1 During Nebuchadnezzar’s second year as king, he had dreams. They bothered him, and he could not sleep. 2 So the king called his wise men to come to him. They used magic and watched the stars. They did this to try to interpret dreams and to learn what would happen in the future. The king wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed, so they came in and stood in front of him.
3 Then the king said to them, “I had a dream that bothers me. I want to know what it means.”
4 Then the Chaldeans answered the king. They spoke Aramaic* Aramaic The text of Daniel from here to 7:28 is written in Aramaic. See “Aramaic” in the Word List. and said, “King, live forever! Please tell your dream to us, your servants, and then we will tell you what it means.”
5 Then King Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “No, you must tell me the dream, and then you must tell me what it means. If you don’t, I will give an order for you to be cut into pieces. And I will order your houses to be destroyed until they are nothing but piles of dust and ashes. 6 But if you tell me my dream and explain its meaning, I will give you gifts, rewards, and great honor. So tell me about my dream and what it means.”
7 Again the wise men said to the king, “Please, Sir, tell us about the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”
8 Then King Nebuchadnezzar answered, “I know that you are trying to get more time. You know that I meant what I said. 9 You know that you will be punished if you don’t tell me about my dream. So you have all agreed to lie to me. You are hoping for more time so that I will forget what I want you to do. Now tell me the dream. If you can tell me the dream, I will know that you can tell me what it really means.”
10 The Chaldeans answered the king. They said, “There is not a man on earth who can do what the king is asking! No king has ever asked the wise men, the men who do magic, or the Chaldeans to do something like this. Not even the greatest and most powerful king has ever asked his wise men to do such a thing. 11 The king is asking something that is too hard to do. Only the gods could tell the king his dream and what it means. But the gods don’t live with people.”
12 When the king heard that, he became very angry. So he gave an order for all the wise men of Babylon to be killed. 13 King Nebuchadnezzar’s order to kill all the wise men was announced. The king’s men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to kill them.
14 Arioch was the commander of the king’s guards. He was going to kill the wise men of Babylon, but Daniel talked to him. Daniel spoke politely to Arioch 15 and said, “Why did the king order such a severe punishment?”
Then Arioch explained the whole story about the king’s dreams, and Daniel understood. 16 When Daniel heard the story, he went to King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel asked the king to give him some more time. Then he would tell the king what the dream meant.
17 So Daniel went to his house. He explained the whole story to his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 18 Daniel asked his friends to pray to the God of heaven that God would be kind to them and help them understand this secret. Then Daniel and his friends would not be killed with the other wise men of Babylon.
19 During the night, God explained the secret to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said,
“Praise God’s name forever and ever!
Power and wisdom belong to him.
21 He changes the times and seasons.
He gives power to kings,
and he takes their power away.
He gives wisdom to people, so they become wise.
He lets people learn things and become wise.
22 He knows hidden secrets that are hard to understand.
Light lives with him,
so he knows what is in the dark and secret places.
23 God of my ancestors, I thank you and praise you.
You gave me wisdom and power.
You told us what we asked for.
You told us about the king’s dream.”
Daniel Tells What the Dream Means
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, the man who King Nebuchadnezzar had chosen to kill the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to Arioch, “Don’t kill the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king. I will tell him what his dream means.”
25 So very quickly, Arioch took Daniel to the king. Arioch said to the king, “I have found a man among the captives† captives People taken away as prisoners. Here, it means the Jewish people who were taken to Babylon. from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26 The king asked Daniel (Belteshazzar) a question. He said, “Are you able to tell me about my dream, and what it means?”
27 Daniel answered, “King Nebuchadnezzar, no wise man, no man who does magic, and no Chaldean could tell the king the secret things he has asked about. 28 But there is a God in heaven who tells secret things. God has given King Nebuchadnezzar dreams to show him what will happen later. This was your dream, and this is what you saw while lying on your bed: 29 King, as you were lying there on your bed, you began thinking about what might happen in the future. God can tell people about secret things—he has shown you what will happen in the future. 30 God also told this secret to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other men, but so that you, king, may know what it means. In that way you will understand what went through your mind.
31 “King, in your dream you saw a large statue in front of you that was very large and shiny. It was very impressive. 32 The head of the statue was made from pure gold. Its chest and the arms were made from silver. The belly and upper part of the legs were made from bronze. 33 The lower part of the legs was made from iron. Its feet were made partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 While you were looking at the statue, you saw a rock that was cut loose, but not by human hands. Then the rock hit the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold broke to pieces all at the same time. And all the pieces became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summertime. The wind blew them away, and there was nothing left. No one could tell that a statue had ever been there. Then the rock that hit the statue became a very large mountain and filled up the whole earth.
36 “That was your dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. 37 King, you are the most important king. The God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory. 38 He has given you control, and you rule over people and the wild animals and the birds. Wherever they live, God has made you ruler over them all. King Nebuchadnezzar, you are that head of gold on the statue.
39 “Another kingdom will come after you, but it will not be as great as your kingdom. Next, a third kingdom will rule over the earth—that is the bronze part. 40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom. That kingdom will be strong like iron. Just as iron breaks things and smashes them to pieces, that fourth kingdom will break all the other kingdoms and smash them to pieces.
41 “You saw that the feet and toes of the statue were partly clay and partly iron. That means the fourth kingdom will be a divided kingdom. It will have some of the strength of iron in it just as you saw the iron mixed with clay. 42 The toes of the statue were partly iron and partly clay. So the fourth kingdom will be partly strong like iron and partly weak like clay. 43 You saw the iron mixed with clay, but iron and clay don’t completely mix together. In the same way the people of the fourth kingdom will be a mixture. They will not be united as one people.
44 “During the time of the kings of the fourth kingdom, the God of heaven will set up another kingdom that will continue forever. It will never be destroyed. And it will be the kind of kingdom that cannot be passed on to another group of people. This kingdom will crush all the other kingdoms. It will bring them to an end, but that kingdom itself will continue forever.
45 “King Nebuchadnezzar, you saw a rock cut from a mountain, but no one cut that rock. The rock broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold to pieces. In this way God showed you what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and you can trust that this is what it means.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed down in front of Daniel to honor him. The king praised him. He gave an order that an offering and incense be given to honor Daniel. 47 Then the king said to Daniel, “I know for sure your God is the God over all gods and the Lord over all kings. He tells people about things they cannot know. I know this is true because you were able to tell these secret things to me.”
48 Then the king gave Daniel a very important job in his kingdom and gave him many expensive gifts. Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon and put him in charge of all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel asked the king to make Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego important officials over the province of Babylon. The king did as Daniel asked. Daniel himself became one of the important officials who was always near the king.
*2:4 Aramaic The text of Daniel from here to 7:28 is written in Aramaic. See “Aramaic” in the Word List.
†2:25 captives People taken away as prisoners. Here, it means the Jewish people who were taken to Babylon.