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 Main Index : Commentaries : Geneva Study Bible : Daniel Index : Chapter 4

Daniel, Chapter 4
Chapter 3 | Chapter 5
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Bible Version
Cross Reference
Matthew Henry
JFB Commentary
Wesley's Notes
Geneva Study Bible
View Daniel 4 in the note window.

4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the o earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

    (o) Meaning, as far as his dominion extended.
4:3 How great [are] his signs! and how mighty [are] his wonders! p his kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion [is] from generation to generation.
    (p) )Read Geneva "Da 2:44")
4:4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at a rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
    (a) There was no trouble that might cause me to dream, and therefore it came only from God.
4:5 I saw a b dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
    (b) This was another dream besides that which he saw of the four empires, for Daniel both declared what that dream was, and what it meant, and here he expounds this dream.
4:7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but c they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.
    (c) In that he sent abroad to others, whose ignorance in times past he had experienced, and left Daniel who was ever ready at hand, it declares the nature of the ungodly, who never seek for the servants of God unless they absolutely have to, and then they flatter to a great extent.
4:8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name [was] d 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],
    (d) This no doubt was a great grief to Daniel not only to have his name changed, but to be called by the name of a vile idol, which thing Nebuchadnezzar did to make him forget the true religion of God.

4:9 O Belteshazzar, e 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.

    (e) Which also was a great grief to the Prophet, to be numbered among the sorcerers and men whose practices were wicked and contrary to God's word.
4:10 Thus [were] the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a f tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof [was] great.
    (f) By the tree is signified the dignity of a king whom God ordains to be a defence for every type of man, and whose state is profitable for mankind.
4:13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a g watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;
    (g) Meaning the angel of God, who neither eats nor sleeps, but is always ready to do God's will, and is not infected with man's corruption, but is always holy. And in that he commands to cut down this tree, he knew that it would not be cut down by man, but by God.
4:16 h 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.
    (h) By this he means that Nebuchadnezzar would not only for a time lose his kingdom, but be like a beast.
4:17 i 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.
    (i) God has decreed this judgment and the whole army of heaven has as it were joined in being a part of it, just as they also desire the execution of his decree against all those that lift up themselves against God.
4:19 Then Daniel, whose name [was] Belteshazzar, was k 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.
    (k) He was troubled because of the great judgment of God, which he saw ordained against the king. And so the Prophets on the one hand used to make known God's judgments for the zeal they had for his glory, and on the other hand had compassion upon man. And they also considered that they would be subject to God's judgments, if he did not regard them with pity.
4:23 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, l till seven times pass over him;
    (l) By which he means a long space, as seven years. Some interpret seven months, and others seven weeks, but it seems he means seven years.
4:25 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 m oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that n the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
    (m) Not that his shape or form was changed into a beast, but that he was either stricken mad, and so avoided man's company, or was cast out because of his tyranny, and so wandered among the beasts, and ate herbs and grass.
    (n) Daniel shows the reason why God punished him in this way.
4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and o break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a p lengthening of thy tranquillity.
    (o) Cease from provoking God to anger any longer by your sins, that he may reduce the severity of his punishment, if you show by your upright life that you have true faith and repentance.
    (p) Allow the errors of your former life to be made up for.
4:29 At the end of twelve q months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
    (q) After Daniel had declared this vision: and this pride of his declares that it is not in man to convert to God, unless his Spirit moves him, seeing that these terrible threatenings could not move him to repent.

4:34 And at the end of the r 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:

    (r) When the term of these seven years was accomplished.
4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his s 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?
    (s) He confesses God's will to be the rule of all justice, and a most perfect law, by which he governs both man and angels and devils, so that none ought to murmur or ask a reason for his doings, but only to stand content with them and give him the glory.
4:36 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 t my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
    (t) By whom it seems that he had been put from his kingdom before.
4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar u 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.
    (u) He not only praises God for his deliverance, but also confesses his fault, so that God alone may have the glory, and man the shame, and so that God may be exalted and man cast down.

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