Daniel 2 The Revelation of things to come, Daniel’s entrance as a true prophet before the king of the Chaldeans
Nebuchadnezzar's dream (1-13) • The greatest people (position) are most open to cares and troubles of the mind, which disturb their repose in the night, while the sleep of the laboring man (or woman) is sweet and sound. • We think “the powerful” live in pomp and pleasure, but the Bible often shows us the untruth of this as uneasiness is often the fruit of power. • The king said that his wise men must tell him the dream itself, not just interpret it for him, or they would all be put to death as deceivers. Does this sound like a guy who fully trusted his team? • We are often more eager to ask about future events, than to learn the way of salvation or the path of duty; yet knowing what the future holds only increases anxiety and trouble. • Those who deceived, by pretending to do what they could not do, were sentenced to death, for not being able to do what they could not pretend to when they were not given the requisite faith.
The Chaldeans: Why Nebuchadnezzar? • Chaldea • The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim, which is usually rendered “Chaldeans” (Jer_50:10;Jer_51:24,Jer_51:35). The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along the course of these rivers, and about 100 miles in average breadth. “In former days the vast plains of Babylon were nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses, which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent groves of palmtrees and pleasant gardens, affording to the idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade. Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine.” • Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points. The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born at “Ur of the Chaldees.” “Chaldees” is a mistranslation of the Hebrew Kasdim, Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings. Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi (“Shem is my father”). But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku, as has long been recognized, is the Biblical “Arioch king of Ellasar” (Gen_14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was Khammu-rabi. (See BABYLON; ABRAHAM; AMRAPHEL.)
Daniel’s Revelation (14-23) • Daniel humbly prayed that God would reveal the king's dream to him, as well as the meaning of it. • Praying friends are valuable friends; and the wise among us will seek out the prayers of others. • We should show that we value our friends, and their prayers. • Daniel and his friends were particular in prayer. And whatever we pray for, we can expect nothing but as the gift of God's mercies as Daniel’s thanks showed – He did not EXPECT the result, he was blessed by it and astounded and offered up praise in short order. • God gives us access in prayer to tell him our wants and burdens. Their plea with God was for relief from the peril they were in. The mercy Daniel and his fellows prayed for, was bestowed. The fervent prayers of righteous men and women avail much! • Daniel was thankful to God for making known to him that which saved the lives of himself and his friends. • How much more should we be thankful to God, for making known to all of us the great salvation of the soul even though we are not necessarily among the worldly wise and prudent!
Access to the king (24-30) • Daniel politely blasts the ineffectual results of the king's magicians and soothsayers. • The insufficiency of the created should drive us to the all-sufficiency of the Creator. • There is One who can do that for us as well, and makes known to us, the hidden things, particularly the work of redemption, and the secret designs of God's love and plans for us. • Daniel confirmed the king’s opinion, that the dream was of great importance, and that it related to the affairs and changes of this world. • As Nebuchadnezzar was challenged to do, let those of us whom God has highly favored and honored, lay aside all opinion of our own wisdom and worthiness, so that the Lord should be praised for the good we have and do.
The dream and the interpretation (31-45) • According to Matthew Henry(and many others); • This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. • The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. • The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. • The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. • The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavors have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain.
The dream and the interpretation (cont) • The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which would be set up in the kingdoms of the world, directly on top of the ruins of Satan's kingdoms (which were also setup within the kingdoms of the world). Jesus was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but the one that becomes the cornerstone. Christ's government and peace shall increase without end. The Lord will reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days are done it will go on. • As far as events have gone so far, the fulfilling of this prophetic vision has been exact and undeniable; future ages will witness this Stone destroying the image, and will see it filling the whole earth.
The result (46-49) • It is our business to direct attention to the Lord, as the Author and Giver of every good gift. • If God blesses us and we take the credit, what glory does he receive? How will it benefit the kingdom to bless us? Who will we tell what He does for us? • “Many have thoughts of the Divine power and majesty, who do not think of serving God themselves. But all should strive, that God may be glorified, and the best interests of mankind furthered.” • The best interests of mankind are best served when we can be blessed by God while bravely giving him full credit for all that we endure (or survive) and all that we enjoy! He raises up men and women who will continue to raise Him higher!