Daniel 12 – The Time of Great Trouble & The Seleucids

I had always thought that Daniel was about the end time only.  Now I believe that it is true, history does repeat itself.

It appears that all Daniel said happened then, but it’s also warning to us to prepare for the end time.  Of course, the end time will be worse than anything has ever been.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt 24:21-22).

What Bush, Obama, Putin or any ruler does is nothing compared to what the devil will do, but the devil is nothing but a sissy little girl compared to You.

I know I’m safe, I know I’ll spend eternity with Jesus so I’m anxious for the end to come, and hopefully people will pull their heads out of the sand and repent.

So now we go to…

Daniel 12
The Time of Great Trouble

1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

“Time of trouble” – see Jer 30:7; Matt 24:21; cf. Rev 16:18.

“Book” – see 10:21; Ps 9:5, 51:1, 69:28.

2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

The first clear reference to a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.  Cf. Jn 5:24-30.

3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.

4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

“Other two” – two was the minimum number of witnesses to an oath (see Deut 19:15).

“Time, times, and a half” – or “a year, two years, and half a year.”

6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?

7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12:11-12 – apparently representing either (1) further calculations relating to the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes (see 8:14, 11:28) or (2) further end-time calculations.

12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

The Seleucids

After the death of Alexander the Great, his massive empire was divided among his generals, who vied for power. One of the major victors was Seleucus I (born c. 358 B.C.), who seized control of a domain centered in Syria. His dynasty, the Seleucids, governed there from 321 to 64 B.C.

Seleucus I Nicotor (c. 312-281 B.C.): A childhood friend of Alexander, he took control of Babylon. A rival Greek general, Antigonus Monophthalmus, forced him to take refuge in Egypt with another Greek general, Ptolemy.

Seleucus I returned to power in Syria and Babylon in 312 B.C. In 301 B.C. he moved his capital west to Syrian Antioch, a city he had founded. By the terms of a peace treaty he should have gained control of Palestine, which Ptolemy refused to relinquish. Thereafter, the Seleucids regarded Palestine as rightfully theirs.


Antiochus I Soter (c. 281-261 B.C.): The son of Seleucus I, he fought with Ptolemy II of Egypt in a struggle for control of Palestine and Anatolia (Turkey).



Antiochus II Theos (c. 261 -246 B.C.): This ruler was successful against Ptolemy II in the ongoing struggle for control of Anatolia. Ptolemy persuaded him to marry his daughter Berenice, a union that caused dynastic troubles among the Seleucids.

Seleucus’s first wife, Laodice, established a rival court at Ephesus and, after Antiochus’s death, had Berenice and her son murdered. This resulted in renewed war between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies (the latter now under Ptolemy III, Berenice’s brother). Antiochus II is the “king of the North” in Dan 11:6.

Seleucus II Callinicus (246-225 B.C.): Son of Antiochus II and Laodice, his reign began with a war against Ptolemy III. During his lifetime the Seleucid Empire nearly collapsed.



Seleucus III Soter (225-223 B.C.): His brief reign focused upon a failed campaign to regain control of Anatolia.



Antiochus III the Great (223-187 B.C.): The younger son of Seleucus II, he was the Seleucids’ most successful warrior-king. He first campaigned south into Palestine against the Ptolemies but was stopped at Raphia by Ptolemy IV in 217 B.C.

Turning east, he won victories against Bactria and Parthia. In a new war against the Ptolemies, now under Ptolemy V, he wrested control of Palestine in 200 B.C., after which he focused on regaining Anatolia. War broke out between Rome and the Seleucids, and Antiochus III was defeated in several battles. Antiochus III is the “king of the North” in 11:11-13.


Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 B.C.): The son of Antiochus III, his reign was hampered by the financial strain of heavy tribute payments to Rome.



Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.): A younger son of Antiochus III and a usurper of the throne after the assassination of Seleucus IV, Antiochus was the most infamous Seleucid. He attempted to extirpate Judaism and replace it with a Hellenistic culture; his enormities are recorded in 2 Maccabees 5,an Apocryphal book.

His oppression prompted Jewish rebellion in the Maccab Antiochus Epiphanes almost conquered Egypt in 168 B.C. but turned back when the Roman C. Popilius Laenas warned him to proceed no further.



Antiochus V Eupator (164-162 B.C.) Two men, Philip and Lysias contended for control of this boy during his brief reign; the confusion left an opening for the Jewish Maccabees against the Greeks. Though not entirely successful, they did win religious concessions.


Demetrius I Soter (162-150 B.C.) A son of Seleucus IV, he had Philip and Lysias put to death and assumed the throne himself.  Wars with the Jews continued. Judas Maccabeus was killed in battle and replaced by his brother Jonathan, who defeated the Seleucids.

Thereafter Seleucid power weakened steadily. A usurper named Alexander Balas contended ineffectively for the Seleucid throne.

Demetrius II, son of Demetrius I, seized power and ruled from around 145 to 140 and again from approximately 129 to 125 B.C. (between which times he was prisoner of the Parthians).

Meanwhile, Antiochus VI Epiphanes Dionysus (a son of Alexander Balas), Antiochus VII Sidetes (a brother of Demetrius II) and Tryphon (another usurper) vied for power. This situation made the Jews power brokers, further illustrating how far the Seleucids had declined.


Antiochus XIII Asiaticus (69-64 B.C.) was the last Seleucid ruler was and in the final year of his reign Pompey the Great made Syria a Roman province.

…the Book of Hosea.


Daniel 11 – Conflict Between North and South & Persepolis

Chapter 11 shows how ruthless these kings were; nothing but two-face, lying, cheating, back stabbers.  Wow, sounds like the White House.

Only one more chapter in Daniel so I want to look at… 

Daniel 11
Conflict Between North and South

1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

It is a trilingual inscription, written in Old Persian, Babylonian and Elamite.

2 And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.

“Three kings” – Cambyses (530-522 B.C.), Pseudo-Smerdis or Gaumata (522 B.C.), and Darius I (522-486 B.C.).

“Fourth” – Xerxes (486-465 B.C.), who attempted to conquer Greece in 480 B.C.

3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

“Mighty king” – Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.).

4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.

“King of the south” – Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 B.C.) of Egypt.

“One of his princes” – Seleucus I Nicator (311-280 B.C.)

“His dominion” – initially Babylonian, to which he then added extensive territories both east and west.

Darius trilingual inscription old Persian, elamite and babylonian, at Ganj Nameh, near Hamadan, Iran.

6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.

“King’s daughter of the south” – Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) of Egypt.

“King of the north” – Antiochus II Theos (261-246 B.C.) of Syria.

“An agreement” – a treaty cemented by the marriage of Berenice to Antiochus.

“She shall not retain the power…neither shall he stand” –Antiochus’s former wife, Laodice, conspired to have Berenice and Antiochus put to death.

“That begat her” – Berenice’s father Ptolemy died at about the same time.

7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:

“One…her roots” – Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221 B.C.) of Egypt, who did away with Laodice.

“Fortress” – either (1) Seleucia (see Acts 13:4), which was the port of Antioch (where after Jesus’ death His disciples were first called Christians – Acts 11:26), or (2) Antioch itself.

A lamassu; eastern entrance of the Gate of All Nations.

“King of the north” – Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226 B.C.) of Syria.

8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.

“Their gods” – images of Syrian deities and also of Egyptian gods that the Persian Cambyses had carried off after conquering Egypt in 525 B.C.

9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.

10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.

“His sons” – Selecus III Cerunus (226-223 B.C.) and Antiochus III (the Great) (223-187 B.C.), sons of Seleucus II.

“His fortress” – Ptolemy’s fortress at Raphia (southwest of Gaza).

11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.

“King of the south” – Ptolemy  IV Philopator (221-203 B.C.) of Egypt.

Cambyses II son of Cyrus the Great, was King of Kings of Persia. Cambyses’s grandfather was Cambyses I, king of Anshan.

“King of the north” – Antiochus III.

“Given into his hand” – at Raphia in 217 B.C.

12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.

“Cast down…many ten thousands” – the historian Polybius records that Antiochus lost nearly 10,000 infantrymen at Raphia.

13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.

14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.

“King of the south” – Ptolemy V Ephiphanes (203-181 B.C.) of Egypt.

“Robbers of thy people” – Jews who joined the forces of Antiochus.

“They shall fall” – the Ptolemaic general Scopas crushed the rebellion in 200 B.C.

15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

Darius I (550–486 BCE) was the third king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.

Also called Darius the Great, he ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, parts of the Balkans (Bulgaria-Pannonia), portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya, coastal Sudan, Eritrea, as well as most of Pakistan, the Aegean Islands and northern Greece/Thrace-Macedonia.

“Most fenced cities” – the Mediterranean port of Sidon.

16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.

“He that cometh” – Antiochus, who was in control of the Holy Land by 197 B.C.

17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.

“He shall give him the daughter of women” – Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra I in marriage to Ptolemy V in 194 B.C.

18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.

“Prince” – the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Scripio Asiaticus, who defeated Antiochus at Magnesia in Asia Minor in 190 B.C.

19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

“Stumble and fall” – Antiochus died in 187 B.C. while attempting to plunder a temple in the province of Elymais.

20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

“In his estate” – Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 B.C.), son and successor of Antiochus the Great.

“Raiser of taxes” – Seleucus’s finance minister, Heliodorus.

“He shall be destroyed” – Seleucus was the victim of a conspiracy engineered by Heliodorus.

Xerxes I of Persia, also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of Persia. In Judeo-Christian tradition, Xerxes I is believed to be the Persian king identified as Ahasuerus in the biblical book of Esther.

21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

“Vile person” – Seleucus’s younger brother, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.).

“They shall not give the honor of the kingdom” – Antiochus seized power while the rightful heir to the throne, the son of Seleucus (later to become Demetrius I) was still very young.

“Kingdom” – Syro-Palestine.

22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.

“Prince of the covenant” – Either the high priest  Onias III, who was murdered in 170 B.C., or, if the Hebrew for this phrase is translated “confederate prince,” Ptolemy VI Philometor (181-146 B.C.) of Egypt.

23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the sou

Seleucus I was a leading officer of Alexander the Great’s League of Corinth and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander’s death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire.

th shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.

26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.

27 And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.

“Both these kings” – Antiochus and Ptolemy, who was living in Antiochus’s custody.

28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.

“Against the holy covenant” – in 169 B.C. Antiochus plundered the temple in Jerusalem, set up a garrison there and massacred many Jews in the city.

29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.

30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

“Ships of Chittim” – Roman vessels under the command of Popilius Laenas.

31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the0 sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Ptolemy II Philadelphus was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 BC to 246 BC. He was the son of the founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice, and was educated by Philitas of Cos.

“Abomination that maketh desolate” – see 9:27, 12:11, the altar to the pagan god Zeus Olympus, set up in 168 B.C. by Antiochus Epiphanes and prefiguring a similar abomination that Jesus predicted would be erected (Matt 24:15; Lk 21:20).

32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

“They that understand” – the godly leaders of the Jewish resistance movement, also called the Hasidim.

“Fall by sword and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil” – See Heb 11:36-38.

34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.

“A little help” – the early success of the guerrilla uprising (168 B.C.) that originated in Modein, 17 miles northwest of Jerusalem, under the leadership of Mattahais and his son Judas Maccabeus.  In December, 165 B.C., the altar of the temple was rededicated.

35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

“Time of the end” – Daniel concludes his predictions about Antiochus Epiphanes and begins to prophesy concerning the more distant future.

36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

From here to the end of chapter 11 the antichrist is in view.  The details of this section do not fit what is known of Antiochus Epiphanes.  See 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 13:5-8.

37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

“The desire of women” – usually interpreted as either Tammuz or the Messiah.

38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

Antiochus II Theos (Greek: Αντίοχος Β’ Θεός, 286–246 BC) was a Greek king of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire who reigned from 261 to 246 BC.

He succeeded his father Antiochus I Soter in the winter of 262–61 BC. He was the younger son of Antiochus I and princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes.

40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

11:40-45 –  conflicts to be waged between the antichrist and his political enemies.  He will meet his end at the “glorious holy mountain”, Jerusalem’s temple mount, doubtless in connection with the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:13-16).

41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.

44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.


Persepolis (meaning “Persian city”) was a capital city of the Achaemenid kings. Its remains, known as Takht-i Jamshid, are located northeast of Shiraz, Iran, 140 miles inland from the Persian Gulf.

Four Achaemenid kings- Xerxes I, Darius I, and II, and Artaxerxes I– had their tombs cut into the cliff face at Nagsh-i Rustam. Only Darius I’s on the right is identified by inscriptions. Each + shaped facade is over 75 feet high and 60 feet wide.

The reliefs below the tombs were added in the 3rd century AD by Sassanian kings. The one in the middle shows Shahpour’s Triumph over the Romans (Valerian). The cross + has deep spiritual meaning signifying ascendance to the supreme.

Trilingual inscriptions on the site report the building activities of several generations of Persian monarchs.  Darius I (521-486 B.C.) began construction of the city after having created a platform of 33 acres, 40 feet above the plain. He erected fortifications, a monumental stairway to the platform, a palace, an audience hall and other buildings.

The audience hall, or Apadana, employed 72 stone columns, each 65 feet  in height, of which 13 still stand. Its eastern stairway was decorated with images of delegations of Persians, Medes, Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks and others bearing tribute and in their customary dress.

Xerxes I (c. 486-465 B.C.) added a larger palace, harem and treasury. He began the “throne-hall of 100 columns” and built the “Gate of All Nations,” ornamented with colossal winged and human-headed bulls.

Thousands of Elamite tablets from the reigns of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes I were recovered from the treasury, among which are featured a number of Jewish names including Baruch, Zechariah, Abijah and Hezeki(ah).

An Apadana is a large hypostyle hall, the best known examples being the great audience hall and portico at Persepolis and the palace of Susa.

The Persepolis Apadana belongs to the oldest building phase of the city of Persepolis, the first half of the 5th century BC, as part of the original design by Darius the Great. Its construction completed by Xerxes I. Modern scholarships “demonstrates the metaphorical nature of the Apadana reliefs as idealised social orders”.

Artaxerxes I (465-425 B.C.) completed the throne-hall, and Artaxerxes III (359-338 B.C.) added a staircase to Darius’s palace. Alexander the Great destroyed the city in 330 B.C. as retribution for Xerxes’ destruction of Athens in 480 B.C.

Tombs of the Achaemenid kings, cut into cliffs at Naqsh-i Rustam are located 3.5“ miles north of the city.

…the Seleucids since they seem to have done their part.


Daniel 10 – Daniel’s Vision of an Angel & The Chaldeans

I guess it’s true, you learn something new every day.  I have studied Your Bible for years, but I always just took the Chaldeans as a, more-or-less, nomadic tribe.

What about…

Daniel 10
Daniel’s Vision of an Angel

The Elamite empire was the first empire in Persia, including Khuzestan and the areas to the north and east.

The Elamite form of government was the system of inheritance and power distribution. The overlord lived in Susa, the city that acted as capital. The overlord ruled with his younger brother closest in age, called the viceroy.

1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

“Third year of Cyrus” – the third year after his conquest of Babylonian in 539 B.C.

2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;

5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:

6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

First king of the Late Babylonian Empire (626-605). And father of Nebuchadnezzar II.

After the death of the Assyrian king Aššurbanipal in 631, the situation was confused, and the Babylonians revolted against their two Assyrian governors, Sin-šum-lišir and Sin-šar-iškun. The rebels defeated an Assyrian army, and the Babylonian general Nabopolassar was recognized as king on 23 November 626.

7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.

10 And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.

11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.

12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Aramaic is a family of languages/dialects belonging to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily, which also includes Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician.

The Aramaic script was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to both the Arabic and modern Hebrew alphabets.

“Prince of the kingdom of Persia” – apparently a demon exercising influence over the Persian realm in the interests of Satan (see also v. 20).  His resistance was finally overcome by the archangel Michael, “the great prince which standeth” over the people of God (12:1).

14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.

17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.

Golden Vase with Winged Monsters
Marlik Region, Iran 14th-13th centuries B.C.

18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,

19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

“Prince of Grecia” – this spiritual power will also have to be opposed.

21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

“Scripture of truth” – perhaps a reference to the divine record of the destinies of all human beings.

The Chaldeans

The Chaldeans were a seminomadic ethnic group first mentioned in ancient sources from the ninth century B.C. as a people from the land of Kaldu. Living in the southern frontier of Babylon, they were organized into tribal “houses,” each of which was headed by a tribal leader.

Marduk-apla-iddina II (left) as king of Babylon in 715 BC, as depicted on a monument commemorating a royal land grant (kudurru).

As these tribes assimilated into the predominant culture and subsequently inherited the empire of Babylonia, the terms “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” became synonymous (Isa 47:1; Dan 9:1).

The first notable Chaldean recorded in Scripture was Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon, who sent envoys to Hezekiah of Judah for the purpose of forming an anti-Assyrian coalition (2 Kgs 20:12-19; Isa 39:1).

Merodach-Baladan united the Chaldean tribes and, with Elamite assistance, managed to overthrow Assyrian dominance in the region and to rule for a decade before being driven out (c. 722-710 B.C.).

By 626 B.C., as Assyrian power declined, Chaldean power in Babylon experienced resurgence during the reigns of Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. This last dynasty of Babylon is thus known as the Chaldean, or Neo-Babylonian Empire.

Elamite God, Susa, Iran
Beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.

The reign of the Chaldeans brought the greatest flowering and fame of the Babylonian Empire.Nebuchadnezzar, under whose rule the kingdom of Judah was conquered and exiled (Jer 52),2 in addition to his military achievements is credited with the grandest rebuilding of Babylon’s cultural and religious life.

The city came to be regarded as one of the wonders of the ancient world and was, in the prophet’s words, “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory Babylonians’ pride” (Isa 13:19).

Because Babylon was famed as a city learning, the term “Chaldean” for priests, astrologers and the  educated class (Dan 2:10;4:7; 5:7). This Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian period marked the beginning of accurate historical, economic and astronomical record keeping.

And also the rise of Aramaic as the lingua franca (commercial language) of the Near East (2:4).  Ultimately the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus of Persia, and the glory of Mesopotamia faded into history.

…Persepolis, does it still exist?


Daniel 9 – Daniel’s Prayer for the People & Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Antiochus IV Epiphanes sounds like a real swell guy. 😉  He was obviously wanting a One World Order and his plan was for him to be the Order.  What is the difference between Antiochus and Hitler?  Nothing.

At the time of this writing (April, 2019), the only difference between Antiochus and Bush and Obama is that Antiochus is dead.

Now I want to look at…

Daniel 9
Daniel’s Prayer for the People

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Darius I
King of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king Gaumâta, fought a civil war , and was finally able to refound the Achaemenid empire, which had been very loosely organized until then.

Darius fought several foreign wars, which brought him to India and Thrace. When he died, the Persian empire had reached its largest extent. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.

2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

9:3-19 – Daniel’s prayer contains humility, worship, confession, and petition.

4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

The Venus de Milo is one of the most famous products of Hellenistic art.

10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

“Curse…written in the law” – see Lev 26:33; Deut 28:63-67.

12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.

Zeno of Citium founded Stoic philosophy.

13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness’s, but for thy great mercies.

The Antikythera mechanism was an ancient analog computer[52][53] designed to calculate astronomical positions..
 “But for thy great mercies” – God answers prayer because of His grace, not because of our works.

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;

“Whiles I was speaking” – see Is 65:24.

21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Philip II, King of Macedon, gained dominance of Greece and created the League of Corinth, laying the foundation for the conquests of his son Alexander the Great.

 “Weeks” – probably seven-year periods of time, making a total of 490 years, but the numbers may be symbolic.  Of the six purposes mentioned (all to be fulfilled through the Messiah), some believe that the last three were not achieved by the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ but await His further action.

The establishment of everlasting righteousness (on earth), the complete fulfillment of vision and prophecy, and the anointing of the “most Holy” (either “most holy place” or “most holy One”).

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

9:25-27 – the time between the decree authorizing the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming of Jesus (“the Anointed One”) was to be 69 (7 plus 62) “weeks,” or 483 years. 

The “seven weeks” may refer to the period of the complete restoration of Jerusalem (partially narrated in Ezra and Nehemiah) and the “threescore and two weeks” to the period between that restoration and Jesus’ coming to Israel.

The final (70th) “week” is not mentioned specifically until v. 27, following the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem by “the people of the prince that shall come” (Titus in 70 A.D.)

The Chaldean Empire
The Hebrew name was Kasdim;
The 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon (6th century B.C.) is conventi
onally known to historians as the Chaldean Dynasty.

Their kingdom in the southern portion of Babylonia lay chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates.

Though the name came to be commonly used to refer to the whole of Mesopotamia, Chaldea proper was the vast plain in the south formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along the course of these rivers, and about a 100 miles in average width.

Chaldea was a nation in the southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used to refer to the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris.

In former days the vast plains of Babylon were nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses, which spread over the surface of the country like a network.

 Therefore, while many hold that the 70th “week” was fulfilled during Christ’s earthly ministry and the years immediately following, others conclude that there is an indeterminate interval between the 69th and the 70th “week” – a period of “war” and “desolations” (v. 26; cf. also 11:31, 32, 12:11; Matt 24:9-28).]

According to this latter opinion, in the 70th “week” the little horn or beast of the last days (referred to here as the one who “for the overspreading of abominations…shall make it desolate” and who is the antitype of the Roman Titus) will establish a covenant for seven years with the Jews (the “many”) but will violate the covenant halfway through that period. 

The cutting off of the Messiah (v. 26) refers to the crucifixion of Christ.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

“He shall confirm the covenant…shall cause the sacrifice…to cease” – according to some, a reference to the Messiah’s instituting the new covenant and putting a stop to the Old Testament sacrificial system.

According to others, a reference to the antichrist’s (“the [ultimate] prince that shall come,” v. 26) making a treaty with the Jews in the future and then disrupting their system of worship.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled the Seleucid (Syrian) kingdom from 175 to 164 B.C. Epiphanes means “manifest,” and the name indicates that he claimed to be the earthly manifestation of Zeus.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

Antiochus attempted to unify his empire by imposing Hellenistic culture upon all its inhabitants. This policy brought him into sharp conflict with the Jews of the region later known as Palestine.

Most Biblical scholars believe Antiochus IV to have been the “small” horn in Dan 8:9 and the “contemptible person” of Dan 11:21. His relations with the Jews are recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees (Apocryphal books) and are prophetically depicted in Dan 8:9-12,23-25 and 11:21—34. He was infamous for establishing pagan worship in the Jerusalem temple.

In about 174 B.C. Jason, the leader of a pro-Greek faction in the Jerusalem priesthood, bribed Antiochus to install him as high priest, after which Jason set about turning Jerusalem into a Greek city.

In 171 B.C., however, another man, Menelaus, in turn bought the priesthood from Antiochus. Jason, believing that Antiochus had died, seized Jerusalem by force. But Antiochus returned in 169 and carried out a massacre of the city.

He then moved upon Egypt but was humiliated by the Roman legate C. Popilius Laenas and forced to make an undignified withdrawal to the north.  Thereafter, this tyrant vigorously sought to Hellenize Jerusalem.

Seleucus I Nicator
The founder of the Seleucid Empire, a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty following the division of the empire created by Alexander the Great.

Seleucus received Babylonia and, from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander’s near eastern territories.

At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Kuwait, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and northwest parts of India.

In 167 B.C. Antiochus dispatched his tax collector Apollonius against Jerusalem with 22,000 men. They attacked on the Sabbath, killing most of the male population and enslaving the women and children.  Jerusalem’s walls were demolished and a Seleucid military garrison stationed immediately south of the temple.

All Jewish rites were outlawed, resulting in the cessation of daily sacrifice. An altar to Zeus was erected over the Jewish altar of burnt offerings, and worship of Zeus was instituted in the temple. On December 25,167 B.C., a pig was sacrificed on the Zeus altar; this was the “abomination that causes desolation” in Dan 9:27,11:31 and 12:11.

Enraged, the Jews rebelled against their Greek overlords and, under Judas Maccabeus, defeated the armies that Antiochus had sent against them. After a three-year struggle Jewish forces gained major concessions from the Greeks, and the Maccabees became the de facto rulers of Judea.

Most notably, purified the temple and reinstated the daily sacrifice, an event commemorated in the feast of Hanukkah. Antiochus himself, had moved off to the east to campaign in Elam, died in Persia in 164 B.C.

…the Chaldeans.

Daniel 8 – Vision of the Ram, Goat and Horn & Cleopatra VII

Cleopatra was one powerful woman.  We don’t have any Cleopatras in the United States, but we have a whole lot of Jezebels in the government.

I want to go back 100 or so years and take a closer look at the Little Horn, at…

Daniel 8
Vision of the Ram, Goat and Horn

1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

“Third year” – about 551 B.C.  The events of chapter 8 preceded those of chapter 5.

2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.

3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

“Ram” – the ram represents the Medo-Persian Empire.  The longer of his two horns reflects the predominant position of Persia.

4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

5 And as I was considering, behold, a he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

“Goat” – the rapidly charging goat is Greece, and the prominent horn is Alexander the Great, “the first king” (v. 21).

6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

After the desintegration of the Old Babylonian Empire, Elam was independent again, and a new dynasty, probably from Anšan, seized power in Elam.

These Kidinuids were later replaced by the Igehalkids and the Šutrukids. Under these dynasties, Susa saw its greatest flourishing. The city of Anšan was destroyed and its kingdom was integrated into the Elamite state; although it would regain its independence, the city was never rebuilt.

7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

“Brake his two horns” – Greece crushes Medo-Persia.

8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

“The great horn was broken” – the death of Alexander the Great at the height of his power (323 B.C.).

9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

8:9-12 – “Little horn” – another horn emerges not from the ten horns belonging to the fourth kingdom, but rather from one of the four horns belonging to the third kingdom.  This “little horn” is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who during the last few years of his reign (168-164 B.C.) made a determined effort to destroy the Jewish faith.

He in turn served as a type of the even more ruthless beast of the last days, who is also referred to in 7:8 as “another little horn.”  Antiochus was to extend his power over Israel, “the pleasant land” and defeat the godly believers there (referred to as “the host of heaven,” many of whom died for their faith.

Then he set himself up to be the equal God (“the prince of the host”) and ordered the daily sacrifices to end.  Eventually the army of Judas Maccabeus recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple to the Lord (Dec 165 B.C.) – the origin of the Feast of Hanukkah, (see Jn 10:22) still celebrated by Jews today.

10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

12 And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.

13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

“One saint” – an angel.

14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

There were two daily sacrifices for the continual burnt offerings, representing the atonement required for Israel as a whole.  The 2,300 evenings and mornings probably refer to the number of sacrifices consecutively offered on 1,150 days, the interval between the desecrations of the Lord’s altar and is re-consecration by Judas Maccabeus on Kislev 25, 165 B.C.

The pagan altar set up by Antichus on Kislev 25, 168, was apparently installed almost two months after the Lord’s altar was removed, accounting for the difference between 1,09f days (an exact three years) and 1,150 specified here.

15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabaeus, Hebrew: יהודה המכבי, Y’hudhah HaMakabi) was a Kohen and a son of the Jewish priest Mattathias.

He led the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire (167–160 BCE) and is acclaimed as one of the greatest warriors in Jewish history alongside Joshua, Gideon and David.

18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.

19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

8:23-25 – a description of Antiochus IV and his rise to power by intrigue and deceit (he was not the rightful successor to the Seleucid throne).

Every month in the Jewish calendar represents a unique way to serve Hashem. This is exemplified in its central theme and its numerical place in the order of the year.

The central theme of the “third month” is Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. There are two ways to count the months of the Jewish year – beginning with Nissan or beginning with Tishrei. Biblically the first month is Nissan, and Sivan is the third month. When counting from Tishrei, Kislev is the third month of the year.

24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.

“Prince of princes” – God.

“Broken without hand” – Antiochus died in 164 B.C. at the Tabae in Persia through illness or accident; God “broke” him.

27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Cleopatra VII

Cleopatra’s family ruled Egypt for more than 100 years before she was born around 69 B.C. The stories and myths surrounding Cleopatra’s tragic life inspired a number of books, movies and plays, including Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare.  Cleopatra has become one of the most well-known ancient Egyptians.

Cleopatra VII

 Early Years

She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty. The line of rule was established in 323 B.C., following the death of Alexander the Great and ended with Egypt’s annexation by Rome in 30.

Cleopatra’s father was King Ptolemy XII. Little is known about Cleopatra’s mother, but some speculation presumes she may have been her father’s sister, Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Debate also surrounds Cleopatra’s ethnicity. While it was believed for a long time that she was of Greek descent, some speculate that her lineage may have been black African.

In 51 B.C., Ptolemy XII died, leaving the throne to 18-year-old Cleopatra and her brother, the 10-year-old Ptolemy XIII. It is likely that the two siblings married, as was customary at the time. Over the next few years Egypt struggled to face down a number of issues, from an unhealthy economy to floods to famine.

Political turmoil also shaped this period. Soon after they assumed power, complications arose between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII. Eventually Cleopatra fled to Syria, where she assembled an army to defeat her rival in order to declare the throne for herself. In 48, she returned to Egypt with her military might and faced her brother at Pelusium, located on the empire’s eastern edge.

Life With Caesar

Around this same time, the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey was consuming Rome. Pompey eventually sought refuge in Egypt, but on orders by Ptolemy, was killed.

In pursuit of his rival, Julius Caesar followed Pompey into Egypt, where he met and eventually fell in love with Cleopatra. In Caesar, Cleopatra now had access to enough military muscle to dethrone her brother and solidify her grip on Egypt as sole ruler.

Following Caesar’s defeat of Ptolemy’s forces at the Battle of the Nile, Caesar restored Cleopatra to the throne. Soon after, Ptolemy XIII fled and drowned in the Nile.

In 47 B.C. Cleopatra bore Caesar a son, whom she named Caesarion. However, Caesar never acknowledged the boy was his offspring, and historical debate continues over whether he was indeed his father.

Cleopatra eventually followed Caesar back to Rome, but returned to Egypt in 44 B.C., following his assassination.

Marc Antony

In 41 B.C., Marc Antony, part of the Second Triumvirate that ruled Rome following the murder of Caesar, sent for Cleopatra so that she could answer questions about her allegiance to the empire’s fallen leader.

Ptolemy XII Auletes (‘the flutist’): king of the Ptolemaic Empire, ruled from 80 to 58 and from 55 to 51. Father of Cleopatra VII, and Arsinoe IV,
Sons: Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV.

Cleopatra agreed to his request and made a lavish entrance into the city of Tarsus (Paul’s hometown). Captivated by her beauty and personality, Antony plunged into a love affair with Cleopatra that would eventually produce three children, including twins named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene.

Just like Caesar before him, Antony was embroiled in a battle over Rome’s control. His rival was Caesar’s own great-nephew, Gaius Octavius, also known as Octavian (who became the future Emperor Caesar Augustus).

Gaius Octavius, along with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, rounded out the Second Triumvirate. Antony, who presided over Rome’s eastern areas, detested Gaius Octavius and saw in Cleopatra the chance for financial and military support to secure his own rule over the empire.

Cleopatra had her own motivations, as well. In exchange for her help, she sought the return of Egypt’s eastern empire, which included large areas of Lebanon and Syria.

In the year 34 B.C., Antony returned with Cleopatra to Alexandria with a triumphant flair. Crowds swarmed to the Gymnasium to catch a glimpse of the couple seated on golden thrones that were elevated on silver platforms. Beside them sat their children.

In the spring of 48 B.C., Ptolemy XIII and Pothinus attempted to depose Cleopatra VII due to her increasing status as Queen.

Her face appeared on minted coins, for example, while Ptolemy XIII’s name was omitted on official documents. Ptolemy intended to become main ruler, with Pothinus acting as the power behind the throne.

Antony antagonized his rival by declaring Caesarion as Caesar’s real son and legal heir, rather than Octavian, whom the revered Roman leader had adopted.

Octavian, however, fought back, declaring he’d seized Antony’s will, and told the Roman people that Antony had turned over Roman possessions to Cleopatra and that there were plans to make Alexandria the Roman capital.

In the year 31 B.C., Cleopatra and Antony combined armies to try to defeat Octavian in a raging sea battle at Actium, on Greece’s west coast. The clash, however, proved to be a costly defeat for the Egyptians, forcing Antony and Cleopatra to flee back to Egypt.

Antony soon returned to the battlefield, where he was falsely informed that Cleopatra had died. Upon hearing the news, the despondent Roman leader committed suicide by stabbing himself.

Cleopatra followed her lover’s demise by ending her life as well by being bitten by an Egyptian cobra. She died on August 12, 30 B.C. The two were buried together, as they had wished, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.


In the centuries following her death, Cleopatra and her life have captivated historians, storytellers, and the general public. Her affair with Marc Antony and its end became the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s play Antony and Cleopatra (1607).

Ptolemy XV Philopator (Cleopatra and Julius Caesar’s son). Better known by the nickname: Caesarion “little Caesar.”

More recently, seductive versions of her have been played by actresses such as Theda Bara (1917), Claudette Colbert (1934) and Elizabeth Taylor (1963).

Her story resonates, too, because of what she represented in such a male-dominated society. In an era when Egypt was roiled by internal and external battles, Cleopatra held the country together and proved to be as powerful a leader as any of her male counterparts.

… Antiochus IV Epiphanes


Daniel 7 – Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts & The Ptolemies

The Neo-Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC.[1] During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Yet, a year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler Assurbanipal in 627 BC, Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar the Chaldean. In alliance with the Medes, the city of Nineveh was sacked in 612 BC, and the seat of empire was again transferred to Babylonia. This period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science.
Neo-Babylonian period ended with the reign of Nabonidus in 539 BC. To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and eventually Cyrus the Great established his domination over Babylon.

Yesterday, in Chapter 6, we talked about the fact that no one can find any proof of the existence of Darius the Mede so they think that the book of Daniel is fiction.  I have never heard of any of these people, accept a little about Cleopatra, and they are real and even though they aren’t named, there is evidence of their existence and names.

So, out of curiosity, I would like read a bit more on…

Daniel 7
Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

“First year of Belshazzar” – probably 553 B.C.  The events of chapter 7 preceded those of chapter 5.

2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

The great sea” – the world of nations and peoples.

3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

“Beasts” the insignia or symbols of many Gentile nations were beasts (or birds) of prey.

4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

7:4-7 – the lion with an eagle’s wings is a cherub, symbolizing the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  The rest of v. 4 perhaps reflects the humbling experience of Nebuchadnezzar, as recorded in chapter 4.

The bear raised up on one of its sides refers to the superior status of the Persians in the Medo-Persian federation.  The three ribs may represent the three principal conquests: Lydia (546 B.C.), Babylon (539) and Egypt (525).

The leopard with four wings represents the speedy conquests of Alexander the Great (334-330 B.C.), and the four heads correspond to the four main divisions into which his empire fell after his untimely death in 323.

Macedon and Greece (under Antipater and Cassander), Thrace and Asia Minor (under Lysimachus), Syria (under Seleucus I), the Holy Land and Egypt (under Ptolemy I). 

The fourth, unnamed, beast, with its irresistible power and surpassing all its predecessors, points to the Roman Empire.  Its ten horns correspond to the ten toes of 2:41-42.

Cassander (c. 355-297 B.C.) as son of Antipater did not accompany the Macedonian army on its invasion of Asia, but remained in Europe during his father’s regency over Macedonia and Greece. Displeased at his father’s choice of Polyperchon for his successor, he set himself to oust his rival from the regency and sought help from Antigonus in Asia Minor.

5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

“Ten horns” – indicative of the comprehensiveness of the beast’s sphere of authority.

8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

“Another little horn” – the antichrist, or a world power sharing in the characteristics of the antichrist.

“Mouth speaking great things” – see 11:36; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 13:5-6.

9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame and his wheels as burning fire.

“Ancient of days” – God.

“Throne…wheels” – see Eze 1:15-21, 26-27.

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

Lysimachus (c. 361-281 B.C.) was a member of Alexander’s Companion cavalry who particularly distinguished himself in India. Following Alexander’s death he became governor of Thrace.

11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

“Like the Son of man” – see Rev 1:13.  This is the first reference to the Messiah as the Son of Man, a title that Jesus applied to Himself.  He will be enthroned as ruler over the whole earth (previously misruled by the four kingdoms of men), and His kingdom “shall not be destroyed”, whether on earth or in heaven.

“Came with the clouds of heaven” – see Mk 14:62; Rev 1:6.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

Seleucus (c. 358-281 B.C.), son of Antiochus (one of Philip’s generals), fought in the Companion cavalry and later became commander of the crack heavy infantry formation, the Hypaspistae. He took Perdiccas side immediately after Alexander’s death, but was later instrumental in his murder following the failure of the Egyptian campaign. Antipater appointed him governor of Babylon in 321.

“One of them…stood by” – an angel.

17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

 18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

“Saints” – exalted privileges will be enjoyed by Christ’s followers during the Messianic kingdom age (Matt 19:28-29; Lk 22:29-30.  See also Rev 1:6, 20:4-6).

19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

Ptolemy (c. 360-284 B.C.) was son of the Macedonian nobleman Lagus and one of the inner circle of Alexander’s commanders and advisers. He fought with distinction in India and wrote a history of Alexander’s campaigns which was an important source for Arrian’s Anabasis.

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

“Ten kings” – all the political powers that will arise out of the fourth kingdom – not necessarily simultaneously.

“Three kings” – some of the ten.  Three often signified a small, indefinite number.

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

The Ptolemies

The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom in Egypt. It was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty that Ptolemy I Soter founded after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.—which ended with the death of Cleopatra VII and the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.

Daniel 7:6 describes a vision in which a kingdom is represented by a leopard with four wings and four heads. The wings represent great speed, but the heads signify that the kingdom was split into several domains.

The leopard symbolizes the Greek kingdom of Alexander the Great, a kingdom that was established with lightning speed but that broke into several parts, ruled by various Greek dynasties after his death.

The Ptolemies were a dynasty of Greek kings who ruled Egypt from just after the death of Alexander the Great to the time of annexation of Egypt by Rome. Their history is closely connected to that of the region later known as Palestine in the third century B.C. (the Ptolemies ruled Palestine and thus also Jerusalem from 323-200 B.C.).

Important Ptolemaic rulers were as follows:

Ptolemy I Soter (323/305-282 B.C.): Immediately after the death of Alexander in 323, his general Ptolemy headed to Egypt and seized control of the administration, assuming the title “king” in 305.

Ptolemy was highly intelligent and, after having taken control of a wealthy and relatively isolated domain (Egypt), was able to begin a dynasty that would last for over two centuries.  His capital, Alexandria, was a Greek city in Egypt.  Ptolemy was the “king of the South” in 11:5.



Ptolemy II Philadephus (282-246 B.C.): the reign of this king was prosperous and marked by impressive building projects, such as the completion of the lighthouse of Pharos and the library of Alexandria.

He was also engaged in wars with the Seleucids over control of Palestine and Anatolia. Ptolemy II did much to establish Greek culture and education in Egypt and elsewhere but offended his Greek subjects by marrying his full sister, Arsinoe.



Ptolemy II Euergetes (246-222 B.C.): The reign of this king was marked by further wars with the Seleucids, brought about by the fact that the Seleucid king, Seleucus II, murdered Ptolemy’s sister Berenice and her son. Berenice was the “daughter of the king of the South” in 11:6.




Ptolemy IV Philopator (222-205 B.C.): This king is often described as a weak ruler, although he did defeat Antiochus III of Syria at Raphia in 217 B.C.

He deployed Egyptian troops in his army (instead of using exclusively Greek soldiers), and some believe that this sowed the seed for future native revolts by the Egyptians. He is the “king of the South” of 11:11.



Ptolemy V Theos Epiphanes (204-180 B.C.): During the administration of this regent Palestine was lost to the Seleucid kingdom (200 B.C.). The Rosetta Stone commemorates his coronation.


Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 B.C.): During his reign Ptolemaic control of Egypt nearly collapsed. Antiochus IV fought his way to Memphis in Egypt in around 168 B.C. and no doubt would have taken control of the country had he not been forced out by a delegation from Rome.

Thereafter, Ptolemaic power declined as members of the royal family struggled for control and as Rome began to take an increasingly important role in the affairs of Egypt.


The last Ptolemy to rule Egypt was the famous Cleopatra VII (51-30 B.C.). Intelligent and resourceful (she was the only Ptolemy who gained the loyalty of Egyptians by learning to speak Egyptian, but she also murdered her brother, Ptolemy XIV, in order to secure the throne for herself).

She used sexual relations with Julius Caesar and later with Mark Antony to better her political position in dealing with Rome. Her alliance with Antony proved her undoing, however. He was defeated by Octavian (Augustus) at Actium in 31 B.C., and she committed suicide when she realized that Octavian was implacable toward her.


Daniel 6 – Daniel in the Lion’s Den & Darius the Mede

I don’t believe that the book of Daniel is fiction for three reasons, but the first two aren’t important.

1. It was tested with all the other books of the Bible as being authentic,

2. The life style and incidents in it are parallel to many of the other books, and mainly,

3. You wouldn’t have let it in the Bible if it was false. Like You didn’t let the Catholics put in their bogus stories, that’s why they have their own Bible.

The existence or non-existence of Darius the Mede isn’t important, the life of Daniel and You is what’s important.  The things that happened to Daniel and his friends is quite bizarre and could be difficult to believe for some. I never had any out of the world instances happen to me, but I know You and I have seen what You have done for me and others. What happened in the book of Daniel is true to fact.

Anyway, what is…

Daniel 6
Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.

1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live forever.

7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counselors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

The cylinder of Cyrus the Great is barrel-shaped, around 23cm long and 11cm wide, and is inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform.
It includes a detailed account by Cyrus of his conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C. and his subsequent humane treatment of his conquered subjects. It has been hailed as the world’s first declaration of human rights.

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

12 Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.

This ancient Babylonian tablet is part of the Babylonian Chronicles, which, among other events, records the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 597 BC. The event is also recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 25. The tablet was written in the 6th century BC, and is made of baked clay. It is a little over three inches in height and the writing is in the Akkadian language using cuneiform script. It was discovered in the late 1800s in Babylon.

16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.

18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.

19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever.

22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

The Tomb of Cyrus the Great
The tomb is in Pasargadae, the capital of Cyrus the Great and also his last resting place, was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Darius the Mede

Daniel 6 informs us that after the Persian conquest of Babylon, the city was ruled by a king called “Darius the Mede.” This statement poses a problem: There is no record of such an individual outside of the Bible – a fact that has brought the historicity and authorship of Daniel into question.

Darius the Mede???
Although mentioned in the Book of Daniel, the works of Flavius Josephus, and Jewish midrashic material, Darius the Mede is not known from any other primary historical sources. Neither the Babylonian nor the Persian histories record such a person. Herodotus, who wrote his Histories about 440 BCE, records that Babylon fell to the Persian army, under the control of King Cyrus, who had conquered the Median Empire as early as 550 BCE.
The conqueror of Babylon was Gobryas, governor of Gutium, a general of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia. A successor of Cyrus as king of Persia was known as Darius the Great.

Many believe that an unknown author wrote Daniel hundreds of years after the fall of Babylon and that the figure Darius the Mede, like most of Daniel, is pure fiction.  But is it appropriate to patently dismiss Darius the Mede on the assumption that he never existed?

Darius the Mede cannot be the Persian king known as Darius I, since this later Darius was the successor of Cyrus, not his predecessor. Furthermore, Darius the Mede, who was purported to be sixty-two years old at the time of the fall of Babylon (5:31), was born in 601/600 B.C., whereas history indicates that Darius I was born in 521 B.C.

Those who believe that Daniel is not a historical book sometimes suggest that the author was simply confused about Persian history and thought that Darius I preceded Cyrus the Great, if this were the case, however, the author’s ignorance would truly be astounding.

Cyrus the Great, the creator of the Persian Empire, is a prominent figure in the Old Testament.  Also, Darius I is always presented as a Persian, but Darius the Mede is obviously asserted to be a Mede.

Darius the Mede could have been Cyrus the Great.  Dan 6:28 might, according to this theory, be translated, “Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, that is, in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

Gubaru was governor of Babylon and the land Beyond the River; his successor was Ushtannu. During Ushtannu the western province was under the control of Tattenai (Tattennu) Ezra 5-6

Normally, however, this would be translated simply, “and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (emphasis added), as most versions render it. Though a possibility, this interpretation is not persuasive.

Darius the Mede could also have been a subordinate king appointed by Cyrus to rule over Babylon. The Hebrew of 9:1 supports this position, stating that Darius was made king using a passive verb.

Also, the Aramaic of Dan 5:31 states that Darius “took the kingdom.”  It is important to note that the book of Daniel never refers to this Darius as the king either of Persia or of the Medes, but simply as the ruler of Babylon.

Darius the Mede’s personal name might have been Gubaru, that of a governor appointed by Cyrus.  Gubaru is mentioned in cuneiform documents, including the Nabonidus Chronicles. 

…the Ptolemies?

Daniel 5 – The Handwriting on the Wall & Nabonidus and Belshazzar

Those kings were all into power, pompous arrogant fools is what they were.  President Bush and Obama is just like them, but worse.

I feel sorry for King Belshazzar, but I can’t help but laugh that he peed his pants when You wrote on the wall (v. 6).  No one but You could make a king wet his pants, but of course a king on earth is nothing, Jesus is the King of Kings:

Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556-539 B.C.

“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS,. AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev 19:16).  

And that night he got murdered, so who is…

Daniel 5
The Handwriting on the Wall

1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

5:1-4 – the orgy of revelry and blasphemy on such occasions is confirmed by the ancient Greek historical Herodotus and Xenophon.

“King” – Belshazzar (meaning “Bel, protect the king!”) was the son and viceroy of Nabonidus.  He is called the “son” of Nebuchadnezzar (5:22), but the Aramaic term could also mean “grandson” or “descendant” or even “successor.”  Likewise, “father” could mean “ancestor” or “predecessor.”

2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

Rembrandt’s depiction of the biblical account of Belshazzar seeing “the writing on the wall”. Note the text is vertical rather than horizontal.

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

“Shall be the third ruler in the kingdom” – Nabonidus was first, Belshazzar second.

8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

10 Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

“Queen” – or “queen mother.”  She could have been (1) the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, or (2) the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and wife of Nabonidus, or (3) the wife of Nabonidus but not the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

“The days of thy father” – Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C., the year is now 539 B.C.

It speaks of the praises of Nabonidus’ mother, Adda-Gruppi for the gods, line 1–27
They were also used to empower kings for example in column 2.

Similar claims are made by Nabonidus himself. In his own testimony he acknowledges his own non-heridetary rights to the throne and compensates for this by calling out that it was the god Sin who choose him.

It all seems very perfect for his taking of the throne. A god who is separate from the priesthood of Marduk endorses him, in turn Nabonidus endorses that god, the moon god-Sin as the god of gods.

12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

“Third ruler” – was the highest position Belshazzar could offer since he was technically the second ruler under Nabonidus.

17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

“Let thy gifts be to thyself” – see Gen 14:23 and Matt 6:2.

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:

The Nabonidus Chronicle is an ancient Babylonian text, part of a larger series of Babylonian Chronicles inscribed in cuneiform script on clay tablets.
It deals primarily with the reign of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, covers the conquest of Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus the Great, and ends with the start of the reign of Cyrus’s son Cambyses, spanning a period from 556 BC to some time after 539 BC.

It provides a rare contemporary account of Cyrus’s rise to power and is the main source of information on this period; Amélie Kuhrt describes it as “the most reliable and sober [ancient] account of the fall of Babylon.

 19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.

20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

5:22-23 – three charges were brought against Belshazzar: (1) he sinned not through ignorance but through disobedience and pride (v. 22), (2) he defied God by desecrating the sacred vessels (v. 23a), and (3) he praised idols and so did not honor God (v. 23b)

23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Nabonidus in relief showing him praying to the moon, sun and Venus.

“Weighed in the balances” – measured in the light of God’s standards (cf. Job 31:6, Ps 62:9; Prov 24:12).

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

“Medes and Persians” – the second kingdom of the series of four predicted in chapter 2.

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

“In that night” – see Lk 12:20.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

“Darius the Median” – perhaps another name for Gubaru, referred to in Babylonian inscription as the governor that Cyrus put in charge of the newly conquered Babylonian territories.  Or “Darius the Median” may have been Cyrus’s throne name in Babylon (see 6:28, which can be read “in the reign of Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus the Persian”).

“Took the kingdom” – the head of gold is now no more, as predicted in 2:39.

Nabonidus and Belshazzar

Belshazzar (meaning “Bel protect the king”) was the son of the Babylonian king Nabonidus (556-539 B.C.) and the principal monarch from approximately 550 to 540 B.C.

The small cuneiform foundation cylinder shown below, now in the British Museum, ends with a prayer in the name of Nabonidus and his son, Belshazzar.

Although Nabonidus claimed to be a rightful heir to Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, it is clear that he was not originally in line to become king. An inscription found in Harran indicates that Nabonidus’s mother, Adad- guppi, was responsible for his rise to power.

Some suggest that she was a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar; hence Nebuchadnezzar would have been Belshazzar’s “(grand)father” or “(fore)father” (Dan 5:2). Others propose that Belshazzar may have played an active role in advancing his father to the throne – by murdering a man named Labasi-Marduk who had a better claim to succession.

A Babylonian text, the Verse Account of Nabonidus, relates that Nabonidus placed the military troops under Belshazzar’s command and entrusted the kingship to him before departing to the west.

During the approximate ten-year reign of Belshazzar, Nabonidus remained on campaign in Tema (Arabia). Nabonidus also was apparently devoted to the god Sin; he had no interest in the worship of Marduk (the chief Babylonian god) and even ceased to observe the traditional New Year festival.

The Cylinders of Nabonidus refers to cuneiform inscriptions of king Nabonidus of Babylonia (556-539 BC).

The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which Nabonidus describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar.

He was thus despised as a heretical and negligent monarch. Curiously, Nabonidus seems to have been one of history’s first archaeologists, having carried out excavations at Agade, Uruk and Ur.

Though always referred to as “son of the king” in Assyrian sources, Belshazzar exercised all the functions of kingship, including receiving tribute, granting leases and attending to the upkeep of the temples, as a several business letters and contracts a contemporary to his reign.

He was apparently as impious as his father (seen in his lack of regard for God), and ruthless as well. As “second” ruler, he promised Daniel the position of “third” ruler. Little is known of Belshazzar’s final years in power.

Babylon was well fortified when the Persians attacked in 539 B.C., but Cyrus is said to have diverted the waters of the Euphrates and opened an access into the city.

Herodotus and Xenophon relate that Cyrus found the city in celebration and took it with relative ease.  Nabonidus returned to Babylon in 539 B.C., but was captured at Borsippa and exiled to Carmania in the east.


Daniel 4 – The King’s Dream & Nebuchadnezzar’s Madness

Well Father, I have to tell You that in itself is scary, I think that would be horrible to go through life as an ox like Nebuchadnezzar did, even just for a day.  I’m sure a lot of people don’t believe that really happened, they probably think it’s symbolic.

But maybe not because Moses said You created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1) and that isn’t symbolic.  I know that when You talk things happen:

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Is 55:11).

I have seen You do things, they were small things, but they should not have happened and could not have happened without You.  I know You can do anything:

“For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Lk 1:37).

Who were…

Daniel 4
The King’s Dream

Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can or has transformed into an animal or that he or she is an animal. Its name is connected to the mythical condition of lycanthropy, a supernatural affliction in which people are said to physically shapeshift into wolves. The terms zoanthropy and therianthropy are also sometimes used for the delusion that one has turned into an animal in general and not specifically a wolf.

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

4:1-3 – Nebuchadnezzar reached this conclusion after the experiences of vv. 4-37.  The language of his confession may reflect Daniel’s influence.

2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.

3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five independent Sumerian poems about ‘Bilgamesh’, king of Uruk.

8 But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

“According to the name of my god” – Bel (“lord”) was a title for the god Marduk.

9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.

10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

“Grew…strong” – in one of Nebuchadnezzar’s building inscriptions, Babylon is compared to a spreading tree.

“The height thereof reached unto heaven” – a phrase often used of Mesopotamian temple-towers.

12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;

Dolon wearing a wolf-skin. Attic red-figure vase, c. 460 B.C.

14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

“Seven” – signifies completeness.

“Times” – or “years.”  The term referred to a given season of the year, and so the year as a whole.  For example, every recurrent spring meant that another full year had elapsed since the previous spring.

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

“Watchers” – the agents of God who is the ultimate source.

18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

Building Inscription of King Nebuchadnezar II at the Ishtar Gate. An abridged excerpt says: “I (Nebuchadnezzar) laid the foundation of the gates down to the ground water level and had them built out of pure blue stone. Upon the walls in the inner room of the gate are bulls and dragons and thus I magnificently adorned them with luxurious splendour for all mankind to behold in awe.”

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;

21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:

22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

23 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

24 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

This painting of a stamped brick of king Nebuchadnezzar II is from one of the 15 million baked bricks were used in the construction of his official buildings. The actual cuneiform inscribed name is translated as “Nabu-ku-dur-ri-usur” which means “Nebo, protect the boundary.”
Bricks like this Nebuchadnezzar II Brick are very common around the ruins of ancient Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar used them in all of his official building projects and they were made in the millions and every one of them was stamped or inscribed in cuneiform. The discovery of this Nebuchadnezzar II inscribed brick is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it contains a declaration by king Nebuchadnezzar II, the monarch who is mentioned so often in the Bible and is the one who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC and carried the Jews away into exile.

26 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.

28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?

31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.

“The word was in the king’s mouth” – see Lk 12:19-20.

32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

This clay cylinder is one of three cylinders found in the ruins of ancient Babylon that describe Nebuchadnezzar’s royal palace that he built for himself in Babylon.
He actually built 3 palaces and his summer palace was on the Euphrates River. The Nebuchadnezzar II Clay Cylinder is an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology, it mentions Nebuchadnezzar by name and confirms the Biblical account.

34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:

35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

“Those that walk in pride he is able to abase” – see Prov 3:34; Jas 4:6, 10; 1 Pet 5:5-6.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Madness

Nebuchadnezzar reigned from 605-562 B.C. over Babylon at the peak of its power.  Inscriptions reveal his great pride over his achievements in building temples and greatly fortifying the city of Babylon.

This is not a man wearing a werewolf mask. He has a rare condition known as hypertrichosis.
The legend of lycanthropy may predate written language. Both the Greeks and the Romans believed in the existence of men who could temporarily transform themselves into wolves. The word, lycanthrope, itself is Greek: lycaos means wolf, anthrope means man. A belief in the existence wolf men persisted in medieval Europe.

The book of Daniel records that God struck Nebuchadnezzar with a strange affliction in order to humble him. Extra biblical records deal with his infirmity only obliquely.

The ancient Jewish historian Josephus cited a report by the Babylonian priest Berossus that Nebuchadnezzar died following a period of weakness.

The Christian writer Eusebius preserved a tradition from the Greek historian Megasthenes (c. 300 B.C.) that Nebuchadnezzar, having ascended to the roof of his palace, became inspired by some god. (In antiquity insanity was looked upon as possession by a deity.)

A psychiatrist would describe Nebuchadnezzar’s behavior in Dan 4:22-34 to have been a delusional disorder. The typical onset for this kind of malady occurs in later life; it frequently lasts from months to years and remits spontaneously, often without subsequent relapse.

Lycanthropy, in which patients imagine themselves to be wolves, is one such disorder. Nebuchadnezzar’s condition has been described as boanthropy, or cow-like behavior. However, the imagery implied by his behavior may be related to a figure of the Gilgamesh Epic

This myth, known from the library of Ashurbani pal (668-626 B.C.), tells of Enkidu, a savage, animal-like creature who was hairy, unclothed and ate grass until becoming civilized – the antithesis of what would be expected of a cultured, self-sufficient builder of cities like Nebuchadnezzar.

Little is known of Nebuchadnezzar’s final years in power. The seven “times,” or periods of the illness could represent years, months or various other units of time. If his illness lasted seven years, then its onset must have been toward the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, after the completion of his numerous building projects.

…Nabonidus and Belshazzar?

Daniel 3 – The Fiery Furnace & The Kingdoms of Daniel’s Prophecies

The Hammer Dulcimer is a tuned percussion instrument thought to be an ancestor to the piano.

I don’t understand why people can’t believe in Your existence after all the prophecies that Your prophets made came true, all accept those in the Book of Revelation. People can look in history books and see that all that Daniel said here happened.

I bet Nebuchadnezzar really freaked out when Daniel and his friends didn’t get burned in the furnace.  Knowing that his God was supreme, that being You of course.

So about Nebuchadnezzar…

Daniel 3
The Fiery Furnace

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

“Image of gold” – Large statues of this kind were not made of solid gold, but were plated with gold.  This image probably represented the god Nabu, whose name formed the first element in Nebuchadnezzar’s name (in Akkadian Nabu-kudurri-usur, meaning “Nabu, protect my son!” or “Nabu, protect my boundary!”).

“Height was threescore cubits” – Ninety feet, including the lofty pedestal on which it stood.

The cornet is very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, and mellower tone quality.

“Dura” – either the name of a place now marked by a series of mounds (located a few miles south of Babylon) or a common noun meaning “walled enclosure.”

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

The words for “harp,” “psaltery” and “dulcimer” are the only Greek loanwords in Daniel.  Greek musicians and instruments are mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions written before the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever.

A cache of ancient flutes has been found in China. These instruments, made from the leg bones of the red-crested crane, are still playable despite being 9,000 years old. One of them has even been used to make a recording of the Chinese folk tune “Little Cabbage”.

10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:

11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

The harp has always been known to be a beautiful sounding stringed instrument. The above painted sketch is from an actual harp in ancient Biblical times.
In ancient times the harp was played with the hand while walking. It had multiple strings and sometimes a sounding board.

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

Psalteron (harp). Made of wood with ten strings. Heighth 90 cm. Gaza 6th century BCE. Reconstructed according to ancient mosaics.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon.

The Kingdoms of Daniel’s Prophecies

The Babylonian Empire was a civilization of Babylonians in Lower Mesopotamia (central and southern Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. The Persian Empire later grew near the Babylonians region.

Daniel 2 and 7 together present a prophetic look at four kingdoms that would dominate the world. They are represented both by an image of four metals (chapter 2) and ; by a vision of four beasts (chapter 7).

One interpretation holds that these kingdoms are Babylon, Media, Persia and Greece, respectively. However, Media never attained the status of a world power. Its independent period was contemporary with that of Babylon, but it was ruled as part of Persia after Babylon’s fall in 539 B.C.

In approximately 550 B.C. Cyrus, the king of Persia, defeated the last king of Media, Astyages, and merged the two kingdoms.1 In fact, the book of Daniel treats Media and Persia as a single power (cf.5:28; 6:8,12,15;8:20).

A more plausible interpretation holds that these kingdoms are Babylon, Media- Persia, Greece and Rome, according well with the symbolism and factual history of the kingdoms mentioned.

The first kingdom is identified as Babylon, the head of gold and winged lion. The lion was a recognized symbol of Babylonian royalty, as demonstrated by statues and reliefs of lions excavated from Babylon’s ruins. The plucking of wings and subsequent transformation into a man perhaps represents Nebuchadnezzar’s illness and restoration.

Medes is often called the first Iranian kingdom, one that set the institution of monarchy and created a united “country” out of scattered tribes. The general consensus is that before the foundation of the Empire of Medes, Iranian tribes, before and after their migration to the plateau, existed in form of individual or small tribal confederations with no proper ruling hierarchy.

The second, bear-like beast, “raised up on one of its sides”, corresponds to the Persian domination in the Medo-Persian Empire after the defeat of Astyages by Cyrus II (the fact that the bear is raised on one side symbolizes the ascendancy of the Persians over the Medes).

Similarly, the ram of Daniel 8 is described as having two horns, one longer than the other, identified as the kings of Media and Persia (8:20). Under Cyrus and his son Cambyses three kingdoms were “chewed up,” as represented by the three ribs in the bear’s mouth (7:5).  These kingdoms were Lydia (546 B.C.), the Chaldean Empire (539 B.C.) and Egypt (525 B.C.).

The third beast, a four-winged, four-headed leopard (7:6), represents the Greek Empire. The swiftness and agility of the leopard (cf. Hab 1:8 on Babylonia) symbolizes the speed of Alexander the Great, who conquered all the known world between 334 and 323 B.C.

After his untimely death the kingdom was divided among four of his generals, as symbolized by the four heads of the leopard:

1.Cassander over Greece and Macedonia;
2.Lysimachus over Thrace and Asia Minor;
3.Seleucus over Syria and the Middle East; and
4.Ptolemy over Egypt.

Of all of the human empires that affected the people of Israel, the Persians did something rather unique – they permitted the return of the people of the southern kingdom of Judah, by God’s command (see above verses), 70 years after their exile by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar.
At its peak, the Persian empire reached from the India to Greece, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The Persians are believed to have originated in Media, which today corresponds to western Iran and southern Azerbaijan. They settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf.

At the same time, the number four should probably not be pressed here; the Greek kingdoms after the death of Alexander were for some time quite unstable, and various dynasties rose and fell (Lysimachus, e.g., was slain in battle in 281 B.C. and no dynasty followed him).

The number four is probably just representative of the several Greek kingdoms that at various times controlled parts of the Near East and, in particular, the Holy Land.

The final kingdom, “different from all the former beasts” (7:7), denotes Rome. The two iron legs of the image (2:33) may reflect that the empire could generally be characterized as having two major parts, one in the east (where Greek was the principal language) and the other in the west (where Latin dominated).

The ten horns may represent the various rulers and dynasties who governed the Roman Empire (again,”ten” here represents a plurality and should not be pressed for ten specific historical counterparts).

Throughout its history the empire was ruled by the republic various generals who seized power during the late republic (examples include Sulla and Julius Caesar) and by various dynasties that ruled after Augustus had consolidated power under himself.

Vying for power through intrigue, assassination and outright civil war was a regular feature of Roman history, and this seems to be reflected in the diversity of the image (iron mixed with clay).

The Ancient Greek civilization covered areas formerly held by the Babylonian Empire.
Ancient Greece, as seen in the Ancient Greek Map of the Greek civilization bible map above, is the Greek civilization belonging to the period of Greek history lasting from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to 146 BC and the Roman Empire conquest of Greece after the Battle of Corinth.

An interesting motif of the four kingdoms is that they become increasingly large, diverse, violent and unstable. Babylon is portrayed as highly unified, while Persia in two parts (one dominant over the other).  Greece has four heads and Rome has a multiplicity of divisions.

…what happened to him?  How did he die?