The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Daniel
Chapter 2
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In the second year of his reign,Nabuchodonosor had a dream; and his mind, between sleep and waking, was all distraught.
Diviner and sage, soothsayer and astrologer must be summoned without more ado, to pronounce on the royal dream;
and when they were admitted to his presence, he said to them, I have had a dream, but my mind is so distraught, I cannot tell what it was.
And the astrologers gave him answer.


Long life to the king’s grace! Be pleased to tell us what the dream was, and it shall be interpreted.
Why, said the king, I know no more than this; dream and interpretation both you must needs tell me, or else your lives must be forfeit, and your houses put to public use.
Gifts and great honour shall be your reward, if you will but tell me both. Come now, what dreamt I, and what meant my dream?

Once again they demurred; would the king be pleased to recount his dream to them, interpreted it should be forthwith.
Nay, said the king, I see how it is, you are trying shifts with me. You know well there is but one way to it;
dream of mine or doom of yours it must be. Some lying story you have ready, that will suit your turn; how shall I know your interpretation is right, if you cannot tell me what dream I saw?
Nay, said they, never a man on earth could do what the king’s grace asks. Princes and great rulers there have been a many, but none of them yet, from diviner, sage or astrologer, expected so much!
Here is riddle indeed thou wouldst have us read for thee, lord king; where is counsellor can tell thee the secret? Unless it were the gods only, and they walk not with men.

At this, the king was in such a taking of fury that he would have all the wise men of Babylon put to death;
and, once the warrant was out for the extinction of them, there was hue and cry against Daniel and his fellows.
Arioch it was, the captain of the king’s guard, that was commissioned to rid Babylon of all its wise men, and from him Daniel would have the why and wherefore of it;
here was cruel work committed to him; what moved the king’s grace to be so absolute? And, when Arioch had made all clear to him,
into the king’s presence he went, asking for more time to answer the royal question.
So, returning to his fellows, Ananias, Misael and Azarias, he made all known to them,
and would have them cry out upon the God of heaven for better knowledge of his secret, without which both he and they should perish in the general massacre of the wise men.

Then, in a vision by night, the secret was revealed to Daniel, and he fell to praising the God of heaven,
with such words as these: Blessed be the Lord’s name from the beginning to the end of time; his are the wisdom and the power;
change and chance of our mortal life he rules, crowns one man and discrowns another. Wisdom of the wise, skill of the skilful, what are they but his gift?
The hidden depths he can lay bare, read the secrets of the dark; does not light dwell with him?
God of our fathers, I give thee thanks and praise for thus enabling, thus enlightening me; for prayer answered, doubt resolved, and the king’s thought revealed.

With that, he betook himself to Arioch, that was to slay the wise men, and made suit to him, slay the wise men he should not. Thou hast but to take me into the king’s presence, said he, and the riddle shall be read.
Without more ado, Arioch granted his request; here was an exile from Juda, he said, that would answer the royal question.
Is this true? the king asked of Daniel. Canst thou, Baltassar, tell me the dream and its meaning both?
And Daniel spoke out in the royal presence, Never wizard or sage, never diviner or prophet, that can give the king’s grace an answer!
But there is a God in heaven, king Nabuchodonosor, that makes hidden things plain; he it is that has sent thee warning of what must befall long hence. Let me tell thee what thy dream was, what visions disturbed thy sleep.
As thou wast lying there abed, my lord king, thy thoughts still turned on future times; and he that makes hidden things plain revealed to thee what the pattern of those times should be.
If the secret was disclosed to me also, it is not that I have wisdom beyond the wont of living men; I was but the instrument by which the meaning of it was to be made known, and a king’s thoughts unravelled.

A vision thou hadst of a great image; what splendour, how terrible an aspect it was that confronted thee!
Of fine gold the head, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze;
of iron the legs, and of the feet, too, part was iron, part was but earthenware.
And as thou wert watching it, from the mountain-side fell a stone no hands had quarried, dashed against the feet of yonder image, part iron, part clay, and shattered them.
With that, down came iron and clay, down came bronze and silver and gold; chaff of the threshing-floor was never so scattered on the summer breeze. They were gone, none knew whither; and stone that had shattered image grew into a high mountain, filling the whole earth.

So much for the dream, and now we that know the secret of it will tell the king’s grace what it means.
Thou hast kings for thy vassals; royalty, power, dominion and great renown the God of heaven has bestowed on thee;
every haunt of man and wild beast and flying bird he has given over to thee, all alike he has made subject to thee; the head of gold, who else but thou?
Another and a lesser empire must follow thine, one of silver, then another of bronze, still wide as the world;
then a fourth, of iron, breaking down and crushing all before it, as iron has power all-conquering, all-subduing.
But feet and toes of the image were part iron, part clay; this fourth empire will be divided within itself. Foundation of iron there shall yet be, from which it springs; sure enough, in the feet thou sawest, earthenware was mixed with true steel.
Yet was true steel mixed with base earthenware, token that this empire shall be in part firmly established, in part brittle.
Iron and clay mingled; race of the conquerors shall be adulterated with common human stock; as well mix clay with iron!

And while those empires yet flourish, another empire the God of heaven will bring into being, never to be destroyed, never to be superseded; conqueror of all these others, itself unconquerable.
This is that stone thou sawest none ever quarried, that fell from the mountain-side, bringing clay and iron and bronze and silver and gold to nothing; this was a revelation the king’s grace had from the most high God himself of what must come about; true was thy dream, and this, past doubt, the meaning of it.

With that, king Nabuchodonosor bowed down face to earth, and made Daniel reverence; ay, he would have sacrifice offered to him, and incense,
and with these words greeted him: Doubt is none but this God of yours of all gods is God, of all kings the master; he it is brings hidden things to light, or how couldst thou have read the secret?
Thereupon, he raised Daniel to high rank, and showered riches on him; ruler he should be of all Babylon’s provinces, and over all its wise men have the pre-eminence.
But Daniel made suit to him, and it was Sidrach, Misach and Abdenago that had Babylon under their charge; Daniel himself was the king’s courtier still.