Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 2

Outline and Background

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream - Daniel 2:1-11

Nebuchadnezzar's Folly - Daniel 2:12-13

Daniel's Wisdom - Daniel 2:14-16

Daniel's Request - Daniel 2:17-18

Daniel's Vision and Praise - Daniel 2:19-23

Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream - Daniel 2:24-45

The Image is Four Empires

The Everlasting Empire

Eschatology of the Mt Olivet Discourse

Christ's Kingdom

Nebuchadnezzar's Declaration - Daniel 2:46-49

Application and Typical Prophecies

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream - Daniel 2:1-11

Not all or any sum of the world’s wealth and power can cure a troubled mind. In a brief moment, God can take away one’s peace of mind. He terrified Nebuchadnezzar with dreams as He did Job (Job 7:14).

The king dreamed a recurring dream; its various aspects were so troubling that he could not sleep. Nebuchadnezzar knew his dreams did not come from a bedtime snack. God impressed the dream so deeply on his mind that Nebuchadnezzar awoke in a highly agitated state. Troubled and perplexed, the king called the ydsk (kasday, Aramaic for
“Chaldeans,” translated as astrologers), to make known the dream and its meaning. Originally an ethnic term, Chaldeans is a generic term for all Babylonians as well as a special term for the cult of temple priests and scholars.

The magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and Chaldeans employed herbs, charms, potions, and stars in league with evil forces to interpret dreams. Such practices are strongly condemned in the OT (Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:10; Isaiah 47:9, 12; Jeremiah 27:9).

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S UNREASONABLE REQUEST (2:4-11).

King Nebuchadnezzar was one of history’s shrewdest monarchs. The king most likely attributed the dream to his god Marduk, but he did not trust the ability of his religious advisors; yet they were his only recourse. To be certain of the validity of the interpretation, he would test them.

This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.

Nebuchadnezzar’s negative consequences are fearful, and his positive rewards are desirable. God also motivates His people with His blessings and curses. The king’s threat “to cut into pieces” should be taken literally. He was equally as cruel as other Ancient Near Eastern rulers were as we easily can detect from 2 Kings 25:6-7:

He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze
shackles and took him to Babylon.

A good day turned bad in Babylon. The advisors could expect no sympathy from Nebuchadnezzar—the head of gold—they had met their match. One can imagine the advisors had welcomed this opportunity until they heard the king’s request and terms. They could see the king was firmly set on carrying out his threat and asked him again to tell them the dream so they could interpret it.

Nebuchadnezzar had not forgotten the dream; he could only know that the interpretation was correct if he remembered it. God does not give forgettable dreams. The whole dream was still troubling the king and the agitation spilled out in his demand.

The caliber of advisors in Nebuchadnezzar’s court was the very best the world had to offer. Yet, their worldly wisdom was insufficient to solve even the most basic spiritual problems of the human mind. It is clear from this episode that Satan has no power to read minds, or else these advisors would have honored the king’s demand.

The brilliant and shrewd young king suspected his advisors had conspired to tell him misleading and wicked things. His mistrust was confirmed. In NT terminology, “they are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 1:13).

Unwittingly, the Chaldeans told the king point blank that his request was unreasonable and their explanation was accurate. The interpretation of the dream did go beyond man’s ability. Unfortunately, these men revealed that they could not do the job they were supposed to do—their business was to contact the divine realm and find out such information. With unsuspecting boldness, they had just confessed. Their evaluation was correct and so was the king’s—they were frauds!

With their declaration, “No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men,” the astrologers have set the stage for Daniel and his God. Only super intelligence belonging to deity could reveal this kind of information. The advisors gave the right answer, but it was the wrong thing to say to a man not known for self-control.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

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Life of the Apostle Paul

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