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Daniel 4 (New International Reader's Version)

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Nebuchadnezzar Dreams About a Tree

1 I, King Nebuchadnezzar, am writing this letter. I am sending it to you people from every nation and language in the whole world. May you have great success! 2 I am pleased to tell you what has happened. The Most High God has done miraculous signs and wonders for me. 3 His miraculous signs are great. His wonders are mighty. His kingdom will last forever. His rule will never end. 4 I was at home in my palace. I was content and very successful. 5 But I had a dream that made me afraid. I was lying on my bed. Then dreams and visions passed through my mind. They terrified me. 6 So I commanded that all of the wise men in Babylon be brought to me. I wanted them to tell me what my dream meant. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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 on my 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 shade. The birds of the air lived in its branches. Every creature was fed from that tree. 13 "While I was still lying on my bed, I looked up. In my visions, I saw a holy messenger. He was coming down from heaven. 14 He called out in a loud voice. He said, 'Cut the tree down. Break off its branches. Strip its leaves off. Scatter its fruit. Let the animals that are under it run away. Let the birds that are 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 like 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 of the kingdoms of men. He gives them to anyone he wants. Sometimes he puts the least important men in charge of them.' 18 "That's 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 shade. The birds of the air lived in its branches. 22 "My king, 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 "My king, you saw a holy messenger. He came down from heaven. He said, 'Cut the tree down. Destroy it. 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 like the wild animals. Let him stay that way until seven periods of time pass by.' 24 "My king and master, 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 like the wild animals. You will eat grass just as cattle do. 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 of the kingdoms of men. 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, my king, 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 of that happened to me. 29 It took place twelve months later. I was walking on the roof of my palace in Babylon. 30 I 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 I was still speaking when a voice was heard 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 like the wild animals. You will eat grass just as cattle do. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all of the kingdoms of men. He gives them to anyone he wants." 33 What had been said about me came true at once. I was driven away from people. I ate grass just as cattle do. My body became wet with the dew of heaven. I stayed that way until my hair grew like the feathers of an eagle. My 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 One who lives forever. His rule will last forever. His kingdom will never end. 35 He considers all of 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 his hand back. 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 of his ways are fair. He is able to bring down those who live proudly.
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