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Daniel 4:18-19a meaning

Daniel is hesitant to tell the king the interpretation of his dream.

King Nebuchadnezzar had another dream that disturbed him and that his wise men were unable to interpret. So he called on Daniel and Daniel once again comes into the king's presence to explain to him the meaning of his dream.

This is the dream which King Nebuchadnezzar had seen. Now he turns to Daniel, calling him his Babylonian name, Belteshazzar, asking him to tell its interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar had already consulted the wise men of his kingdom and none of them were able to make known to him the interpretation. Daniel had already interpreted one of the king's dreams and the king recognized that Daniel was able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in him.

Then Daniel, whose Babylonian name is Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts alarmed him. It seems that Daniel already knew that the dream was not good news for Nebuchadnezzar so he was hesitant to explain it to him. Despite Daniel's position of prominence in the kingdom, one word from the king and Daniel could be killed. But Nebuchadnezzar reassured Daniel, he responded and said, "Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you." He is saying that despite bad news he wants Daniel to proceed with his interpretation, he just desires to know what it means.

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Daniel 4:19b-23 meaning

Daniel begins interpreting the king’s dream.

King Nebuchadnezzar had another dream that disturbed him and that his wise men were unable to interpret. So he called on Daniel. Daniel was hesitant to interpret the dream seeing that it was bad news for the king. King Nebuchadnezzar has assured Daniel that even if his interpretation of the dream is bad news, he wants to hear it, and now Daniel begins explaining the meaning.

Belteshazzar (Daniel) replied, 'My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your adversaries!' It seems that Daniel had sympathy for the king and was sorry to tell him the bad news. The tree that the king saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky lodged represented the king. He had become great and had grown strong. His kingdom was large and powerful, providing for all in his domain with food and wealth. His majesty had become great and reached to the sky and his dominion to the end of the earth. The good news of the power and glory of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom came first. But bad news follows.

The king saw an angelic watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven decreeing by order of the Most High what would happen to that the mighty tree, representing Nebuchadnezzar and his mighty rule. The angel said, "Chop down the tree and destroy it; yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze around it in the new grass of the field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him." Before Daniel goes into the details of the meaning of this declaration, it must have been apparent to the king that something very bad would happen to him and his rule.

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