Daniel 4:5
I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.
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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 saw a dream - That is, he saw a representation made to him in a dream. There is something incongruous in our language in saying of one that he saw a dream.

Which made me afraid - The fear evidently arose from the apprehension that it was designed to disclose some important and solemn event. This was in accordance with a prevalent belief then (comp. Daniel 2:1), and it may be added that it is in accordance with a prevalent belief now. There are few persons, whatever may be their abstract belief, who are not more or less disturbed by fearful and solemn representations passing before the mind in the visions of the night. Compare Job 4:12-17; Job 33:14-15. So Virgil (Aen. iv. 9):

"Anna soror, quae me suspensam insomnia terrent!"

And the thoughts upon my bed - The thoughts which I had upon my bed; to wit, in my dream.

And the visions of my head - What I seemed to see. The vision seemed to be floating around his head.

Troubled me - Disturbed me; produced apprehension of what was to come; of some great and important event.

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).

There is no felicity in this world lasting; a black cloud, big with storm and tempest, spoils the fairest sun-shine day. They that fear not God shall be frighted by him. God doth justly make epicures and tyrants uneasy in the midst of their fool’s paradise, where if the fool saith in his heart, There is no God, he shall soon find in his heart to think otherwise.

I saw a dream which made me afraid,.... Things were represented to his fancy in a dream, as if he saw them with his eyes, as the tree, its leaves and fruit; the shaking and cutting it down to the stump, &c.; and though he did not understand the meaning of it, yet he thought it portended some evil, which threw him into a panic; he was afraid that something bad would befall him, though he knew not what: thus God can make the minds of the greatest men uneasy amidst all their glory, pride, and pleasure:

and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me; the thoughts that came into his mind while he was upon his bed dreaming, and the things which were represented to his fancy in his brain, he remembered when awake, gave him a great deal of trouble and uneasiness, what should be the meaning of them, and what would be the issue and event of these things.

I saw a {b} dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

(b) This was another dream besides that which he saw of the four empires, for Daniel both declared what that dream was, and what it meant, and here he expounds this dream.

5. the thoughts] imaginations (without the art.); cf. R.V. marg. The word is a peculiar one, and is found only here in the O.T. The idea expressed by it is probably that of fancyings, imaginings (in Syr. it means a mirage); in the Targums it is used especially (like the cognate verb) of sinful imaginations, as Isaiah 57:17 (for the Heb. ‘way’), Ezekiel 38:10.

visions of my head] Daniel 2:28.

troubled me] alarmed me: cf. Daniel 4:19, Daniel 5:6; Daniel 5:10, Daniel 7:15; Daniel 7:28; also Daniel 5:9. The corresponding Hebrew word means to perturb or dismay.

Daniel 4:5(Daniel 4:2)

While in this state of security and peace, he was alarmed by a dream. The abrupt manner in which the matter is here introduced well illustrates the unexpected suddenness of the even itself. הרהרין, thoughts, from הרהר, to think, to meditate; in the Mishna and in Syr. images of the imagination; here, images in a dream. The words משׁכּבי על הרהרין are more properly taken as a passage by themselves with the verb, I had (I saw), supplied, than connected with the following noun to יבהלנּני. Regarding ראשׁי חזוי see under Daniel 2:28. On this matter Chr. B. Michaelis has well remarked: "Licet somnii interpretationem nondum intelligeret, tamen sensit, infortunium sibi isthoc somnio portendi."

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