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Visions of the Four Beasts

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream:[a](A) I,[b] Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.(B) The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being, and a human mind was given to it.(C) Another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one side, had three tusks[c] in its mouth among its teeth, and was told, “Arise, devour many bodies!” After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads, and dominion was given to it.(D) After this I saw in the visions by night a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth and was devouring, breaking in pieces, and stamping what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns.(E) I was considering the horns when another horn appeared, a little one that came up among them. Three of the orginal horns were plucked up from before it. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn and a mouth speaking arrogantly.(F)

Judgment before the Ancient One

As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
    and an Ancient One[d] took his throne;
his clothing was white as snow
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
    and its wheels were burning fire.(G)
10 A stream of fire issued
    and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.(H)

11 I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking. And as I watched, the beast was put to death and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.(I) 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 As I watched in the night visions,

I saw one like a human being[e]
    coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One[f]
    and was presented before him.(J)
14 To him was given dominion
    and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
    that shall never be destroyed.(K)

Daniel’s Visions Interpreted

15 As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me,[g] and the visions of my head terrified me.(L) 16 I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter:(M) 17 “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”(N)

19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet; 20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn that came up and before which three others had fallen—the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly and that seemed greater than the others. 21 As I looked, that horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them,(O) 22 until the Ancient One[h] came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.(P)

23 This is what he said: “As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
    that shall be different from all the other kingdoms;
it shall devour the whole earth
    and trample it down and break it to pieces.(Q)
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
    and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones
    and shall put down three kings.(R)
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
    shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High,
    and shall attempt to change the ritual calendar and the law,
and they shall be given into his power
    for a time, two times,[i] and half a time.(S)
26 Then the court shall sit in judgment,
    and his dominion shall be taken away,
    to be consumed and totally destroyed.(T)
27 The kingship and dominion
    and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
    shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
    and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”(U)

28 Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly terrified me, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter in my mind.(V)

Vision of a Ram and a Goat

In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me at first.(W) In the vision[j] I saw myself in Susa the capital, in the province of Elam,[k] and I was by the Ulai Gate.[l](X) I looked up and saw a ram standing beside the gate.[m] It had two horns. Both horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up second.(Y) I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. All beasts were powerless to withstand it, and no one could rescue from its power; it did as it pleased and became strong.(Z)

As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a horn[n] between its eyes.(AA) It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside the gate,[o] and it ran at it with savage force.(AB) I saw it approaching the ram. It was enraged against it and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram did not have power to withstand it; it threw the ram down to the ground and trampled upon it, and there was no one who could rescue the ram from its power.(AC) Then the male goat grew exceedingly great, but at the height of its power the great horn was broken, and in its place there came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven.(AD)

Out of one of them came another[p] horn, a little one, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land.(AE) 10 It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to earth some of the host and some of the stars and trampled on them.(AF) 11 Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary.(AG) 12 Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering;[q] it cast truth to the ground and kept prospering in what it did. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?”[r](AH) 14 And he answered him,[s] “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Gabriel Interprets the Vision

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man,(AI) 16 and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, “Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.”(AJ) 17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came, I became frightened and fell prostrate. But he said to me, “Understand, O mortal,[t] that the vision is for the time of the end.”(AK)

18 As he was speaking to me, I fell into a trance, face to the ground; then he touched me and set me on my feet.(AL) 19 He said, “Listen, and I will tell you what will take place later in the period of wrath, for it refers to the appointed time of the end.(AM) 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat[u] is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eyes is the first king.(AN) 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his[v] nation but not with his power.(AO)

23 At the end of their rule,
    when the transgressions have reached their full measure,
a king of bold countenance shall arise,
    skilled in intrigue.
24 He shall grow strong in power,[w]
    shall cause fearful destruction,
    and shall succeed in what he does.
He shall destroy the powerful
    and the people of the holy ones.(AP)
25 By his cunning
    he shall make deceit prosper under his hand,
    and in his own mind he shall be great.
Without warning he shall destroy many
    and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes.
But he shall be broken, and not by human hands.(AQ)

26 “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”(AR)

27 So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king’s business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it.(AS)


  1. 7.1 Q ms Theodotion: MT adds the beginning of the words; he said
  2. 7.2 Theodotion: Aram Daniel answered and said, I
  3. 7.5 Or ribs
  4. 7.9 Aram an Ancient of Days
  5. 7.13 Aram one like a son of man
  6. 7.13 Aram the Ancient of Days
  7. 7.15 Aram troubled in its sheath
  8. 7.22 Aram the Ancient of Days
  9. 7.25 Aram a time, times
  10. 8.2 Syr Vg: Heb vision I was looking and
  11. 8.2 Gk Theodotion: Heb repeats in the vision I was looking
  12. 8.2 Gk Syr Vg: Heb River Ulai
  13. 8.3 Or river
  14. 8.5 Theodotion: Heb a horn of vision
  15. 8.6 Or river
  16. 8.9 Cn: Heb one
  17. 8.12 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  18. 8.13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  19. 8.14 Gk Theodotion Syr Vg: Heb me
  20. 8.17 Heb son of man
  21. 8.21 Or shaggy male goat
  22. 8.22 Gk Theodotion Vg: Heb the
  23. 8.24 Gk Theodotion: Heb power, but not with his power