Daniel (Ch 3-4)

In Daniel 12:4 “but thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days,” and so we are trying to understand this prophecy in the last days.

Daniel 3

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits and the breadth thereof six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. — Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold…probably the image is in the form of a human being; it may not be solid gold, could be a plate of gold and hollow within; or of wood overlaid with gold; for otherwise it must have took up a prodigious quantity of gold to make an image of such impressive dimensions; this image could be for himself, or his father Nabopolassar, but most probably for his chief god Bel; which was the name given to Daniel, Belteshazzar, being derived from Bel;

— whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits; a common cubit being half a yard, it was thirty yards high and three yards broad;

— he set it up in the Plain of Dura, very likely in the level country east of the Tigris, or in a plain near the capital in the province of Babylon, that there might be room enough for a vast number of worshippers together.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. — then Nebuchadnezzar, the king, sent to gather together the princes, the governors and the captains, executive officers of superior rank with both civil and military duties;

— the judges, or chief officers of administration, the treasurers, the financial directors or managers of the public treasury, the counselors, those learned in the law, the sheriffs, the enforcement officials;

— and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar, the king had set up, to have a great celebration in honor of the occasion, all the officials of the empire being the king’s guests during the festival.

Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs and all the rulers of the provinces were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; — then the princes, the governors and captains, the judges . . . were gathered together, proudly obedient to the king’s summons; and they stood before and attended to all the rites and ceremonies of the dedication of the image and were ready to fall down and worship the image when the word of command was given; they were attentive to the king’s will and ready to take part in all the ceremonies of the dedication since the picture was a symbol of Babylon’s world power and of the king’s command.

Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, — O people, nations, and languages; the several kingdoms, states and provinces that belonged to the Babylonian monarchy who spoke different languages, now represented by their governors and officers; as the Armenians, Parthians, Medes, Persians; Moab (Jeremiah 48); Ammonites, Edomites, Edom, Mount Seir (Jeremiah 49, Ezekiel 35); Tyre, Sidon and Egypt (Ezekiel 26-32).

that at the time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up. — that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, the horn or tuba of the ancients; flute, the reed-flute, or shepherd’s pipe; harp, a small four-stringed harp like a zither; sackbut, a triangular stringed instrument; psaltery, another kind of harp; dulcimer, a bappipe consisting of two pipes thrust through a leather bag, and all kinds of music, the enumeration being characteristic of the pompous language used by a world ruler, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up;

And whoso falleth not down and worshipeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” — shall in the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; such as were used to burn stones in for lime; the music was to draw; the furnace was to drive; men to this idolatrous worship; the one was to please and sooth the minds of men and so allure them the other to frighten them into obedience.

Therefore at that time when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. — therefore at that time, in accordance with the announcement of the herald, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, represented here by their respective rulers, the nations, and the languages, as many as had appeared for the great celebration;

— fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. It is to be noted here that, whereas most of the heathens tolerated the gods of the countries conquered by them, they at the same time required of the subdued people a greater veneration for their own gods, whose superiority they considered fully established by the fact of their being victors.

Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near and accused the Jews. — wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near… that is, to King Nebuchadnezzar, either in his palace at Babylon or more likely in the plain of Dura:

— and accused the Jews; particularly Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of not obeying the king’s command to worship the golden image: these Chaldeans immediately hasten to the king to give this information against them. Should it be asked, how came these three men to be present? it may be answered, they came here in obedience to the king’s orders as his officers who had summoned them to this place; though they determined not to worship his image should he require it;

— no mention is made of Daniel; very probably he was not there for what reasons cannot be said; however no accusation is laid against him; perhaps he was too great to be meddled with, being high in the king’s favour.

They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live for ever!

10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree that every man who shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image;

11 and whoso falleth not down and worshipeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. — and whoso fall not down and worship… the image; the above is the decree.

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, have not regarded thee. They serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; by name; they say nothing of the common people of the Jews who either were not present, being employed in a servile manner or were below their notice; nor of Daniel who was above them and out of their reach;

— they serve not thy gods; whom the king and the nation worshipped, as Bel, Nebo, Merodach and others: nor worship the golden image, which thou hast set up; they did not bow down to the image in reverence as had been ordered; this they knew would he most provoking to the king.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. — commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; that is, immediately before him; who very probably were not afar off: he did not order them in his wrath and fury to be slain directly as he did the wise men and soothsayers in another case; but to be brought before him and examined first, that he might know the truth of these allegations against them; which shows, amidst all his rage, he still retained some respect and esteem for them.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said unto them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that ye do not serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready so that at the time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made, it is well; but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” — and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? he knew their confidence in the God of Israel which he attempts to break and remove; he foresaw the objection they would make, which he endeavours to anticipate by this proud and vain boast, forgetting what he himself had said, Daniel 2:47.

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not fear to answer thee in this matter. — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, the directness of their address giving added emphasis to their statement;

— we are not careful to answer thee in this matter, that is, they did not consider it necessary to search for a reasonable excuse or explanation.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. — If it be so, our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, rather, “If our God is able to deliver us,”

— and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king; this was not casting doubt upon the strength and ability of the Lord to help them; it only left the matter under the disposition of the gracious and goodwill of Him whose actions are always right and good.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” — be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, be it as it will, whether we are delivered or not; we are not sure of the one but we are at a point as to the other;

— nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up; come life, come death, we are ready; we had rather die than sin: they were all of one mind and agreed in this matter; a noble instance of spiritual fortitude and courage!

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wont to be heated. — then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, of extreme and unreasonable anger, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, his expression showing the extremity of the fury which possessed him;

— therefore he spake and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. He did not realize in the heat of his passion that he was really defeating his own ends; for the hotter the fire, the sooner his victims were liable to be put out of misery;

— as noted in the next chapter, Nebuchadnezzar was to suffer humility seven times, seven years, eating grass like oxen like a wild beast!

20 And he commanded the most mighty men who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their breeches, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. — and because the king’s commandment was urgent… Or was ordered to be obeyed in haste and with expedition and dispatch, hence the men were cast into the furnace with clothes on; or those that cast them were not so careful of themselves:

— and the furnace exceeding hot; being heated seven times more than usual; Nebuchadnezzar himself was to suffer humility seven times, seven years, eating grass like oxen;

— the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; which came out of the furnace, being so excessive hot and the smoke along with it; so that when those men took up the three youths and brought them so near to it as was necessary to cast them in, the flame and smoke catched their breath and suffocated them; who might be men that advised the king to such cruel measures, or however were very ready out of ill will to these men to execute them and therefore righteously perished in their sins.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. — and these three men fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. The fire not so much as destroying what they were bound with and much less them; but being bound they fell; when those that cast them in were destroyed.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste and spoke, and said unto his counselors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said unto the king, “True, O king.” — then Nebuchadnezzar, the king, was greatly astounded, and rose up in haste, due to his great agitation, and spoke and said unto his counselors, the ministers or governors, who formed his council;

— did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? The king’s chair seems to have been placed opposite the side door of the furnace which was open to permit a strong draught to fan the fire and it was from here that he witnessed the execution; they answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (like the Bar Elohim (Ben Elohim, Hebrew)). — he answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, no longer bound as they had been cast into, walking in the midst of the fire, not leaving it, but waiting for God’s time to leave them out, and they have no hurt as one might have expected by reason of the rough treatment accorded them; 

— and on account of the compelling dignity of his appearance, the form of the fourth is like the son of God, rather “like a son of the gods” one pertaining to a divine family and generation. The fourth man was a form of a God, sent for the protection of His pious servants, so that the flame could not harm them. 

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spoke and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the Most High God, come forth and come hither.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth from the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed nor had the smell of fire passed onto them. — and the princes, governors and captains, the representative rulers of his entire empire, and the king’s counselors, the members of his own privy council;

— being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, having had not the slightest effect upon them, nor was an hair of their head singed, this being ordinarily the first result of fire;

— neither were their coats changed, their undergarments touched by fire, nor the smell of fire had passed on them, in other words, one could not even notice that they had been anywhere near fire.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God. — then Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, whose superiority to his own gods the king thus recognized, who hath sent His angel and delivered His servants, that trusted in Him and have changed the king’s word, boldly transgressing his commands;

— and yielded their bodies, offering them without flinching in the interest of their loyalty to their God, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree that every people, nation, and language which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their houses shall be made a dunghill, because there is no other God who can deliver in this way.” — therefore I make a decree, literally, “And from me is set forth a decree,” that every people, nation and language which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their houses shall be made a dunghill, Cf. Daniel 2:5;

— because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort. While this confession does not imply faith in the one true God, it decreed toleration to the worshipers of Yehovah throughout the Babylonian empire.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. — then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon… he restored them to their places of trust and responsibility and increased their honours: or “made them to prosper” they flourished in court and became great and famous. The Septuagint version adds, “and he counted them worthy to preside as governors over all the Jews that were in his kingdom.”

Daniel 4

This chapter was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself, who under divine inspiration inserted it into this work of Daniel’s; and a very useful instruction it contains, showing the sovereignty of God over the greatest kings of the earth and this acknowledged by one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived. It begins with a preface, saluting all nations, and declaring the greatness and power of God.

1 “Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. — God has described Nebuchadnezzar as “My servant” three times in the book of Jeremiah (25:9, 27:6, 43:10), so here he was given a privilege to address all nations and tongues; for he was now humbled under the mighty hand of God; whether his conversion was real is not evident; but he at least outwardly proposed a public proclamation to celebrate the praise of the Lord, on account of the wonderful deliverance of the three Jews from the fiery furnace;

— peace be multiplied unto you: a wish for all kind of outward happiness and prosperity; thus it becomes a prince to wish peace for all his subjects, and even for all the world; for there cannot be a greater blessing than peace nor a greater judgement than war.

I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the High God hath wrought toward me. — Nebuchadnezzar thought it good, it pleased the king, he regarded it as the right and seemly thing, to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath brought toward me, the reference here being to the true God of whose omnipotent power Nebuchadnezzar had received unmistakable evidence as he relates in this edict.

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. — how great are His signs and how mighty are His wonders! exceeding those of any so-called gods of the nations. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation. It is a doxology which gives due honor to the true God even though it does not confess faith in Yehovah.

Now follows the account of the happenings which caused this outburst of praise:

“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in mine house and flourishing in my palace. — Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, his wars victoriously concluded, his kingdom at peace, and flourishing in his palace, enjoying wonderful prosperity.

I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. — Nebuchadnezzar saw a dream which made him afraid, the suddenness of whose coming filled him with alarm and the thoughts upon his bed which exercised him in connection with his dream, and the visions of his head, those which were presented to the eyes of his mind, troubled him, their fancies and images filling him with apprehensive omen of approaching evil.

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. — therefore made Nebuchadnezzar a decree; he issued the command to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before him that they might make known unto him the interpretation of the dream, the dream itself with all its details in this instance being very clear in the recollection of the king so that he desired an explanation only.

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. — then came in the magicians, the astrologers and the soothsayers, Cf. Daniel 2:2, and Nebuchadnezzar told the dream before them; but they did not make known to him the interpretation, their merely human wisdom was unable to penetrate into the depths of the mysteries which God wanted to make known in this instance.

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, — but at the last Daniel came in before him, whose name, given that when he entered the king’s service was Belteshazzar, according to the name of his god, “the foremost of Bel,” the chief god of Babylon and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, of whose eminent prophetic gifts the king had been given evidence on previous occasions, although he was in this case, for some unexplained reason, reserved to the last; 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 and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen and the interpretation thereof. — O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, whose comparatively independent position as the chief of all the wise men at Babylon made it possible for him to be absent from a large assembly of the officials of the royal court on this occasion because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee and no secret troubleth thee, no secret being too difficult for him to explain, 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, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. — thus were the visions of mine head in my bed, literally, “And regarding the visions of my head upon my bed,” Nebuchadnezzar saw and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, therefore evidently possessing great importance for the whole earth and the height thereof was great, it was of conspicuous size to begin with.

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. — the tree grew strongly, became great and mighty, and the height thereof reached unto heaven and the sight thereof to the end of the earth, so that it extended far enough to be seen from the very ends of the world;

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 from it. — the leaves thereof were fair, its branching, forming the crown was very beautiful, and the fruit thereof much, growing in large quantities and in it was meat for all, food for all who lived under its shelter being found on it; 

— 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 image being that of the entire human race united under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and enjoying prosperity under his beneficent government.

13 “‘I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven. — Nebuchadnezzar saw in the visions of his head upon his bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one, that is, a holy watchman, an angel delegated by God to watch over the affairs of men 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. — he cried aloud and said thus, making announcement with a mighty voice, as the herald of almighty God, hew down the tree and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, causing them to fall quickly;

— and scatter his fruit, in a contemptuous manner, as though possessing no value; let the beasts get away from under it, as no longer safe within his shelter, and the fowls from his branches, which no longer offered them a safe refuge;

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 heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. — 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, this description already indicating that the application must be made to an animate being, whose fetters were those of the mental and spiritual darkness brought on as the result of the loss of reason; 

— and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, there being no shelter to keep the weather away from him, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth so that he would partake of their food;

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. — let his heart be changed from man’s so that this center of intellectual life would lose its human aspect and let a beast’s heart be given unto him so that he would fully descend to the level of a beast; and let seven times pass over him; seven times, a time is a year, hence seven times is seven years, the exact length of these periods is henceforth being given.

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones, with 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.” — this matter is by the decree of the watchers, according to their judgement and the demand by the word of the holy ones, the angels of God having reminded Him, as it were, of the requirements of His holiness and justice upon so flagrant a transgressor;

— to the intent that the living, all human beings on earth, may know that the Most High rule in the kingdom of men, dispensing authority and power according to His will, and give it to whomsoever He will and set up over it the basest of men, a man from the humblest rank of life, if God so chose, assuming the reins of government according to His disposition.

18 This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, inasmuch 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.’” — this dream that Nebuchadnezzar have seen, all its details being clear before his eyes and set forth in the same manner. Now, thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, setting forth its meaning;

— forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known the interpretation; but thou art able for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. The affairs of the whole world and of every nation on earth are in the hands of God, who directs them according to His good pleasure in the interest of His Kingdom.

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stunned for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spoke and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation thereof trouble thee.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, the dream is for those who hate thee, and the interpretation thereof for thine enemies. — then Daniel whose name was Belteshazzar was astonied, he stood aghast at the dream and its meaning for one hour, for a long period of time, and his thoughts troubled him, for he was overwhelmed with awe. 

— the king, concluding from the appearance of his face that he had found the interpretation, spoke and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation thereof trouble thee, fill him with apprehension for his safety if he revealed its meaning;

— Belteshazzar answered and said, speaking as a loyal subject of the king in whose empire he now lived, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies! that is, Would that the dream concerned the enemies of the king and that its meaning related to his foes rather than to him! After this introductory remark Daniel immediately plunged into his explanation:

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, — the tree that thou saw, or “of which thou saw,” which grew and was strong, or “that it was great and strong” whose height reached unto the heaven and the sight thereof to all the earth, the power of the empire reaching to the uttermost boundaries of the known world,

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— —whose leaves were fair and much fruit 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, just as the king had described it in his account of his dream:

22 it is thou, O king, who art grown and become strong; for thy greatness is grown and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. — it is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong; for thy greatness is grown and reacheth unto heaven, since his power exceeded that of any living monarch and thy dominion to the end of the earth, a real world-power. Note that Daniel, while filled with sympathy for the king, speaks with uncompromising straightforwardness. The same calm and dispassionate condemnation of sin should be found for any of the Lord’s shepherds today.

23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and a 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, till seven times pass over him’ — King Nebuchadnezzar was to have a beast’s heart for a period of seven times be passed over him, that is, seven years, a time is a year, hence seven times is seven years, the exact length of these periods King Nebuchadnezzar is to learn his lesson of humility and be humbled; to learn to give glory to God than to man;

— humility isn’t something that could be learned in a classroom or in a lecture, or in a place of safety which has been aptly called the “place of final training,” for humility couldn’t be taught there. The children of Israel took around 210 years as slaves in Egypt to learn humility; and in Ezekiel 4, the house of Israel will be given 190 years and the house of Judah 40 years; also to learn humility instead of uttering jingoism but be humbled;

24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: — this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High which is come upon my lord, the king, being fully decided in God’s counsel,

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 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. — that they, the subject being purposely indefinite, shall drive thee from men, casting him out from the society of human beings, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, entirely on a level with unreasonable brutes;

— and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven; and seven times, a period of seven years, shall pass over thee, till thou know, recognizing and acknowledging openly and freely; the house of Judah also faced a period of seven years, but times ten; that is, 70 years, to be humbled in Babylon;

— that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men as the real Sovereign of the several nations of the earth and gives it to whomsoever He will. Nebuchadnezzar would in other words be seized with madness, which would exclude him from human society for seven years, the purpose of the Lord in thus punishing him being to bring him to a realization of his utter helplessness before the true Ruler of the universe.

26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots, thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee after thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. — and whereas they commanded, namely, the council of watchers speaking in the name of God to leave the stump of the tree-roots: thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee; it would be preserved for him so that he could reassume his rule after the interval after that he shall have known that the heavens do rule, and after he would gladly make this confession, thereby yielding all honor and glory to God alone.

27 Therefore, 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, that it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” — wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, for Daniel honestly had the welfare of his sovereign in mind and break off thy sins by righteousness, repudiating all the transgressions for which monarchs were noted in favor of the exercise of true righteousness and justice;

— and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, to those in any kind of tribulation, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity, or “if thy present good fortune is to endure. ” A complete change of heart was necessary on the part of the king together with a consistent practice of the highest virtues as a proof of his regeneration in order to avert the threatened punishment on the part of the Lord.

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. — at the end of twelve months, so soon after he had received his warning, he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon, perhaps upon its flat roof garden from which he could look over the entire city and get a fitting impression of its splendor.

30 The king spoke 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?” — the king said to himself, Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom, to be the seat or capital of his entire empire, by the might of his power and for the honor of his majesty? It was a statement of inordinate pride, by which Nebuchadnezzar made himself the creator of the size and glory of his kingdom, thereby robbing God of the honor which fitly should be given to Him alone.

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 has departed from thee. — while the word was in the king’s mouth, before he had finished his blasphemous utterance, there fell a voice from heaven, with great suddenness, which made the consequences stand out all the more by way of contrast;

— saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken, the emphasis being upon the pronoun: Thy kingdom is departed from thee, that is, he was to be deprived of his position and office as ruler.

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.” — and they shall drive thee from man, away from the society of human beings and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, with the irrational brutes; they, the subject again impersonal;

— shall make thee to eat grass as oxen and seven times shall pass over thee until he knows, being fully aware of, and accepting the fact that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever He will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar; and he was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs had grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. — the same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar, so that there could be no doubt as to cause and effect; and he was driven from men and did eat grass and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. This form of insanity is well known to medical science, a few cases having been found from time to time which exactly agree with the description of the symptoms here given, even to the eating of grass and the living outdoors without clothing; since people in this condition often believe themselves to be wolves, it is known as lycanthropy.

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 honored Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His Kingdom is from generation to generation. — and at the end of the days, after seven years appointed for this punishment, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up his eyes unto heaven in the gesture of one seeking help from there alone and his understanding returned unto him so that he once again had the full use of his reason;

— and I blessed the Most High, thereby acknowledging Him as the one true God; and Nebuchadnezzar praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom is from generation to generation as the king had said in the introduction of this edict;

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?’ — and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing, they are helpless in comparison with His almighty majesty, and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, so that the companies of even the highest angels bow to His will;

— and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? God is the supreme, the absolute Sovereign of all created things.

36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me. And my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. — at the same time, namely, when Nebuchadnezzar thus gave all honor and glory to God alone, his reason returned unto him; and for the glory of his kingdom, his honor and brightness returned unto him so that his former dignity and power were restored to him; 

— and my counselors and my lords, who had repudiated and deserted him when madness seized upon him, sought unto him, so that he was officially requested to resume his position at the head of the empire; and he was established in his empire, and excellent majesty was added unto him, so that the authority of his position was even greater than before the strange madness seized upon him.

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways judgement. And those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” — now Nebuchadnezzar, in issuing this decree with its frank confession, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, the heaping of synonyms showing the intensity of Nebuchadnezzar’s convictions;

— all whose works are truth, and His ways judgement, so that Nebuchadnezzar freely acknowledged his punishment to have been well deserved; and those that walk in pride, uttering jingoistic exultations in any form, exalting themselves at the expense of God’s honor, He is able to abase. While Nebuchadnezzar recognized the humiliation which he had suffered as a just punishment of his pride, yet he did not realize the greatness of God’s grace and mercy which was striving to gain him for true repentance. It is safe to assume, however, that this experience was a step in the right direction and that this great heathen king finally died with some knowledge of the God of heaven.

~ by Joel Huan on December 15, 2021.

One Response to “Daniel (Ch 3-4)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 3 and 4 HERE ~ —— […]

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