Daniel 4: Nebuchadnezzar’s Insanity

Daniel 4: King Nebuchadnezzar’s Insanity

“These are the visions I had while I was asleep: I was looking, and I saw an oak tree in the middle of the earth. It was very tall. The tree grew, and it became strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals found shade under it. Birds came to live in its branches. It fed every living creature.

“I was seeing these visions as I was asleep. I saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. He shouted loudly, ‘Cut down the oak tree! Cut off its branches! Strip off its leaves! Scatter its fruit! Make the animals under it run away, and make the birds fly from its branches. But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. And let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the animals. Let its human mind be changed, and give it the mind of an animal.’ ”
Daniel 4:10-16

Read the complete passage online.



Insights from the Text

God refers to Nebuchadnezzar in Ezekiel, also a prophet in exile at this time:

“This is what the Almighty LORD says: From the north I’m going to bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against you, Tyre. He is the greatest king. He will bring horses, chariots, war horses, many people, and many troops.”
Ezekiel 26:7

The phrase “Most High” appears 18x in Daniel. Isn’t it interesting that Abraham and the patriarchs referred to YHWH as “God Most High” (‘el ‘elyon) or the “Most High God” in Genesis 14:22. Now that title is used by the Babylonians together with the title, “the God of Heaven.”

Things to Think About

  • Nebuchadnezzar first refers to “the holy gods” and finally to the “King of Heaven.” Has the King become a monotheist? How does the King refer to the one God?
  • How is King Nebuchadnezzar sinning?
  • Has the King adopted the one God of the Hebrews or not?
  • Has the King sincerely repented of his arrogance?

    Richard “Rusty” David Rutherford
    God’s Word Mission Society welcomes Richard “Rusty” David Rutherford, a GOD’S WORD Ambassador. Rusty has devoted his life to creating Bible study course books filled with biblical insight and rooted in mainstream Christian thought.

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