Daniel 4:4
I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
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(4) Flourishing.—A word generally employed to signify the growth of trees. Here, no doubt, it is suggested by the dream which follows, and is for that reason selected by Daniel. It may be observed that the LXX. version here, as in Daniel 3:1, gives the eighteenth year as the date.

My palace.—See Layard’s Nineveh and Babylon, p. 506.

Daniel 4:4-5. I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest, &c. — Nebuchadnezzar, “for the extent of his dominion, and the great revenues it supplied; for his unrivalled success in war; for the magnificence and splendour of his court; and for his stupendous works and improvements at Babylon, was the greatest monarch, not only of his own times, but incomparably the greatest the world had ever seen. At a time when he was at rest in his house, and flourishing in his palace;” having lately subjected to his empire Syria, Phenicia, Judea, Egypt, and Arabia, and returned to Babylon inflated with his success and victories, and being in the meridian of his glory, and thinking of nothing but enjoying in peace the fruit of his conquests, he was unexpectedly alarmed, and thrown into trouble and distress, by a prophetic dream which he here records. Thus God’s particular judgments often resemble the general one in their coming suddenly and unexpectedly, when men indulge themselves in carnal security.

4:1-18 The beginning and end of this chapter lead us to hope, that Nebuchadnezzar was a monument of the power of Divine grace, and of the riches of Divine mercy. After he was recovered from his madness, he told to distant places, and wrote down for future ages, how God had justly humbled and graciously restored him. When a sinner comes to himself, he will promote the welfare of others, by making known the wondrous mercy of God. Nebuchadnezzar, before he related the Divine judgments upon him for his pride, told the warnings he had in a dream or vision. The meaning was explained to him. The person signified, was to be put down from honour, and to be deprived of the use of his reason seven years. This is surely the sorest of all temporal judgments. Whatever outward affliction God is pleased to lay upon us, we have cause to bear it patiently, and to be thankful that he continues the use of our reason, and the peace of our consciences. Yet if the Lord should see fit by such means to keep a sinner from multiplying crimes, or a believer from dishonouring his name, even the dreadful prevention would be far preferable to the evil conduct. God has determined it, as a righteous Judge, and the angels in heaven applaud. Not that the great God needs the counsel or concurrence of the angels, but it denotes the solemnity of this sentence. The demand is by the word of the holy ones, God's suffering people: when the oppressed cry to God, he will hear. Let us diligently seek blessings which can never be taken from us, and especially beware of pride and forgetfulness of God.I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest - Some manuscripts in the Greek add here, "In the eighteenth year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar said." These words, however, are not in the Hebrew, and are of no authority. The word rendered "at rest" (שׁלה shelēh) means, to be secure; to be free from apprehension or alarm. He designs to describe a state of tranquility and security. Greek, "at peace" - εἰρηνέυων eirēneuōn: enjoying peace, or in a condition to enjoy peace. His wars were over; his kingdom was tranquil; he had built a magnificent capital; he had gathered around him the wealth and the luxuries of the world, and he was now in a condition to pass away the remainder of his life in ease and happiness.

In mine house - In his royal residence. It is possible that the two words here - house and palace - may refer to somewhat different things: the former - house - more particularly to his own private family - is domestic relations as a man; and the latter - palace - to those connected with the government who resided in his palace. If this is so, then the passage would mean that all around him was peaceful, and that from no source had he any cause of disquiet. In his own private family - embracing his wife and children; and in the arrangements of the palace - embracing those who had charge of public affairs, he had no cause of uneasiness.

And flourishing in my palace - Greek, εὐθηνῶν ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου μου euthēnōn epi tou thronou mou - literally, "abundant upon my throne;" that is, he was tranquil, calm, prosperous on his throne. The Chaldee word (רענן ra‛ănan) means, properly, "green;" as, for example, of leaves or foliage. Compare the Hebrew word in Jeremiah 17:8; "He shall be as a tree planted by the waters - her leaf shall be green." Deuteronomy 12:2, "under every green tree," 2 Kings 16:4. A green and flourishing tree becomes thus the emblem of prosperity. See Psalm 1:3; Psalm 37:35; Psalm 92:12-14. The general meaning here is, that he was enjoying abundant prosperity. His kingdom was at peace, and in his own home he had every means of tranquil enjoyment.

4. I was … at rest—my wars over, my kingdom at peace.

flourishing—"green." Image from a tree (Jer 17:8). Prosperous (Job 15:32).

At rest when his wars were over, which were great, and he victorious. Then I sat down quiet, enjoying the spoils of my enemies.

In my palace; which was most magnificent, there I lived in all delights and grandeur.

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house,.... Being returned from his wars, and having obtained victory over the Egyptians, and other nations, and made himself an universal monarch; and now was in entire rest from all his enemies; enjoying himself in his family, and among his courtiers, and nothing to disturb him from any quarter. Josephus (b) says this was a little after the history of the former chapter; but it must be many years after that: he reigned forty five years; one year after this dream, it came to pass; it was seven years fulfilling, and he lived after his restoration a year or two; so that this must be about the thirty fifth year of his reign. Bishop Usher (c) and Mr. Whiston (d) place it in the year of the world 3434 A.M., and before Christ 570; and so Dr. Prideaux (e). Mr. Bedford (f) puts it in the year 569:

and flourishing in my palace: in health of body, in rigour of mind, abounding with riches; indulging himself in all sensual pleasures; adored by his subjects, caressed by his courtiers, and in fame throughout the whole world: a new palace was built by him, of which Daniel 4:30, being, as Dr. Prideaux (g) says, four times as large as the old one; eight miles in compass; surrounded with three walls; and had hanging gardens in it, he made for his wife.

(b) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 10. c. 10. sect. 6. (c) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3434. (d) Chronological Tables, cent. 10. (e) Connexion, p. 92. (f) Scripture Chronology, p. 710. (g) Connexion, &c. par. 1, B. 2. p. 102.

I Nebuchadnezzar was at {a} rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

(a) There was no trouble that might cause me to dream, and therefore it came only from God.

4. at rest] or at ease, prosperous. The word suggests the idea of contentment and security,—in a good or a bad sense, according to the context (Job 16:12, Psalm 122:6; Job 12:6, Psalm 73:12).

flourishing] The word is applied properly to a tree, and means spreading, luxuriant (Deuteronomy 12:2; 1 Kings 14:23, al.). A.V., R.V., ‘green,’ which is correct only in so far as a luxuriant tree is also commonly a ‘green’ one: it is used figuratively of persons, as here, in Psalm 92:14 (cf. Psalm 52:8).

4–18. Nebuchadnezzar describes his dream, which, as the wise men of Babylon were unable to interpret it, he laid before Daniel.

Verses 4, 5. - I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. In the Aramaic text there is what may be regarded either as a play on words of the nature of rhyme, or the traces of a doublet. The Septuagint begins the chapter with this verse, as does the Massoretic text, but further appends a date, "In the eighteenth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar said, I was at peace in my house, and established upon my throne: I saw a vision, and I was awestruck, and fear fell upon me." Theodotion differs from this and also from the Massoretic text, and renders, "I Nebuchadnezzar was flourishing (εὐθηνῶν) in my house, and was prospering (εὐθαλῶν)." The similarity in sound between εὐθηνῶν and εὐθαλῶν may have had to do with the rendering. It will be noted that this is further from the Massoretic recension than the Septuagint. The Peshitta repeats the idea of rest, "I Nebuchadnezzar was at peace (shala) in my house, and was resting (reeh) in my palace." The Massoretic is supported by the Septuagint, and, therefore, strong. The date in the Septuagint, however, may be questioned. The eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar was that preceding the capture of Jerusalem, which, according to Jeremiah 52:12, happened in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. In the twenty-ninth verse of the same chapter we have an account of the carrying away of prisoners by Nebuchadnezzar in his eighteenth year, in a passage omitted from the LXX., in a way that makes it probable that, if this passage be genuine, the one is according to the Jewish, the other according to the Babylonian mode of reckoning. If that is so, the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar would mean the year of the capture of Jerusalem. If this date had, however, been correct, something about the coincidence would have been mentioned. Had this book been written to encourage the Jews in their conflict against Epiphanes, it would have been mentioned that Nebuchadnezzar's madness occurred after he had captured Jerusalem. At the same time, a later scribe would have a tendency to insert such a date, even if no date had been there, or at all events to modify any other date into this. Thus we find in the Septuagint ver. 15 (Massoretic 19, Authorized Version 24) a reference to the capture of Jerusalem. Another cause would tend to make "eighteenth year" liable to occur at this point, it is that the previous chapter in the Septuagint begins with assigning the same date. The change must have been made before the exemplar from which the Septuagint translator made his translation had bern transcribed, as it appears in Paulus Tellensis. Ewald has suggested "the twenty-eighth year" - in many respects a probable suggestion. As Ewald has pointed out, the proclamation would have a date. Even if, as Ewald maintained, it was the work of a later time than the days of Nebuchadnezzar, yet so skilful a writer could not fail to recognize the necessity. The Septuagint Version does not give the beginning of this narrative the form of a proclamation. The attitude of the king is that of rest after the toils of long wars - an attitude that could not be attributed to him when he had not reached the middle of his reign. The conquest of Egypt followed the capture of Jerusalem. The difference between "ten" and "twenty" in Aramaic, as in Hebrew, is comparatively little. עֲשַׂר ('asar) is "ten," עְשְׂרִין ('asareen) is "twenty." As the "ten" is the final word in the numerical statement, it would be modified asaratha, whereas the word "twenty" is frequently in similar circumstances unmodified; we should then have 'asoreen. It may have been even later, but if the real year had been "thirty-eighth," the modification of the words would require to be greater. Ewald's further consideration, that as "thirty-eighth" would only leave five years till the forty-three years of Nebuchadnezzar were completed, and therefore would not leave space for the seven years of madness, is of less force, as we are not obliged to take "times" as "years" in vers. 16 and 32. The king had received tokens of Divine power in his past history, and had in a sort acknowledged God but still he had not surrendered his pride. The idea that in this there is a reference to Epiphanes seems far-fetched. The only reason assigned by Hitzig and Behrmann is that the Antiochian mob nicknamed him Ἐπιμανής. We have no reason to believe that this was a common nickname, even in Antioch, and there is not very much likelihood of the nickname spreading to Judaea. There is absolutely no evidence that Antiochus ever received the nickname "Epimanes." The passage appealed to is usually Polybius, 26:10, but in that passage there is nothing of the kind said. This portion of Polybius has come down to us only in quotation in Athenaeus' 'Deipnosophistae' - a collection of odds and ends, strung together by a dialogue. In this book, twice is this portion of Polybius quoted, and in introducing this quotation in beth cases the author refers to the nickname "Epimanes." In the one case, 5:21 (193), he says generally "Antiochus, surnamed (κληθείς) Epiphanes, but called (ὀνομασθείς) Epimanes, for his deeds." So far as this goes, Antiochus may have been generally nicknamed Epimanes; but it is to be noted that this is not said, and Polybius is not given as the authority. In the other passage the aspect of things is changed. In 10:53 (439) Athenaeus gives the reference to the book of Polybius, and says, speaking of Antiochus, "Polybius calls him Epimanes on account of his deeds." Here Athenaeus says that Polybius himself called Antiochus Epimanes, not that anybody else did so. He does not say that Polybius says that Antiochus "was called Epimanes," but that "Polybius calls him (Πολύβιος δ αὐτὸν Ἐπιμανῆ καὶ οὐκ Ἐπιφανῆ)." He further gives no indication where Polybius says this. As there is no evidence for the nickname, there is no evidence that this incident was invented to suit this non-existent nickname. The picture of Nebuchadnezzar at rest in his palace is as unlike as possible the uneasy restless demeanour of Antiochus, staggering through the streets more or less drunk, joining with any brawlers he might come in contact with. If the writer of Daniel got the story of the madness from the nickname, he would not fail to get an account of the habits of the monarch, which led to the nickname being given. If he intended his picture of Nebuehadnezzar resting in his palace after his victorious career, with all the dignity of an Oriental monarch, to be recognized as a portrait of Antiochus roaming the streets with a set of drunken companions, the author of Daniel must have had singular ideas of portraiture. It would require a madness greater then Nebuchadnezzar's to believe it Daniel 4:4(Daniel 4:1)

With Daniel 4:1 (v. 4) Nebuchadnezzar begins the narration of his wonderful experience. When he was at rest in his palace and prospering, he had a dream as he lay upon his bed which made him afraid and perplexed. שׁלה, quiet, in undisturbed, secure prosperity. רענן, properly growing green, of the fresh, vigorous growth of a tree, to which the happiness and prosperity of men are often compared; e.g., in Psalm 52:10 (8), Psalm 92:12 (10). Here plainly the word is chosen with reference to the tree which had been seen in the dream. From this description of his prosperity it appears that after his victories Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed the fruit of his exploits, was firmly established on his throne, and, as appears from v. 26 (Daniel 4:29)f., a year after his dream could look with pleasure and pride on the completion of his splendid buildings in Babylon; and therefore this event belongs to the last half of his reign.

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