41King Nebuchadnezzar sent the following message to the people of all nations, races, and languages in the world:
“Greetings! 2Listen to my account of the wonders and miracles which the Supreme God has shown me.
3“How great are the wonders God shows us!
How powerful are the miracles he performs!
God is king for ever; he will rule for all time.
4“I was living comfortably in my palace, enjoying great prosperity. 5But I had a frightening dream and saw terrifying visions while I was asleep. 6I ordered all the royal advisers in Babylon to be brought to me so that they could tell me what the dream meant. 7Then all the fortune tellers, magicians, wizards, and astrologers were brought in, and I told them my dream, but they could not explain it to me. 8Then Daniel came in. (He is also called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god.) The spirit of the holy gods4.8; 4.9; 4.18 gods; or God. is in him, so I told him what I had dreamt. I said to him: 9Belteshazzar, chief of the fortune tellers, I know that the spirit of the holy gods4.9; 4.18; 4.8 gods; or God. is in you, and that you understand all mysteries. This is4.9 Probable text This is; Aramaic Visions of. my dream. Tell me what it means.
10“While I was asleep, I had a vision of a huge tree in the middle of the earth. 11It grew bigger and bigger until it reached the sky and could be seen by everyone in the world. 12Its leaves were beautiful, and it was loaded down with fruit — enough for the whole world to eat. Wild animals rested in its shade, birds built nests in its branches, and every kind of living being ate its fruit.
13“While I was thinking about the vision, I saw coming down from heaven an angel, alert and watchful. 14He proclaimed in a loud voice, ‘Cut the tree down and chop off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Drive the animals from under it and the birds out of its branches. 15But leave the stump in the ground with a band of iron and bronze round it. Leave it there in the field with the grass.
“ ‘Now let the dew fall on this man, and let him live with the animals and the plants. 16For seven years he will not have a human mind, but the mind of an animal. 17This is the decision of the alert and watchful angels. So then, let all people everywhere know that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses — even to those who are the least important.’
18“This is the dream I had,” said King Nebuchadnezzar. “Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means. None of my royal advisers could tell me, but you can, because the spirit of the holy gods4.18; 4.8; 4.9 gods; or God. is in you.”
19At this, Daniel, who is also called Belteshazzar, was so alarmed that he could not say anything. The king said to him, “Belteshazzar, don't let the dream and its message alarm you.”
Belteshazzar replied, “Your Majesty, I wish that the dream and its explanation applied to your enemies and not to you. 20The tree, so tall that it reached the sky, could be seen by everyone in the world. 21Its leaves were beautiful, and it had enough fruit on it to feed the whole world. Wild animals rested under it, and birds made their nests in its branches.
22“Your Majesty, you are the tree, tall and strong. You have grown so great that you reach the sky, and your power extends over the whole world. 23While Your Majesty was watching, an angel came down from heaven and said, ‘Cut the tree down and destroy it, but leave the stump in the ground. Wrap a band of iron and bronze round it, and leave it there in the field with the grass. Let the dew fall on this man, and let him live there with the animals for seven years.’
24“This, then, is what it means, Your Majesty, and this is what the Supreme God has declared will happen to you. 25You will be driven away from human society and will live with wild animals. For seven years you will eat grass like an ox, and sleep in the open air, where the dew will fall on you. Then you will admit that the Supreme God controls all human kingdoms, and that he can give them to anyone he chooses. 26The angel ordered the stump to be left in the ground. This means that you will become king again when you acknowledge that God rules all the world. 27So then, Your Majesty, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor.4.27 Stop sinning… to the poor; or Make up for your sins by doing what is right and by being merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous.”
28All this did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29Only twelve months later, while he was walking about on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, 30he said, “Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty.”
31Before the words were out of his mouth, a voice spoke from heaven, “King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what I say! Your royal power is now taken away from you. 32You will be driven away from human society, live with wild animals, and eat grass like an ox for seven years. Then you will acknowledge that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses.”
33The words came true immediately. Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of human society and ate grass like an ox. The dew fell on his body, and his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers and his nails as long as birds' claws.
34“When the seven years had passed,” said the king, “I looked up at the sky, and my sanity returned. I praised the Supreme God and gave honour and glory to the one who lives for ever.
“He will rule for ever,
and his kingdom will last for all time.
35He looks on the people of the earth as nothing;
angels in heaven and people on earth
are under his control.
No one can oppose his will
or question what he does.
36“When my sanity returned, my honour, my majesty, and the glory of my kingdom were given back to me. My officials and my noblemen welcomed me, and I was given back my royal power, with even greater honour than before.
37“And now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, honour, and glorify the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right and just, and he can humble anyone who acts proudly.”
51One night King Belshazzar invited a thousand noblemen to a great banquet, and they drank wine together. 2While they were drinking, Belshazzar gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups and bowls which his father5.2; 5.11 There were several kings of Babylonia between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Father may mean predecessor, or the name Nebuchadnezzar may be used for Nabinodus. Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from the Temple in Jerusalem. The king sent for them so that he, his noblemen, his wives, and his concubines could drink out of them. 3At once the gold cups and bowls were brought in, and they all drank wine out of them 4and praised gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5Suddenly a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster wall of the palace, where the light from the lamps was shining most brightly. And the king saw the hand as it was writing. 6He turned pale and was so frightened that his knees began to shake. 7He shouted for someone to bring in the magicians, wizards, and astrologers. When they came in, the king said to them, “Anyone who can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in robes of royal purple, wear a gold chain of honour round his neck, and be the third in power in the kingdom.” 8The royal advisers came forward, but none of them could read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9In his distress King Belshazzar grew even paler, and his noblemen had no idea what to do.
10The queen mother heard the noise made by the king and his noblemen and entered the banqueting hall. She said, “May Your Majesty live for ever! Please do not be so disturbed and look so pale. 11There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods5.11; 5.14 gods; or God. in him. When your father was king, this man showed good sense, knowledge, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father,5.11; 5.2 There were several kings of Babylonia between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Father may mean predecessor, or the name Nebuchadnezzar may be used for Nabinodus. made him chief of the fortune tellers, magicians, wizards, and astrologers. 12He has unusual ability and is wise and skilful in interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining mysteries; so send for this man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, and he will tell you what all this means.”
13Daniel was brought at once into the king's presence, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, that Jewish exile whom my father the king brought here from Judah? 14I have heard that the spirit of the holy gods5.14; 5.11 gods; or God. is in you and that you are skilful and have knowledge and wisdom. 15The advisers and magicians were brought in to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not discover the meaning. 16Now I have heard that you can find hidden meanings and explain mysteries. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be dressed in robes of royal purple, wear a gold chain of honour round your neck, and be the third in power in the kingdom.”
17Daniel replied, “Keep your gifts for yourself or give them to someone else. I will read for Your Majesty what has been written and tell you what it means.
18“The Supreme God made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great king and gave him dignity and majesty. 19He was so great that people of all nations, races, and languages were afraid of him and trembled. If he wanted to kill someone, he did; if he wanted to keep someone alive, he did. He honoured or disgraced anyone he wanted to. 20But because he became proud, stubborn, and cruel, he was removed from his royal throne and lost his place of honour. 21He was driven away from human society, and his mind became like that of an animal. He lived with wild donkeys, ate grass like an ox, and slept in the open air with nothing to protect him from the dew. Finally he admitted that the Supreme God controls all human kingdoms and can give them to anyone he chooses.
22“But you, his son, have not humbled yourself, even though you knew all this. 23You acted against the Lord of heaven and brought in the cups and bowls taken from his Temple. You, your noblemen, your wives, and your concubines drank wine out of them and praised gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone — gods that cannot see or hear and that do not know anything. But you did not honour the God who determines whether you live or die and who controls everything you do. 24That is why God has sent the hand to write these words.
25“This is what was written: ‘Number, number, weight, divisions.’ 26And this is what it means: number, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27weight, you have been weighed on the scales and found to be too light; 28divisions, your kingdom is divided up and given to the Medes and Persians.”5.28 Persians: In Aramaic the word for “Persians” sounds like the word for “division”.
Immediately Belshazzar ordered his servants to dress Daniel in a robe of royal purple and to hang a gold chain of honour round his neck. And he made him the third in power in the kingdom. 30That same night Belshazzar, the king of Babylonia, was killed; 31and Darius the Mede, who was then 62 years old, seized the royal power.
61Darius decided to appoint 120 governors to hold office throughout his empire. 2In addition, he chose Daniel and two others to supervise the governors and to look after the king's interests. 3Daniel soon showed that he could do better work than the other supervisors or the governors. Because he was so outstanding, the king considered putting him in charge of the whole empire. 4Then the other supervisors and the governors tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel administered the empire, but they couldn't, because Daniel was reliable and did not do anything wrong or dishonest. 5They said to one another, “We are not going to find anything of which to accuse Daniel unless it is something in connection with his religion.”
6So they went to see the king and said, “King Darius, may Your Majesty live for ever! 7All of us who administer your empire — the supervisors, the governors, the lieutenant-governors, and the other officials — have agreed that Your Majesty should issue an order and enforce it strictly. Give orders that for thirty days no one be permitted to request anything from any god or from any human being except from Your Majesty. Anyone who violates this order is to be thrown into a pit filled with lions. 8So let Your Majesty issue this order and sign it, and it will be in force, a law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.” 9And so King Darius signed the order. 10When Daniel learnt that the order had been signed, he went home. In an upstairs room of his house there were windows that faced towards Jerusalem. There, just as he had always done, he knelt down at the open windows and prayed to God three times a day.
11When Daniel's enemies observed him praying to God, 12all of them went together to the king to accuse Daniel. They said, “Your Majesty, you signed an order that for the next thirty days anyone who requested anything from any god or from any human being except you, would be thrown into a pit filled with lions.”
The king replied, “Yes, a strict order, a law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.”
13Then they said to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, does not respect Your Majesty or obey the order you issued. He prays regularly three times a day.”
14When the king heard this, he was upset and did his best to find some way to rescue Daniel. He kept trying until sunset. 15Then Daniel's enemies came back to the king and said to him, “Your Majesty knows that according to the laws of the Medes and Persians no order which the king issues can be changed.”
16So the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and he was thrown into the pit filled with lions. He said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve so loyally, rescue you.” 17A stone was put over the mouth of the pit, and the king placed his own royal seal and the seal of his noblemen on the stone, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18Then the king returned to the palace and spent a sleepless night, without food or any form of entertainment.
19At dawn the king got up and hurried to the pit. 20When he got there, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was the God you serve so loyally able to save you from the lions?”
21Daniel answered, “May Your Majesty live for ever! 22God sent his angel to shut the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. He did this because he knew that I was innocent and because I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
23The king was overjoyed and gave orders for Daniel to be pulled up out of the pit. So they pulled him up and saw that he had not been hurt at all, for he trusted God. 24Then the king gave orders to arrest all the men who had accused Daniel, and they were thrown, together with their wives and their children, into the pit filled with lions. Before they even reached the bottom of the pit, the lions pounced on them and broke all their bones.
25Then King Darius wrote to the people of all nations, races, and languages on earth:
“Greetings! 26I command that throughout my empire everyone should fear and respect Daniel's God.
“He is a living God,
and he will rule for ever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his power will never come to an end.
27He saves and rescues;
he performs wonders and miracles
in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from being killed by the lions.”
28Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.