|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:28-37 Pride and self-conceit are sins that beset great men. They are apt to take that glory to themselves which is due to God only. While the proud word was in the king's mouth, the powerful word came from God. His understanding and his memory were gone, and all the powers of the rational soul were broken. How careful we ought to be, not to do any thing which may provoke God to put us out of our senses! God resists the proud. Nebuchadnezzar would be more than a man, but God justly makes him less than a man. We may learn to believe concerning God, that the most high God lives for ever, and that his kingdom is like himself, everlasting, and universal. His power cannot be resisted. When men are brought to honour God, by confession of sin and acknowledging his sovereignty, then, and not till then, they may expect that God will honour them; not only restore them to the dignity they lost by the sin of the first Adam, but add excellent majesty to them, from the righteousness and grace of the Second Adam. Afflictions shall last no longer than till they have done the work for which they were sent. There can be no reasonable doubt that Nebuchadnezzar was a true penitent, and an accepted believer. It is thought that he did not live more than a year after his restoration. Thus the Lord knows how to abase those that walk in pride, but gives grace and consolation to the humble, broken-hearted sinner who calls upon Him.
Verse 36. - At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. As we have already mentioned, the verse in the Septuagint text which agrees to this is very brief, "At that time my kingdom was set up and my glory restored to me." It may be a condensation of some independent scribe, carried to a greater degree in the one case than the other. Only from the genesis of our Daniel, as we have imagined it, it would seem more probable that the briefer forms are the more primitive, and the longer the result of the expansion to be credited to imaginative copyists. In proof of this it is to be observed that neither Theodotion nor the Peshitta exactly represents the Massoretic text. Theodotion renders, "At that time my intellect (αἱ φρένες μου) was restored to me, and came to the glory of my king-dora, and my beauty ("form," ἡ μορφή μου) returned to me, and my rulers and nobles sought me, and I was confirmed upon my kingdom, and more abundant greatness was added unto me." The Peshitta differs somewhat from this, "And when my intellect returned to me, my nobles and my great army sought me, and to my kingdom was I restored, and its great inheritance was increased to me." The differences between these two and the Massoretic text are slight compared with those that separate any one of those from the Septuagint; yet starting with the Septuagint text, the others are easily reached by slightly varying additions. The Peshitta certainly more clearly portrays what seems likely to have taken place - first, a revolution during the king's madness, and a counter-revolution to restore him when his reason returned. If, however, Nebuchadnezzar was simply confined in a portion of the palace, then his nobles, on the news of his restoration, might seek unto him. None of the texts presents quite a self-consistent representation. If we could perfectly unravel the confusion of the texts which form our present Septuagint text, we should probably find one of them nearly self-consistent.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
At the same time my reason returned unto me,.... Or, "my understanding" (q); this he repeats, not only to express the certainty of it, but the sense he had of the greatness of the favour, and of which what he said at this time is a full proof:
and for the glory of my kingdom mine honour and brightness returned unto me: or "form" (r), as the Septuagint; his majestic form, that royal majesty, that appeared in his countenance formerly, returned again; which graced him as a king, and made for the glory of his kingdom, and the administration of his office. Jarchi renders it, "and to the glory of my kingdom I returned"; and to the same purpose the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions. This whole clause is wanting in the Syriac version. Jarchi interprets "brightness" of the form of his countenance; and Jacchiades of the light of it, the sparkling lustre and majesty of it. A strange change and alteration this!
And my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; who very likely had the administration of government in their hands during this time; and as the dream, and the interpretation, were publicly known, and they had seen the first part of it fulfilled in the king's madness and miserable state, they had reason to believe the latter part also, and therefore waited for the accomplishment of it at the end of seven years; when they sought for him, and sought unto him, very probably by the direction of Daniel, who was at the head of them; and this may be the reason why another prince was not set upon the throne, because they expected his return to it at the expiration of these years; and in the mean while held the reins of government in their own hands, but now delivered them up to him:
and I was established in my kingdom; as Daniel had told him, in the interpretation of his dream, that his kingdom should be sure to him, Daniel 4:26,
and excellent majesty was added unto me; or, more majesty (s); he had more honour and grandeur than he had before; more respect was shown him, and homage paid him: his latter end, like Job's, was greater than his beginning.
(q) "intellectus meus", Cocceius, Michaelis. (r) , Sept.; "forma mea", Tigurine version, "figura mea", Munster. (s) "magnificentia amplior", Pagninus, Montanus; "amplitudo major", Junius & Tremellius; "magnificentia major", Piscator; "majestas amplior seu major", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
36. An inscription in the East India Company's Museum is read as describing the period of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity [G. V. Smith]. In the so-called standard inscription read by Sir H. Rawlinson, Nebuchadnezzar relates that during four (?) years he ceased to lay out buildings, or to furnish with victims Merodach's altar, or to clear out the canals for irrigation. No other instance in the cuneiform inscriptions occurs of a king recording his own inaction.
my counsellors … sought unto me—desired to have me, as formerly, to be their head, wearied with the anarchy which prevailed in my absence (compare Note, see on Da 4:33); the likelihood of a conspiracy of the nobles is confirmed by this verse.
majesty was added—My authority was greater than ever before (Job 42:12; Pr 22:4; "added," Mt 6:33).
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