God Sets History

Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.

And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”

Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”

The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. (Dan. 2:2-5, ESV)

The King called all his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers. “Magicians” (Heb. chartom) are “astrologers,” who possess “occult knowledge.” (BDB) “Enchanters” (Heb. ‘ashshaph), are Necromancers, conjurers (BDB). “Sorcerers” (Heb. kashaph) are those who practice “witchcraft or sorcery” (BDB), from the verb which means, “to whisper a spell” (Strong).

How many of you have watched, “Harry Potter”? They always speak a spell. It is all witchcraft and sorcery. That was the way of the magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers of Daniel’s time. But the ways of the sorcerers cannot come from the throne of God. Do not put yourself under its influence. Renounce it. Commit your thoughts and trust in God.

The problem was—the King did not want to tell them the details of the dream. So how could anybody interpret a dream that the King himself does not want to recollect?

In v. 5, Nebuchadnezzar issues a decree against all the wise men who cannot interpret his dream. If they cannot tell him the dream and interpret it, they will be torn from limb to limb. I read about one way of cutting a man into pieces. They would tie the top of two trees with a rope. They will tie the man’s left hand and foot to the tree; and his right hand and leg to the other tree. Then they cut off the rope that ties the two trees together. Horrible death penalty.

If they could not interpret the dream, their “houses shall be laid in ruins” (ESV); or “made a dunghill” (KJV). The word, “dunghill,” is more accurate, because the Aramaic word is nvaluw (nev-aw-luw), “Refuse-heap, dunghill” (BDB); “to be foul; a sink:–dunghill.” (Strong) It means that their houses will be burned to the ground and smelling like a garbage dump. It was a cruel decree, but that is how abusive kings did it in the Near East long ago.

An earthly King made that decree. But a heavenly King planned it to be so. For it is the God of heaven who creates history.


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