Interesting quote from John Seldon in light of the pride consistently exhibited by Nebuchadnezzar through the book of Daniel. He nearly kills all the wise men in Babylon due to his pride in Daniel 2. He attempts to kill Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego due to his pride in Daniel 3. And finally God drastically confronts his pride in Daniel 4 by humbling him to the point of living like a wild animal in the fields for 7 years. Wondrously he eventually sees the greatness of God and humbles himself – all to the glory of God.
The way that the first few chapters of the book set up Nebuchadnezzar and his blatant pride make the end of chapter four all the more precious.
34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” . . . 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4:34-37 ESV)
There is much conjecture whether or not Nebuchadnezzar wrote Daniel 4 or whether Daniel placed Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration in his writings. The possibilities are that (1) Daniel wrote this on behalf of Nebuchadnezzar, (2) Nebuchadnezzar wrote this as a letter to all the nations and Daniel simply inserted it into his writings, or (3) Nebuchadnezzar wrote this for the purpose of Daniel including it in his writings. To some degree there is little relevance to who wrote it, because we believe, regardless of the human author, it is part of scripture and is therefore inspired by God and worthy of our attention. Interestingly enough though, if Nebuchadnezzar wrote this himself, and it was inserted into scripture (which we see that it was); there seems to be some indication of Nebuchadnezzar being a believer. I would be hard pressed to imagine an unbeliever writing a portion of scripture. Either way we have a Gentile emperor writing part of scripture. That’s pretty amazing.
It is as well seems that Nebuchadnezzar’s humility comes with little time to spare. If we understand the chronology correctly, it is likely that he died only a couple of years after the events of chapter 4. I love observing God’s effectual drawing of Nebuchadnezzar to himself – little by little – chapter by chapter.