Search Tools

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. ° This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
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.
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly ° strong, and partly ° broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves ° with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:33 part of iron. The metals of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image follow a definite order corresponding to the empires they represent, decreasing in intrinsic value, but increasing in strength. That is, gold at the head is the most beautiful and valuable of the metals, iron in the legs is the strongest. These empires decrease in structural likeness to God’s ideal theocratic kingdom, but increase in worldly strength and geographical extent.

2:38 head of gold. This begins the remarkable prophecy—later fulfilled in detail over the centuries—of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image. The emperor was very pleased when he learned that the golden head of the image represented himself and his empire. The universality of this kingdom referred to its influence, rather than its geographical extent. Babylon was, indeed, the source (or “head”) of all the world’s false religions (Revelation 17:5) and materialistic greed (Revelation 18:3). It was conquered by the Medo-Persian empire in 538 B.C. (note Daniel 5:28).

2:39 another kingdom. The “breast and arms of silver” represented the two-sided kingdom of the Medes and Persians, which would dominate the known world from 538 B.C. to 334 B.C., when it was to be conquered by Alexander the Great, of Greece (see Daniel 8:20-21).

2:39 kingdom of brass. The “third kingdom of brass (or bronze),” was the great Greek empire, which continued until defeated by Rome, which became a world empire under Augustus in 31 B.C.

2:40 fourth kingdom. The fourth world kingdom, stronger than any before it, and longer in duration, dominated the world beginning about 129 B.C., becoming a monolithic empire under Augustus in 31 B.C., and continuing until its fall in A.D. 476. However, it divided in A.D. 285 under Emperor Diocletian into eastern and western branches, as indicated by the two legs of the image. The eastern leg, centered at Constantinople, did not fall until A.D. 1453.

2:41 kingdom shall be divided. The two divisions of the Roman empire, centered at Rome and Constantinople, respectively, continued for a long time, as suggested by the length of the legs. After the fall of political Rome, the empire continued in ecclesiastical form, as the Roman and Byzantine Catholic churches. In fact, in an extended sense, they continue even into the modern era, in the context, not of political unity, but of culture, language, legal structure, civilization and government. The change from political Rome to ecclesiastical Rome, at the knees of the image, as it were, became the Holy Roman empire in the west and the complex of Orthodox churches in the east. The western branch expanded throughout western Europe and into the Americas, the eastern into northern Eurasia, but the essential character of the old Roman empire persisted in both for many centuries.

2:42 partly broken. Gradually, the feudal economies of the various kingdoms began to disintegrate, with the king (or czar, or emperor, or other monarch) yielding more and more of his power to his subjects.

2:43 seed of men. The change of character and directions suggested by the change in the image from legs to feet apparently marks the rapid rise to dominance of the “seed of men” in the two divisions of the old empire of Rome. In the West, the American revolution was the first of many republics and democracies. In the East, the later emergence of communism had similar implications, but this also gave way to kingdoms “partly strong and partly broken,” continual conflict between totalitarianism and populism in the various nations.

2:44 days of these kings. The term “these kings” would indicate that at the very end of the age, the old Roman empire would develop into ten dominant kingdoms (corresponding to the “feet and toes” of the image), five in the western division, five in the east. Although the prophecies implicit in the rest of the image have largely been fulfilled already, the prophecy related to these extremities has not. Thus, it is not yet possible to identify these final ten kingdoms. They are probably the same as the “ten horns” of the tribulation period (Revelation 17:12).

2:44 kingdom. This kingdom “that shall never be destroyed” can be nothing less than the millennial kingdom set up by Christ when He returns and “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

2:45 without hands. The establishment of this final kingdom by “the God of heaven” is in no way an accomplishment by Christians and the church. The kingdom is established “without hands” by the conquering Lamb. “With the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 17:14; 19:15).

About the New Defender's Study Bible