Birds of the Bible – Eagle Hair and Bird Claws

Bald Eagle at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

Bald Eagle at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

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)

This Birds of the Bible Scripture was mentioned over five years ago and it’s time to update and review. “Repetition aids learning” they say. Also, I am currently reading through Daniel again.

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.

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, emphasis mine)

For seven years, or time periods, 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.”

Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) Feet by Lee at National Aviary

Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) Feet by Lee at National Aviary

That was the short version, now before we find out if the King learned from this, we will go a little further.

Summarized Bible – “Conclusion: God has power to humble the haughtiest of men who would in their pride act in competition with Him. Those so confident of their own sufficiency will be brought sooner or later to own God’s dominion over them and their own utter weakness. Many have been brought to themselves by being made beside themselves.”

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014

Daniel & the Revelation by Uriah Smith: “The King’s Self-exaltation and Humiliation.–Nebuchadnezzar failed to profit by the warning he had received, yet God bore with him twelve months longer before the blow fell. All that time he cherished pride in his heart, and at length it reached a climax beyond which God could not suffer it to pass. The king was walking in the palace, and as he looked forth upon the splendors of that wonder of the world, great Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, he forgot the source of all his strength, and greatness, and exclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?” Archaeologists have found the ruins of that ancient city, which Sir Frederic Kenyon describes in the following sentences:

“These confirmed the generally wrecked character of the site, but also revealed much as to its plan, architecture, and ornamentation. The buildings found were almost wholly the work of Nebuchadnezzar, who rebuilt the previous city most extensively, his own enormous palace (‘this great Babylon that I have build for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty’) being the most conspicuous building of all.” [3]

The time had come for Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation. A voice from heaven again announced the threatened judgement, and divine providence proceeded immediately to execute it. His reason departed. No longer the pomp and glory of his great city charmed him. God with a touch of His finger took away his capability to appreciate and enjoy it. He forsook the dwellings of men, and sought a home and companionship among the beasts of the field.”
[3] Sir Frederic Kenyon, The Bible and Archaeology, p. 126.

Long nails like a bird's claws

Long nails like a bird’s claws

Day by Day by F. B. Meyer – “But how marvelous the contrast between those proud and vaunting words, and the ascriptions of humble homage and praise in Dan_4:34-37! If God could produce such a result on the haughty king of Babylon, is there any sinner He cannot subdue? May not the stern discipline to which some lives are subjected be intended to subdue their proud wills and bring them to similar confessions?”

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)

May we all watch our pride and realize that:

“A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23 NKJV)


Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagle’s Feathers – original

Changed From The Inside Out


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