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Nebuchadnezzar Declares What the Most High God Has Done for Him

[a] Nebuchadnezzar the king to all of the nations, the peoples and languages that live in the whole earth: “May your prosperity increase! It is pleasing to me to recount the signs and wonders that the Most High God worked for me. How great are his signs and wonders, how strong is his kingdom, an everlasting kingdom;[b] and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.

The Dream and the King’s Search for an Interpreter

“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was content in my house and prospering in my palace. And I saw a dream and a revelation on my bed and it frightened me, and the visions of my head terrified me. And a decree was sent out,[c] ordering that all the wise men of Babylon were to be brought in before me so that they may make known to me the explanation of the dream. Then the magicians,[d] the conjurers,[e] the astrologers[f] and the diviners came in and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its explanation.[g] Then at last[h] Daniel came before me whose name was[i] Belteshazzar, according to[j] the name of my god, and in whom was the spirit of the holy gods,[k] and I related the dream to him.[l]

“‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians,[m] I myself know that the spirit[n] of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult[o] for you. Now tell me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its explanation.[p] 10 Now these were the visions of my head as I was lying on my bed: I was gazing[q] and, look, a tree was in the midst of the earth, and its height was exalted.

11 The tree grew and it became strong,
    and its height reached to heaven,[r]
    and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.[s]
12 Its foliage was beautiful,
    and its fruit abundant,
    and in it was provision for all.
Under it the animals[t] of the field sought shade,
    and in its branches the birds of heaven[u] nested,
    and from it all the living beings were fed.

13 “‘I was looking in the vision of my head as I lay on my bed, and look, a watcher,[v] and a holy one, came down from heaven.

14 He cried aloud[w] and so he said:

“Cut down the tree and chop off its branches;
    shake off its foliage and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from under it,
    and the birds from its branches.
15 But the stump of its roots
    leave in the earth,
along with[x] a band of iron and bronze;
    leave it in the grass of the field.
And in[y] the dew of heaven
    let it[z] be watered,
and with the animals[aa]
    let his lot be in the grass of the earth.
16 Let his mind be changed from that of a human,[ab]
    and let the mind of an animal be given to him,
    and let seven times pass over him.
17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers,
    and the decision by the command of the holy ones,
in order that[ac] the living will know
    that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind,
and to whomever[ad] he wills he gives it,
    and he even sets the humblest of men over it.”

18 “‘This is the dream that I, Nebuchadnezzar the king, saw. Now[ae] you, Belteshazzar, declare its explanation, for[af] all of the wise men of my kingdom were not able to make the explanation known to me, but you are able because the spirit of holy gods is in you.’

Daniel Relates and Interprets the Dream

19 “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was distressed for some time,[ag] and his thoughts disturbed him. The king answered and he said, ‘Belteshazzar, let the dream and its explanation not disturb you.’ Belteshazzar answered and said, ‘My lord, may the dream and its explanation be for those who hate you and for your enemies. 20 The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong and its height reached to heaven[ah] and it was visible to the end of the whole earth,[ai] 21 and its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and so there was provision for all in it, and the animals[aj] of the field lived under it and in its branches nest the birds of heaven,[ak] 22 —it is you, O king, who have grown great and you have grown strong, and so your greatness has increased and it has reached to heaven[al] and your sovereignty to the end of the earth. 23 And inasmuch that the king saw the watcher, a holy one coming down from heaven[am] and he said, “Cut down the tree and destroy it, but the stump of its root in the earth leave with a band of iron and bronze in the grass of the field, and let it be watered with the dew of heaven and let his lot be with the animals of the field until seven times have passed over him.”[an] 24 This is the explanation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: 25 you will be driven away from human society[ao] and you will dwell[ap] with the animals[aq] of the field, and you will be caused to graze grass like the oxen yourself,[ar] and you will be watered with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time will pass over you until that you have acknowledged that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and to whom he wills[as] he gives it. 26 And in that[at] they said to leave alone the stump of the tree’s root, so your kingdom will be restored for you when[au] you acknowledge that heaven is sovereign. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you and your sin remove[av] with righteousness and your iniquity with having mercy on the oppressed, in case there might be a prolongation of your prosperity.’”[aw]

God Judges the King for His Hubris

28 All this happened[ax] to Nebuchadnezzar the king. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace[ay] of Babylon. 30 And the king answered and said, “Is this not the great Babylon which I have built as a royal palace by the strength of my own power, and for the glory of my own majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the mouth of the king, a voice from heaven came, saying, ‘To you, King Nebuchadnezzar, it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you will be driven away from human society[az] and your dwelling will be with the animals[ba] of the field and they will cause you to graze the grass like oxen, and seven times will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind and that he gives it to whom he wills.’ 33 Immediately[bb] the word was fulfilled concerning[bc] Nebuchadnezzar, and he was expelled from human society[bd] and he ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair was like the hair of an eagle and his nails grew like a bird’s claws.

The King Praises and Extols the Most High God

34 “But at the end of that period,[be] I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and then my reason returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and the one who lives forever[bf] I praised and I honored.

“For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
    and his kingdom continues from generation to generation.
35 And all the dwellers of the earth
    are regarded as nothing,
and he does according to[bg] his desire
    in the host of heaven and among the dwellers of earth,
and there is not one who can hold back his hand,
    or ask him,[bh] ‘What are you doing?’

36 At that time[bi] my reason returned to me, and also the glory of my kingdom and my majesty and splendor returned to me, and my advisers and my lords[bj] searched me out, and I was established over my kingdom and abundant greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and honor the king of heaven, for all his works are truth,[bk] and his ways are justice and that he is able to humble those who walk in pride.”


  1. Daniel 4:1 Daniel 4:1–4:37 in the English Bible is 3:31–4:34 in the Hebrew Bible
  2. Daniel 4:3 Literally “a kingdom of eternity”
  3. Daniel 4:6 Literally “put/placed”
  4. Daniel 4:7 Or “soothsayer-priests”
  5. Daniel 4:7 Or “enchanters”
  6. Daniel 4:7 Literally “Chaldeans”
  7. Daniel 4:7 Or “interpretation”
  8. Daniel 4:8 Literally “until another”
  9. Daniel 4:8 Literally “who name his”
  10. Daniel 4:8 Literally “like”
  11. Daniel 4:8 Literally “and who the spirit of gods holy in him”
  12. Daniel 4:8 Literally “and the dream before him I told”
  13. Daniel 4:9 Or “soothsayer-priests”
  14. Daniel 4:9 Or “a spirit”
  15. Daniel 4:9 Literally “every mystery is not difficult”
  16. Daniel 4:9 Or “interpretation”
  17. Daniel 4:10 Literally “seeing”
  18. Daniel 4:11 Or “the sky”
  19. Daniel 4:11 Literally “and its appearance was to the end of the whole earth”
  20. Daniel 4:12 Aramaic “animal”
  21. Daniel 4:12 Or “the sky”
  22. Daniel 4:13 Or “angelic being”
  23. Daniel 4:14 Literally “in strength”
  24. Daniel 4:15 Literally “and with”
  25. Daniel 4:15 Or “with”
  26. Daniel 4:15 Or “him,” that is, the king
  27. Daniel 4:15 Aramaic “animal”
  28. Daniel 4:16 Or “the human”
  29. Daniel 4:17 Literally “until matter that”
  30. Daniel 4:17 Literally “to whom that”
  31. Daniel 4:18 Or “And”
  32. Daniel 4:18 Literally “all of because that”
  33. Daniel 4:19 Literally “for one hour”
  34. Daniel 4:20 Or “the sky”
  35. Daniel 4:20 Literally “its appearance to the all the earth”
  36. Daniel 4:21 Aramaic “animal”
  37. Daniel 4:21 Or “the sky”
  38. Daniel 4:22 Or “the sky”
  39. Daniel 4:23 Or “the sky”
  40. Daniel 4:23 Literally “until that seven times they pass over him”
  41. Daniel 4:25 Literally “from the humankind”
  42. Daniel 4:25 Literally “your dwelling will be”
  43. Daniel 4:25 Aramaic “animal”
  44. Daniel 4:25 Literally “with respect to you”
  45. Daniel 4:25 Literally “that he wills”
  46. Daniel 4:26 Literally “And for”
  47. Daniel 4:26 Literally “from that”
  48. Daniel 4:27 Or “replace”
  49. Daniel 4:27 Literally “if will be prolongation for your prosperity”
  50. Daniel 4:28 Literally “It came upon”
  51. Daniel 4:29 Literally “the place of the kingdom”
  52. Daniel 4:32 Literally “the humankind”
  53. Daniel 4:32 Aramaic “animal”
  54. Daniel 4:33 Literally “In that hour”
  55. Daniel 4:33 Literally “over”
  56. Daniel 4:33 Literally “the humankind”
  57. Daniel 4:34 Literally “the day”
  58. Daniel 4:34 Literally “the one living forever”
  59. Daniel 4:35 Literally “as”
  60. Daniel 4:35 Literally “or asks to him”
  61. Daniel 4:36 Literally “In it the time”
  62. Daniel 4:36 Or “nobles”
  63. Daniel 4:37 Or “true”