Daniel chapter 4

Nebuchadnezzar has a second puzzling dream. Daniel interprets it. Then Nebuchadnezzar goes insane for seven years.

 


 

KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAS A SECOND PUZZLING DREAM

 

VERSE 1. Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all the peoples, nations, and languages, who dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.

 

VERSE 2. It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked toward me.

 

VERSE 3. How great are his signs! How mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. His dominion is from generation to generation.

 

VERSE 4. I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace.

 

VERSE 5. I saw a dream which made me afraid; and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

I saw a dream:

Joel 2:28. I saw a dream. “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.” (NASB translation)

made me afraid. This experience would have been very unusual for Nebuchadnezzar. Normally he was afraid of nobody.

 

VERSE 6. Therefore made I 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.

 

VERSE 7. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Kasdim, and the soothsayers came in; and I told the dream before them; but they didn’t make known to me its interpretation.

I told the dream before them. For his previous dream, Nebuchadnezzar did not tell them the content of his dream. They objected, and he had them all executed.

But this time, he does tell them the content of his dream.

 

VERSE 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. I told the dream before him, saying,

at the last. That is, “finally.” That suggests that some time had passed.

Daniel came in before me. Now Nebuchadnezzar presents his puzzling dream to Daniel.

 

VERSE 9. “Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.

master of the magicians. Daniel was not in authority over the magicians. Rather, he was wiser than all of them.

the spirit of the holy gods is in you. Even though he has already acknowledged the sovereignty of the LORD God, Nebuchadnezzar is still a polytheist.

 

VERSE 10. Thus were the visions of my head on my bed: I saw, and behold, a tree in the middle of the earth; and its height was great.

 

VERSE 11. The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to the sky, and its sight to the end of all the earth.

 

VERSE 12. The leaves of it were beautiful, and it had much fruit, and in it was food for all. The animals of the field had shade under it, and the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

 

VERSE 13. “I saw in the visions of my head on my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from the sky.

a watcher. That is, “messenger,” a holy sentinel. This is a word for an angel. Only in the Book of Daniel are they called watchers.

 

VERSE 14. He cried aloud, and said this, ’Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches! Shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit! Let the animals get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches.

 

VERSE 15. Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of the sky. Let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth.

 

VERSE 16. Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let an animal’s heart be given to him. Then let seven times pass over him.

let seven times pass over him. Probably seven years because seven days or months would have been inadequate for his hair to have grown to the length of feathers (see verse 33)

 

VERSE 17. ” ‘The sentence 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 rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men.’

 

VERSE 18. “This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen; and you, Belteshazzar, declare 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 DREAM

 

VERSE 19. Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken mute for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream, or the interpretation, trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries.

Daniel. This was his Hebrew name. It means “God has judged.” It is a name that honors the LORD God.

Belteshazzar. His Babylonian overlords gave Daniel this new name. It means “Lady, protect the king.”

 

VERSE 20. The tree that you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached to the sky, and its sight to all the earth;

 

VERSE 21. whose leaves were beautiful, and its fruit plentiful, and in it was food for all; under which the animals of the field lived, and on whose branches the birds of the sky had their habitation:

 

VERSE 22. it is you, O king, that have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown, and reaches to the sky, and your dominion to the end of the earth.

you, O king, that have grown and become strong. Daniel starts with the good news.

 

VERSE 23. “Whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from the sky, and saying, ’Cut down the tree, and destroy it; nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let it be wet with the dew of the sky. Let his portion be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him.

a watcher. That is, “messenger,” a holy sentinel. This is a word for an angel. Only in the Book of Daniel are they called watchers.

 

VERSE 24. “This is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which has come on my lord the king:

The most High. This is a great nickname for the LORD God.

 

VERSE 25. that you shall be driven from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass as oxen, and shall be wet with the dew of the sky, and seven times shall pass over you; until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.

 

VERSE 26. Whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree; your kingdom shall be sure to you, after that you will have known that the heavens do rule.

 

VERSE 27. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your tranquility.”

righteousness. /The Aramaic word “sidqa” has the root meaning of righteousness. But here it might mean “almsgiving.”

 

NEBUCHADNEZZAR GOES INSANE FOR SEVEN YEARS

 

VERSE 28. All this came on the king Nebuchadnezzar.

 

VERSE 29. At the end of twelve months he was walking in the royal palace of Babylon.

 

VERSE 30. The king spoke and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?”

this great Babylon, which I have built. Even if this were true, God still deserves the credit. Whatever we can do, the ability itself is a gift from God.

Deuteronomy 8:18a. But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth. (NASB translation)

Philippians 2:13. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. (WEB translation)

 

VERSE 31. While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from the sky, saying, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: ’The kingdom has departed from you.

 

VERSE 32. You shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass as oxen. Seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.’ ”

 

VERSE 33. This was fulfilled the same hour on Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

 

VERSE 34. At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation.

 

VERSE 35. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can stop his hand, or ask him, “What are you doing?”

 

VERSE 36. At the same time my understanding returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and brightness returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent greatness was added to me.

my understanding returned to me. Like the prophet Job, at the conclusion of his ordeal, Nebuchadnezzar was fully restored, and even more.

 

VERSE 37. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.

 



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