The King’s Forgotten Dream
1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams by which his spirit was troubled and agitated and his sleep went from him. 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, the enchanters or soothsayers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans [diviners], to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3 And the king said to them, I had a dream and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.
4 Then said the Chaldeans [diviners] to the king in Aramaic [the Syrian language], O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 5 The king answered the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me! And the decree goes forth from me and I say it with all emphasis: if you do not make known to me the dream with its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces and your houses shall be made a dunghill! 6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So show me the dream and the interpretation of it. 7 They answered again, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it. 8 The king answered, I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see the thing is gone from me and because you see that my word [against you] is sure: 9 If you will not make known to me the dream, there is but one sentence for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me [hoping to delay your execution] until the time is changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I will know that you can tell me the interpretation of it. 10 The Chaldeans [diviners] answered before the king and said, There is not a man on earth who can show the king this matter, for no king, lord, or ruler has [ever] asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 A rare and weighty thing indeed the king requires! None except the gods can reveal it to the king, and their dwelling is not with [human] flesh.
12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13 So the decree went forth that the wise men were to be killed, and [the officers] sought Daniel and his companions to be slain.
14 Then Daniel returned an answer which was full of prudence and wisdom to Arioch the captain or executioner of the king's guard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon. 15 He said to Arioch, the king's captain, Why is the decree so urgent and hasty from the king? Then Arioch explained the matter to Daniel. 16 And Daniel went in and desired of the king that he would set a date and give him time, and he would show the king the interpretation.
17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 So that they would desire and request mercy of the God of heaven concerning this secret, that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
The Secret Is Revealed to Daniel
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever! For wisdom and might are His! 21 He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding! 22 He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him! 23 I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers, Who has given me wisdom and might and has made known to me now what we desired of You, for You have made known to us the solution to the king's problem.
24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and said thus to him: Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon! Bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation.
25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: I have found a man of the captives of Judah who will make known to the king the interpretation [of his dream]. 26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and the interpretation of it? 27 Daniel answered the king, The [mysterious] secret which the king has demanded neither the wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor astrologers can show the king, 28 But there is a God in heaven Who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what it is that shall be in the latter days (at the end of days). Your dream and the visions in your head upon your bed are these: 29 As for you, O king, as you were lying upon your bed thoughts came into your mind about what should come to pass hereafter, and He Who reveals secrets was making known to you what shall come to pass. 30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than anyone else living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king and that you may know the thoughts of your heart and mind.
The King’s Dream
31 You, O king, saw, and behold, [there was] a great image. This image which was mighty and of exceedingly great brightness stood before you, and the appearance of it was frightening and terrible. 32 As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 Its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay [the baked clay of the potter]. 34 As you looked, a Stone was cut out without human hands, which smote the image on its feet of iron and [baked] clay [of the potter] and broke them to pieces. 35 Then the iron, the [baked] clay [of the potter], the bronze, the silver, and the gold were broken and crushed together and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them could be found. And the Stone that smote the image became a great mountain or rock and filled the whole earth.
The Interpretation—Babylon the First Kingdom
36 This was the dream, and we will tell the interpretation of it to the king. 37 You, O king, are king of the [earthly] kings to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory. 38 And wherever the children of men dwell, and the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens -- "He has given them into your hand and has made you to rule over them all. You [king of Babylon] are the head of gold.
Medo-Persia and Greece
39 And after you shall arise another kingdom [the Medo-Persian], inferior to you, and still a third kingdom of bronze [Greece under Alexander the Great] which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40 And the fourth kingdom [Rome] shall be strong as iron, since iron breaks to pieces and subdues all things; and like iron which crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of [baked] clay [of the potter] and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but there shall be in it some of the firmness and strength of iron, just as you saw the iron mixed with miry [earthen] clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of [baked] clay [of the potter], so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle and broken. 43 And as you saw the iron mixed with miry and earthen clay, so they shall mingle themselves in the seed of men [in marriage bonds]; but they will not hold together [for two such elements or ideologies can never harmonize], even as iron does not mingle itself with clay.
The Divine Kingdom
44 And in the days of these [final ten] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people; but it shall break and crush and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever. 45 Just as you saw that the Stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter. The dream is certain and the interpretation of it is sure.
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and paid homage to Daniel [as a great prophet of the highest God] and ordered that an offering and incense should be offered up to him [in honor of his God]. 47 The king answered Daniel, Of a truth your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a Revealer of secret mysteries, seeing that you could reveal this secret mystery! 48 Then the king made Daniel great and gave him many great gifts, and he made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel requested of the king and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained in the gate of the king [at the king's court].