Daniel’s Promotion (Daniel 2:46-49)
The term worship (“paid homage” in the English Standard Version) does not always mean religious worship. Daniel surely would have put up some verbal protest had Nebuchadnezzar attempted to worship him. It was common for pagan rulers to bow before those they considered representatives of the “gods.” When Alexander the Great was asked why he bowed before the Jewish high priest, Josephus records that he said, “I do not worship the high-priest, but the God with whose high-priesthood he has been honored.” It would have been quite in touch with this era in history for Nebuchadnezzar to bow before Daniel.
It is also important to note that Nebuchadnezzar does not in any way worship YHWH in a monotheistic manner. Nebuchadnezzar is still a polytheist. Notice that he says to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings” (v 47). For Nebuchadnezzar, YHWH might be a great God, but he is still just one of many gods.
Nebuchadnezzar immediately becomes quite generous. No longer is he in a rage with the wise man as he was, but his mood has changed to one of true pleasantness. It may have been that the king is greatly relieved to realize that he is in no immediate danger on account of the dream. God bestowed grace upon Daniel, not necessarily for Daniel’s benefit, but so that Daniel could serve his purposes. Daniel’s promotion will have great positive effects for God’s design.
Daniel’s being made “great” may signify that Daniel was placed in a social and political station second only to the king himself.
Daniel was made ruler of the province of Babylon. The Aramaic term means to be the principal overseer. The king is still in ultimate control. In fact, Daniel had to ask permission to give promotions to his three companions.
Daniel does not forget his three companions. They had prayed that he might understand the dream and now he rewards them for their part in this saga. Do we sometimes too often forget to thank those who prayed for us? Do we sometimes fail to thank God for what he has done in our lives?