Study Notes On Daniel 2
The Sovereign Lord Inhabits Both Eternity and the Humble Heart

A Troubling Dream, Causing Serious Trouble (2:1 – 16)

“The second chapter of Daniel has been called the backbone of Bible prophecy for Daniel 2 unlocks the rest of the prophecies of the Book of Daniel, which, in turn, unlock the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.” Jon Courson

Reconciling the 3 Year training (1:5) and the dream in the 2nd year (2:1):

 “When Nebuchadnezzar first came to Jerusalem to conquer, he was not yet king; he was acting for his father, Nabopolassar, back in Babylon. This accounts for the seeming contradiction between the three years of training for Daniel in 1:5 and the “second year” of the king’s reign in 2:1.” Warren Wiersbe

“However, it may be better to use Babylonian conventions to count the years of a reign, such that the young men were taken and began their training in Nebuchadnezzar’s accession year, and had their second and third years of training during what the Babylonians called the first and second years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (see note on 1:1–2). In that case, “the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar” would be 603–602 b.c.” ESV Study Notes

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and his distrust of his councillors:

“Soon after Nebuchadnezzar’s accession to the throne, he was plagued with a recurring dream. Since Daniel recalled and interpreted only a single dream (cf. vv. 24-26), the use of the plural here (dreams) seems to indicate a recurrence of the same dream.” Bible Knowledge Commentary

  • Maybe their previous answers had not been accurate …
  • If they couldn’t recall the past, could they predict the future?
  • Even the greatest of individuals (the king) know uneasiness and anxiety

“he magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans”

  • No man could answer the king, only the gods (v10,11)
  • Although Satanic empowered, there was a limit to their arts capabilities

Daniel’s Bold Response

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

  • Daniel talks to his executioner (v14,15), and even to the king (v16)
  • Daniel may have had a reputation in this area (1:17)

Daniel’s Wise Response and the Revelation of God (2:17 – 30)

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15

Prayer, revelation and praise

  • Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, prayed for their lives (v17,18)
  • Desperation led to prayer (James 1:5, Matt 7:7) – not panic
  • Daniel receives revelation (v19) and praises the wisdom, sovereignty, and grace of God! (v20 – 23), with emphasis on God giving wisdom and power

“The insufficiency of creatures should drive us to the all-sufficiency of the Creator.” Matthew Henry

The humility of Daniel

  • No man can answer the King (v 27), but God can (v28)
  • Daniel is God’s mouthpiece by grace alone (v30)
  • Contrast this with Arioch’s claim, “I have found” (v25)

“I believe this was why Daniel was used from the time he was a young man all the way until he was eighty-five. He didn’t take credit. The fastest way to see the work of God through your life stopped is to begin to think it’s because you’re special.” Jon Courson

“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.” Matthew Henry

The Interpretation of the Dream (2:31 – 49)

The God of Heaven has revealed to Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the last days (v 28)

The world powers

  • Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would fall and be replaced by the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C. (Dan. 5:30-31)
  • Medes and Persians would be conquered by the Greeks through Alexander the Great about 330 BC
  • Greece would give way to Rome in 63 BC
  • Rome being initially characterised by the strength of iron, but it conquered peoples would not mix, but remain separate peoples

A range of views of the iron and clay not mixing n the Rome Empire:

  • the empire was strong organizationally but weak morally
  • imperialism and democracy were united unsuccessfully
  • government was intruded by the masses, i.e., mob rule;
  • the empire was a mixture of numerous races and cultures.

The decreasing value of the world powers

“The progression of world history is typically not upward to glory and unity but rather downward to dishonour and disunity. Thus the statue progresses from gold, to silver, to bronze, to iron, and from one head, to a chest and arms, to a belly and thighs, to feet and toes of composite iron and clay. This list of metals shows a progressive decrease in the value and splendour of the materials but an increase in toughness and endurance. Some commentators understand this to indicate a general decline in the moral quality of the governments and an increase in the amount of time they lasted.” ESV Study Bible Notes

  • Babylonian Empire, 625 – 539 BC: 86 years
  • Medo-Persian Empire, 539 – 331 BC: 208 years
  • Greek Empire, 331 – 63 BC: 268 years
  • Roman Empire, 63 BC – 476 AD: approx. 539 years

The stone, not cut by human hands, that shatters the world powers

  • Divine origin NOT human
  • Eternal NOT transient
  • Unconquerable NOT conquered by a following power
  • God, who had enthroned Nebuchadnezzar and would transfer authority from Babylon to Medo-Persia, then to Greece, and ultimately to Rome, will one day set up His own kingdom

Differing views on what the stone represents:

  1. Christ’s first coming at the time of the Roman empire. His kingdom is initiated with His rule in the church and is fulfilled in the new creation
  2. Christ’s second coming initiates Christ rule in the Millennium. Christ did not destroy Rome, and Christianity did not fill the earth suddenly. Often in this view the Treaty of Rome, signed in March 1957, which laid the basis for the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Union (EU) represents the new Rome – perhaps the feet of clay
  • Either way, Christ is the stone, which if anyone rejects, they will be crushed by (Matthew 21:42 – 44)

King Nebuchadnezzar

  • Honours God, but does not claim him as his own God (v 47)


  • Sought honour for his friends who feared God (v 49)
  • Did not seek death for the other “wisemen”

“In a remarkable way God elevated Daniel to a position in the royal court so that he could serve as a mediator between the king and the exiles from Judah who would shortly (in 597 and 586) be brought to Babylon.” Bible Knowledge Commentary