Daniel 2:28
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
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(28) Visions of thy head.—Called “thoughts,” Daniel 2:29, which were the natural means through which the supernatural revelation was communicated. These “came” into his mind without his forcing them upon himself. He was thinking of other things, further conquests, perhaps, and the like, but these thoughts came from a higher source.

2:24-30 Daniel takes away the king's opinion of his magicians and soothsayers. The insufficiency of creatures should drive us to the all-sufficiency of the Creator. There is One who can do that for us, and make known that to us, which none on earth can, particularly the work of redemption, and the secret designs of God's love to us therein. Daniel confirmed the king in his opinion, that the dream was of great consequence, relating to the affairs and changes of this lower world. Let those whom God has highly favoured and honoured, lay aside all opinion of their own wisdom and worthiness, that the Lord alone may be praised for the good they have and do.But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets - One of the principal objects contemplated in all that occurred respecting this dream and its interpretation was, to direct the mind of the monarch to the true God, and to secure the acknowledgment of his supremacy. Hence, it was so ordered that those who were most eminent for wisdom, and who were regarded as the favorites of heaven, were constrained to confess their entire inability to explain the mystery. The way was thus prepared to show that he who "could" do this must be the true God, and must be worthy of adoration and praise. Thus prepared, the mind of the monarch was now directed by this pious Hebrew youth, though a captive, to a truth so momentous and important. His whole training, his modesty and his piety, all were combined to lead him to attribute whatever skill he might evince in so difficult a matter to the true God alone: and we can scarcely conceive of a more sublime object of contemplation than this young man, in the most magnificent court of the world, directing the thoughts of the most mighty monarch that then occupied a throne, to the existence and the perfections of the true God.

And maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar - Margin, "hath made." The translation in the text is more correct, for it was not true that he had as yet actually made these things known to the king. He had furnished intimations of what was to occur, but he had not yet been permitted to understand their signification.

What shall be in the latter days - Greek ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ep' eschatōn tōn hēmerōn - "in the last days." Vulgate, in novissimis temporibus - "in the last times." Chaldee, יומיא באחרית be'achărı̂yth yômayâ' - "in the after days;" or, as Faber expresses it, "in the afterhood of days." The phrase means what we should express by saying, "hereafter - in future times - in time to come." This phrase often has special reference to the times of the Messiah, as the last dispensation of things on the earth, or as that under which the affairs of the world will be wound up. Compare the notes at Isaiah 2:2. It does not appear, however, to be used in that sense here, but it denotes merely "future" times. The phrase "the latter days," therefore, does not exactly convey the sense of the original. It is "future" days rather than "latter" days.

Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed - The phrase "visions of thy head" means conceptions or notions formed by the brain. It would seem from this, that, even in the time of Daniel, the brain was regarded as, in some sense, the organ of thinking, or that "thought" had its seat in the head. We are not to suppose that by the use of these different expressions Daniel meant to describe two things, or to intimate that Nebuchadnezzar had had visions which were distinct. What he saw might be described as a dream or a vision; it, in fact, had the nature of both.

Are these - "These which I now proceed to describe."

28. God—in contrast to "the wise men," &c. (Da 2:27).

revealeth secrets—(Am 3:7; 4:13). Compare Ge 41:45, Zaphnath-paaneah, "revealer of secrets," the title given to Joseph.

the latter days—literally, "in the after days" (Da 2:29); "hereafter" (Ge 49:1). It refers to the whole future, including the Messianic days, which is the final dispensation (Isa 2:2).

visions of thy head—conceptions formed in the brain.

Here the prophet gives God entirely all the glory, proving all the powers on earth to come short in it, it being one of God’s peculiar prerogatives to reveal secrets. Yea, in great humility he denies himself to have any share in it, as also Daniel 2:29.

What shall be in the latter days: observe here the prophet’s wisdom in this discovery, he doth not fall abruptly upon the dream, but first prepares this lofty king for it in general, and by degrees he doth labour to win him to the knowledge of the true God.

1. By this his power; and,

2. By his gracious favour to the king, in revealing to him the greatest secret in the world about the change of kingdoms and governments, and touching the power of Christ’s kingdom over all in the latter days. See Daniel 2:44.

But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,.... By this Daniel meant to inform the king that there was but one God, in opposition to the notion of polytheism, that obtained among the Heathens; that this one God is in heaven, and presides over all persons and things on earth; and that to him alone belongs the revelation of secrets, and not to Heathen gods, or to any magician, astrologer, &c.; and of this kind was the king's dream, a secret impenetrable by men:

and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days: in the latter days of his monarchy, which should be subverted, and succeeded by another; and in ages after that, during the Persian, Grecian, and Roman monarchies; and in the days of the Messiah, even in the latter of his days:

thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; which were of God, and of great importance; and, that the king might observe it, Daniel introduces these words with what goes before, and says what follows:

But there is a God in {o} heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

(o) He affirms that man by reason and craft is not able to attain to the cause of God's secrets, but the understanding only of them must come from God: by which he smites the king with a certain fear and reverence of God, that he might be the more able to receive the high mysteries that would be revealed.

28. But, though human skill is unable to satisfy the king, there is a God in heaven, the revealer of secrets, who has in reality by means of this dream disclosed to him the future. Cf. Genesis 41:28.

and maketh known] and he hath made known.

in the latter days] lit. in the end (closing-part[210]) of the days. An expression which occurs fourteen times in the O.T., and which always denotes the closing period of the future so far as it falls within the range of view of the writer using it. The sense expressed by it is thus relative, not absolute, varying with the context. In Genesis 49:1 (spoken from Jacob’s standpoint) it is used of the period of Israel’s occupation of Canaan; in Numbers 24:14 of the period of Israel’s future conquest of Moab and Edom (see Daniel 2:17-18); in Deuteronomy 31:29; Deuteronomy 4:30, of the periods, respectively, of Israel’s future apostasy and return to God; in Ezekiel 38:16 (cf. Daniel 2:8with years for days) of the imagined period of Gog’s attack upon restored Israel; in Daniel 10:14 of the age of Antiochus Epiphanes. Elsewhere it is used of the ideal, or Messianic age, conceived as following at the close of the existing order of things: Hosea 3:5; Isaiah 2:2 (= Micah 4:1); Jeremiah 48:47; Jeremiah 49:39; comp. Jeremiah 23:20 (= Jeremiah 30:24)[211]. Here, as the sequel shews, it is similarly the period of the establishment of the Divine Kingdom which is principally denoted by it (v. 34, 35, 44, 45); but the closing years of the fourth kingdom (v. 40-43) may also well be included in it.

[210] For the sense of אחרית see Job 8:7; Job 42:12 (where it denotes clearly the latter part of a man’s life).

[211] Cf. in the N.T. Acts 2:17 (for the ‘afterward’ of Joel 2:28), Hebrews 1:2, 2 Timothy 3:1, 2 Peter 3:3.

visions of thy head] Daniel 4:5; Daniel 4:10; Daniel 4:13, Daniel 7:1; Daniel 7:15.

Verse 28. - But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these. All the versions are at one with the Massoretic text to the beginning of the last clause, which begins a new sentence. This last clause is omitted in the Septuagint. The clause is pleonastic; therefore, seeing it is omitted by the Septuagint, we may consider it not genuine, but due to a case of doublet in the Aramaic copies. Some copies have the present clause here, without the opening clause of the next, and others without this, but having the opening clause of ver. 29. Then came a copyist, who, unable to settle which was the better reading, inserted both. There is a God in heaven. No nation in ancient times was so addicted to the study of the stars of heaven and to the future as were the Chaldeans. Here Daniel announces that the God of heaven, Jehovah, the God of oppressed Judah and conquered Jerusalem, was the God who ruled all the stars from which the Chaldeans derived the knowledge of the future they thought they had, and arranged for his own purposes all things that were coming upon the earth, and he could tell what no one on earth could do. And the reason of this he also makes plain - God had expressly sent the dream to Nebuchadnezzar in order that he might know what was to "be in the latter days." He, Nebuchadnezzar, was the first of the great imperial powers who ruled after Israel ceased to be so much a nation as a faith. After the Babylonian Captivity Judaism became a Church over against a heathen state. Hence to him with whom this new state of things began was this message given. It has exercised many why this revelation of the future was made to this heathen monarch. Yet we must remember that, though made directly to him, through his obstinacy, it arrived at the Prophet Daniel, for whom it was meant. Yet again, no one can read the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar and fail to observe how deep and unfeigned was his piety according to his light. He worshipped Merodach, and if, in his ascriptions of praise, we were to place "Jehovah" instead of "Merodach," these prayers and thanksgivings would appear almost as if borrowed from the Hebrew Psalter. God, who readeth the hearts of men, might well have seen such a heart in this conqueror that he might be honoured with a revelation. The phrase, "latter days," had a special reference in Jewish prophetic language to the times of the Messiah (Isaiah 2:2); hence we may assume that this vision would stretch in its revelations on to the times of the kingdom which the Lord would set up. It is unscientific to press this as meaning the absolute last time, as does Hitzig. It is not the future generally, as Havernick. We must be led by the usage of prophetic literature. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these. This clause, as we have indicated, is probably one of two parallel readings. There is probably no distinction intended between "dream" and "visions of the head upon the bed." This is really to be regarded as a case of parallelism, in which one portion of the verse was balanced by the other. What shade of difference there is, is between the dream as a totality and the portions of it as seen. Daniel 2:28To the question of the king, whether he was able to show the dream with its interpretation, Daniel replies by directing him from man, who is unable to accomplish such a thing, to the living God in heaven, who alone reveals secrets. The expression, whose name was Belteshazzar (Daniel 2:26), intimates in this connection that he who was known among the Jews by the name Daniel was known to the Chaldean king only under the name given to him by the conqueror - that Nebuchadnezzar knew of no Daniel, but only of Belteshazzar. The question, "art thou able?" i.e., has thou ability? does not express the king's ignorance of the person of Daniel, but only his amazement at his ability to make known the dream, in the sense, "art thou really able?" This amazement Daniel acknowledges as justified, for he replies that no wise man was able to do this thing. In the enumeration of the several classes of magicians the word חכּימין is the general designation of them all. "But there is a God in heaven." Daniel "declares in the presence of the heathen the existence of God, before he speaks to him of His works." Klief. But when he testifies of a God in heaven as One who is able to reveal hidden things, he denies this ability eo ipso to all the so-called gods of the heathen. Thereby he not only assigns the reason of the inability of the heathen wise men, who knew not the living God in heaven, to show the divine mysteries, but he refers also all the revelations which the heathen at any time receive to the one true God. The וin והודע introduces the development of the general thought. That there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, Daniel declares to the king by this, that he explains his dream as an inspiration of this God, and shows to him its particular circumstances. God made known to him in a dream "what would happen in the end of the days." אחרית יומיּא equals הימים אחרית designates here not the future generally (Hv.), and still less "that which comes after the days, a time which follows after another time, comprehended under the הימים" (Klief.), but the concluding future or the Messianic period of the world's time; see Genesis 49:1.

From דּנה אחרי in Daniel 2:29 that general interpretation of the expression is not proved. The expression יומיּא בּאחרית of Daniel 2:28 is not explained by the דּנה אחרי להוא דּי מה of Daniel 2:29, but this אחרי relates to Nebuchadnezzar's thoughts of a future in the history of the world, to which God, the revealer of secrets, unites His Messianic revelations; moreover, every Messianic future event is also an דּנה אחרי (cf. Daniel 2:45), without, however, every דּנה אחרי being also Messianic, though it may become so when at the same time it is a constituent part of the future experience and the history of Israel, the people of the Messianic promise (Kran.). "The visions of thy head" (cf. Daniel 4:2 [5], Daniel 4:7 [10], Daniel 4:10 [13], Daniel 7:1) are not dream-visions because they formed themselves in the head or brains (v. Leng., Maur., Hitz.), which would thus be only phantoms or fancies. The words are not a poetic expression for dreams hovering about the head (Hv.); nor yet can we say, with Klief., that "the visions of thy head upon thy bed, the vision which thou sawest as thy head lay on thy pillow," mean only dream-visions. Against the former interpretation this may be stated, that dreams from God do not hover about the head; and against the latter, that the mention of the head would in that case be superfluous. The expression, peculiar to Daniel, designates much rather the divinely ordered visions as such, "as were perfectly consistent with a thoughtfulness of the head actively engaged" (Kran.). The singular הוּא דּנה goes back to חלמך (thy dream) as a fundamental idea, and is governed by ראשׁך וחזוי in the sense: "thy dream with the visions of thy head;" cf. Winer, 49, 6. The plur. חזוי is used, because the revelation comprehends a series of visions of future events.

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