Daniel 4 (HCSB)
4 [a]King Nebuchadnezzar,
To those of every people, nation, and language, who live in all the earth:
May your prosperity increase. 2 I am pleased to tell you about the miracles and wonders the Most High God has done for me.
3 How great are His miracles,
and how mighty His wonders!
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom,
and His dominion is from generation to generation.
4 [b]I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. 5 I had a dream, and it frightened me; while in my bed, the images and visions in my mind alarmed me. 6 So I issued a decree to bring all the wise men of Babylon to me in order that they might make the dream’s interpretation known to me. 7 When the diviner-priests, mediums, Chaldeans, and astrologers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not make its interpretation known to me.
8 Finally Daniel, named Belteshazzar after the name of my god—and the spirit of the holy gods is in him—came before me. I told him the dream: 9 “Belteshazzar, head of the diviners, because I know that you have a spirit of the holy godsand that no mystery puzzles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its interpretation. 10 In the visions of my mind as I was lying in bed, I saw this:
There was a tree in the middle of the earth,
and its height was great.
11 The tree grew large and strong;
its top reached to the sky,
and it was visible to the ends of the[c] earth.
12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit was abundant,
and on it was food for all.
Wild animals found shelter under it,
the birds of the air lived in its branches,
and every creature was fed from it.
13 “As I was lying in my bed, I also saw in the visions of my mind an observer, a holy one,[d] coming down from heaven. 14 He called out loudly:
Cut down the tree and chop off its branches;
strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from under it,
and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave the stump with its roots in the ground,
and with a band of iron and bronze around it,
in the tender grass of the field.
Let him be drenched with dew from the sky
and share the plants of the earth
with the animals.
16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man,
and let him be given the mind of an animal
for seven periods of time.[e][f]
17 This word is by decree of the observers;
the matter is a command from the holy ones.
This is so the living will know
that the Most High is ruler
over the kingdom of men.
He gives it to anyone He wants
and sets the lowliest of men over it.
18 This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because none of the wise men of my kingdom can make the interpretation known to me. But you can, because you have the spirit of the holy gods.”
The Dream Interpreted
19 Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was stunned for a moment, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.”
Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, may the dream apply to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your enemies!20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth, 21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant—and on it was food for all, under it the wild animals lived, and in its branches the birds of the air lived— 22 that tree is you, the king. For you have become great and strong: your greatness has grown and even reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to the ends of the earth.
23 “The king saw an observer, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump with its roots in the ground and with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the tender grass of the field. Let him be drenched with dew from the sky, and share food with the wild animals for seven periods of time.’ 24 This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the sentence of the Most High that has been passed against my lord the king:25 You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals. You will feed on grass like cattle and be drenched with dew from the sky for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men, and He gives it to anyone He wants. 26 As for the command to leave the tree’s stump with its roots, your kingdom will be restored[g] to you as soon as you acknowledge that Heaven[h] rules. 27 Therefore, may my advice seem good to you my king. Separate yourself from your sins by doing what is right, and from your injustices by showing mercy to the needy. Perhaps there will be an extension of your prosperity.”
The Sentence Executed
28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of 12 months, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon, 30 the king exclaimed, “Is this not Babylon the Great that I have built by my vast power to be a royal residence and to display my majestic glory?”
31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you. 32 You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals, and you will feed on grass like cattle for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men, and He gives it to anyone He wants.”
33 At that moment the sentence against Nebuchadnezzar was executed. He was driven away from people. He ate grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky, until his hair grew like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
34 But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever:
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and His kingdom is from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing,
and He does what He wants with the army of heaven
and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can hold back His hand
or say to Him, “What have You done?”
36 At that time my sanity returned to me, and my majesty and splendor returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and my nobles sought me out, I was reestablished over my kingdom, and even more greatness came to me.37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of heaven, because all His works are true and His ways are just. He is able to humble those who walk in pride.