Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake, c1795, Tate Gallery, London
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.
— Daniel 4:33
In this single verse is the story of the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar's madness, following his second dream. We can only speculate how the years passed for the mad king, living like an animal until such time that he gained enough of his senses to surrender to God, as Daniel had advised.
I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High.1
Going to ground, going back to earth, returning to our roots, these are all phrases we use today to create a sense of stability and belonging, a sense of anchoring to counter the drifting we are all wont to fall into. We do this metaphorically, whereas Nebuchadnezzar did it literally. Although there is a growing movement of people, especially young people, seeking to go back to the earth, to get out of cities, acquire land, grow crops and live in harmony with nature. We have an innate sense that the world is out of control, and we with it. Going to ground is a search for our own sanity. On the surface it appears Nebuchadnezzar went mad, but in fact the story tells us he went sane. He was mad already, mad with power, lust, control, he was utterly imbalanced both mentally and emotionally. His treatment was nature, solitude, and he arose cured.
1 Daniel 4:34