The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you will not make known to me the dream…
The "thing" is considered by many to be the dream, and so they also understand the. same phrase in the eighth verse. There is nothing in the Chaldee (Aramaic) of this passage to forbid this understanding, for though millethath means "word," yet, like the Greek rema (and even sometimes logos) it may also mean a thing or subject of which there is speech, as it seems to do in verses 15 and 17 of this chapter. The other interpretation, however ("the word is gone forth from me"), which is given in the margin of the Revised Version, appears to have most probability. The reasons are these:
1. The king would scarcely call his dream a "thing." He would have said, "the dream is gone from me" if he had meant that. "Thing" would have referred not to the dream, but to the whole matter connected with the dream, and that had not gone from him.
2. The sequences in both the fifth and eighth verses are not relevant with reference to "dream," but are relevant with reference to "word" or "decree." In the fifth verse there is no nexus between a the dream is gone from me "and "if ye will not make known unto me the dream," etc. We should have expected a "therefore." In the eighth verse the seeking to gain time would be a natural result of the terrible decree, but not a result of the dream being gone from the monarch.
3. The similar expression in Daniel 9:23 and in Isaiah 14:23 (yatza dkabhar "the commandment came forth," "the word is gone out") is a strong support for the meaning here, "the word or decree is gone forth from me." Some have supposed (with this rendering) that Nebuchadnezzar well knew his own dream, but wished to test his wise men, and so insisted on their telling him what the dream was as well as its interpretation. It would certainly not be unlike an Oriental despot to do such a thing on pain of death if they failed. But there is one thing that forbids this theory. It is the terrible distress of soul which the monarch experienced regarding the dream. Such distress (ver. 1) would not permit him to indulge in a grim play with his wise men. He would be quick enough to tell them the dream in order that his soul might have relief from the interpretation. He would be careful to tell them every feature of the dream which he could remember, and so help them every way to the result — the interpretation. He most certainly had forgotten every detail of the dream, and only remembered that it had impressed his spirit with care and perplexity, which is a common experience in dreams. There may have been beside this a spiritual intimation that the dream was of God, but Daniel's marvellous telling of the dream (apart from his interpretation of it) and recalling every feature to his mind mus have been the conclusive proof to him that the dream was no ordinary and unmeaning one, but a divine revelation.
(Howard Crosby, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.