Dreams and Interpretation
In 1899 Freud published Die Traumdeutung or in English, The Interpretation of Dreams. His breakthrough insight was that through psychoanalysis the skilled counselor could begin to map the road into the unconscious working of the mind.
In the Ancient World they believed dreams did something far more important. They could give revelation concerning the future, and the professional class, who claimed to have the secret formula giving the ability to interpret, had access to stand right in the presence of the king. So when Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream and a sleepless night, it called for something far more potent than an Ambien to help him sleep the next night.
In only his second year the young king ruled he had a troubling dream. It all began with its impact on the king’s psyche, but it led to a threat directly against Daniel’s life and the life of his three friends.
“In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he dreamed dreams and his spirit became all stirred up within and he couldn’t sleep. So he ordered for the scribes, sorcerers, and magicians to tell the king his dreams. They came and stood before the king, and he said to them, ‘I have dreamed a dream and my spirit is stirred up to know the dream.’
The Chaldean royal advisors said to the king in Aramaic, ‘O king, live forever! Tell the dream to your servants and we will interpret it.’ The king replied to the Chaldeans, ‘This is what I have firmly decided: If you don’t make known to me the dream and its interpretation, your limbs will be hacked to pieces and your houses will be made a garbage dump. But if you tell me the dream and make known its interpretation you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.’
They replied to the king, ‘Tell the dream to your servants and we will interpret it.’ Then the king answered, ‘I’m certain you are trying to buy time because you realize this is what I have firmly decided. If you don’t make known to me the dream, there’s only one penalty for you. You have conspired together to give me corrupt and wicked counsel, hoping the situation will change and you can maintain your positions of influence. So now, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.’
Before the king the Chaldeans responded, ‘There’s not a person on the earth who can do what the king asks! And no king, however great, has ever asked such a thing from a magician, a sorcerer, or Chaldean. What the king is asking is too difficult. Only the gods would be able to reveal this and they don’t dwell among humans.’
All of this made the king angry and he became so furious that he ordered all the wisemen of Babylon to be executed. So the royal decree went out to gather all the wisemen, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.” Daniel 2:1-13
Nebuchadnezzar’s logic was sound. If a professional dream interpreter had the special power to interpret a dream, then shouldn’t their psychic power or claim to have access into the realm of the gods give them the ability to tell you what you had dreamed without the need for you to reveal it?
The Babylonian wisemen went to the heart of the matter. Only the gods could pull off this miracle and their theology said that the Babylonian gods did not mess around with these trivial human concerns.
Does the true God care about the flow of history and the kingdoms that rule? Does he care enough to reveal the future to a pagan king? One thing we need to learn at this point in the episode is that it’s dangerous to get too close to any ruler who loses their temper.
LORD, help me not to be like Nebuchadnezzar—angry and threatening. And thanks that when I am faced with unexpected threats Daniel teaches me that you’re still guiding and controlling the events.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!