The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Daniel
In the first year of the Babylonian king Baltassar, Daniel had a dream; sleep he might, but still his thoughts were busy. The substance of this dream he put on record, giving no more than the sum of it, in these words following.
Night came, and brought with it a vision for my seeing. All the winds of heaven, I thought, did battle over the wide sea,
and out of it came four great beasts, each of them different from the last.
A lioness the first seemed, that yet had eagle’s wings; but as I watched, these wings were plucked, and with that it rose up from the ground, standing on its feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
Then rose up another by its side, this one like a bear; three rows of teeth it had in its mouth, and a summons came to it, great part of mankind it should devour.
What saw I next? A leopard it seemed, yet had a bird’s wings, four of them, on its back, and four heads; this beast it was that now attained dominion.
But still I dreamed on, and a fourth beast saw at last, fiercer, and stranger, and more powerful yet. It had great teeth of iron, ready to crush and to devour, and ever what these spared it would trample down with its feet; match it those others might not; and out of its head grew ten horns.
Even as I watched them, a new horn grew up in the midst of the others, and three of them must be plucked away to make room for it; eyes it had, this new horn, like a man’s eyes, and a mouth that talked very boastfully.
While I still watched, there were judgement-thrones a-setting; and one took his seat there crowned with age. White as snow his garments were, his hair could match unsullied wool for whiteness; his throne all of flame, the wheels under it glancing fire;
and ever from his presence a stream of fire came rushing onward. A thousand thousand they were that waited on his bidding, and for every one of these, a thousand others were standing there before him. Assize should be held now, and the records lay open.
And still I watched, to see what would become of the boasts yonder horn had made; and all at once I was aware the beast itself had been slain, and even the carcase of it had vanished, handed over to the flames;
nor might those other beasts enjoy power any longer, though life they should enjoy for a while, until their turn came.
Then I saw in my dream, how one came riding on the clouds of heaven, that was yet a son of man; came to where the Judge sat, crowned with age, and was ushered into his presence.
With that, power was given him, and glory, and sovereignty; obey him all must, men of every race and tribe and tongue; such a reign as his lasts for ever, such power as his the ages cannot diminish.
By this, Daniel wrote, my heart was ill at ease; a dread sight it was, and as I dreamed, my thoughts bewildered me.
So I drew closer to one that stood by, and asked to know the truth of all that had gone forward; he it was that read the riddle for me, and thus he unravelled it:
It is but earthly kingdoms they betoken, these four great beasts thou hast seen;
the servants of the most high God shall have dominion yet; theirs it shall be for ever and for evermore.
But I was minded to know the truth more fully; what was the fourth beast, so different from all the rest, so dreadful; why must it have teeth and claws of iron, to crush and to devour, to trample on what was left?
What of the ten horns on its head, and that other, before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes, and a mouth to boast with, and grew greater than the rest?
This horn it was I saw doing battle against the servants of the most High, and getting the better of them,
until the Judge appeared, crowned with age, to give them redress, and their turn came to have dominion.
And his answer was, this fourth beast was the fourth of those earthly kingdoms, and the greatest of them all, to crush and devour and trample down a whole world.
Ten kings be the ten horns of that kingdom, and after these another shall rise, more poweful yet, and three of them shall bite the dust.
Boastfully he shall challenge the most High, and do his servants despite; calendar and ordinance he shall think to set aside; for a space of time, and for twice as long, and for half as long,✻ he must needs have his way.
Then assize shall be held on him, and all his power be taken away, crushed down and forgotten for ever.
Then what royalty, what empire, what earth-embracing dominion shall be theirs, the people set apart for the most High! Sovereignty everlasting; no monarch but must bow to its yoke.✻
So ended the revelation made to Daniel. Bewildered my thoughts were, and my cheek pale, but I kept the memory of it faithfully in my heart.
The Holy Bible