Summary: Conclusion Chap 1
magicians—properly, “sacred scribes, skilled in the sacred writings, a class of Egyptian priests” [GESENIUS]; from a Hebrew root, “a pen.”
The word in our English Version, “magicians,” comes from mag, that is, “a priest.”
The Magi formed one of the six divisions of the Medes.
astrologers—Hebrew, “enchanters,” from a root, “to conceal,” pactisers of the occult arts.
Note: We see a subtle carryove here from the previous chapter. Daniel "the writer" made it clear to all that his "gift" was from the one and true living God. Jehovah.
I. The Kings Dream (Note text chnages to Aramaic in verse 4. Very significant. This part of text is to the Gentiles)
dreams—It is significant that not to Daniel, but to the then world ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, the dream is vouchsafed. It was from the first of its representatives who had conquered the theocracy, that the world power was to learn its doom, as about to be in its turn subdued, and for ever by the kingdom of God. As this vision opens, so that in the seventh chapter developing the same truth more fully, closes the first part. Nebuchadnezzar, as vicegerent of God (Da 2:37; compare Je 25:9; Ez 28:12–15; Is 44:28; 45:1; Ro 13:1), is honored with the revelation in the form of a dream, the appropriate form to one outside the kingdom of God. So in the cases of Abimelech, Pharaoh, &c. (Ge 20:3; 41:1–7), especially as the heathen attached such importance to dreams. Still it is not he, but an Israelite, who interprets it. Heathendom is passive, Israel active, in divine things, so that the glory redounds to “the God of heaven.”
A. Disturbing : He has had a significant experience. He is troubled that he doen't understand.
B. Dan 2:3
There is a translation issue here. KJV implies that her has forgotten the dream or perhaps the recollection is cloudy. Who knows. I believe that the next few verses implies that he knows the dream but does not trust the interpretation. He feels that this is so important that he makes an unusual (possibly) demand.
2:5 The king replied to the wise men, “My decision is firm.If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered and your homes reduced to rubble!
C. The response from the "wise men"
2:5-2:11 This is a clear self indictment that they pose, the stage is set for Jehovah to make himself known to these people King's and wise men alike.
There is not a man … that can show—God makes the heathen out of their own mouth, condemn their impotent pretensions to supernatural knowledge, in order to bring out in brighter contrast His power to reveal secrets to His servants, though but “men upon the earth”
therefore, &c.—that is, If such things could be done by men, other absolute princes would have required them from their magicians; as they have not, it is proof such things cannot be done and cannot be reasonably asked from us.
D: The Decree-Death to these pretenders.
2:15-There is some interprative issues with Daniel statement 2:15. That is the word (harsh), would Daniel or anyone question the King's intention? Could be urgent or untimely look at the relation to the next statement. Simply put Daniel asks for some time to PRAY.
Note: Daniel went in—perhaps not in person, but by the mediation of some courtier who had access to the king. His first direct interview seems to have been Da 2:25
E. God reveals- Note that Daniel goes to his friends to intercede with him, we are all at risk here.
Daniel's praise for a God who is real and knows the hearst of man. Note the prepatory statements related to the dream.
II. The Dream interpreted.
Note: Dan 2:25 "I have found a man"—Like all courtiers, in announcing agreeable tidings, he ascribes the merit of the discovery to himself [JEROME]. So far from it being a discrepancy, that he says nothing of the previous understanding between him and Daniel, or of Daniel’s application to the king (Da 2:15, 16), it is just what we should expect. Arioch would not dare to tell an absolute despot that he had stayed the execution of his sanguinary decree, on his own responsibility; but would, in the first instance, secretly stay it until Daniel had got, by application from the king, the time required, without Arioch seeming to know of Daniel’s application as the cause of the respite; then, when Daniel had received the revelation, Arioch would in trembling haste bring him in, as if then for the first time he had “found” him. The very difficulty when cleared up is a proof of genuineness, as it never would be introduced by a forger.
B. Daniel's words
2:27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed are as follows.
Note: not … for any wisdom that I have—not on account of any previous wisdom which I may have manifested (Da 1:17, 20). The specially-favored servants of God in all ages disclaim merit in themselves and ascribe all to the grace and power of God (Ge 41:16; Ac 3:12). The “as for me,” disclaiming extraordinary merit, contrasts elegantly with “as for thee,” whereby Daniel courteously, but without flattery, implies, that God honored Nebuchadnezzar, as His vicegerent over the world kingdoms, with a revelation on the subject uppermost in his thoughts, the ultimate destinies of those kingdoms.
2:29 “As for you, O king, while you were in your bed your thoughts turned to future things. The revealer of mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 2:30 As for me, this mystery was revealed to me not because I possess more wisdom than any other living person, but so that the king may understand the interpretation and comprehend the thoughts of your mind.
2:31 “You, O king, were watching as a great statue – one of impressive size and extraordinary brightness – was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. 2:32 As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. 2:33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.2:34 You were watching as a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 2:35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. 2:36 This was the dream. Now we will set forth before the king its interpretation.
D: What does it mean?
2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 2:38 Wherever human beings, wild animals,and birds of the sky live – he has given them into your power. He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. 2:39 Now after you another kingdom will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. 2:40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others.2:41 In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 2:42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. 2:43 And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed67 with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 2:44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. 2:45 You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future.70 The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.”
The world power in its totality appears as a colossal human form: Babylon the head of gold, Medo-Persia the breast and two arms of silver, Graeco-Macedonia the belly and two thighs of brass, and Rome, with its Germano-Slavonic offshoots, the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay, the fourth still existing. Those kingdoms only are mentioned which stand in some relation to the kingdom of God; of these none is left out; the final establishment of that kingdom is the aim of His moral government of the world. The colossus of metal stands on weak feet, of clay. All man’s glory is as ephemeral and worthless as chaff (compare 1Pe 1:24). But the kingdom of God, small and unheeded as a “stone” on the ground is compact in its homogeneous unity; whereas the world power, in its heterogeneous constituents successively supplanting one another, contains the elements of decay. The relation of the stone to the mountain is that of the kingdom of the cross (Mt 16:23; Lu 24:26) to the kingdom of glory, the latter beginning, and the former ending when the kingdom of God breaks in pieces the kingdoms of the world (Rev 11:15). Christ’s contrast between the two kingdoms refers to this passage.
On ancient coins states are often represented by human figures. The head and higher parts signify the earlier times; the lower, the later times. The metals become successively baser and baser, implying the growing degeneracy from worse to worse. Hesiod, two hundred years before Daniel, had compared the four ages to the four metals in the same order; the idea is sanctioned here by Holy Writ. It was perhaps one of those fragments of revelation among the heathen derived from the tradition as to the fall of man. The metals lessen in specific gravity, as they downwards; silver is not so heavy as gold, brass not so heavy as silver, and iron not so heavy as brass, the weight thus being arranged in the reverse of stability [TREGELLES]. Nebuchadnezzar derived his authority from God, not from man, nor as responsible to man. But the Persian king was so far dependent on others that he could not deliver Daniel from the princes (Da 6:14, 15); contrast Da 5:18, 19, as to Nebuchadnezzar’s power from God, whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive” (compare Ezr 7:14; Es 1:13–16). Graeco-Macedonia betrays its deterioration in its divisions, not united as Babylon and Persia. Iron is stronger than brass, but inferior in other respects; so Rome hardy and strong to tread down the nations, but less kingly and showing its chief deterioration in its last state. Each successive kingdom incorporates its predecessor (compare Da 5:28). Power that in Nebuchadnezzar’s hands was a God-derived (Da 2:37, 38) autocracy, in the Persian king’s was a rule resting on his nobility of person and birth, the nobles being his equals in rank, but not in office; in Greece, an aristocracy not of birth, but individual influence, in Rome, lowest of all, dependent entirely on popular choice, the emperor being appointed by popular military election.
As the two arms of silver denote the kings of the Medes and Persians [JOSEPHUS]; and the two thighs of brass the Seleucidae of Syria and Lagidae of Egypt, the two leading sections into which Graeco-Macedonia parted, so the two legs of iron signify the two Roman consuls [NEWTON]. The clay, in Da 2:41, “potter’s clay,” Da 2:43, “miry clay,” means “earthenware,” hard but brittle (compare Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27, where the same image is used of the same event); the feet are stable while bearing only direct pressure, but easily “broken” to pieces by a blow (Da 2:34), the iron intermixed not retarding, but hastening, such a result.