Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles’ Feathers

That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. (Daniel 4:33 NKJV)

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) by Nikhil

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) by Nikhil

I have wanted to include this verse in a Birds of the Bible article, but just never got to it. Last night our pastor mentioned this verse again in his message and I decided to use it for this weeks blog. Plus, Dan is teaching the Book of Daniel in our Sunday School class.

Many times the birds mentioned in the Bible are listed as “clean or unclean” or as an “object lesson” to teach some truth. This time the mention of Eagle feathers and birds’ claws are used as a description of a man’s appearance and there is a lesson to be learned here.

So, who was this man? It is actually a very important king, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The information about the King is found throughout the book of Daniel. To make the story short, the king had a dream and wanted an interpretation of that dream. Not only did he want his dreams interpreted, but he wanted the interpreter to tell him what the dream was about. The wise men and others told the king that was impossible, so the king commanded to kill them. Daniel prayed to God that He would reveal the dream and it’s interpretation to him so he could tell it to the King. God answered that prayer and Daniel was able to reveal it to King Nebuchadnezzar.

Long nails like a bird's claws

Long nails like a bird’s claws

King Nebuchadnezzar was the first world ruler and God had given the king great power. Later on, the king’s pride takes over and he thinks he has made this kingdom and does not give God the credit. He even has a great statue made of himself and demands that all fall down and worship him.

Back to making this short. In Daniel chapter 4 the king has another dream and Daniel (Belteshazzar) prays for revelation and again interprets the dream. Daniel 4:9 to 4:18 tells the dream. (Birds are mentions several times in it.) Then Daniel interprets the dream in Daniel 4:19-33. Basically, the Most High is going to let the king learn humility and get rid of the pride that he has.

The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? (Daniel 4:30 NKJV)

For seven years will his kingdom be departed from him. He will be out in the field, “eating grass like oxen” and “until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” It is during this time that his hair will grow like “eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.”

Did King Nebuchadnezzar learn his lesson?

And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. (Daniel 4:34-37 NKJV)

3 thoughts on “Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles’ Feathers

  1. But it still doesn’t answer my question, which is why I stopped to read this: How does hair grow like eagles feathers and nails like birds claws? Did he stay like that? Or did God change him completely?

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    • He did not stay that way. He repented and was restored.
      Barnes says, “the correct idea is, that his hair was neglected until in appearance it resembled the feathers of a bird.”
      Gill says, “till his hair was grown like eagles’ feathers: thick, black, and strong; the hairs of his head having not been cut, not his beard shaved for seven years: the Septuagint and Arabic versions read, “as lions”:
      and his nails like birds’ claws: the nails of his fingers and toes were hard, long, and sharp, like theirs, having not been cut during this time;”
      Matthew Henry says, ” Some think that his body was all covered with hair; however, the hair of his head and beard, being never cut nor combed, grew like eagles feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.”
      These all seem to indicate that because of his unkempt appearance that they resembled feathers and claws. I lean that way. But I was not there and can not say for sure.

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