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Daniel 1-2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Daniel and the Kings of Babylon

Chapter 1

The Food Test. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim,[a] king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and laid siege to Jerusalem. The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and some of the vessels of the temple of God, which he carried off to the land of Shinar[b] and placed in the temple treasury of his god.

The king told Ashpenaz,[c] his chief chamberlain, to bring in some of the Israelites, some of the royal line and of the nobility. They should be young men without any defect, handsome, proficient in wisdom, well informed, and insightful, such as could take their place in the king’s palace; he was to teach them the language and literature of the Chaldeans. The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine from the royal table. After three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service. Among these were Judeans, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. [d]The chief chamberlain changed their names: Daniel to Belteshazzar, Hananiah to Shadrach, Mishael to Meshach, and Azariah to Abednego.

But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine; so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.[e] Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy of the chief chamberlain, 10 he said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who allotted your food and drink. If he sees that you look thinner in comparison to the other young men of your age, you will endanger my life with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the guardian whom the chief chamberlain had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men who eat from the royal table, and treat your servants according to what you see.” 14 He agreed to this request, and tested them for ten days; 15 after ten days they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table. 16 So the steward continued to take away the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and wisdom, and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation, the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king had spoken with all of them, none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; and so they entered the king’s service. 20 In any question of wisdom or understanding which the king put to them, he found them ten times better than any of the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom. 21 Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.[f]

Chapter 2

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream.[g] In the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which left his spirit no rest and robbed him of his sleep. So he ordered that the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and Chaldeans[h] be summoned to interpret the dream for him. When they came and presented themselves to the king, he said to them, “I had a dream which will allow my spirit no rest until I know what it means.” The Chaldeans answered the king in Aramaic:[i] “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream and we will give its meaning.” The king answered the Chaldeans, “This is what I have decided: unless you tell me the dream and its meaning, you shall be cut to pieces and your houses made into a refuse heap. But if you tell me the dream and its meaning, you shall receive from me gifts and presents and great honors. Therefore tell me the dream and its meaning.”

Again they answered, “Let the king tell his servants the dream and we will give its meaning.” But the king replied: “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, since you know what I have decided. If you do not tell me the dream, there can be but one decree for you. You have conspired to present a false and deceitful interpretation to me until the crisis is past. Tell me the dream, therefore, that I may be sure that you can also give its correct interpretation.”

10 The Chaldeans answered the king: “There is not a man on earth who can do what you ask, O king; never has any king, however great and mighty, asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or Chaldean. 11 What you demand, O king, is too difficult; there is no one who can tell it to the king except the gods, who do not dwell among people of flesh.” 12 At this the king became violently angry and ordered all the wise men[j] of Babylon to be put to death. 13 When the decree was issued that the wise men should be slain, Daniel and his companions were also sought out.

14 Then Daniel prudently took counsel with Arioch, the chief of the king’s guard, who had set out to kill the wise men of Babylon. 15 He asked Arioch, the officer of the king, “What is the reason for this harsh order from the king?” When Arioch told him, 16 Daniel went and asked for time from the king, that he might give him the interpretation.

17 Daniel went home and informed his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 18 that they might implore the mercy of the God of heaven in regard to this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision, and he blessed the God of heaven:

20 “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    for wisdom and power are his.
21 He causes the changes of the times and seasons,
    establishes kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who understand.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things
    and knows what is in the darkness,
    for the light dwells with him.
23 To you, God of my ancestors,
    I give thanks and praise,
    because you have given me wisdom and power.
Now you have shown me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the king’s dream.”

24 So Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not put the wise men of Babylon to death. Bring me before the king, and I will tell him the interpretation of the dream.” Arioch quickly brought Daniel to the king and said, 25 “I have found a man among the Judean exiles who can give the interpretation to the king.” 26 The king asked Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Can you tell me the dream that I had and its meaning?” 27 In the king’s presence Daniel made this reply:

“The mystery about which the king has inquired, the wise men, enchanters, magicians, and diviners could not explain to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what is to happen in the last days; this was your dream, the visions[k] you saw as you lay in bed. 29 To you in your bed there came thoughts about what should happen in the future, and he who reveals mysteries showed you what is to be. 30 To me also this mystery has been revealed; not that I am wiser than any other living person, but in order that its meaning may be made known to the king, that you may understand the thoughts of your own mind.

31 “In your vision, O king, you saw a statue, very large and exceedingly bright, terrifying in appearance as it stood before you. 32 Its head was pure gold, its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs bronze, 33 its legs iron, its feet partly iron and partly clay.[l] 34 While you watched, a stone was hewn from a mountain without a hand being put to it, and it struck its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. 35 The iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once, fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer, and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 [m]“This was the dream; the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings; to you the God of heaven has given dominion and strength, power and glory; 38 human beings, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell, he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all; you are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours, then a third kingdom, of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. 40 There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others, just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else. 41 The feet and toes you saw, partly of clay and partly of iron, mean that it shall be a divided kingdom, but yet have some of the hardness of iron. As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile, 42 and the toes partly iron and partly clay, the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 The iron mixed with clay means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage, but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay. 44 In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever. 45 That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain without a hand being put to it, which broke in pieces the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future; this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and ordered sacrifice and incense offered to him. 47 To Daniel the king said, “Truly your God is the God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries; that is why you were able to reveal this mystery.” 48 He advanced Daniel to a high post, gave him many generous presents, made him ruler of the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 At Daniel’s request the king made Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego administrators of the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the king’s court.


  1. 1:1 According to 2 Kgs 24, the siege of Jerusalem took place after the death of Jehoiakim, but 2 Chr 36:5–8 says that Jehoiakim was taken to Babylon.
  2. 1:2 Shinar: ancient name for Babylonia, a deliberate archaism in this text; cf. Gn 10:10; 11:2.
  3. 1:3 The proper name Ashpenaz is sometimes taken as a title, major-domo.
  4. 1:7 Other prominent Jews with Babylonian names include Sheshbazzar and Zerubabbel, who were leaders of the postexilic community.
  5. 1:8 This defilement: the bread, meat, and wine of the Gentiles were unclean (Hos 9:3; Tb 1:12; Jdt 10:5; 12:1–2) because they might have been offered to idols; and the meat may not have been drained of blood, as Jewish dietary law requires. This test relates to the attempt of Antiochus to force Jews to eat forbidden foods in contempt of their religion (1 Mc 1:62–63; 2 Mc 6:18; 7:1).
  6. 1:21 The first year of King Cyrus: the year of this Persian king’s conquest of Babylon, 539/538 B.C.
  7. 2:1–49 The chronology of v. 1 is in conflict with that of 1:5, 18, and in 2:25 Daniel appears to be introduced to the king for the first time. It seems that the story of this chapter was originally entirely independent of chap. 1 and later retouched slightly to fit its present setting. The Septuagint (Papyrus 967) reads the twelfth year instead of the second.
  8. 2:2 Chaldeans: because the Babylonians gave serious study to the stars and planets, “Chaldeans” were identified with astrologers throughout the Hellenistic world.
  9. 2:4 Aramaic: a gloss to indicate that at this point the text switches from Hebrew to Aramaic, which continues through the end of chap. 7; at 8:1, the text switches back to Hebrew.
  10. 2:12 Wise men: the satire, although directed against the Babylonian diviners in the text, refers to the Hellenistic Greeks, who made special claims to wisdom; the assertion here is that true wisdom comes from God and resides with the Jews. Cf. also chap. 5.
  11. 2:28 The visions: lit., “the visions of your head,” a phrasing which distinguishes visionary experiences that are personal from those that are observable by others (see 4:2, 7, 10). That Daniel, unlike the Chaldeans, has access to these visions testifies to his God-given wisdom. Actually, this “dream” is more properly an apocalyptic vision; cf. the very similar message in Daniel’s vision of chap. 7.
  12. 2:33 Clay: it has been suggested that the motif of iron mixed with clay implies a hollow metal statue packed with clay to stabilize it. In the interpretation of the dream, however, the mixture is taken as a sign of weakness.
  13. 2:36–45 The four successive kingdoms in this apocalyptic perspective are the Babylonian (gold), the Median (silver), the Persian (bronze), and the Hellenistic (iron). The last, after Alexander’s death, was divided among his generals (vv. 41–42). Of the kingdoms which emerged from this partitioning, the two that most affected the Jews were the dynasties of the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria. They tried in vain, by war and through intermarriage, to restore the unity of Alexander’s empire (v. 43). The stone hewn from the mountain is the kingdom of God awaited by the Jews (vv. 44–45). Compare the image of the stone applied to Jesus in Luke 20:17–18.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 38:1-23 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 38

Sickness and Death

Make friends with the doctor, for he is essential to you;[a]
    God has also established him in his profession.
From God the doctor has wisdom,
    and from the king he receives sustenance.
Knowledge makes the doctor distinguished,
    and gives access to those in authority.
God makes the earth yield healing herbs
    which the prudent should not neglect;
Was not the water sweetened by a twig,
    so that all might learn his power?
He endows people with knowledge,
    to glory in his mighty works,
Through which the doctor eases pain,
    and the druggist prepares his medicines.
Thus God’s work continues without cease
    in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.

My son, when you are ill, do not delay,
    but pray to God, for it is he who heals.
10 Flee wickedness and purify your hands;
    cleanse your heart of every sin.
11 Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and memorial,
    a generous offering according to your means.
12 Then give the doctor his place
    lest he leave; you need him too,
13 For there are times when recovery is in his hands.
14     He too prays to God
That his diagnosis may be correct
    and his treatment bring about a cure.
15 Whoever is a sinner before his Maker
    will be defiant toward the doctor.

16 My son, shed tears for one who is dead[b]
    with wailing and bitter lament;
As is only proper, prepare the body,
    and do not absent yourself from the burial.
17 Weeping bitterly, mourning fully,
    pay your tribute of sorrow, as deserved:
A day or two, to prevent gossip;
    then compose yourself after your grief.
18 For grief can bring on death,
    and heartache can sap one’s strength.
19 When a person is carried away, sorrow is over;
    and the life of the poor one is grievous to the heart.
20 Do not turn your thoughts to him again;
    cease to recall him; think rather of the end.
21 Do not recall him, for there is no hope of his return;
    you do him no good, and you harm yourself.
22 Remember that his fate will also be yours;
    for him it was yesterday, for you today.
23 With the dead at rest, let memory cease;
    be consoled, once the spirit has gone.


  1. 38:1–15 The profession of medicine comes from God, who makes the earth yield healing herbs and gives the physician knowledge of their power (vv. 1–8). In illness the sick should cleanse their soul from sin and petition God for help through an offering of sacrifice; the physician, too, does well to invoke God that he may understand the illness and apply the proper remedy (vv. 9–14). The sinner, in contrast, defies both his Maker and the doctor (v. 15).
  2. 38:16–23 A period of mourning for the deceased and care for their burial are proper (vv. 16–17). But grief should not be excessive, for it cannot help the dead, who will not return, and may do harm to the living. The mourner should be realistic (vv. 18–23).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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

Chapter 9

The Fifth Trumpet.[a] Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star[b] that had fallen from the sky to the earth. It was given the key for the passage to the abyss. It opened the passage to the abyss, and smoke came up out of the passage like smoke from a huge furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the passage. Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions[c] of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or any tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torment them for five months;[d] the torment they inflicted was like that of a scorpion when it stings a person. During that time these people will seek death but will not find it, and they will long to die but death will escape them.

[e]The appearance of the locusts was like that of horses ready for battle. On their heads they wore what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, and they had hair like women’s hair. Their teeth were like lions’ teeth, and they had chests like iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was like the sound of many horse-drawn chariots racing into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, with stingers; with their tails they had power to harm people for five months. 11 They had as their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon[f] and in Greek Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed, but there are two more to come.

The Sixth Trumpet.[g] 13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the [four][h] horns of the gold altar before God, 14 telling the sixth angel who held the trumpet, “Release the four angels[i] who are bound at the banks of the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels were released, who were prepared for this hour, day, month, and year to kill a third of the human race. 16 The number of cavalry troops was two hundred million; I heard their number. 17 Now in my vision this is how I saw the horses and their riders. They wore red, blue, and yellow breastplates,[j] and the horses’ heads were like heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur. 18 By these three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths a third of the human race was killed. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like snakes, with heads that inflict harm.

20 The rest of the human race, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands,[k] to give up the worship of demons and idols made from gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic potions, their unchastity, or their robberies.


  1. 9:1–12 The fifth trumpet heralds a woe containing elements from the eighth and ninth plagues of Egypt (Ex 10:12–15, 21–23) but specifically reminiscent of the invasion of locusts in Jl 1:4–2:10.
  2. 9:1 A star: late Judaism represented fallen powers as stars (Is 14:12–15; Lk 10:18; Jude 13), but a comparison with Rev 1:20 and Rev 20:1 suggests that here it means an angel. The passage to the abyss: referring to Sheol, the netherworld, where Satan and the fallen angels are kept for a thousand years, to be cast afterwards into the pool of fire; cf. Rev 20:7–10. The abyss was conceived of as a vast subterranean cavern full of fire. Its only link with the earth was a kind of passage or mine shaft, which was kept locked.
  3. 9:3 Scorpions: their poisonous sting was proverbial; Ez 2:6; Lk 11:12.
  4. 9:5 For five months: more or less corresponding to the life-span of locusts.
  5. 9:7–10 Eight characteristics are listed to show the eschatological and diabolical nature of these locusts.
  6. 9:11 Abaddon: Hebrew (more precisely, Aramaic) for destruction or ruin. Apollyon: Greek for the “Destroyer.”
  7. 9:13–21 The sixth trumpet heralds a woe representing another diabolical attack symbolized by an invasion by the Parthians living east of the Euphrates; see note on Rev 6:2. At the appointed time (Rev 9:15), the frightful horses act as God’s agents of judgment. The imaginative details are not to be taken literally; see Introduction and the note on Rev 6:12–14.
  8. 9:13 [Four]: many Greek manuscripts and versions omit the word. The horns were situated at the four corners of the altar (Ex 27:2; 30:2–3); see note on Rev 8:3.
  9. 9:14–15 The four angels: they are symbolic of the destructive activity that will be extended throughout the universe.
  10. 9:17 Blue: literally, “hyacinth-colored.” Yellow: literally, “sulfurous.”
  11. 9:20 The works of their hands: i.e., the gods their hands had made.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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