In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's rule, he had a dream. His mind was troubled. He couldn't sleep.
So the king sent for those who claimed to get knowledge by using magic. He also sent for those who practiced evil magic and those who studied the heavens. He wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed. They came in and stood in front of the king.
He said to them, "I had a dream. It troubles me. So I want to know what it means."
Then those who studied the heavens answered the king. They spoke in Aramaic. They said, "King Nebuchadnezzar, may you live forever! Tell us what you dreamed. Then we'll explain what it means."
The king replied to them, "I have made up my mind. You must tell me what I dreamed. And you must tell me what it means. If you don't, I'll have you cut to pieces. And I'll have your houses turned into piles of trash.
"So tell me what I dreamed. Explain it to me. Then I'll give you gifts. I'll reward you. I'll give you great honor. So tell me the dream. And tell me what it means."
Once more they replied, "King Nebuchadnezzar, tell us what you dreamed. Then we'll tell you what it means."
The king answered, "I know what you are doing. You are trying to gain more time. You realize that I've made up my mind.
You must tell me the dream. If you don't, you will pay for it. You have gotten together and made evil plans. You hope things will change. So you are telling me lies. But I want you to tell me what I dreamed. Then I'll know that you can tell me what it means."
They answered the king, "There isn't a man on earth who can do what you are asking! No king has ever asked for anything like that. Not even a king as great and mighty as you has asked for it. Those who get knowledge by using magic have never been asked to do what you are asking. And those who study the heavens haven't been asked to do it either.
What you are asking is much too hard. No one can tell you what you dreamed except the gods. And they don't live among human beings."
That made the king very angry. He ordered that all of the wise men in Babylon be put to death.
So the order was given to kill them. Men were sent out to look for Daniel and his friends. They were also supposed to be put to death.
Arioch was the commander of the king's guard. He went out to put the wise men of Babylon to death. So Daniel spoke to him wisely and carefully.
He asked the king's officer, "Why did Nebuchadnezzar give a terrible order like that?" Then Arioch explained to Daniel what was going on.
When Daniel heard that, he went to the king. He told him he would explain the dream to him. But he needed more time.
Then Daniel returned to his house. He explained everything to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
He asked them to pray that the God of heaven would give him mercy. He wanted God to help him understand the mystery of the king's dream. Then he and his friends wouldn't be killed along with the other wise men in Babylon.
During that night, God gave Daniel a vision. He showed him what the mystery was all about. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.
He said, "May God be praised for ever and ever! He is wise and powerful.
He changes times and seasons. He sets up kings. He removes them from power. The wisdom of those who are wise comes from him. He gives knowledge to those who have understanding.
He explains deep and hidden things. He knows what happens in the darkest places. And where he is, everything is light.
God of my people, I thank and praise you. You have given me wisdom and power. You have made known to me what we asked you for. You have shown us the king's dream."