Daniel 14 (TBM Day 482)

Daniel 14New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

Bel and the Dragon.[a] After King Astyages[b] was gathered to his ancestors, Cyrus the Persian succeeded to his kingdom. Daniel was a companion of the king and was held in higher honor than any of the Friends of the King. The Babylonians had an idol called Bel,[c] and every day they provided for it six bushels of fine flour, forty sheep, and six measures of wine. The king revered it and went every day to worship it; but Daniel worshiped only his God. When the king asked him, “Why do you not worship Bel?” Daniel replied, “Because I do not revere idols made with hands, but only the living God who made heaven and earth and has dominion over all flesh.” Then the king continued, “You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?” Daniel began to laugh. “Do not be deceived, O king,” he said; “it is only clay inside and bronze outside; it has never eaten or drunk anything.” Enraged, the king called his priests and said to them, “Unless you tell me who it is that consumes these provisions, you shall die. But if you can show that Bel consumes them, Daniel shall die for blaspheming Bel.” Daniel said to the king, “Let it be as you say!”

There were seventy priests of Bel, besides their wives and children.10 [d]When the king went with Daniel into the temple of Bel, 11 the priests of Bel said, “See, we are going to leave. You, O king, set out the food and prepare the wine; then shut the door and seal it with your ring.12 [e]If you do not find that Bel has eaten it all when you return in the morning, we are to die; otherwise Daniel shall die for his lies against us.”13 They were not perturbed, because under the table they had made a secret entrance through which they always came in to consume the food. 14 After they departed the king set the food before Bel, while Daniel ordered his servants to bring some ashes, which they scattered through the whole temple; the king alone was present. Then they went outside, sealed the closed door with the king’s ring, and departed. 15 [f]The priests entered that night as usual, with their wives and children, and they ate and drank everything.

16 Early the next morning, the king came with Daniel. 17 “Are the seals unbroken, Daniel?” he asked. And Daniel answered, “They are unbroken, O king.” 18 As soon as he had opened the door, the king looked at the table and cried aloud, “You are great, O Bel; there is no deceit in you.”19 [g]But Daniel laughed and kept the king from entering. He said, “Look at the floor and consider whose footprints these are.” 20 “I see the footprints of men, women, and children!” said the king. 21 [h]In his wrath the king arrested the priests, their wives, and their children. They showed him the secret door by which they used to enter to consume what was on the table. 22 The king put them to death, and handed Bel over to Daniel, who destroyed it and its temple.

23 There was a great dragon[i] which the Babylonians revered. 24 The king said to Daniel, “You cannot deny that this is a living god, so worship it.”25 But Daniel answered, “I worship the Lord, my God, for he is the living God. 26 Give me permission, O king, and I will kill this dragon without sword or club.” “I give you permission,” the king said. 27 Then Daniel took some pitch, fat, and hair; these he boiled together and made into cakes. He put them into the mouth of the dragon, and when the dragon ate them, he burst. “This,” he said, “is what you revered.”

28 When the Babylonians heard this, they were angry and turned against the king. “The king has become a Jew,” they said; “he has destroyed Bel, killed the dragon, and put the priests to death.” 29 They went to the king and demanded: “Hand Daniel over to us, or we will kill you and your family.” 30 When he saw himself threatened with violence, the king was forced to hand Daniel over to them. 31 They threw Daniel into a lions’ den,[j] where he remained six days. 32 In the den were seven lions. Two carcasses and two sheep had been given to them daily, but now they were given nothing, so that they would devour Daniel.

33 The prophet Habakkuk was in Judea. He mixed some bread in a bowl with the stew he had boiled, and was going to bring it to the reapers in the field, 34 when an angel of the Lord told him, “Take the meal you have to Daniel in the lions’ den at Babylon.” 35 But Habakkuk answered, “Sir, I have never seen Babylon, and I do not know the den!” 36 The angel of the Lord seized him by the crown of his head and carried him by the hair; with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon above the den. 37 “Daniel, Daniel,” cried Habakkuk, “take the meal God has sent you.” 38 “You have remembered me, O God,” said Daniel; “you have not forsaken those who love you.” 39 So Daniel ate, but the angel of God at once brought Habakkuk back to his own place.

40 On the seventh day the king came to mourn for Daniel. As he came to the den and looked in, there was Daniel, sitting there. 41 The king cried aloud, “You are great, O Lord, the God of Daniel, and there is no other besides you!” 42 He brought Daniel out, but those who had tried to destroy him he threw into the den, and they were devoured in a moment before his eyes.

Footnotes:

  1. 14:1–22 In chap. 14, readings in the Septuagint differ markedly from those in Theodotion, which is followed here. See individual notes on 1–3a, 10–11, 12–14, 15–17 and 21–22; the translation is that of Collins, Daniel, pp. 405ff, with brackets indicating additions to the Septuagint according to Collins.
  2. 14:1–3a These verses in the Septuagint Greek text read: “From the prophecy of Habakkuk, son of Joshua, of the tribe of Levi. 2 There was a certain man, a priest, whose name was Daniel, son of Abal, a companion of the king of Babylon. 3 There was an idol, Bel, which the Babylonians revered,…” This may represent an earlier form of the story, before it was attached to the Book of Daniel. King Astyages: the last of the Median kings, defeated by Cyrus in 550 B.C. This story preserves the fiction of a successive Median and Persian rule of Babylon.
  3. 14:3 Bel: see note on 4:5.
  4. 14:10–11 These verses in the Septuagint Greek text read: “(Now, there were seventy priests of Bel, apart from women and children.) They led the king to the idol shrine. 11 The food was set out in the presence of the king and of Daniel, and mixed wine was brought in and set before Bel. Daniel said, ‘You yourself see that these things are laid out, O king. You, therefore, seal the door of temple when it is closed.’ [The word pleased the king.]”
  5. 14:12–14 Theodotion’s vv. 12–13 and 14’s “After they departed the king set the food before Bel” are lacking in the Septuagint Greek text, which continues vv. 15–17 from v. 11as follows: “Then Daniel commanded his attendants to make everyone go out from the temple and sprinkle the whole temple with ashes, unknown to anyone outside. Then he ordered them to apply the seal with the king’s ring [and the seals of certain illustrious priests, and so it was done].”
  6. 14:15–17 These verses in the Septuagint Greek text read: “15 On the next day they came to the place. But the priests of Bel had entered through false doors and had eaten all that was set forth for Bel and drunk the wine. Daniel said, ‘See whether your seals remain, O priests, and you, O king, see that nothing has happened that seems improper to you.’ They found the seal as it had been, and they removed the seal.”
  7. 14:19 Note that here the king seems unaware of Daniel’s ruse.
  8. 14:21–22 These verses in the Septuagint Greek text read: “21 And he went to the house where the priests had come, and he found Bel’s food and the wine, and Daniel showed the king the false doors through which the priests entered and consumed what had been set before Bel. 22 The king led them out of the temple of Bel and gave them over to Daniel. He gave Daniel what was expended on him and destroyed Bel.”
  9. 14:23 Dragon: or “serpent,” and see v. 27. Sacred snakes are well attested in the ancient world (e.g., in the temple of the god of healing Asclepius at Epidaurus), though evidence for their veneration in Babylon is doubtful.
  10. 14:31 A lions’ den: this story provides a different account from chap. 6 as to why Daniel was associated with the lions’ den.
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Daniel 13 (TBM Day 482)

Daniel 13New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. Appendix: Susanna, Bel, and the Dragon[a]

Chapter 13

Susanna. In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. Joakim was very rich and he had a garden near his house. The Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, of whom the Lord said, “Lawlessness has come out of Babylon, that is, from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.” These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. When the elders saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. They perverted their thinking; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 10 Though both were enamored of her, they did not tell each other their trouble, 11 for they were ashamed to reveal their lustful desire to have her. 12 Day by day they watched eagerly for her. 13 One day they said to each other, “Let us be off for home, it is time for the noon meal.” So they went their separate ways. 14 But both turned back and arrived at the same spot. When they asked each other the reason, they admitted their lust, and then they agreed to look for an occasion when they could find her alone.

15 One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered as usual, with two maids only, wanting to bathe in the garden, for the weather was warm. 16 Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden gates while I bathe.”18 They did as she said; they shut the garden gates and left by the side gate to fetch what she had ordered, unaware that the elders were hidden inside.

19 As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and ran to her.20 “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, no one can see us, and we want you. So give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21 If you refuse, we will testify against you that a young man was here with you and that is why you sent your maids away.”

22 “I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23 Yet it is better for me not to do it and to fall into your power than to sin before the Lord.”24 Then Susanna screamed, and the two old men also shouted at her,25 as one of them ran to open the garden gates. 26 When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27 At the accusations of the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

28 When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked old men also came, full of lawless intent to put Susanna to death.29 Before the people they ordered: “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, 30 she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 31 Susanna, very delicate and beautiful, 32 was veiled; but those transgressors of the law ordered that she be exposed so as to sate themselves with her beauty. 33 All her companions and the onlookers were weeping.

34 In the midst of the people the two old men rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35 As she wept she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36 The old men said, “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two servant girls, shut the garden gates and sent the servant girls away. 37 A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38 When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this lawlessness, we ran toward them. 39 We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the gates and ran off. 40 Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, 41 but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death.

42 But Susanna cried aloud: “Eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: 43 you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things for which these men have condemned me.”

44 The Lord heard her prayer. 45 As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46 and he cried aloud: “I am innocent of this woman’s blood.” 47 All the people turned and asked him, “What are you saying?” 48 He stood in their midst and said, “Are you such fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without investigation and without clear evidence? 49 Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

50 Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” 51 But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them.”

52 After they were separated from each other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53 passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 54 Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” 55 “Under a mastic tree,”[b] he answered. “Your fine lie has cost you your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God has already received the sentence from God and shall split you in two.” 56 Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,” Daniel said to him, “beauty has seduced you, lust has perverted your heart. 57 This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your lawlessness. 58 Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” 59 “Under an oak,” he said. “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to destroy you both.”

60 The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those who hope in him. 61 They rose up against the two old men, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of bearing false witness. They condemned them to the fate they had planned for their neighbor: 62 in accordance with the law of Moses they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

63 Hilkiah and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joakim her husband and all her relatives, because she was found innocent of any shameful deed. 64 And from that day onward Daniel was greatly esteemed by the people.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:1–14:42 The short stories in these two chapters exist now only in Greek and other translations, but probably were first composed in Hebrew or Aramaic. They were never part of the Hebrew-Aramaic Book of Daniel, or of the Hebrew Bible. They are excluded from the Protestant canon of Scripture, but the Catholic Church has always included them among the inspired writings; they existed in the Septuagint, which was used as its Bible by the early church.
  2. 13:55–59 The contrast between the mastic tree, which is small, and the majestic oak emphasizes the contradiction between the statements of the two elders. In the Greek text there is a play on words between the names of these two trees and the mortal punishment decreed by Daniel for the elders. The mastic tree (schinon) sounds like the verb “to split” (schisai). The oak tree (prinon) suggests a play on poisai (to saw).

Daniel 12 (TBM Day 481)

Daniel 12New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 12

The Resurrection

“At that time there shall arise Michael,
    the great prince,
    guardian of your people;
It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
    since the nation began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape,
    everyone who is found written in the book.[a]
Many of those who sleep[b]
    in the dust of the earth shall awake;
Some to everlasting life,
    others to reproach and everlasting disgrace.
But those with insight shall shine brightly
    like the splendor of the firmament,
And those who lead the many to justice
    shall be like the stars[c] forever.

“As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall wander aimlessly and evil shall increase.”

I, Daniel, looked and saw two others, one standing on either bank of the river. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be to the end of these appalling things?”The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, lifted his hands to heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives forever that it should be for a time, two times, and half a time;[d] and that, when the power of the destroyer of the holy people was brought to an end, all these things should end. I heard, but I did not understand; so I asked, “My lord, what follows this?” “Go, Daniel,” he said, “because the words are to be kept secret and sealed until the end time. 10 Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall prove wicked; the wicked shall have no understanding, but those with insight shall. 11 [e]From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the desolating abomination is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed are they who have patience and persevere for the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. 13 Go, take your rest, you shall rise for your reward at the end of days.”

Footnotes:

  1. 12:1 Written in the book: cf. 10:21.
  2. 12:2 Many of those who sleep: Daniel does not envisage the universal resurrection as later developed. Two groups are distinguished, one that rises to eternal life, the other to reproach and disgrace. Then “those with insight” (11:33–35) are singled out for special honor.
  3. 12:3 Like the stars: like the heavenly host, or angels. Cf. Mt 22:30.
  4. 12:7 A time, two times, and half a time: see note on 7:25.
  5. 12:11 The specific numbers of days given in vv. 11–12 represent attempts to calculate the precise duration of the three and a half years. Most probably, when the first date (1,290 days) passed, the author attempted another calculation. Another, earlier calculation is preserved in 8:14. It is noteworthy, however, that the contradictory numbers were allowed to stand in the text; this is a reminder that it is not possible to calculate a precise date for God’s judgment; cf. Mk 13:32.

Daniel 11 (TBM Day 481)

Daniel 11New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 11

The Hellenistic Age. “Now I shall tell you the truth.

“Three kings of Persia[a] are yet to appear; and a fourth shall acquire the greatest riches of all. Strengthened by his riches, he shall stir up all kingdoms, even that of Greece. But a powerful king[b] shall appear and rule with great might, doing as he wills. No sooner shall he appear than his kingdom shall be broken and divided in four directions under heaven; but not among his descendants or in keeping with his mighty rule, for his kingdom shall be torn to pieces and belong to others.

[c]“The king of the south shall grow strong, but one of his princes shall grow stronger still and govern a domain greater than his. [d]After some years they shall become allies: the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to carry out the alliance. But she shall not retain power: and his offspring shall not survive, and she shall be given up, together with those who brought her, her son, and her supporter in due time. A descendant of her line shall succeed to his place, and shall come against the army, enter the stronghold of the king of the north, attack and conquer them. Even their gods, with their molten images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, he shall carry away as spoils of war into Egypt. For years he shall have nothing to do with the king of the north. Then the latter shall invade the land of the king of the south, and return to his own country.

10 “But his sons shall be aroused and assemble a great armed host, which shall pass through like a flood and again surge around the stronghold. 11 [e]The king of the south, enraged, shall go out to fight against the king of the north, who shall field a great host, but the host shall be given into his hand. 12 When the host is carried off, in the pride of his heart he shall bring down tens of thousands, but he shall not triumph. 13 [f]For the king of the north shall raise another army, greater than before; after some years he shall attack with this large army and great resources. 14 In those times many shall resist the king of the south, and violent ones among your people shall rise up in fulfillment of vision, but they shall stumble. 15 [g]When the king of the north comes, he shall set up siegeworks and take the fortified city by storm. The forces of the south shall not withstand him, and not even his picked troops shall have the strength to withstand. 16 The invader shall do as he wills, with no one to withstand him. He shall stop in the glorious land, and it shall all be in his power. 17 [h]He shall resolve to come with the entire strength of his kingdom. He shall make an alliance with him and give him a daughter in marriage in order to destroy him, but this shall not stand.18 [i]He shall turn to the coastland and take many prisoners, but a commander shall put an end to his shameful conduct, so that he cannot retaliate. 19 He shall turn to the strongholds of his own land, but shall stumble and fall, to be found no more. 20 [j]In his stead one shall arise who will send a collector of tribute through the glorious kingdom, but he shall soon be destroyed, though not in conflict or in battle.

21 [k]“There shall arise in his place a despicable person, to whom the royal insignia shall not be given. He shall enter by stealth and seize the kingdom by fraud. 22 Armed forces shall be completely overwhelmed by him and crushed, even the prince of the covenant.[l] 23 After making alliances, he shall treacherously rise to power with only a few supporters. 24 By stealth he shall enter prosperous provinces and do that which his fathers or grandfathers never did; he shall distribute spoil, plunder, and riches among them and devise plots against their strongholds. 25 He shall rouse his strength and courage to meet the king of the south with a great army; the king of the south shall go into battle with a very large and strong army, but he shall not stand because of the plots devised against him. 26 Even his table companions shall seek to destroy him, his army shall be overwhelmed, and many shall be struck down. 27 The two kings, resolved on evil, shall sit at table together and exchange lies, but they shall have no success, because the appointed end is not yet.

28 “He[m] shall turn back toward his land with great riches, his mind set against the holy covenant; he shall take action and return to his land.29 At the time appointed he shall come again to the south, but this time it shall not be as before. 30 When ships of the Kittim[n] confront him, he shall lose heart and retreat. Then he shall rage against the holy covenant and take action; he shall again favor those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Armed forces shall rise at his command and defile the sanctuary stronghold, abolishing the daily sacrifice and setting up the desolating abomination. 32 By his deceit he shall make some who were disloyal forsake the covenant; but those who remain loyal to their God shall take strong action. 33 Those with insight among the people shall instruct the many; though for a time the sword, flames, exile, and plunder will cause them to stumble. 34 When they stumble, they will be helped,[o] but only a little; many shall join them, but out of treachery.35 Some of those with insight shall stumble so that they may be tested, refined, and purified, until the end time which is still appointed to come.

36 “The king shall do as he wills, exalting himself and making himself greater than any god; he shall utter dreadful blasphemies against the God of gods. He shall prosper only till the wrath is finished, for what is determined must take place. 37 He shall have no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one in whom women delight;[p] for no god shall he have regard, because he shall make himself greater than all.38 Instead, he shall give glory to the god of strongholds;[q] a god unknown to his ancestors he shall glorify with gold, silver, precious stones, and other treasures. 39 He shall act for those who fortify strongholds, a people of a foreign god, whom he has recognized. He shall greatly honor them; he shall make them rule over the many and distribute the land as a reward.

40 [r]“At the end time the king of the south shall engage him in battle but the king of the north shall overwhelm him with chariots and horsemen and a great fleet, passing through the lands like a flood. 41 He shall enter the glorious land and many shall fall, except Edom, Moab, and the chief part of Ammon, which shall escape his power. 42 He shall extend his power over the land, and not even Egypt shall escape. 43 He shall control the riches of gold and silver and all the treasures of Egypt; Libya and Ethiopia shall be in his entourage. 44 When reports from the east and the north disturb him, he shall set out with great fury to destroy many, putting them under the ban. 45 He shall pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the sea and the glorious holy mountain, but he shall come to his end with none to help him.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:2 Three kings of Persia: it is unclear which kings are intended because there were more than three Persian kings between Cyrus and the dissolution of the kingdom. The fourth is Xerxes I (486–465 B.C.), the great campaigner against Greece.
  2. 11:3 A powerful king: Alexander the Great, who broke Persian dominance by his victory at Issus in 333 B.C.
  3. 11:5–45 These verses describe the dynastic histories of the Ptolemies in Egypt (the king of the south) and the Seleucids in Syria (the king of the north), the two divisions of the Hellenistic empire that were of interest to the author (v. 6). Verses 10–20 describe the struggle between the two kingdoms for the control of Palestine; the Seleucids were eventually victorious.
  4. 11:6 The marriage of Antiochus II Theos and Berenice of Egypt about 250 B.C., which ended in tragedy.
  5. 11:11 The battle of Raphia (217 B.C.), in which Egypt defeated Syria.
  6. 11:13 Syria defeated Egypt at the battle of Paneas in 200 B.C. Judea then passed under Syrian rule.
  7. 11:15 The siege of Sidon after the battle of Paneas.
  8. 11:17 Antiochus III, the Great, betrothed his daughter to Ptolemy Epiphanes in 197 B.C.
  9. 11:18 The Roman general Scipio defeated Antiochus at Magnesia in 190 B.C.
  10. 11:20 Seleucus IV, who sent Heliodorus to Jerusalem (cf. 2 Mc 3).
  11. 11:21 Here begins the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
  12. 11:22 The prince of the covenant: the high priest Onias III, who was murdered.
  13. 11:28 He: the king of the north, probably Antiochus IV.
  14. 11:30 Kittim: originally this word meant Cypriots or other westerners. It is sometimes used for the Greeks (1 Mc 1:1). Here it refers to the Romans, who forced Antiochus to withdraw from Egypt during his second campaign there.
  15. 11:34 Helped: this may be a reference to the Maccabean revolt. The apocalyptic author expects deliverance from God and has little regard for human efforts. In fact, the Maccabees routed the Syrian troops, recaptured Jerusalem, purified and rededicated the Temple, and brought to an end the Syrian persecution.
  16. 11:37 The one in whom women delight: Tammuz. Antiochus favored the cult of Zeus. Daniel takes this to imply the neglect of all other gods, although this does not appear to have been the case.
  17. 11:38 The god of strongholds: the god worshiped in the fortress Akra, which Antiochus established in Jerusalem.
  18. 11:40–45 In these concluding verses, the events described no longer correspond to the history of the Maccabean period. Daniel imagines the death of Antiochus on the model of Gog in Ez 38–39. Antiochus actually died in Persia.

Daniel, Chapter 10 (TBM Day 480)

Daniel 10New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 10

An Angelic Vision.[a] In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel, who had been named Belteshazzar. The revelation was certain: a great war;[b] he understood this from the vision. In those days, I, Daniel, mourned three full weeks. I ate no savory food, took no meat or wine, and did not anoint myself at all until the end of the three weeks.

On the twenty-fourth day of the first month[c] I was on the bank of the great river, the Tigris. As I looked up, I saw a man[d] dressed in linen with a belt of fine gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face shone like lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and feet looked like burnished bronze, and the sound of his voice was like the roar of a multitude. I alone, Daniel, saw the vision; but great fear seized those who were with me; they fled and hid themselves, although they did not see the vision. So I was left alone to see this great vision. No strength remained in me; I turned the color of death and was powerless. When I heard the sound of his voice, I fell face forward unconscious.

10 But then a hand touched me, raising me to my hands and knees.11 “Daniel, beloved,” he said to me, “understand the words which I am speaking to you; stand up, for my mission now is to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 “Do not fear, Daniel,” he continued; “from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. Because of it I started out, 13 but the prince of the kingdom of Persia[e] stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia,14 and came to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the last days; for there is yet a vision concerning those days.”

15 While he was speaking thus to me, I fell forward and kept silent.16 Then something like a hand touched my lips; I opened my mouth and said to the one standing before me, “My lord, I was seized with pangs at the vision and I was powerless. 17 How can my lord’s servant speak with you, my lord? For now no strength or even breath is left in me.” 18 The one who looked like a man touched me again and strengthened me, saying, 19 “Do not fear, beloved. Peace! Take courage and be strong.” When he spoke to me, I grew strong and said, “Speak, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” 20 “Do you know,” he asked, “why I have come to you? Soon I must fight the prince of Persia again. When I leave, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but I shall tell you what is written in the book of truth.[f] No one supports me against these except Michael, your prince, and in the first year of Darius the Mede I stood to strengthen him and be his refuge.

Footnotes:

  1. 10:1–12:13 This final vision is concerned with history from the time of Cyrus to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes.
  2. 10:1 A great war: or “the service was great,” or “a mighty host.” The Hebrew is ambiguous.
  3. 10:4 The first month: the month Nisan (mid-March to mid-April).
  4. 10:5–6 The heavenly person of the vision is probably the angel Gabriel, as in 9:21.Chrysolite: or topaz, a yellowish precious stone. Cf. the visions in Ez 1 and 8.
  5. 10:13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia: the angelic guardian of Persia. Where older texts speak of the gods of various countries (Dt 32:8), Daniel speaks of “princes.”Michael: the patron angel of Israel (v. 21).
  6. 10:21 The book of truth: a heavenly book in which future events are already recorded; cf. 7:10; 12:1.

Daniel, Chapter 9 (TBM Day 480)

Daniel 9New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 9

The Seventy Weeks of Years. It was the first year that Darius,[a] son of Ahasuerus, of the race of the Medes, reigned over the kingdom of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years the Lord had decreed to the prophet Jeremiah: Jerusalem was to lie in ruins for seventy years.[b]

I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. I prayed to the Lord, my God, and confessed, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your covenant and show mercy toward those who love you and keep your commandments and your precepts! We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and turned from your commandments and your laws. We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, and all the people of the land. Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the lands to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you. O Lord, we are ashamed, like our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, for having sinned against you. But to the Lord, our God, belong compassion and forgiveness, though we rebelled against him 10 and did not hear the voice of the Lord, our God, by walking in his laws given through his servants the prophets. 11 The curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, were poured out over us for our sins, because all Israel transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to hear your voice. 12 He fulfilled the words he spoke against us and against those who ruled us, by bringing upon us an evil—no evil so great has happened under heaven as happened in Jerusalem. 13 As it is written[c] in the law of Moses, this evil has come upon us. We did not appease the Lord, our God, by turning back from our wickedness and acting according to your truth, 14 so the Lord kept watch over the evil and brought it upon us. The Lord, our God, is just in all that he has done: we did not listen to his voice.

15 “Now, Lord, our God, who led your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and made a name for yourself even to this day, we have sinned, we are guilty. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your just deeds, let your anger and your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. On account of our sins and the crimes of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become the reproach of all our neighbors. 17 Now, our God, hear the prayer and petition of your servant; and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, my God, and listen; open your eyes and look upon our desolate city upon which your name is invoked. When we present our petition before you, we rely not on our just deeds, but on your great mercy. 19 Lord, hear! Lord, pardon! Lord, be attentive and act without delay, for your own sake, my God, because your name is invoked upon your city and your people!”

20 I was still praying to the Lord, my God, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, presenting my petition concerning the holy mountain of my God— 21 I was still praying, when the man, Gabriel, whom I had seen in vision before, came to me in flight at the time of the evening offering.[d] 22 He instructed me in these words: “Daniel, I have now come to give you understanding. 23 When you began your petition, an answer was given which I have come to announce, because you are beloved. Therefore, mark the answer and understand the vision.

24 “Seventy weeks[e] are decreed
    for your people and for your holy city:
Then transgression will stop and sin will end,
    guilt will be expiated,
Everlasting justice will be introduced,
    vision and prophecy ratified,
    and a holy of holies will be anointed.
25     Know and understand:
From the utterance of the word
    that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt[f]
Until there is an anointed ruler,
    there shall be seven weeks.
In the course of sixty-two weeks
    it shall be rebuilt,
With squares and trenches,
    in time of affliction.
26 After the sixty-two weeks
    an anointed one[g] shall be cut down
    with no one to help him.
And the people of a leader who will come
    shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
His end shall come in a flood;
    until the end of the war, which is decreed,
    there will be desolation.
27 For one week[h] he shall make
    a firm covenant with the many;
Half the week
    he shall abolish sacrifice and offering;
In their place shall be the desolating abomination
    until the ruin that is decreed
    is poured out upon the desolator.”

Footnotes:

  1. 9:1 Darius: see note on 6:1.
  2. 9:2 Seventy years: Jeremiah was understood to prophesy a Babylonian captivity of seventy years, a round number signifying the complete passing away of the existing generation (Jer 25:11; 29:10). On this view Jeremiah’s prophecy was seen to be fulfilled in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus and the subsequent return of the Jews to Palestine. However, the author of Daniel, living during the persecution of Antiochus, extends Jeremiah’s number to seventy weeks of years (Dn 9:24), i.e., seven times seventy years, to encompass the period of Seleucid persecution.
  3. 9:13 As it is written: the first time that this formula of Scriptural citation is used in the Bible. The reference (v. 11) is to the sanctions of Lv 26:14–16; Dt 28:15–17.
  4. 9:21 At the time of the evening offering: between three and four in the afternoon.
  5. 9:24 Seventy weeks: i.e., of years. Just as Jeremiah’s seventy years was an approximation (see note on v. 2), the four hundred and ninety years here is not to be taken literally. Similarly, the distribution of the “weeks” in the following verses indicates only relative proportions of the total figure. A holy of holies: or “most holy”; could be understood as a place (e.g., the Jerusalem Temple) or a person (cf. 1 Chr 23:13).
  6. 9:25 From the utterance…to be rebuilt: from the time of Jeremiah’s prophecy.Anointed ruler: either Cyrus, who was called the anointed of the Lord to end the exile (Is 45:1), or the high priest Jeshua who presided over the rebuilding of the altar of sacrifice after the exile (Ezr 3:2). Seven weeks: forty-nine years, an approximation of the time of the exile. In the course of sixty-two weeks…rebuilt: a period of four hundred thirty-four years, roughly approximating the interval between the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile and the beginning of the Seleucid persecution.
  7. 9:26 An anointed one: the high priest Onias III, murdered in 171 B.C., from which the author dates the beginning of the persecution. Onias was in exile when he was killed. A leader: Antiochus IV.
  8. 9:27 One week: the final phase of the period in view, the time of Antiochus’ persecution.He: Antiochus himself. The many: the faithless Jews who allied themselves with the Seleucids; cf. 1 Mc 1:11–13. Half the week: three and a half years; the Temple was desecrated by Antiochus from 167 to 164 B.C. The desolating abomination: see note on 8:13; probably a pagan altar. Jesus refers to this passage in his prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem in Mt 24:15.

Daniel, Chapter 8 (TBM Day 479)

Daniel 8New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 8

The Ram and the He-goat.[a] After this first vision, I, Daniel, had another, in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar. In my vision I saw myself in the fortress of Susa[b] in the province of Elam; I was beside the river Ulai. I looked up and saw standing by the river a ram with two great horns, the one larger and newer than the other. I saw the ram butting toward the west, north, and south. No beast could withstand it or be rescued from its power; it did what it pleased and grew powerful.

As I was reflecting, a he-goat with a prominent horn on its forehead suddenly came from the west across the whole earth without touching the ground. It came to the two-horned ram I had seen standing by the river, and rushed toward it with savage force. I saw it reach the ram; enraged, the he-goat attacked and shattered both its horns. The ram did not have the strength to withstand it; the he-goat threw the ram to the ground and trampled upon it. No one could rescue the ram from its power.

The he-goat grew very powerful, but at the height of its strength the great horn was shattered, and in its place came up four others, facing the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came a little horn[c] which grew and grew toward the south, the east, and the glorious land. 10 It grew even to the host of heaven,[d] so that it cast down to earth some of the host and some of the stars and trampled on them. 11 It grew even to the Prince of the host, from whom the daily sacrifice was removed, and whose sanctuary was cast down. 12 The host was given over together with the daily sacrifice in the course of transgression. It cast truth to the ground, and was succeeding in its undertaking.

13 I heard a holy one speaking, and another said to whichever one it was that spoke, “How long shall the events of this vision last concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating sin,[e] the giving over of the sanctuary and the host for trampling?” 14 He answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be set right.”

15 While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, one who looked like a man stood before me, 16 and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, “Gabriel,[f] explain the vision to this man.” 17 When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision refers to the end time.”[g] 18 As he spoke to me, I fell forward unconscious; he touched me and made me stand up. 19 “I will show you,” he said, “what is to happen in the last days of wrath; for it is for the appointed time of the end.

20 “The two-horned ram you saw represents the kings of the Medes and Persians.[h] 21 The he-goat is the king of the Greeks, and the great horn on its forehead is the first king. 22 The four that rose in its place when it was shattered are four kingdoms that will issue from his nation, but without his strength.

23 “At the end of their reign,
    when sinners have reached their measure,
There shall arise a king,
    impudent, and skilled in intrigue.
24 He shall be strong and powerful,
    bring about fearful ruin,
    and succeed in his undertaking.
He shall destroy powerful peoples;
25     his cunning shall be against the holy ones,
    his treacherous conduct shall succeed.
He shall be proud of heart
    and destroy many by stealth.
But when he rises against the Prince of princes,
    he shall be broken without a hand being raised.
26 As for the vision of the evenings and the mornings,
    what was spoken is true.
But you, keep this vision secret:
    it is for the distant future.”

27 I, Daniel, was weak and ill for some days; then I arose and took care of the king’s affairs. But the vision left me desolate, without understanding.

Footnotes:

  1. 8:1–27 This vision continues images of the preceding one, and develops it in more detail. As explained in vv. 20–22 the two-horned ram represents the combined kingdom of the Medes and Persians, destroyed by Alexander’s Hellenistic empire originating in the west. Once again the author is interested only in the Seleucid dynasty, which emerged from the dissolution of Alexander’s empire after his death in 323 B.C.
  2. 8:2 The fortress of Susa: the royal palace of the Persian kings in the ancient territory of Elam, east of Babylonia. The river Ulai: a canal along the northern side of Susa. Some scholars argue that the Hebrew word understood as “river” here should instead be translated “gate.”
  3. 8:9 A little horn: as in chap. 7, Antiochus IV. The glorious land: Israel.
  4. 8:10–12 The host of heaven: the angelic host, symbolized by the stars. The Prince of the host: the Most High God, whose worship Antiochus suppressed (1 Mc 1:45).
  5. 8:13 The desolating sin: the Hebrew contains a wordplay (shomem) on the name Baal Shamem (“lord of the heavens,” identified by some as the Greek Zeus Olympios). The reference is to some object with which Antiochus profaned the Temple of Jerusalem (2 Mc 6:2), most probably a pagan altar.
  6. 8:16 The angel Gabriel is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. There is wordplay in the preceding verse on geber, “manlike figure.”
  7. 8:17 The end time: the time when God sits in judgment on the wicked (v. 19).
  8. 8:20 The Medes and Persians: the Medes had been allies of the Babylonians in destroying the Assyrian empire (late seventh century B.C.), and Cyrus the Persian defeated the Medes en route to conquering the Babylonians. The Book of Daniel, however, treats the Medes and Persians as a dual kingdom; cf. also 5:28; 6:9; and note on 6:1.

Daniel, Chapter 7 (TBM Day 479)

Daniel 7New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

II. Daniel’s Visions

Chapter 7

The Beasts and the Judgment.[a] In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, as Daniel lay in bed he had a dream, visions in his head. Then he wrote down the dream; the account began: In the vision I saw during the night, suddenly the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea,[b] from which emerged four immense beasts, each different from the others. The first was like a lion, but with eagle’s wings.[c] While I watched, the wings were plucked; it was raised from the ground to stand on two feet like a human being, and given a human mind. The second beast was like a bear;[d] it was raised up on one side, and among the teeth in its mouth were three tusks. It was given the order, “Arise, devour much flesh.” After this I looked and saw another beast, like a leopard;[e] on its back were four wings like those of a bird, and it had four heads. To this beast dominion was given. [f]After this, in the visions of the night I saw a fourth beast, terrifying, horrible, and of extraordinary strength; it had great iron teeth with which it devoured and crushed, and it trampled with its feet what was left. It differed from the beasts that preceded it. It had ten horns. I was considering the ten horns it had, when suddenly another, a little horn, sprang out of their midst, and three of the previous horns were torn away to make room for it. This horn had eyes like human eyes, and a mouth that spoke arrogantly. [g]As I watched,

Thrones were set up
    and the Ancient of Days took his throne.
His clothing was white as snow,
    the hair on his head like pure wool;
His throne was flames of fire,
    with wheels of burning fire.
10 A river of fire surged forth,
    flowing from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
    and myriads upon myriads stood before him.

The court was convened, and the books were opened. 11 I watched, then, from the first of the arrogant words which the horn spoke, until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the burning fire.12 As for the other beasts, their dominion was taken away, but they were granted a prolongation of life for a time and a season. 13 As the visions during the night continued, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven

One like a son of man.[h]
When he reached the Ancient of Days
    and was presented before him,
14 He received dominion, splendor, and kingship;
    all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    that shall not pass away,
    his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.

15 Because of this, my spirit was anguished and I, Daniel, was terrified by my visions. 16 I approached one of those present and asked him the truth of all this; in answer, he made known to me its meaning: 17 “These four great beasts stand for four kings which shall arise on the earth.18 But the holy ones[i] of the Most High shall receive the kingship, to possess it forever and ever.”

19 Then I wished to make certain about the fourth beast, so very terrible and different from the others, devouring and crushing with its iron teeth and bronze claws, and trampling with its feet what was left; 20 and about the ten horns on its head, and the other one that sprang up, before which three horns fell; and about the horn with the eyes and the mouth that spoke arrogantly, which appeared greater than its fellows. 21 For, as I watched, that horn made war against the holy ones and was victorious22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was pronounced in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived for the holy ones to possess the kingship. 23 He answered me thus:

“The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
    different from all the others;
The whole earth it shall devour,
    trample down and crush.
24 The ten horns shall be ten kings
    rising out of that kingdom;
    another shall rise up after them,
Different from those before him,
    who shall lay low three kings.
25 He shall speak against the Most High
    and wear down the holy ones of the Most High,
    intending to change the feast days and the law.[j]
They shall be handed over to him
    for a time, two times, and half a time.
26 But when the court is convened,
    and his dominion is taken away
    to be abolished and completely destroyed,
27 Then the kingship and dominion and majesty
    of all the kingdoms under the heavens
    shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High,
Whose kingship shall be an everlasting kingship,
    whom all dominions shall serve and obey.”

28 This is the end of the report. I, Daniel, was greatly terrified by my thoughts, and my face became pale, but I kept the matter to myself.[k]

Footnotes:

  1. 7:1–27 This vision continues the motif of the four kingdoms from chap. 2; see note on2:36–45. To the four succeeding world kingdoms, Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Greek, is opposed the heavenly kingdom of God and the kingdom of God’s people on earth. The beast imagery of this chapter has been used extensively in the Book of Revelation, where it is applied to the Roman empire, the persecutor of the Church.
  2. 7:2 The great sea: the primordial ocean beneath the earth, according to ancient Near Eastern cosmology (Gn 7:11; 49:25). It was thought to contain various monsters (Is 27:1;Jb 7:12), and in particular mythological monsters symbolizing the chaos which God had vanquished in primordial times (Jb 9:13; 26:12; Is 51:9–10; etc.).
  3. 7:4 In ancient times the Babylonian empire was commonly represented as a winged lion, in the rampant position (raised up on one side). The two wings that were plucked may represent Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. On two feet like a human being…a human mind: contrasts with what is said in 4:13, 30.
  4. 7:5 A bear: represents the Median empire, its three tusks symbolizing its destructive nature; hence, the command: “Arise, devour much flesh.”
  5. 7:6 A leopard: used to symbolize the swiftness with which Cyrus the Persian established his kingdom. Four heads: corresponding to the four Persian kings of 11:2.
  6. 7:7–8 Alexander’s empire was different from all the others in that it was Western rather than Eastern in inspiration, and far exceeded the others in power. The ten horns represent the kings of the Seleucid dynasty, the only part of the Hellenistic empire that concerned the author. The little horn is Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 B.C.), who usurped the throne and persecuted the Jews.
  7. 7:9–10 A vision of the heavenly throne of God (the Ancient of Days), who sits in judgment over the nations. Some of the details of the vision, depicting the divine majesty and omnipotence, are to be found in Ezekiel 1. Others are paralleled in 1 Enoch, a contemporary Jewish apocalypse.
  8. 7:13–14 One like a son of man: In contrast to the worldly kingdoms opposed to God, which are represented as grotesque beasts, the coming Kingdom of God is represented by a human figure. Scholars disagree as to whether this figure should be taken as a collective symbol for the people of God (cf. 7:27) or identified as a particular individual, e.g., the archangel Michael (cf. 12:1) or the messiah. The phrase “Son of Man” becomes a title for Jesus in the gospels, especially in passages dealing with the Second Coming (Mk 13 and parallels).
  9. 7:18 “Holy ones” in Hebrew and Aramaic literature are nearly always members of the heavenly court or angels (cf. 4:10, 14, 20; 8:13), though here the term is commonly taken to refer to Israel.
  10. 7:25 The reference is to the persecution of Antiochus IV and specifically to the disruption of the Temple cult (1 Mc 1:41–64). A time, two times, and half a time: an indefinite, evil period of time. Probably here, three and a half years, which becomes the standard period of tribulation in apocalyptic literature (Rev 11:2; 13:5 [in months]; 11:3 [in days]; and cf.12:14). As seven is the Jewish “perfect” number, half of it signifies great imperfection. Actually, the Temple was desecrated for three years (1 Mc 4:52–54). The duration of the persecution was a little longer, since it was already under way before the Temple was desecrated.
  11. 7:28 This verse ends the Aramaic part of the Book of Daniel.

Daniel, Chapter 6 (TBM Day 478)

Daniel 6New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

And Darius the Mede[a] succeeded to the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.

The Lions’ Den. Darius decided to appoint over his entire kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps. These were accountable to three ministers, one of whom was Daniel; the satraps reported to them, so that the king should suffer no loss. Daniel outshone all the ministers and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king considered setting him over the entire kingdom. Then the ministers and satraps tried to find grounds for accusation against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could not accuse him of any corruption. Because he was trustworthy, no fault or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said to themselves, “We shall find no grounds for accusation against this Daniel except in connection with the law of his God.” So these ministers and satraps stormed in to the king and said to him, “King Darius, live forever! [b]All the ministers of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, counselors, and governors agree that the following prohibition ought to be put in force by royal decree: for thirty days, whoever makes a petition to anyone, divine or human, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, let the prohibition be issued over your signature, immutable and irrevocable[c]according to the law of the Medes and Persians.” 10 So King Darius signed the prohibition into law.

11 Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem. 12 So these men stormed in and found Daniel praying and pleading before his God. 13 Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition: “Did you not sign a decree, O king, that for thirty days, whoever makes a petition to anyone, divine or human, except to you, O king, shall be cast into a den of lions?” The king answered them, “The decree is absolute, irrevocable under the law of the Medes and Persians.”14 To this they replied, “Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the prohibition you signed; three times a day he offers his prayer.” 15 The king was deeply grieved at this news and he made up his mind to save Daniel; he worked till sunset to rescue him. 16 But these men pressed the king. “Keep in mind, O king,” they said, “that under the law of the Medes and Persians every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.” 17 So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den.[d] To Daniel he said, “Your God, whom you serve so constantly, must save you.” 18 To forestall any tampering, the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den.

19 Then the king returned to his palace for the night; he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers. Since sleep was impossible for him,20 the king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions’ den. 21 As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?” 22 Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever! 23 My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither have I done you any harm, O king!” 24 This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was brought up from the den; he was found to be unharmed because he trusted in his God. 25 The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel, along with their children and their wives, to be cast into the lions’ den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

26 Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: “May your peace abound! 27 I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared:

“For he is the living God, enduring forever,
    whose kingdom shall not be destroyed,
    whose dominion shall be without end,
28 A savior and deliverer,
    working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,
    who saved Daniel from the lions’ power.”

29 So Daniel fared well during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:1 Darius the Mede: unknown outside of the Book of Daniel. The Median kingdom did not exist at this time because it had already been conquered by Cyrus the Persian. Apparently the author of Daniel is following an apocalyptic view of history, linked to prophecy (cf. Is 13:17–19; Jer 51:11, 28–30), according to which the Medes formed the second of four world kingdoms preceding the messianic times; see note on Dn 2:36–45. The character of Darius the Mede has probably been modeled on that of the Persian king Darius the Great (522–486 B.C.), the second successor of Cyrus. The Persian Darius did appoint satraps over his empire.
  2. 6:8–11 The Jews of the second century B.C. could relate the king’s attempt to force upon them, under pain of death, the worship of a foreign deity to the decrees of Antiochus IV; cf. 1 Mc 1:41–50.
  3. 6:9 Immutable and irrevocable: Est 1:19 and 8:8 also refer to the immutability of Medo-Persian laws. The same idea is found in the historian Diodorus Siculus with reference to the time of Darius III (335–331 B.C.), the last of the Persian kings. Cf. Dn 6:13, 16.
  4. 6:17 The lions’ den: a pit too deep to be easily scaled; its opening was blocked with a stone (v. 18).

Daniel, Chapter 5 (TBM Day 478)

Daniel 5New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

The Writing on the Wall. King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles, with whom he drank. Under the influence of the wine, he ordered the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father,[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines might drink from them. When the gold vessels taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, had been brought in, and while the king, his nobles, his consorts, and his concubines were drinking wine from them, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king’s palace. When the king saw the hand that wrote, his face became pale; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked. The king shouted for the enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners to be brought in. “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means,” he said to the wise men of Babylon, “shall be clothed in purple, wear a chain of gold around his neck, and be third in governing the kingdom.” But though all the king’s wise men came in, none of them could either read the writing or tell the king what it meant. Then King Belshazzar was greatly terrified; his face became pale, and his nobles were thrown into confusion.

10 When the queen heard of the discussion between the king and his nobles, she entered the banquet hall and said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you, or your face become so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; during the lifetime of your father he showed brilliant insight and god-like wisdom. King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners. 12 Because this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has shown an extraordinary spirit, knowledge, and insight in interpreting dreams, explaining riddles and solving problems, let him now be summoned to tell you what this means.”

13 Then Daniel was brought into the presence of the king. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, whom my father, the king, brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you, that you have shown brilliant insight and extraordinary wisdom.15 The wise men and enchanters were brought in to me to read this writing and tell me its meaning, but they could not say what the words meant. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems; now, if you are able to read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be clothed in purple, wear a chain of gold around your neck, and be third in governing the kingdom.”

17 Daniel answered the king: “You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for the king, and tell what it means. 18 The Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, splendor, and majesty. 19 Because he made him so great, the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Whomever he willed, he would kill or let live; whomever he willed, he would exalt or humble. 20 But when his heart became proud and his spirit hardened by insolence, he was put down from his royal throne and deprived of his glory; 21 he was cast out from human society and his heart was made like that of a beast; he lived with wild asses, and ate grass like an ox; his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God is sovereign over human kingship and sets over it whom he will. 22 You, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this;23 you have rebelled against the Lord of heaven. You had the vessels of his temple brought before you, so that you and your nobles, your consorts and your concubines, might drink wine from them; and you praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, that neither see nor hear nor have intelligence. But the God in whose hand is your very breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify. 24 By him was the hand sent, and the writing set down.

25 “This is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Tekel, and Peres.[b] These words mean: 26 [c]Mene, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; 27 Tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;28 Peres, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then by order of Belshazzar they clothed Daniel in purple, with a chain of gold around his neck, and proclaimed him third in governing the kingdom. 30 That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was slain:

Footnotes:

  1. 5:2 Nebuchadnezzar, his father: between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar several kings ruled in Babylon. Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, and he acted as regent in Babylon during his father’s absence.
  2. 5:25 Mene, Tekel, and Peres: these seem to be the Aramaic names of weights and monetary values: the mina, the shekel (the sixtieth part of a mina), and the parsu (a half-mina).
  3. 5:26–28 Daniel interprets these three terms by a play on the words: Mene, connected with the verb meaning to number; Tekel, with the verb meaning to weigh; Peres, with the verb meaning to divide. There is also a play on the last term with the word for Persians.