NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE KING, UNTO
ALL PEOPLE, NATIONS, LANGUAGES, THAT DWELL IN ALL THE
EARTH; PEACE BE MULTIPLIED UNTO YOU.
This chapter is a public document
written by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon after his
humiliation by the God of heaven. It is a message of
good will for it reflects the king's feelings when his
full mental powers had been restored.
I THOUGHT IT GOOD TO
SHEW THE SIGNS AND WONDERS THAT THE HIGH GOD HATH
WROUGHT TOWARD ME.
The king wishes to share the
experience and its lessons with all his subjects. Notice
this statement from the book Prophets and Kings page
521. "The once proud monarch had become a humble child
of God; he who had defied and blasphemed the God of
heaven, now acknowledged the power of the Most High, and
earnestly sought to promote the fear of Jehovah and the
happiness of His subjects. Under the rebuke of Him who
is King of kings and Lord of lords, Nebuchadnezzar had
learned at last the lesson which all rulers need to
learn – that true greatness consists in true goodness."
HOW GREAT ARE HIS SIGNS!
AND HOW MIGHTY ARE HIS
HIS KINGDOM IS AN
EVERLASTING KINGDOM, AND HIS DOMINION IS FROM GENERATION
It had taken the king a long time
to find out the true greatness of the God of heaven, now
he is willing to testify of that greatness.
I NEBUCHADNEZZAR WAS AT REST
IN MINE HOUSE, AND FLOURISHING IN MY PALACE.
Nebuchadnezzar's reign had been one
long scene of warfare. He was a man of war. This
characteristic was prominent in the life of the great
king, the prophecy calls him "the terrible of the
nations” and the “hammer of the whole earth." He had met
foes on every side and had been successful because God
had as the Scriptures says, "put His sword into the hand
of the king of Babylon" and made use of this monarch to
punish other nations which refused the light of truth.
I SAW A DREAM WHICH MADE ME
AFRAID, AND THE THOUGHTS UPON MY BED AND THE VISIONS OF
MY HEAD TROUBLED ME.
God has a special message for this
man. Once again he uses a dream to warn the king of
DANIEL 4:6. 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.
Evidently the king still had some
confidence in his wise men for he brought them in to the
palace to explain his dream. This time it was a much
easier matter for the king remembered what his dream was
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.
Seeing that the dream was
uncomplicated and simple it is possible that the wise
men may have understood the dream or at least parts of
it. But usually these men flattered their monarch and
avoided telling him anything that was disagreeable. They
would not have the courage to tell the king that the
dream might not be very agreeable as far as he was
concerned. If they did offer some sort of explanation of
the dream it certainly did not satisfy the king; they
could not give an accurate and detailed interpretation
as Daniel did later on.
BUT AT 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,
Why Daniel had been kept in the
background so long, although he is considered “master of
the magicians” is not explained. Some have suggested
that Nebuchadnezzar possibly wanted to find out what the
Chaldeans had to say about this extremely disturbing
dream, before hearing the full truth, which he suspected
was unfavourable as far as he was concerned.
In whom is the
spirit of the holy gods
This expression reveals
that Nebuchadnezzar recognized what it was that gave
Daniel superior power and understanding.
0 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
The king is quite certain that
Daniel is able to reveal to him the meaning of the dream
and he knows that Daniel would tell him the truth even
if it was not the most encouraging.
THUS WERE THE VISIONS OF MINE
HEAD IN MY BED; I SAW, AND BEHOLD A TREE IN THE MIDST OF
THE EARTH, AND THE HEIGHT THEREOF GREAT.
The figure of a tree would have
impressed Nebuchadnezzar, whether there were trees of
any size around Babylon in his time it would be hard to
say. Today mostly palm trees grow in that area. But we
learn that Nebuchadnezzar had made repeated expeditions
into the forests of Lebanon and the king personally cut
down some of the great cedars in the forests there.
THE TREE GREW, AND WAS
STRONG, AND THE HEIGHT THEREOF REACHED UNTO HEAVEN, AND
THE SIGHT THEREOF TO THE END OF ALL THE EARTH:
Like the great
image of his dream recorded in Daniel chapter 2 this
tree was of enormous proportions. This of course would
greatly impress the king and give him something to think
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.
The ancients were accustomed to
seeing a meaning in every extraordinary dream. Most
likely this is why God used the agency of a dream on
I SAW IN THE VISIONS OF MY
HEAD UPON MY BED, AND, BEHOLD, A WATCHER AND AN HOLY ONE
CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN.
In chapter 3 and verse 28
Nebuchadnezzar mentions that the God of the Hebrews had
sent His angel to deliver these men. Nebuchadnezzar had
some knowledge of the work of an angel and in this verse
he calls this heavenly being “a watcher" also “an holy
one” and uses the phrase "came down from heaven". The
word "watcher" is well applied here for it suggests a
wakeful one or one who is watching on guard.
HE CRIED ALOUD, AND SAID THUS,
HEW DOWN THE TREE, AND CUT OFF HIS BRANCHES, SHAKE OFF
HIS LEAVES, AND SCATTER HIS FRUITS: LET THE BEASTS GET
AWAY FROM UNDER IT, AND THE FOWLS FROM HIS BRANCHES:
This great tree with its branches
reaching up into heaven was to be cut down. The king
would be intrigued by this tree of giant proportions,
and that it was a fruit bearing tree, for the
Babylonians were not unfamiliar with the story of the
Tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of Good and
Evil. The story of Eden had been handed down by
The tree seen in the dream was
planted in the midst of the earth. As the king watched
it grew until the top reached heaven and its boughs
stretched to the ends of the earth. Then at the command
of the heavenly one it was cut down leaving only the
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 HEAVEN, AND LET HIS PORTION BE WITH
THE BEASTS IN THE GRASS OF THE EARTH.
To leave the stump of his roots in
the earth would seem to signify that the life of the
tree was to be preserved. That the stump would throw
forth shoots and grow again indicates that the king
would recover from his sickness.
With a band of
iron and brass
Some commentators understand this as metal bands
fastened to the root stump to prevent it from cracking
This indicates that care would be
exercised in preserving it. As the tree is a symbol of
Nebuchadnezzar it suggests that his kingdom will be
preserved for him through his sickness.
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.
Let his heart be
The heart mentioned here is his nature.
Instead of having the nature of a man he would from now
on have the nature of an animal.
The disease of the king is known
among medical people as (lycanthropy). This disease has
a long history and from records of other cases
Nebuchadnezzar evidently suffered very mildly. An
ancient writer named Megasthenes of about 300 B.C. tells
us that after Nebuchadnezzar became great and powerful,
he ascended to the roof of his palace and became
possessed by some god, and under inspiration he uttered
a warning about the calamities which were to befall the
city of Babylon.
is probably seven years; that is seven literal years.
THE MATTTER 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
WHOM SOEVER HE WILL, AND SETTETH UP OVER IT THE BASEST
What an interest, the holy ones, or
angels, take in human affairs. They can see the dangers
of pride and lustful ambition. Over and over again they
have witnessed the bad results of these things on human
lives. It is the desire of the heavenly watchers that
man must realize that he is dependent of God for
In the case of Nebuchadnezzar he
was a successful monarch but his pride did not allow him
to realize that it was the most high, the Lord of heaven
who had helped him to reach this high position.
THIS DREAM I KING
NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAVE SEEN, NOW THOU, 0 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.
Once again the king has to turn to
Daniel to give him an understanding of this unusual
dream. He also acknowledges that Daniel has some special
power, some special supernatural power that no one else
THEN DANIEL, WHOSE NAME WAS
BELTESHAZZAR, WAS ASTONIED 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.
Daniel must have been extremely
embarrassed as he realized the significance of the dream
for he hesitated to declare the interpretation to the
Was astonied for
More accurately, for a while; meaning an indefinite
Daniel was obviously searching for
suitable words and expressions by which he could
acquaint the king with the terrible news concerning his
future fate. The king could see the consternation on
Daniel's face and from the nature of the dream he could
hardly have expected to hear something pleasant.
Nevertheless he encouraged his trusted courtier to give
him the full truth without fear of incurring royal
THE TREE THAT THOU SAWEST,
WHICH GREW, AND WAS STRONG, WHOSE HEIGHTREACHED UNTO THE
HEAVEN, AND THE SIGHT THEREOF TO ALL THE EARTH.
The tree illustration was not
unknown to the king. The prophet Ezekiel, one of the
Hebrew captives, was given a view of the capture of
Egypt by Nechuchadnezzar, and was told to send the
testimony to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. In this prophecy
Egypt is represented as a mighty tree towering above all
the trees of the earth. Even the trees of Eden envied
the splendour of this tree. All the fowls of heaven
nested in its boughs; the hosts of earth dwelt beneath
its branches. But this tree of Egypt was lifted up
because of its greatness, and God sent Babylon to hew it
to the ground.
This prophecy must have been known
to Nebuchadnezzar, if not before, at least after his
victory over Egypt, for it was familiar to the Jews, and
there were Jews in the Babylonian court.
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
There is a similarity between the
Egyptian tree and the tree of the king’s dream for the
fowls rested in its branches and the beasts in its
IT IS THOU, 0 KING, THAT ART
GROWN AND BECOME STRONG: FOR THY GREATNESS IS GROWN, AND
REACHETH UNTO HEAVEN, AND THY DOMINION TO THE END OF THE
Without holding the king in
suspense for any length of time Daniel plainly and
clearly announced to him that the tree represented the
reacheth unto heaven
Some have thought that this description of
Nebuchadnezzar’s greatness is greatly exaggerated.
Daniel was using court language and idioms to which both
he and the king were accustomed. These terms are
remarkably similar to the boastful language of
Nebuchadnezzar, exhibited in various of the king's
inscriptions discovered by archeologists.
AND WHEREAS THE KING SAW A
WATCHER AND AN HOLY ONE COMING DOWN FROM HEAVEN, AND
SAYING, HEW THE TREE DOWN, 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 HEAVEN, AND LET
HIS PORTION BE WITH THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD, TIL SEVEN
TIMES PASS OVER HIM.
Daniel reviews the dream for the
king's benefit, also to impress the important features
upon his mind.
THIS THE INTERPRETATION, 0
KING, AND THIS IS THE DECREE OF THE MOST HIGH, WHICH IS
COME UPON MY LORD THE KING.
Daniel now comes to the most
difficult part of the vision. However without any
hesitation he proceeds to describe the meaning of it.
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 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.
Thou shalt be
driven from men
In ancient times, and even today in the East and
other non-Christian countries insane people are not
cared for in institutions or even by their relatives. If
the king in his madness thought that he was some
vegetable eating animal, like a sheep or an ox he would
be regarded as insane.
Thou shalt be
made to eat grass as oxen
Persons afflicted with lycanthropy often try to
imitate the particular animal which they imagine they
They often try to eat the things
which such an animal eats; though this would not mean
that they actually subsist upon such food. This malady
often allows its victims to be lucid and normal at
times, the malady only coming on now and then; though no
one can tell when it may manifest itself.
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.
Thy kingdom shall
be sure unto thee
Many have wondered why the insane king was
not killed, or why his subjects and ministers of state
did not place someone else on the vacant throne during
the time Nebuchadnezzar was insane. The first and
foremost reason is that God assured him that his throne
would be kept safe.
It seems that a regency or
guardianship for the kingdom was appointed and the
affairs of the empire went on much as usual. Possibly
Daniel himself took charge of the situation by assuring
the princes of the definite or limited period of the
king's madness, thus reserving the kingdom for him on
There is another reason that
preserved the king, the ancients believe that all mental
disturbances were caused by evil spirits who took
control of their victim; that if someone should kill the
insane man, the spirit would take hold of the murderer
and a grievous revenge would be inflicted upon those
WHEREFORE, 0 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
If the king was willing to humble
his heart and to respond to the Holy Spirit's pleading
he would be saved from this dreadful fate and great
By shewinq mercy
to the poor
The king was admonished to practice righteousness
towards all of his subjects and to exercise mercy to the
oppressed, the miserable and the poor. The king was to
be given a year of probation.
ALL THIS CAME UPON THE KING
The king had been warned and was
given a full twelve months to make things right. God was
very gracious to him for in contrast the Ninevites were
only given 40 days of respite, yet they took advantage
of the opportunity and they and their city was spared.
AT THE END OF TWELVE MONTHS HE
WALKED IN THE PALACE OF THE KINGDOM OF BABYLON.
His time was up; he had plenty of
opportunity to put things right, to take out of his life
that pride which had been his stumbling block.
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?
Nebuchadnezzar viewed the city
possibly from the roof of the famous hanging gardens,
whose thick and strong foundation walls have been
That I have built
Students of ancient Babylonian history are
reminded of these proud words when reading the claims
the king makes in his inscriptions, which have been
preserved amid the dust and debris of Babylon's ruins.
WHILE THE WORD WAS IN THE
KING'S MOUTH, THERE FELL A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, 0
KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR, TO THEE IT IS SPOKEN; THE KINGDOM
IS DEPARTED FROM THEE.
The time had come for the king's
humiliation. A voice from heaven announced the judgment;
God with a touch of His finger took away his capability
to enjoy the great city of his creating.
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 WHOMS0EVER HE WILL.
There was no excuse for the proud
monarch. He had a full year to change his way of life
and thus avert the threatened calamity.
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 HEAVEN, TIL HIS HEAIRS WERE GROWN LIKE EAGLE’S FEATHERS,
AND HIS NAILS LIKE BIRD’S CLAWS.
The proud and powerful monarch is
forced to step down from his throne and to eat grass like an
It should be remembered that in all of
His dealings with the king God was working for the salvation
of the ruler and for those who came under his influence. God
allowed him to suffer seven years of deplorable degradation
and then removed it as He had promised.
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.
At the end of the seven years God
removed His hand of affliction and the king's reason and
understanding returned. His first act wasto bless the Most
High God. He was once more established in the kingdom.
During his insanity his son Evil-Merodach is said to have
reigned as regent in his stead. Daniel's interpretation of
the dream was well understood in the palace and so the
return of Nebuchadnezzar to his kingdom must have been
anticipated, with interest.
I blessed the Most High
It speaks well for the once proud king, that after his
dreadful experience his first desire was to thank God, to
praise Him as the ever living One, and to recognize His
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 I UNTO HIM, WHAT DOEST THOU?
It had taken the king a long time to
learn this lesson. The confession is marvelous, coming as it
did, from the mouth of the once proud monarch.
The words of the king are very similar
to those of Isaiah 40:17. "All nations before Him are as
nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and
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.
Any my counsellors and my lords sought unto me
The word "sought" does not necessarily indicate that
during the period of his insanity the king was allowed to
wander about in the fields and desert without supervision.
When it became known that the king's reason had returned the
regents of state brought him back in order they might
restore the government to him again.
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.
Nebuchadnezzar had learned at last the
lesson which all rulers need to learn, that true greatness
consists in true goodness. The once proud tyrannical monarch
became a wise and compassionate king.