What does Daniel 4:34 mean?
ESV: At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
NIV: At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
NASB: But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
CSB: But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified him who lives forever: For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.
NLT: 'After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.
KJV: And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
After a lengthy time of madness (Daniel 4:33), King Nebuchadnezzar finally came to a humble admission that God—not the king of Babylon—was sovereign and supreme (Daniel 4:22–27). Even this realization was part of God's merciful work on Nebuchadnezzar's behalf. An animal has no capacity to acknowledge God or to praise Him, but humans were created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). Despite that image being marred by sin, people can still be restored to God and then worship Him (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1–10). With his acknowledgement of the Most High, Nebuchadnezzar's sanity was restored.
This humiliating experience proved effective. Restored, Nebuchadnezzar spoke with respect for God, whom he praised and honored as everlasting (Psalm 90:2). He absorbed the intended lesson of his judgment, which was submission to the Lord (Daniel 4:35). Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar's praise means he renounced his pagan idolatry. Some commentators believe he came to genuine faith in the One True God, the "Most High." Scripture does not give enough detail to say, for certain. Nebuchadnezzar's successor certainly did not follow a faithful path (Daniel 5:22–23).
Daniel 4:28–37 records the fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which Daniel had faithfully interpreted (Daniel 4:4–27). As God said would happen, the king's arrogance is judged with humiliation and insanity. Only when Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the supremacy of the Lord is he restored to his right mind. The passage returns to where the chapter began: with the king's praise for God's power and majesty (Daniel 4:1–3).
Daniel 4 opens with a proclamation in which Babylon's king, Nebuchadnezzar, declares what God has done for him. He recalls yet another frightening dream (Daniel 2:1). He sees a tree cut down to the stump, and a man made like an animal. Once again, only Daniel could interpret the dream's meaning. The news is terrible: the king will be driven insane for "seven periods of time" until he learns humility. A year later, this happens. Also as promised, Nebuchadnezzar humbles himself and regains his senses and his throne. He praises God for this miraculous work.
Daniel chapter 1 depicted Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar as powerful. Chapter 2 showed his vindictive nature. His extreme vanity was on display in chapter 3. Daniel chapter 4 records his submission, repentance, and return to prominence as the King of Babylon, all under God's humiliating judgment. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 continue to speak about Gentile rulers and related prophecies.
The book of Daniel contains famous Old Testament stories and prophecies. Daniel was taken from the Israelite people and made an advisor for a conquering empire. He demonstrates faithfulness and wisdom during many years serving in this role. Though Daniel does not deliver a public message, Jesus refers to him as a "prophet" (Matthew 24:15). The first portion of the book mostly describes Daniel's interpretations of dreams and other events. The second portion looks ahead to the end times. Daniel is classified in English Bibles as a "major" prophet, meaning the book is relatively long and the content has broad implications. The book of Revelation echoes and expands on many of the same themes.
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