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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 7

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1 IN the first year that Belshazzar was king of Babylon, a dream and visions came to Daniel as he lay on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, and here his account begins.

2In my vision during the night while I, Daniel, was gazing intently I saw the Great Sea churned up by the four winds of heaven, 3and four great beasts rising out of the sea, each one different from the others. 4The first was like a lion, but it had an eagle's wings. I watched until its wings were plucked off and it was lifted from the ground and made to stand on two feet as if it were a human being; it was also given the mind of a human being. 5Then I saw another, a second beast, like a bear. It had raised itself on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. The command was given to it: ‘Get up and gorge yourself with flesh.’ 6After this as I gazed I saw another, a beast like a leopard with four wings like those of a bird on its back; this creature had four heads, and it was invested with sovereign power. 7Next in the night visions I saw a fourth beast, fearsome and grisly and exceedingly strong, with great iron teeth. It devoured and crunched, and it trampled underfoot what was left. It was different from all the beasts which went before it, and had ten horns. 8While I was considering the horns there appeared another horn, a little one, springing up among them, and three of the first horns were uprooted to make room for it. In this horn were eyes like human eyes, and a mouth that uttered bombast. 9As I was looking,

thrones were set in place and the Ancient in Years took his seat; his robe was white as snow, his hair like lamb's wool. His throne was flames of fire and its wheels were blazing fire; 10a river of fire flowed from his presence. Thousands upon thousands served him and myriads upon myriads were in attendance. The court sat, and the books were opened.

11Then because of the bombast the horn was mouthing, I went on watching until the beast was killed; its carcass was destroyed and consigned to the flames. 12The rest of the beasts, though deprived of their sovereignty, were allowed to remain alive until an appointed time and season. 13I was still watching in visions of the night and I saw one like a human being a 7:13 human being: lit. son of man. coming with the clouds of heaven; he approached the Ancient in Years and was presented to him. 14Sovereignty and glory and kingly power were given to him, so that all peoples and nations of every language should serve him; his sovereignty was to be an everlasting sovereignty which was not to pass away, and his kingly power was never to be destroyed.

15My spirit within me was troubled; and, dismayed by the visions which came into my head, I, Daniel, 16approached one of those who were standing there and enquired what all this really signified; and he made known to me its interpretation. 17‘These great beasts, four in number,’ he said, ‘are four kingdoms which will arise from the earth. 18But the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingly power and retain possession of it always, for ever and ever.’

19Then I wished to know what the fourth beast really signified, the beast that was different from all the others, exceedingly fearsome with its iron teeth and bronze claws, devouring and crunching, then trampling underfoot what was left. 20I wished also to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn which sprang up and at whose coming three of them fell, the horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering bombast and which in its appearance was more imposing than the others. 21As I still watched, this horn was waging war on the holy ones and proving too strong for them 22until the Ancient in Years came. Then judgement was pronounced in favour of the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came when the holy ones gained possession of the kingly power.

23The explanation he gave was this: ‘The fourth beast signifies a fourth kingdom which will appear on earth. It will differ from the other kingdoms; it will devour the whole earth, treading it down and crushing it. 24The ten horns signify ten kings who will rise from this kingdom; after them will arise another king, who will be different from his predecessors; and he will bring low three kings. 25He will hurl defiance at the Most High and wear down the holy ones of the Most High. He will have it in mind to alter the festival seasons and religious laws; and the holy ones will be delivered into his power for a time, and times, and half a time b 7:25 a time … half a time: or three and a half years. . 26But when the court sits, he will be deprived of his sovereignty, so that it may be destroyed and abolished for ever. 27The kingly power, sovereignty, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. Their kingly power will last for ever, and every realm will serve and obey them.’

28Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts dismayed me greatly and I turned pale; but I kept these things to myself.

Notes:

a 7:13 human being: lit. son of man.

b 7:25 a time … half a time: or three and a half years.

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