4 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!
2 I am pleased to be able to tell you about all the signs and miracles the Most High God has done for me.
3 How great are His signs;
how powerful are His miracles!
His kingdom will endure forever;
His reign will last from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace; things were going well, and I was prospering. 5 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. 6 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. 7 So they came: magicians, enchanters, Chaldean astrologers, and diviners. And though I told them the dream, they could not tell me its meaning. 8 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:
9 “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.