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Daniel 2:43

ESV As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.
NIV And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
NASB In that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in their descendants; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not combine with pottery.
CSB You saw the iron mixed with clay--the peoples will mix with one another but will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with fired clay.
NLT This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.
KJV And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

What does Daniel 2:43 mean?

Iron and clay are both useful materials, but they are entirely separate. They cannot be melded together; they can only share boundaries. In the dream which Daniel explains (Daniel 2:31–36), the base of a massive statue is composed of iron mingled with clay. This symbolizes the then-future Roman Empire, which would have an ironlike strength of military power, while also being divided and brittle on the inside.

Commentators note various ways in which Rome was divided. Among these were its moral weaknesses. These became worse over time, much as the statue's composition goes from iron, to iron and clay, to individual toes made of clay and iron. Much as there were two legs on the statue, Rome was frequently in conflict between democratic and dictatorial preferences. The jumble of iron and clay, which can never unite, hints at the forced intermingling of cultures and peoples brought about by Rome's military conquest.

Interestingly, Daniel describes the iron and the clay as mixing together in marriage. If two different personalities with different values and attitudes are as resistant to unity as are clay and iron, the relationship is likely to fail. Rome's marriage of iron and clay was doomed from the start and eventually ended.
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