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Daniel 7-12 Common English Bible (CEB)

Daniel’s vision: four beasts

In the first year of Babylon’s King Belshazzar, Daniel had a dream—a vision in his head as he lay on his bed. He wrote the dream down. Here is the beginning of the account:

I am Daniel. In the vision I had during the night I saw the four winds of heaven churning the great sea. Four giant beasts emerged from the sea, each different from the others. The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings. I observed it until its wings were pulled off, and it was lifted up from the ground. It was then set on two feet, like a human being, and it received a human mind. Then I saw another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told: “Get up! Devour much flesh!” I kept watching, and suddenly there was another beast, this one like a leopard. On its back it had four wings like bird wings. This beast had four heads. Authority was given to it.

After this, as I continued to watch this night vision, I saw a fourth beast, terrifying and hideous, with extraordinary power and with massive iron teeth. As it ate and crushed, its feet smashed whatever was left over. It was different from all the other beasts before it, and it had ten horns. I was staring at the horns when, suddenly, another small horn came up between them. Three of the earlier horns were ripped out to make room for it. On this new horn were eyes like human eyes and a mouth that bragged and bragged.

Throne of fire and the human figure

As I was watching,

        thrones were raised up.
    The ancient one took his seat.
        His clothes were white like snow;
        his hair was like a lamb’s wool.
        His throne was made of flame;
        its wheels were blazing fire.
10 A river of fire flowed out from his presence;
    thousands upon thousands served him;
        ten thousand times ten thousand stood ready to serve him!
The court sat in session; the scrolls were opened.

11 I kept watching. I watched from the moment the horn started bragging until the beast was killed and its body was destroyed, handed over to be burned with fire. 12 Then the authority of the remaining beasts was brought to an end, but they were given an extension among the living for a set time and season.

13 As I continued to watch this night vision of mine, I suddenly saw

one like a human being[a]
    coming with the heavenly clouds.
He came to the ancient one
    and was presented before him.
14 Rule, glory, and kingship were given to him;
    all peoples, nations, and languages will serve him.
His rule is an everlasting one—
    it will never pass away!—
        his kingship is indestructible.

Beasts interpreted

15 Now this caused me, Daniel, to worry.[b] My visions disturbed me greatly. 16 So I went to one of the servants who was standing ready nearby. I asked him for the truth about all this.

He spoke to me and explained to me the meaning of these things. 17 “These four giant beasts are four kings that will rise up from the earth, 18 but the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingship. They will hold the kingship securely forever and always.”

19 Next I wanted greater clarity about the fourth beast, the one that was different from all the others and utterly terrifying with its iron teeth and bronze claws. As it ate and crushed, its feet smashed whatever was left over. 20 I wanted greater clarity about the ten horns on its head, and the other horn that came up, along with the three that fell out to make room for it—but especially about the horn that had eyes and a mouth that bragged, and that seemed more important than the others. 21 As I watched, this same horn waged war against the holy ones and defeated them, 22 until the Ancient One came. Then judgment was given in favor of the holy ones of the Most High. The set time arrived, and the holy ones held the kingship securely.

23 This is what he said:

“The fourth beast means
    that there will be a fourth kingship on the earth.
It will be different from all the other kingships.
    It will devour the entire earth, trample it, crush it.
24 The ten horns mean
    that from this kingship will rise ten kings,
        and after them will rise yet another.
He will be different from the previous ones.
    He will defeat three kings.
25     He will say things against the Most High
    and will exhaust the holy ones of the Most High.
    He will try to change times set by law.
And for a period of time,
    periods of time,
    and half a period of time,
        they will be delivered into his power.
26 Then the court will sit in session.
    His rule will be taken away—
        ruined and wiped out for all time.
27 The kingship, authority, and power
    of all kingdoms under heaven
        will be given to the people,
        the holy ones of the Most High.
Their kingship is an everlasting one; every authority will serve them and obey.”

28 The account ends here.

Now as for how I, Daniel, felt about this: My thoughts disturbed me greatly. My mood darkened considerably, and I kept thinking about this matter.

Vision of a ram and a goat

In the third year of King Belshazzar’s rule, a vision came to me, Daniel, some time after the earlier vision I had. I saw this vision, and as I experienced it I was in the walled city of Susa in the province of Elam,[c] by the Ulai canal. When I lifted my eyes, I suddenly saw a ram with two horns standing in front of the canal. Both horns were high, but one was higher than the other. The higher one came up after the other one. I saw the ram goring west, north, and south. No animal could resist the ram, and no one could stop it, rescuing others from its power. The ram did whatever it pleased. It became powerful.

I was trying to understand this when suddenly a he-goat came from the west, crossing the entire earth but not touching the ground. Between this goat’s eyes was a horn that was a sight to see. The he-goat came to the ram that had two horns, the one I’d seen standing in front of the canal. The he-goat charged the ram in powerful anger. I saw the he-goat approach the ram. It was enraged at the ram and attacked it, shattering the ram’s two horns. The ram couldn’t resist the he-goat. The he-goat threw the ram on the ground and trampled on it. No one could rescue the ram from the he-goat’s power.

The he-goat became even greater, but at the height of its power, its large horn snapped. In its place, four horns, each a sight to see, came up toward the four winds of heaven. A single, very small horn came out of one of the four horns. It grew bigger and bigger, stretching toward the south, the east, and the beautiful country. 10 It grew as high as the heavenly forces, until it finally threw some of them and some of the stars down to the earth. Then it trampled on them. 11 It grew as high as the very leader of those forces, taking the daily sacrifice away from him[d] and overturning his holy place. 12 In an act of rebellion, another force will take control of the daily sacrifice. It will throw truth to the ground and will succeed in everything it does.[e]

How long?

13 I then heard a certain holy one speaking. A second holy one said to the first one: “How long will this vision last—the one concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating rebellion, and the handing over of the sanctuary and its forces to be trampled?”

14 He said to me, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary will be restored.”

Vision interpreted

15 Now I, Daniel, needed help understanding the vision I saw. Suddenly standing in front of me was someone who looked like a man. 16 I then heard a human voice coming out of the center of the Ulai canal. It called out: “Gabriel, help this person understand what he has seen.”

17 Gabriel approached me, and I was terrified when he came. I fell with my face to the ground. Gabriel said to me, “Know this, human one: the vision is for the end time.” 18 As soon as he said this to me, I fell into a trance. My face was still on the ground. Then Gabriel touched me and set me up on my feet.

19 He said, “Now, I am going to tell you what will happen during the time of doom that is coming, because at the appointed time there will be an end. 20 The two-horned ram you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The long-haired he-goat is the king of Greece, and the big horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 The horn that snapped so that four came up in its place means that four kingdoms will come from one nation, but these four won’t have the strength of the first one.

23 When their kingship nears its end
    and their sins[f] are almost complete,
        a king will step forward.
He will be stern and a master of deception.
24     At the height of his power,[g]
        he will wreak unbelievable destructions.
He will succeed in all he does.
    He will destroy both the mighty
        and the people of the holy ones.
25 Along with his cunning,
    he will succeed by using deceit.
In his own mind, he will be great.
    In a time of peace,
        he will bring destruction on many,
        opposing even the supreme leader.
But he will be broken—
    and not by a human hand.

26 Now this vision of evening and morning, which has been announced, is true. But you must seal it up, because it is for days far in the future.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was overwhelmed and felt sick for days. When I finally got up and went about the king’s business, I remained troubled by the vision and couldn’t understand it.

Daniel’s prayer

In the first year of Darius’ rule—Darius, who was Ahasuerus’ son, a Median by birth and who ruled the Chaldean kingdom— I, Daniel, pondered the scrolls, specifically the number of years that it would take to complete Jerusalem’s desolation according to the Lord’s word to the prophet Jeremiah. It was seventy years. I then turned my face to my Lord God, asking for an answer with prayer and pleading, and with fasting, mourning clothes, and ashes. As I prayed to the Lord my God, I made this confession:

Please, my Lord—you are the great and awesome God, the one who keeps the covenant, and truly faithful to all who love him and keep his commands: We have sinned and done wrong. We have brought guilt on ourselves and rebelled, ignoring your commands and your laws. We haven’t listened to your servants, the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our leaders, our parents, and to all the land’s people. Righteousness belongs to you, my Lord! But we are ashamed this day—we, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all Israel whether near or far, in whatever country where you’ve driven them because of their unfaithfulness when they broke faith with you. Lord, we are ashamed—we, our kings, our leaders, and our parents who sinned against you. Compassion and deep forgiveness belong to my Lord, our God, because we rebelled against him. 10 We didn’t listen to the voice of the Lord our God by following the teachings he gave us through his servants, the prophets. 11 All Israel broke your Instruction and turned away, ignoring your voice. Then the curse that was sworn long ago—the one written in the Instruction from Moses, God’s servant—swept over us because we sinned against God. 12 God confirmed the words he spoke against us and against our rulers, bringing great trouble on us. What happened in Jerusalem hasn’t happened anywhere else in the entire world! 13 All this trouble came upon us, exactly as it was written in the Instruction of Moses, but we didn’t try to reconcile with the Lord our God by turning from our wrongdoing or by finding wisdom in your faithfulness. 14 So the Lord oversaw the great trouble and brought it on us, because the Lord our God has been right in every move he’s made, but we haven’t listened to his voice.

15 “But now, my Lord, our God—you who brought your people out of Egypt with a strong hand, making a name for yourself even to this day: We have sinned and done the wrong thing.” 16 My Lord, please! In line with your many righteous acts, please turn your raging anger from Jerusalem, which is your city, your own holy mountain. Because of our sins and the wrongdoing of our parents, both Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace to all our neighbors.

17 “But now, our God, listen to your servant’s prayer and pleas for help. Shine your face on your ruined sanctuary, for your own sake, my Lord. 18 Open your ears, my God, and listen! Open your eyes and look at our devastation. Look at the city called by your name! We pray our prayers for help to you, not because of any righteous acts of ours but because of your great compassion. 19 My Lord, listen! My Lord, forgive! My Lord, pay attention and act! Don’t delay! My God, do all this for your own sake, because your city and your people are called by your name.

Seventy weeks

20 While I was still speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sins of my people Israel—while I was still praying my prayer for help to the Lord my God about my God’s holy mountain— 21 while I was still speaking this prayer, the man Gabriel approached me at the time of the evening offering. This was the same Gabriel I had seen in my earlier vision. He was weary with exhaustion.[h]

22 He explained as he spoke with me: “Daniel, here’s why I’ve come: to give you insight and understanding. 23 When you began making your requests, a word went out, and I’ve come to tell it to you because you are greatly treasured. So now understand this word and grasp the meaning of this vision! 24 Seventy weeks are appointed for your people and for your holy city to complete the rebellion, to end sins, to cover over wrongdoing, to bring eternal righteousness, to seal up prophetic vision, and to anoint the most holy place.

25 “So you must know and gain wisdom about this: There will be seven weeks from the moment the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until a leader is anointed. And for sixty-two weeks the city will be rebuilt with a courtyard and a moat. But in difficult times, 26 after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be eliminated. No one will support him.[i] The army of a future leader will destroy the city and the sanctuary. His[j] end will come in a flood, but devastations will be decreed until the end of the war.[k] 27 For one week, he will make a strong covenant with many people. For a half-week, he will stop both sacrifices and offerings. In their place[l] will be the desolating monstrosities until the decreed destruction sweeps over the devastator.”

Vision of a man

10 In the third year of Persia’s King Cyrus, a message was revealed to Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar. The message was true: there would be a great conflict. Daniel understood the message, having discerned the meaning of the vision.

During that time, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three weeks. I didn’t eat any rich foods. Neither meat nor wine passed my lips, and I didn’t clean up at all until the three weeks were up. Then, on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was on the bank of the great Tigris River, I looked up and suddenly saw a man clothed in linen in front of me. He had a brilliant gold belt around his waist, and his body was like topaz. His face was like a flash of lightning, and his eyes were like burning torches. His arms and feet looked like polished bronze. When he spoke, it sounded like the roar of a crowd. Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The other people who were with me didn’t see it. Despite that, they were terrified and ran away to hide.

So I was left alone to see this great vision all by myself. All my strength left me. My energy was sapped, and I couldn’t stay strong. Then I heard the sound of the man’s words. When I heard it, I fell into a trance with my face on the ground. 10 But then a hand touched me, lifting me up to my hands and knees.

11 The man said to me, “Daniel, you are greatly treasured. Now grasp the meaning of what I’m saying to you. And stand up, because I’ve been sent to you.”

As he said this to me, I stood up, shaking.

12 Then the man said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, because from the day you first set your mind to understand things and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I’ve come because of your words! 13 For twenty-one days the leader of the Persian kingdom blocked my way. But then Michael, one of the highest leaders, came to help me. I left Michael there with the leader of the Persian kingdom.[m] 14 But I’ve come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the future, because there is another vision concerning that time.”

15 While he said this to me, I turned my face to the ground and kept quiet. 16 But then someone who looked like a human being[n] touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to the person standing in front of me: “My lord, the vision bothered me deeply, and I couldn’t stay strong during it. 17 So how can I, my lord’s servant, speak with you, my lord? Even now there’s no strength in me, and I can barely breathe.”

18 The one who looked like a human being touched me again and gave me strength. 19 He said, “Don’t be afraid. You are greatly treasured. All will be well with you. Be strong!”

As he spoke to me, I suddenly felt strong. Then I said: “My lord can go on, because you’ve made me strong.”

20 Then he said: “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must go back to fight the leader of Persia. As I leave, the leader of Greece will come! 21 But I will tell you what is written in the Scroll of Truth. No one stands strong with me against these leaders except your leader Michael.

A vast empire divided

11 “In the first year of Darius the Mede’s rule, I took my stand to strengthen and protect him.” I will now tell you the truth. Persia will have three more kings, but the fourth will be richer than all of them. Once he has become strong through his great riches, he will disturb everyone, including the Greek kingdom. Then a warrior-king will come forward, ruling over a vast empire and doing whatever he wants. But even as he takes control, his kingdom will be broken, divided to the four winds of heaven. It won’t pass to his descendants. No one will rule like he did because his kingdom will be uprooted. It will belong to others, not to these.

South and north

“Then the southern king will gain power, but one of his princes will overpower him, ruling in his place. His empire will be vast. After some years, they will make an agreement together. The southern king’s daughter will go to the northern king to finalize the agreement, but she won’t retain her great power. Neither will his power remain in place. In those times she will be handed over, along with her escort, the one who fathered her, and the one who strengthened her.[o]

“A branch from her roots will rise up in his place. Attacking the army, he will enter the walled fortress of the northern king. He will fight with them, and he will conquer. He will even carry off their gods to Egypt, along with their statues and their silver and gold equipment. For years he will avoid the northern king. Then the northern king will attack the kingdom of the southern king, but will return to his own land. 10 His sons will get ready for war, gathering massive forces. Their attack will be like an overwhelming flood. And they will attack again, taking the battle as far as his walled fortress.

11 “The southern king, in a bitter rage, will come out to battle the northern king. He will muster a huge army, but the army will be handed over to his enemy. 12 When the army is carried off, he will become confident. He will kill tens of thousands, but he will not stand strong. 13 The northern king will then muster another army—this one bigger than the first. After some years have passed, he will attack with a large and well-equipped army. 14 In those times, many will oppose the southern king. Violent persons from among your people also will rise up to support the vision, but they will fail.

15 “When the northern king attacks, he will throw up a siege ramp and occupy a walled city. The southern forces will not be able to resist—not even its elite forces. No one will be strong enough to resist. 16 The one who comes to attack will do whatever he wants; no one will be able to oppose him. He will take his place in the beautiful country, and he will hand out destruction. 17 He will decide to occupy his entire kingdom by force. He will make an agreement with him and will give him a wife, intending to destroy him,[p] but it won’t succeed and it won’t happen.[q] 18 He will turn his face to the coastlands, capturing many people. A commander will put an end to his disgrace,[r] even though he won’t repay that disgrace. 19 Then he will turn his attention to the walled fortresses of his own country but will stumble, fall, and disappear.

20 “In his place one will arise who will send his agent to exact a kingdom’s glory, but in a few days he will be broken, though not by anger and not by war. 21 A worthless person will arise in his place. Royal majesty will not have been given to him, but he will come in a time of security and seize the kingdom by deceitful means. 22 Forces will be completely swept away and broken before him. The same is true for the leader of the covenant. 23 From the moment they make an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully. He will gain power at the expense of a small nation. 24 He will come into a province’s richest places untroubled and will do what his fathers and grandfathers never could. He will hand out plunder, spoil, and wealth to them. He will make plans against fortresses, but only for a time.

25 “Then with a large army he will gather his strength and courage against the southern king. The southern king, with a large and super powerful army, will prepare for war, but he won’t endure because they will make plans against him. 26 Those who eat the king’s provisions will destroy him. His army will be overrun. Many will die.

27 “These two kings, with their minds set on evil, will sit at one table, telling lies, but with no success because the end will come at the set time. 28 He will return to his country with great wealth and set his mind against a holy covenant. He will do what he wants and then return to his country. 29 At the set time he will again battle against the south, but the second time will be different from the first. 30 Kittim ships will fight against him, and he will retreat in fear. He will rage against a holy covenant and will do what he wants. Then he will pay special attention to those who violate a holy covenant. 31 His forces will come and make the sanctuary fortress impure. They will stop the daily sacrifice and set up a desolating monstrosity. 32 By deceitful means he will corrupt those who violate a covenant, but the people who acknowledge their God will stand strong and will act.

33 “The people’s teachers will help many understand, but for a time they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, but many will join them with deceitful plans. 35 Some of the teachers too will fall in order that they might be refined, purified, and cleansed—until an end time, because it is still not yet the set time.

An end to the arrogant king

36 “The king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt himself, making himself greater than any god. He will say unbelievable things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the doom is completed, because what is decreed must take place. 37 He will give no thought to the gods of his fathers, nor to the god cherished by women. He will give no thought to any god, because he will make himself greater than all of them. 38 In their place, he will worship a god of walled fortresses. With gold and silver, rare stones and precious things, he will worship a god his fathers did not acknowledge. 39 He will deal with walled fortresses with the help of a foreign god. He will heap rewards on those who support him, making them rule over many and dividing up the land for a price. 40 At the end time, the southern king will attack him. The northern king will storm against him with chariots and horses and many ships. He will invade countries, sweeping over them like a flood. 41 He will invade the beautiful country, and tens of thousands will die. But Edom, Moab, and the best of the Ammonites will escape from his hand. 42 He will extend his power into other countries. Even Egypt won’t escape. 43 He will take control of Egypt’s hidden treasures of gold, silver, and all its precious things. Libyans and Cushites will follow at his feet. 44 But reports from the east and north will alarm him, and in a great rage he will set off to devastate and destroy many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain. But he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

Eternal life or eternal disgrace

12 “At that time, Michael the great leader who guards your people will take his stand. It will be a difficult time—nothing like it has ever happened since nations first appeared. But at that time every one of your people who is found written in the scroll will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dusty land[s] will wake up—some to eternal life, others to shame and eternal disgrace. Those skilled in wisdom[t] will shine like the sky. Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and always. But you, Daniel, must keep these words secret! Seal the scroll until the end time! Many will stray far, but knowledge will increase.”

Waiting for the end time

I, Daniel, looked and suddenly saw two other figures—one standing on each side of the stream. One said to the man clothed in white linen, who was farther upstream: “When will these astonishing things be over?”

I heard the man clothed in white linen, who was farther upstream, swear by the one who lives forever as he raised both hands to heaven: “For one set time, two set times, and half a set time. When the breaking of the holy people’s power is over, all these things will be over.”

I heard it, but I didn’t understand it. “My lord,” I said, “what will happen after all this?”

He said, “Get going now, Daniel, because these words must remain secret and sealed up until the end time. 10 Many will purify, cleanse, and refine themselves, but the wicked will act wickedly. None of the wicked will understand, but those skilled in wisdom will understand. 11 There will be one thousand two hundred ninety days from the time the daily sacrifice is stopped to the setting up of the desolating monstrosity. 12 Happy is the one who waits and reaches one thousand three hundred thirty-five days. 13 Now as for you, go on to the end. You will rest and will stand to receive your reward at the end of days.”


  1. Daniel 7:13 Aram kebar enash (like a son of man) is an idiom that means like a human being; cf also 8:17; 10:16, 18 for Heb approximations.
  2. Daniel 7:15 Or my spirit was distressed in its sheath; Aram uncertain
  3. Daniel 8:2 Some LXX sources; MT repeats I had this vision before I was by the Ulai canal.
  4. Daniel 8:11 Or the daily sacrifice was taken away from him.
  5. Daniel 8:12 Heb uncertain
  6. Daniel 8:23 LXX; MT rebels
  7. Daniel 8:24 LXX sources; MT His power will grow strong, but not by his own power, perhaps influenced by 8:22.
  8. Daniel 9:21 Or approached me in swift flight at the time of the evening offering; Heb uncertain
  9. Daniel 9:26 Or and will have nothing or and will disappear; Heb uncertain
  10. Daniel 9:26 Or Its (the army’s)
  11. Daniel 9:26 Heb uncertain
  12. Daniel 9:27 Correction on the wing; Heb uncertain
  13. Daniel 10:13 LXX; Heb after I was detained there with the kings of Persia
  14. Daniel 10:16 Heb bene adam (a son of a man) is an idiom that means human being; cf 7:13.
  15. Daniel 11:6 Heb uncertain
  16. Daniel 11:17 DSS; MT her or it (the kingdom)
  17. Daniel 11:17 Heb adds for him.
  18. Daniel 11:18 Heb adds for him.
  19. Daniel 12:2 Or earthy soil or dust of the earth
  20. Daniel 12:3 See 1:4; or The teachers; see 11:33, 35; also in 12:10.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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