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Daniel 2:36-38

36. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

36. Hoc est somnium; et interpretationem ejus dicemus coram rege.

37. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

37. Tu rex, rex regum es, cui Deus coelorum regnum, potentiam et robur dedit, et 151151     Some translate the nouns by adjectives or epithets — a strong and powerful kingdom. — Calvin. gloriam tibi. 152152     The word לך, lek, “to thee,” is redundant — Calvin.

38. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

38. Et ubicunque habitant filii hominum, bestia agri, et volucris coelorum, 153153     That is, “birds;” there is a change of number — Calvin. dedit in manum tuam, et praefecit to omnibus 154154     Verbally, has made thee ruler over them all — Calvin. tu ipse caput es aureum.

 

Daniel here declares “the golden head of the image“ to be the Babylonian kingdom. We know that the Assyrians were subdued before the monarchy was transferred to Babylon; but since they did not prevail sufficiently to be considered as supreme rulers in that eastern territory, the Babylonian empire is here mentioned first. It is also worthwhile to remark, that God was unwilling to refer here to what had already occurred, but he rather proposed that the people should in future depend on this prophecy and rest upon it. Here it would have been superfluous to say anything about the Assyrians, since that empire had already passed away. But the Chaldeans were still to reign for some time — say seventy or at least sixty years. Hence God wished to hold the minds of his own servants in suspense till the end of that monarchy, and then to arouse them by fresh hopes, until the second monarchy should pass away, so that afterwards they might rest in patience under the third and fourth monarchies, and might perceive at length the time of Christ’s advent to be at hand. This is the reason why Daniel places the Chaldean monarchy here in the first rank and order. And in this matter there is no difficulty, because he states King Nebuchadnezzar to be the golden head of the image. We may gather the reason of his being called the golden head from the context, namely, because its integrity was then greater than under the empire of the Medes and Persians. It is very true that the Chaldeans were the most cruel robbers, and we know how Babylon was then detested by all the pious and sincere worshippers of God. Still, since things usually become worse by process of time, the state of the world was; as yet tolerable under that sovereignty. This is the reason why Nebuchadnezzar is called “the head of gold;” but this ought not to be referred to him personally, but rather extended to his whole kingdom, and all his successors, among whom Belshazzar was the most hateful despiser of God; and by comprehension he is said to form part of this head of gold. But Daniel shews that he did not flatter the king, since he assigns this reason for Nebuchadnezzar being the golden head — God had set him up above all the earth. But this seems to be common to all kings, since none of them reign without God’s permission — a sentiment which is partially true, but the Prophet implies that Nebuchadnezzar was raised up in an especial manner, because he excelled all other sovereigns. It now follows —


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