Dan 4: Questions and Answers.

February 6, 2021 in Today's Q&A by TGV

Bible Study Guide/ Daniel 4, (27-BSG-4J)/ Questions and Answers.


[1] Opening Remarks: The chapters and verse in the Scripture were added to serve as an aid to help us identify the location of the Words in the Bible. In the original text, verses 1-3 in today’s text are actually part of the last chapter.

[2] The Setting: Nebuchadnezzar is enjoying the good life. He is happy and content. He is the king and life is good! He does not need to bow to anyone. He does not worship Yahweh or Marduk. He is a proud man who does not need God.

[3] Did Nebuchadnezzar write this part of the Bible? (4:1–18) “Daniel 4:1–18 appears to be an official proclamation from the king. But does it belong in the Bible, since it reflects the king’s belief in many gods (v. 9)? Yes, because the statement exalts the true God, which is remarkable coming from a pagan ruler. Surely that’s why Daniel was inspired to quote it.” (NIV Quest Study Bible).

[4] Who is the main character in the chapter? Nebuchadnezzar III. He called himself Nebuchadnezzar II; mistakenly because he was actually the IV.

Let us review briefly– Nebuchadnezzar I was Nabopolassar (625-605 B.C.); His son Nebuchadnezzar II ruled from (605-562 B.C.) and He is the King during the events of Daniel 1-3. He had 2 sons and a relative who reigned after him: Evil-Merodach and Neriglisar and Labashi-Marduk (561-556 B.C.) Thereafter, a non-relative, a usurper, took the throne from Nebuchadnezzar’s family. He wanted the people to follow him, so he assumed the name Nebuchadnezzar III. He is the Nebuchadnezzar in our text today.

I know it is a bit confusing, but it helps explain why Nebuchadnezzar in chapters 1-3 sounds so different than the one we read about in the previous chapters: this one is totally a different person. Now that we have a clear understanding of the man in our story, let’s move to address the dream.


THE DREAM— [5] What happened to Nebuchadnezzar? He was asleep comfortably in his bed; then he had a dream — thoughts and images — that frightened him (4:4-5).

[6] What did the king do first? He first summoned the occult advisers –” the magicians, the enchanters (Magi), the Chaldeans (who were the master astrologers) and the diviners” (4:7, AMP) — but they were unable to interpret the dream.


[7] What was the king’s next move? He then summoned Daniel, the chief advisor! — “But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying:” (Daniel 4:8, NKJV). May be Daniel was out of town, or in an assignment, when the first group came in (nobody knowns)!!! But in any event, the first group had no clue as to the particulars of the dread nor its interpretation.

Three noteworthy things here – [a] The king addressed Daniel as “Belteshazzar,” a Babylonian name given to him in honor of Nebuchadnezzar’s chief god, Bel (cf. Dan 1:7); [b] The king was convinced that “the spirit of the holy gods” was in Daniel and spoke through him; [c] The king believed that Daniel could interpret this dream for him.

“Why Daniel had been kept in the background so long, although he was considered “master of the magicians” (v. 9), is not explained. Some have suggested that Nebuchadnezzar aimed first to find out what the Chaldeans in general had to say about this extremely disconcerting dream, before hearing the full truth, which he suspected was unfavorable (compare the case of King Ahab, 1 Kings 22:8). Only after the other wise men of the caste of occult scientists proved unable to satisfy the king did he call for the man who had, on a previous occasion, demonstrated his superior skill and wisdom with respect to the interpretation of dreams (ch. 2; cf. ch. 1:17, 20).” – (The SDA Bible Commentary, 4:789).

[8] Briefly discuss the king’s four revelation to Daniel about his frightening dream (see Dan. 4:10-17).

First, he saw a huge, towering tree in the middle of the earth:

  • The tree grew large and became strong.
  • Its height reached to heaven.
  • It was visible to the end of the earth.
  • Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant.
  • In it was food for all.
  • The beasts of the field found shade under it.
  • The birds of the sky nested in its branches.
  • All living creatures fed themselves from it.

Secondly, he suddenly saw a messenger (an angelic watcher), “a holy one” come down from heaven and issue several strong commands, as follows:

  • The tree was to be cut down and its branches cut off.
  • The fruit was to be stripped off and scattered.
  • The animals and birds were to flee.
  • The stump was to be left and bound with iron and bronze: To protect it.

Thirdly, He heard the messenger switch from talking about “a tree” to “a man.”

  • The man was to live outdoors among wild animals.
  • He was to be exposed to the weather: “be wet with the dew of heaven.”
  • He was to be fed/ “feed with (like) the animals in the grass of the earth.
  • His “mind and nature” were to be changed: from man’s to that of an animal – (becoming insane, acting like an animal)!

Fourth, He heard the messenger declare the reason for the punishment: “This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.” (Daniel 4:17, NKJV)

[9] After describing his dream, what else did the king tell Daniel? He reiterated his confidence in Daniel. He urged him to explain the meaning of the dream to him — because no one else could. He reemphasized his belief that “the spirit of the gods” was in Daniel. (4:18)

[10] How did the dream affect Daniel? What was his reaction when he heard the king’s dream? He was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him! (4:19)

[11] Why was he so reluctant to speak? He feared the immediate consequences to the Hebrew captives. “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!” (4:19b)

“Daniel was visibly shaken when he heard the dream, so much so that the king attempted to comfort the prophet by telling him not to let the dream or its meaning alarm him. “Greatly perplexed” is a translation of the Aramaic ʾeštômam, which means to be “appalled” or “astounded.” Daniel was not “perplexed” but “astounded” by the horror of what he immediately knew the dream foretold. He was so upset by it that he was silent for a short while (“for a time”). Thoughts of these coming events “terrified” (better, “alarmed”) Daniel, not only because the prophet seemed genuinely to like and respect the Babylonian monarch but because of the effect this situation could have had on others, particularly the Jewish people. Nebuchadnezzar evidently had treated the Jews well throughout most of his reign. If he were deposed, there would be no guarantee of a like-minded ruler. That Daniel knew immediately the significance of the dream is clear by his wish that the evil foretold might be directed toward the king’s enemies.” [Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994), 18:136].


THE MEANING/ INTERPRETATION OF THE DREAM – [12] What was Daniel’s explanation of the dream?

[a] The Tree represented the king and his empire (Dan 4:20-22).

  • Its economic prosperity.
  • Its protection and security (shelter).
  • Its greatness and military strength.
  • Its vast expansion and dominion (rule).
  • Its influence that reached to the ends of the earth.

[b] The Messenger represented God’s coming judgment on Nebuchadnezzar, (Dan 4:23-25).

  • The judgment was “a decree” issued by the Most High God Himself!
  • The king would lose his sanity and live like an animal.
  • The king would be insane for a period of seven years.
  • The king would be humbled and until he acknowledges that God is sovereign!

[c] The Stump with its roots represented the king’s recovery. He was to be restored after he acknowledged the LORD — “Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth.” (Daniel 4:15, NKJV)

[12] How long would Nebuchadnezzar dwell with the beasts and eat grass? “And let him feed with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him” (4:23c, AMP)/ “till seven times pass over him” (NKJV).

  • “The word “times” is used again in Dan 7:25 where it also means a year. Thus, Daniel predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would live in a demented state for seven years.”
  • In Dan 7:25: “A time, times, and half a time (cf. Dan. 12:7; Rev. 12:14) refer to the three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation, with “a time” meaning one year, “times” two years, and “half a time” six months. This equals the 1,260 days in Revelation 12:6 and the 42 months in Revelation 11:2; 13:5.” (J. Dwight Pentecost, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 1985, 1, 1342; 1354).

[13] – “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 incapacitated. The following explanation has been offered: Superstitious ancients thought 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 or instigator of the crime; and that if his property should be confiscated or his office filled, a grievous revenge would be inflicted upon those responsible for the injustice. For this reason insane persons were removed from the society of men, but otherwise not molested (see 1 Sam. 21:12 to 1 Sam. 22:1)” – (The SDA Bible Commentary, 4:792).


THE FULFILLMENT OF THE DREAM – [14] Discuss the four elements of God’s Judgment & Punishment.

[a] God’s Grace Announced: First, He gave the king one year to repent. (The exhortation: Dan 4:27, Then Twelve Month’s Probationary Period, Dan 4:29)

[b] The King’s Display of Pride: “The king said, Is not this the great Babylon that I have built as the royal residence and seat of government by the might of my power and for the honor and glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30, AMP) He boasted that his power alone built Babylon thus denying God as the Source of his success and ability

[c] God’s Judgment Pronounced: “While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,” (Daniel 4:31, AMP)

The king’s judgment was suddenly pronounced (Dan 4:31)/ He lost his royal authority immediately (Dan 4:32a)/ He become insane and live outside among the animals (Dan 4:32b)/ He remained insane for Seven Years until he was humbled and acknowledged God’s sovereignty, that He controls the nations & affairs of men (Dan 4: 32c)

[d] God’s Punishment Carried Out: “That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” (Daniel 4:33, NKJV)

NOTE: “What had been predicted was no longer postponed and judgment came on Nebuchadnezzar, in keeping with Daniel’s interpretation. As the king was boasting of his accomplishments while walking on the roof (apparently a flat roof, common in those days) of his royal palace (v. 29), a voice … from heaven (v. 31) announced his judgment.”

“As predicted, the king lived like an animal in the field, eating grass like cattle. (Later Daniel added that the king lived with wild donkeys, 5:21.) His body was drenched with … dew … his hair grew long like an eagle’s feathers … and his nails grew like a bird’s claws. He gave no attention to his bodily appearance. Perhaps, because of his royal position, Nebuchadnezzar was hidden in a secluded park so his true condition could be hidden from the populace. Also in the king’s absence Daniel may have played a major role in preserving the kingdom and possibly in preventing anyone from killing the king.” [J. Dwight Pentecost, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 1985, 1, 1343].


THE RESTORATION OF THE KING – [15] Identify the eight elements of the king’s restoration.

  • He looked up to the LORD: An indication of faith and genuine repentance (Dan 4:34a)
  • He was healed mentally: no longer insane (Dan 4:34a)
  • He praised the LORD as the One who lives forever.
  • Honored His eternal dominion (rule) and kingdom (Dan 4:34b)
  • He confessed that all people are “as nothing” when compared to the LORD (Dan 4:35)
  • He acknowledged the LORD’S sovereignty, that He controls everything…
  • He was returned to the throne: His advisors, nobles, commanders — were all stunned at his recovery (Dan 4:36)
  • He became even greater than before!! (Dan 4:36b).


THE WORSHIP OF THE KING – [16] What evidence do you see in the chapter that the king’s heart was converted? “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” (Daniel 4:37, NKJV)

“The once proud monarch had become a humble child of God; the tyrannical, overbearing ruler, a wise and compassionate king. 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. He acknowledged Jehovah as the living God, saying, “I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.”

“God’s purpose that the greatest kingdom in the world should show forth His praise was now fulfilled. This public proclamation, in which Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the mercy and goodness and authority of God, was the last act of his life recorded in sacred history.” [Ellen Gould White, The Story of Prophets and Kings as Illustrated in the Capitvity and Restoration of Israel, Conflict of the Ages Series, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1917), 2:521].



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