Nebuchadnezzar Declares What the Most High God Has Done for Him
1#Daniel 4:1–4:37 in the English Bible is 3:31–4:34 in the Hebrew Bible Nebuchadnezzar the king to all of the nations, the peoples and languages that live in the whole earth: “May your prosperity increase! 2It is pleasing to me to recount the signs and wonders that the Most High God worked for me. 3How great are his signs and wonders, how strong is his kingdom, an everlasting kingdom;#Literally “a kingdom of eternity” and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.
The Dream and the King’s Search for an Interpreter
4“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was content in my house and prospering in my palace. 5And I saw a dream and a revelation on my bed and it frightened me, and the visions of my head terrified me. 6And a decree was sent out,#Literally “put/placed” ordering that all the wise men of Babylon were to be brought in before me so that they may make known to me the explanation of the dream. 7Then the magicians,#Or “soothsayer-priests” the conjurers,#Or “enchanters” the astrologers#Literally “Chaldeans” and the diviners came in and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its explanation.#Or “interpretation” 8Then at last#Literally “until another” Daniel came before me whose name was#Literally “who name his” Belteshazzar, according to#Literally “like” the name of my god, and in whom was the spirit of the holy gods,#Literally “and who the spirit of gods holy in him” and I related the dream to him.#Literally “and the dream before him I told”
9“ ‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians,#Or “soothsayer-priests” I myself know that the spirit#Or “a spirit” of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult#Literally “every mystery is not difficult” for you. Now tell me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its explanation.#Or “interpretation” 10Now these were the visions of my head as I was lying on my bed: I was gazing#Literally “seeing” and, look, a tree was in the midst of the earth, and its height was exalted.
11The tree grew and it became strong,
and its height reached to heaven,#Or “the sky”
and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.#Literally “and its appearance was to the end of the whole earth”
12Its foliage was beautiful,
and its fruit abundant,
and in it was provision for all.
Under it the animals#Aramaic “animal” of the field sought shade,
and in its branches the birds of heaven#Or “the sky” nested,
and from it all the living beings were fed.
13“ ‘I was looking in the vision of my head as I lay on my bed, and look, a watcher,#Or “angelic being” and a holy one, came down from heaven.
14He cried aloud#Literally “in strength” and so he said:
“Cut down the tree and chop off its branches;
shake off its foliage and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from under it,
and the birds from its branches.
15But the stump of its roots
leave in the earth,
along with#Literally “and with” a band of iron and bronze;
leave it in the grass of the field.
And in#Or “with” the dew of heaven
let it#Or “him,” that is, the king be watered,
and with the animals#Aramaic “animal”
let his lot be in the grass of the earth.
16Let his mind be changed from that of a human,#Or “the human”
and let the mind of an animal be given to him,
and let seven times pass over him.
17The sentence is by the decree of the watchers,
and the decision by the command of the holy ones,
in order that#Literally “until matter that” the living will know
that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind,
and to whomever#Literally “to whom that” he wills he gives it,
and he even sets the humblest of men over it.”
18“ ‘This is the dream that I, Nebuchadnezzar the king, saw. Now#Or “And” you, Belteshazzar, declare its explanation, for#Literally “all of because that” all of the wise men of my kingdom were not able to make the explanation known to me, but you are able because the spirit of holy gods is in you.’
Daniel Relates and Interprets the Dream
19“Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was distressed for some time,#Literally “for one hour” and his thoughts disturbed him. The king answered and he said, ‘Belteshazzar, let the dream and its explanation not disturb you.’ Belteshazzar answered and said, ‘My lord, may the dream and its explanation be for those who hate you and for your enemies. 20The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong and its height reached to heaven#Or “the sky” and it was visible to the end of the whole earth,#Literally “its appearance to the all the earth” 21and its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and so there was provision for all in it, and the animals#Aramaic “animal” of the field lived under it and in its branches nest the birds of heaven,#Or “the sky” 22—it is you, O king, who have grown great and you have grown strong, and so your greatness has increased and it has reached to heaven#Or “the sky” and your sovereignty to the end of the earth. 23And inasmuch that the king saw the watcher, a holy one coming down from heaven#Or “the sky” and he said, “Cut down the tree and destroy it, but the stump of its root in the earth leave with a band of iron and bronze in the grass of the field, and let it be watered with the dew of heaven and let his lot be with the animals of the field until seven times have passed over him.”#Literally “until that seven times they pass over him” 24This is the explanation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: 25you will be driven away from human society#Literally “from the humankind” and you will dwell#Literally “your dwelling will be” with the animals#Aramaic “animal” of the field, and you will be caused to graze grass like the oxen yourself,#Literally “with respect to you” and you will be watered with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time will pass over you until that you have acknowledged that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and to whom he wills#Literally “that he wills” he gives it. 26And in that#Literally “And for” they said to leave alone the stump of the tree’s root, so your kingdom will be restored for you when#Literally “from that” you acknowledge that heaven is sovereign. 27Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you and your sin remove#Or “replace” with righteousness and your iniquity with having mercy on the oppressed, in case there might be a prolongation of your prosperity.’ ”#Literally “if will be prolongation for your prosperity”
God Judges the King for His Hubris
28All this happened#Literally “It came upon” to Nebuchadnezzar the king. 29At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace#Literally “the place of the kingdom” of Babylon. 30And the king answered and said, “Is this not the great Babylon which I have built as a royal palace by the strength of my own power, and for the glory of my own majesty?” 31While the words were still in the mouth of the king, a voice from heaven came, saying, ‘To you, King Nebuchadnezzar, it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you, 32and you will be driven away from human society#Literally “the humankind” and your dwelling will be with the animals#Aramaic “animal” of the field and they will cause you to graze the grass like oxen, and seven times will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind and that he gives it to whom he wills.’ 33Immediately#Literally “In that hour” the word was fulfilled concerning#Literally “over” Nebuchadnezzar, and he was expelled from human society#Literally “the humankind” and he ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair was like the hair of an eagle and his nails grew like a bird’s claws.
The King Praises and Extols the Most High God
34“But at the end of that period,#Literally “the day” I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and then my reason returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and the one who lives forever#Literally “the one living forever” I praised and I honored.
“For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
and his kingdom continues from generation to generation.
35And all the dwellers of the earth
are regarded as nothing,
and he does according to#Literally “as” his desire
in the host of heaven and among the dwellers of earth,
and there is not one who can hold back his hand,
or ask him,#Literally “or asks to him” ‘What are you doing?’
36“At that time#Literally “In it the time” my reason returned to me, and also the glory of my kingdom and my majesty and splendor returned to me, and my advisers and my lords#Or “nobles” searched me out, and I was established over my kingdom and abundant greatness was added to me. 37Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and honor the king of heaven, for all his works are truth,#Or “true” and his ways are justice and that he is able to humble those who walk in pride.”