Daniel 2:1
And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
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(1) The second year.—Nebuchadnezzar was proleptically spoken of as “king of Babylon” in Daniel 1:1, for his father did not die till after the battle of Carchemish. On the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, see Notes on 2Kings 24:1.)

Dreams.—Spoken of in Daniel 2:3 as “a dream.” The one dream consisted of several parts, and is therefore spoken of in the plural. For the effects of the dream upon the king’s mind, comp. Genesis 41:8.

His sleep brake.—i.e., his sleep finished. A similar use of the word occurs Daniel 6:18; Esther 6:1. The anxiety which the vision caused him prevented him from sleeping again. And no wonder. The battle of Carchemish, which forced Egypt to retire within her ancient frontiers, had indeed made Nebuchadnezzar master of all the district east of the Euphrates; but there was a growing power northward of him, the Median, which he may have dreaded, though at this time he was on good terms with it, and this may have increased his alarm, and led him to feel some presentiment of evil.

Daniel 2:1. In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar — That is, according to the Babylonian account, or the fourth according to the Jewish; that is, in the second year of his reigning alone, or the fourth from his first reigning jointly with his father. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams — Having subdued all his enemies, and firmly established his throne, it is probable he was thinking upon his bed (see Daniel 2:29) what should come to pass hereafter: what should be the future success of his family and kingdom, and whether any, or what, families and kingdoms might arise after his own: and as our waking thoughts usually give some tincture to our dreams, he dreamed of something to the same purpose, which astonished him, but which he could not rightly understand. The dream affected him strongly at the time; but awaking in confusion, he had but an imperfect remembrance of it; he could not recollect the particulars. It is said he dreamed dreams, because though it was but one continued dream, it contained divers scenes of affairs, being a description of the succession of the four monarchies which were to continue, under different forms, unto the end of the world. Wherewith his spirit was troubled — The Hebrew expression, ותתפעם רוחו, denotes that his spirit was violently agitated, or in such consternation as to affect his body, and disturb his rest. And his sleep brake from him — Or, went from him, as a like phrase is rendered Daniel 6:18.

2:1-13 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.And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar - There is an apparent chronological difficulty in this statement which has given some perplexity to expositors. It arises mainly from two sources.

(1) That in Jeremiah 25:1, it is said that the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar corresponded with the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and as the captivity was in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim Daniel 1:1, the time here would be the "fourth" year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, instead of the second.

(2) That we learn from Daniel 1:5, Daniel 1:18, that Daniel and his three friends had been in Babylon already three years, under a process of training preparatory to their being presented at court, and as the whole narrative leads us to suppose that it was "after" this that Daniel was regarded as enrolled among the wise men (compare Daniel 2:13-14), on the supposition that the captivity occurred in the first year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, this would bring the time of the dream into the fourth year of his reign. This difficulty is somewhat increased from the fact that when Nebuchadnezzar went up to besiege Jerusalem he is called "king," and it is evident that he did not go as a lieutenant of the reigning monarch; or as a general of the Chaldean forces under the direction of another. See 2 Kings 24:1, 2 Kings 24:11. Various solutions of this difficulty have been proposed, but the true one probably is, that Nebuchadnezzar reigned some time conjointly with his father, Nabopolassar, and, though the title "king" was given to him, yet the reckoning here is dated from the time when he began to reign alone, and that this was the year of his sole occupancy of the throne.

Berosus states that his father, Nabopolassar, was aged and infirm, and that he gave up a part of his army to his son Nebuchadnezzar, who defeated the Egyptian host at Carchemish (Circesium) on the Euphrates, and drove Necho out of Asia. The victorious prince then marched directly to Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim surrendered to him; and this was the beginning of the seventy years, captivity. See "Jahn's History of the Hebrew Commonwealth," p. 134. Nabopolassar probably died about two years after that, and Nebuchadnezzar succeeded to the throne. The period of their reigning together was two years, and of course the second year of his single reign would be the fourth of his entire reign; and a reckoning from either would be proper, and would not be misunderstood. Other modes of solution have been adopted, but as this meets the whole difficulty, and is founded on truth, it is unnecessary to refer to them. Compare Prof. Stuart, on Daniel, Excursus I. and Excursus II.((See Barnes' Appendix I and Appendix II to Daniel)

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams - The plural is here used, though there is but one dream mentioned, and probably but one is referred to, for Nebuchadnezzar, when speaking of it himself Daniel 2:3, says, "I have dreamed a dream." In the Latin Vulgate, and in the Greek, it is also in the singular. It is probable that this is a popular use of words, as if one should say, "I had strange dreams last night," though perhaps but a single dream was intended. - Prof. Bush. Among the methods by which God made known future events in ancient times, that by "dreams" was one of the most common. See the notes at Daniel 1:17; Introduction to Isaiah, Section 7. (2); compare Genesis 20:3, Genesis 20:6; Genesis 31:11; Genesis 37:5-6; Genesis 40:5; Genesis 41:7, Genesis 41:25; 1 Kings 3:5; Numbers 12:6; Joel 2:28; Job 33:14-16. The belief that the will of heaven was communicated to men by means of dreams, was prevalent throughout the world in ancient times. Hence, the striking expression in Homer, Iliad i. 63 - καὶ γάρ τ ̓ ὄναρ ἐκ Διός ἐστιν kai gar t' onar ek Dios estin, "the dream is of Jove." So in the commencement of his second Iliad, he represents the will of Jupiter as conveyed to Agamemnon by Ὄνείρος Oneiros, or "the dream."

So Diogenes Laertius makes mention of a dream of Socrates, by which he foretold his death as to happen in three days. This method of communicating the Divine will was adopted, not only in reference to the prophets, but also to those who were strangers to religion, and even to wicked men, as in the case of Pharaoh, Abimelech, Nebuchadnezzar, the butler and baker in Egypt, etc. In every such instance, however, it was necessary, as in the case before us, to call in the aid of a true prophet to interpret the dream; and it was only when thus interpreted that it took its place among the certain predictions of the future. One "object" of communicating the Divine will in this manner, seems to have been to fix the attention of the person who had the dream on the subject, and to prepare him to receive the communication which God had chosen to make to him. Thus it cannot be doubted that by the belief in dreams entertained by Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, as disclosing future events, and by the anxiety of mind which they experienced m regard to the dreams, they were better prepared to receive the communications of Joseph and Daniel in reference to the future than they could have been by any other method of making known the Divine will.

They had no doubt that some important communication had been made to them respecting the future, and they were anxious to know what it was. They were prepared, therefore, to welcome any explanation which commended itself to them as true, and in this way the servants of the true God had a means of access to their hearts which they could have found in no other way. By what laws it was so regulated that a dream should be "known" to be a preintimation of coming events, we have now no means of ascertaining. That it is "possible" for God to have access to the mind in sleep, and to communicate his will in this manner, no one can doubt. That it was, so far as employed for that purpose, a safe and certain way, is demonstrated by the results of the predictions thus made in the case of Abimelech, Genesis 20:3, Genesis 20:6; of Joseph and his brethren, Genesis 37:5-6; of Pharaoh, Genesis 41:7, Genesis 41:25; and of the butler and baker, Genesis 40:5. It is not, however, to be inferred that the same reliance, or that any reliance, is now to be placed on dreams, for were there no other consideration against such reliance, it would be sufficient that there is no authorized interpreter of the wanderings of the mind in sleep. God now communicates his truth to the souls of men in other ways.

Wherewith his spirit was troubled - Alike by the unusual nature of the dream, and by the impression which he undoubtedly had that it referred to some important truths pertaining to his kingdom and to future times. See Daniel 2:31-36 The Hebrew word here rendered "troubled" (פעם pâ‛am) means, properly, to "strike, to beat, to pound;" then, in Niph., to be moved, or agitated; and also in Hithpa., to be agitated, or troubled. The proper signification of the word is that of striking as on an anvil, and then it refers to any severe stroke, or anything which produces agitation. The "verb" occurs only in the following places: Judges 13:25, where it is rendered "move;" and Psalm 67:4, (5); Genesis 41:8; Daniel 2:1, Daniel 2:3, where it is rendered "troubled." The "noun" is of frequent occurrence. "And his sleep brake from him." Hebrew עליו נהיתה שׁנתו shenâthô nı̂heyethâh ‛ālâyv.

Literally, "His sleep was upon him." The Greek is, "his sleep was from him;" i. e., left him. The Vulgate, "his sleep fled (fugit) from him." But it may be doubted whether the Hebrew will bear this construction. Probably the literal construction is the true one, by which the sense of the Hebrew - על ‛al "upon" - will be retained. The meaning then would be, that this remarkable representation occurred when he was "in" a profound sleep. It was a "dream," and not "an open vision." It was such a representation as passes before the mind when the senses are locked in repose, and not such as was made to pass before the minds of the prophets when they were permitted to see visions of the future, though awake. Compare Numbers 24:4, Numbers 24:16. There is nothing in the words which conveys the idea that there was anything preternatural in the sleep that had come upon Nebuchadnezzar, but the thought is, that all this occurred when he "was" sound asleep. Prof. Stuart, however, renders this, "his sleep failed him," and so does also Gesenius. Winer renders it, "his sleep went away from him." But it seems to me that the more natural idea is what occurs in the literal translation of the words, that this occurred as a dream, in a state of profound repose.


Da 2:1-49. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream: Daniel's Interpretation of It, and Advancement.

1. second year of … Nebuchadnezzar—Da 1:5 shows that "three years" had elapsed since Nebuchadnezzar had taken Jerusalem. The solution of this difficulty is: Nebuchadnezzar first ruled as subordinate to his father Nabopolassar, to which time the first chapter refers (Da 1:1); whereas "the second year" in the second chapter is dated from his sole sovereignty. The very difficulty is a proof of genuineness; all was clear to the writer and the original readers from their knowledge of the circumstances, and so he adds no explanation. A forger would not introduce difficulties; the author did not then see any difficulty in the case. Nebuchadnezzar is called "king" (Da 1:1), by anticipation. Before he left Judea, he became actual king by the death of his father, and the Jews always called him "king," as commander of the invading army.

dreams—It is significant that not to Daniel, but to the then world ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, the dream is vouchsafed. It was from the first of its representatives who had conquered the theocracy, that the world power was to learn its doom, as about to be in its turn subdued, and for ever by the kingdom of God. As this vision opens, so that in the seventh chapter developing the same truth more fully, closes the first part. Nebuchadnezzar, as vicegerent of God (Da 2:37; compare Jer 25:9; Eze 28:12-15; Isa 44:28; 45:1; Ro 13:1), is honored with the revelation in the form of a dream, the appropriate form to one outside the kingdom of God. So in the cases of Abimelech, Pharaoh, &c. (Ge 20:3; 41:1-7), especially as the heathen attached such importance to dreams. Still it is not he, but an Israelite, who interprets it. Heathendom is passive, Israel active, in divine things, so that the glory redounds to "the God of heaven."In this chapter are four principal parts:

I. The king’s, dream, Daniel 2:1.

II. The wise men’s ignorance and danger, Daniel 2:2-13.

III. The revelation and interpretation of the dream by Daniel, Daniel 2:14-45.

IV. The advancement of Daniel to great honour by that means, Daniel 2:46-49.

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Heb.

in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, for this was properly in the fifth year of that king’s reign and of Daniel’s captivity, and the ninth year of Jehoiakim; but in the second year after Daniel had by his three years’ preparation been brought before the king and approved, then the king dreamed.

Dreamed dreams; it was one dream, but of many parts, therefore called dreams; chiefly for what follows.

His spirit was troubled; by reason of the strangeness of it, he was terrified and in great consternation, and this made him awake.

And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar,.... It was in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign that Daniel was carried captive, Jeremiah 25:1, three years Daniel had been under tutors; at the end of which he was presented to the king, as is related in the preceding chapter; and yet the following dream was in the second of his reign: this creates a difficulty, which is solved by some thus: in the second year after the destruction of the temple, so the Jewish chronicle (o), with which Jarchi agrees; others, as Aben Ezra, in the second year of his monarchy, after he had subdued all the nations round about; and so Josephus says (p), it was in the second year after the destruction of the Egyptians. R. Moses the priest, in Aben Ezra, would have it to be the second year to his reign, to the end of it, when there were only two years wanting to it; a very unusual way of reckoning indeed! and therefore justly rejected by Aben Ezra: but all these dates are too late, since Daniel long before these times was well known, and in great fame for his wisdom; whereas, at this time, it does not appear that he was much known, or in great request: it is better either to render it, "in the second year", that is, after Daniel and his companions had been presented to the king, and promoted;

even in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, as opposed to the reign of Darius or Cyrus, in which he flourished also: or rather this was the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reigning alone; for he had been taken into partnership in the throne with his father before his death, as Berosus (q) observes, which is said to be two years; so that this second year was the fourth year of his reign, reckoning from the time he reigned conjunctly with his father, though the second of his reigning alone: yet it seems best of all to render the words, with Noldius (r), but in the second year, in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar; that is, in the second year of Daniel's ministry in or under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar; who continued at court under different reigns, till the first of Cyrus: this was, according to Bishop Usher (s), and Mr. Whiston (t), in the year of the world 3401 A.M., and before Christ 603. Mr. Bedford (u) places it in 604:

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; which, though but one, yet, relating to various things, the several parts of the human body, and the different metals the form he saw was made of, as well as the four monarchies it signified, is called "dreams". Jacchiades says, he first dreamed the dream, and then the interpretation of it; which is the reason of the plural number: wherewith his spirit was troubled; it gave his mind a great deal of trouble while he was dreaming it; and when he awaked, though he could not recover it, yet he had some confused broken ideas of it; it had left some impressions upon him, which gave him great uneasiness, and the more as he could not recollect any part of it; his mind was agitated, and tossed to and fro, and under the greatest perplexity:

and his sleep brake from him; went away from him, through the strangeness of the dream, and the effect it had upon him.

(o) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 28. p. 80. (p) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 10. sect. 3.((q) Apud Joseph. contr. Apion. l. 1. c. 19. (r) Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 452. No. 1405. (s) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3401. (t) Chronological Tables, cent. 9. (u) Scripture Chronology, p. 677.

And in the {a} second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed {b} dreams, wherewith his spirit was {c} troubled, and {d} his sleep brake from him.

(a) The father and the son were both called by this name, so that this is meant of the son, when he reigned alone: for he also reigned in a way with his father.

(b) Not that he had many dreams, but because many matters were contained in this dream.

(c) Because it was so rare and strange a dream, that he had had nothing similar.

(d) Or, his sleep was upon him, that is, that he was so heavy with sleep, that he began to sleep again.

1. in the second year] There is not, perhaps, necessarily a contradiction here with the ‘three years’ of Daniel 1:5; Daniel 1:18. By Heb. usage, fractions of time were reckoned as full units: thus Samaria, which was besieged from the fourth to the sixth year of Hezekiah, is said to have been taken ‘at the end’ of three years (2 Kings 17:9-10); and in Jeremiah 34:14 ‘at the end of seven years’ means evidently when the seventh year has arrived (see also Mark 8:31, &c.). It, now, the author, following a custom which was certainly sometimes adopted by Jewish writers, and which was general in Assyria and Babylonia, ‘post-dated’ the regnal years of a king, i.e. counted as his first year not the year of his accession but the first full year afterwards[200], and if further Nebuchadnezzar gave orders for the education of the Jewish youths in his accession-year, the end of the ‘three years’ of Daniel 1:5; Daniel 1:18 might be reckoned as falling within the king’s second year. Ewald, Kamphausen, and Prince, however, suppose that ‘ten’ has fallen out of the text; and would read ‘in the twelfth year.’

[200] See art. Chronology, in Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible, p. 400.

dreamed dreams] In Assyria and Babylonia, as in Egypt[201], and other countries of the ancient world, dreams were regarded as significant, and as portending future events. The Assyrian inscriptions furnish several instances of deities appearing in dreams with words of encouragement or advice. Thus Asshur appears to Gugu (Gyges), king of Lydia, in a dream, and tells him that, if he ‘grasps the feet’ (i.e. owns the sovereignty) of Asshurbanapal, he will overcome his foes (KB[202] ii. 173, 175). During Asshurbanaparl’s war with his ‘false’ brother, Shamash-shum-ukin, a professional dreamer saw written on the moon, ‘Whoso plans evil against Asshurbanapal, an evil death will I prepare against him’ (ib. p. 187). When the same king was warring against Ummanaldashi, king of Elam, Ishtar sent his army a dream, in which she said to them, ‘I march before Asshurbanapal, the king whom my hands have made’ (ib. p. 201); and in another war she appeared to a professional dreamer, standing before the king, armed, and assuring him that, wherever he went, she went likewise (ib. p. 251). Nabu-na’id, the last king of Babylon (b.c. 555–538), was commanded, or encouraged, to restore temples by deities appearing to him in dreams (ib. iii. 2, pp. 85, 97, 99). On another occasion, Nabu-na’id saw in a dream a great star in heaven, the significance of which Nebuchadnezzar (also in the dream) explained to him[203]. These, however, are mostly cases of the apparitions of deities; for instances of symbolical dreams, such as the one of Nebuchadnezzar, we may compare rather, though they are much briefer, the dreams in Herodotus, i. 107, 108, 209, iii. 30, 124, vii. 19 (cited below, on Daniel 4:10).

[201] See Hastings’ Dict. of the Bible, ii. p. 772 b.

[202] B. Eb. Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek (transliterations and translations of Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions), 1889–1900.

[203] Messerschmidt, Die Inschrift der Stele Nabuna’ids, 1896, p. 30 f.

and his spirit was troubled] More exactly, was agitated, disturbed; so Daniel 2:3. The expression is borrowed from Genesis 41:8 : cf. Psalm 77:5 ‘I am agitated and cannot speak.’

brake from him] More lit. was come to pass,—i.e. was completed or done with (something like the Latin actum est; cf. Daniel 8:27),—upon him,—‘upon’ being used idiomatically to emphasize the person who is the subject of an experience, or (more often) of an emotion, and who, as it were, is sensible of it as acting or operating upon himself. Cf. Psalm 42:4 ‘I will pour out my soul upon me,’ Psalm 42:5 ‘why moanest thou upon me?’ Psalm 42:6 ‘my soul upon me is cast down,’ Psalm 142:3 ‘when my spirit fainteth upon me,’ Psalm 143:4, Jeremiah 8:18 ‘my heart upon me is sick,’ Job 30:16 (R.V. marg.), Lamentations 3:20 ‘my soul is bowed down upon me’: within, in all these passages, does not express the idea of the Hebrew. Cf. the writer’s Parallel Psalter, Glossary I, s. v. upon (p. 464); and see also Daniel 5:9.

1–6. Nebuchadnezzar, being troubled by a dream, summons the wise men of Babylon before him, and bids them both tell him what his dream had been, and also interpret it to him.

Verses 1-49. - DANIEL FIRST BECOMES DISTINGUISHED. Verse 1. - And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. The versions only differ verbally from the Massoretic text as represented by the above. The Septuagint renders "And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he chanced to fall into dreams and visions, and to be troubled with his vision, and his sleep went from him." The differences here that may evidence a difference of text are slight. Theodotion and the Peshitta are very close to the Massoretic. The Vulgate renders, "In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar saw a vision, and his spirit was troubled, and his vision (somnium) fled from him." If this is the true text of the Vulgate - and it is pre-Clementine - the variation seems too great for paraphrase, and yet it is an unlikely lectional variation. It is easier to imagine the change taking place in the Latin, somnus becoming somnium, especially if the final m was represented, as so often in Latin manuscripts, by a line over the preceding vowel. And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. This forms one of the chronological difficulties in the interpretation of Daniel. There seems to be a contradiction between the statement in this verse and the chronological data afforded us by the preceding chapter. If Nebuchadnezzar was already king when he placed Daniel and his three companions in the hands of "Ashpeuaz" and assigned them three years of study, then as the three years are by implication ended when the examination took place (Daniel 1:18, 19), the events narrated in this chapter must be dated not earlier than the third year of Nebuchadnezzar. Most commentators recognize this as a difficulty, the explaining of which is incumbent on them, whatever their views as to the date or authenticity of the book as a whole may be. A really great writer - and that title cannot be denied to the author of "Daniel," if the book be a fiction - could never fall into such a glaring self-contradiction. We do not deny that even very great writers have been guilty of chronological self-contradictions; but these contradictions were such as were not obvious. The only commentator who does not feel it incumbent on him, having noticed the difficulty, to give some hint of a possible solution, is Professor Bevan. From the obviousness of the discrepancy, we must assume that it was known to the writer, and from this we must further assume that the discrepancy was regarded by him as a merely apparent one, the explanation of which was so obvious at the time he wrote that it was needless to state it. In making this statement, we refer to the original documents from which our present Daniel was compiled. Another hypothesis certainly is possible - that there is a false reading here. Ewald has suggested the twelfth year, which implies that the word עְֶשרֵה (esreh) has been omitted. The main difficulty is that there is no sign that there is any difference of reading. If we are to correct the reading, we must go behind the present book to those documents from which it has been formed. If this portion of Daniel is a translation and a condensation of an Aramaic text, then תַרְתִין (tar'teen) is "two," but "three" would be תְלָת (t'lath). When the ל loses from any cause its upper part, it becomes little distinguishable from n; this renders it not impossible that in the original Aramaic narrative the events in this chapter were dated "the third year of Nebuchadnezzar," not "the second." This explanation does not apply to the older form of script as seen in Sindschirli or in Egypt. There have been various other ways of getting over the difficulty. One device, that of Josephus ('Antiq.,' 10:10. 3), maintained also by Jephet-ibn-Ali, is to date the reign from the conquest of Egypt, when Daniel is supposed to reckon that Nebuchadnezzar began to reign over the world. The conquest of Egypt, by means of certain recondite interpretations of Scripture, Jephet dates in the thirtieth year of Nebuchadnezzar; the date of this chapter, then, according to him, is the thirty-second year of Nebuchadnezzar. Rashi explains this date by referring it to the destruction of the temple. There is, however, nothing to indicate that any of these dates was ever reckoned of importance in Babylonian chronology. And, however important the destruction of the temple was to the Jews, few of them, even at the latest date criticism assigns to Daniel, would have the hardihood to date a monarch's reign from this. Another solution is that the second year is reckoned from the time when these Jewish captives stood before the king. This would have implied a different reading, but, as we have said, so far as this clause is concerned, there is no variation. Another suggestion may be made, viz. that this appearance of Daniel before the king is the same as that mentioned in the previous chapter (Daniel 1:18-20). This is Wieseler's hypothesis. As a reign was not reckoned from the date of accession, but from the beginning of the year following, Nebuchadnezzar's second year might well be the third year of the training of those Hebrew captives. The occasion of their appearance before the king may not have been that he took thought on the matter - a view which, though that of the Massoretic text, is not supported by the LXX. - but may have been caused by this disquieting dream. On the supposition which we have suggested, that in ch. 1. we have a condensed version from an Aramaic original, this solution is plausible. The main difficulty, that the quiet communing implied in the nineteenth verse does not suit the fury of the king and the threatened death of the wise men, cannot be pressed, as the communing might follow the interpretation. It may seem to some better to maintain that the incidents of this chapter occurred some little time after Daniel and his three companions were admitted to the royal council. The band of captives and hostages, with the mass of the Babylonian army, arrived at Babylon, according to Berosus, some time after Nebuchadnezzar himself, who had hurried across the desert; still, a month would probably be the utmost of the difference. There might, therefore, be many months to run before the first year of Nebuchadnezzar actually began, when these captives were placed under the charge of the Melzar; so that if our suggestion of a various reading of "third" instead of "second" be accepted, the years would be over while the "third" year of Nebuchadnezzar was still proceeding. However, although many prisoners and hostages may have been sent along with the main army, after Nebuchadnezzar ]earned of the death of his father, many may have been sent earlier, and among these Daniel. The main difficulty is to imagine the orders of Nebuchadnezzar, while merely crown prince, being carried out with such exactness, or that he should be spoken of as "my lord the king" (Daniel 1:10). But their training must have begun during the lifetime of Nabopolassar, if the three years were completed while the see(rod year of Nebuchadnezzar was still to finish. If we reject both these solutions, we are shut up to the idea that there is something amiss with the reading - always a thing to be deprecated - and the simplest emendation is to imagine that the "third" has been misread "second." This, as we have shown, would be easy in Aramaic. On the assumption that the text before us is a translation and condensation of an Aramaic text, it is easy to understand how all derivative texts followed its initial mistake. There is a certain importance here due to the copula "and:" "And in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar." When any cue attempts to read this verse in connection with the last verse of the first chapter, it at once becomes clear that the twenty-first verse of ch. 1. is an interpolation. It is probable that the condensation, which was likely to be considerable in the first chapter, becomes less so now, before passing from the one portion to the other; hence either the translator or some other added the note which is contained in Daniel 1:21. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams. The Greek versions and the Syriac of Paulus Tellensis omit the name "Nebuchadnezzar," either as nominative or as genitive. The Peshitta follows the order of the Massoretic text. The omission does not alter the sense; possibly the proper names thus came in close juxtaposition in the Massoretic in consequence of an endeavour to condense by omission, without making any further change. It would seem that the LXX. had read נִקְרָא (niq'ra) instead of חלם (halam). The rendering is, "It happened (συνέβη) that the king fell into dreams and visions." This awkward sentence seems to be the result of a difficulty and consequent slavish following of the text before the translator; it is difficult to imagine what the reading could be which could be translated as it is in the Septuagint, and vet was not totally unlike the Massoretic text. "Dreams and visions" is the evident result of a coalescence of two renderings of חֲלמות (halomoth). It is to be observed that it is "dreams" that Nebuchadnezzar had, and yet only one "dream" is spoken cf. Kliefeth thinks this refers merely to the class, so that "dreamed dreams' is equivalent to "was dreaming." Agreeing with this is Havernick. Jephet-ibn-Ali take the plurality to refer to the contents of the dream - that it refers to the four world kingdoms and that of Israel (so Kranichfe;d and Keil); for a similar use of plural for singular, he refers to Genesis 37:8. Moses Stuart thinks that it is implied that the dream was repeated. It seems to be somewhat of a mannerism of Daniel to use plural for singular, as the "visions of the head" of ch. 4. Wherewith his spirit was troubled. The same phrase occurs in regard to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:8), when he had dreamed of the seven kine and seven ears of corn. The similarity of the thing to be stated might easily lead to a similarity of statement, without there being any necessary copying. If, as we believe, this portion of Daniel had an Aramaic original, the resemblance in language to Genesis proves very little. In this case also the reading of the Septuagint is different. Instead of רוּחו (ruho), "his spirit," the translators must have had בָחֲלום ἐν τῷ ἐνυπνίῳ; also instead of the feminine תִּתְפַיִם (tith'pa'em), the reading must have been יִתְפַעֶם (yith'pa'em). Though yod and tan are not readily confused, nun and tan in the older script are, and in Eastern Aramaic nun is the preformative of the third person imperfect, and a change may have been made in translating from the Aramaic. Professor Fuller, following Saadia, makes too much of the fact that, while in the present case the conjugation used is the hithpael, in Genesis it is niphal, since the niphal conjugation occurs in ver. 3. Kranichfeld holds that the "hithpael heightens the idea lying in the niphal." In Biblical Aramaic hithpael takes the place of the Hebrew niphal. And his sleep brake from him. While the meaning here is plain, the words are used in an unusual sense; the word here translated "brake from" is the passive of the verb "to be," in this precise sense only used here. The fact that the substantive verb in Eastern Aramaic has this significance (Nestle, 'Gram. Syr.,' 100) indicates that this is a case where the Syriac original shines through the translation. This is all the more obvious when we remember that in Eastern Aramaic נ (nun) was in the pre-formative. Analogous to this is the Latin use of the perfect of the substantive verb, e.g. funimus Troes; comp. Romans 6:17," God be thanked that ye were (η΅τε) the servants of sin." As we have said, the meaning of this verse is perfectly clear, and although there are differences of reading, there are none theft affect the sense. "In the second (or third) year of his reign, Nebuchaduezzar had a dream." To us in the West, living in the nineteenth century after Christ, it seems puerile to date so carefully a dream, of all things; but in the East, six hundred years before Christ, dreams had a very different importance from what they have now. In the history of Asshur-baui-pal dreams play a great part. Gyges submits to him in consequence of a dream In consequence of a dream Urdamane (Nut-mi-ammon) invades Egypt. Again and again is Asshur-bald-pal encouraged by dreams which appear to seers. It is ignorance of this that makes Hitzig declare, "The character of the king as here represented to us has no verisimilitude." Although Heredotus does make dreams prominent in his history, we could not imagine any of the diadochi recording and dating his dreams as does Asshur-bani-pal. Daniel 2:1The dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the inability of the Chaldean wise men to interpret it. - By the ו copulative standing at the commencement of this chapter the following narrative is connected with c. Daniel 1:21. "We shall now discover what the youthful Daniel became, and what he continued to be to the end of the exile" (Klief.). The plur. חלמות (dreams, Daniel 2:1 and Daniel 2:2), the singular of which occurs in Daniel 2:3, is not the plur. of definite universality (Hv., Maur., Klief.), but of intensive fulness, implying that the dream in its parts contained a plurality of subjects. M('p@ft;hi (from פּעם, to thrust, to stroke, as פּעם, an anvil, teaches, to be tossed hither and thither) marks great internal disquietude. In Daniel 2:3 and in Genesis 41:8, as in Psalm 77:5, it is in the Niphal form, but in Daniel 2:1 it is in Hithp., on which Kran. finely remarks: "The Hithpael heightens the conception of internal unquiet lying in the Niphal to the idea that it makes itself outwardly manifest." His sleep was gone. This is evidenced without doubt by the last clause of Daniel 2:1, עליו נהיתה. These interpretations are altogether wrong: - "His sleep came upon him, i.e., he began again to sleep" (Calvin); or "his sleep was against him," i.e., was an aversion to him, was troublesome (L. de Dieu); or, as Hv. also interprets it, "his sleep offended him, or was like a burden heavy upon him;" for נהיה does not mean to fall, and thus does not agree with the thought expressed. The Niph. נהיה means to have become, been, happened. The meaning has already been rightly expressed by Theodoret in the words ἐγένετο ἀπ ̓αὐτου, and in the Vulgate by the words "fugit ab illo;" and Berth., Ges., and others have with equal propriety remarked, that נהיתה שׁנתו corresponds in meaning with נדּת שׁנתּהּ, Daniel 6:19 (18), and שׁנת נדדה, Esther 6:1. This sense, to have been, however, does not conduct to the meaning given by Klief.: his sleep had been upon him; it was therefore no more, it had gone; for "to have been" is not "to be no more," but "to be finished," past, gone. This meaning is confirmed by נהייתי, Daniel 8:27 : it was done with me, I was gone. The עליו stands not for the dative, but retains the meaning, over, upon, expressing the influence on the mind, as e.g., Jeremiah 8:18, Hosea 11:8, Psalm 42:6-7, 12; Psalm 43:5, etc., which in German we express by the word bei or fr.

The reason of so great disquietude we may not seek in the circumstance that on awaking he could not remember the dream. This follows neither from Daniel 2:3, nor is it psychologically probable that so impressive a dream, which on awaking he had forgotten, should have yet sorely disquieted his spirit during his waking hours. "The disquiet was created in him, as in Pharaoh (Genesis 41), by the specially striking incidents of the dream, and the fearful, alarming apprehensions with reference to his future fate connected therewith" (Kran.).

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