Notes on Daniel

Chapter Two

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 14 September 2009; Revised 30 October 2015

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Scripture: Unless otherwise indicated Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB Updated Edition (1995). The text for this chapter may be found here. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Most versions can be accessed on the Internet.

Sources: Bibliographic data for sources cited may be found at the end of the article. The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here. Citations for Talmud tractates are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); found at Halakhah.com.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Hebraic and Jewish nature of Scripture I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament) and Besekh (New Testament), as well as the terms Yeshua (Jesus) and Messiah (Christ).

Vocabulary: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB."

Please see the Introduction for background information on the book of Daniel, interpretative approaches and historical context.

 

1― Second year may refer to Danielís second year in captivity, although Wesley and others suggest that this was actually the fifth year of Nebuchadnezzarís reign on the assumption that Daniel had completed the three year training program. However, the natural meaning of the text is that the second year pertained to Nebuchadnezzar, not Daniel. If one considers the Hebrew method of determining time in which a part was reckoned as a whole and the Babylonian and Judean practice of not including a kingís accession year in counting the years of his reign (Miller), then Daniel could have completed his course by the end of second year of Nebuchadnezzarís reign. The text does not say that Daniel had completed the prescribed three-year program, but the narrative follows chronologically from 1:18-19 where Daniel had finished the course and was accepted by Nebuchadnezzar. In addition, he and his friends were included in the death list of Chaldean wise men (verse 13).

Dreams: Heb. khalōm refers to the images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep, whether of an ordinary nature or with prophetic meaning. The word is plural and indicates intensive fullness, implying that the dream in its parts contained a plurality of subjects (Keil).

In biblical times God spoke to the patriarchs and prophets of Israel in visions and dreams, as the Lord declared, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream" (Num 12:6). In biblical times God typically revealed Himself to His prophets through visions and dreams and it was considered a tragic loss when God withheld communication in this manner (cf. 1Sam 3:1; Ps 74:9; Ezek 7:26; Amos 8:11f).

The first mention in the Scriptures of a vision is the call of Abraham (Gen 15:1). Following Abraham, vision recipients included Jacob (Gen 46:2), Moses (Ex 24:9-11; 25:9, 40), Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders of Israel (Ex 24:9-11), Samuel (1Sam 3:15), Nathan (2Sam 7:17), Iddo (2Chr 9:29), Zechariah (2Chr 26:5), Isaiah (Isa 1:1), Ezekiel (Ezek 11:24), Daniel (Dan 8:1), Amos (Amos 1:1), Obadiah (Obad 1:1), Nahum (Nah 1:1) and Habakkuk (Hab 2:2). In the New Testament Zacharias (Luke 1:22); Peter, James and John (Matt 17:9), Peter (Acts 9:10), Cornelius (Acts 10:3), Paul (Acts 16:9; 18:9; 26:9; 2Cor 12:1) and, of course, John (Rev 9:17), received visions from God. John frequently introduces these experiences, which could be called visions, with "I looked" or "I saw," and these phrases serve to emphasize Johnís personal experience as a witness to the events described.

God also used dreams to communicate His will and to portend the future. Sometimes God spoke in a dream to offer personal guidance, such as to Abimelech (Gen 20:3), Laban (Gen 31:24), Solomon (1Kgs 3:5), Joseph (Matt 1:20; 2:13, 22), the Magi (Matt 2:12), and Pilateís wife (Matt 27:19). Most of the dream occurrences in Scripture, however, were visionary, prophetic and often contained symbolic elements that troubled the recipient and others who heard the dreams. Jacob (Gen 28:12; 31:10f), Joseph (Gen 37:5-10), an Egyptian cupbearer and baker (Gen 40:5), Pharaoh (Gen 41:1), a friend of Gideon (Judg 13:7-9), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:1; 4:5), and Daniel (Dan 7:1) were recipients of such dreams. For every visionary dream an interpretation is offered and invariably all the visionary dreams in Scripture had a bearing on the welfare of Israel or Godís sovereign plan for Israel.

Many scholars interpret the term "vision" in prophetic works as a Spirit-inspired insight because of the frequent use of the poetic format, instead of accepting the literal meaning of the word as a direct pictographic message from God. The Hebrew word for vision is derived from the verb meaning to "look," "see" and "behold" (TWOT 1:274-275). In many of these incidents, such as Nahum, the vision was a straightforward communication in written form that God intended the prophet to copy and proclaim to the nation. Other times the vision gave direction to a prophet or apostle concerning the will of God. However, some prophets, such as Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and John, received visions that not only included symbolism, but definitely strange sights outside of their experience, which revealed the awesome Creator God and offered ominous portents of the future. In these cases of pictographic messages the prophet required the assistance of an angelic emissary to understand Godís message. Even then it is not likely that the prophet completely understood the significance of the glimpse into the future.

The writer of Hebrews summed up Godís method of revelation this way: "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb 1:1f).

His spirit, Heb. ruach, was troubled, Heb. paíam, to thrust, to stroke or be disturbed, indicating a night of tossing and turning. Understand

2 Magicians, hartōm, magician (BDB 1093), appears in both Aramaic and Hebrew (TWOT ß738b). It is used of Egyptian magicians who served Pharaoh (Gen 418; Ex 7:11), so the word may be Egyptian in origin. In Daniel hartōm occurs only in the Aramaic portion. Hartōm refers to someone who engages in occultic practices related to divination. Because hartōm is related to the word heret, stylus or engraving tool, some translations take hartōm to be a scribe. Here "magicians" seems to be parallel to the terms for the other men the king called. Conjurers, Heb. ashaph, means conjurer or necromancer (BDB 80). This word is found only in Daniel and may refer to an astrologer, enchanter, or exorcist (TWOT ß181). Sorcerers, Kashaph, one who uses sorcery or occultic methods (BDB 506) Sorcerers, found also in Egypt (Ex 7:11), were banned in the Torah (Ex 22:17; Deut 18:10). Chaldeans, Heb. kasdim, here refers to a learned class of Babylonian men skilled in interpretations (BDB 505).

3 Understand: Heb. yada, to know thoroughly or to understand. The king at this point seems mainly to concerned about the import of his dreaming. There is no indication that the king had forgotten the content of his dream.

4 The Chaldeans spoke for the whole group. Aramaic: Heb. Aramit, rendered in the LXX with Suristi, or Syrian. Aramaic originated in Assyria. It should not be confused with Arabic, which originated in Arabia. Daniel wrote this and following chapters in Aramaic, that he might give the prophecy regarding the world-power in the language of the world-power (Keil). O King live forever was the usual salutation for addressing the king both in the Babylonian and Persian courts. Declare the interpretation indicates that taking the kingís words at face value, the wise men requested that he tell them what he had dreamed. The basis for the king assuming the wise men could tell him what he wanted to know was that the wise men boasted that by the help of the gods they could reveal deep and hidden things

5― Command: Aramaic millah, means primarily a word, utterance or command (BDB 1100). is lit. Firm: azda, represents the NASBís treatment of the word as an adjective, which is a Persian loanword and defined as sure, assured or certain (BDB 1079). The KJV has "the thing has gone [azda] from me," treating azda as a verb derived from the root azad meaning "to go away." Some commentators have thought that the king was saying that he had forgotten the dream. However, the NASB rendering (cf. "This is what I have firmly decided" NIV) suits the context better since millah does not mean "dream." Jewish Rabbinic scholars rendered the phrase as "the word stands firm" (Keil).

The king shocked his advisors by suddenly demanding that they not only interpret his dream, but that they also tell him the content of the dream. He may have assumed that, based on their boast, making known the dream would be no more difficult than interpreting it. In his mind telling him what he had dreamed would ensure the accuracy of the interpretation.

The punishment threatened for failure to satisfy the king should not be taken as hyperbole. The king meant what he said. In fact, the Greek historian Herodotus related a parallel story in which Darius I (about a hundred years later) massacred his wise men with the result that the group was almost annihilated (Miller). Torn limb from limb may refer to the punishment of being thrown into a pit of lions (cf. Dan 6:24). The wise men knew instantly their jeopardy since commands from the king were unchangeable. Rubbish heap (KJV "dunghill") alludes to a practice of houses and temples being made into public toilets in ancient times as an act of retribution.

6― After using the "stick" the king now offers a carrot. The gifts and rewards and great honor are not specified, whether possessions, position, privileges or power. The nouns are actually singular and may point to a particular gift or reward, such as a promotion or marriage to one of the kingís daughters (Miller). The king had the resources and power to reward his loyal subjects in a wide variety of ways.

7― This verse indicates that the wise men believed the king remembered his dream. They were quite willing to offer an interpretation. But, how would he know that it was the right interpretation?

8― Time: Aram. iddan, refers to a fixed, appointed or definite time (BDB 1105). The word occurs thirteen times in the Old Testament, all in Daniel, the first occurring in this verse. Iddan has three different usages in Daniel: (1) a specific length of time, as in this verse and the next; (2) an idiomatic expression referring to a range of time, e.g., "in the time of," Dan 3:5, 15; and (3) a symbolic time, "seven periods," Dan 4:16, and "time, times, and half a time," Dan 7:25.

The king probably felt the dream portended some terrible disaster that was going to befall him or his kingdom. After all the man-like statue in his dream was destroyed. He might believe there was a plan to assassinate him and take over the kingdom. Such court intrigues were common in ancient times. Two of the three next Babylonian kings were assassinated. He might well believe that their professed inability to recount his dream was indeed stalling for time while the murder plot unfolded.

9― Situation: Aram. iddan, lit. "time" refers to a fixed, appointed or definite time (BDB 1105). See verse 21 below. Is the king being paranoid or does he speak from actual knowledge? Remember the saying, "just because Iím paranoid doesnít mean people arenít out to get me."

10― Reason #1: no other king has ever asked for such a thing. The king would probably consider this excuse an affront. What would he care about what other kings asked of their advisors? However, other kings may never have made such a bold request because they knew it was impossible.

11― Reason #2: the request is too difficult; revelation could only come from the gods and they donít live in our world. Theyíre not like us. This reason would certainly be very reasonable. In the ancient Near East religion involved manipulation of the gods. The gods sent famine and feast, plague and health, life and death. Actually, the gods were not the highest power in the universe. There was a presumed law or force above the gods, which we might call magic. Pagan priests used incantations or spells to try to use magic to get the gods to do what they wanted. And, the gods used magic to control the forces of nature (Leman 87-88). Unfortunately, the gods were extremely fickle and the wise men knew first hand how difficult it was to get the gods to reveal anything.

Both of these reasons reveal the true weakness of astrology and other occultic practices so relied on by pagan peoples. In Isaiah 47 God pronounces judgment on Babylon and warns them, "You are wearied with your many counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you" (Isa 47:13).

12― The king determined that the wise men had given the wrong answer and decided that if they could not fulfill their job description, then they should be removed from office Ö permanently. Destroy is a participle, "were being killed." And may suggest that the slaying of the wise men had already begun (Miller). The kingís decree is a good example of how bad decisions can result from impulsive anger. He might realize later that he had been really stupid. A king needed a cabinet of advisors, if for no other reason than to have someone to blame when things went wrong. Wise rulers know they donít have enough wisdom to oversee the complexities of an empire.

13― The king proved that he had not made an idle threat and the danger immediately extended to Daniel and his friends. Their inclusion in the death list didnít mean they had been appointed as "wise men," but they had completed the training.

14― Discretion. Daniel did not panic, but gave a thoughtful and appropriate response to Arioch. Bodyguard, Aram. tabbach comes from a root word that means "to slay," so this contingent consisted of the kingís executioners, making Arioch the chief executioner.

15― Daniel spoke to Arioch as if engaging in an ordinary negotiation and did so in a principled manner. He did not blame, accuse, whine, beg, threaten or use any other negative tactic. Instead, he treated the matter as a serious problem to solve and to do that required information. Urgent, Aram. chatsaph, means to show insolence or harshness (BDB 1093). KJV has "hasty," but NIV has "harsh." The KJV and NASB based their translation on the context, because Daniel goes on to ask for time to appeal to the king. In any event, Arioch must have been impressed by Danielís respectful manner and explained what had happened in the royal court.

16- Daniel poise must have given Arioch pause, because without preamble the next statement is that with the apparent suspension of execution Daniel hastens to the king. This says something about Danielís position that he could go in to see the king. Daniel made a bold promise and time was granted.

17― Daniel went home and passed the information he had gained to his friends.

18― Daniel and his friends began to pray earnestly for God to intervene concerning the mystery of the kingís dream. Their primary motivation was the deliverance of themselves and the other wise men of Babylon, not claiming the reward for a correct interpretation.

19― Vision: Aram. chezev, which may refer to a vision as a mode of revelation or the appearance of something (cf. Dan 7:20). Blessed: barak, an Aramaic participle from berak and means to kneel or to bless (BDB 1085). To bless God does not mean conveying something to God He doesnít already have or to change Him in some way (consider how Christians "bless" food). Christians may think of blessing God as simply equivalent to praising Him for something received, but itís much more than that. Blessing God recognizes His sovereign exaltation and attributes the honor due Him for His gracious provision.

20― This verse begins a blessing of God that extends through verse 23 and is comparable to many of the Psalms. Daniel expresses the wish that Godís Name would be blessed forever, that is, His people would never cease to bless the King of Heaven. Merely stopping to reflect on his wisdom and power should cause a blessing in response.

21― Times: Aram. iddan, refers to a fixed, appointed or definite time (BDB 1105). The word occurs thirteen times in the Old Testament, all in Daniel, with three different uses: (1) as an idiomatic expression referring to a range of time, e.g., "in the time of" Dan 3:5, 15; (2) as a specific length of time, as previously in this chapter, 2:8 and 2:9 and (3) a symbolic time, "seven periods," Dan 4:16, and "time, times, and half a time," Dan 7:25. It corresponds to the Heb. iddah, menstrual period. Epochs: zeman denotes a specific period of time or age (BDB 1091) It can also refer to (festival) seasons, 7:25, or focused time as "three times in the day" Dan 6:11. For Daniel Godís power is manifest in that He changes times. God does not only have the ability to change the times, but He actively does so.

22― Rabbinic literature saw the Messiah in this verse. The Midrash Rabbah, regarding the Aramaic word nehora, Ďlight,í in this verse says: "Light dwells with him; this is the Messiah-King, for it is written: ĎArise, shine, for your light has comeí" (Isa 60:1). (Santala 182)

23― Paul warned about listening to false prophets who take their stand based on visions they have had (Col 2:18). The primary test of whether a vision comes from God is the principle of two or three witnesses (Matt 18:16). The revelation that John received from Yeshua is reliable because Daniel, Ezekiel and Zechariah had the same or very similar experiences. In a specific example, God revealed the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzarís first dream vision not only to Daniel but also his three friends (Dan 2:23). The two-or-three witness principle is also illustrated in the story of the Egyptian Pharaoh who had two visions that told the same story. God revealed to Joseph that the second vision repeated and reinforced the message of the first vision. Similarly, the books of Daniel and Revelation contain visions with repetitive elements, but with a single message about the future.

An important lesson for believers: (1) God rewards persistence; (2) intercession is most effective when more than one focuses on the same need. The text does not say whether Daniel and his friends prayed together or separately, but they prayed to the same end.

24― It is strange that in verse 16 Daniel goes to speak with the king without apparent permission, yet here Daniel talks first to Arioch to gain permission. Daniel was aware of the requirement for formal introductions and he wonít rely on the kingís memory of having admitted him before without one. Itís important for Arioch to know that the king will have the answer to his request. Danielís plea to spare the wise men is striking. They are pagans and not his friends. Their theology is contrary to his. Daniel at heart is not a cruel person and like the God of Israel takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 18:23, 32).

25― Arioch performs his role and seems to take some credit for helping to solve the dream mystery. Daniel doesnít point out that the situation occurred at Danielís initiative. Perhaps killing the wise men was a disagreeable duty to Arioch and he was glad to avoid it.

26― The king asks the straightforward question with an implied threat. The wrong answer would require his previous decree to be enacted. The insertion of Danielís Babylonian name suggests an allusion to an official court record, which would have been made of any official communication before the king.

27― Daniel immediately reiterates what the wise men had told the king about the source of knowledge to solve the dream mystery. His solidarity with them on this point would hopefully strengthen his relationship with them and perhaps encourage them to be open to his religion.

28― Daniel continues by giving glory to God of heaven as the source of knowledge into mysteries. Latter: acharit, means the end, latter or last (NASBEC). BDB (1079) identifies the word as a Hebraism, but TWOT (ß2568) identifies it as an Aramaic word from ahar, "after" thatís also used in Hebrew. Days: yom, means day or time. The plural refers to a range of time and indeed the dream will be interpreted to cover centuries.

The expression "last days" also occurs at Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Ezekiel 38:8, 16; Dan 2:28; 10:24; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1; Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; and 2 Peter 3:3. A number of important events are to occur in the last days. (1) Evil will befall Israel; (2) Israel will return to the Lord and listen to his voice; (3) Mountain of the temple will be chief and all nations will stream to it; (4) Israel will understand why God has punished them; (5) God will restore the fortunes of Moab and Elam; (6) God will bring an invading army while Israel is living in unwalled villages; (7) great empires will rise and fall, but an eternal kingdom will rise and never fall; (8) God will pour out his Spirit and men and women will prophesy and dream; (9) difficult times will come with a lawless spirit; (10) people will mock belief in the Second Coming.

29― Before beginning the revelation Daniel reminds the king of the circumstances of the dream. Apparently Nebuchadnezzar had been reflecting on his reign and the future. Perhaps new at the job he was troubled at the enormity of ruling such a large geographical area with diverse populations. He had to worry about holding on to territory against insurrection and hostile neighbors. He had to finance his government and the building projects he no doubt had in mind. Maybe he did not feel secure with the remnants of his fatherís administration who held high posts. So many decisions to make. Perhaps he even reflected on the course of the world and his part in it. There was much to trouble him. Danielís simple statement of the dream revealing the future was probably meant to offer a promise of security to ease the kingís mind.

30― Daniel reiterates that the answer to the dream mystery did not come from his own wisdom. In himself Daniel is no better than any other man. This is not false modesty, but a realistic statement of self-understanding. Moreover, the answer is for the kingís benefit, to ease his mind.

31―33 Daniel recounts the extraordinary dream of a very large man-like statue, the parts of which was composed of various precious metals and baser materials. Of interest is that the Greek poet Hesiod (Works and Days) in the 8th century B.C. employed gold, silver, bronze, and iron to represent human eras in history. Zoroastrian teaching and the Roman poet Ovid (Metamorphoses, Book I) that postdate Danielís writing by many centuries likewise used these four metals to symbolize eras or ages of humankind (Miller).

The head of the statue was the most valuable, being made of gold, and the value decreased as the description moved down the figure of the statue. The next precious metal was silver and then bronze. KJV has "brass" instead of bronze, but bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin, is a better translation of the Aramaic word since the earliest known example of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is a Roman coin from about 20 B.C. (Miller). Next came iron and clay whose value would be determined by the market price as a construction material. Gold, silver and bronze had value as a means of currency and reflected true wealth.

34―35 The latter part of the dream is probably what troubled the king. Stone: Aram. eben, which the LXX renders as lithos. This is not a rock that one might pick up off the ground, but a stone of the kind used in a building foundation or pillar. Without hands no doubt is an allusion to God. Crushed signifies that the both the size of the stone and the force of the impact was sufficient to totally crush the entire statue, the initial point of impact being the feet of the statue. The narrative clarifies "crushed" by asserting that the remains were like chaff blown away from threshing so that there was no trace of the particles of the statue materials to be found anywhere. Yet the stone of destruction itself transformed into a great mountain that filled the earth, a seemingly impossible word picture. "Filled" would have the sense of dominate as Mt. Rainier dominates the State of Washington.

There is a parallel thought in Luke 20:17-18, "Then Yeshua looked right at them and said, "Then what is this that has been written, ĎThe stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstoneí? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him." (TLV)

36― We probably signifies God and Daniel as His servant. Itís possible that "we" might refer to Danielís friends since they also prayed and received the same answer (v. 23), but there is no indication in the text that they were in the presence of the king. Of course, Daniel could be speaking in a representative capacity for his friends and in that case "we" would be appropriate.

37― Daniel addressed Nebuchadnezzar as king of kings, a title only given in Scripture to him (also Ezek 26:7), Artaxerxes of Persia (Ezra 7:12) and Yeshua (1Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16). He might be saying that Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest king to ever live to that point. In reality any of the great empire rulers in ancient times could be called "king of kings," since the rulers of great cities, as well as nations, were called kings. Daniel points out that the God of heaven (the God of Israel) had given Nebuchadnezzar his kingdom with its attendant power and glory. The king needed to remember the source of his authority.

38― You are the head of gold seems to set the stage for interpreting the rest of the statue parts as a historical chronology.

39― After: athar, means "place," "footstep," "in the track of" (BDB 1083). The sense is that following in the footsteps of Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom would arise. Represented by the silver breast and arms of the statue This kingdom would be inferior, ara, meaning "earthward" or "downward" (BDB 1083), i.e., lower than you as on the statue and thus inferior. Presumptively this kingdom is Medo-Persia led by the Cyrus the Great. The Persian Empire lasted a little over 200 years (539-331 B.C.). One may rightly ask what the Persian Empire left in terms of impact on the world. Babylon left their religion, which formed the basis for the pagan pantheon and cosmologies in every region of the known ancient world. Greece left their culture and Rome left their laws.

The third kingdom of bronze, presumptively Greece, is said to rule over all the earth. This level of authority and responsibility was first given to Adam (Gen 1:26), but mankind never achieved the kind of dominion that God intended. This is the only human political kingdom with such a description in Scripture. The irony is that while the political rule of Greece over the known world (331-63 B.C.) did not last as long as the Persian Empire, Hellenistic culture continued to dominate and influence the education and social systems of the Roman Empire, European life in the Middle Ages and Western Civilization from the Renaissance to the present day.

40― The fourth kingdom was considered by Jewish authors to be Rome (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 10, 11.7; and 2 Esdras 12:10-51). Iron is an apt description of the Roman Empire, which did indeed crush every region with overwhelming force. Rome ruled the world with an iron hand and shattered all who resisted its will. Some commentators suggest that the two legs represent eastern and western halves of the Empire, but the text offers no support for this view. The statue of a man would naturally have two legs (Miller). The fourth kingdom will break all the previous empires into pieces, which is an allusion to the fact that each previous empire had absorbed the conquered kingdoms.

41―43 Interpretation of these verses is much debated and no clear consensus exists on the meaning of this part of the statue. Oneís eschatology or viewpoint of whether "kingdom" in verse 44 is spiritual or physical seems to be the primary factor. Dispensationalist commentators view this part of the statue as referring to conditions preceding the Rapture and allegorize the meaning of the parts. However, the text offers no evidence of such a lengthy gap in history as the Dispensationalist view posits nor do the toes represent different kingdoms. This passage speaks of only one kingdom. The focus is not on how many toes there are, but the materials with which the toes are constructed. Daniel goes on to give the correct interpretation. God is depicting the inherent weakness of the kingdom of iron, i.e., the Roman Empire as it expanded northward to incorporate the common clay or "uncivilized" peoples of Gaul (France-Belgium) and Britain. Eventually the Empire would collapse because of the advance of Christianity.

44― In contrast to the four earthly kingdoms, Daniel says that God will establish a kingdom that shall endure. In the days of those kings must refer to the rulers and the empire depicted in verses 41-43. Dispensational commentators attempt to force the revelation to Nebuchadnezzar to conform to the revelation contained in Danielís vision in Chapter Seven. However, this approach is unnecessary as the two visions in their respective contexts refer to different time periods. Daniel himself makes no such correlation.

God of heaven (lit. "heavens") emphasizes the divine origin of this kingdom. Yeshua, the Messiah, would be the God of the heavens (John 3:31; 6:31, 33, 38, 51; 8:14, 23).

A kingdom is rather non-specific. There is no indication whether it is a rule or a realm, although it would at least be the former if not the latter. Jews would automatically assume that "kingdom" involved territory as well as political authority. However, Yeshua maintained that the kingdom had arrived in his person. The powers of the coming age are available now as evidenced by his miracles. Thus, this verse represents the inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom and chapter seven represents the consummation. Yeshua represented this duality by taking the "Son of Man" euphemism of Daniel 7:13 and using it to refer to not only his role as the future Eschatological Judge and King, but also to the present Suffering Savior.

Never be destroyed and not be left for another people means that Godís kingdom wonít be overcome or absorbed by another kingdom as the ancient earthy kingdoms had been. No one will ever conquer Godís kingdom and possess it. His kingdom is indestructible.

Endure forever (alamin, pl. of olam) indicates that this kingdom will be eternal. There will be no end to it days. This verse really emphasizes the durability of Godís kingdom and not its location.

In contrast various Psalmists who lived prior to Daniel declared that the God of Israel is king over all the earth (Ps 47:2; 83:18; 97:9).

Zechariah pointed to the day, "Then ADONAI will be king over the whole world. On that day ADONAI will be the only one, and his name will be the only name." (Zech 14:9 CJB).

45― Daniel assures the king that God has revealed the future and he can trust the interpretation.

46― No doubt to everyoneís surprise the king arose from his throne and bowed low before Daniel in homage, segid, lit. worship as in KJV. Falling to the earth is found as a mark of honor to me (1Sam 20:41; 25:28; 2Sam 14:4), but segid is used only of divine homage (Keil). To the king Daniel was a man to whom the gods had manifested themselves; therefore he shows Daniel divine honor, such as Cornelius gave to Peter (Acts 10:25) and the residents of Lystra gave to Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:13). Nebuchadnezzar then directed that gifts be made to Daniel. Offering, minchah, is an offering to God through a representative. In reality as the next verse shows the king is giving glory to Danielís God, not to Daniel.

47― The king offers a fitting tribute to the God, Aram. Elahi, of Daniel. Whether Nebuchadnezzar was "converted" to the God of the Jews and faith cannot be determined with certainty from this declaration, since the titles "Lord of lords" and "Lord of gods" were often given by Babylonian kings, including Nebuchadnezzar, to Marduk the chief god of the Babylon (Miller). His later actions in the next chapter would also argue against any substantive change in his theology. Whatever faith he had he does not declare Danielís God Adonai to be the only God, nor does his tribute express exclusive faith in Adonai.

48― Nebuchadnezzar demonstrated his pleasure by granting Daniel power and showering him with great gifts. The status promotion was significant in two areas. Daniel was made a vice-regent over the province in which the city of Babylon was situated as well as and chief prefect or president over all the wise men of Babylon. The wise men were divided into classes according to their principal functions under chiefs (cf. Jer 39:3), whose president Daniel was. No Jew since Joseph had ascended to such power in a pagan land.

49― Daniel did not forget his friends. A vice-regent would have subordinate officers and Daniel wanted his friends, whom he knew he could trust, to handle administrative matters for him in the province while he resided at the king's court. Their appointment sets the stage for the dramatic story in chapter three.

This chapter reveals important truths about God. First, He is omnipotent and sovereign over the affairs of men. His sovereignty is always exercised for the good of His people. Second, He is omniscient. He knows the future and at various times in biblical history He generously revealed the future to His servants. Third, while earthly kingdoms will rise and fall, Godís kingdom will endure for eternity.

This chapter also reveals much about the godly character of Daniel. He was a man who served God without compromise, a light in a dark place.

 

Works Cited

Citation

Source

BDB

The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. London: Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.

Keil

C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Ezekiel-Daniel. Commentary on the Old Testament (1866-1891), Vol. 9. Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.

Miller

Stephen R. Miller, Daniel. The New American Commentary, Vol. 18. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994.

Santala

Risto Santala, The Messiah in the Old Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992.

TWOT

R. Laird Harris, ed., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press, 1980.

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