NOTE: All bible references are from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.
NOTE #2: Given the limited amount of information that we know about Nahum, the best we can do is narrow the time frame in which the Book of Nahum was written to between 663 and 612 B.C. Two events are mentioned that help us to determine these dates. First, Nahum mentions Thebes (No Amon) in Egypt falling to the Assyrians (663 B.C.) in the past tense. This means it had already happened. Second, the lion’s share of Nahum’s prophecies came true in 612 B.C. so they were prior to 612 B.C.
In a possible scenario, Nahum 1:9 is a reminder of the repentance of Nineveh including the king, back in the Book of Jonah some 80 or 90 years earlier.
(v9) What do you conspire against the LORD? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time. Assyria’s capital city [Nineveh] is to whom Nahum is addressing. This is the same place Jonah prophesied. There are differences of commentary and Bible scholarly opinions as to what and to whom affliction the second time means in verse 9. Consider that only 80 to 90 years earlier, Jonah brought a strong warning of Nineveh’s pending destruction unless they repent. They did repent to Jonah’s dismay. This warning is not to be Nineveh’s second chance. They had their warning through Jonah. There will not be, according to Nahum, given another warning. Pending is now their utter destruction. This indicates that a warning from God may have a long or short lifetime. However, one must consider God’s warnings have an eternal timeline.
We have no way of documenting this thought, but perhaps the reason Nineveh was so open to repentance at the time of Jonah was they had some “affliction” meaning God’s first warning.
*The utter end of its place(Nineveh) was also literally fulfilled. “Not only were these people lost from history, even the city was lost until it was discovered by archaeologists, beginning in the 1840’s.” (Boice)
JIV NOTE: Some will wish to argue that Ashur was the capital of Assyria. S/he would be right, until the reign of Assyrian king Sennacherib. He transformed Nineveh and moved the political seat in Ashur to what was already their religious center…Nineveh.
Nahum 1:10 Verse 9-11 should be read in conjunction. They address Nineveh being destroyed and Judah being delivered. Verse 10a may be a prophecy of the Assyrian leadership near their end. The following explains the *“entanglement as in thorns” mentioned in verse 10.
“Many cities have risen and fallen throughout the course of world history, but few have had such a dramatic history as the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. At its height, Nineveh was arguably the most cultured and sophisticated city in the ancient Near East, but a combination of factors led to its quick demise. *Dynastic quarrels within the Assyrian royal house precipitated the city’s decline, allowing Assyria’s many enemies to ally and eventually siege and sack the once great capital city of Nineveh.”https://dailyhistory.org/How_Did_the_Ancient_City_of_Nineveh_Fall%3F. This tactic was to divide then conquer.
Nahum https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nahum+1%3A11&version=NKJV 1:11 may be a prophetic vision of the future antichrist. The NKJV states: From you comes forth one Who plots evil against the LORD, A wicked counselor. This is easily read right over without consideration. Many commentaries do not even address its possible implications. Who is the “ONE?” Who is that “wicked counselor”? This verse is specific. It says, “THE ONE. The wicked counselor” It is in the singular. Who fits this role to the proverbial “T”? It must be one of Satan’s trinity: Satan (the Dragon), antichrist (beast #1), and false prophet (beast #2). This is Satan’s imitation of God’s three-in-one person…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Nahum 1:12 is another challenging verse to understand. It is assumed to be specific to Nineveh, Assyria. One of the concerns with this is the use of the terms “you, they, his.” Does Nahum switch his prophetic focus back and forth between Israel and Nineveh? If Assyria is considered symbolic of the word at-large during end time or the Millennial, the “you”, “they”, and “his” could reference both or each individually. Nahum 1:11-12 are specific to Israel. For God will afflict them no more and their yoke will be removed. In verse 14 it is Israel’s oppressors who are the focus. To dig their grave [v14] means their end. Nineveh lost their legacy to Babylon shortly after the time of Nahum.
JIV NOTE: There is another legacy not mentioned but can be deduced. The legacy of Israel being identified as a target of others in the world. This is easily observed today. When Christ returns no longer will they be the fish in the barrel that others can take potshots at without missing or Israelis (the fish) escaping. Roles will, in a sense, be reversed. Israel will be held in very high esteem. [cf. Micah 4:2]
Nahum 1:13“…For now I will break off his yoke from you, And burst your bonds apart.”For nowcan be read as “on that day…” The bonds of Israelis will be gone. The bonds of the world and the bonds of God’s judgements on them will be burst. They will be no longer be in bondage to the world around them. God will have made a new covenant with them. [cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34]
Nahum 1:14 is a reference to Nineveh and prophetically to the world “in that Day” [end time]. The LORD has given a command concerning you: “Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile.” The carved images and molded images represent all that the world has carved out for their lives, livelihood, institutions, and cultures without God. To dig their graves is symbolic of their destined end in eternity, not heaven but hell’s lake of fire. To symbolically be identified as “in one’s grave” means s/he no longer has control over anything. Each will live out his or her eternal consequence. No longer will there be Free Will. All will then be as determined before the world was created [Ephesians 1:4].
JIV NOTE: This does not mean some are predetermined to be chosen and some chosen to be condemned. It means the end time paths of life and eternity are predetermined.
Nahum 1:15 A point often overlooked in verse 15 is the use of the name Judah instead of Israel. Note the “church” of believers is also not mentioned. This time and passage is about Israelis. The global church of believers has already been removed; raptured. “…the feet of him [who is standing] on the mountains” fits well with the return of Jesus Christ as Messiah [see closing paragraph].
Nahum is stating that since the Northern Kingdom of Israel was dispersed by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., only Judah then remains. They too have a limited amount of time left before the Babylonians invade, conquer, then take the Judean population into captivity. It will also be the end of an independent people-nation or kingdom. When the few who return to Judah after being released from captivity in Babylon 70-years later, all remained subject to the Persians, never again a self-determined people until April, 1948.
“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.” [Zechariah 14:4].
AN INTERESTING STUDY and insights of Daniel and perhaps Bible Codes:
In reading several studies and web-pages on the names given to Daniel and his three friends, we find some very interesting information.
Here is a brief summary:
For example, in a study done by William Shea (Andrews University Seminary Studies, Spring 1988) it is inferred that the Babylonian names given to Daniel and his three friends may have been purposely corrupted by Daniel! Now, the Hebrew names of these young men showed that they were worshippers of the true God, Jehovah!
Hananiah — Jehovah (God) is gracious Mishael — who belongs to or is like God Azariah – Jehovah (God) helps Daniel — God is my judge
Daniel 4:8 reveals that king Nebuchadnezzar renamed these Hebrews after his gods! New names were given to these captives from Israel, not just to blend them into the Babylonian court, but to change their allegiance from their God to the gods of Babylon.
Daniel, who wrote the BOOK OF DANIEL, and who wouldn’t even eat the king’s food not only because it contained unclean meats, but also contained the meats offered to the Babylonian gods, would no doubt be very much troubled by these Babylonian names and thus even when using them in his accounts changed them slightly.
Daniel’s friend, Azariah, (Jehovah helps) was renamed Abednego according to scripture. “Abed” means “servant” but we find no god named “nego”. For the name to be authentically referring to a “Babylonian god” it should read “servant of some god “. However, if the name is read Abednebo— then we have a well-known Babylonian god! Nebo was the Babylonian god of wisdom. This could be a translation issue; Abednego should be translated Abednebo. The “B” and the “V” in Hebrew are interchangeable letters.
Could it be that Daniel had such an aversion to calling his friend the “servant of Nebo” that he purposely corrupted his Babylonian name?
Found on a list of an ancient Babylonian clay tablet is the name Arbenebo–Official of the royal prince. This name is the equivalent to the Aramaic name Abednebo and may in fact be the first mention of one of Daniel’s friends found outside of the Bible. Apparently this Abednego (Abednebo) was given the position as secretary to the crown prince Amel-Marduk (called Evil-Marduk in the Bible).
Misheal was renamed Meshach Another name found on the list of that same clay tablet is Meshaku-Marduk – Official to Nebuchadnezzar. Marduk was the name of a Babylonian god. If Marduk is dropped from the name we end up with the name Meshaku which is very similar in pronunciation to Meshach.
The Hebrew Mishael means “Who is like God?” Meshach (Meshaku) means “Who is like Aku?” Aku was the Babylonian god of the moon.
Hananiah (Jehovah keeps him or Jehovah is gracious) was renamed Shadrach Or Shadaku which means “Command of Aku”. Aku being the moon god.
William Shea of Andrews University Seminar Studies came to the conclusion that Daniel’s given name was not really Belteshazzar, but Belshazzar, — the same as the king that perished that night when Babylon fell. He entitled his study “Bel(te)shezzar meets Belshazzar”.
Now if Abednego’s name was slightly changed to avoid being called a servant of a false god, could it be that Daniel’s name, Belteshazzar, was also slightly changed ? The “shazzar” part means “protect the king”, thus “Belte” should be the name of a Babylonian god. But we find no god by that name in Babylon. However, Bel, is another name for Nebuchnezzar’s favorite god, Marduk.
In Dan. 5 King Belshazzar seems opposed to calling Daniel by his name Belteshazzar. Why so? “If the Hebrew wise man that stood before Belshazzar bore the same name as the king himself, it would have been natural for the king to have been restrained to have used his own name for him.”
We also find in a tablet writing that Amel-Marduk had as his chief officer one named Belshazzar. We also know that *Amel-Marduk released from house-arrest the exiled Hebrew monarch Jehoiachin, and elevated him and honored him above all of the other kings who were captive in Babylon. *Some translations call him Evil-Marduk but not evil.
BELSHAZZAR MEANS BEL PROTECT THE KING
With these thoughts concerning Bel(te)shazzar and Belshazzar, what lessons can we learn from the two men with the same name.
The one served the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone, but neither the god “Bel” nor any of these gods could protect him from the invading Med-Persian forces.
The other served the God of heaven, not the Babylonian god, his story continues in the promises that he will be among those who inherit the earth in the final everlasting kingdom of God.
Belshazzar means “Bel protect the king”.
Bel obviously could not protect king.
I don’t know what the “te” stands for, but I like to think it means “not”. How fitting that Daniel should change the Babylonian name assigned to him to “Bel not protect the king”– especially in the light of this history–(and the history in Daniel 4 as well) Only by trusting and following the God of heaven is their safety.
AMIL-MARDUK, WAS HE A BELIEVER?
Another question that arises from this study is:
Might the unpopular Amil-Marduk, son of Nebuchadnezzar, been unpopular due to his Jewish favoritism or following in the new faith of his father Nebuchadnezzar? The only mention of him in the scriptures is his act of liberating the Jewish king.
2 Kings 25.27-30 and Jeremiah 52:31-34 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that “Evil (Amil)-Merodach”, king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign, did release Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the Kings that were with him inBabylon; And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.
With Abednego as his secretary, Daniel as his chief officer, and the former king of Jerusalem as a favored member of his court, one wonders if this king, Amil-Marduk, who reaped the wrath of the Babylonian hierarchy and was assassinated, might have continued in his father Nebuchadnezzar’s new faith; something the powerful priestly society in Babylon would not tolerate. Once he was assassinated, there was no remaining honor or respect for the God of creation. Of course, secular history would NOT mention this as it would require recognizing God for who He is.
Thus Belshazzar’s rebellion against the God of Heaven would not have been his alone, but also of Babylon itself. As God has done to so many other nations, He punishes a nation along with the leader(s) when they [Babylonians] openly reject God. For more understanding of this rejection by the Babylonians, see the Book of Esther.
Not just great stories—Bible history is part of what we refer to as secular history
As is my teaching style, it helps when one can put an event or series of events into perspective or within other historical events of secular history. Remember that the bible does not need to prove itself according to history. History needs to be placed against what the bible states. There is no revision of secular versus scriptural history but there are many who wish to revise scripture to make God what s/he wants instead of us as individuals being what God wanted upon our creation.
King Pekah of Israel [700’s B.C.] along with his ally King Rezin of Aram, threatened Judah and its main city of Jerusalem. Ahaz, the king of Judah, called upon King Pul [Tiglath-Pileser III] of Assyria to intervene. He did intervene therefore defeating Israel (the Northern Kingdom) then executed King Rezin of Aram (Damascus).
Assyria was a Semitic nation, but not Israeli, from the 24th century BC to 608 BC.
Assyrians were offspring of Shem’s (Noah’s ark) eldest son *Elam: Genesis 10:22, Ezra 4:9. *Elam itself was once an empire called the Elamites now part of Iran. The person Elam was a son of Shem making him a grandson of Noah.
At this time, Damascus was not the capital of Syria. It was a large city-state in its own rights.
Assyrians attacked the Kingdom of Israel (ten northern tribes) first dispersing the East of Jordan tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh in 732 B.C. [2 Kings 16:9].
720 BC: Assyria invades the remaining tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel including a few cities within the borders of the Kingdom of Judah. All captives are exiled to unsettled lands to the north, east, and west specifically mentioned, it includes the cities of the Medes.
JIV NOTE: This plays significantly into the Babylonian captivity of the southern Kingdom of Judah 120 years later, the 70 year Babylonian captivity, and to connect the dots……the invasion of Babylon by the MEDES and Persians and eventually Queen Esther of the Book of Esther.
Daniel of Babylonian fame was a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel. These men were exiled from the southern Kingdom of Judah or were born during Babylonian captivity. Interestingly, they all were in the service of the government of Babylon; Daniel also served within the Mede-Persian government of Babylon.
Daniel lived during the time of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, father and grandson, who were kings of Babylon, and the Mede-Persian ruler Cyrus (Darius?).
He lived in Babylon during the entire 70 year captivity and several years beyond.
Daniel never left Babylon after being exiled from Judah. He continued to serve in the service of the Persian conquerors of Babylon.
Sequence of nations:
The nation Israel of Saul, David and Solomon co-existed with Assyria
Israel divided into two separate kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel to the north with ten tribes and the Kingdom of Judah to the south with 2 tribes plus many stragglers from the northern kingdom who were faithful to Judaism and Jerusalem.
Ten tribes to the north are dispersed in the 700 B.C. over a period of 20 plus years; first by Tiglath-Pileser III [sometimes called King Pul], then Shalmaneser V, finally by Sargon II; all were kings of Assyria. Time period around 740 B.C.E. to around 720 [?] BC.
Kingdom of Judah continued to exist for another 120 years; until about 606 BC.
Babylon rebels against and overthrows Assyria; 637 BC to around 612 BC. The overthrow of the Kingdom of Judah followed.
Nebuchadnezzar (606 BC) of Babylon invades the Kingdom of Judah and begins a series of dispersions bringing Judean Jews [including Daniel] to Babylon. [Daniel 1:1-4]
605 BC.; 597 B.C.; 586 BC. [the three reasonably close dates of Judean dispersion and exile to Babylon]
Daniel becomes an advisor and dream interpreter for Nebuchadnezzar [Daniel 2:1-49]
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego face the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:1-30]
Nebuchadnezzar goes insane and eats grass with the wild animals of his kingdom [Daniel 4:1-37] His wings are plucked and he is made to stand up like all other men (Daniel 7:4)
Daniel interprets the finger of God writing on the wall to *Belshazzar
*Belshazzar is the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar; overthrown by Medo-Persians (Cyrus of overall all Persia; Darius the Mede was temporarily king of the conquered Babylon). Belshazzar was not the sole king of Babylon during this overthrow. His father made him co-regent of Babylon itself.
King Cyrus, the first Persian king over the Mede-Persian conquered empire of Babylon, signs a decree releasing all Israeli captives within this conquered empire; [538 B.C. – Ezra 1:2-4; 6:2-5] Darius the Mede ruled first but for less than two years. Daniel tells us that this Darius was already 62 years old at the time of the overthrow. He was not King of Persia but a satrap king of Babylon proper.
Daniel and the Lions’ den historical event occurred under the Mede-Persian ruler Darius [Daniel 6:1-28], not Nebuchadnezzar.
The prophetic future according to the dreams of Daniel
The 4 beasts [Daniel 7:1-28]
Daniels dream of the goat and the ram [Daniel 8:1-28]
Daniels 70 week or years dream [Daniel 9:1-27]
Daniel views the end of times (Recall a previous study article: Are We There Yet?) [Daniel 10:1 – 12:13]
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.
was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed
in him, and his lords were astonied.
verse 6 Belshazzar was troubled and his countenance changed. Now he
is really worried (Aramaic = exceedingly terrified) and it is
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
have seen the king make four major mistakes:
Pride (verse 1)
defiance of the God of Heaven (verse 2)
to excess (verse 3)
false gods (verse 4)
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.
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
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.
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;
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.”
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.
O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy [grand]
father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:
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.
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….
(…) 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
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.
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.
thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou
knewest all this;
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
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
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!
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
was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
now interprets the writing no longer delaying the preponderance of
evidence. Time is short and even shorter for Belshazzar.
this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
tradition says that this writing was in the form of an encrypted
Hebrew code called ‘Atbash’.
is not the only time that encrypted words are found in the Bible. In
Jeremiah 25:26 there is another example of Atbash
encrypted form of ‘Babylon’), and in Isaiah 7:6 there is an
example of another form of encryption called Albam (there the word
encryption of Remaliah).
Both of these forms of encryption are fairly simple forms of
transposition, where one letter is consistently used to replace
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..(?).
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)
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’
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.
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.
word of God is pure. Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and
you be found a liar”.
Also read Revelation
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!
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy
kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
king Belshazzar’s worst fears are realized, his time of playing
games with the God of Israel is over, and in the most dramatic
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.
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.
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.
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
In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and
two years old.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
about Belshazzar (website
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
the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank
wine before the thousand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2 Kings 20:14-18;
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!
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.
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of
brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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”
doubt this applied to Belshazzar as his knees buckled and let loose
of all muscle control.
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
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.
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
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.”
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
personal ordination from the King of kings rates immeasurably higher
than anything that manmade institutions purport to offer.
continue our Daniel series next beginning with Daniel 5:9. …”his
countenance changed him.”
Now THAT is a significant understatement.
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, 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
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.
again, Nebuchadnezzar uses Daniel’s Jewish name, and then confirms
Daniel’s Babylonian name so all would know to whom the king is
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
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
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?
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.
The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height
reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
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:
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.
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…
whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from
heaven, and saying, Cut the tree down, and destroy
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
be wet with the dew of heaven, and let
portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over
‘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?
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
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
is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most
High, which is come upon my lord the 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.
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.
explains to the king exactly what will happen to him, how he will be
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
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
the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of
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
heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can
So one evening the king is out for a stroll looking at his kingdom
and feeling invincible…
king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that
have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of
power, and for the honor of
six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto
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
what is top of the list? A proud or haughty look; the look at the “me
“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD:
though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs
goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”
man’s pride shall bring him low: but shall uphold the humble in
nutshell, God hates pride. Pride
was the sin of Satan
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!
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
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
(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.
speed which this judgment fell should be a wake-up call for anyone
‘dabbling’ in sin.
the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all
the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
first thing to note is that it appears that it is Nebuchadnezzar who
is now doing the writing! It is the ONLY chapter of the Bible written
by a Gentile king; be it by his hand or the hand of Daniel we do not
know. It may have only been a decree that Daniel is quoting verbatim,
but Nebuchadnezzar’s words.
thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath
wrought toward me.
has obviously changed in this man’s life –
“What about the life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change?”
great are his signs! How mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to
is being said by the most powerful ruler on the earth at that time!
What a contrast to chapter 3 where Neb’s image of gold suggested
that his was an everlasting kingdom; a total misunderstanding of his
previous dream as interpreted by Daniel of a statue of gold, silver,
bronze, iron and iron with clay mix. This most likely is written by
the hand of Daniel by translating what Nebuchadnezzar says in the
aftermath of these events.
Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my
surface he was flourishing – like so many in this world, thinking
that they have it all, not aware that it can all disappear like that.
he spake a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich
man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying,
what shall I do, because I have no room where to store my fruits? And
he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build
greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I
will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many
years; take thine ease, eat,
drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be
required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast
provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not
rich toward God.” (Luke
12:16-21; Matthew 6:19-21)
How challenging is Daniel
4:4 when compared to Luke 12:16-21. What does it mean to “lay up
treasures? It does not mean to be foolish and squander. It does not
mean to be fruitful. It does not mean to preserve for today but it
does mean the future is not in one’s possessions.
saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and
the visions of my head troubled me.
has a way of getting our attention. Even the hardest, most
unreachable people in our eyes are never beyond the reach of God. I
suspect that Daniel had been praying for his king and friend for some
time, believing that God was able to get through to him. If there is
no god why do so many atheist, agnostics, cynics, and politically
correct societies spend so much time trying to disprove him by their
statements, actions, writings, and positions?
made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me,
that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.
was well known to the king by now, so why not just call him? I think
that Neb realized this dream was not good and wanted to hear a sugar
coated interpretation rather than the truth. We see exactly the same
with Ahab, king of Israel in 1 Kings 22:6-8
“Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four
hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to
battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall
deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat
said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides these 400 men,
that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto
Jehoshaphat (King of Judah), There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of
Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but
I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me,
So the reason that Ahab didn’t ask is basically because he told the
truth – and sometimes the truth is hard to take! I think that is
why king Nebuchadnezzar didn’t first call Daniel.
is why we often go to the wrong places for advice or sympathy. The
“Oh woe is me” syndrome, but don’t tell me it is my fault. Just
give me some more of my self!
came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the
soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make
known unto me the interpretation thereof.
tells a story! In chapter two the Chaldeans were straight with their
‘dummies guide to interpreting dreams’. This is what they were
famous for as we mentioned in chapter two. And this time the king
even tells them the dream so it should be easy for them – but then
again, they have had their fingers burnt by a certain Daniel too many
times by now; even if they did interpret the dream, Daniel was bound
to come along and tell them they’d got it wrong! They just were not
going to take that chance. Notice they ‘did
not ‘were not able’. It appears that they didn’t even try!
at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar,
according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the
holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,
finally king Neb gives up and accepts the inevitable. But who does
Neb say came in? Aha
– that is his Hebrew name, yet king Neb chooses to use this in
telling us the history of these events, adding his Babylonian name
just in case anyone else didn’t know who Daniel was. How amazing
that after all this time in Babylon (Daniel would have been about 50
years old by now), with so much pressure to blend into their culture
(when in Rome do as they do ‘syndrome’) that Daniel retains his
Jewish identity and the name that glorifies his God. But also not
that Nebuchadnezzar still confesses his god by saying “according
to the name of my god”;
not the God with whom by now he was well aware.
Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit
of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me
the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation
Neb still gave credit to his gods…
is an interesting verse because Nebuchadnezzar informs us that Daniel
is ‘chief of the Magi’. Now the Magi [Bethlehem? Christmas Maji?]
were essentially a Persian religious sect specializing in the
mystical; so what was Daniel doing in charge of them? The Magi are a
tribe that settled in Mede to the east of Babylon; i.e. Medo-Persia.
will find out in chapter 6 that it was not something that was happily
accepted by some of his contemporaries; but it appears that Daniel
had converted this group (Tribe of the Magi) and told them about the
prophecies regarding the coming Jewish Messiah. How do we know this?
Because just over 500 years later, a group of these Magi travelled
for miles across the middle eastern deserts to Israel to celebrate
the birth of a baby that had been born King of the Jews! These Magi
didn’t go to the stable but to Joseph and Mary’s house in
Nazareth – we have been duped by tradition into thinking that there
were 3 wise men, or 3 kings and they went to the stable. Wrong,
Wrong, Wrong! [Mark 7:13].
in this verse we have confirmed that king Neb knew that Daniel could
and would be able to interpret the dream. What
a testimony Daniel has: ‘no secret troubleth thee’,
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah
Dream – Daniel 4:10-17
Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a
tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.
The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto
heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:
The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it
was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and
the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh
was fed of it.
I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher
and an holy one came down from heaven;
He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his
branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts
get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots 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
in the grass of the earth:
Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given
unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the
word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that
the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to
whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar,
declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of
my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but
thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.
Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret the dream to him, and
reiterates that the best of Babylon were unable to answer. It is
interesting to note that even before Daniel has spoken on this
occasion, Nebuchadnezzar concedes that ‘the spirit of the holy
gods’ is in Daniel. Obviously he remembers the events of chapter
two but has forgotten or refuses to admit he acknowledge “the God
Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace,
and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of
the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
Neb gets as close as he can and spoke – not shouted ! ‘Hey
guys, why don’t you come on out?’ All
the people who had gathered on the plain of Dura are now watching
something completely different than they were expecting to watch –
yet this was what God had gathered them all there to see.
Nebuchadnezzar thought they were gathered to worship him, but God had
a different idea!
have to wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego just delayed
coming out for a little while. After all, how many times do you find
yourself standing around talking to the Son of God in the midst of a
furnace. There is a reality here also, that other people may look in
at us in the midst of our time of tribulation and see that we are
‘not harmed’ by the flames. They may observe the peace and
comfort we have in our suffering and wonder how we are able to cope.
But as surely as He did with these three Godly men, God will bring us
out of the furnace to glorify His name or take us home. Paul…”for
me to live is Christ but to die is [my] gain.”
verse 15 Nebuchadnezzar boasted:
who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’
yet now, somewhat swayed by recent events, says:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God.
Slowly king Nebuchadnezzar is getting the picture, but as we will see
in chapter 4, he still has some way to go! God is molding Neb into
what a testimony to these young men, that because of their faith and
trust in God, the most powerful ruler on the face of the earth
declares that their God is the Most High God!
three come out of the furnace. Where’s the forth one? He stays in
there waiting for you, so that you know that when you find yourself
in the furnace, He will be with you.
will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb
but, might we opt to leave Him?
the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors,
being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire
had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were
their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. God’s
deliverance is complete – not
even the smell of smoke!
think so small yet our God is so big. Oswald
commenting on the occasion when Peter walked on the water to meet
The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but
Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he
simply recognized his Lord, and stepped out in recognition of Him and
walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things,
and down he went instantly. Why
could not our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the
waves as well as on the top of them? Neither
could be done saving by recognition of the Lord Jesus. We step right
out in God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and
down we go. If we are recognizing our Lord, we have no business with
where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things are,
immediately we look at them and are overwhelmed. We cannot recognize
Jesus, and the rebuke comes: Wherefore didst thou doubt?” Let
actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus,
maintain complete reliance on Him.
Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his
servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and
yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god,
except their own God.
& Paul both taught that we should obey the government, yet they
were both put to death in Rome for civil disobedience. In Acts 5
Peter and the Apostles openly defy the Jewish leaders and kept
publicly preaching in the name of Jesus despite being warned not to.
1 Peter 2:13-14 Peter
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:
whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto
them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for
the praise of them that do well.”
So how are we to understand this? Quite simply, we should obey and
submit ourselves to every law of man unless it contradicts the higher
law of God. Peter himself confirmed this in
Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God
rather than men.”
Meshach, and Abed-nego did just that here, and what do we find? The
unbreakable and eternal law of God (Exodus 20:3-5) has caused the
fallible word of the king to be changed!
I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak
anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego,
shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill:
because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
We should note that “everyone who” included the King, but he
means everyone but him. He
still hasn’t quite got it! He recognized that God can interpret
dreams, now he recognizes that God can deliver; but he still has not
understood that God is in complete control – it is He alone that
rules in the kingdoms of men. At this stage he is really impressed
with the signs and wonders (like so many in the church today) but has
not truly sought after the source of those things.
the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province
of Babylon. “Humble
yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt
you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for
should ask; why did Neb promote these men? Was it there deeds or was
it to excuse himself from his dastardly deed of the furnace and his
self-exaltations? We find soon that he himself has not relented to
the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits,
and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of
Dura, in the province of Babylon.
move into chapter 3 some scholars place these events about 15-23
years after the events of Chapter 2. Whereas in Nebuchadnezzar’s
dream he saw an image made of different metals descending in value,
where the head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, we are
now presented with an image made entirely from gold. The obvious
conclusion from this is that king Nebuchadnezzar has taken the
greeting wherewith he is greeted ‘O king live’ (Dan 2:2:4 / 3:9)
a little too far! It would appear that in erecting this image, king
Nebuchadnezzar is presumptuously asserting that his kingdom will be
an everlasting kingdom, seen by the fact that the whole image and not
just the head are made from gold, and therefore this is really an act
of defiance against the God of Heaven. As in the cartoon movie
it is “Mine; mine; mine!” He is trying to change the outcome of
his previous dream made of Gold, silver, brass, iron, and a clay-iron
mix (Daniel 2:31-35).
chapter is very much like the events that we will study in chapter 6
where Daniel’s enemies conspired against him and duped king Darius
into signing a decree that would entrap Daniel. These
Babylonian-Chaldeans do connive.
amazing that people are so insecure and jealous of others’
achievements that they will seemingly stop at nothing to remove the
competition. This is compounded when the ‘competition’ is either
morally upright or just a sitting President of the United States.
Those who stand for truth are seen as an irritant to a society that
wants to be free from moral constraints. Jesus Himself confirmed
the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If
ye were of the world, the world would love his own but because ye are
not of the world…”, (John
reiterated this in
2 Tim 3:12 “Yea,
and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
cubit is the measurement from the tip of your finger to your elbow.
Although this measurement varies among ancient cultures, it is
usually regarded to be about 18 inches. This would make the image
approximately 90ft tall, *9ft wide; a 9:1 ratio.
49 square feet at the base.
dimensions of this statue are more like the Obelisks of Egypt, and it
may well have been that on one of his expeditions Nebuchadnezzar
would have seen these erected to immortalize Egyptian Pharaohs and
deities and thus became part of the inspiration for him wanting to
build one himself. However, unlike an Obelisk, this was an image of a
NOTE: Archaeologists have unearthed a 45ft square & 20ft high
‘base’ in the plain of Dura which many now believe could have
been the base for this image, and would have been clearly visible
from the walls of Babylon.
not out of the question that this statue was of solid gold.
Archaeologists have also discovered a 40’ table in the ruins of
ancient Babylon made from solid gold and 15’ high solid gold
statues were found in the Temple of Murdoch; billions of dollars in
Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the
governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the
counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to
come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had
Chaldean is tiphday
lawyers; the legal system.
king is obviously impressed with his creation. He calls for all the
leaders and chief people of the land to come giving their wide eyed
appreciation. There were about between 100 and 120 provinces in
Babylon at this time meaning that anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000
people could have gathered for this ‘grand unveiling’. From the
end of chapter two we know that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (or
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego as they may be better known) were
promoted to oversee the affairs of the province of Babylon, hence the
reason they were invited. Daniel on the other hand we are told was
over the whole
province of Babylon, and chief
of the governors
over all the wise men of Babylon”. Thus
it would appear that Daniel was second only to the king. If this is
so and Daniel has so much influence before the king, then why, we may
ask, did Daniel not object to this gross act of idolatry? And why
does Daniel not appear to attend this event? These
are questions that we will return to later in our study.
the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers,
the counselors, the sheriffs (judicial
all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the
dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and
they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
fact that we have the same phrase repeated here suggests that Daniel
is recording this event, by copying the decree that had been written
by the king (or maybe a decree that was written for the king!).
an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and
that this is a command from the king and to people, nations and
languages – this is a diverse and mixed crowd from the known and
Babylonian conquered world.
at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut,
psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship
the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
instruments mentioned – the number of man (6). Hmmmm?
and idolatry have long been close companions. Even today in church
‘worship groups’ it is so easy to put the focus on the music
rather than the God whom we are supposed to be worshipping. Even some
of the music in today’s churches (buildings) has a catchy tune but
deliberate lyrics with no mention of God, salvation, Jesus or the
Holy Spirit. These are NOT worship songs of God.
of the root of this problem is that Satan appears to have been the
worship leader in heaven; heading up the praise team (see Ezekiel
28:13-15). It would seem that he has a great understanding of how
powerful and manipulative music can be. Music is a gift from God and
is intended to accompany our praise to Him (as even a casual reading
of the book of Psalms can confirm), yet in the wrong hands, it can be
used for evil with devastating results. Consider the lust, violence
and immorality that are communicated to young people through music.
Satan always distorts what God has made good. Satan also has a fake
copy of everything Jesus represents. Even back yard gardens have fake
plants mixed in with the good plants.
what we know of history, the Babylonians had a love for music. This
is prophetically seen in
Psalm 137:1-4: “By
the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we
remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst
thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a
song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us
one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a
that today we do that in churches. But, it is better said that we
sing a strange song in God’s land.
whoso falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into
the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
things are out on the plain of Dura; the Image and a fiery furnace.
The furnace may have been built for the sole purpose of melting and
molding the gold for the statue.
at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet,
flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the
people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the
golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
is, all except three men who stood out like a sore thumb! Where
Daniel was at this moment is unknown. The many nations mentioned are
those who were in Babylon perhaps as ambassadors, visitors, or
at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
that it’s the Chaldeans again who had been humbled in chapter 2.
The meaning of accused is literally: ‘chewed them up’ by their
words. Oddly, the tens of thousands of captive Jews in Babylon
deserted their God for Babylon’s god-king. All but these three
stood for and by their faith. Might this be an example of End Time
so-called church believers? I suggest YES.
spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. This
is the greeting that the king wants to hear. In another sense, may
your power exist forever. After all, is this not the intent of the
Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the
sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer,
and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
And whoso falleth not down and worships, that he should be cast into
the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
fact they repeat to the king his decree leads some to conclude that
they were the ones who had been responsible for getting the king to
write this decree in the first place as a way of trapping these Jews.
As we will mention and will again later, Daniel is not present at
this time, and it may well be that, knowing Daniel was away on
business, they seized this opportunity to entrap his friends. If
given the probability that this is some time after chapter two, they
may well have been plotting and planning this event for years. It had
to take a good deal of time to simply build the image.
Furnace is mentioned 30 times in the Bible (KJV), and always in
connection with tribulation and/or judgment.
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the
province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O
king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship
the golden image which thou hast set up.
discovery. One such example is in regard to Daniel’s three friends.
An archaeological dig in the area of ancient Babylon unearthed a five
sided clay cylinder now in the Istanbul museum with the names:
Hananunu – which is the Aramaic for Hananiah, Mishael-Mardach –
obviously a reference to Mishael, and Abou-Nebo, the Aramaic for
Abed-nego; these men are mentioned on the cylinder as having a
prominent place in the government, thus clearly identifying these men
as Daniel’s three friends as recorded in the Bible.
are accused not just for refusing to bow today, but for not
worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s gods in the past – which the
Chaldeans suggest is defying the king himself. This was not an
impulse thing for these three men, but a predetermined purposing of
heart that was made from the moment they got to Babylon – they will
not be defiled! Other Jews of captivity may
also refused but were not the target of these evil men of Babylon.
at the rapture of the church will there still be churches
(denominations) with full houses? This is not a possibility but a
probability. The church of Jesus according to Ephesians 4:5 and 6 is
not a religion or a denomination. Denominations separate. They do not
unite as that would demand political-religious compromise and
correctness according to man’s law and standard.
Daniel and possibly his three compatriot Hebrew buddies were standing in front of the King of Babylon. They are about to interpret the dream the king had that bothered him very much…about the future.
The Dream – Daniel 2:31-35
31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Notice that Daniel says WE will tell once again including his three friends. This verse even suggests that they came with Daniel to tell the king of his dream.
The Interpretation – Daniel 2:37-38
37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
As we mentioned earlier, no subsequent king had the absolute power of Nebuchadnezzar. Other empires may have exceeded Nebuchadnezzar’s in physical size, but not in absolute authority.
Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream is shown pictorially on the following page.
The Babylonian Empire is shown to the left and the conquering Persians to the right (below).
And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
The detail and accuracy of this prophecy is a thorn in the flesh to critics; for after Babylon (that had much gold), another kingdom did arise, but not with the absolute power of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. In 539 B.C. Cyrus of Medo-Persia conquered Babylon (without a battle! – see our coming article on Chapter 5). Cyrus was part Median and part Persian and so united the two factions into the great Medo-Persian Empire. Silver coinage became the currency of the empire. After the Medo-Persian Empire, history confirms that a third kingdom, wielding brass shields and swords, with stunning speed conquered the Persians and went on to take the known world. It is recorded that Alexander at only 30 or so years of age wept because there were no more lands to be conquered. After Alexander’s death around age 32 the Greek Empire was ultimately divided between his four generals, but it never had the same power as it did under Alexander. Eventually the Greek Empire fell to a fourth empire.
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. Now we move onto the ‘iron’ nation that breaks into pieces and subdues all things. Even those with a basic grasp of history will be familiar with the empire that succeeded the Greeks; Rome. Whereas the previous empires took the best of the cultures and nations they were conquering, leaving much intact, Rome did not. The Roman Empire seemed to thrive on what it could destroy. It really did break into pieces and subdue all things. NOTE: Tradition/history has it that when the Romans came to town, they crucified the first 5 or 6 people they encountered. This went a long way toward discouraging ANY rebellion, even if none was in the plans of the conquered villages and cities. Crucifixion was common practice with the Romans.
I personally cannot but wonder if Proverbs 27:17 may have implications during this iron age and the future yet not played out. Proverbs 27:17 reads…
“Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”Did this iron period of Rome in fact sharpen the future Holy Roman Empire; the empire of the antichrist?