Daniel 4:10 Index
"'Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and beheld a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.'"
Research Material

"Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed..."

  • Nebuchadnezzar described his dream again. He said that he had seen a magnificent tree that kept growing and growing until its top seemed visible from all over the earth. Then a "watcher" (Daniel 4:23) appeared, who ordered it felled to the ground and its branches lopped off. But the "watcher" (Daniel 4:23) stipulated that the tree should not be destroyed entirely. Its stump should be left standing among the "tender grass of the field" (Daniel 4:23), he said, and should be secured with a hoop of "iron" and "brass" (Daniel 4:23). (MM 59)

"..I saw, and beheld a tree..."

  • Nebuchadnezzar is recognized as one of the great builders of antiquity. In a very short time he brought Babylon to the place that it was looked upon as the golden kingdom. Proud and haughty, he believed that his kingdom reached to the ends of the earth. Thus God used a tree whose top reached to Heaven and cold be seen from the ends of the earth to represent the kingdom of Babylon. Its leaves brought shelter and its fruit -- for all mankind. The cutting down of the tree, and not uprooting it, but leaving the stump with bands around it showed the kingdom of Babylon would continue. The bands of iron and brass were used by God to show that Babylon's influence would continue even into the kingdoms of Greece and Rome as represented in the image of Daniel 2. In fact, the stump and roots of the tree point to the enduring influence of Babylonian government and paganism upon man until the end of time. That is why the book of Revelation picks up the call to "... come out of Babylon my people" (Revelation 18:1-5). Since the kingdom of Babylon only lasted seventy years and Nebuchadnezzar ruled forty of them, this dream referred to him, but also to the kingdom as a whole. (KC 55)
  • Divine wisdom frequently employs parables and similitudes as vehicles for the transmission of truth. This method is impressive. The imagery tends to enable the recipient to retain the message and its import in his memory longer than if the message had been communicated in any other way.... The ancients were accustomed to seeing a meaning in every extraordinary dream. (4BC 789)
  • The dream, as repeated by the king in Daniel's hearing, is wonderful to contemplate. The tree was a familiar object and a striking symbol. The most magnificent specimens that the world afforded had been transplanted into the Babylonian gardens. The story of Eden and its trees had been handed down by tradition, and the people knew of the tree of life, and also of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree seen in the dream was planted in the midst of the earth, and as he watched, the king saw it grow until the top reached heaven, and its boughs stretched to the ends of the earth. Strange that this tree, which grew toward heaven in spite of everything, which was watered by the dews of heaven and fed by God's own sunshine, knew only of the earth and earthly kingdoms! (SNH 59-60)
  • As it had been with the Egyptian tree, so with this: fowls rested in the branches and beasts dwelt in its shadow. The king in his dream saw only the upper part of the tree, the branches; hence this mighty tree, whose top reached heaven, and whose branches spread forth to the ends of the earth, was supported by roots which, though hidden, ran through all the earth. Deep-rooted, it was drawing nourishment from hidden springs. In fact, the fair leaves and abundant fruit were dependent upon the condition of the roots. (SNH 60)
  • The reign of Nebuchadnezzar is symbolized by a tree in the midst of the earth. Babylon, the city where Nebuchadnezzar reigned, was approximately in the center of the then-known world. The tree reached unto haven, and the leaves thereof were fair. Its external glory and splendor were great. Its fruit was abundant, and it had food for all. The beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of heaven dwelt in its branches. What could more plainly and forcibly represent the fact that Nebuchadnezzar ruled his kingdom in such a way as to afford the fullest protection, support, and prosperity to all his subjects? When the order was given that this tree should be cut down, it was commanded that the stump should be left in the earth. It was to be protected with a band of iron and brass, that it might not decay, but that the source of future growth and greatness might be left.... The day is coming when the wicked shall be cut down, and no hope will be left them. No mercy will be mingled with their punishment. They will be destroyed both root and branch. (US 81)
  • Study Nebuchadnezzar's dream as recorded in the fourth chapter of Daniel. The king saw a lofty tree planted in the earth. Flocks and herds from the mountains and hills enjoyed its shelter, and the birds of the air built their nests in its branches. Thus were represented Nebuchadnezzar's greatness and prosperity. Nations were gathered under his sovereignty. His kingdom was firmly established in the hearts of his loyal subjects. (8T 126)
  • To understand these things,—to understand that “righteousness exalteth a nation;” that “the throne is established by righteousness” and “upholden by mercy” (Proverbs 14:34; 16:12; Proverbs 20:28); to recognize the outworking of these principles in the manifestation of His power who “removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21),— this is to understand the philosophy of history. In the word of God only is this clearly set forth. Here it is shown that the strength of nations, as of individuals, is not found in the opportunities or facilities that appear to make them invincible; it is not found in their boasted greatness. It is measured by the fidelity with which they fulfill God's purpose. An illustration of this truth is found in the history of ancient Babylon. To Nebuchadnezzar the king the true object of national government was represented under the figure of a great tree, whose height “reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all;” under its shadow the beasts of the field dwelt, and among its branches the birds of the air had their habitation. (Daniel 4:11, 12). This representation shows the character of a government that fulfills God's purpose — a government that protects and upbuilds the nation. God exalted Babylon that it might fulfill this purpose. Prosperity attended the nation until it reached a height of wealth and power that has never since been equaled—fitly represented in the Scriptures by the inspired symbol, a “head of gold” (Daniel 2:38). (Ed 175)
  • In 587 B.C., some nineteen years before Nebuchadnezzar had his dream about the tall tree, Ezekiel was inspired to tell the pharaoh of Egypt that in order to punish his pride, God was planning to send Nebuchadnezzar to cut him down (Ezekiel 29:19, Ezekiel 30:10). Ezekiel also sounded a general warning that no other tree -- that is, no other king or kingdom -- should aspire to grow too tall (Ezekiel 31:14). (MM 70)