Daniel 2:34
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
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(34) Thou sawest.—Literally, the king kept on gazing in wonder at the image.

Daniel 2:34-35. Thou sawest till a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image, &c. — Here the whole image is represented as destroyed by a great stone falling upon its feet and breaking them to pieces, whereby the whole image was overset and broken. In like manner the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom of God’s own erecting, was to break to pieces and destroy the fourth and last empire, in which the remainder of the others was comprehended, and at length to put an end to all earthly rule, authority, and power, 1 Corinthians 15:24. The Jews, as well as Christians, agree that by the stone here is meant the Messiah, or his kingdom, and indeed it is a very apt description of it; for without any visible means, or adequate assistance of human power, it arose, prevailed mightily, and increased to a high degree of strength and greatness, and will still increase, until it become superior to, and swallow up, all the kingdoms of the earth. Then was the iron, the brass, &c., broken to pieces, and became like the chaff, &c. — There was no sign or remainder left of their former greatness. The same expression is used by Isaiah 41:15, where see the note. The expressions in both places allude to the thrashing-floors in the eastern countries, which were usually placed on the tops of hills. And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, &c. — This denotes the advancement and increase of Christ’s kingdom, that it should from small beginnings proceed to fill the whole earth; as if a stone by degrees should grow to a mountain. Thus Christ is described as going forth conquering and to conquer, Revelation 6:2. Christ, the foundation of the church, is often described as a stone: see Isaiah 28:16; Zechariah 3:9, and the church in its flourishing state is represented as a mountain, Isaiah 2:2; Ezekiel 20:40; Revelation 21:10.

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.Thou sawest - Chaldee, "Thou wast seeing;" that is, thou didst continue to behold, implying that the vision was of somewhat long continuance. It did not appear and then suddenly vanish, but it remained so long that he had an opportunity of careful observation.

Till that a stone was cut out without hands - That is, from a mountain or hill, Daniel 2:45. This idea is expressed in the Latin and the Greek version. The vision appears to have been that of a colossal image "standing on a plain" in the vicinity of a mountain, standing firm, until, by some unseen agency, and in an unaccountable manner, a stone became detached from the mountain, and was made to impinge against it. The margin here is, "which was not in his hands." The more correct rendering of the Chaldee, however, is that in the text, literally, "a stone was cut out which was not by hands" - בידין bı̂ydayı̂n: or perhaps still more accurately, "a stone was cut out which was not in hands," so that the fact that it was not in or by "hands" refers rather to its not being projected by hands than to the manner of its being detached from the mountain. The essential idea is, that the agency of hands did not appear at all in the case. The stone seemed to be self-moved. It became detached from the mountain, and, as if instinct with life, struck the image and demolished it. The word rendered "stone" ( אבן 'eben) determines nothing as to the "size" of the stone, but the whole statement would seem to imply that it was not of large dimensions. It struck upon "the feet" of the image, and it "became" itself a great mountain Daniel 2:35 - all which would seem to imply that it was at first not large. What increased the astonishment of the monarch was, that a stone of such dimensions should have been adequate to overthrow so gigantic a statue, and to grind it to powder. The points on which it was clearly intended to fix the attention of the monarch, and which made the vision so significant and remarkable, were these:

(a) the colossal size and firmness of the image;

(b) the fact that a stone, not of large size, should be seen to be selfdetached from the mountain, and to move against the image;

(c) the fact that it should completely demolish and pulverize the colossal figure; and

(d) the fact that then this stone of inconsiderable size should be itself mysteriously augmented until it filled the world.

It should be added, that the vision appears not to have been that of a stone detached from the side of a hill, and rolling down the mountain by the force of gravitation, but that of a stone detached, and then moving off toward the image as if it had been thrown from a hand, though the hand was unseen. This would very strikingly and appropriately express the idea of something, apparently small in its origin, that was impelled by a cause that was unseen, and that bore with mighty force upon an object of colossal magnitude, by an agency that could not be explained by the causes that usually operate. For the application and pertinency of this, see the notes at Daniel 2:44-45.

Which smote the image upon his feet - The word here used (מחא mechâ') means, to "strike," to "smite," without reference to the question whether it is a single blow, or whether the blow is often repeated. The Hebrew word (מחא mâchâ') is uniformly used as refering to "the clapping of the hands;" that is, smiting them together, Psalm 98:8; Isaiah 55:12; Ezekiel 25:6. The Chaldee word is used only here and in Daniel 2:35, referring to the smiting of the image, and in Daniel 4:35 (32), where it is rendered "stay" - "none can stay his hand." The connection here, and the whole statement, would seem to demand the sense of a continued or prolonged smiting, or of repeated blows, rather than a single concussion. The great image was not only thrown down, but there was a subsequent process of "comminution," independent of what would have been produced by the fall. A fall would only have broken it into large blocks or fragments; but this continued smiting reduced it to powder. This would imply, therefore, not only a single shock, or violent blow, but some cause continuing to operate until what had been overthrown was effectually destroyed, like a vast image reduced to impalpable powder. The "first concussion" on the feet made it certain that the colossal frame would fall; but there was a longer process necessary before the whole effect should be accomplished. Compare the notes at Daniel 2:44-45.

And brake them to pieces - In Daniel 2:35, the idea is, "they became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors." The meaning is not that the image was broken to "fragments," but that it was "beaten fine" - reduced to powder - so that it might be scattered by the wind. This is the sense of the Chaldee word (דקק deqaq), and of the Hebrew word also (דקק dâqaq). See Exodus 32:20 : "And he took the calf which they had made, and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder." Deuteronomy 9:21 : "and I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust." Isaiah 41:15 : "thou shalt thresh the mountains and "beat them small," and shalt make the hills as chaff." 2 Kings 23:15 : "he burnt the high place, and "stamped" it "small" to powder." 2 Chronicles 34:4 : "and they brake down the altars, etc., and "made dust" of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them." Compare Exodus 30:36; 2 Chronicles 34:7; 2 Kings 23:6. From these passages it is clear that the general meaning of the word is that of reducing anything to fine dust or powder, so that it may be easily blown about by the wind.

34. stone—Messiah and His kingdom (Ge 49:24; Ps 118:22; Isa 28:16). In its relations to Israel, it is a "stone of stumbling" (Isa 8:14; Ac 4:11; 1Pe 2:7, 8) on which both houses of Israel are broken, not destroyed (Mt 21:32). In its relation to the Church, the same stone which destroys the image is the foundation of the Church (Eph 2:20). In its relation to the Gentile world power, the stone is its destroyer (Da 2:35, 44; compare Zec 12:3). Christ saith (Mt 21:44, referring to Isa 8:14, 15), "Whosoever shall fall on this stone (that is, stumble, and be offended, at Him, as the Jews were, from whom, therefore, He says, 'The kingdom shall be taken') shall be broken; but (referring to Da 2:34, 35) on whomsoever it shall fall (referring to the world power which had been the instrument of breaking the Jews), it will (not merely break, but) grind him to powder" (1Co 15:24). The falling of the stone of the feet of the image cannot refer to Christ at His first advent, for the fourth kingdom was not then as yet divided—no toes were in existence (see on [1084]Da 2:44).

cut out—namely, from "the mountain" (Da 2:45); namely, Mount Zion (Isa 2:2), and antitypically, the heavenly mount of the Father's glory, from whom Christ came.

without hands—explained in Da 2:44, "The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom," as contrasted with the image which was made with hands of man. Messiah not created by human agency, but conceived by the Holy Ghost (Mt 1:20; Lu 1:35; compare Zec 4:6; Mr 14:58; Heb 9:11, 24). So "not made with hands," that is, heavenly, 2Co 5:1; spiritual, Col 2:11. The world kingdoms were reared by human ambition: but this is the "kingdom of heaven"; "not of this world" (Joh 18:36). As the fourth kingdom, or Rome, was represented in a twofold state, first strong, with legs of iron, then weak, with toes part of iron, part of clay; so this fifth kingdom, that of Christ, is seen conversely, first insignificant as a "stone," then as a "mountain" filling the whole earth. The ten toes are the ten lesser kingdoms into which the Roman kingdom was finally to be divided; this tenfold division here hinted at is not specified in detail till the seventh chapter. The fourth empire originally was bounded in Europe pretty nearly by the line of the Rhine and Danube; in Asia by the Euphrates. In Africa it possessed Egypt and the north coasts; South Britain and Dacia were afterwards added but were ultimately resigned. The ten kingdoms do not arise until a deterioration (by mixing clay with the iron) has taken place; they are in existence when Christ comes in glory, and then are broken in pieces. The ten have been sought for in the invading hosts of the fifth and sixth century. But though many provinces were then severed from Rome as independent kingdoms, the dignity of emperor still continued, and the imperial power was exercised over Rome itself for two centuries. So the tenfold divisions cannot be looked for before A.D. 731. But the East is not to be excluded, five toes being on each foot. Thus no point of time before the overthrow of the empire at the taking of Constantinople by the Turks (A.D. 1453) can be assigned for the division. It seems, therefore, that the definite ten will be the ultimate development of the Roman empire just before the rise of Antichrist, who shall overthrow three of the kings, and, after three and a half years, he himself be overthrown by Christ in person. Some of the ten kingdoms will, doubtless, be the same as some past and present divisions of the old Roman empire, which accounts for the continuity of the connection between the toes and legs, a gap of centuries not being interposed, as is objected by opponents of the futurist theory. The lists of the ten made by the latter differ from one another; and they are set aside by the fact that they include countries which were never Roman, and exclude one whole section of the empire, namely, the East [Tregelles].

upon his feet—the last state of the Roman empire. Not "upon his legs." Compare "in the days of these kings" (see on [1085]Da 2:44).

i.e. All of it to pieces, all vanished, and the stone became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth: this is the dream, and the interpretation of all follows.

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands,.... Or, "wast seeing" (e); the king continued looking upon the image that stood before him, as he thought, as long as he could see it, till he saw a "stone": an emblem of the Messiah, as it often is in Scripture, Genesis 49:24, because of his strength, firmness, and duration; and so it is interpreted here by many Jewish writers, ancient and modern, as well as by Christians; and also of his kingdom, or of him in his kingly office; see Daniel 2:44. In an ancient book (f) of theirs, written by R. Simeon Ben Jochai, the author interprets this stone, cut out of the mountain without hands, to be the same with him who in Genesis 49:24, is called the Shepherd and Stone of Israel; as it is by Saadiah Gaon, a later writer; and in another of their writings (g), reckoned by them very ancient, it is said, that the ninth king (for they speak of ten) shall be the King Messiah, who shall reign from one end of the world to the other, according to that passage, "the stone which smote the image", &c. Daniel 2:35 and in one of their ancient Midrashes (h), or expositions, it is interpreted of the King Messiah: and so R. Abraham Seba (i), on those words, "from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel", Genesis 49:24; observes, the King Messiah does not come but by the worthiness of Jacob, as it is said, "thou sawest, till that stone cut out without hands, because of Jacob". This is said to be "cut out without hands"; that is, the hands of men, as Saadiah and Jacchiades explain it; not cut out by workmen, as stones usually are out of quarries; but was taken out by an unseen hand, and by invisible power, even purely divine: this may point at the wondrous incarnation of Christ, who was made of a woman, of a virgin, without the help of a man, by the power of God; see Hebrews 8:2, and at his kingdom, which was like a single stone at first, very small, and was cut out and separated from the world, and set up and maintained, not by human, but divine power, and being of a spiritual nature, 2 Corinthians 5:1,

which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces; this seems to represent this image as in a plain, when, from a mountain hanging over it, a stone is taken by an invisible hand, and rolled upon it; which falling on its feet, breaks them to pieces, and in course the whole statue falls, and is broken to shivers; this respects what is yet to be done in the latter day, when Christ will take to himself his great power, and reign, and subdue, and destroy the ten kings or kingdoms that are given to antichrist, and him himself, and the remainder of the several monarchies, and in which they will all end.

(e) "videns eras", Montanus, Michaelis. (f) Zohar in Gen. fol. 86. 2.((g) Pirke Eliezer, c. 11. fol. 12. 2.((h) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 209. 4. (i) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 63. 2.

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
34. was cut out] viz. from a neighbouring mountain (see Daniel 2:45).

without hands] without human cooperation; it seemed to fall away of itself. But of course the implicit thought is that its secret mover was God: cf. the similar expressions in Daniel 8:25 end (‘shall be broken without hand,’ of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes); Job 34:20; Lamentations 4:6 : also (in a different connexion) 2 Corinthians 5:1, Hebrews 9:24.

Verse 34. - Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Practically, the versions are at one with the Massoretic text in regard to this verse, save that the two Greek versions add, ἐξ ὅρους, "out of the mountain" Concerning the Chaldee text, we would remark that in the dual form בִּידַיִן (biydayin), the dual has disappeared in the Aramaic of the Targums. Thou sawest till implies some time of contemplation and wonder. The king saw this gigantic statue, not possessing the attributes of any of his national gods, and he looks on in his dream in wonder and awe. Till a stone cut out without hands. The Greek versions make an addition which seems necessary to the sense - "out of the mountain." This addition may certainly have been made from the later verse (ver. 45). The logical necessity, however, may have prompted this addition. On the other hand, the evidence of both the Greek versions agreeing in one addition ha. very considerable weight. It is not impossible that the word מִטּוּרה (mitturah), "from the mountain," had dropped from the manuscripts used by the Massoretes. In favour of the Massoretic text is the fact that the Peshitta omits the word. On the other band, Jerome adds de monte. It may be noted, as at least a curiosity, that the Peshitta, instead of the אבן (aben)," a stone," gives kepha, from which Cephas, the name of the Apostle Peter, is derived. As the monarch gazes at the huge image, he sees behind the image a mountain towering above the image, huge as it is. From this mountain he sees a boulder detach itself, as if it were being cut with chisel and wedge, but no hands are risible. Once set loose from the mountain's side, it came by bounds and leaps down the declivity, "and smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay." Every bound that the stone makes down the mountain is larger, and raises it higher and makes it strike the earth with more of force, till with a bound greater than any it had made before, it strikes the feet of the image, "which were of iron and clay" mingled, yet separate - and at once they are broken in pieces: "utterly crushed" is the meaning of the word דוּק (duq). The Septuagint tendering is κατήλεσεν, "ground;" it occurs in Exodus 32:20, of Moses grinding the golden calf to powder. Theodotion's word is not a correct rendering of the word; it is ἐλέπτυνεν, "beat into thin scales;" comp. Matthew 21:(42) 45 ("the stone which the builders rejected"), "on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." It is to be observed that this cutting of the stone out of the mountain took place after the fourth portion of the image was clearly visible. In the dream the catastrophe took place after the stone had been cut from the mountain and had bounded down its side. A similar chronological succession may be expected in the events foreshadowed. Daniel 2:34The description of the image according to its several parts is introduced with the absolute צלמא הוּא, concerning this image, not: "this was the image." The pronoun הוּא is made prominent, as דּנה, Daniel 4:15, and the Hebr. זה more frequently, e.g., Isaiah 23:13. חדוהי, plural חדין - its singular occurs only in the Targums - corresponding with the Hebr. חזה, the breast. מצין, the bowels, here the abdomen enclosing the bowels, the belly. ירכה, the thighs (hfte) and upper part of the loins. Daniel 2:33. שׁק, the leg, including the upper part of the thigh. מנהון is partitive: part of it of iron. Instead of מנהון the Keri prefers the fem. מנהן here and at Daniel 2:41 and Daniel 2:42, with reference to this, that רגליו is usually the gen. fem., after the custom of nouns denoting members of the body that are double. The Kethiv unconditionally deserves the preference, although, as the apparently anomalous form, which appears with this suffix also in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, after substantives of seemingly feminine meaning, where the choice of the masculine form is to be explained from the undefined conception of the subjective idea apart from the sex; cf. Ewald's Lehr. d. hebr. Sp. 319.

The image appears divided as to its material into four or five parts - the head, the breast with the arms, the belly with the thighs, and the legs and feet. "Only the first part, the head, constitutes in itself a united whole; the second, with the arms, represents a division; the third runs into a division in the thighs; the fourth, bound into one at the top, divides itself in the two legs, but has also the power of moving in itself; the fifth is from the first divided in the legs, and finally in the ten toes runs out into a wider division. The material becomes inferior from the head downward - gold, silver, copper, iron, clay; so that, though on the whole metallic, it becomes inferior, and finally terminates in clay, losing itself in common earthly matter. Notwithstanding that the material becomes always the harder, till it is iron, yet then suddenly and at last it becomes weak and brittle clay." - Klief. The fourth and fifth parts, the legs and the feet, are, it is true, externally separate from each other, but inwardly, through the unity of the material, iron, are bound together; so that we are to reckon only four parts, as afterwards is done in the interpretation. This image Nebuchadnezzar was contemplating (Daniel 2:34), i.e., reflected upon with a look directed toward it, until a stone moved without human hands broke loose from a mountain, struck against the lowest part of the image, broke the whole of it into pieces, and ground to powder all its material from the head even to the feet, so that it was scattered like chaff of the summer thrashing-floor. בידין לא דּי does not mean: "which was not in the hands of any one" (Klief.), but the words are a prepositional expression for without; ב לא, not with equals without, and דּי expressing the dependence of the word on the foregoing noun. Without hands, without human help, is a litotes for: by a higher, a divine providence; cf. Daniel 8:25; Job 34:20; Lamentations 4:6. כּחדה, as one equals at once, with one stroke. דּקוּ for דּקּוּ is not intransitive or passive, but with an indefinite plur. subject: they crushed, referring to the supernatural power by which the crushing was effected. The destruction of the statue is so described, that the image passes over into the matter of it. It is not said of the parts of the image, the head, the breast, the belly, and the thighs, that they were broken to pieces by the stone, "for the forms of the world-power represented by these parts had long ago passed away, when the stone strikes against the last form of the world-power represented by the feet," but only of the materials of which these parts consist, the silver and the gold, is the destruction replicated; "for the material, the combinations of the peoples, of which these earlier forms of the world-power consist, pass into the later forms of it, and thus are all destroyed when the stone destroys the last form of the world-power" (Klief.). But the stone which brought this destruction itself became a great mountain which filled the whole earth. To this Daniel added the interpretation which he announces in Daniel 2:36. נאמר, we will tell, is "a generalizing form of expression" (Kran.) in harmony with Daniel 2:30. Daniel associates himself with his companions in the faith, who worshipped the same God of revelation; cf. Daniel 2:23.

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