Daniel 2

These small group studies of Daniel contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Daniel 2 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

I. The setting: Neb’s dream (1)
II. The inability and political jostling of his “wise” men (2-12)
III. Daniel wisely makes a request for time and then seeks the Lord (13-18)
IV. Daniel praises the Lord after the dream is revealed (19-23)
V. Daniel gives credit to the Lord for the interpretation (24-30)
VI. The king’s dream is (31-35)
VII. The interpretation of the king’s dream (36-45)
VIII. Daniel is rewarded (46-49)

I. The setting: Neb’s dream (1)

Cross-references:

Genesis 40 – God gives Pharaoh a dream and Joseph the interpretation to help protect Israel and vault Joseph into power.
Jeremiah 27:5 – God will give the kings what countries He pleases.

Teaching Points:

1. Possible explanations for “second year” of his reign comment:

2. We meet with a great difficulty in the date of this story; it is said to be in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, v. 1. Now Daniel was carried to Babylon in his first year, and, it should seem, he was three years under tutors and governors before he was presented to the king, Dan 1:5. How then could this happen in the second year? Perhaps, though three years were appointed for the education of other children, yet Daniel was so forward that he was taken into business when he had been but one year at school, and so in the second year he became thus considerable. Some make it to be the second year after he began to reign alone, but the fifth or sixth year since he began to reign in partnership with his father. Some read it, and in the second year, (the second after Daniel and his fellows stood before the king), in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, or in his reign, this happened; as Joseph, in the second year after his skill in dreams, showed and expounded Pharaoh’s, so Daniel, in the second year after he commenced master in that art, did this service. I would much rather take it some of these ways than suppose, as some do, that it was in the second year after he had conquered Egypt, which was the thirty-sixth year of his reign, because it appears by what we meet with in Ezekiel, that Daniel was famous both for wisdom and prevalence in prayer long before that; and therefore this passage, or story, which shows how he came to be so eminent for both these must be laid early in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.

II. The inability and political jostling of his “wise” men (2-12)

Discussion Questions

What kind of people did Neb call in to tell him his dream and interpret it?
Why wouldn’t he tell them his dream?
What do you notice about Neb and all these wise men from this passage?
Do you think Neb was right in his accusations about their motives?
Were they correct in verses 10-12?
What does this tell us about the wise men’s ability as sorcerers/magicians false religion leaders?
Why were they unable to tell him his dream?
What does this tell us about the ability of these types of religious figures today?
Neb was very smart. He knew the hearts of his supposed wise men and he knew their political scheming. He wasn’t in the dark about the corruption and deception. So why did he rely on these guys?

Teaching Points

1. As a lost soul, he had no choice but to rely on these guys. These were the only people he could turn to, and that is a sad state. He also knew how to deal with them. He wouldn’t tell them the dream to test to see if what they were speaking was really true. Telling the dream would validate the interpretation. Any 10 year old can come up with an interpretation, and put it far enough into the future that it couldn’t be tested. Their plan was to rely on deception.

2. The wrath of Neb – Neb had been infected with his power and grown extraordinarily prideful and arrogant. As the highest person on earth, he expected others to do his bidding and do it immediately. It didn’t matter how absurd the request was, he demanded people to do it. Also, like we see later in the book, he makes a lot of threats. He has power and he intends to use it. These threats are not idle threats either. He will follow through because he is a man of fury and wrath. This was the kind of person that Daniel was under and served for so many years. Spending time in Neb’s court was like playing with fire, one mistake and you get burned. So many people were willing to do it because of the possible rewards.

3. The wise men and sorcerers were unable to provide any true assistance. They were unable to because they had no real power, no real authority, and no divine wisdom. They played the game well. Magic, tricks, deception, counterfeit, were their tools. Their religions were false and they had no real ability. This is also true of many similar people today. Speaking smoothly and cheap tricks doesn’t denote authority, but people fall for it all the time. Instead of turning to this kind of person (like fortune tellers in China), who admittedly cannot solve the problem, we must turn to the One, true living God.

Cross-References

Proverbs 19:12, Proverbs 20:2 – The anger of the king kills, but his favor is like dew.Isaiah 8:19, 47:12-15 – The futility of this kind of soothsayer and wise man.
Exodus 8:16-19 – Pharaoh’s wise men fail to duplicate what God did though Moses.

III. Daniel wisely makes a request for time and then seeks the Lord (13-18)

Discussion Questions

What do you notice about Daniel’s response when he hears about this?
What do you notice about his relationship with Arioch?
How does Daniel try to find out the dream?
Give some specific ways in our life we can apply what we learn from Daniel here.

We can also learn a lot of things from Daniel’s response here:

Teaching Points

1. He replied with discretion and discernment. Throughout the whole process we can see he is calm and careful. He is never hasty and doesn’t act rashly. He doesn’t lose his temper or panic or get nervous. He remains cool, calm, and collected. Panicking or acting hastily is never helpful and will normally make the situation much worse.

2. He found out more information from Arioch. He didn’t just hear part of the story and then act. He asked and then listened so that he could understand the whole picture. I don’t about you, but sometimes I respond or react before getting the whole idea from someone. It’s far better to calmly listen, understand everything, and then calmly form our response.

3. Daniel already had a good relationship with Arioch. He had obviously been behaving in a way to earn Arioch’s respect over a period of time. This left him in a position to be able to help.

4. He once again asked permission for his plan. He asked the king for more time. He seeks to do the will of God, but does so under the authority God has placed him in. He is not a lone ranger.

5. He calls in his friends, who pray together with him. Once again, he is not a lone ranger. There is strength in numbers and no matter how wise or smart we are, we need other believers for encouragement, counsel, and to seek the Lord together.

6. He sought the Lord. No matter how wise or smart we are, if we try to do things on our own, we will fail. We must seek the Lord first because only He gives true success.

Cross-References

Ecclesiastes 9:17-18 – The quiet words of the wise is better than the shouts of rulers of fools.
Psalms 50:15, Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 33:3 – Seek the Lord and He will help.

IV. Daniel praises the Lord after the dream is revealed (19-23)

Discussion Questions

What does Daniel do immediately after the dream is revealed to him? What would you have probably done? What can we learn from this?
What can we learn from verse 21 about the history of the world?
How can we possibly know the plans of God (only if He reveals them)?

Teaching Points

1. Once the Lord revealed the answer the Daniel, he didn’t just rush off and storm into the palace with it. I probably would have been like “thanks, Lord” and then ran off. Once again he is calm and realizes the priority is to truly thank the Lord for His graciousness and answer to prayer. Too often after people pray and receive the answer they forget to actually thank the Lord for the answer. They are quick to ask and quick to receive, but slow to thank. They take the answer for granted as if it is their right. Obviously, this is wrong. We need to take quality time to go the Lord with thanksgiving for everything, big or small.

2. Verse 21 – This is one of the major things we can learn from this chapter. God is in control of the history of the world. It seems like man is. Kingdoms rise and fall. Empires grow and fade. People are born and die. But God directs everything and has a perfect plan that He is going to bring to completion. We can fight with Him or against Him.

3. Verse 22 – The only way to know the plans, thoughts, hidden things of God, is if He reveals them to us. Contemplation, meditation, experiments, observation, will all come back empty without going to God’s revelation about Himself. God didn’t leave us in the dark to our own devices. He has revealed Himself to us so that we can truly know and understand Him. This is a great blessing, because we can know the truth and the truth will set us free.

V.Daniel gives credit to the Lord for the interpretation (24-30)

Discussion Questions

What is Daniel’s attitude in front of the king?
What does he do with this opportunity?
Give some specific ways in our life we can follow Daniel’s example in this.
Why would God make known to Neb what would take place in future times?
How did Daniel view himself in the matter?

We can once again learn many things from Daniel in how he handles this situation:

1. He is extremely confident. He doesn’t cringe or fret or worry. He has the answer from the Lord. The Lord is on his side. He has nothing to worry about and no reason to fear. If the Lord is for me who can be against me?

2. He gives the credit to the Lord. The Lord had given Daniel a great gift, but like Joseph before him, Daniel uses his gift for God and not for personal gain. He gives all the honor and glory to God. He uses the chance to preach about the true God and exalt Him. He had his moment in the sun, his day in the spotlight, and he didn’t use it selfishly, he seized the chance to share the truth about God. I can tell you, all the sorcerers and magicians would have milked the moment for all it was worth. They would have tried to get as much reward as possible. But not Daniel. He was using his gift and his position for the Lord.

3. He remained humble. He recognized it was not through any talent or wisdom of his own. He was only a tool to accomplish God’s purposes.

Cross-References

Genesis 41:16 – Joseph said he could not do it, but God could.
Acts 3:12- Peter gives the credit to God for a miracle.

VI. The king’s dream is (31-35)

This same prophecy is repeated in chapter 7 when the various kingdoms are beasts. Why the difference?
Does God normally speak in dreams today? Why or why not? How does he speak to us?

Hebrews 1:2 – God speaks in various times in various ways, but in these last days has spoken through His Son.

VII. The interpretation of the king’s dream (36-45)

Discussion Questions

Did this dream come true?
What comparisons do you think there might be between the specific metals for each kingdom and the qualities of that kingdom?
Which part/parts of this dream have not yet been fulfilled?
What would you say is the main point of the dream?
When is this final kingdom going to be established?
What do you think the term “without hands” signifies?

Teaching Points

1. From man’s standpoint, the world empires and kingdoms are incredible, rich, strong, and magnificent. This prophecy once again confirms that God is true and so is the Bible. It is astonishingly accurate even down to details such as which metal for which kingdom. All has been fulfilled historically except for the feet and stone parts.

2. The toes of the feet depict the ten kingdoms that will make up the final days/tribulation alliance, of which the anti-christ is the head. As the revived Roman Empire, it certainly appears that this will be in the same areas as Rome controlled, which would be in modern day Europe. Is it the EU? No way to know for certain yet, but the world appears to be headed in that direction and in any case world events are in place that could allow this to happen at any time.

3. The main point of the interpretation is that all of these great and glorious kingdoms of man are weak and will be absolutely shattered by God’s kingdom. This kingdom will be made “without hands”, a symbol of its divine origin. It will be an eternal and lasting kingdom. All other kingdoms made use of the structures and peoples left behind when they were conquered and were in turn left for others, but not this one.

4. It is an exciting period to live in. All the way up until the Roman Empire and actually until 1947 when Israel was formed again, people could still say more things had to happen until Jesus returned. His return always appeared a long way off. But now, nothing else has to happen before the rapture. Only a short 7 year kingdom that could start at any time separates the world from Christ’s kingdom, where He will rule and bring peace to the earth. A journey of thousands of years is winding down towards a destination that might just be around the next bend!

VIII. Daniel is rewarded (46-49)

Although Daniel didn’t seek personal recognition, wealth, or power, he got them because he was faithful to the Lord. Just as with Solomon, God often gives these things as a bonus to those who are not seeking them. Even during this time of triumph, Daniel did not forget his friends and once again asked permission of the king, and they also were promoted and shared in Daniel’s success.

Application: What can you learn from this week’s lesson to apply to your life this week?

Study Daniel 3

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