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.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
…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!
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.