Daniel 4:19 Index
"Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, 'Let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee.' Belteshazzar answered and said, 'My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.'"
Research Material

"...Daniel... was astonied..."

  • Daniel, understanding immediately the dream and its consequences, must have been extremely embarrassed over the responsibility of disclosing its fearful import to the king. (4BC 791)

"...for one hour..."

  • Daniel was obviously searching for suitable words and expressions by which to acquaint the king with the terrible news concerning his future fate. (4BC 791)

"...his thoughts troubled him..."

  • When Daniel realized the true significance of the dream, and foresaw the humiliation of the king of Babylon, "his thoughts troubled him." He was encouraged by the king not to be troubled, but to give the true interpretation. He did so, plainly telling the king that the tree seen in the vision was emblematic of Nebuchadnezzar himself,, and his dominion.... (SNH 63)
  • The hesitation of Daniel, who sat astonished for one hour, did not arise from any difficulty he had in interpreting the dream, but from the delicate matter of making known its meaning to the king. Daniel had received favor from the king -- nothing but favor, so far a we know -- and it was hard for him to be the bearer of so terrible a threatening of judgment against him as was involved in this dream. The prophet was troubled to determine in what way he cold best make it known. It seems the king had anticipated something of this kind, for he assured the prophet by telling him not to let the dream or the interpretation trouble him. It was as if he had said, Do not hesitate to make it known, whatever bearing it may have upon me. (US 83)
  • Daniel knew at once what the dream meant. But he hesitated to tell.... The date of this dream may credibly be placed at about 569 B.C., after Nebuchadnezzar had been king for 35 years. By then Daniel and he had been friends for a long time. Daniel was a praying man. (Daniel 2, 6, 9). Without doubt he often prayed for Nebuchadnezzar, pleading with God for his conversion. And now God was about to answer his prayers -- by depriving Nebuchadnezzar of the full use of his mind for a period and then restoring it to him, in this way leading him to confess his weakness and surrender himself to the Lord. (MM 59)

"...The king spake..."

  • The king clearly saw the consternation on Daniel's face. From the nature of the dream he could hardly have expected to hear anything pleasant. Nevertheless he encouraged his trusted courier to give him the full truth without fear of incurring royal disfavor. (4BC 791)
  • As Daniel hesitated, not from fear but from wonder, Nebuchadnezzar encouraged him to speak the truth. He knew he could fully trust this exceptional counselor. (MM 59)

"...the dream be to them that hate thee..."

  • Although Daniel had been made captive by the king and had been deported from his homeland to server strangers, the oppressors of his people, he harbored no ill feelings toward Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, his words testify that he felt the highest personal loyalty toward the king, probably in contrast with many of the Jews of his time. On the other hand, Daniel's words must not be interpreted as necessarily expressing malice toward the king's enemies. The answer exhibited simply a courteous reply in true Oriental fashion. (4BC 791)
  • Thus assured, Daniel spoke with forceful and delicate language.... A calamity is set forth in this dream, which Daniel wished might come upon the king's enemies rather than upon him. (US 83)
  • Nebuchadnezzar had given a minute statement of his dream, and as soon as Daniel informed him that the dream applied to him, it was evident that the king had pronounced his own sentence. The interpretation which follows is so plain that it needs no explanation. The threatened judgments were conditional. They were to teach the king "that the Heavens do rule," (Daniel 4:26), the word "heavens" here being put for God, the ruler of the heavens. Hence Daniel took occasion to give the king counsel in view of the threatened judgment. But he did not denounce him in a harsh and censorious spirit. Kindness and persuasion were the weapons he chose to wield: "Let my counsel be acceptable unto thee." (Daniel 4:27). In like manner the apostle Paul beseeches men to suffer the word of exhortation. (Hebrews 13:22). If the king would break off his sins "by righteousness" (Daniel 4:27), and his iniquities "by showing mercy to the poor" (Daniel 4:27), it might result in a lengthening of his tranquillity.... By repentance he might even have averted the judgment the Lord designed to bring upon him. (US 83-84)
  • ...Daniel told him what God had revealed to him, namely, that if Nebuchadnezzar would not change his ways, his mind would become deranged and he would begin to act like an animal and would have to be turned out into the fields to eat grass. (MM 59)
  • To Daniel the meaning of the dream was plain, and its significance startled him. He “was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him.” Seeing Daniel's hesitation and distress, the king expressed sympathy for his servant. “Belteshazzar,” he said, “let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee.” My lord,” Daniel answered, “the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.” The prophet realized that upon him God had laid the solemn duty of revealing to Nebuchadnezzar the judgment that was about to fall upon him because of his pride and arrogance. Daniel must interpret the dream in language the king could understand; and although its dreadful import had made him hesitate in dumb amazement, yet he must state the truth, whatever the consequences to himself. (PK 517)
  • The last dream which God gave to Nebuchadnezzar, and the experience of the king in connection with it, contain lessons of vital importance to all those who are connected with the work of God. The king was troubled with his dream; for it was evidently a prediction of adversity, and none of his wise men would attempt to interpret it. The faithful Daniel stood before the king, not to flatter, not to misinterpret in order to secure favor. A solemn duty rested upon him to tell the king of Babylon the truth. (The Review and Herald article "The Need of Consecrated Workers" September 8, 1896)