BIBLE: Daniel Chapter 4 – Headline “Pride and Sensibility”

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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Daniel 4

What should I learn from this chapter?

  • The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will.
  • Personal Application: Leaders define the spirituality of a nation.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream

Daniel 4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king,
To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:
Peace be multiplied to you.
Daniel 4:I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.
Daniel 4:How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation.

See Topic: The Meaning of a Biblical Generation
See Topic: Biblical Materials: the meaning of trees and wood

Daniel 4:I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.
Daniel 4:I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
Daniel 4:Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream.
Daniel 4:Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation.
Daniel 4:But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying:
Daniel 4:“Belteshazzar (Daniel), chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.
Daniel 4:10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed:
I was looking, and behold,
A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height (position) was great.

Note: trees (and wood) are symbolic of men.

Daniel 4:11 The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.

The tree is the nation Babylon which is ruled by Nebuchadnezzar, a man.
It’s height reached to the heavens because God used Babylon for His purposes.

Daniel 4:12 Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
The beasts of the field found shade under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,
And all flesh was fed from it.
Daniel 4:13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.

The watchers are assumed to “watch mankind” from heaven and to have the authority to make judgments, similar to a courthouse.

Daniel 4:14 He cried aloud (Lit. with strength) and said thus:
‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.
Let the beasts get out from under it,
And the birds from its branches.
Daniel 4:15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth,
Bound with a band of iron and bronze,
In the tender grass of the field.
Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
And let HIM graze with the beasts
On the grass of the earth.

Note: The tree has changed from the nation to the king, a HIM, a man.

Daniel 4:16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man,
Let him be given the heart of a beast,
And let seven times (years) pass over him.

The Lion with wings had God’s oversight and protection. But God’s protection is being removed until He “comes to His senses”.
See Daniel 7:4

The book of Revelation confirms that one year is equal to one “time”.
See: Topic: The Explanation of Days, Years, and Times in Daniel and Revelation.

Daniel 4:17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers,

They have been assigned this role in heaven and this duty.

And the sentence by the word of the holy ones,
In order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,
Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the lowest of men.’

The “Most High” means there is none higher in power, authority or strength. It means He lives in the highest of the heavens. Furthermore; it means there is none other to compare Him to.

Isaiah 44:6-8 I am the first and I am the last;
    apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
    and what is yet to come—
    yes, let them foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
    Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Isaiah 45:5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    apart from me there is no God.

Isaiah 45:19 I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Daniel 4:18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar (Daniel’s Babylonian name), declare its interpretation, since 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 God is in you.”

Daniel Explains the Second Dream

Instead of Nebuchadnezzar speaking himself in the first person, the story continues in the third person for both Daniel and the Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 4:19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king (Nebuchadnezzar) spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.”
Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern (be for) those who hate you, and its interpretation be of concern (for) your enemies!
Daniel 4:20 “The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth,
Daniel 4:21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home—
Daniel 4:22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.
Daniel 4:23 “And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times (years) pass over him’;
  • The band doesn’t kill the tree if you decide later you want it to grow, but it keeps it (the tree) from growing until the “divine” resistance is removed.
Daniel 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:
Daniel 4:25 They (Nebuchadnezzar’s enemies) shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times (years see v.34) shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

It is until Nebuchadnezzar comes to his senses.

When his “reason” returns, it is his understanding of God, of pride, and his place of authority under God. He was given a heart like a beast, like the Antichrist, and his beastly heart stirred up his enemies, which is why Daniel encourages him to “break off your sins by being righteous and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.”

In 602 BC: King Nebuchadnezzar’s younger brother, Nabu-suma-lisir rebels in Babylon. In Nebuchadnezzar’s biography he states: “My brother Nir-gil sat on the throne of my father.” It was the 3rd year of Daniel’s captivity.

A clay tablet in the British Museum (BM34113) describes some of Nebuchadnezzar’s behavior: “His life appeared of no value to him… then he gives an entirely different order… he does not show love to … family and clan does not exist.”

Also note: One of the princes of the king who sat in the middle gate in Jerusalem after its destruction (Jeremiah 39:2) was Nergal-Sharezer. He is also the person who murdered Evil Merodach and took the throne after the death of Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar had enemies all around him, hungry for his throne. The pressure was enough to drive a king “mad”.

Daniel 4:26 “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven (God) rules.

  • The stump and the roots are those who continued to support him, but they were unable to do so until God’s divine restraint was removed: his enemies were removed.

Daniel 4:27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening (prolonging) of your prosperity.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humiliation

Daniel 4:28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 4:29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about (Or upon) the royal palace of Babylon.

 Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

Note: A great king with a short memory.

@Moral of the story: How often do men ignore sound advice?

Daniel 4:31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!

Daniel 4:32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times (years) shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

God still gives kingdoms to whomever He chooses. Even Hitler was used by God to bring about the nation Israel and the return of the Jews to their homeland.

Daniel 4:33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

From Early English Texts

  • THE LIFE, & DEATH OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE GREAT, First Emperor of the CHALDEANS. By Sa. Clarke, sometime Minister in St Bennet Fink, London.
    LONDON, Printed for William Miller at the Gilded Acorn in St Pauls Church-yard, near the little North Door, 1664.
    • “Whilst Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon raged in Judea, God prepared a worm (bg: Cyrus), which in due time, should eat out this spreading Tree; by reason of the cry of his poor People which entered into his ears: According to that of the Psalmist, Psal. 137. 8, 9.
    • O Daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed: Happy shall he be that rewardeth thee, as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. For in this very year was Cyrus, the Perso-Median born; whose Father was a Persian, and his Mother a Mede; of whom this very Nebuchadnezzar at the hour of his Death, uttered this Prophesie. There shall come a Persian Mule, who shall make use of your Devils, as his fellow-Soldiers, to bring you into Bondage. He calls Cyrus a Mule, because he was to be born of a Father and Mother of two divers Nations.”

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

Daniel 4:34 And at the end of the time (Lit. days) I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

  • The word “time” literally means “days” in v34. However; in prophetic symbolism, it means “years”. See Topic Explanation of Years, Days, and Times in Daniel.
    • Revelation 12:14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. (3-1/2 years)
    • Revelation 12:6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Three and a half years on the Jewish calendar)
  • See Entire History of Man BC Timeline
    • Click on “Download”, Scroll Down to 576 BC

Nebuchadnezzar documents his understanding of Daniel’s God:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.

See: Definition of a Biblical Generation

Daniel 4:35 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.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

Daniel 4:36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.

Daniel 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.

►God must have intervened with his enemies in order to have him restored.

►@moral of the story: There is a difference between dignity and pride.

  • God gives each man certain gifts, resources and the likes to determine his potential. Every man is created equal in their value to God and to others. God made man in His image, with a dignity that attaches man to his Creator.
  • Pride however, is the overflowing of one’s own boundaries of dignity into braggadocio of exaggerating one’s own God given gifts and ability.
  • When one is secure in their gifts and understanding, they have no need to be puffed up and are therefore; humble.

Now there is another side to this story, don’t let others remove your dignity by labeling it pride. Our dignity is our “umbilical” cord to God through His Spirit. It is Satan’s desire to destroy man by destroying his dignity.

►In his Autobiography, Nebuchadnezzar recites the days of his early manhood:

“My brother Nir-gal (Nergil) sat on the throne of his father, and I became before his face the commander of the army … My brother … let me preside over the Upper land, and I put the Upper Land under my rule. Before me it was governed by Sin-Unasm the son of Zidas. … And Sin-Unasm, the son of Zidas … wished me evil … And accusations became loud against me. And my brother Nirgal set action against me. Ishtar, my Lady, appeared in a dream: I shall trust thy care to a god. Be not afraid. And thanks to the Divinity I justified myself. The Gasgas Lands rebelled … My brother Nir-gal sent me, giving me but a small number of troops and charioteers. … I met the foe … and gave him battle. And Ishtar, my Lady, helped me, and smote him. … And this was the first act in the prime of manhood.” [Autobiography, Sec. 4]

“My brother Nirgal used to send me into war … And whatever enemy I faced I was victorious. … I shall make a true memorial tablet about the lands I overcame when I was a youth.” “When my brother Nirgal obtained his insight in the matter, he gave me not the slightest punishment, and he took me again into his favor, and gave into my hands the army and the chariotry of the Hatti land.” [Autobiography, Sec. 5]

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