Daniel 4-6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter about His Second Dream
4 King Nebuchadnezzar sent the following letter to the people of all nations and races on the earth:
Greetings to all of you!
4 I was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity, 5 when suddenly I had some horrifying dreams and visions. 6 Then I commanded every wise man in Babylonia to appear in my court, so they could explain the meaning of my dream. 7 After they arrived, I told them my dream, but they were not able to say what it meant. 8 Finally, a young man named Daniel came in, and I told him the dream. The holy gods had given him special powers, and I had renamed him Belteshazzar after my own god.
9 I said, “Belteshazzar, not only are you the wisest of all advisors and counselors, but the holy gods have given you special powers to solve the most difficult mysteries. So listen to what I dreamed and tell me what it means:
10 In my sleep I saw
13 “While I was in bed, having this vision, a holy angel[a] came down from heaven 14 and shouted:
‘Chop down the tree
‘Make sure that this ruler
18 “Daniel,[d] that was the dream that none of the wise men in my kingdom were able to understand. But I am sure that you will understand what it means, because the holy gods have given you some special powers.”
19 For a while, Daniel[e] was terribly confused and worried by what he was thinking. But I said, “Don’t be bothered either by the dream or by what it means.”
Your Majesty, I wish the dream had been against your enemies. 20 You saw a tree that grew so big and strong that it reached up to heaven and could be seen from anywhere on earth. 21 Its leaves were beautiful, and it produced enough fruit for all living creatures; animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 Your Majesty, that tree is you. Your glorious reputation has reached heaven, and your kingdom covers the earth.
23 Then you saw a holy angel[f] come down from heaven and say, “Chop down the tree and destroy it! But leave its stump and roots in the ground, fastened there by a chain of iron and bronze. Let it stay for seven years[g] out in the field with the wild animals, unprotected from the dew.”
24 Your Majesty, God Most High has sent you this message, and it means 25 that you will be forced to live with the wild animals, far away from humans. You will eat grass like a wild animal and live outdoors for seven years,[h] until you learn that God Most High controls all earthly kingdoms and chooses their rulers. 26 But he gave orders not to disturb the stump and roots. This is to show that you will be king once again, after you learn that the God who rules from heaven is in control. 27 Your Majesty, please be willing to do what I say. Turn from your sins and start living right; have mercy on those who are mistreated. Then all will go well with you for a long time.
The Rest of Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter about His Second Dream
28-30 About twelve months later, I was walking on the flat roof of my royal palace and admiring the beautiful city of Babylon, when these things started happening to me. I was saying to myself, “Just look at this wonderful capital city that I have built by my own power and for my own glory!”
31 But before I could finish speaking, a voice from heaven interrupted:
King Nebuchadnezzar, this kingdom is no longer yours. 32 You will be forced to live with the wild animals, away from people. For seven years[i] you will eat grass, as though you were an ox, until you learn that God Most High is in control of all earthly kingdoms and that he is the one who chooses their rulers.
33 This was no sooner said than done—I was forced to live like a wild animal; I ate grass and was unprotected from the dew. As time went by, my hair grew longer than eagle feathers, and my fingernails looked like the claws of a bird.
34 Finally, I prayed to God in heaven, and my mind was healed. Then I said:
“I praise and honor
36 At that time my mind was healed, and once again I became the ruler of my glorious kingdom. My advisors and officials returned to me, and I had greater power than ever before. 37 That’s why I say:
“Praise and honor the King
King Belshazzar’s Banquet
5 One evening, King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his highest officials, and he drank wine with them. 2 He got drunk and ordered his servants to bring in the gold and silver cups his father Nebuchadnezzar[j] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. Belshazzar wanted the cups, so that he and all his wives and officials could drink from them.
3-4 When the gold cups were brought in, everyone at the banquet drank from them and praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 Suddenly a human hand was seen writing on the plaster wall of the palace. The hand was just behind the lampstand, and the king could see it writing. 6 He was so frightened that his face turned pale, his knees started shaking, and his legs became weak.
7 The king called in his advisors, who claimed they could talk with the spirits of the dead and understand the meanings found in the stars. He told them, “The man who can read this writing and tell me what it means will become the third most powerful man in my kingdom. He will wear robes of royal purple and a gold chain around his neck.”
8 All of King Belshazzar’s highest officials came in, but not one of them could read the writing or tell what it meant, 9 and they were completely puzzled. Now the king was more afraid than ever before, and his face turned white as a ghost.
10 When the queen heard the king and his officials talking, she came in and said:
Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! Don’t be afraid or look so pale. 11 In your kingdom there is a man who has been given special powers by the holy gods. When your father Nebuchadnezzar was king, this man was known to be as smart, intelligent, and wise as the gods themselves. Your father put him in charge of all who claimed they could talk with the spirits or understand the meanings in the stars or tell about the future. 12 He also changed the man’s name from Daniel to Belteshazzar. Not only is he wise and intelligent, but he can explain dreams and riddles and solve difficult problems. Send for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.
13 When Daniel was brought in, the king said:
So you are Daniel, one of the captives my father brought back from Judah! 14 I was told that the gods have given you special powers and that you are intelligent and very wise. 15 Neither my advisors nor the men who talk with the spirits of the dead could read this writing or tell me what it means. 16 But I have been told that you understand everything and that you can solve difficult problems. Now then, if you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will become the third most powerful man in my kingdom. You will wear royal purple robes and have a gold chain around your neck.
17 Daniel answered:
Your Majesty, I will read the writing and tell you what it means. But you may keep your gifts or give them to someone else. 18 Sir, the Most High God made your father a great and powerful man and brought him much honor and glory. 19 God did such great things for him that people of all nations and races shook with fear.
Your father had the power of life or death over everyone, and he could honor or ruin anyone he chose. 20 But when he became proud and stubborn, his glorious kingdom was taken from him. 21 His mind became like that of an animal, and he was forced to stay away from people and live with wild donkeys. Your father ate grass like an ox, and he slept outside where his body was soaked with dew. He was forced to do this until he learned that the Most High God rules all kingdoms on earth and chooses their kings.
22 King Belshazzar, you knew all of this, but you still refused to honor the Lord who rules from heaven. 23 Instead, you turned against him and ordered the cups from his temple to be brought here, so that you and your wives and officials could drink wine from them. You praised idols made of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone, even though they cannot see or hear or think. You refused to worship the God who gives you breath and controls everything you do. 24 That’s why he sent the hand to write this message on the wall.
25-28 The words written there are mene, which means “numbered,” tekel, which means “weighed,” and parsin,[k] which means “divided.” God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has brought it to an end. He has weighed you on his balance scales, and you fall short of what it takes to be king. So God has divided your kingdom between the Medes and the Persians.
29 Belshazzar gave a command for Daniel to be made the third most powerful man in his kingdom and to be given a purple robe and a gold chain.
30 That same night, the king was killed. 31 Then Darius the Mede, who was sixty-two years old, took over his kingdom.
Daniel in a Pit of Lions
6 Darius divided his kingdom into a hundred and twenty states and placed a governor in charge of each one. 2 In order to make sure that his government was run properly, Darius put three other officials in charge of the governors. One of these officials was Daniel. 3 And he did his work so much better than the other governors and officials that the king decided to let him govern the whole kingdom.
4 The other men tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel did his work for the king. But they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do. 5 Finally, they said to one another, “We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion.”
6 They all went to the king and said:
Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! 7 All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days. Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into a pit of lions. 8 Order this to be written and then sign it, so it cannot be changed, just as no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed.”
9 So King Darius made the law and had it written down.
10 Daniel heard about the law, but when he returned home, he went upstairs and prayed in front of the window that faced Jerusalem. In the same way that he had always done, he knelt down in prayer three times a day, giving thanks to God.
11 The men who had spoken to the king watched Daniel and saw him praying to his God for help. 12 They went back to the king and said, “Didn’t you make a law that forbids anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days? And doesn’t the law say that everyone who disobeys it will be thrown into a pit of lions?”
“Yes, that’s the law I made,” the king agreed. “And just like all written laws of the Medes and Persians, it cannot be changed.”
13 The men then told the king, “That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law that you ordered to be written. And he still prays to his god three times a day.” 14 The king was really upset to hear about this, and for the rest of the day he tried to think how he could save Daniel.
15 At sunset the men returned and said, “Your Majesty, remember that no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed, not even by the king.”
16 So Darius ordered Daniel to be brought out and thrown into a pit of lions. But he said to Daniel, “You have been faithful to your God, and I pray that he will rescue you.”
17 A stone was rolled over the pit, and it was sealed. Then Darius and his officials stamped the seal to show that no one should let Daniel out. 18 All night long the king could not sleep. He did not eat anything, and he would not let anyone come in to entertain him.
19 At daybreak the king got up and ran to the pit. 20 He was anxious and shouted, “Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! 22 My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you.”
23 The king was relieved to hear Daniel’s voice, and he gave orders for him to be taken out of the pit. Daniel’s faith in his God had kept him from being harmed. 24 And the king ordered the men who had brought charges against Daniel to be thrown into the pit, together with their wives and children. But before they even reached the bottom, the lions ripped them to pieces.
25 King Darius then sent this message to all people of every nation and race in the world:
“Greetings to all of you!
28 All went well for Daniel while Darius was king, and even when Cyrus the Persian ruled.[l]
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