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Daniel 4 The Voice (VOICE)

One day King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a herald with a message for all the peoples, nations, and languages of the earth.

Message: May peace and prosperity be yours!

I am pleased to be able to tell you about all the signs and miracles the Most High God has done for me.

    How great are His signs;
        how powerful are His miracles!
    His kingdom will endure forever;
        His reign will last from generation to generation.

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace; things were going well, and I was prospering. Then one night I had a dream that terrified me. As I rested that night on my bed, the images in my mind—the visions in my head—disturbed me greatly, and I could not shake the fear. So I ordered my servants to gather all the wise men of Babylon and bring them before me in order to tell me what this dream might mean. So they came: magicians, enchanters, Chaldean astrologers, and diviners. And though I told them the dream, they could not tell me its meaning. Finally, Daniel came before me. This man had been given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar after the name of my own god, Bel, and it certainly seems the spirit of the holy gods is with him. I told him my dream:

“Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, it is clear to me that the spirit of the holy gods is with you and no mystery is too difficult for you to figure out. Listen to my dream, then tell me what it means. 10 Here is the vision I saw as I lay upon my bed:

    “A tree stood in the middle of the land;
        it was huge, rising high in the sky.
11     The tree grew tall and strong,
        and it reached right up to the top of the sky.
    It was so large that it could be seen
        from one end of the earth to the other.
12     It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit.
        In fact, it provided sustenance for everyone.
    Wild animals came and rested in its cool shade.
        Birds flew in and built nests on its sturdy branches.
        Every living creature plucked its fruit and was satisfied.

13 But that was not all. The visions kept coming as I lay there on my bed, and I saw a heavenly messenger, a holy watcher coming down from heaven. 14 He shouted out orders regarding the tree.

    “‘Cut down the tree, and lop off its branches.
        Strip off its leaves, and scatter its fruit.
    Let all the wild animals beneath it run away
        and all the birds on its branches fly away.
15     But leave its stump intact,
        its roots in the ground,
    Strapped down with iron and bronze,
        surrounded by the tender grass of the field.
    Let the dew of heaven fall heavy on it every night and make it wet,
        and let him live off the plants of the earth among the wild animals.
16     Let his human heart be changed, exchanged for the heart of a wild animal
        until seven times have come and gone.
17     The verdict comes down as the watchers decreed;
        the sentence is passed by order of the holy ones
    So that all who live on the earth
        may know that the Most High God is the true sovereign over all kingdoms of the earth;
    He grants authority to anyone He wishes
        and installs the lowliest of people into positions of power.’

(to Daniel) 18 “This is the dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, dreamed, the vision I saw. None of the other sages and wise men in my kingdom are able to tell me what it means. But I believe you, Belteshazzar, can because the spirit of the holy gods is with you and you have a special gift. Now tell me what it means.”

19 As the interpretation of the king’s dream became clear, Daniel (who was also called Belteshazzar) became visibly upset for a while. His thoughts troubled him. The king noticed, and he spoke to Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar: Belteshazzar, don’t let my dream or its meaning alarm you. Tell me what you know.

Belteshazzar: My lord, I wish the dream described those who hate you and its meaning concerned the fate of your enemies! 20 The tree you saw in your vision, the one which grew tall and strong so that its top reached up to the sky and could be seen from one end of the earth to the other, 21 the tree whose leaves were beautiful and fruit plentiful and provided sustenance for everyone, the tree under which the wild animals came to rest in the cool shade and in which the birds built their nests on its sturdy branches— 22 that tree is you, O king! You have become great and strong. Your greatness has grown tall and reached the sky; your authority and power extend to the end of the earth. 23 But that is just one part of your dream. The king saw the messenger, the holy watcher of heaven come down from heaven and declare, “Cut down the tree, and destroy it, but leave its stump intact, its roots in the ground, strapped down with iron and bronze, surrounded by the tender grass of the field; let the dew of heaven fall heavy on it every night and make it wet, and let him live among the wild animals off the plants of the earth, until seven times have come and gone.” 24 Here is the interpretation, O king. It is a decree the Most High God has issued against you, my lord and king. 25 You will be driven away from all that is human and live in the company of wild animals; you will be forced to eat grass like oxen, and night after night the dew of heaven will fall on you and make you soaking wet. Seven times will pass until you learn your lesson and acknowledge that it is the Most High God, and no other, who is the true sovereign over all kingdoms on earth, and He grants authority to anyone He wishes. 26 The watcher’s order to leave the stump and roots of the tree intact means that your kingdom will be restored to you when, and only when, you acknowledge that Heaven alone is sovereign over the earth. 27 So, O king, please accept my advice to you. Make a clean break with your sins and invest in what is right. Bring an end to your wicked deeds and show mercy to those you have beaten down. If you do, perhaps your future will be different and your prosperity will continue.

28 But King Nebuchadnezzar forgot Daniel’s advice, so everything Daniel had predicted happened. 29 Twelve months later, as the king was strolling across the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, 30 the king uttered foolish words:

Nebuchadnezzar: Isn’t Babylon a great city? I have built this royal residence from the ground up with my own might and ingenuity to honor my own majesty.

31 The words had scarcely left his lips when another voice thundered from heaven.

Voice: King Nebuchadnezzar, these solemn words are for you. The kingdom has been taken away from you. 32 You will be driven away from all that is human, and you will live in the company of wild animals. You will be forced to eat grass like oxen. Seven times will pass until you learn your lesson and acknowledge that it is the Most High God, and no other, who is the true sovereign over all kingdoms on earth, and He grants authority to anyone He wishes.

33 Instantly the heavenly decree against Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from all that is human and began to eat grass as oxen do. The dew of heaven fell and drenched his body. In time his hair grew as long as the feathers on an eagle and his nails grew long and curved back on his hand like the claws of a bird.

Message: 34 When these days of exile came to an end, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven and came to my senses. I blessed the Most High God and praised and gave glory to the One who lives eternally:

    “His reign will endure forever;
        His kingdom will last from generation to generation.
35     Among all the people of the earth,
        there are none who compare.
    He does as He wishes with the armies of heaven
        and those who live on earth.
    No one can stop His hand from acting;
        no one dares to ask, ‘What have You done?’”

36 It was in that moment that I came to my senses. Soon my honor and splendor were restored as Daniel predicted, and the former glory of my kingdom returned. Those who had served me before, my advisors and officials, sought me and returned me to the throne of Babylon. In time my kingdom and power grew even greater than it was before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, acknowledge the true King of heaven. I praise, lift up, and glorify Him because all He does is true, all His ways are just, and He is able to cut down those who strut about in their pride.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society 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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