4 1 “King Nebuchadnezzar, to all peoples, nations, and language groups that live in all the land: Peace and prosperity! 2 2 I am delighted to tell you about the signs and wonders that the most high God has done for me.
3 “How 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.”
4 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was relaxing in my home, 5 living luxuriously 6 in my palace. 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. 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. 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. 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, 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! 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
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
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.
13 While I was watching in my mind’s visions 19 on my bed,
a holy sentinel 20 came down from heaven.
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!
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.
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.
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.’
18 “This 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.”
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! 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, 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 – 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. 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’ – 24 this is the interpretation, O king! It is the decision of the Most High that this has happened to my lord the king. 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. 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. 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
28 Now all of this happened 46 to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 After twelve months, he happened to be walking around on the battlements 47 of the royal palace of Babylon. 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?” 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! 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.”
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
34 But at the end of the appointed time 57 I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up 58 toward heaven, and my sanity returned to me.
I extolled the Most High,
and I praised and glorified the one who lives forever.
For his authority is an everlasting authority,
and his kingdom extends from one generation to the next.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are regarded as nothing. 59
He does as he wishes with the army of heaven
and with those who inhabit the earth.
No one slaps 60 his hand
and says to him, ‘What have you done?’
36 At that time my sanity returned to me. I was restored 61 to the honor of my kingdom, and my splendor returned to me. My ministers and my nobles were seeking me out, and I was reinstated 62 over my kingdom. I became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just. He is able to bring down those who live 63 in pride.
5 King Belshazzar 1 prepared a great banquet 2 for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in front of 3 them all. 4 2 While under the influence 5 of the wine, Belshazzar issued an order to bring in the gold and silver vessels – the ones that Nebuchadnezzar his father 6 had confiscated 7 from the temple in Jerusalem 8 – so that the king and his nobles, together with his wives and his concubines, could drink from them. 9 3 So they brought the gold and silver 10 vessels that had been confiscated from the temple, the house of God 11 in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, together with his wives and concubines, drank from them. 4 As they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 At that very moment the fingers of a human hand appeared 12 and wrote on the plaster of the royal palace wall, opposite the lampstand. 13 The king was watching the back 14 of the hand that was writing. 6 Then all the color drained from the king’s face 15 and he became alarmed. 16 The joints of his hips gave way, 17 and his knees began knocking together. 7 The king called out loudly 18 to summon 19 the astrologers, wise men, and diviners. The king proclaimed 20 to the wise men of Babylon that anyone who could read this inscription and disclose its interpretation would be clothed in purple 21 and have a golden collar 22 placed on his neck and be third ruler in the kingdom.
8 So all the king’s wise men came in, but they were unable to read the writing or to make known its 23 interpretation to the king. 9 Then King Belshazzar was very terrified, and he was visibly shaken. 24 His nobles were completely dumbfounded.
10 Due to the noise 25 caused by the king and his nobles, the queen mother 26 then entered the banquet room. She 27 said, “O king, live forever! Don’t be alarmed! Don’t be shaken! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has within him a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, he proved to have 28 insight, discernment, and wisdom like that 29 of the gods. 30 King Nebuchadnezzar your father appointed him chief of the magicians, astrologers, wise men, and diviners. 31 12 Thus there was found in this man Daniel, whom the king renamed Belteshazzar, an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and skill to interpret 32 dreams, solve riddles, and decipher knotty problems. 33 Now summon 34 Daniel, and he will disclose the interpretation.”
13 So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard about you, how there is a spirit of the gods in you, and how you have 35 insight, discernment, and extraordinary wisdom. 15 Now the wise men and 36 astrologers were brought before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation. But they were unable to disclose the interpretation of the message. 16 However, I have heard 37 that you are able to provide interpretations and to decipher knotty problems. Now if you are able to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, you will wear purple and have a golden collar around your neck and be third 38 ruler in the kingdom.”
17 But Daniel replied to the king, “Keep your gifts, and give your rewards to someone else! However, I will read the writing for the king and make known its 39 interpretation. 18 As for you, O king, the most high God bestowed on your father Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, greatness, honor, and majesty. 40 19 Due to the greatness that he bestowed on him, all peoples, nations, and language groups were trembling with fear 41 before him. He killed whom he wished, he spared 42 whom he wished, he exalted whom he wished, and he brought low whom he wished. 20 And when his mind 43 became arrogant 44 and his spirit filled with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and his honor was removed from him. 21 He was driven from human society, his mind 45 was changed to that of an animal, he lived 46 with the wild donkeys, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until he came to understand that the most high God rules over human kingdoms, and he appoints over them whomever he wishes.
22 “But you, his son 47 Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, 48 although you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. You brought before you the vessels from his temple, and you and your nobles, together with your wives and concubines, drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone – gods 49 that cannot see or hear or comprehend! But you have not glorified the God who has in his control 50 your very breath and all your ways! 24 Therefore the palm of a hand was sent from him, and this writing was inscribed.
25 “This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, 51 TEQEL, and PHARSIN. 52 26 This is the interpretation of the words: 53 As for mene 54 – God has numbered your kingdom’s days and brought it to an end. 27 As for teqel – you are weighed on the balances and found to be lacking. 28 As for peres 55 – your kingdom is divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then, on Belshazzar’s orders, 56 Daniel was clothed in purple, a golden collar was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed third ruler in the kingdom. 30 And in that very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, 57 was killed. 58 31 59 So Darius the Mede took control of the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old.