|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-13 The greatest men are most open to cares and troubles of mind, which disturb their repose in the night, while the sleep of the labouring man is sweet and sound. We know not the uneasiness of many who live in great pomp, and, as others vainly think, in pleasure also. The king said that his learned men must tell him the dream itself, or they should all be put to death as deceivers. Men are more eager to ask as to future events, than to learn the way of salvation or the path of duty; yet foreknowledge of future events increases anxiety and trouble. Those who deceived, by pretending to do what they could not do, were sentenced to death, for not being able to do what they did not pretend to.
Verse 3. - And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. The Revised Version improves the English of the verse by putting the verb in the present, "My Spirit is troubled to know the dream." The Septuagint Version has the appearance of a paraphrase, "And the king said to them, I have seen a dream, and my spirit is troubled, and I desire to understand the dream." It is an unusual combination "to see a dream;" from its unusualness the reading of the Septuagint is to be preferred. In old Hebrew ל (l) and ז (z) are not unlike each other, nor are מ (m) and י (y). Yet these two, letters are the only differences between halamti, "I have dreamed." and hazithi. "I have seen." The Peshitta has haloma hazith, which gives the same combination, and would indicate that here too the Aramaic original is shining through It is however, difficult to see how such a word as ahpatz. "I wish," could drop out of the Massoretic. The must natural solution is that the translator added θέλω to complete the sense. Certainly a link is awanting as it stands in the ordinary interpretation of this verse. Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic, while the Vulgate paraphrases the last clause, "And the king said to them. I have seen a dream, and confused in mind I have forgot what I saw." The king has been perturbed by the dream, and his perturbation leads him to wish to knew the dream - not necessarily what the dream actually had been, but what it meant. Thus in Daniel 1:17 Daniel had understanding "in all visions and dreams;" this meant that he knew the meaning of dreams and visit us. The other versions give us no assistance to explain this. Archdeacon Rose says, "The king here plainly intimates that, though the dream had troubled and perplexed him. he could not remember what it was." It does not appear to us quite so plain It is certainly not impossible to imagine that, while the king had been strongly affected by the dream, he might not remember distinctly what it was. If, however, he had no remembrance of the dream, and only the feeling of perturbation, any grandiose vision might have been brought before him, and he would not have been able to check it, or say that was not the dream he had had. If, again, he had some fragmentary remembrance, he naturally would have told what he remembered, in order that they might reconstruct his dream for him. Nebuchadnezzar's great purpose is not merely to see again his dream, but really to test these soothsayers that promised so much. If they could with such certainty as they professed tell what was about to happen, surely it was no great demand that they should know this dream of his. The king seems merely to have made the general statement, and left the soothsayers to tell at once the dream and interpretation. There sits the king with troubled brow, and there stand before him the principal adepts at interpretation of dreams. Some have found it a difficulty that God should reveal the future to a heathen monarch. But in the parallel case of Pharaoh this occurred; certainly the future revealed to him was the immediate future of the, land he ruled, whereas the dream of Nebuchadnezzar extended in its revelation to the very end of time. Archdeacon Rose refers to Pilate's wife and her mysterious dream at the trial of our Lord. The revelation as given to Nebuchadnezzar served a double purpose - it gave emphasis to it when, not an obscure Hebrew scholar got the vision, but the great conqueror; further, it gave an occasion for bringing Daniel into prominence, and gave thus to trim and to his companions an opportunity of showing their fidelity to God. This gave an occasion for miracles, the effect of which was to strengthen the Jews in their faith.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream,.... What before is called dreams is here expressed in the singular, a dream; for it was but one dream, though it contained in it various things; this the king could remember, that he had a dream; for it had left some impression on his mind, though he could not call to mind what it was about. Aben Ezra makes mention of one of their Gaons or Rabbins, that affirmed that Nebuchadnezzar knew his dream, but was willing to try the wise men; but, as he observes, he could not surely believe the words of Daniel:
and my spirit was troubled to know the dream; both that, and the meaning of it; he says nothing as yet about the interpretation of it; concluding that, if they could tell him the dream, they could explain it to him; or then it would be time enough to inquire after that.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. troubled to know the dream—He awoke in alarm, remembering that something solemn had been presented to him in a dream, without being able to recall the form in which it had clothed itself. His thoughts on the unprecedented greatness to which his power had attained (Da 2:29) made him anxious to know what the issue of all this should be. God meets this wish in the way most calculated to impress him.
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