Daniel 4Expanded Bible (EXB)
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree
4 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]!
2 The Most High God has done ·miracles [signs] and wonderful things for me that I am happy to tell you about.
3 His wonderful acts are great,
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was ·happy [at ease] in my house and ·successful [living luxuriously] at my palace, 5 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. 6 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]. 7 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].
8 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. 9 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],
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].”
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