Wenstrom Bible MinistriesMarion, IowaPastor-Teacher Bill Wenstromwww.wenstrom.org
Wednesday October 24, 2012Daniel: Daniel 4:34-At The End Of Seven Years, Nebuchadnezzar Repents Acknowledging That The Most High Is SovereignLesson # 137
This evening we will study Daniel 4:34, which records Nebuchadnezzar repenting after seven years of suffering the mental disorder of boanthropy by acknowledging that the Most High is sovereign.
Daniel 4:34 “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.” (NASB95)
“But at the end of that period” is composed of the conjunction wa (וְ) (waw), “but,” which is followed by the preposition lĕ (לְ) (leh), “at” and its object is the feminine singular construct form of the noun qeṣāṯ (קְצָת) (kets-awth´), “the end of” and then we have the masculine plural form of the noun yôm (יוֹם) (yome), “period.”
The NET, NASB95, LEB and HCSB interpret the conjunction wa as a marker of contrast as indicated by the fact that they translate the word “but” which means that they view the writer as emphasizing a contrast between verses 34 and 35.
Thus, they believe the emphasis is between Nebuchadnezzar suffering boanthropy for seven years with his repenting by acknowledging God’s sovereignty over him.
However, the context doesn’t support this interpretation even though it does make sense but rather, the conjunction wa is marking the next sequential event that took place after the king suffered boanthropy for seven years.
The verse would then read “then, at the completion of this period of time, I, Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes towards the heavens and my reason returned to me and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever.”
Furthermore, this interpretation has merit since the events recorded in Daniel 4:34 did take place after the events recorded in Daniel 4:33.
The noun qeṣāṯ means “end” or “completion” and the noun yôm means “period of time” referring to the seven year period in which Nebuchadnezzar was deposed from power by God.
The noun qeṣāṯ is the object of the preposition lĕ, which means “at” since it is used in a temporal terminative sense meaning it is marking the end of the seven year period in which Nebuchadnezzar was deposed from power by God.
“I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven” contrasts Nebuchadnezzar’s humble state after being deposed from power for seven years with his arrogant attitude prior to being deposed from power.
“And my reason returned to me” tells the reader when the king raised his eyes to heaven indicating that immediately upon receiving his sanity back, Nebuchadnezzar lifted up his eyes to heaven and acknowledged that God was sovereign over him.
In other words, the moment he could once again think like a human being, he repented and worshipped God.
“My reason” is composed of the masculine singular construct form of the noun mǎn∙dǎʿ (מַנְדַּע) (man-dah´), “reason” which is modified by the first person singular pronominal suffix –î (־י) (ee), “my.”
The noun mǎn∙dǎʿ means “sanity” referring to proper thought processes or rational thought processes in contrast to those which are irrational.
The word is used with reference to Nebuchadnezzar once again thinking rational thoughts in contrast to thinking like a cow or bull for seven years while under discipline from God.
Therefore, the word denotes the quality or state of being sane or thinking rationally.
“Returned” is the third person masculine singular peʿal (Hebrew: qal) active imperfect form of the verb tûḇ (תּוּב) (toob), which refers to restoring something to its previous state and is used of course with reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity indicating that it was “returned” to him after seven years of discipline.
“I blessed the Most High” is composed of the preposition lĕ (לְ) (leh), “toward” and its object is the masculine singular adjective ʿil∙lāy (עִלָּי) (il-lah´ee), “the Most High” and then we have the first person masculine singular paʿʿel (Hebrew: piel) active perfect form of the verb berǎḵ (בְּרַךְ) (ber-ak), “blessed.”
The verb berǎḵ means “blessed” and refers to Nebuchadnezzar showering the Most High with worshipful thanksgiving as a result of having his sanity restored to him by the Most High.
The idea with this word is that of expressing gratitude as an expression of worship as is the case with its Hebrew equivalent.
The adjective ʿil∙lāy is used as a substantive and means “the Most High” which denotes the one true God with the very highest status and power.
“Praised and honored Him who lives forever” is composed of the preposition lĕ (לְ) (leh), which is not translated and its object is the masculine singular construct form of the noun ḥǎy (חַי) (khah´ee), “Him who lives” which is modified by the masculine singular noun ʿā∙lǎm (עָלַם) (aw-lam´), “forever”
and then we have the masculine singular peʿal (Hebrew: qal) active participle form of the verb šeḇǎḥ (שְׁבַח) (sheb-akh´), “praised” and this is followed by the conjunction wa (וְ) (waw), “and” which is followed by the first person singular paʿʿel (Hebrew: piel) active perfect form of the verb hǎḏǎr (הֲדַר) (had-ar´), “honored.”
The verb šeḇǎḥ means “to praise” in the sense of acknowledging and esteeming one’s excellence and denotes Nebuchadnezzar acknowledging and esteeming the excellence of the Most High’s character with emphasis upon His mercy, which is based upon His attribute of love.
Thus, the verb denotes Nebuchadnezzar acknowledging and esteeming or expressing a high regard for the excellence of God’s mercy, omnipotence and sovereignty.
The verb hǎḏǎr means “to honor” and denotes public recognition and refers to the honor in the sense of public recognition that the Most High received from Nebuchadnezzar after having his sanity restored to him by the Most High.
The noun ḥǎy does not merely denote being alive but also to being active in affairs and speaks of the immanency of God meaning that God involves Himself in and concerns Himself with and intervenes in the lives of members of the human race, both saved and unsaved.
The noun ʿā∙lǎm means “eternal” indicating that Nebuchadnezzar ascribed the attribute of eternal life to the Most High.
“For His dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom endures from generation to generation” presents the reason why Nebuchadnezzar showered the Most High with worshipful thanksgiving and praise as well as honored Him and described Him as the immanent eternal one.
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion” refers to the Most High God’s supreme, sovereign authority or power to rule over every nation under heaven as well as every creature and all of creation.
It teaches that God’s governmental dominion is infinite in duration in contrast to Nebuchadnezzar’s governmental dominion which is temporary.
“And His kingdom endures from generation to generation” describes from a different perspective the previous statement that the Most High God’s governmental dominion is eternal.
“Kingdom” is the feminine singular construct form of the noun mǎl∙ḵûṯ (מַלְכוּת) (mal-kooth), which refers to God’s authority over the kings of the earth and every creature and all creation.
“From generation to generation” denotes that the Most High God’s kingdom extends from generation to generation over the inhabitants of the earth with the implication that His kingdom over human beings is eternal.
Daniel 4:34 “Then, at the completion of this period of time, I myself, Nebuchadnezzar in contrast to before this period, lifted up my eyes towards the heavens when my sanity was restored to me. Next, I showered the Most High with worshipful thanksgiving. Also, I praised as well as honored the immanent eternal one because His governmental dominion is forever. In other words His kingdom is from generation to generation.” (Author’s translation)
Daniel 4:34 resumes the first person narrative which expresses the fact that the king is now in his right mind.
This verse records that after being deposed from power for seven years by God, Nebuchadnezzar repented as expressed by the fact that he acknowledges that God is sovereign over him.
The king now recognizes that the Most High’s kingdom transcends his own kingdom.
He recognizes that there is a kingdom in heaven which is superior to his kingdom in that God’s kingdom is eternal and sovereign over the kingdoms of the earth including his own.
The discipline from God has accomplished its purpose, which was to conform the king to the will of God.
The king acknowledges that every one in the human race including him is accountable to God and under God’s authority.
In contrast to his arrogant attitude prior to the discipline, the king is now responding to God as a result of the discipline.
This verse serves to contrast Nebuchadnezzar’s humble state after being deposed from power for seven years with his arrogant attitude prior to being deposed from power.
The king is now humble in the sense that he is now putting the glory and honor of God first in his set of priorities and the needs of other human beings ahead of his own needs.
He is humble in the sense that he is now viewing himself from God’s perspective, namely, he is created and redeemed by God and his whole existence is dependent upon God.