The Jewish Eye
Sefer Daniel: Part 6 - Perek 4: Nevuchadnetzer Dreams Again; This Time About Himself
Perek Daled cites the text of a letter which Nevuchadnetzer sent to all the subjects of his kingdom, in which he accounts a series of events that occurred to him. He introduces the events by stating that "I was tranquil in my house and vigorous in my palace." His illness was not caused by personal or national stress; it could only be attributed to Hashem. During this period of tranquility, he had a frightening dream. He again called for all the sages of Bavel to interpret the dream, but they were unable to interpret it. Finally he called Daniel who interpreted the dream.
Why didn't Nevuchadnetzer call Daniel first, since he was already aware that he was a revealer of secrets? Daniel had told him at the time of the first dream that its interpretation was from Hashem, which is why all of the Bavli sages, who deal only with lowly powers such as stars or demons, were unable to interpret it. Nevuchadnetzer was under the impression that his present dream was a simple dream from the lower powers, and therefore Daniel would be unable to help him since he deals only with Hashem above. At that point, Nevuchadnetzer did not believe that Hashem is mashgiach on small details. Once he saw that the Bavli sages were unable to interpret the dream, he realized it must be a lofty matter, and he called Daniel.
"I was watching and there was a huge thick tree in middle of the earth of immense height. The tree grew and became stronger, its height reached the sky, and it could be seen to the ends of the entire earth. It had beautiful branches, bountiful fruit, and food for everybody in it. The birds of the shamayim rested in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. I then saw a new vision, and I saw two angels descending from Heaven. One called out loudly and said, ‘Cut down the tree, cut down its large branches, throw down its small branches, scatter its fruit, the animals will move away from under it, and the birds from its branches. But the main roots should remain in the ground, and with chains of iron and copper in the grass of field, and he will be washed by the dew of Heaven, and he will share the grass of the earth with the wild animals.' Afterwords, his heart was changed from the heart of a man, and he was given the heart of a beast, and seven periods will pass over him. By the decree of those who are awake, and by the word of the angels, so that the living know that Elyon rules over the kingdom of man and He will give the kingship to whom He wishes, and He will raise up the lowest of man over it.
Then Daniel, whose name was Balshetzar, was bewildered for a moment, and his thoughts confused him."
Daniel was hesitant to tell Nevuchadnetzer the interpretation of the dream since it portended negative events which would befall him, and he was afraid Nevuchadnetzer would become angry at him. Therefore, Nevuchadnetzer reassured him that he will not harm him if he reveals the evil which will befall him; in fact, Nevuchadnetzer already sensed in his heart that his dream portended evil.
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