1 In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign the king had dreams that upset him so much that he found it difficult to sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. They came in and stood before him. 3 “I've had a dream that has really upset me,” he told them. “I need to know what it means.”
The astrologers answered the king in Aramaic,*
“May Your Majesty the king live forever! Tell us your dream and we your servants will interpret it for you.”
“I can't recall it,”†
the king told the astrologers. “If you can't reveal the dream to me, and its meaning, you will be cut into pieces and your houses will be totally destroyed! 6
But if you can tell me the dream and its meaning you will receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. So tell me the dream and what it means!”
7 Again they said the same thing: “If Your Majesty the king would tell us his servants the dream, we will explain what it means.”
“It's obvious to me that you're just trying to buy time!” said the king. “You can see that I can't remember the dream.‡ 9
If you can't reveal the dream to me, you will all receive the same punishment! You have conspired against me, telling me lies, hoping things will change. So tell me what my dream was and then I'll know that you can explain what it means.”
10 The astrologers answered the king, “No one on earth could tell the king what he dreamed! Never before has a king, however great and powerful, demanded this of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! 11 What Your Majesty is asking is impossible! No one can tell Your Majesty what you dreamed, except the gods, and they do not live among us mortals.”
This made the king extremely angry, and he ordered all the wise men of Babylon executed. 13
The decree was issued. The wise men were about to be executed, and the king's men§
went looking for Daniel and his friends.
Daniel approached Arioch, the commander of the imperial guard, whom the king had put in charge of the order to execute all the wise men of Babylon.*
Wisely and tactfully 15
Daniel asked him, “Why would the king issue such a harsh decree?” So Arioch explained to Daniel what had happened. 16
Daniel immediately went to see the king and asked for more time to explain the dream and its meaning to him.
17 Then Daniel went home and shared with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what was going on. 18 He told them to pray to the God of heaven, asking for help regarding this mystery, so that he and his friends would not be killed along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
19 That night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven:
“Praise the wonderful nature†
of God forever and ever, for he is wise and powerful. 21
He is in charge of time and history.‡
He removes kings, and he sets kings in place. He gives wisdom to make people wise; he gives knowledge to people so they can understand. 22
He reveals deep, mysterious things. He knows what lies in darkness, and light lives in his presence. 23
I give thanks and praise to you, God of my fathers, for you have given me wisdom and power. Now you have revealed to me what we asked you; you have revealed to us the king's dream.”
24 So Daniel went to Arioch whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon and told him, “Don't execute the wise men of Babylon! Take me to see the king and I will explain to him his dream.”
25 Arioch immediately took Daniel to the king and told him, “I've found one of the captives from Judah who can tell Your Majesty what your dream means.”
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you really able to tell me what my dream was, and what it means?”
27 “No wise men or enchanters or magicians or diviners can explain the mystery Your Majesty wants to know,” Daniel replied. 28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the last days. Your dream and the visions that came to your mind as you were lying in bed were these. 29 As Your Majesty lay there, your thoughts turned to the future, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what would take place. 30 It's not because I have any more wisdom than anyone else that this mystery has been revealed to me, but to explain to Your Majesty what you were thinking about so you could understand.
31 Your Majesty, as you looked, there before you stood a great statue. The statue standing in front of you was huge, and blazingly bright. It looked terrifying! 32 The head of the statue was gold, the chest and arms were silver, its middle and thighs were bronze, 33 its legs were iron, and its feet were iron and baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a stone was quarried, but not by human hands. It struck the iron and clay feet of the statue and smashed them to pieces. 35 Then the rest of the statue—the bronze, the silver, and the gold—broke into pieces like the iron and clay. The wind blew them all away like chaff from the summer threshing floor, so that no trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
This was the dream, and now we will explain what it means to the king. 37
Your Majesty, you are the king of kings to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, and power, strength, and glory. 38
He gave you control over all peoples,§
as well as the wild animals and birds. He made you ruler of all of them. You are the head of gold.
39 But after you another kingdom will rise that is inferior to your kingdom and will replace yours. After that a third kingdom that is bronze will rise and rule over the whole world. 40 The fourth kingdom will be strong as iron and in the same way that iron crushes and smashes everything; it will crush and smash all others. 41 You saw the feet and toes made from iron and baked clay, and this indicates it will be a divided kingdom. It will have some of the strength of iron but mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 In the same way that you saw the iron mixed with ordinary clay, so the people will mix but they will not stick together just as iron and clay do not mix.
During the time of these kings*
the God of heaven will set up an eternal kingdom that will never be destroyed or taken over by others. It will crush all these kingdoms, bringing them to an end, and it will last forever, 45
in the same way that you saw the stone quarried from the mountain, but not by human hands, crush the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God has revealed to Your Majesty what is to come. The dream is true, and the explanation is trustworthy.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell down before Daniel and worshiped him, and ordered offerings of grain and incense to be made to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, the revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
48 Then the king promoted Daniel to a high position and gave him many expensive gifts, making him governor over the whole province of Babylon and head of all the wise men of Babylon. 49 At Daniel's request, the king placed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in charge of the province of Babylon, and Daniel remained at the king's court.