What does Daniel 4:35 mean?
ESV: all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
NIV: All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
NASB: All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account, But He does according to His will among the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can fend off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
CSB: All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and he does what he wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can block his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"
NLT: All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’
KJV: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
NKJV: All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
Verse Commentary:
Nebuchadnezzar's brand-new faith in the "Most High" (Daniel 4:34) is not described in detail. It is possible he learned great humility without fully renouncing his belief in Babylonian idols. However, it is also possible that the king came to understand that only the One True God was worthy of worship. At the very least, Nebuchadnezzar's new perspective understood the truth that God is sovereign. In contrast to God, mankind is nothing. Indeed, no human being has life without Him. This fact will later be part of Daniel's scolding response to Nebuchadnezzar's successor, Belshazzar, who clearly lacked any faith in God (Daniel 5:18–22). Scripture speaks about God creating Adam from dust and instilling "the breath of life" (Genesis 2:7) into him. The apostle Paul declared at Athens that God "gives to all mankind life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:25).

The Babylonian king also confessed that God's will was certain to become reality. Personal experience (Daniel 4:28–34) proved that God could perform His will in Nebuchadnezzar's life. In addition, Nebuchadnezzar came to understand that God's will was beyond human skepticism. In his letter to the Romans, Paul said virtually the same thing. He declared, "But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?'" (Romans 9:20).
Verse Context:
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).
Chapter Summary:
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.
Chapter Context:
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.
Book Summary:
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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