Daniel - 2

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