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Daniel 4 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree

King Nebuchadnezzar to the people, nations, and ·those who speak every language [L tongues that live] in all the world [C a typical letter opening]:

·I wish you peace and great wealth [L May your peace/prosperity increase]!

The Most High God has done ·miracles [signs] and wonderful things for me that I am happy to tell you about.

His wonderful acts are great,
    and his ·miracles [signs] are mighty.
His kingdom ·goes on forever [L is an eternal kingdom],
    and his ·rule [sovereignty] continues from ·now on [L generation to generation].

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was ·happy [at ease] in my house and ·successful [living luxuriously] at my palace, but I ·had [L saw] a dream that ·made me afraid [disturbed me]. As I was lying on my bed, I saw ·pictures [fantasies] and visions in my ·mind [head] that ·alarmed [scared; terrified] me. So I ·ordered [L set a decree for] all the wise men of Babylon to ·come [be presented] to me and tell me ·what my dream meant [its interpretation]. The ·fortune-tellers [diviners], ·magicians [enchanters], ·wise men [L Chaldeans; 2:2], and exorcists came, and I told them about the dream. But they could not tell me ·what it meant [its interpretation].

Finally, Daniel came to me. (I called him Belteshazzar ·to honor [L after the name of] my god [1:7], because ·the spirit of the holy gods [or a holy, divine spirit] is in him.) I told my dream to him. I said, “Belteshazzar, you are the ·most important of all [L chief of] the ·fortune-tellers [diviners]. I know that ·the spirit of the holy gods [or a holy, divine spirit] is in you, so there is no ·secret [mystery] that is too ·hard for you to understand [difficult for you]. ·This was what I dreamed [L The dream I saw]; tell me ·what it means [its interpretation]. 10 These are the visions [L of my head] I saw while I was lying in my bed: I looked, and there in front of me was a tree standing in the ·middle [center] of the earth. And it was very tall. 11 The tree grew large and strong. The top ·touched [reached] the ·sky [heavens] and could be seen ·from anywhere on [L to the ends of the] earth. 12 The leaves of the tree were beautiful. It had plenty of good fruit on it, enough food for everyone. The ·wild animals [L animals of the field] found shelter under the tree, and the birds of the ·sky [heavens] lived in its branches. Every animal ate from it.

13 “As I was looking ·at those things in the vision while lying [L at the visions of my head] on my bed, I saw an ·observer, a holy angel [L holy watcher] coming down from heaven. 14 He spoke very loudly and said, ‘Cut down the tree and cut off its branches. Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals under the tree ·run away [flee], and ·let the birds in its branches fly away [L the birds from its branches]. 15 But leave the stump and its roots in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it; let it stay in the field with the grass around it.

“‘Let the man become wet with dew of ·the sky [heaven], and let him live among the animals [L of the field] and ·plants [grass] of the earth. 16 Let ·him not think like a human any longer [L his heart/mind be changed from human; C he will be deranged], but let him have the ·mind [heart] of an animal for seven ·years [L periods; times].

17 “‘The ·observers [watchers; v. 13] gave this ·command [decree]; the holy ones declared the ·sentence [decision]. This is so all people may know that the Most High God ·rules [is sovereign] over every kingdom ·on earth [L of humans]. God gives those kingdoms to anyone he wants, and he chooses people to rule them who are ·not proud [L low].’

18 “That is what I, King Nebuchadnezzar, dreamed. Now Belteshazzar [C another name for Daniel; 1:7], tell me ·what the dream means [its interpretation]. None of the wise men in my kingdom can explain ·it to me [its interpretation], but you can, because ·the spirit of the holy gods [or a holy, divine spirit] is in you.”

Daniel Explains the Dream

19 Then Daniel, ·who was called [L whose name is] Belteshazzar [1:7], was very quiet for a while, because his understanding of the dream ·frightened [scared; terrified] him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its ·meaning [interpretation] ·make you afraid [terrify you].”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “My master, I wish the dream were about your enemies, and I wish its ·meaning [interpretation] were for those who are against you! 20 You saw a tree in your dream that grew large and strong. Its top ·touched [reached] the ·sky [heavens], and it could be seen from all over the earth. 21 Its leaves were beautiful, and it had plenty of fruit for everyone to eat. It was a home for the ·wild animals [L animals of the field], and its branches were nesting places for the birds of the ·sky [heavens]. 22 O king, you are that tree! You have become great and powerful, like the tall tree that ·touched [reached] the ·sky [heavens]. Your ·power [sovereignty] reaches to the ·far parts [ends] of the earth.

23 “O king, you saw an ·observer, a holy angel [L holy watcher], coming down from heaven who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and its roots in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it; leave it in the field with the grass. Let him become wet with dew and live like a ·wild animal [L animal of the field] for seven ·years [L periods; times].’

24 “This is the ·meaning of the dream [interpretation], O king. The Most High God has ·commanded [decreed] these things to happen to my master the king: 25 You will be ·forced [driven] away from people to live among the ·wild animals [L animals of the field]. People will feed you grass like an ox, and dew from the ·sky [heavens] will make you wet. Seven ·years [L periods; times] will pass, and then you will learn this lesson: The Most High God is ·ruler [sovereign] over every kingdom on earth, and he gives those kingdoms to anyone he chooses.

26 “Since the stump of the tree and its roots were left in the ground, your kingdom will be given back to you when you learn that ·one in heaven rules your kingdom [L heaven is sovereign]. 27 So, O king, please accept my advice. ·Stop sinning [Atone for/L Break off your sins] and ·do what is right [be righteous]. Stop doing wicked things and be kind to the ·poor [oppressed]. Then you might continue to be ·successful [prosperous].”

The King’s Dream Comes True

28 All these things happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later as he was walking on the roof [C the flat roofs of ancient Near Eastern houses were used as living space] of his palace in Babylon, 30 he said, “·I have built this great Babylon as [L Is this not Babylon the great which I built as…?] my royal home. I built it by my power to show my glory and my majesty.”

31 The words were still in his mouth when a voice from heaven said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, ·these things will happen to you [L to you it is declared]: ·Your royal power [L The kingdom] has been taken away from you. 32 You will be ·forced [driven] away from people. You will live with the ·wild animals [L animals of the field] and will be fed grass like an ox. Seven ·years [L periods; times] will pass before you learn this lesson: The Most High God ·rules [is sovereign] over every kingdom on earth and gives those kingdoms to anyone he chooses [v. 25].”

33 Immediately the ·words [sentence] came true. Nebuchadnezzar was ·forced to go [driven] away from people, and he began eating grass like an ox. He became wet from dew. His hair grew long like the feathers of an eagle, and his nails grew like the claws of a bird.

34 “At the end of ·that time [L the days], I, Nebuchadnezzar, ·looked up [L lifted my eyes] toward heaven [C acknowledging God’s supremacy], and ·I could think normally again [L my reason was restored to me]! Then I ·gave praise to [blessed] the Most High God; I gave honor and glory to him who lives forever.

“God’s ·rule is forever [L sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty],
    and his kingdom continues for ·all time [L all generations].
35 People on earth
    are ·not truly important [counted as nothing].
God does what he ·wants [wills]
    with the ·powers [hosts; armies] of heaven [C angelic powers]
    and the people on earth.
No one can stop his powerful hand
    or ·question what he does [L say, ‘What are you doing?’].

36 “At that time ·I could think normally again [L my reason returned to me], and God gave back my great honor and power and returned the glory to my kingdom. ·The people who advised me [My counselors] and the royal family came to me for help again. I became king again and was even greater and more powerful than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and ·honor [extol] and glorify the King of heaven. ·Everything he does [All his works] is ·right [truth] and ·fair [L his ways are just], and he is able to ·make proud people humble [L bring low those who walk in pride].”

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Daniel 4 New International Version (NIV)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree

[a]King Nebuchadnezzar,

To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth:

May you prosper greatly!

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.

How great are his signs,
    how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;
    his dominion endures from generation to generation.

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous. I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me. So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers[b] and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me. Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)

I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me. 10 These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.

13 “In the visions I saw while lying in bed, I looked, and there before me was a holy one, a messenger,[c] coming down from heaven. 14 He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches. 15 But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field.

“‘Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times[d] pass by for him.

17 “‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’

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

Daniel Interprets the Dream

19 Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.”

Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries! 20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, 21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds 22 Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.

23 “Your Majesty saw a holy one, a messenger, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live with the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.’

24 “This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: 25 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. 26 The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.

The Dream Is Fulfilled

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

31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. 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.

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;
    his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the peoples of the earth
    are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
    with the powers of heaven
    and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
    or say to him: “What have you done?”

36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 4:1 In Aramaic texts 4:1-3 is numbered 3:31-33, and 4:4-37 is numbered 4:1-34.
  2. Daniel 4:7 Or Chaldeans
  3. Daniel 4:13 Or watchman; also in verses 17 and 23
  4. Daniel 4:16 Or years; also in verses 23, 25 and 32
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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