Daniel 2:42
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
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(42) So the kingdom.—This strength, however, is only apparent. There are certain discordant elements in the fourth empire. These are here represented by the iron and clay, which cannot be made to cohere.

2:31-45 This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken - Margin, "brittle." The margin is the more correct rendering of the Chaldee word (תבירה tebı̂yrâh). It means "frail, fragile" - easily broken, but not necessarily that it was actually broken. That did not occur until the stone cut out of the mountain impinged on it. It has been commonly supposed (comp. Newton "on the Prophecies"), that the ten toes on the feet refer to the ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire was ultimately broken up, corresponding with the ten horns seen in the vision of Daniel, in Daniel 7:7. In regard to the fact that the Roman empire was ultimately broken up into ten such kingdoms, see the extended notes at Daniel 7:24. The thing which struck the monarch in the vision, and Daniel in the interpretation, as remarkable, was that the feet and toes "were composed partly of iron and partly of clay."

In the upper portion of the image there had been uniformity in the different parts, and had been no intermingling of metals. Here a new feature was seen - not only that a new metal was employed, but that there was intermingled with that, in the same portion of the image, a different substance, and one that had no affinity with the iron, and that could never be made to blend with it. In the latter part of this verse, the original word for "partly" is not the same in each clause. In the former it is מן־קצת min-qetsâth - properly "from the end," sc., of the kingdom. Compare Daniel 12:13, "At the end of the days;" Daniel 1:15, "At the end of ten days;" and Daniel 2:5, Daniel 2:18. The word "might" be employed to denote the "end" or "extremity" of anything, e. g., in respect to "time," and some have supposed that there is a reference here to the later periods of the Roman empire. See Poole's "Synopsis."

But the word is also used to denote "the sum," or "the whole number;" and then the phrase is equivalent to "a part - as" e. g., in the phrase האלהים בית כלי מקצת miqetsât kelēy bēyth hâ'elohı̂ym - from the sum of the vessels of the house of God" Daniel 1:2; that is, a portion of the whole number, or a part. Compare Nehemiah 7:70, "from the sum of the heads of the fathers;" that is, a part of them. In the latter part of the clause it is מנת mı̂nnâh - "from it;" that is, a part of it; partly. The entire phrase means that one part of the whole would be strong, and one part would be fragile. The reference is not to the "time" when this would occur, but to the "fact" that it would be so. The idea in this verse does not vary materially from that in the former, except that in that, the prominent thought is, that there would be "strength" in the kingdom: in this, the idea is, that while there would be strength in the kingdom, there would be also the elements of weakness.

41-43. feet … toes … part … clay … iron—explained presently, "the kingdom shall be partly strong, partly broken" (rather, "brittle," as earthenware); and Da 2:43, "they shall mingle … with the seed of men," that is, there will be power (in its deteriorated form, iron) mixed up with that which is wholly of man, and therefore brittle; power in the hands of the people having no internal stability, though something is left of the strength of the iron [Tregelles]. Newton, who understands the Roman empire to be parted into the ten kingdoms already (whereas Tregelles makes them future), explains the "clay" mixture as the blending of barbarous nations with Rome by intermarriages and alliances, in which there was no stable amalgamation, though the ten kingdoms retained much of Rome's strength. The "mingling with the seed of men" (Da 2:44) seems to refer to Ge 6:2, where the marriages of the seed of godly Seth with the daughters of ungodly Cain are described in similar words. The reference, therefore, seems to be to the blending of the Christianized Roman empire with the pagan nations, a deterioration being the result. Efforts have been often made to reunite the parts into one great empire, as by Charlemagne and Napoleon, but in vain. Christ alone shall effect that. This was plain in the civil wars of the Romans, the falling off of some countries, especially in and towards the end of it.

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay,.... Or some of them of iron, and so were strong and powerful, as some of these kingdoms were; and some of clay, and so were weak and easily crushed, and did not stand long:

so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken; this is not unfitly interpreted by some of the two fold power which has prevailed in these ten kingdoms, through the policy of the pope of Rome, the secular and ecclesiastic power; the latter often encroaching upon and prevailing over the other, which has tended to the weakening of these states.

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
42. so the kingdom, &c.] so part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part of it shall be broken.

Daniel 2:42In Daniel 2:42 the same is aid of the toes of the feet, and in Daniel 2:43 the comparison to iron and clay is defined as the mixture of these two component parts. As the iron denotes the firmness of the kingdom, so the clay denotes its brittleness. The mixing of iron with clay represents the attempt to bind the two distinct and separate materials into one combined whole as fruitless, and altogether in vain. The mixing of themselves with the seed of men (Daniel 2:43), most interpreters refer to the marriage politics of the princes. They who understand by the four kingdoms the monarchy of Alexander and his followers, think it refers to the marriages between the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies, of which indeed there is mention made in Daniel 11:6 and Daniel 11:17, but not here; while Hofm. thinks it relates to marriages, such as those of the German Kaiser Otto II and the Russian Grand-Duke Wladimir with the daughters of the Kaiser of Eastern Rome. But this interpretation is rightly rejected by Klief., as on all points inconsistent with the text. The subject to מתערבין is not the kings, of whom mention is made neither in Daniel 2:43 nor previously. For the two feet as well as the ten toes denote not kings, but parts of the fourth kingdom; and even in Daniel 2:44, by מלכיּא, not kings in contradistinction to the kingdoms, but the representatives of the parts of the kingdom denoted by the feet and the toes as existing contemporaneously, are to be understood, from which it cannot rightly be concluded in any way that kings is the subject to מתערבין (shall mingle themselves).

As, in the three preceding kingdoms, gold, silver, and brass represent the material of these kingdoms, i.e., their peoples and their culture, so also in the fourth kingdom iron and clay represent the material of the kingdoms arising out of the division of this kingdom, i.e., the national elements out of which they are constituted, and which will and must mingle together in them. If, then, the "mixing themselves with the seed of men" points to marriages, it is only of the mixing of different tribes brought together by external force in the kingdom by marriages as a means of amalgamating the diversified nationalities. But the expression is not to be limited to this, although התערב, Ezra 9:2, occurs of the mixing of the holy nation with the heathen by marriage. The peculiar expression אנששׁא זרע, the seed of men, is not of the same import as זרע שׁכבת, but is obviously chosen with reference to the following contrast to the divine Ruler, Daniel 2:44., so as to place (Kran.) the vain human endeavour of the heathen rulers in contrast with the doings of the God of heaven; as in Jeremiah 31:27 אדם זרע is occasioned by the contrast of בּהמה זרע. The figure of mixing by seed is derived from the sowing of the field with mingled seed, and denotes all the means employed by the rulers to combine the different nationalities, among which the connubium is only spoken of as the most important and successful means.

But this mixing together will succeed just as little as will the effort to bind together into one firm coherent mass iron and clay. The parts mixed together will not cleave to each other. Regarding להון, see under Daniel 2:20.

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