New International Reader's Version

Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar Dreams About a Tree

1I, King Nebuchadnezzar, am writing this letter.

I am sending it to people who live all over the world. I’m sending it to people of every nation no matter what language they speak.

May you have great success!

I am pleased to tell you what has happened. The Most High God has done miraculous signs and wonders for me.

His signs are great.
    His wonders are mighty.
His kingdom will last forever.
    His rule will never end.

I was at home in my palace. I was content and very successful. But I had a dream that made me afraid. I was lying in bed. Then dreams and visions passed through my mind. They terrified me. So I commanded that all the wise men in Babylon be brought to me. I wanted them to tell me what my dream meant. Those who try to figure things out by using magic came. So did those who study the heavens. I told all of them what I had dreamed. But they couldn’t tell me what it meant. Finally, Daniel came to me. He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god. The spirit of the holy gods is in him. I told him my dream.

I said, “Belteshazzar, you are chief of the magicians. I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you. No mystery is too hard for you to figure out. Here is my dream. Tell me what it means. 10 Here are the visions I saw while I was lying in bed. I looked up and saw a tree standing in the middle of the land. It was very tall. 11 It had grown to be large and strong. Its top touched the sky. It could be seen anywhere on earth. 12 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. Every creature was fed from that tree.

13 “While I was still lying in bed, I looked up. In my visions, I saw a holy one. He was a messenger. He was coming down from heaven. 14 He called out in a loud voice. He said, ‘Cut down the tree. Break off its branches. Strip off its leaves. Scatter its fruit. Let the animals under it run away. Let the birds in its branches fly off. 15 But leave the stump with its roots in the ground. Let it stay in the field. Put a band of iron and bronze around it.

“ ‘Let King Nebuchadnezzar become wet with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth. 16 Let him no longer have the mind of a man. Instead, let him be given the mind of an animal. Let him stay that way until seven periods of time pass by.

17 “ ‘The decision is announced by holy messengers. So all who are alive will know that the Most High God is King. He rules over all kingdoms on earth. He gives them to anyone he wants. Sometimes he puts the least important people in charge of them.’

18 “This is the dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, Belteshazzar. None of the wise men in my kingdom can explain it to me. But you can. After all, the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel Explains Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

19 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! 20 You saw a tree. It grew to be large and strong. Its top touched the sky. It could be seen from anywhere on earth. 21 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. 22 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.

23 “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.’

24 “Your Majesty, here is what your dream means. The Most High God has given an order against you. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 It took place twelve months later. He was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon. 30 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.”

31 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. 32 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.”

33 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.

34 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.
35 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?”

36 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. 37 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.