Dream: “Chop Down the Tree!”
1I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace.
2I had a dream that frightened me. While on my bed the images and visions in my mind terrified me.
3So I issued a decree to bring all the wise men of Babylon before me so that they could make known to me the meaning of the dream.
4When the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans and diviners came in, I recounted the dream to them, but they were unable to make known its interpretation to me.
5Finally Daniel—whose name was Belteshazzar after the name of my god and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods—came in before me and I told him the dream.
6I said, “Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery baffles you. Consider my dream that I have seen and tell me its interpretation.
7“These are the visions in my head while I was on my bed: I looked, and behold, there was a tree in the midst of the earth. Its height was enormous.
8The tree grew large and became strong and its top reached to heaven; it was visible to the ends of the earth.
9Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Beneath it the beasts of the field found shade and birds of the sky lived in its branches, and from it all creatures were fed.
10“I was watching the visions in my mind while on my bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven.
11He called loudly, saying: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit! Let beasts flee from under it, and birds from its branches.
12Yet leave a stump with its roots in the earth, in fetters of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field. Let him be damp with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the animals in the grass of the earth.
13Let his mind be altered from that of a man and let an animal’s mind be given to him and let seven periods of time pass over him.
14This sentence is by the decree of the watchers, this verdict by the command of the holy ones, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the realm of man and bestows it to whomever He wishes, and may set over them even the lowliest of men.’
15“I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw this dream. Now you, Belteshazzar, tell me its meaning, for none of the wise men of my kingdom are able to make known to me its interpretation. But you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
Interpretation: A King Eats Grass
16Then Daniel, whose name is also Belteshazzar, was perplexed for a brief time; his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered, and said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream or the interpretation disturb you.” But Belteshazzar replied, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies!
17The tree that you saw grow large and strong, whose top reached to heaven and that was visible to all the earth,
18whose leaves were beautiful and whose fruit was so abundant that there was food for all in it and beneath which the beasts of the fields lived and in its branches birds of the sky dwelt—
19it is you, O king! For you have grown great and mighty. Your greatness reaches to heaven, and your authority extends to the end of the earth.
20“‘You, O king, saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it! Yet leave a stump with its roots in the ground, in fetters of iron and bronze, in the grass of the field. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, until seven time periods pass over him.’
21“This is the interpretation, O king. It is the decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king:
22“You will be driven away from people and will dwell with the wild animals. You will feed on grass like an ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass over you until you know that the Most High is sovereign over the realm of mankind and gives it to whomever He wishes.
23“The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you understand that Heaven is sovereign.
24Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: Renounce your sins through righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps your prosperity will be prolonged.”
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Fulfilled
25All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
26At the end of twelve months, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,
27the king exclaimed, “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built as the royal residence by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
28The words were still in the king’s mouth when a voice fell from heaven. “King Nebuchadnezzar, it has been decreed to you that your kingdom has been removed from you!
29You will be driven away from men and you will live with the beasts of the field. You will feed on grass like an ox and seven periods of time will pass over you until you come to know that the Most High is sovereign over the realm of mankind and gives it to whomever He wishes.”
30Immediately the word about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from men, ate grass like an ox, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
31But at the end of the appointed days, I Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes up to heaven and my sanity returned to me. So I blessed the Most High and I praised and honored Him who lives forever. “For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation!
32All the inhabitants of earth are counted as nothing. He does as He wills with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. No one can hold back His hand, or say to Him, ‘What have you done?’
33“At that moment my sanity returned to me, and my majesty and my splendor were restored to me, for the glory of my kingdom. My ministers and nobles sought me out and I was reestablished over my kingdom. I became even greater than before.
34Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, because all His works are right and His ways just. He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”