The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Daniel
Chapter 4
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All went well in my household; never was Nabuchodonosor’s court more flourishing.
And then I had a dream that put me in fear; nor waking thoughts gave my troubled wits repose.
Thereupon I gave orders that all the wise men of Babylon should appear before me, to interpret my dream;
diviner and sage, astrologer and soothsayer, all must assemble, and there in their presence I rehearsed what dream it was, but never one of them could tell me the meaning of it.
At last came Daniel, one of their number, styled after my own god’s name Baltassar, and endowed by all the holy gods with their spirit. To him I unfolded my dream thus:
Diviner is none, Baltassar, such as thou art; the spirit of all the holy gods is in thee, and there is no mystery beyond thy ken. Tell me, thou, what vision came to me in sleep, what events it boded.

Wouldst thou know, what fantasies disturbed my rest, this was what I saw. Grew a tree from the heart of earth, beyond measure tall;
a great tree and a thriving; top of it reached the heavens, and the ends of the earth had view of it.
What fair leaves it had, what foison of fruit, enough to cater for a whole world! Beast was none but might take shelter under it, bird was none but might nest in its branches, and to all living creatures it gave food.
But as I lay watching in my dream, came down from heaven one of the holy ones that mount guard there,
and loud rang his message: Down with yonder tree, lop branch, strip leaves, spill fruit! Let beast its shade, bird its covert forsake!
Yet leave the stock of it fast in earth.

Band of iron, chain of bronze! There on the soft meadow-grass heaven’s dew wet him, pasture with the beasts find he;
heart of man be changed in him, beast’s heart given him, till seven seasons there have found him, and passed him by.
Doom it is of the unsleeping ones, will and word of the holy ones; live men and learn that he, the most High, of human kingship is overlord, gives it to whom he will, and holds none too base for the having of it.

Thus dreamt I, the great king Nabuchodonosor. Make haste, Baltassar, and read me the riddle; wise man was none in my kingdom that could tell me the meaning of it, but thou hast the spirit of the holy gods in thee; thou canst unravel it.

But Daniel, Baltassar if you will, made no answer. For a whole hour, in silence, he gave himself up to his thoughts, and right comfortless they were. Nay, Baltassar, the king said at last, never lose heart over a dream, and the interpretation of a dream! Lord king, said he, such dreams be for thy enemies! To ill-wishers of thine bode they what they bode!
A tree tall and sturdy, top reaching the heavens, in all the world’s view,
fair branches, fruit abounding, food for all, beasts sheltering, birds nesting there,
what is it, lord king, but thou? So great thy power has grown, it reaches heaven; earth’s bounds are the bounds of thy dominion.
He watches ever, that holy one thou sawest coming down from heaven; and his word was, Down with the tree, away with it, yet leave the stock of it rooted fast! Of iron band he spoke, and chain of bronze; of soft meadow-grass under the dews of heaven; of one that should have his pasture among the beasts, till seven seasons had found him there, and passed him by.
Sentence from the most High this dream forbodes, and the king’s grace the subject of it.
Far from the haunts of men thou shalt be driven out, and among brute beasts thou shalt have thy dwelling; eat grass, ox-fashion, and with heaven’s dew be drenched, till seven seasons have passed thee by; so learn thou must, that of all human kingship the most High is overlord, and grants it where he will.
If stock of tree is to be left rooted, be sure thy throne shall be thine once again; but first thou must learn thy lesson, that all power is from above.
Deign, my lord king, to be advised by me; with almsgiving, with mercy to the poor, for fault and wrong-doing of thine make amends; it may be he will condone thy guilt.

All this king Nabuchodonosor underwent.
A twelvemonth later, as he walked to and fro on the roof of his palace at Babylon,
he said aloud: Babylon lies before me, the great city, the royal city I have built; sure proof of my power, fair monument of my renown!
And before the words had died on his lips, came a voice from heaven: King Nabuchodonosor, here is thy doom! Pass away from thee it must, that royal power of thine;
driven from the haunts of men, with beasts dwell thou, grass like the cattle eat thou, till seven seasons have passed thee by, and learned thou hast that the most High is overlord of all human kingship, to grant it where he will.
There and then fell the doom on Nabuchodonosor; thrust him out they did, to feed on grass, and ever the dew of heaven drenched him; thick as eagle’s feathers his hair grew, and like birds’ talons his nails.

When the appointed time was over, I lifted up my eyes to heaven, I, Nabuchodonosor, and right reason came back to me. Blessed I then the most high God, to the eternal gave glory and praise; such a reign as his lasts for ever, such power as his the ages cannot diminish.
Matched with him, the whole world of men counts for nothing; in the heavenly powers, as in our mortal lives, he accomplishes his will, and none may resist him, none may ask his meaning.
And when reason came back to me, back came royal pomp and state, back came the beauty I once had; prince and senator waited on me, restored to my throne now in more magnificence than ever.
What wonder if I, Nabuchodonosor, praise this King of heaven, extol and glorify him, so faithful to his promise, so just in his dealings? Proud minds none can abase as he.