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Daniel 6-7 New 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.

II. Daniel’s Visions

Chapter 7

The Beasts and the Judgment.[e] 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,[f] from which emerged four immense beasts, each different from the others. The first was like a lion, but with eagle’s wings.[g] 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;[h] 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;[i] on its back were four wings like those of a bird, and it had four heads. To this beast dominion was given. [j]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. [k]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.[l]
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[m] 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 victorious 22 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.[n]
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.[o]

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).
  5. 7:1–27 This vision continues the motif of the four kingdoms from chap. 2; see note on 2:36–45. 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.
  6. 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.).
  7. 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.
  8. 7:5 A bear: represents the Median empire, its three tusks symbolizing its destructive nature; hence, the command: “Arise, devour much flesh.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 7:28 This verse ends the Aramaic part of the Book of Daniel.
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 39:17-35 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

17 At his word the waters become still as in a flask;
    he had but to speak and the reservoirs were made.
18 He has but to command and his will is done;
    nothing can limit his saving action.
19 The works of all humankind are present to him;
    nothing is hidden from his eyes.
20 His gaze spans all the ages:
    is there any limit to his saving action?
To him, nothing is small or insignificant,
    and nothing too wonderful or hard for him.
21 No cause then to say: “What is the purpose of this?”
    Everything is chosen to satisfy a need.

22 His blessing overflows like the Nile;
    like the Euphrates it enriches the surface of the earth.
23 Even so, his wrath dispossesses the nations
    and turns fertile land into a salt marsh.
24 For the virtuous his paths are level,
    to the haughty they are clogged with stones.
25 Good things for the good he provided from the beginning,
    but for the wicked good things and bad.
26 Chief of all needs for human life
    are water and fire, iron and salt,
The heart of the wheat, milk and honey,
    the blood of the grape, and oil, and clothing.
27 For the good all these are good,
    but for the wicked they turn out evil.

28 There are stormwinds created to punish;
    in their fury they can dislodge mountains.
In a time of destruction they hurl their force
    and calm the anger of their Maker.
29 Fire and hail, famine and disease:
    these too were created for punishment.
30 Ravenous beasts, scorpions, vipers,
    and the avenging sword to exterminate the wicked:
All these were created to meet a need,
    and are kept in his storehouse for the proper time.
31 When he commands them, they rejoice,
    in their assigned tasks they do not disobey his command.

32 That is why from the first I took my stand,
    and wrote down as my theme:
33 The works of God are all of them good;
    he supplies for every need in its own time.
34 There is no cause then to say: “This is not as good as that”;
    for each shows its worth at the proper time.
35 So now with full heart and voice proclaim
    and bless his name!

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 12 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 12

The Woman and the Dragon. [a]A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman[b] clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.[c] Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon,[d] with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.[e] Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.[f]

[g]Then war broke out in heaven; Michael[h] and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,[i] who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have salvation and power come,
    and the kingdom of our God
    and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser[j] of our brothers is cast out,
    who accuses them before our God day and night.
11 They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
    love for life did not deter them from death.
12 Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
    and you who dwell in them.
But woe to you, earth and sea,
    for the Devil has come down to you in great fury,
    for he knows he has but a short time.”

13 When the dragon saw that it had been thrown down to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle,[k] so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year. 15 The serpent,[l] however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. 16 But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon spewed out of its mouth. 17 Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.[m] 18 It took its position[n] on the sand of the sea.

Footnotes:

  1. 12:1–14:20 This central section of Revelation portrays the power of evil, represented by a dragon, in opposition to God and his people. First, the dragon pursues the woman about to give birth, but her son is saved and “caught up to God and his throne” (Rev 12:5). Then Michael and his angels cast the dragon and his angels out of heaven (Rev 12:7–9). After this, the dragon tries to attack the boy indirectly by attacking members of his church (Rev 12:13–17). A beast, symbolizing the Roman empire, then becomes the dragon’s agent, mortally wounded but restored to life and worshiped by all the world (Rev 13:1–10). A second beast arises from the land, symbolizing the antichrist, which leads people astray by its prodigies to idolize the first beast (Rev 13:11–18). This is followed by a vision of the Lamb and his faithful ones, and the proclamation of imminent judgment upon the world in terms of the wine of God’s wrath (Rev 14:1–20).
  2. 12:1–6 The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Gn 37:9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and the New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (Rev 12:5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (Rev 12:6, 13–17); cf. Is 50:1; 66:7; Jer 50:12. This corresponds to a widespread myth throughout the ancient world that a goddess pregnant with a savior was pursued by a horrible monster; by miraculous intervention, she bore a son who then killed the monster.
  3. 12:2 Because of Eve’s sin, the woman gives birth in distress and pain (Gn 3:16; cf. Is 66:7–14).
  4. 12:3 Huge red dragon: the Devil or Satan (cf. Rev 12:9; 20:2), symbol of the forces of evil, a mythical monster known also as Leviathan (Ps 74:13–14) or Rahab (Jb 26:12–13; Ps 89:11). Seven diadems: these are symbolic of the fullness of the dragon’s sovereignty over the kingdoms of this world; cf. Christ with many diadems (Rev 19:12).
  5. 12:5 Rule…iron rod: fulfilled in Rev 19:15; cf. Ps 2:9. Was caught up to God: reference to Christ’s ascension.
  6. 12:6 God protects the persecuted church in the desert, the traditional Old Testament place of refuge for the afflicted, according to the typology of the Exodus; see note on Rev 11:2.
  7. 12:7–12 Michael, mentioned only here in Revelation, wins a victory over the dragon. A hymn of praise follows.
  8. 12:7 Michael: the archangel, guardian and champion of Israel; cf. Dn 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9. In Hebrew, the name Michael means “Who can compare with God?”; cf. Rev 13:4.
  9. 12:9 The ancient serpent: who seduced Eve (Gn 3:1–6), mother of the human race; cf. Rev 20:2; Eph 6:11–12. Was thrown down: allusion to the expulsion of Satan from heaven; cf. Lk 10:18.
  10. 12:10 The accuser: the meaning of the Hebrew word “Satan,” found in Rev 12:9; Jb 1–2; Zec 3:1; 1 Chr 21:1; he continues to accuse Christ’s disciples.
  11. 12:14 Great eagle: symbol of the power and swiftness of divine help; cf. Ex 19:4; Dt 32:11; Is 40:31.
  12. 12:15 The serpent is depicted as the sea monster; cf. Rev 13:1; Is 27:1; Ez 32:2; Ps 74:13–14.
  13. 12:17 Although the church is protected by God’s special providence (Rev 12:16), the individual Christian is to expect persecution and suffering.
  14. 12:18 It took its position: many later manuscripts and versions read “I took my position,” thus connecting the sentence to the following paragraph.
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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