BOOK OF DANIEL Dreams or Dream?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL Dreams or Dream?

Dreams or Dream?

As we begin our reading in Daniel chapter two we are already faced with opposition voices as to the accuracy of the book. Daniel 2:1 reads, “Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.” (NASB)

The argument of those who are ready to disbelieve Daniel at every chance they get is the statement that “Nebuchadnezzar had dreams” in the second year of his reign. Such opponents to Scripture argue that, based on Daniel chapter one, three years have elapsed (based on the account in Daniel 1:5 that informs us that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah had three years of education in the Babylonian court). This argument, however, disintegrates because there is no argument that the three years of the young Jewish men had finished. The Babylonian reckoning of a king’s reign fell completely in line with it being the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Additionally, Daniel chapter one is written in Hebrew, whereas chapters two through seven are Aramaic. In other words, the three year reckoning in Daniel 1:5 is based on a Jewish timeline date setting which, actually, is completely in agreement with Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. Daniel 2:1 had a Babylonian reckoning. So how is this conundrum explained? When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt at the battle of Carchemish it was the early part of 605 BC.  A few months later is when Daniel and others were deported to Babylon in the first of three deportations. Immediately upon winning the battle of Carchemish word came that Nebuchadnezzar’s father Nabopolasser, the Babylonian king, had died. One must remember that Nebuchadnezzar, at this juncture, was not the king but the crown prince and his father’s death necessitated his urgent return to Babylon to secure the throne. The Babylon timing of a king’s rule did not count the unexpired portion of the year that the previous king had died as the time of the new king. His rule was calculated from the first full year of his rule. Hence, Daniel 2:1 is accurate, based upon the Babylonian dating of a king’s rule being the start of a new full year.

Now, we see three other points of Daniel 2:1. The first point is that Nebuchadnezzar had dreams, as in the plural, more than one. This does not necessarily mean that he had different dreams but could mean he had the same recurring dream. Alternatively, as we get into the substance of the dreams, one could argue the dreams could have been made up of different parts of the same dream. I say this for several reasons. As we will see in the forthcoming verses, Nebuchadnezzar never asks for his “dreams” to be interpreted but his “dream” as in the singular. The magicians, enchanters and sorcerers, likewise, never ask the king the content of his “dreams” but of his “dream”. Finally, Daniel, by God granting him the interpretation of the dream, is brought before Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel if he can interpret the dream (singular) and Daniel rightly tells the king that only God can reveal the meaning of the dream. What is fascinating when we get to this passage of Scripture is that Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that God will reveal the dream (singular) and the visions (plural) of his head. I think that the Scriptures give us a clear understanding that Nebuchadnezzar had one dream that may have had parts over one, or several, nights and which consisted of several visions that were composed of that dream.

The second point is that Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled. Given the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was the world ruler one could wonder why something would bother him. But remember, he was a hardened military leader. One commentary claims that due to the uprising of the city of Ashkelon that, in 604 BC, resisted paying allegiance to Babylon, could have caused Nebuchadnezzar such anguish. That is hardly an argument, as Ashkelon’s rebellion resulted in its total destruction. Ashkelon is a coastal city just north of the Gaza strip which, at the time of Babylon, (according to this particular commentary) was one of the extremities of the empire of Babylon. The commentary suggests that this uprising caused Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit to be troubled. You may be pleased to note that I neither share author of this commentaries viewpoint nor do I support its comments. It is inconceivable that Nebuchadnezzar would travel to Jerusalem on more than one occasion to deport and conquer and destroy it and be troubled in spirit before traveling there. It is also (in my humble opinion) a lazy dissertation as to the real reason Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled, given that the author was aware of the contents of the dreams that caused his anxiety (as revealed by Scripture) when writing their commentary. No, what Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of was so horrifying, so alarming, that it shook him to the core. His dreams panicked him to such an extent that he forgot them. He may have had bits and pieces but the content and, more importantly, its meaning, eluded him. He likely remembered the terror and fearfulness of the dream but not its content.

This led to the third point. His sleep left him. You may recall as a child, or even as an adult, when you have a bad dream (or what is termed a “nightmare”) you invariably don’t immediately go back to sleep. A child would likely only settle down by getting into their parents’ bed. An adult would likely stay awake, possibly for hours, trying to recollect the fear of the dream or even get up and get dressed. Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams were worse than that. The ability to sleep left him completely which added to his anxiety and as we will see next time his anger and decision on getting to the bottom of these dreams