Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Daniel
Book: Daniel
Chapter: 4

Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the power of Jehovah. (1-18)
Daniel interprets his Dream. (19-27) The fulfilment of it.

1-18 The beginning and End of this Chapter lead us to Hope,
that Nebuchadnezzar was a monument of the power of Divine Grace,
and of the riches of Divine Mercy. After he was recovered from
his Madness, he told to distant places, and wrote down for
future ages, how God had justly humbled and graciously restored
him. When a sinner comes to himself, he will promote the welfare
of others, By making known the wondrous Mercy of God.
Nebuchadnezzar, before he related the Divine judgments upon him
for his pride, told the warnings he had in a Dream or Vision.
The meaning was explained to him. The person signified, was to
be Put down from honour, and to be deprived of the use of his
reason Seven years. This is surely the sorest of all temporal
judgments. Whatever outward affliction God is pleased to lay
upon us, we have cause to Bear it patiently, and to be thankful
that he continues the use of our reason, and the peace of our
consciences. Yet if the Lord should see fit By such means to
keep a sinner from multiplying crimes, or a believer from
dishonouring his name, even the dreadful prevention would be far
preferable to the evil conduct. God has determined it, as a
righteous Judge, and the angels in Heaven applaud. Not that the
great God needs the counsel or concurrence of the angels, but it
denotes the solemnity of this sentence. The demand is By the
Word of the holy ones, God's suffering people: when the
oppressed cry to God, he will hear. Let us diligently seek
blessings which can never be taken from us, and especially
beware of pride and forgetfulness of God.

19-27 Daniel was struck with amazement and terror at So heavy a
Judgment coming upon So great a Prince, and gives advice with
tenderness and respect. It is necessary, in Repentance, that we
not only cease to do evil, but learn to do good. Though it might
not wholly prevent the Judgment, yet the trouble may be longer
before it comes, or shorter when it does come. And Everlasting
misery will be escaped By all who repent and turn to God.

28-37 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.