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,
“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
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
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
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!
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