1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all people, nations, and languages who dwell in all the earth: "May peace be multiplied to you. 2 I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God has wrought toward me.
3 "How great his signs are! And how mighty his wonders are! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
4 "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore, I made a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, so that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told the dream before them, but they did not make known to me its interpretation. 8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and before him I told the dream, saying, 9 'O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen and its interpretation.
10 'Thus were the visions of my head in my bed: I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great.
11 'The tree grew and was strong, and its height reached to heaven and its sight to the end of all the earth.
12 Its leaves were fair and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field had shade under it, the birds of heaven dwelt among its boughs, and all flesh was fed from it.
13 'I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven.
14 He cried aloud, and said thus: "Hew down the tree and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts escape from under it and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let its portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth.
16 Let his heart be changed from man's and let a beast's heart be given to him, and let seven times pass over him.
17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones, to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he wishes and sets up the basest of men over it."
18 'This dream I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, O Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation. But you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.'
19 "Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spoke, and said, 'Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.' Belteshazzar answered, and said, 'My lord, may the dream be to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your enemies. 20 The tree that you saw, which grew and was strong, whose height reached to the heaven and its sight to all the earth, 21 Whose leaves were fair, its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the birds of heaven had their habitation— 22 It is you, O king, who has grown and become strong, for your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 23 And the king saw a watcher and a holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, "Hew the tree down and destroy it, yet leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let its portion be with the beasts of the field, until seven times shall pass over him." 24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall cause you to eat grass as oxen and they shall wet you with the dew of heaven. And seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he wishes. 26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots, your kingdom shall be sure to you, after you know that the heavens rule. 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of your tranquility.'
28 "All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, and said, 'Is this not great Babylon, which I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty?' 31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, 'O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken, "The kingdom has departed from you. 32 And they shall drive you from men and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall cause you to eat grass as oxen. And seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he wishes."' 33 The same hour, the thing was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from men and ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.
34 "And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven and my understanding returned to me. And I blessed the most High and I praised and honored him who lives forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.
35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing. And he does according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. And no one can stay his hand, or say to him, 'What are you doing?'
36 "At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and brightness returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me. I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth and his ways are judgment. And he is able to abase those who walk in pride."
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter was written by Nebuchadnezzar himself, and was either taken out of his archives, or given by him to Daniel, who under divine inspiration inserted it into this work of his, and a very useful instruction it contains, showing the sovereignty of God over the greatest kings and potentates of the earth, and this acknowledged by one of the proudest monarchs that ever lived upon it. It begins with a preface saluting all nations and declaring the greatness and power of God (Daniel 4:1-3); then follows the narrative of a dream the king dreamed, which troubled him, upon which he called for his wise men to interpret it, but in vain; at length he told it to Daniel (Daniel 4:4-9); the dream itself, which being told, astonished Daniel, the king being so much interested in it (Daniel 4:10-19); the interpretation of it, with Daniel’s advice upon it (Daniel 4:20-27); the fulfilment of it, time and occasion thereof (Daniel 4:28-33). Nebuchadnezzar’s restoration to his reason and kingdom, for which he praises God (Daniel 4:34-37).