Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar writes a letter

1 I, King Nebuchadnezzar, am sending this message to everyone in the world. I am writing to the people in every country who speak every language. I pray that you all have good and happy lives.

2 It makes me happy to tell you what the very, very great God has done.

He has done great and very special things for me.

3 The things that he does are very great. And they are very surprising.

God's kingdom will never end. He rules for all time.

The king's wise men fail again

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my king's house. I was comfortable and happy. Everything was very good for me. 5 Then I had a dream that made me very, very afraid. I lay on my bed and the thoughts in my head made me very afraid.

6 So I told all the wise men in Babylon that they must come to me. I wanted them to tell me what the dream meant.

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

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

The king tells Daniel about his dream

10 ‘This is what I saw in my mind. I saw it while I was asleep. I saw a tree 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 fruit. There was enough food on it for everyone. It was a home for the animals. And birds lived in it. Every living thing ate its food.’

13 ‘While I was still sleeping, I saw an angel. He was holy and he came from heaven. 14 He shouted aloud. “Cause the animals that are under the tree go away”, he shouted. “Cause the birds that are in its branches to fly away. Cut down the tree. Cut off its branches. Tear off its leaves. Let its fruit fall on the ground. 15 But leave the part of the tree that is in the ground. Tie it up with iron and bronze. Then leave it in the grass.

Make him wet with dew from the sky. Cause him to live in the fields with the animals. 16 Take his own mind away from him. And give the mind of an animal to him for 7 years.

17 The angels who watch human people have said this. And this is what they have chosen. So now everyone will be sure that God rules in the kingdoms of men. He gives kingdoms to anyone that he wants to. And he causes men who are not important to become kings.”

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

Daniel explains this dream to the king

19 Daniel, whose other name was Belteshazzar, was not happy for a time. He did not know what to do. And 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 wish that the dream was about your enemies and not about you. 20 You saw a tree that grew. And it grew taller and stronger until its top touched the sky. Everyone in the world could see it. 21 It had beautiful leaves and lots of fruit. There was enough food on it for everyone. It was a home for the animals. And the birds built their houses in it. 22 You, the king, are like that tree. You have become stronger and more powerful. You have become very great. Everyone has heard about your power in heaven. You have power over the whole world.

23 Then you saw an angel. He was holy and he came from heaven. “Cut down the tree and destroy it”, he said. “But leave the part of the tree that is in the ground. Tie it up with iron and bronze. Then leave it in the grass.

Make him wet with dew from the sky. Cause him to live in the fields with the animals for 7 years.”

24 This is what the dream means. The very, very great God has decided what he will do to my lord, the king. 25 People will push you out, so that you will have to live with the animals. And you will eat grass as cows do. Dew from the sky will make you wet. And you will live in that way for 7 years. Then you will be sure that the very, very great God rules in the kingdoms of men. He gives kingdoms to anyone that he wants to. 26 The angel said, “Leave the part of the tree that is in the ground.” This means that you will be king again later. But before that, you will have to agree that God rules the world. 27 So my king, please do as I suggest. Stop doing bad things. Start doing what is right. Do not do bad things. But be kind to the poor people. Then, perhaps, you will continue to be comfortable and happy.’

Nebuchadnezzar's pride

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 One year later, he was walking on the flat roof of the king's house in Babylon. 30 Then the king spoke aloud and he said, ‘Look how great Babylon is. My power has built this city to be the king's home. It shows that I am great and powerful.’

The bad things that were in the dream happen to Nebuchadnezzar

31 While he was still speaking about his power, he heard a voice from heaven. ‘I am speaking to you, King Nebuchadnezzar’, the voice said. ‘I have taken the king's power away from you. 32 People will push you away. You will live with the animals. And you will eat grass as cows do. I will cause you to live like that for 7 years. Then you will be sure that the very, very great God rules the kingdoms of men. And he gives kingdoms to anyone that he wants to give them to.’

33 Then it all happened to Nebuchadnezzar as he had dreamed. People sent him away. And he ate grass as cows do. Dew from the sky made his body wet. His hair grew long. It seemed like what a large bird has over its body. And his feet seemed like bird's feet.

God makes Nebuchadnezzar better

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up towards heaven. I got my proper mind back and I thanked the true God. I gave honour to him who never dies.

His kingdom will never end

because he rules always and for all time.

35 All the people on the earth are worth nothing.

He does what he wants with the angels in heaven.

And he does what he wants with the people on the earth.

Nobody can stop him.

Nobody can say to him, ‘You should not be doing that.’

36 When I got my proper mind back, I also got my power back. People gave honour to me. My officers and important men came back to me. So I became the king again. And I became greater than I was before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give honour to the King of heaven. I worship him and I thank him. He does what is right all the time. He is always fair. And some people may think that they are great. He can teach them that they are not great.