“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 you couldest reveal this secret. 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.”
Daniel Chapter 2
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.”
Note that this is actually the third year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar as his ascension year is not counted but note also the following Bible commentary in regards to the number of years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign at this time. Thus Daniel has also long completed his three years of training. See also Daniel 1:5 and 1:18, and Google accession year reckoning for more information.
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832)
“Daniel 2:1 - The second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar - That is, the second year of his reigning alone, for he was king two years before his father’s death. See the notes on Dan_1:1 (note). This was therefore the fifth year of his reign, and the fourth of the captivity of Daniel.”
Before we enter into this chapter it would do us well to quickly look at a few things. Babylon was the great counterfeit religion, founded by Nimrod not long after the flood. (Genesis 10:8-10) Nimrod married his mother Semiramis, who was worshiped as Rhea the great “Mother” of the gods, and raised Babylon to a bad eminence among the nations as the grand seat at once of idolatry and consecrated prostitution. It is from here also that the worship of mother and child stems, with many other false forms of worship that we still see today throughout the churches. The Two Babylons by Rev. Alexander Hislop. Their religion and state were so closely interwoven that they were one entity not two separate entities, which is common for pagan religions/states. See the origin of Babylon, sun worship and the Sunday Sabbath.
Satan himself desired to be like God and to be worshiped as such. (Isaiah 14:12-14) We see in the city of Babylon imitations of the City of God. In Revelation 22:1-2 the river of life flows through the midst of the city for all the redeemed to partake of it. In the city of Babylon, Satan’s bride, we see a river running through the midst to give life to the inhabitants. Babylon trusted in their educational system rather than the God of heaven (Isaiah 47:10) as Lucifer trusted in his own wisdom than in God. (Ezekiel 28:17) There are more likenesses but we do not have time to look at them.
So it is easily seen that we are dealing with the great counterfeit religion. But we must remember that ultimately God is in control. (Jeremiah 27:6-7)
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. This dream troubled him to the point of where he could no longer sleep. God speaks to each of us as he was trying to speak to Nebuchadnezzar, but we do not always hear His voice for we push it away or crowd it out. But when deep sleep comes upon a person it is at this time that the God of heaven can communicate to the stubborn of heart. (Job 33:13-17) This is the case with Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 2:2 “Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.”
The king now calls upon his trusted interpreters to show him his dream. Let us have a look at what their claims are.
Magicians - They practiced superstitious rights and ceremonies of fortune tellers, casters of nativities.
Astrologers - Pretended to foretell the future events by the study of the stars.
Sorcerers - Pretended to hold communication with the dead.
Chaldeans - These were a sect of Philosophers, similar to the magicians and astrologers, who made physic (the art or skill of healing), divinations (discovering future events or unknown things as though by supernatural powers) etc. their study.
They all claim to be in touch with the other side and the gods. For this reason the king called them, for he wished for them to use their powers in aiding him with his problem.
Daniel 2:3-4 “And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. 4 Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
Here we find why the king was so troubled. It was in the fact that he could not remember the dream. They now speak to the king in Syriack, which was a language used by the educated and cultured classes. The group here called in by the king are already well versed in drawing information out to obtain their objective, hence the statement “tell thy servants the dream”. For when the dream is told they can make up some sought of interpretation.
Daniel 2:5-9 “The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 6 But if you show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, you shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. 7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it. 8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that you would gain the time, because you see the thing is gone from me. 9 But if you will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me the interpretation thereof.”
We see a struggle going on between the king and the wise men. One states that the thing has departed from me and the other grasping to extract information out to give some sought of explanation. The king gives them an ultimatum of, if you tell me the dream and the interpretation you will be rewarded and have great honour, but if you cannot you will be cut in pieces and so forth. We can see that the king is desperate for the understanding.
The wise men still try to buy some time from the king and the king knows it, for look at his reply in verses 8 and 9. He states to them that they are trying to gain the time, and he knows that if they can tell him the dream he will get a true interpretation. But because they can’t, he sees that they are just making up the interpretation and preparing lying and corrupt words to speak before him.
Till the time be changed - Till he either remembers, calms down, or the event slips away to something unimportant.
Daniel 2:10-11 “The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
They now openly admit that they have no connection with or, communication with the gods or other side as they claim to have. They exclaim that it is unreasonable of the king to ask such a thing of any man. The only person, they say, that can is the gods whose dwelling is not with flesh. This plainly indicates their admittance to the fact that they have no connection with this god for they could not give the king the answer. All their claims of being in touch with the gods are proven false.
Why is it that they have no answer? 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 shows to us that, only a person connected to the true God can discern the things of God, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It was the true God that gave the king this dream and it is only the true God that can give the correct interpretation. It is obvious that these men were not connected to the true God, for they could not discern this matter.
This also shows that Satan cannot read the thoughts of any person. Besides the fact that Satan does not have the ability to create life, he is also unable to read your mind.
Daniel 2:12-13 “For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.”
The king now sees the falsehood of their claims and became very furious. He ordered the wise men of Babylon to be destroyed, Daniel and his friends included. This shows that sometimes we are placed at a disadvantage because of other people’s decisions and actions, when it is no fault of our own. But always remember that, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.” Romans 8:28.
Daniel 2:14-18 “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: 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. 16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation. 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 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.”
Arioch, chief of the executioners, came to Daniel to take him to be slain with the rest of the wise men. Notice how the Bible describes the way Daniel answers him; with wisdom and counsel. Daniel went on to ask why the decree is so hasty and is then told of Arioch what the situation is. Daniel then makes his way to the king and desires of him more time, not so he could escape or run away, but so he could show the king the interpretation. This shows the confidence he had in God of giving him the interpretation. What faith! Remember that Daniel has already proven the faithfulness of God, in chapter 1, to those that are faithful to Him.
Immediately after consulting with the king, Daniel returns to his house where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are present. Daniel reveals unto them the situation at hand so all could come before the throne of grace and partition God for mercy in their time of need, (Hebrews 4:16) also that they would not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
The question arises, why was not Daniel and his friends consulted first? For the king had found them 10 times wiser than all the other wise men in Babylon. Listed below are three appropriate reasons;
1. Because they were not called first, it resulted in the complete exposure of the false system the magicians and other pagan teachers held to. They were unable to do what they claimed they could.
2. If they were called first, the other group would not have been brought to a test. God gave the heathen system a chance first, so when they failed they would confess their utter incompetency, even under penalty of death. This would better prepare them to acknowledge God’s hand in this matter, as revealed through Daniel to God’s glory and honour.
3. With Daniel’s and his friend’s lives at stake, they would be led to seek the Lord more earnestly with their whole heart for deliverance.
Daniel 2:19-23 “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 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: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 23 I thank you, and praise you, O you God of my fathers, who have given me wisdom and might, and have made known unto me now what we desired of you: for you have now made known unto us the king's matter.”
When they entreated the Lord, He honoured them with revealing the secret unto Daniel. But God only honours those who honour Him and follow Him. (1 Samuel 2:30, John 12:26) This we see Daniel and his friends already do in chapter 1. Praise God that He is willing to honour His people.
Daniel in turn praises God for revealing the matter to him. He then continues on to tell us that wisdom and might belong to God. (Psalms 147:5) That it is God that removes kings and sets them up, for He it is that is ultimately in control. (Jeremiah 27:5-6) Also that God controls the times and seasons and it is God that gives wisdom to the wise. He reveals the deep and secret things, and light dwells with God, for God is light. (1 John 1:5)
Daniel did not take the honour to himself as we see in verse 23 he states, we desired, and known unto us. The matter was revealed to Daniel, but he acknowledges that all were responsible for the answer given. Friends the secret of the Lord is revealed to those that fear/reverence/obey Him.
Daniel 2:24-25 “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 show unto the king the interpretation. 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.”
Because the matter was revealed to Daniel he went unto Arioch, chief of the executioners, and told him not to destroy the wise men, but to bring him in before the king so he could give him the interpretation. So the wise men were saved because of the man of God. The only reason why the wicked gain any blessings is because of the presence of the righteous, Genesis 18:26-33, Acts 16:25-26; 27:22-24.
Arioch approaches the king with pride, for he states that he has found a man to give the king the interpretation. Daniel had already seen the king v16, but Arioch is striving for honour from the king to gain promotion, totally opposite from the character of Daniel.
Daniel 2:26-30 “The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? 27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king has demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; 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. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, are these; 29 As for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to you what shall come to pass. 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 you mightest know the thoughts of your heart.”
The king enquires of Daniel if he can give him the interpretation of the dream. Notice what Daniel does with his reply in the presence of the king. Firstly he points out the false religion of the wise men, astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers that could not show the king anything, reaffirming in the king’s mind that he cannot put his trust in their system of religion. Then he witnesses to the king about the true God in heaven that can reveal the secrets of the king’s heart and make known unto him the matter, for the king was thinking of future events v29. God was revealing unto the king what was going to be in the latter days and what was going to come to pass hereafter [from this point forward]. So God was revealing to Nebuchadnezzar the future just as he was thinking about this subject.
Daniel again humbly states that it was not because of any wisdom that he has, but for the sake of the righteous ones that were going to give the interpretation to the king and that the king may know the thoughts of his heart.
Daniel 2:31-35 “You, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 You 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. 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.”
The dream is now told to the king by Daniel. This dream was related to the king in the form of an image with different types of metals, something the idolatrous king could relate to. The brightness of it was excellent and the form was terrible/dreadful.
The head of this image was made not just of gold, but of fine gold. The chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet part of iron and part of clay. Then a stone that was cut out without hands smote the image at the feet and not only was the iron and clay broken, but all the other metals were broken with it. They became as chaff of the summer threshing floor and the wind came and blew them away. No place was found for them, and the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
A few things to notice are that each metal is inferior in value to the other, but though they are inferior each metal is stronger than the preceding one.
The king must have been astonished and over joyed as Daniel told him these things and as they were coming back to his memory.
Daniel 2:36-39 “This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into thine hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold. 39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”
Now Daniel gives the interpretation. He starts by telling the king that he is a king of kings, but also reminds him that it is the God of heaven that gave to him this kingdom and power, strength, and glory, so as to not allow the king any pride or self glory in the matter, but remind him of the true God. Babylon thought itself above retribution, and trusted in their spiritual leaders, but they were being led astray by them. (Isaiah 47:7-8, 13) Babylon should not have been glorying in its own wisdom but glorying in the fact that they were given an understanding of and a knowledge of the true God. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Verse 38 tells us a little of how great his dominion was and to the extent of what he ruled over. Daniel now reveals to us, and to Nebuchadnezzar, that he is the head of gold. Babylon ruled the world from 606 B.C. to 538 B.C.
Here is a little information on the magnificence of Babylon. It was a perfect square 60 miles/98.4 km in circumference, 15 miles/24.6 km each side, with the walls reaching a height of 350 feet/106.68 m and 87 feet/26.52 m thick. It had a moat around the wall of equal cubic capacity with the wall itself. Each street was 15 miles/24.6 km long at a width of 150 feet/45.72 meters. Also a river of 30 miles/49.2 km ran through the centre of the city with river walls to match and 250 gates of solid brass, its hanging gardens that went terrace after terrace till they matched the height of the outside walls, and the list goes on. The Bible describes it as “the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency,” Isaiah 13:19. Truly this was a fit capital of the kingdom of Babylon. We shall learn more of this kingdom in future prophecies.
After the Babylonian kingdom there was to arise another kingdom inferior to it, as silver is inferior to gold but stronger. From chapter 8 and verse 20, and 5:28-31, we see that it was the Medes and Persians that took over the Babylonian kingdom in 538 B.C. under the rulership of Darius the Mede, 5:31. They were inferior in wealth, luxury, and magnificence, not in power or in the extent of the kingdom for they were mightier and ruled over a larger area than Babylon. We shall learn of this conquest in chapter 5. Medo-Persia ruled from 538 B.C. to 331 B.C.
Another third kingdom, the belly and thighs of brass, was to arise after the Medo-Persia kingdom. This kingdom was the Grecian empire as stated in 8:20-21. The final deciding battle was at Arbela, 331 B.C., between Alexander the Great and Darius Codomannus the last of the line of the old Persian kings. Alexander and his Grecian army were outnumbered 20 to 1 by the Persians, but Alexander was entirely victorious with Darius being killed by his own men when refusing to make a more hasty retreat. Alexander now became absolute lord of the Persian Empire, to a greater extent than any of the Persian kings before him. The Bible says that this kingdom was to bear rule over all the earth. The Grecian kingdom did, for it ruled from Greece across to the borders of India and down to Egypt.
We shall learn more of this power as we look at other prophecies. Greece ruled from 331 B.C. to 168 B.C.
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.”
Here we find the fourth kingdom introduced. It was to be as strong as iron, for iron breaks and subdues all things and would break all the other metals before it. It would break them in pieces and bruise. This Rome did. It conquered Greece and subdued all things and broke nations and bruised them. It was always victorious in war, and made its way to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the ocean. The nations fell and were broken by the iron monarchy of Rome.
The Bible makes a clear statement in Luke 2:1 that Rome ruled the world, for you cannot tax the world unless you rule it. In its height it ruled the whole south of Europe, France, England, the greater part of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the south of Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, and parts of Asia and Africa. Rome ruled from 168 B.C. to 476 A.D. We will see more of Rome later in the book of Daniel.
Daniel 2:41-43 “And whereas you 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 you sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 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. 43 And whereas you 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.”
After the Roman Empire the kingdom was to be divided, but with some having the strength of iron and others being weak like clay. The Western Roman Empire divided into ten separate parts as will now be listed.
The ten divisions of Rome
|1. Heruli.||6. Burgundians.|
|2. Ostrogoths.||7. Lombards.|
|3. Vandals.||8. Anglo/Saxons.|
|4. Franks.||9. Alamanni.|
|5. Visigoths.||10. Seuvi.|
Mingle themselves with the seed of men - Even though the kingdoms were divided, the monarchies of different countries tried to unite them through marriage and thus gain the supremacy this way. The only thing it resulted in was family feuds between countries.
Many have tried to rule the world through military conquest, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler to name a few. But all efforts have come to naught for the Bible is in opposition to them all, as it is written “they shall not cleave one to another”, for clay does not cleave to iron and vice versa.
Clay and Iron – The iron and clay are much more than just the divided kingdoms. Whilst looking back through this prophecy, all the metals have been representative of kingdoms/nations/states. But what does the Bible represent clay as?
In Jeremiah 18:6 and Isaiah 64:8 we find that God’s people, which are His church, (Acts 7:38) are likened unto clay. But this is miry or dirty clay, which means a dirty or apostate church. Daniel 2 shows to us that there is to be a uniting of church and state during the time frame after the Roman Empire. But God also shows to us that church and state should not be united together for the very fact of that, iron does not mix with clay, it is not God’s system to mix the two together they are to remain separate. We will explain more of this in the next verse.
Daniel 2:44-45 “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. 45 Forasmuch as you 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 has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
In the days of these divided nations, in the days of the kings of the earth uniting with the church, the God of heaven is going to set up His kingdom which will never be destroyed but will stand forever. Revelation 17:1 shows the uniting of the kings/leaders of the earth with the church in the end of time; and we can already see this happening around us today, we are living in the days of when Christ is going to come very soon.
This kingdom, that God is going to set up, is the everlasting kingdom that the saints will possess at the end of time when Jesus comes (Daniel 7:14, 27) for it is not left to other people but will be possessed by them throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. And just as the stone cut out without hands breaks the image into pieces and consumes it and fills the whole world, so too does God destroy the wicked from off the face of the earth, and His kingdom shall encompass the whole world. For the wicked shall be as chaff to be taken away by the wind for the burning. (Psalms 1:4, Matthew 3:12)
The divided nations are from 476 A.D. to the second coming of Christ [the stone cut out without hands, Matthew 21:42, 44; Ephesians 2:20].
This was to take place hereafter, which is from this point forward [the point being from Babylon onwards]. God was making known to the king the future. The dream is certain/true and the interpretation is sure, that is it is true and will come to pass.
Daniel 2:46-49 “Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. 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 you couldest reveal this secret. 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. 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.”
The king was overwhelmed with the accuracy of Daniel’s exposition of the dream and interpretation. He exclaims that the God of Daniel is a God of gods, a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets because his God could reveal this matter to him. Nebuchadnezzar has a momentary conversion, but the seed that was planted into his heart was will become choked by his own pride and ambition, as we will see in the next chapter.
Daniel was given many great gifts and promoted to the ruler over the whole province of Babylon and over all the wise men of Babylon. This was at the tender age of 22 yrs. But notice that Daniel does not forget his companions. He requests of the king that they be made to rule over the affairs of the kingdom of Babylon. Here, once again, do we see the unselfishness of the godly life of Daniel.
In some aspects Daniel’s experience is similar to that of Joseph’s. (Psalms 105:17-22)
We can see through the life of Daniel that it pays to stand for what is right and to seek the Lord oft in all matters. God can bless those who yield themselves to Him and walk in His ways. Let us strive to walk with the Lord more closely and to earnestly seek after His wisdom.
It is almost time for the Lord to come in the clouds of glory, are you willing to be prepared for His coming?
Please read who is the antichrist in the Bible for a comprehensive and easy to understand version of Daniel 2 and other information relevant to this topic. You can find this and other related resources under popular links on the index or links page for future reference.
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