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Question is straightforward: Which four kingdoms are represented in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel Chapter 2?

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If memory serves, the Word Biblical Commentary says the Iron is Greece, which was interesting to me. I had always been under the impression it was Rome. It might be worth considering both perspectives before drawing conclusions. –  Jas 3.1 Jul 1 '13 at 17:22
I remember preaching a sermon about this in which I had to remind both my church and myself - this vision is not about the statue - it's about the rock! –  Affable Geek Jul 1 '13 at 19:04
(Not to say this isn't a great question - just, I get so wrapped around the axle on the earthly kingdoms, that it is easy to neglect the point - the ROCK (aka the Church or heaven) makes everything crumble!) –  Affable Geek Jul 1 '13 at 19:05

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Daniyy'el describes the image as follows (Dan. 2:32-33),

32 The head of that image is of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass,* 33 its legs of iron, and its feet, part of iron and part of clay.

הוּא צַלְמָא רֵאשֵׁהּ דִּי־דְהַב טָב חֲדֹוהִי וּדְרָעֹוהִי דִּי כְסַף מְעֹוהִי וְיַרְכָתֵהּ דִּי נְחָשׁ שָׁקֹוהִי דִּי פַרְזֶל רַגְלֹוהִי מנהון דִּי פַרְזֶל ומנהון דִּי חֲסַף

  • or "copper"

Daniyy'el then tells Nevukhadnetzar (נְבֻכַדְנֶצַּר), to whom he was speaking (cp. Dan. 2:1), אנתה־הוּא רֵאשָׁה דִּי דַהֲבָא׃, that is, "You are that head of gold."

Nevukhadnetzar was the king of the Babylonian kingdom.

After the Babylonian empire came the Mede/ Persian empire (cp. Dan. 5:31). The Mede/ Persian empire is "its breast and its arms of silver."

After the Mede/ Persian empire came the Greek empire (cp. 1 Mac. 1:1). The Greek empire is "its belly and its thighs of brass."

After the Greek empire came the Roman empire (the NT was written during the reign of the Roman empire). The Roman empire is "its legs of iron."

As for the mixed feet, part iron and part clay, this is a bit more mysterious.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the "clay" mixed in with the iron refers to the Arab/ Islamic empire that began after the birth of Islam and Muhammad.

Admittedly, I'm not absolutely certain about this interpretation, but I'm quite certain about the interpretation of the kingdom of Babylon, Mede/ Persia, Greece, and Rome.

If you look in Dan. 2:41 and 2:43, you'll find the word "mixed" in English. If you look at the actual Aramaic word, it's derived from the verb עֲרַב (arav). It's based on the root ע-ר-ב. While this root signifies the meaning of "to mix," it is also the same root used in the Hebrew word עֲרָבִי (aravi), meaning "Arab." This is a cognate of the Arabic word عربي (ʿarabiyy), also meaning "Arab."

I'm going to say that it's a play-on-words. Daniyy'el was prophesying long into the future when the Arab empire would feud with the Roman empire. The "clay" (Arabs) would mix with the "iron" (Romans), but they would not cleave to one another (cp. Dan. 2:43). As you know, both the Roman empire and the Arab empire still exist today, albeit not in their original form.

Final note: Again, this is a theory, not something I'm absolutely certain of. Prophecy is notoriously difficult to understand, but one thing I am certain on is the identity of the Babylonian, Mede/ Persian, Greek, and Roman empires in Daniyy'el's image. The clay is the unknown variable.

As you know, there are many commentaries on Daniyy'el's prophecies, but allow me to suggest one for examination. It's a tafsīr (commentary) from the Karaite scholar יפת בן עלי הלוי (Yafet ben Ali ha-Levi). See p. 12-14.

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Totally right! Thanks. I was in a rush getting ready for work. :( –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jul 1 '13 at 19:05
(+1) Think this is the correct answer but as there are hundreds of commentaries out there, mostly split over the Grecian versus Roman view on the legs/feet, a reference should be cited to strengthen the position taken here. By the way I will probably ask a seperate question about the toes and clay/iron as this is more difficult and less agreed in the Roman school. –  Mike Jul 2 '13 at 4:46
I know...I'll work on the answer for you. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jul 2 '13 at 4:51
@Mike: Supplied one commentary just to support my view. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jul 2 '13 at 19:36
Hey - thanks for the commentary link its a interesting verynold one. I will undoubtedly check it out. –  Mike Jul 8 '13 at 4:41

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