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2019 May 16
Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar (1795)
William Blake (1757-1827)
Symbolism Style
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Image Source: Wikipedia

     [ Illustration: Today's image shows Nebuchadnezzar in his madness, as described in today's chapter. ]


[ I will again be working through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. I will be adding links, resources, images, and the like, upgrading the former work-through which began with the 2013-10-12 posting which can be found, along with the full Genesis to Revelation postings, in the Archive Page. Postings will be at midnight Eastern Time, as I am able. However, no chapters will be skipped, even though a posting may be late. And all postings will be housed in the Archive Page. ]

     Explanation: In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar addresses a letter to "all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth" (v.1). In this letter, he tells of a judgment sent upon him by God. Before the judgment, he received a warning in a dream from the Most High, the King of Heaven, who Lives Forever. Nebuchadnezzar was about to become like an animal for seven "times" (years?) as a punishment for his sins and his pride. Daniel attempted to persuade him to repent, but to no avail.
     The judgment came; and when Nebuchadnezzar was delivered from it, he glorified God and wrote the letter preserved in Daniel 4. His conclusion was one of the finest declarations of the person and majesty of God in Scripture. He said, "At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?" At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble." (verses 34-37, ESV).
     In the previous chapter, Nebuchadnezzar, after seeing the miraculous deliverance of Daniel's three friends, issued a decree which forbade his subjects to blaspheme God (in violation of the third commandment). In today's chapter, he exalts God; this is the positive way to keep the second commandment.
     Over the course of 136 years, various decrees by various rulers helped to preserve and to advance the knowledge of God in lands near and far. This was in accord with prophecies by most of the prophets. They announced the spread of the knowledge of God in their time and until the end of time. Here is a list of those decrees, with dates appended, based on the Reese Chronological Bible, by Edward Reese (also see RCB Outline Download): Daniel 3:28-29 580 B.C.; Daniel 4 580 B.C.; Ezra 1:1-4 539 B.C.; Ezra 6:1-12 539 B.C.; Daniel 6:25-27 537 B.C.; Esther 8:7-17 474 B.C.; Ezra 7:21-28 474 B.C.; Ezra 8:36 458 B.C.; Nehemiah 2:1-9 445 B.C. The dates may vary somewhat in other chronologies.
     Nebuchadnezzar Warned (1-27). The chapter opens with a statement by Nebuchadnezzar addressed to all the inhabitants of earth (his realm). He begins and concludes his statement with great praise for God (1-3, 34-35, 37).
     He was at rest in his house and flourishing. But he saw a dream which troubled him greatly. He sought for his spiritual advisors, but they could not interpret the dream. So he called for Daniel (4-9).
     He told Daniel that he had seen a vision of a great tree which was tall enough to see to the ends of the earth. Its leaves were fair; it had abundant fruit which fed all; it sheltered the animals of the earth, and the birds dwelt in its branches (10-12).
     Then he saw a Watcher, a Holy One, come down from heaven. The Watcher cried aloud and commanded that the tree be cut down, the branches cut off, the leaves shaken off, the fruit scattered, and the animals and birds driven off (13-14).
     A stump, bound with brass and iron, was to be left in the grass and the dew ("night mist of heaven"). It would remain this way for seven periods of time (years, perhaps). His heart would be changed from that of a man to that of a beast (15-16).
     This decree was given to teach that God Ruled among men and gave kingship to whomever he wished, even to base men (17).
     Nebuchadnezzar was confident that Daniel could interpret the dream (18).
     Daniel was "astonied" (dazed, stunned, astonished) for an hour. The king urged him to give the interpretation. Daniel replied that for seven periods (perhaps years) the King would be smitten with madness, would be driven from men, would live among the animals, would have nails like bird claws, would eat grass like an ox, and would be wet with dew ("night mist of heaven") until he knew that God rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he wishes. (Note the contrast of the affliction of Nebuchadnezzar's diet with the healthy vegetable diet of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Chapter 1). Therefore, Daniel pleaded with Nebuchadnezzar to repent (19-27).
     Nebuchadnezzar Judged (28-33). A Year later, as Nebuchadnezzar bragged about his kingdom, his might, his power, his honor, and his majesty, a voice from heaven declared that his kingdom had departed from him, and all that had been prophesied came upon him (28-33).
     Nebuchadnezzar Repentant (34-37). At the end of his ordeal, Nebuchadnezzar repented, confessed that God lives forever, that his dominion is everlasting, that he considers the inhabitants of earth as nothing, and that he does whatever he wishes, and none can stop him or make him answerable to them (34-35).
     The kingdom was restored to Nebuchadnezzar, glory was added to him, and his officials sought him out (36).
     And he extolled God for his works, his truth, his judgment, and his ability to abase the proud (37).
Alternate Chapter Outline: Various authors see a chiastic * structure in this and other chapters in Daniel. Below, I have presented the outline of David A. Dorsey, slightly modified, from his book The Literary Structure of the Old Testament (p. 261). I have made the main paragraph divisions of Daniel 4 in accord with Dorsey's chiastic divisions.
      * A chiastic structure is a literary form of parallelism in which a succession of ideas leads up to an emphatic central point then repeats in reverse order.

a. Introduction: King Praises God (1-3).
    b. King Prospers (4-7).
        c. King Unrepentant; Daniel Interprets Dream to no Avail (8-27).
            d. CLIMAX: King Smitten With Insanity (28-33).
        c'. King Repents (34-35).
    b'. King Prospers More (36).
a'. Conclusion: King Praises God (37).

     [ Sermons: Eric Alexander. William Still. William Taylor. Various. ]

Bible Chronologies -- Genesis to Revelation

[Traditional Patriarchal Chronology. Judges Period Chronology 1. Judges Period Chronology 2. Kings of Judah and Israel #1. Kings of Judah and Israel #2].

[Post Exile Chronology 1. Post Exile Chronology 2. Post Exile Chronology 3.]

[Prophets Chronology 1. Prophets Chronology 2. Prophets Chronology 3. Prophets Chronology 4.]

[Intertestamental Period Chronology 1. Intertestamental Period Chronology 2. Intertestamental Period Chronology 3.
Intertestamental Period Chronology 4. Intertestamental Period Chronology 5.]

[New Testament Chronology 1. New Testament Chronology 2. New Testament Chronology 3. New Testament Chronology 4. New Testament Chronology 5.]


PLEASE NOTE: Use the resources on this and other sites thoughtfully, particularly the commentaries and encyclopedias. I have attempted to list conservative, scholarly resources. However, some providers use liberal or liberal-influenced commentaries such as the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (in Bible Hub). Such commentaries are undoubtedly included by the provider for the wealth of useful information and comments which they provide. By consulting several commentaries, it should be fairly easy to sort out the wheat from the chaff. If, however, you would like personal assistance, write to me at AD LIB ARTS EMAIL.

          [ THEMATICALLY AND CHRONOLOGICALLY RELATED SCRIPTURES: Daniel 4: Daniel 1. Daniel 2. Daniel 3. Daniel 4. Daniel 5. Daniel 6. ]
[1] Daniel 3:4; Daniel 3:29; Daniel 7:14; Daniel 6:25-27.
[2] Isaiah 8:18; Daniel 3:26.
[3] Daniel 6:27; Deuteronomy 4:34; Psalm 72:18; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14, 27; Psalm 145:13; Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 10:10.
[4] Daniel 3:1; Psalm 30:6-7.
[5] Daniel 2:1; Daniel 5:5-10; Daniel 7:28.
[6] Daniel 2:2; Genesis 41:7-8.
[7] Isaiah 44:25.
[8] Daniel 1:7; Daniel 2:11; Daniel 5:11-12.
[9] Daniel 1:20; Daniel 2:3; Daniel 2:48; Daniel 5:11; Genesis 41:38.
[10] Ezekiel 31:3; Psalm 37:35-36.
[11] Genesis 11:4; Deuteronomy 9:1; Matthew 11:23.
[12] Jeremiah 27:6-7; Ezekiel 17:23; Ezekiel 31:6; Lamentations 4:20; Luke 13:19; Genesis 1:26; Genesis 7:8-9; James 3:7.
[13] Psalm 103:20; Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 89:7; Jude 1:14.
[14] Daniel 3:4; Revelation 18:2; Daniel 5:20; Jeremiah 51:6-9; Ezekiel 31:12-13.
[15] Isaiah 11:1; Psalm 107:10; Psalm 149:8; Job 14:7-9.
[16] Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Isaiah 6:10.
[17] Daniel 5:21; 1 Kings 22:19-20.
[18] Isaiah 19:3.
[19] Daniel 7:28; Daniel 8:27; Jeremiah 29:7.
[20-21] Ezekiel 31:3, 16.
[22] Daniel 2:37-38; Daniel 5:18-23; Jeremiah 27:6-8.
[23] Daniel 5:21.
[24] Isaiah 23:9; Psalm 107:40.
[25] Daniel 5:21; Daniel 2:21; Luke 16:9.
[26] Luke 15:18-21.
[27] Acts 24:25; Zephaniah 2:2-3; Micah 6:8.
[28] Proverbs 10:24; Zechariah 1:6.
[29] Ecclesiastes 8:11; 2 Peter 3:9-10, 15; Revelation 2:21.
[30] Daniel 5:20; Proverbs 16:18; Luke 14:11.
[31] Daniel 5:4-5; Daniel 5:28; 1 Samuel 15:23.
[32] Isaiah 37:20; Isaiah 45:3; Jeremiah 27:5.
[33] Daniel 5:5.
[34] Psalm 130:1-2; Psalm 145:13; Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 43:13; Isaiah 43:21; Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15.
[35] Isaiah 40:15-17; Isaiah 40:22-24.
[36] 2 Chronicles 33:12-13; Matthew 6:33.
[37] Daniel 2:26; Daniel 2:47; Daniel 3:15; Revelation 15:3; 1 Peter 5:5-6.
     -- From Treasury of Scripture Knowledge & Others ]

          [ CHRONOLOGY: GENERAL. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). PROVERBS: Book of Proverbs. ECCLESIASTES: Book of Ecclesiastes Dramatized. SONG OF SOLOMON: Song of Solomon Dramatized. ISAIAH: Isaiah Dramatized. JEREMIAH: Jeremiah Dramatized. LAMENTATIONS: Lamentations Dramatized. EZEKIEL: Ezekiel Dramatized. DANIEL: Daniel Dramatized. VARIOUS ARTISTS: Micha'el Ben David. Sons of Korah. Fernando Ortega. Janet Isaac Morrison. Music of the Bible Revealed - Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. Dr. David Erb. Gregorian Chants. ]


John Calvin - CCEL | Analytical Chart - BLB


Gospel Harmony - Summary | The Harmony of the Gospels - Augustine | Gospel Harmony Chart - Online Bible

Greek Harmony of the Gospels - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF) | Gospel Harmony in English - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF)


Hebrew and Greek Interlinear Download - Scripture 4 All

Bible Hub Interlinear Hebrew and Greek Bible

Bible Hub Hebrew Interlinear | Scripture 4 All Hebrew Interlinear

Mounce Interlinear | Bible Hub Greek Interlinear | Scripture 4 All Greek Interlinear Bible

Daniel Detailed Outline

Daniel 4

Map 1: Bible Nations | Map 2: Empire of David and Solomon Map 3: Kingdoms of Judah and Israel | Post Exile Chronology.

1. Spiritual Struggle in Babylon (1:1 - 6:28)

D. The Struggle with Pride - Won by God Humbling Nebuchadnezzar with Madness (4:1-37)

     1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. 3 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.

     4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

     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: and before him I told the dream, saying, 9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
     10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed;
     I saw [gazing was I], and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: 12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. 13 I saw [I was gazing] in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of [in night mist of] heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: 16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. 17 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 ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
     18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen.
     Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.
     19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied [dazed, stunned, astonished] for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
     20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: 22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. 23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down [Fell the tree], and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of [in night mist of] heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;
     24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: 25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of [night mist of] heaven, 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. 26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.
     27 Wherefore, O king, 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.

     28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
     29 At the end of twelve months he walked [he walked he was] in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30 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 honour of my majesty? 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; The kingdom is departed from thee. 32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
     33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar:
     and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of [from night mist of] heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

     34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and 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: 35 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?

     36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

     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.

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