1:1 In the third 1 year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar 2 of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem 3 and laid it under siege. 4 1:2 Now the Lord 5 delivered 6 King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, 7 along with some of the vessels 8 of the temple of God. 9 He brought them to the land of Babylonia 10 to the temple of his god 11 and put 12 the vessels in the treasury of his god.
1:3 The king commanded 13 Ashpenaz, 14 who was in charge of his court officials, 15 to choose 16 some of the Israelites who were of royal and noble descent 17 – 1:4 young men in whom there was no physical defect and who were handsome, 18 well versed in all kinds of wisdom, well educated 19 and having keen insight, 20 and who were capable 21 of entering the king’s royal service 22 – and to teach them the literature and language 23 of the Babylonians. 24 1:5 So the king assigned them a daily ration 25 from his royal delicacies 26 and from the wine he himself drank. They were to be trained 27 for the next three years. At the end of that time they were to enter the king’s service. 28 1:6 As it turned out, 29 among these young men 30 were some from Judah: 31 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 32 1:7 But the overseer of the court officials renamed them. He gave 33 Daniel the name Belteshazzar, Hananiah he named Shadrach, Mishael he named Meshach, and Azariah he named Abednego. 34
1:8 But Daniel made up his mind 35 that he would not defile 36 himself with the royal delicacies or the royal wine. 37 He therefore asked the overseer of the court officials for permission not to defile himself. 1:9 Then God made the overseer of the court officials sympathetic to Daniel. 38 1:10 But he 39 responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided 40 your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? 41 If that happened, 42 you would endanger my life 43 with the king!” 1:11 Daniel then spoke to the warden 44 whom the overseer of the court officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 1:13 Then compare our appearance 45 with that of 46 the young men who are eating the royal delicacies; 47 deal with us 48 in light of what you see.” 1:14 So the warden 49 agreed to their proposal 50 and tested them for ten 51 days.
1:15 At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier 52 than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies. 1:16 So the warden removed the delicacies and the wine 53 from their diet 54 and gave them a diet of vegetables instead. 1:17 Now as for these four young men, God endowed them with knowledge and skill in all sorts of literature and wisdom – and Daniel had insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.
1:18 When the time appointed by the king arrived, 55 the overseer of the court officials brought them into Nebuchadnezzar’s presence. 1:19 When the king spoke with them, he did not find among the entire group 56 anyone like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah. So they entered the king’s service. 57 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and 58 insight the king asked them about, he found them to be ten times 59 better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire. 1:21 Now Daniel lived on until the first 60 year of Cyrus the king.
2:1 In the second year of his 61 reign Nebuchadnezzar had many dreams. 62 His mind 63 was disturbed and he suffered from insomnia. 64 2:2 The king issued an order 65 to summon the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men 66 in order to explain his dreams to him. 67 So they came and awaited the king’s instructions. 68
2:3 The king told them, “I have had a dream, 69 and I 70 am anxious to understand the dream.” 2:4 The wise men replied to the king: [What follows is in Aramaic 71 ] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will disclose its 72 interpretation.” 2:5 The king replied 73 to the wise men, “My decision is firm. 74 If you do not inform me of both the dream and its interpretation, you will be dismembered 75 and your homes reduced to rubble! 2:6 But if you can disclose the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts, a reward, and considerable honor. So disclose to me the dream and its interpretation!” 2:7 They again replied, “Let the king inform us 76 of the dream; then we will disclose its 77 interpretation.” 2:8 The king replied, “I know for sure that you are attempting to gain time, because you see that my decision is firm. 2:9 If you don’t inform me of the dream, there is only one thing that is going to happen to you. 78 For you have agreed among yourselves to report to me something false and deceitful 79 until such time as things might change. So tell me the dream, and I will have confidence 80 that you can disclose its interpretation.”
2:10 The wise men replied to the king, “There is no man on earth who is able to disclose the king’s secret, 81 for no king, regardless of his position and power, has ever requested such a thing from any magician, astrologer, or wise man. 2:11 What the king is asking is too difficult, and no one exists who can disclose it to the king, except for the gods – but they don’t live among mortals!” 82
2:12 Because of this the king got furiously angry 83 and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 2:13 So a decree went out, and the wise men were about 84 to be executed. They also sought 85 Daniel and his friends so that they could be executed.
2:14 Then Daniel spoke with prudent counsel 86 to Arioch, who was in charge of the king’s executioners and who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon. 2:15 He inquired of Arioch the king’s deputy, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” 87 Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 2:16 So Daniel went in and 88 requested the king to grant him time, that he might disclose the interpretation to the king. 2:17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the matter. 2:18 He asked them to pray for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he 89 and his friends would not be destroyed along with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 2:19 Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel praised 90 the God of heaven, 2:20 saying, 91
for wisdom and power belong to him.
2:21 He changes times and seasons,
deposing some kings
and establishing others. 94
He gives wisdom to the wise;
he imparts knowledge to those with understanding; 95
2:22 he reveals deep and hidden things.
He knows what is in the darkness,
and light resides with him.
2:23 O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you,
for you have bestowed wisdom and power on me.
Now you have enabled me to understand what I 96 requested from you.
For you have enabled me to understand the king’s dilemma.” 97
2:24 Then Daniel went in to see 98 Arioch (whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon). He came 99 and said to him, “Don’t destroy the wise men of Babylon! Escort me 100 to the king, and I will disclose the interpretation to him!” 101
2:25 So Arioch quickly ushered Daniel into the king’s presence, saying to him, “I 102 have found a man from the captives of Judah who can make known the interpretation to the king.” 2:26 The king then asked Daniel (whose name was also Belteshazzar), “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I saw, as well as its interpretation?” 2:27 Daniel replied to the king, “The mystery that the king is asking about is such that no wise men, astrologers, magicians, or diviners can possibly disclose it to the king. 2:28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, 103 and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the times to come. 104 The dream and the visions you had while lying on your bed 105 are as follows.
2:29 “As for you, O king, while you were in your bed your thoughts turned to future things. 106 The revealer of mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 2:30 As for me, this mystery was revealed to me not because I possess more wisdom 107 than any other living person, but so that the king may understand 108 the interpretation and comprehend the thoughts of your mind. 109
2:31 “You, O king, were watching as a great statue – one 110 of impressive size and extraordinary brightness – was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. 2:32 As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. 2:33 Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. 111 2:34 You were watching as 112 a stone was cut out, 113 but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 2:35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction 114 and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. 2:36 This was the dream. Now we 115 will set forth before the king its interpretation.
2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 2:38 Wherever human beings, 116 wild animals, 117 and birds of the sky live – he has given them into your power. 118 He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. 2:39 Now after you another kingdom 119 will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. 2:40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces 120 all of these metals, 121 so it will break in pieces and crush the others. 122 2:41 In that you were seeing feet and toes 123 partly of wet clay 124 and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 125 2:42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. 2:43 And 126 in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed 127 with one another 128 without adhering to one another, just as 129 iron does not mix with clay. 2:44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. 2:45 You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future. 130 The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.”
2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar bowed down with his face to the ground 131 and paid homage to Daniel. He gave orders to offer sacrifice and incense to him. 2:47 The king replied to Daniel, “Certainly your God is a God of gods and Lord of kings and revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery!” 2:48 Then the king elevated Daniel to high position and bestowed on him many marvelous gifts. He granted him authority over the entire province of Babylon and made him the main prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 2:49 And at Daniel’s request, the king 132 appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the administration of the province of Babylon. Daniel himself served in the king’s court. 133
3:1 134 King Nebuchadnezzar had a golden 135 statue made. 136 It was ninety feet 137 tall and nine feet 138 wide. He erected it on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 3:2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent out a summons to assemble the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, 139 and all the other authorities of the province to attend the dedication of the statue that he 140 had erected. 3:3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the other provincial authorities assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. They were standing in front of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had erected. 141
3:4 Then the herald 142 made a loud 143 proclamation: “To you, O peoples, nations, and language groups, the following command is given: 144 3:5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, 145 trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must 146 bow down and pay homage to the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has erected. 3:6 Whoever does not bow down and pay homage will immediately 147 be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire!” 3:7 Therefore when they all 148 heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, 149 and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and language groups began bowing down and paying homage to the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected.
3:8 Now 150 at that time certain 151 Chaldeans came forward and brought malicious accusations against 152 the Jews. 3:9 They said 153 to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 154 3:10 You have issued an edict, O king, that everyone must bow down and pay homage to the golden statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music. 3:11 And whoever does not bow down and pay homage must be thrown into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. 3:12 But there are Jewish men whom you appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – and these men 155 have not shown proper respect to you, O king. They don’t serve your gods and they don’t pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”
3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in a fit of rage 156 demanded that they bring 157 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before him. So they brought them 158 before the king. 3:14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t serve my gods and that you don’t pay homage to the golden statue that I erected? 3:15 Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the statue that I had made. If you don’t pay homage to it, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Now, who is that god who can rescue you from my power?” 159 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, 160 “We do not need to give you a reply 161 concerning this. 3:17 If 162 our God whom we are serving exists, 163 he is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will rescue us, O king, from your power as well. 3:18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we don’t serve your gods, and we will not pay homage to the golden statue that you have erected.”
3:19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and his disposition changed 164 toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders 165 to heat the furnace seven times hotter than it was normally heated. 3:20 He ordered strong 166 soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 3:21 So those men were tied up while still wearing their cloaks, trousers, turbans, and other clothes, 167 and were thrown into the furnace 168 of blazing fire. 3:22 But since the king’s command was so urgent, and the furnace was so excessively hot, the men who escorted 169 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were killed 170 by the leaping flames. 171 3:23 But those three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the furnace 172 of blazing fire while still securely bound. 173
3:24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and quickly got up. He said to his ministers, “Wasn’t it three men that we tied up and threw 174 into 175 the fire?” They replied to the king, “For sure, O king.” 3:25 He answered, “But I see four men, untied and walking around in the midst of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!” 176 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire. He called out, 177 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the most high God, come out! Come here!”
Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego emerged from the fire. 178 3:27 Once the satraps, prefects, governors, and ministers of the king had gathered around, they saw that those men were physically 179 unharmed by the fire. 180 The hair of their heads was not singed, nor were their trousers damaged. Not even the smell of fire was to be found on them!
3:28 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, 181 “Praised be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent forth his angel 182 and has rescued his servants who trusted in him, ignoring 183 the edict of the king and giving up their bodies rather than 184 serve or pay homage to any god other than their God! 3:29 I hereby decree 185 that any people, nation, or language group that blasphemes 186 the god of Shadrach, Meshach, or Abednego will be dismembered and his home reduced to rubble! For there exists no other god who can deliver in this way.” 3:30 Then Nebuchadnezzar 187 promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
4:1 (3:31) 188 “King Nebuchadnezzar, to all peoples, nations, and language groups that live in all the land: Peace and prosperity! 189 4:2 I am delighted to tell you about the signs and wonders that the most high God has done for me.
4:3 “How great are his signs!
How mighty are his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever, 190
and his authority continues from one generation to the next.”
4:4 (4:1) 191 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was relaxing in my home, 192 living luxuriously 193 in my palace. 4:5 I saw a dream that 194 frightened me badly. The things I imagined while lying on my bed – these visions of my mind – were terrifying me. 4:6 So I issued an order 195 for all the wise men of Babylon to be brought 196 before me so that they could make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 4:7 When the magicians, astrologers, wise men, and diviners entered, I recounted the dream for them. But they were unable to make known its interpretation to me. 4:8 Later Daniel entered (whose name is Belteshazzar after the name of my god, 197 and in whom there is a spirit of the holy gods). I recounted the dream for him as well, 4:9 saying, “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, in whom I know there to be a spirit of the holy gods and whom no mystery baffles, consider 198 my dream that I saw and set forth its interpretation! 4:10 Here are the visions of my mind 199 while I was on my bed.
While I was watching,
there was a tree in the middle of the land. 200
It was enormously tall. 201
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 204 used to seek shade,
and in its branches the birds of the sky used to nest.
All creatures 205 used to feed themselves from it.
a holy sentinel 207 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!
with a band of iron and bronze around it 211
surrounded by the grass of the field.
Let it become damp with the dew of the sky,
and let it live with 212 the animals in the grass of the land.
and let an animal’s mind be given to him,
4:17 This announcement is by the decree of the sentinels;
this decision is by the pronouncement of the holy ones,
so that 216 those who are alive may understand
that the Most High has authority over human kingdoms, 217
and he bestows them on whomever he wishes.
He establishes over them even the lowliest of human beings.’
4:18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its 218 interpretation, for none of the wise men in 219 my kingdom are able to make known to me the interpretation. But you can do so, for a spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
4:19 Then Daniel (whose name is also Belteshazzar) was upset for a brief time; 220 his thoughts were alarming him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream and its interpretation alarm you.” But Belteshazzar replied, “Sir, 221 if only the dream were for your enemies and its interpretation applied to your adversaries! 4:20 The tree that you saw that grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky, and which could be seen 222 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 223 used to live, and in whose branches birds of the sky used to nest – 4:22 it is you, 224 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. 4:23 As for the king seeing a holy sentinel coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its taproot in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze around it, surrounded by the grass of the field. Let it become damp with the dew of the sky, and let it live with the wild animals, until seven periods of time go by for him’ – 4:24 this is the interpretation, O king! It is the decision of the Most High that this has happened to my lord the king. 4:25 You will be driven 225 from human society, 226 and you will live 227 with the wild animals. You will be fed 228 grass like oxen, 229 and you will become damp with the dew of the sky. Seven periods of time will pass by for you, before 230 you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes. 4:26 They said to leave the taproot of the tree, for your kingdom will be restored to you when you come to understand that heaven 231 rules. 4:27 Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you. Break away from your sins by doing what is right, and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps your prosperity will be prolonged.” 232
4:28 Now all of this happened 233 to King Nebuchadnezzar. 4:29 After twelve months, he happened to be walking around on the battlements 234 of the royal palace of Babylon. 4:30 The king uttered these words: “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence 235 by my own mighty strength 236 and for my majestic honor?” 4:31 While these words were still on the king’s lips, 237 a voice came down from heaven: “It is hereby announced to you, 238 King Nebuchadnezzar, that your kingdom has been removed from you! 4:32 You will be driven from human society, and you will live with the wild animals. You will be fed grass like oxen, and seven periods of time will pass by for you before 239 you understand that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms and gives them to whomever he wishes.”
4:33 Now in that very moment 240 this pronouncement about 241 Nebuchadnezzar came true. 242 He was driven from human society, he ate grass like oxen, and his body became damp with the dew of the sky, until his hair became long like an eagle’s feathers, and his nails like a bird’s claws. 243
I extolled the Most High,
and I praised and glorified the one who lives forever.
For his authority is an everlasting authority,
and his kingdom extends from one generation to the next.
He does as he wishes with the army of heaven
and with those who inhabit the earth.
No one slaps 247 his hand
and says to him, ‘What have you done?’
4:36 At that time my sanity returned to me. I was restored 248 to the honor of my kingdom, and my splendor returned to me. My ministers and my nobles were seeking me out, and I was reinstated 249 over my kingdom. I became even greater than before. 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just. He is able to bring down those who live 250 in pride.
1 sn The third year of the reign of Jehoiakim would be ca. 605
2 sn King Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon from ca. 605-562
4 sn This attack culminated in the first of three major deportations of Jews to Babylon. The second one occurred in 597
5 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
6 tn Heb “gave.”
7 tn Heb “hand,” which is often used idiomatically for one’s power and authority. See BDB 390 s.v. יָד 2.
8 tn Or “utensils”; or “articles.”
9 tn Heb “house of God.”
11 tn Or “gods” (NCV, NRSV, TEV; also later in this verse). The Hebrew term can be used as a numerical plural for many gods or as a plural of majesty for one particular god. Since Nebuchadnezzar was a polytheist, it is not clear if the reference here is to many gods or one particular deity. The plural of majesty, while normally used for Israel’s God, is occasionally used of foreign gods (cf. BDB 43 s.v. אֱלֹהִים 1, 2). See Judg 11:24 (of the Moabite god Chemosh); 1 Sam 5:7 (of the Philistine god Dagon); 1 Kgs 11:33 (of the Canaanite goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom); 2 Kgs 19:37 (of the Assyrian god Nisroch). Since gods normally had their own individual temples, Dan 1:2 probably refers to a particular deity, perhaps Marduk, the supreme god of Babylon, or Marduk’s son Nabu, after whom Nebuchadnezzar was named. The name Nebuchadnezzar means “Nabu has protected the son who will inherit” (HALOT 660 s.v. נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר). For a discussion of how temples functioned in Babylonian religion see H. Ringgren, Religions of the Ancient Near East, 77-81.
12 tn Heb “brought.” Though the Hebrew verb “brought” is repeated in this verse, the translation uses “brought…put” for stylistic variation.
13 tn Or “gave orders to.” Heb “said to.”
14 sn It is possible that the word Ashpenaz is not a proper name at all, but a general term for “innkeeper.” See J. J. Collins, Daniel (Hermeneia), 127, n. 9. However, the ancient versions understand the term to be a name, and the present translation (along with most English versions) understands the word in this way.
15 sn The word court official (Hebrew saris) need not mean “eunuch” in a technical sense (see Gen 37:36, where the term refers to Potiphar, who had a wife), although in the case of the book of Daniel there was in Jewish literature a common tradition to that effect. On the OT usage of this word see HALOT 769-70 s.v. סָרֹיס.
16 tn Heb “bring.”
17 tn Heb “and from the seed of royalty and from the nobles.”
18 tn Heb “good of appearance.”
19 tn Heb “knowers of knowledge.”
20 tn Heb “understanders of knowledge.”
21 tn Heb “who had strength.”
23 sn The language of the Chaldeans referred to here is Akkadian, an East Semitic cuneiform language.
24 tn Heb “Chaldeans” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV). This is an ancient name for the Babylonians.
25 tn Heb “a thing of a day in its day.”
26 tn Heb “from the delicacies of the king.”
27 tn Or “educated.” See HALOT 179 s.v. I גדל.
28 tn Heb “stand before the king.”
29 tn Heb “and it happened that.”
30 tn Heb “among them”; the referent (the young men taken captive from Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
31 tn Heb “the sons of Judah.”
32 sn The names reflect a Jewish heritage. In Hebrew Daniel means “God is my judge”; Hananiah means “the Lord is gracious”; Mishael means “who is what God is?”; Azariah means “the Lord has helped.”
33 tc The LXX and Vulgate lack the verb here.
34 sn The meanings of the Babylonian names are more conjectural than is the case with the Hebrew names. The probable etymologies are as follows: Belteshazzar means “protect his life,” although the MT vocalization may suggest “Belti, protect the king” (cf. Dan 4:8); Shadrach perhaps means “command of Aku”; Meshach is of uncertain meaning; Abednego means “servant of Nego.” Assigning Babylonian names to the Hebrew youths may have been an attempt to erase from their memory their Israelite heritage.
35 tn Heb “placed on his heart.”
36 tn Or “would not make himself ceremonially unclean”; TEV “become ritually unclean.”
sn Various reasons have been suggested as to why such food would defile Daniel. Perhaps it had to do with violations of Mosaic law with regard to unclean foods, or perhaps it had to do with such food having been offered to idols. Daniel’s practice in this regard is strikingly different from that of Esther, who was able successfully to conceal her Jewish identity.
37 tn Heb “with the delicacies of the king and with the wine of his drinking.”
38 tn Heb “Then God granted Daniel loyal love and compassion before the overseer of the court officials.” The expression “loyal love and compassion” is a hendiadys; the two words combine to express one idea.
39 tn Heb “The overseer of the court officials.” The subject has been specified in the translation for the sake of clarity.
41 tn Heb “Why should he see your faces thin from the young men who are according to your age?” The term translated “thin” occurs only here and in Gen 40:6, where it appears to refer to a dejected facial expression. The word is related to an Arabic root meaning “be weak.” See HALOT 277 s.v. II זעף.
42 tn The words “if that happened” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.
43 tn Heb “my head.” Presumably this is an implicit reference to capital punishment (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT), although this is not entirely clear.
44 sn Having failed to convince the overseer, Daniel sought the favor of the warden whom the overseer had appointed to care for the young men.
45 tn Heb “let our appearance be seen before you.”
46 tn Heb “the appearance of.”
48 tn Heb “your servants.”
50 tn Heb “listened to them with regard to this matter.”
52 tn Heb “fat of flesh”; KJV, ASV “fatter in flesh”; NASB, NRSV “fatter” (although this is no longer a sign of health in Western culture).
53 tn Heb “the wine of their drinking.”
54 tn The words “from their diet” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.
55 tn Heb “at the end of the days which the king said to bring them.”
56 tn Heb “from all of them.”
57 tn Heb “stood before the king.”
58 tc The MT lacks the conjunction, reading the first word in the phrase as a construct (“wisdom of insight”). While this reading is not impossible, it seems better to follow Theodotion, the Syriac, the Vulgate, and the Sahidic Coptic, all of which have the conjunction.
59 tn Heb “hands.”
60 sn The Persian king Cyrus’ first year in control of Babylon was 539
61 tn Heb “Nebuchadnezzar’s.” The possessive pronoun is substituted in the translation for stylistic reasons.
62 tn Heb “dreamed dreams.” The plural is used here and in v. 2, but the singular in v. 3. The plural “dreams” has been variously explained. Some interpreters take the plural as denoting an indefinite singular (so GKC 400 §124.o). But it may be that it is describing a stream of related dreams, or a dream state. In the latter case, one might translate: “Nebuchadnezzar was in a trance.” See further, J. A. Montgomery, Daniel (ICC), 142.
63 tn Heb “his spirit.”
64 tn Heb “his sleep left (?) him.” The use of the verb הָיָה (hayah, “to be”) here is unusual. The context suggests a meaning such as “to be finished” or “gone.” Cf. Dan 8:27. Some scholars emend the verb to read נָדְדָה (nadÿdah, “fled”); cf. Dan 6:19. See further, DCH 2:540 s.v. היה I Ni.3; HALOT 244 s.v. היה nif; BDB 227-28 s.v. הָיָה Niph.2.
66 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” The term Chaldeans (Hebrew כַּשְׂדִּים, kasdim) is used in the book of Daniel both in an ethnic sense and, as here, to refer to a caste of Babylonian wise men and astrologers.
67 tn Heb “to explain to the king his dreams.”
68 tn Heb “stood before the king.”
69 tn Heb “I have dreamed a dream” (so KJV, ASV).
70 tn Heb “my spirit.”
71 sn Contrary to common belief, the point here is not that the wise men (Chaldeans) replied to the king in the Aramaic language, or that this language was uniquely the language of the Chaldeans. It was this view that led in the past to Aramaic being referred to as “Chaldee.” Aramaic was used as a lingua franca during this period; its origins and usage were not restricted to the Babylonians. Rather, this phrase is better understood as an editorial note (cf. NAB) marking the fact that from 2:4b through 7:28 the language of the book shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic. In 8:1, and for the remainder of the book, the language returns to Hebrew. Various views have been advanced to account for this change of language, most of which are unconvincing. Most likely the change in language is a reflection of stages in the transmission history of the book of Daniel.
72 tn Or “the.”
73 tn Aram “answered and said,” a common idiom to indicate a reply, but redundant in contemporary English.
74 tn It seems clear from what follows that Nebuchadnezzar clearly recalls the content of the dream, although obviously he does not know what to make of it. By not divulging the dream itself to the would-be interpreters, he intends to find out whether they are simply leading him on. If they can tell him the dream’s content, which he is able to verify, he then can have confidence in their interpretation, which is what eludes him. The translation “the matter is gone from me” (cf. KJV, ASV), suggesting that the king had simply forgotten the dream, is incorrect. The Aramaic word used here (אַזְדָּא, ’azda’) is probably of Persian origin; it occurs in the OT only here and in v. 8. There are two main possibilities for the meaning of the word: “the matter is promulgated by me” (see KBL 1048 s.v.) and therefore “publicly known” (cf. NRSV; F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 62-63, §189), or “the matter is irrevocable” (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV, CEV, NLT; HALOT 1808 s.v. אזד; cf. also BDB 1079 s.v.). The present translation reflects this latter option. See further E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 3.
76 tn Aram “his servants.”
77 tn Or “the.”
78 tn Aram “one is your law,” i.e., only one thing is applicable to you.
79 tn Aram “a lying and corrupt word.”
80 tn Aram “I will know.”
81 tn Aram “matter, thing.”
82 tn Aram “whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
83 tn Aram “was angry and very furious.” The expression is a hendiadys (two words or phrases expressing a single idea).
84 tn The Aramaic participle is used here to express the imminent future.
85 tn The impersonal active plural (“they sought”) of the Aramaic verb could also be translated as an English passive: “Daniel and his friends were sought” (cf. NAB).
86 tn Aram “returned prudence and counsel.” The expression is a hendiadys.
87 tn The Aramaic word מְהַחְצְפָה (mÿhakhtsÿfah) may refer to the severity of the king’s decree (i.e., “harsh”; so HALOT 1879 s.v. חצף; BDB 1093 s.v. חֲצַף), although it would seem that in a delicate situation such as this Daniel would avoid this kind of criticism of the king’s actions. The translation above understands the word to refer to the immediacy, not harshness, of the decree. See further, F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 50, §116; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 67.
88 tc Theodotion and the Syriac lack the words “went in and.”
89 tn Aram “Daniel.” The proper name is redundant here in English, and has not been included in the translation.
90 tn Or “blessed.”
91 tn Aram “Daniel answered and said.”
92 sn As is often the case in the Bible, here the name represents the person.
93 tn Or “blessed.”
94 tn Aram “kings.”
95 tn Aram “the knowers of understanding.”
96 tn Aram “we.” Various explanations have been offered for the plural, but it is probably best understood as the editorial plural; so also with “me” later in this verse.
97 tn Aram “the word of the king.”
98 tc The MT has עַל עַל (’al ’al, “he entered upon”). Several medieval Hebrew
99 tc The LXX and Vulgate, along with one medieval Hebrew
101 tn Aram “the king.”
102 sn Arioch’s claim is self-serving and exaggerated. It is Daniel who came to him, and not the other way around. By claiming to have found one capable of solving the king’s dilemma, Arioch probably hoped to ingratiate himself to the king.
103 tn Aram “a revealer of mysteries.” The phrase serves as a quasi-title for God in Daniel.
104 tn Aram “in the latter days.”
105 tn Aram “your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed.”
106 tn Aram “your thoughts upon your bed went up to what will be after this.”
107 tn Aram “not for any wisdom which is in me more than [in] any living man.”
108 tn Aram “they might cause the king to know.” The impersonal plural is used here to refer to the role of God’s spirit in revealing the dream and its interpretation to the king. As J. A. Montgomery says, “it appropriately here veils the mysterious agency” (Daniel [ICC], 164-65).
109 tn Aram “heart.”
110 tn Aram “an image.”
112 tn Aram “until.”
114 tn Aram “as one.” For the meaning “without distinction” see the following: F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 36, §64, and p. 93; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 60.
115 tn Various suggestions have been made concerning the plural “we.” It is probably the editorial plural and could be translated here as “I.”
116 tn Aram “the sons of man.”
117 tn Aram “the beasts of the field.”
118 tn Aram “hand.”
119 sn The identity of the first kingdom is clearly Babylon. The identification of the following three kingdoms is disputed. The common view is that they represent Media, Persia, and Greece. Most conservative scholars identify them as Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
120 tc Theodotion and the Vulgate lack the phrase “and as iron breaks in pieces.”
121 tn The Aramaic text does not have this word, but it has been added in the translation for clarity.
122 tn The words “the others” are supplied from the context.
123 tc The LXX lacks “and toes.”
124 tn Aram “potter’s clay.”
126 tc The present translation reads the conjunction, with most medieval Hebrew
127 sn The reference to people being mixed is usually understood to refer to intermarriage.
128 tn Aram “with the seed of men.”
129 tc The present translation reads הֵיךְ דִּי (hekh diy) rather than the MT הֵא־כְדִי (he’-khÿdi). It is a case of wrong word division.
130 tn Aram “after this.”
131 tn Aram “fell on his face.”
132 tn Aram “and Daniel sought from the king and he appointed.”
133 tn Aram “was at the gate of the king.”
134 sn The LXX introduces this chapter with the following chronological note: “in the eighteenth year of.” Such a date would place these events at about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586
135 sn There is no need to think of Nebuchadnezzar’s image as being solid gold. No doubt the sense is that it was overlaid with gold (cf. Isa 40:19; Jer 10:3-4), with the result that it presented a dazzling self-compliment to the greatness of Nebuchadnezzar’s achievements.
136 sn According to a number of patristic authors, the image represented a deification of Nebuchadnezzar himself. This is not clear from the biblical text, however.
137 tn Aram “sixty cubits.” Assuming a length of 18 inches for the standard cubit, the image would be 90 feet (27.4 m) high.
138 tn Aram “six cubits.” Assuming a length of 18 inches for the standard cubit, the image would be 9 feet (2.74 m) wide.
sn The dimensions of the image (ninety feet high and nine feet wide) imply that it did not possess normal human proportions, unless a base for the image is included in the height dimension. The ancient world knew of other tall statues. For example, the Colossus of Rhodes – the huge statue of Helios which stood (ca. 280-224
139 sn The specific duties of the seven types of officials listed here (cf. vv. 3, 27) are unclear. The Aramaic words that are used are transliterations of Akkadian or Persian technical terms whose exact meanings are uncertain. The translations given here follow suggestions set forth in BDB.
140 tn Aram “Nebuchadnezzar the king.” The proper name and title have been replaced by the relative pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
141 tc The LXX and Theodotion lack the words “that Nebuchadnezzar had erected.”
142 tn According to BDB 1097 s.v. כָּרוֹז the Aramaic word used here is a Greek loanword, but other scholars have argued instead for a Persian derivation (HALOT 1902 s.v. *כָּרוֹז).
143 tn Aram “in strength.”
144 tn Aram “they are saying.”
145 sn The word zither (Aramaic קִיתָרוֹס [qitaros]), and the words for harp (Aramaic פְּסַנְתֵּרִין [pÿsanterin]) and pipes (Aramaic סוּמְפֹּנְיָה [sumponÿyah]), are of Greek derivation. Though much has been made of this in terms of suggesting a date in the Hellenistic period for the writing of the book, it is not surprising that a few Greek cultural terms, all of them the names of musical instruments, should appear in this book. As a number of scholars have pointed out, the bigger surprise (if, in fact, the book is to be dated to the Hellenistic period) may be that there are so few Greek loanwords in Daniel.
146 tn The imperfect Aramaic verbs have here an injunctive nuance.
147 tn Aram “in that hour.”
148 tn Aram “all the peoples.”
150 tc This expression is absent in Theodotion.
151 tn Aram “men.”
152 tn Aram “ate the pieces of.” This is a rather vivid idiom for slander.
153 tn Aram “answered and said,” a common Aramaic idiom that occurs repeatedly in this chapter.
154 sn O king, live forever! is a comment of typical court courtesy that is not necessarily indicative of the real sentiments of the speaker. Ancient oriental court protocol could sometimes require a certain amount of hypocrisy.
155 sn Daniel’s absence from this scene has sparked the imagination of commentators, some of whom have suggested that perhaps he was unable to attend the dedication due to sickness or due to being away on business. Hippolytus supposed that Daniel may have been watching from a distance.
156 tn Aram “in anger and wrath”; NASB “in rage and anger.” The expression is a hendiadys.
157 tn The Aramaic infinitive is active.
158 tn Aram “these men.” The pronoun is used in the translation to avoid undue repetition.
160 tc In the MT this word is understood to begin the following address (“answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar’”). However, it seems unlikely that Nebuchadnezzar’s subordinates would address the king in such a familiar way, particularly in light of the danger that they now found themselves in. The present translation implies moving the atnach from “king” to “Nebuchadnezzar.”
161 tn Aram “to return a word to you.”
163 tn The Aramaic expression used here is very difficult to interpret. The question concerns the meaning and syntax of אִיתַי (’itay, “is” or “exist”). There are several possibilities. (1) Some interpreters take this word closely with the participle later in the verse יָכִל (yakhil, “able”), understanding the two words to form a periphrastic construction (“if our God is…able”; cf. H. Bauer and P. Leander, Grammatik des Biblisch-Aramäischen, 365, §111b). But the separation of the two elements from one another is not an argument in favor of this understanding. (2) Other interpreters take the first part of v. 17 to mean “If it is so, then our God will deliver us” (cf. KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB). However, the normal sense of ’itay is existence; on this point see F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 45, §95. The present translation maintains the sense of existence for the verb (“If our God…exists”), even though the statement is admittedly difficult to understand in this light. The statement may be an implicit reference back to Nebuchadnezzar’s comment in v. 15, which denies the existence of a god capable of delivering from the king’s power.
164 tn Aram “the appearance of his face was altered”; cf. NLT “his face became distorted with rage”; NAB “[his] face became livid with utter rage.”
165 tn Aram “he answered and said.”
166 tn This is sometimes taken as a comparative: “[some of the] strongest.”
167 sn There is a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the specific nature of these items of clothing.
168 tn Aram “into the midst of the furnace.” For stylistic reasons the words “the midst of” have been left untranslated.
169 tn Aram “caused to go up.”
170 tn The Aramaic verb is active.
171 tn Aram “the flame of the fire” (so KJV, ASV, NASB); NRSV “the raging flames.”
172 tn Aram “into the midst of the furnace.” For stylistic reasons the words “the midst of” have been left untranslated.
173 sn The deuterocanonical writings known as The Prayer of Azariah and The Song of the Three present at this point a confession and petition for God’s forgiveness and a celebration of God’s grace for the three Jewish youths in the fiery furnace. Though not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel, these compositions do appear in the ancient Greek versions.
174 tn Aram “we threw…bound.”
175 tn Aram “into the midst of.”
176 sn The phrase like that of a god is in Aramaic “like that of a son of the gods.” Many patristic writers understood this phrase in a christological sense (i.e., “the Son of God”). But it should be remembered that these are words spoken by a pagan who is seeking to explain things from his own polytheistic frame of reference; for him the phrase “like a son of the gods” is equivalent to “like a divine being.”
177 tn Aram “answered and said.”
178 tn Aram “from the midst of the fire.” For stylistic reasons the words “the midst of” have been left untranslated.
179 tn Aram “in their bodies.”
180 tn Aram “the fire did not have power.”
181 tn Aram “answered and said.”
182 sn The king identifies the “son of the gods” (v. 25) as an angel. Comparable Hebrew expressions are used elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible for the members of God’s angelic assembly (see Gen 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Pss 29:1; 89:6). An angel later comes to rescue Daniel from the lions (Dan 6:22).
183 tn Aram “they changed” or “violated.”
184 tn Aram “so that they might not.”
185 tn Aram “from me is placed an edict.”
186 tn Aram “speaks negligence.”
187 tn Aram “and the king.” The proper name has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
188 sn Beginning with 4:1, the verse numbers through 4:37 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Aramaic text (BHS), with 4:1 ET = 3:31 AT, 4:2 ET = 3:32 AT, 4:3 ET = 3:33 AT, 4:4 ET = 4:1 AT, etc., through 4:37 ET = 4:34 AT. Thus Dan 3:31-33 of the Aramaic text appears as Dan 4:1-3 in the English Bible, and the corresponding verses of ch. 4 differ accordingly. In spite of the division of the Aramaic text, a good case can be made that 3:31-33 AT (= 4:1-3 ET) is actually the introduction to ch. 4.
189 tn Aram “May your peace increase!”
190 tn Aram “his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.”
191 sn This verse marks the beginning of chap. 4 in the Aramaic text of Daniel (see the note on 4:1). The Greek OT (LXX) has the following addition: “In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he said.” This date would suggest a link to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586
192 tn Aram “my house.”
193 tn Aram “happy.”
194 tn Aram “and it.”
195 tn Aram “from me there was placed a decree.”
196 tn The Aramaic infinitive here is active.
197 sn This explanation of the meaning of the name Belteshazzar may be more of a paronomasia than a strict etymology.
198 tc The present translation assumes the reading חֲזִי (khazi, “consider”) rather than the MT חֶזְוֵי (khezvey, “visions”). The MT implies that the king required Daniel to disclose both the dream and its interpretation, as in chapter 2. But in the following verses Nebuchadnezzar recounts his dream, while Daniel presents only its interpretation.
199 tc The LXX lacks the first two words (Aram “the visions of my head”) of the Aramaic text.
200 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.
201 tn Aram “its height was great.”
203 tn Or “to the end of all the earth” (so KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “from anywhere on earth.”
204 tn Aram “the beasts of the field.”
205 tn Aram “all flesh.”
206 tn Aram “the visions of my head.”
207 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).
208 tn Aram “in strength.”
209 tn Aram “and thus he was saying.”
210 tn Aram “the stock of its root.” So also v. 23. The implication here is that although the tree is chopped down, it is not killed. Its life-giving root is spared. The application to Nebuchadnezzar is obvious.
211 sn The function of the band of iron and bronze is not entirely clear, but it may have had to do with preventing the splitting or further deterioration of the portion of the tree that was left after being chopped down. By application it would then refer to the preservation of Nebuchadnezzar’s life during the time of his insanity.
212 tn Aram “its lot be.”
213 tn Aram “its heart.” The metaphor of the tree begins to fade here and the reality behind the symbol (the king) begins to emerge.
214 sn The seven periods of time probably refer to seven years.
216 tc The present translation follows an underlying reading of עַל־דִּבְרַת (’al-divrat, “so that”) rather than MT עַד־דִּבְרַת (’ad-divrat, “until”).
217 tn Aram “the kingdom of man”; NASB “the realm of mankind”; NCV “every kingdom on earth.”
219 tn Aram “of.”
220 tn Aram “about one hour.” The expression refers idiomatically to a brief period of time of undetermined length.
221 tn Aram “my lord.”
222 tn Aram “its sight.”
224 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.
228 tn Or perhaps “be made to eat.”
229 sn Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity has features that are associated with the mental disorder known as boanthropy, in which the person so afflicted imagines himself to be an ox or a similar animal and behaves accordingly.
230 tn Aram “until.”
231 sn The reference to heaven here is a circumlocution for God. There was a tendency in Jewish contexts to avoid direct reference to God. Cf. the expression “kingdom of heaven” in the NT and such statements as “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight” (Luke 15:21).
232 tn Aram “if there may be a lengthening to your prosperity.”
233 tn Aram “reached.”
234 tn The word “battlements” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied from context. Many English versions supply “roof” here (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); cf. NLT “on the flat roof.”
235 tn Aram “house.”
236 tn Aram “by the might of my strength.”
237 tn Aram “in the mouth of the king.”
238 tn Aram “to you they say.”
239 tn Aram “until.”
240 tn Aram “hour.”
241 tn Or “on.”
242 tn Aram “was fulfilled.”
243 tn The words “feathers” and “claws” are not present in the Aramaic text, but have been added in the translation for clarity.
244 tn Aram “days.”
245 tn Aram “lifted up my eyes.”
246 tc The present translation reads כְּלָא (kÿla’), with many medieval Hebrew
247 tn Aram “strikes against.”
248 tc The translation reads הַדְרֵת (hadret, “I returned”) rather than the MT הַדְרִי (hadri, “my honor”); cf. Theodotion.
249 tc The translation reads הָתְקְנֵת (hotqÿnet, “I was established”) rather than the MT הָתְקְנַת (hotqÿnat, “it was established”). As it stands, the MT makes no sense here.
250 tn Aram “walk.”