Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 3
We’re moving along in Daniel 2 and dealing with 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 but had no clue what it meant.
Like any king, he called for his wise men and expected them to interpret for him. But with Nebuchadnezzar, there was a bit of a difference. He had no intention of telling them what his dream had been about because he didn’t want to take a chance on them lying about it to present something that simply sounded plausible. Nebuchadnezzar felt he would not know for certain if they were telling the truth or if they were lying to him to cover themselves.
As we learned last time, from Daniel 2:6, the king resolutely refused to tell his wise men what the dream was and simply warned them that if they could not tell him what he dreamed along with the meaning, they would be violently killed.
It is extremely important to understand that it is in this particular chapter, Daniel 2, that God provided a very broad picture of prophetic content for the earth from that point in human history up to the time of the physical return of Jesus, or His second coming. Based on this, it is easy to understand it was very likely God Himself who prompted Nebuchadnezzar to make such a demand of his wise men as he did. It was essentially God proving Himself and His sovereignty through Nebuchadnezzar to the world. We have seen that time and time again, God’s Word has been proven to be true.
Nowhere else in Scripture, except in Daniel 7, is a more comprehensive picture given of world history as it stretched from the time of Daniel, 600 years before Christ, to the consummation at the second advent of Christ. It is most remarkable that Daniel was not only given this broad revelation of the course of what Christ called ‘the times of the Gentiles’ (Lk 21:24), but also the chronological prophecy of Israel’s history stretching from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the second advent of Christ. These two major foci of the book of Daniel justify the general description of the book as world history in outline with special reference to the nation of Israel. 
Let’s continue with chapter two of Daniel to learn what happens after Nebuchadnezzar makes his demands indicating that his wise men would not only be required to interpret the king’s dream(s), but would also be required to tell the king what his dream had been. Here’s Daniel 2:7-9.
7 [The Chaldeans] answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” 8 The king replied, “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that the command from me is firm, 9 that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the situation is changed; therefore tell me the dream, that I may know that you can declare to me its interpretation.”
Here we see the Chaldeans responding to King Nebuchadnezzar as though they hadn’t heard what he said the first time! Is it any wonder Nebuchadnezzar thought it best to force them to do things his way?
Like I said before, it is clear that Nebuchadnezzar was not an idiot. He well knew the propensities of people and how easily power corrupts. To that end, he insisted that his wise men tell him what he dreamed and then and only then would they be allowed to provide the interpretation of it.
Nebuchadnezzar holds the line in the above verses and it’s easy to tell that he was not happy with them, even accusing them of the likelihood that they would lie to cover up their lack of knowledge concerning the true meaning of his dreams. As stated last time, it is likely that God Himself put this idea into Nebuchadnezzar’s head because it was God who held (and holds) the reins and provided the dream. It would also be God who provided the interpretation and in doing so, would elevate one of His own. The interpretation ultimately, would not come through any of Nebuchadnezzar’s so-called wise men, but through Daniel, God’s chosen vessel.
Some commentators believe that Nebuchadnezzar had actually forgotten the dream he had dreamed, but the text doesn’t imply that. In fact, Daniel 2:3 tells us, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.”
The implication is that he remembered the dream but could not comprehend its meaning. If he had forgotten it, how would he have known for certain if the Chaldeans were telling him the truth about the contents of his dream?
The next few verses show us how desperate the Chaldeans were and how firm Nebuchadnezzar was, in Daniel 2:10-11.
10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.”
It is clear they were attempting to show the king that his request was not only unusual, but one that they believed no one could actually fulfill. They were right – to an extent – when they stated that only the “gods” could provide the answer, certainly no “mortal flesh” could do it.
This was not good enough for Nebuchadnezzar though. He would not be placated or convinced otherwise. They would either tell him what he dreamed and provide the interpretation for it, or they would face execution. It was their choice.
Imagine how they must have felt, knowing that they could not divine what they believed was completely beyond their ability. They were admitting their own limitations to the king and even though they did that, the king still wanted things his way, not theirs. He figured that if they were such diviners of wisdom, then something or someone should be able to provide them the information for which he sought. Let’s keep reading with Daniel 2:12-13.
12 Because of this the king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them.
Nebuchadnezzar digs his heels in resolutely. He refuses to agree with his wise men that the thing he demands is beyond reach. Because of their inability to provide the king with the information he demands, Nebuchadnezzar decrees that all wise men should be slain. This clearly included Daniel and his friends since they also had been brought into the service of the king, though there is no sign of them during this situation.
Things are not looking good for Daniel and his friends. They weren’t even actually involved in this verbal back and forth and were destined to suffer the same fate as those heathen wise men who had no ability to tell the king what he wanted to know.
We’ll discuss that in our next installment.
Walvoord, p. 44. Cf. Culver, p. 777. (from Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Daniel [2015 edition]), p. 25
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