Read the complete passage online.
Insights from the Text & Historical Records
Nebuchadnezzar is a young man and suspicious that many of his counselors are charlatans or frauds, telling him what he wants to hear instead of the truth. So he demands they tell him what his dream was and what it meant. The Chaldeans repeat twice that no human can do this. So the King orders all of them killed.
But Daniel and his friends pray and then approach the King. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that no human could tell him his dream but God could, the God of Heaven. This phrase appears five times in Daniel, as well as in Genesis 24:3, 7; Ezra (nine times), Nehemiah (four times), Psalm 136:26 and Jonah 1:9. Daniel is paralleling the actions of Joseph in Genesis 41:16: I can’t, but God can give Pharaoh the answer he needs.
Daniel then goes on to tell the King how his kingdom of Babylon will be succeeded by four Kingdoms.
We know from Chapter 7 that these kingdoms are Persia, then Greece, then Rome, and then the Kingdom of God. The King saw a statute with a head of gold representing Babylon, chests and arms of silver representing Persia, stomach and hips made of bronze representing Greece, and legs of iron representing Rome. The toes made of partly iron and party clay is a divided kingdom but will not hold together.
Next, a stone not cut with human hands struck the statue and smashed it. Then the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the whole world. This large mountain is the Kingdom of the God of Heaven that will never be destroyed.
As a result of his successful identification and interpretation of the dream, Daniel was promoted. Nebuchadnezzar said to Daniel: Your God (‘elahh, appears 53 times in Daniel) is truly the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings. He can reveal secrets because you were able to reveal the secret.
In this way, Daniel was able to reflect God’s glory back to God.
Things to Think About
- Why is Daniel determined to give God the glory for interpreting the dream rather than himself?
- Why is it a great compliment to Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom is made of gold?
- Nebuchadnezzar may have been told of the Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 27:4-7). What did this prophecy do for King Nebuchadnezzar’s ego? How would the King have reacted to the God of Heaven calling the King his servant?
- Why doesn’t Nebuchadnezzar ask Daniel why his kingdom of gold will not last but be succeeded by other kingdoms? Also, when would his kingdom end? Would he die before his kingdom ends?
- Why doesn’t Nebuchadnezzar inquire about the Kingdom of God and why it will ultimately succeed the other human kingdoms?
- Did Jesus indirectly refer to the stone made without hands that will crush other kingdoms when he quoted Isaiah to the scribes and chief priests (Isaiah 8:14 and Matthew 21:43-44)?
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