The Image of Gold
3 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was [a]sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald cried [b]aloud: “To you it is commanded, (A)O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall (B)be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
7 So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Daniel’s Friends Disobey the King
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans (C)came forward and accused the Jews. 9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, (D)“O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; 11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 (E)There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have (F)not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in (G)rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, (H)good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (I)And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, (J)we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our (K)God whom we serve is able to (L)deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we (M)worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Saved in Fiery Trial
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was [c]urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his [d]counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
Nebuchadnezzar Praises God
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the [f]mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the (P)Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men (Q)on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His (R)Angel[g] and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 (S)Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the (T)God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be (U)cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; (V)because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
30 Then the king [h]promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream
4 Nebuchadnezzar the king,
(W)To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:
Peace be multiplied to you.
2 I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders (X)that the Most High God has worked for me.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, (AA)and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head (AB)troubled me. 6 Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 (AC)Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 8 But at last Daniel came before me (AD)(his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; (AE)in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: 9 “Belteshazzar, (AF)chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.
10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed:
I was looking, and behold,
(AG)A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height was great.
11 The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
12 Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
(AH)The beasts of the field found shade under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,
And all flesh was fed from it.
(AK)‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.
(AL)Let the beasts get out from under it,
And the birds from its branches.
15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth,
Bound with a band of iron and bronze,
In the tender grass of the field.
Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
And let him graze with the beasts
On the grass of the earth.
16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man,
Let him be given the heart of a beast,
And let seven (AM)times[j] pass over him.
17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers,
And the sentence by the word of the holy ones,
In order (AN)that the living may know
(AO)That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,
(AP)Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the (AQ)lowest of men.’
18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, (AR)since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, (AS)for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”
Daniel Explains the Second Dream
19 Then Daniel, (AT)whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts (AU)troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.”
20 (AW)“The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, 21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home— 22 (AX)it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, (AY)and your dominion to the end of the earth.
23 (AZ)“And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, (BA)and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven [m]times pass over him’; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall (BB)drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you (BC)eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven [n]times shall pass over you, (BD)till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and (BE)gives it to whomever He chooses.
26 “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that (BF)Heaven[o] rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; (BG)break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. (BH)Perhaps there may be (BI)a [p]lengthening of your prosperity.”
28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking [q]about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king (BJ)spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
31 (BK)While the word was still in the king’s mouth, (BL)a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And (BM)they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven [r]times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”
33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Nebuchadnezzar Praises God
For His dominion is (BP)an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
35 (BQ)All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
(BR)He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
(BS)No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, (BT)“What have You done?”
36 At the same time my reason returned to me, (BU)and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was (BV)restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was (BW)added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, (BX)praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, (BY)all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. (BZ)And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
Obedience by Faith
5 Whoever believes that (A)Jesus is the Christ is (B)born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and (C)keep His commandments. 3 (D)For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And (E)His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For (F)whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that (G)has overcome the world—[a]our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but (H)he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
The Certainty of God’s Witness
6 This is He who came (I)by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. (J)And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness [b]in heaven: the Father, (K)the Word, and the Holy Spirit; (L)and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: (M)the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
9 If we receive (N)the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; (O)for this is the witness of [c]God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God (P)has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God (Q)has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 (R)He who has the Son has [d]life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, [e]and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Confidence and Compassion in Prayer
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that (S)if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and (T)He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. (U)There is sin leading to death. (V)I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 (W)All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
Knowing the True—Rejecting the False
19 We know that we are of God, and (Z)the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
20 And we know that the (AA)Son of God has come and (AB)has given us an understanding, (AC)that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. (AD)This is the true God (AE)and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.