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Daniel chapter 2
By John Chopores
Dreams and their answers
Dan.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.
“Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; which, though but one, yet, relating to various things, the several parts of the human body, and the different metals the form he saw was made of, as well as the four monarchies it signified, is called "dreams".” [JFB].
“Jacchiades says, he first dreamed the dream, and then the interpretation of it; which is the reason of the plural number:” [JOHN GILL].
“He says — he dreamt dreams, and yet only one Dream is narrated; but since many things were involved in this dream, the use of the plural number is not surprising. It is now added, his, spirit was contrite, to shew
us how uncommon the dream really was.” [JOHN CALVIN].
So, why did God give such far-seeing dreams to a non-Jew?
1. Because Nebuchadnezzar is the most powerful earthy king at this time. God can speak to who He will. God can and does use some rulers, for His purposes. Cf. 1 Tim. 2: 1 ¶ I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men;
2 for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.
2. When Nebuchadnezzar is set right, he can be a powerful witness for God.
3. To help Daniel move up, to the place that God has for him.
Verse 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
“2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.” [JFB].
“the dream caused the king to feel God to be its author. Though this was not his first dream, yet the terror which God impressed on his mind, compelled him to summon all the Magi, since he could not rest even by returning to sleep. He felt as. it were a sing in his mind, since God did not suffer him to rest, but wished him to be troubled until he received an interpretation of the dream.
… As there are many natural causes for dreams, it would be quite out of character to be seeking for divine agency or fixed reason in them all; and on the other hand, it is sufficiently evident that some dreams
are under divine regulation.” [JOHN CALVIN.].
The astrologers, claimed that they were able tell the future, by studying the stars.
Sorcerers seem to claim to be able to communicate with the dead.
The Chaldeans were a group of philosophers, who studied the sciences.
Neither magic, the dead, or science was able to come up with the answer!
"Verse 2. In the disquietude of his spirit the king commanded all his astrologers and wise men to come to him, four classes of whom are mentioned in this verse. 1. The char|Tumiym <heb>, who were found also in Egypt (Gen 41:24). They are so named from chereT <heb>, a "stylus"-those
who went about with the stylus, the priestly class of the hierogrammatei's, those learned in the sacred writings and in literature.
2. The 'ashaapiym, conjurers, from shaa'ap or naashap , to
breathe, to blow, to whisper; for they practised their incantations by
movements of the breath, as is shown by the Arabic nft, flavit ut
praestigiator in nexos a se nodos, incantavit, with which it is compared by
Hitz. and Kran.
3. The m|kash|piym , magicians, found also in Egypt (Ex.Dan 7:11), and, according to Isa 47:9,12, a powerful body in Babylon.
4. The kas|diym <heb>, the priest caste of the Chaldeans, who are named, vv. 4, 10, and Dan 1:4, instar omnium as the most distinguished class among the Babylonian wise men. According to Herod. i. 171, and Diod. Sic. ii. 24, the Chaldeans appear to have formed the priesthood in a
special sense, or to have attended to the duties specially devolving on the priests. This circumstance, that amongst an Aramaic people the priests in a stricter sense were called Chaldeans, is explained, as at p. 78, from the fact of the ancient supremacy of the Chaldean people in Babylonia.
Besides these four classes there is also a fifth, v. 27; Dan 4:4 (7), 5:7,11, called the gaaz|riyn <heb>, the astrologers, not haruspices, from gaazar <heb>, "to cut flesh to pieces," but the determiners of the g|zeeraah , the fatum or the fata, who announced events by the appearances of the heavens (cf. Isa 47:13), the forecasters of nativities, horoscopes, who determined the fate of men from the position and the movement of the stars at the time of their birth. These different classes of the priests and the learned are comprehended, v. 12ff., under the general designation of chakiymiyn (cf. also Isa 44:25; Jer 50:35), and they formed a su'steema, i.e., collegium (Diod. Sic. ii. 31), under a president (cig|niyn rab , v. 48), who occupied a high place in the state; see at v. 48. These separate classes busied themselves, without doubt, with distinct branches of the Babylonian wisdom. While each class cultivated a separate department, yet it was not exclusively, but in such a manner that the activities of the several classes intermingled in many ways. This is clearly seen from what is said of Daniel and his companions, that they were
trained in all the wisdom of the Chaldeans (Dan 1:17), and is confirmed by the testimony of Diod. Sic. (ii. 29), that the Chaldeans, who held almost the same place in the state that the priests in Egypt did, while applying themselves to the service of the gods, sought their greatest glory in the
study of astrology, and also devoted themselves much to prophecy, foretelling future things, and by means of lustrations, sacrifices, and incantations seeking to turn away evil and to secure that which was good.
They possessed the knowledge of divination from omens, of expounding of dreams and prodigies, and of skilfully casting horoscopes." [KD].
Dan. 2:21 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:
“21. changeth...times...Seasons--"he herein gives a general preparatory intimation, that the dream of Nebuchadnezzar is concerning the changes and successions of kingdoms" [JEROME]. The "times" are the phases and periods of duration of empires (compare #Da 7:25 1Ch 12:32 29:30; the "seasons" the fitting times for their culmination, decline, and fall(#Ec 3:1 Ac 1:7 1Th 5:1). The vicissitudes of states, with their times and seasons. are not regulated by chance or fate, as the heathen thought, but by God.” [JFB].
Dan. 2:31 ¶ Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
“31. 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” …a great image --literally, "one image that was great. Though the kingdoms were different, it was essentially one and the same world power under different phases, just as the image was one, though the parts were of different metals” [JFB].
Some think that this chapter deals with the time know as “the times of the Gentiles”. A time that begins with the captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar, and will end with the second coming of Christ.
"The appearance of the colossal image was terrible, not only on account of its greatness and its metallic splendour, but because it represented the world-power of fearful import to the people of God (Klief.)." [KD].
Dan. 7: 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 Thou 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.
"The image appears divided as to its material into four or five parts-the head, the breast with the arms, the belly with the thighs, and the legs and feet. "Only the first part, the head, constitutes in itself a united whole; the second, with the arms, represents a division; the third runs into a division
in the thighs; the fourth, bound into one at the top, divides itself in the two legs, but has also the power of moving in itself; the fifth is from the first divided in the legs, and finally in the ten toes runs out into a wider division. The material becomes inferior from the head downward-gold,
silver, copper, iron, clay; so that, though on the whole metallic, it becomes inferior, and finally terminates in clay, losing itself in common earthly matter. Notwithstanding that the material becomes always the harder, till it is iron, yet then suddenly and at last it becomes weak and brittle clay."-Klief.
The fourth and fifth parts, the legs and the feet, are, it is true, externally separate from each other, but inwardly, through the unity of the material, iron, are bound together; so that we are to reckon only four parts, as afterwards is done in the interpretation. This image Nebuchadnezzar was
contemplating (v. 34), i.e., reflected upon with a look directed toward it, until a stone moved without human hands broke loose from a mountain, struck against the lowest part of the image, broke the whole of it into pieces, and ground to powder all its material from the head even to the
feet, so that it was scattered like chaff of the summer thrashing-floor.