The Message

Daniel 2

King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

11-3 In the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar started having dreams that disturbed him deeply. He couldn’t sleep. He called in all the Babylonian magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and fortunetellers to interpret his dreams for him. When they came and lined up before the king, he said to them, “I had a dream that I can’t get out of my mind. I can’t sleep until I know what it means.”

The fortunetellers, speaking in the Aramaic language, said, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream and we will interpret it.”

5-6 The king answered the fortunetellers, “This is my decree: If you can’t tell me both the dream itself and its interpretation, I’ll have you ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and your homes torn down. But if you tell me both the dream and its interpretation, I’ll lavish you with gifts and honors. So go to it: Tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

They answered, “If it please your majesty, tell us the dream. We’ll give the interpretation.”

8-9 But the king said, “I know what you’re up to—you’re just playing for time. You know you’re up a tree. You know that if you can’t tell me my dream, you’re doomed. I see right through you—you’re going to cook up some fancy stories and confuse the issue until I change my mind. Nothing doing! First tell me the dream, then I’ll know that you’re on the up and up with the interpretation and not just blowing smoke in my eyes.”

10-11 The fortunetellers said, “Nobody anywhere can do what you ask. And no king, great or small, has ever demanded anything like this from any magician, enchanter, or fortuneteller. What you’re asking is impossible unless some god or goddess should reveal it—and they don’t hang around with people like us.”

12-13 That set the king off. He lost his temper and ordered the whole company of Babylonian wise men killed. When the death warrant was issued, Daniel and his companions were included. They also were marked for execution.

14-15 When Arioch, chief of the royal guards, was making arrangements for the execution, Daniel wisely took him aside and quietly asked what was going on: “Why this all of a sudden?”

15-16 After Arioch filled in the background, Daniel went to the king and asked for a little time so that he could interpret the dream.

17-18 Daniel then went home and told his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what was going on. He asked them to pray to the God of heaven for mercy in solving this mystery so that the four of them wouldn’t be killed along with the whole company of Babylonian wise men.

Dream Interpretation: A Story of Five Kingdoms

19-23 That night the answer to the mystery was given to Daniel in a vision. Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying,

“Blessed be the name of God,
    forever and ever.
He knows all, does all:
    He changes the seasons and guides history,
He raises up kings and also brings them down,
    he provides both intelligence and discernment,
He opens up the depths, tells secrets,
    sees in the dark—light spills out of him!
God of all my ancestors, all thanks! all praise!
    You made me wise and strong.
And now you’ve shown us what we asked for.
    You’ve solved the king’s mystery.”

24 So Daniel went back to Arioch, who had been put in charge of the execution. He said, “Call off the execution! Take me to the king and I’ll interpret his dream.”

25 Arioch didn’t lose a minute. He ran to the king, bringing Daniel with him, and said, “I’ve found a man from the exiles of Judah who can interpret the king’s dream!”

26 The king asked Daniel (renamed in Babylonian, Belteshazzar), “Are you sure you can do this—tell me the dream I had and interpret it for me?”

27-28 Daniel answered the king, “No mere human can solve the king’s mystery, I don’t care who it is—no wise man, enchanter, magician, diviner. But there is a God in heaven who solves mysteries, and he has solved this one. He is letting King Nebuchadnezzar in on what is going to happen in the days ahead. This is the dream you had when you were lying on your bed, the vision that filled your mind:

29-30 “While you were stretched out on your bed, O king, thoughts came to you regarding what is coming in the days ahead. The Revealer of Mysteries showed you what will happen. But the interpretation is given through me, not because I’m any smarter than anyone else in the country, but so that you will know what it means, so that you will understand what you dreamed.

31-36 “What you saw, O king, was a huge statue standing before you, striking in appearance. And terrifying. The head of the statue was pure gold, the chest and arms were silver, the belly and hips were bronze, the legs were iron, and the feet were an iron-ceramic mixture. While you were looking at this statue, a stone cut out of a mountain by an invisible hand hit the statue, smashing its iron-ceramic feet. Then the whole thing fell to pieces—iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold, smashed to bits. It was like scraps of old newspapers in a vacant lot in a hot dry summer, blown every which way by the wind, scattered to oblivion. But the stone that hit the statue became a huge mountain, dominating the horizon. This was your dream.

36-40 “And now we’ll interpret it for the king. You, O king, are the most powerful king on earth. The God of heaven has given you the works: rule, power, strength, and glory. He has put you in charge of men and women, wild animals and birds, all over the world—you’re the head ruler, you are the head of gold. But your rule will be taken over by another kingdom, inferior to yours, and that one by a third, a bronze kingdom, but still ruling the whole land, and after that by a fourth kingdom, ironlike in strength. Just as iron smashes things to bits, breaking and pulverizing, it will bust up the previous kingdoms.

41-43 “But then the feet and toes that ended up as a mixture of ceramic and iron will deteriorate into a mongrel kingdom with some remains of iron in it. Just as the toes of the feet were part ceramic and part iron, it will end up a mixed bag of the breakable and unbreakable. That kingdom won’t bond, won’t hold together any more than iron and clay hold together.

44-45 “But throughout the history of these kingdoms, the God of heaven will be building a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will this kingdom ever fall under the domination of another. In the end it will crush the other kingdoms and finish them off and come through it all standing strong and eternal. It will be like the stone cut from the mountain by the invisible hand that crushed the iron, the bronze, the ceramic, the silver, and the gold.

“The great God has let the king know what will happen in the years to come. This is an accurate telling of the dream, and the interpretation is also accurate.”

46-47 When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.”

48-49 Then the king promoted Daniel to a high position in the kingdom, lavished him with gifts, and made him governor over the entire province of Babylon and the chief in charge of all the Babylonian wise men. At Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to administrative posts throughout Babylon, while Daniel governed from the royal headquarters.

Chinese Contemporary Bible (Traditional)

但以理書 2

尼布甲尼撒的夢

1尼布甲尼撒在執政第二年做了夢,心裡煩亂,無法入睡, 便派人召來術士、巫師、行法術的和占星家[a],為他解夢。他們都來到王面前。 王對他們說:「我做了一個夢,心裡煩亂,想知道夢的意思。」 占星家用亞蘭話對王說:「願王萬歲!請將夢告訴僕人,僕人好解釋夢的意思。」 王對占星家說:「我的旨意已定,你們若不能將夢和夢的意思告訴我,必被碎屍萬段,你們的家必淪為廢墟。 你們若能將夢和夢的意思告訴我,我必給你們禮物、賞賜和極大的尊榮。所以你們要將夢和夢的意思告訴我。」 他們再次對王說:「請王將夢告訴僕人,僕人好解釋夢的意思。」 王說:「我敢肯定,你們是在拖延時間,因為你們知道我的旨意已定, 你們若不將夢告訴我,我必懲治你們。你們串通起來在我面前胡言亂語,期待情況會改變。現在將夢告訴我,我就相信你們能解夢。」 10 占星家說:「王所要求的,世上無人能做到,因為再偉大、再有權勢的君王也沒問過術士、巫師或占星家這樣的事。 11 王問的事太難,除了不在人間居住的神明外,無人能為王解答。」 12 王大怒,下令處死巴比倫所有的智者。 13 於是,處死智者的諭旨發出,但以理和他的同伴都在被殺之列。

14 王的護衛長亞略奉命要處死巴比倫的智者,但以理機智、謹慎地應對。 15 他問王的護衛長亞略:「王的命令為何這樣緊急?」亞略就把情況告訴他。 16 但以理便進宮求王寬限,以便為王解夢。 17 然後,他回到居所將這事告訴同伴哈拿尼雅、米沙利和亞撒利雅, 18 要同伴祈求天上的上帝施憐憫,顯明這奧秘,以免他們和其他巴比倫的智者一起被殺。 19 這奧秘在夜間的異象中向但以理顯明,他便頌讚天上的上帝, 20 說:

「上帝的名永永遠遠當受稱頌,
因為智慧和能力都屬於祂。
21 祂改變時令和季節,廢王立王,
賜智慧給智者,賜知識給哲士。
22 祂顯明深奧隱秘之事,
洞悉暗中的隱情,
有光與祂同住。
23 我祖先的上帝啊,我感謝你,讚美你,
因你賜我智慧和能力,
應允我們的祈求,
使我們明白王的夢。」

但以理解夢

24 於是,但以理去見王指派處死巴比倫智者的亞略,對他說:「不要處死巴比倫的智者,請帶我去見王,我要為王解夢。」 25 亞略急忙帶但以理去見王,對王說:「我在被擄的猶大人中找到一個能為王解夢的。」 26 王就問又名伯提沙撒的但以理:「你能將我做的夢和夢的意思告訴我嗎?」 27 但以理回答說:「沒有智者、術士、巫師或占星家可以解答王所問的奧秘, 28-30 但天上的上帝能揭開奧秘,祂已把將來要發生的事告訴了王。王啊,你在床上夢見了將來的事,揭開奧秘的上帝已把將來的事指示給你。上帝將王做的夢啟示給我,並非因為我的智慧勝過其他人,而是要讓王知道夢的意思和王的心事。以下是王在床上做的夢和腦中出現的異象。

31 「王啊,你夢見一個高大宏偉、極其明亮的塑像站在你面前,相貌可怕, 32 有純金的頭、銀的胸和臂、銅的肚腹和大腿、 33 鐵的小腿和半鐵半泥的腳。 34 在你觀看的時候,有一塊非人手鑿出的石頭打在塑像半鐵半泥的腳上,砸碎了腳。 35 鐵、泥、銅、銀、金隨即粉碎,猶如夏天麥場上的糠秕,被風吹得無影無蹤。但打碎這像的石頭變成一座大山,充滿整個大地。

36 「這就是夢的內容。現在我們要為王解夢。 37 王啊,你是萬王之王,天上的上帝已將國度、權柄、能力和尊榮賜給你, 38 也將居住在各地的世人、走獸和飛禽都交在你手中,讓你管理。你就是那金頭。 39 在你之後,必有另一國興起,不及你的國強大。之後是將要統治天下的第三個國,是銅的。 40 接著是堅如鐵的第四國,能擊垮、打碎列國,正如鐵能擊垮、打碎一切。 41 你看見半鐵半陶泥的腳和腳趾,表示那將是一個分裂的國。正如你看見鐵和泥混雜在一起,它必有鐵一般的力量。 42 半鐵半泥的腳趾表示那國必半強半弱。 43 你看見鐵和泥混雜在一起,這表示那國的民族彼此混雜通婚,卻不能團結,正如鐵和泥無法混合。 44 在以上列王統治的時候,天上的上帝必設立一國——永不滅亡、外族無法奪其政權。這國將擊垮、消滅列國,並且永遠長存。 45 你看見那塊非人手從山中鑿出的石頭打碎鐵、銅、泥、銀和金。偉大的上帝已把將來的事告訴了王。這夢是真實的,解釋是可靠的。」

46 尼布甲尼撒王俯伏在地,向但以理下拜,並下令給他獻供物和香。 47 王對但以理說:「你們的上帝真是萬神之神、萬王之主、奧秘的啟示者,因為你能揭開這個奧秘。」 48 王賜但以理高官及許多貴重的禮物,派他治理巴比倫全省,管理巴比倫所有的智者。 49 王又應允但以理的請求,派沙得拉、米煞和亞伯尼歌負責巴比倫省的事務。但以理仍在朝中供職。

Footnotes

  1. 2·2 占星家」亞蘭文作「迦勒底人」,同下2·4510節;3·84·75·711