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Nebuchadnezzar's Madness

Nebuchadnezzar's Madness

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Published by glennpease
BY JOB ORTON


Daniel iv. 33.

The same hour was the thing fulfilled ujion Nebuchadnezzar ; and
he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his
hody was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown
like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
BY JOB ORTON


Daniel iv. 33.

The same hour was the thing fulfilled ujion Nebuchadnezzar ; and
he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his
hody was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown
like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 19, 2013
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EBUCHADEZZAR'S MADESSBY JOB ORTO Daniel iv. 33. The same hour was the thing fulfilled ujion ebuchadnezzar ; and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his hody was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. The great God, in order to describe his own power, calls upon Job, to " behold every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud and bring him low, and tread down the wicked in their place ; then will I confess unto thee, that thine own right hand can save thee," Job xl, 11 ; thereby inti- mating, that it is the prerogative, or peculiar glory of God, to humble proud oppressors ; and that one look of his eye can bring them down. We have a remarkable instance of this in the history to which the text refers : even that of the distraction of ebuchadnezzar the great and mighty king of Babylon: one of the most astonishing events that ever happened, and worthy of our attentive regard ! The history of it is contained in this chapter. And what makes it more remarkable is, that it was drawn up by the king himself after his recovery. While he was under the impression of the divine power and goodness, he published a proclamation, directed " to all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth ; in order to show the signs and wonders, that the high God had wrought towards him," and to magnify his power, justice, and goodness, though at the same time he published his own shame. For the illus- tration of this affecting event, I shall consider, I. The calamity itself; II. The cause of it; And then show what instructive lessons we may learn from it. Let us consider,
 
I. The calamity itself. In order to show how awful and remarkable this was, it will be necessary a little to consider the dignity of this monarch, and the state of his affairs. ebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon, the capital city of the Chaldean empire. He had been engaged in successful wars, against the Tyrians, the Jews, and other neighbouring nations. He had overrun almost all Asia, and carried his arms into Africa. He had brought the Chaldean empire to the highest pitch of power and grandeur, and enriched his capital with the plunder of all the neighbouring nations, Babylon had been an ancient city ; but this king had so enlarged and beautified it, that it became one of the wonders of the 236 orton's practical works. world. He built the walls of the city, which were sixty miles round ; about twenty yards thick ; about a hundred feet high ; and had in them a hundred gates of solid brass. Besides this, he had built a grand temple to his god Belus, and a most mag- nificent palace, which was strongly fortified. He had contrived some curious hanging gardens, consisting of terraces, one sloping above another, till they were as high as the walls of the city ; the whole being eight miles in compass. These and many other grand designs for the beauty and strength of his capital, this monarch had executed. While he was " at rest in his house and flourishing in his palace," he had a dream which troubled him. He saw a stately tree, fair and fruitful, affording shelter and food to the beasts and birds. He saw an angel coming from heaven, and commanding it to be cut down. evertheless the stump was to continue in the earth, till seven times, that is, seven years, had passed over it ; and then it was to recover its former height, glory, and fruitfulness. The wise men of Babylon could not explain this dream ; but the prophet Daniel gave the king the interpretation. He told him that it represented himself; and described his greatness and dominion ; that its being cut down intimated that he should be dethroned by the immediate
 
hand of God, lose his understanding, be driven from men, and become like a brute; till he knew that the most High ruleth; and that then he should perfectly recover his senses and his kingdom. The prophet concludeth his interpretation with giving him good advice, to be humble and penitent, to do  justice and show mercy. It was twelve months after this dream, before the calamity came upon him. So long the patience of God waited with him ! Then, as he walked in his palace, and boasted of his great achievements, there came a voice from heaven ratifying the sentence already past upon him. "The same hour it was fulfilled ; he was driven from men," and became and lived like a brute. He lost his understanding and memory at once ; was incapable of governing the kingdom, or even of human converse. ot one trace of his former grandeur, rank, or rationality remained. And (as it is expressed in verse 16), " his heart was changed from man's, and a beast's heart was given to him." He had no more sense than a brute ; he ran wild and shunned the society of mankind. He probably ran into a park near his palace, was agitated by all the desires and affections of brutes, and imitated their voice and motions. His courtiers, (perceiving that it was the hand of Providence which had thus debased him, and expecting from Daniel's interpreta- tion of the dream, that this distraction would continue seven years,) left him to wander there, and put the kingdom under a regency. And there is still remaining a fragment of a Chaldean historian, who gives an account of an interregnum occasioned by his distraction. In this miserable condition he continued Dis. XXVIII.] ebuchadnezzar's madness. 237 seven years, under the immediate care of Providence, repre- sented'by a band of iron and brass round the stump of the tree to preserve it from being destroyed. Let us consider, II. The cause of this calamity. And that was his pride. This vice provoked God to make him such a miserable spectacle. While he was walking in his

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