New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:3 great are his signs. Finally, through the humiliating experience of which he testifies in this chapter, the arrogant king acknowledged God as “the high God” (Daniel 4:2), whose “kingdom is…everlasting,” whose dominion is worldwide and who is “the King of heaven” (Daniel 4:37).
4:8 spirit of the holy gods. Even at this point Nebuchadnezzar, who had acknowledged (Daniel 2:47) that Daniel’s God was the greatest of the “gods,” was still thinking in polytheistic terms, assuming that Daniel was in touch with a number of “holy gods.” Later he seemed to acquire a somewhat better understanding of God’s unique majesty (Daniel 2:34-37).
4:13 watcher. This distinctive name for one of God’s holy angels occurs in the Bible only in this chapter (see also Daniel 4:17,23). It does occur also in extra-Biblical literature (the book of Enoch). The term is insightful, suggesting that angels are watching us, actually “desiring to look into” God’s dealings with us (I Peter 1:12).
4:16 seven times. This means seven years. See note on Daniel 7:25.
4:17 the watchers. These “watchers” are mentioned in the Bible only in this chapter (Daniel 4:13,17,23). They are evidently synonymous with “the holy ones” who have come “down from heaven.” They seem to represent a certain category of angels, dispatched in this case to bring disciplinary judgment on the presumptuous king Nebuchadnezzar. They are mentioned frequently in the apocryphal books of Enoch and Jubilees, where they appear to refer intermittently both to God’s holy angels and also to certain fallen angels. Although we cannot see them, we need to know they are there, directly concerned at least with “watching” events on earth (I Peter 1:12; Ephesians 3:10; Psalm 34:7, etc.).
4:17 basest of men. Arrogant, murderous, idolatrous Nebuchadnezzar was certainly among the “basest of men,” yet God made him king over the mightiest kingdom of his age, to accomplish His will in judging His own chosen nation. The same seems often true today, when kings and presidents often are immoral and wicked. In a sense, God gives a nation the kind of leader its people deserve. Now and again, in response to repentance and confession by at least some of its people, God provides a godly leader to lead his nation back to God.
4:22 thy dominion. The Babylonian empire was thus recognized as the most important in the world at this time, capable at least in principle of extending itself through the whole world.
4:30 great Babylon. Babylon was, indeed, a magnificent city and considered the most beautiful city in the ancient world. Located along the mighty Euphrates, it covered at least six square miles, contained great walls and palaces, and its hanging gardens are recognized as one of the world’s seven wonders.
4:30 that I have built. One of the many evidences of the authenticity of Daniel is his knowledge that much of the greatness of the city of Babylon was due to Nebuchadnezzar’s building activities. A writer four hundred years after Nebuchadnezzar would not have known this fact, which is now abundantly verified by archaeology.
4:33 driven from men. This period of Nebuchadnezzar’s strange madness has been somewhat cryptically mentioned in the writings of the later Babylonian historian Berosus.
4:37 able to abase. This is proud Nebuchadnezzar’s final testimony. He had learned that God gives kingdoms to “whomsoever He will,” even “the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17), and he himself had been “abased” to confirm this.