) - It seems clear from what follows
that Nebuchadnezzar clearly recalls the content of the dream, although
obviously he does not know what to make of it. By not divulging the
dream itself to the would-be interpreters, he intends to find out
whether they are simply leading him on. If they can tell him the
dream's content, which he is able to verify, he then can have
confidence in their interpretation, which is what eludes him. The
translation "the matter is gone from me" (cf. KJV, ASV), suggesting
that the king had simply forgotten the dream, is incorrect.
Charles Ryrie -It is uncertain whether or not the
king had forgotten the dream. If not, he was putting his wise men to
the ultimate test, asking them to recall the past in order to give
credence to their predictions about the future.
You will be torn - The
typical penalty for disobedience to an oriental king's command was
destruction of person (dismemberment was well known among the despotic
tyrannical ancient rulers as the mode of killing a person) and
property (see Ezra 6:11, 7:26)
Gleason Archer describes one
method of dismemberment: the victim was tied to four trees with a rope
at each limb. The trees were bent inwards and tied together at the
top; then the top rope was cut and the body was snapped into four
Whitcomb - Nebuchadnezzar's ability to follow
through on such threats was amply confirmed by his treatment of the
Judean king Zedekiah (2Ki 25:7), Ahab and Zedekiah (two Jewish rebels
in Babylon, Jer. 29:22), and the three friends of Daniel (Dan. 3).
Rubbish heap (3x Ezra
6:11 = "refuse heap", Da 2:5, 3:29)- KJV is more dramatic = "a
dunghill". The idea is their homes will be made veritable piles of
useless rubble or refuse.
The Apologetics Study Bible
notes that "Herodotus, the Greek historian,
related a similar instance in which Darius I (about 100 years later)
massacred his wise men with the result that the group was almost
annihilated (Histories 3.79). Examples of houses and temples being
made into refuse sites or public toilets as a mark of contempt are
also known from ancient times; Jehu did the same to the temple of Baal
in Samaria (2Ki 10:27). (The Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding
Why You Believe)
Driver - The violence and peremptoriness of
the threatened punishment is in accordance with what might be expected
at the hands of an Eastern despot; the Assyrians and Persians,
especially, were notorious for the barbarity of their punishments.
Daniel 2:6 "But if you declare the dream and its
interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and a reward and great
honor; therefore declare to me the dream and its interpretation."
(Da 2:48, 5:7,16,29 Nu 22:7,17,37 24:11 ) (reward - Da 5:17)
Da 2:48 Then the king promoted
Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the
whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of
But - Always pause and
term of contrast.
2:7 They answered a second time and said,
"Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the
interpretation." (Da 2:4,9 Ec 10:4)
A second time - If
Nebuchadnezzar had truly forgotten the dream as the KJV suggests (Da
2:5KJV) and excellent expositors like John MacArthur favor, then why
not just "make up a dream" and then give the interpretation. If
Nebuchadnezzar truly had forgotten the dream, this ploy would
potentially work to appease him. This seems to be the greatest
argument against the premise that he had totally forgotten the dream.
How else could he possibly assess whether or not they were describing
the dream he actually had.
2:8 The king replied, "I know for certain
that you are bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that the
command from me is firm, (Eph 5:16 Col 4:5)
Bargaining for time -
It's amazing how many of the sayings we have in our language come from
the Bible ("you're just trying to buy time"!) We see the
impotence of the occult in the realm of the divine! If you are
intrigued by the supernatural, passionately pursue God not the devil,
2:9 that if you do not make the dream known
to me, there is only one decree for you. For you have agreed together
to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the situation is
changed; therefore tell me the dream, that I may know that you can
declare to me its interpretation." (there is only one
- Da 3:15 Esther 4:11) (for you - 1Ki 22:6,22 Pr 12:19 Isa 44:25 Eze
13:6,17,19 2Co 2:17) (until - Da 2:21 5:28,31 7:25) (I may know Isa
Nebuchadnezzar raises the bar on the wise men, for only someone with
supernatural insight could give both the dream and its interpretation
and this sets the stage for God's supernatural revelation through His
choice servant Daniel.
Or loosely paraphrased - You know that if you can't tell me
my dream, you're doomed. I see right through you—you're going to cook
up some fancy stories and confuse the issue until I change my mind.
Nothing doing! First tell me the dream, then I'll know that you're on
the up and up with the interpretation and not just blowing smoke in my
2:10 The Chaldeans answered the king and
said, "There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for
the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything
like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean.
Compare their statement with the
magicians to Pharaoh when they could not duplicate Moses' feats - they
recognized it as supernatural declaring "This is the finger of God."
2:11 "Moreover, the thing which the king
demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to
the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh."
(Da 2:27,28 5:11 Ge 41:39 Ex 8:19 Mt 19:26) (Whose - Ex 29:45 Nu 35:34
1Ki 8:27 2Ch 6:18 Ps 68:18 113:5,6 132:14 Isa 8:18 57:15 66:1,2 Joel
3:21 Jn 1:1, 2, 3,14 14:17,23 2Co 6:16 Rev 21:3)
Ryrie - In effect, the wise men admitted
that their previous interpretations were inaccurate and deceptive.
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody
No one...except gods - This admission by the wise men
reflects the bankruptcy of human wisdom and occult powers
to give divine revelation. To be sure Satan has power but his power is
limited by God's sovereign control. The admission of the inability of
anyone except the "gods" to meet the king's stipulations sets the
stage for God's revelation to and through His choice servant Daniel
who had been prepared for the task in the previous chapter (Da 1:17).
Their pagan gods were little "g-o-d-s" but our God is capital "G-o-d"
and He desires to communicate with us. In fact, He desired so much to
do so that He became flesh so that man could understand Him (Jn 1:18,
14:9 17:6). The Word became flesh (Jn 1:14) because God wanted us to
understand His heart and desire for us through Jesus Christ to walk in
intimacy with Him. And so Daniel and we have a God Who not only
desires to communicate but does communicate with His creatures...
Dt 4:7 For what great nation
(referring to Israel, the chosen people) is there that has a God so
near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does
nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel (primary meaning =
confidential speech -- speaks of intimate communion - same word in Ps
25:14) to His servants the prophets.
Comment: In other words the
Sovereign God does nothing in Israel without first revealing it to His
prophets who speak His words to the people. This passage says that
when a prophet proclaims God’s Word, it is a warning to His people
that He is about to do something important. Amos is saying that the
judgment of Israel is inevitable and thus the LORD reveals His
intentions to those who are in fellowship with Him. In our day, God
has spoken with finality through His Son (He 1:1, 2-note)
and His written Word, so there is no further need of new revelation.
Dear pastor-teacher, let us remember that the great need of the day is
to teach and proclaim and warn with His pure, trustworthy Word as it
has been revealed without adding to it or taking away from it (cp Dt
4:2, 12:32, Pr 30:6, Re 22:18-note,
Adam Clarke - Such secrets
of God are revealed to them (His prophets), that they may inform the
people; that, by repentance and conversion, they may avoid the evil,
and, by walking closely with God, secure the continuance of His
Disciple's Study Bible...
God's ability to reveal the
mysteries of the future to His servant shows He is the only God.
Belief in one true God is not simply a dogmatic statement of faith. It
is a valid interpretation of the experiences of history.
Gods...whose dwelling place is
not with mortal flesh - Their belief that the gods did not live
among men was true. Why? Because their gods didn't even exist! People
today chose to believe in "gods" which don't exist, because those
"gods" of their own imagination allow they to live anyway they desire
with no fear of judgment and condemnation (but also with no hope of
Ray Pritchard - Historians tell us that the
Babylonians wrote books about how to interpret dreams but they were
utterly unable to retrieve the dream itself. In the words of Joseph
Seiss, “If these men failed, it was the laying prostrate of all
the wisdom, power, and art of man.” Write over their failure the
verdict of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.” (The
World According to God)
Daniel 2:12 Because of this the king became
indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men
of Babylon. (Da 3:13 Job 5:2 Ps 76:10 Pr 16:14 Pr 19:12 Pr 20:2
Pr 27:3,4 Pr 29:22 Mt 2:16 Mt 5:22)
“For vexation slays the foolish man, And anger kills the simple.
Because of this (for this
reason) - What reason? The fact that now the king realizes his wise
men weren't so wise! The
rationalization and excuses of the wise men provoked the ire of the
Indignant and very furious
description wasn't enough to express his boiling anger!. Very furious
signifies he was “in a furious rage, implying anger to a very great
degree.” (Swanson) Remember this is his response to the wise men who
tried to explain the impossibility of the king's request! To
contradict or refuse the king's command was an offense punishable by
death. This would not be the last time we encounter Nebuchadnezzar's
anger management problem...
Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach,
Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king.
Proverbs speaks to a
monarch's propensity toward anger...
The wrath of a king is as messengers of death, But a wise man will
The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like
dew on the grass.
The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; He who provokes
him to anger forfeits his own life.
NET Bible note - Aram
“was angry and very furious.” The expression is a hendiadys (two words
or phrases expressing a single idea).
To destroy - execute,
slay, kill. Compare Daniel 5:19 where Daniel addresses King
“And because of the grandeur which He (God) bestowed on him (referring
to King Nebuchadnezzar), all the peoples, nations, and men of every
language feared and trembled before him; whomever he wished he
killed, and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he
wished he elevated, and whomever he wished he humbled.
Comment: Only God has the final say on life and death. In First
Samuel we read "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to
Sheol and raises up." (1Sa 2:6)
Wise men - This would
include the four classes that were before the king as well as all
others such as Daniel and his companions who had been given wisdom and
understanding (Da 1:20).
2:13 So the decree went forth that the wise
men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to
kill them. (decree: Da 6:9-15 Esther 3:12, 13, 14, 15 Ps
94:20 Pr 28:15, 16, 17 Isa 10:1) (and they: Da 1:19,20 6:12)
So - See discussion of
terms of conclusion
Should be slain - The
NKJV translation reads "they began killing the wise men." This reading
implies the killing had begun. In fact some writers suggest the carnage had begun, but most
commentaries and translations do not favor this
interpretation. For example the NET Bible translation reads "about to be executed"
with the explanatory note that "The Aramaic participle is used here to
express the imminent future."
2:14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and
discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king's bodyguard, who had
gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon; (with: 2Sa
20:16, 17, 18, 19, 29, 21, 22 Ec 9:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) (captain of
Ge 37:36 Jer 39:9 52:12,14)
NET Note: Aramaic =
"returned prudence and counsel." The expression is a hendiadys.
Then Daniel - Praise God
for these words (same phrase in Da 2:17, 19), for God had prepared and equipped His choice servant
for such a time as this (Da 1:9, 17).
As an aside when you are reading
and studying Scripture (especially prophetic passages) be alert for
the conjunction "then" as this marks the sequence of events and
helps organize the chronology of the passages you are studying. See
discussion of the importance of
expressions of time.
Note what Daniel did not do -
did not panic! He did not overreact! He did not become "paralyzed" by
fear! He was young in years but wise in the ways of God (yes, there is
hope for godly teens today!), and recognized that a humanly
impossible situation could only be resolved by divine intervention! Our
obstacles are God's opportunities to show Himself great and mighty in
our behalf! Therefore...
Discretion (Lxx =
to resolve as result of inner deliberation) and discernment
(Lxx = gnome = describes the mind as the instrument of knowing and
then a "way of thinking" = BDAG)
- This description of Daniel is reminiscent of the truths in Pr 15:1
(A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.) and Col 4:5, 6 (gracious speech - see
Once again Daniel was tactful, tasteful and wise in his approach to
the very man who had been assigned to take his life (cp Da 1:11, 12,
13). If you find yourself in a humanly impossible situation like
Daniel, remember Daniel 2. Don't reflexively react, don't panic, don't
be brash or argumentative, but be like Daniel, discreet and
As an aside, while there is no
mention of the Holy Spirit, a survey of the NT demonstrates that one
of the aspects of a person's actions which are controlled (when the
person is surrendered to the Spirit) is speech (e.g., note the first
verb in both English and the original Greek in Eph 5:19 after Paul
commands us to be filled with the Spirit in Eph 5:18!). The fact that
Daniel responds with "discretion and discernment" and not panic, not
compliant, not anger, etc, strongly suggests his gracious speech was
controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Daniel could have easily become
frightened, for after all this was truly a real life or death
circumstance. He manifested the truth of the proverb which teaches the
The fear of man (We fear man's
criticism, rejection, being left alone) brings a snare (the trap is to
become a man pleaser and try to do whatever it takes to make men like
us), but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted (Click
discussion of this great Hebrew word "sagab"
- this same verb is used in Pr 18:10 translated in NAS as
"safe" - the idea being lifted up and out of danger). (Pr
Webster's 1828 English
Dictionary defines "discretion" as "Prudence, or knowledge and
prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically
of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment
and judgment, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding
one’s own conduct." Discretion is action based on caution.
Source of: 1 Ch 22:12; Pr 1:1–4; 8:12
Persons endowed with: 2 Ch 2:12; Da 2:14 (cf. Pr 26:16)
Benefits of: Pr 2:11; 19:11
Exhortation concerning: Pr 3:21; 5:2
Lack of: Pr 11:22
In Christian women’s dress: 1Ti 2:9
Captain of the king's
bodyguard - The chief of the executioners.
2:15 he said to Arioch, the king's
commander, "For what reason is the decree from the king so urgent?"
Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. (Da 2:9)
Then Arioch - Note that
this was to be a date with an executioner, not a time for
conversation. That Arioch would respect Daniel's query and take time
to inform this one who was condemned to death speaks of Arioch's
regard which in turn takes us back to Da 1:9 (cp Joseph Ge 39:21, 22,
23) and the good hand of the Lord upon this young man who had chosen
the uncompromising path (Da 1:8).
Urgent - Or the idea
could be why is the king's decree so severe or harsh, although one
would thing Daniel's discretion and discernment would impede
any remarks that smacked of criticism of the king.
2:16 So Daniel went in and requested of the
king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the
interpretation to the king. (Requested - Da 2:9, 10, 11 , 1:18,19)
So Daniel went in - How
is this possible? He wasn't even called in the first gathering of wise
men. And yet he enters the king's presence, the very one who had just
angrily ordered his death! Is this not another manifestation of the
good hand of the LORD upon His choice vessel of honor granting him
favor and compassion in the sight of his conquering captors? (cp Da
1:9, cp Solomon's prayer 1Ki 8:50) And as Pr 29:25 attests the best
"antidote" for fear of man is a trust in God (which includes a
reverential awe - fear God and you have no need to fear man!)
Faith is an "action verb", when
you truly know and believe what Jehovah alone is the LORD and there
is no other (Isa 45:5), then you are prepared to display
strength and take action (Da 11:32b)
Other Scriptures attest to the
fact that it was no small thing to obtain an audience with an oriental king
(Esther 4:11, 16, 5:1, 2, 3, cp Es 8:1, 2, 3, 4). It's amazing how one
individual "sold out" wholly to God and His purposes, can be used in
such strategic ways that in turn affect countless numbers of
individuals (true of both Daniel and Esther!).
Herodotus informs us, that ever
since the reign of Deioces, king of Media (Ed: The kingdom that
followed Babylon), for the security of the king's person, it was
enacted that no one should be admitted into his presence; but that if
any one had business with him, he should transact it through the
medium of his ministers.
Requested of the king -
Recall that when we last saw the king (Da 2:12), he was enraged to put
it mildly. And so this easy entree and subsequent request reminds one
of the wise saying by Solomon that...
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Pr
15:1, cp Pr 16:7)
In order that he might
declare the interpretation - This is the confident language of one
who is living by faith in the Most High God, not by sight (1Co 5:7).
Surely Daniel was aware of the story of how God had shown favor and
ability to interpret dreams to Joseph who like Daniel was also a
captive under the prevailing pagan world leader Pharaoh (Ge 39:2, 4,
41) But note that Daniel speaks only of interpretation of the dream,
not the description of the dream. Presumably the fact that he did not
state "you must first tell me the dream" but stated directly and
confidently he could interpret the dream if he was given time (and as
it turns out the time he asked for was time needed to call a prayer
Gleason Archer notes
Never before had an interpreter of
dreams—not even Joseph in Egypt—been required to reconstruct the dream
itself. But Daniel had confidence that Yahweh could even do this
unprecedented miracle and do it for his own glory.
2:17 Then Daniel went to his house and
informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter,
(friends - Da 1:7,11 3:12)
WITH KINDRED SPIRITS
Then Daniel - Note the
sequence of events - Daniel did not go back and consult the "magic"
books of Babylon, but to call a prayer meeting to consult the Most
High God of the Universe! Daniel 1:17 tells us he had been granted a
special gift of understanding "all kinds of visions and dreams". And
yet even with this gift, he still makes the wise choice to humble
himself before the Giver of every good thing bestowed and every
perfect gift and seek His face in prayer.
Thomas Watson wrote "God is to be trusted when His
providences seem to run contrary to His promises."
2:18 so that they might request compassion
from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his
friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of
Babylon (they might: Da 3:17 1Sa 17:37 Esther 4:15, 16, 17 Ps
50:15 91:15 Pr 3:5,6 Isa 37:4 Jer 33:3 Mt 18:12,19 Ac 4:24-31 12:4 Ro
15:30 2Ti 4:17,18) (from the God of heaven - Ge 18:28 Mal 3:18 2Pe
So that - Explains the
purpose of their meeting. Prayer is always more effective than panic!
And praying together "in one accord" (Acts 4:24 = homothumadon
= literally one and the same mind and purpose - all through Acts -
Acts 1:14 2:1 2:46 4:24 5:12 7:57 8:6 12:20 15:25 18:12 19:29) can
even "shake buildings" (Acts 4:31)
Request compassion -
Daniel had requested the king of Babylon for time and here he and his
friends requests the King of heaven for compassion, one of the
great characteristics of our God, Who manifests boundless mercy, pity,
and love toward His undeserving people. One cannot help but note also the
striking contrast of the mercies of God contrasted with the merciless
tyrannical decree of death for all the wise men. The wise men could
not communicate with their gods, but Daniel and his friends knew they
could get in touch with the living God and so they did not panic but
instead prayed. A good pattern for saints of all ages to follow. Panic
time should be prayer time. Wouldn't you loved to have been at this
little prayer meeting? Beloved, when you are praying for your life you
are really praying with passion and power! (cp the prayer meeting in
Acts 12:1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
Jon Courson has a pithy
comment "Nebuchadnezzar took his problems to
bed. Daniel took his to God—and what a difference that makes." (Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Thomas Nelson)
Note that King Solomon had
prayed over 300 years earlier for God to make His chosen people "objects
of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they
may have compassion on them" (1Ki 8:50, cp 2Chr 30:9) Could the
compassion Daniel and his friends were experiencing in this section be
in part an answer to Solomon's ancient prayer? Do we really understand
the "timeless" significance of our prayers to the Almighty (cp Rev
I think not (certainly speaking for myself).
Tony Garland in his
comments on Rev 5:8 says "The continual cries of God’s
elect throughout history are like the fragrance of incense which
rises to God (Ps 141:1, 2). “And shall God not avenge His own elect
who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” (Lk
18:7). Malachi spoke of a time when incense would be offered to God,
not just in the Temple, but across the entire world. Not just by the
priests of Israel, but by all the Gentiles. This offering pictures the
global prayer which even now ascends from the saints as a memorial to
His throne (Mal. 1:11; Acts 10:4). When on our knees we are
contributing to the contents of these bowls. “And who can reckon up
the volumes and oceans of such entreaties, which remain to this day
unanswered? But, not one of them is lost. They are carefully treasured
in golden bowls.” (note)
Compassion (Aramaic =
Rahamiyn) - Compare the Hebrew cognate (Hebrew = raham)
used 42 times in the OT and most refer to God's mercy as in the
following references (Ge 43:14 Dt 13:17 2Sa 24:14 1Ki 8:50 1Chr 21:13
2Chr 30:9 Neh1:11 9:19, 27, 28, 31 Ps 25:6 40:11 51:1 69:16 77:9 79:8
103:4 106:46 119:77 119:156 145:9 Isa 54:7 63:7,15 Je 16:5 42:12 Da
9:9,18 Ho 2:19 Zech 1:16).
The Psalmist speaks to
this episode in Daniel 2 testifying that...
He also made them objects of
compassion (Raham) in the presence of all their captors. (Ps 106:46,
cp God's promise to the Jews who remained in Jerusalem after the first
deportation [which they refused! Je 43:2!] Jer 42:11, 12)
Having the hearts of all men in his hands he produced compassion even
in heathen bosoms. Even as he found Joseph friends in Egypt, so did he
raise up sympathizers for his captive servants. In our very worst
condition our God has ways and means for allaying the severity of our
sorrows: he can find us helpers among those who have been our
oppressors, and he will do so if we be indeed his people.
This improved feeling towards the
Jews through God's influence appears in Da 1:9; as Joseph similarly
had his captivity improved by God's favour (Ge 39:21). So Evil
Merodach, King of Babylon, treated kindly Jehoiachin, king of Judah
(2Ki 25:27). --A. R. Fausset.
Jeremiah had this great promise on prayer...
Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and I will tell you great and mighty (fenced in, inaccessible, like a
fortified city) things, which you do not know. (Jer 33:3)
Comment: Note the
meaning of "mighty" is inaccessible implying that God is able to
reveal that which has formerly been hidden ("inaccessible").
The psalmist writes...
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will
Daniel and friends followed
the instructions that centuries later were given by Paul to the saints
Be anxious for nothing, but in
everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses
all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ
Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-note,
Daniel was a righteous
man (Ezekiel 14:14, 20) and so it is not unexpected that their prayers
were "energetic" for "The effective (energeo) prayer of a righteous
man can accomplish much." (Jas 5:16)
God of heaven (literally
"of heavens") (This exact phrase in NAS 24x in 23v - Ge 24:3, 7; 2Chr
36:23 = even acknowledged by Cyrus a pagan king!; Ezra 1:2; 5:11, 12;
6:9, 10; 7:12, 21, 23; Neh 1:4, 5; 2:4, 20; Ps 136:26; Da 2:18, 19,
37, 44; Jonah 1:9; Rev 11:13; 16:11) - The Babylonians worshiped the
creation and Anu their presumptive "god of heaven" but Daniel's God
(and our God) is the only true God of heaven!
Would not be destroyed -
God is always bigger than your biggest problem. And although it is
true He is the God of heaven, we need to remember (especially when we
are hit by unexpected tragedy, severe testings, afflictions of various
kinds, etc) that our God is a heavenly God Who's ear is ever near His
beloved children. Do you believe that? Your answer may be "yes" but
the truth is that you real "yes" is not just vocalized but put into
practice by pleading with Him for mercy. In those crisis times we need
to remember the truth about God. And we need to run to Him, and as we
run to Him and as we seek Him, we find our answers...
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand
is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your
presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in
Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I
dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will
lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
So when (not "if" but "when")
the crisis comes remember these great truths about your God of
Illustration of Facing your
problems with prayer - Some fifty years ago, one bitter January
night, the inhabitants of the old town of Sleswick were thrown into
the greatest distress and terror. A hostile army was marching down
upon them, and new and fearful reports of the conduct of the lawless
soldiers were hourly reaching the place.
In one large, spacious cottage dwelt an aged grandmother with her
widowed daughter and her grandson. While all hearts quaked with fear,
this aged woman passed her time in crying out to God that he would
"build a wall of defense round about" them, quoting the words of an
Her grandson asked why she prayed for a thing so entirely impossible
as that God should build a wall about their house, that should hide
it; but she explained that her meaning only was that God should
At midnight the dreaded tramp was heard, an enemy came pouring in at
every avenue, filling the houses to overflowing. But, while most
fearful sounds were heard on every side, not even a knock came to
their door; at which they were greatly surprised. The morning light
made the matter clear; for, just beyond the house, the drifted snow
had reared such a massive wall that it was impossible to get over it
"There!" said the good woman triumphantly: "do you not see, my son,
that God could raise up a wall around us?"
2:19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel
in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;
(was revealed: Da 2:22,27, 28, 29 4:9 2Ki 6:8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Ps 25:14
Amos 3:7 1Co 2:9,10) (in a night vision: Da 7:7 Nu 12:6 Job 4:13
33:15,16 Mt 2:12,13)
- When is "then"? Or what is this time phrase associated with?
Clearly the answer is that the revelation came when
mystery was revealed - The "mystery" (secret or hidden truths) appears in OT only in the
Aramaic section of Daniel (= "key word" = Da 2:18, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30, 47; 4:9),
where raz (Aramaic) is given the translation of
musterion [word study]
("mystery") by the
The Lxx translates "revealed" with the verb
(cp the noun which is the "title"
of John's Revelation =
apokalupsis [word study])
which means literally to "take the cover away from" and so to uncover,
lay open that which had been veiled or covered up and so to disclose
George Muller once made a
statement that could well be applied to Daniel in this circumstance...
If our circumstances find us in
God, we shall find God in our circumstances.
Mystery - previously
hidden truth now divinely revealed. The secret counsels of God remain
hidden from the ungodly (to them they are a true "mystery" as the word
is commonly used in English) but when these truths are revealed to the
godly, they are understood by them. The mystery is not in the fact
that the truths are difficult to interpret, but that they are
impossible to interpret until their meaning is revealed at which time
the truth becomes plain. Mysteries in the Scripture fall into two
categories. Some have already been revealed, and among these are the
incarnation of Christ and the salvation of sinners. Others are yet to
be seen, such as the general resurrection, the coming Antichrist, and
the evil of the last day. It is comforting to realize that all the
mysteries which bear on our salvation are already revealed to readers
In a night vision - Not a
dream but a supernatural, nocturnal revelation. A vision
represents a visual (or it could be auditory) event that reveals some
truth which is otherwise unknown.
Then - Then what? Then he
expresses his gratitude. The context suggest this is his immediate
response (Oh, how I need to learn from Daniel). He did not run to
Arioch but to God. Daniel seems to always maintain a proper divine
perspective. In fact in the following passages we see this takes the
form of a hymn of praise and adoration.
Daniel blessed - (cp Ps
113:1,2, Ps 103:1,2, cp He 13:15-note) The word
(barak corresponding to the Aramaic "berak") translated
bless in this context means to give honor to or to speak good of and so
Daniel spoke good words about God, specifically declaring 7 things that give
glory to God. The important point is that Daniel first gave credit to the One to Whom all
credit (glory) belongs.
Do we receive answers to prayer and get so excited over the answer
that we forget to thank
the Giver? Are we like the one cleansed leper who returned to give
thanks to Jesus or like the 9 who never returned?
(Lk 17:12, 13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19)
2:20 Daniel said, "Let the
Name of God be
blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him.
(Blessed: Ge 14:20 1Ki 8:56 1Ch 29:10,20 2Ch 20:21 Ps 41:13 50:23
Ps 72:18,19 103:1,2 113:2 115:18 145:1,2) (for wisdom: Da 2:21, 22, 23 1Ch 29:11,12 Job 12:13,16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22 Ps 62:11 147:5 Pr 8:14 Jer 32:19 Mt 6:13 Jude 1:24 Rev 5:12)
The Name - God's Name
speaks of all He is encompassing all of His attributes. It represents
His self-revelation, an expression of His revealed character (see on
site studies on His various Names which show different facets of His
Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower:
short, the Name of God includes many names, each of which
indicates a vital truth concerning Him. To study these Names is to
grow in knowledge and understanding of God (see
Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower:
Why Should You Study It?).
W. H. Griffith Thomas
discusses the importance of the Name of God in his paper on
John's Gospel writing that...
The sphere in which life becomes
ours and is enjoyed by us is found in the words in His name (Jn
1:12, 2:23, 20:31). The word name is characteristic of John, and the
two prepositions (eis and en) in connection with it are also among the
features of this Gospel. The name stands in Holy Scripture for the
nature or revealed character of God, and not a mere label or title. It
is found very frequently in the Old Testament as synonymous with God
Himself in relation to man. It is found very frequently in the
Old Testament as synonymous with God Himself in relation to man; for
example: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower” (Pr 18:10-note).
“In the name of the Lord will I destroy them” (Ps 118:10); and: “Shall
the enemy blaspheme thy name?” (Ps 74:10).
In the New Testament the same usage
is perfectly clear. For example: “In the name of Jesus” (Php 2:10-note),
“Baptizing them into the name” (Mt 28:19, Lk 24:47). In the fourth
Gospel we have “Into the name” (eis) as the object of faith (Jn 1:12;
2:23; 3:18, cp Ac 3:16). Then we have “In the name of the Father” (Jn
5:43 ; 10:25), referring to the divine authority and power with which
our Lord came. The same phrase occurs no less than nine times in
chapters fourteen through seventeen . Then our Lord is said to have
manifested and made known His Father’s name to the disciples (Jn 17:6,
26). These passages clearly show the importance and significance of
the name as standing for the revealed character and will of God in
Christ. Thus, to have life in His name (Jn 20:31) is to
have it in union with what we know of Him and of His manifested
character and revealed will. Life is thus “in Christ” and not outside
or apart from Him. (The
Purpose of the Fourth Gospel - Pt1 - W. H. Griffith Thomas -
Bibliotheca Sacra Vol 125:499, Page 262, July, 1968)
Wisdom and power belong to Him
- What a contrast God's wisdom is with the "best" wisdom of man (the
Babylonian wise men!). Not only does God possess wisdom to order the
world, but He alone possesses the power to bring about His purposes
and plans. It follows that if we lack wisdom in a given situation, we should
seek the All Wise God for James declares...
if any of you lacks wisdom,
let him ask of God, Who gives to all generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him. (Jas 1:5-note,
but he must ask in faith = Jas 1:6-note;,
cp Heb 11:6-note)
Daniel 2:21 "It is He who changes the times and the
epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to
wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. (He
changes: Da 2:9 7:25 11:6 1Ch 29:30 Es 1:13 Job 34:24, 25, 26, 27,
28, 29 Ps 31:14,15 Ec 3:1-8 Jer 27:5, 6, 7) (He removes: Da 4:17,32
1Sa 2:7,8 Job 12:18 Ps 75:5,6 113:7,8 Pr 8:15,16 Lk 1:51,52 Ac
13:21,22 Rev 19:16) (He gives: Ex 31:3,6 1Ki 3:8, 9, 10, 11, 12,28
4:29 10:24 1Ch 22:12 2Ch 1:10, 11, 12 Pr 2:6,7 Lk 21:15 1Co 1:30 Jas 1:5,17
3:15, 16, 17)
is behind the scenes
controls the scenes He is behind.
Changes the times and epochs
- The flow of Human History is not determined by earthly rulers but by
the hand of God. History is truly "His" Story and He controls the
times and epochs of history either in an active or permissive manner.
This description speaks especially of God's attributes of
over the history of mankind. How interesting to see the little horn
(the coming antichrist) try to change times (Da 7:25)
Things don't just
happen to those who love God,
They're planned by His own dear hand,
Then molded and shaped, and timed by His clock;
Things don't just happen--they're planned.
is derived from the Latin word providere meaning to foresee or
to attend to. The word providence according to Noah
Webster's 1828 English Dictionary means...