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Daniel Interprets the Dream

When Nebuchadnezzar was in Jerusalem, he ordered one of his chief men to choose from among the princes of Judah certain young men who were to be trained as servants in the king's palace. They were to be children in whom there was no blemish, and well favored, and skilful in wisdom, and cunning in knowledge. He wanted only the most beautiful and brightest young men in all the land.

The officer selected them as the king had directed,., and fed them of the king's food and taught them the things they should know, and did this for three years, so that they might be ready to serve the king.

Among these were four young men, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. They also were brought to Babylon, and had teachers appointed for their instruction. Each day the king sent them meat and wine from his own store, so that they 'night be well fed and favored by the time they were ready to serve the king.

Now, the meat and drink that came from the king's table was a portion of that which had been offered to the heathen idols, and, besides that, some of the meat was of the kind that the Jews were ordered not to eat. It was unclean meat and was forbidden. The other young men may not have minded this, but to Daniel and his three friends it was an offence, and to eat it meant defilement.

Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's meat and wine. He said to the officer who had charge of him: "I pray you not to make me and these others eat of the meat and drink of the wine from the king's table, for in so doing we defile ourselves."

The officer had grown to love Daniel and his friends, but did not wish to displease the king. He said to Daniel: "I am afraid of the king, for if he should see your faces and find you thin and pale and worse looking than the others, then he would order my head to be cut off." And the officer was perplexed as to what he should do, and turned them over to the steward.

"Give us a trial of ten days, and let us have nothing but pulse to eat and water to drink," said Daniel to the steward. "Then let our faces be compared with the faces of those who eat of the king's meat. If, then, we are not to your liking, deal with us as you will."

The steward consented, and for ten days, Daniel and his three friends were fed on pulse, which was a kind of vegetable, and drank only water. At the end of ten days their faces were fairer and fatter than those who had eaten of the king's meat. Then the steward took away the portion of their meat and wine, and gave them only pulse and water.

During the time of their instruction, the Lord made Daniel to understand dreams and visions, and the meaning of them. At the end of three years, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, were brought before the king and the king talked with them. Among all whom the king talked with, there were no others like them. In all matters of wisdom] and understanding, and in all the things that the king asked of them, he found them better than the magicians and wise men of his kingdom.

Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream that troubled him so much that he could not sleep. He called all the magicians and sorcerers, and wise men, and said to them: "I have dreamed a dream and my spirit is troubled to know the meaning of it."

"Tell us what you have dreamed, O, king, and we will interpret the meaning for you," said the { men as they stood before the king.

But the king answered: "The thing has gone from me, and I have forgot. You must make known to me what I dreamed and what was the meaning of it, or you shall be cut in pieces and your houses destroyed."

The wise men were dismayed, and cried out: "There is no man on earth that can do that. The king requires too much, that we should know both his dream and the interpretation of it. Only the gods can do that."

The king was angry and furious and sent out a decree that all the wise men should be put to death. This decree included Daniel and his fellows, for they were also among the wise men of Babylon. When Daniel heard of it he said to the king's guard:

"Why is the decree so hasty from the king, and why should the wise men be put to death?" And the captain of the guard told him what had l happened.

Daniel went to the king and begged him time and he would tell the king his dream and his interpretation of it. Then he went back to his home and told the others. Together they prayed that the secret might be revealed and the wise men spared. That night Daniel slept and in a vision God told him all that he needed to know to answer the king.

In the morning Daniel went to the captain of the king's soldiers and said to him: "Destroy not the wise men of Babylon, bring me before the king and I will show him the meaning of his dream." Then the captain hastened to the king and told him what Daniel had said and the king ordered Daniel to come before him.

"Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have forgotten, and to tell me the meaning of it?" said Nebuchadnezzar, to the young man.

"There is a God in heaven which reveals all secrets and who has spoken to the king in his dream of things that are going to happen. He has told me the dream and the meaning thereof," boldly replied Daniel, as he bowed to the king.

"Then tell me the dream," demanded Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel spoke to the king: "O, king, you saw a great image. It was very bright and its form was terrible. Its head was of fine gold, its breasts and arms were of silver, and its body and thighs were of brass. Its legs were of iron, and its feet were part iron and part clay.

"Then there came a stone out of the mountains which struck the image upon its feet, which were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then the iron and clay, the brass, silver and gold, we all broken in pieces together, and the wind blew them away so that there was nothing left. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the earth."

"That was my dream," said the king; what is the meaning?"

Daniel spoke again to the king: "You, O king, are a great king, with power and strength and glory. Wherever men dwell you have dominion over them. You are the head of gold. After you shall arise other kingdoms; the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay, mean these other kingdoms. There shall arise one kingdom greater than all, that shall subdue all kingdoms and shall cover the earth. The stone which came out of the mountain means this kingdom."

And Daniel bowed before the king after he had told him his dream and the meaning of it. The king made Daniel a great man and gave him many gifts and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon. He also gave Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, high places in his kingdom, because Daniel had revealed to him the secret of his dream and the meaning thereof.