1And I myself, in the first year of Darius the Mede, took my stand to support and defend him.
2So now let me reveal the truth to you. There are still three kings to come to power in Persia, and then a fourth who will be far richer than all the others. When he becomes strong through his wealth, he will rally the whole kingdom against Greece.
3Then a mighty king will come to power. He will rule with great authority and do whatever he wants.
4But as he extends his power his kingdom will be broken up, divided towards the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, and it will not be ruled as he ruled. It will be pulled up and given to others.
5The king of the south will grow strong, but one of his officers will grow even stronger and will rule his kingdom with great authority.
6Some years later they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south will be married to the king of the north to guarantee the peace treaty. However, she will not be able to keep her hold on power, nor will his power continue. She and her attendants will be betrayed, along with her child and husband. Later on, however,
7a new king of the south from her family will take over. He will come to attack the army of the king of the north and enter his fortress. He will fight against them and will win.
8In addition he will take back with him to Egypt the idols of their gods, along with their expensive vessels of silver and gold. For some years he will leave the king of the north alone.
9Then the king of the north will march into the kingdom of the king of the south but will have to retreat to his own land.
10However, his sons will prepare for war, assembling a huge number of troops. One of them will lead an advance that rushes forward like a river bursting its banks, crossing over and pressing forward to attack the enemy fortress.
11This will infuriate the king of the south, who will go out into battle against the large army assembled by the king of the north and will defeat it.
12After capturing such a large army, he will become very proud, and will kill thousands. But this triumph will not last long.
13Years later the king of the north will once again raise an army, even larger than before, and will invade with this huge army, accompanied by plenty of supplies.
14At the same time many will rebel against the king of the south. Violent men from your own people will rebel in order to fulfill this vision, but they shall fail.
15Then the king of the north will come and build siege ramps and he will capture a city with strong defenses. The forces of the south will not be able to prevent it—even his best troops won't be able to resist the attack.
16The invader will do whatever he wants; no one will be able to oppose him. He will stand in the Beautiful Land with the power to destroy it.
17He will be determined to come with all the power of his kingdom and will make a peace treaty with the king of the south. To secure this he will give him a daughter of women to marry in order to destroy the kingdom. But she will not be successful and will not support him.
18Then he will turn to attack the coastlands and will conquer many, but a commander will put a stop to his arrogant behavior, paying him back for it.
19He will return to the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall, and will be gone.
20His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain royal wealth. However, in a short time he will die, but not violently or in battle.
21A contemptible person will follow him who will not be given royal majesty. He will take over peacably and assume control of the kingdom through deception.
22Great armies will be swept away before him. They will be broken, as well as the prince of the agreement.
23After making an alliance with him, he will act deceptively. He will come to power peacably, becoming strong though only having a few supporters.
24He will invade the richest parts of the land and do what his fathers and forefathers never did—he will distribute plunder, spoil, and possessions. He will make plans to attack fortresses, but only for a time.
25Then he will draw on his strength and courage to gather a large army against the king of the south. The king of the south will prepare for war. Fighting back with a large and powerful army, but he will not be successful because of plots made against him.
26Those closest to him will destroy him. His army will be wiped out—many will fall in battle.
27The two kings, with evil intentions, will tell each other lies even as they sit together at the same table. But their scheming is pointless—the end will come at the time predicted.
28The king of the north will return to his own country with all the wealth he has looted. He will be determined to attack the people of the holy agreement, and do all he can to destroy it before returning to his own country.
29At the time predicted he will return to invade the south again, but this time it won't be like before.
30Ships from Cyprus will come to attack him, frightening him off so that he retreats. But this will make him mad, and he will attack the people of the holy agreement, recognizing those who abandon their commitment to the holy agreement.
31His forces will occupy and defile the Temple fortress. They will put a stop to the continual service, and set up a form of idolatry that causes devastation.
32The king will use flattery to corrupt those who break the solemn agreement, but the people who know their God will stand firm in their resistance.
33Wise leaders of the people will teach many, though for a time they will be killed by sword and fire, or they will be imprisoned and robbed.
34During this time of persecution they will receive a little help, and many who join them won't be sincere.
35Some of the wise will be killed, so that they may be refined and purified and cleansed until the time of the end, for the predicted time is still to come.
36The king will do whatever he wants, praising himself and considering himself greater than any god, even saying outrageous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of anger has finished, for what has been decided will be accomplished.
37He will have no time for the gods of his forefathers, nor for the one loved by women, nor for any other god, for he considers himself greater than any of these.
38Instead he will honor the god of fortresses—a god unknown to his forefathers—giving him offerings of gold and silver and precious stones and expensive gifts.
39He will deal with strong fortresses with the help of this foreign god. He will give riches to those who acknowledge him, making them rulers over the people, and distributing the land at a price.
40At the time of the end the king of the south will attack him. But the king of the north will retaliate with force like a storm, with chariots and horsemen and many ships. He will advance, sweeping through many lands.
41He will invade the Beautiful Land and kill many people there. However, Moab, Edom, and most of the Ammonites will escape his power.
42He will extend his attacks against different countries—even the land of Egypt will not be able to escape.
43He will acquire the gold and silver and riches of Egypt, ruling over them and also the Libyans and Ethiopians.
44But news from the east and the north will alarm him, and in a furious rage he will set out to destroy and exterminate many people.
45He will set up his royal camp between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain. But he will die with no one to help him.