The same hour was the thing fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen…
"After twelve months," saith Daniel, that is, twelve months after God had warned this king by dreams, and by Daniel, to repent his sins, he was strutting in his galleries, and thought what sin should be next, as though he had never heard of dream or prophet. By this computation of sin, wherein the months are observed so exactly, how long Nebuchadnezzar rebelled after he was warned, Daniel shows what reckoning God keeps of our months, and weeks, and days, which He gives us to repent, as He did Nebuchadnezzar, and what an account we shall make of them, as Nebuchadnezzar did. Daniel names there twelve months, as though he would speak of a great matter, and shows how worthy Nebuchadnezzar was to be punished, because he might have reformed his life since he was warned; for there were twelve months between his dreams and his punishment. When dream and Daniel had done what they could, now God calls forth His judgments, and bids them see what they can do, and commands them to chase Nebuchadnezzar, until he have lost his kingdom, until he be driven out of his palace, until he be fled into the wilderness, until he be degenerate like a beast, until his subjects, and servants, and pages make their sport, and gaze and wonder at him, like a fool which goeth unto the stocks, or a trespasser, which is gazed at upon the pillory; so the king was debased, when God heard him but vaunt of his buildings. Therefore, let us take heed and be careful after what sort we speak, and what words slip from us, lest God take us in our lies, or oaths, or slanders, or ribaldry, as he took Nebuchadnezzar when his tongue walked without a bit, for if he had supposed that God had been so near, and that He would have answered him as He did, he would have held his peace, and laid his hand upon his mouth, rather than pay so dear for a vain word, which did him no good when it was spoken. The second note is of the judge, "A voice came down from Heaven," the controlling voice came down from Heaven. God is most offended with our sin, for Nebuchadnezzar might have spoken more than this, before any other man; and no man could control him, because he was king, and kings delight in greater vanities than buildings, yet no man saith, Why doest thou so? When the voice from earth spake vainly, the voice from Heaven spake judgment. Here is the King of Heaven against the king of earth; the voice of God against the voice of man; a Divine wrath warring with a human pride; the fire is kindled, woe to the stubble. Now he comes to the arraignment, and calls him to the bar: "O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee be it spoken." Here a king is arraigned in his own kingdom, and no evidence given against him; but as though he had witnessed against himself, as all sinners do, God condemneth him out of his own mouth, and to open his ears, he calleth him by his own name, "O king Nebuchadnezzar," as the prisoner is called when he holds up his hand at the bar. How doth this speech differ from Nebuchadnezzar's speech. His words were but words, but God's words were, "He spake and it was done." For "in the same hour that which was spoken was done," saith Daniel, and whatsoever the voice threatened unto our sins, or unto the sinner, shall be done at first or at last. This voice came from Heaven, and, therefore, it spake home; not like them which glide by the faults of princes, and. whisper behind their backs, as though they would reprove them if they durst, but for fear lest the prince, or councillor, or judge, or magistrate should take it as he means it, and think that he aims at them; which makes them speak in parables, as though they would cast a veil over their reproof, and eat their message before they have spoken it. The Holy Ghost teacheth us here to reprove, so that whosoever sinneth may know that thou speakest to him. Now the decree goeth forth that Nebuchadnezzar shall be king no more, "Thy kingdom is departed from thee." Now followeth the execution of His judgment, for Daniel saith, "The same hour all this was fulfilled." Then was fulfilled, "the pride of man shall bring him low." Even in the hour that Nebuchadnezzar advanced himself more than before, in the same hour he was brought under all his subjects, all his servants and pages; so he which setteth up can pull down, he which gave can take, he which made can destroy. Therefore, let no man vaunt, though he were a king, of his house, or land, or farm, or children, but know that he should have nothing, if God did not regard him more than others; and think when thou dost read this story, whether thou be not as proud of thy wealth as Nebuchadnezzar was of his palace, whether thou be not as proud of thy children as Nebuchadnezzar was of his kingdom: whether thou be not as proud of thy parentage as Nebuchadnezzar was of his honour; whether thou be not so proud of thy learning as Nebuchadnezzar was of his train. If thou be so proud, then God doth say no more, "O king, to thee be it spoken," but, O subject, to thee be it spoken, these blessings shall be taken from thee. For, hath God taken no man's kingdom from him but Nebuchadnezzar's? Now, if any man long to be resolved how this king was changed to a beast, he must not imagine any strange metamorphosis, as though his shape were altered, or his manhood removed, or that he put on horns and hoofs, as poets feign Actaeon; for the voice doth not say that he should become a beast, but that he should dwell with the beasts. Daniel cloth not say that his head, or arms, or legs were transformed; but that the hair of his head, and the nails of his fingers, did grow like eagles' feathers, and like birds' claws, as every man's hair and nails will do if he do not pare them. Lastly, Nebuchadnezzar saith not that his shape was restored unto him, but that his understanding was restored unto him; all which declare he was not changed in body, but in mind, not in shape, but in quality. A savage mind came on him, like that which drove Cain from the company of men (Genesis 4:12), and he became like a satyr, or wild man, which differeth not from a beast but in shape; though he was not turned to a beast, yet this was a strange alteration to be so changed in an hour, that his nobles abhorred him, his subjects despised him, his servants forsook him, none would company with him but the beasts. Consider this, all that advance yourselves against God, and despise His word, as Nebuchadnezzar did. This was to show that God makes no more account of the wicked than of beasts, and, therefore, the Holy Ghost calleth them often by the name of beasts; showing now that sin and pleasure make them like beasts. When they have abused their wits often, and perverted their reason, at last God taketh their understanding from them, and they become like beasts, loathsome to themselves and others. Many such beasts we have still like Nebuchadnezzar, who were fitter to live in the desert among lions, where they might not annoy others, than in towns amongst men, where they infect more than the plague.
Parallel VersesKJV: The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
WEB: The same hour was the thing fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the sky, until his hair was grown like eagles' [feathers], and his nails like birds' [claws].