“Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.” But the king said to the astrologers, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble! But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means! “Daniel 2:4-6
The king did what any ancient ruler would do: He summoned his special advisers to help him understand the significance of this dream that had interrupted his sleep and robbed him of peace. But this was no routine meeting, for the king not only commanded them to interpret the dream but also to reveal the dream to him! If they didn’t do both, he would kill them without mercy and turn their houses into public latrines and garbage dumps. This, of course, was a new challenge for them and they knew they couldn’t meet it.
The king was testing his counselors. I believe that Nebuchadnezzar remembered the dream, pondered it, and realized that it contained a significant message concerning him and his kingdom. It must have brought fear and wonder to his heart when he beheld this massive metallic image smashed to atoms by a mysterious stone that then grew into a mountain. The interpretation of this dream was too important for the king to treat it as a routine matter. He wanted to be sure that his “wise men” would give him the correct meaning, for his future was involved in that dream. He didn’t want to hear misleading things that they made up just to please the king. He wanted the truth.
This was a great opportunity for them to receive wealth, prestige, and promotion, and the fact that they stalled for time indicated that they were unable to meet the challenge. This in itself set the stage for Daniel to exalt the true and living God of Israel who alone can predict the future.