Daniel 4

Daniel 4

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Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.

  How great are his signs,
    how mighty his wonders!
  His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation. At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods—and I told him the dream, saying, “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were 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 heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

“I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel Interprets the Second Dream

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived—it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humiliation

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.

Nebuchadnezzar Restored

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to 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;
  all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
    and among the inhabitants of the earth;
  and none can stay his hand
    or say to him, “What have you done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

(ESV)


Daniel 4 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Written by Nebuchadnezzar himself, this chapter is the retelling of his testimony. Daniel included the penmanship of the king in his writings because it shows the absolute sovereignty of God but also His hunt of these who seem to be the least likely to completely turn to Him.

Nebuchadnezzar was a rival to God on every level. A pagan king, steeped in a culture of hedonism, he was one who looked out for himself and his kingdom continually. From previous chapters, we read of how he had these moments of recognition of the God of gods, but they were fleeting. Yet God’s pursuit of him is really something to consider. He had used Nebuchadnezzar to bring about His will and discipline of Israel. But God was interested in him as an individual as well. This is the second dream God revealed to the king, in which he was troubled in spirit. This time the dream dealt with the king himself and his fall that would come.

Perplexed, he sought out Daniel. I love this part.

“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.”

Daniel 4:9

God rested so strongly upon Daniel. His reputation as a holy man of God was seen to the highest seat in the country. As a man in exile, he never wavered in his faith and always respectful to the authorities whom legislated the country. God continued to give astounding insight and wisdom as he brought to others awareness of the God he trusted. His silent impact as well as when called upon, bold words would resonate because the Spirit of God rested so deeply upon him.

Hearing the dream, appalled Daniel knew what it concerned. It was about the king himself and his eventual topple due to his pride. But within the dream, Daniel also saw in time the king would come to his senses and turn and trust in God completely. 12 months later, the dream was fulfilled. Although the interpretation and warning had been given, Nebuchadnezzar relied on himself leading to a period of humiliation. 7 years of his own exile from the kingdom he built would be used to bring him to that place of humility before the God of gods and recognize His sovereignty. By his own hand, Nebuchadnezzar retells what happened and declares among the people of the One and True God.

I’ve heard of a phrase referring to God as the Hound of Heaven. He relentlessly pursues us. Jesus can track us down wherever we may be hiding. His heart driven by love and compassion he will go the furthest degree to find us.

“Jesus willingly descended into the ghetto of the present world – the ream of sin and Satan – in order to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Greg Herrick

From the outside looking in, it would seem Nebuchadnezzar was an unreachable individual. God saw it differently. Through His hand, He brought godly men, such as Daniel and his 3 friends, into his life. Through His hand, He allowed the king to think all was in his control when God revealed Himself continually to the king and pursued him. Through His hand, He let circumstances drive Nebuchadnezzar to a place of sheer brokenness where he turned and genuinely trusted in Him.

No one is beyond the grasp of God. No one. As Believers we must be consistent in our own walk and trust as God will use us as part of his plan in bringing them to His throne of grace. For those whom are running wildly away, the Hound of Heaven will not relent but pursue them. Never give up hope on someone, the Hound is out hunting them down through whatever circumstance needed to lead them home.


Daniel 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

What do we make of these 7 years when King Neb lost his mind?

“There is, understandably, no preserved secular record of this; but Abydenus, a Greek historian, wrote in 268 BC that Nebuchadnezzar had been “possessed by some god” and that he had “immediately disappeared”. Some dismiss this account of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness as unhistorical; but there is no historical record of his governmental activity between 582 and 575; this silence is deafening, especially when we keep in mind how Near Eastern leaders liked to egotistically trumpet their achievements – and hide their embarrassments.”

Paul S. Gould

“Nebuchadnezzar was given the opportunity to humble himself, and he did not. Now God humbled him, and the experience was much more severe than it would have been had Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself.”

David Guzik

God allowed King Neb a full year to repent of his sin. After it didn’t happen, the king was casually admiring his great kingdom when the hammer came down from heaven. He lost his mind, going out among the lowly farm oxen to live for 7 years. Even the choice of animal was a means to bring him to humility. What’s so crazy about this story is that after his mind returns, and all is well again, he praises God and even worships him!

So, when we put this all together we can deduce a powerful truth. Pride steals worship from God and humility restores it. If we analyze our life and find that we lack meaningful worship, we probably have a pride issue. The term ‘worship’ I am referring to is not only singing songs to God on Sunday. Worship is valuing something or someone. It involves enjoyment and satisfaction over all other things.

King Neb worshiped his kingdom and himself. God’s love broke through with perspective.

“By the end of Dan 4:1-37, god Nebuchadnezzar knew which God was the true God. And when Nebuchadnezzar knew it, he wasn’t shy about telling people what he had learned – he was a true witness, giving testimony to God’s great works.”

David Guzik
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