1 in the second year of the reign of nebuchadnezzar, nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. 2 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. 3 and the king said to them, “i had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” 4 then the chaldeans said to the king in aramaic, “o king, live forever! tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” 5 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. 6 but if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” [daniel 2:1-6]


king nebuchadnezzar wasn’t kidding around. the consequence for interpreting his dream incorrectly was death.


who were the chaldeans?

as the king shares with his counsel of magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and chaldeans that he is troubled by a dream, the chaldeans are the first to speak up. this group is convinced that once they know the dream, they can interpret it. but who are they?

the chaldeans were originally a distinct people group, but had long ago lost their ethnic identity after being conquered. they were now known not as an ethnicity, but as members of an educated upper class – skilled sorcerers, masters of reading and writing, and knowledgeable in all things ‘magic’.

in essence, they were the elite; the delta force of magicians standing before the king. the promise of great honor got their attention.


show the dream

being the elite group they were, they showed quick arrogance that they could certainly interpret the dream. “just tell us what the dream is and we’ll interpret it! no problem!’

but the king wasn’t going to let them get away with that. If they are so eager and so knowledgeable, he thought, they can tell me what the dream is and then interpret it.

they ask again for the dream, so they have something to work with, and are again reminded that they volunteered for this, and if they are so smart, they have to tell him what the dream is first.

there would be no prompt to work with, and being wrong would mean death.


God alone interprets the unknown

this passage can leave us without hope, as there are things that not even the most knowledgeable, confident humans can ever understand. yet we have strong hope in knowing that God alone can and does understand every need, every pain, every joy that we experience. He interprets every dream, causes all things to work for good, and is far and beyond greater than any wise person or any human king will ever hope to be.


~ jason soroski