Daniel 4:30 Index
The king spake, and said, 'Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?'
Resource Material

" . . . Babylon, that I have built . . . " (Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 16:18; Isaiah 37; Micah 6:8)

  • In English literature there's a story told of two cities, one in England and one in France. The Bible pictures two cities throughout its pages, Jerusalem and Babylon. Jerusalem stands for peace found in Jesus Christ; whereas, Babylon represents confusion built on man's devising. Nebuchadnezzar felt that his kingdom had been built by his might and power. Anytime denominations, nations, man's ideology or education institutions exalt human effort as self-sufficient, then you have the very spirit of Babylon. (KC 56)
  • Babylon is an old city dating back to the time of Nimrod, who first built it (Genesis 10:10). When Abraham left southern Mesopotamia about 2000 B.C., Babylon was a flourishing city (Genesis 11:27-31). You will find the ruins of the city in the country of Iraq, about 50 miles south of Baghdad on the Euphrates river. Babylon became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 605 B.C., when Nabopolassar took over the Assyrian Empire. It was under King Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon reached the height of its splendor. He enlarged the city to an area of about 13 miles long and 10 miles wide. Around the city was a double wall some 50 feet thick, with 250 towers and eight gates. The most famous was the Ishtar Gate which opened to a sacred processional way leading to the temple of the pagan god Marduk. The gate and city walls were decorated with yellow, green and red-colored glazed ricks, which featured drawings of lions, dragons and bulls, on a background of blue. The center of Babylon's glory was the famous temple tower, Etemenanki, which was 300 feet square at the base and over 300 feet high. (KC 57-58)
  • One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was the famous hanging gardens that Nebuchadnezzar built for his wife. Since Babylon was set on the plains, and his wife was from the mountain country, the hanging gardens were to remind her of her mountain home. (KC 58)
  • In the northwest corner of the inner city was the Southern Palace. This was more or less the official residence of the king. This was where all the ceremonies of the state took place. In the center was a large throne room, 173 feet long, 57 feet wide and 66 feet high. This immense hall was probably where Belshazzar's feast took place and the handwriting on the wall appeared in Daniel 5:5. Nebuchadnezzar wanted the city of Babylon to last forever. Archaeologists have found bricks with this inscription on them, "The city which is the delight of my eyes, may it last forever." God had prophesied otherwise. (Isaiah 13:19-21). (KC 58)
  • Students of ancient Babylonian history are reminded of these proud words when reading the claims the king makes in his inscription, which have been preserved amid the dust and debris of Babylon's ruins. On one of these inscriptions the proud king proclaims, "Then built I the palace, the seat of my royalty, the bond of the race of men, the dwelling of exult at io in and rejoicing" (E. Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, vol. 3, part 2, p.39). In another text he says, "In Babylon, the city which I prefer, which I love, was the palace, the amazement of the people, the bond of the land, the brilliant palace, the abode of majesty on the ground of Babylon" (Ibid., p. 25). (4BC 792-793)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's claim to have "built" Babylon must not be interpreted as referring to the founding of the city, which actually took place shortly after the Flood (Genesis 11:1-9; cf. Genesis 10:10). The reference is to the great work of rebuilding which his father , Nabopolassar, began, and which Nebuchadnezzar completed. Nebuchadnezzar's building activities were so extensive as to eclipse all previous accomplishments. It has been said that little could be seen that had not been erected in his time. This was true of the palaces, temples, walls, and even of the residential sections. The size of the city had been more than doubled by the addition of new areas to old Babylon, as suburbs on both sides of the river Euphrates. (4BC 793).
  • Babylon had been an important city of Mesopotamia from the dawn of history (Genesis 11). Hammurabi had made it the capital of his dynasty. As the seat of the famous god Marduk, it remained a religious center even during periods when it did not enjoy political supremacy, as, for example, during the time when Assyria was the leading world power. When Nabopolassar regained for Babylonia its independence, the city once more became the metropolis of the world. But it was especially under Nebuchadnezzar, the great builder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, that Babylon became "the glory of kingdoms" and "the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency" (Isaiah 13:19). (4BC 794)
  • WALLS: Before Nebuchadnezzar's time the city was almost square, with walls about one mile long on each of the four sides. The old city was part of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon: the Inner City. The palaces and administration buildings lay in the northwestern section of the city, and south of them stood the main temple complex called Esagila, dedicated to Babylon's main god, Marduk. The river Euphrates flowed along Babylon's western wall.... Nebuchadnezzar also built a new palace far to the north of the old city, the so-called Summer Palace. A great outer wall was constructed to enclose this palace. The new wall greatly increased the area of the city.... The walls, which for the greater part can still be clearly seen as long, high mounds, measure about 13 miles. This measurement is that of the total length of the walls of both the inner and outer cities. The circumference of Nebuchadnezzar's city, including the river front from the Summer Palace to the old palace are, was about 10 miles.... The fortifications surrounding the Inner City consisted of double walls, of which the inner wall was about 12 feet and the outer wall about 22 feet thick. The outer fortification system also had two walls, 24 and 26 feet thick respectively. According to Diodorus there were towers about every 55 years, or 250 in all. (4BC 795)
  • TEMPLES: Because Babylon contained the sanctuary of the god Marduk, considered to be the lord of heaven and earth, the chief of all the gods, the ancient Babylonians considered their city the "navel" of the world. Hence, Babylon was a religious center without rival on earth. A cuneiform tablet of Nebuchadnezzar's time lists re temples dedicated to important gods, 955 small sanctuaries and 384 street altars -- all of them within the city confines. In comparison, Asshur, one of the chief cities of Assyria, with its 34 temples and chapels, made a comparatively poor impression.... The center of Babylon's glory was the famous temple tower "Etemenanki'" "the foundation stone of heaven and earth," which was 300 feet square at the base and more than 300 feet high. This tremendous edifice was surpassed in height in ancient times only by the two great pyramids at Giza in Egypt. The tower may have been built at the site where the Tower of Babel once stood. The brick structure consisted of seven stages, or which the smallest and uppermost was a shrine dedicated to Marduk, the chief god of Babylon. (Genesis 11:9). (4BC 797)
  • Esagila was the largest and most famous of all temples of the ancient Orient. At the time Nebuchadnezzar ascended the throne it had already enjoyed a long and glorious history, and the new king entirely rebuilt and beautified extensive sections of the temple complex, including the tower Etemenanki.... In both number and size the palaces of Babylon revealed extraordinary luxury. (4BC 798)
  • PALACE: During his long reign of 43 years Nebuchadnezzar built three large castles or palaces. One of them lay within the Inner City, the others outside it. One was what is knows as the Summer Palace, in the northernmost part of the new eastern quarter.... Another large palace... called the Central Palace, lay immediately outside the northern wall of the Inner City. This, too, was built by Nebuchadnezzar. Modern archeologists found this large building also in a hopeless desolate condition, with the exception of one part of the palace, the Museum of Antiquities. Here valuable objects of the glorious past of Babylonia's history, such as old statues, inscriptions, and trophies of war, had been collected and exhibited "for men to behold," as Nebuchadnezzar expressed it in one of his inscriptions. The Southern Palace lay in the north-western corner of the Inner City and contained, among structures, the famous hanging gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. A large vaulted building was surmounted with a roof garden irrigated by a system of pipes through which water was pumped up. According to Diodorus, Nebuchadnezzar built this marvelous edifice for his Median wife in order to give to her, in the midst of level and treeless Babylonia, a substitute for the wooded hills of her native land, which she missed. In the vaults underneath the roof gardens provisions of grain, oil, fruit, and spices were stored for the needs of the court and court dependents. Excavators found administrative documents in these rooms, some of which mention King Jehoiachin of Judah as the recipient of royal rations. Adjoining the hanging gardens was an extensive complex of buildings, halls, and rooms that had replaced the smaller palace of Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar. This southern Palace was more or less the official residence of the king, the place were all ceremonies of state took place. In the center was a large throne room, 173 feet long, 57 feet wide, and 66 feet high. This immense hall was probably the place where Belshazzar banqueted during the last night of his life, because no other hall in the palace was large enough to accommodate a thousand guests. (Daniel 5:1). (4BC 798)
  • ISHTAR GATE: One of [Babylon's] colorful structures was the famous Ishtar Gate which adjoined the Southern Palace and formed one of the northern entrances to the Inner City. This was the most beautiful of all Babylonian gates, for through it passed the Procession Street, leading from the various royal palaces to the temple Esagila. Fortunately, this gate was less completely destroyed than any other structure in Babylon and is now the most impressive of all extant ruins of the city. It still rises to a height of about 40 feet. (4BC 798)
  • BRICKS: The interior structures of the city walls and gates, the palaces and temples, were of unbaked bricks. The outer coats consisted of baked and, in some instances of glazed bricks. The outer bricks of the city walls were yellow in color, those of the gates sky blue, those of the palaces rose, and those of the temples white. The Ishtar Gate was a double structure, because of the double city walls. It was 170 feet long and consisted of four tower-like structures of varying thickness and height. The walls were of bricks whose glazed surfaces formed raised figures of animals. There were at least 575 of these. There were bulls in yellow, with decorative rows of blue hair, and green hoofs and horns. These alternated with mythological beats of yellow, called sirrush, which had serpents' heads and tails, scaled bodies, and eagles' and cats' feet. (4BC 798-799)
  • The approach to the Ishtar Gate was lined on both sides of the street with defensive walls. On these walls were glazed-brick lions in relief, wither white with yellow manes or yellow with red manes (now turned green) on a blue background. (4BC 499)
  • INSCRIPTION: Such was the colorful and mighty city that King Nebuchadnezzar had built -- the marvel of all nations. His pride in it is reflected in inscriptions he left to posterity. One of them, now in the Berlin Museum, reads as follows:
    • "I have made Babylon, the holy city, the glory of the great gods, more prominent than before, and have promoted its rebuilding. I have caused the sanctuaries of gods and goddesses to lighten up like the day. No king among all kings has ever built, what I have magnificently built for Marduk. I have furthered to the utmost the equipment of Esagila, and the renovation of Babylon more than had ever been done before. all my valuable works, the beautification of the sanctuaries of the great gods, which I undertook more than my royal ancestors, I wrote in a document and put it down for coming generations. All my deeds, which I have written in this document, shall those read who know [how to read] and remember the glory of the great gods. May the way of my life e long, may I rejoice in offspring; may my offspring rule over the black-headed people into all eternity, and may the mentioning of my name be proclaimed for good at all future times." (4BC 799)
  • A year of probation was granted the king after this solemn warning had been given. At the end of this time the king, in his royal palace, thinking of his kingdom with pride and satisfaction, exclaimed, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have build for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" He was repeating the thoughts, almost the exact words, of Satan, when he thought to exalt his throne above God. When proud thoughts were entertained, and these words were uttered, the sentence was pronounced which blasted the tree, and degraded the monarch whom the tree symbolized. It was God who had given the king his reason and ability to establish a kingdom like this. The same God could take away the judgment and wisdom upon which the king prided himself. And God did so. It is the mind which elevated man above the beast. When the power of the mind is removed, man sinks to the lowest level. Nebuchadnezzar became as the beasts. David says, "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found." (Psalms 37:35-36). (SNH 65-66)
  • And what a city it was! The savage Assyrians had razed it to the ground in 689 B.C., but international opinion had demanded its rebirth as a home of the gods. Nebuchadnezzar's father, Nabopolassar, had eliminated the Assyrians and assisted in the city' s regrowth. Nebuchadnezzar had enlarged it to nearly three times its original size and had made it the largest city in the world.... And the grandest! Whereas Nabopolassar had build a single palace, Nebuchadnezzar had built three palaces, each one larger and more luxurious than its predecessor. One of them was roofed with a garden of exotic trees and shrubs, the Hanging Gardens, famous among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. He had constructed tremendous double walls around the metropolis -- in places seven triple walls -- for the protection of his subjects. He had also bridged the mighty Euphrates for the convenience of his people.... He had led campaigns to the Lebanon Mountains to conquer the heights where the Cedrus libani grows, the glorious cedar of Lebanon. He had hewed roads through solid rock to carry its sweet-smelling trunks. He exuberantly, with his own hands helped fell the mighty timers. He had floated rafts of cedars down the Euphrates like so many bundles of reeds.... He had demonstrated his gratitude to the gods by encouraging no fewer then 53 temples, 955 small sanctuaries, and 384 street altars! Babylon was truly a religious city.... And how beautiful the city looked! Its outer walls were brick-yellow in color. Its principal gates were glazed in blue. Its palaces were faced with rose-colored tiles, and its myriad temples were gleaming white [tiles]. Towering above all, as evidence of Babylon's traditional leadership in the worship of the gods, loomed the seven-tiered, multicolored Etemenanki. Its tallest shrine rose 100 meters, or 300 feet, above the floor of Esagila, the principle temple of Marduk -- the most famous temple in the East. (MM 60-61)
  • Exalted to the pinnacle of worldly honor, and acknowledged even by Inspiration as “a king of kings” (Ezekiel 26:7). Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless at times had ascribed to the favor of Jehovah the glory of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. Such had been the case after his dream of the great image. His mind had been profoundly influenced by this vision and by the thought that the Babylonian Empire, universal though it was, was finally to fall, and other kingdoms were to bear sway, until at last all earthly powers were to be superseded by a kingdom set up by the God of heaven, which kingdom was never to be destroyed.... Nebuchadnezzar's noble conception of God's purpose concerning the nations was lost sight of later in his experience; yet when his proud spirit was humbled before the multitude on the plain of Dura, he once more had acknowledged that God's kingdom is “an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:3). An idolater by birth and training, and at the head of an idolatrous people, he had nevertheless an innate sense of justice and right, and God was able to use him as an instrument for the punishment of the rebellious and for the fulfillment of the divine purpose. “The terrible of the nations” (Ezekiel 28:7), it was given Nebuchadnezzar, after years of patient and wearing labor, to conquer Tyre; Egypt also fell a prey to his victorious armies; and as he added nation after nation to the Babylonian realm, he added more and more to his fame as the greatest ruler of the age. (PK 514-515)
  • Under King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon was the richest and most powerful kingdom on the earth. Its riches and splendor have been faintly portrayed by Inspiration. But it did not fulfil God's purpose; and when his time had come, this kingdom of pride and power, ruled by men of the highest intellect, was broken, shattered, helpless. Christ has declared, “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). The illustrious statesmen of Babylon did not regard themselves as dependent on God. They thought that they had created all their grandeur and exaltation. But when God spoke, they were as the grass that withereth, and the flower of the grass that fadeth away. The word and will of God alone endure forever. (The Youth's Instructor article "Lessons From the Life of Daniel — 13" September 29, 1903)
  • Tho this wonderful dream (Daniel 2) caused a marked change to take place in the ideas and opinions of King Nebuchadnezzar, his soul was not cleansed from its pride, its worldly ambition, its desire for self-exaltation, by the converting power of God. The rise and fall of the kingdoms which were to succeed Babylon, were minutely described to him by the prophet; but instead of treasuring the conviction which had been made on his mind in regard to the fall of all earthly kingdoms, and the greatness and power of Jehovah's kingdom, the king, after the immediate impression wore away, thought only of his own greatness, and studied how he might make the dream turn to his own exaltation and honor. (The Signs of the Times article "A Lesson from the King of Babylon" April 29, 1897)
  • When Nebuchadnezzar glorified himself, and did not give praise to God, he was made an example before the world of how God regards this spirit of self-exaltation. As he walked in the palace of his kingdom, he said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” But there was an unseen watcher that marked his spirit and recorded his words, and a voice fell from heaven, saying, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken: The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Daniel 4:31-32). (The Review and Herald article "The Necessity of Dying to Self" June 18, 1889)
  • The custom of offering praise to men is one that results in great evil. One praises another, and thus men are led to feel that glory and honor belong to them. They begin to feel as did Nebuchadnezzar when he walked around the palaces of his kingdom, exclaiming, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” God had warned the king of his danger in thus taking the glory to himself, but he did not heed the warning, and God sent his threatened judgment upon him, and Nebuchadnezzar was humbled. (The Review and Herald article "Prayer and Faith" June 9, 1891)
  • Let no man flatter himself that he is a successful man unless he preserves the integrity of his conscience, giving himself wholly to the truth and to God. (5T 70)
  • For a time the impression of the warning and the counsel of the prophet was strong upon Nebuchadnezzar; but the heart that is not transformed by the grace of God soon loses the impressions of the Holy Spirit. Self-indulgence and ambition had not yet been eradicated from the king's heart, and later on these traits reappeared. Notwithstanding the instruction so graciously given him, and the warnings of past experience, Nebuchadnezzar again allowed himself to be controlled by a spirit of jealousy against the kingdoms that were to follow. His rule, which heretofore had been to a great degree just and merciful, became oppressive. Hardening his heart, he used his God-given talents for self-glorification, exalting himself above the God who had given him life and power.... For months the judgment of God lingered. But instead of being led to repentance by this forbearance, the king indulged his pride until he lost confidence in the interpretation of the dream, and jested at his former fears.... A year from the time he had received the warning, Nebuchadnezzar, walking in his palace and thinking with pride of his power as a ruler and of his success as a builder, exclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? (PK 519)
  • 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. But the king failed of recognizing the power that had exalted him. Nebuchadnezzar in the pride of his heart said: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30. Instead of being a protector of men, Babylon became a proud and cruel oppressor. The words of Inspiration picturing the cruelty and greed of rulers in Israel reveal the secret of Babylon's fall and of the fall of many another kingdom since the world began: “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” Ezekiel 34:3, 4. (Ed 175-176)