Daniel 2 - History's Empires Viewed Prophetically (4 of 23)
Video from Scripture Through Ancient Eyes
"An in-depth analysis of Nebuchadnezzar's statue and the various interpretations that have been proposed throughout Jewish and Christian history." from video introduction
The Statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream and the Golden Calf
"Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue made of four metals in Daniel 2 was composed using Persian and Greek historiographic imagery. The crushing of the statue by a stone mountain alludes to the story of the golden calf, and is a message of hope to the Judeans that God will eventually crush their Greek oppressors.
In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has a dream that sends him into a panic. He gathers his advisors and demands that someone interpret his dream. First, however, the interpreter must recite the dream to him. While none of the Chaldeans are able to accomplish this—they even complain that the request is unprecedented—Daniel, the Judean, after a revelation from God, proceeds to do so.
Daniel begins by describing a statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw:
דניאל ב:לא (אנתה) [אַנְתְּ] מַלְכָּא חָזֵה הֲוַיְתָ וַאֲלוּ צְלֵם חַד שַׂגִּיא צַלְמָא דִּכֵּן רַב וְזִיוֵהּ יַתִּיר קָאֵם לְקָבְלָךְ וְרֵוֵהּ דְּחִיל. ב:לב הוּא צַלְמָא רֵאשֵׁהּ דִּי דְהַב טָב חֲדוֹהִי וּדְרָעוֹהִי דִּי כְסַף מְעוֹהִי וְיַרְכָתֵהּ דִּי נְחָשׁ. ב:לג שָׁקוֹהִי דִּי פַרְזֶל רַגְלוֹהִי מנהון [מִנְּהֵין] דִּי פַרְזֶל ומנהון [וּמִנְּהֵין] דִּי חֲסַף.
Dan 2:31 O king, as you looked on, there appeared a great statue. This statue, which was huge and its brightness surpassing, stood before you, and its appearance was awesome. 2:32 The head of that statue was of fine gold; its breast and arms were of silver; its belly and thighs, of bronze; 2:33 its legs were of iron, and its feet part iron and part clay.
Daniel explains this statue as an allegory about the political future of the world:
דניאל ב:לח ...(אנתה) [אַנְתְּ] הוּא רֵאשָׁה דִּי דַהֲבָא. ב:לט וּבָתְרָךְ תְּקוּם מַלְכוּ אָחֳרִי אֲרַעא מִנָּךְ וּמַלְכוּ תליתיא [תְלִיתָאָה] אָחֳרִי דִּי נְחָשָׁא דִּי תִשְׁלַט בְּכָל אַרְעָא. ב:מ וּמַלְכוּ (רביעיה) [רְבִיעָאָה] תֶּהֱוֵא תַקִּיפָה כְּפַרְזְלָא כָּל קֳבֵל דִּי פַרְזְלָא מְהַדֵּק וְחָשֵׁל כֹּלָּא וּכְפַרְזְלָא דִּי מְרָעַע כָּל אִלֵּין תַּדִּק וְתֵרֹעַ.
Dan 2:38 …You are the head of gold. 2:39 But another kingdom will arise after you, inferior to yours; then yet a third kingdom, of bronze, which will rule over the whole earth. 2:40 But the fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron; just as iron crushes and shatters everything. And like iron that smashes, so will it crush and smash all these.
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream draws upon historical imagery found already in Greek sources predating Daniel 2, whose author apparently lived in the early Hellenistic period.." from the article: The Statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream and the Golden Calf