Week 3 Revealer of Secrets
Year 4, Nebuchadnezar, Daniel 2:1-25
Nebuchadnezar's name means "Nebo (Chaldean God of Wisdom and Prophecy, Son of
Marduk), protect your servant!" in Chaldean. However, for a little Jewish
numerology, in Hebrew, the consonants
can be creatively divided into 3 words meaning:
Nebuchadnezar is given prophetic dreams, his anger flares red hot (sometimes
literally!), he is clay in the Potter's hands, he is separated from his people,
and his person and kingdom preserved.
- נבא (navi) - Prophet
- כידוד (kidod) - red hot spark, or כד (chad) - jar
- נצר (nasar) - guard or keep, or נזר (nazar) - be separated from the people
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Babylon U - The High Gods
The high gods,
or great gods, all had a city of origin. However, they continued to rule after
their cities fell. They did not deal directly with men. They employed
intermediaries (lower gods and deified men). They alone could reveal secrets.
In the oldest stories, Anu, Hea, and Elu (Bel: LORD) are the greatest, with Elu
most active in the affairs of men. Later, Bel became a title for the lord
of the gods, and Ishtar was also applied to several goddesses.
- Anu, king of angels and spirits, lord of the city of Erech.
- Bel, lord of the world, father of the gods, creator, lord of the city of Nipur.
- Hea, maker of fate, lord of the deep, god of wisdom and knowledge, lord of the city of Eridu.
- Sin, lord of crowns, maker of brightness, lord of the city of Ur
(Genesis 11:31). Moon.
- Merodach (Marduk), just prince of the gods, lord of birth,
lord of the city of Babylon. Jupiter.
- Vul, the strong god, lord of canals and atmosphere, lord of the city of Muru.
- Shamas, judge of heaven and earth, director of all, lord of the cities of Larsa and Sippara. Sun. Son of Sin.
- Ninip, warrior of the warriors of the gods, destroyer of wicked, lord of the city of Nipur.
- Nergal, giant king of war, lord of the city of Cutha.
- Nusku, holder of the golden sceptre, the lofty god.
- Belat, wife of Bel, mother of the great gods, lady of the city of Nipur.
- Ishtar (Easter), eldest of heaven and earth, raising the face of warriors. Venus. Daughter of Sin.
Merodach, god of Babylon, appears in all the earlier inscriptions as the agent
of his father Hea; Merodach is an active agent in creation, but is always
subordinate to his father Hea. In later times, after Babylon had been made the
capital, Merodach, the god of that city, was raised to the head of the
Pantheon. Merodach or Bel was identified with the classical Jupiter, but the
name Bel, "the lord," was only given to him after the rise of Babylon.
Family of Nebuchadnezar
Around the time Nebuchadnezar was born c. 630 BC, Nebuchadnezar's father,
Nabopolassar, revolted against the Assyrian empire in an alliance with
the Medes. Ninevah was sacked in 612 BC
The Assyrians retreated to Harran, which was in turn taken in 609. From 610
until his death, he fought against Egypt. In 605, apparently wounded or in ill
health, he sent his son Nebuchadnezar to fight the Egyptians. That year, he
abdicated, making his son King, and died shortly thereafter. He had laid the
foundations of a stable empire for his son, who took full advantage of the
opportunity, and expanded it immensely.
As a young military commander,
Nebuchadnezzar II defeated Egyptian forces at Carchemish,
giving his father control over Syria. His first ambition when he ascended to
the throne was to expand his empire, taking Jerusalem and Judah, and attacking
Egypt. His second ambition was to rebuild the city of Babylon, making it one of
the wonders of the ancient world.
According to Berossus, he married Amytis of Media, daughter or granddaughter of Cyaxeres, King of the Medes, thus uniting the Median and Babylonian dynasties.
Upon ascending to the throne, Nebuchadnezzar spoke to the gods, in his
saying, “O merciful Marduk, may the house that I have built endure forever,
may I be satiated with its splendor, attain old age therein, with abundant
offspring, and receive therein tribute of the kings of all regions, from all
The King's Dream
In the second year of his reign (2:1), Nebuchadezar was thinking about what
would happen to his empire (2:29) when he fell asleep, and God revealed the
future to him in a dream. As the first King of the "Time of the Gentiles", God
reveals the end of that age to him, and not to Daniel. At first, he
suspects a plot, but God uses his suspicion to establish, from the
mouths of the wise men he suspects, that a "high god" has revealed a secret to
- 2:1 - Depending on when Nabopolassar abdicated, this even could be while
Daniel was still a student.
- 2:4 - From this point on, the original language switches to
Chaldee/Aramaic until the end of chapter 7. This was the common
language of the court of Babylon.
- 2:9 - there is but one decree for you (that cannot be changed, as in
Esther - an important limitation on the power of an absolute monarch).
- 2:10 - there is not a man that can show.. highlighting the divine
origin of God's revelation to Daniel.
- 2:11 - except the gods, whose conversation is not with men. In contrast
with the God of the Bible, Babylonian high gods did not communicate directly
- 2:16 - not a direct audience (see verse 24), some courtier (Arioc?)
conveyed the request
- 2:17 - Daniel used the time to pray with his friends.
- 2:21 - He (God) removes Kings and sets up Kings
- 2:23 - ..given me wisdom and might.. to convince Arioch to delay carrying
out the Kings command.
- 2:25 - I have found a man. Like any good courtier, Arioch claims credit
for "discovering" Daniel. :-) However, consider that he dared not reveal
that he had delayed the King's edict on his own initiative to allow
Daniel to request time. He brings Daniel in haste, pretending not to know
whose application had caused the stay of execution.