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Daniel 2:13

ESV So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
NIV So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
NASB So the decree was issued that the wise men be killed; and they looked for Daniel and his friends, to kill them.
CSB The decree was issued that the wise men were to be executed, and they searched for Daniel and his friends, to execute them.
NLT And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.
KJV And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

What does Daniel 2:13 mean?

When king Nebuchadnezzar first proposed his challenge (Daniel 2:1–6), he spoke to four classes of advisors: magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and Chaldeans. The use of those four words is meant to summarize all the occultist and spiritualist experts of his royal court. In the prior chapter, Daniel and his companions were being prepared for roles as counselors to the king (Daniel 1:17–20). But though they were "wise men," they were not among those called to respond to the king's dream.

The all-inclusive decree for slaughter shows how Nebuchadnezzar's mood could swing from one extreme to the other. One moment he chose the four Hebrew youths to stand before him in his court, but later he ordered their executions. Some commentators believe Nebuchadnezzar's servants immediately began the extermination of Babylon's wise men, starting first with those who failed to tell the king his dream and its interpretation (Daniel 2:3–9).

It's possible this situation developed very quickly. Scripture does not give a timeline, but it may have been that Nebuchadnezzar called his occultists, challenged them, and had them executed all within a matter of hours. It does seem Daniel and his three friends were oblivious to what Nebuchadnezzar had asked, or what he had decreed (Daniel 2:15). Still, unless God intervened, they would surely be killed.
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