Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prayer of Nabonidus

Words of the prayer, said by Nabonidus, king of Babylonia, the great king, when afflicted with an ulcer on command of the most high God in Temâ:
'I, Nabonidus, was afflicted with an evil ulcer for seven years, and far from men I was driven, until I prayed to the most high God. And an exorcist pardoned my sins. He was a Jew from among the children of the exile of Judah, and said: "Recount this in writing to glorify and exalt the name of the most high God." Then I wrote this: "When I was afflicted for seven years by the most high God with an evil ulcer during my stay at Temâ, I prayed to the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood, stone and lime, because I thought and considered them gods..."' [the end is missing]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Info on Neb's "madness".

The mental illness of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has posed one of the two remaining unsolved problems of the Book of Daniel, the other being the identity of Darius the Mede. Several problems connected with Daniel that vexed scholars of previous generations have been solved to the satisfaction of those who believe in the sixth-century B.C. authorship of the book and in its historical authenticity. Among these problems, solved primarily through archeological discoveries during the past hundred years, are the identity of Belshazzar, the occurrence of Greek words in Daniel, and apparently chronological difficulties.
In 1956 a fragment of a Hebrew document found in Qumran Cave IV and labeled APrayer of Nabonidus@ was published by J. T. Milik. In it Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, claims to have been healed by a Jew from a bad inflammation that had tormented him for seven years, after he had ceased to worship his idols.1 The badly broken leather fragment, written about 100 B.C., was hailed at once by liberal scholars as providing the answer to the questions raised by Daniel 4, where the madness of Nebuchadnezzar is recorded. It has been asserted that the author of Daniel, writing the book Caccording to commonly held liberal viewsCduring the second century B.C., had confused Nabonidus with Nebuchadnezzar, although there were not only similarities in the two stories but also marked differences. Nabonidus was plagued by a bad inflammation in the city of Tema in Arabia, according to the Qumran scroll fragment, while Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted with a mental illness in the city of Babylon, according to the Bible. The best explanation is that the Qumran fragment contains one of the numerous Jewish legends, of which a rich apocryphal and pseudepigraphal literature exists, and that the APrayer of Nabonidus@ has nothing to do with Nebuchadnezzar=s unfortunate experience.
And now comes what seems to be the solution to our problem from a cuneiform tablet that has belonged to the treasures of the British Museum for many years but was published only three years ago.2 Unfortunately, the tablet (BM 34113 [sp. 213]) is broken, as are so many other cuneiform tablets. Its fragmentary condition is the main reason that not everything it contains is as clear as we would like it to be. I am presenting here only the best-preserved lines of this text in translation as provided by the editor of the text, Prof. A. K. Grayson:
2 [Nebu]chadnezzar considered [... ...]
3 His life appeared of no value to [him, ... ...]
5 And (the) Babylon(ian) speaks bad counsel to Evil-Merodach [...]
6 Then he gives an entirely different order but [...]
7 He does not heed the word from his lips, the cour[tier(s) ...]
11 He does not show love to son and daughter [...]
12 [...] family and clan does not exist [...]
14 His attention was not directed towards promoting the welfare of Esagil [and Babylon]
16 He prays to the lord of lords, he raised [his hands (in supplication) ...]
17 He weeps bitterly to Marduk, the g[reat] gods [... ...]
18 His prayers go forth, to [... ...]
The following remarks will help you to understand the parts of this text. Brackets [] indicate words of letters that are broken off from the original tablet, but which have been supplied by the translator. Words or letters in parenthesis () are supplied by the translator for a better understanding of the English rendering. The numerals preceding the lines of text indicate the lines of the tablet that are quoted. Lines missing here are either too badly damaged to make any sense, or are not fully comprehensible and therefore make no contribution to a better understanding of the text as a whole. The reader should note that the end of every line is missing, as indicated by dots between brackets; also the beginnings of lines 2 and 12 are broken off, although there is no doubt that the reconstruction of the beginning of line 2 is correct.
Evil-Merodach of line 5 was the eldest son of Nebuchadnezzar and his successor on the throne of Babylon after his death. He is mentioned in the Bible as having released King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison after his accession to the throne (2 Kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34). Esagil, mentioned in line 14, is the name of the principal temple complex of Babylon, in which stood also the ziggurat, a temple-tower 300 feet high. The temple was dedicated to the worship of the country=s chief god, Marduk, mentioned in line 17 of our text.
This text definitely refers to Nebuchadnezzar in lines 2 and 3, but it is not absolutely certain to whom line 6 and the following lines refer. Professor Grayson, the editor of the tablet, suggests that Athe main theme seems to be the improper behavior of Evil-Merodach, particularly with regard to Esagil, followed by a sudden and unexplained change of heart and prayers to Marduk.@ However, another interpretation of the poorly preserved text is also possible, especially if it is read in the light of Daniel 4, which relates Nebuchadnezzar=s period of mental derangement for seven years.
Seen in this light, it is possible to detect, in lines 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 14, references to a strange behavior of Nebuchadnezzar, which was brought to the attention of Evil-Merodach by some state official(s) according to whose opinion, life had lost all value for his father, and that he, namely Nebuchadnezzar, gave contradictory orders, refused to accept the counsel of his courtiers, showed love to neither son nor daughter anymore, neglected his family, and performed no longer his duties as head of state with regard to the Babylonian state religion and its principal temple. Seen in this light one can understand line 5 as referring to Babylonian state officials who, bewildered by the king=s behavior, counseled Evil-Merodach to take over the affairs of state as long as his father would be incapable of carrying out his royal duties. Line 6 and following lines would then be a description of Nebuchadnezzar=s strange behavior as described by his courtiers to Evil-Merodach.
Since Nebuchadnezzar recovered from his illness, as the Bible tells us (Dan. 4:36), the counsel of the king=s courtiers to Evil-Merodach may later have been considered as ill-conceived or Abad@ (line 5), but may at the time when it was rendered have been the wisest way out of the existing dilemma. Since Daniel tells us that Nebuchadnezzar was Adriven from men@ (verse 33) and later reinstated into his regal position by his officers of state (verse 36), it is possible that Evil-Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar=s eldest son, served as regent during his father=s incapacity, although official records continued to be dated according to the years of Nebuchadnezzar=s reign as long as this king remained alive.
It is regrettable that this extremely important text has come down to us in such a deplorably fragmentary condition, but we are grateful that at least a small part of it has been preserved, since it seems to shed light on a biblical narrative that so far has not been vindicated by extrabiblical documentation.

Text of BM34113 British Museum, No. BM 34113 (sp 213)

“Unfortunately, it is merely a fragment, and the surviving text is not as clear as we would like it to be. But the lines that may refer to the king’s illness are exciting nevertheless:

2 [Nebu]chadnezzar considered […..]
3 His life appeared of no value to [him...]
5 And Babylonian speaks bad counsel to Evil-merodach […..]
6 Then he gave an entirely different order but [………]
7 He does not heed the word from his lips, the cour[tiers……]
11 He does not show love to son and daughter […..]
12 …family and clan do not exist [………]
14 His attention was not directed towards promoting the welfare of Esagil [and Babylon]
16 He prays to the Lord of lords, he raised [his hands in supplication….]
17 He weeps bitterly to Marduk, the g[reat] god [……]
18 His prayer go forth, to [………]

Let's attempt to decipher the text, Brackets [...] indicate which words or letters are broken from the original....

Evil-merodach of line 5 was the eldest son of Nebuchadnezzar and his successor on the throne. He is mentioned in the Bible as having released King Jehoiachin of Judah from Prison after his ascension to the throne (2kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34) Esagil in line 14 is the name of the principal temple complex of Babylon, in which the ziggurat a 300 foot high temple tower, stood. The temple was dedicated to the chief god, Marduk, mentioned in line 17.…......

If read in the light of Daniel 4, which relates Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-year period of mental derangement, lines 3,6,7,11,12,14 refer to strange behavior by Nebuchadnezzar, which has been brought to the attention of Evil merodach by state officials. Life had lost all value to Nebuchadnezzar, who gave contradictory orders, refused to accept the counsel of his courtiers, showed love neither to son nor daughter, neglected his family and no longer performed his duties as head of state with regard to the Babylonian state religion and its principal temple.

Line 5, then, can refer to officials who, bewildered by the kings’ behavior, counselled Evil-merdach to assume responsibility for the affairs of state...

Lines 6, and on would then be a description of Nebuchadnezzar's behavior as described to Evil-merodach.

Since Nebuchadnezzar later recovered, the counsel of the kings’ courtiers to Evil-merodach may later have been considered “bad” (line 5) though at the time it seemed the best way out of a national crises.

Since Daniel records that Nebuchadnezzar was "driven from men" (Dan. 4:33) but later reinstated as king by his officials (vs. 36) Evil merodach, Nebuchadnezzar's eldest son, may have served as regent during his father's incapacity. Official records, howver, show Nebuchadnezzar as king during his lifetime.

Lines 17 and 18 are curious. Was Nebuchadnezzar first appealing to his pagan gods for restoration? If, for seven years, he was crying out to his own gods, before He turned to the true God it makes the account even clearer THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD Who is truly God.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

12/7 Chap 2-3

First, a quick discussion on the Dan 2:40-45. (The Last Kingdom)

Chap 3 The Statue (reaction to the dream)

The LXX introduces this chapter with the following chronological note: “in the eighteenth year of.” Such a date would place these events at about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (cf. 2 Kgs 25:8). However, there seems to be no real basis for associating the events of Daniel 3 with this date.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press.


Nebuchadnezzar summoned eight classes of officials to the dedication of the image. This may suggest that the image was intended to symbolize the empire and its unity under Nebuchadnezzar’s authority. The officers referred to in verse 2 are listed again in verse 3 and four of them in verse 27, thus emphasizing the political implications of this incident.
The satraps were chief representatives of the king, the prefects were military commanders, and the governors were civil administrators. The advisers were counselors to those in governmental authority. The treasurers administered the funds of the kingdom, the judges were administrators of the law, and the magistrates passed judgment in keeping with the law. The other provincial officials were probably subordinates of the satraps. This list of officers probably included all who served in any official capacity under Nebuchadnezzar.

On the possibility that Zedekiah, Judah’s last king, was summoned to Babylon for this occasion see comments on Jeremiah 51:59.

3:7 Greek words for instruments problem for some scholars. I believe that the Greek influence from Lydia could easily inflluence this.

12 sn The word zither (Aramaic קִיתָרוֹס [qitaros]), and the words for harp (Aramaic פְּסַנְתֵּרִין [pésanterin]) and pipes (Aramaic סוּמְפֹּנְיָה [sumponéyah]), are of Greek derivation. Though much has been made of this in terms of suggesting a date in the Hellenistic period for the writing of the book, it is not surprising that a few Greek cultural terms, all of them the names of musical instruments, should appear in this book. As a number of scholars have pointed out, the bigger surprise (if, in fact, the book is to be dated to the Hellenistic period) may be that there are so few Greek loanwords in Daniel.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press.

Daniel 3:8-12

No indication is given of the size of the multitude that assembled on this occasion. But because it included all the kingdom’s officials (vv. 2-3) it must have been huge. Some court advisers (astrologers; cf. comments on 1:17) were quick to bring an accusation against the Jews. The word translated denounced is strong, meaning “to tear in pieces.” The accusation was severe, intended to destroy the accused. The accusers were evidently motivated by jealousy for they referred to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar had set some Jews … over the affairs of the province of Babylon (3:12; cf. 2:49). The jealousy evidently sprang from the king’s recognition of the unusual ability of these men (1:20). Subjugated peoples, such as the Jewish captives, were normally relegated to positions of servitude, not elevated to authority in a realm. So the high positions of “some Jews” were resented.
The counselors evidently sought to curry favor from the king by contrasting the three Jews’ refusal to bow to the image with their own worship of it. Interestingly they accused Daniel’s three friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—but not Daniel. Since Daniel was appointed to a higher office (2:48) he may not have been required to attend (cf. comments on 4:8) or perhaps he may have been elsewhere in the empire carrying out his duties. Or maybe the astrologers did not dare accuse Daniel, who was present but like the other three did not bow. Whatever the reason for his not being mentioned, Daniel’s dedication to his God and submission to the Law certainly precluded his bowing before the image.

3:8 Daniel’s absence from this scene has sparked the imagination of commentators, some of whom have suggested that perhaps he was unable to attend the dedication due to sickness or due to being away on business. Hippolytus supposed that Daniel may have been watching from a distance.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press.

3:14 Sense of respect or questions the accusers validity.
Either way he calls them out and challenges their decisons.

3:15 Note the arrogance in the question.


How significant this event was to Nebuchadnezzar is seen by his response to the astrologers’ accusation of the three noncompliant Jews (vv. 9-12). When he heard that the three refused to bow, he became furious with rage (cf. v. 19; 2:12). The high esteem with which these men had previously been held by Nebuchadnezzar (1:20) did not exempt them from submission to his authority. Nebuchadnezzar did not pass an immediate judgment on the three but asked them if the accusation against them were true. He gave them another opportunity to bow before the image. By doing so they could prove the falsehood of the accusation (or show a changed attitude).


God delivers Again

This historical incident seems to have prophetic significance as well. In the coming Tribulation a Gentile ruler (7:8) will demand for himself the worship that belongs to God (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:8). Any who refuse to acknowledge his right to receive worship will be killed (Rev. 13:15). Assuming political and religious power, he will oppress Israel (Rev. 13:7). Most of the people in the world, including many in Israel, will submit to and worship him. But a small remnant in Israel, like the three in Daniel’s day, will refuse. Many who will not worship the Antichrist will be severely punished; some will be martyred for their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. But a few will be delivered from those persecutions by the Lord Jesus Christ at His second coming.
In the forthcoming Tribulation period God will do for this believing remnant what He did for Daniel’s three companions. They withstood the decree of the king, and though they were not exempted from suffering and oppression they were delivered out of it by the God they trusted. No doubt the remnant of believing Jews in that coming day will find great comfort, consolation, and instruction from this incident in the lives of Daniel’s three companions, as those in Daniel’s day must have found as they were living under Gentile rule.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Alexander and the Jews notes from Josephus

Book of Antiquities, Flavius Josepphus book XI. Chap 5

5. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king's displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, "I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind." And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him (23) wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreared him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.

The overthrow of the final kingdom of the statue

Daniel then focused on the overthrow of those kingdoms. The time of those kings may refer to the four empires or, more likely, it refers to the time of the 10 toes (v. 42) since the first four kingdoms were not in existence at the same time as apparently the toes will be (cf. comments on the 10 horns of the fourth beast, 7:24). Nebuchadnezzar had seen a rock hit and smash the image (2:34).

The statue was destroyed by the rock, not by human hands. In Scripture a rock often refers to Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah (e.g., Ps. 118:22; Isa. 8:14; 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6-8). God, who had enthroned Nebuchadnezzar and would transfer authority from Babylon to Medo-Persia, then to Greece, and ultimately to Rome, will one day invest political power in a King who will rule over the earth, subduing it to His authority, thus culminating God’s original destiny for man (Gen. 1:27).
In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the smiting rock became a mountain that filled the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).

In Scripture a mountain is often a symbol for a kingdom. So Daniel explained that the four empires which would rule over the land and the people of Israel would not be destroyed by human means, but rather by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the striking Stone. When He comes He will establish the messianic kingdom promised to Israel through David (2 Sam. 7:16). At His return He will subjugate all … kingdoms to Himself, thus bringing them to an end (cf. Rev. 11:15; 19:11-20). Then He will rule forever in the Millennium and in the eternal state.

Amillennialists hold that this kingdom was established by Christ at His First Advent and that now the church is that kingdom. They argue that: (a) Christianity, like the growing mountain, began to grow and spread geographically and is still doing so; (b) Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire; (c) the Roman Empire fell into the hands of 10 kingdoms (10 toes); (d) Christ is the chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).

Premillenarians, however, hold that the kingdom to be established by Christ on earth is yet future. At least six points favor that view: (1) The stone will become a mountain suddenly, not gradually. Christianity did not suddenly fill “the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35) at Christ’s First Advent. (2) Though Christ came in the days of the Roman Empire, He did not destroy it. (3) During Christ’s time on earth the Roman Empire did not have 10 kings at once. Yet Nebuchadnezzar’s statue suggests that when Christ comes to establish His kingdom, 10 rulers will be in existence and will be destroyed by Him. (4) Though Christ is now the chief Cornerstone to the church (Eph. 2:20) and “a stone that causes [unbelievers] to stumble” (1 Peter 2:8), He is not yet a smiting Stone as He will be when He comes again. (5) The Stone (Messiah) will crush and end all the kingdoms of the world. But the church has not and will not conquer the world’s kingdoms. (6) The church is not a kingdom with a political realm, but the future Millennium will be.

Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s dream clearly teaches premillennialism, that Christ will return to earth to establish His rule on the earth, thereby subduing all nations. The church is not that kingdom.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Further notes on Daniel 2 and 7

A further point to consider lies in the interpretation of the prophecies that are found in the book of Daniel. Usually, the earthly kingdoms of Dan. 2 and 7 are given as four in number: Babylon, Media, Persia, and Greece. [for instance, see Gammie (1976) 204; Collins (1977): 153; Porteus, 19; Rowley (1935/6): 220; Eissfeldt, 519-20; Gurney, 39; Boutflower (1923): 13-34; Larue, 407; Lacocque (1979): 9, 51, on page 123 he cites Elias Bickerman, Four Strange Books of the Bible. (1967): 67-8: "in the Jewish schema the four empires were Babylon, Media, Persia, and Macedonia."; Collins (1984): 52; Eissfeldt, 522; McNamara (1967): 635; Dummelow, 526; see Davies (1988): 28-9 for his attempt to create an error for Daniel; this view was possibly derived from Porphyry -- see Casey, 19; Gruenthaner, 209-10 notes that some scholars took note of the difficulties that were "created by assuming the second kingdom to be the Median empire"-see, for example, Taylor [2].

They thus propose: Neo-Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Alexander's Greek empire, Seleucid-see for instance Rennie and Muller [2]. But, Gruenthaner notes that this is "contrary to Daniel's outlook upon history." He also briefly examines the idea that these kingdoms are the reigns of specific kings and shows how it fails to meet the criteria of the prophecy.] But the author of the book clearly recognized that the Medes and the Persians were the second of the series of kingdoms (5:28)--also we should note that in chapter 2 there are 5 earthly kingdoms, not four: gold, silver, brass, iron, iron and clay. So, that means we have Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greeks, ? (Rome), and ??. According to the prophecy Rome itself would fall and then that no other world-dominating power would take its place. Now, how did the writer of the book, if it was written "after the fact" in 164 B.C., know that the Greeks were going to fall before it happened [from here on of course Daniel would be an excellent example of pure prophecy--see Porteous, 18: "The genuine attempt at prophecy (Dan. 12:40ff)"--I think he meant chapter 11 verse 40 and onward], and to whom, and then on top of all that the final power was going to fall and that there would never be another? That this is the correct sequence of empires can be seen by the parallel vision in chapters 7-8.

In chapter 7 the bear "raised itself up on one side" [Lacocque (1979): 140 says that this means it is either "crouched down ready to spring[!] or standing up on its back legs in an aggressive position"--compare that opinion with the text itself; see also Gurney, 43] and in chapter 8 one of the two horns on the ram "was higher than the other, and the higher came up last." [Eissfeldt, 522 recognizes that the two horns represent two separate kingdoms; Lacocque (1979): 160: recognizes that the ram with its two horns represent Persia and Media--although he confuses the later horn with Media] Notice also that in 8:7 the goat breaks both horns of the ram thereby indicating that "they cannot be two successive kingdoms one of which was overthrown 200 years earlier than the second!" [Emery, 38-9] And then when could the book have been written? We should note, as Goldingay does, that Josephus saw Rome as the fourth empire. [Goldingay, xxix-xxx] Goldingay advances the idea that since "Nebuchadnezzar personally is the head, so it is more natural to refer to them to the regins (sic) of four kings over a single empire." [Goldingay, 49] In doing so he ignores the idea that in an absolute monarchy the king personifies the kingdom as a whole. In looking at the metals involved in the statute of Dan. 2 Goldingay tries to claim that there is "no implication of deterioration as we move from head to trunk ..." and yet on the next page he says "the second regime is inferior to the first". [Goldingay, 49-50; he has to make the later admission because 2:39 says that the kingdom that follows Babylon will be "inferior"; it can be assumed from that alone that all the others will be "inferior" in some respect to their predecessor; see also Gruenthaner, 74-5; Gurney, 41] But, Davies points out that "the Greek poet Hesiod (eight century BC) who, in his Works and Days spoke of four (or five) ages of men represented by metals. Each age is successively degenerate--gold, silver, bronze, then iron ..." [Davies (1988): 44] Lacocque also notes that "Hesiod (Works and Days, 109-201) and Ovid (Metamorphoses I, 89-150) speak of a succession of the ages of the world as a process of degeneration: gold-silver-bronze-iron." [Lacocque (1979): 48; see also Collins (1975): 221] Goldingay may be quite correct in seeing these various metals as constituting the sum of the "valuable natural resources or valuable booty"; but, there is no evidence in the text that this is what these metals stood for. [Goldingay, 49] The story in chapter 3 indicates that by making his "statute" all gold Nebuchadnezzar saw the metals as indicating declining value and he was the greatest of all and that he also wanted his empire to last forever. This is contrary to any Jewish view point a Collins pointed out; but is completely true to the Babylonian way of looking at things. [Collins (1975): 222]