International Standard Version
1 AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE KING To the people of all nations and languages who live on earth. Peace and prosperity to you! 2It gives me great pleasure to tell about the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
3How great are his signs! How powerful are his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and his dominion lasts from generation to generation.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was resting in my home and prospering in my palace. 5I had a dream that made me afraid. The thoughts that went through my mind while in bed and the visions in my head terrified me. 6So I gave an order to bring in all of the advisors of Babylon so they would tell me the interpretation of the dream. 7Then the diviners, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers came in, and I told them the dream. But they could not reveal its interpretation to me. 8Eventually, Daniel appeared before me. (He is called Belteshazzar, in accordance with the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is within him.) I told him my dream: 9"Belteshazzar, chief of the diviners, since I know that the spirit of the holy gods is within you, and no mystery too difficult for you, explain to me the vision of my dream that I saw, along with its interpretation.
10This is what I saw in the visions of my head while I was in bed: I was looking and—listen carefully!—I saw a tree in the middle of the earth, the height of which was very great.
11The tree grew large, became strong, and its top reached the sky. It could be seen to the ends of the earth.
12Its foliage was beautiful, its fruit bountiful, and its food sufficient for everyone. The animals of the field found shade under it, the birds of the sky lived in its branches, and every creature was fed from it.
13"Then I saw in the visions of my head while I was in bed—and take careful notice!—I saw a holy observer descend from heaven.
14He called out aloud: 'Cut down the tree and cut off its branches. Strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit. Let the animals get out from under it, and let the birds leave its branches.
15Nevertheless, leave the stump and its roots in the ground, but bind it with iron and bronze in the field grass. Let him be drenched with dew from the sky, and let him graze with the animals in the grass of the earth.
16Let his mind be changed from that of a man, and let him be given the mind of an animal until seven seasons of time pass by for him.
17This order is announced by the observers, and the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over human kingdoms and grants them to whomever he desires, and he places the least important of men over them.'
18"This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Belteshazzar, tell me its meaning, since none of the advisors in my kingdom can tell me its interpretation. But you are able to do so because the spirit of the holy gods is in you."
19Then Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was greatly troubled for a while and was terrified by his thoughts. The king said, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream or its meaning terrify you." Belteshazzar responded, "Your majesty, if only the dream were about your enemies and its meaning about those who oppose you! 20The tree that you saw, which grew large and strong until its top reached the sky and became visible to the whole earth 21with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit—enough food for everyone—and under which wild animals of the field found shelter and the birds of the air had nests in its branches— 22it's you, your majesty! You've become great and strong, your greatness has grown to the heavens, and your dominion reaches to the distant parts of the earth. 23"Your majesty saw a holy observer descending from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump in the ground, along with its roots, bound with iron and bronze in the field grass. Let him be soaked with the dew of the sky and live with the wild animals of the field until seven seasons pass over him.' 24"This is the meaning, your majesty, and this is the decree that the Most High has issued against his majesty, the king: 25You'll be driven from people, and you'll live among wild animals of the field. You'll eat grass like cattle and be soaked with the dew of the sky while seven years pass you by —until you realize that the Most High is sovereign over human kingdoms and grants them to whomever he desires. 26Just as it was ordered to leave the stump of the tree in the ground along with its roots, so your kingdom will be restored to you when you realize that Heaven rules over everything. 27Therefore, your majesty, may my advice be acceptable to you: Stop your sinning, do what's right, and put a stop to your wickedness by showing kindness to the oppressed. Perhaps your tranquility will continue."
28All of this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29About a year later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30he commented to himself, "Isn't Babylon great? I've built a royal palace in it by my own might and power, for the sake of my majesty." 31As these words were being spoken by the king, a voice came out of heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, this is declared to you: 'The kingdom has been taken from you! 32You're to be driven away from people. You're to live with the wild animals of the field. You are to be made to eat grass like cattle, and seven years will pass you by until you realize that the Most High is sovereign over human kingdoms and grants them to whomever he desires.'" 33The decree was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar immediately. He was driven away from people to eat 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"When that period of time was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven and my sanity returned to me. I blessed the Most High, praising and honoring the one who lives forever: For his sovereignty is eternal, and his kingdom continues from generation to generation.
35All who live on the earth are nothing compared to him. He does what he wishes with the heavenly armies and with those who live on earth. No one can hold back his power or say to him, 'What did you do?'
36At that moment I recovered my sanity, and my honor and majesty returned to me, for the sake of my kingdom. My advisors and officials sought me out, my throne was restored, and even more greatness than I had before was added to me. 37In conclusion, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and give glory to the King of heaven: For everything he does is true, his ways are just, and he is able to humble those who walk in pride."