Daniel 4:31

Hebrew Bible

31 While these words were still on the king’s lips, a voice came down from heaven: “It is hereby announced to you, King Nebuchadnezzar, that your kingdom has been removed from you! 32 You will be driven from human society, and you will live with the wild animals. You will be fed grass like oxen, and seven periods of time will pass by for you before you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes.” 33 Now in that very moment this pronouncement about Nebuchadnezzar came true. He was driven from human society, he ate grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until his hair became long like an eagle’s feathers and his nails like a bird’s claws.


4QPrayer of Nabonidus
Dead Sea Scrolls

Words of the pr[ay]er which Nabonidus, king of [the] la[nd of Baby]lon, the [great] king, prayed [when he was afflicted] by a malignant inflammation, by decree of the G[od Most Hi]gh, in Teiman. [I, Nabonidus,] was afflicted [by a malignant inflammation] for seven years, and was banished far [from men, until I prayed to the God Most High] and an exorcist forgave my sin. He was a Je[w] fr[om the exiles, who said to me:] «Make a proclamation in writing, so that glory, exal[tation and hono]ur be given to the name of [the] G[od Most High». And I wrote as follows: «When] I was afflicted by a ma[lignant] inflammation […] in Teiman, [by decree of the God Most High,] [I] prayed for seven years [to all] the gods of silver and gold, [of bronze and iron,] 8 of wood, of stone and of clay, because [I thoug]ht that t[hey were] gods […]

 Notes and References

"... The Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab/4Q242) is a prayer attributed to the Babylonian king, Nabonidus, as reconstructed from four Aramaic fragments found at Qumran. The text is fragmentary, although scholars believe it to be as old as the 2nd century B.C.E. The Prayer of Nabonidus parallels the biblical episode in Daniel 4, in which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is afflicted for seven years and his condition is explained to him by Daniel. The Prayer of Nabonidus may have served as a source for the author of Daniel, or it may simply preserve an older version of the story ... Although the text is somewhat fragmentary, there are numerous similarities to the account concerning Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 4, who like Nabonidus, was also stricken by God with a debilitating condition until “seven times shall pass over” him. There are also some corresponding details, like the king having a dream which a Jewish exile interprets for him. The king’s references to the “gods of silver and gold” have a parallel in Daniel 5:23, where Daniel rebukes King Belshazzar saying, “You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored”. However, there are also some noticeable differences, for example the nature of the king’s illness, and of course, the name of the king ..."

Lo, Jonathan W. The Contours and Functions of Danielic References in the Gospel of Mark (pp. 92-93) The University of Edinburgh, 2012

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