Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
This is a regular decree, and one of the most ancient extant; and no doubt contains the exact words of Nebuchadnezzar, copied out by Daniel from the state papers of Babylon, and preserved in the original language.
I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.
I thought it good
Chal. It was seemly before me.
How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
After he had successfully finished his wars in Syria, Egypt, etc., and the immense improvements and buildings at Babylon, and in the enjoyment of uninterrupted peace and prosperity in his palace.
I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
and the thoughts
Therefore 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.
Then 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.
But 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,
O 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 thereof.
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.
Chal. was seeing. a tree. This represented his exceedingly prosperous condition, the height of his exaltation, the extent of his dominions and renown, the splendour of his kingdom, the multitude of his subjects who received protection from him, and the peace and plenty they enjoyed.
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:
Chal. with might.
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.
Here a transition is made from the tree to Nebuchadnezzar, whom it represented; the tree being lost sight of, a person came in its stead. This person having lost the heart, or disposition of a man, and conceiving himself a beast, should act as such, and herd among them.
That is, seven years, a time in the prophetic language denoting a year.
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.
that the living
the most High
This 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.
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied 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.
He saw the design of the dream; and felt acutely for his prince and benefactor. Accordingly he expresses himself with the greatest delicacy and kindly feeling.
The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
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.
And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew 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;
and let his
This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
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.
and thy dwelling
All the circumstances of Nebuchadnezzar's case, says Dr. Mead, agree so well with a hypochondriasis, that to me it appears evident the Almighty God brought this dreadful distemper upon him, and under its influence he ran wild into the fields: then fancying himself transformed into an ox, he fed on grass, after the manner of cattle; and, through neglect of himself, his hair and nails grew to an excessive length, so that the latter became thick and crooked, resembling bird's claws.
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.
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 tranquillity.
lengthening of thy tranquillity
or, healing of thine error.
All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
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 honour of my majesty?
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 departed from thee.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
they shall drive
The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
and he was
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
A. M. 3441. B.C. 563. at the end
the most High
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
Every thing was fulfilled that was exhibited in the dream and its interpretation; and God so ordered it in his providence, that Nebuchadnezzar's counsellors and lords sought for him and gladly reinstated him in his kingdom. It is confidently believed that he was a true convert, and died in the faith of the God of Israel.
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.