Daniel Explains Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
Daniel, who was also called Belteshazzar, was very bewildered for a while. His thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream or its meaning make you afraid.”
Belteshazzar answered, “My master, I wish the dream were about your enemies! I wish its meaning had to do with them! You saw a tree. It grew to be large and strong. Its top touched the sky. It could be seen from anywhere on earth. Its leaves were beautiful. It had a lot of fruit on it. It provided enough food for people and animals. Under the tree, the wild animals found safety. The birds lived in its branches. Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong. Your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky. Your rule has spread to all parts of the earth.
“Your Majesty, you saw a holy one. He was a messenger. He came down from heaven. He said, ‘Cut down the tree. Destroy it. But leave the stump with its roots in the ground. Let it stay in the field. Put an iron and bronze band around it. Let King Nebuchadnezzar become wet with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the wild animals. Let him stay that way until seven periods of time pass by.’
“Your Majesty, here is what your dream means. The Most High God has given an order against you. You will be driven away from people. You will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass just as an ox does. You will become wet with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants. But he gave a command to leave the stump of the tree along with its roots. That means your kingdom will be given back to you. It will happen when you recognize that the God of heaven rules. So, Your Majesty, I hope you will accept my advice. Stop being sinful. Do what is right. Give up your evil practices. Show kindness to those who are being treated badly. Then perhaps things will continue to go well with you.”
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Comes True
All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. It took place twelve months later. He was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon. He said, “Isn’t this the great Babylon I have built as a place for my royal palace? I used my mighty power to build it. It shows how glorious my majesty is.”
He was still speaking when he heard a voice from heaven. It said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, here is what has been ordered concerning you. Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people. You will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass just as an ox does. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants.”
What had been said about King Nebuchadnezzar came true at once. He was driven away from people. He ate grass just as an ox does. His body became wet with the dew of heaven. He stayed that way until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle. His nails became like the claws of a bird.
At the end of that time I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven. My mind became clear again. Then I praised the Most High God. I gave honor and glory to the God who lives forever.
His rule will last forever.
His kingdom will never end.
He considers all the nations on earth
to be nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven.
He does what he wants
with the nations of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand.
No one can say to him,
“What have you done?”
My honor and glory were returned to me when my mind became clear again. The glory of my kingdom was given back to me. My advisers and nobles came to me. And I was put back on my throne. I became even greater than I had been before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything he does is right. All his ways are fair. He is able to bring down those who live proudly.
A Hand Writes on the Palace Wall
King Belshazzar gave a huge banquet. He invited a thousand of his nobles to it. He drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to his servants. He commanded them to bring in some gold and silver cups. They were the cups his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. Belshazzar had them brought in so everyone could drink from them. That included the king himself, his nobles, his wives and his concubines. So the servants brought in the gold cups. The cups had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem. The king and his nobles drank from them. So did his wives and concubines. As they drank the wine, they praised their gods. The statues of those gods were made out of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood or stone.
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared. They wrote something on the plaster of the palace wall. It happened near the lampstand. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale. He was so afraid that his legs became weak. And his knees were knocking together.
The king sent for those who try to figure things out by using magic. He also sent for those who study the heavens. All of them were wise men in Babylon. Then the king spoke to them. He said, “I want one of you to read this writing. I want you to tell me what it means. Whoever does this will be dressed in purple clothes. A gold chain will be put around his neck. And he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
Then all the king’s wise men came in. But they couldn’t read the writing. They couldn’t tell him what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified. His face grew more pale. And his nobles were bewildered.
The queen heard the king and his nobles talking. So she came into the dining hall. “King Belshazzar, may you live forever!” she said. “Don’t be afraid! Don’t look so pale! I know a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. He has understanding and wisdom and good sense just like the gods. He was chief of those who tried to figure things out by using magic. And he was in charge of those who studied the heavens. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him to that position. King Nebuchadnezzar did this because he saw what the man could do. This man’s name is Daniel. Your father called him Belteshazzar. He has a clever mind and knowledge and understanding. He is also able to tell what dreams mean. He can explain riddles and solve hard problems. Send for him. He’ll tell you what the writing means.”
So Daniel was brought to the king. The king said to him, “Are you Daniel? Are you one of the prisoners my father the king brought here from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you. I’ve also heard that you have understanding and good sense and special wisdom. The wise men and those who practice magic were brought to me. They were asked to read this writing and tell me what it means. But they couldn’t. I have heard that you are able to explain things and solve hard problems. I hope you can read this writing and tell me what it means. If you can, you will be dressed in purple clothes. A gold chain will be put around your neck. And you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”