Daniel 2


May-June, 605 – Babylon defeats Egypt at Carchemish

June-August, 605 – Jerusalem falls to Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel is taken

September 7, 605 to March/April 604– Nebuchadnezzar, is made king of Babylon

to replace his father Nabopolassar. This is called the “year” of accession

for Nebuchadnezzar. It is Daniel’s first year of training

March-April 604 to March-April 603 – Called Nebuchadnezzar’s first year as king.

This is Daniel’s second year of training.

March-April 603 to March-April 602 – Called Nebuchadnezzar’s second year as

king. This is Daniel’s third year of training.




“Second year” of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign:

  1. 604 BC – if figured from the time Nebuchadnezzar had become king after his father’s death in 605. This would mean Daniel and his friends are still in training. Then this chapter happens during chapter 1.
  2. 603 BC – if figured by Babylonian calendar: 605=Accession Year, 604=First Year, 603=Second Year. This means Daniel and his friends had finished their training. Then this chapter happens after the events of chapter 1.


Daniel would be 16-20 years old at this time.


“troubled” is from root means “to strike”


“he could not sleep” literally means “His sleep was done (finished) upon him”


Nebuchadnezzar and other kings had a whole state department dedicated to this very thing (interpreting dreams) since the Babylonians believed dreams to be from the gods who were communicating with them.


“Dreamed dreams” can mean he had been having these dreams for some time.

God had spoken to other Gentiles in dreams: Abimelech (Gen. 20:3) and Pharaoh (Gen. 41:1-8)



  1. Magicians – “hartom” – used of the Egyptian magicians in Joseph’s day (Gen. 41:8) and Moses day (Exodus 7:1). The root of this word is refers to “cutting” or “scratching” and expresses engraving or writing with a stylus.  The literal meaning and primary use is “engraver” or “writer”. So, a “hartom” (“magician”) is someone who wrote recorded material on clay tablets with a stylus. This word began to be used to refer to diviners, astrologers and magicians since they were the ones who recorded and preserved the religious activities and practices for the people. These magicians were responsible for the study of omens and dreams. In Ezekiel 21:21 the sheep’s liver was examined to help Nebuchadnezzar decide which way to attack. He also used the casting of arrows as lots and sought his idols.
  2. Enchanters – (KJ “astrologers”; NASB “conjurers”) – HB “ ‘assap” – which means “necromancer” and comes from an Akkadian root that means (asipu) which means “incantation priest”. These men were responsible for contacting the spirit realm and the dead for information. Daniel, like Moses (Exodus 2:10; Acts 7:22), may have learned these things but clearly condemned them (Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:10-11)
  3. Sorcerers – Hb “mekassepim” is an Addadian word from the root “kasapu” which means “to practice sorcery” or “witchcraft”.
  4. Astrologers – is the word “Chaldeans” – Hb “kasdim” – this word can refer to the ethnic people “Chaldeans” but it is also used (as here) as a name of a class of priests or wise men (also in 2:2, 4; 4:7; 5:7, 11). The astrologers used the stars and planets to determine events and gain guidance. Because they accurately recorded these orbits and constellations for astrology they also gained accurate scientific information. Around the end of Daniel’s life a Babylonian astronomer named Naburimannu (around 500 AD) calculated the length of the year to be 365 days, 6 hours, 15 minutes, 41 seconds. This calculation by the Babylonian astronomer was only 26 minutes and 55 seconds too long.

Together the above mentioned make up a group that seem to be known as “wise men” or “magi”





“in Aramaic” probably does not mean to say the astrologers spoke in Aramaic since they most likely spoke to the king in his native language of Akkadian. Instead, “in Aramaic” indicates that a switch to the Aramaic language from Hebrew occurs here in Daniel’s writing. Aramaic continues to be used until the end of chapter 7 at 7:28.


The wise men had manuals and rules for interpreting dreams. But, they first had to know the nature and details of the dream.



Literally says, “the command from me is firm.”

The king clearly has not forgotten the dream as the KJ indicates since the wise

men continue to ask for an interpretation.

If the king did not remember the dream then this would have been a good chance

for the wise men to fabricate a dream and convince him this was the.

The penalty is dismemberment and their homes becoming garbage dumping


Herodotus records Darius I slaughtering his wise men or magi almost to the point of annihilation about 100 years after Nebuchadnezzar’s threat.


Nebuchadnezzar was a young man and may have been suspicious of the older wise men’s loyalty, frustrated with their old, worthless superstitions or even wanted to surround himself with his own, younger, hand picked wise men.



Rewards, promotion, marriage into royal line



The wise men know Nebuchadnezzar knows his dream



Stalling for time because:

  1. they do not know the dream
  2. the command of execution is firm



Nebuchadnezzar would know these wise men had no contact with the spiritual world if they could not retrieve his dream. He would know they had great claims of spiritual power, but were in reality powerless.


Also, Nebuchadnezzar could figure out a general interpretation of the dream: it involved the image of a great man who was attacked, destroyed and turned to dust by an outside force. Nebuchadnezzar has only been king for 2-3 years and is still on unstable ground considering he is still at war with many countries and may be facing internal rebellion that could come through these wise men. He doesn’t know who to trust plus the dream seems to indicate some kind of overthrow.



The wise men give two responses to Nebuchadnezzar:

  1. Compare Nebuchadnezzar to the great kings of the past and call him unreasonable.
  2. The wise men admit that they really do not have contact with the gods since they do not live among men.



The king was so angry that it appears the executions began without any more delay. Why wait? The wise men have already admitted they cannot produce.


The Aramaic participle translated “to put to death” can be translated “were being killed”. Several translators and commentators translate it this way.



“guard” is from “tabbah” which means “to slay”. The kings guards were his executioners. Arioch was the chief executioner.


“tact” is literally “taste” from “te‘em” which means Daniel spoke words that were perfect fit for the situation.


If Daniel’s training had been completed he would have joined the ranks of the wise men as a councilor to the king not as a Babylonian priest. There were many classes that made up the group called wise men.



Daniel asks Arioch, “Why such a harsh decree? What caused the king to start executing wise men?”



Daniel goes to Nebuchadnezzar and asks for time.

Daniel indicates just the opposite of what the other wise men had indicated:

  1. Nebuchadnezzar’s request is reasonable
  2. Daniel can make contact with the spiritual dimension

Nebuchadnezzar gives Daniel time.



Four teenagers pray for revelation and receive the most comprehensive revelation of world history ever given by God.



A night vision gave Daniel the dream but also revealed the mystery of the revelation in the dream.



God has wisdom to design and plan

God has power to execute his wisdom



God changes times and seasons = God is beginning the age of the Gentiles

God sets up and deposes kings = God will control Gentile history


God is the source of the wise man’s wisdom and the discerning man’s knowledge



God reveals, God knows, God has light



God is the God of Daniel’s fathers

God gave Daniel wisdom to know the dream and power to save the wise men

God has answered Daniel’s request.