This is one of the more lengthy chapters of Daniel, but it is also a very important one. Though this chapter deals with the dream of the king Nebuchadnezzar, it is one of historical proportions. This chapter sets the “stage” for the events which follow. The kings ego, which is most likely behind the building of the great image we will see later, the dreams which Daniel would see, and the events of the nations which would follow Babylon in world domination.
“And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.“ Daniel 2:1 (KJV)
The distress the king is having is caused by the dreams he has had. Notice, it says, “Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams” which seems to imply his dream was recurring; maybe having it on a nightly basis or may have been over and over on a singular night. This was only in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. This was an arrogant and proud king. He was ruthless. Of course, most kings of the Gentile nations were cruel and vicious tyrants.
We are about to see how the Sovereign God of the universe was in control of the dreams of men/kings, the interpretation of the dream, and its fulfillment. Whether God still speaks through dreams in this study is not an issue this study will endeavor to answer. It is important for us to realize and believe that God did speak through the dreams mentioned in the book of Daniel.
“Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.” Daniel 2:2-13.
After having this dream in a recurring fashion the kings command went forth for all the “wise men”, astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, and Chaldeans speaking of Chaldeans as “astrologers”.
Now, the king ordered them to appear before him for the distinct purpose of interpreting this troubling dream. It was troubling to him. It was an encouragement and blessing to Daniel and his friends. We will see why as we come to the close of this chapter.
In times past kings, and this particular king had always told the dream and accepted the interpretation from these “wise men”. That would not be so in this case.
Not only did the king ask for the interpretation, but he asked these men to tell him the dream. There is some question as to whether the king had actually forgotten the dream or that God had put it in his heart to test the ‘wise men’. Whoever could tell him the dream he had would also be able to interpret the dream – surely. “No man can tell another what he dreamed”. That was the basic response of these ‘counselors’ (v. 10). “Only the gods could do that, and they probably won’t” was there response in verse 11. You can tell anyone your dream, and they can give their interpretation of it. It may not be accurate, but it is an interpretation.
The kings mind was set. He would only except the interpretation of the dream from only the one who could tell him his dream. It was not ‘Business as usual’. It seems that he really did not trust his ‘wise men’; especially, with this very important dream.
These men began to stall, trying to obtain more time. The king recognized what they were doing and became angry with them. He commanded that all the ‘wise men’ be killed. By this decree he also condemned Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They, evidently, had not been called upon to interpret the dream.
“The thing” of verse 5 is for ‘a word, command, discourse or subject. “The thing is gone from me”.
This could be saying, “I have given the command; it is firm”. He was speaking of the decree, that if they could not tell him the dream and its interpretation they would all die.
If this is a correct interpretation, then, the king knew the dream; he just did not want some flippant charlatans interpretation to the dream, and neither did the LORD God. This was wisdom given the king by God to weed out the false interpreters, and bring Daniel before the king – ultimately glorifying the Lord Most High.
The kings decree to kill was a satanic edict. “A man who determines not to compromise his life usually gets Satan’s attention.” (DAVID JEREMIAH from “The Handwriting On The Wall” pg. 51). Daniel certainly got his attention, and the devil wanted to kill him.
“Oh, the sin and folly of pretension. The emphasis is not to be put on Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath and cruelty, but on that which occasioned it. These sons of the colleges were trained and paid to interpret mysteries, and it is a reasonable to assume that the means whereby they could know the interpretation of a dream might also be employed to discover the dream itself. The fact is, they were frauds. The four Hebrews studied astrology to understand it, but not to believe it. Daniel 2:10 shows in one single sentence that all of the astrology and necromancy and oracles and dreams and mantic revelations of the whole pagan world for six thousand years are nothing but imbecilities and lies, and it proves that all the religions and arts and sciences and philosophies and attainments and powers of men apart from God-inspired prophets and an all-glorious Christ are nothing but emptiness and vanity as regards any true and adequate knowledge of the purpose and will of God.” (A quote by Graham Scroggie as printed in “The Handwriting On the Wall” by David Jeremiah pg. 51).
The death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, and will forever stand sure.