"They Shall Make Thee To Eat Grass As Oxen"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 215

Context: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, after his sages have failed to explain a dream for him, calls in Daniel, an exile of Judah who is famed for his ability to interpret dreams. Daniel propounds that the fine tree that Nebuchadnezzar saw represents the powerful king himself. The hewing down of the tree by a holy one portrays the approaching madness of Nebuchadnezzar, which will last until the king shall recognize the sovereignty of God, at which time both his reason and his kingdom shall be restored to him. Nebuchadnezzar, ignoring the warning of the dream, continues in his haughty, self-sufficient way until a voice from Heaven speaks, delivering his doom:

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. . . The kingdom is departed from thee.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle's feathers, and his nails like bird's claws.

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