Daniel 4

1 (3-98) Nabuchodonosor, the king, to all peoples, nations, and tongues, that dwell in all the earth, peace be multiplied unto you.
2 (3-99) The most high God hath wrought signs and wonders towards me. It hath seemed good to me, therefore, to publish
3 (3-100) His signs, because they are great: and his wonders, because they are mighty: and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his power to all generations.
4 (4-1) I, Nabuchodonosor, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace:
5 (4-2) I saw a dream that affrighted me: and my thoughts in my bed, and the visions of my head, troubled me.
6 (4-3) Then I set forth a decree, that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought in before me, and that they should shew me the interpretation of the dream.
7 (4-4) Then came in the diviners, the wise men, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers, and I told the dream before them: but they did not shew me the interpretation thereof.
8 (4-5) Till their colleague, Daniel, came in before me, whose name is Baltassar, according to the name of my god, who hath in him the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him.
9 (4-6) Baltassar, prince of the diviners, because I know that thou hast in thee the spirit of the holy gods, and that no secret is impossible to thee, tell me the visions of my dreams that I have seen, and the interpretation of them?
10 (4-7) This was the vision of my head in my bed: I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was exceeding great.
11 (4-8) The tree was great and strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven: the sight thereof was even to the ends of all the earth.
12 (4-9) Its leaves were most beautiful, and its fruit exceeding much: and in it was food for all: under it dwelt cattle and beasts, and in the branches thereof the fowls of the air had their abode: and all flesh did eat of it.
13 (4-10) I saw in the vision of my head upon my bed, and behold a watcher, and a holy one came down from heaven.
14 (4-11) He cried aloud, and said thus: Cut down the tree, and chop off the branches thereof: shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruits: let the beasts fly away that are under it, and the birds from its branches.
15 (4-12) Nevertheless, leave the stump of its roots in the earth, and let it be tied with a band of iron and of brass, among the grass, that is without, and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let its portion be with the wild beasts in the grass of the earth.
16 (4-13) Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given him: and let seven times pass over him.
17 (4-14) This is the decree by the sentence of the watchers, and the word and demand of the holy ones: till the living know, that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men: and he will give it to whomsoever it shall please him, and he will appoint the basest man over it.
18 (4-15) I, king Nabuchodonosor, saw this dream: thou, therefore, O Baltassar, tell me quickly the interpretation: for all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to declare the meaning of it to me: but thou art able, because the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.
19 (4-16) Then Daniel, whose name was Baltassar, began silently to think within himself for about one hour: and his thought troubled him. But the king answering, said: Baltassar, let not the dream and the interpretation thereof trouble thee. Baltassar answered, and said: My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thy enemies.
20 (4-17) The tree which thou sawest, which was high and strong, whose height reached to the skies, and the sight thereof into all the earth:
21 (4-18) And the branches thereof were most beautiful, and its fruit exceeding much, and in it was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and the birds of the air had their abode in its branches.
22 (4-19) It is thou, O king, who art grown great, and become mighty: for thy greatness hath grown, and hath reached to heaven, and thy power unto the ends of the earth.
23 (4-20) And whereas the king saw a watcher, and a holy one come down from heaven, and say: Cut down the tree, and destroy it, but leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, and let it be bound with iron and brass, among the grass without, and let it be sprinkled with the dew of heaven, and let his feeding be with the wild beasts, till seven times pass over him.
24 (4-21) This is the interpretation of the sentence of the most High, which is come upon my lord, the king.
25 (4-22) They shall cast thee out from among men, and thy dwelling shall be with cattle, and with wild beasts, and thou shalt eat grass, as an ox, and shalt be wet with the dew of heaven: and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth over the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
26 (4-23) But whereas he commanded, that the stump of the roots thereof, that is, of the tree, should be left: thy kingdom shall remain to thee, after thou shalt have known that power is from heaven.
27 (4-24) Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee, and redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor: perhaps he will forgive thy offences.
28 (4-25) All these things came upon king Nabuchodonosor.
29 (4-26) At the end of twelve months he was walking in the palace of Babylon.
30 (4-27) And the king answered, and said: Is not this the great Babylon, which I have built, to be the seat of the kingdom, by the strength of my power, and in the glory of my excellence?
31 (4-28) And while the word was yet in the king’s mouth, a voice came down from heaven: To thee, O king Nabuchodonosor, it is said: Thy kingdom shall pass from thee.
32 (4-29) And they shall cast thee out from among men, and thy dwelling shall be with cattle and wild beasts: thou shalt eat grass like an ox, 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.
33 (4-30) The same hour the word was fulfilled upon Nabuchodonosor, and he was driven away from among men, and did eat grass, like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven: till his hairs grew like the feathers of eagles, and his nails like birds’ claws.
34 (4-31) Now at the end of the days, I, Nabuchodonosor, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my sense was restored to me: and I blessed the most High, and I praised and glorified him that liveth for ever: for his power is an everlasting power, and his kingdom is to all generations.
35 (4-32) And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing before him: for he doth according to his will, as well with the powers of heaven, as among the inhabitants of the earth: and there is none that can resist his hand, and say to him: Why hast thou done it?
36 (4-33) At the same time my sense returned to me, and I came to the honour and glory of my kingdom: and my shape returned to me: and my nobles, and my magistrates, sought for me, and I was restored to my kingdom: and greater majesty was added to me.
37 (4-34) Therefore I, Nabuchodonosor, do now praise, and magnify, and glorify the King of heaven: because all his works are true, and his ways judgments, and them that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Daniel 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the power of Jehovah. (1-18) Daniel interprets his dream. (19-27) The fulfilment of it. (28-37)

Verses 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.

Verses 19-27 Daniel was struck with amazement and terror at so heavy a judgment coming upon so great a prince, and gives advice with tenderness and respect. It is necessary, in repentance, that we not only cease to do evil, but learn to do good. Though it might not wholly prevent the judgment, yet the trouble may be longer before it comes, or shorter when it does come. And everlasting misery will be escaped by all who repent and turn to God.

Verses 28-37 Pride and self-conceit are sins that beset great men. They are apt to take that glory to themselves which is due to God only. While the proud word was in the king's mouth, the powerful word came from God. His understanding and his memory were gone, and all the powers of the rational soul were broken. How careful we ought to be, not to do any thing which may provoke God to put us out of our senses! God resists the proud. Nebuchadnezzar would be more than a man, but God justly makes him less than a man. We may learn to believe concerning God, that the most high God lives for ever, and that his kingdom is like himself, everlasting, and universal. His power cannot be resisted. When men are brought to honour God, by confession of sin and acknowledging his sovereignty, then, and not till then, they may expect that God will honour them; not only restore them to the dignity they lost by the sin of the first Adam, but add excellent majesty to them, from the righteousness and grace of the Second Adam. Afflictions shall last no longer than till they have done the work for which they were sent. There can be no reasonable doubt that Nebuchadnezzar was a true penitent, and an accepted believer. It is thought that he did not live more than a year after his restoration. Thus the Lord knows how to abase those that walk in pride, but gives grace and consolation to the humble, broken-hearted sinner who calls upon Him.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 4

This chapter was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself; and was either taken out of his archives, or given by him to Daniel, who under divine inspiration inserted it into this work of his; and a very useful instruction it contains, showing the sovereignty of God over the greatest kings and potentates of the earth, and this acknowledged by one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived upon it. It begins with a preface, saluting all nations, and declaring the greatness and power of God, Da 4:1-3 then follows the narrative of a dream the king dreamed, which troubled him; upon which he called for his wise men to interpret it, but in vain; at length he told it to Daniel, Da 4:4-9: the dream itself; which being told, astonished Daniel, the king being so much interested in it, Da 4:10-19, the interpretation of it, with Daniel's advice upon it, is in Da 4:20-27 the fulfilment of it, time and occasion thereof, Da 4:28-33. Nebuchadnezzar's restoration to his reason and kingdom, for which he praises God, Da 4:34-37.

Daniel 4 Commentaries