Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 2

October 22, 2015 at 8:10 PM 1 comment

Not a happy king. Sleep eluded Nebuchadnezzar because of his dreams.

Not a happy king. Sleep eluded Nebuchadnezzar because of his dreams.

We opened up Daniel 2 last time by introducing verses 1-3. Let’s go over those verses again.

1 Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. 2 Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.”

Among other things, from our last article, we noted that Daniel tells us the events that occurred in the opening verses of Daniel 2 provide us with a timeline. We know that the dream that Daniel writes about in this section occurred during King Nebuchadnezzar’s second year of reigning over the Babylonian Empire.

Nebuchadnezzar ruled beginning in 604 BC and died in 561 BC. In essence then, we are talking about the year 603 BC. This from Dr. Thomas Constable:

According to several reliable scholars, Nebuchadnezzar officially became king on September 7, 605 B.C. On the first of Nisan, 604 B.C., the following spring, the first official year of his reign began. The intervening months constituted his accession year and were credited to his father’s reign. The first year of his reign then ended on the first of Nisan the following year, 603 B.C. The second year of his reign (v. 1) began in 603 and ended in 602 B.C.[1]

It is this king of which Daniel speaks in these opening verses of Daniel 2. Nebuchadnezzar’s father was Nabopolassar and he took over the failing Assyrian Empire. As we will learn later in Daniel, the Babylonian Empire becomes the first empire in a line of four main empires that will ultimately take the world up to the physical second coming of Jesus.

But before we get there, we learn that even kings have bad dreams, bad enough dreams to rob them of sleep. In this particular instance, as we’ll learn, God sent Nebuchadnezzar those dreams knowing that he would not understand their meaning. Because of this, Nebuchadnezzar would eventually find one young man – named Daniel – who, by God’s grace was able to understand the meaning of dreams just like the ones Nebuchadnezzar was having.

If we stop to consider the fact that what God reveals information – some through the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, some via angelic messengers, and some through Daniel’s own visions and/or dreams – to Daniel and ultimately, to us and all of it has to do with the future. Some of it was related to Daniel’s near future. Some of it pointed to the far future, even after Daniel was gone. Some of it pointed all the way to the time of Jesus and His Second Coming. It wasn’t for Daniel that God revealed these things, though certainly some of it applied to Daniel during his lifetime. Ultimately, the things that God revealed to Daniel were for the benefit of Israel and the world, long after Daniel would pass from this earth and it all started with these troubling dreams that robbed Nebuchadnezzar of his sleep.

As we read in Daniel 2:2, the king, because he could not sleep, ordered his servants to call in the “magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans” because Nebuchadnezzar felt that if anyone could tell him about his dreams, it was this group of individuals, or so he hoped.

Daniel 2:3 tells us that after the particular individuals gathered before the king, he announced that the dream he had dreamed left him feeling anxious and he so desperately wanted to know what the dream meant. Surely, his “wise men” could tell him. The gathered men certainly understood their job, or thought they did.

Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: “O king, live forever! Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation.”

They were respectful, if nothing else. They gave the customary response to the king and then waited for him to tell them what the dream was so that they could interpret it for him. But Nebuchadnezzar was not an idiot. We’ve already learned from Daniel 1 that he was very intelligent and was able to discuss highly intelligent topics with the young men taken captive from Jerusalem. In fact, he was able to discern that Daniel and his friends stood out above the others and that included the individuals already in the king’s employ. That says a great deal not only about the king, but about the way he thought. We learn this in the very next verse, Daniel 2:6.

The king replied to the Chaldeans, “The command from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses will be made a rubbish heap.

Wait, what? The king expected these wise guys to not only tell him what his dream meant, but he actually expected them to tell him what he had dreamed! That was unheard of and who could do it? With God, all things are possible (cf. Matthew 19:26; Luke 18:27). It turns out that this is the point from beginning to end. It is very clear from this verse that Nebuchadnezzar was not prepared to be duped by individuals who might have had the power to dupe the king. To ensure that this could not occur, Nebuchadnezzar decided that with all their supposed powers and abilities, they would have to find a way to figure out what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed. As the text states, he was “firm” on this and if they failed, they would “be torn limb from limb.”

No pressure there, was there? Not only would they be dismembered, but their homes would be destroyed and that normally meant all who resided in those homes. There would be nothing left except a postscript to that testified that they had once lived but came to a point where they were unable to effectively serve their king. Their end was an unenviable and painful death.

For those who have read on past verse six or those who are familiar with the narrative, we know this does not happen. But how is it averted and how is God glorified?

We’ll discuss that next time, so please join me then!


[1] Wiseman, pp. 25-26; Thiele, pp. 159-60; Finegan, Handbook of . . ., p. 38.

Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , .

Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 1 Prayer and Praise, Part 1

1 Comment

  • 1. Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 3 | Study - Grow - Know  |  October 28, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    […] the prophecies that come to the fore in this particular chapter, which are very weighty. In our last installment, we highlighted several things about King Nebuchadnezzar and the fact that he’d had a dream […]


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