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Da 2:1-49. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM: DANIEL'S INTERPRETATION OF IT, AND ADVANCEMENT.
1. second year of . . . Nebuchadnezzar--
shows that "three years" had elapsed since Nebuchadnezzar had taken
Jerusalem. The solution of this difficulty is: Nebuchadnezzar first
ruled as subordinate to his father Nabopolassar, to which time the
first chapter refers
whereas "the second year" in the second chapter is dated from his sole
sovereignty. The very difficulty is a proof of genuineness; all was
clear to the writer and the original readers from their
knowledge of the circumstances, and so he adds no explanation. A
forger would not introduce difficulties; the author did not
then see any difficulty in the case. Nebuchadnezzar is called
by anticipation. Before he left Judea, he became actual king by
the death of his father, and the Jews always called him "king," as
commander of the invading army.
2. Chaldeans--here, a certain order of priest-magicians, who wore a peculiar dress, like that seen on the gods and deified men in the Assyrian sculptures. Probably they belonged exclusively to the Chaldeans, the original tribe of the Babylonian nation, just as the Magians were properly Medes.
3. troubled to know the dream--He awoke in alarm, remembering that something solemn had been presented to him in a dream, without being able to recall the form in which it had clothed itself. His thoughts on the unprecedented greatness to which his power had attained (Da 2:29) made him anxious to know what the issue of all this should be. God meets this wish in the way most calculated to impress him.
4. Here begins the Chaldee portion of Daniel, which continues to
the end of the seventh chapter. In it the course, character, and crisis
of the Gentile power are treated; whereas, in the other parts, which are
in Hebrew, the things treated apply more particularly to the Jews
5. The thing--that is, The dream, "is gone from me."
translates, "The decree is gone forth from me," irrevocable (compare
namely, that you shall be executed, if you do not tell both the dream
and the interpretation. English Version is simpler, which
supposes the king himself to have forgotten the dream. Pretenders to
supernatural knowledge often bring on themselves their own punishment.
6. rewards--literally, "presents poured out in lavish profusion."
9. one decree--There can be no second one reversing the first
10. 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"
Da 2:22, 23).
11. gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh--answering to "no man upon the earth"; for there were, in their belief, "men in heaven," namely, men deified; for example, Nimrod. The supreme gods are referred to here, who alone, in the Chaldean view, could solve the difficulty, but who do not communicate with men. The inferior gods, intermediate between men and the supreme gods, are unable to solve it. Contrast with this heathen idea of the utter severance of God from man, Joh 1:14, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"; Daniel was in this case made His representative.
12, 13. Daniel and his companions do not seem to have been actually numbered among the Magi or Chaldeans, and so were not summoned before the king. Providence ordered it so that all mere human wisdom should be shown vain before His divine power, through His servant, was put forth. Da 2:24 shows that the decree for slaying the wise men had not been actually executed when Daniel interposed.
14. captain of the king's guard--commanding the executioners (Margin; and Ge 37:36, Margin).
15. Why is the decree so hasty--Why were not all of us consulted
before the decree for the execution of all was issued?
16. 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
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
1Ch 12:32; 29:30);
the "seasons" the fitting times for their culmination, decline,
The vicissitudes of states, with their times and seasons, are not
regulated by chance or fate, as the heathen thought, but by God.
(Eph 1:17, 18).
23. thee . . . thee--He ascribes all the glory to God.
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.
27. cannot--Daniel, being learned in all the lore of the Chaldeans
could authoritatively declare the impossibility of mere man
solving the king's difficulty.
28. God--in contrast to "the wise men," &c.
29. God met with a revelation Nebuchadnezzar, who had been meditating on the future destiny of his vast empire.
30. 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 co