Daniel 2:2 Index
Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

"The King commanded... the magicians..."

  • The magicians practiced magic... they employed all the superstitious rites and ceremonies of fortune-tellers, and casters of nativities, and the like. (US 29-30)
  • In the same year that Daniel and his companions entered the service of the king of Babylon events occurred that severely tested the integrity of these youthful Hebrews and proved before an idolatrous nation the power and faithfulness of the God of Israel.... While King Nebuchadnezzar was looking forward with anxious forebodings to the future, he had a remarkable dream, by which he was greatly troubled, “and his sleep brake from him” (Daniel 2:1). But although this vision of the night made a deep impression on his mind, he found it impossible to recall the particulars. He applied to his astrologers and magicians, and with promises of great wealth and honor commanded them to tell him his dream and its interpretation. But they said, “Tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation” (Daniel 2:4). (SL 34)
  • It is fondly supposed that heathen superstitions have disappeared before the civilization of the twentieth century. But the word of God and the stern testimony of facts declare that sorcery is practiced in this age as verily as in the days of the old-time magicians. The ancient system of magic is, in reality, the same as what is now known as modern spiritualism. Satan is finding access to thousands of minds by presenting himself under the guise of departed friends. The Scriptures declare that “the dead know not anything.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Their thoughts, their love, their hatred, have perished. The dead do not hold communion with the living. But true to his early cunning, Satan employs this device in order to gain control of minds. (AA 289)
  • On the darker side, the Babylonians studied divination, magic, a form of astrology, and pagan mythology. (CMM 27)
  • What an array of mighty men. They represent the wisdom and scholarship of all nations. They were the priests and prophets of the gods of Babylon which were considered the chief of all gods. There stood the magicians, the cunning crafty ancestors of the Magi. They pretended to be able to reveal the secrets of the gods through magic and divination. They believed in the presence of good and evil spirits with the latter predominating. To these spirits they made offerings, intoned hymns and made lamentations. They believed that all evil came as a result of the ill-will of the spirits or at the instigation of human enemies. Like the witch doctors of Africa they sought to discover the name of the enemy by use of "charms," "spells," "omens" and "magic." Many clay tablets have been found in the ruins of Babylonian palaces describing the magic of the magicians. "That magic and idolatry were twin sisters, and came into the wold together, we have abundant evidence." (The Two Babylons, Hislop, p.67). "Mediaeval Magic and witchcraft were, in large part, an unchanged inheritance from Chaldea." (Myer's General History, p.46). (TGB 15-16)
  • The magicians used many different methods in divining the will of the gods. One was to pour oil in a vessel of water and then observe the exact formations, changes and fluctuations made by the oil on the surface of the water. A common method of deciding important questions was to observe the liver of a sheep or a goat. (Ezekiel 21:21). The liver being a variable organ the many changes in the shape and markings of the lobes were translated by the priests as carrying important messages. The same custom is still used in Ethiopia, and the head-hunters of Borneo examine the liver of a pig to decide important questions. (History of Religions, Moore, Vol. 1, p.227). (TGB 16)

"The king commanded... the astrologers..."

  • Astrologers were men who pretended to foretell events by the study of the stars. The science , or the superstition, of astrology was extensively cultivated by the Eastern nations and antiquity. (US 30)
  • Astrology is the ancestor of the science of astronomy and it had its origin in the worship of the heavenly bodies. "The clear sky and unbroken horizon of the Chaldean plains, lending an unusual brilliant aspect to the heavens, naturally led the Chaldeans to the study of the stars." (Myer's General History, p.47). Astrologers did not claim to worship the heavenly bodies as gods, but only as the representatives of the gods who revealed their will and secrets. They build up an elaborate system of superstitions regarding the meaning of lunar eclipses according to the months in which they occurred. (See Moore's History of Religions, Vol. 1, p. 227). The astrologers of Babylon named the various constellations in harmony with the fancied shapes of animal life. Since the gods and goddesses of the Babylonians were identified with the heavenly bodies the astrologers studied them and their movements to ascertain the secrets of these deities. (TGB 16)

"The king commanded... the sorcerers..."

  • [The sorcerers] professed to be able to produce magic spells (Exodus 7:11). The Mosaic law pronounced the death penalty upon those who practiced this black magic (Leviticus 20:27, 1 Samuel 28:9). (4BC 767)
  • Sorcerers were such as pretended to hold communication with the dead. In this sense, we believe, the word "sorcerer" is always used in the Scriptures. (US 30)
  • The sorcerers claimed to hold communion with the spirits of the dead and were therefore spiritist mediums. spiritism had its origin in Babylon. (TGB 16)

"The king commanded... the Chaldeans..."

  • The Chaldeans here mentioned were a sect of philosophers similar to the magicians and astrologers, who made natural science and divination their study. (US 30)
  • The Chaldeans were the great philosophers and wise men of the Babylonians. They were the leaders of all the groups. They were the professors who had taught Daniel and his fellows the sciences and languages of their order. The fact that the king was a Chaldean gave them special favor at the court and a place next to the throne. All of these groups combined to make up the "college of Pontiffs" which was the ancestor of the "College of Cardinals" in Roman Catholicism, which is almost an exact duplicate of the religious system of ancient Babylon and it therefore called "Babylon the Great." (TGB 16)

"...for to shew the king his dreams."

  • All these sects or professions abounded in Babylon. The result desired by each was the same - the explaining of mysteries and the foretelling of events - the principal difference between them being the means by which they sought to accomplish their object. The king's difficulty lay equally within the province of each to explain; hence he summoned them all. With the king it was an important matter. He was greatly troubled, and therefore concentrated upon the solution of his perplexity the wisdom of his realm. (US 30)

"So they came and stood before the king."