Daniel iv: 1 to 37.
HIS is the story that King Nebuchadnezzar himself told to all the people in his great kingdom, of a strange dream that came to him, the meaning of the dream, as it was given by Daniel, and how the dream came true. He said, "Nebuchadnezzar the king sends this message to all the people, and nations, that live in all the world. May peace be given to you! It has seemed good to me to show you the signs and wonders that the Most High God has sent to me. His kingdom is without end, and his rule is from age to age forever!
"I, King Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and was living at peace in my palace. One night a dream came to me which made me afraid, and my thoughts and my visions made me troubled in heart. I sent for all the wise men of Babylon to come before me, and to tell me the meaning of my dream. But they did not tell me what the meaning was because they could not. At last came Daniel, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and to him I said:
"O Daniel, master of the wise men, I know that in you is the spirit of the holy gods, and that no secret is hidden from you; now tell me what is the meaning of the dream that has come to me. This was the dream:
"I saw a tree standing upon the earth. It grew until the top of it reached up to heaven; and it was so great that it could be seen over all the earth. The leaves of it were beautiful, and its fruit was in plenty, and gave food for all. The beasts in the field stood in its shadow, and the birds of the heaven lived on its branches, and many people ate of its fruit.
"I saw in my dream that a Holy One came down from heaven. He cried aloud, and said:
"Then Daniel said to me, 'My lord, O king, may the dream be to those who hate you, and the meaning to your enemies! The tree which you saw, with green leaves, and rich fruit, and height reaching to heaven, and in sight of all the earth; that tree is yourself. You have become great; your power reaches up to heaven, and your rule is over all the lands.
"All this Daniel said to me, King Nebuchadnezzar; and it came to pass. Twelve months afterward I was walking in my kingly palace. I looked over the city, and said, 'Is not this great Babylon that I have built for my own royal home, by my power, and for my own glory?'
"While the word was in my mouth a voice fell from heaven, saying, 'O King Nebuchadnezzar, the word has been spoken, and your kingdom is gone from you!'
"And in that hour my reason left me, and another heart was given to me, the heart of a beast instead of the heart of a man. I was driven out of my palace, and lived among the beasts, and ate grass as oxen eat it; and my body was wet with the dew of heaven, until my hair was grown like eagles' feathers, and my nails like birds' claws.
Nebuchadnezzar's reason leaves him.
"And at the end of seven years my mind came back to me, and my reason returned. I blessed the king of heaven, and praised him that lives forever. My kingdom was given to me once more, my princes and rulers came to me again, and I was again the king over all the lands.
"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and honor the king of heaven. His words are truth and his works are right; and those who walk in pride he is able to make humble."
This was the story of the seven years' madness of King Nebuchadnezzar, and of his reason and his power coming back to him again.