Daniel 4

The king of Babylon once more sends for Daniel because he is troubled by a dream.  In this dream God addresses Nebuchanezzar’s pride and humbles him.  The Hanging Gardnes and the walls of Babylon were maginificent and the city contained monumental temple ziggurats that reached to the heavens.  Herodotus the Greek historian tells us that the city walls were so immense that a four-horse chariot could turn around on them with ease.  Although an Amereican President is powerful for four years, Nebuchadnezzar was ruler of all he thought worth ruling for life.  It is easy to see how God could be forgotten by such a person.  However, God humbles him with an affliction that makes him think he is a cow.  Who is really in control?

Daniel 4

1 [a]King Nebuchadnezzar,

   To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:

   May you prosper greatly!

2It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

3How great are his signs,    how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;    his dominion endures from generation to generation.

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous. 5 I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. 6 So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. 7 When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers[b] and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me. 8Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)

9 I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me. 10 These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.

13 “In the visions I saw while lying in bed, I looked, and there before me was a holy one, a messenger,[c] coming down from heaven. 14 He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches. 15But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field.

   “‘Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times[d]pass by for him.

17“‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’

18“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel Interprets the Dream

19Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.”

   Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries! 20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, 21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds— 22Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.

23“Your Majesty saw a holy one, a messenger, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live with the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.’

24 “This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26 The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”

The Dream Is Fulfilled

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

33Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

34At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

   His dominion is an eternal dominion;    his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35All the peoples of the earth    are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases    with the powers of heaven    and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand    or say to him: “What have you done?”

36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Questions

  1. What was he central component of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
  2. How did it resemble him?
  3. What was God proving?
  4. When do you feel self-satisfied?
  5. How does God remind you that whatever you have achieved is by his grace and mercy?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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11 Responses to Daniel 4

  1. Amy kringle says:

    1. about a tree being cut down
    2. It was majestic, it touched the sky being visible to the whole earth, as Neb. had dominion over the whole earth
    3. That man is not sufficient in himself
    4. When I have benevolent feelings toward others and am satisified that I am acting as a good christian
    5. falling!

  2. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. a tree
    2. great and having dominion over the earth.
    3. That his sin is pride.
    4. whenever i achieve something great.
    5. when i face hardships.

  3. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. A Tree
    2. Trees are strong and majestic.
    3. That though he had become great and strong and gained dominion over a vast land, God has dominion over all.
    4. I feel self-satisfied when I can make mysef happy, whether by surrounding myself with people who make me happy or creating a life that satisfies me.
    5. God reminds me that whatever I have achieved is by His grace in times where what I can normally do to make myself happy doesn’t work, and I realize that nothing satisfies but Him, and the things of this world are only satisfying because he made them good.

  4. Cassie Clark says:

    1.A tree
    2.His kingdom was flourishing like the tree
    3.That he was great in human terms
    4.When everything is under control
    5.By taking away things

  5. Rebecca Langer says:

    What was he central component of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
    A big tree that was cut down.
    How did it resemble him?
    He was very powerful and his presence was noticed by all.
    What was God proving?
    That even the strongest giant was puny in comparison to God.
    When do you feel self-satisfied?
    When I accomplish a lot or do something courageous.
    How does God remind you that whatever you have achieved is by his grace and mercy? He lets me know that is is only by his power that I have accomplished anything. He humbles me by letting me fail.

  6. HyeJin Lee says:

    1.What was the central component of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? A big tree.

    2.How did it resemble him?
    A huge tree with bountiful fruits refers to Nebuchadnezzar who had become strong and powerful.
    3.What was God proving?
    God is the one who rules over everything.
    4.When do you feel self-satisfied?
    When I get good grades.
    5.How does God remind you that whatever you have achieved is
    by his grace and mercy?
    When I have studied hard, but still get a bad grade, I realize that I need to be dependent on God..

  7. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) It is about a tree that will be cut down, symbolyzing Nebuchadezzer’s power now, but ultimately that God is in control and the king is in submission to him.
    2) The tree resembled the king’s power and greatness but it also forshadowed his downfall.
    3) God was proving his power over all things.
    4) I feel self-satisfied when I succeed in school and I am repected at work.
    5) He reminds me by humbling me and reminding me of my own weaknesses and imperfections.

  8. Grace Yoo says:

    1. The central component of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was that a big tree was cut down.

    2. This tree resembled him because it was big kind of like how Nebuchadnezzar had big power.

    3. God was proving through this dream that He is sovereign over all things.

    4. I feel self-satisfied when I accomplish good things.

    5. God reminds me that whatever I have achieved is by his grace and mercy by reminding me that everything I have is from Him.

  9. aaron wright says:

    1. a tree that was cut down
    2. it had great power!
    3 that HE and only he had power over everything
    4. when i make a good grade or perform well in sports

  10. Moon Jung Kim says:

    What was he central component of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? a tree being cut down
    How did it resemble him? His kingdom was flourishing like the trea
    What was God proving? God is stronger than any kingdom and He is the ruler of the earth. thus whoever does not follow God and do evil things, God would cut down the kingdom like the tree of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
    When do you feel self-satisfied? when I achieve my goal
    How does God remind you that whatever you have achieved is by his grace and mercy? He shows me how great God is and way greater than the achievement

  11. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. The central component was the great tree.
    2. It resembled him because he was also great and provided for his people.
    3. God was proving that he is king and in control of everything.
    4. I feel self-satisfied when I accomplish things on my own.
    5. God reminds me of this by giving me things that I can’t do on my own and then helping me through them.

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