One night during the second year of his reign, a Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that disturbed him so much that he couldn't sleep.
He called in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers, b and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. As they stood before the king,
he said, "I have had a dream that troubles me. Tell me what I dreamed, for I must know what it means."
Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, c "Long live the king! Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means."
But the king said to the astrologers, "I am serious about this. If you don't tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be demolished into heaps of rubble!
But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means!"
They said again, "Please, Your Majesty. Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means."
The king replied, "I can see through your trick! You are trying to stall for time because you know I am serious about what I said.
If you don't tell me the dream, you will be condemned. You have conspired to tell me lies in hopes that something will change. But tell me the dream, and then I will know that you can tell me what it means."
The astrologers replied to the king, "There isn't a man alive who can tell Your Majesty his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer!
This is an impossible thing the king requires. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live among people."
The king was furious when he heard this, and he sent out orders to execute all the wise men of Babylon.
And because of the king's decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.
When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.
He asked Arioch, "Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?" So Arioch told him all that had happened.
Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time so he could tell the king what the dream meant.
Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened.
He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon.
That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven,
saying, "Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power.
He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.
He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he himself is surrounded by light.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded."
Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, who had been ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, "Don't kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream."
Then Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, "I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell Your Majesty the meaning of your dream!"
The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), "Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?"
Daniel replied, "There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can tell the king such things.
But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.
"While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. The revealer of mysteries has shown you what is going to happen.
And it is not because I am wiser than any living person that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wanted you to understand what you were thinking about.
"Your Majesty, in your vision you saw in front of you a huge and powerful statue of a man, shining brilliantly, frightening and awesome.
The head of the statue was made of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze,
its legs were of iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and clay.
But as you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain by supernatural means. d It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits.
The whole statue collapsed into a heap of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. The pieces were crushed as small as chaff on a threshing floor, and the wind blew them all away without a trace. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.
"That was the dream; now I will tell Your Majesty what it means.
Your Majesty, you are a king over many kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor.
He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.
"But after your kingdom comes to an end, another great kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third great kingdom, represented by the bronze belly and thighs, will rise to rule the world.
Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth great kingdom, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes.
The feet and toes you saw that were a combination of iron and clay show that this kingdom will be divided.
Some parts of it will be as strong as iron, and others as weak as clay.
This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But this will not succeed, just as iron and clay do not mix.
"During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand forever.
That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain by supernatural means, crushing to dust the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold."The great God has shown Your Majesty what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain."
Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed to the ground before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him.
The king said to Daniel, "Truly, your God is the God of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret."
Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men.
At Daniel's request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king's court.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)