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Book of Daniel
Introduction to Daniel 4
Theme: Testimony of Nebuchadnezzar; Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the tree; the dream interpreted by Daniel; the mental sickness of Nebuchadnezzar; dream fulfilled and Nebuchadnezzar's reason restored
This chapter will give us much more information about Nebuchadnezzar. In reality, there was a skeleton in the family closet . . . something I am sure they did not boast of; for Nebuchadnezzar suffered from a form of insanity called ‘boanthropy’ which is a rare form of ‘monomania’. This chapter is a part of history taken from the archives of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar's insanity is well identified and is known today, and it is something which other world rulers have suffered from. Some more information on Nebuchadnezzar: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11407-nebuchadnezzar
This chapter was supposedly, or thought by some, to have been written by Nebuchadnezzar himself; and was either taken out of his archives, or given by the king to Daniel, who under divine inspiration placed it into his Book.
It reveals the sovereignty of God over the greatest kings and monarchs of the Earth, and this acknowledged by one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived. It begins with a foreword which salutes all nations, and declares the greatness and power of God (Dan.4:1), then follows the story of a dream the king dreamed, which greatly troubled him; so he called for his wise men to interpret it, but in vain. He finally told it to Daniel (Dan.4:4); which when told, overwhelmed Daniel.
Testimony of Nebuchadnezzar (4:1-3)
Daniel 4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. (KJV)
Daniel now gives us another strange story, after he had finished that of the three young men in the fiery furnace. The prophet does not set this his own words, but the words of the king's own proclamation that it might be accepted without dispute; for it was sent to all his vast kingdoms, and without question was put into the king's archives and court rolls, as the method was. The three first verses of this fourth chapter seem that they should be with chapter 3, they are the introduction of the following history.
Peace be multiplied unto you . . . this was the common form of greeting and salutation among the Eastern nations, comprehending peace, plenty, with uninterrupted joy and happiness, and from them it came on down to the writers of the New Testament (1 Pet.1:2; 2 Pet.2:1; Jude 1:2). The reason for this greeting was that war being the root of all misery, especially where all the government was oppressive, and once war broke out, it made everything desolate; so that peace was like heaven when compared to the misery of war.
Daniel 4:2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. (KJV)
Nebuchadnezzar wanted all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God had done for him. It was his pleasure to let all the world know: (1.) The signs and miracles, (2.) Done by the TRUE God, (3.) To me, when I was personally troubled. These were the king’s reasons why he made it all known to the world. This was his second proclamation or decree exalting the Almighty God of Heaven (Dan.2:47; 3:29-30; 4:1-3).
Daniel 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. (KJV)
How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! These two phrases indicate great admiration and astonishment. It seems these works of God had that impression upon this king; a great reason because of his ignorance of the TRUE God, along with his own excessive pride. God by the following dream of a tree, and Daniel's instruction, shall tell him his fate, and that NO kingdom except God's Kingdom was everlasting, which God had told him once before (Dan.2:44).
This confession of the king was upon conviction, and it looks to some extent like repentance, but the result proves him to be non-changing, even though God made unusual alterations in his kingdom, and in the form of his person (Dan.4:21-32). The king was transformed to a beast of the field, and then back to a man again . . . but NO conversion some say.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree (4:4-18)
Daniel 4:4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: (KJV)
The personal pronouns . . . I, mine and my, all are used in this one verse. You will find them used quite often in every verse from verse 4-10. Nebuchadnezzar had a bad case of me-itis.
Daniel 4:5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. (KJV)
There is no lasting happiness that comes from this world. Black clouds bring storms and tempests, spoiling the fairest sunny day. They that do not fear God shall one day be terrified by Him. God rightly makes oppressors anxious and uneasy in the midst of their fool's paradise, and if the fool says in his heart, There is no God (Ps.53:1), he shall quickly in his heart think otherwise.
Daniel 4:6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. (KJV)
Even though Nebuchadnezzar had already seen that these wise men could do nothing in telling or interpreting his dream (Dan.2:1-49), he sends for them again. If they failed, he would then call Daniel whom he kept as a backup.
Daniel 4:7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. (KJV)
When all the astrologers, fortunetellers, magicians and sorcerers and came in, Nebuchadnezzar told them his dream, but they could not tell him what it meant. This shows that they were impostors, and that neither their natural skill nor their demonic help could unfold God's secrets.
Daniel 4:8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, (KJV)
But at the last Daniel came in before me . . . it is not stated whether Daniel was sent for by the king, or if he was brought in by another. But he was last one to appear before the king in this matter. I think that this reveals that he alone had the true knowledge of these secrets; for if he had come first, before all the rest had done their best in trying their skill in vain, they would have said they knew just as well as Daniel, and as a result God would not have had the glory; but now it is quite clear that the Spirit of God was in the prophet Daniel in all that he did.
The holy gods . . . he speaks in the plural, like an idolater, and because he calls him Belteshazzar, according to the name of his god (Bel or Baal). By the spirit of the gods he means the spirit of divination (demons), or prophecy of future things, which only God alone knows, and reveals by His Spirit as He pleases, and of which NONE of the wise men or magicians were endued with.
Daniel 4:9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. (KJV)
Nebuchadnezzar was convinced of Daniel's awesome abilities, and that he truly deserved the title and dignity the king had honored him with. Daniel was recognized as being greater than all the scholarly men and religious followers of his day. The king had definite proof of Daniel's display of the gifts of wisdom, knowledge and interpretation, as referred to in Daniel ch.2. The king tells Daniel . . . I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that you understand all mysteries. This is my dream. Tell me what it means.
Daniel 4:10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. (KJV)
While the king was lying in his bed, he dreamed he saw a large tree in the middle of the Earth.
Daniel 4:11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: (KJV)
The height of the tree was great, much taller than ordinary trees. The tree grew higher and wider, and increased in boughs and branches, and became strong and stable, that no winds nor storms could move it. This shows the increasing power of Nebuchadnezzar, the expansion of his provinces, and the stability of his empire. The tree in his dream reached unto Heaven; higher than any other tree on Earth . . . this expressed his rule over all nations and people of the Earth; or of his ambition of deity itself (Isa.14:14). And being so high, it could be seen from afar off. The fame of this great monarch reached to the ends of the earth; the eyes of all were turned to him; some looking on him with wonder, others with envy.
Daniel 4:12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. (KJV)
The leaves thereof were fair . . . some say the leaves are symbolic of the provinces belonging to his empire, which were very large and flourishing; or the governors of them under him.
And the fruit thereof much . . . great revenues from all parts of the empire were brought to him:
and in it was meat for all; the produce of the several countries, and the trade carried on in them, brought in a sufficient livelihood to all the inhabitants.
The beasts of the field had shadow under it . . . meaning the people of several heathen nations under him, and even those that were most savage, were protected in their lives and properties by him.
And the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof . . . some interpret this as the Israelites, as opposed to the foreign nations, comparable to the beasts of the field.
And all flesh was fed of it . . . all the king’s subjects shared in the good things he successfully brought into his empire. All had a sufficient food and clothing; so that there was no reason to complain about him oppressive to his subjects.
Daniel 4:13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; (KJV)
The king continues to tell what other things he saw in his dream. A watcher and an holy one which has to be an angel; so called because it always watches and never sleeps, and is always attentive to and obedient to the commands of God. An Holy One . . . meaning one of the holy angels that never sinned, never left their first estate, but continued in it; in which they are established by Christ, and are faultless, perfectly pure and holy in their nature and actions.
Daniel 4:14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: (KJV)
He (the watcher) cried aloud, and said . . . this shows the agreement of the angels, when one stirs up another to cut down . . . it will be cut down and cast out and taken away. Hew down the tree . . . remove this powerful monarch from his throne; take away his rule from him. This is maybe said to fellow angels employed in the affairs of Providence, and the execution of them, to bring about an event so significant. And cut off his branches . . . take away his provinces from him. Shake off his leaves . . . cause his deputy governors to forsake their allegiance to him. And scatter his fruit . . . the revenues of his vast empire, and let others take them. Let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches . . . those that have either voluntarily stayed with him for protection; or those who have been carried captive by him, and have lived under his shadow. Let them all take the opportunity to withdraw from him, and return to their own lands (Jer.51:9).
Daniel 4:15Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: (KJV)
But, leave the stump of his roots in the Earth . . . let him not be utterly destroyed, or his life taken away; but let him continue to live, although in a forlorn condition, yet let him have hope of being restored; because a tree can be cut down to the stump and yet be revived again (Job 14:7), and let his kingdom remain.
Even with a band of iron and brass . . . some think this was done to preserve it and to show that his kingdom remained firm and immovable. In the tender grass of the field . . . where his dwelling would be, not in Babylon in his fine palace, living sumptuously as he now did . . . but in the field, grazing like an animal, and like one that is tied and confined to a certain place.
And let it be wet with the dew of heaven . . . saying that this would not only be in the daytime, but that he would lie all night in the field, with his body wet all over with the dew that falls in the night. And let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth . . . instead of the king feasting on all His royal dainties as he had always done, he would now eat grass like the beasts of the field . . . and as it seems that he did.
Daniel 4:16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. (KJV)
Let his heart be changed from man's . . . the king’s heart would be changed from a human heart into a brutal one, one that would be deprived of the use of reason, one that would be wholly governed by the animal senses, and behave and act as a beast does; making him senseless, stupid and savage. And it was so . . . that such a heart was given to Nebuchadnezzar. Not that his rational soul departed from him, for he did not die; but the powers of his soul were sadly depraved. He imagined himself to be a beast, not a man. His memory of things past completely failed him, he forgot who he was, what he had been, and his will and inclination were towards brutal things. He lived in the deserts, fields and grass, shunning the society of people. And let seven times pass over him . . . some say his condition lasted seven months, others say seven half years, or three and a half years, but I believe seven years are meant.
Daniel 4:1-16 hold the contents of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which centers around a tree that grew very tall, up to Heaven, and wide enough to fill the Earth. The tree had leaves were that were fair. It was a fruit tree, and its fruit was eaten by all. Beasts of the field stood in its shadow, and birds lived in its branches.
In the Bible, a tree can represent different things:
(1.) A tree can represent a man (Ps.1:3; Jer.17:8; Isa.56:3; Mat.7:17-19).
(2.) A tree can represent a nation (Eze. 31:3-14; 24:32-33).
(3.) The mustard tree (Mat.13:31-32) represents Christendom today.
(4.) The olive tree represents both Israel and the Gentiles (Rom.11:16-24).
The tree here represents mainly Nebuchadnezzar and also his kingdom of Babylon, for this king and his kingdom are inseparable.
The "watcher" and "holy one" God's created intelligences (angels). A watcher (Dan.4:13, 23) is an angel, a holy or good angel, the instruments of God, and His messengers who execute God's judgments in that they constantly watch (Ps.103:20-21).
The Book of Daniel makes it very clear that God has created these high intelligences (angels) who manage His Universe and this world in which we live. These watchers see all, hear all and tell all to Almighty God! Many people think they can live in secret, and that they are not under the eye of God. They talk of wanting to enjoy their privacy, but dear one, the truth is that we have no privacy from the Almighty God of Heaven (Ps.139:7-12). Secret sin here on Earth is open shame in Heaven. His angels know ALL about you, and if you are a Christian, you would be wise to go to God with that "secret sin” in your life and have it forgiven!
The tree was hewn down, and a band of iron and brass was put around its stump to indicate that it would grow and flourish again in seven years. And the heart of the ruler was to be changed into that of a beast. This mighty king was to become like an animal. He would live seven years as a beast in a man's shape, among beasts of the field. He would be brutish, without human sense and understanding: and this also was seen in his outward shape; nails like claws, and hair like feathers (vs.33). Some think that he was actually changed into a beast, but this cannot be, because the Chaldeans would never have restored him. It is possible that he was mute, and bellowed only, that he went naked, and ate grass among the beasts. This was a dreadful example that came upon the greatest man on Earth, for his brutish and raging oppression.
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. (KJV)
This matter is by the decree of the watchers . . . meaning the cutting down of the tree, and what is meant by it. The decree was of God, but the demand (command) was by the watcher (Dan.4:13, 23). The Most High God alone rules . . . He never leaves the government of the world to man or to chance happenings.
These watchers, by whom is generally understood as angels; were not the authors of this decree, but these are ‘good’ angels and they certainly approved of it; and were ready and willing, not only to give to it, but to carry it out; for it was against a wicked man, and an oppressor of the Lord's people. These watchers (good angels) were/are assistants of God; called into a meeting with Him (1 Ki.22:19); referring to the way of kings and princes, who have their private councils.
All people everywhere must realize that the Supreme and Almighty God of Heaven has power over human kingdoms and that He can give them to anyone He so chooses.
One of the most difficult lessons to learn in life is that God is absolutely sovereign. He is above any and all, and He can do as He so pleases, anytime, anywhere! Those who live in freedom with a high degree of self-sufficiency find this very hard to understand. Many rich and famous people think they are free to do what they want, but God is sovereign overall of our plans and desires.
God of Heaven: (Ezra 1:3; 5:11; 6:9-10; 7:12, 21, 23; Neh.1:4-5; 2:4, 20; Ps.136:26; Dan.2:18-19, 28, 37; 5:23; Jonah 1:9).
Only after the glory of God was removed from the Temple, was God called the God of Heaven. Glory of God removed from the Jewish Temple (Eze.9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23). God’s glory gone from Earth until Christ Jesus came (Lk.1:9; 2:1-30). Only after the glory of God was removed from the Temple, was God called the God of Heaven.
Daniel 4:18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. (KJV)
Daniel’s thoughts troubled him, because he could see the terrible things that were to come upon the king. Daniel had respect for Nebuchadnezzar because of the high favors and honors that he had sent his way, and I am sure that he was hesitant to state what was to happen. The coming things that were sure to happen came to Daniel by a Spirit of prophecy, doubling his sadness, and troubling his thoughts (vs.16-17).
It seems that Daniel was told (by the watchers ?), or the Spirit within him, that he was not to fear speaking the truth . . . the interpretation of the dream was to be spoken out freely. Even though this king were a tyrant and an enemy of God and his people, still Daniel grieved for him, and prayed for him that God would ward off this judgment from him.
The Bible does not say if Nebuchadnezzar had any idea that it was his own doom that was seen in this dream. Maybe he was so vain and secure as to think that it was some other ruler that was a rival of him, whose fall would be pleasing to him. But we do know that IF it were for him, or against him, the king is very anxious to know the true meaning of it and depends on Daniel to give him the answer. We too must consider that when God gives us general warnings of His judgments we should be anxious and eager to understand His mind and His will in them.
Daniel now will interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the strange tree.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the Tree
Interpreted By Daniel (Daniel 4:19-27)
Daniel 4:19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. (KJV)
I am quite sure that when Daniel understood Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he was shocked, and he wondered how he would break the news to him. Daniel told the king that he wished what the dream indicated would happen to the king's enemies and not to Nebuchadnezzar.
How could Daniel be so deeply grieved at the destiny of Nebuchadnezzar? This king was totally responsible for the destruction of Daniel's home and nation. Only because Daniel had forgiven Nebuchadnezzar, was God able to use him in the wonderful way that He did! Far too often when we are wronged by someone, we find it very difficult to forget and forgive. And what’s worse, we may even be glad when that person suffers. Forgiveness is a very HARD thing to do, BUT we must forgive or God will NOT forgive us! Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (KJV) . . . SO clear!
Can you love someone who has hurt you, like Daniel did? Can you serve someone who mistreated you, like Daniel did? You CANNOT do it on your own! You need God’s help! Ask God to help you to forgive, forget and love . . . and pray for your enemies! (Mat.5:44). God may use you in a surprising way in that person's life. We never know what God has in mind for us IF we love and obey Him.
Daniel 4:20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; (KJV)
The tree is the king. The dream is fully interpreted in the following verses.
Daniel 4:21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: (KJV)
The tree had beautiful green leaves and much fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds had their nests in its branches. The branches symbolize the princes. The leaves symbolize the soldiers. The fruits symbolize the revenues. The shade of the tree symbolized the shelter given to his people.
Daniel 4:22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. (KJV)
Daniel speaks directly and openly. While Daniel had pity on the king, he boldly states the king’s sentence of punishment.
I think that most pastors today should follow Daniels’s lead here! Many are afraid to speak on sin and its results and Hell. They do NOT want to offend anyone in their congregation, because they want the donations that come from them. So many money hungry vultures out there!
Charles Stanley is a preacher, and he does bring some Truth of God’s Word to the people . . . for this I commend him. BUT . . . He rarely ever speaks of sin or Hell. In my opinion, he brings only HALF of the Truth! Jesus taught BOTH of love, obedience and Heaven AND He also taught on SIN and its results AND Hell! I think Jesus taught more on Hell than He did any other subject. WHY??? He does NOT want anyone to go there!
I truly believe that those who are called, must teach the WHOLE Word of God, not just what people want to hear! The truth, whole truth: (Acts.20:26-27; Rom.11:30; 2 Cor.5:11; 6:7-8; 1 Tim.2:4, 7; 2 Tim.2:15; 4:1-5; Jam.5:20; Heb.10:31; Ps.36:1; Eze.3:17-31)
The tree symbolizes Nebuchadnezzar, who had become strong and great; a world ruler and that had filled the then-civilized world. It speaks of Nebuchadnezzar personally, and his kingdom.
The king is the tree, the branches are his princes, offspring and nephews, the leaves are his nobles and captains, the fruit is his riches and revenues, the shade of the tree is protection for his people. Daniel speaks boldly and plainly the whole truth, and this prophet should be a pattern to every faithful minister or teacher of God’s Holy Word.
Daniel 4:23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him; (KJV)
Even though much of the world thought that Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty and even a divine king, God revealed that Nebuchadnezzar was just an ordinary man. The king would indeed go insane and he would be like an animal for a set period of time . . . till seven times pass over him (7 years). God humiliated Nebuchadnezzar to show him that Almighty God, NOT the worldly king, was Lord of ALL nations. No matter how powerful a person may become, no matter how famous a person becomes, no matter how much self-centered ego they have . . . pride will always push God from his or her life. Pride can be a most dangerous temptation! Do not let any of your accomplishments cause you to forget God, because you do NOT want Him to forget you!
Daniel 4:24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: (KJV)
Daniel told the king: This is what the dream means, this is what the Most High God has stated will happen to my lord the king (vs.16).
Daniel 4:25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. (KJV)
It is not told who actually drove the king from men. It was not his enemies, for they would have killed him. I would want to say that it might have been the watchers, God’s good angels (vs.13, 23).
No new king was chosen to replace Nebuchadnezzar. His kingdom was secure and waiting for him when he became normal. Nebuchadnezzar’s own son was regent during this insanity and he no doubt helped preserve the kingdom for him, which made possible the fulfilling of Daniel 4:26).
Because the king had lived a cruel, pleasure-seeking life, and was lifted high up above the common race of mankind in his heart, therefore his fate was that he was to be cast out to live among the beasts. How hard is it for lofty rulers to learn that God is the Giver of all they have, and will certainly call them to account, in a severe way, for all they do, and to make the kings and kingdoms of the world to know they are His, and not their own, and that their term is only in the Hand and will of the Lord. He can alter and adjust the property in any way that He sees fit, for He is the Most High Lord, supreme above all!
Hypochondriacal madness was his condition, which drove him to think that he was an animal, who would dwell with the beasts (vs.33). The regency would leave him to roam in the large beast-abounding parks around the palace.
Daniel 4:26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. (KJV)
There would be no other king chosen in that time. Evilmerodach his son was regent during his father's insanity.
The king would live as a stump of a tree, and then he would recover . . . the tree would have young branches sprout out of Him (Job 14:7-9).
After that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule (vs.34-35). If rulers will not learn this, God will come down hard on them. Some say that even though Nebuchadnezzar never proved to be a convert, God did make him admit this truth when he was restored.
Daniel 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. (KJV)
Let my counsel be acceptable unto thee . . . these are words Daniel adds because of his good will to the king. , if perhaps it might turn away this dreadful stroke from him, and give the king some hopes of mitigation at least, as it was with Nineveh and others.
Break off thy sins by righteousness . . . be fair, be honest, do right! The king had been a very oppressive man. IF he would show mercy to the poor, if he were to repent and bring forth fruits fit for repentance (Mat.3:8), only then would he find mercy at the Hand of God . . only then might it bring a lengthening of the king’s tranquility.
Daniel pleaded with Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways, and God gave Nebuchadnezzar 12 months to do it. Sad to say, there was no repentance in the heart of this proud king, and so the dream was fulfilled.
The Mental Sickness of Nebuchadnezzar (4:28-33)
Daniel 4:28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. (KJV)
The king simply did NOT listen to Daniel's advice . . . the result . . . he suffered the predicted punishment. All these things the king saw in the dream happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
BEWARE!!! What a tremendous lesson there is here for us all!
Daniel 4:29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. (KJV)
God had given Nebuchadnezzar one year to change his ways. This time delay of God’s punishment may have some improvement on Nebuchadnezzar, but it is quite clear that his pride had NOT changed.
Daniel 4:30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? (KJV)
Any of Nebuchadnezzar's building was done by abusing and mistreating the poor and helpless people in his empire. So the truth is, his glory came at the expense of others, one of the very things he had been warned about (vs.27).
Is not this Great Babylon . . . historians and geographers say it was 45 miles around the walls, some say 60. The height of the walls are said to have been 100 cubits (about 18 inches to a cubit), and for their thickness, they were supposedly wide enough that six chariots might go side by side on the top of them. This king really oppressed those people!
For the honour of my majesty . . . the manner of proud tyrants is always absorb all honor to themselves; and what is more, they never consider that the goodness of God had anything to do with their success. . . they take it all to themselves.
A lesson here for us also, God resists the proud, and eventually His judgment falls on him, and down he comes while they stand crowing and pruning their pretty feathers.
Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was filled with pride; he credited everything to himself, and acknowledged God in nothing. The walls, hanging gardens, temple of Bel, and the royal palace, were all built by Nebuchadnezzar. He made it the greatest city in the world.
Daniel 4:31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. (KJV)
While the words were still in the proud king's mouth . . . his kingdom departed from him! All his glory, goods and gods were gone in a blink of an eye! God does NOT lie! (Tit.1:2).
Daniel 4:32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. (KJV)
The king was made to eat grass as oxen. The insanity that came upon him induced him to forsake society, and to run to the deserts, fields and woods where he lived like a wild animal.
Daniel 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. (KJV)
God’s words through Daniel, came true instantly. Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of human society and ate grass like an ox. The dew fell on his body, and his hair grew as long as eagle feathers and his nails as long as bird claws. His hair grew long and thick, acting as a substitute for clothing; and his nails strong and hooked, that he might the better climb trees and dig up the ground, to get roots and grubs. It was the mercy of God alone that so clothed and fed him. His case seems much like that of the maniac in the Gospel, whose dwelling was among the tombs and in the mountains, and who shunned the society of men (Mark 5).
He was driven from men . . . he was deprived of his understanding and was like a man confused. He fled to the fields or woods . . . or was thrust and driven out, either by popular uproar, or plots of his nobles, or by his son Evilmerodach.
Dream Fulfilled and Nebuchadnezzar's
Reason Restored (4:34-37)
Daniel 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: (KJV)
After the 7 years had passed, Nebuchadnezzar tells us that he looked up to Heaven, and his sanity returned. He then praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the One who lives forever. God shined light on his soul, and gave him understanding to reflect upon his condition, to consider his sad state, and the reasons for it. The restored king blessed the Most High . . . by prayer and praise bearing in mind the justice and mercy of God towards him, and giving God the glory.
Ancient kings always tried to avoid bringing up their weaknesses or defeats in their memorials and official records, but from Nebuchadnezzar's records (here in chapter 4 of Daniel), we see that for a time period during his 43-year reign, he did not rule. The Bible, however, tells us the WHY! It was the king’s egotistic pride and the punishment of God that followed it.
Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (KJV)
Man is absolutely nothing when compared to God (Isa.40:15, 17). God’s will is supreme (Ps.115:3; 135:6; Mat.6:10: Eph.1:11). Nebuchadnezzar now recognized and admitted that God was the King not only of Heaven, but also of Earth . . . the place where he thought that he was the god. Nebuchadnezzar now knew that God did not need to answer to anyone. This is a far cry from the attitude he had displayed as he condemned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Daniel 3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? (KJV)
NOW Nebuchadnezzar knew exactly Who that God was! He also knew that none can stay his hand, or ask Him, What doest thou?
Daniel 4:36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. (KJV)
Nebuchadnezzar’s reason returned . . . EVERYTHING was fulfilled that was shown by the king’s dream and its interpretation. Mine honour and brightness returned unto me . . . instead of the shape of a savage beast, his appearance was restored to the majesty of a king. My counsellors and my lords sought unto me . . . they who had before despised and rejected him now were glad to come back to him. I was established in my kingdom . . . he was restored to his regular power and place, and was owned and obeyed without rivals, without question or complaint (Dan.5:18-19). Excellent majesty was added unto me . . . he was the most impressive and magnificent prince on earth, therefore was his kingdom called the lady of kingdoms (Isa.47:5).
Even though Nebuchadnezzar recognized that God did exist and worked great miracles, it is clear that he still did not acknowledge God as his Lord. People may admit that God exists and does wonderful miracles, but so do many unbelievers! To be a TRUE child of God, you must invite Him to be Lord of your heart and life.
Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (KJV)
The Almighty Lord can make the stoutest hearts to bow down, fear and reverence Him. This doxology of Nebuchadnezzar comes from his heart. God is Truth for all intents and purposes. He is the rule and standard of Truth, His Words are Truth, His ways are Truth: and His ways are judgment. He is all wise, and He dealt justly with the king for his pride. In faithfulness God had afflicted him . . . and in amazing tenderness God had restored the king. Those that walk in pride he is able to abase . . . just as God had declared upon the king astonishing changes, he had no reason to quarrel with Him . . . he could only give Him glory by his confession.
Pride and conceit are sins that affect many, if not most great and famous men. They are likely to take all the glory to themselves which is due to God alone! While the proud word was yet in the king's mouth, the powerful Word came from God. Nebuchadnezzar’s understanding and memory were gone, and all the powers of the rational soul were broken. How careful we all should be, not to do anything which might anger God to put us out of our senses! God resists the proud (Jam.4:6). Nebuchadnezzar wanted to be more than a man, but God rightly made him far less than a man. We must know that the Most high God lives forever, and that His Kingdom is like Himself, everlasting and universal. God’s power cannot be resisted even by the most powerful man on Earth.
All people should honor God, by confession of sin and acknowledging His sovereignty . . . then and only then, can they ever expect that God will honor them. He can not only restore them to the dignity they lost by the sin of the first Adam, but He can add citizenship of Heaven to them, from the righteousness and grace of the Second Adam (Rom.5:1-10).
Afflictions sent by God in judgment shall never last longer than until they have done the work for which they were sent.
It seems by this chapter in Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar was repentant of his sins. Some say that he did not live more than a year after his restoration, some say much longer. I do not know.
The lesson we have here is that the Lord knows how to humiliate those that walk in pride, but He so graciously gives grace and comfort to the humble, broken-hearted sinner who calls upon Him.
Special Comments for Daniel Chapter 4
34 Dreams in Scriptures
1. Abimelech, of Sarah (Gen.20:3)
2. Jacob, of a ladder (Gen.28:12)
3. Jacob, of ring-straked cattle (Gen.31:10-13)
4. Jacob, of Egypt (Gen.46:2)
5. Laban, of Jacob (Gen.31:24)
6. Joseph, of brethren (Gen.37:5)
7. Joseph, of brethren (Gen.37:9)
8. Chief butler, of himself (Gen.40:9)
9. Chief baker, of himself (Gen.40:16)
10. Pharaoh, of famine (Gen.41:1-4)
11. Pharaoh, of famine (Gen.41:5-8)
12. A Midianite, of Gideon (Judg.7:13)
13. Solomon, of wisdom (1 Ki.3:3-15)
14. Eliphaz, of a spirit (Job 4:12-21)
15. Job, of terror (Job 7:14)
16. Nebuchadnezzar, of kingdoms (Dan.2)
17. Nebuchadnezzar, of himself (Dan.4)
18. Daniel, of kingdoms (Dan.7)
19. Daniel, of kingdoms (Dan.8)
20. Daniel, of God (Dan.10:5-9)
21. False prophets, of lies (Jer.23:27-32; 29:8)
22. Diviners, of false things (Zec.10:2) . . . BEWARE!!!
23. Joseph, of Mary (Mat.1:20)
24. Joseph, of flight to Egypt (Mat.2:13)
25. Joseph, of returning home (Mat.2:19)
26. Joseph, of Herod (Mat.2:22)
27. The wise men, of warning (Mat.2:12)
28. Pilate's wife, of Jesus (Mta.27:19)
29. Cornelius, of an angel (Acts 10:3-6)
30. Peter, of animals (Acts 10:10-16)
31. Paul, of a man (Acts 16:9)
32. Paul, of going to Rome (Acts 23:11)
33. Paul, of safety (Acts 28:23-24)
34. John, of Christ (Rev.1:12-18)
Nebuchadnezzar’s Tree Vision:
- I saw a tree in the midst of the earth.
- The height was great (Dan.4:10).
- The tree grew, and it was strong.
- Its height reached Heaven.
- All the earth could see it (Dan.4:11).
- The leaves were fair (beautiful Dan.4:11).
- There was much fruit, providing food for all creatures (Dan.4:12; Eze.31:3; 17:24).
- It provided shade and homes for all (Dan.4:12; Lam.4:20; Eze.17:23; Mat.13:32).
- A watcher, a holy one (an angel) came down from Heaven (Dan.4:13; 9:14; Ps.34:7; Pro.15:3; Job 7:12; 14:16; Jer.31:28; 32:19; 44:27; Gen.31:49; 2 Chron.16:9; Heb.1:14).
- He cried aloud to hew down the tree, cut off his branches, shake off his leaves.
- To scatter his fruit, to let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches (Dan.4:14; Eze.31:12).
But to leave the stump of his roots in the Earth, to be wet with the dew of heaven (Dan.4:15; Job 14:7-9).
- To let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth (Dan.4:15).
- To let his heart be changed from that of a man to a beast (Dan.4:16).
- To let seven times pass over him (7 years he would be a beast).
- This matter is by the decree of the watchers and the demand is by the holy ones.
- To the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men until thou know (Ps.83:17-18; Jer.27:5).
- And He giveth it to whomsoever He will. Almighty God is sovereign!
- He can give power to whomever He chooses, even to the basest of men (Dan.4:17).
Daniel’s Interpretation of the Tree Vision:
1. Nebuchadnezzar, is the tree (Dan.4:20-22)
2. The watcher, a holy one sent down from heaven, is an angel announcing the decree of the Most High (Dan.4:23-24)
3. The decree is: Nebuchadnezzar would become mentally deranged and would be driven from his kingdom. He will think that he is a beast of the field, eating and sleeping with them for seven years, until he learns that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will (Dan.4:25)
4. The stump left in the ground with the roots held firm by a band of iron and brass means that his kingdom shall be there for him when he learns his lesson (Dan.4:26)
Do you really SEE just how powerful the God of Heaven is?
Things Nebuchadnezzar learned: . . . and that we should learn!
- He should honor God.
- God was the King and God of Heaven.
- All God's Words are Truth.
- God's ways are just and right.
- God is able to humiliate the proud (Dan.4:37).
- God is Lord of kings (Dan.2:47).
- God is a Revealer of secrets (Dan.2:47).
- God sends angels to protect those who put their trust in Him (Dan.3:28; 6:22; Ps.91:11-12; Heb.1:14).
- God can change man's word (Dan,3:28).
- TRUE servants of God will NOT worship any other god (Dan.3:16-18, 28).
- There is NO other god who can deliver people like the One and Only TRUE God (Dan.3:29).
- NO other god can do miracles like the TRUE God (Dan.3:25-29; 4:3).
- Only God's kingdom alone is everlasting (Dan.4:3, 34).
- The Spirit of God can and does dwell in man (Dan.4:8-9, 18; Rom.8:9).
- God is absolutely supreme on Earth (Dan.4:17, 34).
- God gives power to rule to whomsoever He will (Dan.4:17, 32).
- The wisest men on Earth are incapable of solving human problems Dan.2:2-13; 4:4-8).
- Sin does not pay, because God has the final say! (Dan.4:27-33).
- Pride is the main cause of downfalls (Dan.4:28-37).
Book of Daniel
Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3. Ch.4. Ch.5 . Ch.6 . Ch.7 . Ch.8 . Ch.9 . Ch.10 . Ch. 11. Ch.12 . Special Comments