THE BOOK OF DANIEL
IN HEBREW & ARAMAIC
for Gentile Nations
4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king to all
the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the
earth: "May your peace abound!
(unto all: Da 3:4,29 7:14 Es 3:12 8:9 Zec 8:23 Ac 2:6) (Peace: Da
6:25,27 1Ch 12:18 Ezra 4:17 5:7 Ro 1:7 Eph 1:2 1Ti 1:2 1Pe 1:2)
As you read Daniel 4 ask
yourself - Who spoke it? Who wrote it down? How does this relate to
and 2Pe 1:21-note?
Da 4:1-3 take place? In
other words, how do these opening verses relate to Da 4:4?
It should be noted that the
first three verses (Da 4:1-3) in our English Bibles are actually
numbered Da 3:31-33 in the Aramaic text. Similarly the remainder of
the verses (Da 4:4-37) in our English Bibles are numbered Da 4:1-34 in
the Aramaic text. Most authorities agree that the content of these
three verses (Aramaic Da 3:31-33) is such that it fits best with
Daniel 4 and thus they are included in this chapter rather than at the
end of Daniel 3.
Nebuchadnezzar - This is
a very unique chapter in Scripture. Note first that it is written in
the first person ("I", "me", "my"). It is therefore essentially
Nebuchadnezzar's autobiographical synopsis of his reign, his ruin
and his restoration/revival. Notice how the king arrogantly begins
in Da 4:4 with a bad case of "perpendicular "I"-itis" (as J Vernon
McGee quips), that fatal malady that "infects" all of mankind (Ro
and ends with a humble sense of the
Most High God! If (as I believe)
Nebuchadnezzar was a new believer in the Most High God, this is
the only chapter in Scripture written by a new believer. It is
not that Nebuchadnezzar himself was inspired when he spoke but
the chapter is inspired in the sense
that Daniel recorded it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pe
and because "all" Scripture is inspired - 2Ti 3:16-note). As
this chapter unfolds we read Nebuchadnezzar's
personal testimony (his "life journey") explaining how
the Most High God caused him to be born
again (cp 1Pe 1:3-note).
In these introductory 3 verses the king begins in essence at the end of his
story (which picks back up in Da 4:34-37) and then recounts his
reminiscence or "flashback" to the events that led to this
national proclamation (So he begins with the good and then goes to the
bad and ugly - "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"!).
Reginald Showers remarks
There are two lines of evidence
which indicate that the words of this chapter are actually
Nebuchadnezzar’s. First, the literary style of chapter four resembles
the style of Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient inscriptions. Second, the
character of the king revealed in this chapter agrees with ancient
descriptions of the man. (The
Most High God- A Commentary on the Book of Daniel).
In H A Ironside's
introduction to this chapter, he writes that...
In Job 33:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, we
Indeed God speaks once, Or twice,
yet no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound
sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, then He opens
the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He may turn man
aside from his conduct, and keep man from pride He keeps back his soul
from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol.
This is how God often speaks to men
who will not open a Bible to receive the clear revelation of His will.
He has many ways of reaching those who seem bent on their own
destruction. In the passage from Job, Elihu goes on to show that when
dreams and visions do not avail, God sometimes allows disease to grip
the body until the poor sinner is broken in spirit and crushed in
"He looks upon men, and if any say,
I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me
not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life
shall see the light" (Job 33:27-28KJV).
The fourth chapter of Daniel is a
remarkable example of God's matchless grace and illustrates most
preciously the words of Elihu to Job. The first time God spoke to
Nebuchadnezzar He gave him the dream of the great image of the times
of the Gentiles. But the heart of the king was willful, and he
continued to go on with his own purpose in his pride and folly. God
spoke the second time 60by the marvelous vision of the Son of God in
the midst of the fiery furnace, keeping His faithful witnesses from
all danger and harm. But again the proud king kept on his way with
unsubject heart and unsubdued will. Now God speaks the third time in a
most humiliating manner to this great world-ruler.
This stirring fourth chapter of
Daniel was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself and preserved and
incorporated into the inspired volume. In it we have the interesting
account of the means God used to bring this haughty king to the end of
himself and lead him to abase Himself before the Majesty in Heaven.
In other words, this is Nebuchadnezzar's conversion, and it seems
clearly to show that a work of grace took place in his soul before he
laid down the scepter entrusted to his hand by Jehovah. The
account is also illustrative for in Nebuchadnezzar we see a picture of
all Gentile power—its departure from God, its degradation and bestial
character, and its final subjugation to God in the time of the end. At
that time Christ will return in glory, and all nations will prostrate
themselves before Him, owning His righteous and benevolent sway.
As Donald Campbell quips
The introduction is actually a conclusion! Chronologically, these
opening words belong at the end of the chapter because they grow out
of Nebuchadnezzar's experiences that are recorded in the following
paragraphs. But the king was so overwhelmed by God's dealings with him
that, humiliating though it was, he wanted the world to know about it.
D. Daniel God's Man in a Secular Society - well written, practical,
Walvoord - Those who reject chapter 4 of
Daniel without exception assume that the account is not inspired of
the Holy Spirit, that an experience like Nebuchadnezzar’s is
essentially incredible, and that it is a myth rather than an authentic
historical record. Such objections obviously assume that higher
criticism is right in declaring Daniel a forgery of the second century
B.C. This conclusion is now subject to question not only because of
the fallacious reasoning which supports it, but because it is now
challenged by the documentary evidence in the Qumran text of Daniel,
which on the basis of the critics’ own criteria would require Daniel
to be much older than the second century b.c. (see Introduction).
Conservative scholarship has united in declaring this chapter a
genuine portion of the Word of God, equally inspired with other
sections of Daniel. (Chapter
4 Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride And Punishment)
To all the peoples, nations
and men of every language that live in all the earth - This
sentence identifies this chapter as a divine decree from King
Nebuchadnezzar to all men (see Da 4:6). He’s not the God only of
Israel. He is also the God of the Gentiles.
what he is saying.
First, this is his royal
proclamation, his personal witness of the saving hand
Most High God. This is Nebuchadnezzar's "Tract" if you
will, of how his personal encounter with the one true and living High
God. And He’s not only the God of one nation or one people, but He is
also the Lord God, the mighty Sovereign and King of all the nations
and of all the peoples of the world.
Second, notice that he is
not ashamed to share
his conversion with others.
Third, note that he is sharing his
testimony with the entire world (all the peoples...in all the earth).
What a striking contrast with the same phrase but in the context of
an order to bow to an idol! Da 3:4, 7 = "peoples, nations and men of
every language." What a change in one's worldview a change in one's
heart can make! (cp 2Cor 5:17).
One wonders how this was
received by the pagan idol worshipping Babylonians, not to mention all
the rest of the world. As we have alluded to before, the famous "wise
men" from the East who worshipped at the foot of Christ's birthplace
had to have heard about the Messiah from someone (Mt 2:2, 11). Given
that Nebuchadnezzar's testimony is given in a way that gives God alone
the glory, there is no doubt that God's Spirit used it to make
significant impact on all the earth. Of course, all the
earth clearly was not converted but this chapter suggests that
they did at least have an opportunity to hear about the great and
Most High God Who is able to deliver one from darkness to
light, from the dominion of Satan to God (Acts 26:18, Col 1:13-note,
cp Heb 2:14, 15) and unto His everlasting kingdom and eternal
Adam Clarke - There are no preternatural signs
like his! His wonders—miraculous interferences, are mighty—they
surpass all human power. He is the Sovereign of all kings, and his
dominion is everlasting; and every generation is a proof of his
all-governing influence. These are very fine sentiments, and show how
deeply his mind was impressed with the majesty of God.
Peter describes God's
heartbeat in regard to salvation of the world (in the context of those
who because of delay, question the teaching that God will judge the
world - 2Pe 3:5, 6-note,
2Pe 3:7, 8-note)
The Lord is not slow about His
promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not
wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2Peter
3:9-note, cp 1Ti 2:4)
And during the seven year period
referred to as the Tribulation (aka
Daniel's Seventieth Week), just before Christ returns, John
testifies again to the desire of the Father to save men even as His wrath is being
poured out on the earth...
And I saw another angel flying in
midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on
the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;
and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because
the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven
and the earth and sea and springs of waters." (Rev 14:6-note,
Comment: Note the similarity
of the intended audiences of both the angel's message to the testimony
of Nebuchadnezzar (respectively, every nation, etc versus
all the peoples...all the earth).
May your peace abound -
This was a common form of expression in the ancient world (cp Darius'
decree in Da 6:25). However issuing from Nebuchadnezzar's lips, this
may have had more meaning, as this chapter strongly suggests that he
experienced the peace that comes only to the hearts of those converted
by grace through faith. By way of application, if one believes the
truth of God's Word by grace through faith, the result is an eternal,
abounding peace WITH God (Ro 5:1-note).
And when we as believers choose to live by the truth of God's Word,
then we experience the surpassing peace OF God (Php 4:7-note).
Think about this for a moment...Nebuchadnezzar a man filled with anger
and prone to acts of unspeakable cruelty, the destroyer of God's
temple, the one who took God's people captive, and yet in spite of all
this, the Lord is showing grace and mercy to this pagan king. Is
anything too difficult for the Lord? (Ge 18:14)
Beloved, do you have a friend,
relative or spouse that you think is simply too far away for God to
ever be able to reach their heart and bring about conversion? Then
think again and remember the lengths to which God went in order to
bring about Nebuchadnezzar's repentance and belief.
Jamieson writes that - Peace (was) the usual salutation in
the East, shalom, whence "salaam." The primitive revelation of the
fall, and man's alienation from God, made "peace" to be felt as the
first and deepest want of man. The Orientals (as the East was the
cradle of revelation) retained the word by tradition.
Charles Simeon - A MORE remarkable history than this
is not found in the annals of the world. Never was such a transition
ever heard of, from such an elevation to a state of such extraordinary
degradation, as that which is recorded in this chapter. The account is
written by Nebuchadnezzar himself; and, doubtless by divine direction,
it was incorporated with the writings of Daniel, and made a part of
the inspired volume. (Simeon,
C. 1832-63. Horae Homileticae Vol. 9: Jeremiah to Daniel. Page 485 -
Daniel 4:34-37 NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM VERIFIED AND IMPROVED -
open Vol 9 & scroll down
Liberal "scholars" go to great
lengths in attempts to discredit the authenticity of Daniel 4 for
several reasons, including the unusual nature of the events described
and the apparent conversion of a famous pagan king. John Walvoord
sums this up well writing that "This chapter is no more difficult
to believe than any other unusual divine revelation." (Ibid)
When does Daniel 4 take place?
There is no internal evidence to allow one to assign a
specific date to this Daniel 4, although some commentators do suggest
specific timing, but without any clear Biblical substantiation. For example
respected expositor John MacArthur writes that "The setting of Daniel 4 probably
took place between the thirtieth and thirty-fifth years of his reign,
approximately twenty-five to thirty years after the incident of the
fiery furnace. Daniel was between forty-five to fifty years of age. (Daniel
4-1-37: How Are the Mighty Fallen! - Study Guide)
Sam Storms on timing -
Second, the time when the events of this chapter occurred cannot be
determined with any degree of certainty. However, it was
sufficiently late in Neb's reign that he could speak of his building
projects as complete (Da 4:30). Also, if the 'seven periods of time
(Da 4:16) refer to seven years...the dream cannot have occurred
later than Neb's 35th year of rule (he ruled 43 years altogether).
'These factors together place the time of the dream likely between
the thirtieth and thirty-fifth year of Neb's reign, when Daniel was
between forty-five and fifty years old, and when twenty-five to
thirty years had elapsed since the deliverance of the three friends
from the fiery furnace (Wood, 99). (Daniel
King Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43
years (605-562BC) but unfortunately we have only a few fragments of
the Babylonian Chronicle, Babylon's official court record, and thus
for most part have little official record of of Nebuchadnezzar's life
and specific actions including those described in Daniel 4.
W A Criswell - The objection [to the authenticity
of Daniel 4] is made that the proud, self-centered king who erected an
image of himself at Dura would never condescend to tell a story of his
own humiliation. The power of God, however, can change even a king's
W A. Believer's Study Bible: New King James Version. 1991. Thomas
Chuck Swindoll entitles this
chapter "Insomnia, Insanity and Insight". He adds that
"there is evidence...that this
polytheistic ruler became converted in mind and heart to Jewish
monotheism and thereby experienced salvation. But if Nebuchadnezzar
was not saved as a result of the events recorded in Daniel 4, he at
least came to intellectually accept and politically submit to the one
true God. In either case, this passage of Scripture relays an
incredible story about the Lord's
sovereignty and the extent to which
He will go to demonstrate His authority."
Ryrie says "This chapter is a
public decree or state paper of Nebuchadnezzar." (Ryrie Study Bible)
John MacArthur -
Nebuchadnezzar’s praise of God in Da 4:1–3 and Da 4:34b-37 is the
theme that brackets the experience the king reiterates in the first
person (Da 4:4–34, Ed: The pronoun "I" is found 18x in 13v
and "my" 25x in 14v). He began and ended the narrative with praise,
and in between told why he converted to such worship of the true God
(cf. Ro 11:33). (MacArthur Study Bible)
Donald Campbell writes
that Daniel 4 "records the culmination
of Nebuchadnezzar's spiritual biography, with God using drastic means
to bring this haughty king to the end of himself and to faith in the
God of Israel." (Daniel God's Man in a Secular Society)
The eloquent preacher Joseph
Parker wrote that Nebuchadnezzar "had seen a new revelation, and he
would talk about it; something new had shone upon him from the opening
heavens, and he would tell all the empire about it—Armenia, Syria, and
the dwellers by the Persian Gulf, and the Elamites, and all who
trembled at his frown, should hear that he had seen a new aspect of
the universe. Nebuchadnezzar had not yet become so ineffably pious
as to say nothing about his piety. There are Christian men
concerning whom it would be a revelation if one of their workpeople
could be told that they even professed Christianity; an errand-boy
might be frightened out of his propriety and sanity if he were told
that his employer had family prayer. Nebuchadnezzar did not belong
to the silent religious community: he would publish a proclamation,
he would announce a fact, he would preach what little Gospel he had;
he would say, There is more light in creation than I had imagined:
come, let me tell you what the light is like, and what wizardry it
works in colour and shadow and suggestion. (Daniel
4 The People's Bible by Joseph Parker)
The Apologetics Study Bible
Critical scholars consider this
section to be literary fiction derived from the same source as the
"Prayer of Nabonidus," an Aramaic fragment discovered at Qumran near
the Dead Sea in 1952 (known in scholarship as 4QPrNab). Though
affinities exist between chapter 4 and that document, they are far
outweighed by the differences (e.g., the name of the king, the nature
of the illness, and the location). The Nabonidus story is doubtless
a distorted version or later application of the biblical narrative.
Apocryphal imitations of canonical works were common during the
intertestamental period, and several others grew up around the book of
Daniel (e.g., Prayer of Azariah, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon).
Although these works drew material from biblical sources, they are
clearly fictional. (The
Apologetics Study Bible- Understand Why You Believe)
Comment: Here is a snippet
of the "Prayer of Nabonidus" - 'I, Nabonidus, was afflicted with an
evil ulcer for seven years, and far from men I was driven, until I
prayed to the
Most High God. And an exorcist pardoned my sins. He was
a Jew from among the children of the exile of Judah, and said:
"Recount this in writing to glorify and exalt the name of the most
high God." Then I wrote this: "When I was afflicted for seven years by
the most high God with an evil ulcer during my stay at Temâ, I prayed
to the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood, stone and lime,
because I thought and considered them gods..."' [the end is missing]
I like Warren Wiersbe's
comments on Daniel 4 - Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream
accomplished three things: it warned the king that his pride would
lead to judgment (Da 4:37; Prov. 16:18); it exposed the incompetence
of his magicians (Da 4:6, 7); and it gave Daniel another opportunity
to glorify the God of heaven. (With
the Word Bible Commentary- With the Complete Text)
Matthew Henry on Da 4:1-18 -
The beginning and end of this chapter lead us to hope, that
Nebuchadnezzar was a monument of the power of Divine grace, and of
the riches of Divine mercy. After he was recovered from his madness,
he told to distant places, and wrote down for future ages, how God
had justly humbled and graciously restored him. When a sinner comes
to himself, he will promote the welfare of others, by making known
the wondrous mercy of God. Nebuchadnezzar, before he related the
Divine judgments upon him for his pride, told the warnings he had in
a dream or vision. The meaning was explained to him. The person
signified, was to be put down from honour, and to be deprived of the
use of his reason seven years. This is surely the sorest of all
temporal judgments. Whatever outward affliction God is pleased to
lay upon us, we have cause to bear it patiently, and to be thankful
that he continues the use of our reason, and the peace of our
consciences. Yet if the Lord should see fit by such means to keep a
sinner from multiplying crimes, or a believer from dishonouring his
name, even the dreadful prevention would be far preferable to the
evil conduct. God has determined it, as a righteous Judge, and the
angels in heaven applaud. Not that the great God needs the counsel
or concurrence of the angels, but it denotes the solemnity of this
sentence. The demand is by the word of the holy ones, God's
suffering people: when the oppressed cry to God, he will hear. Let
us diligently seek blessings which can never be taken from us, and
especially beware of pride and forgetfulness of God.
4:2 "It has seemed good
to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has
done for me. (Jos 7:19 Ps 51:14 71:18 92:1,2) (that: Da 3:26 Ps 66:16 Ac 22:3-16
THAT ALL MIGHT KNOW THE TRUTH
ABOUT THE MOST HIGH GOD
It seemed good to me to
declare - The king explains why he is making this "worldwide"
announcement. Clearly he is giving God top billing over his
pantheon of so called gods who are really no gods. The rest of this
chapter deals with the reason the king has experienced such a radical
change in his worldview. His changed (repentant) mind certainly seems
to give evidence that he has experienced genuine conversion as a result of the
divine humiliation described in Da 4:4-33. The principle declared by
John the Baptist is apropos - "Bring forth fruit in keeping with
repentance." (Mt 3:8) The fruit of Nebuchadnezzar's lips in offering
a sacrifice of praise seem to be clear evidence of genuine spiritual
fruit marking genuine spiritual repentance. (cp Heb 13:15).
Nebuchadnezzar's words remind
me of Psalm 107:1-2 that speak of the declaration of a redeemed man.
I believe he was "redeemed" and simply had to let the world know. O,
if we all had the courage and humility (after he was humbled) to
give our testimony of redeeming grace!
The psalmist exhorts us
to make a declaration of God's word and work of grace in our lives...
Oh give thanks to the Lord,
for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting (cp
"everlasting" Da 4:3). Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary. (Psalms 107:1-2)
I love Spurgeon's exhortative
comment on these passages: Whatever others may think or say,
the redeemed have overwhelming reasons for declaring the goodness of
the Lord. Theirs is a peculiar redemption, and for it they ought to
render peculiar praise. The Redeemer is so glorious, the ransom price
so immense, and the redemption so complete, that they are under
sevenfold obligations to give thanks unto the Lord, and to exhort
others to do so. Let them not only feel so but say so; let them both
sing and bid their fellows sing.
Whom he hath redeemed from the
hand of the enemy. Snatched by superior power away from fierce
oppressions, they are bound above all men to adore the Lord, their
Liberator. Theirs is a divine redemption, "he hath redeemed" them, and
no one else has done it. His own unaided arm has wrought out their
deliverance. Should not emancipated slaves be grateful to the hand
which set them free? What gratitude can suffice for a deliverance from
the power of sin, death, and hell? In heaven itself there is no
sweeter hymn than that whose burden is, "Thou hast redeemed us unto
God by thy blood."
Although we don't know for
certain, as discussed above, many conservative commentaries feel that this chapter takes
place toward the middle of Nebuchadnezzar's reign of 43 years (this
makes some sense because he speaks as a conqueror who has nothing left
to conquer - "all the earth" Da 4:1, "at ease...flourishing"
Da 4:4). In any event the psalmist echoes the king's thoughts
And even when I am old and gray, O
God, do not forsake me, until I declare Thy strength to this
generation, Thy power to all who are to come (NB: This is
exactly what Nebuchadnezzar did - the book of Daniel is part of God's
eternal word available to all who are to come!). 19 For
Thy righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, Thou who hast done
great things; O God, who is like Thee? 20 Thou, who hast shown me many
troubles and distresses, Wilt revive me again, And wilt bring me up
again from the depths of the earth. (Ps 71:18, 19, 20)
Signs and wonders - This
is a familiar idiom in Scripture (18x in the OT = Ex 7:3, Dt 4:34,
6:22, 7:19, 13:1, 13:2, 26:8, 28:46, 29:3, 34:11 Neh 9:10 Ps 135:9 Isa
8:18 Jer 32:20 32:21 Da 4:2 4:3 6:27) (16x in NT = Mt 24:24; Mk 13:22;
Jn 4:48; Acts 2:19, 22, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; Ro
15:19; 2Cor 12:12; 2Th 2:9; Heb 2:4)
- Archer says the Aramaic word atohi means "`attesting
miracles,' natural phenomena that because of their magnitude or timing
decisively evidence God's intervention in judgment or redemption".
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
Wonders - Archer
says the Aramaic word timhohi means "supernatural
manifestations of divine intervention in the course of nature, cognate
with Heb tamah, `be astounded,' `dumbfounded."
Jamieson says that signs
are "tokens significant of God's
omnipotent agency. The plural is used, as it comprises the marvelous
dream, the marvelous interpretation of it, and its marvelous issue."
One of the signs and wonders
would surely include the fiery furnace deliverance in Daniel 3 as well
as the king's dream and Daniel's interpretation in Daniel 2 which led
him to declare God to be a "Revealer of mysteries" (Da 2:47). However
the most stupendous personal signs and wonders occur in this
very chapter detailing the king's strange divine humbling and
subsequent restoration to the throne.
Most High God (Key phrase
in this chapter - 6x in 6v = Da 4:2, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34) (Other uses
in Daniel = Da 3:26, 5:18, 21, 7:25). The first use of this great Name
of God as the Most High is found in Genesis 14 as Abraham returns with
Lot and spoil which result from his victory against 4 Gentile kings
and overwhelming odds...
And Melchizedek king of Salem
brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God
Most High (see study).
19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God
Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a
tenth of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give the people
to me and take the goods for yourself." 22 And Abram said to the king
of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD God
possessor of heaven and earth... (Ge 14:18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
Comment: Note the truths
associated with the
- (1) He is possessor of heaven and
earth, (2) He is worthy of praise, (3) He is our Deliverer. In short,
He is sovereign. He rules over all, visible or invisible, in heaven,
on earth and under the earth and for all time and eternity.
that "The expression the Most High God is
another evidence that Nebuchadnezzar regards the God of Israel as
exalted, but it is not in itself proof that he is a monotheist,
trusting only in the true God.:
I resonate with H A Ironside's
comment - This verse touches my heart in a
most striking way. I realize that I am reading the personal testimony
of one who was in some respects the greatest monarch this world has
ever known. I am privileged to have his own account of how he—a proud,
self-willed man—was brought to repentance and to the saving knowledge
of the God of all grace. For I gather from this proclamation that a
divine work was accomplished in Nebuchadnezzar's soul by God who, in
mercy, had revealed Himself to him. What a wonderful miracle this is!
The fact is, every conversion is a miracle—every soul that is saved
knows what it is to be dealt with in supernatural power. It is God
alone who changes men like this...Oh that men might have their eyes
opened to see, and their ears to hear, what God in His grace is doing
on the basis of His blessed Son's offering for sin on the cross! (Amen!)
4:3 "How great are His signs And how
mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His
dominion is from generation to generation. (great: Da 6:27
De 4:34 Ps 71:19,20 72:18 77:19 86:10 92:5 104:24 105:27 Isa 25:1
28:29 Ro 11:33 Heb 2:4) (his kingdom: Da 4:17,34,35 2:44 6:26 7:14,27
Ps 66:7 145:13 Isa 9:7 Jer 10:10 Lk 1:32,33 1Ti 1:17 Heb 1:8 Rev
11:15) (is from: Job 25:2 1Pe 4:11)
What follows is a testimony of
God's mercy and grace and power to save from the "guttermost to the
is my personal testimony of God's grace)
Dear reader, do you have
a word of testimony regarding the signs and wonders that the High God
has accomplished in your life? Have you ever been brought into direct
contact with Him, so that you can speak confidently of what He has
done for your soul? If not, then consider God's invitation while the
door of His grace remains open and...
Look unto Me, and be ye saved,
all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isa
Comment: The venerable
preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Read
was smitten by the Spirit Who used the living and active words of
Isaiah 45:22 to cause him to be born again (cp 1Pe 1:3-note)
and Spurgeon spent the rest of his life declaring His signs and
His wonders and in so doing became the most prodigious
Christian writer the world has ever known!
O, do not let the word depart,
And close thine eyes against the light;
Poor sinner, harden not thy heart;
Thou would'st be saved—why not tonight?
The world has nothing new to give,
It has no true, no pure delight;
Look now to Jesus Christ, and live;
Thou would'st be saved—why not tonight?
Our blessed Lord refuses none
Who would to Him their souls unite;
Believe, obey, the work is done;
Thou would'st be saved—why not tonight?
How great are His signs -
The first of 4 things Nebuchadnezzar says about God.
Great - (5x in 4v in
Daniel 4-Da 4:3, 4:10, 4:22, 4:30)
Mighty are His wonders -
When one has experienced the great mercies of God as Nebuchadnezzar
had, the only thing such a soul can do is sing praises to His Name and
His attributes (Cp Paul's doxology in response to the overwhelming
revelation of the boundless mercies of God - Ro 11:33, 34, 35, 36).
An everlasting kingdom
(Da 4:34, 7:27)-
He seems to acknowledge (at least indirectly) that there is an end to
the Gentile world kingdoms, even as interpreted by Daniel...
And in the days of those kings
("ten toe" stage of "iron and clay") the God of heaven will set up a
kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be
left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these
kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (Da 2:44)
The psalmist writes words
very similar to those of Nebuchadnezzar (some think he was familiar
with the Psalm)...
Thy kingdom is an everlasting
kingdom, and Thy dominion endures throughout all generations. (Ps
His dominion is from
generation to generation - While Nebuchadnezzar's rule
was finite, God's rule will be without end. Nebuchadnezzar "got the picture"
regarding Who was in charge! He now acknowledges God not as just
a god (one of many "gods"), but as the one true and living
God Whose kingdom rules over all and will continue forever.
observes "How completely different this
proclamation from the ones Nebuchadnezzar had made previously. It can
only be explained by God's work in the life of this heathen monarch,
bringing him to repentance and faith in Himself. It was clearly a
miracle of God's grace—as is every conversion. It was December 7, 1941, when
(read his story
From Pearl Harbor to Calvary),
a proud and militant Japanese commander, led the attack on Pearl
Harbor. But his brilliant military career ended with the defeat of
Japan and the close of the war. Returning to his home village near
Osaka, he took up farming.
One day Fuchida was summoned to Tokyo to testify in the war crimes
trials and was handed a pamphlet as he got off the train. He was
intrigued by the title,
I Was A Prisoner of Japan
(read it). It was the story of
Jacob De Shazer, the Doolittle
raider who was converted to Christ in a Japanese prison camp while
reading the Bible.
Fuchida's curiosity was aroused from reading of the incident, and he
went to a bookstore and bought a Bible. When he went home he began
reading it (See different account of how he got a Bible -
Mitsuo Fuchida - another bio)."Every night I read the Bible," he said. "I read while plowing the
rice fields. One night I read that Jesus died and that He prayed,
'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' I realized I
was one of 'them' for whom Jesus prayed."
At the age of 47, on April 12, 1950, Fuchida received Christ as Savior
and began a new life. Though later asked to consider heading Japan's
air force as commander-in-chief, Fuchida turned down the invitation
and spent the rest of his life traveling in Japan, the United States,
and Canada, sharing what God had done in his life. Nebuchadnezzar's
conversion was no less dramatic. (Daniel God's Man in a
Joseph Alleine writes
Conversion is a deep work—a
heart-work. It goes throughout the man, throughout the mind,
throughout the members, throughout the entire life. Conversion is no
repairing of the old building; but it takes all down and erects a new
It should be noted that a few
writers like Leupold, Calvin, and surprisingly even modern
conservative writers like Thomas Constable, doubt whether the king’s testimony in
Daniel 4 reflects his conversion, but I agree with respected expositor
John MacArthur who writes...
In Daniel 4 we will see what I
believe is Nebuchadnezzar's conversion to faith in the true God. Some
commentators have appropriately entitled the chapter, "The Conversion
of Nebuchadnezzar." It relates how God broke his pride by humbling him
and then turned his heart toward Him in faith. God did so, in part,
through another dream. (Daniel
4-1-37: How Are the Mighty Fallen! - Study Guide)
4:4 "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease
in my house and flourishing in my palace. (Ps 30:6,7 Isa
47:7,8 56:12 Jer 48:11 Eze 28:2-5,17 29:3 Zeph 1:12 Lk 12:19,20 1Th
Beginning in this passage
Nebuchadnezzar is describing events in the past that preceded and led
up to his
At ease - This speaks of
Babylon at peace with no internal or external conflicts. Things were
"good" for the king, but not for all in his kingdom for later Daniel
exhorts him to show "mercy to the poor" (Da 4:27).
And as we soon see, his "ease"
was deceptive as it is with all the rich and powerful who are not
"good" with God! What's the danger to any man, believer or not, when
they are "at ease" and "flourishing"? (See Dt 6:10, 11, 12 for the
answer where we read of Jehovah's warning to Israel, who in her
unfaithfulness to God is a picture of our fallen flesh?)
The fact that the king was at
ease would lend some support to the premise that these events occurred
later in King Nebuchadnezzar's reign, after the active military
conquest that characterized his early reign.
Gingrich- Prosperity is a dangerous thing—It
often produces pride, and pride destroys us, Prov. 16:18; 29:23. Let
us remember what prosperity and pride did to Saul and Solomon!
Ironside observes that
the king at this time still unconverted was "At rest and flourishing
while still in his sins and a stranger to God. There is a deceitful
rest, a deceitful peace, which lulls many a soul into a false security
(Je 6:14, 23:17, Lam 2:14, Ezek 13:22, 2Pe 2:1-note).
To be untroubled is no evidence of safety. To be at peace does not
prove that all is well. I once caught hold of a blind man and drew him
back just in time to keep him from plunging headlong into an open
cellar way. He thought all was well and was in peace of mind as he
walked along, yet two more steps and he would have gone down! Be sure
that your peace is founded on the blood of Christ shed on the cross
(Col 1:19, 20-note);
then you will have that peace which is true and lasting (Ro 5:1-note).
Every other is false and fleeting. The peace of God is that which
comes from relying on the testimony of God and follows the confession
of sins that have separated the soul from Him. (Daniel
As Nebuchadnezzar eloquently
testifies, God is able (Da 4:37) to arouse each of us out of
our spiritual stupor and false sense of security, regardless of what
we are placing our trust in (be it plenty, power, prestige, people,
possessions, etc) other than His goodness and grace in Christ. May a
Romans 12:1 (note)
attitude be foremost in our heart and mind each day of the rest of our
lives so that we might continually experience His rest in Christ in
What had Nebuchadnezzar
forgotten? In Daniel 2
in the interpretation of the king's dream the prophet declares...
You, O king, are the king of kings,
to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power,
the strength, and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell,
or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given
them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You
are the head of gold. (Da 2:37, 38)
Comment: Daniel could not
have been clearer about why Nebuchadnezzar was such a mighty king.
Three times he emphasized that God sovereignly bestowed his kingdom
and his submissive subjects upon the king. It was not the king's
incredible military prowess, nor his intelligent rule, nor anything
inherently within Nebuchadnezzar. It was from God and should have
prompted praise and thanks to God instead of pomposity and pride!
I had returned to my palace in
Babylon after having subdued Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Egypt, and
Arabia. It was probably these great conquests that puffed him up with
pride, and brought that chastisement upon him which he afterwards
Flourishing in my palace
- He was the epitome of self-satisfaction. After all he was in control
of everything! Or so he thought! As Campbell says...
Then God spoke—it is well to
remember that God can deal with ungodly men, even those in high and
secure places, when human resistance cannot reach them (Campbell, D.
Daniel God's Man in a Secular Society)
Criswell envisions this
great king's self-satisfied and fully satiated state...
His army is at peace. He’s not a
general any more. He’s not marching at the head of that ravenous,
destructive, Chaldean horde. His enemies on the outside are all
vanquished. And all of his fears on the inside are allayed. He is at
rest. He has those great fortifications—one of the Wonders of the
World, they’re all built—and he has a mighty army ready to rise at the
blast of the trumpet in his defense. He is at rest in his house and
flourishing in his palace. There is nothing wanting. Every goblet is
filled with wine. Every corner of every room echoes with music. Every
palace is a refuge from fear and terror. And he lays his head down on
a pillow of down. And expects to dream dreams of affluence and wealth
and luxury and splendor. He is at rest in his house and flourishing in
his palace. Monuments, cities, fortifications: the glory of the
greatest golden city the world ever knew, Babylon. (Sermon)
Walvoord sees a more wide
symbolism in this Daniel 4 writing that...
the contest between God and
Nebuchadnezzar is a broad illustration of God’s dealings with the
entire human race and especially the Gentile world in its creaturely
pride and failure to recognize the
sovereignty of God. (Chapter
4 Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride And Punishment)
Joseph Parker elaborates on
Nebuchadnezzar's declaration observing that...
there was nothing wanting; every
goblet full of wine, every corner an echo of music, every chamber a
refuge from pagan trouble and imperial excitement: I never was more
comfortable or restful in my life; the house never was so charming,
the palace was never so grand, and I pillowed my head on down, and
expected to see visions that would make me glad by doubling and
redoubling all the poetry and music and wealth of my existence: that
was my delightful case; and even in the midst of that enjoyment "I saw
a dream which made me afraid. (The People's Bible Volume 16)
Archer attempts to nail down
a time period for the events in Daniel 4 writing that...
Presumably the events in chapter 4
took place some eight or nine years before the end of the siege of
Tyre in 573. (H.W.F. Saggs, The Greatness That Was Babylon [New York.
Mentor, 1968], p. 148, estimates that the siege ended in 571 B.C.; See
Ezek 26:7, which foretold this major effort against the Phoenician
capital.) This would allow for a seven-year interval of mental
illness, during which no major military operations were undertaken—say
from 582 to 575. Perhaps it was in 583 that Nebuchadnezzar had his
dream, with its sinister warning. (Ibid)
4:5 "I saw a dream and it made me
fearful; and these fantasies as I lay on my bed and the visions in my
mind kept alarming me. (dream: Da 2:1 5:5,6,10 7:28 Ge 41:1
Job 7:13,14) (fantasies: Da 2:28,29)
It made me fearful...kept
alarming me - This great king who had never lost a battle, who had
defeated all his enemies, who ruled as the king of kings, the
head of gold...we would have thought fear and alarm would not be words
in his personal vocabulary! Had it been an enemy force approaching his
city, he would have called his virile forces to battle stations. But a
dream. How can one defend against a dream? Especially a
dream sent by the Almighty? And so we see the greatest monarch
of all time turning into a craven, cowardly knave.
Ironside comments on the
fear and alarm associated with Nebuchadnezzar's dream, noting that...
The vision was sent for this very
purpose. God saw that he needed to be troubled—he needed to be
awakened from his sleep of death. It was grace that thus exercised
him. And in some way every soul that is saved has to pass through this
period of soul-anxiety and concern.
Dreams had been God's righteous
"weapon" in the past to alert sinners, as when Abimelech sent for
Abram's wife Sarai...
But God came to Abimelech in a
dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man
because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married." (Ge
Joseph Parker describes
this dream in graphic language...
"I saw a dream which made me
afraid." Let us not tamper with this graphic language, but take it
as it stands in the English tongue. Nebuchadnezzar "saw" a dream: it
was part of himself, yet it was wholly outside, so that he could
fasten his eyes upon it; it was in him and without him, above him,
round about him, beneath him; and he was "afraid." Sometimes we
ask the question, Do dreams come true? Why, they are true. A dream
does not need to come true, because it is there, a fact; it is already
part of the history of the brain. There need be no other hell than a
dream. Who can count the resources of God? In a dream we can be
burned; in a dream we can be encoiled by serpents; in a dream we can
be eternally suffocated; in a dream the serpent's fang may be within
one inch of striking our life, and we may have no power of resistance
or flight. The dream made Nebuchadnezzar afraid, and
Nebuchadnezzar was not accustomed to fear, for he had brass enough,
iron enough, chariots enough, horsemen enough; at the blast of his
trumpet an empire stood up in his defence: but a dream made a fool of
him. You cannot strike a dream; you cannot lay your hands upon it and
compel it to make terms with you. These are the resources of God. If
he would fight us with lightning we could make some device that might
catch the lightning and bear it away; if he would fight us always with
whirlwinds we could order our masonry accordingly, and hide ourselves
behind the granite wall till the great euroclydon cried itself to
rest: but he will not do this; he will trouble us with dreams, and
make us afraid with visions; and whilst we are flourishing in the
palace he will make the floor tremble under us, or there will be a
movement behind the screen, the curtain, the arras, and that movement
will frighten us more than we ever were affrighted by thunderstorm at
midnight. If Nebuchadnezzar had heard that an army was thundering at
one of the gates of Babylon, he would have been delighted: war is the
amusement of kings; battle is the recreation of royal luxury and
ambition: but this was a dream that came through the great brass gates
that made the great wall of Babylon memorable as one of the finest
structures in the world. You cannot bar out a dream, or lock it out,
or bolt it out, or set a watch to keep it out; a wakeful sentry, armed
at every point, may be looking at the dream while it touches him, and
he cannot touch it, or blow it back, or threaten it, or defy it; it
smiles upon him, and passes on, to work its murder in the king's head
and the king's heart, and turn the king's imagination into an
intolerable perdition. When Pilate was puzzled about the new king and
the new theology and the unheard-of sedition which was not written in
the Roman books, "his wife sent unto him, saying, 'Have thou nothing
to do with that just Man: for I have suffered many things this day in
a dream because of Him'." (Mt 27:19) God has made great use of dreams
in history. Spiritual impressions may be laughed at by those who read
nothing but cold type; but they are regarded as having unutterable
suggestion to those of a more sensitive and exalted order of mind.
(The People's Bible: Volume 16)
Made me fearful -
Nebuchadnezzar's ease was a false sense of security and
serenity and it was soon disrupted by a dream God either sent or
Fearful...fantasies...alarming - Divine insomnia can have this
4:6 "So I gave orders to bring into
my presence all the wise men of Babylon, that they might make known to
me the interpretation of the dream. (Da 2:2 Ge 41:7,8 Isa
The wise men of Babylon -
This is essentially the same pagan brain trust that failed miserably
to describe and interpret the king's dream in Daniel 2.
Jamieson observes that "It may seem strange that Daniel was
not first summoned (Ed: And remember that if the dating of many is
correct, Daniel's previous interpretation would have been over 25-30
years earlier!). But it was ordered by God's providence that he
should be reserved to the last, in order that all mere human means
should be proved vain, before God manifested His power through His
servant; thus the haughty king was stripped of all fleshly
These wise men were not in
contact with the All Wise God. Paul spoke about natural man's "defect"
in spiritual matters in his first letter to the Corinthians noting
that "a natural man does not accept
the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him;
and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually
appraised ("the wise men of Babylon"). But he who is spiritual
(cp Daniel) appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no
one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct
Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1Co 2:14-16)
4:7 "Then the magicians, the
conjurers, the Chaldeans and the diviners came in and I related the
dream to them, but they could not make its interpretation known to me.
(Da 2:1,2) (but: Da 2:7 Isa 44:25 Jer 27:9,10 2Ti 3:8,9)
Then - Then what? Well,
"old habits die hard" as they say and so once again the king turned to
the wrong source for advice in his time of difficulty.
How about us beloved? Who do we
turn to FIRST in our time of difficulty?
To the "best" that humanistic wisdom (the latest best seller telling
you how to "fix all that ails you", the talking heads on TV, the
blogs, etc) has to offer (the magicians, the conjurers, etc) or
to the source of true wisdom, to God and His godly representatives?
Could not make its
interpretation known - Once again we see the bankruptcy of
Babylonian wisdom, surely a picture of all wisdom of fallen man as
opposed to the incomparable wisdom of God.
James says human
is not that which comes down from
above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. (Jas 3:15)
In contrast James says
the wisdom from above is
first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good
fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. (Jas 3:17)
Campbell relates how...
once delivered a stinging indictment against his American theological
education that is reminiscent of Nebuchadnezzar's experience with his
A theology is not to be found here. . . . They chatter till all is
blue without any factual foundation or any criteria of thought
becoming visible. . . . They intoxicate themselves with liberal and
humanistic expressions, laugh at the fundamentalists, and basically
they are not even a match for them. Often it goes through and through
me when here in a lecture they dismiss Christ, and laugh outright when
a word of Luther's is quoted on the forgiveness of sin. (Mary Bosanquet, The Life and Death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer [New York: Harper
and Row, 19691, 83). (Campbell, D. Daniel God's Man in a Secular
Joseph Parker writes of
He was more earnest this time than
he was in the first instance. We have not forgotten that in the first
instance he insisted upon the magicians telling him the dream itself,
and then the interpretation (Da 2:5-note);
now Nebuchadnezzar speaks from the centre of fear, the dark point of
mental apprehension, and therefore he tells the magicians all the
dream in the hope that they may be able to explain it away. They could
make nothing of it; before these ciphers they could set no unit to
turn them into value; these men had not the key of this mystery. (The
People's Bible: Volume 16)
4:8 "But finally Daniel came in
before me, whose name is Belteshazzar according to the name of my god,
and in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and I related the dream to
him, saying, (Belteshazzar: Da 1:7 5:12 Isa 46:1 Jer 50:2)
(Da 4:9,18 2:11 5:11,14 Nu 11:17-30 Isa 63:11)
But finally - At last.
Joseph Parker remarks that...
"At the last Daniel came in." It is
always so; if we can do without the true man we will. Physicians know
the meaning of this; they tell us that not until patients have
exhausted every other source of inquiry do they come to them that they
may test their skill (Parker goes on to apply this thought to our
lives noting that) It is in human nature not to go to Christ first. We
begin by doctoring ourselves, by interpreting our own dreams, by
asking any liar if he will accept a bribe to flatter us into security.
It was always so with Jesus Christ, the Son of God; nobody went to him
in the first instance: "He was despised and rejected of men."
(The People's Bible: Volume 16)
But finally Daniel came
in before me - Not because Nebuchadnezzar had chosen to believe in
Daniel's God but because he had come to recognize Daniel's spiritual insight
Daniel - His Hebrew name
means God is Judge or God is my judge.
Belteshazzar (10x in 8v -
Da1:7 2:26 4:8 4:9 4:18 4:19 5:12 10:1) - His
Babylonian name means something like "protect his life"
(Akkadian balusu-usur, ‘may he [Bel] protect his life’). Notice
that Nebuchadnezzar calls Daniel by both his Hebrew name and his
Babylonian name, but emphasizes the latter name.
Gingrich - Calling upon God or God’s man is
usually done as a last resort (Da 4:8)—Finding no help from within or
without, we finally look up.
The name of my god - Bel
was Nebuchadnezzar's God, despite the fact that he has seen signs and
wonders of the Most High God in Daniel 2 and Daniel 3. At the time he
is relating the story, Bel would seem to still be his personal god.
But by the end of the story, after the period of humbling, the only
name on his lips is the Most High God and His praiseworthy
Pharaoh made a statement
similar to Nebuchadnezzar...
"Can we find a man like this, in
whom is a divine spirit?" So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has
informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as
you are. (Ge 41:38, 39)
Gods - Clearly despite
Nebuchadnezzar's prior revelations of the one true God, he still
believed in many gods (polytheism).
In whom is a spirit of the
holy gods - The king clearly recognized that there was something
different about Daniel and that he was "set apart" from the pagan
occultists. What set
(1) In Daniel 1:8-note
Daniel made a decision to obey God which brought God's blessing on his
life (Da 1:9-note),
and the king witnessed the divine effect.
(2) In Daniel 2 upon the
revelation of his dream and interpretation, the king "paid homage to
Daniel" and recognized his God as a "revealer of mysteries" (Da 2:47-note).
In short, Daniel's exemplary
life made him a "light to the Gentiles", reflecting in his life
the God he worshiped.
The axiomatic principle is
that a man's life always reflects what he truly worships!
Does your life reflect a holy
(not a "holier than thou") heart to the pagans in your sphere of
influence? Does the way you conduct yourself before others open or
shut doors for you to speak the gospel with your lips?
John MacArthur relates
the powerful effect of a holy life, in the story of the famous duo,
Stanley and Livingstone...
When Henry Stanley found
David Livingstone in the heart of Africa, he stayed with him for four
months. Stanley was a professed skeptic when he found Livingstone, but
came away a Christian. Asked what Livingstone said that converted him,
Stanley replied that it was what Livingstone was that brought him to
Christ. According to Stanley's report Livingstone never asked him if
he was a Christian, never preached to him, and never appeared to pray
for his conversion. But Livingstone was so thoroughly a Christian that
it dawned on Stanley that one who was not a Christian was something
less than a Christian. Livingstone was a man of God who permitted the
Lord to live through him. Consequently his life was one of victory and
blessing. By the sheer influence and impact of his virtue Livingstone
brought Stanley to Christ (see Henry Stanley's
How I Found Livingstone,
4:9 'O Belteshazzar, chief of the
magicians, since I know that a spirit of the holy gods is in you and
no mystery baffles you, tell me the visions of my dream which I have
seen, along with its interpretation. (master: Da 1:20 2:48
5:11) (the spirit: Da 4:8 Ge 41:38 1Sa 4:8) (no secret: Da 4:5 2:3 Ge
11:6-8 Isa 33:18 54:14 Eze 28:3) (tell: Da 4:18 2:4,5 Ge 40:9-19
41:15-36 Jud 7:13-15)
Centuries earlier the God used
His servant Joseph to interpret Pharaoh's dream...
Then Pharaoh said to his servants,
"Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?" (Ge
Spirit of the holy gods -
Brenton's English rendering of the
Septuagint is "the Holy Spirit of
God is in thee".
The meaning here and in Da 4:18 (as
well as Da 5:11,14) is rightly translated as “the Spirit of the
holy God.” Wording for the true God in the Heb. of Josh. 24:19 is
equivalent to the Aramaic here (which begins in Da 2:4). Some believe
he meant “a spirit of the holy gods.” This is unlikely, since no pagan
worshipers claimed purity or holiness for their deities. In fact, just
the opposite was believed. And since Nebuchadnezzar was rehearsing his
conversion, he could genuinely identify the true Spirit of God.
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
The king may only be acknowledging
his own gods’ supposed work in Daniel’s life, or (since gods may be
properly translated by the singular, God) it may indicate his
recognition of the true God of Israel.
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody
Gingrich exhorts us to be
imitators of the holy man Daniel writing that...
Something supernatural should he
seen in our lives (Da 4:9)—Men around us should readily see that God
is with us and is living His life through us, Ge 39:3; 2Cor. 4:7
Tell me the visions...along
with its interpretations - Young's Literal reads "the visions of
my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation, tell". The NIV
translates it "here is my dream; interpret it for me." I think from
the context the NIV is correct in this instance, but it makes the
point that one must be careful when reading any translation that has a
significant interpretative component (as does the NIV, in contrast to
the NAS and ESV which are more literal).
The NAS translation reflects the
Masoretic text (MT) but the NET Bible note comments...
The MT implies that the king
required Daniel to disclose both the dream and its interpretation, as
in chapter 2. But in the following verses Nebuchadnezzar recounts his
dream, while Daniel presents only its interpretation.
4:10 'Now these were the visions in
my mind as I lay on my bed: I was looking, and behold, there was a
tree in the midst of the earth and its height was great.
(tree: Da 4:20-26 Ps 37:35,36 Isa 10:33,34 Jer 12:2 Eze 31:3-18)
A tree...great - It takes
3 verses to describe the magnificence of this tree!
In the midst of the earth
- This "geographic" phrase denotes the tree's (aka "the king and his
kingdom's") conspicuous position at the center of the world from
whence the Babylonian authority radiated in all directions.
In Ezekiel we read about
the "other" great city which is in the midst of the earth...
Thus says the Lord GOD, 'This is
Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations,
with lands around her. (Ezek 5:5) (Recall that the most referenced
city in Scripture is Jerusalem and the second most referenced is
Babylon! City of God versus the City of Man. The best of God versus
the best of the Anti-God World system!)
Henry Morris comments: It is
remarkable that modern computer studies have shown that Jerusalem is,
indeed, very near the geographical center of all the earth's land
areas and, therefore, the midst of the nations. (Morris,
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
McGee comments that...
In Scripture, a tree can represent
a number of things. A tree can represent a man: “And he shall
be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his
fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he
doeth shall prosper” (Ps 1:3; see also Jer 17:8; Isa 56:3). Also a
tree can represent a nation (see Ezek 31:3-14; Mt 24:32,33).
The mustard tree in Mt 13:31, 32 represents Christendom today (Ed:
The kingdom of heaven manifest in the body of Christ, the Church). The
olive tree represents both Israel and the Gentiles (see Ro 11:16, 17,
18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 24). The tree here represents Nebuchadnezzar
primarily and also his kingdom of Babylon—the king and kingdom are
4:10-16 - Mp3)
The prophet Ezekiel also
used the image of a tree in a figurative description of the
kingdom of Assyria...
‘Behold, Assyria was a cedar in
Lebanon with beautiful branches and forest shade, and very high,
and its top was among the clouds. (Ezek 31:3)
4:11 'The tree grew large and became
strong And its height reached to the sky, And it was visible to the
end of the whole earth. (reached: Da 4:21,22 Ge 11:4 De 9:1
The tree - Metaphor which
Daniel identifies with Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:22).
Adam Clarke notes that...
Great men and princes are often
represented, in the language of the prophets, under the similitude of
trees, see Ezekiel 17:5, 6; 31:3 and following; Jer 22:15; Ps 1:3;
The tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
was noted for its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and
4:12 'Its foliage was beautiful and
its fruit abundant, And in it was food for all. The beasts of the
field found shade under it, And the birds of the sky dwelt in its
branches, And all living creatures fed themselves from it.
(the beasts: Jer 27:6,7 Eze 17:23 31:6) (shadow: La 4:20) (the fowls:
Mk 13:32 Lk 13:19)
Fruit abundant...food for all
- The king was benefactor of all the subjects under his rule.
As they often say "so far, so
good." The front end of the dream was pleasing and satisfying to
Nebuchadnezzar, but that picture would soon change.
The different creatures
undoubtedly represent the people under his rule ("dominion to the end
of the earth" Da 4:22)
4:13 'I was looking in the visions in
my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic
watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven. (in the: Da 4:5,10 7:1 Da
4:17,23 Ps 103:2) (an holy: Da 8:13 De 33:2 Ps 89:7 Zec 14:5 Mt 25:31
Mk 1:24 Lk 4:34 Jude 1:14 Rev 14:10)
watcher, a holy one - Note that angelic is not in the original
Aramaic but is added by the translators of the NAS. The ESV for
example reads "a watcher, a holy one"
is a unique Aramaic word (only in Daniel 4:13, 17, 23) which means
watchman and comes from the verb meaning to be wakeful or on watch.
The idea is a "waking one", one who is constantly alert.
NET Note - Aram “a
watcher and a holy one.” The expression is a
Hendiadys; so also in Da 4:23. This “watcher”
is apparently an angel. The Greek OT (LXX) in fact has angelos
(aggelos), “angel” here. Theodotion simply transliterates the
Aramaic word (’ir). The term is sometimes rendered “sentinel”
(NAB) or “messenger” (NIV, NLT). (NET translates it "holy sentinel")
Undoubtedly the NAS is
correct that this is an angelic being. How do we know? The
context would be compatible - (1) Nebuchadnezzar sees something about
him that causes him to describe him as a "holy one", suggesting
supernatural origin (2) Holy one (not an evil, fallen angel!)
describes one set apart for a special purpose. (3) His purpose is to
deliver a message, which was frequently the "job description"
Jamieson has a lengthy
note on watcher - Only one angel is intended, and he
not one of the bad, but of the holy angels. Called a "watcher,"
because ever on the watch to execute God's will [JEROME], "Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His
word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him,
doing His will." (Ps 103:20, 21). Compare as to their watchfulness,
"full of eyes within . . . they rest not day and night." (Ed:
Rev 4:8 strictly speaking are not angels per se). Also they watch good
men committed to their charge (Ps 34:7 Heb 1:14); and watch over the
evil to record their sins, and at God's bidding at last punish them
(Jer 4:16, 17), "watchers" applied to human instruments of
God's vengeance. As to GOD (Da 9:14 Job 7:12 Job 14:16 Jer 44:27). In
a good sense (Ge 31:49 Jer 31:28). The idea of heavenly "watchers"
under the supreme God (called in the Zendavesta of the Persian
Zoroaster, Ormuzd) was founded on the primeval revelation as to evil
angels having watched for an opportunity until they succeeded in
tempting man to his ruin, and good angels ministering to God's
servants (as Jacob, Ge 28:15 Ge 32:1, 2). Compare the watching over
Abraham for good, and over Sodom for wrath after long watching in vain
for good men it it, for whose sake He would spare it, Ge 18:23-33; and
over Lot for good, Ge 19:1-38 Daniel fitly puts in Nebuchadnezzar's
mouth the expression, though not found elsewhere in Scripture, yet
substantially sanctioned by it (2Ch 16:9 Pr 15:3 Jer 32:19), and
natural to him according to Oriental modes of thought.
The writer of Hebrews
asks rhetorically about the angels "Are they not all ministering
spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will
inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14-note)
Comment: Indeed, if
Nebuchadnezzar was indeed converted in Daniel 4 as I believe, we see
that the watcher that brought him a frightful message, in
effect functioned as God's minister or servant, to this pagan king who
was soon to inherit salvation!
Dr Henry Morris in his
comment on Heb 1:14 says "This important passage indicates that the
primary reason why God created the angels is so they could serve to
implement His purpose in creating and redeeming men and women in His
own image. Angels possess great wisdom (2 Samuel 14:20), great
strength (Psalm 103:20), great speed (Daniel 9:21), and great
numbers (Hebrews 12:22) in performing this ministry. They accomplish
their ministry on behalf of the heirs of salvation in various ways,
including: instruction (Acts 10:3-6), deliverance (Psalm 34:7;
91:11), comfort (Matthew 1:20; Luke 22:43) and, finally, reception
at death (Luke 16:22). They were created to be ministering spirits,
continually sent forth to minister (that is, serve) those who shall
be heirs of salvation." (Defender's
Study Bible Note on Hebrews 1:14)
The psalmist writes "No
evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For
(explaining Ps 91:10) He will give His angels charge concerning you,
to guard (Heb = shamar = to watch, to keep, to
preserve, to guard, to care for;
Lxx = to carefully
guard, protect and take care of) you in all your ways. They will
bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against
a stone." (Ps 91:10-12)
Spurgeon comments on Ps
91:11,12 - Not one guardian angel, as some fondly dream, but all the
angels are here alluded to. They are the bodyguard of the princes of
the blood imperial of heaven, and they have received commission from
their Lord and ours to watch carefully over all the interests of the
faithful. When men have a charge they become doubly careful, and
therefore the angels are represented as bidden by God himself to see
to it that the elect are secured. It is down in the marching orders
of the hosts of heaven that they take special note of the people who
dwell in God. It is not to be wondered at that the servants are
bidden to be careful of the comfort of their Master's guests; and we
may be quite sure that when they are specially charged by the Lord
himself they will carefully discharge the duty imposed upon them. To
keep thee in all thy ways. To be a bodyguard, a garrison to the
body, soul, and spirit of the saint. The limit of this protection
"in all thy ways" is yet no limit to the heart which is right with
God. It is not the way of the believer to go out of his way. He
keeps in the way, and then the angels keep him.
The protection here promised is
exceeding broad as to place, for it refers to all our ways, and what
do we wish for more? How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether
they repel demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the
more subtle physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we
shall one day stand amazed at the multiplied services which the
unseen bands have rendered to us.
Verse 12. They, that is the angels, God's own angels, shall
cheerfully become our servants. They shall bear thee up in their
hands; as nurses carry little children, with careful love, so shall
those glorious spirits bear up each individual believer. Lest thou
dash thy foot against a stone; even minor ills they ward off. It is
most desirable that we should not stumble, but as the way is rough,
it is most gracious on the Lord's part to send his servants to bear
us up above the loose pebbles. If we cannot have the way smoothed it
answers every purpose if we have angels to bear us up in their
hands. Since the greatest ills may arise out of little accidents, it
shows the wisdom of the Lord that from the smaller evils we are
of David—Psalm 91)
From heaven - Heaven
is a key word in Da 4 - 11x in 10v - Da 4:13, 15, 23, 25, 26, 31, 33,
34, 35, 37.
Morris comments that "This distinctive name for one of
God's holy angels occurs in the Bible only in this chapter (Da
4:17,23). It does occur also in extra-Biblical literature (the book of
Enoch). The term is insightful, suggesting that angels are watching
us, and they "desire to look into" God's dealings with us (1Peter
Study Bible Note on Daniel 4:13)
4:14 'He shouted out and spoke as
follows: "Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its
foliage and scatter its fruit; Let the beasts flee from under it And
the birds from its branches. (shouted: Da 3:4 Rev 10:3
18:2) (chop: Da 4:23 5:20 Mt 3:10 7:19 Lk 3:9 13:7-9) (let: Da
4:12 Jer 51:6,9 Eze 31:12,13)
He shouted out (Actually
2 words in Aramaic, more literally cried out in strength) - Abruptly
and without warning the command is shouted out (this would
cause anyone to have a frightening night of sleep!) that the great
tree which was seemingly indestructible is to be chopped down. The
destruction would have been complete except for the next verse.
4:15 "Yet leave the stump with its
roots in the ground, But with a band of iron and bronze around it In
the new grass of the field; And let him be drenched with the dew of
heaven, And let him share with the beasts in the grass of the earth.
(leave: Da 4:25-27 Job 14:7-9 Eze 29:14,15)
Stump with its roots -
This speaks of retention of the potential for revival.
NET Note - Aram “the
stock of its root.” So also Da 4:23. The implication here is that
although the tree is chopped down, it is not killed. Its life-giving
root is spared. The application to Nebuchadnezzar is obvious. The
function of the band of iron and bronze is not
entirely clear, but it may have had to do with preventing the
splitting or further deterioration of the portion of the tree that
was left after being chopped down. By application it would then
refer to the preservation of Nebuchadnezzar’s life during the time
of his insanity.
Let him - Note the
occurrence of the masculine pronoun him, which is most closely
linked with the stump with its roots in the ground. This is a
presaging of the fact that the "him" would not be totally
annihilated, despite the tree being chopped down.
Herodotus [7.19] mentions a
dream which Xerxes had; namely, that he was crowned with olive, and
that the branches of the olive filled the whole earth, but that
afterwards the crown vanished from his head: signifying his universal
dominion soon to come to an end. (Jamieson)
Isaiah 10:33, 34-Isa 11:1-5 describes a similar image in which God permitted the “tree”
of Israel to be cut down by their enemies, but prophesied that out of
the stump the Messiah would come.
4:16 "Let his mind be changed from
that of a man And let a beast's mind be given to him, And let seven
periods of time pass over him. (be changed: Da 4:32,33 Isa
6:10 Heb 1:11 Mk 5:4,5 Lk 8:27-29) (seven times: Da 4:23,25,31
7:25 11:13 12:7 Rev 12:14)
Let his mind be changed -
More literally "let his heart be changed" as Scripture views our heart
as our "control center" (thoughts, emotions, will, etc - the
translates the Aramaic with
kardia [see word study]). The
Septuagint translates "changed" with the verb alloioo which
means to make different, in passive (as in this passage) meaning to
be changed or altered, to become different.
Periods of time (05732)('iddan)
is one word in Aramaic. As discussed below in the present context
this stands for
one year, so that seven periods of time would be 7 years. Every
use of the phrase periods of time in NAS is found in Daniel
'Iddan - 11v all in
Daniel - Dan 2:8-9, 21; 3:5, 15; 4:16, 23, 25, 32; 7:12, 25.
Translated (NAS) as moment(2), situation(1), time(8), times(2).
Swanson on 'iddan
- 1. time, occasion in a general sense, without reference to other
points of time (Da 2:8, 9, 21; 7:12); 2. (most versions) time, a
period of time, as a definite unit: year (Holladay, KB, BDB, NAB,
Hermeneia (Collins)), (seven) years (Da 4:16,23,29, 32); three and a
half years (NAB) Da 7:25, formally, time, times and a half time (= 1
+ 2 + 1/2), note: other commentaries suggest that this may not be a
definite unit of time, or possibly a month, or a six-month period
(season) of time; the versions tend to keep the exact unit of time
Are we justified in
interpreting the Aramaic word for periods as signifying years and
not months, weeks, etc? The best commentary on Scripture is always
Compare Scripture with Scripture)
! In the book of Daniel in another passage
"time" is equated
So in Da 7:25-note
we read of the saints being given into the hand of the Antichrist for
time, times and half a time. By comparing parallel passages in
the Revelation (Rev 12:6-note
and Rev 12:14-note)
we can deduce that time (singular) equates with one year and
times (plural) equates with two years so that time, times and
half a time is 3.5 years. Thus a single time is one year.
Additional support is found in one of the two versions of the
which has the phrase "seven
years." Theodoret's version of the
Lxx has seven
kairos), but does not
specify the length. However, if one compares the Septuagint
rendering of Da 7:25, the Greek word for time (which in that context
equates with one year) is the same word
kairos. While this is
not direct evidence, it is very suggestive that even Theodoret's
translation favors this as a seven year period (reminds me of an old
movie name - "The Seven Year Itch!")
Seven - Speaks of
completion or perfection, in this case that this time would be
necessary to see this arrogant king repent and submit to the
Jamieson -"Seven" is the perfect number: a
week of years: a complete revolution of time accompanying a complete
revolution in his state of mind."
4:17 "This sentence is by the decree
of the angelic watchers and the decision is a command of the holy
ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler
over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets
over it the lowliest of men." (by the: Da 4:13,14 1Ki
22:19,20 1Ti 5:21) (the holy: Da 4:8,9,13 Isa 6:3,8 Rev 4:8) (that the
living: Ps 9:16 83:17,18 Ezek 25:17) (the most High: Da 4:25,32,
33, 34, 35 2:21
5:18, 19, 20, 21 Jer 27:5, 6, 7) (bestows: Ps 75:6,7) (the basest: Da 4:25 11:21 Ex
9:16 1Sa 2:8 1Ki 21:25 2Ki 21:6-18 2Ch 28:22 Ps 12:8 113:7,8; Ezek 7:24
Decree is by the angelic
watchers...command of the holy ones - When compared with Da 4:24
we see that the decree is clearly that of the
God and the angels are His "heralds" proclaiming his decree,
decision and command.
In order that - The king
needed to know that this dream was of divine origin and not a bad
"nightmare" related to indigestion!
As an aside, let me encourage
you to be on alert for this phrase in order that which is a
phrase I refer to as a
term of purpose or result.
It follows that when you encounter this phrase (or synonymous
phrases such as so that, that, as a result)
When a term of purpose or result
is encountered, it behooves the reader to pause and ponder the
context, asking at least "What is purpose (or result or effect)?" There
are 161 occurrences of
in order that
from Genesis to Revelation. The related phrase
is found some 580 times. While many of your pauses to ponder in
order that, so that (or the word "that" used in a similar sense),
will lead to a straightforward answer, just the fact that you were
prompted to slow down and meditate on the passage can often lead to
new insights. It is as if you give your Teacher the Spirit time to
speak to you about the text. In the present context, the purpose of
the tree vision and the tree being chopped down is to show that "the
Most High is the ruler over the realm of mankind." In fact
the divine dream really has a three
fold purpose, to show that...
Most High is ruler over the
realm of mankind
(2) He bestows in on whom He wishes
(3) He sets over it the lowliest of
These three purposes can be
summarized in one word -
Sovereignty: How Much Does God Control?
All blessings and gifts are of
God—Nebuchadnezzar failed to acknowledge this fact, Da 4:17, 25, 32;
As Campbell says in this
verse we see...
This is, in essence, a restatement
of the great theme of the Book of Daniel: God is sovereign over the
affairs of men and rules supremely in the world. He is the final
authority, the highest judge. Further, He oversees the appointment of
national rulers. "He removes kings and establishes kings" (Da
2:21). "For there is no authority except from God, and those which
exist are established by God." (Ro13:1-note).
Sets over it the lowliest of men
- Lowliest means humblest. In the NT, the origin of the Greek word for
humble indicates one who is low down. This reminds me of Samuel's
selection of the king to replace Saul ("He removes kings..." Da 2:21),
for even as Jesse's sons were brought before Samuel, he looked at
Eliab and reasoned "Surely the LORD's anointed is before Him" to which
Do not look at his appearance or at
the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God
sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1Sa 16:7)
Nabopolassar claimed to be of very humble origin as evidenced by his
royal inscriptions which have been discovered: “in my littleness, the
son of a nobody,” “of me, the insignificant, who among men was not
visible,” “I, the weak, the feeble.”
Jamieson says that the idea
the lowest in condition (1Sa 2:8 Lk
1:52). It is not one's talents, excellency, or noble birth, but God's
will, which elevates to the throne. Nebuchadnezzar abased to the
dunghill, and then restored, was to have in himself an experimental
proof of this (Da 4:37).
The purpose of God's decree was to
directly contradict such thinking as expressed in the famous (?
infamous) lines from the poem "Invictus"...
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul...
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
God Still Reigns- There's a
story from the Eastern Roman Empire of a Christian monk who was
horrified by the wickedness of the emperor. He prayed to God and
asked, "Why did You allow that evil man to become emperor?" God
replied, "Because I couldn't find anyone worse!"
Daniel saw wicked kings reign over God's people in Babylon. It must
have been extremely frustrating. In time, the Lord dethroned each
proud king, but He replaced them with others just as evil.
King Nebuchadnezzar, for example, exalted himself until God caused him
to live like an animal for 7 years. When he regained his mind, he
praised God as the one true Ruler (Dan. 4:28-37). But the cycle of
evil monarchs continued. Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's descendant,
mocked God and used the sacred goblets from the temple in Jerusalem
during a drunken orgy (Da 5:2 3, 4).
We must remember that history is God's story. He reigns when the
politicians we vote for get into office, and He reigns when those we
oppose get elected. God is sovereign over the rulers of this world
(Dan. 4:17). We can trust Him to do what is right because His "works
are truth, and His ways justice" (Da 4:37). — Haddon W. Robinson (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The Most High still rules over
kingdoms of men,
He gives the control to whomever He will;
All people must bow to His sovereign plan,
And know that His purposes He will fulfill. --Hess
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. Pr 21:1
4:18 'This is the dream which I, King
Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, tell me its
interpretation, inasmuch as none of the wise men of my kingdom is able
to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for a spirit
of the holy gods is in you.' (forasmuch: Da 4:7 2:7 5:8,15
Ge 41:8,15 Isa 19:3 47:12-14) (but: Da 4:8,9 2:26-28 1Ki 14:2,3 Am
But you are able - He
affirms the inability of human wisdom to discern spiritual truth (1Co
4:19 "Then Daniel, whose name is
Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts alarmed him.
The king responded and said, 'Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or
its interpretation alarm you.' Belteshazzar replied, 'My lord, if only
the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your
adversaries! (Daniel: Da 4:8 1:7 2:26 5:12) (was astonied:
Da 4:9 7:28 8:27 10:16,17 Jer 4:19 Hab 3:10) (let: Da 4:4,5 1Sa 3:17)
(My Lord: Da 4:24 10:16 Ge 31:35 32:4,5,18 Ex 32:32 1Sa 1:15 24:8
26:15 2Sa 18:31 1Ki 18:7) (the dream: 2Sa 18:32 Jer 29:7)
Appalled - The
Lxx uses a
verb that means "to become mute"! It seems he was speechless. The NLT
renders the Aramaic as "overcome" and the NIV as "greatly perplexed".
For a while - For a
while is literally "about one hour" (which is also the Greek
The NET Bible note says
The expression refers idiomatically to a brief period of time of
His thoughts alarmed him
Lxx uses a verb (suntarasso) which means to be thrown
into confusion, confounded, disturbed and the in the
pictures this action/attitude as occurring over and over. The NIV
renders this phrase "frightened" which seems to give the impression he
was afraid, as for example afraid of what the king might do to him.
Perhaps, but I think Daniel had counted the cost of integrity and an
uncompromising heart and he was prepared for whatever might befall him
for speaking the truth. Frightened perhaps for the king would be a
better thought and even the context supports that interpretation as
Daniel wishes the dream applied to his enemies. Contrary to being
concerned about self, he was concerned about the king!
Daniel was astonished at the fate that awaited King Nebuchadnezzar.
On one hand he cared for the king and did not want to bring such a
somber message. On the other hand we recall that the king was well
known for his "fiery" (seven times hotter) temper, and he could have
just as easily ordered Daniel executed for giving him such a
humiliating interpretation. While the following is a proverb, not a
promise, it has generally been true in my personal experience and
certainly would apply to Daniel...
When a man's ways are pleasing to
the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Pr 16:7)
The king responded - He
sees Daniel's anguish and hesitation and encourages him to not
withhold the truth.
Nebuchadnezzar must have discerned
the anxiety and sorrow in the face of his minister, for he speaks in a
way to give him confidence to proceed with the interpretation. He did
not want smooth words made up for the occasion. Little though he (the
king) realized what was coming, he still desired to know the truth. It
is a blessed thing for any soul to get to the place where he can say:
"Give me God's Word, and
let me know it is His Word, and I will receive it, no matter how it
cuts, and interferes with my most cherished thoughts."
(cp 1Th 2:13-note)
Joseph Parker eloquently
paints the picture of Daniel's dilemma writing that...
It was like a blow struck upon the
very centre of his forehead; when he saw what was going to befall the
king he was struck, as it were, with a spear of lightning, his voice
altered, as did the fashion of his countenance. He had a message to
deliver, and yet he delivered it with tears that were hidden in the
tone of his voice. He was not flippant; he was solemn with an
ineffable solemnity. Never was he in such a position before. Only the
Divine Spirit could make him equal to the responsibilities of that
critical hour. Many words we can utter easily, but to pronounce doom
upon a life, any life, old man's or little child's, is a task which
drives our words back again down the throat. We cannot utter them, yet
we must do so; we wait in the hope that some relief will come, but
relief does not come from this burden-bearing in the sanctuary of
life. The preacher is often as much astonished as the hearer, and as
much terrified. In proportion as the preacher is faithful to the book
which he has to read, expound, and enforce, will he sometimes come to
passages that he would rather not read. It would be delightful if we
could expel the idea of penalty from our human intercommunion. Men
have tried to fill up the pit of hell with flowers, and all the
flowers have been consumed. It would be delightful to hide by
concealment of any kind the horrors that await the wicked man, but to
hide those horrors is to aggravate them. It can be no joy to any man
to go forth and say, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be
overthrown." No man could utter such words but in obedience to the
election and ordination of God. It is easy, if we consult our own
flesh and sense and taste alone, to hide the Cross of agony and shame;
but he who hides the Cross hides the salvation which it symbolises,
and without which it is impossible. It is not easy for any man, Jonah
or Daniel, Hosea or Joel, to say unto the wicked, It shall be ill with
thee. We would rather live upon the other side of the hill, where the
sun smiles all day, where the flowers grow as if they would never
cease to unfold some new secret of colour and beauty, and where the
birds trill a song from hour to hour, as if growing in capacity as
they multiply in service. But the hill of the Lord is many-sided; we
should be unfaithful and unjust if we did not recognise its multifold
aspects, and show them to those who have come to see the reality and
the mystery of the divine kingdom amongst men. Daniel looks wondrously
well in the moment of his astonishment. The man's best self is now in
his face. How quiet he is, and what singular tenderness plays around
the sternness which befits the message that he is about to deliver!
What a mixture of emotion, what an interplay of colour, what an agony
of sensation! yet Daniel is a true man, and he will speak the true
word, come of it what may, so far as he himself is concerned; furnace
of fire or den of lions, he must speak the word which the Lord has
given to him. Why do we not follow his example? Why do we try to take
out of the divine word all things offensive? It would be easy to
pander to human taste, and to flatter human vanity, and to assure the
half-damned man that the process cannot be completed, but that after
all he will be taken to heaven and made a seraph of. Who can tell lies
so thick, so black? Let him eschew the altar and the Cross. (The
People's Bible: Volume 16)
4:20 'The tree that you saw, which
became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was
visible to all the earth (Da 4:10-12 Eze 31:3,16)
Showers comments that...
God’s representation of
Nebuchadnezzar as a large tree that provided food and lodging for all
was very fitting for at least two reasons. First, in several of
his inscriptions Nebuchadnezzar had boasted about the peaceful shelter
and abundance of food that he had provided for his subjects through
Babylon. Indeed, in these boasts he used language descriptive of a
tree when referring to his rule through Babylon. In one inscription he
said, “The produce of the lands, the product of the mountains, the
bountiful wealth of the sea within her I received. Under her
everlasting shadow I gathered all men in peace. Vast heaps of grain
beyond measure I stored up within her.” In another inscription he
declared, “Under her everlasting shadow I gathered all men in
peace. A reign of abundance, years of plenty I caused to be in my land.”
Second, as a result of
military campaigns that took him several times through the forests of
Lebanon, Nebuchadnezzar became greatly captivated by the huge cedar
trees of that land. This attitude was reflected in one of his
inscriptions where he described the trees as follows: “mighty
cedars, tall and strong, of costly value, whose dark forms towered
aloft, the massive growth of Lebanon.” Indeed, in his inscriptions
Nebuchadnezzar boasted that he personally had cut down some of these
huge trees with his own hands. He even had a picture of himself
cutting a cedar inscribed on stone. One gets the impression that the
king exalted in the fact that he could cut down such a towering giant
of strength. (The
Most High God- A Commentary on the Book of Daniel).
4:21 and whose foliage was beautiful
and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the
beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky
4:22 it is you, O king; for you have
become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and
reached to the sky and your dominion to the end of the earth.
(thou: Da 2:37,38 2Sa 12:7 Mt 14:4) (thy greatness: Da 5:18-23 Ge 11:4
28:12 2Ch 28:9 Ps 36:5 108:4 Jer 27:6-8 Rev 18:5)
It is you O King (cp
Nathan to King David - 2Sa 12:7) - With
one sharp stroke Daniel delivers the solemn interpretation. The
tree is Nebuchadnezzar.
While pitying the king, he
uncompromisingly pronounces his sentence of punishment. Let ministers
steer the mean between, on the one hand, fulminations against sinners
under the pretext of zeal, without any symptom of compassion; and, on
the other, flattery of sinners under the pretext of moderation. (Ed
note: Or as I once heard someone say, the preaching should be such
that it comforts the afflicted, but afflicts the comfortable!)
Joseph Parker writes...
There are some things we must speak
abruptly, or we never shall speak them at all; they must, so to say,
be forced out of us: the word must come like the shot of a musket: "It
is thou, O king," a short sharp stroke. Who would vacillate when he
knew he was going to deliver sentence of death, worse than death, all
deaths in one agonizing humiliation? Better it should be after the
pattern of Daniel, clear, simple, prompt, resonant, put in the very
smallest words, words that a child could understand and repeat,
monosyllables that made the heavens black with unimaginable
terror:—"It is thou, O king."...Sometimes the preacher has to say even
to a millionaire, It is thou, O rich man: it is with infinite
difficulty thou canst get near Christ: how hardly shall they that have
riches enter the kingdom of heaven! thou hast wine, and beast's flesh,
and fowls of the air, and bread in plentifulness; but thou shalt sleep
with strange bedfellows, yea with poverty and affliction and
loathsomeness: set thine house in order: riches take unto themselves
wings, and flee away; he who yesterday gave orders on the Exchange,
tomorrow will beg a piece of bread to break his fast. Sometimes the
teacher has to address himself to the boastful man, and say, It is
thou, O boastful man: thou didst suppose thyself to be in possession
of everything; to be lord and king and mighty man and counsellor and
lawgiver; the word shall die on thy blackening lips, and thou who
didst serve in the house of vanity shall be a bondman in the house of
disappointment. This was personal preaching, the kind of preaching
that is resented. We are willing that any man shall be preached to
except ourselves. The minister who succumbs to that dire temptation
was ordained by men, but the ordaining hand of Christ was never laid
upon his faithless head. (Ibid)
4:23 'In that the king saw an angelic
watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven and saying, "Chop down the
tree and destroy it; yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground,
but with a band of iron and bronze around it in the new grass of the
field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him
share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass
over him", (saw: Da 4:13-17) (and let his: Da 4:15 5:21)
Chop down the tree and
destroy it - Nebuchadnezzar's was every man's (outside of
Christ) problem for he imagined that the tree (his kingdom and
kingship) had become great and grown strong by virtue of his
own strength and ability and it was for this reason that he had to be
cut down and humbled. He must for a time (seven times) lose his
throne, his wealth, the respect of his subjects and even his sanity in
order that he might come to his "spiritual senses".
Band of iron and bronze
around it - This is one of the more enigmatic aspects of this
description and commentaries offer a wide range of interpretation.
Some see the band as figurative allusion to the king's being bound by
mental illness. Others see it as a sign that the stump would be
protected thus assuring its survival.
4:24 this is the interpretation, O
king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my
lord the king: (the decree: Da 4:17 Job 20:29: Ps 2:7 148:6
Isa 14:24-27 23:9 46:10,11) (come: Job 1:12-19 40:11,12 Ps 107:40)
This is the decree of the
- In Da 4:17 God's emissaries carried the message of His decree in the
dream, but God is the Source of the decree.
4:25 that you be driven away from
mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and
you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of
heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you
recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and
bestows it on whomever He wishes. (drive: Da 4:32,33
5:21-31 Job 30:3-8 Mk 5:3,4) (to eat: Ps 106:20) (Until: Da
4:17,32,34,35 2:21 5:21 Ps 83:18 Jer 27:5)
IS LIKE A BEAST!
Below is William Blake's
famous portrait of what the prideful king may have looked like for
seven years (click picture to enlarge)...
You be driven away from
mankind - Unlike the story below, Nebuchadnezzar's condition was
brought about by the Jehovah's hand of judgment on the king's pride.
The psalmist records
But man in his pomp will not
endure. He is like the beasts that perish. (Ps 49:12)
Spurgeon - He is not like
the sheep which are preserved of the Great Shepherd, but like the
hunted beast which is doomed to die. He lives a brutish life and dies
a brutish death. Wallowing in riches, surfeited with pleasure, he is
fatted for the slaughter, and dies like the ox in the shambles. Alas!
that so noble a creature should use his life so unworthily, and end it
so disgracefully. So far as this world is concerned, wherein does the
death of many men differ from the death of a dog?
The beasts of the field -
God used the metaphor of a beast to describe the Gentile
kingdoms in Daniel 7 and the last world ruler who would
eventually come out of the beastly Gentile kingdoms (Rev 11:7; 13:1ff;
14:9, 11; etc)
Warren Wiersbe rightly
Men and women are made in the image
of God, but when they leave God out of their lives and resist His
will, they can descend to the level of animals. “Do not be like the
horse or like the mule,” warns King David, who was guilty of acting
like both (Ps. 32:9NKJV). Like the impulsive horse, he rushed into sin
when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then like the stubborn
mule, he delayed confessing his sins and repenting (2Sa 11:1ff). When
the Lord arrested Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road, He compared the
pious rabbi to a stubborn ox when He said, “It is hard for you to kick
against the goads” (Acts 9:5NKJV). (Wiersbe,
W. W. Be Resolute)
Given grass to eat like
cattle - He was to become a strict vegetarian!
Until - This time phrase
always signal an end (praise God!). We all do well to remember that it
is God Alone Who changes the times and epochs (Da 2:21-note
The psalmist reminds
For not from the east, nor from the
west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation But God is the Judge; He
puts down one, and exalts another. (Ps 75:6, 7)
Jeremiah echoes this
truth of God's
sovereignty over His creation...
I (Jehovah) have made the earth,
the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great
power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is
pleasing in My sight. (Jer 27:5)
Until you recognize (Da
- The clear indication is that after seven years of humiliation and
crawling like a beast on the earth, the King will indeed come to the
end of himself and will come to recognize the Most God as the only
true King of Heaven and Earth.
When will God take us out of the
furnace? When He can see
His image enough. When will God cease to lacerate our poor shrinking
flesh? When we have learned to obey Him (cp Ps 119:67, 71). When will
he take the wolf away from the door, so that we can go out into the
meadow and enjoy the sunshine? When we have yielded back all wickedly
acquired gain, and have thrown down the thirty pieces of burning
silver for which we sold the Christ of God. Why this penal system in
the universe? Why loss? Why decrepitude and helplessness? Why burning
fevers? Why all the maladies that afflict the body? Why all the ills
that flesh is heir to? "Till thou know." (Ibid)
R. K. Harrison attests to
a personal encounter with a clinical case with some similarities to
the king's condition...
A great many doctors spend an
entire, busy professional career without once encountering an instance
of the kind of monomania described in the book of Daniel. The present
writer, therefore, considers himself particularly fortunate to have
actually observed a clinical case of [lycanthropy] in a British mental
institution in 1946. The patient was in his early 20's, who reportedly
had been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well
developed on admission, and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He
was of average height and weight with good physique, and was in
excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced
anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day
from dawn to dusk outdoors, in the grounds of the institution....
"His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns
with which the otherwise dingy hospital situation was graced, and it
was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of the grass as he went
along. On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between
grass and weeds, and on inquiry from the attendant, the writer was
told the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from
hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with other inmates,
and his only drink was water....
"The writer was able to examine him cursorily, and the only physical
abnormality noted consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse,
thickened condition of the finger-nails. Without institutional care,
the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical
conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33" (Introduction to the Old
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969).
Joseph Parker comments
Some men require violent teaching.
We will not obey God's love: when he whispers to us we do not hear
him; unless he take up the trumpet of his thunder, we pay no attention
to the voice of Heaven. Pleasant angels have come to seek us and bring
us home, but we have declined their evangel and their gospel and their
company; summer has come, with spring on one side and autumn on the
other, all beautiful and rich, abounding in all things lovely and
useful; and they have said they have come to bring us back to heaven,
and we have defied the whole of them. Not until God takes up the rod
of his lightning do we begin to be religious. A plague would fill the
church; an epidemic would make a prayer-meeting at five o'clock in the
morning seasonable: we are cowards! Yet, blessed be God, he does not
withhold violence if it will do us good. If we will not have the
company of angels we shall be thrust into the society of beasts, and
in that humiliation we may be willing to listen to terms and proposals
that otherwise would have fallen upon deaf ears; and there in the open
field, with only beasts to talk to, we may begin to pray. (Ibid)
4:26 'And in that it was commanded to
leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be
assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules.
(to leave: Da 4:15) (the heavens: Mt 5:34 21:20 Lk 15:18,21)
After you recognize -
Here we see God's grace in using the judgment to humble not harden the
king's heart, that he might receive spiritual vision. And thus the
time of humiliation is promised to come to an end when the king comes
to his senses and sees God for Who He really is, the
Harry Ironside applies
the importance of divine recognition or rejection on a national scale
history teaches us the value of a
national recognition of God's moral government. A story is told of a
heathen chieftain who came from his distant domain to visit Queen
Victoria. One day he asked her if she would tell him the secret of
England's progress and greatness. In response, it is said the queen
presented him with a Bible saying, "This Book will tell you." Who can
doubt that according to the measure in which that Book of books has
been believed and loved by any people, God has honored them? And every
nation that has welcomed and protected the gospel has been cared for
and blessed in a special way.
On the other hand, let there be a national rejection of His Word, and
you will find disaster following disaster. This was the case of the
French people, who were among the first favored by Him in Reformation
times but who drove out the truth He gave them. He who cannot lie has
said, "Them that honour me, I will honour, and they that despise me
shall be lightly esteemed" (1Sa 2:30).
4:27 'Therefore, O king, may my
advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing
righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor,
in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.'
(let: Ge 41:33-37 Ps 119:46 Ac 24:25 2Co 5:11) (break: Job 34:31,32 Pr
16:6 28:13 Isa 55:6,7 Eze 18:21,27-32 Mt 3:8 Ac 8:22 26:20 Jas 4:8-10
1Pe 4:8) (by showing: Ps 41:1-3 Isa 58:5-7,10-12 Eze 18:7 Lk 11:41 Ac
10:2-4 Ga 5:6,13,22 Eph 4:28) (if it: 1Ki 21:29 Joe 2:14 Jon 3:9 Zep
Therefore - Always pause
to ponder this strategic
term of conclusion.
In this case the term of conclusion actually precedes the advice. Because the
hammer of the Lord is coming down to smash your pride. In view of that
absolute certainty, change your heart and experience the times of
refreshing (cp Peter's advice to the stubborn, prideful Jews in Acts
May my advice be pleasing to
you - Daniel cared enough to confront. Courageous
confrontation was necessary. And if we are honest, loving
confrontation always takes courage. Let us in the church age be
diligent to heed the caution and exhortations of Paul
Brethren, even if a man is
caught (passive voice, the Greek means to be overtaken, to be
caught unawares = what a pix of sin chasing, surprising and
overtaking us!) in any trespass (paraptoma
= deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the
right way), you who are spiritual (i.e., controlled by the
Spirit = Gal 5:16-note,
= command to make this our
lifestyle to put in order, to restore to a former condition, mend,
repair. How possible? Only by being continually filled with the
Spirit) such a one in a spirit of gentleness (prautes
- which also comes from the Spirit = Gal 5:23-note);
each one looking (skopeo)
to yourself (Why?), lest you too be tempted (cp 1Co 10:12).
one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ (see Gal
5:15, cp Jn 13:34, Ro 13:8, 9, 10-note).
(Gal 6:1, 2)
Illustration of the need to bear
one another's burdens: The Sequoia trees of California tower as
much as 300 feet above the ground. Strangely, these giants have
unusually shallow root systems that reach out in all directions to
capture the greatest amount of surface moisture. Seldom will you see a
redwood standing alone, because high winds would quickly uproot it.
That's why they grow in clusters. Their intertwining roots provide
support for one another against the storms.
Archer reminds us "Daniel needed real courage to
inform his royal master that his rule was marred by the sin of
oppression and callousness toward the poor and disadvantaged among his
people. Daniel's candor might have cost him his high office or even
BE "CHOPPED DOWN"!
(in the form of a command) now from your
sins...from your iniquities
- In light of the certainty of the
fulfillment of the decree of the
Daniel calls on the king to have a change of heart or to repent and
demonstrate the genuineness of his repentance by performing works of
righteousness and mercy. Note that the works are the fruit (they are
not meritorious, they do not earn salvation), while repentance (and
belief -- cp Mk 1:15) is the "root" which leads to the changed
behavior. John the Baptist echoed this truth in the NT
exhorting his hearers to...
Therefore bring forth fruits in
keeping with repentance (Lk 3:8, cp Acts 26:20)
These are two marks of genuine conversion. Righteousness that God
accepts (contrast Isa 64:6) can only be accomplished by grace through
faith (cp Ge 15:6, Ro 4:5-note).
Study these related passages
pronouncing divine judgment and the response - the cases of
Hezekiah, Isa 38:1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and of Nineveh, Jonah 3:5,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and Jer 18:7, 8.
Warren Wiersbe applies
this section to us, especially those of us who like to preach, teach
or study prophecy...
Unlike some preachers, Daniel
didn’t divorce truth from responsibility. There was a “therefore”
in his message. I have participated in numerous prophetic conferences
and heard a great deal of interpretation and some speculation, but I
haven’t always heard personal and practical application. Some of the
speakers talked a great deal about what God would do in the future,
but they said very little about what He expected of His people in the
present. An understanding of God’s plan imposes on the hearer the
responsibility to do God’s will. (Wiersbe,
W. W. Be Resolute)
4:28 All this happened to
Nebuchadnezzar the king. (Pr 10:24 Zec 1:6 Mt
All this happened - God's
Word is sure and it will come to pass just as He stated (Isa 14:24,
Moses testifies that "God is not a man, that He should
lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He
not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Nu 23:19,
cp Joshua's last warning to Israel - Josh 23:15, 16)
4:29 "Twelve months later he was
walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. (Ge 6:3 Ec 8:11 1Pe 3:20 2Pe 3:9,10,15 Rev 2:21)
God is never
in a hurry,
but he is always on time!
Twelve months later -
Nebuchadnezzar was without excuse. God
gave the pride filled king ample time to repent (Rev 2:21-note,
cp Ge 6:3)
for personal repentance of every person is God's desire (2Pe 3:9-note,
Ezek 18:23, cp 1Ti 2:3,4), but he refused to repent even after the
prophet Daniel had lovingly confronted him (Da 4:27).
This passage is clear evidence
of God's gracious (truly undeserved) forbearance which Paul described
in Romans 2 rhetorically asking...
Or do you think lightly (kataphroneo)
of the riches (ploutos)
of His kindness (chrestotes)
and forbearance (anoche)
and patience (makrothumia),
not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance (metanoia)?
(God had even used His prophet Daniel to call on the king to repent!)
In view of the Most High's rich
kindness how should we respond when we are confronted by God's word of
conviction concerning some aspect of the sin of pride in our life? We
would be wise to heed Peter's exhortation...
aorist imperative =
command to make this decision now! Don't delay! It is urgent! You make
have 12 months like Nebuchadnezzar but you may not!)
yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt
you at the proper time (1Peter 5:6-note)
Comment: Yes, pride precedes
humiliation, but here we see humiliation precedes exaltation as the
remainder of this chapter dramatically illustrates!
On the roof - Better to
see the majesty and splendor of his great Babylon. The roof of the
palace can be a dangerous place for kings as David found out (Read 2Sa
11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-17).
Jamieson observes of
At the first announcement of the
coming judgment he was alarmed, as Ahab (1Ki 21:27), but did not
thoroughly repent; so when judgment was not executed at once, he
thought it would never come, and so returned to his former pride (Read
4:30 "The king reflected and said,
'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal
residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?'
(Is not: Da 5:20 Ps 73:8 Pr 16:18 Hab 1:15,16 2:4,5 Lk 12:19,20 14:11
1Pe 5:5) (great: Ge 10:10 11:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Rev 16:19 17:5 18:10,21) (which: 1Ch
29:12, 13, 14 2Ch 2:5,6 Isa 10:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 37:24,25 Eze 28:2,
3, 4, 5 29:3) (and for: Da
5:18, Da 5:19 Es 1:4 Ps 49:20 104:1 145:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 1Co 10:31 Rev 21:24,
majesty - His repeated
self affirmation emphasizes his self centered state and is clear
evidence that he has a severe case of "perpendicular "I"-itis".
Nebuchadnezzar is a classic illustration of man boasting in what he
thinks he can do apart from God. Through Jeremiah Jehovah tells man
what to boast in...
Let not a wise man boast of
his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let
not a rich man boast of his riches but let him who boasts
boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the
LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on
earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. (Jer 9:23,
24, 1Cor 1:31, cp Gal 6:14-note,
Here is one of
Nebuchadnezzar's prayers to his "god" Marduk...
Like dear life I love thy exalted
lodging place: in no place have I made a town more glorious than thy
city of Babylon
Showers notes that - From a purely human viewpoint,
Nebuchadnezzar had good reason to boast. He probably was the greatest
builder in ancient times. Forty-nine building inscriptions of this
king have been uncovered thus far. Most of the bricks recovered from
ancient Babylon bear this inscription: “I am Nebuchadnezzar, King of
Babylon.” He himself declared that his heart impelled him to build.
Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the old palace of his father, then built two
more palaces. He built seventeen religious temples in Babylon and its
suburb, Borsippa. He completed the two great walls that surrounded the
city. The outer wall was wide enough for chariots to pass each other
on its top. The king installed great fortifications to protect the
city and had canals dug from one end of the city to another to
facilitate commerce. One of Nebuchadnezzar’s most splendid projects
was the magnificent Ishtar Gate. This was a double gateway through the
walls of the city. The walls of this gate were covered with bulls and
four-legged dragons in high relief. The approach to the gate was
between strong fortress walls on which were rows of lions in relief
and covered with brightly colored tiles. The king’s greatest building
feat was the Hanging Gardens. One of Nebuchadnezzar’s wives, the
princess of Media, grew homesick for the mountains of her homeland. In
order to satisfy her, the king had mountains built on the roof of the
royal palace complex. These mountains were planted with trees and
other kinds of plants. An ingenious hydraulic machine system was
devised to lift water from the Euphrates River to water the elevated
gardens. These Hanging Gardens became so famous that the Greeks named
them one of the Seven Wonders of the World. (The
Most High God- A Commentary on the Book of Daniel).
Pride goes before
and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
C S Lewis calls pride
"the great sin" writing that - There is one vice of which no man
in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when they
see it in others; and of which hardly any people, except some
Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. There is no
fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves; and the more we
have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.
THE SUBTLE SIGNS
OF A PROUD HEART
Lest we read over this narrative
too quickly thinking it has little application to our life, let us ask
the Spirit of the Living God to search each of our hearts (Ps 139:23,
24), for vestiges of that horrid sin that God hates (see Pr 8:13, note
which sin is first in the list in Pr 6:16, 17, 18), and which always
leads to ruination in one form or another. Ponder the following
thoughts as you allow the ultimate Watcher to search your heart (Pr
15:3, 2Chr 16:9)...
the warning signs of
a proud heart are:
Usually thinks that he is right.
not like to be corrected.
complains about circumstances or people.
impatient with others and sometimes with God.
afraid of temptations.
Secretly ashamed of serving Christ.
to talk more than listen; freely offers opinions.
Desires to be first or best.
to be noticed.
Obstinate towards authority.
to find fault with others.
to contradict others.
Demanding and hard to please.
more sensitive to personal desires than to the needs of others.
beyond his means.
- Has a
hard time forgiving others.
makes people covetous, liars, flatterers, hypocrites, men-pleasers,
Do we see ourselves anywhere
in this list beloved? Or perhaps you might be like me, for I
looked desperately for a line which did not at times apply to me! Oh
my or oh me! Praise God for Pr 28:13, 1John 1:9.
If you "passed the test" of the
preceding pride "check list", you might also consider examining your
heart using Dr Piper's summary of ten biblical observations about
Is Self-Satisfaction (Hos 13:4, 5, 6)
2) Pride Is Self-Sufficiency and Self-Reliance (cp warning in
Dt 8:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) - God’s goodness is turned into
Considers Itself Above Instruction (Jer 13:9, 10) - Pride
stubbornly refuses to be taught the way of God, and makes its own
wishes the measure of truth.
Is Insubordinate (Psalm 119:21) - When the commandments of God are
spoken, pride turns away and will not submit. It rejects the right and
authority of God to command.
5) Pride Takes Credit for What God Alone Does (Da 4:30, 31, 32;
cf. Isa 10:12)
6) Pride Exults in Being Made Much Of (Mt 23:6)
7) Pride Aspires to the Place of God. (Acts 12:21, 22, 23; cf.
Is 14:12, 13, 14)
8) Pride Opposes the Very Existence of God (Ps10:4) - Pride
knows that the simplest solution for its own survival would be that
there be no God at all. That would be, as the Nazi’s might say, “The
Final Solution” for the survival of pride.
Refuses to Trust in God (Pr 28:25 contrasts arrogance and trust) -
Pride cannot trust God. The posture of trust is too weak. Too
dependent. It calls too much attention to the strength and wisdom of
another. Trusting God is the heartbeat of humility, the opposite of
pride. When pride keeps us from trusting in God to take care of us,
there are two possibilities: one is that we feel a false security
based on our own imagined power and shrewdness to avert catastrophe.
The other is that we realize that we cannot guarantee our security,
and so we feel anxious.
10) Pride Is Anxious About the Future (Is 51:12, 13) God
says to anxious Israel that their problem is pride. (Read
the entire message by John Piper - Are You Humble Enough to Be
John Wesley rightly
remarks that "All pride
Simply looking at the word "pride"
gives us a clue as to the main problem.
In other words "I"
is the problem, that "virus" passed down from Adam to all mankind (Ro
and known as the
flesh (self) .
Believers need to remember that they also possess the flesh, the evil
disposition and anti-God tendency in all mankind. Praise God for the
Cross which releases us from the power of sin by the blood of the Lamb
Andrew Murray wrote
that "All the sin
of heathendom, all the sin of Christendom, is but the outgrowth of the
one root—God dethroned, self enthroned in the heart of man."
Puritan writer Thomas
Manton hits the proverbial nail on the head noting that "Other sins
are against God's law, but pride is against God's sovereignty."
James Montgomery Boice - The root of
pride is saying that we can do without God.
John Calvin - Everyone
flatters himself and carries a kingdom in his breast.
William Secker - Pride is a
sinner's torment, but humility is a saint's ornament.
Augustine - It was
pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men
Spurgeon - Be not
proud of race, face, place or grace...Neither God nor man will care to
lift up a man who lifts up himself; but both God and good men unite to
honour modest worth.
Lord, pride, that fearful enemy,
So quickly takes control;
I plead, this day, Your pardoning grace
To cleanse my heart and soul. —DJD
Pride is the mother of all sins.
Is this not Babylon the great
- In human terms, it was great (and in the last days will again
be great), but not when weighed on God's scales (cp Da 5:27)!
Rebellious men will continue to trust in Babylon the great (See
Babylon is Babylon!),
even until the very end of this age, when God finally says "Enough!"
and renders His final verdict on the great city, John recording
that the kings of the earth are seen...
standing at a distance because of
the fear of her (figuratively speaking of Babylon) torment, saying,
'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one
hour your judgment has come.' (cp Da 4:31!)...And a strong angel (cp
"watcher" Da 4:13, 23) took up a stone like a great millstone
(great enough to crush and obliterate the great city) and threw it
into the sea, saying, "Thus will Babylon, the great city, be
thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. (Rev
cp Rev 16:19-note,
[note that first "great city" in this verse = Jerusalem = "into three
parts"], Rev 17:5, cp Ezekiel's prophecy Ezek 26:17) (See
The Destruction of Babylon
Babylon’s Predicted Destruction)
Map of ancient Babylon
(click to enlarge)...
Archer notes that
works there were most impressive.
The celebrated Ishtar Gate...seems to have been erected
by him, along with the enameled-brick facing, displaying a procession
of dragons and bulls. The East India House Inscription, now in London,
refers to about twenty temples he rebuilt or refurbished in Babylon
and Borsippa, and also to a vast system of fortifications and large
shipping docks (cf. Ira M. Price, The Dramatic Story of Old Testament
History [Philadelphia: Revell, 1925], p. 356).
On one of his inscriptions,
Nebuchadnezzar boasted, "The fortifications of Esagila [the temple of
Marduk] and Babylon I strengthened, and established the name of my
reign forever" (cf. George A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible
[Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1916], p. 479). To this
inscription he appended a prayer to Marduk: "O Marduk, lord of the
gods, my divine creator, may my deeds find favor before thee … Thou
art indeed my deliverer and my help, O Marduk; by thy faithful word
which does not change, may my weapons advance, be sharp and be
stronger than the weapons of the foe!" At the time of his
enthronement, he had composed a hymn that included this humble
petition to Marduk: "I am the prince who obeys thee, the creation of
thy hand. Thou art my creator, and the sovereignty over the hosts of
men thou hast entrusted to me. According to thy mercy, O lord, which
thou hast extended over all of them, incline unto compassion thine
exalted power, and set the fear of thy godhead in my heart. Grant that
which may seem good unto thee" (Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western
Asia, vol. 1, pl. 53).
Below is a 16th century
engraving by by Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck depicting the Hanging
Gardens of Babylon (click picture to enlarge), one of the seven
wonders of the ancient world...
The king reflected -
Would that this read "The king repented", but 12 months had passed and
no watcher's voice had disturbed his days and apparently no more
frightful dreams had disturbed his nights. He was content and consumed
with self. He misinterpreted God's silence which is a danger Solomon
alluded to (and to which we all should take heed)...
Because the sentence against an
evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of
men among them are given fully to do evil. (Ec 8:11)
We see a great lesson of this in
Daniel 4. This is a sweet chapter because sometimes we get the big
head. A song from the sixties began “Mister Big Stuff, just who do you
think you are?” Well, old Nebuchadnezzar thought he was God’s gift to
creation... Some of us are crazy when it comes to thinking about God,
because we think wrong about Him. Until we start thinking right about
God, we won’t think right about ourselves. Only after Nebuchadnezzar
started thinking right about God could he say, “At that time my reason
returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me” (Da
4:36). (Our God is Awesome)
If old Nebby were here, he would
tell you, “Don’t ever do what I did, standing on my balcony talking
about ‘Look at this great Babylon that I have built.’ “Don’t ever do
that because my nails started to grow, and hair started growing out
all over me. I crawled like an animal for seven years, but I learned
my lesson. When I got my sanity back, I let it be known that there’s
only one God in the universe. So let me tell you, God will bring you
down to the dirt on your face, if He has to, to teach you this
lesson.” (Evans, A. T. The Battle is the Lord's : Waging Victorious
Babylon the great (See
excellent summary and pictures emphasizing the greatness of ancient
Babylon) - This
affirmation takes us back to the beginning of Babylon in Genesis.
And the beginning of his (Nimrod's)
kingdom was Babel (confusion) and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of
Shinar. (Ge 10:10).
Now the whole earth used the same
language and the same words. 2 And it came about as they journeyed
east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn
them thoroughly." And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for
mortar. 4 And they said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and
a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for
ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the
whole earth." 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower
which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they
are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what
they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be
impossible for them. 7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their
language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the
LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole
earth; and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore its name was
called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the
whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the
face of the whole earth. (Ge 11:1-9)
Guzik comments that...
Late-daters of Daniel (who say that
it was written in the times of the Maccabees, around 167BC) can’t
explain how a late writer would have known to accurately attribute the
spectacular buildings of Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar. One liberal Bible
commentator, R. H. Pfeiffer, says of this problem: “we shall
presumably never know.”
Charles Dyer records the
following extra-biblical note...
On the brick wall towards the north
my heart inspired me to build a palace for the protecting of Babylon.
"I built there a palace like the palace of Babylon of brick and
bitumen...I raised its summit and connected it with the palace with
brick and bitumen. I made it high as a mountain. Mighty cedar trunks I
laid on it for roof. Double doors of cedar wood overlaid with copper,
thresholds and hinges made of bronze did I set up in its doorways.
That building I named "May Nebuchadnezzar live, may he grow old as
restorer of Esagila." -- AN ANCIENT INSCRIPTION ABOUT THE BUILDING OF
NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S PALACE ON THE NORTHERN EDGE OF BABYLON...
No doubt about it—Babylon was
majestic. Nebuchadnezzar had buried the Ishtar Gate built by his
father so he could construct a new (and far more magnificent!) Ishtar
Gate on top of it. He rebuilt the southern palace, constructed the
hanging gardens, repaired the walls around the city, restored the
Tower of Babel and the temple to Marduk, and built or extensively
repaired most of the other temples in the city. His building exploits
were legendary. On many of the bricks he had made for his building
projects he stamped the following inscription: "I am Nebuchadnezzar,
king of Babylon, king of everything from sea to far sea."
Nebuchadnezzar's boasting was not false, but it was prideful. (Charles
H Dyer. The Rise of Babylon. Moody)
Below is a depiction of the
reconstructed (from material excavated from Babylon) Ishtar gate
(named for a Babylonian goddess of love and war - click picture to
enlarge) now housed in the Berlin
Here is a depiction of how the
Ishtar gate (click to enlarge) may have looked in its original
setting in Babylon...
Steve Zeisler relates the
interesting snippet about a modern arrogant ruler...
Kim Jong Il, the ruler of North
Korea, celebrated his fifty-ninth birthday last week. The North Korean
state press reported without any irony that there were unusual
multiple rainbows in the winter sky and that remarkable storms rolled
through with unusually resonant thunder. The conclusion was that
nature itself was celebrating the birthday of the exalted leader of
Throughout history those with great power over nations have imagined
that nature bowed to their greatness. They have often believed, as
have their subjects, that they were divine in their makeup and
authority. One of the oldest and worst of ideas is that you can be
like God in defiance of God. This idea was spoken first by the serpent
in the garden and has been taken up over and over again in history. (The
End of Arrogance)
Who Deserves The Credit -
Historian Stephen E. Ambrose believes that heroes made the United
States "the best and greatest country that ever was." He attributes
its greatness to presidents like Washington and Jefferson and to
explorers like Lewis and Clark. Ambrose wrote, "God had nothing to do
with it. It was people that made it."
That view focuses on the noteworthy contributions of men and women,
yet it fails to recognize that behind the scenes God guides and
controls the rise and fall of all nations.
King Nebuchadnezzar thought he was responsible for building his great
kingdom. He boasted, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built . .
. by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Dan. 4:30).
Those words were still in his mouth when God humbled him so he became
like an animal and ate the grass of the field. Seven years later he
declared, "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He
does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the
inhabitants of the earth" (Da 4:35).
Let's not be deceived by our own accomplishments. It's God who works
in us, giving us the desire to obey Him and the power to do His will
The Lord is the One who is worthy of praise. He deserves the credit. —
Vernon C. Grounds (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Help us, Lord, to see successes
In the context of Your grace;
Keep us from all pride and boasting
That ignores Your rightful place. —Sper
True humility credits God for every success.
4:31 "While the word was in the
king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying,' King Nebuchadnezzar,
to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you,
(the word: Da 5:4,5 Ex 15:9,10 Job 20:23 Lk 12:20 Ac 12:22,23 1Th 5:3)
(fell: Da 4:24,34 Mt 3:17 Jn 12:28 Ac 9:3-5 Rev 16:7) (Sovereignty...removed:
Da 5:28 1Sa 13:14 15:23)
A QUICK TRANSFER
FROM THE PALACE
TO THE PASTURE!
While the word was in the
king's mouth - Immediate judgment from God (Da 4:33) while he was
in the very act of speaking, so that there was no doubt as to the
connection between the crime and the punishment! God is long-suffering
with sinners, but when the time comes for Him to act, there is no
To be sure, sometimes God's
judgments are delayed (even as exemplified by the 12 month respite for
Nebuchadnezzar), but they are always certain (see the danger of self
deception regarding divine delay = Ec 8:11). God's declarations of
judgment are as sure as the sun rising, even the writer of Hebrews
For the word of God is (#1)
living and active and (#2) sharper than any two-edged sword, and (#3)
piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and
marrow, and (#4) able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the
heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight (#5), but all
things are open and laid bare (#6) to the eyes of Him with Whom we
have to do. (Hebrews 4:12, 13)
Jesus' parable of the
rich man is similar...
And I (the rich man) will say to my
soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take
your ease, eat, drink and be merry." "But God said to him, 'You
fool! This very night
your soul is required of
you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' (Luke 12:19, 20)
Sovereignty has been removed
from you - This is a clear illustration of Da 2:21 and the fact
that God resists the pride of men, be they great or small.
But He gives a greater grace.
Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED (antitasso
= He is continually arranging Himself in battle as it were against the
pride of men) TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE....Humble
= to make low and is in the
= like a military
order calling for full attention and immediate obedience. Don't
delay!) yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Comment: Note that
the command to humble
indicates that the subject acting upon the individual is an outside
force, in this case God Himself (the "divine passive"). The idea then
is not so much to be humbled but to allow yourself to be humbled or
placed in a lower position. It is not to be a forced humiliation, but
a voluntary self-abasement. This work of God in humbling us is a work
of His grace -- the "gravity of grace" always flows from higher to
lower. Archibald Alexander said that "Humility is to the Christian
what ballast is to the ship; it keeps him in his proper position and
regulates all his thoughts and feelings." The more an unbeliever sees
God as He really is, glorious and holy, the more clearly he sees
himself as he really is, sinful and depraved. Great thoughts of self
and great grace never go together. Self-consciousness is a sure sign
that there is not much depth of grace. He who overvalues himself
undervalues his Saviour.
rightly draws our attention to an important principle: The key to
developing biblical humility is in the phrase, in the presence of
the Lord (Jas 4:10). Only those with hardened hearts could be
proud in the presence of the Lord! The holy angels in His presence
cover their faces (Isa 6:2). When Isaiah had his vision of the Lord,
he was undone—personally shattered—and immediately aware of his own
sinfulness (Isa 6:5). When God portrayed the wonders of creation
before Job, he had no further arguments against God. Instead, he said
(Job 42:6), “I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” When the
apostle John, who formerly had rested his head on Jesus’ chest, saw
Him in His glory on the Isle of Patmos, he fell at His feet as a dead
man (Rev 1:17-note).
Phil Newton offers insight
on why one would humble themselves in God's presence: Consider the
many times we see humility taking place in Scripture. It seems that
there is a pattern of God's people recognizing the Lord's presence
or something of His attributes, and then the response is humility
(e.g., Isaiah, Joshua, David, Moses, Peter, John). (1) They caught a
glimpse of God, as they had never had before; they saw and experienced
something of the divine character before them. (2) Consequently, each
responded by seeing his own weakness, unworthiness, and helplessness
This is the very opposite of the pastor from another generation of
whom it was said he could "strut sitting down." So, think upon the
Lord; get a clear view of your own selfishness with time, money,
conversation, and interests; acknowledge God's worth above all. (Sermons
from the Epistle of James)
Dr. Bonar once remarked that
he could tell when a Christian was growing. In proportion to his
growth in grace he would elevate his Master, talk less of what he was
doing, and become smaller and smaller in his own esteem, until, like
the morning star, he faded away before the rising sun. Jonathan was
willing to decrease, that David might increase; and John the Baptist
showed the same spirit of humility.
Peter echoes this divine
doctrine writing that...
GOD IS OPPOSED (antitasso
-see Jas 4:6
above) TO THE PROUD (huperephanos from huper =over, above, + phaino
=shine, show > picture of head held high above others, even "above
God"!), BUT (contrast) GIVES GRACE
(charis) TO THE HUMBLE
= low, not high, not rising far from the ground).
(see Jas 4:6 above) yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of
God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (1Pe 5:5, 6)
John Flavel had it right
They that know God will be
humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud.
As someone once said,
The ears of barley that bear the
richest grain always hang the lowest.
Puritan William Secker
Pride is a sinner's torment, but
humility is a saint's ornament.
Andrew Murray once
Do you want to enter what people
call "the higher life"? Then go a step lower down.
Luke records the story of
King Herod another prideful ruler who was opposed by God...
And on an appointed day Herod,
having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum (bema)
and began delivering an address to them. And the people kept crying
out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" And immediately an angel
of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he
was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21, 22, 23)
In the psalms David
speaking for God says...
No one who has a haughty look and
an arrogant heart will I endure. (Ps 101:5)
Comment: Pride will sit and
show itself in the eyes as soon as anywhere. A man is seen what he is
in oculis, in poculis, in loculis (in his eyes,
his cups, and his resorts) say the Rabbis. See Pr 6:17. --John Trapp.
And again David writes...
For you save a humble (tapeinos)
people, but the haughty (proud) eyes you bring down
(low) (Heb = shaphel = to be or become low or abased;
4:32 and you will be driven away from
mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field.
You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time
will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler
over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.'
(they shall drive: Da 4:14-16,25,26 5:21 Job 30:5-7) (until: Da
4:17,25 Ex 8:10 9:14,29 Jos 4:24 Job 12:18-21 Pr 8:15,16 Isa 37:20
45:3 Jer 27:5)
This is not a psychosis in the
strictest sense but represents God induced humiliation.
Merrill Unger quotes
ancient sources that seem to allude to Nebuchadnezzar's 7 periods of beastly
Berossus, a Babylonian priest of
the 3rd century BC, notes that Nebuchadnezzar after he had reigned 43
years ‘was suddenly invaded by sickness’ (Contra Apionem 1:20 =
from Works of Josephus), obviously referring to some unusual malady.
Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica (9:41) quotes from
Abydenus concerning Nebuchadnezzar in his last days "being
possessed by some god [demon] or other’ and who having uttered a
prophecy concerning the coming of the Persian conqueror ‘immediately
disappeared." Critics disregard these allusions and maintain that
Nebuchadnezzar’s madness is a fictitious element of Daniel. But if
history were silent, that in itself would not be sufficient evidence
to reject the historicity of this chapter. The ‘seven times,’ 16, are
likely ‘seven years.’...A Dead Sea Scroll text identifies such a
mental malady with Nabonidus. Why then would it be impossible for
Unger's Bible Handbook)
Until - Don't miss this
expression of time - Webster says until is "used as a function word
to indicate continuance (as of an action or condition) to a
specified time. Here until indicates that the beastly behavior would
end when he came to his senses.
Until you recognize -
Nebuchadnezzar had to be humbled before he could be exalted (Jas
4:10). The chastisement of God is always for a holy and helpful
Bestows it - This repeats
Da 2:21 which states that God removes kings and
Whomever He wishes - God
is in control. Over and over this chapter emphasizes God's
John Piper - No king, no president, no premier,
no Ayatollah can stay the hand of the Lord when he has purposed to do
a thing. “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the
Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). “Many are the
plans of the mind of a man (of a king!), but it is the purpose of the
Lord that will be established” (Proverbs 19:21). (Pray
for Kings and All in High Positions)
Dyer rightly says that "Like his predecessors at the Tower
of Babel, the king of Babylon learned that his greatest achievements
fell far short when measured against God's majesty." (Ibid)
4:33 "Immediately the word concerning
Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and
began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew
of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails
like birds' claws. (same: Da 5:5 Job 20:5 Isa 30:14 1Th
5:2) (and he was: Da 4:25,32)
CHICKENS ALWAYS COME
HOME TO ROOST!
Immediately the word...was
fulfilled - As Eccl 8:11 says the fulfillment of God's Word may be
delayed, but His Word never fails and will be fulfilled exactly
when He desires (see Josh 23:14). In this case the fulfillment was
immediate and was directly connected with the king's boasting! Nu
32:23 expresses the principle of paying the piper so to speak - "be
sure your sin will find you out!" The
"find you out" with the verb
(the prefix "kata"
intensifies the meaning and adds the sense of suddenness) which
means to seize with force, (with suddenness) to overtake, which is
exactly what happened to Nebuchadnezzar. Even as he spoke with such
pomposity and boasting, "shazam," immediately the Word (of
God's prophetic promise) was fulfilled."
Katalambano is used by
Paul to describe the future coming of the
Day of the Lord,
of a time of spiritual darkness, which will suddenly overtake
all who have rejected Christ and this overtaking will be like a
thief. (1Th 5:4-note,
The chickens always come home to roost! The skeletons eventually
come out of the closet. Though the wheels of God grind slowly, they
grind exceedingly small. Be sure your sin will find you out!
is an Aramaic feminine noun meaning a short time, a brief time span,
almost immediately. The people were warned in Da 3:6 and Da 3:15
that they would be thrown immediately into the furnace of fire if
they did not bow and worship the golden image. Here in Da 4:33
"immediately" with the phrase "in the same hour" (aute te
Although it is difficult to find
substantiation in extra-biblical literature, the NLT Study Bible
has this intriguing note "Several ancient sources lend
support to this account, and the king's annals are notably empty from
582 to 575BC."
is an Aramaic verb meaning to be fulfilled, to be ended, to end. In
Da 2:44 it is used to describe God's Kingdom which "will crush and
put an end to all these kingdoms." Here in Da 4:33 sup is
translated in the
Lxx (Theodoret) with
the verb sunteleo which means to bring something to an end,
to finish it, or to complete it. The prophetic promise given in the
vision some 12 months earlier is now fulfilled. God always keeps His
Hair like eagle's feathers
- This simile
could refer to length (eagle's feathers grow up to 22"
long) and/or the appearance (hair matted together mimicking feathers).
Dr G B Zustiak writes
that "From the description given of
Nebuchadnezzar, however, he though of himself as an ox; which makes
the disease more specifically to have been boanthropy ("ox
man")...A. R. Short, in his book, The Bible and Modern Medicine,
described another variety of "animal illness" called avianthropy,
in which the patient was convinced that he was a cock-pheasant, and
roosted in a tree each night instead of sleeping in a bed."
Carl Jung (not a believer)
would describe "Nebuchadnezzar...[as] a complete regressive
degeneration of a man who has overreached himself." (Whatever that
by William Blake
Living Like An Animal -
After 60 years and 6 million visitors, the zoo in Milan, Italy, was
shut down. Animal-rights activists had protested that conditions in
the zoo were unfit for the animals caged there. But when the animals
moved out, homeless people moved in. Until city leaders intervened,
hundreds of them began sneaking into the cages under the cover of
darkness, looking for a night's rest.
Ironically, the zoo was only a 5-minute walk from one of Europe's most
expensive shopping districts. Within 400 yards of the cages, the shops
of Italian fashion designers lined a street that attracted big
spenders from all over the world.
There is something sad about people who live like animals. But who was
further from the image of God--those taking shelter in the zoo or the
big spenders a few blocks away?
The mighty king Nebuchadnezzar had been warned in a dream that he
would be eating grass with the animals unless he changed his proud,
sinful ways. The prophet Daniel told him to stop sinning and to show
mercy to the poor (Da 4:27). But Nebuchadnezzar refused, and his
nightmare came true.
Father, forgive us for our pride. Help us not to live like animals but
like people created in Your image. — Mart De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The pride and
arrogance of man
Is evil in God's sight,
Because there's nothing man can do
Without God's strength and might. --Sper
We are never so empty as when we are full of self.
4:34 "But at the end of that period,
I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned
to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who
lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His
kingdom endures from generation to generation. (at the end:
Da 4:16,26,32) (raised: Ps 121:1 123:1 130:1,2 Jonah 2:2, 3, 4 Lk 18:13) (I
blessed: Job 1:21 Ps 50:14 103:1, 2, 3, 4 107:8,15,22,31 Isa 24:15 La
3:19-23) (the most High: Da 4:17,32 Ps 7:17 9:2 92:1 La 3:38) (him: Da
12:7 Ps 90:2 102:24 146:10 Jer 10:10 Jn 5:26 1Ti 1:17 6:16 Rev 4:10
10:6) (whose: Da 4:3 2:44 7:14 Ps 10:16 145:13 Isa 9:6,7 Jer 10:10 Mic
4:7 Lk 1:33 Rev 11:15) (is from: Ps 90:1)
But - A crucial
term of contrast
for Nebuchadnezzar. A change of direction is about to occur, which
ultimately will result in a change in his eternal destiny (in my
opinion -- I think he came to personally know the Most High God).
At the end of that period
- When? Exactly when God had decreed - at the end of 7 periods of time
(as discussed probably seven years). God is
never early and never late!
I Nebuchadnezzar raised my
eyes - The king makes a choice of his will (enabled by divine
grace of course) to raise his eyes
toward heaven (from whence came the voice Da 4:31). Here we
encounter the interaction of the mysterious truths of man's
responsibility (I...raised) and God's sovereignty (My
reason returned = God gave it back to him).
Jamieson observes that "Nebuchadnezzar's looking up towards
heaven was the first symptom of his "understanding" having "returned."
Before, like the beasts, his eyes had been downward to the earth. Now,
like Jonah's (Jon 2:1, 2, 4) out of the fish's belly, they are lifted
up to heaven in prayer. He turns to Him that smiteth him (Isa 9:13),
with the faint glimmer of reason left to him, and owns God's justice
in punishing him.
The psalmist has a
To You I lift up my eyes, O You
who are enthroned in the heavens! (Ps 123:1)
Spurgeon comments: The
Psalmist looked so high that he could look no higher. Not to the
hills, but to the God of the hills he looked. He believed in a
personal God, and knew nothing of that modern pantheism which is
nothing more than atheism wearing a fig leaf. The uplifted eyes
naturally and instinctively represent the state of heart which fixes
desire, hope, confidence, and expectation upon the Lord. God is
everywhere, and yet it is most natural to think of him as being above
us, in that glory land which lies beyond the skies. "O thou that
dwellest in the heavens", just sets forth ,the unsophisticated idea of
a child of God in distress: God is, God is in heaven, God resides in
one place, and God is evermore the same, therefore will I look to him.
When we cannot look to any helper on a level with us, it is greatly
wise to look above us; in fact, if we have a thousand helpers, our
eyes should still be toward the Lord. The higher the Lord is the
better for our faith, since that height represents power, glory, and
excellence, and these will be all engaged on our behalf. We ought to
be very thankful for spiritual eyes; the blind men of this world,
however much of human learning they may possess, cannot behold our
God, for in heavenly matters they are devoid of sight. Yet we must use
our eyes with resolution, for they will not go upward to the Lord of
themselves, but they incline to look downward, or inward, or anywhere
but to the Lord: let it be our firm resolve that the heavenward glance
shall not be lacking. If we cannot see God, at least we will look
towards him. God is in heaven as a king in his palace; he is here
revealed, adored, and glorified: thence he looks down on the world and
sends succours to his saints as their needs demand; hence we look up,
even when our sorrow is so great that we can do no more. It is a
blessed condescension on God's part that he permits us to lift up our
eyes to his glorious high throne; yea, more, that he invites and even
commands us so to do. When we are looking to the Lord in hope, it is
well to tell him so in prayer: the Psalmist uses his voice as well as
Notice the progression:
(1) Personal choice (enabled by grace) to look up (cp Isa 45:22KJV).
(2) Reason returned - God's sovereign will and word fulfilled. (3)
Praise Offered - Not for getting his kingdom back but uninhibited
praise to the real King, the Most High God.
Piper observes that "When your eyes are Godward, your
reason returns. Why? Because your mind was made for God. And when
Nebuchadnezzar’s reason returns, he uses it as God intended: “he
blessed and praised and glorified the One who lives for ever.” (The
First Dark Exchange- Idolatry)
Note that this pagan king's
testimony to the goodness and grace of God, which wrought his
repentance and conversion, presents a beautiful pattern for every
testimony by beginning and ending with praise to the Most High God
(Da 4:2). Beloved, let me encourage you to (1) give your testimony
(first by living out the supernatural changed life which opens the
door for speaking out about the supernatural works of our great God)
to those whom God has placed in your purview and (2) begin and end
with praise to God, taking care to not grovel in the details of your
life "before Christ"!
- This reminds one of the David's words (note the parallels to the
king's experience in Daniel 4)...
1 Bless the LORD,
O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits
3 Who pardons all your iniquities (including pride);
Who heals all your diseases; (including loss of reason)
4 Who redeems your life from the pit;
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things (cp Da 4:36),
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle (Interesting
Ps 103:1, 2, 3, 4, 5-Spurgeon's
Him Who lives
forever...everlasting dominion...kingdom endures - Each of these
descriptions emphasizes the eternality of God and His immutable
Jamieson comments on the
significance of the king's praise noting that...
Praise is a sure sign of a soul
spiritually healed (Ps 116:12, 14 Mk 5:15, 18, 19).
4:35 "All the inhabitants of the
earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in
the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth and no one can
ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done?'
(all: Job 34:14,15,19-24 Isa 40:15-17,22-24) (and he: 1Sa 3:18 Job
23:13 Ps 33:9-11 115:3 135:6 Isa 14:24-27 Isa 46:10,11 Mt 11:25,26 Ac
4:28 Eph 1:11 Php 2:10,11) (the inhabitants: Ps 33:8,14 49:1 Isa 26:9)
(none: Job 9:4,13 34:29 40:9-12 42:2 Pr 21:30 Isa 43:13 Ac 5:39 9:5 Ac
11:17 1Co 10:22) (What: Job 9:12 33:12,13 40:2 Isa 45:9-11 Ro 9:19,20
11:33-36 1Co 2:16)
There's not a
plant or flower below
But makes his glories known;
And clouds arise, and tempests blow
By order from his throne.
- I Sing the Mighty Power of God)
He does according to His will
- Again His
is emphasized. See (Ps 115:3 Ps 135:6 Mt 6:10 Eph 1:11).
Wiersbe comments that...
The king acknowledged the
of God (Dan. 4:35b), which was the main lesson God wanted him to learn
through this difficult experience (Da 4:17, 25, 32). It’s too bad that
this wonderful Bible doctrine has been so maligned and misinterpreted
by amateur Bible students, because an understanding of God’s
sovereignty brings the believer assurance, strength, comfort, and the
kind of surrender that produces faith and freedom. The Bible teaches
both divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and
when you accept both, there is no contradiction or conflict. No person
is more free than the believer who surrenders to the sovereign will
of God. To ignore God’s sovereignty is to exalt human
responsibility and make man his own savior, but to deny responsibility
is to make man a robot without accountability. The Bible preserves a
beautiful balance that exalts God and enables His people to live
joyously and victoriously no matter what the circumstances might be
(Acts 4:23-31; Ro 8:31-39). (Ibid)
C H Spurgeon had this to
say regarding God's
Most men quarrel with this [God's
sovereignty]. But mark, the thing that you complain of in God is the
very thing that you love in yourselves. Every man likes to feel that
he has a right to do with his own as he pleases. We all like to be
little sovereigns. Oh, for a spirit that bows always before the
sovereignty of God...No doctrine in the whole Word of God has more
excited the hatred of mankind than the truth of the absolute
sovereignty of God... (but) There is no attribute of God more
comforting to his children than the doctrine of divine
sovereignty...If God lights the candle, none can blow it out.
J I Packer - To know that nothing happens in
God's world apart from God's will may frighten the godless, but it
stabilizes the saints.
None can ward off His hand
- His hand speaks of His authority and power. He is omnipotent.
J Oswald Sanders rightly
remarks that "God can never be outmaneuvered,
taken by surprise, or caught at a disadvantage. He is a God who knows
no crisis. Before an emergency arises, God in his providence has made
adequately and perfectly timed provision to meet it.
Here are some Scriptures that
emphasize the doctrine of divine sovereignty...
But our God is in the heavens; He
does whatever He pleases. (Ps 115:3).
Isaiah 43:13 "Even from eternity I
am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and
who can reverse it?"
Isaiah 45:9 "Woe to the one who
quarrels with his Maker— An earthenware vessel among the vessels of
earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the
thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?
Isaiah 46:9, 10 Remember the
former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am
God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the
beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done,
saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish
all My good pleasure’;
John Piper - The purposes of God cannot be
frustrated; there is none like God. If a purpose of God came to
naught, it would imply that there is a power greater than God’s. It
would imply that someone could stay His hand when He designs to do a
thing. But “none can stay his hand” (Da 4:34, 35) (Desiring God) The antidote to Nebuchadnezzar’s
pride was not merely a new knowledge in the head, but a new
exultation in the heart. His “praise” and “exultation” reveal the
wakening of faith, and the gladness that God ruled the future with the
omnipotent grace to establish his plan and humble the proud. He was
satisfied with God’s prerogative to do as he pleases in the sovereign
freedom of his justice and grace. (Future Grace) (Bolding Added)
See Related Resources:
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD All the peoples of the
earth are regarded as nothing
4:36 "At that time my reason returned
to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory
of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out;
so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was
added to me. (my reason: Da 4:34) (mine: Da 4:15,16,32 2Ch
33:12,13) (added: 1Sa 2:30 Job 13:12 Pr 22:4 Mt 6:33 2Co 4:17)
My counselors and my nobles
- The fact that the king was not overthrown by these men during his
seven years of humiliation is clear testimony to the miraculous nature
of these events. Most kings have enough difficulty remaining in power
when they are healthy and have full reasoning powers, much less when
they begin to get "bats in the belfry"!
4:37 "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise,
exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His
ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride."
(I Nebuchadnezzar: Da 4:3,34 5:4,23 1Pe 2:9,10) (the King: Da 5:23 Mt
11:25 Ac 17:24) (all: De 32:4 1Sa 2:3 Ps 33:4,5 99:4 119:75 145:17,18
Isa 5:16 Rev 15:3 16:7 19:1,2) (those that walk: Da 4:30,31 5:20-24 Ex
18:11 2Ch 33:11,12,19 Job 40:11,12 Eze 16:56,63 Jas 4:6,7 1Pe 5:5,6)
Daniel a young Jewish boy
fulfilled the goal Jehovah had intended for the entire nation of
Israel to fulfill. As Luke (a Gentile) records in Acts 13:47-48 "For
thus the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR
THE GENTILES, THAT YOU SHOULD BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE
EARTH.' And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and
glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed
to eternal life believed." Daniel was a light who shown forth the
light of life (Jn 8:12) to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of kings.
Praise, exalt and honor - He
cannot praise God enough, reflecting now not just a return of his
reason but a liberation of his heart to worship the one true God. To
say that this is just an intellectual response by the king and not
evidence of genuine conversion seems to me to be ludicrous. Why else
would he go to such lengths to heap word upon word in his exultation
Those who walk in pride -
This is Nebuchadnezzar's self-condemnation before the whole world that
he walked in pride and for that he was justly humbled by God.
Tony Evans - This is a sobering lesson for any
of us who are tempted to develop a “theo-ego,” a God complex. Whenever
you get so big that you don’t think you need God, people may as well
get your room in the sanitarium ready, because you have already lost
your mind. We need to say it again. God is in control. He sets up
kings and He brings down kings. Listen to Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony.
“He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37). You and
I are only what God allows us to be. (Evans, A. T. The Best is Yet to
Come : Bible Prophecies Through the Ages)
As Wiersbe reminds us "No matter what position we have in
life, God gave it to us, and He is sovereign. When man tries to take
the place of God, he becomes like a beast. God still resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble (Lxx
tapeinos = not
rising far from the ground, figuratively of a lowly condition,
downhearted, lowly in spirit = humble) (Pr 3:34)." (With
the Word Bible Commentary- With the Complete Text)
Jesus gave a similar
warning - Whoever exalts himself shall be
humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (Mt 23:12)
Wake Up Calls - A strong,
young brute often swaggered around town boasting that he could walk a
barbed wire fence in his bare feet with a wildcat under each arm. So
goes the story according to the Iron County Miner. The braggart got a
rude awakening, however, when he married a strong-willed little lady
who made him wash the dishes twice a day.
Another rude awakening occurred when a platoon sergeant roused a new
recruit after his first night in an army barracks. "It's four-thirty!"
bellowed the sergeant. "Four-thirty!" gasped the rookie. "Man, you'd
better go to bed. We have a big day tomorrow!"
We are all inclined to dream our way through life until someone or
something confronts us with the real world. For Nebuchadnezzar, king
of ancient Babylon, the wake-up call lacked humor. Before his
encounter with God, he thought he had life well in hand. Suddenly he
found himself on his hands and knees eating grass like an animal
(Daniel 4:33). After 7 long years (Da 4:32) he learned that in the
real world everyone must live under authority, everyone is on God's
time, and everything we possess is a gift from His gracious hand.
Father, wake us up today. Make us aware of what it means to live under
Your wise and loving authority.— Mart De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
When life is all sunshine and days
Our thoughts of the Lord may take wings of flight;
But God is still ruler, His kingdom stands,
And we all are subject to His commands. —K. De Haan
A person who thinks too much of himself
thinks too little of God.
Empire Building - After
being warned by Daniel about his pride, the Babylonian king
Nebuchadnezzar was struck with insanity. The Lord restored his mind,
but only after he spent 7 years in a field thinking he was a wild
Nebuchadnezzar went from boasting, "Is not this great Babylon, that I
have built for . . . the honor of my majesty?" (Da 4:30) to a humble
prayer: "I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of
heaven" (Da 4:37). He had repented of prideful empire building.
Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee expressed concern about empire building
in the church today. He advised Christian leaders, "Don't try to build
a little empire of your church. I started out with that viewpoint, and
I had never been more unhappy." He encouraged them to "build into
the lives of people" and leave the results to God.
When a church devotes undue energy to statistics, buildings, and
programs, pride can enter in and the needs of God's people can be
Jesus never forgot the importance of individuals. He invested His time
in 12 men (Mark 3:14). Paul discipled Timothy who in turn discipled
others (2Ti 2:2-note).
God's kingdom grows when we invest in people. — Dennis Fisher (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Churches grow when people pray
And pastors preach the Word,
When love for Christ seeks out the lost
To win them to the Lord. —D. De Haan
Poor is the church that values programs above people.
KING Nebuchadnezzar had it all.
Power. Majesty. Greatness. But he forgot where he got it. He
pranced around the pal-ace of Babylon boasting,
"Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by
my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30)
Before his last arrogant words had left his mouth, he was startled by
the voice of the One who had placed him on the throne. God said,
"Nebuchadnezzar, .. . the kingdom has departed from you!" (Da 4:31)
But that's not all. The mighty king of Babylon also got a quick
transfer from the palace to the pasture. As God had warned him in a
dream, he became a crazed creature, grazing on grass like an ox. The
proud monarch became a picture of humility. Not until this
man-creature lifted his head heavenward and "blessed the
and praised and honored Him who lives forever" (Da 4:34) was he
allowed to return to sanity and to his throne.
Everything we have, our possessions, our position, our potential,
comes from God. He is the source of our strength, the giver of our
talents, and the One who controls our circumstances. When we forget
this, or take the credit, God may find it necessary to transfer us
from a position of pride to humiliation.
Knowing our position in relationship to God is the way to keep pride
out of our lives. When we know how high and mighty He is, we'll have
little trouble remembering how weak and lowly we are.—J D Brannon