Daniel 4:35 MEANING

Daniel 4:35
Verse 35. - And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? The rendering of the Septuagint here is very difficult to follow, from the state of confusion in which the text is. The verse that comes next in order is very short," At that time my kingdom was set up, and my glory was restored to me." This is a condensed statement of what is recorded in the following verse (ver. 36; 33 Massoretic), and we shall consider it in that connection. The verse which succeeds suits more the conclusion of such a letter or proclamation as is here represented, so far as form goes, though the matter shows traces of exaggeration and amplification natural to the Jew. At the same time, it bears a resemblance to the last verse of this chapter, according to the Massoretes, only greatly amplified. It may thus be best to regard this verse as not present in the Septuagint text. Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text. The statement here is true, but Jewish, not Babylonian, in colour. This, along with its absence from the Septuagint, leads us to believe it to be the insertion of a Jewish scribe. On the other hand, it looks like a statement in brief of what we find expanded in Isaiah 40. and elsewhere. If brevity is to be regarded as an evidence of antiquity, this passage might be taken as the more ancient. It is, however, too bald and prosaic to be the original of such an impassioned passage as that in Isaiah 40.

4:28-37 Pride and self-conceit are sins that beset great men. They are apt to take that glory to themselves which is due to God only. While the proud word was in the king's mouth, the powerful word came from God. His understanding and his memory were gone, and all the powers of the rational soul were broken. How careful we ought to be, not to do any thing which may provoke God to put us out of our senses! God resists the proud. Nebuchadnezzar would be more than a man, but God justly makes him less than a man. We may learn to believe concerning God, that the most high God lives for ever, and that his kingdom is like himself, everlasting, and universal. His power cannot be resisted. When men are brought to honour God, by confession of sin and acknowledging his sovereignty, then, and not till then, they may expect that God will honour them; not only restore them to the dignity they lost by the sin of the first Adam, but add excellent majesty to them, from the righteousness and grace of the Second Adam. Afflictions shall last no longer than till they have done the work for which they were sent. There can be no reasonable doubt that Nebuchadnezzar was a true penitent, and an accepted believer. It is thought that he did not live more than a year after his restoration. Thus the Lord knows how to abase those that walk in pride, but gives grace and consolation to the humble, broken-hearted sinner who calls upon Him.And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing,.... That is, by the most high God, in comparison of him; and that not only the common people, but magistrates, princes, and kings, and even so great a monarch as Nebuchadnezzar; they are like mere nonentities, nothing as to existence, substance, greatness, glory, and duration, when compared with him: for this is to be understood not absolutely as in themselves; for as such they are something; their bodies are something in their original, and especially in their make, form, and constitution, and even in their dissolution; and their souls are yet more valuable, are of more worth than the whole world, being immaterial and immortal; but comparatively with respect to God, in whom they live, and move, and have that being they have, and by whom they are supported in it; al whose glory and grandeur is fading and passing away, and continuance is but very short; and all nothing with God, the Being of beings, whose glory is inconceivable, and with whom a thousand years are as one day, and who is from everlasting to everlasting: and this meant chiefly of the rational inhabitants of the earth; not of the beasts of the field, the cattle on a thousand hills, and the innumerable reptiles of the earth, which also are the inhabitants of it; but of men, the principal ones, and of all of these, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free; not as in their own account, and that of others; for they are something in their own esteem, and seem so in the eyes of others, who judge according to the outward appearance; but they are nothing in the account of God: and as this is true of them in things natural and civil, it is much more so in things spiritual, or relating to everlasting salvation: in these men are nothing, and counted as nothing; no use is made of them, or any account is had of anything done by them; these have no causal influence in their salvation; they are nothing in God's choice of them to eternal life, which is all of mere sovereign grace; nothing in redemption, which is only by Jesus Christ; nothing in regeneration, which is alone by the Spirit and grace of God; nothing in justification, which is not by the works of the law, but by the righteousness of Christ; in short, they are nothing in their salvation from first to last, which is all of grace, and not of works. Jarchi and Saadiah interpret this of an atom or mote in a sunbeam, which is seen flying about, but cannot be laid hold on, having no substance, and disappears when the sun shines not; see Isaiah 40:15.

And he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; he orders the angels, which are the host of heaven, to stand or go where he pleases; and he disposes of men on earth, and puts them into such stations, and such conditions and circumstances, and appoints them such business and services, as he thinks meet. The angels are "the army of heaven", or the heavenly host; so called for their number, there being legions of them, even an innumerable company; and for their military use, being employed to fight for the people of God, to encamp about them, and protect them: those who formerly belonged to them, that sinned against God, he cast them down to hell, without showing them any mercy; and the rest he chose and confirmed in Christ, and all according to his sovereign will; and these he makes use of according to his pleasure, to minister to the heirs of salvation in life, to convoy their souls to heaven at death, and to gather in all the elect at the last day. The "inhabitants of the earth" are the men of it, as before, with whom he does as he pleases in things temporal and civil, making some rich, and others poor; raising some to great honour and dignity, while others live in meanness, poverty, and disgrace: and in things spiritual; he loves whom he will; he chooses whom he pleases; he redeems whom he wishes from among men; he regenerates and calls by his grace, of his own will; and reveals Christ, and the great things of the Gospel, to whom it seems good in his sight; he does what he will with his own; he bestows grace and glory on whomsoever be pleases, as free grace gifts, without any merit of the creature, according to his sovereign will and pleasure.

And none can stay his hand: stop his power, resist his will, or hinder him from acting, or cause him to cease from his work, which he is bent upon; his will in both worlds is sovereign and arbitrary, and his power uncontrollable. It was so in creation, he said, and it was done; it is so in providence, he does what he pleases; there is nothing done without his knowledge and will, and there is no counsel against the Lord: it is so in his works of grace; in the great work of redemption; no difficulties could discourage or hinder Christ from the performance of that arduous work, he being the mighty God: and in the work of grace upon the heart of a sinner, when God begins to work, none can let; not corruptions within, nor Satan without; nor can anything hinder the carrying of it on; not indwelling sin, nor the snares of the world, nor the temptations of Satan. The purposes of God cannot be disannulled; his hand cannot be held, stopped, or turned back from the execution of them; he will do his will and his work in the world, and in his churches, and on particular persons, maugre all the opposition of men and devils.

Or say unto him, what dost thou? what is this thou hast done? and wherefore hast thou done it? why was it not done in another form and manner, and for other ends and purposes? see Isaiah 45:9, all such like questions are vain and foolish, and are despised by the Lord; he gives no account of his matters unto the children of men. Some may with wonder say, "what has God wrought!" but none ought to say, in a complaining and murmuring way, "what dost thou?" and should they, it is of no avail, he will do what he pleases.

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