As we continued our series on the book of Daniel this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I turned our attention to chapter 4, where Daniel interprets another of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. This is an interesting passage, and has been debated in its historicity. In the Dead Sea Scrolls the “Prayer of Nabonidus” (4Q242) echoes this chapter, both confirming the authenticity of the tone of Daniel 4, yet also raising some questions about the historical framework presented there. Nabonidus came to the throne in Babylon after overthrowing Neriglissar, who succeeded Amel-Marduk (after his execution) as king. Nabonidus ruled the empire for some time from Teima, a site in present day Saudi Arabia, while his son, Belshazzar (see Daniel 5), ruled in the city of Babylon.
Beyond the historical issues, there is a clear theme in the book of Daniel of God being the One who rules over all kingdoms and all kings. In this instance, the king learns that lesson, while in Daniel 5 the king pushes back against it to his harm. Even in the kingdoms of our own lives, we have the opportunity to either submit to God as ruler of all or push back against His rule.
“How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3)
A Terrifying Ruler Left Terrified (Daniel 4:1-7)
A Confusing Dream with a Confounding Interpretation (Daniel 4:8-27)
A Self-Centered King Dethroned and Reoriented (Daniel 4:28-36)
God Rules All and Will Set a Ruler in Place (Daniel 4:37, 1-3, 17)