The prophet understood God’s ways. Through the
reading of his OT Scriptures, Daniel would have been familiar
with the prophet Jonah’s testimony concerning God’s character,
in particular His willingness to save even the Ninevites, a
most despicable people.
I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God,
slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents
from sending calamity (Jonah 4:2).
decree of the Most High God, in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, is
not fixed in stone. God’s character does not change; but
His holiness and love necessitate a change in plans when
man changes his heart. Therefore, Daniel warns the king
that it is better to repent today rather than waiting
Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice:
Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your
wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that
then your prosperity will continue.
“Renounce your sins by doing what is right,” literally
reads, “break off your sins by righteousness.”
Significantly, the word “break off” is the same word used
later in the Targums and in the Syriac language to denote
In OT terms, Daniel advises the king to repent and
receive God’s salvation. The king is to practice
righteousness, the chief virtue of a good ruler. Faith and
righteousness are manifested by good works. God’s
fundamentals never change: “Faith without deeds is dead”
Over the centuries, God’s prophets, apostles and
preachers have urged people to repent and believe, not
tomorrow—but today. For instance, Paul writes in 2
As God's fellow-workers we urge you not to receive
God's grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor
I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I
tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day
The king took the hard road to humility. Like so many
others, the stubborn-hearted king chose procrastination.
Bad choice! When “the Hound of Heaven” picks up the scent
and seeks, He is tenacious. God’s patience with
Nebuchadnezzar ran out one year after the king dreamed the
dream of a tree, heard its interpretation and Daniel’s
call for repentance.