The Basest Of Men

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Hi J____,

Thank you for your question, and it is not “trivial” when you are seeking proper understanding.
You ask if the word “basest” in Dan 4:17 is a proper translation, and the reason you wonder about that is because you have noticed that there is no corresponding Hebrew number in Strong’s or in e- sword for the word ‘it’.

Here is how you word this question:

Here is the verse you reference:

Dan 4:17  This matter [ is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Yes, you are right, there is no number for the word ‘it’.

I am sure you are aware that I make no claim of being either a Greek or Hebrew scholar. I rely on George V. Wigram to locate every entry in scripture, of every Hebrew and Greek word, and I use James Strong’s definitions only as I see them in “the sum of God’s Word” (Psa 119:160), supplied by e- sword via the efforts of George V. Wigram.
With that in mind I looked in my e- sword and saw that Strong’s number for this word is H8215 and it appears only this one time here in Dan 4:17. But the base or root of the word ‘basest’ is Strong’s number H8214, and that word is translated with four different English words which all carry the same thought. They are abase, put down, humbled and subdue. Here is where those translations are found.

H8214
  (Aramaic)
shephal
Total KJV Occurrences: 5
abase, 1
Dan_4:37
down, 1
Dan_5:19
humbled, 1
Dan_5:22
put, 1
Dan_5:19
subdue, 1
Dan_7:24

So it is obvious that the Hebrew word behind the English word ‘basest’ in Dan 4:17 can properly be translated into many English words which all carry with them the concept of being low. Here is Strong’s definition of the word translated ‘basest’ in Dan 4:17.

H8215
shephal
shef- al’
(Chaldee); from H8214; low: – basest.
You say:

Without being a Hebrew scholar, I can safely tell you that “setting up kingdoms over base men” definitely is not the point being made. In fact when you read what is taking place in this chapter, “the basest of men” is a very good translation, simply because this whole chapter is talking about what God did to Nebuchadnezzar, and not what the kingdom of Babylon did. This chapter deals with the prophecy about God striking Nebuchadnezzar with insanity and yet keeping Nebuchadnezzar as the king of Babylon. In other words, you and I are insane until we are made whole.
With that in mind, let’s reconsider the verse in question and notice why it is worded as it is. Here is Dan 4:17 along with the preceding verse.

Dan 4:16  Let his [ Nebuchadnezzar’s] heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
Dan 4:17  This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

“The holy ones” are God and Christ. It is by their decree that Nebuchadnezzar is given the heart of a beast and is actually driven from among men and for seven years eats grass like an ox. Nevertheless “the intent [ of God was] that men may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and give it to whomsoever He wills and sets up over it the basest of men” [ men with the heart of a beast]. It was for that reason that God retained Nebuchadnezzar’s position as the king of Babylon. What this tells us is that “the basest of men” is the very same thing as “the chief of sinners.”

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

That is the message of this chapter, and an insane king is the type of “the basest of men… the chief of sinners”. The fact of the matter and the spiritual message here is that we are all insane Nebuchadnezzar, ruling over the lies of Babylon and all of Babylon’s provinces within us. If we think this is talking about Nebuchadnezzar only, or if we think that the apostle Paul is the most wicked person who has ever lived, then we simply have not yet been given eyes to see these words:

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Rev 1:3  Blessed [ is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

These are all written “for our admonition” and not for the admonition of Daniel or Nebuchadnezzar, even though no doubt, they felt that is was for them. Here is what the spirit reveals about all the events of the Old Testament:

1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [ Greek – aions, ages] are come.

“Christ in you” (Col 1:27) is “the ends of the ages”. It is only those in whom He dwells who are experiencing “the ends of [ the end product of] the ages.” So Peter also informs us of this same Truth with even more pertinent details.

1Pe 1:9  Receiving the end of your faith [ the end product, “the ends of the ages”], even the salvation of your souls.
1Pe 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [ that should come] unto you:
1Pe 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

“Not unto themselves but unto us they did minister…” So this story of Nebuchadnezzar is for our admonition and not at this time for Daniel’s or Nebuchadnezzar’s admonition. These things all happened to Nebuchadnezzar so that we can see that it is we who have experienced the miracle of having our dream told to us about the great image and its destruction by a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which destroyed that image, which was nothing less than an image of ourselves, an image of the beast.

Ecc 3:18  I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Rev 13:14  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

It is we who have built an image of ourselves and demanded that the whole world fall down and worship us. It is you and I who have cast God’s elect into the fiery furnace and yet were shown God’s mercy when He delivers them from our rage and fury. Then after all of that, we are made to know that we will be driven from among men and driven insane, and still we worship ourselves and take God’s glory to ourselves.

Dan 4:18  This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise [ men] of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou [ art] able; for the spirit of the holy gods [ is] in thee.
Dan 4:19  Then Daniel, whose name [ was] Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream [ be] to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
Dan 4:20  The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
Dan 4:21  Whose leaves [ were] fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it [ was] meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:
Dan 4:22  It [ is] thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.
Dan 4:23  And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and [ let] his portion [ be] with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;
Dan 4:24  This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
Dan 4:25  That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
Dan 4:26  And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.
Dan 4:27  Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
Dan 4:28  All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
Dan 4:29  At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
Dan 4:30  The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
Dan 4:31  While the word [ was] in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, [ saying], O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
Dan 4:32  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.
Dan 4:33  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 eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

“Until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men” is just how long God’s wrath endures upon us. It is symbolized by “seven times.”

Joh 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Do not be one of the foolish ones who says, ‘These are words for blasphemers, and I have never blasphemed God, and I will never know His wrath.’ Here is the truth of that matter, and here is the truth of the lesson of this 7th chapter of Daniel.

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

It would have been real nice if Paul had just left out ‘the world’ and ‘death’, but God’s Words are “a two- edged sword”, and Paul did not leave out those words. It would have been nice if He had said ‘only the good things to come are yours’, but that is not what he was inspired to say. Here is the Truth of this matter:

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

It is “one event” which is experienced by all of mankind in his own order.

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Chris t shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24  Then [ cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Nebuchadnezzar was “in Adam” just as all men are. So if we read of the apostle Paul calling himself “the chief of sinners” and we think those words apply only to him, then we do not yet believe that we must “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. If on the other hand we read of Paul and think of ourselves as “the chief of sinners”, and we read of Nebuchadnezzar and we think of ourselves as insane men with “the heart of a beast”, then maybe God is showing us mercy and bringing us out of our seven times under His wrath.
I hope this helps you to see you certainly are right to repent of assigning these words to Barak Obama or Hugo Chavez, and that you now know who God was really speaking of when He said that “He places over the kingdoms of men [ within us] the basest of men” [ you and me].

2Sa 12:7  And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

Your brother in Christ,
Mike

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