And at the end of the days - That is, the time designated; to wit, the “seven times” that were to pass over him.
I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven - Probably the first thing that indicated returning reason. It would not be unnatural, on the supposition that he was deprived of reason at the very instant that a voice seemed to speak to him from heaven, and that he continued wholly insane or idiotic during the long interval of seven years, that the first indication of returning reason would be his looking up to the place from where that voice seemed to come, as if it were still speaking to him. In some forms of mental derangement, when it comes suddenly upon a man, the effect is wholly to annihilate the interval, so that, when reason is restored, the individual connects in his recollection the last thing which occurred when reason ceased with the moment when it is restored. A patient had been long an inmate of an insane apartment in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a seaman, and had been injured on the head when his vessel was in a naval engagement, and it was supposed that his brain had been permanently affected.
For many years he was idiotic, and no hopes were entertained of his recovery. It was at length suggested that the operation of trepanning should be performed, and the very instant that the bone was raised from its pressure on the brain, he exclaimed, “Has she struck?” The whole interval of time was obliterated from his memory. Similar instances are mentioned by Dr. Abercrombie (“Intellectual Powers,” pp. 252,253). A man had been employed for a day with a beetle and wedges in splitting pieces of wood for erecting a fence. At night, before going home, he put the beetle and wedges into the hollow of an old tree, and directed his sons, who had been at work in an adjoining field, to accompany him next morning to assist in making the fence. In the night he became maniacal, and continued in a state of insanity for several years, during which time his mind was not occupied with any of the subjects with which he had been conversant when in health.
After several years his reason returned suddenly, and the first question he asked was, whether his sons had brought home the beetle and wedges. A lady had been intensely engaged for some time in a piece of needlework. Before she had completed it she became insane, and continued in that state for seven years; after which her reason returned suddenly. One of the first questions she asked related to her needlework, though she had never alluded to it, so far as was recollected, during her illness. Another lady was liable to periodical paroxysms of delirium, which often attacked her so suddenly that in conversation she would stop in the middle of a story, or even of a sentence, and branch off into the subject of hallucination. On the return of her reason, she would resume the subject of her conversation on which she was engaged at the time of the attack, beginning exactly where she had left off, though she had never alluded to it during her delirium; and on the next attack of delirium she would resume the subject of hallucination With which she had been occupied at the conclusion of the former paroxysm. A similar thing may have occurred to Nebuchadnezzar. He was deprived of reason by a sudden voice from heaven. Nothing was more natural, or would be more in accordance with the laws respecting insanity, than that at the very instant when reason returned he should look up to the place from where the voice had seemed to come.
And mine understanding returned unto me - This shows that he regarded himself as having been a maniac, though doubtless he was ignorant of the manner in which he had been treated. It would seem from the narrative, and from the probabilities of the case, that he found himself driven out from his palace, herding with cattle, and in the deplorable condition in regard to personal appearance which he here describes. Seeing this in fact, and recollecting the prediction, he could not doubt that this was the way in which he had been treated during the period of his distressing malady.
And I blessed the Most High - For his recovery, and in an humble acknowledgment of his dependence. “The acts of praise here referred to are the suitable returns of a mind truly penitent, and deeply sensible of its faults and of its mercies.” - Winkle.
And I praised and honored him - That is, I honored him by rendering thanks for his restoring mercy, by recognizing him as the true God, and by the acknowledging of the truth that he has a right to reign, and that his kingdom is over all.
That liveth for ever - He is the living God, as he is often styled, in contradistinction from all false gods - who have no life; and he lives forever in contradistinction to his creatures on earth, all of whom are destined to die. He will live when all on earth shall have died; he will live forever in the future, as he has lived forever in the past.
Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion - His empire extends through all time, and will continue while eternal ages roll away.
And his kingdom is from generation to generation - The generations of men change, and monarchs die. No human sovereign can extend his own power over the next generation, nor can he secure his authority in the person of his successors. But the dominion of God is unchanged, while the generations of men pass away; and when one disappears from the earth, he meets the next with the same claim to the right of sovereignty, with the same principles of government - carrying forward, through that and successive ages, the fulfillment of his great and glorious purposes.
At the end of seven years, God removed his afflicting hand, and the reason and understanding of the king returned to him again. His first act then was to bless the Most High. On this Matthew Henry has the following appropriate remark: “Those may justly be reckoned void of understanding that do not bless and praise God; nor do men ever rightly use their reason till they begin to be religions, nor live as men till they live to the glory of God. As reason is the substratum or subject of religion (so that creatures which have no reason are not capable of religion), so religion is the crown and glory of reason; and we have our reason in vain, and shall one day wish we had never had it, if we do not glorify God with it.”DAR 91.3
His honor and brightness returned to him again, his counselors sought unto him, and he was once more established in the kingdom. The promise was (verse 26) that his kingdom should be sure unto him. During his insanity, his son, Evil-merodach, is said to have reigned as regent in his stead. Daniel’s interpretation of the dream was doubtless well understood throughout the palace, and was probably more or less the subject of conversation. Hence the return of Nebuchadnezzar to his kingdom must have been anticipated, and looked for with interest. Why he was permitted to make his home in the open field in so forlorn a condition, instead of being comfortably cared for by the attendants of the palace, we are not informed. It is supposed that he dexterously escaped from the palace, and eluded all search.DAR 92.1
The affliction had its designed effect. The lesson of humility was learned. He did not forget it with returning prosperity. He was ready to acknowledge that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will; and he sent forth through all his realm a royal proclamation, containing an acknowledgment of his pride, and a manifesto of praise and adoration to the King of heaven.DAR 92.2
This is the last Scripture record we have of Nebuchadnezzar. This decree is dated in the authorized version, says Dr. Clarke, 563 B. C., one year before Nebuchadnezzar’s death; though some place the date of this decree seventeen years before his death. Be this as it may, it is probable that he did not again relapse into idolatry, but died in the faith of the God of Israel.DAR 92.3
Thus closed the life of this remarkable man. With all the temptations incident to his exalted position as king, may we not suppose that God saw in him honesty of heart, integrity, and purity of purpose, which he could use to the glory of his name? Hence his wonderful dealings with him, all of which seem to have been designed to wean him from his false religion, and attach him to the service of the true God. We have, first, his dream of the great image, containing such a valuable lesson for the people of all coming generations. Secondly, his experience with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in reference to his golden image, wherein he was again led to an acknowledgment of the supremacy of the true God. And lastly, we have the wonderful incidents recorded in this chapter, showing the still unceasing efforts of the Lord to bring him to a full acknowledgment of himself. And may we not hope that the most illustrious king of the first prophetic kingdom, the head of gold, may at last have part in that kingdom before which all earthly kingdoms shall become as chaff, and the glory of which shall never dim?DAR 92.4
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 162.2Read in context »
This chapter is based on Daniel 4.
Exalted to the pinnacle of worldly honor, and acknowledged even by Inspiration as “a king of kings” (Ezekiel 26:7). Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless at times had ascribed to the favor of Jehovah the glory of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. Such had been the case after his dream of the great image. His mind had been profoundly influenced by this vision and by the thought that the Babylonian Empire, universal though it was, was finally to fall, and other kingdoms were to bear sway, until at last all earthly powers were to be superseded by a kingdom set up by the God of heaven, which kingdom was never to be destroyed. PK 514.1Read in context »
Paul says further: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Verses 14, 15. One of the lessons that we are to learn in the school of Christ is that the Lord's love for us is far greater than that of our earthly parents. We are to have unquestioning faith and perfect confidence in Him. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Verses 16, 17. 8T 126.1
May the Lord help you, as a diligent student in the school of Christ, to learn to lay your burdens on Jesus. And if you are free in His love, you will look above and away from these annoying trials. Think of what Jesus has endured for you, and never forget that it is part of the legacy that we have received as Christians, to be partakers with Him of His sufferings, that we may be partakers with Him of His glory. 8T 126.2Read in context »