1I stepped forward to help him and keep him safe. It was the first year that Darius, the Mede, was king.
The Kings of Egypt and Syria
2“Now then, what I’m about to tell you is true. Three more kings will come to power in Persia. Then a fourth one will rule. He will be much richer than all the others. He will use his wealth to gain power. And he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3After him, a mighty king will come to power. He will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4Not long after his rule ends, his kingdom will be broken up. It will be divided up into four parts. His children will not receive it when he dies. And it will not be as strong as his kingdom. It will be pulled up by the roots. And it will be given to others.
5“The king of Egypt will become strong. But one of his commanders will become even stronger. He will rule over his own kingdom with great power. 6After many years, the two kingdoms will join forces. The daughter of the next king of Egypt will go to the king of Syria. She will join forces with him. But she will not hold on to her power. And he and his power will not last either. In those days she and her attendants will die. They will die when the people she trusts lie to her. The same thing will happen to her father and the one who helped her.
7“Someone from her family line will take her place. He will attack the army of the next king of Syria. Then he will enter his fort. He will fight against that army and win. 8He will take the metal statues of their gods. He will also take away their priceless objects of silver and gold. He will carry everything off to Egypt. For many years he will leave the king of Syria alone. 9Then the king of Syria will march into territory that was controlled by Egypt. After that, he will return to his own country. 10His sons will prepare for war. They will gather a huge army. It will sweep along like a mighty flood. The army will fight its way as far as one of the Egyptian forts.
11“Another king of Egypt will march out with mighty force. He will be very angry. By then, another person will have become king in Syria. The king of Egypt will come to fight against him. The king of Syria will gather a huge army. But that army will lose the battle. 12His soldiers will be carried off. Then the king of Egypt will be filled with pride. He will kill many thousands of soldiers. But his success will not last. 13The king of Syria will bring another army together. It will be larger than the first one. After several years, he will march out with a huge army. It will have everything it needs for battle.
14“In those times many people will rise up against the next king of Egypt. Lawless people in your own nation will refuse to obey him. That is what you saw in your vision. But they will not succeed. 15Then the king of Syria will go to a certain city that has high walls around it. He will build ramps against them. And he will capture that city. The forces of Egypt will not have the power to stop him. Even their best troops will not be strong enough to stand up against him. 16He will do anything he wants to. No one will be able to stand up against him. He will take over the beautiful land of Israel. And he will have the power to destroy it. 17The king of Syria will decide to come with the might of his entire kingdom. He will join forces with the king of Egypt. And the king of Syria will give his daughter to him to become his wife. The king of Syria will do this in order to take control of Egypt. But his plans will not succeed or help him. 18Then he will turn his attention to the lands along the Mediterranean coast. He will take over many of them. But a commander will put an end to his proud actions. He will turn his pride back on him. 19After this, the king of Syria will return to the forts in his own country. But he will trip and fall. And he will never be seen again.
20“The next king after him will send someone out to collect taxes. The taxes will help maintain the glory of his kingdom. But in a few years the king will be destroyed. It will not happen because someone becomes angry with him or kills him in battle.
21“After him, another king will take his place. Many people will hate him. He will not be honored as a king should be. He will lead an army into the kingdom when its people feel secure. He will make clever plans to capture it. 22Then he will sweep away a huge army. The army and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. 23The king of Syria will make an agreement with that prince. But then the king of Syria will not keep his word. He will rise to even greater power with the help of only a few people. 24When the people in the richest areas feel secure, he will attack them. He will do what the kings before him could not do. And he will reward his followers with the goods and wealth he takes. He will make clever plans to take over the forts. But that will last for only a short time.
25“He will become stronger and more confident. He will do that by gathering a large army. Then he will go to war against the next king of Egypt. That king will fight against him with a huge and very powerful army. But the king of Egypt will not be able to stand up against him. So the plans of the king of Syria will succeed. 26The trusted advisers of the king of Egypt will try to destroy him. His army will be swept away. Many of his soldiers will be wounded or killed. 27The kings of Syria and Egypt will sit at the same table. But in their hearts they will plan to do what is evil. And they will tell lies to each other. But it will not do them any good. God will put an end to their plans at his appointed time. 28The king of Syria will return to his own country. He will go back there with great wealth. But he will make evil plans against the holy temple in Jerusalem. He will do a lot of harm to the temple and the people who worship there. Then he will return to his own country.
29“At God’s appointed time, the king of Syria will march south again. But this time things will turn out differently. 30Roman ships will oppose him. He will lose hope. Then he will turn back. He will take out his anger against the holy temple. And he will do good to the Jews who desert it.
31“His army will come and make the temple area ‘unclean.’ They will put a stop to the daily sacrifices. Then they will set up a hated thing that destroys. 32He will pretend to praise those who have broken the covenant. He will lead them to do what is evil. But the people who know their God will firmly oppose him.
33“Those who are wise will teach many others. But for a while, some of the wise will be killed by swords. Others will be burned to death. Still others will be made prisoners. Or they will be robbed of everything they have. 34When that happens, they will receive a little help. Many who are not honest will join them. 35So some of the wise people will suffer. They will be made pure in the fire. They will be made spotless until the time of the end. It will still come at God’s appointed time.
The King Who Honors Himself
36“A certain king will do as he pleases. He will honor himself. He will put himself above every god. He will say things against the greatest God of all. Those things have never been heard before. He will have success until God is not angry anymore. What God has decided to do must take place. 37The king will not show any respect for the gods his people have always worshiped. There is a god desired by women. He will not respect that god either. He will not have respect for any god. Instead, he will put himself above all of them. 38In place of them, he will worship a god of war. He will honor a god his people have not known before. He will give gold and silver to that god. He will bring jewels and expensive gifts to it. 39He will attack the strongest forts. A new god will help him do it. He will greatly honor those who recognize him as their leader. He will make them rulers over many people. And he will give them land as a reward.
40“A king in the south will go to war against him. It will happen at the time of the end. The king who will honor himself will rush out against him. He will come with chariots and horsemen. He will attack with a lot of ships. He will lead his army into many countries. He will sweep through them like a flood. 41He will also march into the beautiful land of Israel. Many countries will fall. But Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be saved from his mighty hand. 42His power will reach out into many countries. Even Egypt will not escape. 43He will gain control of all Egypt’s riches. He will take their gold and silver treasures. The people of Libya and Cush will be under his control. 44But reports from the east and the north will terrify him. He will march out with great anger to destroy many people and wipe them out. 45He will set up his royal tents. He will put them between the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful holy mountain of Zion. But his end will come. And no one will help him.