Daniel 4:1-18

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree

1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth: May you prosper greatly!
2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous.
5 I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me.
6 So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me.
7 When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers[a] and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me.
8 Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
9 I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me.
10 These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.
11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.
12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
13 “In the visions I saw while lying in bed, I looked, and there before me was a holy one, a messenger,[b] coming down from heaven.
14 He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the tree 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.
15 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.
16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times[c] pass by for him.
17 “ ‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’
18 “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. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel 4:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
ESV
1 King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you!
NLT
1 King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you!
MSG
1 King Nebuchadnezzar to everyone, everywhere - every race, color, and creed: "Peace and prosperity to all!
CSB
1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To those of every people, nation, and language, who live in all the earth: May your prosperity increase.

Daniel 4:1-18 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 4

This chapter was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself; and was either taken out of his archives, or given by him to Daniel, who under divine inspiration inserted it into this work of his; and a very useful instruction it contains, showing the sovereignty of God over the greatest kings and potentates of the earth, and this acknowledged by one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived upon it. It begins with a preface, saluting all nations, and declaring the greatness and power of God, Da 4:1-3 then follows the narrative of a dream the king dreamed, which troubled him; upon which he called for his wise men to interpret it, but in vain; at length he told it to Daniel, Da 4:4-9: the dream itself; which being told, astonished Daniel, the king being so much interested in it, Da 4:10-19, the interpretation of it, with Daniel's advice upon it, is in Da 4:20-27 the fulfilment of it, time and occasion thereof, Da 4:28-33. Nebuchadnezzar's restoration to his reason and kingdom, for which he praises God, Da 4:34-37.

Daniel 4:1-18 In-Context

1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To the nations and peoples of every language, who live in all the earth: May you prosper greatly!
2 It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.
3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous.
5 I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying in bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me.
6 So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me.
7 When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me.
8 Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
9 I said, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me.
10 These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.
11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.
12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
13 “In the visions I saw while lying in bed, I looked, and there before me was a holy one, a messenger, coming down from heaven.
14 He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the tree 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.
15 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.
16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times pass by for him.
17 “ ‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’
18 “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. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
19 Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!
20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth,
21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds—
22 Your Majesty, you are that tree! 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.

Cross References 35

  • 1. S Daniel 3:4
  • 2. Daniel 6:25
  • 3. Psalms 74:9
  • 4. S Daniel 3:26
  • 5. S Psalms 105:27; Daniel 6:27
  • 6. Daniel 2:44
  • 7. Psalms 30:6; S Isaiah 32:9
  • 8. S Daniel 2:1
  • 9. Psalms 4:4
  • 10. Daniel 2:28
  • 11. ver 19; S Genesis 41:8; S Job 3:26; Daniel 2:3; Daniel 5:6
  • 12. Daniel 2:2
  • 13. S Genesis 41:8
  • 14. S Isaiah 44:25; S Daniel 2:2
  • 15. S Daniel 2:10
  • 16. S Daniel 1:7
  • 17. S Genesis 41:38; Daniel 5:11,14
  • 18. Daniel 2:48
  • 19. Daniel 5:11-12
  • 20. S ver 5; Psalms 4:4
  • 21. Ezekiel 31:3-4
  • 22. S Ezekiel 19:11; Ezekiel 31:5
  • 23. S Ezekiel 17:23; S Matthew 13:32
  • 24. ver 10; Daniel 7:1
  • 25. S ver 23; S Deuteronomy 33:2; Daniel 8:13
  • 26. S Job 24:20
  • 27. S Ezekiel 31:12; S Matthew 3:10
  • 28. ver 23,32
  • 29. ver 2,25; Psalms 83:18
  • 30. S Psalms 103:19; Jeremiah 27:5-7; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 5:18-21; Romans 13:1
  • 31. Daniel 11:21; Matthew 23:12
  • 32. S Genesis 41:8; Daniel 5:8,15
  • 33. S Genesis 41:15
  • 34. S Genesis 41:38
  • 35. ver 7-9; S Daniel 1:20

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "Chaldeans"
  • [b]. Or "watchman" ; also in verses 17 and 23
  • [c]. Or "years" ; also in verses 23, 25 and 32
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