What does Daniel 2:16 mean?
ESV: And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.
NIV: At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
NASB: So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him a grace period, so that he might declare the interpretation to the king.
CSB: So Daniel went and asked the king to give him some time, so that he could give the king the interpretation.
NLT: Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant.
KJV: Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
Verse Commentary:
Daniel's courage is evident in this passage. Although Nebuchadnezzar had decreed Daniel's unexpected and unjustified execution, he calmly responded when men arrived to kill him (Daniel 2:12–13). He asked what was happening and was respected enough to be given an answer (Daniel 2:14–15). Here, he sends a message to the king saying he can provide the knowledge the magicians could not. At the time Daniel made this appointment, he had not yet been given any such information from God (Daniel 2:17–19). Yet he had faith that the Lord would provide it (Daniel 1:17).

Truly, God's hand was protecting Daniel because He had plans for him. Nebuchadnezzar correctly accused his conjurers of stalling for time (Daniel 2:8). The fact that Nebuchadnezzar allowed Daniel to request an appointment shows that God had worked in his heart. Under other circumstances, both Daniel and the guard captain who allowed him to make the request might have been killed. Of course, since Daniel was not among those who evaded the king's request, Nebuchadnezzar might have been more willing to give him the chance to answer. Truly, God's will superintends the actions of even powerful rulers (Job 42:1–2; Isaiah 14:26–27).
Verse Context:
Daniel 2:1–16 builds on the introduction to Daniel and his three friends given in chapter 1. Babylon's king, Nebuchadnezzar, is deeply disturbed by a recurring dream. He insists that his pagan advisors tell him what the dream contained, to prove they have genuine insight. When the Babylonian counselors say that only a god could do that, the king plans to have every advisor in Babylon killed. Daniel, however, claims he can meet Nebuchadnezzar's challenge. The text switches from Hebrew to Aramaic in verse 4 and will not revert until chapter 8.
Chapter Summary:
King Nebuchadnezzar tests his magicians, demanding they tell him what he has dreamed, rather than merely inventing an interpretation. When they fail, he prepares to execute the entire department of wise men. Daniel promises he can meet the king's request and is given a special vision from God. The king dreamed of a massive statue shattered into powder by a supernatural rock. Daniel accurately describes this and interprets it as a prophecy about kingdoms which would come after Babylon. The king appoints Daniel and his friends to positions of power and influence over Babylon.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 introduced King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Daniel—a captive youth from Jerusalem—and three other Jewish boys. After three years of education, the four Hebrew captives outperformed all the other trainees, even surpassing the wise men in Babylon. In chapter 2, Daniel describes and interprets Nebuchadnezzar's disturbing dream, though the court magicians could not. As a result, the king promotes Daniel and his three friends to high positions over the provinces of Babylon. This sets the stage for a severe test of faith in chapter 3.
Book Summary:
The book of Daniel contains famous Old Testament stories and prophecies. Daniel was taken from the Israelite people and made an advisor for a conquering empire. He demonstrates faithfulness and wisdom during many years serving in this role. Though Daniel does not deliver a public message, Jesus refers to him as a "prophet" (Matthew 24:15). The first portion of the book mostly describes Daniel's interpretations of dreams and other events. The second portion looks ahead to the end times. Daniel is classified in English Bibles as a "major" prophet, meaning the book is relatively long and the content has broad implications. The book of Revelation echoes and expands on many of the same themes.
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