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
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;
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