Daniel 4: Dreams Dreamed and a King Restored

(37 verses,  7:15 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has a dream.  The dream is very difficult for him to understand.  He seeks meaning for it.  It is then fulfilled.


  • 4:1-3–Nebuchadnezzar seems to write a letter to all peoples, nations, and languages.
    • He wants the whole world to know what the One True God has done to him.
  • 4:4-18–Nebuchadnezzar has a dream.
    • He seeks understanding and yet none of the wise men of his gods can interpret the dream.  And so he calls Daniel.
      • In the service of the king, Daniel is named Belteshazzar.  Nebuchadnezzar knew that Daniel was special and so gave him the name of one of his gods.
    • The dream is first of a tree that is known in all the earth.  All animals of all the earth seek comfort and protection.
    • Then an angel comes down from heaven and makes the decrees that the tree shall be cut down.
      • The stump may remain; and the roots as well.
    • A man will then go mad and he will be cast out from among the people.  For a period of time, he will have the mind of an animal.
  • 4:19-27– Daniel interprets the dream.
    • And yet he is scared.  The dream is one of judgment against Nebuchadnezzar.
      • He is the tree that the whole world sees and many take refuge.  And yet because of his haughty pride and because of his unbelief in the One True God.  He will be knocked off of his high perch.
    • The Most High God will cause the great Nebuchadnezzar and to fall mightily.  He will be brought low and humbled.
    • Daniel lets Nebuchadnezzar know all of this and begs him to repent of his sin.
  • 4:28-33–A year latter nothing has changed and the dream becomes a reality.
    • Nebuchadnezzar hears a voice from heaven that he will be humbled.  He is then driven out from amongst the people and goes stark-raving mad.
  • 4:34-37–At the end of a certain appointed time (appointed by God) Nebuchadnezzar’s reason returns and he comes back to his senses.
    • At this, this pagan king has been humbled and restored.
    • He looks up to the heavens and confesses the God Daniel , Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be the One True God.


  • We see a few different themes running through this section.
    • The first is that the Lord uses evil unbelieving pagans to accomplish His will.  (This we have already seen in the previous chapters and in the book of Jeremiah).
    • Second, and this ties very closely with the first, God is in control over all things.  He has all things placed under His feet.  And so all of the mighty, honor, glory, majesty, and authority are His.  The kings of this world are nothing in and of themselves.
    • Third, the Lord desires the salvation of everyone.  He chastised Nebuchadnezzar in order to break him with the Law.  And yet the Gospel is always there.  The call to repentance is always there.  The stump, with its root, always remains.  And, in the end, it is the shoot from the stump of Jesse who delivers live, forgiveness, and salvation to all people.  Even to this tyrant Nebuchadnezzar.

Thoughts? Questions? Join the conversation in our facebook group.

Lord’s Blessings,
Rev. Eli Lietzau, Faith in Christ Lutheran Church, ABQ, New Mexico


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