The wind was picking up a bit and the trees were swaying to and fro.
An owl hooted from his perch in the tree above them.
"A tree!" Brian was laughing. "He had a dream about a fruit tree, with animals in its shade and birds nesting in its branches. I think he's crazy!"
"You don't know how close to the truth you are, Brian," replied Elizabeth.
"What does it all mean, Dad?" Jamie asked. "An angel said to chop the tree down but leave the roots, and who is supposed to live like an animal for seven years?"
"I am going to let Daniel explain the dream before I comment on it," Darryl answered.
Daniel sat thinking about the dream, and it greatly troubled him. Finally
Nebuchadnezzar prodded him to speak.
Daniel replied, "Your Majesty, I wish the dream had been against your enemies.2 That tree is you. Your glorious reputation has reached heaven, and your kingdom covers the earth.3 Your Majesty, G-d Most High has sent you this message, and it means that you will be forced to live with wild animals, far away from humans. You will eat grass like a wild animal and live outdoors for seven years, until you learn that G-d Most High controls all earthly kingdoms and chooses their rulers. However, He gave orders not to disturb the stump and roots. This is to show that you will be king once again, after you learn that the G-d who rules from heaven is in control. Your Majesty, please be willing to do what I say. Turn from yours sins and start living right; have mercy on those who are mistreated, then all will go well with you for a long time."4
After Daniel completed his interpretation of the dream, the room became strangely silent. Everyone's eyes were on the king, wondering what his reaction would be. Would he reward Daniel as he had done in the past? Would he have him executed? It was hard to tell what Nebuchadnezzar's reaction would be.
Finally Nebuchadnezzar broke the silence. "Thank you, Daniel, that will be all for now." His face was expressionless as he spoke.
Daniel left the king's presence, with the messenger who had summoned him close behind. As soon as they could not be overheard, the messenger spoke. "I can't believe what you told him. Are you crazy? I'm surprised he didn't order your execution on the spot."
Daniel turned to the messenger and stared into his eyes. "I know it wasn't a very pleasant message, but I must be honest no matter what the outcome."
"Do you really believe he will live like a wild animal?" the messenger asked.
"Yes, if he doesn't change his ways, it's only a matter of time until he does," Daniel explained.