In this second chapter we are informed how God brought Daniel into a theater, to exhibit that prophetic office to which he had been destined. God had already engraven, as we have said, distinct marks by which Daniel might be acknowledged as a Prophet, but he wished really to prove the effect of the grace which he had conferred upon Daniel. First of all, a simple history is narrated, then Daniel proceeds to the interpretation of a dream. This is the heading of the chapter.


Daniel 2:1

1. And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, where with his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

1. Anno autem secundo regni Nebuchadnezzar somniavit Nebuchadnezzar somnia et contritus fuit spiritusejus, et somnus: ejus interruptus est ei. 1


Daniel here says, -- King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt in the second year of his reign. This seems contrary to the opinion expressed in the first chapter. For if Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the first year of his reign, how could Daniel be already reckoned among the wise men and astrologers, while he was as yet but a disciple? Thus it is easily gathered from the context that he and his companions were already brought forward to minister before the king. At the first glance these things are not in accordance, because in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign Daniel and his companions were delivered into training; and in the second he was in danger of death through being in the number of the Magi. Some, as we have mentioned elsewhere, count the second year from the capture and destruction of the city, for they say Nebuchadnezzar was called king from the time at which he obtained the monarchy in peace. Before he had cut off the City and Temple with the Nation, his Monarchy could not be treated as united; hence they refer this to the capture of the city, as I have said. But I rather incline to another conjecture as more probable -- that of his reigning with his father, and I have shewn that when he besieged Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachim, he was sent by his father; he next returned to Chaldea from the Egyptian expedition, through his wish to repress revolts, if any one should dare to rebel. In this, therefore, there is nothing out of place. Nebuchadnezzar reigned before the death of his father, because he had already been united with him in the supreme power; then he reigned alone, and the present narrative happened in the second year of his reign. In this explanation there is nothing forced, and as the history agrees with it, I adopt it as the best.

He says -- he dreamt dreams, and yet only one Dream is narrated; but since many things were involved in this dream, the use of the plural number is not surprising. It is now added, his, spirit was contrite, to shew us how uncommon the dream really was. For Nebuchadnezzar did not then begin to dream, and was not formerly so frightened every night as to send for all the Magi. Hence, in this dream there was something extraordinary, which Daniel wished to express in these words. The clause at the end of the verse which they usually translate his sleep was interrupted, does not seem to have this sense; another explanation which our brother D. Antonius gave you 2 suits it better; namely, -- his sleep was upon him, meaning he began to sleep again. The genuine and simple sense of the words seems to me -- his spirit was confused, that is, very great terror had seized on his mind. He knew, indeed, the dream to be sent from heaven; next, being astonished, he slept again, and became like a dead man, and when he considered the interpretation of the dream, he became stupified and returned to sleep and forgot the vision, as we shall afterwards see. It follows --

1 As they translate, or "departed from him," or was upon him. -- Calvin.

2 This clause "which our brother D. Antonius gave you," is omitted in the French editions of 1562 and 1569.