Daniel 4; Daniel 5; Daniel 6

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Daniel 4

1 King Nebuchadnezzar's message to all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: “I wish you much peace.
2 I'm delighted to share the signs and miracles that the Most High God has worked in my life.
3 His signs are superb! His miracles so powerful! His kingdom is everlasting. His rule is for all time.
4 “While I, Nebuchadnezzar, was safe in my house, content in my palace,
5 I had a terrifying dream. My thoughts while I was lying in bed and the vision in my mind overwhelmed me.
6 I ordered all Babylon's sages to come before me, so they might tell me the dream's meaning.
7 So the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners came. I told them the dream, but they couldn't interpret it for me.
8 Daniel, who is called Belteshazzar after the name of my god, was the last to come before me. In him is the breath of the holy gods! I told Daniel the dream:
9 “Belteshazzar, chief of the dream interpreters, I know the breath of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream.
10 In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw a vision: At the center of the earth was a towering tree.
11 The tree grew in size and strength; it was as high as the sky; it could be seen from every corner of the earth.
12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant; it had enough food for everyone. Wild animals took shade under it; birds nested in its branches. All living things lived off that tree.
13 “In my mind, as I lay in bed, I saw another vision: A holy watcher came down from heaven.
14 He proclaimed loudly: ‘Cut down the tree and shear off its branches! Strip its leaves and scatter its fruit! The creatures should flee from its shelter; the birds should take flight from its branches.
15 But leave its deepest root in the earth, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass. Dew from heaven is to wash it, and it must live with the animals in the earth's vegetation.
16 Its human mind is to be changed: it will be given the mind of an animal. Seven periods of time will pass over it.
17 This sentence is by the watchers' decree; this decision is the holy ones' word so that all who live might know that the Most High dominates human kingship. The Most High gives kingship to anyone he wants and sets over it the lowest of people.'
18 "This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. So now Belteshazzar, tell me the meaning because all the sages in my kingdom were unable to interpret it for me. But you are able to do it because the breath of the holy gods is in you."
19 Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was shocked for a bit. What he thought about frightened him. The king declared, "Don't let the dream and its meaning scare you, Belteshazzar." Then Belteshazzar answered, “Sir, I wish the dream to be for those who hate you and its meaning to be for your enemies!
20 The tree you saw that grew in size and strength, that was as high as the sky, that could be seen from every corner of the earth,
21 with its beautiful leaves and its abundant fruit, and that had enough food for everyone, with wild animals living under it and birds nesting in its branches—
22 Your Majesty, that tree is you! You have grown large and become powerful. Your greatness is as high as the sky; your rule extends to the edge of the earth!
23 "Your Majesty, the holy watcher you saw coming down from heaven, who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its deepest root in the earth, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass, dew from heaven is to wash it, and it must live with the wild animals until seven periods of time pass over it'—
24 Your Majesty, this is the dream's meaning: It is the sentence of the Most High, delivered to my master the king.
25 You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle and will be washed by dew from heaven. Seven periods of time will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants.
26 And when he said to leave the deepest root of the tree—that means your kingship will again be yours, once you acknowledge that heaven rules all.
27 Therefore, Your Majesty, please accept my advice: remove your sins by doing what is right; remove your wrongdoing by showing mercy to the poor. Then your safety will be long lasting."
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
29 Twelve months later, he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon.
30 The king declared, "Isn't this Babylon, the magnificent city that I built as the royal house by my own mighty strength and for my own majestic glory?"
31 These words hadn't even left the king's mouth when a voice came from heaven: "You, King Nebuchadnezzar, are now informed: Kingship is taken away from you.
32 You will be driven away from other humans and will live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you acknowledge that the Most High dominates human kingship, giving it to anyone he wants."
33 Nebuchadnezzar's sentence was immediately carried out. He was driven away from other humans and ate grass like cattle. Dew from heaven washed his body until he grew hair like eagles' feathers and claws like a bird.
34 “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven. My reason returned to me, and I praised the Most High. I worshipped and glorified the one who lives forever because his rule is everlasting; his kingdom is for all time.
35 All of earth's inhabitants are nothing in comparison. The Most High does whatever he wants with heaven's forces and with earth's inhabitants. No one can contain his power or say to him, ‘What do you think you are doing?'
36 So at that moment my reason returned to me. My honor and splendor came back to me for the glory of my kingdom. My associates and my princes wanted to be with me again. Not only was I reinstated over my kingdom, I received more power than ever before.
37 "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, worship, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven. All his works are truth, all his paths are justice, and he is able to humble all who walk in pride."

Daniel 5

1 King Belshazzar threw a huge party for a thousand of his princes, and he drank a lot of wine in front of them.
2 While he was under the wine's influence, Belshazzar commanded that the gold and silver equipment that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem's temple be brought to the party so that the king, his princes, his consorts, and his secondary wives could drink wine out of them.
3 So the gold equipment that had been carried out of the temple, God's house in Jerusalem, was brought in; and the king, his princes, his consorts, and his secondary wives drank out of it.
4 They drank a lot of wine; and they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 Right then the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the king's palace wall in the light of the lamp. The king saw the hand that wrote.
6 The king's mood changed immediately, and he was deeply disturbed. He felt weak, and his knees were shaking.
7 The king yelled, calling for the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners. The king told these sages of Babylon: "Anyone who can read this writing and tell me its meaning will wear royal robes, will have a gold chain around his neck, and will rule the kingdom as third in command."
8 Then all the king's sages arrived, but they couldn't read the writing or interpret it for the king.
9 At that point King Belshazzar was really frightened. All the color drained from his face, and his princes were also very worried.
10 Upon hearing the commotion coming from the king and his princes, the queen entered the banqueting hall and declared, "Long live the king! Don't be so disturbed. Don't be so frightened.
11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the breath of holy gods in him! When your father was alive, this man was shown to possess illumination, insight, and wisdom like the very wisdom of the gods. Your father King Nebuchadnezzar appointed this man as chief over the dream interpreters, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners. Yes, your father did this
12 because this man—Daniel, the one the king named Belteshazzar—possesses an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and insight into the meaning of dreams. He can explain ambiguities and resolve mysteries. Now in light of all that, summon Daniel! He will explain the meaning of this thing."
13 So Daniel was brought before the king. The king said to him, "So you are Daniel, the Daniel from the exiles that my father the king brought from Judah?
14 I have heard that the breath of the gods is in you and that you possess illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom.
15 Now, the sages and the dream interpreters were brought before me to read this writing and interpret it for me, but they couldn't explain its meaning.
16 But I've heard that you can explain meanings and solve mysteries. So if you can read this writing and interpret it for me, you will wear royal robes, have a gold chain around your neck, and will rule the kingdom as third in command."
17 Daniel answered the king: “Keep your gifts. Give the rewards to someone else. But I will still read the writing to the king and interpret it for him.
18 Listen, Your Majesty: The Most High God gave kingship, power, glory, and majesty to your father Nebuchadnezzar.
19 Because of the power God gave Nebuchadnezzar, all peoples, nations, and languages were terrified of him. He did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted: killing or sparing, exalting or humbling.
20 But when he became arrogant, acting in stubborn pride, he was pulled off his royal throne and the glory was taken from him.
21 He was driven away from other humans, and his mind became like an animal's. He lived with wild donkeys, he ate grass like cattle, and dew from heaven washed his body until he realized that the Most High God dominates human kingship and sets over it anyone he wants.
22 “But you who are his son, Belshazzar, you haven't submitted, even though you've known all this.
23 Instead, you've set yourself up against the Lord of heaven! The equipment of God's house was brought to you; and you, your princes, your consorts, and your secondary wives drank wine out of it, all the while praising the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods who can't see, hear, or know anything. But you didn't glorify the true God who holds your very breath in his hand and who owns every road you take.
24 “That's why this hand was sent from God and why this message was written down.
25 This is what was written down: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN.
26 "This is the meaning of the word MENE: God has numbered the days of your rule. It's over!
27 TEKEL means that you've been weighed on the scales, and you don't measure up.
28 PERES means your kingship is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians."
29 Then Belshazzar commanded that Daniel be dressed in a purple robe, have a gold chain around his neck, and be officially appointed as third in command in the kingdom.
30 That very same night, Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.
31 Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of 62.

Daniel 6

1 Darius decided to appoint one hundred twenty chief administrators throughout the kingdom,
2 and to set over them three main officers to whom they would report so that the king wouldn't have to be bothered with too much. One of these main officers was Daniel.
3 Because of his extraordinary spirit, Daniel soon surpassed the other officers and the chief administrators—so much so that the king had plans to set him over the entire kingdom.
4 As a result, the other officers and the chief administrators tried to find some problem with Daniel's work for the kingdom. But they couldn't find any problem or corruption at all because Daniel was trustworthy. He wasn't guilty of any negligence or corruption.
5 So these men said, "We won't find any fault in Daniel, unless we can find something to use against him from his religious practice."
6 So these officers and chief administrators ganged together and went to the king. They said to him, "Long live King Darius!
7 All the officers of the kingdom, the ministers, the chief administrators, the royal associates, and the governors advise the king to issue an edict and enforce a law, that for thirty days anyone who says prayers to any god or human being except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a pit of lions.
8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the law and sign the document so that it cannot be changed, as per the law of Media and Persia, which cannot be annulled."
9 Because of this, King Darius signed the document containing the law.
10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. Now his upper room had open windows that faced Jerusalem. Daniel knelt down, prayed, and praised his God three times that day, just like he always did.
11 Just then these men, all ganged together, came upon Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God.
12 They then went and talked to the king about the law: "Your Majesty! Didn't you sign a law, that for thirty days any person who prays to any god or human being besides you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into a pit of lions?" The king replied, "The decision is absolutely firm in accordance with the law of Media and Persia, which cannot be annulled."
13 So they said to the king, "One of the Judean exiles, Daniel, has ignored you, Your Majesty, as well as the law you signed. He says his prayers three times a day!"
14 When the king heard this report, he was very unhappy. He decided to rescue Daniel and did everything he could do to save Daniel before the sun went down.
15 But these men, all ganged together, came and said to the king, "You must realize, Your Majesty, that the law of Media and Persia, including every law and edict the king has issued, cannot be changed."
16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and hurled him into the pit of lions. The king said to Daniel: "Your God—the one you serve so consistently—will rescue you."
17 A single stone was brought and placed over the entrance to the pit. The king sealed it with his own ring and with those of his princes so that Daniel's situation couldn't be changed.
18 The king then went home to his palace and fasted through the night. No pleasures were brought to him, and he couldn't sleep.
19 At dawn, at the first sign of light, the king rose and rushed to the lions' pit.
20 As he approached it, he called out to Daniel, worried: "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God—the one you serve so consistently—able to rescue you from the lions?"
21 Then Daniel answered the king: "Long live the king!
22 My God sent his messenger, who shut the lions' mouths. They haven't touched me because I was judged innocent before my God. I haven't done anything wrong to you either, Your Majesty."
23 The king was thrilled. He commanded that Daniel be brought up out of the pit, and Daniel was lifted out. Not a scratch was found on him, because he trusted in his God.
24 The king then ordered that the men who had accused Daniel be brought and thrown into the lions' pit—including their wives and children. They hadn't even reached the bottom of the pit before the lions overpowered them, crushing all their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote the following decree: To all the peoples, nations, and languages inhabiting the entire earth: I wish you much peace.
26 I now issue this command: In every region of my kingdom, all people must fear and revere Daniel's God because: He is the living God. God stands firm forever. His kingship is indestructible. God's rule will last until the end of time.
27 He is rescuer and savior; God performs signs and miracles in heaven and on earth. Here's the proof: He rescued Daniel from the lions' power.
28 And so Daniel was made prosperous during the rule of Darius and during the rule of Cyrus the Persian.