Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 4:35

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing - Are regarded as nothing in comparison with him. Compare Isaiah 40:15, note 17, note. Precisely the same sentiment occurs in Isaiah which is expressed here: “All nations before him are as nothing; and they are accounted unto him less than nothing and vanity.”

And he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven - In the host of heaven - בחיל bechēyol - Greek, “in the power of heaven,” ἐν τῇ, δυνάμει en tē dunamei The Chaldee word means properly strength, might, valor; and it is then applied to an army as possessing strength, or valor, or force. It is here applied to the inhabitants of heaven, probably considered as an army or host, of which God is the head, and which he leads forth or marshals to execute his puroses. In Daniel 3:20, the word is rendered “army.” The sentiment here is, that in respect to the inhabitants of heaven, represented as organized or marshalled, God does his own pleasure. An intimation of his will is all that is needful to control them. This sentiment is in accordance with all the statements in the Scripture, and is a point of theology which must enter into every just view of God. Thus in the Lord‘s prayer it is implied: “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” So Ephesians 1:11 - “Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” In heaven the will of God is accomplished in the most strict and absolute sense, for his will is law, and the only law to all the dwellers there. The obedience is as entire as if the will of each one of the dwellers there were but a form or manifestation of the will of God itself.

And among the inhabitants of the earth - This cannot mean, even as understood by Nebuchadnezzar, that the will of God is actually done among the inhabitants of the earth in the same sense, and to the same extent, as among those who dwell in heaven. His design was, undoubtedly, to assert the supremacy and absolute control of God; a fact that had been so strikingly illustrated in his own case. The sentiment expressed by Nebuchadnezzar is true in the following respects:

(1) That man has no power to prevent the fulfillment of the Divine purposes.

(2) That God will accomplish his design in all things, whatever opposition man may make.

(3) That he has absolute control over every human being, and over all that pertains to anyone and everyone.

(4) That he will overrule all things so as to make them subservient to his own plans.

(5) That he will make use of men to accomplish his own purposes. Compare the note at Isaiah 10:7.

(6) That there is a great and glorious scheme of administration which God is carrying out by the instrumentality of men.

And none can stay his hand - literally, “none can smite upon his hand” (Gesenius, “Lex.”); that is, none can restrain his hand. The language is taken, says Bertholdt, from the custom of striking children upon the hand when about to do anything wrong, in order to restrain them. The phrase is common in the Targums for to restrain, to hinder. The Arabs have a similar expression in common use. See numerous instances of the use of the word מחא mechâ' in the sense of restrain or prohibit, in Buxtorf. - “Lex. Chal.” The truth taught here is, that no one has power to keep back the hand of God when it is put forth to accomplish the purposes which he intends to execute; that is, he will certainly accomplish his own pleasure.

Or say unto him, What doest thou? - A similar expression occurs in 2 Samuel 16:10: “So let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?” Also in Job 9:12: “Behold, he taketh away: Who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?” See the note at that passage. The meaning here is plain. God is supreme, and will do his pleasure in heaven and in earth. The security that all will be done right is founded on the perfection of his nature; and that is ample. Mysterious though his ways may seem to us, yet in that perfection of his nature we have the fullest assurance that no wrong will be done to any of his creatures. Our duty, therefore, is calm submission to his holy will, with the deep conviction that whatever God does will yet be seen to be right.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Pride and self-conceit are sins that beset great men. They are apt to take that glory to themselves which is due to God only. While the proud word was in the king's mouth, the powerful word came from God. His understanding and his memory were gone, and all the powers of the rational soul were broken. How careful we ought to be, not to do any thing which may provoke God to put us out of our senses! God resists the proud. Nebuchadnezzar would be more than a man, but God justly makes him less than a man. We may learn to believe concerning God, that the most high God lives for ever, and that his kingdom is like himself, everlasting, and universal. His power cannot be resisted. When men are brought to honour God, by confession of sin and acknowledging his sovereignty, then, and not till then, they may expect that God will honour them; not only restore them to the dignity they lost by the sin of the first Adam, but add excellent majesty to them, from the righteousness and grace of the Second Adam. Afflictions shall last no longer than till they have done the work for which they were sent. There can be no reasonable doubt that Nebuchadnezzar was a true penitent, and an accepted believer. It is thought that he did not live more than a year after his restoration. Thus the Lord knows how to abase those that walk in pride, but gives grace and consolation to the humble, broken-hearted sinner who calls upon Him.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 180

Cooranbong, N. S. W.,

December 12, 1899

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Ellen G. White
Conflict and Courage, 253.1

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Daniel 4:35. CC 253.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 162


Extract from a letter written in 1898 from Cooranbong, New South Wales.—My brother, the Lord God of Israel must be your counselor. Satan has come down with great power to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Lean hard on Christ. You have worked untiringly to bring about good results. Do not now make mistakes. Never, never seek to remove one landmark that the Lord has given His people. The truth stands firmly established on the eternal Rock—a foundation that storm and tempest can never move. 8T 162.1

Remember that just as soon as you allow your influence to lead away from the straight and narrow path that the Lord has cast up for His people, your prosperity will cease; for God will not be your guide. Again and again the record of Nebuchadnezzar's life has been presented to me to present to you, that you may be warned not to trust in your own wisdom or to make flesh your arm. Do not lower the banner of truth or allow it to drop from your hands in order to unite with the solemn message for these last days anything that will tend to hide the peculiar features of our faith. 8T 162.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW), 1170

28. Associates Understood Faith—These faithful Hebrews possessed great natural ability and intellectual culture, and they occupied a high position of honor; but all these advantages did not lead them to forget God. All their powers were yielded to the sanctifying influence of divine grace. By their godly example, their steadfast integrity, they showed forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. In their wonderful deliverance was displayed, before that vast assembly, the power and majesty of God. Jesus placed Himself by their side in the fiery furnace, and by the glory of His presence convinced the proud king of Babylon that it could be no other than the Son of God. The light of heaven had been shining forth from Daniel and his companions, until all their associates understood the faith which ennobled their lives and beautified their characters (The Review and Herald, February 1, 1881). 4BC 1170.1

17. Men of Destiny Watched With Vigilance—The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. All kings, all nations, are His, under His rule and government. His resources are infinite. The wise man declares, “The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” 4BC 1170.2

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 88

Those who work in the large cities are to reach if possible to the high ones of the world, even to ruling powers. Where is our faith? God has presented to me the case of Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord worked with power to bring the mightiest king on the earth to acknowledge Him as King over all kings. He moved upon the mind of the proud king until Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged Him as “the most high God,” “whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.”—Letter 132, 1901. Ev 88.1

Solicit the Wealthy—Let those who labor in the interests of the cause of God lay the necessities of the work in _____ before the wealthy men of the world. Do this judiciously. Tell them what you are trying to do. Solicit donations from them. It is God's means which they have, means which should be used in enlightening the world. Ev 88.2

There are stored up in the earth large treasures of gold and silver. Men's riches have accumulated. Go to these men with a heart filled with love for Christ and suffering humanity, and ask them to help you in the work you are trying to do for the Master. As they see that you reveal the sentiments of God's benevolence, a chord will be touched in their hearts. They will realize that they can be Christ's helping hand by doing medical missionary work. They will be led to co-operate with God, to provide the facilities necessary to set in operation the work that needs to be done.—Manuscript 40, 1901. Ev 88.3

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