Bible: Daniel 4:1-33

4:1 1  “King Nebuchadnezzar, to all peoples, nations, and language groups that live in all the land: Peace and prosperity! 2  4:2 I am delighted to tell you about the signs and wonders that the most high God has done for me.

4:3How great are his signs!

How mighty are his wonders!

His kingdom will last forever, 3 

and his authority continues from one generation to the next.”

Nebuchadnezzar Dreams of a Tree Chopped Down

4:4 4  I, Nebuchadnezzar, was relaxing in my home, 5  living luxuriously 6  in my palace. 4:5 I saw a dream that 7  frightened me badly. The things I imagined while lying on my bed – these visions of my mind – were terrifying me. 4:6 So I issued an order 8  for all the wise men of Babylon to be brought 9  before me so that they could make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 4:7 When the magicians, astrologers, wise men, and diviners entered, I recounted the dream for them. But they were unable to make known its interpretation to me. 4:8 Later Daniel entered (whose name is Belteshazzar after the name of my god, 10  and in whom there is a spirit of the holy gods). I recounted the dream for him as well, 4:9 saying, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, in whom I know there to be a spirit of the holy gods and whom no mystery baffles, consider 11  my dream that I saw and set forth its interpretation! 4:10 Here are the visions of my mind 12  while I was on my bed.

While I was watching,

there was a tree in the middle of the land. 13 

It was enormously tall. 14 

4:11 The tree grew large and strong.

Its top reached far into the sky;

it could be seen 15  from the borders of all the land. 16 

4:12 Its foliage was attractive and its fruit plentiful;

on it there was food enough for all.

Under it the wild animals 17  used to seek shade,

and in its branches the birds of the sky used to nest.

All creatures 18  used to feed themselves from it.

4:13 While I was watching in my mind’s visions 19  on my bed,

a holy sentinel 20  came down from heaven.

4:14 He called out loudly 21  as follows: 22 

‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches!

Strip off its foliage

and scatter its fruit!

Let the animals flee from under it

and the birds from its branches!

4:15 But leave its taproot 23  in the ground,

with a band of iron and bronze around it 24 

surrounded by the grass of the field.

Let it become damp with the dew of the sky,

and let it live with 25  the animals in the grass of the land.

4:16 Let his mind 26  be altered from that of a human being,

and let an animal’s mind be given to him,

and let seven periods of time 27  go by for 28  him.

4:17 This announcement is by the decree of the sentinels;

this decision is by the pronouncement of the holy ones,

so that 29  those who are alive may understand

that the Most High has authority over human kingdoms, 30 

and he bestows them on whomever he wishes.

He establishes over them even the lowliest of human beings.’

4:18This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its 31  interpretation, for none of the wise men in 32  my kingdom are able to make known to me the interpretation. But you can do so, for a spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

4:19 Then Daniel (whose name is also Belteshazzar) was upset for a brief time; 33  his thoughts were alarming him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream and its interpretation alarm you.” But Belteshazzar replied, “Sir, 34  if only the dream were for your enemies and its interpretation applied to your adversaries! 4:20 The tree that you saw that grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky, and which could be seen 35  in all the land, 4:21 whose foliage was attractive and its fruit plentiful, and from which there was food available for all, under whose branches wild animals 36  used to live, and in whose branches birds of the sky used to nest 4:22 it is you, 37  O king! For you have become great and strong. Your greatness is such that it reaches to heaven, and your authority to the ends of the earth. 4:23 As for the king seeing a holy sentinel coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its taproot in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze around it, surrounded by the grass of the field. Let it become damp with the dew of the sky, and let it live with the wild animals, until seven periods of time go by for him’ – 4:24 this is the interpretation, O king! It is the decision of the Most High that this has happened to my lord the king. 4:25 You will be driven 38  from human society, 39  and you will live 40  with the wild animals. You will be fed 41  grass like oxen, 42  and you will become damp with the dew of the sky. Seven periods of time will pass by for you, before 43  you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes. 4:26 They said to leave the taproot of the tree, for your kingdom will be restored to you when you come to understand that heaven 44  rules. 4:27 Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you. Break away from your sins by doing what is right, and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps your prosperity will be prolonged.” 45 

4:28 Now all of this happened 46  to King Nebuchadnezzar. 4:29 After twelve months, he happened to be walking around on the battlements 47  of the royal palace of Babylon. 4:30 The king uttered these words: “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence 48  by my own mighty strength 49  and for my majestic honor? 4:31 While these words were still on the king’s lips, 50  a voice came down from heaven: “It is hereby announced to you, 51  King Nebuchadnezzar, that your kingdom has been removed from you! 4:32 You will be driven from human society, and you will live with the wild animals. You will be fed grass like oxen, and seven periods of time will pass by for you before 52  you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes.”

4:33 Now in that very moment 53  this pronouncement about 54  Nebuchadnezzar came true. 55  He was driven from human society, he ate grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until his hair became long like an eagle’s feathers, and his nails like a bird’s claws. 56 

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