Daniel 2:1-49 Reading the Passage

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do – Daniel 2:1-49

2 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams. His spirit was troubled and he could not sleep. (2) So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and the Chaldean astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. So they came in and stood before the king. (3) Then the king said to them, I have dreamed a dream and my spirit is troubled to know the meaning of the dream. (4) Then the Chaldean astrologers answered the king in the Syrian language, O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation. (5) The king replied to the Chaldean astrologers, I have issued this decree: If you do not tell me what I dreamed and its interpretation, you shall be cut into pieces and your houses shall be turned into a pile of rubble. (6) But if you tell me the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore, tell me the dream and its interpretation.

(7) Once more they replied, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation. (8) Then the king answered, I know for certain that you are seeking to gain time, because you know that I have issued the decree. (9) But if you do not tell me the dream, there is only one verdict for you; because you have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things until the astrological time has changed. Therefore, tell me the dream, and then I will know that you can give me the true interpretation. (10) The Chaldean astrologers answered the king, There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks. No king, lord, or ruler has ever made such a request of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean astrologer. (11) It is an extraordinary thing that the king requests, and no one can fulfill it for the king except the gods, but they do not dwell with men. (12) For this reason the king became angry, indeed, very furious, and he gave the command to put all the wise men of Babylon to death. (13) So the decree was issued; consequently, the wise men were to be put to death. And they searched for Daniel and his companions in order to put them to death.

(14) Then Daniel replied with wisdom and tact to Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, the one who had been sent to put to death the wise men of Babylon. (15) Daniel asked Arioch, the king’s officer, Why is the decree issued by the king so urgent? Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. (16) So Daniel went in and requested the king for an appointment, at which time he would give the king the interpretation. (17) Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, (18) so that they might request mercies from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

(19) Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel during the night in a vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. (20) Daniel said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, because wisdom and might belong to him. (21) He changes the astrological times and the seasons; he deposes kings and establishes kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to men of understanding; (22) he reveals the deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. (23) I thank you and praise you, O God of my fathers, you have given me wisdom and might. Indeed, you have now made known to me what we requested of you; you have made known to us the king’s dream and its interpretation.

(24) Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, the one whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king and I will give the king the interpretation of his dream. (25) Arioch immediately brought Daniel before the king and reported to him, I have found a man from among the captives of Judah who will make known to the king the interpretation of the dream. (26) The king asked Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar), Are you able to tell me what I saw in the dream and its interpretation? (27) Daniel answered the king, Neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers are able to explain to the king the mystery the king has demanded be made known to him; (28) but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to the great king Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the days to come. This is your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay upon your bed. (29) As you lay upon your bed, O king, your mind turned to events that will take place in the future; and the one who reveals mysteries made known to you what is going to happen. (30) This mystery was not revealed to me because I have more wisdom than any other living man, but only that the interpretation might be made known to the king and that you might know the meaning of the thoughts of your mind.

(31) You, O king, saw and observed a huge statue. This statue, that was enormous and whose brightness was brilliant, stood before you. Its appearance was awesome. (32) The head of this statue was made of fine gold, its chest and arms were made of silver, its stomach and its thighs were of bronze, (33) its legs were made of iron, its feet were made partly of iron and partly of clay. (34) You continued observing this statue until a rock was cut out of a mountain, but not by hands. The rock struck the statue’s feet, that were made of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. (35) Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were all broken into pieces together and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. Then the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

(36) This was the dream. Now we will make known to the king the interpretation. (37) You, O king, are king of kings, the one on whom the God of heaven has bestowed the dominion, the power, and the strength and the glory. (38) Into your hands he has placed mankind, as well as the beasts of the field and the birds of the air—wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold. (39) After you, another kingdom will rise, one that is inferior to you. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over all the earth. (40) And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron. Just as iron breaks and smashes everything, so like iron that breaks things to pieces, this kingdom will crush and break all the others to pieces. (41) Just as you saw that the feet and toes were made partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, just as you saw iron mixed with clay. (42) Just as the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. (43) And just as you saw the iron mixed with the baked clay, the people of this kingdom will be a mixture of nationalities; but they will not be united, just as iron does not mix with clay. (44) In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be passed on to another people. It will break all those kingdoms into pieces and consume them, and it will stand forever. (45) This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of the mountain, but not by hands—the rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.

(46) Then the great king Nebuchadnezzar prostrated himself before Daniel and paid him homage, and he ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. (47) The king said to Daniel, Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were enabled to reveal this mystery. (48) Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and gave him many great gifts; he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and put him in charge of all the wise men of Babylon. (49) Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego as administrators over the province of Babylon, but Daniel himself was at the king’s court.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.