Daniel 4:4-6

4. I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

4. Ego Nebuchadnezer quietus, aut, felix, eram domi meae, et florens aut, viridis in palatio meo.

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

5. Somnium vidi, et exterruit me, 1 et cogitationes super cubile meum et visiones capitis mei conturbaverunt me.

6. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wisemen of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

6. Et a me positum fuit decretum, ut adducerentur, hoc est, accerserentur, coram me omnes sapientes Babylonis, qui interpretationem sorenii patefacerent mihi.


Nebuchadnezzar here explains how he acknowledged the Supreme God. He does not relate the proofs which he had previously received; but since his pride was subdued in this last dream, he makes a passing allusion to it. Meanwhile, as he doubtless recalled his former dreams to mind, and condemned himself for his ingratitude, in burying in oblivion this great power of God, and in wiping away the remembrance of those benefits by which God had adorned him. Here, however, he speaks only of his last dream, which we shall see in its own place. But before he comes as far as the dream, he says, he was at rest. hls, seleh, signifies "rest" and "happiness;" and since prosperity renders men secure, it is metaphorically used for "security." David, when he pronounces the same sentence upon himself, uses the same words: (Psalm 30:6,) "I said in my prosperity," or rest; hwls, selueh, which some translate "abundance;" but it rather signifies a quiet or prosperous state. Nebuchadnezzar, therefore, here marks the circumstance of time; hence we may know him to have been divinely seized, because prosperous fortune had rendered him stupid and drunken. There is nothing surprising in this, for the old and common proverb is, "fullness is the parent of ferocity," as we see horses when too much fed, prance about and throw their riders. Thus also it happens with men. For if God treats them rather indulgently and liberally, they become fierce and insolent towards all men, and strike off God's yoke, and forget themselves to be but men. And when this happened to David, what shall happen to the profane and to others who are still too much devoted to the world? For David confesses himself to have been so deceived by his quiet and felicity, as to determine within himself that he had nothing else to fear, -- "I said in my happiness," or my quiet, "I shall not be removed;" and he afterwards adds,

"O Lord, thou didst chastise me, and I was laid low." (Psalm 38:7.)

Since, therefore, David promised himself perpetual quiet in the world, because God spared him for a time, how ought our tranquillity to be suspected lest we should grow torpid on our lees? Nebuchadnezzar, then, does not recite this in vain -- I was quiet at home, I flourished in my palace, since this was the cause of his confidence and pride, and of his carelessly despising God. He afterwards adds, he saw a dream and was disturbed. He, doubtless, wished here to distinguish his dreams from common ones, which often arise from either a disturbance of the brain, or our daily thoughts, or other causes, as we have elsewhere seen. It is not necessary to repeat what we have already treated more copiously. It is sufficient to state, briefly, how this dream, in which God previously informed him of the future punishment at hand, is separated from others which are either troubled:, or fluctuating, or without reason. He, says, therefore, he saw a dream, and was disturbed, while he was awake. He adds, his thoughts were upon his bed; and then, he was disturbed by visions of the head. These expressions only look towards that heavenly oracle, or vision, or dream, of which we shall afterwards speak more fully. It follows, he put forth a decree to summon all the wise men of Babylon to explain, or make manifest, the interpretation of the dream. Doubtless the king often dreamt, and did not always call together the Magi and soothsayers, and astrologers, and others who were skilled in the science of divination, or at least professed to be so. He did not consult them on all his dreams; but because God had inscribed in his heart a distinct mark by which he had denoted this dream, hence the king could not rest till he heard its interpretation. As we previously saw the authority of the first dream about the Four Monarchies and the Eternal Kingdom of Christ confirmed, so the king perceived this one to have proceeded from heaves. There is another difference between this dream and the one formerly explained. For God blotted out the remembrance of the dream about the Four Monarchies from King Nebuchadnezzar, so that it became necessary for Daniel to bring his dream before the king, and at the same time to add the interpretation. Daniel was then more obscure, for although he proved himself to have excelled all the Chaldeans, yet King Nebuchadnezzar would have wondered at him less if he had only been an interpreter of a dream. God wished, therefore, to acquire greater reverence for his Prophet and his doctrine, when he enjoined upon him two duties; first, the divination of the dream itself, and then the explanation of its sense and purpose. In this second dream Daniel is only an interpreter. God had already sufficiently proved him to be endued with a heavenly spirit, when Nebuchadnezzar not only called him among the rest of the Magi, but separated him from them all. He afterwards says:

1 Or, I was terrified. The copula may be resolved into the relative pronoun, "I saw a dream which frightened or terrified me." -- Calvin.