Daniel 2:3-11

The witches had not the answers. But God has. Why? Read the following verses:

Daniel 2:2b-11

"When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.”

"Then the astrologers answered the king, 'May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it”

"The king replied to the astrologers, 'This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”

"Once more they replied, 'Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it”

"Then the king answered, 'I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”

"The astrologers answered the king, 'There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans”

Observe that NIV has commenced in verse 2 with "When they came ..." but the original Hebrew allows to make the difference in the beginning of verse 3 with "And the king said unto them..." (literally).

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Some corrections should be useful in this translation.

1) In the 4th verse, the original says "...answered the king IN ARAMAIC" (and the text of the book of Daniel changes from Hebrew to Aramaic until Dn 8:1, where Hebrew is back)

2) The "astrologers" are the "Chaldeans" in the original text. Even when the rendering is technically correct, it is asuming that only the astrologers spoke before the king (and there were other kinds of "wise men"; "Chaldeans" can apply to all of them, since all were "Chaldeans" or "Babylonians"; that's why they spoke Aramaic)

3) The answer of the king in verse 5 begins with the words "milletá miní azdá", were "azdá" is the participle of "azad" ("milletá" is definite for "millá" = matter or issue; "miní" = from me). "Azad" means "to be firm" in some dictionaries and "to be gone" in other ones; that's why you can read in King James "the matter is gone from me", and "the matter is firm from me" in NIV. The text makes better sense with "is gone" (the king had forgotten his dream and was asking them in order to tell it to him, which they couldn't, but Daniel could) It is the LXX * rendering.

3) "...they don't live among humans" in verse 11 is the translation of "their dwelling place isn't with the flesh" (literally rendered); a possible rendering should be "... isn't IN the humans".

When I first read this text, my first impression was that the king was nuts. The final answer of the Chaldeans, "no one can reveal it but the gods" - even when I don't believe in "gods" but in God - seems to be logical and true; who could possibly know the dream of another person, but God? But if we wanna go a little bit deeper, then we need to be acquainted with that epoch, and with the usances in old Babylonia. The Chaldeans were right in some way when they confessed their limitations, but they weren't rigth when they proclaimed that we are all in the same condition. Besides, the king was right when he wanted them to answer, in the basis of their "professions" (they were supposed to be able to reveal supernatural things to the king)

There's even more in the book of Daniel. God, the One who created the heavens and the earth, is omniscient (it means that He knows everything), and He is able to "dwell in the flesh". When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Spirit of God (which is God also) comes to abide in us. As we have told before, the epistles to the Corinthians were written by Paul the apostle, who founded the first Christian church in Corinth (see Acts 18) and, as he usually did, sent to his disciples some "epistles" or letters with recommendations, corrections and encouragement to his disciples. It was a church full of spiritual gifts, but because of their immaturity, they misused them most of the time. That's why Paul sent them a kind of "manual" in his first epistle, about the use of the spiritual gifts. In the second chapter of 1 Corinthians we read, " However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived ' - the things God has prepared for those who love him - these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God". If the Spirit of God wouldn't come to my life, this page would be impossible for me to write; the Bible should be for me a big mystery (as it is for humble unknowing people) or a fanciful book full of superstition (as it is for arrogant atheists) My Lord is the One Who gives me words to write, every day, because I kneel before Him every morning and ask Him for it in my prayers.

But - back in Babylonia - if God knows everything, and if God can abide through His Spirit in the humans, why didn't all those witches received Him, and asked Him? Weren't they hearing that the king should send them to death if they didn't answer? Why didn't they ask God?

Well, we need to go back in order to find some answers. The Word of God teaches that the first humans created by Him were in communion with Him. They knew everything that God showed them (Gn 2:15-20). But because of their sin, they were expelled from paradise and, some time later, humankind were spread throughout the earth (after Genesis 11). Then a distinction was taking place. Some people knew God and had a relationship with Him; other ones had a confusing mix between the real God and the false "gods" - which is probably the origin of the existence of so many different religions. Daniel and his friends were Jews. They belonged to the only one nation which knew the only real God, which had also the Law of God and was instructed by prophets anointed by the Spirit of God. The Babylonians worshipped false gods - they were "pagans" - and their idea of the God of Israel was not different of the concept of the "gods" of other nations. If their "god" wasn't able to reveal them the kings matter, why should be the God of Israel different? To be alienated from God leads us directly to Satan's hands. They not only ignored the real "religion" - in a good sense, the relationship with God - but they had their own false religions (astrology, witchcraft and others)

Many people believe - wrongly - that all religions are the same. But it is a big lie that Satan uses to keep us away from the real God. The discussion between Nebuchadnezzar and his "advisors" is a good example, showing us that no one among the "wise" men in Babylonia believed in the possibility that God should abide in human beings. That's why they had no communication with Him, as the first humans, or Noah, Abraham, Moses and all the ones who have lived by faith on earth. If you've been deceived, following a false religion and worshiping someone or something which isn't "God", the Lord Jesus Christ is calling at your door. Receive Him, ask for His forgiveness for all your sins and begin a new life, with Jesus as your guide. He will send His Holy Spirit to guide you and to give you revelation (see Romans 8:10-14)

May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother

Israel Leonard

PS Jesus is coming soon!

* The LXX, "Septuagint", is a translation of the Old Testament, which was complete by 200 BC. The name alludes to seventy scribes who worked in the translation (from Hebrew to Koine Greek, which was the "lingua franca" by that time, even among Jews). It is the "Old Testament" that the apostles and evangelists quoted when they wrote the New, and that's why we can see differences between a verse in the OT and its correspondent in the NT (our modern Bibles use an OT which is translated from the Masoretic Text, the Jewish acknowledged OT). For centuries was the Masoretic Text believed to be the nearest to the original Scripture, as it was written by the OT prophets. But from 1946 to 1956 were found in Khirbet Qumran (Israel) one of the most spectacular archaeological discoverings of all times, the so called "Dead Sea Scrolls", a collection of 972 old texts (ca 400 of them from the Bible) which showed that MT is not the only one in Hebrew, but coexisted with other Hebrew texts nearer to LXX (making Septuagint even more trustworthy than it had been, because it is the translation of Hebrew original copies which are not inferior to the MT but parallel, as just another Hebrew version)

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