Answers for Daniel Chapter 2 Bible Study

About these Answers

Day One

1.  What were were three things God caused to happen in chapter one that facilitated the story and demonstrates that God is sovereign?

1.  God handed over King Johoiakin to King Nebuchadnezzar (vs 2).

2.  God granted Daniel kindness and compassion from Ashpenaz, King Nebuchadnezzar’s chief eunuch (vs 9).

3.  God gave Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Adednego knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom.  Also, God gave Daniel understanding of all kinds of visions and dreams (vs 17).


2.  How many different terms were used to describe the “wise men”?  Cite the terms and verses.

Here's an example from of the popular Bible versions of the different words used. The Bibles are the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), English Standard Version (ESV), New International Version (NIV), Authorized Standard Version (ASV), and the Revised Standard Version (RSV).


Verse

2

2

2

2

4

5, 10

10

10

10

12,13,14,18,24,27

27

27

27

CSB

Magician

Medium

Sorcerer

Chaldean

Chaldean

Chaldean

Magician

Medium

Chaldean

wise men

Medium

Magician

Diviner

ESV

Magician

Enchanter

Sorcerer

Chaldean

Chaldean

Chaldean

Magician

Enchanter

Chaldean

wise men

Enchanter

Magician

Astrologer

NIV

Magician

Enchanter

Sorcerer

Astrologer

Astrologer

Astrologer

Magician

Enchanter

Astrologer

wise men

Enchanter

Magician

Diviner

ASV

Magician

Enchanter

Sorcerer

Chaldean

Chaldean

Chaldean

Magician

Enchanter

Chaldean

wise men

Enchanter

Magician

Soothsayer

RSV

Magician

Enchanter

Sorcerer

Chaldean

Chaldean

Chaldean

Magician

Enchanter

Chaldean

wise men

Enchanter

Magician

Astrologer

In this chart we see nine different terms used to describe these people. We would see even more if we included more versions (e.g. conjurer and diviner-priest).  

In verse 2, four terms are used to describe this group of people. Let's briefly examine them and another word found in verse 27 - diviner.

Magician - is a rendering of the Hebrew word ḥarṭōm, which also designates the Egyptian magicians in the time of Joseph and Moses.  The word literally means engraver or writer.  

The root from which the word comes signifies to cut or scratch and was used for engraving or writing with a stylus.  It seems to describe persons who wrote with a stylus on clay tablets, in this case the religious scribes or sacred writers who recorded and preserved the materials used in the Babylonian religious activities.

These wise men meticulously chronicled, for example, the movements of the heavenly bodies in order to gain religious wisdom from them.

Enchanter - or medium is a translation of Hebrewʾaššāp and of Aramaic ʾāšap, both terms meaning conjurer or necromancer.  The Akkadian root means to conjure - thus enchanters with their magic spells and incantations were believed to be able to communicate with the spirit world.

Sorcerer - is a rendering of the Hebrew mĕkaššĕpîm and likely refers to the religious group known from Akkadian texts as kashshapu.  The Hebrew term is an Akkadian loan word, and the Akkadian root kasapu means to practice sorcery or witchcraft.

These sorcerers employed their services for the benefit of the king and the kingdom.  Sorcery or witchcraft of all kinds (benevolent or sinister) was widespread in the ancient world and was severely denounced in the Old Testament.

Astrologer - is a translation of Hebrew kaśdîm13 and also of Aramaic kaśdāy, usually rendered “Chaldeans”.

The word is used to delineate a class of priests, astrologers, magicians, soothsayers, or wise men.  Study of the movements of the heavenly bodies was not performed primarily as a scientific enterprise, but this led the Chaldeans to record carefully the movements of the moon, stars, planets, and comets, an exercise that did have scientific value.

Diviner - is also rendered soothsayer and comes from Aramaic gāzĕrîn from the root word gĕzar, meaning to cut or determine.  A diviner, therefore, is a person who is able to determine one’s fate.  Fortune teller may capture the idea.

Since the Chaldeans were the ruling class, it is logical to suppose that they dominated the most influential group in Babylon, the priesthood, and that this group came to be called by this name.1  

So, it seems this is the reason the term Chaldeans was used to describe all the different categories in verses 4, 5, and 10.  The term wise men is also used to describe the different categories in six different verses.

God and his provision to provide the interpretation of dreams is contrasted with all these who were thought to have the ability and power to interpret dreams.  

But looking at verses 1 through 11.  What is it that even the Chaldeans said that no mortal man could provide the king? The ability to not just interpret the dream but to tell the king what dreams he had. 

Regarding this one commentary offers a possible strategy that King Nebuchadnezzar may have employed:

“Though the king may have made such a demand on the wise men previously and been satisfied with their answers, he evidently had never asked them to interpret a dream that he discerned had such significance. So he decided to test them. If they could predict the future by interpreting dreams, they should be able to reconstruct the past and recall the king’s dream. 

So he refused to share his dream with them. This does not mean he had forgotten it. Had he done so, the wise men, to save themselves from death, could easily have fabricated a dream and then interpreted it. The king reasoned that if they could not recall the past, their predictions concerning the future could not be trusted.”2

Day Two

1.  Which two characters in Daniel chapter two were troubled by their futures?  Compare and contrast how each responded to his uncertain future.  Who resolved their concerns? 

Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar both were troubled about their futures.  The king became violently angry (vs 12) when he saw no way to discern his future.  But Daniel simply acted with tact and discretion (vs 14) and sought the favor of God with his friends (vss 17-18).  God Almighty, by his revelation to Daniel of the king’s dream, and by Daniel's revealing it to the king, assured both men about their futures.


2.  So when King Nebuchadnezzar was told only “the gods” could tell him what his dreams were, why did he become so violently angry?  What was it that was so infuriating to him that he was determined to destroy those who were traditionally thought to be most likely able to interpret the dreams?

Obviously we don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us.  But what we do know is that Babylonians thought that dreams were messages from “the gods”.  So here the king has a dream (potentially about him i.e. this statue) and he doesn’t know what it means but it looks like he may be the statue and the statue is destroyed!

This is very likely the reason he becomes so angry - because he fears the gods are forecasting his demise.

Here’s one commentator's take on this:

“If only the gods knew the dream, whoever revealed the dream must be in touch with the gods.  Nebuchadnezzar probably thought, and rightly so, that since these astrologers claimed to be able to communicate with the spirit world, they should be able to discover the dream and its interpretation from the gods.

The Babylonians were famous for their astrology, but it could not help these “astrologers” in their time of need.  Over a hundred years earlier the God of Israel had challenged the wise men of Babylon to deliver their nation from his power by their sorceries, spells, and counsel from the stars (cf. Isa 47:12–13). 

Such practices could not save in ancient times, nor can they deliver today.  Only the true God possesses wisdom, power, and salvation—gifts granted to all who call upon his name."3

Day Three

1.  Let’s look at Daniel’s praise for God for a moment.  Specifically, let’s look at verses 20, 21 and 22.  Here Daniel offers praise to God, looking at each of these verses, why might Daniel say what he says?

In verse 20,  Daniel is offering praise to God for having just given him wisdom to interpret the dream and perhaps the power to change the king’s plan in doing so. The wisdom Daniel received as described in chapter one (vs 17) belonged to God as does all power obviously. 

In verse 21, Daniel had just seen that God removed the king of Judah.  Now in the dream he will interpret, he sees God removing kingdoms and establishing an eternal kingdom. You wonder whether Daniel fully understood how wonderful this would be.

In verse 22, God had just revealed the deep and hidden things (the king’s dream and its interpretation) and nothing is unknown to him.

Notice also in his praise to God, Daniel cites the idea of wisdom coming from God three times: verse 20, verse 21, and verse 23.


2.  What about Daniel chapter two gives you the idea that Daniel had godly character?

  • Verse 14 - He acted with tact and discretion
  • Verse 18 - Daniel urged his friends to join him as he petitioned God for mercy
  • Verses 19-23 - Daniel praised God for his revealing of the mystery
  • Verse 24 - Daniel asked that the wise men not be destroyed (did he need to do that?)
  • Verses 27-30 - Daniel took no credit for his ability to understand the dream
  • Verse 49 - Daniel looked out for his godly friends and had them appointed to positions of influence

Day Four

1.  Much has been written about the king’s dream.  We can easily see that the king’s dream reflects the sovereignty of God.  This is the biggest idea we can take away from this passage of Scripture.  

But many want to focus on what kingdom is represented by the different statue parts.  Or how we can look back at the history of civilization and see this or that has happened and obviously Alexander the Great etc. etc.  

But what about the dream is still relevant to us today?

Of course it’s that God would set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed and that this kingdom will not be left to another people which is what we see in verse 44.


2.  How is this story similar to the story of Joseph in Genesis chapter 41?  First, how is the character of Joseph and Daniel similar in their handling of the situation?  Secondly, how does the king or pharaoh reward them?

In Genesis 41, Joseph tells Pharaoh that only God can interpret the dream he had (vs 16).  Joseph also explains that God had revealed to Pharaoh what was about to happen in the future (vs 28).  

Daniel, like Joseph, tells the king only God can interpret dreams (vs 28) and explains, like Joseph, that God was telling the king what was going to happen in the future (vs 29).

Joseph was promoted to a high position by pharaoh (vss 37-45), and Daniel likewise was promoted by the king (vss 46-48).  


Day Five

Dan 2:20

Can God still speak to us in dreams today?  Why or why not?  How should you go about interpreting your dreams?

God can do anything he wants to do of course.  We should ask God to reveal the meaning of our dreams to us.  If the dream contradicts the Word of God, then it can't be God's revelation to you.

About the year 2012, the publisher of this website, Tim Scott was doing mission work in West Africa.  As he walked from village to village, he would explain to each village leader who he was and that he was looking for a man who had a dream of a prophet in white shining clothes.

It become apparent that many Muslim background believers were having dreams where Jesus was appearing to them in white shining clothes.  Many had come to faith in Christ as a result.  And this probably still happening in countries around the world - including places where it’s hard for Christians to openly share the Gospel such as Iran.

Tim Scott found people who had the dream and shared the good news with them.  God can still do what he wants how he wants and nobody can stop him.  So the short answer is - yes God can still speak to us in dreams today, just be sure your dream doesn't contradict the Word of God.


1 Miller, Stephen R. 1994. Daniel (The New American Commentary). Vol. 18. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

2 Pentecost, J. Dwight. 1985. Daniel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, vol. 1, 1333. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Miller, Stephen R. 1994. Daniel (The New American Commentary). Vol. 18. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.


We pray this Bible study lesson on Daniel Chapter Two has been a blessing to you.


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