IV. The Huge Tree (Ch. 4)
This royal report is unusual, for it is in the first person and was published as a personal letter. The king first confessed his belief in the God of wonders, the God the Israelites served. In contrast to pagan deities, this God rules over an eternal kingdom. Then the king called in Daniel.
The remark in parentheses in 4:8 indicates that Nebuchadnezzar had not given up his polytheistic beliefs, though he was able to voice correct doctrines about the God of the Hebrews. He still regarded Daniel as the best of the magicians with a special divine spirit in him. This was a polytheistic concept.
Nebuchadnezzar said he dreamed of a large tree that a messenger from heaven had ordered chopped down. The stump was depicted as a man who had lost his mind and become like an animal in the field.
When the emperor asked for an interpretation, Daniel became very disturbed. Reluctantly Daniel explained that Nebuchadnezzar was the tree, for he was a mighty ruler, but the sovereign Lord had decreed his downfall. He would become an animal in the fields unless he sincerely acknowledge[d] that heaven rules. Clearly though the king had several times admitted that the God of the Hebrews was mighty, he had remained unwilling to let the one true God rule over his own life.
Nothing happened for a year. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar was too frightened to challenge the sovereignty of the God of heaven during that time. Eventually he began to boast of his power and the glory of his majesty.
Nebuchadnezzar's probation period was over. The voice of the Judge uttered the verdict. The tree would now be cut and the king would live like an animal. Nebuchadnezzar's mighty power could not prevent it; he was soon in the fields eating like the animals.
Nebuchadnezzar testified that he recovered his sanity and praised the eternal Most High. God granted the emperor full restoration to his throne and empire. Nebuchadnezzar now fully confessed his devotion to the one true God whose ways he called right and just. The act of humbling the proud is included as one of those ways.