Daniel 2

The king asks his wise men to explain his dream

1 When Nebuchadnezzar had been king for almost two years, he had dreams. He had trouble in his mind and he could not sleep.

2 He told his servants that they must bring the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and wise men to him. He wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed. So they came in and they stood in front of him. 3 Then the king said to them, ‘I have had a dream that takes away my sleep. And so I want to know what it means.’

4 Then the wise men answered the king in the Aramaic language. ‘We want the king to live for all time,’ they said. ‘We are your servants. Tell us the dream. And then we will tell you what it means.’

5 The king replied to the wise men. ‘I have decided what to do,’ he said. ‘You tell me what my dream was. And you must tell me what it means. If not, I will cause people to cut you into pieces. And they will make your houses into hills of stones. 6 You must tell me the dream and what it means. If you do, I will give many gifts and great honour to you. So, tell me my dream. And tell me what it means.’

7 They answered him again. ‘We are your servants, so please tell us your dream. Then we will tell you what it means.’

8 And the king answered them. ‘You know what I have decided. I certainly know that you are trying to get more time for that reason. 9 If you do not tell me the dream, you will all certainly receive the same punishment. You are continuing to tell me lies and bad things. And you have agreed to do that. You hope that I will change my mind. So now, tell me the dream. Then you can tell me what it means. And I will be able to believe what you say.’

10 The wise men answered the king, ‘There is not a man on earth who can do that! No king has ever asked anyone to do anything like this. No magician, enchanter or wise man has ever done this. Even the greatest and most powerful king of all has never asked this. 11 You are asking a very difficult thing. Nobody can do it, except the gods. And they do not live among men.’

12 This made the king very, very angry. So he said to his soldiers, ‘Kill all the wise men in Babylon.’ 13 He sent them a message to kill all his wise men. So some men went to look for Daniel and his friends. They went to kill them too.

14 Arioch, the captain of the king's soldiers, went to kill the wise men in Babylon. But Daniel spoke to him carefully. 15 He said to Arioch, the king's captain, ‘Why is the king's message so cruel?’ Then Arioch explained everything to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went to see the king. He asked the king for more time. Then he would be able to tell the king what the dream meant.

God shows the dream to Daniel

17 Then Daniel went to his home and he explained the problem to his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He told them that they should pray to God in heaven. They should pray about this problem. He told them that they should ask God to keep them safe. Then they would not die with all the other wise men in Babylon. 19 During the night, Daniel had a dream. God showed him in the dream what it meant. Then Daniel gave honour to the God of heaven. 20 He said,

‘Give honour to the name of God always

because he is great.

And he knows everything.

21 He changes times and seasons.

He chooses kings to rule. And he stops them ruling.

He causes some people to become wise.

And he helps people to understand the things that they learn.

22 He explains difficult problems and secret things.

He knows about all things, even when they are in dark places.

And the light lives with him.

23 You are my ancestors' God.

You have made me wise and you have made me strong.

You have shown me your answer to what we asked.

You have explained the king's problem to us.

So I thank you and I give honour to you.’

24 So Daniel went to Arioch. He was the officer to whom the king had said, ‘You must kill Babylon's wise men.’ Daniel said to Arioch, ‘Do not kill Babylon's wise men. Take me to the king. Then I will tell the king what his dream means.’

25 Then Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king. He said, ‘I have found a man. He can tell the king what his dream means. He is one of the people that you brought from Judah.’

26 The king spoke to Daniel (whose other name was Belteshazzar). He said, ‘Can you tell me my dream? And can you tell me what it means?’

27 Daniel answered the king. ‘No wise men, enchanters, magicians or diviners can explain this dream to the king,’ he said.

28 ‘But there is a God in heaven. And he explains hidden things. He is showing King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in future years. This is the dream and the thoughts in your head while you lay on your bed.

29 While you lay on your bed, you dreamed about future years. God showed you what will happen in future years. He explains hidden things. 30 I am not more clever than anyone else. But God explained the dream to me. He wants you to know what it means. And he wants you to understand the thoughts in your mind.’

The dream

31 ‘You looked, and you saw a large image with a man's shape. This big image was in front of you. It was very bright and it frightened people. 32 Someone had made its head from clean gold. The top of its body and its arms were silver. Its lower body was bronze. 33 The image's legs were iron and the feet had parts of iron and parts of clay. 34 While you looked, someone cut out a stone. But no human hand did this. The stone hit the image on its iron and clay feet and the stone broke them into pieces. 35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold all fell into pieces. They became like powder that nobody wants. The wind blew them away until nobody could see them. But the stone that had hit the image became a large mountain. And it filled the whole earth.’

Daniel explains the dream to the king

36 ‘This was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. 37 You are a great king who rules other kings. The God of heaven has made you king and he has given power and honour to you. He has made you strong. 38 He has given all the people, the animals on the earth and the birds in the air to you. He has made you king of them all, in every place that they live. You are like the head of gold in your dream.

39 After you, there will be another kingdom that is not as great as yours. Then a third kingdom will rule the whole earth. It will be like bronze. 40 And there will be a fourth kingdom that is as strong as iron. Iron breaks everything and it destroys everything. So, like iron, that kingdom will destroy the other kingdoms. 41 You saw that the feet and the toes had parts of clay and parts of iron. This means that it will not be a united kingdom. But some will be strong, like iron, because you saw iron with the clay. 42 Parts of the toes were iron and parts of them were clay. So that kingdom will be strong in some parts and weak in other parts. 43 You saw iron and clay mixed together. So, the people will mix with each other but they will not stay together. This is like iron that cannot mix with clay.’

2:43Verse 43 Students think that ‘mix’ means ‘marry.’

44 ‘In the days when those kings rule, the God of heaven will begin a kingdom. And that kingdom will never end. No other people will have power over it. It will break up all these other kingdoms and it will destroy them. And it will continue for ever. 45 You saw the stone that no human hand cut out. The stone broke up the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold. The great God has shown to the king what will happen in future years. That was the dream. And that is what it means. And you can be sure about that.’

The king gives important jobs to Daniel and to his friends

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar lay flat on the ground in front of Daniel. This showed that he gave honour to Daniel. He said that his servants must give to Daniel gifts and things to make nice smells. 47 The king said to Daniel, ‘It is true that your God is greater than all other gods. He rules over kings and he explains hidden things. I know this because you were able to explain this dream to me.’

48 Then the king made Daniel an important man and the king gave many great gifts to him. He made Daniel ruler over the whole of Babylon. He made Daniel the most important officer among the officers called deputies over all the wise men in Babylon.

49 Then Daniel asked the king to give important work to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So the king told them that they should rule over the whole of Babylon. But Daniel remained with the king.