0 Nebuchadnezzar's first dream (Daniel 2)

Episode 210: Nebuchadnezzar's first dream

Daniel 2

Nebuchadnezzar's first dream

2 1 Nebuchadnezzar had bad dreams and couldn't sleep.

2 So he called his magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers, and said to them: 3 "I had a bad dream."

4 They said to him, "Tell us your dream and we'll interpret it for you."

5 The king said to them,

No, you must tell me what I dreamed and interpret it for me.

Or I'll cut you in pieces and make your homes a dunghill.

6 If you interpret it correctly, though, I'll give you gifts, rewards, and honors.

10 They answered, "No one on earth can tell you what you dreamed."

12 The king became angry at this and commanded the death of all the wise men in Babylon.

13 So a decree went forth that all wise men must be killed, including Daniel and his companions.

19 That night, God revealed the interpretation of the king's dream to Daniel in a dream.

15 Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had directed to kill all the wise men in Babylon, and said,

Don't kill the wise men of Babylon.

Take me to the king and I'll interpret his dream.

So Arioch took Daniel to the king, and said to him,

Here's a captive from Judah who can interpret your dream.

26 The king said to him, "Can you interpret my dream?"

27-31 Daniel said,

Yes, God put visions in your head about what will happen in the last days

In your dream you saw a big, bright, terrible image.

32 It had a head of gold, breast of silver, with brass belly and thighs.

33 Its legs were iron, and its feet were iron and clay.

Nebuchadnezzar's dream: the composite statue (France, 15th century)

34 You saw a stone that wasn't cut by human hands, which smashed the image's iron and clay feet.

35 The wind carried the debris away. And the stone that smashed the image became a big mountain that filled the earth.

36 Here is the interpretation of your dream.

37 God has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory. He has made you king of kings.

38 God has given you power over everything. You are the head of gold.

39 After you there will be another kingdom, inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, made of brass, that will rule over the entire earth.

40 And a fourth kingdom that will be as strong as iron.

41 Like the toes, the kingdom will be divided.

42 And as the toes were part iron and part clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly broken.

43 As the iron and clay were mixed, the kingdoms will try to join together through marriage. But those unions will fall apart.

44 Meanwhile, God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed but will destroy all other kingdoms.

45 My interpretation of your dream is absolutely certain.

Nebuchadnezzar makes Daniel the ruler of Babylon

46 After King Nebuchadnezzar heard all this, he fell on his face and worshiped Daniel, and commanded the others to offer sacrifices and sweet odors to him.

47 The king said to Daniel, "Your god is a god of gods and lord of lords."

48 Then the king made Daniel a great man with many gifts and made him a ruler over the entire province of Babylon.

49 And Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

A few more words about this episode

The first few verses of Chapter 2 continue in the Hebrew of Chapter 1. But the language changes to Aramaic in verse 4 and continues until the end of chapter 7. Then the rest of the book (Chapters 8-12) is in Hebrew.

Since the book of Daniel was written in the second century BCE, interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream referred to historical events, misleadingly presented as though they were future prophecies.

As Daniel said in verse 38, the head of gold represents king Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel doesn't identify the other three kingdoms, but most scholars agree that the breast of silver represented the Medes, the brass belly and thighs were the Persians, the feet of iron and clay were Seleucid Syrian and Ptolemaic Egyptian kings, and the rock that destroyed them all was, of course, God.

No comments yet

Copyright © 1999-2024
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

Send comments to Steve Wells
at swwells(at)gmail.com