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Daniel 2:40

ESV And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these.
NIV Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.
NASB Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; just as iron smashes and crushes everything, so, like iron that crushes, it will smash and crush all these things.
CSB A fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron; for iron crushes and shatters everything, and like iron that smashes, it will crush and smash all the others.
NLT Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes.
KJV And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
NKJV And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

What does Daniel 2:40 mean?

Daniel's explanation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:1–3) described the symbolism behind a massive statue made of various materials (Daniel 2:31–35). The dream revealed what was then the unknown future of the middle east (Daniel 2:27–28). The statue's golden head represented Babylon, ruled with absolute power by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:37–38). The silver torso and arms symbolized the Medo-Persian Empire, which would be less absolute and somewhat divided as compared to Babylon. Next was a bronze midsection and thighs. This is Greece, which would begin united but split apart after the death of Alexander the Great (Daniel 2:39).

The fourth kingdom is represented by the statue's legs and feet. The legs are iron—much harder than any other substance in the statue. However, this iron kingdom suffers from a sharp division, right from its beginning. This continues, symbolically, as the dream makes note of the statue's ten separate toes.

This represents what would become the power of the Roman Empire. As iron could overcome metals such as gold, silver, and bronze, so would the Romans conquer the known world. And, continuing the pattern, they would initially have a less-absolute ruler than their predecessor. Rome would always struggle with internal strife, which would eventually create open hostility, inner weakness, and the eventual shattering of the empire.

This ultimate end is symbolized by the toes and feet of the statue (Daniel 2:41), made of mixed iron and clay. Those two substances will not bond to each other, and clay is very brittle.
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