What does Daniel 2:34 mean?
ESV: As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
NIV: While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
NASB: You continued watching until a stone was broken off without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them.
CSB: As you were watching, a stone broke off without a hand touching it, struck the statue on its feet of iron and fired clay, and crushed them.
NLT: As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits.
KJV: Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.
NKJV: You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
Verse Commentary:
Daniel further reveals what the king saw in his dream (Daniel 2:1–3). He has described a massive statue made of various materials: gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay (Daniel 2:31–33). These are arranged from most to least valuable, and heaviest to lightest. However, they also grow stronger, until the brittle clay.

Next, the king dreamt of a stone, or possibly a boulder. Since it is said to grow later, the initial size may have been small (Daniel 2:35). This impacts the statue on the feet, which are made of mixed clay and iron. Iron is strong, but clay is brittle, and the two materials do not bond to one another. So, the base of the statue is shattered and the entire image will collapse. In fact, the statue's pieces will break so completely that the remains are blown away by the wind (Daniel 2:35).

Without a doubt, this powerful stone has a divine origin, implied by the fact that a human being did not create it. The various parts of the statue each represent kingdoms of the earth, and Daniel will go on to explain (Daniel 2:36). God is directly involved in the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms. Psalm 75:7 says, "it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another." The apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:1, "There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."
Verse Context:
Daniel 2:31–45 provides both the content and the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's troubling dream (Daniel 2:1–3). The dream describes what is sometimes called "the latter days" or "the times of the Gentiles." This is part of a section of the book of Daniel recorded in Aramaic (Daniel 2:4—7:28), the common language of Babylon at the time. The image seen in the dream includes a progression of shapes and materials, representing a sequence of kingdoms, their characteristics, and their eventual fates.
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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