Daniel 2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The King’s Forgotten Dream
2 Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar [a]had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep [b]left him. 2 Then the king [c]gave orders to call in the [d]magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the [e]Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, “I [f]had a dream and my spirit [g]is anxious to [h]understand the dream.”
4 Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in [i]Aramaic: “O king, live forever! Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” 5 The king replied to the Chaldeans, “[j]The command from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be [k]torn limb from limb and your houses will be made a rubbish heap. 6 But if you declare the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and a reward and great honor; therefore declare to me the dream and its interpretation.” 7 They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” 8 The king replied, “I know for certain that you are [l]bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that [m]the command from me is firm, 9 that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one [n]decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt [o]words before me until the [p]situation is changed; therefore tell me the dream, that I may know that you can declare to me its interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered [q]the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter [r]for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any [s]magician, conjurer or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is [t]difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it [u]to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.”
12 Because of this the king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the [v]decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to [w]kill them.
14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king’s [x]bodyguard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon; 15 he said to Arioch, the king’s commander, “For what reason is the [y]decree from the king so [z]urgent?” Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 16 So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would [aa]give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king.
17 Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, 18 so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
The Secret Is Revealed to Daniel
19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said,
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
24 Therefore, Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and spoke to him as follows: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon! Take me [ad]into the king’s presence, and I will declare the interpretation to the king.”
25 Then Arioch hurriedly brought Daniel [ae]into the king’s presence and spoke to him as follows: “I have found a man among the [af]exiles from Judah who can make the interpretation known to the king!” 26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, [ag]magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. 28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the [ah]latter days. This was your dream and the visions [ai]in your mind while on your bed. 29 As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts [aj]turned to what would take place [ak]in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom [al]residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may [am]understand the thoughts of your [an]mind.
The King’s Dream
31 “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and [ao]of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32 The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You [ap]continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed [aq]all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
The Interpretation—Babylon the First Kingdom
36 “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the [ar]kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.
Medo-Persia and Greece
39 After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.
40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. 41 In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with [as]common clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43 And in that you saw the iron mixed with [at]common clay, they will combine with one another [au]in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.
The Divine Kingdom
44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be [av]left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place [aw]in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and [ax]fragrant incense. 47 The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48 Then the king [ay]promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief [az]prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s [ba]court.
Daniel 2 New International Version (NIV)
2 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers[a] to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.[b]”
4 Then the astrologers answered the king,[c] “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
5 The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
7 Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
8 Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”
10 The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
Daniel Interprets the Dream
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”
25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.
Daniel 2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
2 During the second year that Nebuchadnezzar was king, he had such horrible nightmares that he could not sleep. 2 So he called in his counselors, advisors, magicians, and wise men, 3 and said, “I am disturbed by a dream that I don’t understand, and I want you to explain it.”
4 They answered in Aramaic,[a] “Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! We are your servants. Please tell us your dream, and we will explain what it means.”
5 But the king replied, “No! I have made up my mind. If you don’t tell me both the dream and its meaning, you will be chopped to pieces and your houses will be torn down. 6 However, if you do tell me both the dream and its meaning, you will be greatly rewarded and highly honored. Now tell me the dream and explain what it means.”
7 “Your Majesty,” they said, “if you will only tell us your dream, we will interpret it for you.”
8 The king replied, “You’re just stalling for time, 9 because you know what’s going to happen if you don’t come up with the answer. You’ve decided to make up a bunch of lies, hoping I might change my mind. Now tell me the dream, and that will prove that you can interpret it.”
10 His advisors explained, “Your Majesty, you are demanding the impossible! No king, not even the most famous and powerful, has ever ordered his advisors, magicians, or wise men to do such a thing. 11 It can’t be done, except by the gods, and they don’t live here on earth.”
12-13 This made the king so angry that he gave orders for every wise man in Babylonia to be put to death, including Daniel and his three friends.
God Tells Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream to Daniel
14 Arioch was the king’s official in charge of putting the wise men to death. He was on his way to have it done, when Daniel very wisely went to him 15 and asked, “Why did the king give such cruel[b] orders?” After Arioch explained what had happened, 16 Daniel rushed off and said to the king, “If you will just give me some time, I’ll explain your dream.”
17 Daniel returned home and told his three friends. 18 Then he said, “Pray that the God who rules from heaven will be merciful and explain this mystery, so that we and the others won’t be put to death.” 19 In a vision one night, Daniel was shown the dream and its meaning. Then he praised the God who rules from heaven:
20 “Our God, your name
22 “You explain deep mysteries,
Daniel Interprets the Dream
24 Daniel went back to Arioch, the official in charge of executing the wise men. Daniel said, “Don’t kill those men! Take me to the king, and I will explain the meaning of his dream.”
25 Arioch rushed Daniel to the king and announced, “Your Majesty, I have found out that one of the men brought here from Judah can explain your dream.”
26 The king asked Daniel,[c] “Can you tell me my dream and what it means?”
27 Daniel answered:
Your Majesty, not even the smartest person in all the world can do what you are demanding. 28-29 But the God who rules from heaven can explain mysteries. And while you were sleeping, he showed you what will happen in the future. 30 However, you must realize that these mysteries weren’t explained to me because I am smarter than everyone else. Instead, it was done so that you would understand what you have seen.
31 Your Majesty, what you saw standing in front of you was a huge and terrifying statue, shining brightly. 32 Its head was made of gold, its chest and arms were silver, and from its waist down to its knees, it was bronze. 33 From there to its ankles it was iron, and its feet were a mixture of iron and clay.
34 As you watched, a stone was cut from a mountain—but not by human hands. The stone struck the feet, completely shattering the iron and clay. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed and blown away without a trace, like husks of wheat at threshing time. But the stone became a tremendous mountain that covered the entire earth.
36 That was the dream, and now I’ll tell you what it means. 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings, and God has highly honored you with power 38 over all humans, animals, and birds. You are the head of gold. 39 After you are gone, another kingdom will rule, but it won’t be as strong. Then it will be followed by a kingdom of bronze that will rule the whole world. 40 Next, a kingdom of iron will come to power, crushing and shattering everything.[d]
41-42 This fourth kingdom will be divided—it will be both strong and brittle, just as you saw that the feet and toes were a mixture of iron and clay. 43 This kingdom will be the result of a marriage between kingdoms, but it will crumble, just as iron and clay don’t stick together.
44-45 During the time of those kings, the God who rules from heaven will set up an eternal kingdom that will never fall. It will be like the stone that was cut from the mountain, but not by human hands—the stone that crushed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. Your Majesty, in your dream the great God has told you what is going to happen, and you can trust this interpretation.
Daniel Is Promoted
46 King Nebuchadnezzar bowed low to the ground and worshiped Daniel. Then he gave orders for incense to be burned and a sacrifice of grain to be offered in honor of Daniel. 47 The king said, “Now I know that your God is above all other gods and kings, because he gave you the power to explain this mystery.” 48 The king then presented Daniel with a lot of gifts; he promoted him to governor of Babylon Province and put him in charge of the other wise men. 49 At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to high positions in Babylon Province, and he let Daniel stay on as a palace official.
Daniel 2 The Message (MSG)
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
2 1-3 In the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar started having dreams that disturbed him deeply. He couldn’t sleep. He called in all the Babylonian magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and fortunetellers to interpret his dreams for him. When they came and lined up before the king, he said to them, “I had a dream that I can’t get out of my mind. I can’t sleep until I know what it means.”
4 The fortunetellers, speaking in the Aramaic language, said, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream and we will interpret it.”
5-6 The king answered the fortunetellers, “This is my decree: If you can’t tell me both the dream itself and its interpretation, I’ll have you ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and your homes torn down. But if you tell me both the dream and its interpretation, I’ll lavish you with gifts and honors. So go to it: Tell me the dream and its interpretation.”
7 They answered, “If it please your majesty, tell us the dream. We’ll give the interpretation.”
8-9 But the king said, “I know what you’re up to—you’re just playing for time. You know you’re up a tree. You know that if you can’t tell me my dream, you’re doomed. I see right through you—you’re going to cook up some fancy stories and confuse the issue until I change my mind. Nothing doing! First tell me the dream, then I’ll know that you’re on the up and up with the interpretation and not just blowing smoke in my eyes.”
10-11 The fortunetellers said, “Nobody anywhere can do what you ask. And no king, great or small, has ever demanded anything like this from any magician, enchanter, or fortuneteller. What you’re asking is impossible unless some god or goddess should reveal it—and they don’t hang around with people like us.”
12-13 That set the king off. He lost his temper and ordered the whole company of Babylonian wise men killed. When the death warrant was issued, Daniel and his companions were included. They also were marked for execution.
14-15 When Arioch, chief of the royal guards, was making arrangements for the execution, Daniel wisely took him aside and quietly asked what was going on: “Why this all of a sudden?”
15-16 After Arioch filled in the background, Daniel went to the king and asked for a little time so that he could interpret the dream.
17-18 Daniel then went home and told his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what was going on. He asked them to pray to the God of heaven for mercy in solving this mystery so that the four of them wouldn’t be killed along with the whole company of Babylonian wise men.
Dream Interpretation: A Story of Five Kingdoms
19-23 That night the answer to the mystery was given to Daniel in a vision. Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying,
“Blessed be the name of God,
24 So Daniel went back to Arioch, who had been put in charge of the execution. He said, “Call off the execution! Take me to the king and I’ll interpret his dream.”
25 Arioch didn’t lose a minute. He ran to the king, bringing Daniel with him, and said, “I’ve found a man from the exiles of Judah who can interpret the king’s dream!”
26 The king asked Daniel (renamed in Babylonian, Belteshazzar), “Are you sure you can do this—tell me the dream I had and interpret it for me?”
27-28 Daniel answered the king, “No mere human can solve the king’s mystery, I don’t care who it is—no wise man, enchanter, magician, diviner. But there is a God in heaven who solves mysteries, and he has solved this one. He is letting King Nebuchadnezzar in on what is going to happen in the days ahead. This is the dream you had when you were lying on your bed, the vision that filled your mind:
29-30 “While you were stretched out on your bed, O king, thoughts came to you regarding what is coming in the days ahead. The Revealer of Mysteries showed you what will happen. But the interpretation is given through me, not because I’m any smarter than anyone else in the country, but so that you will know what it means, so that you will understand what you dreamed.
31-36 “What you saw, O king, was a huge statue standing before you, striking in appearance. And terrifying. The head of the statue was pure gold, the chest and arms were silver, the belly and hips were bronze, the legs were iron, and the feet were an iron-ceramic mixture. While you were looking at this statue, a stone cut out of a mountain by an invisible hand hit the statue, smashing its iron-ceramic feet. Then the whole thing fell to pieces—iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold, smashed to bits. It was like scraps of old newspapers in a vacant lot in a hot dry summer, blown every which way by the wind, scattered to oblivion. But the stone that hit the statue became a huge mountain, dominating the horizon. This was your dream.
36-40 “And now we’ll interpret it for the king. You, O king, are the most powerful king on earth. The God of heaven has given you the works: rule, power, strength, and glory. He has put you in charge of men and women, wild animals and birds, all over the world—you’re the head ruler, you are the head of gold. But your rule will be taken over by another kingdom, inferior to yours, and that one by a third, a bronze kingdom, but still ruling the whole land, and after that by a fourth kingdom, ironlike in strength. Just as iron smashes things to bits, breaking and pulverizing, it will bust up the previous kingdoms.
41-43 “But then the feet and toes that ended up as a mixture of ceramic and iron will deteriorate into a mongrel kingdom with some remains of iron in it. Just as the toes of the feet were part ceramic and part iron, it will end up a mixed bag of the breakable and unbreakable. That kingdom won’t bond, won’t hold together any more than iron and clay hold together.
44-45 “But throughout the history of these kingdoms, the God of heaven will be building a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will this kingdom ever fall under the domination of another. In the end it will crush the other kingdoms and finish them off and come through it all standing strong and eternal. It will be like the stone cut from the mountain by the invisible hand that crushed the iron, the bronze, the ceramic, the silver, and the gold.
“The great God has let the king know what will happen in the years to come. This is an accurate telling of the dream, and the interpretation is also accurate.”
46-47 When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.”
48-49 Then the king promoted Daniel to a high position in the kingdom, lavished him with gifts, and made him governor over the entire province of Babylon and the chief in charge of all the Babylonian wise men. At Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to administrative posts throughout Babylon, while Daniel governed from the royal headquarters.