18Again the figure touched me and put strength into me, 19saying, ‘Do not be afraid, man greatly beloved; all will be well with you. Take heart, and be strong.’ As he spoke, my strength returned, and I said, ‘Speak, sir, for you have given me strength.’ 20He said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? I am first going back to fight with the prince of Persia, and, as soon as I have left, the prince of Greece will appear: 21I have no ally on my side for support and help, except Michael your prince. 1However I shall expound to youwhat is written in the Book of Truth; 2here and now I shall tell you what is true.
‘Three more kings will appear in Persia, followed by a fourth who will far surpass all the others in wealth; and when by his wealth he has extended his power, he will mobilize the whole empire against the kingdom of Greece. 3Then there will appear a warrior king, who will rule a vast kingdom and do whatever he pleases. 4But once he is established, his kingdom will be broken up and divided to the four quarters of heaven. It will not pass to his descendants; nor will its power be comparable to his, for his kingdom will be uprooted and given to others besides his posterity.
5‘The king of the south will become strong; but one of his generals will surpass him in strength and win a greater dominion. 6In the course of time the two will enter into an alliance, and to seal the agreement the daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north, but she will not maintain her influence and their line will not last. She and those who escorted her, along with her child, and also her lord and master, will all be the victims of foul play. 7Then another shoot from the same stock as hers will appear in his father's place. He will penetrate the defences of the king of the north, invade his fortress, and win a decisive victory. 8He will carry away as booty to Egypt even the images of their gods cast in metal and their valuable vessels of silver and gold. Then for some years he will refrain from attacking the king of the north. 9After that the king of the north will invade the southern kingdom and then retire to his own land.
10‘His sons will press on with the assembling of a large force of armed men. One of them will sweep on like an irresistible flood. In a second campaign he will press as far as the enemy stronghold. 11The king of the south, working himself up into a fury, will set out to do battle with the king of the north. He in turn will muster a large army, but it will be delivered into the hands of his enemy. 12At the capture of this force, the victor will be elated and will slaughter tens of thousands; yet he will not maintain his advantage. 13The king of the north will once more raise an army, one even greater than the last, and after a number of years he will advance with his huge force and a great baggage train.
14‘During these times many will resist the king of the south, but some renegades among your own people will rashly attempt to give substance to a vision and will be brought to disaster. 15The king of the north will then come and cast up siege-ramps and capture a well-fortified city. The forces of the south will not stand up to him; even the flower of the army will not be able to hold their ground. 16The invader will do as he pleases and meet with no opposition. He will establish himself in the fairest of all lands, and it will come wholly into his power. 17He will resolve to advance with the full might of his kingdom; and, when he has agreed terms with the king of the south b 11:17 when … south: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure. , he will give his young daughter in marriage to him, with a view to the destruction of the kingdom; but the treaty will not last nor will it be his purpose which is served. 18Then he will turn to the coasts and islands and take many prisoners, but a foreign commander will wear him down c 11:18 will wear him down: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure. and put an end to his challenge; thus he will throw his challenge back at him. 19He will retreat to strongholds in his own country; there he will meet with disaster and be overthrown, and he will be seen no more.
20‘His successor will be one who will send out an officer with a royal escort to exact tribute; after but a brief time this king too will meet his end, yet neither openly nor in battle.
21‘His place will be taken by a despicable creature, one who had not been given recognition as king; he will come when he is least expected and seize the kingdom by smooth dissimulation. 22As he advances, he will sweep away all forces of opposition, and even the Prince of the Covenant will be broken. 23He will enter into alliances but dishonour them and, although only a few people are behind him, he will rise to power and establish himself 24against all expectation. He will overrun the richest districts of the province, and succeed where all his ancestors failed, and distribute spoil, booty, and goods among his followers. He will frame stratagems against fortresses, but only for a time.
25‘He will rouse himself in all his strength and courage to lead a great army against the king of the south, who will fight back with a very large and powerful army; yet, hampered by treachery, the king of the south will not persist. 26Those who eat at his board will be his undoing; his army will be swept away, and many will fall slain in battle. 27The two kings, bent on mischief though seated at the same table, will lie to each other but with advantage to neither, for an end is yet to be at the appointed time. 28Then the king of the north will return home with spoils in plenty, and with hostility in his heart against the Holy Covenant; he will work his will and return to his own country.
29‘At the appointed time he will once again invade the south, but he will have less success than he had before. 30Ships of Kittim will sail against him, and he will suffer a rebuff. As he retreats he will vent his fury against the Holy Covenant, and on his return home will single out those who have forsaken it. 31Soldiers in his command will desecrate the sanctuary and citadel; they will abolish the regular offering, and will set up “the abominable thing that causes desolation”. 32By plausible promises he will win over those who are ready to violate the covenant, but the people who are faithful to their God will be resolute and take action. 33Wise leaders of the nation will give guidance to the people at large, who for a while will fall victims to sword and fire, to captivity and pillage. 34But these victims will have some help, though only a little, even if many who join them are insincere. 35Some of these leaders will themselves fall victims for a time, so that they may be tested, refined, and made shining white; for an end is yet to be at the appointed time d 11:35 for an end … time: prob. rdg; Heb. has different word order. .
36‘The king will do as he pleases; he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and against the God of gods he will utter monstrous blasphemies. Things will go well for him until the divine wrath is spent, for what is determined must be done. 37Heedless of his ancestral gods and the god beloved of women, indeed heedless of all gods, for he will magnify himself above them all, 38he will honour the god of fortresses, a god unknown to his ancestors, with gold and silver, gems and costly gifts. 39He will garrison his strongest fortresses with aliens, the people of a foreign god. Those whom he favours he will load with honour, putting them into authority over the people and distributing land as a reward.
40‘At the time of the end, the king of the south will make a feint at the king of the north, but the king of the north will come storming against him with chariots and cavalry and a fleet of ships. He will pass through country after country, sweeping over them like a flood, 41among them the fairest of all lands, and tens of thousands will fall victim; but these lands, Edom and Moab and the chief part of the Ammonites, will escape his clutches. 42As he gets country after country into his grasp, not even Egypt will escape; 43he will seize control of her hidden stores of gold and silver and of all her treasures; Libyans and Cushites will follow in subjection to him. 44Then, alarmed by rumours from east and north, he will depart in a great rage to destroy and to exterminate many. 45He will pitch his royal pavilion between the sea and the holy hill, the fairest of all hills; and he will meet his end with no one to help him.