Daniel 3; Daniel 4

1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. He set it up in a recessed area in the wall in the province of Babylon. 2 King Nebuchadnezzar sent messengers to assemble the satraps, governors, mayors, military advisers, treasurers, judges, officers, and all the other provincial officials to dedicate the statue he had set up. 3 Then the satraps, governors, mayors, military advisers, treasurers, judges, officers, and all the other provincial officials assembled to dedicate the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They stood in front of the statue. 4 The herald called out loudly, "People of every province, nation, and language! 5 When you hear the sound of rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments, bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever doesn't bow down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." 7 As soon as they heard the sound of rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps with all other kinds of instruments, all the people from every province, nation, and language bowed down and worshiped the gold statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 After that happened, some astrologers came forward and brought charges against the Jews. 9 They addressed King Nebuchadnezzar, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! 10 Your Majesty, you gave an order that everyone who hears the sound of rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments should bow down and worship the gold statue. 11 [Your order said that] whoever doesn't bow down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you appointed to govern the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men didn't obey your order, Your Majesty. They don't honor your gods or worship the statue that you set up." 13 Then, in a fit of rage and anger, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Immediately, they were brought to the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar asked them, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don't honor my gods or worship the gold statue that I set up? 15 When you hear the sound of the rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments, will you bow down and worship the gold statue I made? If you don't worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. What god can save you from my power then?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "We don't need to answer your last question. 17 If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. 18 But if he doesn't, you should know, Your Majesty, we'll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up." 19 Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with anger toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face turned red. He ordered that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than normal. 20 He told some soldiers from his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego so that they could be thrown into the blazing furnace. 21 Then the three men were thrown into the blazing furnace. They were wearing their clothes, hats, and other clothing. 22 The king's order was so urgent and the furnace was so extremely hot that the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were killed by the flames from the fire. 23 So these three men--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--fell into the blazing furnace. They were still tied up. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar was startled. He sprang to his feet. He asked his advisers, "Didn't we throw three men into the fire?" "That's true, Your Majesty," they answered. 25 The king replied, "But look, I see four men. They're untied, walking in the middle of the fire, and unharmed. The fourth one looks like a son of the gods." 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the blazing furnace and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--servants of the Most High God--come out here." Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 The king's satraps, governors, mayors, and advisers gathered around the three men. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. The hair on their heads wasn't singed, their clothes weren't burned, and they didn't smell of smoke. 28 Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He sent his angel and saved his servants, who trusted him. They disobeyed the king and risked their lives so that they would not have to honor or worship any god except their own God. 29 So I order that people from every province, nation, or language who say anything slanderous about the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb. Their houses will be turned into piles of rubble. No other god can rescue like this." 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in the province of Babylon.
1 From King Nebuchadnezzar. To the people of every province, nation, and language in the world. I wish you peace and prosperity. 2 I am pleased to write to you about the miraculous signs and amazing things the Most High God did for me. 3 His miraculous signs are impressive. He uses his power to do amazing things. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom. His power lasts from one generation to the next. 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living comfortably at home. I was prosperous while living in my palace. 5 I had a dream that terrified me. The visions I had while I was asleep frightened me. 6 So I ordered all the wise advisers in Babylon to be brought to me to tell me the dream's meaning. 7 The magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers came to me. I told them the dream, but they couldn't tell me its meaning. 8 Finally, Daniel came to me. (He had been renamed Belteshazzar after my god [Bel].) The spirit of the holy gods is in him. I told him the dream: 9 "Belteshazzar, head of the magicians, I know the spirit of the holy gods is in you. No secret is too hard for you [to uncover]. Tell me the meaning of the visions I had in my dream. 10 These are the visions I had while I was asleep: I was looking, and I saw an oak tree in the middle of the earth. It was very tall. 11 The tree grew, and it became strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. 12 It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals found shade under it. Birds came to live in its branches. It fed every living creature. 13 "I was seeing these visions as I was asleep. I saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. 14 He shouted loudly, 'Cut down the oak tree! Cut off its branches! Strip off its leaves! Scatter its fruit! Make the animals under it run away, and make the birds fly from its branches. 15 But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. And let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the animals. 16 Let its human mind be changed, and give it the mind of an animal. Let it remain like this for seven time periods. 17 The guardians have announced this decision. The holy ones have announced this so that every living creature will know that the Most High has power over human kingdoms. He gives them to whomever he wishes. He can place the lowest of people in charge of them.'" 18 [I said,] "This is the dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now you, Belteshazzar, tell me its meaning because the wise advisers in my kingdom can't tell it to me. However, you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you." 19 Then Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was momentarily stunned. What he was thinking frightened him. I told him, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream and its meaning frighten you." Belteshazzar answered, "Sir, I wish that the dream were about those who hate you and its meaning were about your enemies. 20 You saw an oak tree grow and become strong enough and tall enough to reach the sky. It could be seen everywhere on earth. 21 It had beautiful leaves and plenty of fruit, enough to feed everyone. Wild animals lived under it, and birds made their homes in its branches. 22 You are that tree, Your Majesty. You grew and became strong and mighty until you reached the sky. Your power reaches the most distant part of the world. 23 You saw a guardian, a holy being, come down from heaven. He said, 'Cut down the oak tree! Destroy it! But leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Secure it with an iron and bronze chain in the grass in the field. Let it get wet with the dew from the sky. Let it get its share of the plants on the ground with the wild animals for seven time periods.' 24 "This is the meaning, Your Majesty. The Most High has decided to apply it to you, Your Majesty. 25 You will be forced away from people and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. The dew from the sky will make you wet. And seven time periods will pass until you realize that the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes. 26 Since I said that the stump and the tree's roots were to be left, your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you realize that heaven rules. 27 "That is why, Your Majesty, my best advice is that you stop sinning, and do what is right. Stop committing the same errors, and have pity on the poor. Maybe you can prolong your prosperity." 28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later, he was walking around the royal palace in Babylon. 30 The king thought, "Look how great Babylon is! I built the royal palace by my own impressive power and for my glorious honor." 31 Before the words came out of his mouth, a voice said from heaven, "King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to this: The kingdom has been taken from you. 32 You will be forced away from people and live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle. And seven time periods will pass until you realize that the Most High has power over human kingdoms and that he gives them to whomever he wishes." 33 Just then the prediction about Nebuchadnezzar came true. He was forced away from people and ate grass like cattle. Dew from the sky made his body wet until his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers and his nails grew as long as birds' claws. 34 At the end of the seven time periods, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my mind came back to me. I thanked the Most High, and I praised and honored the one who lives forever, because his power lasts forever and his kingdom lasts from one generation to the next. 35 Everyone who lives on earth is nothing compared to him. He does whatever he wishes with the army of heaven and with those who live on earth. There is no one who can oppose him or ask him, "What are you doing?" 36 Just then my mind came back to me. My royal honor and glory were also given back to me. My advisers and nobles wanted to meet with me [again]. I was given back my kingdom and made extraordinarily great. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, will praise, honor, and give glory to the King of Heaven. Everything he does is true, his ways are right, and he can humiliate those who act arrogantly.