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Daniel 8-9 New 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.

Chapter 9

The Seventy Weeks of Years. It was the first year that Darius,[i] 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.[j]

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[k] 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.[l] 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[m] 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[n]
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[o] 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[p] 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.”


  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.
  9. 9:1 Darius: see note on 6:1.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 9:21 At the time of the evening offering: between three and four in the afternoon.
  13. 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).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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 40:1-17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 40

Joys and Miseries of Life

A great anxiety has God allotted,[a]
    and a heavy yoke, to the children of Adam,
From the day they leave their mother’s womb
    until the day they return to the mother of all the living.[b]
Troubled thoughts and fear of heart are theirs
    and anxious foreboding until death.
Whether one sits on a lofty throne
    or grovels in dust and ashes,
Whether one wears a splendid crown
    or is clothed in the coarsest of garments—
There is wrath and envy, trouble and dread,
    terror of death, fury and strife.
Even when one lies on his bed to rest,
    his cares disturb his sleep at night.
So short is his rest it seems like none,
    till in his dreams he struggles as he did by day,
Troubled by the visions of his mind,
    like a fugitive fleeing from the pursuer.
As he reaches safety, he wakes up,
    astonished that there was nothing to fear.
To all flesh, human being and beast,
    but for sinners seven times more,
Come plague and bloodshed, fiery heat and drought,
    plunder and ruin, famine and death.
10 For the wicked evil was created,
    and because of them destruction hastens.

11 All that is of earth returns to earth,
    and what is from above returns above.[c]
12 All that comes from bribes or injustice will be wiped out,
    but loyalty remains forever.
13 Wealth from injustice is like a flooding wadi,
    like a mighty stream with lightning and thunder,
14 Which, in its rising, rolls along the stones,
    but suddenly, once and for all, comes to an end.
15 The offshoot of violence will not flourish,
    for the root of the godless is on sheer rock.
16 They are like reeds on riverbanks,
    withered before all other plants;
17 But goodness, like eternity, will never be cut off,
    and righteousness endures forever.


  1. 40:1–17 The former idyllic description of the universe is contrasted with the picture of the evils afflicting humanity. Every person, high or low, is burdened from birth to death with fears, anxieties, and troubles, by day and often by night, the time appointed for rest (vv. 1–7). For sinners, the suffering is much greater (vv. 8–10). What they gained by violence and injustice is quickly destroyed; but righteousness will prevail (vv. 14–17).
  2. 40:1 Mother of all the living: the earth from which human beings were taken. Cf. Gn 2:7; 3:19–20; Jb 1:21; Ps 139:15.
  3. 40:11 All that is of earth…returns above: a reference to bodily mortality and to the divine origin of life. Cf. 41:10; Gn 2:7; 3:19; Jb 34:14–15; Ps 104:29–30; 146:4; Eccl 12:7. The Greek and the Latin render the second half of the verse: “all waters shall return to the sea.”
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 13 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 13

The First Beast.[a] Then I saw a beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads blasphemous name[s]. The beast I saw was like a leopard, but it had feet like a bear’s, and its mouth was like the mouth of a lion.[b] To it the dragon gave its own power and throne, along with great authority. I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been mortally wounded, but this mortal wound was healed.[c] Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast. They worshiped the dragon because it gave its authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast[d] and said, “Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it?”

[e]The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months.[f] It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling and those who dwell in heaven. It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.

Whoever has ears ought to hear these words.
10 Anyone destined for captivity goes into captivity.
Anyone destined to be slain by the sword shall be slain by the sword.

Such is the faithful endurance of the holy ones.

The Second Beast.[g] 11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb’s but spoke like a dragon. 12 It wielded all the authority of the first beast in its sight and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. 13 It performed great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of everyone. 14 It deceived the inhabitants of the earth with the signs it was allowed to perform in the sight of the first beast, telling them to make an image for the beast who had been wounded by the sword and revived. 15 It was then permitted to breathe life into the beast’s image, so that the beast’s image could speak and [could] have anyone who did not worship it put to death. 16 It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, 17 so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.

18 [h]Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.


  1. 13:1–10 This wild beast, combining features of the four beasts in Dn 7:2–28, symbolizes the Roman empire; the seven heads represent the emperors; see notes on Rev 17:10 and Rev 17:12–14. The blasphemous names are the divine titles assumed by the emperors.
  2. 13:2 Satan (Rev 12:9), the prince of this world (Jn 12:31), commissioned the beast to persecute the church (Rev 13:5–7).
  3. 13:3 This may be a reference to the popular legend that Nero would come back to life and rule again after his death (which occurred in A.D. 68 from a self-inflicted stab wound in the throat); cf. Rev 13:14; Rev 17:8. Domitian (A.D. 81–96) embodied all the cruelty and impiety of Nero. Cf. Introduction.
  4. 13:4 Worshiped the beast: allusion to emperor worship, which Domitian insisted upon and ruthlessly enforced. Who can compare with the beast: perhaps a deliberate parody of the name Michael; see note on Rev 12:7.
  5. 13:5–6 Domitian, like Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dn 7:8, 11, 25), demanded that he be called by divine titles such as “our lord and god” and “Jupiter.” See note on Rev 11:2.
  6. 13:5 Forty-two months: this is the same duration as the profanation of the holy city (Rev 11:2), the prophetic mission of the two witnesses (Rev 11:3), and the retreat of the woman into the desert (Rev 12:6, 14).
  7. 13:11–18 The second beast is described in terms of the false prophets (cf. Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) who accompany the false messiahs (the first beast); cf. Mt 24:24; Mk 13:22; 2 Thes 2:9; cf. also Dt 13:2–4. Christians had either to worship the emperor and his image or to suffer martyrdom.
  8. 13:18 Each of the letters of the alphabet in Hebrew as well as in Greek has a numerical value. Many possible combinations of letters will add up to 666, and many candidates have been nominated for this infamous number. The most likely is the emperor Caesar Nero (see note on Rev 13:3), the Greek form of whose name in Hebrew letters gives the required sum. (The Latin form of this name equals 616, which is the reading of a few manuscripts.) Nero personifies the emperors who viciously persecuted the church. It has also been observed that “6” represents imperfection, falling short of the perfect number “7,” and is represented here in a triple or superlative form.
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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