Article #21 of the Daniel Series

JIV NOTE: This article is rather long and for which I must ask the reader’s persistence. This section of Daniel is or has no natural break-point without breaking the context of verses 9 – 30. The website editor of this webpage article may opt to break it into two articles. We now pick up at the point King Belshazzar sees the writing on the wall; a phrase we often use in our modern culture. This is even true of agnostics and bible critics. They too use this phrase.

Daniel 5:9

Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

In verse 6 Belshazzar was troubled and his countenance changed. Now he is really worried (Aramaic = exceedingly terrified) and it is obvious. It would appear from the word ‘astonied’ = shebash (Aramaic), that his lords were ‘perplexed’ because of the king’s reactions. Wasn’t this the king who had thrown a party to demonstrate his invincibility? Now he has not only wet his pants in public, but has turned white as a sheet because no one can explain what this writing means.

We have seen the king make four major mistakes:

  1. Overconfidence Pride (verse 1)
  2. Open defiance of the God of Heaven (verse 2)
  3. Drinking to excess (verse 3)
  4. Worshipping false gods (verse 4)

Seldom do people in such open rebellion not know why judgment has come upon them. The king’s conscience had already convicted him before a word had been spoken. People are wise after the event, but arrogant before; thinking to avoid being caught is their only real concern. Just like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:15 “and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands” all of Belshazzar’s actions were an open taunt to God. We see that same incredible attitude with Antichrist in Rev 13 where he blasphemes the God of Heaven (Rev 13:6). There is HUGE parallels between Daniel and End Time.

Daniel 5:10

Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

The person referred to here as the queen is what we would understand as the queen mother, and from the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, it would appear to be Nitocris, wife of Nabonidus and daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, whom Herodotus mentions as a woman of extraordinary prudence. However, this could have been Neb’s now elderly and widowed wife.

Daniel 5:11

There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

Having heard of the king’s problem she makes her way to the banquet hall and suggests Daniel as the man to interpret the writing. As Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter [grandmother?] either would have been well acquainted with Daniel and his exploits during her father’s reign, and seems to put in a public ‘dig’ saying that Nebuchadnezzar had learned his lesson late in life. You never listened to him in ‘your’ life yet alone learn the lesson he did.

LEARN

Daniel 5:12

Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Maybe because Daniel cared for her father for the seven years of chapter 4, she seems to be fond of Daniel and presents a brief resume´ that is bound to impress. She acknowledges (in verse 11) that the spirit of the ‘holy gods’ is in him and boldly declares that he will shew the interpretation. This shows her faith not only in Daniel but in his ‘Gods’ – plural: Father, Son & Spirit, OR, perhaps she herself had not learned the same lesson of ONE GOD.

Daniel 5:13

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

Daniel would have been around 80 plus years old by now, and it is clear from this verse that his reputation had preceded him. JIV: He also had not returned to Judah/Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, Ezra, or Nehemiah. The few Judeans that left Babylon upon being released was less than one percent. There are millions of their descendants remaining in Iran and Iraq today but most of them have since intermarried and forgotten their DNA.

Daniel 5:14

I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

Notice the pride once more of Belshazzar “even I have heard of you, so you must be something!” The question could well be asked, why Daniel wasn’t called to start with if he had such a reputation. My guess? Possibly for the same reason that is mentioned in the comments on Daniel 4:6, 7 – see also Ephesians 5:13.

Daniel 5:15-16

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

So the king explains the predicament that the other ‘wise’ men couldn’t solve and offers Daniel rewards including to be made third ruler in the kingdom. The reason that third ruler in the kingdom was offered is that, as we have noted, Nabonidus was king, Belshazzer was appointed king of Babylon while Nabonidus was away, thus the #1 and #2 spots were already filled. This is additional evidence that this is a historically accurate record. Critics and ‘so-called (Wikipedia) scholars’ scoffed for years claiming that Daniel was wrong and must have been written many years after this time because no record had been found of Belshazzar being king of Babylon. However, competent research and archaeological discoveries have now completely vindicated Daniel and in fact have demonstrated that Daniel had to be an eyewitness of these events.

Daniel 5:17

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.”

Daniel, now much older and less concerned about political correctness, basically tells the king where to put his gifts! He will explain the writing and give the interpretation anyway. All through the book Daniel demonstrates that he doesn’t work for man but for God.

Daniel 5:18-19

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy [grand] father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:

19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would, he put down.

Before Daniel starts to read the writing and interpret the message, he gives this self-edifying little king a history lesson about a real king who had real authority! Read on….

Daniel 5:20-21

20 (…) But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointed over it whomsoever he will.

Daniel explains to Belshazzar what happens to those who are proud before God and underlines the ultimate lesson: that the most high God rules in the kingdom of men, and he appoints over it whomsoever he will. Either Belshazzar already knew of the happenings to Nebuchadnezzar or he missed the history lesson per his family passing it on.

Daniel 5:22

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

The stage is set. Daniel knows by this time tomorrow all would end but feared not for his own life. Daniel already knew this was not about him but the end of this kingdom to which he had been brought as a captive teenager.

Daniel 5:23

But hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

Just picture this situation: In the middle of his big party, with a thousand of his lords present, a hand ‘out of nowhere’ writes on the wall. The king has an ‘accident’ and turns as white as a sheet. The best men of the land are unable to help him. By now word was out about what has happened. His mother hears about it, comes in and embarrasses him yet further; eventually an 81-year-old man is called who, in front of a thousand lords, criticizes him openly. We haven’t even gotten to the interpretation of the writing yet!

This is a classic case of God resisting the proud, and should serve as a graphic example that pride is an abomination to the Lord (see Proverbs 16:5).

Daniel 5:24

Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

Daniel now interprets the writing no longer delaying the preponderance of evidence. Time is short and even shorter for Belshazzar.

Daniel 5:25

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Rabbinic tradition says that this writing was in the form of an encrypted Hebrew code called ‘Atbash’.

This is not the only time that encrypted words are found in the Bible. In Jeremiah 25:26 there is another example of Atbash (the word Sheshach is an encrypted form of ‘Babylon’), and in Isaiah 7:6 there is an example of another form of encryption called Albam (there the word Tabeel is an encryption of Remaliah). Both of these forms of encryption are fairly simple forms of transposition, where one letter is consistently used to replace another.

JIV SPECIAL NOTE: Hebrew & Aramaic reads right to left – all languages flow toward Jerusalem! If we look at a globe with Jerusalem in the center, countries west of it write left to right, those east write right to left; this may be a coincidence, but then again..(?).

It would appear that Daniel was familiar with this form of encryption, as he has no difficulty in interpreting it before the king: (of course, he also had the eyes and help of God)

Note: Initially this may strike us as simply interesting, however when we stop to consider who the author of scripture actually is, the fact that God has placed hidden codes in the Bible is staggering. This is what the ancient Rabbis would call a ‘remez’ – a hint of something deeper. In a previous study we found ‘Bible coding’ by using names and their definitions to read as a paragraph and statement. This Bible Code is true of Daniel’s name along with his three compatriots.

Bible coding? What a powerful deterrent to adding or subtracting to a portion of scripture because it is difficult or unpopular, when, by altering the surface text (as many liberal and politically correct ‘Christians’ are wont to do) they may in fact corrupt the bible code. Subtracting from the Bible one inadvertently removes the code itself; perhaps even their name from the Book of Life! This gives me a personal and different understanding of predestination. If one is predestined to become a son (child) of God that is one thing. But… if one is predestined BE a child of God; that is something quite different. The same is true of translations. An incorrect translation will corrupt any Bible code hidden from the eyes of the casual reader.


Proverbs 30:5 states thatEvery word of God is pure. Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar”. Also read Revelation 22:19

David echoes in Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning.” If it is pure and true then there is nothing that we can add or subtract to improve it. We should simply fall before our God who has given us His Word, which we are told in Psalm 138:2 He has exalted above all His name! If blasphemy – the misuse of His name – is to be judged, how much more the misuse of His Word!


Daniel 5:26-28

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Thus king Belshazzar’s worst fears are realized, his time of playing games with the God of Israel is over, and in the most dramatic fashion.

JIV NOTES:

From this verse come two phrases that are still used today ‘you’re number’s up’ and ‘weighed and found wonting’. It is incredible the number of words and phrases that people use every day that originate from the Bible, yet most people have no idea, and worse still, no regard for this most incredible book.

There is a play on words here as well with the word ‘PERES’. In both Hebrew and Aramaic there are no vowels so the word would have been written as ‘P R S’ with the vowels inferred. However without the vowels the sound and meaning can alter. Take for example the words CaT and CoT. Without the vowels all we would read is C_T. And so it is here with Peres; if the ‘e’ (which makes the word mean ‘divided’) is replaced with an ‘a’ we get the Aramaic word for ‘Persians’! Surprised are you???? So was I during my studies.

Daniel 5:29

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Not that Daniel was bothered; the kingdom only had a few hours to go! Besides, Belshazzar’s grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had already put him in charge of Babylon many years earlier [Daniel 2:48] Also, several years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:48 had already made Daniel the ruler over all things pertinent to the running of Babylonian.

Daniel 5:30-31

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

So Belshazzar, as all proud people will be, is cut down. David said in Psalm 7:9 “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins.” Recall that Belshazzar’s father was away with the army of Babylon. We have little information as to what happens to him and his missing forces, but they were not there to defend Babylon. Some historians suggest he had already been defeated in battle with the Medes. This is likely to be why it was the Mede Darius who was made ruler in Babylon.

Psalm 37:7-13 says:

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the just, and gnash upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming.” How true this was for Belshazzar who was made a public spectacle in front of his one thousand lords yet was humiliated by the God of heaven whom he had rejected.

God sweeps aside the mighty Babylonian kingdom, the head of gold (cf Dan 2); and in comes the Medo-Persian empire – the chest and arms of silver (Daniel 2). He did this in part as the Babylonians did not treat the captive Judeans with dignity or mercy.

There is some debate over the identity of Darius the Mede. We will deal with that in chapter 6. What we do know is that he was about sixty-two years old when he became ruler of Babylon in 539 B.C. It should be noted, that the first actual year for a Babylonian king was reckoned as their ascension year. What we would consider their 2nd year would therefore be their first regal year. Thus 539-538 = Darius’ ascension year; 538-537 B.C. = Darius’ 1st year.

Article #20 of Daniel Series

CHAPTER 5
Daniel 5:1

Historical Note: In chapter five we jump ahead in time (see the opening paragraph).. The previous chapter was the end of the life and reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Though Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar through his mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, he only ruled as co-regent with his less-than-royal blood father, Nebo nidus.

Doubts about Belshazzar (website Creation.com writes…)

Is this (hi)story just a legend, or does the Bible preserve accurate history? Years ago, some skeptics denied that there ever was a king of Babylon named Belshazzar, claiming that his name and story were invented by someone unfamiliar with true Babylonian history. But just when it looked like all the evidence was stacked against Scripture, a series of archaeological discoveries showed that Belshazzar did exist after all, and the details given about him in the Bible are profoundly correct.

https://creation.com/archaeology-belshazzar

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

In chapter five we find that Belshazzar is now king (not to be confused with Beltshazzar; i.e. Daniel). About 23 years have passed since Nebuchadnezzar died and the kingdom of Babylon has gone through a turbulent time. Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Evil-Merodach, succeeded his father and reigned for almost three years (2 Kings 25:27 / Jeremiah 52:31). His younger brother, Neriglissar, then reigned for about five years being succeeded by his son, Labashi-Marduk. He was but a child-king, who reigned for just a few months before being murdered.

Finally, Nabonidus, who had married Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, became king. History records that Nabonidus did not relate well with the people of Babylon, especially with the priests of Marduk (the Babylonian god). As a result of this, after three years, Nabonidus appointed his son Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, as king of Babylon while he himself took an army to Arabia, presumably to build sandcastles and keep out of the limelight! All of this political turmoil was just the invitation that a brilliant young military leader by the name of Cyrus needed. The Meads and the Persians were two great adjacent empires that had been steadily growing in power; however when Cyrus came along with one of his parents, one Persian and the other a Mead, it was the smoothing oil that was required to unite two fairly strong empires into one all-conquering one.

Belshazzar would have been aware that the newly formed Medo-Persian Empire was in the ascendancy and no doubt well aware that Cyrus’ army (under the command of his general – Gubaru (later to be crowned Darius)) was heading toward Babylon. So what do you do when you’re the king of Babylon and an invading army is approaching? Throw a party! Evidently Belshazzar was so sure that Babylon was impregnable that he simply shut the gates of the city and gave a great feast to a thousand of his lords to demonstrate his undeniable, if not foolhardy, confidence and incredible wealth. After all, he was the king of the great Babylon, Excellency of the Chaldeans and capital of the known world. If overconfidence was his first mistake, his second was soon to follow. P.S.; Recall that his father, Nabonidus, had taken the army with him into Arabia “to build sand castles.” The huge city of Babylon had but castle or palace guards for defense.

Daniel 5:2

Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his [grand] father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Cf. 2 Kings 20:14-18; Daniel 1:2

Openly defying the God of Israel has never been a good career move – United Nations; European Union; PLO; Hezbollah; Hamas, Syrian; Iran, [USA?] etc. take note!

The United Nations

Daniel 5:3-4

3Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Proverbs 31:4 states that it is not for kings to drink wine or strong drink; how much more so when that drink is combined with idolatry. This is begging for trouble and taunting God.

Daniel 5:5-6

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

This would be enough to ruin anyone’s party! This writing didn’t just appear on the wall in any old place; it appeared by the candlestick, the brightest spot in the room so all would see. It is easy to understand why the king’s face and continence were changed. Indeed why his thoughts troubled him. However, in case the reader is unclear as to the King James phrase ‘his loins were loosed’ – JIV: let’s just say he needed the bathroom but didn’t make it in time!

There is an undeniably humorous side to this situation as we look on; imagine being the only man in scripture of whom it is recorded that they wet themselves (or worse)! What makes this even more incredible is that this event was even foretold by the prophet Isaiah 200 years beforehand! “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut” (Isaiah 45:1)

No doubt this applied to Belshazzar as his knees buckled and let loose of all muscle control.

Daniel 5:7-8

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

As we saw in chapter two with Nebuchadnezzar, people are quick to turn to ‘religion’ when problems arise and seek answers from the ‘professional’ religious leaders. However just as we see here, they can seldom give or find the answers. Much is made in our day of ‘ordained ministers’ and so often these are the ones the world will turn to in the event of a tragedy or problem, even if only to seek their opinion. But is it not also true that so often these are the ones we see undermining the word of God and compromising in order to be seen to be politically correct? This should come as no great surprise, for those ordained and appointed by men will be answerable to men. In God’s kingdom it is very different. We read nothing in scripture of being ordained by the Bishop, but rather we read: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!

For any believer in Christ, it is the Lord Himself who has ordained us. We are answerable to him. Paul tells us: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” and why is this so? “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

Early in the book of Acts we read of the boldness of Peter and John, yet they were unlearned and ignorant men (see Acts 4:13). They did not have their theology degree from a ‘Bible’ college or seminary, accredited by a secular university that is rooted in humanism and evolutionary thinking. These were just two simple fishermen who would have struggled to get a job in many churches today, yet we read that they had been with Jesus – and that was all the qualification that was necessary!

A personal ordination from the King of kings rates immeasurably higher than anything that manmade institutions purport to offer.

We continue our Daniel series next beginning with Daniel 5:9. …”his countenance changed him.” Now THAT is a significant understatement.

Article #19 of the Daniel series

Daniel 4:32-33

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.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

There is a condition known as Lycanthropy, coming from the Greek ‘lykos’ meaning ‘wolf’ and ‘anthropos’ meaning ‘man’, from which we identify ‘Wolf-Man’. Very few recorded cases exist yet extensive mythology has originated by the belief that a person could change into a wolf; this has led to legends of werewolf’s etc. that are found around the world.

A variation of this disease is Boanthropy where, rather than believing oneself to be a wolf, one believes oneself to be an ox or cow. It is this illness that most likely fits this situation. Myth and legend aside, there was a case recorded in England just after the Second World War. A man in his early twenties was admitted to a mental institution with all the symptoms consistent with Boanthropy. In his commentary on Daniel, Dr John Walvoord, one with whom I have a great respect, offers the following: “Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with a modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar which he observed in a British mental institution in 1946. Harrison writes: ‘A great many doctors spend an entire busy professional career without once encountering an incidence of this kind of Boanthropy described in the book of Daniel. Harrison therefore considers him-self particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of Boanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946.

The patient was in his early twenties, who had reportedly been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well developed on admission and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight, with a good physique and he was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors in the grounds of the institution. His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns, of the hospital. And it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of grass all day long.

On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds. On enquiry from the attendant, Harrison was told that the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from the hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with other inmates, and his only drink was water. The writer was able to examine him curiously, and the only physical abnormality noted, consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse thickened condition of the fingernails. Without institutional care the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33. From the foregoing it seems evident that the forth chapter of Daniel was describing an accurate and attestable mental affliction.”

Of course the critics of the Bible say that this could never have happened, however Eusebius refers to a Greek historian called Abydenus who sites a case in 268BC of a man with almost identical symptoms to Nebuchadnezzar. Josephus also quotes Berosus, a Babylonian historian, who documented the case of a Chaldean priest at the time of Alexander the Great, who once again appears to have suffered from this disease. In the East India Company Museum in London there is a cuneiform tablet that has been discovered that is inscribed with details about Nebuchadnezzar’s illness. Yet further evidence to support the Biblical account was the discovery of what has become known as the ‘Prayer of Nabonidus’ found in cave #4 at Qumran (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls found between 1947-1956). There is little doubt that the author is none other than Nebuchadnezzar himself. The scroll reads:

The words of the prayer that (Nabonidus?), the king of Assyria and Babylon, the [great] king, prayed [when he was smitten] with a malignant disease by the decree of the [Most High God] in [the city of] Tema. I was smitten for *seven years and from [men] I was put away. But when I confessed my sins and my faults, He [God] allowed me (to have) a soothsayer. This was a Jewish [man of the exiles in Babylon. He] explained (it) and wrote (me) to render honor and great glory to the name of the [Most High God]…” (JIV NOTE: Soothsayer was most likely Daniel himself.]

*Some bible scholars believe this to be written as 7 seasons or periods of time. In this geographical area there are only two recognized seasons; summer and winter. If this is correct that would mean the translation would then read 3 ½ years.

Daniel 4:34

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 forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:”

How often do we take ‘seven years’ to learn the most basic lesson that God is in control? So often our pride exhibits or unveils itself as worry, which is a declaration that we and not God, are in control. Oswald Chambers said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. (see Matt 6:25-34 & Phil 4:6-7) Worry is simply a lack of faith in the one whose dominion is an everlasting dominion. What will be will be as “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

Daniel 4:35

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?”

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What makest thou? The post has no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9) In short, we try to make God into something that fits our heart’s desire and will. Genesis 1:1 does not read in any translation…”in the beginning Man created an image of a god to fit his and her wishes in life.”

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me [like] thus?” (Rom 9:20)

Daniel 4:36-37

36 At the same time my reasoning 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.

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Amen!

Nebuchadnezzar lived for about one year after returning to his Babylonian throne. The Jewish Talmud records that Daniel was the one who looked after Nebuchadnezzar throughout the seven years, and then saw him restored to his throne. However this time the king knew that ‘his’ throne was really only on loan! The Bible does not explain or define who cared for him but we do suspect Nebuchadnezzar was kept within the palace grounds.

Also we should remember the admonition by Paul: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all
godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
Who will [wills that] have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

(1 Tim 2:1-5)

Do not misunderstand this verse. ALL MANKIND will not be forgiven at the end of time, but all mankind will be judged. God wills that all mankind would follow him and be saved but man has a free will to choose.

Belshazzar.

JIV NOTE: In our next article (#20; chapter 5) we jump forward several years into the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar. Some translations identify him as “the son of Nebuchadnezzar.” However we know two other kings ruled for some time in Babylon. One of those short term rulers was a son-in-law, Nabonidus, from whom came Belshazzar. Belshazzar never was the actual king but was left to rule Babylon while his father, King Nabonides, ventured around the Middle East and Egypt with his armies. Odd as it may seem, Nabonides was defeated by the Medo-Persians and allowed to live. Very shortly thereafter, his son Belshazzar was killed in his palace in Babylon by the Medes.

Ruler Reigned Comments
Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar) 626 – 605 BC Took control of Babylonia from Sinsharishkun of Assyria, ejected Assyrian armies from Babylonia in 616 BC. Entered into alliance with Cyaxares and destroyed the Assyrian empire.
Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II) 605 – 562 BC Chaldean king. Defeated the Egyptians and Assyrians at Carchemish. Is associated with Daniel in the Bible.
Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 562 – 560 BC Released Jeconiah after 37 years in captivity.
Nergal-shar-usur (Nergal-sharezer/Neriglissar) 560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II. Murdered Amel-Marduk.
Labashi-Marduk 556 BC Son of Neriglissar. Murdered after being deemed unfit to rule.
Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus/Belshazzar) 556 – 539 BC Last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, originated in Harran in Assyria. Was not a Chaldean, often left rule to his son Belshazzar in a co-regency arrangement. He married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

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Prevailing Hope -When Life Hurts is a true story to give hope in the midst of all we go through on this earth.It’s a journey of how the LORD has shown me how I can be okay even when life is not okay. My prayer is all who read this, will draw closer to the SOURCE of all HOPE, the LORD Jesus Christ. From my heart-Brenda

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Article #18 of Daniel Series

The Tree Dream

We just came off of Article 17 where Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream (Daniel 4:10-17). The dream was one that 400 Babylonian advisers to the king would not or could not interpret. Verse 4:18 the king is asking Daniel (Belteshazzar) to give him the meaning of this “TREE” dream.

Daniel 4:19

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was *astonied (stricken dumb; ASV) 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.

*Astonied means stunned or hesitant. Daniel was not stunned at the question or who asked for the interpretation, but at what he already knew was the meaning of the dream.

Once again, Nebuchadnezzar uses Daniel’s Jewish name, and then confirms Daniel’s Babylonian name so all would know to whom the king is referring.

Back in verse 9 the king confidently asserts that nothing troubles Daniel – that is, up until now! We will see in chapter nine that Daniel was familiar with Jeremiah’s prophecies in chapter 27:“And now have I given all these lands unto the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.” (Jer 27:6-7) This is another remarkable prophecy that accurately foretells that after Nebuchadnezzar (whom God calls ‘My servant’), his son [Evil-Marduk] and then his grandson [Belshazzar] will rule Babylon until their time is up. As for Daniel’s thoughts, if God had raised up Nebuchadnezzar for a purpose (that of bringing judgment on the house of Judah), what was to happen to him now? No wonder Daniel was ‘astonied’ [astonished, dazed]. And then there is the question of how exactly do you break this information/news to the king?

This hour must have been one of the longest of Nebuchadnezzar’s life; eventually he says to Daniel ‘Don’t let the dream trouble you (as well)’. If Daniel is troubled this is not good. Finally Daniel says in effect ‘If only this dream were about your enemies; but alas…it is about the king himself.

Daniel 4:20-22

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;

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:

22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

Thus what Nebuchadnezzar probably feared is confirmed, he is the tree. After all some time earlier he was the head of a huge statue, why not also the tree? It is the next bit that is of most concern to both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar…

Daniel 4:23

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Cut 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;

The ‘watcher’ from the context is an angel who comes down from the Holy One in Heaven. The important points in this verse are that the tree is to be cut down but the root is to remain. However the root or base of the tree stump is to be bound with iron and brass. (JIV) At the beginning of the verse the vocabulary refers to ‘it’ i.e. an impersonal pronoun, but by the end of the sentence the vocabulary changes to use the personal pronoun ‘his/him’. Thus this verse could be seen to have a double reference; firstly to king Nebuchadnezzar who is already identified as the tree in verse 22; and secondly the reference may be to Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion i.e. the kingdom of Babylon; will it rise again?

The reference to seven times is seen by most Bible commentators to represent seven years. In Daniel 7:25 and Rev 12:14 we read of time (singular) times (plural) and half a time. From the context we understand that this is referring to three and a half years (specifically the last three and a half years of the Tribulation), where time = 1 year, times = 2 years and half a time = 6 months. Thus Daniel is saying that Nebuchadnezzar is going to be cut down for seven years, during which time he will be covered with the dew and have his portion [food] with the beasts of the field. Some translations use the word “seasons.” This would mean the time of Neb’s insanity would be 7 seasons; i.e. 1 ¾ years. By traditional measures.

Is there a problem with their ‘seasons’ theory? YUP! The Babylonians only counted summer and winter as seasons. This would make 7 seasons or 3 ½ years. 3 summers and 3 winters PLUS one additional summer or winter seasons. I write (teach) but YOU Decide.

Daniel 4:24

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

King Nebuchadnezzar was all too familiar with issuing decrees; now one had been issued against him by the highest authority that there is – the Most High God and he knew it. This had to be stunning to him. He was the supreme and is now discovering he isn’t. “The most HIGH…” Daniel calls recognition to God; not the gods of Babylon.

Daniel 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 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.

Daniel explains to the king exactly what will happen to him, how he will be humbled until (whenever you see an ‘until’ in the Bible take note!), [until] he finally realizes that it is the most High who rules in the kingdom of men, and He will give it to whomsoever He chooses. This is the third time this lesson had been taught to the king (two warnings and then this pronounced judgment – see Daniel 2:37-38 & Daniel 3:28-29), on the previous two occasions he completely missed the point – this time he will finally get it.


Daniel 4:26

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

Throughout this period Nebuchadnezzar did not lose his throne, an incredible fact in itself. And yes, he will learn his lesson this time. The obvious but not addressed is who is the “THEY”? What is even more amazing, he Nebuchadnezzar continued as usual for another 12 months.

We have free will but God has more than one option to convince us of something. This does not mean we will finally do it God’s way but it does show a merciful God who offers many chances or opportunities.

Daniel 4:27

Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.

Here Daniel pleads with the king to repent of his pride and iniquities in the hope that these events will be postponed or not occur. There was no immediate consequence to Daniel’s prophecy of 7 years. This gave the king plenty of time to forget what had been told him; perhaps even the dream itself. This is far too often the case with new Christians. Once a new born Christian prays for forgiveness, some wain in their initial joy. Psalms 51:12: King David pleads for exactly the same thing; a return to his initial joy in God.

Daniel 4:28

All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

…however, as king Neb himself records here, all this happened as Daniel had interpreted. Recall that this review of Nebuchadnezzar’s life and struggle with the One God is recorded by Daniel but from the mouth of Neb himself.

Daniel 4:29

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

We know from 2 Peter 3:9 that God is longsuffering toward us; here we find that God gave Nebuchadnezzar a year to repent, but as Jeremiah records in 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” So one evening the king is out for a stroll looking at his kingdom and feeling invincible…

Daniel 4:30

The king spake, 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?

Oops! Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Notice what is top of the list? A proud or haughty look; the look at the “me syndrome.”

Again we read: “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23)

In a nutshell, God hates pride. Pride was the sin of Satan (1 Timothy 3:6 see also Isaiah 14:13-15 & Ezekiel 28:14-17). Both James and Peter tell us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. It is not wise to put one’s self in a position where God is resisting you ‘cuz you ain’t gonna’ win!

Daniel 4:31

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 is [now] departed from thee.

The terror of this is almost unimaginable. However God through Daniel and a dream had warned him of this judgment a year before, so the king was without excuse. The same is true for the people in this world; God has given ample warning through His two witnesses; the law and the prophets (also see Luke 16:31) and has foretold the coming judgment ‘so they are without excuse’. Revelation 11 also warns of a time two witnesses in Jerusalem will preach 24/7 for three and a half years about turning to God and away from the antichrist.

The speed which this judgment fell should be a wake-up call for anyone ‘dabbling’ in sin.