King Nebuchadnezzar, To the peoples, nations and men of every language,1 who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly!22
It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs3 and wonders that the Most High God4 has performed for me.
How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!5 His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures6 from generation to generation.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented7 and prosperous.
I had a dream8 that made me afraid. As I was lying in my bed,9 the images and visions that passed through my mind10 terrified me.116
So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret12 the dream for me.
When the magicians,13 enchanters, astrologersa and diviners14 came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me.158
Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar,16 after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods17 is in him.)
I said, "Belteshazzar, chief18 of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods19 is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me.
These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed:20 I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.2111
The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.2212
Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches;23 from it every creature was fed.
"In the visions I saw while lying in my bed,24 I looked, and there before me was a messenger,b a holy one,25 coming down from heaven.
He called in a loud voice: 'Cut down the tree26 and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches.2715
But let the stump and its roots, bound with iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in the grass of the field. " 'Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the animals among the plants of the earth.
Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven timesc pass by for him.2817
" 'The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High29 is sovereign30 over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest31 of men.'
"This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me.32 But you can,33 because the spirit of the holy gods34 is in you."35
Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified36 him. So the king said, "Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you."37 Belteshazzar answered, "My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!
The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth,
with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds of the air38--
you, O king, are that tree!39 You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.4023
"You, O king, saw a messenger, a holy one,41 coming down from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.'424324
"This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree44 the Most High has issued against my lord the king:
You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched45 with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High46 is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.4726
The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots48 means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.4927
Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed.50 It may be that then your prosperity51 will continue.52"
All this happened53 to King Nebuchadnezzar.
Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,
he said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory54 of my majesty?"5531
The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, "This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you.5632
You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes."5733
Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched58 with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.5934
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity60 was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.61 His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom62 endures from generation to generation.6335
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.64 He does as he pleases65 with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back66 his hand67 or say to him: "What have you done?"6836
At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom.69 My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt70 and glorify71 the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.72 And those who walk in pride73 he is able to humble.74