King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
2 1-3 In the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar started having dreams that disturbed him deeply. He couldn’t sleep. He called in all the Babylonian magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and fortunetellers to interpret his dreams for him. When they came and lined up before the king, he said to them, “I had a dream that I can’t get out of my mind. I can’t sleep until I know what it means.”
4 The fortunetellers, speaking in the Aramaic language, said, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream and we will interpret it.”
5-6 The king answered the fortunetellers, “This is my decree: If you can’t tell me both the dream itself and its interpretation, I’ll have you ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and your homes torn down. But if you tell me both the dream and its interpretation, I’ll lavish you with gifts and honors. So go to it: Tell me the dream and its interpretation.”
7 They answered, “If it please your majesty, tell us the dream. We’ll give the interpretation.”
8-9 But the king said, “I know what you’re up to—you’re just playing for time. You know you’re up a tree. You know that if you can’t tell me my dream, you’re doomed. I see right through you—you’re going to cook up some fancy stories and confuse the issue until I change my mind. Nothing doing! First tell me the dream, then I’ll know that you’re on the up and up with the interpretation and not just blowing smoke in my eyes.”
10-11 The fortunetellers said, “Nobody anywhere can do what you ask. And no king, great or small, has ever demanded anything like this from any magician, enchanter, or fortuneteller. What you’re asking is impossible unless some god or goddess should reveal it—and they don’t hang around with people like us.”
12-13 That set the king off. He lost his temper and ordered the whole company of Babylonian wise men killed. When the death warrant was issued, Daniel and his companions were included. They also were marked for execution.
14-15 When Arioch, chief of the royal guards, was making arrangements for the execution, Daniel wisely took him aside and quietly asked what was going on: “Why this all of a sudden?”
15-16 After Arioch filled in the background, Daniel went to the king and asked for a little time so that he could interpret the dream.
17-18 Daniel then went home and told his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what was going on. He asked them to pray to the God of heaven for mercy in solving this mystery so that the four of them wouldn’t be killed along with the whole company of Babylonian wise men.
Dream Interpretation: A Story of Five Kingdoms
19-23 That night the answer to the mystery was given to Daniel in a vision. Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying,
“Blessed be the name of God,
forever and ever.
He knows all, does all:
He changes the seasons and guides history,
He raises up kings and also brings them down,
he provides both intelligence and discernment,
He opens up the depths, tells secrets,
sees in the dark—light spills out of him!
God of all my ancestors, all thanks! all praise!
You made me wise and strong.
And now you’ve shown us what we asked for.
You’ve solved the king’s mystery.”
24 So Daniel went back to Arioch, who had been put in charge of the execution. He said, “Call off the execution! Take me to the king and I’ll interpret his dream.”
25 Arioch didn’t lose a minute. He ran to the king, bringing Daniel with him, and said, “I’ve found a man from the exiles of Judah who can interpret the king’s dream!”
26 The king asked Daniel (renamed in Babylonian, Belteshazzar), “Are you sure you can do this—tell me the dream I had and interpret it for me?”
27-28 Daniel answered the king, “No mere human can solve the king’s mystery, I don’t care who it is—no wise man, enchanter, magician, diviner. But there is a God in heaven who solves mysteries, and he has solved this one. He is letting King Nebuchadnezzar in on what is going to happen in the days ahead. This is the dream you had when you were lying on your bed, the vision that filled your mind:
29-30 “While you were stretched out on your bed, O king, thoughts came to you regarding what is coming in the days ahead. The Revealer of Mysteries showed you what will happen. But the interpretation is given through me, not because I’m any smarter than anyone else in the country, but so that you will know what it means, so that you will understand what you dreamed.
31-36 “What you saw, O king, was a huge statue standing before you, striking in appearance. And terrifying. The head of the statue was pure gold, the chest and arms were silver, the belly and hips were bronze, the legs were iron, and the feet were an iron-ceramic mixture. While you were looking at this statue, a stone cut out of a mountain by an invisible hand hit the statue, smashing its iron-ceramic feet. Then the whole thing fell to pieces—iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold, smashed to bits. It was like scraps of old newspapers in a vacant lot in a hot dry summer, blown every which way by the wind, scattered to oblivion. But the stone that hit the statue became a huge mountain, dominating the horizon. This was your dream.
36-40 “And now we’ll interpret it for the king. You, O king, are the most powerful king on earth. The God of heaven has given you the works: rule, power, strength, and glory. He has put you in charge of men and women, wild animals and birds, all over the world—you’re the head ruler, you are the head of gold. But your rule will be taken over by another kingdom, inferior to yours, and that one by a third, a bronze kingdom, but still ruling the whole land, and after that by a fourth kingdom, ironlike in strength. Just as iron smashes things to bits, breaking and pulverizing, it will bust up the previous kingdoms.
41-43 “But then the feet and toes that ended up as a mixture of ceramic and iron will deteriorate into a mongrel kingdom with some remains of iron in it. Just as the toes of the feet were part ceramic and part iron, it will end up a mixed bag of the breakable and unbreakable. That kingdom won’t bond, won’t hold together any more than iron and clay hold together.
44-45 “But throughout the history of these kingdoms, the God of heaven will be building a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will this kingdom ever fall under the domination of another. In the end it will crush the other kingdoms and finish them off and come through it all standing strong and eternal. It will be like the stone cut from the mountain by the invisible hand that crushed the iron, the bronze, the ceramic, the silver, and the gold.
“The great God has let the king know what will happen in the years to come. This is an accurate telling of the dream, and the interpretation is also accurate.”
46-47 When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.”
48-49 Then the king promoted Daniel to a high position in the kingdom, lavished him with gifts, and made him governor over the entire province of Babylon and the chief in charge of all the Babylonian wise men. At Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to administrative posts throughout Babylon, while Daniel governed from the royal headquarters.
New International Version
2 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams;(A) his mind was troubled(B) and he could not sleep.(C) 2 So the king summoned the magicians,(D) enchanters, sorcerers(E) and astrologers[a](F) to tell him what he had dreamed.(G) When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles(H) me and I want to know what it means.[b]”
5 The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided:(K) If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces(L) and your houses turned into piles of rubble.(M) 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor.(N) So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
7 Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
8 Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty(O) for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”(P)
10 The astrologers(Q) answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.(R) 11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods,(S) and they do not live among humans.”
12 This made the king so angry and furious(T) that he ordered the execution(U) of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.(V)
14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.(W) 18 He urged them to plead for mercy(X) from the God of heaven(Y) concerning this mystery,(Z) so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery(AA) was revealed to Daniel in a vision.(AB) Then Daniel praised the God of heaven(AC) 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;(AD)
wisdom and power(AE) are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;(AF)
he deposes(AG) kings and raises up others.(AH)
He gives wisdom(AI) to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.(AJ)
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;(AK)
he knows what lies in darkness,(AL)
and light(AM) dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:(AN)
You have given me wisdom(AO) and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.(AP)”
Daniel Interprets the Dream
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch,(AQ) whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar),(AT) “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about,(AU) 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.(AV) He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.(AW) Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind(AX) as you were lying in bed(AY) are these:(AZ)
29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.(BA) 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed(BB) to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue,(BC) awesome(BD) in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.(BE) It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed(BF) them.(BG) 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away(BH) without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain(BI) and filled the whole earth.(BJ)
36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.(BK) 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings.(BL) The God of heaven has given you dominion(BM) and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all.(BN) You are that head of gold.
39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.(BO) 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.(BP) 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush(BQ) all those kingdoms(BR) and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.(BS) 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock(BT) cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands(BU)—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate(BX) before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering(BY) and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods(BZ) and the Lord of kings(CA) and a revealer of mysteries,(CB) for you were able to reveal this mystery.(CC)”
48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high(CD) position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.(CE) 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon,(CF) while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.(CG)