4:10 Here are the visions of my mind 1 while I was on my bed.
While I was watching,
there was a tree in the middle of the land. 2
It was enormously tall. 3
4:11 The tree grew large and strong.
Its top reached far into the sky;
4:12 Its foliage was attractive and its fruit plentiful;
on it there was food enough for all.
Under it the wild animals 6 used to seek shade,
and in its branches the birds of the sky used to nest.
All creatures 7 used to feed themselves from it.
a holy sentinel 9 came down from heaven.
‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches!
Strip off its foliage
and scatter its fruit!
Let the animals flee from under it
and the birds from its branches!
4:20 The tree that you saw that grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky, and which could be seen 12 in all the land, 4:21 whose foliage was attractive and its fruit plentiful, and from which there was food available for all, under whose branches wild animals 13 used to live, and in whose branches birds of the sky used to nest – 4:22 it is you, 14 O king! For you have become great and strong. Your greatness is such that it reaches to heaven, and your authority to the ends of the earth.
1 tc The LXX lacks the first two words (Aram “the visions of my head”) of the Aramaic text.
2 tn Instead of “in the middle of the land,” some English versions render this phrase “a tree at the center of the earth” (NRSV); NAB, CEV “of the world”; NLT “in the middle of the earth.” The Hebrew phrase can have either meaning.
3 tn Aram “its height was great.”
5 tn Or “to the end of all the earth” (so KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “from anywhere on earth.”
6 tn Aram “the beasts of the field.”
7 tn Aram “all flesh.”
8 tn Aram “the visions of my head.”
9 tn Aram “a watcher and a holy one.” The expression is a hendiadys; so also in v. 23. This “watcher” is apparently an angel. The Greek OT (LXX) in fact has ἄγγελος (angelo", “angel”) here. Theodotion simply transliterates the Aramaic word (’ir). The term is sometimes rendered “sentinel” (NAB) or “messenger” (NIV, NLT).
10 tn Aram “in strength.”
11 tn Aram “and thus he was saying.”
12 tn Aram “its sight.”
14 sn Much of modern scholarship views this chapter as a distortion of traditions that were originally associated with Nabonidus rather than with Nebuchadnezzar. A Qumran text, the Prayer of Nabonidus, is often cited for parallels to these events.