What does Daniel 2:40 mean?
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.
Verse Commentary:
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.
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.
Accessed 4/13/2024 9:51:36 AM
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