Daniel Chapter 2 - Nebuchadnezzar's First Dream

NOTE: Answers are provided for only some of the questions. Many questions are primarily to stimulate discussion and there are no right or wrong answers.

Read verses 1 to 13.

1. Dreams are important in the Bible. What are some examples of other dreams? (Genesis 28:10-15, Genesis 37:5-11, Genesis 40, Genesis 41, 1 Kings 3:5-15, Matthew 1:20-24, Matthew 2:12, Matthew 2:13, Matthew 27:19)

Genesis 28:10-15: Jacob left the town of Beersheba and started out for Haran. 11At sunset he stopped for the night and went to sleep, resting his head on a large rock. 12In a dream he saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it.

Genesis 37:5-11: 6Joseph said, “Let me tell you about my dream. 7We were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles gathered around and bowed down to it.

Genesis 40:3-5: 3While Joseph was in prison, both the king’s personal servant and his chief cook made the king angry. So he had them thrown into the same prison with Joseph. 4They spent a long time in prison, and Potiphar, the official in charge of the palace guard, made Joseph their servant. 5One night each of the two men had a dream, but their dreams had different meanings.

Genesis 41: Two years later the king of Egypt dreamed he was standing beside the Nile River. 2Suddenly, seven fat, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass along the bank. 3Then seven ugly, skinny cows came up out of the river and 4ate the fat, healthy cows. When this happened, the king woke up. 5The king went back to sleep and had another dream. This time seven full heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6Later, seven other heads of grain appeared, but they were thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full heads. Again the king woke up, and it had only been a dream.

1 Kings 3:5-15: One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.

Matthew 1:20-24: While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Matthew 2:12: Later they (Wise Men) were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.

Matthew 2:13: After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him.”

Matthew 27:19: While Pilate was judging the case, his wife sent him a message. It said, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man. I have had nightmares because of him.”

2. Was it unreasonable for Nebuchadnezzar to ask his advisors to interpret his dream without telling them what it was about? Have you ever had a dream (or nightmare) and woken up the next day remembering that you had a bad dream but unable to remember what it was about?

Nebuchadnezzar was probably just like the rest of us who have had a bad dream but been unable to remember the exact content. It is much more common to have a dream and not be able to remember it than to be able to remember a dream in great detail. Yet it was certainly unreasonable for him to demand that other people tell him the content of his dream.

3. Was it unreasonable for Nebuchadnezzar to order his wise men be put to death because they could not tell him what his dream was? Why did he feel that this action was okay?

Yes, it is absolutely unreasonable to expect his advisors could tell him the content of his dream and when they couldn’t, to order their death. However, tyranny demands total obedience. There is no limit to absolute power. It doesn’t matter if a demand is difficult or impossible. It must be carried out just because the person in power demands it. Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t the first or the last tyrannical ruler to make absurd demands; a modern example is Hitler, but there are many others. In some cases, leaders make demands beyond what they think people can do and this leads to great accomplishments, but more often it is the ranting of someone deluded with power.

Read verses 14 to 23.

4. How did Daniel deal with Nebuchadnezzar’s unreasonable demand?

First, he asked the king’s official for details. Then, with this information in hand, he asked the king for time to meet the king’s demands. Then he asked his friends to pray with him that God would explain and reveal the mystery.

5. What can we learn from Daniel’s approach? (Matthew 18:19-20)

It combined practical and spiritual elements, both prayer and action. Praying to God is important, but God expects you to do something to, not just dump the whole thing in his lap. Secondly, Daniel enlisted prayer partners. Prayer partners, whether in the mission field or at home are a source of great spiritual power. Although, this is the OT, it presents a similar message to that of Jesus when he said that if two or three pray in his name, the petition will be granted.

Matthew 18:19-20: I promise that when any two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you.

6. Notice in Daniel’s prayer of thanks to God his use of earlier scripture. What can we learn from that? (Psalm 113:2, Jeremiah 32:19, Job 12:22, Psalm 139:12, Isaiah 45:7)

Psalm 113:2: Let the name of the Lord be praised now and forever. (Same as Daniel 2:20)

Jeremiah 32:19: With great wisdom you make plans, and with your great power you do all the mighty things you planned.

Job 12:22: God turns darkness to light;

Psalm 139:12: But you see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to you. (Vs 22)

Isaiah 45:7: I create light and darkness, ...

Lesson: it’s good to know the Bible. You may think you’re the only one to be in a particular situation, but you’ll find that others have gone before you and have found a way out. At the time I was preparing this, my almost new computer had lost its ability to go on line. So no Internet, no e-mail, no eBay, no web site design (which is my business). I spent hours on hold trying to get to Dell’s help desk. And even they couldn’t help. I had bought a 3-year on-site service policy with the computer but they said this problem didn’t qualify for on-site service. I was yelling and screaming. This had never happened to anyone in the Bible, it’s true, but there were situations that were far, far worse. Job, for example. Against Job, my computer problems looked like a minor scrape.

So the point is that even though your exact situation may not be described, there is probably a prayer or a promise to help you out of whatever situation you’re in. I recommend a little book like The Bible Promise Book. Lots of topics and relevant verses for every situation.

Also, notice that Daniel immediately thanked God for answering his prayer. Not after he went to the king, not a week later, but immediately. So should we.

Read verses 24 to 45.

7. After Daniel’s prayer was answered, what did he do?

Again, prayer and action. As we’ve seen, he first thanked God and gave credit to God. Secondly, he took action. Notice that his first action was to protect the other wise men. He could easily have used this event to promote himself; let the other wise men be killed and then he’d be in an even stronger position of power. But he didn’t. He saved them first. You might think that they would then be grateful to him, but it was just the opposite. As we’ll see in the next chapter, these people he saved were jealous and felt threatened by Daniel and his friends.

Okay, he has thanked God and saved the others. Now he goes to the king and explains all.

8. The large statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents four kingdoms as follows:

What kingdom did Daniel say would rule after all of these crumble?

The kingdom of God.

9. What are the TWO key messages in what Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar?

(1) In Verses 27-30, Daniel gives credit to God for interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He says that no man could possibly do what Nebuchadnezzar asked, but God could. Do you ever take credit for what God does through you? Of course you do (at least, I do). But this robs God of the honor that he alone deserves. Shouldn’t we be like Daniel and point people to God so that we might give him the glory?

(2) The obvious message (vs 34 and 44-45) is that God will set up an eternal kingdom that will never fail. It is indestructible and can never be destroyed even by the most powerful earthly kingdoms. The good news for us is that those who believe in God are members of his kingdom and are secure in him.

Read verses 46 to 49.

10. What important message should we take away from these last few verses? (Exodus 18:13-27)

I think the most important thing is that after Daniel was appointed a high leader, he requested that his three companions be appointed as his assistants. He knew that he couldn’t handle everything by himself without capable assistants. A competent leader never does all the work alone. Look at what happened when Moses tried to handle everything. He couldn’t, until Jethro told him to appoint leaders over the thousands, the hundreds, the fifties, and the tens.

Bible study courtesy of www.SwapMeetDave.com
Part     Material     Empire     Period of Domination
HeadGold Babylonian606 BC - 539 BC
Chest and ArmsSilverMedo-Persian539 BC - 331 BC
Belly and thighsBronzeGrecian331 BC - 146 BC
Legs and feetIron and ClayRoman146 BC - 476 AD

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