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Daniel 4:11

ESV The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.
NIV The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.
NASB The tree grew large and became strong And its height reached to the sky, And it was visible to the end of the whole earth.
CSB The tree grew large and strong; its top reached to the sky, and it was visible to the ends of the earth.
NLT The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see.
KJV The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

What does Daniel 4:11 mean?

This description comes from a dream, not an actual example. Nebuchadnezzar is consulting with Daniel about a troubling vision (Daniel 4:4–5, 8–9). Critics who simply skim passages without reading them in context sometimes point to this as an example of scientific error. On a spherical earth, no tree would be visible from everywhere, no matter how tall it might be. Yet this depiction is part of a dream: what the king sees in his sleep is not part of the real world.

Some translators dispute the word "visible." This is the simplest rendering, but the implication goes beyond just line-of-sight. The tree is described as incredibly influential and important (Daniel 4:12). The tree is not simply seen, it is known and revered. This factors into the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 4:22), which implies that the mighty king will be humbled (Daniel 4:25).

Nebuchadnezzar had increased significantly in terms of the size of his kingdom and its strength. Everyone in the known world at the time could see the greatness of the Babylonian empire. Other empires had existed before Babylon. Chief among them were Egypt, Syria, and Assyria, but none of them had grown to the magnitude and splendor of the Babylonian empire. Nebuchadnezzar held sway over a vast, powerful, and productive kingdom. But would it last much longer? In his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's first dream, Daniel gave an answer (Daniel 2:39–40). In this case, as well, the king's absolute rule will not last forever. What applied to Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom applies as well to powerful nations today. Someday all kingdoms of the world, including the most powerful ones, will surrender their rule to King Jesus (Revelation 11:15).
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