Daniel 2

Listen to Daniel 2

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; 1his spirit was troubled, and 2his sleep left him.
2 Then the king commanded that 3the magicians, 4the enchanters, the 5sorcerers, and 6the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and 7stood before the king.
3 And the king said to them, "I had a dream, and 8my spirit is troubled to know the dream."
4 Then 9the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic,[a]10"O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation."
5 The king answered and said to 11the Chaldeans, "The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be 12torn limb from limb, 13and your 14houses shall be laid in ruins.
6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, 15you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. 16Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation."
7 They answered a second time and said, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation."
8 The king answered and said, "I know with certainty that you are trying to 17gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm--
9 if you do not make the dream known to me, 18there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till 19the times change. 20Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation."
10 21The Chaldeans answered the king and said, "There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or 22Chaldean.
11 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except 23the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh."
12 Because of this the king was angry and 24very furious, and 25commanded that all 26the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.
13 So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought 27Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
14 Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to 28Arioch, the 29captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon.
15 He declared[b] to Arioch, the king's captain, "Why is the decree of the king 30so urgent?" Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel.
16 And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.

God Reveals Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to 31Hananiah, 32Mishael, and 33Azariah, his companions,
18 34and told them to seek mercy from the 35God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not 36be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in 37a vision of the night. Then Daniel 38blessed the 39God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said: 40"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, 41to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 42He changes times and seasons; 43he removes kings and sets up kings; 44he gives wisdom to the wise 45and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 46he reveals deep and hidden things; 47he knows what is in the darkness, 48and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O 49God of my fathers, 50I give thanks and praise, for 51you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what 52we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter."
24 Therefore Daniel went in to 53Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: "Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation."
25 Then 54Arioch brought in Daniel before the king 55in haste and said thus to him: "I have found 56among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation."
26 The king declared to Daniel, 57whose name was Belteshazzar, 58"Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?"
27 Daniel answered the king and said, "No wise men, 59enchanters, 60magicians, or 61astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked,
28 but 62there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar 63what will be in the latter days. Your dream and 64the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:
29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, 65and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be.
30 But 66as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that 67you may know the thoughts of your mind.

Daniel Interprets the Dream

31 "You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening.
32 68The head of this image was of fine gold, 69its chest and arms of silver, its middle and 70thighs of bronze,
33 71its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
34 As you looked, a stone was cut out 72by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and 73broke them in pieces.
35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became 74like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that 75not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became 76a great mountain 77and filled the whole earth.
36 "This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation.
37 You, O king, 78the king of kings, to whom 79the God of heaven 80has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,
38 and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, 81the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all--you are 82the head of gold.
39 83Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom 84of bronze, 85which shall rule over all the earth.
40 And 86there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron 87breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall 88break and crush all these.
41 And as you saw 89the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the 90firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay.
42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.
43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage,[c] but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.
44 And in the days of those kings 91the God of heaven will set up 92a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. 93It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and 94it shall stand forever,
45 just as 95you saw that 96a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that 97it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A 98great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure."

Daniel Is Promoted

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar 99fell upon his face and 100paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that 101an offering and 102incense be offered up to him.
47 The king answered and said to Daniel, "Truly, your 103God is God of gods and 104Lord of kings, and 105a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery."
48 Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great 106gifts, and made him ruler over the whole 107province of Babylon and 108chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he 109appointed 110Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of 111the province of Babylon. But Daniel 112remained at the king's court.

Daniel 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Nebuchadnezzar's dream. (1-13) It is revealed to Daniel. (14-23) He obtains admission to the king. (24-30) The dream and the interpretation. (31-45) Honours to Daniel and his friends. (46-49)

Verses 1-13 The greatest men are most open to cares and troubles of mind, which disturb their repose in the night, while the sleep of the labouring man is sweet and sound. We know not the uneasiness of many who live in great pomp, and, as others vainly think, in pleasure also. The king said that his learned men must tell him the dream itself, or they should all be put to death as deceivers. Men are more eager to ask as to future events, than to learn the way of salvation or the path of duty; yet foreknowledge of future events increases anxiety and trouble. Those who deceived, by pretending to do what they could not do, were sentenced to death, for not being able to do what they did not pretend to.

Verses 14-23 Daniel humbly prayed that God would discover to him the king's dream, and the meaning of it. Praying friends are valuable friends; and it well becomes the greatest and best men to desire the prayers of others. Let us show that we value our friends, and their prayers. They were particular in prayer. And whatever we pray for, we can expect nothing but as the gift of God's mercies. God gives us leave in prayer to tell our wants and burdens. Their plea with God was, the peril they were in. The mercy Daniel and his fellows prayed for, was bestowed. The fervent prayers of righteous men avail much. Daniel was thankful to God for making known that to him, which saved the lives of himself and his fellows. How much more should we be thankful to God, for making known the great salvation of the soul to those who are not among the worldly wise and prudent!

Verses 24-30 Daniel takes away the king's opinion of his magicians and soothsayers. The insufficiency of creatures should drive us to the all-sufficiency of the Creator. There is One who can do that for us, and make known that to us, which none on earth can, particularly the work of redemption, and the secret designs of God's love to us therein. Daniel confirmed the king in his opinion, that the dream was of great consequence, relating to the affairs and changes of this lower world. Let those whom God has highly favoured and honoured, lay aside all opinion of their own wisdom and worthiness, that the Lord alone may be praised for the good they have and do.

Verses 31-45 This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.

Verses 46-49 It is our business to direct attention to the Lord, as the Author and Giver of every good gift. Many have thoughts of the Divine power and majesty, who do not think of serving God themselves. But all should strive, that God may be glorified, and the best interests of mankind furthered.

Cross References 112

  • 1. [Daniel 4:5; Daniel 5:9; Genesis 41:8]
  • 2. [Daniel 6:18; Esther 6:1]
  • 3. [See Daniel 1:20 above]
  • 4. [See Daniel 1:20 above]
  • 5. Deuteronomy 18:10, 11; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Isaiah 47:9, 12
  • 6. See Daniel 1:4
  • 7. See Daniel 1:5
  • 8. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 9. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 10. Daniel 3:9; Daniel 5:10; Daniel 6:6, 21; See 1 Kings 1:31
  • 11. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 12. Daniel 3:29
  • 13. Daniel 3:29
  • 14. Ezra 6:11; [2 Kings 10:27]
  • 15. [Daniel 5:7, 16]
  • 16. [ver. 7, 9]
  • 17. Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5
  • 18. Esther 4:11
  • 19. [ver. 21; Daniel 7:25]
  • 20. ver. 6; [ver. 7]
  • 21. See Daniel 1:4
  • 22. See Daniel 1:4
  • 23. [Daniel 5:11, 14]
  • 24. [Daniel 3:19]
  • 25. [ver. 24]
  • 26. Daniel 4:6
  • 27. See Daniel 1:4-7
  • 28. ver. 24, 25
  • 29. [Genesis 37:36]
  • 30. Daniel 3:22
  • 31. Daniel 1:6
  • 32. Daniel 1:6
  • 33. Daniel 1:6
  • 34. [Matthew 18:19]
  • 35. ver. 19, 28, 37, 44; Revelation 11:13
  • 36. [ver. 12, 24]
  • 37. [Numbers 12:6; Job 33:15, 16]
  • 38. See Joshua 22:33
  • 39. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 40. 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalms 72:18; Psalms 113:2; Psalms 115:18; Luke 1:68
  • 41. [Isaiah 28:29]
  • 42. [ver. 9; Daniel 7:25]
  • 43. [Daniel 4:17; Daniel 5:20; Job 12:18; Psalms 75:7; Romans 13:1]
  • 44. See Daniel 1:17
  • 45. See Daniel 1:17
  • 46. Job 12:22; [Psalms 25:14; Psalms 139:12; Amos 4:13; Hebrews 4:13]
  • 47. Job 12:22; [Psalms 25:14; Psalms 139:12; Amos 4:13; Hebrews 4:13]
  • 48. 1 Timothy 6:16; James 1:17; 1 John 1:5; [John 1:4, 5]
  • 49. Deuteronomy 26:7; 1 Chronicles 12:17; 1 Chronicles 29:18
  • 50. [Daniel 6:10]
  • 51. [ver. 20]; See Daniel 1:17
  • 52. [ver. 18]
  • 53. ver. 14, 15
  • 54. [See ver. 24 above]
  • 55. Daniel 3:24
  • 56. Daniel 5:13; Ezra 4:1; Ezra 6:16, 19, 20; Ezra 10:7, 16
  • 57. See Daniel 1:7
  • 58. [Daniel 5:16]
  • 59. See Daniel 1:20
  • 60. See Daniel 1:20
  • 61. Daniel 4:7; Daniel 5:7
  • 62. See ver. 22
  • 63. Daniel 10:14; Hosea 3:5
  • 64. Daniel 4:5; Daniel 7:15
  • 65. ver. 45
  • 66. [Genesis 41:16; Acts 3:12]
  • 67. [Ecclesiastes 3:18]
  • 68. [ver. 38]
  • 69. [ver. 39]
  • 70. [ver. 39]
  • 71. [ver. 40]
  • 72. [Daniel 8:25; Job 34:20; Lamentations 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1]
  • 73. ver. 35, 40, 44, 45; Isaiah 8:9; [Matthew 21:44; Luke 20:18]
  • 74. Psalms 1:4
  • 75. [Revelation 20:11]
  • 76. [Isaiah 2:2]
  • 77. [Psalms 80:9]
  • 78. Ezra 7:12; Ezekiel 26:7
  • 79. ver. 19
  • 80. Daniel 5:18; [Ezra 1:2]; See ver. 21
  • 81. Daniel 4:21; Jeremiah 27:6
  • 82. [ver. 32]
  • 83. [ver. 32; Daniel 5:28, 31]
  • 84. [See ver. 38 above]
  • 85. [Daniel 7:6]
  • 86. [Daniel 7:7, 23]
  • 87. See ver. 34
  • 88. See ver. 34
  • 89. [ver. 33]
  • 90. [See ver. 40 above]
  • 91. ver. 19
  • 92. Daniel 4:3, 34; Daniel 6:26; Daniel 7:14, 27; Micah 4:7; [Matthew 3:2; Luke 1:33; John 18:36]
  • 93. [Isaiah 60:12]; See ver. 34
  • 94. Daniel 4:3, 34; Daniel 6:26; Daniel 7:14, 27; Micah 4:7; [Matthew 3:2; Luke 1:33; John 18:36]
  • 95. [ver. 34]
  • 96. [Isaiah 28:16]
  • 97. [See ver. 44 above]
  • 98. ver. 28
  • 99. [2 Samuel 14:22]
  • 100. [Matthew 8:2; Acts 10:25]
  • 101. [Acts 14:13]
  • 102. [Ezra 6:10]
  • 103. Deuteronomy 10:17
  • 104. [1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16]
  • 105. See ver. 22
  • 106. [ver. 6]
  • 107. Daniel 3:1, 12, 30; [Esther 1:1]
  • 108. Daniel 5:11; [Daniel 4:9]
  • 109. Daniel 3:12
  • 110. [Daniel 1:7]
  • 111. [See ver. 48 above]
  • 112. Esther 2:19

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The text from this point to the end of chapter 7 is in Aramaic
  • [b]. Aramaic answered and said; also verse 26
  • [c]. Aramaic by the seed of men

Chapter Summary


The subject of this chapter is a dream which Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed, but had forgot; upon which he calls his magicians and astrologers together, to tell him it, and the interpretation of it; threatening them with death if they did not, and promising them great rewards and honour if they did, Da 2:1-6, they urge the unreasonableness of the demand, and the impossibility of the thing; which so highly incensed the king, that he ordered their immediate destruction, Da 2:7-13, Daniel and his companions being in danger, he goes in to the king, and desires time, and he would show him what he had dreamed; which being granted, he spent it in prayer to God, Da 2:14-18, and the thing being revealed to him, he gave thanks to God, Da 2:19-23, and being introduced to the king, he both told him his dream, and the interpretation of it; which concerned the four monarchies of the world, and the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah, Da 2:24-45, upon which he was highly honoured, and greatly promoted by the king, Da 2:46-49.

Daniel 2 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.