1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had a series of dreams; he was perturbed by this and sleep deserted him.
2 The king then had magicians and soothsayers, sorcerers and Chaldaeans summoned to tell him what his dreams meant. They arrived and stood in the king's presence.
3 The king said to them, 'I have had a dream, and my mind is troubled by a wish to understand it.'
4 The Chaldaeans answered the king: 'May your majesty live for ever! Tell your servants the dream, and we shall reveal its meaning for you.'
5 The king answered the Chaldaeans, 'This is my firm resolve: if you cannot tell me what I dreamt and what it means, I shall have you torn limb from limb and your houses turned into dunghills.
6 If, on the other hand, you can tell me what I dreamt and what it means, I shall give you presents, rewards and high honour. So tell me what I dreamt and what it means.'
7 A second time they said, 'Let the king tell his dream to his servants, and we shall reveal its meaning.'
8 But the king retorted, 'It is plain to me that you are trying to gain time, knowing my proclaimed resolve.
9 If you do not interpret my dream for me, there will be but one sentence passed on you all; you have agreed among yourselves to make me misleading and tortuous speeches while the time goes by. So tell me what my dream was, and then I shall know whether you can interpret it.'
10 The Chaldaeans answered the king, 'Nobody in the world could explain the king's problem; what is more, no other king, governor or chief would think of putting such a question to any magician, soothsayer or Chaldaean.
11 The question the king asks is difficult, and no one can find the king an answer to it, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.'
12 At this the king flew into a rage and ordered all the Babylonian sages to be put to death.
13 On publication of the decree to have the sages killed, search was made for Daniel and his companions to have them put to death.
14 Then, with shrewd and cautious words, Daniel approached Arioch, the king's chief executioner, when he was on his way to kill the Babylonian sages.
15 To this royal official Arioch he said, 'Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?' Arioch explained matters to Daniel,
16 and Daniel went off to ask the king for a stay of execution to give him the opportunity of revealing his interpretation to the king.
17 Daniel then went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah what had happened,
18 urging them to beg the God of heaven to show his mercy and explain the mysterious secret, so that Daniel and his friends might be spared the fate of the other Babylonian sages.
19 The mystery was then revealed to Daniel in a night-vision, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 This is what Daniel said: May the name of God be blessed for ever and ever, since wisdom and power are his alone.
21 It is he who controls the procession of times and seasons, who makes and unmakes kings, who confers wisdom on the wise, and knowledge on those with discernment,
22 who uncovers depths and mysteries, who knows what lies in darkness; and light dwells with him.
23 To you, God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise for having given me wisdom and strength: to me you have explained what we asked you, to us you have explained the king's problem.
24 So Daniel went to see Arioch, whom the king had made responsible for putting the Babylonian sages to death. Going in, he said, 'Do not put the Babylonian sages to death. Take me into the king's presence and I will reveal the meaning to the king.'
25 Arioch lost no time in bringing Daniel to the king. 'Among the exiles from Judah,' he said, 'I have discovered a man who can reveal the meaning to the king.'
26 The king said to Daniel (who had been given the name Belteshazzar), 'Can you tell me what I dreamt and what it means?'
27 Facing the king, Daniel replied, 'None of the sages, soothsayers, magicians or exorcists has been able to tell the king the truth of the mystery which the king has propounded;
28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and who has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what is to take place in the final days. These, then, are the dream and the visions that passed through your head as you lay in bed:
29 'Your Majesty, on your bed your thoughts turned to what would happen in the future, and the Revealer of Mysteries disclosed to you what is to take place.
30 This mystery has been revealed to me, not that I am wiser than anyone else, but for this sole purpose: that the king should learn what it means, and that you should understand your inmost thoughts.
31 'You have had a vision, Your Majesty; this is what you saw: a statue, a great statue of extreme brightness, stood before you, terrible to see.
32 The head of this statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 its legs of iron, its feet part iron, part clay.
34 While you were gazing, a stone broke away, untouched by any hand, and struck the statue, struck its feet of iron and clay and shattered them.
35 Then, iron and clay, bronze, silver and gold, all broke into pieces as fine as chaff on the threshing-floor in summer. The wind blew them away, leaving not a trace behind. And the stone that had struck the statue grew into a great mountain, filling the whole world.
36 This was the dream; we shall now explain to the king what it means.
37 'You, Your Majesty, king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given sovereignty, power, strength and honour-
38 human beings, wild animals, birds of the air, wherever they live, he has entrusted to your rule, making you king of them all -- you are the golden head.
39 And, after you, another kingdom will rise, not as great as yours, and then a third, of bronze, which will rule the whole world.
40 There will be a fourth kingdom, hard as iron, as iron that pulverises and crushes all. Like iron that breaks everything to pieces, it will crush and break all the earlier kingdoms.
41 The feet you saw, part earthenware, part iron, are a kingdom which will be split in two, but which will retain something of the strength of iron, just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together.
42 The feet were part iron, part potter's clay: the kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle.
43 And just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together, so the two will be mixed together in human seed; but they will not hold together any more than iron will blend with clay.
44 In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not pass into the hands of another race: it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms and itself last for ever-
45 just as you saw a stone, untouched by hand, break away from the mountain and reduce iron, bronze, earthenware, silver and gold to powder. The Great God has shown the king what is to take place. The dream is true, the interpretation exact.'
46 At this, King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel; he gave orders for Daniel to be offered an oblation and a fragrant sacrifice.
47 The king said to Daniel, 'Your god is indeed the God of gods, the Master of kings, and the Revealer of Mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.'
48 The king then conferred high rank on Daniel and gave him many handsome presents. He also made him governor of the whole province of Babylon and head of all the sages of Babylon.
49 At Daniel's request, the king entrusted the affairs of the province of Babylon to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego; Daniel himself remained in attendance on the king.