- The writer of this chapter is Nebuchadnezzar himself. The story of him is given in his own words. Here is the preface, verse 1-3.
- His dream, which puzzled the magicians, verse 4-18.
- The interpretation of it by Daniel, verse 19-27.
- The accomplishment of it, verse 28-33.
- Nebuchadnezzar's recovery and adoration of God, verse 34-37.
Nebuchadnezzar the king - Daniel here sets down another strange relation in the words of the king's own proclamation, sent to all his vast kingdoms, and questionless put into the king's archives, and court-rolls. Peace be multiplied - All health and happiness; this was always the form of salutation among the eastern nations.
How great are his signs - Nothing less than a real change of heart could cause such a confession as this! Nebuchadnezzar was now old, had reigned above forty years, and seen as much of the world as most men ever did. And yet never 'till now, did he admire surprizing events, as the signs and wonders of the high God!
Was at rest - When my wars were over, I sat down quiet, enjoying the spoils of my enemies.
A watcher - A holy angel, the instrument of God, to execute God's judgments which the angels watch constantly to perform.
Of the holy ones - The decree was God's, and the demand was of the holy angels; if God enact it, the angels had the dispensation of it put into their hands, and they all consent to it as a just judgment of God to be executed by them according to the will of God. The most high ruleth - Nebuchadnezzar and his flatterers conceded he was a god in earth unaccountable to any. But the great God will make all men know he rules all in earth too, and sets up at his pleasure whom he will, and plucks them down again.
Troubled him - Because he fore-saw such troubles coming upon the king for whom he had a high reverence. Let not the dream trouble thee - Speak out, let the event be what it will. Belteshazzar said - What address and how excellent a spirit is shewn in this short preface.
Reacheth unto heaven - Thou art high and mighty in the in majesty which God hath given thee. To the end of the earth - To the Caspian sea north, to the Euxine and Aegean sea west, to the Mediterranean south.
They shall drive thee - This was such a thundering peal, that it was wonderful the king could endure to hear it without fury boiling in his heart, yet the Lord with-held him. Seven times - Seven years. 'Till thou know - How hard is it for lofty princes to learn this lesson.
The heavens do rule - That God, who sits in heaven rules over all.
If it may be - Daniel was not certain of pardon for him, nor did he altogether despair of it. With what wisdom and tenderness does he speak: and yet with what plainness?
King Nebuchadnezzar - With how admirable propriety is the person changed here! These six verses speaking in the third person. But in the thirty fourth, Nebuchadnezzar having recovered his reason, speaks in the first person again.
Was driven from men - Being bereft of his understanding, as a man distracted he fled, and betook himself to the woods.
Mine understanding returned - God shined upon his soul, and gave him understanding to consider his sad state, and the causes of it. And honoured him - By prayer and praise, adoring the justice and mercy of God, giving God the glory of his sovereignty and unchangeableness.
As nothing - A due consideration of God's infinite greatness, makes the creature appear as nothing; creatures are nothing to help, nothing to hurt, nothing in duration, nothing solid and substantial, nothing without dependence, and influence, and support from God. His will - Being the Lord of hosts, and the only absolute and universal monarch of the world.
Brightness - I had again the majesty of a king in my countenance. I was established - In wonted power and place, owned and obeyed, by all. Majesty was added - He was the most august and magnificient prince on earth, much more so than before.
Now I praise - Thus can the Lord make the stoutest hearts to stoop, and do him homage. This doxology proceeds from his heart. Are truth - God is truth essentially: he is the rule and standard of truth, his words are truth, his ways are truth, and they are judgment: he is wise, and hath dealt justly with me for my pride, and in very faithfulness hath afflicted me, and in very tenderness hath restored me; I do, and ever shall adore him for it. Able to abase - As he hath declared upon me, in stupendous changes, which I proclaim to all the world. He had a just controversy with me, and I have no ground to quarrel with him, but to give him glory by this confession. What authority had any one to say, That this man "was no convert?" We can no more doubt of his salvation than of Solomon's.