Daniel 2 Good News Translation (GNT)
2 In the second year that Nebuchadnezzar was king, he had a dream. It worried him so much that he couldn't sleep, 2 so he sent for his fortunetellers, magicians, sorcerers, and wizards to come and explain the dream to him. When they came and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I'm worried about a dream I've had. I want to know what it means.”
4 They answered the king in Aramaic,[a] “May Your Majesty live forever! Tell us your dream, and we will explain it to you.”
5 The king said to them, “I have made up my mind that you must tell me the dream and then tell me what it means. If you can't, I'll have you torn limb from limb and make your houses a pile of ruins. 6 But if you can tell me both the dream and its meaning, I will reward you with gifts and great honor. Now then, tell me what the dream was and what it means.”
7 They answered the king again, “If Your Majesty will only tell us what the dream was, we will explain it.”
8 At that, the king exclaimed, “Just as I thought! You are trying to gain time, because you see that I have made up my mind 9 to give all of you the same punishment if you don't tell me the dream. You have agreed among yourselves to go on telling me lies because you hope that in time things will change. Tell me what the dream was, and then I will know that you can also tell me what it means.”
10 The advisers replied, “There is no one on the face of the earth who can tell Your Majesty what you want to know. No king, not even the greatest and most powerful, has ever made such a demand of his fortunetellers, magicians, and wizards. 11 What Your Majesty is asking for is so difficult that no one can do it for you except the gods, and they do not live among human beings.”
12 At that, the king flew into a rage and ordered the execution of all the royal advisers in Babylon. 13 So the order was issued for all of them to be killed, including Daniel and his friends.
God Shows Daniel What the Dream Means
14 Then Daniel went to Arioch, commander of the king's bodyguard, who had been ordered to carry out the execution. Choosing his words carefully, 15 he asked Arioch why the king had issued such a harsh order. So Arioch told Daniel what had happened.
16 Daniel went at once and obtained royal permission for more time, so that he could tell the king what the dream meant. 17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. 18 He told them to pray to the God of heaven for mercy and to ask him to explain the mystery to them so that they would not be killed along with the other advisers in Babylon. 19 Then that same night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision, and he praised the God of heaven:
20 “God is wise and powerful!
Daniel Tells the King the Dream and Explains It
24 So Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had commanded to execute the royal advisers. He said to him, “Don't put them to death. Take me to the king, and I will tell him what his dream means.”
25 At once Arioch took Daniel into King Nebuchadnezzar's presence and told the king, “I have found one of the Jewish exiles who can tell Your Majesty the meaning of your dream.”
26 The king said to Daniel (who was also called Belteshazzar), “Can you tell me what I dreamed and what it means?”
27 Daniel replied, “Your Majesty, there is no wizard, magician, fortuneteller, or astrologer who can tell you that. 28 But there is a God in heaven, who reveals mysteries. He has informed Your Majesty what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you the dream, the vision you had while you were asleep.
29 “While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about the future; and God, who reveals mysteries, showed you what is going to happen. 30 Now, this mystery was revealed to me, not because I am wiser than anyone else, but so that Your Majesty may learn the meaning of your dream and understand the thoughts that have come to you.
31 “Your Majesty, in your vision you saw standing before you a giant statue, bright and shining, and terrifying to look at. 32 Its head was made of the finest gold; its chest and arms were made of silver; its waist and hips of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, and its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 While you were looking at it, a great stone broke loose from a cliff without anyone touching it, struck the iron and clay feet of the statue, and shattered them. 35 At once the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold crumbled and became like the dust on a threshing place in summer. The wind carried it all away, leaving not a trace. But the stone grew to be a mountain that covered the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream. Now I will tell Your Majesty what it means. 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of all kings. The God of heaven has made you emperor and given you power, might, and honor. 38 He has made you ruler of all the inhabited earth and ruler over all the animals and birds. You are the head of gold. 39 After you there will be another empire, not as great as yours, and after that a third, an empire of bronze, which will rule the whole earth. 40 And then there will be a fourth empire, as strong as iron, which shatters and breaks everything. And just as iron shatters everything, it will shatter and crush all the earlier empires. 41 You also saw that the feet and the toes were partly clay and partly iron. This means that it will be a divided empire. It will have something of the strength of iron, because there was iron mixed with the clay. 42 The toes—partly iron and partly clay—mean that part of the empire will be strong and part of it weak. 43 You also saw that the iron was mixed with the clay. This means that the rulers of that empire will try to unite their families by intermarriage, but they will not be able to, any more than iron can mix with clay. 44 At the time of those rulers the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never end. It will never be conquered, but will completely destroy all those empires and then last forever. 45 You saw how a stone broke loose from a cliff without anyone touching it and how it struck the statue made of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God is telling Your Majesty what will happen in the future. I have told you exactly what you dreamed, and have given you its true meaning.”
The King Rewards Daniel
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed to the ground and gave orders for sacrifices and offerings to be made to Daniel. 47 The king said, “Your God is the greatest of all gods, the Lord over kings, and the one who reveals mysteries. I know this because you have been able to explain this mystery.” 48 Then he gave Daniel a high position, presented him with many splendid gifts, put him in charge of the province of Babylon, and made him the head of all the royal advisers. 49 At Daniel's request the king put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in charge of the affairs of the province of Babylon; Daniel, however, remained at the royal court.
Daniel 2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
2 In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. 2 So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.” 4 The Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic),[a] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.” 5 The king answered the Chaldeans, “This is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. 6 But if you do tell me the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.” 7 They answered a second time, “Let the king first tell his servants the dream, then we can give its interpretation.” 8 The king answered, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see I have firmly decreed: 9 if you do not tell me the dream, there is but one verdict for you. You have agreed to speak lying and misleading words to me until things take a turn. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.”
12 Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13 The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. 14 Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; 15 he asked Arioch, the royal official, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation.
God Reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel said:
Daniel Interprets the Dream
24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.”
25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can tell the king the interpretation.” 26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed, came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and the revealer of mysteries disclosed to you what is to be. 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me because of any wisdom that I have more than any other living being, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the king and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.
31 “You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37 You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, 38 into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. 39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. 40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything,[b] it shall crush and shatter all these. 41 As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage,[c] but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.”
Daniel and His Friends Promoted
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery!” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.
Daniel 2 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
2 In the second year of the reign of N’vukhadnetzar, N’vukhadnetzar became so troubled by a series of dreams he had that he couldn’t sleep. 2 So the king ordered the magicians, exorcists, sorcerers and astrologers summoned to interpret the king’s dreams to him. They came and stood in his presence. 3 The king said to them, “I had a dream which will keep troubling my spirit until I know what it means.”
4 The astrologers spoke to the king in Aramaic: “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.” 5 The king answered the astrologers, “Here is what I have decided: if you don’t tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses reduced to rubble. 6 But if you do state the dream and its interpretation, I will give you presents, rewards and great honor. Just tell me the dream and its interpretation.” 7 A second time they said, “Let his majesty tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.” 8 The king replied, “I see you’re only trying to gain time, because you see that I’ve decided 9 that if you don’t tell me the dream, there is only one sentence passed on all of you. So you’ve conspired to mislead me with lies in the hope that time will change things. Now, just tell me the dream! That will convince me that you will also be able to give me its correct interpretation.” 10 The astrologers answered the king, “Your majesty, nobody in the world can do this! Never has a king, no matter how great and powerful, asked such a thing of any magician or exorcist or astrologer. 11 The king is asking a difficult thing; nobody but the gods could tell this to your majesty, and they don’t live with mere mortals.” 12 At this the king flew into a rage and ordered all the sages of Bavel put to death. 13 When the decree was published that the sages were to be slain, they sought Dani’el and his companions in order to have them put to death.
14 Then, choosing his words carefully, Dani’el consulted Aryokh, captain of the royal guard, who had already gone out to kill the sages of Bavel. 15 He said to Aryokh, “Since you are the king’s official, let me ask: why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” Aryokh explained the matter to Dani’el. 16 Then Dani’el went in and asked the king to give him time to tell the king the interpretation.
17 Dani’el went home and made the matter known to Hananyah, Misha’el and ‘Azaryah, his companions; 18 so that they could ask the God of heaven for mercy concerning this secret, and thus save Dani’el and his companions from dying along with the other sages of Bavel. 19 Then the secret was revealed to Dani’el in a vision at night, and Dani’el blessed the God of heaven 20 in these words:
“Blessed be the name of God
24 So Dani’el went to see Aryokh, whom the king had charged with destroying the sages of Bavel, and said to him, “Don’t destroy the sages of Bavel! Bring me before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.” 25 Quickly Aryokh brought Dani’el before the king and told him, “I have found one of the exiles of Y’hudah who will reveal the interpretation to his majesty.” 26 The king said to Dani’el (who had been renamed Belt’shatzar), “Can you tell me what I dreamt and what it means?” 27 Dani’el answered the king, “No sage, exorcist, magician or astrologer can tell his majesty the secret he has asked about. 28 But there is a God in heaven who unlocks mysteries, and he has revealed to King N’vukhadnetzar what will happen in the acharit-hayamim. Here are your dream and the visions you had in your head when you were in bed.
29 “Your majesty, when you were in bed, you began thinking about what would take place in the future; and he who reveals secrets has revealed to you what will happen. 30 Yet this secret has not been revealed to me because I am wiser than anyone living, but so that the meaning can be made known to your majesty, and then you can understand the thoughts of your own mind.
31 “Your majesty had a vision of a statue, very large and extremely bright; it stood in front of you and its appearance was terrifying. 32 The head of the statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its trunk and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, and its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you watched, a stone separated itself without any human hand, struck the statue on its feet made of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken into pieces which became like the chaff on a threshing-floor in summer; the wind blew them away without leaving a trace. But the stone which had struck the statue grew into a huge mountain that filled the whole earth.
36 “That is what you dreamt, and now we will give the king its interpretation. 37 Your majesty, king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 so that wherever people, wild animals or birds in the air live, he has handed them over to you and enabled you to rule them all — you are the head of gold. 39 But after you another kingdom will rise, inferior to you; then a third kingdom, of bronze, which will rule the whole world. 40 The fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron. Iron can break anything into pieces, pulverize it and crush it. So just as iron can crush anything, this kingdom will break the other kingdoms into pieces and crush them. 41 Finally, you saw the feet and toes made partly of pottery clay and partly of iron; this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the firmness of iron, since you saw the iron mixed with clay from the ground. 42 Just as the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 You saw the iron mixed with clay; that means that they will cement their alliances by intermarriages; but they won’t stick together any more than iron blends with clay.
44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not pass into the hands of another people. It will break to pieces and consume all those kingdoms; but it, itself, will stand forever — 45 like the stone you saw, which, without human hands, separated itself from the mountain and broke to pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold. The great God has revealed to the king what will come about in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is reliable.”
46 Then King N’vukhadnetzar fell on his face and worshipped Dani’el; he ordered that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. 47 To Dani’el the king said, “Your God is indeed the God of gods, the Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret.” 48 The king promoted Dani’el to a high rank, gave him many rich gifts and made him governor of the entire province of Bavel and head of all the sages of Bavel. 49 At Dani’el’s request, the king put Shadrakh, Meishakh and ‘Aved-N’go in charge of the affairs of the province of Bavel, while Dani’el remained in attendance on the king.
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.