Daniel 4:1 “Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth…”
A letter from the king sent to his kingdom.
2 “I thought it good to shew…”
Something he has decided needed to be shared with those of his kingdom. Old fashioned news conference.
2-3 “…the high God…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.”
Looks like the king is recognizing God for who He is. The commentary doesn’t say anything about this exclamation. Nebuchadnezzar has acknowledged that God is a god until this point and that He does signs and wonders that no other god can do. But not sure if he is to the point of recognizing God as the one and only. Will check again at the end of the chapter.
5 “I saw a dream…”
Another dream of the king. God certainly dealt a lot with Nebuchadnezzar. He could have just as easily given all of these dreams to Daniel or one of his friends, but He gives them to the heathen king.
7 “Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers…they did not make known unto me the interpretation”
Same tale as before. All of man’s efforts amounted to nothing.
8 “…at the last Daniel came in before me..”
Unclear why Daniel didn’t show up at first with the others as he was the leader. May have been on an errand or attending to other business.
8 “…name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my God, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods…”
He gives the explanation of why Daniel is called Belteshazzar. Interesting that he gives Daniel’s Hebrew name although he was writing in Chaldean. He also references a special attribute of Daniel that he doesn’t give to the other wise men, the spirit of God. Noticed an oddity between translations. Commentary is using King James Version while I normally use the New King James Version. KJV says Spirit of the Holy Gods, plural while the NKJV says God singular. Checked the concordance, and the original word appears to be singular reference to God or god. Not sure why KJV translates it as plural. Meaning would be essentially the same regardless, but would shine some light on Neb’s understanding depending on the form. If gods plural, then he would be admitting the spirit of holiness found in Daniel while still holding to the idea that there were multiple gods. If god singular, he would be admitting the same thing, but could also be recognizing that Daniel’s God alone is the one who is holy. Commentary mentions that holiness wasn’t something normally ascribed to heathen gods.
8 “…before him I told the dream…”
Neb got to see and remember this dream.
10-12 Description of the tree in the dream. Large and strong, stretching over a great area, providing for all creatures.
13 “…a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven”
Angel (messenger). One from the inhabitants of Heaven. We don’t know a lot about the other creatures of Heaven. Even the term angel simply means messenger and is usually used to refer to one who brings a message to man from God. But from what we read in the scripture as a whole and especially in the book of Daniel, there appears to be a variety of creatures present there as well as a hierarchy of authority among them.
14-17 Decree of the one who came down. The sentence passed appears to come from several of them, perhaps a ruling council of sorts.
17 “…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”
Reason for the sentence. Living refers to those on the earth as opposed to those in Heaven. God, the Most High, is the ruler of all, not only of those things in Heaven, but also on the earth. And He alone chooses who He wants to be ruler. One’s attributes don’t amount to anything, it is the will of God only that determines who He places in command.
18 “…the spirit of the holy gods is in thee”
Third time the king made this statement about Daniel. He’s finally catching on that something is very different about Daniel and his friends.
19 “…Daniel…was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him…”
Daniel didn’t have to spend the night seeking the interpretation. God let him see it immediately. Neb could see he was troubled and perhaps thought Daniel hesitated because he didn’t want to share bad news and could get into trouble because of it. From Daniel’s response, I think he was genuinely concerned for the king and upset over what he saw coming. Plus, Daniel wasn’t one to be concerned for his own safety over standing for God or speaking the truth.
19 “…Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar…”
Commentary made an interesting note about the continued use of both the Hebrew and secular name of Daniel by Neb. Neb was issuing a proclamation to all people, including Hebrews, and thus would have used both names to clearly identify Daniel. Also, as the reason for the proclamation was to honor the Hebrew God, using Daniel’s given name, which honors God, would be appropriate.
20-26 The interpretation of the dream.
27 “…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”
Daniel obviously cares for the king and implores him to forsake the sin of pride and recognize that God alone deserves the glory and honor. Perhaps the Most High will have mercy on him and not complete the sentence.
28 “All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.”
The king didn’t listen, and everything happened just as predicted.
30 “…I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty”
Everything that he’d been given proved too much for Neb. He declared it was all because of his own power and importance. He was so powerful, he deserved to be shown such honor.
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…'”
God didn’t waste any time. The axe fell immediately. The voice came from the same direction as the holy one of his dream. It was clear who was speaking to him.
33 “…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”
Nothing supernatural about the results. He was obviously deprived of his sanity. Because of this, he was driven outside, away from everyone. Not sure if this was to help keep what had happened to him a secret at the time for not. The government he had set up, of which Daniel and his friends were partly responsible, would have been able to continue even in his absence. He was insane to the point of being outside eating grass like cattle and being in the weather, wet from the dew. His hair grew without grooming until it was think and matted like feathers. His fingernails grew to the point of being like claws.
34 “…lifted up mine eyes unto heaven…”
He looked toward where he knew help would come.
34-35 “…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: 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?”
Sounds like he got the message. He doesn’t just refer to God as one of many. He is very specific about who God is and the power He has. And he specifically says he praises Him, not just show Him respect as a god.
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.”
I know only God can truly see the heart of man, but reading these words from Nebuchadnezzar, seeing how he has gone to the trouble of making a kingdom wide proclamation, and seeing how he not only praises and honors God, but also admits to his own prideful attitude, I can’t help but think his heart has been changed. He finally sees God for who He is. It wouldn’t surprise me to arrive in Heaven someday and find him there among the other believers.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!