4 This is the proclamation of Nebuchadnezzar the king, which he sent to people of every language in every nation of the world:
2 I want you all to know about the strange thing that the Most High God did to me. 3 It was incredible—a mighty miracle! And now I know for sure that his kingdom is everlasting; he reigns forever and ever.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in peace and prosperity, 5 when one night I had a dream that greatly frightened me. 6 I called in all the wise men of Babylon to tell me the meaning of my dream, 7 but when they came—the magicians, astrologers, fortune-tellers, and wizards—and I told them the dream, they couldn’t interpret it. 8 At last Daniel came in—the man I named Belteshazzar after my god—the man in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and I told him the dream.
9 “O Belteshazzar, master magician,” I said, “I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and no mystery is too great for you to solve. Tell me what my dream means:
10-11 “I saw a very tall tree out in a field, growing higher and higher into the sky until it could be seen by everyone in all the world. 12 Its leaves were fresh and green, and its branches were weighted down with fruit, enough for everyone to eat. Wild animals rested beneath its shade and birds sheltered in its branches, and all the world was fed from it. 13 Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw one of God’s angels[a] coming down from heaven.
14 “He shouted, ‘Cut down the tree; lop off its branches; shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit. Get the animals out from under it and the birds from its branches, 15 but leave its stump and roots in the ground, banded with a chain of iron and brass, surrounded by the tender grass. Let the dew of heaven drench him and let him eat grass with the wild animals! 16 For seven years let him have the mind of an animal instead of a man. 17 For this has been decreed by the Watchers, demanded by the Holy Ones. The purpose of this decree is that all the world may understand that the Most High dominates the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he wants to, even the lowliest of men!’
18 “O Belteshazzar, that was my dream; now tell me what it means. For no one else can help me; all the wisest men of my kingdom have failed me. But you can tell me, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
19 Then Daniel[b] sat there stunned and silent for an hour, aghast at the meaning of the dream. Finally the king said to him: “Belteshazzar, don’t be afraid to tell me what it means.”
Daniel replied: “Oh, that the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! 20 For the tree you saw growing so tall, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see, 21 with its fresh green leaves, loaded with fruit for all to eat, the wild animals living in its shade, with its branches full of birds— 22 that tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
23 “Then you saw God’s angel[c] coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump and the roots in the earth surrounded by tender grass, banded with a chain of iron and brass. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. For seven years let him eat grass with the animals of the field.’
24 “Your Majesty, the Most High God has decreed—and it will surely happen— 25 that your people will chase you from your palace, and you will live in the fields like an animal, eating grass like a cow, your back wet with dew from heaven. For seven years this will be your life, until you learn that the Most High God dominates the kingdoms of men and gives power to anyone he chooses. 26 But the stump and the roots were left in the ground! This means that you will get your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules.
27 “O King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to me—stop sinning; do what you know is right; be merciful to the poor. Perhaps even yet God will spare you.”
28 But all these things happened to Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months after this dream, he was strolling on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon, 30 and saying, “I, by my own mighty power, have built this beautiful city as my royal residence and as the capital of my empire.”
31 While he was still speaking these words, a voice called down from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you: You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. 32 You will be forced out of the palace to live with the animals in the fields and to eat grass like the cows for seven years, until you finally realize that God parcels out the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he chooses.”
33 That very same hour this prophecy was fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar was chased from his palace and ate grass like the cows, and his body was wet with dew; his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.
34 “At the end of seven years[d] I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High God and honored him who lives forever, whose rule is everlasting, his kingdom evermore. 35 All the people of the earth are nothing when compared to him; he does whatever he thinks best among the angels of heaven, as well as here on earth. No one can stop him or challenge him, saying, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’ 36 When my mind returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My counselors and officers came back to me, and I was reestablished as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.
37 “Now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of Heaven, the Judge of all, whose every act is right and good; for he is able to take those who walk proudly and push them into the dust!”