Daniel 2 (1)
Kings are powerful people. Especially when they’re tyrants like Nebuchadnezzar or Herod. When Herod was troubled, all Jerusalem was troubled with him (Matt. 2.1-3). When Nebuchadnezzar became troubled, he made sure that others were troubled as well. Asaph wasn’t afraid of troubled kings, because he knew and trusted a King Who not only troubles kings, but fills them with shame, and turns their hearts to seek Him. Daniel knew this God, and probably Asaph’s prayer, too.
Read Psalm 83, a Psalm of Asaph.
Read Daniel 2.1-6.
1Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. 2Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.” 4Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.” 5The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. 6However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”
Think it Through
1. Is there ever a time, place, or condition in which God is not sovereign? Was God sovereign in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? Review Genesis 41.1-25. With this in the background of our understanding, how should we think about the dream Nebuchadnezzar had? How do you suppose Daniel thought about it? Was God using the story of Daniel as a parallel and reminder of the story of Joseph? For whom? An interesting linguistic sidelight comes in at this point: Daniel 2.4 to Daniel 7.28 are written in Aramaic, not Hebrew – one of only a few such sections in the Old Testament (Ezra 4:8-6:18;7:12-26). This indicates that the book was written for people who spoke mainly Aramaic, which is a cognate of Hebrew and would have been used by the captives in Babylon, especially toward the end of their captivity. How does this help us in understanding Daniel’s intended readership? Given this, why is the allusion to Joseph and Pharaoh particularly apt?
2. What kind of man was Nebuchadnezzar? How does what we see of him in Daniel 2.1-6 add to what we’ve learned about him already in our study? What must it have been like to be governed by such a man? We might know some people like this – narcissistic in the extreme, scornful of others, degrading, demeaning, even vicious. Certainly, well beyond the reach of God’s grace, right?
“There is a type of dream that comes from God, since he has promised to pour out the grace of the Holy Spirit on all flesh and has ordained that his sons and handmaidens shall utter prophecies and dream dreams. Such dreams may be compared with the grace of God as being honest, holy, prophetic, inspired, edifying and inducing to virtue. Their bountiful nature causes them to overflow even to the unbelievers since God with divine impartiality causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on just and unjust alike.” Tertullian (155-250 AD)
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will… Ephesians 1.11
Heavenly Father, You work all things according to the counsel of Your will, and You are sovereign over all people, all situations, and all…
Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
Psalm 83.1-8 (St. Chrysostom:We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
O God, do not be quiet now; do not be silent, nor be still!
See how Your foes erupt in a row and those who hate You chafe at Your will.
Shrewdly they plan, conspiring as one, against Your daughters and Your sons.
“Come, let us wipe them out,” they say. “Let Israel’s name no more be heard!”
Bold they conspire to do us away, and covenant against You, O Lord.
Peoples and nations cast in their lot for this ambitious, wicked plot.
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.