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*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Daniel 4:28-33 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Daniel 4:28
  • Daniel 4:29
  • Daniel 4:30
  • Daniel 4:31
  • Daniel 4:32
  • Daniel 4:33

All that Daniel predicted would happen to Nebuchadnezzar is fulfilled.

Daniel just interpreted the king’s dream and told him what would happen to him if he did not change his ways, and all this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. We find out that there was a period of twelve months between Daniel interpreting the dream and all of this occurring.

Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. As we learned from his dream, his rule was mighty and his kingdom great, the beauty of Babylon was renowned throughout the ancient world. The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ The king had already built a statue of himself and commanded his people to worship it in Daniel 3. He thought very highly of himself and attributed all of his wealth and power to his own doing. But God has already decreed that he will teach the king who is really in control.

While the word of Nebuchadnezzar’s boast was in the his mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you.’ Despite Daniel’s pleading with the king to change his ways, he chose to continue glorifying himself rather than God. As predicted, he was driven away from mankind.

The king lived as an animal for seven periods of time until he would recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes. This humiliation did not happen gradually, but immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. Not only does he live like an animal during this time, he begins to resemble an animal.

Nebuchadnezzar believed he was king because he was mighty and better than everyone, but he will come to know that the Most High rules and chooses who will be in control. Other passages of Scripture echo this idea, that the governing authority is in place by God, “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1). God had given Nebuchadnezzar authority as king and he could just as easily take that away. It is interesting that God chose to take away Nebuchadnezzar’s power in this way rather than by being conquered by another enemy. It seems to be so that Nebuchadnezzar has no doubt that it was God, and not some other mighty ruler, that has the power and authority to grant kingship and to take it away.

Because of his pride, Nebuchadnezzar’s throne and glory were taken away from him in an instant by God, who is over all.

Biblical Text

28 “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. 29 Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ 31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, 32 and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ 33 Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.




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