|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:31-45 This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
His legs of iron,.... A coarser metal than the former, but very strong; and designs the strong and potent monarchy of the Romans, the last of the four monarchies, governed chiefly by two consuls: and was divided, in the times of Theodosius, into the eastern and western empire, which may be signified by the two legs:
his feet part of iron and part of clay (b); or some "of them of iron, and some of them of clay" that is, the ten toes of the feet, which represent the ten kingdoms the western empire was divided into, some of which were potent, others weak; for this cannot be understood of the same feet and toes being a mixture, composed partly of one, and partly of the other; since iron and clay will not mix together, Daniel 2:43 and will not agree with the form of expression. Jerom interprets this part of the vision of the image to the same sense, who lived about the time when it was fulfilling; for in his days was the irruption of the barbarous nations into the empire; who often speaks of them in his writings (c), and of the Roman empire being in a weak and ruinous condition on the account of them. His comment on this text is this,
"the fourth kingdom, which clearly belongs to the Romans, is the iron that breaks and subdues all things; but his feet and toes are partly iron, and partly clay, which is most manifestly verified at this time; for as in the beginning nothing was stronger and harder than the Roman empire, so in the end of things nothing weaker; when both in civil wars, and against divers nations, we stand in need of the help of other barbarous people.''
And whereas he had been blamed for giving this sense of the passage, he vindicates himself elsewhere by saying (d),
"if, in the exposition of the image, and the difference of its feet and toes, I interpret the iron and clay of the Roman kingdom, which the Scripture foreshows should be first and then weak, let them not impute, it to me, but to the prophet; for so we must not flatter princes, as that the truth of the holy Scriptures should be neglected; nor is the general disputation of one person an injury;''
that is, of any great moment to the government.
(b) "ex illis quidam ex ferro, et excillis quidam ex luto", Gejerus. (c) Opera, tom. 1. in Epitaph. Nepotian. fol. 9. I. ad Gerontiam, fol 32. E. & in Epitaph. Fabiolae, fol. 68. H. (d) Prooem. in Comment. in Esaiam. I. 11. fol. 65.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33. As the two arms of silver denote the kings of the Medes and Persians [Josephus]; and the two thighs of brass the Seleucidæ of Syria and Lagidæ of Egypt, the two leading sections into which Græco-Macedonia parted, so the two legs of iron signify the two Roman consuls [Newton]. The clay, in Da 2:41, "potter's clay," Da 2:43, "miry clay," means "earthenware," hard but brittle (compare Ps 2:9; Re 2:27, where the same image is used of the same event); the feet are stable while bearing only direct pressure, but easily broken to pieces by a blow (Da 2:34), the iron intermixed not retarding, but hastening, such a result.
Daniel 2:33 Parallel Commentaries
Daniel 2:33 NIV
Daniel 2:33 NLT
Daniel 2:33 ESV
Daniel 2:33 NASB
Daniel 2:33 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible