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.
1 King Belshazzar threw a large banquet for 1,000 nobles and drank wine with them. 2 As they were tasting the wine, Belshazzar ordered that the gold and silver utensils which his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought to him. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. 3 So the servants brought the gold utensils that had been taken from God's temple in Jerusalem. The king, his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them. 4 They drank the wine and praised their gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, or stone. 5 Suddenly, the fingers of a person's hand appeared and wrote on the plaster wall opposite the lamp stand of the royal palace. The king watched as the hand wrote. 6 Then the king turned pale, and his thoughts frightened him. His hip joints became loose, and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king screamed for the psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers to be brought to him. He told these wise advisers of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing and tells me its meaning will be dressed in purple, wear a gold chain on his neck, and become the third-highest ruler in the kingdom." 8 All the king's wise advisers came, but they couldn't read the writing or tell the king its meaning. 9 King Belshazzar was terrified, and his face turned pale. His nobles didn't know what to do. 10 The discussion between the king and his nobles brought the queen herself into the banquet hall. The queen said, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! Don't let your thoughts frighten you, and don't turn pale. 11 There's a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your grandfather, he was found to have insight, good judgment, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him head of the magicians, psychics, astrologers, and fortunetellers. 12 This Daniel (who had been renamed Belteshazzar) was found to have knowledge, judgment, and an extraordinary spirit. He has the ability to interpret dreams, solve riddles, and untangle problems. Now, call Daniel, and he will tell [you] what it means." 13 So Daniel was taken to the king. The king asked him, "Are you Daniel, one of the captives that my grandfather brought from Judah? 14 I've heard that you have the spirit of the gods and that you have insight, good judgment, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 The wise advisers and the psychics were brought to me to read this writing and tell me its meaning. But they couldn't tell me its meaning. 16 I have heard that you can interpret such things and untangle problems. If you can read the writing and tell [me] its meaning, you will be dressed in purple, wear a gold chain on your neck, and become the third-highest ruler in the kingdom." 17 Daniel told the king, "Keep your gifts. Give your gifts and awards to someone else. I'll still read the writing for you and tell you its meaning. 18 "Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your grandfather Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, might, honor, and glory. 19 People from every province, nation, and language trembled and were terrified by him, because God gave him power. Nebuchadnezzar killed whomever he wanted to kill, and he kept alive whomever he wanted to keep alive. He promoted whomever he wanted to promote, and he demoted whomever he wanted to demote. 20 But when he became so arrogant and conceited that he became overconfident, he was removed from the royal throne. His honor was taken away from him. 21 He was chased away from people, and his mind was changed into an animal's mind. He lived with wild donkeys, ate grass like cattle, and his body became wet with dew from the sky. This happened until he realized that the Most High God has power over human kingdoms. God puts whomever he wishes in charge of them. 22 "Belshazzar, you are one of Nebuchadnezzar's successors. You didn't remain humble, even though you knew all this. 23 But you made yourself greater than the Lord of heaven. You had the utensils from his temple brought to you. You, your nobles, wives, and concubines drank wine from them. You praised your gods made of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, or stone. These gods can't see, hear, or know anything. You didn't honor God, who has power over your life and everything you do. 24 So he sent the hand to write this inscription. 25 This is what has been written: Numbered, Numbered, Weighed, and Divided. 26 This is its meaning: Numbered--God has numbered the days of your kingdom and will bring it to an end. 27 Weighed--you have been weighed on a scale and found to be too light. 28 Divided--your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians." 29 Then Belshazzar ordered that Daniel be dressed in purple and wear a gold chain on his neck. He made Daniel the third-highest ruler in the kingdom. 30 That night King Belshazzar of Babylon was killed. 31 Darius the Mede took over the kingdom. He was 62 years old.
1 Darius decided it would be good to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom. 2 Over these satraps were three officials. Daniel was one of these officials. The satraps were to report to these three officials so that the king wouldn't be cheated. 3 This man, Daniel, distinguished himself among the other officials and satraps because there was an extraordinary spirit in him. The king thought about putting him in charge of the whole kingdom. 4 So the other officials and satraps tried to find something to accuse Daniel of in his duties for the kingdom. But they couldn't find anything wrong because he was trustworthy. No error or fault could be found. 5 These men said, "We won't find anything to accuse this man, Daniel, unless we find it in his religious practices." 6 So these officials and satraps went to the king as a group. They said to him, "May King Darius live forever! 7 All the officials, governors, satraps, advisers, and mayors agree that the king should make a statute and enforce a decree. The decree should state that for the next 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions' den. 8 Your Majesty, issue this decree, and sign it. According to the law of the Medes and Persians no one could change it or repeal it." 9 So Darius signed the written decree. 10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. An upper room in his house had windows that opened in the direction of Jerusalem. Three times each day he got down on his knees and prayed to his God. He had always praised God this way. 11 One of those times the men came in as a group and found Daniel praying and pleading to his God. 12 Then they went and spoke to the king about his decree. [They asked,] "Didn't you sign a decree which stated that for 30 days whoever asks for anything from any god or person except you, Your Majesty, will be thrown into a lions' den?" The king answered, "That's true. According to the law of the Medes and Persians the decree can't be repealed." 13 They replied, "Your Majesty, Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, refuses to obey your order or the decree that you signed. He prays three times each day." 14 The king was very displeased when he heard this. He tried every way he could think of to save Daniel. Until sundown he did everything he could to rescue him. 15 Then Daniel's accusers gathered in front of the king. They said to him, "Remember, Your Majesty, the Medes and Persians have a law that no decree or statute the king makes can be changed." 16 So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought to him and thrown into the lions' den. The king told Daniel, "May your God, whom you always worship, save you!" 17 A stone was brought and placed over the opening of the den. The king put his seal on the stone, using his ring and the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation could not be changed. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night without food or company. He couldn't get to sleep. 19 At dawn, as soon as it was light, the king got up and quickly went to the lions' den. 20 As he came near the den where Daniel was, the king called to Daniel with anguish in his voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was God, whom you always worship, able to save you from the lions?" 21 Daniel said to the king, "Your Majesty, may you live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they couldn't hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven't committed any crime." 23 The king was overjoyed and had Daniel taken out of the den. When Daniel was taken out of the den, people saw that he was completely unharmed because he trusted his God. 24 The king ordered those men who had brought charges against Daniel to be brought to him. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the lions' den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions attacked them and crushed all their bones. 25 Then King Darius wrote to the people of every province, nation, and language all over the world: I wish you peace and prosperity. 26 I decree that in every part of my kingdom people should tremble with terror in front of Daniel's God, the living God who continues forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed. His power lasts to the end [of time]. 27 He saves, rescues, and does miraculous signs and amazing things in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the lions. 28 This man, Daniel, prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.