Daniel, also called Belteshazzar, his Babylonian name, had a vision that took place in the 3rd year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, about 535 BCE. Daniel would be getting old at this time. This vision or word concerned a great conflict. Daniel understood this word because he had an understanding of this vision.
Daniel went before King Belshazzar. This king said to Daniel that he was one of the exiles from Judah that his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had brought from Judah. Then this king praised Daniel. He said that he heard of Daniel as someone who had the spirit of the gods in him. Also, Daniel had light, understanding, and excellent wisdom. This sounds like it is heading in the right direction as King Belshazzar met Belteshazzar, Daniel, since they had practically the same name.
This queen seemed to know all about Daniel and his ability to interpret dreams, probably because she was the queen mother. She reminded King Belshazzar that his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had found Daniel to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods. Thus, he made Daniel the chief of the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners. It is not clear why he was not still the chief. This Daniel had an excellent spirit, like that of gods, to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems. The former king gave him a new name, Belteshazzar. She said that this Belteshazzar should be called to give an interpretation to this mysterious writing.
Belteshazzar or Daniel told the king that he was the tree that he saw in his dream, since a strong man was often equated with a big sturdy tree. After all, the king, like the tree in the dream, had grown great and strong. His greatness had reached to heaven and was visible to the ends of the whole earth, because his kingdom was so great. Daniel described the tree with its abundant beautiful leaves and fruit that provided food for everyone. He used the same remarks as in the dream about the tree being a shady place for field animals and birds to build nests on its branches.
Belteshazzar or Daniel replied by calling King Nebuchadnezzar, his lord. He told the king that this dream was for those who hated him. The interpretation would surely please his enemies. In other words, there would not be good news here.
King Nebuchadnezzar had described his dream to Daniel. Now, he wanted Belteshazzar, Daniel, to given him an interpretation. All the wise men of his kingdom of Babylon were not able to give him an interpretation. However, Daniel, or Belteshazzar, was an able man endowed with the spirit of the holy gods. Daniel had some sort of divine power to interpret dreams, as was seen earlier in this work.
Finally, Daniel came in to see the king. As with his companions, King Nebuchadnezzar had given Daniel a Babylonian name, Belteshazzar, based on the name of his Babylonian god, Bel. The king realized that Daniel, like Joseph with the Egyptian Pharaoh, had special spiritual powers. After all, in chapter 2, Daniel knew and interpreted his dream. The king called Daniel the chief of the magicians. He thought that no mystery would be too difficult for Daniel, because of the special divine powers that he had. Thus, the king was not afraid to tell Daniel, or Belteshazzar, his dream or ask for an interpretation.
The king then turned to Daniel, whose Babylonian name was Belteshazzar. He wanted to know if Daniel was able to tell him his dream and its interpretation. The palace master had given Daniel this new Babylonian name of Belteshazzar in the preceding chapter, when he began his Babylonian court studies.