As to that which thou hast seen: the feet and toes, part of them potter's clay, and part of them iron, the kingdom is divided: and some of the standing of the iron is to be in it, because that thou hast seen the iron mixed with miry clay.
Daniel 2:41 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
I shall now consider this most important vision more at large, and connect it with a portion of the previous history of the Jewish people.
The kingdoms of Israel and Judah after a series of the most unparalleled ingratitude and rebellion, against displays of mercy and benevolence, only equaled by their rebellions, were at last, according to repeated threatenings, given over into the hands of their enemies. The inhabitants of the former country were subdued and carried away captives by the Assyrians; and those of the latter, by the Chaldeans.
The people of Israel never recovered their ancient territories; and were so disposed of by their conquerors, that they either became amalgamated with the heathen nations, so as to be utterly undistinguishable; or they were transported to some foreign and recluse place of settlement, that the land of their residence, though repeatedly sought for and guessed at, has for more than two thousand years been totally unknown.
Judah, after having been harassed by the Chaldeans, Egyptians, and others, was at last invaded by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; Jerusalem besieged and taken; and Jehoiachin the king, who had before become tributary to the Babylonians, with his mother, wives, officers of state, and chief military commanders, princes, and mighty men of valor, to the amount of ten thousand; and all the artificers, smiths, etc., to the number of one thousand, with all that were fit for war, he carried captives to Babylon; leaving only the poorest of the people behind, under the government of Mattaniah, son of the late king Josiah, and uncle to Jehoiachin; and, having changed his name to Zedekiah, gave him a nominal authority as king over the wretched remains of the people. Zedekiah, after having reigned nine years, rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who, coming against Jerusalem with all his forces, besieged it; and having reduced it to the last extremity by famine, and made a breach in the walls, took the city, pillaged and destroyed the temple by fire, slew the sons of Zedekiah before his face, then put out his eyes, and carried him bound in brazen fetters to Babylon, 2 Kings, chap. 24 and 25. Thus, the temple of God, the most glorious building ever laid on the face of the earth, was profaned, pillaged, and burnt, with the king's palace, and all the houses of the Jewish nobility, in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, - the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar, - the first of the forty-eight Olympiad, - the one hundred and sixtieth current year of the era of Nabonassar, - four hundred and twenty-four years, three months, and eight days from the time in which Solomon laid its foundation stone!
In the same month in which the city was taken, and the temple burnt, Nebuzar-adan, commander in chief of the Babylonish forces, carried off the spoils of the temple, with the Jewish treasures, and the principal part of the residue of the people; and brought them also to Babylon. And thus Judah was carried away out of her own land, four hundred and sixty-eight years after David began to reign over it; from the division under Rehoboam, three hundred and eighty-eight years; from the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, one hundred and thirty-four years; in the year of the world, three thousand four hundred and sixteen; and before the nativity of our Lord, five hundred and eighty-eight.
In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, A.M. 3397, b.c. 607, Nebuchadnezzar, having besieged Jerusalem, and made its king tributary, carried away a number of captives; and among them was the Prophet Daniel, then in his youth, who became, for his wisdom, and knowledge of future events, very eminent at Babylon; and, with some other Jewish captives, great favorites of Nebuchadnezzar the king; who made Daniel president of all the wise men of his city. It was in the second year of the reign of this king, that a circumstance occurred which, though at first it threatened the destruction of the prophet, finally issued in the increase of his reputation and celebrity.
As prophecy is one of the strongest proofs of the authenticity of what professes to be a Divine revelation, God endued this man with a large portion of his Spirit, so that he clearly predicted some of the most astonishing political occurrences and changes which have ever taken place on the earth; no less than the rise, distinguishing characteristics, and termination of the Four great monarchies or empires, which have been so celebrated in all the histories of the world. And as the Babylonian, under which he then lived, was one of these monarchies, and was shortly to be absorbed by the Medo-Persian, which was to succeed it, he made Nebuchadnezzar, the then reigning monarch, by means of a most singular dream, the particulars of which he had forgotten, the instrument that appeared to give birth to a prediction, in which the ruin of his own empire was foretold; as well as other mighty changes which should take place in the political state of the world, for at least the term of one thousand years next ensuing. Nor did the prophetic Spirit in this eminent man limit his predictions to these; but showed at the same time the origin and nature of that Fifth monarchy, which, under the great King of kings, should be administered and prevail to the end of time.
The dream itself, with its interpretation, and the exact and impressive manner in which the predictions relative to the four great monarchies have been fulfilled, and those which regard the fifth monarchy are in the course of being accomplished, are the subjects to which I wish to call the reader's most serious and deliberate attention.
This image, so circumstantially described from the thirty-eighth to the forty-fourth verse, was, as we learn from the prophet's general solution, intended to point out the rise and fall of four different empires and states; and the final prevalence and establishment of a fifth empire, that shall never have an end, and which shall commence in the last days, Daniel 2:28; a phrase commonly used in the prophets to signify the times of the Messiah, and in the New Testament, his advent to judge the world.
Before we proceed to particular parts, we may remark in general, that the whole account strongly indicates: -
1. The especial providence of God in behalf of the Jews at that time. For, although suffering grievously because of their sins, being deprived of both their political and personal liberty, God shows them that he has not abandoned them; and the existence of a prophet among them is a proof of his fatherly care and unremitted attention to their eternal welfare.
2. The particular interference of God to manifest the superiority of his truth, to wean an idolatrous nation from their vanity and superstition, and lead them to that God who is the fountain of truth, the revealer of secrets, and the governor of all things. And,
3. The direct inspiration of God immediately teaching his servant things which could be known only to God himself, and thus showing the Babylonians that his prophets had spoken by an unerring Spirit; that the Jews were the depositaries of the true religion; that He was the only true God; and as he was omniscient, so he was omnipotent; and the things which his wisdom had predicted, his power could and would accomplish.
The sum of the account given in this chapter is the following: -
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Daniel 2:33-35 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay...
Daniel 7:7,24 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly...
Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns...
Revelation 13:1 And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns...
Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet...
Daniel 2:41 Parallel CommentariesBaked Clay Common Divided Division Earth Feet Firmness Forasmuch Inasmuch Iron Kingdom Miry Mixed Part Partly Potters Potter's Sawest Strength Toes Whereas WorkBaked Clay Common Divided Division Earth Feet Firmness Forasmuch Inasmuch Iron Kingdom Miry Mixed Part Partly Potters Potter's Sawest Strength Toes Whereas WorkTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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