1In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him. 2Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be called to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3The king said to them, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”
4Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in the Syrian language, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
5The king answered the Chaldeans, “The thing has gone from me. If you don’t make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be cut in pieces, and your houses will be made a dunghill. 6But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.”
7They answered the second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
8The king answered, “I know of a certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see the thing has gone from me. 9But if you don’t make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the situation changes. Therefore tell me the dream, and I will know that you can show me its interpretation.”
10The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on the earth who can show the king’s matter, because no king, lord, or ruler has asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or Chaldean. 11It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
12Because of this, the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13So the decree went out, and the wise men were to be slain. They sought Daniel and his companions to be slain.
14Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. 15He answered Arioch the king’s captain, “Why is the decree so urgent from the king?” Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. 16Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation.
17Then Daniel went to his house and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret, that Daniel and his companions would not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20Daniel answered,
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever;
for wisdom and might are his.
21He changes the times and the seasons.
He removes kings and sets up kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise,
and knowledge to those who have understanding.
22He reveals the deep and secret things.
He knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23I thank you and praise you,
O God of my fathers,
who have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we desired of you;
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
24Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said this to him: “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon. Bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation.”
25Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said this to him: “I have found a man of the children of the captivity of Judah who will make known to the king the interpretation.”
26The king answered Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”
27Daniel answered before the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded can’t be shown to the king by wise men, enchanters, magicians, or soothsayers; 28but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head on your bed are these:
29“As for you, O king, your thoughts came on your bed, what should happen hereafter; and he who reveals secrets has made known to you what will happen. 30But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31“You, O king, saw, and behold, a great image. This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and its appearance was terrifying. 32As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay. 34You saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors. The wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them. The stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36“This is the dream; and we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory. 38Wherever the children of men dwell, he has given the animals of the field and the birds of the sky into your hand, and has made you rule over them all. You are the head of gold.
39“After you, another kingdom will arise that is inferior to you; and another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. 40The fourth kingdom will be strong as iron, because iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things; and as iron that crushes all these, it will break in pieces and crush. 41Whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay and part of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but there will be in it of the strength of the iron, because you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. 42As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43Whereas you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, they will mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they won’t cling to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay.
44“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, nor will its sovereignty be left to another people; but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever. 45Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will happen hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
46Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him. 47The king answered to Daniel, and said, “Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret.”
48Then the king made Daniel great and gave him many great gifts, and made him rule over the whole province of Babylon and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 49Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon, but Daniel was in the king’s gate.
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that upset him so much that he was going to kill all his wise men and advisors because they couldn’t help explain the dream. Daniel and his friends were also part of the team to be killed as they were advisors in the court. Daniel asks for a reprieve for all his colleagues and prays to God to reveal the dream and its meaning. In a vision God reveals the dream and its meaning to Daniel.
In verse 30 Daniel assures the king that it is not his knowledge but God himself who revealed the dream. Daniel was able to tell King Nebuchadnezzar everything he needed to know and in doing so the lives of the court officials were spared. In addition to this Daniel and his friends take up esteemed positions in the royal court as a reward for their help.
Daniel’s plan was not about gaining power, but about showing the glory of God in a place where people did not know him. Even if God’s people are in a place of defeat, God himself is still an awesome God to whom no one compares. In v 47 even the pagan king declares that Daniels God is the greatest of Gods, the Lord over kings. Can you imagine the significance of this, the nation of Babylon intent on wiping out every trace of the history of God’s people, seeking to build up their own nation through brainwashing every captive into their culture? Yet now in the presence of all his officials King Nebuchadnezzar gives praise, glory and Honour to the one true God. Not only that, but now God has placed four righteous men right in the heart of the stronghold Kingdom of Babylon.