Nebuchadnezzar loses his kingdom for seven years
King Nebuchadnezzar's letter about his second dream
1King Nebuchadnezzar sent the following letter to the people of all nations and races on the earth:
Greetings to all of you!
2I am glad to tell about
the wonderful miracles
God Most High
has done for me.
3His miracles are mighty
and marvellous.
He will rule for ever,
and his kingdom
will never end.
4I was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity, 5when suddenly I had some horrifying dreams and visions. 6Then I commanded every wise man in Babylonia to appear in my court, so they could explain the meaning of my dream. 7After they arrived, I told them my dream, but they were not able to say what it meant. 8Finally, 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.
9I said, “Belteshazzar, not only are you the wisest of all advisers and counsellors, 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:
10In my sleep I saw
a very tall tree
in the centre of the world.
11It grew stronger and higher,
until it reached to heaven
and could be seen
from anywhere on earth.
12It was covered with leaves
and heavy with fruit—
enough for all nations.
Wild animals enjoyed its shade,
birds nested in its branches,
and all creatures on earth
lived on its fruit.
13“While I was in bed, having this vision, a holy angel#4.13 angel: The Aramaic text has “watcher”, which may be some special class of angel. came down from heaven 14and shouted:
‘Chop down the tree
and cut off its branches;
strip off its leaves
and scatter its fruit.
Make the animals leave its shade
and send the birds flying
from its branches.
15But leave its stump and roots
in the ground,
surrounded by grass
and held by chains
of iron and bronze.
‘Make sure that this ruler
lives like the animals
out in the open fields,
unprotected from the dew.
16Give him the mind
of a wild animal
for seven long years.#4.16 long years: Aramaic “times”.
17This punishment is given
at the command
of the holy angels.#4.17 angels: See the note at 4.13.
It will show to all who live
that God Most High
controls all kingdoms
and chooses for their rulers
persons of humble birth.’
18“Daniel,#4.18 Daniel: See the note at 2.26. 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.”
19For a while, Daniel#4.19 Daniel: See the note at 2.26. 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.”
Daniel replied:
Your Majesty, I wish the dream had been against your enemies. 20You saw a tree that grew so big and strong that it reached up to heaven and could be seen from anywhere on earth. 21Its leaves were beautiful, and it produced enough fruit for all living creatures; animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22Your Majesty, that tree is you. Your glorious reputation has reached heaven, and your kingdom covers the earth.
23Then you saw a holy angel#4.23 angel: See the note at 4.13. 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#4.23 years: Aramaic “times”. out in the field with the wild animals, unprotected from the dew.”
24Your Majesty, God Most High has sent you this message, and it means 25that 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,#4.25 years: Aramaic “times”. until you learn that God Most High controls all earthly kingdoms and chooses their rulers. 26But 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. 27Your Majesty, please be willing to do what I say. Turn from your sins and start living right; have mercy on those who are ill-treated. Then all will go well with you for a long time.
The rest of Nebuchadnezzar's letter about his second dream
28-30About 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!”
31But before I could finish speaking, a voice from heaven interrupted:
King Nebuchadnezzar, this kingdom is no longer yours. 32You will be forced to live with the wild animals, away from people. For seven years#4.32 years: Aramaic “times”. 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.
33This 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.
34Finally, I prayed to God in heaven, and my mind was healed. Then I said:
“I praise and honour
God Most High.
He lives for ever,
and his kingdom
will never end.
35To him the nations
are far less than nothing;
God controls the stars in the sky
and everyone on this earth.
When God does something,
we cannot change it
or even ask why.”
36At that time my mind was healed, and once again I became the ruler of my glorious kingdom. My advisers and officials returned to me, and I had greater power than ever before. 37That's why I say:
“Praise and honour the King
who rules from heaven!
Everything he does
is honest and fair,
and he can shatter the power
of those who are proud.”