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Daniel 4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream

[a] King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages that live throughout the earth: May you have abundant prosperity! The signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me I am pleased to recount.

How great are his signs,
    how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.

[b] I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living at ease in my home and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that frightened me; my fantasies in bed and the visions of my head terrified me. So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, in order that they might tell me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not tell me its interpretation. At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods[c]—and I told him the dream: “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods[d] and that no mystery is too difficult for you. Hear[e] the dream that I saw; tell me its interpretation.

10 [f] Upon my bed this is what I saw;
    there was a tree at the center of the earth,
    and its height was great.
11 The tree grew great and strong,
    its top reached to heaven,
    and it was visible to the ends of the whole earth.
12 Its foliage was beautiful,
    its fruit abundant,
    and it provided food for all.
The animals of the field found shade under it,
    the birds of the air nested in its branches,
    and from it all living beings were fed.

13 “I continued looking, in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and there was a holy watcher, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said:

‘Cut down the tree and chop off its branches,
    strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from beneath it
    and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave its stump and roots in the ground,
    with a band of iron and bronze,
    in the tender grass of the field.
Let him be bathed with the dew of heaven,
    and let his lot be with the animals of the field
    in the grass of the earth.
16 Let his mind be changed from that of a human,
    and let the mind of an animal be given to him.
    And let seven times pass over him.
17 The sentence is rendered by decree of the watchers,
    the decision is given by order of the holy ones,
in order that all who live may know
    that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of mortals;
he gives it to whom he will
    and sets over it the lowliest of human beings.’

18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are unable to tell me the interpretation. You are able, however, for you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods.”[g]

Daniel Interprets the Second Dream

19 Then Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was severely distressed for a while. His thoughts terrified him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or the interpretation terrify you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you, and its interpretation for your enemies! 20 The tree that you saw, which grew great and strong, so that its top reached to heaven and was visible to the end of the whole earth, 21 whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and which provided food for all, under which animals of the field lived, and in whose branches the birds of the air had nests— 22 it is you, O king! You have grown great and strong. Your greatness has increased and reaches to heaven, and your sovereignty to the ends of the earth. 23 And whereas the king saw a holy watcher coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the grass of the field; and let him be bathed with the dew of heaven, and let his lot be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him’— 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: 25 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the wild animals. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, you shall be bathed with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and gives it to whom he will. 26 As it was commanded to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be re-established for you from the time that you learn that Heaven is sovereign. 27 Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for[h] your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humiliation

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! 32 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

34 When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.

I blessed the Most High,
    and praised and honored the one who lives forever.
For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does what he wills with the host of heaven
    and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can stay his hand
    or say to him, “What are you doing?”

36 At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven,

for all his works are truth,
    and his ways are justice;
and he is able to bring low
    those who walk in pride.

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 4:1 Ch 3.31 in Aram
  2. Daniel 4:4 Ch 4.1 in Aram
  3. Daniel 4:8 Or a holy, divine spirit
  4. Daniel 4:9 Or a holy, divine spirit
  5. Daniel 4:9 Theodotion: Aram The visions of
  6. Daniel 4:10 Theodotion Syr Compare Gk: Aram adds The visions of my head
  7. Daniel 4:18 Or a holy, divine spirit
  8. Daniel 4:27 Aram break off
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Daniel 4 Common English Bible (CEB)

Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony

[a] King Nebuchadnezzar’s message to all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: “I wish you much peace. I’m delighted to share the signs and miracles that the Most High God has worked in my life.

His signs are superb!
    His miracles so powerful!
His kingdom is everlasting.
    His rule is for all time.

[b] “While I, Nebuchadnezzar, was safe in my house, content in my palace, I had a terrifying dream. My thoughts while I was lying in bed and the vision in my mind overwhelmed me. I ordered all Babylon’s sages to come before me, so they might tell me the dream’s meaning. So the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners came. I told them the dream, but they couldn’t interpret it for me. Daniel, who is called Belteshazzar after the name of my god, was the last to come before me. In him is the breath[c] of the holy gods! I told Daniel the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

“Belteshazzar, chief of the dream interpreters, I know the breath of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. 10 In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw a vision:

At the center of the earth was a towering tree.
11     The tree grew in size and strength;
        it was as high as the sky;
        it could be seen from every corner of the earth.
12         Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant;
        it had enough food for everyone.
    Wild animals took shade under it;
        birds nested in its branches.
    All living things lived off that tree.

13 “In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw another vision: A holy watcher came down from heaven. 14 He proclaimed loudly:

‘Cut down the tree and shear off its branches!
    Strip its leaves and scatter its fruit!
The creatures should flee from its shelter;
    the birds should take flight from its branches.
15 But leave its deepest root in the earth,
    bound with iron and bronze in the field grass.
Dew from heaven is to wash it,
    and it must live with the animals in the earth’s vegetation.
16 Its[d] human mind is to be changed:
    it will be given the mind of an animal.
    Seven periods of time will pass over it.
17 This sentence is by the watchers’ decree;
    this decision is the holy ones’ word
        so that all who live might know
        that the Most High dominates human kingship.
The Most High gives kingship to anyone he wants
    and sets over it the lowest of people.’

18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. So now Belteshazzar, tell me the meaning because all the sages in my kingdom were unable to interpret it for me. But you are able to do it because the breath of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel interprets the visions

19 Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him.

The king declared, “Don’t let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar.”

Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies! 20 The tree you saw that grew in size and strength, that was as high as the sky, that could be seen from every corner of the earth, 21 with its beautiful leaves and its abundant fruit, and that had enough food for everyone, with wild animals living under it and birds nesting in its branches— 22 Your Majesty, that tree is you! You have grown large and become powerful. Your greatness is as high as the sky; your rule extends to the edge of the earth!

23 “Your Majesty, the holy watcher you saw coming down from heaven, who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its deepest root in the earth, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass, dew from heaven is to wash it, and it must live with the wild animals until seven periods of time pass over it’— 24 Your Majesty, this is the dream’s meaning: It is the sentence of the Most High, delivered to my master the king. 25 You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle and will be washed by dew from heaven. Seven periods of time will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants. 26 And when he said to leave the deepest root of the tree—that means your kingship will again be yours, once you acknowledge that heaven rules all. 27 Therefore, Your Majesty, please accept my advice: remove your sins by doing what is right; remove your wrongdoing by showing mercy to the poor. Then your safety will be long lasting.”

Visions come true

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon. 30 The king declared, “Isn’t this Babylon, the magnificent city that I built as the royal house by my own mighty strength and for my own majestic glory?”

31 These words hadn’t even left the king’s mouth when a voice came from heaven: “You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are now informed: Kingship is taken away from you. 32 You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants.”

33 Nebuchadnezzar’s sentence was immediately carried out. He was driven away from other humans and ate grass like cattle. Dew from heaven washed his body until he grew hair like eagles’ feathers and claws like a bird.

Nebuchadnezzar is restored

34 “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven. My reason returned to me, and I praised the Most High. I worshipped and glorified the one who lives forever because his rule is everlasting; his kingdom is for all time. 35 All of earth’s inhabitants are nothing in comparison. The Most High does whatever he wants with heaven’s forces and with earth’s inhabitants. No one can contain his power or say to him, ‘What do you think you are doing?’ 36 So at that moment my reason returned to me. My honor and splendor came back to me for the glory of my kingdom. My associates and my princes wanted to be with me again. Not only was I reinstated over my kingdom, I received more power than ever before.

37 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, worship, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven. All his works are truth, all his paths are justice, and he is able to humble all who walk in pride.”

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 4:1 3:31 in Aram
  2. Daniel 4:4 4:1 in Aram
  3. Daniel 4:8 Or spirit; also in 4:9, 18
  4. Daniel 4:16 Throughout 4:15-16 and later in this chap, it and its could also be translated he and his.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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