“I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice.” (Daniel 4:37)
It is quite miraculous that this king who had defied the living God now bowed the knee and worshipped Him.
Nebuchadnezzar received the vision of his kingdom and three future kingdoms. Daniel received the interpretation from God and passed it on to the king. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would be succeeded but he defied the prophecy from God by building a statue all of gold. In the vision kingdoms represented by silver, bronze and iron would succeed his. He showed his defiance by making a huge statue all of gold. This, in effect, was saying that his kingdom would endure forever. He also claimed deity and worship from his people. A year later he boasted that he had built the empire (4:30).
For seven years the Lord left the king insane such that he ate grass with the animals (v 32, 33). It was only after that year was up that Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses and understood that it was God who gave him the kingdom. Now that God had humbled him he was receptive to reality and that led to worship as we read in verse 37.
Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, suffered a very different end. He knew of all that his father had gone through and was most likely the co-regent while Nebuchadnezzar was eating grass (5:22). However, in spite of his father’s experience and outcome he refused to humble himself (v 22) and did as his father had done at the first. He openly defied the God of Israel by using the vessels from the temple in Jerusalem for a wild night of binge drinking. He further mocked Israel’s God by idolatrous worship of gods of the materials of which the vessels were made (v 4). For Belshazzar there was no further opportunity to humble himself. He had an excellent witness in his father and defied it. That was his last night on earth.
When Darius, the Mede, became king in Belshazzar’s place he placed Daniel as one of three governors of the empire. He so approved of Daniel that he had had thoughts of making him second only to himself but this raised the jealousy of others.
The other governors and leaders put together a scheme to be rid of Daniel. Their greatest ally was within Darius himself, namely his pride. Pride blinded him to the consequences of his action that led to the death penalty by lions for Daniel. That “he was greatly displeased with himself” is no doubt a great understatement.
Daniel’s deliverance from the lions saw all his adversaries eaten by the same lions and King Darius with a changed heart. Concerning God he would say, “He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end” (6:26).
Century’s later men who were aware of Daniel and these kings would travel to Jerusalem to see the One born King of the Jews.