The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.

They drank wine from the sacred vessels (Dan 5:3-5:4)

“So,

They brought in

The vessels

Of gold,

The vessels

Of silver,

That had been taken

Out of the temple,

The house of God,

In Jerusalem.

The king,

His lords,

His wives,

His concubines,

Drank from them.

They drank

The wine.

They praised

The gods

Of gold,

The gods

Of silver,

The gods

Of bronze,

The gods

Of iron,

The gods

Of wood,

The gods

Of stone.”

So, the feast or party rolled on. The servants brought in these silver and gold vessels from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Then the king, his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank wine from them. They praised the various idols or pagan gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that were common in Babylon.

Daniel repeats the dream wish of the holy watcher (Dan 4:23-4:23)

“The king saw

A holy watcher

Coming down

From heaven.

He said.

‘Cut down the tree!

Destroy it!

But leave its stump!

Leave its roots

In the ground!

Let it be bound

With a band

Of iron,

As well as bronze,

In the grass

Of the field!

Let him be bathed

With the dew of heaven!

Let his lot be

With the animals

Of the field,

Until seven times

It passes over him!’”

Daniel then repeated the dream wish of the holy watcher or the angel from heaven. The tree had to be cut down and destroyed. However, this holy watcher or angel told the king to leave its stump and its roots in the ground. They were to bind this stump with an iron and bronze band in the grassy field, so that heavenly dew would fall on it. This tree has suddenly become a ‘he,’ a masculine personality that will have to suffer like the animals of the grassy field. This was to last at least 7 years or pass over him 7 times.

Save the stump (Dan 4:15-4:16)

“‘But leave its stump!

Leave its roots

In the ground!

Let it be bound

With a band

Of iron,

As well as bronze,

In the tender grass

Of the field.

Let him be bathed

With the dew of heaven!

Let his lot be

With the animals

Of the field

In the grass

Of the earth!

Let his mind

Be changed

From that of a human!

Let the mind

Of an animal

Be given to him!

Let seven times

Pass over him!’”

This holy watcher or angel told the king to leave the stump of the tree with its roots in the ground. They were to bind this stump with an iron and bronze band in a grassy field, so that heavenly dew would fall on it. This tree has suddenly become a ‘he,’ a masculine personality, that will have to suffer like the animals of the grass fields. The human mind of this tree stump was to be changed to that of an animal. This was to last at least 7 years or pass over him 7 times.

The divided mixed kingdom (Dan 2:41-2:43)

“As you saw

The feet

With the toes,

Partly of potter’s clay,

Partly of iron,

It shall be a divided kingdom.

Some of the strength

Of iron

Shall be in it,

Just as you saw

The iron mixed

With the clay.

As the toes

Of the feet were

Partly iron,

Partly clay,

Thus,

The kingdom shall be

Partly strong,

Partly brittle.

As you saw the iron

Mixed with clay,

Thus,

They will mix

With one another

In marriage.

But they will not

Hold together,

Just as iron

Does not mix

With clay.”

This appears to be a veiled reference to the future Greek iron kingdom with its problems between the different ruling parties of the Seleucids (312-63 BCE) and the Ptolemies (305-30 BCE). They each inherited parts of the Greek empire of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE). They tried to join together through marriage, but that failed. Daniel here used the example of the feet made of iron and clay, the strength of the iron mixed with the weak clay. However, as the toes and feet became weak, so too this kingdom would be partly strong and partly brittle. Even a marriage could not hold it together, because iron and clay simply do not mix.

The destruction of the statue (Dan 2:34-2:35)

“As you looked on,

A stone was cut out,

Not by human hands.

It struck the statue

On its feet

Of iron and clay.

It broke them

Into pieces.

Then the iron,

The clay,

The bronze,

The silver,

The gold,

Were all broken

Into pieces.

They became

Like the chaff

Of the summer threshing floors.

The wind

Carried them away.

Thus,

Not a trace of them

Could be found.

But the stone

That struck the statue

Became a great mountain.

It filled

The whole earth.”

Daniel explained that the statue of the king’s dream was destroyed. Somehow, a stone was cut out of a mountain. Then, this cut rock struck the iron and clay feet of this statue, but with no one with hands directing this rock. Thus, the feet of this statue were broken into pieces. Then the rest of the statue with its iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold also broke into pieces. These small pieces of the statue became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, blowing in the wind. No one would ever be able to find them. However, the cut rock that struck the feet of the statue became like a big mountain covering the whole earth.

A description of the statue in the kings ‘s dream (Dan 2:32-2:33)

“The head

Of that statue

Was of fine gold.

Its breast,

With its arms,

Were of silver.

It middle,

With its thighs,

Were of bronze.

Its legs

Were of iron.

Its feet

Were partly of iron,

Partly of clay.”

Next, Daniel described this great big brilliant scary statue in the king’s dream. The head was made of fine gold, while its arms and breast were made of silver. His middle and thighs were bronze, while his legs were made of iron. However, his feet were part iron and part clay. This was an imposing figure made up of various different metals.