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18 “O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 “And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down.”

 

Daniel now reminds Belshazzar of God’s sovereign working in the life of Nebuchadnezzar. 

5:18

O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor.

Daniel reminded Belshazzar of the sovereignty of Jehovah in dealing with Nebuchadnezzar.  It was this sovereign God who put the writing on the wall.  God taught Nebuchadnezzar this lesson in chapter four. 

The Bible says more about Nebuchadnezzar than any other gentile ruler.  The family of Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar made a meteoric rise to power.  This family of four generations left behind more material evidence than any family mentioned in the Bible. 

5:19

And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down.

Nebuchadnezzar’s conquests were far-flung.  Jeremiah foretold these conquests (Je 25:1ff.; 27:1ff.; 43:10).  Ezekiel did as well (Ezek 26:7; 29:19; 30:10). 

PRINCIPLE: 

God works sovereignly in history. 

APPLICATION: 

The story of Babylon throughout the Bible is a major theme.  This story begins in Genesis 10:10, where Nimrod built the city of Babel (Babylon).  Hammurabi, the Amorite lawgiver, was one of its great kings.  The empire of Babylon reached its zenith in the eighteenth century B.C. and became known as one of the great metropolises of the world.  The city went into eclipse after Hammurabi.  It was not until the rise of the Neo-Babylonian Empire a thousand years later that Babylon rose to world dominion under Nebuchadnezzar.  Throughout history, it is a type of the final city of the world in Revelation 17 and 18. 

The Assyrians dominated the Mesopotamian Valley, and most of the civilized world after old Babylon declined.  Later, their capital city was Nineveh on the Tigris River.  Her people were ruthless and war-oriented.  The last great ruler, Ashurbanipal, died in 625 B.C.  His son was unable to keep the empire together.  The king of the Chaldeans, Nabopolassar, was Ashur-banipal’s viceroy in Babylon.  Nabopolassar rebelled against Assyria and took Babylon.  Nabopolassar and Cyaxares joined forces and took Nineveh from Assyria.  Nineveh fell in 612 B.C., according to the prophecy of Nahum 2:1-3:19.

The Assyrians retreated to Carchemish on the banks of the Euphrates River with the Egyptians.  The future of the world was decided in one of the great battles of history, the Battle of Carchemish (605 B.C.).  Egypt never rose again, and Babylon ruled the world.

While Nabopolassar mopped up the cities along the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers, he sent his son Nebuchadnezzar to stop Pharaoh-Necho of Egypt at Carchemish.  Necho had killed the good King Josiah at Armageddon on his way to Carchemish in Palestine.  Nebuchadnezzar crushed Necho and the Egyptians.  This was the final defeat of the Assyrians.  The Egyptians never again rose to world power.  Judah became a vassal of Babylon (Is 39:5-8).  Daniel, as a member of the royal family, came to Babylon as a captive and as a person of great influence on the world power. 

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