Daniel 1-12 New Century Version (NCV)
Daniel Taken to Babylon
1 During the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and surrounded it with his army. 2 The Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to capture Jehoiakim king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the things from the Temple of God, which he carried to Babylonia and put in the temple of his gods.
3 Then King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz, his chief officer, to bring some of the men of Judah into his palace. He wanted them to be from important families, including the family of the king of Judah. 4 King Nebuchadnezzar wanted only young Israelite men who had nothing wrong with them. They were to be handsome and well educated, capable of learning and understanding, and able to serve in his palace. Ashpenaz was to teach them the language and writings of the Babylonians. 5 The king gave the young men a certain amount of food and wine every day, just like the food he ate. The young men were to be trained for three years, and then they would become servants of the king of Babylon. 6 Among those young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the people of Judah.
7 Ashpenaz, the chief officer, gave them Babylonian names. Daniel’s new name was Belteshazzar, Hananiah’s was Shadrach, Mishael’s was Meshach, and Azariah’s was Abednego.
8 Daniel decided not to eat the king’s food or drink his wine because that would make him unclean. So he asked Ashpenaz for permission not to make himself unclean in this way.
9 God made Ashpenaz, the chief officer, want to be kind and merciful to Daniel, 10 but Ashpenaz said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my master, the king. He ordered me to give you this food and drink. If you begin to look worse than other young men your age, the king will see this. Then he will cut off my head because of you.”
11 Ashpenaz had ordered a guard to watch Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 Daniel said to the guard, “Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 After ten days compare how we look with how the other young men look who eat the king’s food. See for yourself and then decide how you want to treat us, your servants.”
14 So the guard agreed to test them for ten days. 15 After ten days they looked healthier and better fed than all the young men who ate the king’s food. 16 So the guard took away the king’s special food and wine, feeding them vegetables instead.
17 God gave these four young men wisdom and the ability to learn many things that people had written and studied. Daniel could also understand visions and dreams.
18 At the end of the time set for them by the king, Ashpenaz brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked to them and found that none of the young men were as good as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So those four young men became the king’s servants. 20 Every time the king asked them about something important, they showed much wisdom and understanding. They were ten times better than all the fortune-tellers and magicians in his kingdom! 21 So Daniel continued to be the king’s servant until the first year Cyrus was king.
2 During Nebuchadnezzar’s second year as king, he had dreams that bothered him and kept him awake at night. 2 So the king called for his fortune-tellers, magicians, wizards, and wise men, because he wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed. They came in and stood in front of the king.
3 Then the king said to them, “I had a dream that bothers me, and I want to know what it means.”
4 The wise men answered the king in the Aramaic language, “O king, live forever! Please tell us, your servants, your dream. Then we will tell you what it means.”
5 King Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “I meant what I said. You must tell me the dream and what it means. If you don’t, I will have you torn apart, and I will turn your houses into piles of stones. 6 But if you tell me my dream and its meaning, I will reward you with gifts and great honor. So tell me the dream and what it means.”
7 Again the wise men said to the king, “Tell us, your servants, the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”
8 King Nebuchadnezzar answered, “I know you are trying to get more time, because you know that I meant what I said. 9 If you don’t tell me my dream, you will be punished. You have all agreed to tell me lies and wicked things, hoping things will change. Now, tell me the dream so that I will know you can tell me what it really means!”
10 The wise men answered the king, saying, “No one on earth can do what the king asks! No great and powerful king has ever asked the fortune-tellers, magicians, or wise men to do this; 11 the king is asking something that is too hard. Only the gods could tell the king this, but the gods do not live among people.”
12 When the king heard their answer, he became very angry. He ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be killed. 13 So King Nebuchadnezzar’s order to kill the wise men was announced, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to kill them.
14 Arioch, the commander of the king’s guards, was going to kill the wise men of Babylon. But Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and skill, 15 saying, “Why did the king order such a terrible punishment?” Then Arioch explained everything to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went to King Nebuchadnezzar and asked for an appointment so that he could tell the king what his dream meant.
17 Then Daniel went to his house and explained the whole story to his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 18 Daniel asked his friends to pray that the God of heaven would show them mercy and help them understand this secret so he and his friends would not be killed with the other wise men of Babylon.
19 During the night God explained the secret to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 Daniel said:
“Praise God forever and ever,
The Meaning of the Dream
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, the man King Nebuchadnezzar had chosen to kill the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t put the wise men of Babylon to death. Take me to the king, and I will tell him what his dream means.”
25 Very quickly Arioch took Daniel to the king and said, “I have found a man among the captives from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26 The king asked Daniel, who was also called Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me what I dreamed and what it means?”
27 Daniel answered, “No wise man, magician, or fortune-teller can explain to the king the secret he has asked about. 28 But there is a God in heaven who explains secret things, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at a later time. This is your dream, the vision you saw while lying on your bed: 29 O king, as you were lying there, you thought about things to come. God, who can tell people about secret things, showed you what is going to happen. 30 God also told this secret to me, not because I have greater wisdom than any other living person, but so that you may know what it means. In that way you will understand what went through your mind.
31 “O king, in your dream you saw a huge, shiny, and frightening statue in front of you. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold. Its chest and arms were made of silver. Its stomach and the upper part of its legs were made of bronze. 33 The lower part of the legs were made of iron, while its feet were made partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were looking at the statue, you saw a rock cut free, but no human being touched the rock. It hit the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold broke to pieces at the same time. They became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summertime; the wind blew them away, and there was nothing left. Then the rock that hit the statue became a very large mountain that filled the whole earth.
36 “That was your dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. 37 O king, you are the greatest king. God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory. 38 Wherever people, wild animals, and birds live, God made you ruler over them. King Nebuchadnezzar, you are the head of gold on that statue.
39 “Another kingdom will come after you, but it will not be as great as yours. Next a third kingdom, the bronze part, will rule over the earth. 40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron. In the same way that iron crushes and smashes things to pieces, the fourth kingdom will smash and crush all the other kingdoms.
41 “You saw that the statue’s feet and toes were partly baked clay and partly iron. That means the fourth kingdom will be a divided kingdom. It will have some of the strength of iron in it, just as you saw iron was mixed with clay. 42 The toes of the statue were partly iron and partly clay. So the fourth kingdom will be partly strong like iron and partly breakable like clay. 43 You saw the iron mixed with clay, but iron and clay do not hold together. In the same way the people of the fourth kingdom will be a mixture, but they will not be united as one people.
44 “During the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up another kingdom that will never be destroyed or given to another group of people. This kingdom will crush all the other kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will continue forever.
45 “King Nebuchadnezzar, you saw a rock cut from a mountain, but no human being touched it. The rock broke the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold to pieces. In this way the great God showed you what will happen. The dream is true, and you can trust this explanation.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell facedown on the ground in front of Daniel. The king honored him and commanded that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 Then the king said to Daniel, “Truly I know your God is the greatest of all gods, the Lord of all the kings. He tells people about things they cannot know. I know this is true, because you were able to tell these secret things to me.”
48 Then the king gave Daniel many gifts plus an important position in his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar made him ruler over the whole area of Babylon and put him in charge of all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel asked the king to make Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego leaders over the area of Babylon, so the king did as Daniel asked. Daniel himself became one of the people who stayed at the royal court.
The Gold Idol and Blazing Furnace
3 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet high and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the area of Babylon. 2 Then he called for the leaders: the governors, assistant governors, captains of the soldiers, people who advised the king, keepers of the treasury, judges, rulers, and all other officers in his kingdom. He wanted them to come to the special service for the statue he had set up. 3 So they all came for the special service and stood in front of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then the man who made announcements for the king said in a loud voice, “People, nations, and those of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 When you hear the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, zithers,[a] harps, pipes, and all the other musical instruments, you must bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Anyone who doesn’t bow down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 Now people, nations, and those who spoke every language were there. When they heard the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, zithers, pipes, and all the other musical instruments, they bowed down and worshiped the gold statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 Then some Babylonians came up to the king and began speaking against the men of Judah. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 O king, you gave a command that everyone who heard the horns, lyres, zithers, harps, pipes, and all the other musical instruments would have to bow down and worship the gold statue. 11 Anyone who wouldn’t do this was to be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 O king, there are some men of Judah whom you made officers in the area of Babylon that did not pay attention to your order. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They do not serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”
13 Nebuchadnezzar became very angry and called for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. When they were brought to the king, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods nor worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 In a moment you will again hear the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, zithers, harps, pipes, and all the other musical instruments. If you bow down and worship the statue I made, that will be good. But if you do not worship it, you will immediately be thrown into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to save you from my power then?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, saying, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. 17 If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. 18 But even if God does not save us, we want you, O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and he changed his mind. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
21 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tied up and thrown into the blazing furnace while still wearing their robes, trousers, turbans, and other clothes. 22 The king’s command was very strict, and the furnace was made so hot that the flames killed the strong soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace. 23 Firmly tied, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was so surprised that he jumped to his feet. He asked the men who advised him, “Didn’t we tie up only three men and throw them into the fire?”
They answered, “Yes, O king.”
25 The king said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They are not tied up, and they are not burned. The fourth man looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out! Servants of the Most High God, come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 When they came out, the governors, assistant governors, captains of the soldiers, and royal advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. Their hair was not burned, their robes were not burned, and they didn’t even smell like smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their God has sent his angel and saved his servants from the fire! These three men trusted their God and refused to obey my command. They were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god other than their own. 29 So I now give this command: Anyone from any nation or language who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn apart and have his house turned into a pile of stones. No other god can save his people like this.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the area of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Tree
4 King Nebuchadnezzar sent this letter to the people, nations, and those who speak every language in all the world:
I wish you peace and great wealth!
2 The Most High God has done miracles and wonderful things for me that I am happy to tell you about.
3 His wonderful acts are great,
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was happy and successful at my palace, 5 but I had a dream that made me afraid. As I was lying on my bed, I saw pictures and visions in my mind that alarmed me. 6 So I ordered all the wise men of Babylon to come to me and tell me what my dream meant. 7 The fortune-tellers, magicians, and wise men came, and I told them about the dream. But they could not tell me what it meant.
8 Finally, Daniel came to me. (I called him Belteshazzar to honor my god, because the spirit of the holy gods is in him.) I told my dream to him. 9 I said, “Belteshazzar, you are the most important of all the fortune-tellers. I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, so there is no secret that is too hard for you to understand. This was what I dreamed; tell me what it means. 10 These are the visions I saw while I was lying in my bed: I looked, and there in front of me was a tree standing in the middle of the earth. And it was very tall. 11 The tree grew large and strong. The top of the tree touched the sky and could be seen from anywhere on earth. 12 The leaves of the tree were beautiful. It had plenty of good fruit on it, enough food for everyone. The wild animals found shelter under the tree, and the birds lived in its branches. Every animal ate from it.
13 “As I was looking at those things in the vision while lying on my bed, I saw an observer, a holy angel coming down from heaven. 14 He spoke very loudly and said, ‘Cut down the tree and cut off its branches. Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals under the tree run away, and let the birds in its branches fly away. 15 But leave the stump and its roots in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it; let it stay in the field with the grass around it.
“‘Let the man become wet with dew, and let him live among the animals and plants of the earth. 16 Let him not think like a human any longer, but let him have the mind of an animal for seven years.
17 “‘The observers gave this command; the holy ones declared the sentence. This is so all people may know that the Most High God rules over every kingdom on earth. God gives those kingdoms to anyone he wants, and he chooses people to rule them who are not proud.’
18 “That is what I, King Nebuchadnezzar, dreamed. Now Belteshazzar,[b] tell me what the dream means. None of the wise men in my kingdom can explain it to me, but you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
Daniel Explains the Dream
19 Then Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was very quiet for a while, because his understanding of the dream frightened him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning make you afraid.”
Then Belteshazzar answered, “My master, I wish the dream were about your enemies, and I wish its meaning were for those who are against you! 20 You saw a tree in your dream that grew large and strong. Its top touched the sky, and it could be seen from all over the earth. 21 Its leaves were beautiful, and it had plenty of fruit for everyone to eat. It was a home for the wild animals, and its branches were nesting places for the birds. 22 O king, you are that tree! You have become great and powerful, like the tall tree that touched the sky. Your power reaches to the far parts of the earth.
23 “O king, you saw an observer, a holy angel, coming down from heaven who said, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and its roots in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it; leave it in the field with the grass. Let him become wet with dew and live like a wild animal for seven years.’
24 “This is the meaning of the dream, O king. The Most High God has commanded these things to happen to my master the king: 25 You will be forced away from people to live among the wild animals. People will feed you grass like an ox, and dew from the sky will make you wet. Seven years will pass, and then you will learn this lesson: The Most High God is ruler over every kingdom on earth, and he gives those kingdoms to anyone he chooses.
26 “Since the stump of the tree and its roots were left in the ground, your kingdom will be given back to you when you learn that one in heaven rules your kingdom. 27 So, O king, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Stop doing wicked things and be kind to the poor. Then you might continue to be successful.”
The King’s Dream Comes True
28 All these things happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Twelve months later as he was walking on the roof[c] of his palace in Babylon, 30 he said, “I have built this great Babylon as my royal home. I built it by my power to show my glory and my majesty.”
31 The words were still in his mouth when a voice from heaven said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, these things will happen to you: Your royal power has been taken away from you. 32 You will be forced away from people. You will live with the wild animals and will be fed grass like an ox. Seven years will pass before you learn this lesson: The Most High God rules over every kingdom on earth and gives those kingdoms to anyone he chooses.”
33 Immediately the words came true. Nebuchadnezzar was forced to go away from people, and he began eating grass like an ox. He became wet from dew. His hair grew long like the feathers of an eagle, and his nails grew like the claws of a bird.
34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven, and I could think normally again! Then I gave praise to the Most High God; I gave honor and glory to him who lives forever.
God’s rule is forever,
36 At that time I could think normally again, and God gave back my great honor and power and returned the glory to my kingdom. The people who advised me and the royal family came to me for help again. I became king again and was even greater and more powerful than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise and honor and glory to the King of heaven. Everything he does is right and fair, and he is able to make proud people humble.
The Writing on the Wall
5 King Belshazzar gave a big banquet for a thousand royal guests and drank wine with them. 2 As Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver cups that his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. This was so the king, his royal guests, his wives, and his slave women could drink from those cups. 3 So they brought the gold cups that had been taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the king and his royal guests, his wives, and his slave women drank from them. 4 As they were drinking, they praised their gods, which were made from gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
5 Suddenly the fingers of a person’s hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.
6 King Belshazzar was very frightened. His face turned white, his knees knocked together, and he could not stand up because his legs were too weak. 7 The king called for the magicians, wise men, and wizards of Babylon and said to them, “Anyone who can read this writing and explain it will receive purple clothes fit for a king and a gold chain around his neck. And I will make that person the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9 King Belshazzar became even more afraid, and his face became even whiter. His royal guests were confused.
10 Then the king’s mother, who had heard the voices of the king and his royal guests, came into the banquet room. She said, “O king, live forever! Don’t be afraid or let your face be white with fear! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, this man showed understanding, knowledge, and wisdom like the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, put this man in charge of all the wise men, fortune-tellers, magicians, and wizards. 12 The man I am talking about is named Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. He was very wise and had knowledge and understanding. He could explain dreams and secrets and could answer very hard problems. Call for Daniel. He will tell you what the writing on the wall means.”
13 So they brought Daniel to the king, and the king asked, “Is your name Daniel? Are you one of the captives my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that you are very wise and have knowledge and extraordinary understanding. 15 The wise men and magicians were brought to me to read this writing and to explain what it means, but they could not explain it. 16 I have heard that you are able to explain what things mean and can find the answers to hard problems. Read this writing on the wall and explain it to me. If you can, I will give you purple clothes fit for a king and a gold chain to wear around your neck. And you will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself, or you may give those rewards to someone else. But I will read the writing on the wall for you and will explain to you what it means.
18 “O king, the Most High God made your father Nebuchadnezzar a great, important, and powerful king. 19 Because God made him important, all the people, nations, and those who spoke every language were very frightened of Nebuchadnezzar. If he wanted someone to die, he killed that person. If he wanted someone to live, he let that person live. Those he wanted to promote, he promoted. Those he wanted to be less important, he made less important.
20 “But Nebuchadnezzar became too proud and stubborn, so he was taken off his royal throne. His glory was taken away. 21 He was forced away from people, and his mind became like the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys and was fed grass like an ox and became wet with dew. These things happened to him until he learned his lesson: The Most High God rules over every kingdom on earth, and he sets anyone he chooses over those kingdoms.
22 “Belshazzar, you already knew these things, because you are a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar. Still you have not been sorry for what you have done. 23 Instead, you have set yourself against the Lord of heaven. You ordered the drinking cups from the Temple of the Lord to be brought to you. Then you and your royal guests, your wives, and your slave women drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that are not really gods; they cannot see or hear or understand anything. You did not honor God, who has power over your life and everything you do. 24 So God sent the hand that wrote on the wall.
25 “These are the words that were written on the wall: ‘Mene, mene, tekel, and parsin.’
26 “This is what the words mean: Mene: God has counted the days until your kingdom will end. 27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found not good enough. 28 Parsin: Your kingdom is being divided and will be given to the Medes and the Persians.”
29 Then Belshazzar gave an order for Daniel to be dressed in purple clothes and to have a gold chain put around his neck. And it was announced that Daniel was the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very same night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonian people, was killed. 31 So Darius the Mede became the new king when he was sixty-two years old.
Daniel and the Lions
6 Darius thought it would be a good idea to choose one hundred twenty governors who would rule his kingdom. 2 He chose three men as supervisors over those governors, and Daniel was one of the supervisors. The supervisors were to ensure that the governors did not try to cheat the king. 3 Daniel showed that he could do the work better than the other supervisors and governors, so the king planned to put Daniel in charge of the whole kingdom. 4 Because of this, the other supervisors and governors tried to find reasons to accuse Daniel about his work in the government. But they could not find anything wrong with him or any reason to accuse him, because he was trustworthy and not lazy or dishonest. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any reason to accuse Daniel unless it is about the law of his God.”
6 So the supervisors and governors went as a group to the king and said: “King Darius, live forever! 7 The supervisors, assistant governors, governors, the people who advise you, and the captains of the soldiers have all agreed that you should make a new law for everyone to obey: For the next thirty days no one should pray to any god or human except to you, O king. Anyone who doesn’t obey will be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, make the law and sign your name to it so that it cannot be changed, because then it will be a law of the Medes and Persians and cannot be canceled.” 9 So King Darius signed the law.
10 Even though Daniel knew that the new law had been written, he went to pray in an upstairs room in his house, which had windows that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times each day Daniel would kneel down to pray and thank God, just as he always had done.
11 Then those men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and talked to him about the law he had made. They said, “Didn’t you sign a law that says no one may pray to any god or human except you, O king? Doesn’t it say that anyone who disobeys during the next thirty days will be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “Yes, that is the law, and the laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be canceled.”
13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is not paying attention to you, O king, or to the law you signed. Daniel still prays to his God three times every day.” 14 The king became very upset when he heard this. He wanted to save Daniel, and he worked hard until sunset trying to think of a way to save him.
15 Then those men went as a group to the king. They said, “Remember, O king, the law of the Medes and Persians says that no law or command given by the king can be changed.”
16 So King Darius gave the order, and Daniel was brought in and thrown into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May the God you serve all the time save you!” 17 A big stone was brought and placed over the opening of the lions’ den. Then the king used his signet ring and the rings of his royal officers to put special seals on the rock. This ensured that no one would move the rock and bring Daniel out. 18 Then King Darius went back to his palace. He did not eat that night, he did not have any entertainment brought to him, and he could not sleep.
19 The next morning King Darius got up at dawn and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 As he came near the den, he was worried. He called out to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Has your God that you always worship been able to save you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel to close the lions’ mouths. They have not hurt me, because my God knows I am innocent. I never did anything wrong to you, O king.”
23 King Darius was very happy and told his servants to lift Daniel out of the lions’ den. So they lifted him out and did not find any injury on him, because Daniel had trusted in his God.
24 Then the king commanded that the men who had accused Daniel be brought to the lions’ den. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the den. The lions grabbed them before they hit the floor of the den and crushed their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote a letter to all people and all nations, to those who spoke every language in the world:
I wish you great peace and wealth.
26 I am making a new law for people in every part of my kingdom. All of you must fear and respect the God of Daniel.
Daniel’s God is the living God;
28 So Daniel was successful during the time Darius was king and when Cyrus the Persian was king.
Daniel’s Dream About Four Animals
7 In Belshazzar’s first year as king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream. He saw visions as he was lying on his bed, and he wrote down what he had dreamed.
2 Daniel said: “I saw my vision at night. In the vision the wind was blowing from all four directions, which made the sea very rough. 3 I saw four huge animals come up from the sea, and each animal was different from the others.
4 “The first animal looked like a lion, but had wings like an eagle. I watched this animal until its wings were torn off. It was lifted from the ground so that it stood up on two feet like a human, and it was given the mind of a human.
5 “Then I saw a second animal before me that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat all the meat you want!’
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another animal. This animal looked like a leopard with four wings on its back that looked like a bird’s wings. This animal had four heads and was given power to rule.
7 “After that, in my vision at night I saw in front of me a fourth animal that was cruel, terrible, and very strong. It had large iron teeth. It crushed and ate what it killed, and then it walked on whatever was left. This fourth animal was different from any animal I had seen before, and it had ten horns.
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, another horn grew up among them. It was a little horn with eyes like a human’s eyes. It also had a mouth, and the mouth was bragging. The little horn pulled out three of the other horns.
9 “As I looked,
thrones were put in their places,
11 “I kept on looking because the little horn was bragging. I kept watching until finally the fourth animal was killed. Its body was destroyed, and it was thrown into the burning fire. 12 (The power and rule of the other animals had been taken from them, but they were permitted to live for a certain period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I saw in front of me someone who looked like a human being coming on the clouds in the sky. He came near God, who has been alive forever, and he was led to God. 14 He was given authority, glory, and the strength of a king. People of every tribe, nation, and language will serve him. His rule will last forever, and his kingdom will never be destroyed.
The Meaning of the Dream
15 “I, Daniel, was worried. The visions that went through my mind frightened me. 16 I came near one of those standing there and asked what all this meant.
“So he told me and explained to me what these things meant: 17 ‘The four great animals are four kingdoms that will come from the earth. 18 But the holy people who belong to the Most High God will receive the power to rule and will have the power to rule forever, from now on.’
19 “Then I wanted to know what the fourth animal meant, because it was different from all the others. It was very terrible and had iron teeth and bronze claws. It was the animal that crushed and ate what it killed and then walked on whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the little horn that grew there. It had pulled out three of the other ten horns and looked greater than the others. It had eyes and a mouth that kept bragging. 21 As I watched, the little horn began making war against God’s holy people and was defeating them 22 until God, who has been alive forever, came. He judged in favor of the holy people who belong to the Most High God; then the time came for them to receive the power to rule.
23 “And he explained this to me: ‘The fourth animal is a fourth kingdom that will come on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will destroy people all over the world. It will walk on and crush the whole earth. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this fourth kingdom. After those ten kings are gone, another king will come. He will be different from the kings who ruled before him, and he will defeat three of the other kings. 25 This king will speak against the Most High God, and he will hurt and kill God’s holy people. He will try to change times and laws that have already been set. The holy people that belong to God will be in that king’s power for three and one-half years.
26 “‘But the court will decide what should happen. The power of the king will be taken away, and his kingdom will be completely destroyed. 27 Then the holy people who belong to the Most High God will have the power to rule. They will rule over all the kingdoms under heaven with power and greatness, and their power to rule will last forever. People from all the other kingdoms will respect and serve them.’
28 “That was the end of the dream. I, Daniel, was very afraid. My face became white from fear, but I kept everything to myself.”
8 During the third year of King Belshazzar’s rule, I, Daniel, saw another vision, which was like the first one. 2 In this vision I saw myself in the capital city of Susa, in the area of Elam. I was standing by the Ulai Canal 3 when I looked up and saw a male sheep standing beside the canal. It had two long horns, but one horn was longer and newer than the other. 4 I watched the sheep charge to the west, the north, and the south. No animal could stand before him, and none could save another animal from his power. He did whatever he wanted and became very powerful.
5 While I was watching this, I saw a male goat come from the west. This goat had one large horn between his eyes that was easy to see. He crossed over the whole earth so fast that his feet hardly touched the ground.
6 In his anger the goat charged the sheep with the two horns that I had seen standing by the canal. 7 I watched the angry goat attack the sheep and break the sheep’s two horns. The sheep was not strong enough to stop it. The goat knocked the sheep to the ground and then walked all over him. No one was able to save the sheep from the goat, 8 so the male goat became very great. But when he was strong, his big horn broke off and four horns grew in place of the one big horn. Those four horns pointed in four different directions and were easy to see.
9 Then a little horn grew from one of those four horns, and it became very big. It grew to the south, the east, and toward the beautiful land of Judah. 10 That little horn grew until it reached to the sky. It even threw some of the army of heaven to the ground and walked on them! 11 That little horn set itself up as equal to God, the Commander of heaven’s armies. It stopped the daily sacrifices that were offered to him, and the Temple, the place where people worshiped him, was pulled down. 12 Because there was a turning away from God, the people stopped the daily sacrifices. Truth was thrown down to the ground, and the horn was successful in everything it did.
13 Then I heard a holy angel speaking. Another holy angel asked the first one, “How long will the things in this vision last—the daily sacrifices, the turning away from God that brings destruction, the Temple being pulled down, and the army of heaven being walked on?”
14 The angel said to me, “This will happen for twenty-three hundred evenings and mornings. Then the holy place will be repaired.”
15 I, Daniel, saw this vision and tried to understand what it meant. In it I saw someone who looked like a man standing near me. 16 And I heard a man’s voice calling from the Ulai Canal: “Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.”
17 Gabriel came to where I was standing. When he came close to me, I was very afraid and bowed facedown on the ground. But Gabriel said to me, “Human being, understand that this vision is about the time of the end.”
18 While Gabriel was speaking, I fell into a deep sleep with my face on the ground. Then he touched me and lifted me to my feet. 19 He said, “Now, I will explain to you what will happen in the time of God’s anger. Your vision was about the set time of the end.
20 “You saw a male sheep with two horns, which are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat is the king of Greece, and the big horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that grew in the place of the broken horn are four kingdoms. Those four kingdoms will come from the nation of the first king, but they will not be as strong as the first king.
23 “When the end comes near for those kingdoms, a bold and cruel king who tells lies will come. This will happen when many people have turned against God. 24 This king will be very powerful, but his power will not come from himself. He will cause terrible destruction and will be successful in everything he does. He will destroy powerful people and even God’s holy people. 25 This king will succeed by using lies and force. He will think that he is very important. He will destroy many people without warning; he will try to fight even the Prince of princes! But that cruel king will be destroyed, and not by human power.
26 “The vision that has been shown to you about these evenings and mornings is true. But seal up the vision, because those things won’t happen for a long time.”
27 I, Daniel, became very weak and was sick for several days after that vision. Then I got up and went back to work for the king, but I was very upset about the vision. I didn’t understand what it meant.
9 These things happened during the first year Darius son of Xerxes was king over Babylon. He was a descendant of the Medes. 2 During Darius’ first year as king, I, Daniel, was reading the Scriptures. I saw that the Lord told Jeremiah that Jerusalem would be empty ruins for seventy years.
3 Then I turned to the Lord God and prayed and asked him for help. To show my sadness, I fasted, put on rough cloth, and sat in ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and told him about all of our sins. I said, “Lord, you are a great God who causes fear and wonder. You keep your agreement of love with all who love you and obey your commands.
5 “But we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and turned against you, your commands, and your laws. 6 We did not listen to your servants, the prophets, who spoke for you to our kings, our leaders, our ancestors, and all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are good and right, but we are full of shame today—the people of Judah and Jerusalem, all the people of Israel, those near and far whom you scattered among many nations because they were not loyal to you. 8 Lord, we are all ashamed. Our kings and leaders and our fathers are ashamed, because we have sinned against you.
9 “But, Lord our God, you show us mercy and forgive us even though we have turned against you. 10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God or the teachings he gave us through his servants, the prophets. 11 All the people of Israel have disobeyed your teachings and have turned away, refusing to obey you. So you brought on us the curses and promises of punishment written in the Teachings of Moses, the servant of God, because we sinned against you.
12 “You said these things would happen to us and our leaders, and you made them happen; you brought on us a great disaster. Nothing has ever been done on earth like what was done to Jerusalem. 13 All this disaster came to us just as it is written in the Teachings of Moses. But we have not pleaded with the Lord our God. We have not stopped sinning. We have not paid attention to your truth. 14 The Lord was ready to bring the disaster on us, and he did it because the Lord our God is right in everything he does. But we still did not obey him.
15 “Lord our God, you used your power and brought us out of Egypt. Because of that, your name is known even today. But we have sinned and have done wrong. 16 Lord, you do what is right, but please do not be angry with Jerusalem, your city on your holy hill. Because of our sins and the evil things done by our ancestors, people all around insult and make fun of Jerusalem and your people.
17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers of your servant. Listen to my prayer for help, and for your sake do good things for your holy place that is in ruins. 18 My God, pay attention and hear me. Open your eyes and see all the terrible things that have happened to us. See how our lives have been ruined and what has happened to the city that is called by your name. We do not ask these things because we are good; instead, we ask because of your mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear us and do something! For your sake, don’t wait, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
20 While I was saying these things in my prayer to the Lord, my God, confessing my sins and the sins of the people of Israel and praying for God’s holy hill, 21 Gabriel came to me. (I had seen him in my last vision.) He came flying quickly to me about the time of the evening sacrifice, while I was still praying. 22 He taught me and said to me, “Daniel, I have come to give you wisdom and to help you understand. 23 When you first started praying, an answer was given, and I came to tell you, because God loves you very much. So think about the message and understand the vision.
24 “God has ordered four hundred ninety years for your people and your holy city for these reasons: to stop people from turning against God; to put an end to sin; to take away evil; to bring in goodness that continues forever; to bring about the vision and prophecy; and to appoint a most holy place.
25 “Learn and understand these things. A command will come to rebuild Jerusalem. The time from this command until the appointed leader comes will be forty-nine years and four hundred thirty-four years. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and a trench filled with water around it, but it will be built in times of trouble. 26 After the four hundred thirty-four years the appointed leader will be killed; he will have nothing. The people of the leader who is to come will destroy the city and the holy place. The end of the city will come like a flood, and war will continue until the end. God has ordered that place to be completely destroyed. 27 That leader will make firm an agreement with many people for seven years. He will stop the offerings and sacrifices after three and one-half years. A destroyer will do blasphemous things until the ordered end comes to the destroyed city.”
Daniel’s Vision of a Man
10 During Cyrus’ third year as king of Persia, Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, received a vision about a great war. It was a true message that Daniel understood.
2 At that time I, Daniel, had been very sad for three weeks. 3 I did not eat any fancy food or meat, or drink any wine, or use any perfumed oil for three weeks.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, I was standing beside the great Tigris River. 5 While standing there, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothes with a belt of fine gold wrapped around his waist. 6 His body was like shiny yellow quartz. His face was bright like lightning, and his eyes were like fire. His arms and legs were shiny like polished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a crowd.
7 I, Daniel, was the only person who saw the vision. The men with me did not see it, because they were so frightened that they ran away and hid. 8 So I was left alone, watching this great vision. I lost my strength, my face turned white like a dead person, and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard the man in the vision speaking. As I listened, I fell into a deep sleep with my face on the ground.
10 Then a hand touched me and set me on my hands and knees. I was so afraid that I was shaking. 11 The man in the vision said to me, “Daniel, God loves you very much. Think carefully about the words I will speak to you, and stand up, because I have been sent to you.” When he said this, I stood up, but I was still shaking.
12 Then the man said to me, “Daniel, do not be afraid. Some time ago you decided to get understanding and to humble yourself before your God. Since that time God has listened to you, and I have come because of your prayers. 13 But the prince of Persia has been fighting against me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the most important angels, came to help me, because I had been left there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people, because the vision is about a time in the future.”
15 While he was speaking to me, I bowed facedown and could not speak. 16 Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, so I opened my mouth and started to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “Master, I am upset and afraid because of what I saw in the vision. I feel helpless. 17 Master, how can I, your servant, talk with you? My strength is gone, and it is hard for me to breathe.”
18 The one who looked like a man touched me again and gave me strength. 19 He said, “Daniel, don’t be afraid. God loves you very much. Peace be with you. Be strong now; be courageous.”
When he spoke to me, I became stronger and said, “Master, speak, since you have given me strength.”
20 Then he said, “Daniel, do you know why I have come to you? Soon I must go back to fight against the prince of Persia. When I go, the prince of Greece will come, 21 but I must first tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. No one stands with me against these enemies except Michael, the angel ruling over your people.
11 In the first year that Darius the Mede was king, I stood up to support Michael in his fight against the prince of Persia.
Kingdoms of the South and North
2 “Now then, Daniel, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will rule in Persia, and then a fourth king will come. He will be much richer than all the kings of Persia before him and will use his riches to get power. He will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will come, who will rule with great power and will do anything he wants. 4 After that king has come, his kingdom will be broken up and divided out toward the four parts of the world. His kingdom will not go to his descendants, and it will not have the power that he had, because his kingdom will be pulled up and given to other people.
5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger. He will begin to rule his own kingdom with great power. 6 Then after a few years, a new friendship will develop. The daughter of the king of the South will marry the king of the North in order to bring peace. But she will not keep her power, and his family will not last. She, her husband, her child, and those who brought her to that country will be killed.
7 “But a person from her family will become king of the South and will attack the armies of the king of the North. He will go into that king’s strong, walled city and will fight and win. 8 He will take their gods, their metal idols, and their valuable things made of silver and gold back to Egypt. Then he will not bother the king of the North for a few years. 9 Next, the king of the North will attack the king of the South, but he will be beaten back to his own country.
10 “The sons of the king of the North will prepare for war. They will get a large army together that will move through the land very quickly, like a powerful flood. Later, that army will come back and fight all the way to the strong, walled city of the king of the South. 11 Then the king of the South will become very angry and will march out to fight against the king of the North. The king of the North will have a large army, but he will lose the battle, 12 and the soldiers will be carried away. The king of the South will then be very proud and will kill thousands of soldiers from the northern army, but he will not continue to be successful. 13 The king of the North will gather another army, larger than the first one. After several years he will attack with a large army and many weapons.
14 “In those times many people will be against the king of the South. Some of your own people who love to fight will turn against the king of the South, thinking it is time for God’s promises to come true. But they will fail. 15 Then the king of the North will come. He will build ramps to the tops of the city walls and will capture a strong, walled city. The southern army will not have the power to fight back; even their best soldiers will not be strong enough to stop the northern army. 16 So the king of the North will do whatever he wants; no one will be able to stand against him. He will gain power and control in the beautiful land of Israel and will have the power to destroy it. 17 The king of the North will decide to use all his power to fight against the king of the South, but he will make a peace agreement with the king of the South. The king of the North will give one of his daughters as a wife to the king of the South so that he can defeat him. But those plans will not succeed or help him. 18 Then the king of the North will turn his attention to cities along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and will capture them. But a commander will put an end to the pride of the king of the North, turning his pride back on him. 19 After that happens the king of the North will go back to the strong, walled cities of his own country, but he will lose his power. That will be the end of him.
20 “The next king of the North will send out a tax collector so he will have plenty of money. In a few years that ruler will be killed, although he will not die in anger or in a battle.
21 “That ruler will be followed by a very cruel and hated man, who will not have the honor of being from a king’s family. He will attack the kingdom when the people feel safe, and he will take power by lying to the people. 22 He will sweep away in defeat large and powerful armies and even a prince who made an agreement. 23 Many nations will make agreements with that cruel and hated ruler, but he will lie to them. He will gain much power, but only a few people will support him. 24 The richest areas will feel safe, but that cruel and hated ruler will attack them. He will succeed where his ancestors did not. He will rob the countries he defeats and will give those things to his followers. He will plan to defeat and destroy strong cities, but he will be successful for only a short time.
25 “That very cruel and hated ruler will have a large army that he will use to stir up his strength and courage. He will attack the king of the South. The king of the South will gather a large and very powerful army and prepare for war. But the people who are against him will make secret plans, and the king of the South will be defeated. 26 People who were supposed to be his good friends will try to destroy him. His army will be swept away in defeat; many of his soldiers will be killed in battle. 27 Those two kings will want to hurt each other. They will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but it will not do either one any good, because God has set a time for their end to come. 28 The king of the North will go back to his own country with much wealth. Then he will decide to go against the holy agreement. He will take action and then return to his own country.
29 “At the right time the king of the North will attack the king of the South again, but this time he will not be successful as he was before. 30 Ships from the west will come and fight against the king of the North, so he will be afraid. Then he will return and show his anger against the holy agreement. He will be good to those who have stopped obeying the holy agreement.
31 “The king of the North will send his army to make the Temple in Jerusalem unclean. They will stop the people from offering the daily sacrifice, and then they will set up a blasphemous object that brings destruction. 32 The king of the North will tell lies and cause those who have not obeyed God to be ruined. But those who know God and obey him will be strong and fight back.
33 “Those who are wise will help the others understand what is happening. But they will be killed with swords, or burned, or taken captive, or robbed of their homes and possessions. These things will continue for many days. 34 When the wise ones are suffering, they will get a little help, but many who join the wise ones will not help them in their time of need. 35 Some of the wise ones will be killed. But the hard times must come so they can be made stronger and purer and without faults until the time of the end comes. Then, at the right time, the end will come.
The King Who Praises Himself
36 “The king of the North will do whatever he wants. He will brag about himself and praise himself and think he is even better than a god. He will say things against the God of gods that no one has ever heard. And he will be successful until all the bad things have happened. Then what God has planned to happen will happen. 37 The king of the North will not care about the gods his ancestors worshiped or the god that women worship. He won’t care about any god. Instead, he will make himself more important than any god. 38 The king of the North will worship power and strength, which his ancestors did not worship. He will honor the god of power with gold and silver, expensive jewels and gifts. 39 That king will attack strong, walled cities with the help of a foreign god. He will give much honor to the people who join him, making them rulers in charge of many other people. And he will make them pay him for the land they rule.
40 “At the time of the end, the king of the South will fight a battle against the king of the North. The king of the North will attack with chariots, soldiers on horses, and many large ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through their lands like a flood. 41 The king of the North will attack the beautiful land of Judah. He will defeat many countries, but Edom, Moab, and the leaders of Ammon will be saved from him. 42 The king of the North will show his power in many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 The king will get treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt. The Libyan and Nubian people will obey him. 44 But the king of the North will hear news from the east and the north that will make him afraid and angry. He will go to destroy completely many nations. 45 He will set up his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful mountain where the holy Temple is built. But, finally, his end will come, and no one will help him.
The Time of the End
12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will stand up. There will be a time of much trouble, the worst time since nations have been on earth, but your people will be saved. Everyone whose name is written in God’s book will be saved. 2 Many people who have already died will live again. Some of them will wake up to have life forever, but some will wake up to find shame and disgrace forever. 3 The wise people will shine like the brightness of the sky. Those who teach others to live right will shine like stars forever and ever.
4 “But you, Daniel, close up the book and seal it. These things will happen at the time of the end. Many people will go here and there to find true knowledge.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and saw two other men. One was standing on my side of the river, and the other was standing on the far side. 6 The man who was dressed in linen was standing over the water in the river. One of the two men spoke to him and asked, “How long will it be before these amazing things come true?”
7 The man dressed in linen, who stood over the water, raised his hands toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the name of God who lives forever, “It will be for three and one-half years. The power of the holy people will finally be broken, and then all these things will come true.”
8 I heard the answer, but I did not really understand, so I asked, “Master, what will happen after all these things come true?”
9 He answered, “Go your way, Daniel. The message is closed up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many people will be made clean, pure, and spotless, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. Those wicked people will not understand these things, but the wise will understand them.
11 “The daily sacrifice will be stopped. Then, after 1,290 days from that time, a blasphemous object that brings destruction will be set up. 12 Those who wait for the end of the 1,335 days will be happy.
13 “As for you, Daniel, go your way until the end. You will get your rest, and at the end you will rise to receive your reward.”
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