Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Daniel 4

Verses 1-37

Chapter 4

Now Nebuchadnezzar the king, [a proclamation] unto all the people, nation, languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought towards me. 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 ( Daniel 4:1-3 ).

Listen to these words of Nebuchadnezzar. Sounds like a convert. And I personally believe he was. He tells now his story, "I'm going to tell you a story." He said,

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in my house, I was prospering in my palace: And I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore I made a decree to bring in all of the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto to me the interpretation of the dream. And there came in the magicians, the astrologers, Chaldeans, and all the soothsayers: and I told them the dream; but they could not make known to me the interpretation. But at last Daniel came before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, no secret troubles thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. And thus for the visions in my head in my bed; I saw, and behold there was a tree in the middle of the eaRuth ( Daniel 4:4-10 ),

It was very tall.

The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached into heaven, and the sight thereof unto the end of the whole earth: And the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit was very much, and in it there was meat for everyone: the beast of the field had shadow under it, the fowls in the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh fed from it. And I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher ( Daniel 4:11-13 )

Now this is interesting!

and a holy one [a watcher, and a holy one] came down from heaven; And he cried aloud, and said, Cut down the tree, cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beast get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches. Nevertheless, leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the fields; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beast and the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from a man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. 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 rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets over it the basest of men. This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all of the wise men in my kingdom were not able to make known the interpretation: but you are able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in you. Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for about one hour, his thoughts troubled him. And the king spoke, and said, Belteshazzar, don't let the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble you. And Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream is for those that hate you, and the interpretation is something your enemies will enjoy. For the tree you saw, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached into heaven, and the sight of all were upon the earth; Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit was very much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beast of the field dwelt, [and so forth]: It is you, O king, that have grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reaches unto heaven, and your dominion unto the end of the earth. And whereas the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew down the tree, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, tell the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let the portion be with beast for the fields, until seven times pass over him; This is the interpretation, O king, this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as an ox, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till you know that the that Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that you have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; for it may be a lengthening of your tranquillity ( Daniel 4:13-27 ).

So he had this dream, the tree and the whole thing, and as Daniel interprets it, "The tree is you Nebuchadnezzar. You've become great, and powerful, and this great kingdom is given unto you. But you've been lifted up in pride."

Now the interesting thing to me is there are watchers that are watching the whole affair. Do you know that your life is being watched? That's sort of awesome. These watchers from heaven who are down here watching you. And he had in this dream the insight into these watchers who had come from heaven and were watching him. And he heard one of them say, "Hew down the tree, cut off the branches, until seven times. Let him go out and live with the wild beast until seven times are passed over him."

The seven times are probably a year and three quarters. Referring to the summer, fall, winter, spring, rather than seven years. And so for a year and three quarters, king Nebuchadnezzar was to be insane. He was to live with the ox and out in the field. He was to eat grass like a wild animal. This was to continue until he realize that the God in heaven is the One who rules over the earth as far as establishing kingdoms and setting in power those whom He will. God still rules in the overall sense. And sometimes God puts evil men into power in order to bring judgment upon the people. But God rules over all. So after Daniel interprets, he said, "Now look, king, straighten up, man. Live right. You know, it may be that you can increase the days of your peace because you know this is going to come on you. But maybe by living right you can forestall it a bit."

And so for a year there was no furies or rages. The king was watching his p's and q's.

But all of this came upon king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months as he was walking in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon ( Daniel 4:28-29 ).

Now according to the ancient historians, Babylon was just a place of marvel and beauty. They describe the hanging gardens of Babylon; they were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. They described the walls that surrounded the city. The glory, the grandeur of this marvelous city of Babylon. And so Nebuchadnezzar was walking there in the midst of the gardens, the beautiful city, the palace and,

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 honor of my majesty? ( Daniel 4:30 )

Boasting in himself that I have built with my power for my majesty.

And while these words were in his mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, [one of the watchers] said ( Daniel 4:31 ),

He'd been watching him.

O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling place shall be with the beasts of the field: and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and he gives it to whomsoever he will. And in the same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: he was driven from men ( Daniel 4:31-33 ),

He became insane.

he did eat grass as the oxen, his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hair was grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes unto heaven, and my understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that lives 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 does 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? ( Daniel 4:33-35 )

He came into a consciousness of the power of God and the sovereignty of God, who rules over the universe. And no man can say to God, "What are you doing?"

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and my brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lord sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven ( Daniel 4:36-37 ),

That sounds like conversion to me.

all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase ( Daniel 4:37 ).

So this final proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar, a very interesting proclamation of the faith that he had come to as he believed in God and in the power of God and in the sovereignty of God over the universe. Very exciting.

I think that we will hold off on the remainder, and next week we'll take chapters 5 through 8. So we'll cut Daniel up in four chapter sections so we can spend a little more time in it. And fascinating, interesting book, and you've got some great reading next week as we get into Daniel chapters 5 through 8. Exciting prophecies.

Father, we do acknowledge that You are the Lord, the King, the Ruler over all the universe. We acknowledge Your sovereignty. We realize, Lord, that none of us can really challenge You to say, "What are You doing?" because You do things after the counsel of Your own will and after Your own purposes. God, we bow before Thee and we submit our lives to Thee. That we might be ruled over by Thy Spirit. Lord, we thank You for the commitment of Daniel and of his three friends. Lord, help us that we too might make a full commitment of our lives unto Thee. To have that same kind of confidence and trust that Your ways are best. Knowing, Lord, that You can do whatever You want. Take our lives now and use them as You see fit to glorify Thy Name. Bless this week. Lord, strengthen us, guide us, keep us in Thy Love. In Jesus' name. Amen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.