The theme of this chapter is pride. It takes the from of a decree by Nebuchadnezzar announcing the strange dreams and visions he has seen, through which he has learnt the all-important lesson that ‘the Most high is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes’ (verse 25). It can be compared with Is. 14:8-17 and Ezek. 28:1-10, passages that in their turn look back to the basic sin of humanity (Gen. 3).
- How effective was the king’s experience in bringing him to humility? Contrast his attitude to God and confession of him in this chapter with his previous utterances in 2:47; 3:29. How would you define the change?
- What are the main themes of Daniel’s teaching in this situation? With verse 27, cf. Mic. 6:8.
- Verse 13. ; A messenger, a holy one’: i.e., an angelic figure who acted with the authority of God.
- Verse 33. The mental derangement, known as zoanthropy, lasted for a set period described as ‘seven times’ (verse 16). This could mean ‘seven years’ or simply; a substantial period of time’. In the apocryphal ‘Prayer of Nabonidus’, found at Qumran, it is recorded that King Nabonidus, a successor of Nebuchadnezzar, spent seven years of his reign in isolation at Teima because of some strange illness. So this chapter is not without parallel in ancient traditions.