Nebuchadnezzar, sometimes alternately spelled Nebuchadrezzar, was king
of Babylonia from approximately 605 BC until approximately 562 BC. He is
considered the greatest king of the Babylonian Empire and is credited
with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar
is mentioned by name around 90 times in the Bible, in both the
historical and prophetic literature of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Biblical history, Nebuchadnezzar is most famous for the conquering of
Judah and the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 586 BC. Judah had
become a tribute state to Babylon in 605 BC but rebelled in 597 BC
during the reign of Jehoiachin and then again in 588 BC during the reign
of Zedekiah. Tired of the rebellions, and seeing that Judah had not
learned its lesson when he invaded, conquered, and deported Judah in
597, Nebuchadnezzar and his general, Nebuzaradan, proceeded to
completely destroy the temple and most of Jerusalem, deporting most of
the remaining residents to Babylon. In this, Nebuchadnezzar served as
God’s instrument of judgment on Judah for its idolatry, unfaithfulness,
and disobedience Jeremiah 25:9.
Secular history records
Nebuchadnezzar as a brutal, powerful, and ambitious king, and the Bible,
for the most part, agrees. However, the book of Daniel gives additional
insight into his character. Daniel chapter 2 records God giving
Nebuchadnezzar a dream about what kingdoms would arise after his own. In
the dream, Nebuchadnezzar was a “head of gold” on a statue, with the
descending parts of the body, comprised of silver, bronze, iron, and
iron mixed with clay, representing the less powerful kingdoms that would
come after him. Nebuchadnezzar demanded the astrologers and wise men to
interpret his dream without him telling it to them and, when they were
unable to, Nebuchadnezzar ordered all of the astrologers and wise men to
be killed. Daniel spoke up and, through a miracle from God, interpreted
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The king then promoted Daniel to be one of his
most influential advisors. Interestingly, when Daniel interpreted his
dream, Nebuchadnezzar declared, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord
of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal
this mystery” Daniel 2:47.
Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar created a gold statue of himself and required
all the people to bow down to it whenever the music played. Daniel’s
three friends, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego, refused, and the king
had them thrown into a blazing furnace. Miraculously, God protected
them, and when they came out of the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed,
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his
angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the
king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and
worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any
people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their
houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in
this way” Daniel 3:28-29.
In Daniel chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar is
given another dream by God. Daniel interpreted the dream for
Nebuchadnezzar and informed him that the dream was a warning to the king
to humble himself and recognize that his power, wealth, and influence
were from God, not of his own making. Nebuchadnezzar did not heed the
warning of the dream, so God judged him as the dream had declared.
Nebuchadnezzar was driven insane for seven years. When the king’s sanity
was restored, he finally humbled himself before God. In Daniel 4:3,
Nebuchadnezzar declares, “How great are his signs, how mighty his
wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures
from generation to generation.” Nebuchadnezzar continued in Daniel
4:34-37. “For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom
endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth
are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the
host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay
his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ … “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar,
praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are
right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to
The exclamations of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in the book
of Daniel have led some to consider the possibility that Nebuchadnezzar
became a believer in the one true God. History records Nebuchadnezzar
being a follower of the Babylonian gods Nabu and Marduk. Is it possible
that Nebuchadnezzar renounced these false gods and instead only
worshipped the one true God? Yes, it is possible. If nothing else,
Nebuchadnezzar became a polytheist, believing in many gods but
worshipping only one God as supreme. Based on his words recorded in
Daniel, it definitely seems like Nebuchadnezzar submitted himself to the
one true God. Further evidence is the fact that God refers to
Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant” three times in the book of Jeremiah
Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6 & 43:10. Was Nebuchadnezzar saved? Ultimately,
this is not a question that can be answered dogmatically. Whatever the
case, the story of Nebuchadnezzar is an example of God’s sovereignty
over all men and the truth that “The king’s heart is a stream of water
in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will” Proverbs 21:1.
Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and
the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So
they came and stood before the king.
A magician is one skilled in magic; a sorcerer; one who practices the
black art; an enchanter; a necromancer; a sorcerer or sorceress; a
There is no means to determine if the magicians are specifically
Babylonian astrologers or astrologers in general. More than likely it
would magicians of Babylonian heritage.
Those in the court of Nebuchadnezzar who were involved in the study that
assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies
on human affairs.
SORCERERS: In the Daniel Manuscript, sorceries is the rendering of the Hebrew word mekhashphim.
This means mutterers, men who professed to have power with evil
spirits. The practice of sorcery exposed to severest punishment as per
Malachi 3:5, Revelation 21:8 & 22:15.
Chaldean is a person from the area of the world that today we would call
Kuwait. In Nebuchadnezzar's court, they would conjure up satanic
 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
Nebuchadnezzar's words are really quite simple for a monarch. He
announces to his court that he has had a troublesome and horrific
nightmare. He wants to know what the dream means.
Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever:
tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.
Here in Daniel 2:4, there is a strange occurrence in the Hebrew
language. That being, for some reason, remaining inexplicable, Daniel
will change from the Hebrew language to the Aramaic language and do so
until the end of Daniel 7.
At this point in time the royal court is thinking that perhaps
Nebuchadnezzar is having an eccentric moment and that this will prove to
be an easy one with no problems.
spake the Chaldeans to the king - The meaning is, either that the
Chaldeans spoke in the name of the entire company of the soothsayers and
magicians (see the notes, because they were the most prominent among
them, or the name is used to denote the collective body of soothsayers,
meaning that this request was made by the entire company.
Syriac retains the original word. The word means Aramean, and the
reference is to that language which is known as East Aramean which is a
general term embracing the Chaldee, the Syriac, and the languages which
were spoken in Mesopotamia. This was the vernacular tongue of the king
and of his subjects, and was that in which the Chaldeans would naturally
address him. It is referred to here by the author of this book, perhaps
to explain the reason why he himself makes use of this language in
explaining the dream. The use of this, however, is not confined to the
statement of what the magicians said, but is continued to the close of
the seventh chapter. The language used is what is commonly called
Chaldee. It is written in the same character as the Hebrew, and differs
from that as one dialect differs from another. It was, doubtless, well
understood by the Jews in their captivity, and was probably spoken by
them after their return to their own land.
king, live for ever - This is a form of speech quite common in
addressing monarchs. See 1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Kings 1:25, Daniel 3:9;
The expression is prevalent still, as in the phrases, "Long live the
king," "Vive l' empereur," "Vive le roi." It is founded on the idea that
long life is to be regarded as a blessing, and that we can in no way
express our good wishes for anyone better than to wish him length of
days. In this place, it was merely the usual expression of respect and
homage, showing their earnest wish for the welfare of the monarch. They
were willing to do anything to promote his happiness, and the
continuance of his life and reign. It was especially proper for them to
use this language, as they wore about to make a rather unusual request,
which "might" be construed as an act of disrespect, implying that the
king had not given them all the means which it was equitable for them to
have in explaining the matter, by requiring them to interpret the dream
when he had not told them what it was.
Tell thy servants the
dream, and we will show the interpretation - The claim which they set up
in regard to the future was evidently only that of "explaining" what
were regarded as the prognostics of future events. It was not that of
being able to recal what is forgotten, or even to "originate" what might
be regarded preintimations of what is to happen. This was substantially
the claim which was asserted by all the astrologers, augurs, and
soothsayers of ancient times. Dreams, the flight of birds, the aspect of
the entrails of animals slain for sacrifice, the positions of the
stars, meteors, and uncommon appearances in the heavens, were supposed
to be intimations made by the gods of what was to occur in future times,
and the business of those who claimed the power of divining the future
was merely to interpret these things. When the king, therefore, required
that they should recal the dream itself to his own mind, it was a claim
to something which was not involved in their profession, and which they
regarded as unjust. To that power they made no pretensions. If it be
asked why, as they were mere jugglers and pretenders, they did not
"invent" something and state "that" as his dream, since he had forgotten
what his dream actually was, we may reply,
The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me:
if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation
thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a
The question would be, did Nebuchadnezzar actually forget the
dream, or is this a this a ploy on his part to insure that what ever
interpretation that would be given to him would be the correct
Personally, I would say it is a subtle ploy on his part. The dream
was most terrifying. It was more than just a dream it was a literal
nightmare. We see this in verse one of this chapter.
Nebechadnezzar knew that what ever this dream is about, he can
settle for no less than the correct and accurate interpretation.
This tells us something else about the relationship between
Nebchadnezzar and his royal court. That being, Nebchudnezzar know that
his court lied to him. Imagine, having people on payroll just for the
express purpose of lying to you.
antiquity, the dunghill was the town sewer. People took human/animal
waste and placed it there. It was the sign of society's ultimate
rejection. Please note here I Samuel 2:8; Psalms 113:7 &
The king is not going to allow himself to be deceived by smooth
talking courtiers. Those who would knowingly lie to king just to
satisfy the king's needs for answers.
He announces that not only does he want the interpretation to his
dream, but that the royal court must tell him what the dream was.
Failure to comply would mean that the courtier would be killed,
their bodies chopped up into tiny pieces, and their homes would be
turned into dunghills.