Daniel 2:31–4:27

31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue,l awesomem in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.n It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashedo them.p 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them awayq without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountainr and filled the whole earth.s

36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.t 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings.u The God of heaven has given you dominionv and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all.w You are that head of gold.

39 “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.x 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.y 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crushz all those kingdomsa and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.b 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rockc cut out of a mountain, but not by human handsd—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future.e The dream is truef and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrateg before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offeringh and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of godsi and the Lord of kingsj and a revealer of mysteries,k for you were able to reveal this mystery.l

48 Then the king placed Daniel in a highm position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.n 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon,o while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.p

The Image of Gold and the Blazing Furnace

3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an imageq of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide,a and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps,r prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officialss to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language,t this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp,u pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the imagev of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.w Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”x

Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.y

At this time some astrologersb z came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever!a 10 Your Majesty has issued a decreeb that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,c 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegod—who pay no attentione to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”f

13 Furiousg with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my godsh or worship the imagei of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what godj will be able to rescuek you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegol replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliverm us from it, and he will delivern usc from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.o

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated sevenp times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegoq and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,r 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God,s come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal adviserst crowded around them.u They saw that the firev had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angelw and rescuedx his servants! They trustedy in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.z 29 Therefore I decreea that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble,b for no other god can savec in this way.”

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.d

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree

4 a King Nebuchadnezzar,

To the nations and peoples of every language,e who live in all the earth:

May you prosper greatly!f

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signsg and wonders that the Most High Godh has performed for me.

How great are his signs,

how mighty his wonders!i

His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;

his dominion enduresj from generation to generation.

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contentedk and prosperous. I had a dreaml that made me afraid. As I was lying in bed,m the images and visions that passed through my mindn terrified me.o So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpretp the dream for me. When the magicians,q enchanters, astrologersb and divinersr came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me.s Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar,t after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy godsu is in him.)

I said, “Belteshazzar, chiefv of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy godsw is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me. 10 These are the visions I saw while lying in bed:x I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.y 11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.z 12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches;a from it every creature was fed.

13 “In the visions I saw while lying in bed,b I looked, and there before me was a holy one,c a messenger,c coming down from heaven. 14 He called in a loud voice: ‘Cut down the treed and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from

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