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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 4

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-37

The three first verses of this chapter in Theodotian and the Vulgate, are appended to the third chapter; but seem to stand better as in the English, being the introduction to the dream.

Daniel 4:5 . The visions of my head troubled me. The king believed that his dream was portentous of future events.

Daniel 4:7 . The magicians, as in Daniel 2:2.

Daniel 4:10 . I saw a tree. See the dream of Cambyses, in the note on Isaiah 4:2.

Daniel 4:13 . A watcher and a holy one came down from heaven. The high and holy Angel, who had, at the head of the heavenly hosts, a celestial charge of the Chaldaic empire. He is called the holy one, indicating that God does not allow Satan to rule the world.

Daniel 4:14 . Hew down the tree. This shows that the fall of the Chaldaic empire, as well as the fall of Zedekiah’s kingdom, had its sentence first pronounced in heaven. Ezekiel 17:22. This Angel led the Persian armies against Babylon to destroy her empire.

Daniel 4:25 . Seven times shall pass over thee. Seven years of melancholy, the punishment for his boundless pride, in aspiring at divine honours: Daniel 4:30-31. This fever lurking in the blood, has a strange effect in exciting the passions of pride, fury, or despair.

Daniel 4:27 . Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. By the exercise of all those virtues which are the reverse of his former conduct; for what is repentance worth without its fruits. Who but Daniel durst have said these words to king Nebuchadnezzar?


“How soon may the minds of the greatest men be terrified: Daniel 4:4. Nebuchadnezzar had made many successful campaigns, obtained great glory, made his bed easy, and was well guarded; yet he was terrified. Of what little value are riches and honour, when they cannot secure peace of mind, nor relieve it when God is a terror to it. It is our duty to inform others of God’s dealings with us, as far as may be for his glory and their good. All countries no doubt heard of Nebuchadnezzar’s distraction; but he lets them know that the hand of God was in it, and bears testimony to his power and righteousness. Thus should we embrace every opportunity of glorifying God, and celebrating his excellencies; and not be ashamed to mention even those dispensations which are most afflictive and mortifying to us.

Daniel’s excellent counsel to Nebuchadnezzar, should be attended to by all those who have been unjust or uncharitable, viz. to break off their sins, to cease to do evil, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; to be as forward to show mercy as they have been to oppress or bear hard upon others. This may remove temporal judgments, at least prevent or defer them; but it is absolutely necessary in order to secure everlasting tranquility.

What a dreadful case is it to be deprived of reason! The most afflictive of all temporal judgments. The poorest beggar in his kingdom was more honourable and happy than this insane king. How thankful should we be for the continuance of our reason, and how careful never to injure it by intemperance, by violent passions, by anxious cares about the world, or by suffering our faculties to rust. Let us tenderly pity those who are deprived of reason, never censure them, or make a jest of them, but contribute all in our power for their relief.

Observe how easily God can humble the proudest of men. This is one of the finest, most mortifying, and instructive lessons to human vanity, that ever was exhibited; and a glorious lasting proof of God’s supremacy, almighty power, and hatred of pride. Let us attend to those instructions which Nebuchadnezzar hath given us, and remember that the heavens rule, and the Most High governs; that he will abase those that walk in pride, and that none can ever harden themselves against him and prosper.”

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Daniel 4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/daniel-4.html. 1835.
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