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Daniel 2:21-38


2:21 He changes times and seasons,

deposing some kings

and establishing others. 1 

He gives wisdom to the wise;

he imparts knowledge to those with understanding; 2 

2:22 he reveals deep and hidden things.

He knows what is in the darkness,

and light resides with him.

2:23 O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you,

for you have bestowed wisdom and power on me.

Now you have enabled me to understand what I 3  requested from you.

For you have enabled me to understand the king’s dilemma.” 4 

2:24 Then Daniel went in to see 5  Arioch (whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon). He came 6  and said to him, “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon! Escort me 7  to the king, and I will disclose the interpretation to him!” 8 

2:25 So Arioch quickly ushered Daniel into the king’s presence, saying to him, “I 9  have found a man from the captives of Judah who can make known the interpretation to the king.” 2:26 The king then asked Daniel (whose name was also Belteshazzar), “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I saw, as well as its interpretation?” 2:27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, 10  and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. 11  The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed 12  are as follows.

2:29 “As for you, O king, while you were in your bed your thoughts turned to future things. 13  The revealer of mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 2:30 As for me, this mystery was revealed to me not because I possess more wisdom 14  than any other living person, but so that the king may understand 15  the interpretation and comprehend the thoughts of your mind. 16 

2:31 “You, O king, were watching as a great statue – one 17  of impressive size and extraordinary brightness – was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. 2:32 As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. 2:33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. 18  2:34 You were watching as 19  a stone was cut out, 20  but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 2:35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction 21  and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. 2:36 This was the dream. Now we 22  will set forth before the king its interpretation.

Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 2:38 Wherever human beings, 23  wild animals, 24  and birds of the sky live – he has given them into your power. 25  He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold.

1 tn Aram “kings.”

2 tn Aram “the knowers of understanding.”

3 tn Aram “we.” Various explanations have been offered for the plural, but it is probably best understood as the editorial plural; so also with “me” later in this verse.

4 tn Aram “the word of the king.”

5 tc The MT has עַל עַל (’alal, “he entered upon”). Several medieval Hebrew MSS lack the verb, although this may be due to haplography.

6 tc The LXX and Vulgate, along with one medieval Hebrew MS, lack this verb.

7 tn Aram “cause me to enter.” So also in v. 25.

8 tn Aram “the king.”

9 sn Arioch’s claim is self-serving and exaggerated. It is Daniel who came to him, and not the other way around. By claiming to have found one capable of solving the king’s dilemma, Arioch probably hoped to ingratiate himself to the king.

10 tn Aram “a revealer of mysteries.” The phrase serves as a quasi-title for God in Daniel.

11 tn Aram “in the latter days.”

12 tn Aram “your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed.”

13 tn Aram “your thoughts upon your bed went up to what will be after this.”

14 tn Aram “not for any wisdom which is in me more than [in] any living man.”

15 tn Aram “they might cause the king to know.” The impersonal plural is used here to refer to the role of God’s spirit in revealing the dream and its interpretation to the king. As J. A. Montgomery says, “it appropriately here veils the mysterious agency” (Daniel [ICC], 164-65).

16 tn Aram “heart.”

17 tn Aram “an image.”

18 sn Clay refers to baked clay, which – though hard – was also fragile. Cf. the reference in v. 41 to “wet clay.”

19 tn Aram “until.”

20 tc The LXX, Theodotion, and the Vulgate have “from a mountain,” though this is probably a harmonization with v. 45.

21 tn Aram “as one.” For the meaning “without distinction” see the following: F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 36, §64, and p. 93; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 60.

22 tn Various suggestions have been made concerning the plural “we.” It is probably the editorial plural and could be translated here as “I.”

23 tn Aram “the sons of man.”

24 tn Aram “the beasts of the field.”

25 tn Aram “hand.”

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