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Daniel 2:38

ESV and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold.
NIV in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
NASB and wherever the sons of mankind live, or the animals of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has handed them over to you and has made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold.
CSB Wherever people live--or wild animals, or birds of the sky--he has handed them over to you and made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold.
NLT He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.
KJV And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

What does Daniel 2:38 mean?

Daniel is giving the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:1–3), crediting it to the One True God (Daniel 2:27–28). Here, he partly explains what he meant by the phrase "king of kings" in the prior verse (Daniel 2:37). The prophet Jeremiah had predicted Nebuchadnezzar's extensive rule. Jeremiah 27:6 quotes the Lord as saying, "I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him." Daniel showed respect for Nebuchadnezzar, but he had a much higher regard for the God of Israel, and he wanted Nebuchadnezzar to know that he owed his position and power to the true God.

In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he had seen a massive statue made of various materials (Daniel 2:31–35). According to Daniel's explanation (Daniel 2:36), the statue's golden head represented king Nebuchadnezzar, himself. The head stands for the Babylonian Empire, over which Nebuchadnezzar reigned.

Daniel will continue the interpretation of the king's dream by predicting a succession of other kingdoms, also formed as parts of the statue. These are described by a series of metals that lessen in value. The kingdoms are also increasingly "divided," until the toes are depicted as a fragile mix of metal and pottery (Daniel 2:39–45).
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