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Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar Confesses God’s Kingdom

1 King Nebuchadnezzar,

To the people of every nation and language who dwell in all the earth:

May your prosperity be multiplied. 2 I am pleased to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

3 How great are His signs,

how mighty His wonders!

His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;

His dominion endures from generation to generation.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Great Tree

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. 5 I had a dream, and it frightened me; while in my bed, the images and visions in my mind alarmed me. 6 So I issued a decree that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. 7 When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, a and diviners came in, I told them the dream, and they could not interpret it for me.

8 But at last, into my presence came Daniel (whose name is Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods). And I told him the dream: 9 “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery baffles you. So explain to me the visions I saw in my dream, and their interpretation. 10 In these visions of my mind as I was lying in bed, I saw this come to pass:

There was a tree in the midst of the land,

and its height was great.

11 The tree grew large and strong;

its top reached the sky,

and it was visible

to the ends of the earth.

12 Its leaves were beautiful,

its fruit was abundant,

and upon it was food for all.

Under it the beasts of the field found shelter,

in its branches the birds of the air nested,

and from it every creature was fed.

13 As I lay on my bed, I also saw in the visions of my mind a watcher, b a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He called out in a loud voice:

‘Cut down the tree and chop off its branches;

strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.

Let the beasts flee from under it,

and the birds from its branches.

15 But leave the stump with its roots in the ground,

and a band of iron and bronze around it,

in the tender grass of the field.

Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven

and graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth.

16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man,

and let him be given the mind of a beast

till seven times pass him by.

17 This decision is the decree of the watchers,

the verdict declared by the holy ones,

so that the living will know

that the Most High rules over the kingdom of mankind

and gives it to whom He wishes,

setting over it the lowliest of men.’

18 This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because none of the wise men of my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you are able, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel Interprets the Second Dream

19 For a time, Daniel, who was also known as Belteshazzar, was perplexed, and his thoughts alarmed him.

So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.”

“My lord,” replied Belteshazzar, “may the dream apply to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your enemies!

20 The tree you saw that grew large and strong, whose top reached the sky and was visible to all the earth, 21 whose foliage was beautiful and whose fruit was abundant, providing food for all, under which the beasts of the field lived, and in whose branches the birds of the air nested— 22 you, O king, are that tree! For you have become great and strong; your greatness has grown to reach the sky, and your dominion extends to the ends of the earth.

23 And you, O king, saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying:

‘Cut down the tree and destroy it,

but leave the stump with its roots in the ground,

and a band of iron and bronze around it,

in the tender grass of the field.

Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,

and graze with the beasts of the field

till seven times pass him by.’

24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree that the Most High has issued against my lord the king:

25 You will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling will be with the beasts of the field. You will feed on grass like an ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass you by, until you acknowledge that the Most High rules over the kingdom of mankind and gives it to whom He wishes.

26 As for the command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots, your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, may my advice be pleasing to you, O king. Break away from your sins by doing what is right, and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed. Perhaps there will be an extension of your prosperity.”

The Second Dream Fulfilled

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 the king exclaimed, “Is this not Babylon the Great, which I myself have built by the might of my power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”

31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “It is decreed to you, King Nebuchadnezzar, that the kingdom has departed from you. 32 You will be driven away from mankind to live with the beasts of the field, and you will feed on grass like an ox. And seven times will pass you by, until you acknowledge that the Most High rules over the kingdom of mankind and gives it to whom He wishes.”

33 At that moment the sentence against Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from mankind. He ate grass like an ox, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

Nebuchadnezzar Restored

34 But at the end of those days I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity was restored to me. Then I praised the Most High, and I honored and glorified Him who lives forever:

“For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.

35 All the peoples of the earth

are counted as nothing,

and He does as He pleases

with the army of heaven

and the peoples of the earth.

There is no one who can restrain His hand

or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ ”

36 At the same time my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all His works are true and all His ways are just. And He is able to humble those who walk in pride.

 

Footnotes:

7 a Or Chaldeans
13 b Or an angelic watcher or a messenger ; also in verses 17 and 23

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