Say It with a Song

So what’s this important something Nebuchadnezzar had to say? The suspense has probably been causing you pain for a week. Let me put you out of your misery.

The great and mighty king of Babylon is bubbly. He’s tickled to tell his story. The stuffy wording of most translations zaps the life right out of him with something like, “It has seemed good to me to declare to you the signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me” (4:2). Technically, these translations get it right. The words match the Aramaic. But contextually, they are starchy and uninspiring. (Don’t panic, my evangelical friends: I didn’t say the words were uninspired. Just uninspiring.) The NLT (“I am delighted to tell you”) and NIV (“It is my pleasure to tell you”) are better, but even they fizzle.

Look at the text. The man bursts into song before he gets around to saying what he wants to say (4:3). He might even have a timbrel  in his hand while he dictates words that sound very much like a Hebrew psalm (especially Ps 145:13, but see also Pss 29 and 104). “How great are His signs! How mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom! His dominion endures from generation to generation!”

What most impresses Nebuchadnezzar is that the “Most High God” has done something miraculous for him (4:2). This isn’t the first time Nebuchadnezzar has referred to God as the “Most High God.” He said it when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were strolling about in the fiery furnace: “Come out, you servants of the Most High God!” (NASB 3:26) He knew then that their God was special. He wasn’t only a god – he was the God of all gods. Shucks, he was even more powerful than Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:15, 28–29). But now this Most High God has stepped into his world and done something extraordinary for him.

When Nebuchadnezzar finishes his story (4:34–35), he closes with another song that sounds a lot like a song some of you might know. I couldn’t find the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it, but I think this little trio just might be as good.  

 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
The only wise God, the only wise God,
Be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Amen.
Be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen

Amen, Nebuchadnezzar. Amen.

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About wendywidder

For LOVE of the WORD
This entry was posted in Aramaic, Daniel 4, The Book of Daniel. Bookmark the permalink.

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