Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 4

Outline and Background

The King's Praise - Daniel 4:1-3

The King's Perplexity and Positiveness - Daniel 4:4-9

The King's Problem - Daniel 4:10-18

The King's Punishment - Daniel 4:19-26

The King's Procrastination - Daniel 4:27-29

The King's Pride and Perversion - Daniel 4:30-33

The King's Preservation - Daniel 4:34-37

Application and Typical Prophecies

The King's Perplexity and Positiveness - Daniel 4:4-9

In the thirty-fifth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar was at home in his palace, contented and prosperous. He had conquered and subjugated Syria, Phoenicia, Judah, Egypt, and Arabia. His song could have been “It Is Well With My Soul!” He possessed power, prestige, wealth and health.

After all is said and done, “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” asks the prophet (Jeremiah 17:9).

“No one” is the answer. However, the LORD searches the heart and all is not well with the king; he is puffed up with pride and at enmity with God. Therefore, Yahweh gives the monarch something to worry about—a perplexing dream of images and visions that terrify him. Based on his first dream, he must have known that it concerned him.

The unsaved king, still trusting in his gods, called for all the wise men of Babylon. Again, Daniel is a no show. This time he told the wise men the dream, but they admitted that they could not interpret it. No attempt is made to pull the wool over the eyes of this shrewd king. For all they
knew, he might have talked to Daniel and learned the correct interpretation, and now was testing them.

The king may have called these wise men instead of Daniel, desiring a positive and comforting interpretation. King Jehoshaphat knew that the prophet Micaiah would give him a negative prediction about going to war so he called four hundred prophets who told him what he wanted to hear (1 Kings 22). Nebuchadnezzar would have expected no less than a straightforward prediction from the prophet Daniel.

THE KING’S POSITIVENESS (4:8-9). Finally, Daniel came into his presence. Keep in mind that Nebuchadnezzar is giving his testimony. At this point in the testimony, he is still trusting in Marduk. Bel in Belteshazzar is an alias for Marduk. The name “Daniel” (God is Judge) must have unsettled the king.

The Aramaic ('elahh) corresponds to the Hebrew ('elowahh). Both terms are first person singular nouns and should be translated “God” instead of “gods” in Daniel 4:8, 9, 18; 5:11, 14.
Nebuchadnezzar observed the Spirit of the Holy God in Daniel. Some translators assumed that Nebuchadnezzar meant “the spirit of the holy gods.” This is unlikely, since no pagan worshipers claimed purity or holiness of their deities. In fact, just the opposite was believed. Since the
king was rehearsing his conversion, he was able to identify the Holy Spirit in Daniel as he wrote.

Based on more than thirty-five years of observations and interactions, Nebuchadnezzar was positive that Daniel could interpret his dream. This time images (mental pictures) and visions accompanied the dream, adding to his dismay.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

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Life of the Apostle Paul

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