Daniel Chapter 4 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of a Tree

NOTE: Answers are provided for only some of the questions. Many questions are primarily to stimulate discussion and there are no right or wrong answers.

(This is a longish chapter and it might be useful to read this summary of it to lead into your discussion.)

      4:1–9 Here Nebuchadnezzar the king witnesses to the greatness of the Most High God and to an experience in his life which led to his conversion (vv. 1–3). He had a dream which his own wise men were unable to interpret, so he sent for Daniel and told him the dream.
      4:10–15b He had seen a tree, high, beautiful, and fruitful. The tree ... reached to the heavens and spread out to the ends of all the earth. A watcher, a holy one coming down from heaven, ordered the tree to be chopped down, leaving only a stump and roots in the ground.
      4:15c–18 Then the holy ones described a man losing his senses and becoming like a wild beast of the earth for seven years.
      4:19–26 Daniel told the king that the tree represented him and his worldwide empire. He would lose his throne, and he would become insane for seven years, living like an animal in the field. But the stump signified that Nebuchadnezzar would not be destroyed but would be restored.
      4:27–37 Daniel also counseled the king to change his ways. However, after twelve months of impenitence on the king’s part, the vision came to pass. For seven years he lived like a beast. At the end of that time, he turned to God and acknowledged that He is the Most High ... who lives forever. He was then restored to the glory of his kingdom.

1. Who wrote this chapter of Daniel?

The first section was written by Nebuchadnezzar and was a letter from the king to all of his subjects throughout the world. The narrator of Daniel steps in about half way through and seems to be the writer of the rest, although the last part quotes Nebuchadnezzar extensively and may have been part of his letter.

2. In Verse 4, the king said he was contented and prosperous. When things are going well in your own life, does this make you more or less vulnerable to various problems?

More vulnerable. It is when things look good that we often have cause to be the most worried. You get lulled into a sense of false security and aren’t prepared for even the smallest problem. Of course, as we’ll see, Nebuchadnezzar’s problem was hardly small.

3. Thinking of yourself as a tree, have you ever been cut down to size? What were the circumstances? Do you think that God was involved? How did you feel afterward?

We’ve all been cut down to size at one time or other. Sometimes it’s as simple as a teacher or coworker pointing out that you gave an incorrect answer. Sometimes it’s a boss who overrules a decision you made. Sometimes it’s an athletic coach who takes you out of a game. Being cut down may lead to all kinds of feelings, none of them good: humiliation, being put down, losing face. The big question is whether you learn something positive from the situation. If you continue to look at it as a negative event, then you’ll never get past the humiliation.

4. In Verse 19, Daniel is dismayed that he must give the king the bad news in his dream. If you had to give bad news to a tyrant with great power, would you do it with discretion or with valor? What other prophet had to give a pointed message to a powerful king? (2 Samuel 12:7-9)

2 Sam 12:7-9. 7Then Nathan told David: You are that rich man! Now listen to what the Lord God of Israel says to you: “I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul 8and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more. 9Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.

5. What was the primary message of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? (Proverbs 16:18-19)

Pride leads to judgement. Proverbs 16:18-19. 18Too much pride will destroy you. 19You are better off to be humble and poor than to get rich from what you take by force.

6. Thinking about giving (or receiving) bad news, do you prefer bad news first, good news last or the other way around?

7. Have you ever delayed discussing something painful? Did you regret it later? What were the results? How did you feel?

8. After Daniel explains Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he tactfully offers the king some advice in Verse 27. Does this suggest that God’s plans may not be set in concrete and may be somewhat contingent upon our actions?

9. Why do you suppose that God allowed a year to pass before fulfilling the dream?

Possibly to give Nebuchadnezzar time to repent and to follow Daniel’s advice, possibly for reasons that none of us can understand. We don’t know.

10. After seven years, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity is restored and he testifies about the Supreme God. How does this testimony strike you: (a) sincerely penitent, (b) coaxed or coached by Daniel, (c) sanely rational, (d) miraculous turnabout?

11. How have you shown courage in declaring God’s word to others, both the good and the bad news? Which do you shy away from? Why?

12. If someone were to give you advice as Daniel did to Nebuchadnezzar in Verse 27, what would it be?

Bible study courtesy of www.SwapMeetDave.com

Click here for
Click here for
Handout Sheet
Click here for
Next Lesson

Click here for Complete Menu of Bible Studies and Christian Resources

United We Stand! Jokes, Cats, Farts Bible Studies Meet Dave Ahl Cool Links Contact Me
Military Books Humor Books Inspirational Books Creative Computing Patriotic FDCs Take Our Survey
Military Vehicles Cartoon Books Thrillers & Mysteries Video Games Marketing Books Site Map

Copyright 2005 by David Ahl Tell a friend about
Bible studies of Galatians