In the second chapter of Daniel in verse 38, At the beginning of his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream Daniel explains "Hashem, gave you rule over People, wild breasts and birds of heaven, therefore the Gold(en Head of the image in your dream) is you" Rashi explains: "Nevuchadnezer was able to command horses not to whinny, and birds not to fly" My Question is that I don't understand how Hashem can give this wicked and sadistic man, who loves killing even his own Countrymen, who destroyed the BAIS HAMIKDASH, the power to control animals? Esp. because when read the previous Pasak 37, together with this one it sounds like Hashem (כביכול) gave from His glory to Nevuchadnezar.

(The Metzudas David on the other hand explains this Pasuk by bringing Our ר"זל (usually ref. to a Gemara, though sometimes a Midrash) that says "Once Nevuchadnezar lassoed a Lion and rode on its back. Both Medrashim bring Jer. Chapter 27 "And also the wild beasts of the field I gave to my Servant" as a proof ref. to Nebuchadnezzar)

P.S. I don't have question on the fact that 'ה gave a prophetic dream to this Rasha, because that was (like they say by Yosef's Pharoh) that was to elevate דניאל וחבריו)

  • According to Sefaria, Rashi uses the word "סוס" - "horse' not lion just FYI...
    – Dov
    Feb 2, 2021 at 8:46
  • Thank you for correcting me. I was Thinking of the מצודת דוד ד"ה: ובכל די, who as I wrote says that 'ה giving the King dominion over (חית הסדה (ירמיה כ"ז ref. to him lassoing & riding on a Lion. Actually רש"י writing that the King could stop the "whinny of a horse" is very strange-since a Horse is Not a חיה הסדה! And yet רש"י quotes this פסוק as well (for proof) (And our own our Pasuk says "חיות ברא")?
    – Sochacz
    Feb 5, 2021 at 1:33
  • @Dov Please see my comment above & also thank you for the great job editing my question, with footnotes and everything!
    – Sochacz
    Feb 5, 2021 at 1:51
  • Nevuchadnezzar is seen in tanach as a melech hagun - ant hu malka reishei di'dehav.
    – The GRAPKE
    Feb 5, 2021 at 2:51
  • @The GRAPKE -The Malbim & others explian נבוכדנצר is the 'reishei di'dehav' because his caused the 1st גלות & his Kingdom symbolized by Gold because like gold it was very impressive but easily malleable. 'melech hagun' is Ref. the Gemara about the הרוגי לוד (The 2 Jews who falsely confessed to killing the Ruler's daughter) when the Ruler said you'll be saved like Chananya, etc. They said No, נבוכדנצר was a מלך הגון and חנניה וחבריו were צדייקם, so 'ה made a נס for them, unlike You & Us. Meaning: נבוכדנצר Ruled an Empire (I.E. he was a Proper King) while you only Rule over a small State.
    – Sochacz
    Feb 17, 2021 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


Rabbi Tanchum Hayerushalmi in his commentary on Daniel1 explains that this is not literal. Rather, it's simply a symbolic title intended to represent Nevuchadnetzar's might and power as king, akin to the other title in the verse, "king of kings" - after all, the only king of kings we know of is Hashem. So why would Daniel call Nevuchadnetzar so? Because that was one of the titles used in the Babylonian court to refer to the king:

"...והראיה על כך שלא ניתנה השליטה על בעלי חיים אלא במקום מציאות בני אדם והוא ובכל די דירין בני אנשא, כלומר בכל הארץ, ואין ספק כי בעלי החיים תחת שעבוד האדם והוא שולט עליהן בתבונתו, ולכן מי שמשל על בני אדם יהיו בעלי החיים תחת שלטונו...ולפיכך כלומר מחמת משמעת המלכים לו תיארו באמרו אנת מלכא מלך מלכיא, כלומר יחסך אל המלכים כיחס המלכים למי שלמטה מהם מבני אדם...ואין תימה במה שתיארו דניאל בתאר זה אף שיש שיתואר בו הבורא יתעלה, אבל יהיה מוזר מה שיהיה מן התארים מיוחד לו יתעלה בלבד, אבל יתר התארים הרי רובן דרך השאלה ביחס אליו יתעלה, ומושאלין מתארי הנבראים...ולא יהיה מלך מלכים חמור מן אלהים ויש שהוא נאמר על המלכים, ואף על הדיינים, ונכבדי בני אדם, וזה פשוט מאד ולכן אין צורך להרתע מזה ולהתפתל...ודומה לתואר הזה מה שנאמר בעזרא בהתכתבות ארתחשסת מלך מלכיא לעזרא כהנא, ראיה שהם היו מתכנים בכך מפני שתחת לשטונם מלכים אחרים..."

Translation: "...and evidence on that control over animals is only where humans can be found, and that is "wherever men dwell", meaning all over the land, and this is without a doubt, for the animals fall under the control of man and he commands them through his wisdom, and therefore whoever rules over men, the animals will also fall under his control...and therefore, meaning, because the kings answer to him, he described him by saying "You, O king—king of kings", meaning your relation to the kings is like the relation of the kings to those of mankind that are under their control...and it is not surprising that Daniel describes him with this title, though this is also used to describe the Creator, Exalted is He, but it would be strange if he used for him one of the titles that are special to the Exalted alone, but the other titles most of them are borrowed for use toward the Exalted, and these titles are borrowed from the titles of those created...and "king of kings" would not be worse than Elohim, and there are cases in which this is used for kings, and for the judges (see here for example), and the nobility among mankind, and this is very simple, and therefore there's no reason to flinch away from this and squirm...and similar to this title is what is said in Ezra when writing of "Artaxerxes king of kings, to Ezra the priest", evidence that they were called so because under their rule were other kings..."

1 Rabbi Qafich's translation can be found in the Judeo-Arabic section of the Cairo Genizah's website. It's called דניאל פירוש מספר הבאור.

  • I'd like to thank you so much both for the Great תרץ, as well as finding it! I see the link (to Judges being called Elokim) was to Seforia, Is that we're you found Rabbi Tanchum Hayerushalmi's Explanation as well? And was it in an Introduction to Sefer Daniel or on the Pasuk, and which Pasuk was it on? Thank you agian....its too bad that I could only give you "1 UP" , you deserve a lot more!
    – Sochacz
    Mar 4, 2021 at 15:20
  • @Sochacz You're welcome. I'm not aware that the translation of Rabbi Tanchum's commentary from Judeo-Arabic to Hebrew is available online, though it might be. I got it from Rabbi Yosef Qafich's translation of Rav Saadia Gaon's commentary on Daniel. Oddly he included also Rabbi Tanchum's, though this isn't stated on the cover (at least of the edition I found). It was a happy discovery. You could probably pay to see it on Otzar Hachochma. It's his commentary on verse 38.
    – Harel13
    Mar 4, 2021 at 16:00
  • @Sochacz You're in luck, the translation is in fact available online. You need to make a free account in the site of the Cairo Genizah, then go to the Judeo-Arabic section, search תנחום הירושלמי, choose דניאל פירוש מספר הבאור. The first thing you'll see is the Arabic text. Click on צילום מקור and you'll see both the original and the translation (as scanned pages, not text).
    – Harel13
    Mar 4, 2021 at 22:44
  • Than You so much!
    – Sochacz
    Mar 5, 2021 at 14:56
  • 1
    @Sochacz you can in fact do more than one upvote; you can click the check mark to mark it as a correct answer. The answerer then gets 10 points
    – larry909
    Mar 7, 2021 at 13:48

Why did God give Bilam and Balak great powers? Balak was a magician and Bilam was a sorcerer.

I remember hearing, (but can't remember at the moment from where), that just as God gave great powers to the good side he also gave, in contrast, great powers to the other side.

One place that kind of mentions this in passing is this article on torahmitzion.org about Moshe and Bilam.

“In order that the nations of the world will have no excuse to say, ‘If we had a prophet like Moshe, we would serve HaKadosh Baruch Hu…’ And which prophet did they have [who was] like Moshe? This was Bilaam ben Be’or.” (Bamidbar Rabah 14)

So in this case there is a specific reason, as mentioned above. But in general the dark side was also given powers just as the good side has it's powers.

  • @larry909- I'd like to start by apologizing for my late response. You're saying that some non Jews have "The spirit of impurity". We also see that G-d gave vey real Prophecy, "The Holy Spirit" to another non Jew. But as you pointed out from (Bamidbar Rabah 14) Prophecy to a non Jew was a One Time Occurrence, given to Billam, during the time period that Moshe was giving over the Torah teahings from G-d to the to the Jews. Obviously Nebuchadnezzar wasn't a Prophet, as Bilam was the only non Jew with that gift. (I'm running out of the Character Limit so I'm continuing in New Comment)
    – Sochacz
    Feb 17, 2021 at 21:04
  • Continuing Comment on your Answer- We clearly see that G-d gave Nebuchadnezzar this power: "As Daniel who had "The Holy Spirit" tells the King "He has given into your hand" I.E. (Daniel Chapter 2: Verse 38) "...wild beasts, and birds of the sky dwell, -He has given into your hand" a kind of Dominion over Animals. So if your saying that G-d gave this King "The spirit of impurity" does G-d do that? Now, A Midrash says that Abraham gave the sons of his 2nd wife, Ketura "The spirit of impurity" (as an inheritance); Obviously with G-d approval. But for G-d to give it? I don't know
    – Sochacz
    Feb 17, 2021 at 21:23
  • I'm not sure if that's what you meant to say, please get back to me on that. This stuff scares me, because it falls into the category of Kabbala (AKA Esoteric wisdom). "Kabbala" means"to Receive". As we say in Pirki Avos: Moshe Received the Torah from G-d at Siani and he gave it to Joshua Etc. All the way down to us. So All of Torah goes through this process of transmission. But Kabbala, unlike Misrash, Law etc. Is Strictly passed down even today ( Even Zohar & other written Kabbala books) can not be understood without a Teacher and I don't have one for Kabbala.
    – Sochacz
    Feb 18, 2021 at 0:48
  • @Sochacz My answer was not specifically answering your question directly. It was a general answer about the power of impurity in general that I thought may answer your question indirectly. Bilam had prophecy, but Balak was a magician. There were magicians with Pahro'h. And like you mentioned, the Midrash which says that Abraham gave the sons of his 2nd wife, Ketura "The spirit of impurity" (as an inheritance); an inheritance is usually passed from one generation to the next. Also, there are powers of impurity mentioned throughout the Talmud: ,שדים, מזיקין, etc.
    – larry909
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:26
  • @Sochacz My point is that there are many powers, both on the holy side and the unholy side. Why specifically did Nevuchadnetzer have this specific power, I don't know. But many people have strange talents, so this may have been his talent. People have spiritual souls, and some of them may be lofty. [Esav, son of Yitzchok had a lofty soul that ended up being taken advantage of by the dark side. (Due to Esav's fault probably -- with the urging of his yetzer horah.)]
    – larry909
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:28

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