Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 2:34

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A stone was cut out - The fifth monarchy; the spiritual kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which is to last for ever, and diffuse itself over the whole earth.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou sawest - Chaldee, “Thou wast seeing;” that is, thou didst continue to behold, implying that the vision was of somewhat long continuance. It did not appear and then suddenly vanish, but it remained so long that he had an opportunity of careful observation.

Till that a stone was cut out without hands - That is, from a mountain or hill, Daniel 2:45. This idea is expressed in the Latin and the Greek version. The vision appears to have been that of a colossal image “standing on a plain” in the vicinity of a mountain, standing firm, until, by some unseen agency, and in an unaccountable manner, a stone became detached from the mountain, and was made to impinge against it. The margin here is, “which was not in his hands.” The more correct rendering of the Chaldee, however, is that in the text, literally, “a stone was cut out which was not by hands” - בידין bı̂ydayı̂n or perhaps still more accurately, “a stone was cut out which was not in hands,” so that the fact that it was not in or by “hands” refers rather to its not being projected by hands than to the manner of its being detached from the mountain. The essential idea is, that the agency of hands did not appear at all in the case. The stone seemed to be self-moved. It became detached from the mountain, and, as if instinct with life, struck the image and demolished it. The word rendered “stone” (אבן 'eben ) determines nothing as to the “size” of the stone, but the whole statement would seem to imply that it was not of large dimensions. It struck upon “the feet” of the image, and it “became” itself a great mountain Daniel 2:35 - all which would seem to imply that it was at first not large. What increased the astonishment of the monarch was, that a stone of such dimensions should have been adequate to overthrow so gigantic a statue, and to grind it to powder. The points on which it was clearly intended to fix the attention of the monarch, and which made the vision so significant and remarkable, were these:

(a) the colossal size and firmness of the image;

(b) the fact that a stone, not of large size, should be seen to be selfdetached from the mountain, and to move against the image;

(c) the fact that it should completely demolish and pulverize the colossal figure; and

(d) the fact that then this stone of inconsiderable size should be itself mysteriously augmented until it filled the world.

It should be added, that the vision appears not to have been that of a stone detached from the side of a hill, and rolling down the mountain by the force of gravitation, but that of a stone detached, and then moving off toward the image as if it had been thrown from a hand, though the hand was unseen. This would very strikingly and appropriately express the idea of something, apparently small in its origin, that was impelled by a cause that was unseen, and that bore with mighty force upon an object of colossal magnitude, by an agency that could not be explained by the causes that usually operate. For the application and pertinency of this, see the notes at Daniel 2:44-45.

Which smote the image upon his feet - The word here used (מחא mechâ' ) means, to “strike,” to “smite,” without reference to the question whether it is a single blow, or whether the blow is often repeated. The Hebrew word (מחא mâchâ' ) is uniformly used as refering to “the clapping of the hands;” that is, smiting them together, Psalm 98:8; Isaiah 55:12; Ezekiel 25:6. The Chaldee word is used only here and in Daniel 2:35, referring to the smiting of the image, and in Daniel 4:35 (32), where it is rendered “stay” - “none can stay his hand.” The connection here, and the whole statement, would seem to demand the sense of a continued or prolonged smiting, or of repeated blows, rather than a single concussion. The great image was not only thrown down, but there was a subsequent process of “comminution,” independent of what would have been produced by the fall. A fall would only have broken it into large blocks or fragments; but this continued smiting reduced it to powder. This would imply, therefore, not only a single shock, or violent blow, but some cause continuing to operate until what had been overthrown was effectually destroyed, like a vast image reduced to impalpable powder. The “first concussion” on the feet made it certain that the colossal frame would fall; but there was a longer process necessary before the whole effect should be accomplished. Compare the notes at Daniel 2:44-45.

And brake them to pieces - In Daniel 2:35, the idea is, “they became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors.” The meaning is not that the image was broken to “fragments,” but that it was “beaten fine” - reduced to powder - so that it might be scattered by the wind. This is the sense of the Chaldee word (דקק deqaq ), and of the Hebrew word also (דקק dâqaq ). See Exodus 32:20: “And he took the calf which they had made, and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder.” Deuteronomy 9:21: “and I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust.” Isaiah 41:15: “thou shalt thresh the mountains and “beat them small,” and shalt make the hills as chaff.” 2 Kings 23:15: “he burnt the high place, and “stamped” it “small” to powder.” 2 Chronicles 34:4: “and they brake down the altars, etc., and “made dust” of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.” Compare Exodus 30:36; 2 Chronicles 34:7; 2 Kings 23:6. From these passages it is clear that the general meaning of the word is that of reducing anything to fine dust or powder, so that it may be easily blown about by the wind.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 503

This chapter is based on Daniel 3.

The dream of the great image, opening before Nebuchadnezzar events reaching to the close of time, had been given that he might understand the part he was to act in the world's history, and the relation that his kingdom should sustain to the kingdom of heaven. In the interpretation of the dream, he had been plainly instructed regarding the establishment of God's everlasting kingdom. “In the days of these kings,” Daniel had declared, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.... The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:44, 45. PK 503.1

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