A Letter from Nebuchadnezzar about His Insanity
1 From King Nebuchadnezzar.
To the people of every province, nation, and language in the world.
I wish you peace and prosperity.
2 I am pleased to write to you about the miraculous signs and amazing things the Most High God did for me.
3 His miraculous signs are impressive.
He uses his power to do amazing things.
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom.
His power lasts from one generation to the next.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living comfortably at home. I was prosperous while living in my palace. 5 I had a dream that terrified me. The visions I had while I was asleep frightened me. 6 So I ordered all the wise advisers in Babylon to be brought to me to tell me the dream’s meaning. 7 The magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers came to me. I told them the dream, but they couldn’t tell me its meaning. 8 Finally, Daniel came to me. (He had been renamed Belteshazzar after my god ⌊Bel⌋.) The spirit of the holy gods is in him.
I told him the dream: 9 “Belteshazzar, head of the magicians, I know the spirit of the holy gods is in you. No secret is too hard for you ⌊to uncover⌋. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. 10 These are the visions I had while I was asleep: I was looking, and I saw an oak tree in the middle of the earth. It was very tall. 11 The tree grew, and it became strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. 12 It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals found shade under it. Birds came to live in its branches. It fed every living creature.
13 “I was seeing these visions as I was asleep. I saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. 14 He shouted loudly, ‘Cut down the oak tree! Cut off its branches! Strip off its leaves! Scatter its fruit! Make the animals under it run away, and make the birds fly from its branches. 15 But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. And let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the animals. 16 Let its human mind be changed, and give it the mind of an animal. Let it remain like this for seven time periods. 17 The guardians have announced this decision. The holy ones have announced this so that every living creature will know that the Most High has power over human kingdoms. He gives them to whomever he wishes. He can place the lowest of people in charge of them.’ ”
18 ⌊I said,⌋ “This is the dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now you, Belteshazzar, tell me its meaning because the wise advisers in my kingdom can’t tell it to me. However, you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
19 Then Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was momentarily stunned. What he was thinking frightened him. I told him, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream and its meaning frighten you.”
Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish that the dream were about those who hate you and its meaning were about your enemies. 20 You saw an oak tree grow and become strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. 21 It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals lived under it, and birds made their homes in its branches. 22 You are that tree, Your Majesty. You grew and became strong and mighty until you reached the sky. Your power reaches the most distant part of the world. 23 You saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. He said, ‘Cut down the oak tree! Destroy it! But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. Let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the wild animals for seven time periods.’
24 “This is the meaning, Your Majesty. The Most High has decided to apply it to you, Your Majesty. 25 You will be forced away from people and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. The dew from the sky will make you wet. And seven time periods will pass until you realize that the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes. 26 Since I said that the stump and the tree’s roots were to be left, your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you realize that heaven rules.
27 “That is why, Your Majesty, my best advice is that you stop sinning, and do what is right. Stop committing the same errors, and have pity on the poor. Maybe you can prolong your prosperity.”
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, he was walking around the royal palace in Babylon. 30 The king thought, “Look how great Babylon is! I built the royal palace by my own impressive power and for my glorious honor.” 31 Before the words came out of his mouth, a voice said from heaven, “King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to this: The kingdom has been taken from you. 32 You will be forced away from people and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. And seven time periods will pass until you realize that the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes.” 33 Just then the prediction about Nebuchadnezzar came true. He was forced away from people and ate grass like cattle. Dew from the sky made his body wet until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails grew as long as birds’ claws.
34 At the end of the seven time periods, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my mind came back to me. I thanked the Most High, and I praised and honored the one who lives forever, because his power lasts forever and his kingdom lasts from one generation to the next. 35 Everyone who lives on earth is nothing compared to him. He does whatever he wishes with the army of heaven and with those who live on earth. There is no one who can oppose him or ask him, “What are you doing?”
36 Just then my mind came back to me. My royal honor and glory were also given back to me. My advisers and nobles wanted to meet with me ⌊again⌋. I was given back my kingdom and made extraordinarily great. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, will praise, honor, and give glory to the King of Heaven. Everything he does is true, his ways are right, and he can humiliate those who act arrogantly.