Daniel Chapter 4
Nabuchodonosor's dream, by which the judgments of God are denounced against him for his pride, is interpreted by Daniel, and verified by the event.
4:1. I, Nabuchodonosor, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace:
4:2. I saw a dream that affrighted me: and my thoughts in my bed, and the visions of my head, troubled me.
4:3. Then I set forth a decree, that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought in before me, and that they should shew me the interpretation of the dream.
4:4. Then came in the diviners, the wise men, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers, and I told the dream before them: but they did not shew me the interpretation thereof.
4:5. Till their colleague, Daniel, came in before me, whose name is Baltassar, according to the name of my god, who hath in him the spirit of the holy gods: and I told the dream before him.
Baltassar, according to the name of my god. . .He says this, because the name of Baltassar, or Belteshazzar, is derived from the name of Bel, the chief god of the Babylonians.
4:6. Baltassar, prince of the diviners, because I know that thou hast in thee the spirit of the holy gods, and that no secret is impossible to thee, tell me the visions of my dreams that I have seen, and the interpretation of them?
4:7. This was the vision of my head in my bed: I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was exceeding great.
4:8. The tree was great and strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven: the sight thereof was even to the ends of all the earth.
4:9. Its leaves were most beautiful, and its fruit exceeding much: and in it was food for all: under it dwelt cattle and beasts, and in the branches thereof the fowls of the air had their abode: and all flesh did eat of it.
4:10. I saw in the vision of my head upon my bed, and behold a watcher, and a holy one came down from heaven.
A watcher. . .A vigilant angel, perhaps the guardian of Israel.
4:11. He cried aloud, and said thus: Cut down the tree, and chop off the branches thereof: shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruits: let the beasts fly away that are under it, and the birds from its branches.
4:12. Nevertheless, leave the stump of its roots in the earth, and let it be tied with a band of iron and of brass, among the grass, that is without, and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let its portion be with the wild beasts in the grass of the earth.
4:13. Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given him: and let seven times pass over him.
Let his heart be changed, etc. . .It does not appear by scripture that Nabuchodonosor was changed from human shape; much less that he was changed into an ox; but only that he lost his reason, and became mad; and in this condition remained abroad in the company of beasts, eating grass like an ox, till his hair grew in such manner as to resemble the feathers of eagles, and his nails to be like birds' claws.
4:14. This is the decree by the sentence of the watchers, and the word and demand of the holy ones: till the living know, that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men: and he will give it to whomsoever it shall please him, and he will appoint the basest man over it.
4:15. I, king Nabuchodonosor, saw this dream: thou, therefore, O Baltassar, tell me quickly the interpretation: for all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to declare the meaning of it to me: but thou art able, because the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.
4:16. Then Daniel, whose name was Baltassar, began silently to think within himself for about one hour: and his thought troubled him. But the king answering, said: Baltassar, let not the dream and the interpretation thereof trouble thee. Baltassar answered, and said: My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thy enemies.
4:17. The tree which thou sawest, which was high and strong, whose height reached to the skies, and the sight thereof into all the earth:
4:18. And the branches thereof were most beautiful, and its fruit exceeding much, and in it was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and the birds of the air had their abode in its branches.
4:19. It is thou, O king, who art grown great, and become mighty: for thy greatness hath grown, and hath reached to heaven, and thy power unto the ends of the earth.
4:20. And whereas the king saw a watcher, and a holy one come down from heaven, and say: Cut down the tree, and destroy it, but leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, and let it be bound with iron and brass, among the grass without, and let it be sprinkled with the dew of heaven, and let his feeding be with the wild beasts, till seven times pass over him.
4:21. This is the interpretation of the sentence of the most High, which is come upon my lord, the king.
4:22. They shall cast thee out from among men, and thy dwelling shall be with cattle, and with wild beasts, and thou shalt eat grass, as an ox, and shalt be wet with the dew of heaven: and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth over the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
4:23. But whereas he commanded, that the stump of the roots thereof, that is, of the tree, should be left: thy kingdom shall remain to thee, after thou shalt have known that power is from heaven.
4:24. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to thee, and redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor: perhaps he will forgive thy offences.
4:25. All these things came upon king Nabuchodonosor.
4:26. At the end of twelve months he was walking in the palace of Babylon.
4:27. And the king answered, and said: Is not this the great Babylon, which I have built, to be the seat of the kingdom, by the strength of my power, and in the glory of my excellence?
4:28. And while the word was yet in the king's mouth, a voice came down from heaven: To thee, O king Nabuchodonosor, it is said: Thy kingdom shall pass from thee.
4:29. And they shall cast thee out from among men, and thy dwelling shall be with cattle and wild beasts: thou shalt eat grass like an ox, 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.
4:30. The same hour the word was fulfilled upon Nabuchodonosor, and he was driven away from among men, and did eat grass, like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven: till his hairs grew like the feathers of eagles, and his nails like birds' claws.
4:31. Now at the end of the days, I, Nabuchodonosor, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my sense was restored to me: and I blessed the most High, and I praised and glorified him that liveth for ever: for his power is an everlasting power, and his kingdom is to all generations.
4:32. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing before him: for he doth according to his will, as well with the powers of heaven, as among the inhabitants of the earth: and there is none that can resist his hand, and say to him: Why hast thou done it?
4:33. At the same time my sense returned to me, and I came to the honour and glory of my kingdom: and my shape returned to me: and my nobles, and my magistrates, sought for me, and I was restored to my kingdom: and greater majesty was added to me.
4:34. Therefore I, Nabuchodonosor, do now praise, and magnify, and glorify the King of heaven: because all his works are true, and his ways judgments, and them that walk in pride he is able to abase.
I, Nabuchodonosor, do now, etc. . .From this place some commentators infer that this king became a true convert, and dying not long after, was probably saved.