Daniel 4

King Nebuchadnezzar's letter

1 This is a message from King Nebuchadnezzar.

I am sending this message to everyone in the world, the people in every nation, and who speak every language. I hope that you all may have good and happy lives.

2 I am happy to tell you about the powerful God who is over all.

He has done miracles and great things for me.

3 His miracles show his great strength.

They are very powerful.

His kingdom will continue for ever.

He will always rule.

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace. I was comfortable and happy. Everything was very good for me. 5 Then I had a dream that made me very afraid. The thoughts in my mind gave me great trouble as I lay on my bed. 6 So I told all the wise men in Babylon to come to me. I wanted them to tell me what the dream meant.

7 When the magicians, enchanters, wise men and diviners came to me, I told them the dream. But none of them could tell me what the dream meant. 8 Last of all, Daniel came to me and I told him the dream. I call him Belteshazzar, like my god's name. The spirit of the holy gods is in this man, Daniel.

9 I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar you are the leader of my wise men. I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you. I know that no secret is too difficult for you to explain. So, here is the dream that I saw. Tell me what it means.

10 This is the vision that I saw in my mind while I lay on my bed. I saw a tree there in front of me. It stood in the middle of the earth and it was very tall. 11 The tree grew taller and stronger. Its top touched the sky, so everyone in the world could see it. 12 It had beautiful leaves and lots of fruits. There was enough food on it for everyone. Wild animals could live in its shade. Birds lived in its branches. It gave food for every living thing.

13 The vision in my mind continued while I lay on my bed. I saw a holy angel that came down from heaven. 14 He shouted aloud, “Cut down the tree. Cut off its branches. Tear off its leaves. Let its fruits go away to other places. The animals that are under the tree must run away. The birds that are in its branches must fly away. 15 But leave the base of the tree and its roots in the ground. Tie iron and bronze round it. Then leave it there in the grass.

Make him wet with dew from the sky. Cause him to live with the animals in the fields of grass. 16 Take his human mind away from him. Instead, give him the mind of an animal for seven years.

17 The holy angels who take care of the earth have decided this. It is their command. Now everyone will be sure that the powerful God above rules over human kingdoms. He gives authority to rule to anyone that he chooses. He causes humble men to rule as kings.” ’

18 Then I said to Belteshazzar, ‘This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, you must tell me what it means. None of the wise men in any region of my kingdom can tell me what it means. But you can tell me, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’

Daniel explains the king's dream

19 Daniel, whose other name was Belteshazzar, was upset for a short time. His thoughts caused him a lot of trouble. The king said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or what it means cause you trouble.’

Then Belteshazzar answered the king. ‘Sir, I would like the dream to be about your enemies and not about you. 20 You saw a tree that grew very tall and strong until its top touched the sky. Everyone in the world could see it. 21 It had beautiful leaves and lots of fruits. There was enough food on it for everyone. The wild animals lived under its shade. The birds built their nests in its branches. 22 You, the king, are like that tree. You have become great and strong. Your power reaches up to the sky. Your authority reaches to the ends of the world.

23 In your dream, you saw a holy angel who came down from heaven. He said, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the base of the tree and its roots in the ground. Tie iron and bronze round it. Then leave it in the grass. Make him wet with dew from the sky. Cause him to live in the fields with the wild animals for seven years.”

24 Now sir, this is what the dream means. The powerful God above has decided what he will do to my lord, the king. 25 People will chase you away from the city, so that you have to live with the wild animals. You will eat grass like cows do. Dew from the sky will make you wet. You will live in that way for seven years. Then you will understand that the powerful God above rules over human kingdoms. He gives authority to rule to anyone that he chooses. 26 The command was to leave the base of the tree and its roots in the ground. This means that you will be king again later. But before that, you will have to understand that it is God in heaven who rules. 27 So King Nebuchadnezzar, please do as I suggest. Stop doing bad things. Start to do what is right. Turn away from your sins. Instead, be kind to poor people. Then, perhaps, you will continue to be comfortable and happy.’

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 One year later, he was walking on the flat roof of the king's palace in Babylon. 30 The king said, ‘Look how great Babylon is! It is the city that I have built to be my home as king. It shows that I am a great and powerful king!’

31 While King Nebuchadnezzar was still boasting about his power, he heard a voice from heaven. It said, ‘I am speaking to you, King Nebuchadnezzar. I have taken away your authority to rule as king! 32 People will chase you away from the city so that you live with the wild animals. You will eat grass as cows do. I will cause you to live like that for seven years. Then you will understand that the powerful God above rules over human kingdoms. He gives authority to rule to anyone that he chooses.’

33 Immediately the message given to Nebuchadnezzar really happened. People chased him away from the city. He ate grass as cows do. Dew from the sky made his body wet. His hair grew very long, like the feathers of an eagle. His feet became like a bird's feet.

God makes Nebuchadnezzar better

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up towards heaven. My own mind returned to me again. I praised the powerful God above who lives for ever. I worshipped him as a great God.

His kingdom will continue for ever.

He will always have the authority to rule.

35 All the people on the earth seem like nothing to him.

He does whatever he wants among the angels in heaven,

and among the people on the earth too.

Nobody can stop him.

Nobody can ask him, ‘Why are you doing that?’

36 When my own mind returned to me, I also received my authority again as king. People respected me as a great king again. My officers and important men came back to work with me. I ruled again over my kingdom. And I became even greater than I was before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise the King of heaven as a great God. He always does what is right and fair. When people are proud, he can cause them to become humble.