*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
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. slh, 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; slvh, 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:
I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest - Some manuscripts in the Greek add here, "In the eighteenth year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar said." These words, however, are not in the Hebrew, and are of no authority. The word rendered "at rest" (שׁלה shelēh) means, to be secure; to be free from apprehension or alarm. He designs to describe a state of tranquility and security. Greek, "at peace" - εἰρηνέυων eirēneuōn: enjoying peace, or in a condition to enjoy peace. His wars were over; his kingdom was tranquil; he had built a magnificent capital; he had gathered around him the wealth and the luxuries of the world, and he was now in a condition to pass away the remainder of his life in ease and happiness.
In mine house - In his royal residence. It is possible that the two words here - house and palace - may refer to somewhat different things: the former - house - more particularly to his own private family - is domestic relations as a man; and the latter - palace - to those connected with the government who resided in his palace. If this is so, then the passage would mean that all around him was peaceful, and that from no source had he any cause of disquiet. In his own private family - embracing his wife and children; and in the arrangements of the palace - embracing those who had charge of public affairs, he had no cause of uneasiness.
And flourishing in my palace - Greek, εὐθηνῶν ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου μου euthēnōn epi tou thronou mou - literally, "abundant upon my throne;" that is, he was tranquil, calm, prosperous on his throne. The Chaldee word (רענן ra‛ănan) means, properly, "green;" as, for example, of leaves or foliage. Compare the Hebrew word in Jeremiah 17:8; "He shall be as a tree planted by the waters - her leaf shall be green." Deuteronomy 12:2, "under every green tree," 2-Kings 16:4. A green and flourishing tree becomes thus the emblem of prosperity. See Psalm 1:3; Psalm 37:35; Psalm 92:12-14. The general meaning here is, that he was enjoying abundant prosperity. His kingdom was at peace, and in his own home he had every means of tranquil enjoyment.
I - was at rest - I had returned to my palace in Babylon after having subdued Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Egypt, and Arabia. It was probably these great conquests that puffed him up with pride, and brought that chastisement upon him which he afterwards describes. See the dream of the emblematical tree explained.
I Nebuchadnezzar was at (a) rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
(a) There was no trouble that might cause me to dream, and therefore it came only from God.
I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house,.... Being returned from his wars, and having obtained victory over the Egyptians, and other nations, and made himself an universal monarch; and now was in entire rest from all his enemies; enjoying himself in his family, and among his courtiers, and nothing to disturb him from any quarter. Josephus (b) says this was a little after the history of the former chapter; but it must be many years after that: he reigned forty five years; one year after this dream, it came to pass; it was seven years fulfilling, and he lived after his restoration a year or two; so that this must be about the thirty fifth year of his reign. Bishop Usher (c) and Mr. Whiston (d) place it in the year of the world 3434 A.M., and before Christ 570; and so Dr. Prideaux (e). Mr. Bedford (f) puts it in the year 569:
and flourishing in my palace: in health of body, in rigour of mind, abounding with riches; indulging himself in all sensual pleasures; adored by his subjects, caressed by his courtiers, and in fame throughout the whole world: a new palace was built by him, of which Daniel 4:30, being, as Dr. Prideaux (g) says, four times as large as the old one; eight miles in compass; surrounded with three walls; and had hanging gardens in it, he made for his wife.
(b) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 10. c. 10. sect. 6. (c) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3434. (d) Chronological Tables, cent. 10. (e) Connexion, p. 92. (f) Scripture Chronology, p. 710. (g) Connexion, &c. par. 1, B. 2. p. 102.
With Daniel 4:1 (v. 4) Nebuchadnezzar begins the narration of his wonderful experience. When he was at rest in his palace and prospering, he had a dream as he lay upon his bed which made him afraid and perplexed. שׁלה, quiet, in undisturbed, secure prosperity. רענן, properly growing green, of the fresh, vigorous growth of a tree, to which the happiness and prosperity of men are often compared; e.g., in Ps. 52:10 (8), Psalm 92:12 (10). Here plainly the word is chosen with reference to the tree which had been seen in the dream. From this description of his prosperity it appears that after his victories Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed the fruit of his exploits, was firmly established on his throne, and, as appears from v. 26 (Daniel 4:29)f., a year after his dream could look with pleasure and pride on the completion of his splendid buildings in Babylon; and therefore this event belongs to the last half of his reign.
Was at rest - When my wars were over, I sat down quiet, enjoying the spoils of my enemies.
*More commentary available at chapter level.