1“And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him).
Kings of the South and the North
2“Now I will declare the truth. Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia. Then a fourth will be far richer than all. When he becomes powerful through his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the realm of Greece.
3Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.
4But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and distributed to the four winds of heaven—though it will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and given to others besides these.
5“Then the king of the south will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he, and he will rule a greater kingdom than his.
6After some years they will form an alliance. The daughter of the king of the south will approach the king of the north to make an agreement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will his strength endure. Instead she will be given up, together with her escort, her father and the one who supported her in those times.
7But another shoot from her roots will arise in his place. He will come against the army of the king of the north and enter his fortress. He will fight against them and prevail.
8He will also carry off their gods into captivity to Egypt, along with their metal images and their precious articles of silver and gold. For a few years he will stay away from the king of the north.
9“Then the king of the north will invade the realm of the king of the south, but he will retreat to his own land.
10His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will advance and overflow and sweep through like a flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.
11“Then the king of the south, enraged, will march out and fight against the king of the north, who will also muster a massive army. But the army will be defeated.
12But when the army is carried off, the heart of the king of the south will become arrogant, and will slaughter thousands and thousands, yet he will not prevail.
13The king of the north will raise up another army, one greater than the first. After an interval of some years, he will advance with a great army and with abundant supplies.
14“In those times many will rise up against the king of the south. The lawless sons among your own people will raise themselves up in order to confirm the vision, but they will stumble.
15Then the king of the north will come, build a siege-ramp and capture a well-fortified city. The forces of the south will not prevail—not even their select troops will have strength to prevail.
16But the invader will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to stand against him. He will take his stand in the beautiful land and its devastation in his hand.
17His intention will be to come with the strength of his entire kingdom, but he will reach an agreement with him. He will give him a daughter in marriage in order to destroy the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.
18Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put an end to his insolence and pay him back for his insolence.
19He will then turn his face toward the strongholds of his own land, but he will stumble and fall, not to be found again.
20“In his place will arise one who will dispatch a tax collector to extract tribute for royal glory, but within a few days he will be destroyed, though not in anger or battle.
21“Then in his place will arise a despicable person, on whom royal honor has not been conferred. He will come in a time of tranquility, and seize the kingdom through intrigue.
22Armies will be utterly swept away from before him and will be broken, as well as the leader of the covenant.
23After an alliance is made with him, he will act deceitfully; he will rise to power with a small force.
24Without warning, he will invade the richest province and accomplish what his fathers or predecessors were unable to do. He will lavish on them plunder, loot and spoils. He will plot the overthrow of strongholds, though only for a while.
25“He will summon his strength and courage against the king of the south with a great army. The king of the south will wage war with a very large and mighty army, but he will not succeed because of plots devised against him.
26Those who eat his delicacies will destroy him, and his army will be swept away; many will be slain in battle.
27These two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and speak lies, but to no avail, for the end will still come at the appointed time.
28The king of the north will return to his own land with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action and then return to his own land.
29“At the appointed time he will invade the south again, only this time the outcome will not be as before.
30The ships of Kittim will come against him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his rage against the holy covenant. When he returns, he will favor those who forsake the holy covenant.
31“His forces will rise up and profane the fortified Temple; they will stop the daily offering and set up the abomination of desolation.
32With smooth words he will seduce those who act wickedly against the covenant, but the people who know their God will stand strong and prevail.
33Those who are wise among the people will instruct many, though for many days they will fall by the sword, or be burned, captured or pillaged.
34When they stumble, they will receive a little help, but many will join them deceitfully.
35Even some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end—for it will still come at the appointed time.
An Ungodly King Exalts Himself
36“So the king will do as he pleases, exalting and magnifying himself above every god. He will even speak outrageous things against the God of gods. He will prosper until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decided will be done.
37He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or the one desired by women, nor will he show regard for any god, but will exalt himself above all.
38Instead of these, he will honor a god of fortresses—a god his fathers did not acknowledge he will honor with gold, silver, precious stones and costly things.
39He will attack strong fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will give them authority over many and will parcel out land for a price.
40“Now at the time of the end the king of the south will attack him, and the king of the north will storm out against him with chariots, horsemen and many ships. He will invade lands and pass through them like an overflowing river.
41He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many will be overthrown, but these will escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the chief of the sons of Ammon.
42He will extend his hand against other countries; the land of Egypt will not escape.
43He will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, as well as all of the riches of Egypt. The Libyans and the Cushites will also be under his feet.
44But reports from the east and north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.
45He will pitch his royal tents between the seas and the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will meet his doom with no one to help him.’