Was King Nebuchadnezzar Demon Possessed?

Daniel 4:28-33 – All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.

When the Babylonian army marched into Israel, conquered the nation, enslaved the people of God, and stole the possessions of God from the temple, the latest bumper stickers on the back of Babylonian camels would have read “Our God Beat Up Your God!”

By all accounts, this is how things appeared. But, Daniel 1:2 tells us the truth, “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God.” God was not defeated in battle. God permitted His people to be defeated in battle.


For 490 years, God’s people were proud and defied Him. Finally, the wick of God’s patience had burned to its end.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, however, also had a serious pride problem. He failed to have any regard for God actually providing all that he accomplished and enjoyed. Like the Pharaoh in Exodus, he hardened his heart against the graciousness of God that gave him a year to repent of sin and receive a new heart.

God gives two options to the king and to the rest of us. Plan A is humility. Plan B is humiliation. Circumstances can humiliate you, but they cannot humble you. Only you can humble you. This explains why the Bible repeatedly tells us to “humble yourself”.

The tragic tale of King Nebuchadnezzar is that, when we fail to repent of our sin, admit our error, and turn to God, we start to lose our mind. Some mental illness is physically caused and requires a medical procedure or medication. Some mental illness is mentally caused and requires a counselor or therapist. But some mental illness is also spiritual in that, as Romans 1 says, God hands someone over to live as God never intended because of their hardness of heart. This is the case with the king in Daniel, and also a man called the demoniac, among others, in the ministry of Jesus. Apart from deliverance, they are doomed.

This might even include demonic possession whereby someone is entirely controlled by an unholy spirit. This is what happened to king Nebuchadnezzar. Throughout the Bible, God uses the language of physical beasts to teach us about beastly spiritual demons. In our book Win Your War, my wife Grace and I explain how Lillith is also called the night creature or screech owl. The Bible also speaks of Satan and demons as dangerous beasts, Satan as a serpent, dragon, and lion. Other demons are referred to as python spirits, goat demons, and wild animals including ostriches, bulls, hyenas, birds, and scorpions. The Bible also refers to evil people as vipers, serpents, goats, cows, dogs, wolves, leeches, donkeys, and evil beasts.

The reason King Nebuchadnezzar lived like a beast for seven years outwardly was because, inwardly, there lived in him a demonic beast.

Looking back honestly at your life, as you clung to sin how did you start to lose your grip on reality and sanity?

In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.

To visit the Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, you can plan your visit at thetrinitychurch.com.

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