chapter 4 is the capstone on the life of Nebuchadnezzar king ofBabylon.
We first meet Nebuchadnezzar as the conqueror of Egypt, at the
battle of Carchemesh, in 605 B.C., he is commander of the Babylonian
armies. In the same year, he defeats the Egyptians, his father
Nabopolasar dies, making him the King of Babylon. On his route back
to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar Babylon new king defeats Egypt’s ally,
Judah, taking Daniel and his friends hostage back to Babylon. Thus
begins the king of Babylon’s confrontation with the God of Jerusalem.
Chapter four is the utter humbling of Babylon’s greatest
king before the God of Israel. In the first three chapters we see
Nebuchadnezzar, meet God through the four boys from Jerusalem. These
four slave/hostages become the means of humbling the mighty king of
Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar finally gets God’s message, he in fact is
the author of Daniel Chapter four. This chapter is Nebuchadnezzar
witnessing to the whole world and generations to come about the God
Nebuchadnezzar is a picture of humanity, he is the
picture of worldly success and sin that can follow, pride. He is
also the picture of a future king of Babylon,
the coming ruler in the end of days, also called the king of
Babylon. This future kingdom Babylon
is described in Revelation 17 and 18.
Introduction to Nebuchadnazzar’s proclamation
Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that
dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.
DA 4:2 I thought it
good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has
worked for me.
DA 4:3 How great
are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to
4 is Nebuchadnezzar’s personal testimony on how he came to know the
God of heaven. Earlier, he had met God through Daniel and then
through Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in chapter 3. In chapters 2
and 3, the king sees the contrast between the God of Israel and the
gods of Babylon. Here we see his surrender to the true God.
This is his personal testimony written to the whole
earth, sharing his experience on his newfound faith. This letter is
for his whole kingdom, and the whole earth.
I thought it good…In
sending out this proclamation regarding, Nebuchadnezzar is trying to
help the world benefit by his experience. This is his personal
experience, he is relating about the Most High God, the Aramaic word
used for God and gods used here is, hhla'elahh.
The king separates the God of Israel from the Babylonians by calling
him the “Most High”, yll[ `illay
How great…. Nebuchadnezzar
has already experienced two very significant signs. The first was
the dream in chapter two, when the king was young, in the second
year of his reign. The second occurred years later in chapter 3,
when he witnessed the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed Nego, who
were rescued from the burning fire by one who looked like a “Son of
the gods” (Daniel 3:25).He is writing this letter to the world,
after his third experience near the conclusion of his reign.
His kingdom… This verse has
Messianic overtones. The characteristics of the Most High’s kingdom
is an “Everlasting Kingdom”, this phrase is repeated in Daniel 4:34,7:18, 27. This is the meaning of the stone in Chapter 2. The
stone from the mountain, which destroys the statue at the feet; the
stone is a picture of God’s kingdom succeeding the earthly kingdoms
of man, and the confrontation between humanity, pictured as a
statue, and God’s messiah.
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up
a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not
be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all
these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion
endures throughout all generations.
Wise Men Unable to Interpret Dream
DA 4:4 I,
Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my
DA 4:5 I saw a
dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the
visions of my head troubled me.
DA 4:6 Therefore I
issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon
before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of
DA 4:7 Then the
magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came
in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its
I Nebuchadnezzar….This is
the kings own personal story, how he met the God of Israel. He is
at the pinnacle of his life. After Nebuchadnezzar had conquered and
subdued all of Babylon’s enemies, he set about magnifying the city
Herodotus ( 484-430 B.C) describes the city of Babylon in his day
and its splendor.
The city stands on a broad plain, and is an exact square 120 furlongs
(13.63 miles) in length each way, so that the entire circuits is
four hundred and eighty furlongs (54.52 miles)….It is surrounded, in
the first place, by a broard and deep moat, full of water, behind
which rises a wall fifty royal cubits in width, (87 feet ) and two
hundred in height (350 feet).
On the top, along the edges of the wall, they constructed buildings on a
single chamber facing one another, leaving between them room for a
four horse chariot to turn. In the circuit of the wall are a
hundred gates, all of brass, with brazen lintels and side-posts.
The city is divided into two portions by the river which runs through the
midst of it. The river is the Eurphrates, broad, deep, swift
stream, which rises in Armenia….The city
wall is brought down on both sides to the edge of the stream.
The houses are mostly three and four stories high; the streets all run in
straight lines, not only those parallel to the river, but also the
cross streets which lead down to the waterside.
rest…Flourishing…. This event takes
place in the 34th or 35th year of his reign.
The reign of Nebuchadnezzar was from 605 to 562 B.C, lasting a total
of about 43 years. At this point, most of Babylon’s enemies have
been subdued and Babylon is at the height of its glory. At this
point in his life, Nebuchadnezzar’s life was one of great
I saw a dream… This is Nebuchadnezzar second recorded dream. His first took place in the
second year of his reign in 602 B.C., Daniel chapter 2. This dream
takes is about 32 years later in 570 B.C.
Afraid… With all the security of the known world at his command, a
dream brought fear to the worlds most powerful. Like his first
dream, he searched for an answer.
All the wise men…
Again, the wise man were called to interpret the dream. Daniel,
however, was not among the first group.
They did not make
known…. Nebuchadnezzar tells them the dream, None of the wise men
attempted to interpret the dream as they have in the past. Before
the arrival of Daniel and his three companions, the wise men ofBabylon
had a system of deception, here we see a change in the system.
They were either too fearful of Nebuchadnezzar or
prevented by God from attempting to make known an interpretation.
Either way, their lack of caused Daniel to be brought forward.
Daniel told the King’s Dream
DA 4:8 But at last
Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the
name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told
the dream before him, saying:
DA 4:9 "Belteshazzar,
chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy
God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions
of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.
DA 4:10 "These were
the visions of my head while on my bed: "I was looking, and behold,
A tree in the midst of the earth, And its height was great.
DA 4:11 The tree
grew and became strong; Its height reached to the heavens, And it
could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
DA 4:12 Its leaves
were lovely, Its fruit abundant, And in it was food for all. The
beasts of the field found shade under it, The birds of the heavens
dwelt in its branches, And all flesh was fed from it.
DA 4:13 "I saw in
the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a
holy one, coming down from heaven.
DA 4:14 He cried
aloud and said thus: 'Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out
from under it, And the birds from its branches.
Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a
band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be
wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the
grass of the earth.
DA 4:16 Let his
heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a
beast, And let seven times pass over him.
DA 4:17 'This
decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the
word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the
Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the lowest of men.'
DA 4:18 "This dream
I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare
its interpretation, since 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 God is in you."
But at last… The
failure of the system of Nebuchadnezzar’s world and his gods allowed
Daniel and his God to come to center stage again.
My god… What was the state of Nebuchadnezzar after the 2nd
and 3rd chapter? In both chapters, he acknowledged the
God of Daniel in contrast to his gods. However, Daniel’s God never
became his god. Here the king relates his story and his view of
answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the
Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal
"Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language
which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made
an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like
Spirit of the Holy
word in Aramaic for god and God used in Daniel is the same, hhla'elahh.
Here the king contrasts his god by calling Daniel’s God, “The holy”XyddqQaddiysh,
meaning separate. Daniel’s God is separate from his god. He also
understands Daniel is the “Holy God” representative.
Nebuchadnezzar identifies Daniel in both his names because this
letter is being sent to everybody. He wants all people to
understand who he is talking about, some might only know Daniel as
Belteshazzar, others as only Daniel. Called chief of the
magicians; this is the king’s way of elevating Daniel.
In scripture represent life. In the Garden of Eden we see two
trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:17) and the tree of life (Genesis 3;24). Here the tree is a
picture of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom and accomplishments.
Seven times…. Seven
times most likely refers to seven years. The word times, is used in
the book of Daniel as year.
The number seven
plays a very important role in scripture and in particular the book
of Daniel. Daniel chapter nine refers to a period as
seventy-periods of seven (The Seventy weeks of Daniel) After 69
periods of seven, the Messiah is cut off and killed, there remains
one seven-year period of time.
Here in this vision
he sees the tree chopped to the earth and a proclamation made about
a man’s heart changing to the heart of a beast. Prior to verse 16,
there is no reference to a man, only to a tree.
Daniel Interprets the Dream
DA 4:19 Then
Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and
his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, "Belteshazzar,
do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you."
Belteshazzar answered and said, "My lord, may the dream concern
those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!
DA 4:20 The tree
that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to
the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth,
DA 4:21 whose
leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for
all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose
branches the birds of the heaven had their home
DA 4:22 it is you,
O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has
grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of
DA 4:23 And
inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from
heaven and saying, 'Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its
stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze
in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of
heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven
times pass over him';
DA 4:24 this is the
interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High,
which has come upon my lord the king:
DA 4:25 They shall
drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the
field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet
you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you,
till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and
gives it to whomever He chooses.
DA 4:26 And
inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of
the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to
know that Heaven rules.
DA 4:27 Therefore,
O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by
being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.
Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity."
There are several
ways to view this event taking place in Daniel four; one is from a
historical event, the humbling and conversion of the king of
Babylon, second is from application to our lives, God in heaven
rules over humanity and a third as a prophetic, with the king of
Babylon as type of a future king of Babylon.
It is you… Daniel explains the tree represents the king of Babylon,
Nebuchadnezzar. The king of Babylon plays a prominent role in
scripture. Nebuchadnezzar becomes the type for the future king ofBabylon,
the individual referred to as the Beast or antichrist. The
Antichrist is the last ruler of earthly kingdoms, who the Messiah
defeats at his return.
Satan, pictured as the king of Babylon in Isaiah
14, is defeated by God and judged. Verse one, proclaims Israel’s
victory over Babylon. Babylon defeated Jerusalem three
times, destroyed the Temple and scattered the Jewish nation. Daniel
demonstrates God’s power over the nations despite the defeat of
Judah by the power of Babylon.
King of Babylon
Antichrist is King of Babylon (Revelation 17-18)
Period of Time
Seven years (Daniel 4:25)
Seven-years (Daniel’s 70th week).
Pride (Daniel 4;30)
Pride ( Exalts himself above God Revelation 13:6 )
and desecrates the Temple.
and desecrates the Temple (Daniel 1:1, 2 Kings 25:9
and desecrates the Temple. This period is known as the
Abomination of desolation, (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24;15)
Dominion over the Earth
Nebuchadnezzar rules over the earth (Daniel 4;22)
The antichrist is given power to rule the earth (
King of Babylon humbled
At the conclusion of seven years Nebuchadnezzar
acknowledges the Most High rules over men
At the conclusion of the seven years the antichrist is
humbled (Revelation 19:19-21)
1 For the Lord will
have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them
in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they
will cling to the house of Jacob.
2 Then people will
take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel
will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the Lord;
they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over
3 It shall come to
pass in the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from
your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve,
4 that you will take
up this proverb against the king of Babylon,
and say: "How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased!
5 The Lord has
broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of the rulers;
6 He who struck the
people in wrath with a continual stroke, He who ruled the nations in
anger, Is persecuted and no one hinders.
7 The whole earth is
at rest and quiet; They break forth into singing.
8 Indeed the cypress
trees rejoice over you, And the cedars of Lebanon, Saying, 'Since
you were cut down, No woodsman has come up against us.'
9 "Hell from beneath
is excited about you, To meet you at your coming; It stirs up the
dead for you, All the chief ones of the earth; It has raised up from
their thrones All the kings of the nations.
10 They all shall
speak and say to you: 'Have you also become as weak as we? Have you
become like us?
11 Your pomp is
brought down to Sheol, And the sound of your stringed instruments;
The maggot is spread under you, And worms cover you.'
12 "How you are
fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut
down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said
in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne
above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the
congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend
above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'
15 Yet you shall be
brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
16 "Those who see
you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: 'Is this the man
who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the
world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the
house of his prisoners?'
Satan in the end will incarnate the last king of the
earth, when he is cast from Heaven at the mid point of the
tribulation period. He then begins his final struggle against God
and looses at the battle of Armageddon. Following his loss, he is
cast into hell. Isaiah 14 records the reception of Satan, who
literally becomes the king of Babylon in the end
Nebuchadnezzar and his green tree represents mankind
in all his glory, man’s attempt to be god.
my advice… Daniel
understood the king’s predicament. He was the product of his own
ego. His pride blinded him to his dependence on God. The way we
live our life is a choice. We can choose to live according to God’s
way or our own way.
Daniel has a plan of attack for the king’s sin, he can
choose to be righteous. Many might view Daniel’s answer as
simplistic but God operates in simplicity. Nebuchadnezzar can
simply choose to stop sinning and be righteous.
showing mercy to the poor… The way we treat
our fellow man demonstrates the nature of our heart. Daniel’s plan
of action for the king was for him to treat the poor differently, to
show respect and mercy for the poor. Daniel’s advise to the king is
mirrored by Isaiah in chapter 58.
5 Is it a fast that
I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow
down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?
6 "Is this not the
fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo
the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break
7 Is it not to share
your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the
poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
10 If you extend
your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your
light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the
11 The Lord will
guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And
strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like
a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among
you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the
foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the
Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
The Dream fulfilled
DA 4:28 All this
came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.
DA 4:29 At the end
of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of
DA 4:30 The king
spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a
royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?"
DA 4:31 While the
word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King
Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from
DA 4:32 And they
shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts
of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; 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 chooses."
DA 4:33 That very
hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven
from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of
heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails
like birds' claws.
At the end…The
king failed to head Daniel’s advise. Pride captured him and brought
down God’s judgment.
Great Babylon… From an earthly perspective Nebuchadnezzar had every
reason to be proud. He had conquered the world, built a great city,
and lived in an unequaled palace.
The city of Babylon spanned the
Euphrates river, and was 13 miles long on each side built in the
shape of a square it was 52 miles around.
The walls were over 350 feet tall and eighty seven
feet thick with 100 bronze gates.
He built the Hanging Gardens one
of the Seven Wonders of the World, built both to beautify cool
From Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, he could view his
marvelous city. Twelve month later, his creation got the best of
him, and he was judged.
His mistake was to think his own power delivered his
Drive you from
men…. The disease Nebuchadnezzar had is not a mystery. There are
records of people coming down with just such an illness. Howard
Hughes though he didn’t think of himself as an animal but lived like
one for the remaining years of his life in one his hotels rooms
though he was worth billions.
This illness of
Nebuchadnezzar has been diagnosed as insania zoanthropica .
Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience in a British Mental
institution in 1946,
The patient was in his early 20’s who reportedly had been
hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well developed
on admission, and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of
average height and weight with good physique, and was in excellent
bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social
tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to
dusk outdoors, in the grounds of the institution…..
His daily routine consisted of wandering around the
magnificent laws…and it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls
fo the grass as he went along. On observation he was seen to
discriminate carefully between grass and weeds, and on inquiry from
the attendant the writer was told the diet of this patient consisted
exclusively of grass from the hospital lawns. He never ate
institutional food with the other inmates, and his only drink was
water… The writer was able to examine him cursorily, and the only
physical abnormality noted consisted of a lengthening of the hair
and a coarse, thickened condition of the fingernails. Without
institutional care, the patient would have manifested precisely the
same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33
was more then likely confined to one his many palace grounds during
this 7-year period.
He also presents the picture of man becoming beast.
During the tribulation, the period described as one of the most
horror-filled time on earth, man becomes beastlike.
DA 4:34 And at the
end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my
understanding 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 is from generation to
DA 4:35 All the
inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according
to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the
earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, "What have You
DA 4:36 At the same
time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my
honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted
to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added
DA 4:37 Now I,
Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all
of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk
in pride He is able to put down.
End of the time…
Following this seven-year period of humbling, the king of Babylon
is restored to his position. This time however he is humbled and
acknowledges the power of heaven and the Most High. At the
conclusion of his life, Nebuchadnezzar becomes a follower of the God
Those who walk in
Nebuchadnezzar epitomizes humanity. He had all that world could
offer, a powerful kingdom, admiration, fame, glory, and money. All
he had added to his deception of whom he was and who God is. His
greatness compared to his fellow man blinded him to reality.
Nebuchadnezzar in reality was only a creation, blessed by the
creator, who granted him his success.
Satan had the same
problem Nebuchadnezzar had, pride. He too forgot that he was only a
created being. Satan tried to assume the role of God, for this
reason he was dismissed from his heavenly role and became an
outcast. He was the victim of pride.
1 The word of the
Lord came to me again, saying,
2 "Son of man, say
to the prince of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Because your heart
is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods,
In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though
you set your heart as the heart of a god
3 (Behold, you are
wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!
4 With your wisdom
and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And
gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; 5 By your great
wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is
lifted up because of your riches),"
6 'Therefore thus
says the Lord God: "Because you have set your heart as the heart of
7 Behold, therefore,
I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the
nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your
wisdom, And defile your splendor.
8 They shall throw
you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In
the midst of the seas.
9 "Will you still
say before him who slays you, 'I am a god'? But you shall be a man,
and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you. 10 You shall die
the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of aliens; For I have
spoken," says the Lord God.' "
11 Moreover the word
of the Lord came to me, saying,
12 "Son of man, take
up a lamentation for the king of Tyre,
and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God: "You were the seal of
perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The
sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire,
turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels
and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 "You
were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on
the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of
fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were
created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of
your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery
stones. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You
corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to
the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.