Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Daniel-Chapter 4

Dan 4.1-37 was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself and was taken out of the archives and given to Daniel, who is led by Yehovah, and placed it here in his book. It is very sincere and shows Yehovah’s sovereignty over the greatest kings on the earth. It begins, not with pompous words or extravagant titles, but with a plain, “Nebuchadnezzar the king.” It tells us about a dream Nebuchadnezzar had that frightened him and Daniel’s interpretation.

v 1…”Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations and men of every language that live in all the earth: May your peace abound.

v 2…It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the most high God (he is above all the gods of the earth) has done for me (he has strong language concerning Yehovah and has a deeper sense of him now).

v 3…How great are his signs, and how mighty are his wonders (exceeding those of the pagan nations)! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; and his dominion is from generation to generation (now he gives honor to Yehovah and he will give the account of what happened to him because of his arrogance and the punishment that brought on this doxology of praise).

v 4…I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease (tranquil) in my house and flourishing in my palace (enjoying his prosperity).

v 5…I saw in a dream (this will also be a prophetic view of the birth-pains) and it made me fearful (didn’t know what it meant, though it predicted evil); and these fantasies (thoughts) as I lay on my bed and the visions in my mind kept alarming me (they troubled him).

v 6…So I gave orders to bring into my presence all the wise men of Babylon, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream (he could remember this dream).

v 7…Then the magicians, the conjurers, the Chaldeans, and the diviners came in, and I related the dream to them, but they could not make its interpretation known to me (this shows how empty their art was and that their human wisdom is inadequate).

v 8…But finally Daniel came in (by God’s design and plan in order to show the foolishness of the others) before me, whose name is Belteshazzar according to the name of my god, and in whom is a spirit of the holy gods (something more than human and no secret is hidden from him); and I related the dream to him, saying (as follows),

v 9…O Belteshazzar, chief (rav) of the magicians (he was appointed over them), since I know that a spirit of the holy gods is in you and no mystery baffles you, tell me the visions of my dream (the meaning) which I have seen, along with its interpretation (what the king really wanted).

v 10…Now (these were) the visions in my mind (as I lay) on my bed: I was looking, and behold (take note and see), there was a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height great.

v 11…The tree (Nebuchadnezzar) grew large (his kingdom expanded) and became strong (well established), and its height reached to the sky, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth (Nebuchadnezzar’s fame spread far and wide).

v 12…Its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant (economic benefits), and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field (the inhabitants under him) found shade under it (protection), and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches, and all the living creatures fed themselves from it (Yehovah’s purpose is to provide for mankind and give rest and protection, but nations abuse this for their own greed).

v 13…I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold (take note and see), a watcher (an angel who watch over men and to do the will of Yehovah), a holy (had a kedusha) one, descended from heaven.

v 14…He shouted out and spoke as follows: Chop down the tree and cut off its branches (remove its prominence), strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit (causing him to fall in a hurry). Let the beasts flee from under it (no longer safe under his protection), and the birds from its branches (no safety).

v 15…Yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground (his kingdom won’t be totally taken from him), but with a band of iron and bronze around it (God’s judgment; bonds were used to bind a madman so he won’t hurt himself or others-mental and spiritual darkness-Mark 5.4) in the new grass of the field (grazing like a beast in the field); and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts in the grass of the earth (not in his palace).

v 16…Let his mind be changed from that of a man (deprived of human reason), and let a beast’s mind be given to him (from a human to a brute), and let seven periods of time pass over him (a complete series of judgments, periodic).

v 17…This sentence is by the decree of the watchers (according to the consent of the ministering servants-Heb 1.14), and the decision is the command of the holy ones (a parallelism-they had a concern for the decree that came from Yehovah, as in 1 Kings 22.19-23), in order that the living may know that the Most High (Yehovah) is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it (gives a kingdom) on whom he wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men (humble ranks of life, like David).”

v 18…’This is the dream which I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen (as set forth here). Now you, Belteshazzar, tell me its interpretation, inasmuch as none of the wise men of my kingdom is able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for a spirit of the holy gods is in you (based on his earlier experience with Daniel).’

v 19…”Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was appalled (amazed, filled with awe) for a while as his thoughts alarmed him. The king responded and said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you (don’t be afraid to tell me).’ Belteshazzar answered and said, ‘My lord, let the dream be applied to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your adversaries!

v 20…The tree that you saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth,

v 21…and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which the beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky lodged-

v 22…it is you, O king, for you have become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and reached to the sky and your dominion to the end of the earth.

v 23…And in that the king saw a watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven and saying, “Chop down the tree and destroy it (his rule as king); yet leave the stump (his kingdom) with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze (around it symbolizing God’s rule and judgment) in the new grass of the field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him (in a complete series of judgments)”,

v 24…this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High (Yehovah through the watchers-v 17), which has come upon my lord the king;

v 25…that you be driven away from mankind (as unfit), and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle, and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time (a complete series of judgments) will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever he wishes).

v 26…And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with its roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is heaven (Yehovah) that rules.

v 27…Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you; break away now from your sins (pride, arrogance, oppression, greed, tyranny, violence, etc) by doing righteousness (as defined in the Torah), and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor (relieve them out of your prosperity) in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity (to avert the threatened punishment).’

v 28…All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king.

v 29…Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon.

v 30…The king reflected (inwardly or to others) and said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty (not for the benefit of his people, but for himself, to show how great he was, how rich he was, how powerful he was; he made himself then creator, denying God his due honor)?”

v 31…While the word was in the king’s mouth (before he could even finish his blasphemy), a voice fell (came) from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you (you will not have the administration of the kingdom in your hands for now; but the kingdom wasn’t going to be taken away from him),

v 32…and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you (a complete series of judgments), until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever he wishes.’

v 33…Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled (given meaning); and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until his hair had grown like an eagles’ (like matted feathers, unkept) and his nails like bird’s (they grew long like claws, curling).

v 34….But at the end of that period (the days of his insanity and seven periods of judgment had passed over him) I, Nebuchadnezzar (notice he does not say king), raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored him who lives forever (he acknowledged Yehovah as the one true God); for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

v 35…And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing (in comparison to him and his kingship, power and authority), but he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth (the greatest of angels and men bow to his will); and no one can ward off His hand or say to him, ‘What hast thou done (Yehovah’s main concern is the glory of his name, not people Ezek 36.21-23, 32)?’

v 36…At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out (his “cabinet” of rulers had the government in their hands); so I was reestablished in my sovereignty (his kingdom as promised), and surpassing greatness was added to me (like Job).

v 37…Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are true and his ways are just, and he is able to humble those who walk in pride (Nebuchadnezzar showed true contrition-Psa 51.4).”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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