The books of the Old Testament prophets are packed with dense poetry and wild...
1“As for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
2“Now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings will stand up in Persia. The fourth will be far richer than all of them. When he has grown strong through his riches, he will stir up all against the realm of Greece. 3A mighty king will stand up, who will rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4When he stands up, his kingdom will be broken and will be divided toward the four winds of the sky, but not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom will be plucked up, even for others besides these.
5“The king of the south will be strong. One of his princes will become stronger than him, and have dominion. His dominion will be a great dominion. 6At the end of years they will join themselves together; and the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to make an agreement, but she will not retain the strength of her arm. He will also not stand, nor will his arm; but she will be given up, with those who brought her, and he who became the father of her, and he who strengthened her in those times.
7“But out of a shoot from her roots one will stand up in his place, who will come to the army and will enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and will deal against them and will prevail. 8He will also carry their gods with their molten images, and with their goodly vessels of silver and of gold, captive into Egypt. He will refrain some years from the king of the north. 9He will come into the realm of the king of the south, but he will return into his own land. 10His sons will wage war, and will assemble a multitude of great forces which will come on, and overflow, and pass through. They will return and wage war, even to his fortress.
11“The king of the south will be moved with anger and will come out and fight with him, even with the king of the north. He will send out a great multitude, and the multitude will be given into his hand. 12The multitude will be carried off, and his heart will be exalted. He will cast down tens of thousands, but he won’t prevail. 13The king of the north will return, and will send out a multitude greater than the former. He will come on at the end of the times, even of years, with a great army and with abundant supplies.
14“In those times many will stand up against the king of the south. Also the children of the violent among your people will lift themselves up to establish the vision, but they will fall. 15So the king of the north will come and cast up a mound, and take a well-fortified city. The forces of the south won’t stand, neither will his select troops, neither will there be any strength to stand. 16But he who comes against him will do according to his own will, and no one will stand before him. He will stand in the glorious land, and destruction will be in his hand. 17He will set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and with him equitable conditions. He will perform them. He will give him the daughter of women, to destroy the kingdom, but she will not stand, and won’t be for him. 18After this he will turn his face to the islands, and will take many, but a prince will cause the reproach offered by him to cease. Yes, moreover, he will cause his reproach to turn on him. 19Then he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land; but he will stumble and fall, and won’t be found.
20“Then one who will cause a tax collector to pass through the kingdom to maintain its glory will stand up in his place; but within few days he shall be destroyed, not in anger, and not in battle.
21“In his place a contemptible person will stand up, to whom they had not given the honor of the kingdom; but he will come in time of security, and will obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22The overwhelming forces will be overwhelmed from before him, and will be broken. Yes, also the prince of the covenant. 23After the treaty made with him he will work deceitfully; for he will come up and will become strong with few people. 24In time of security he will come even on the fattest places of the province. He will do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers. He will scatter among them prey, plunder, and wealth. Yes, he will devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.
25“He will stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south will wage war in battle with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he won’t stand; for they will devise plans against him. 26Yes, those who eat of his delicacies will destroy him, and his army will be swept away. Many will fall down slain. 27As for both these kings, their hearts will be to do evil, and they will speak lies at one table; but it won’t prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time. 28Then he will return into his land with great wealth. His heart will be against the holy covenant. He will take action, and return to his own land.
29“He will return at the appointed time and come into the south; but it won’t be in the latter time as it was in the former. 30For ships of Kittim will come against him. Therefore he will be grieved, and will return, and have indignation against the holy covenant, and will take action. He will even return, and have regard to those who forsake the holy covenant.
31“Forces from him will profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and will take away the continual burnt offering. Then they will set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32He will corrupt those who do wickedly against the covenant by flatteries; but the people who know their God will be strong and take action.
33“Those who are wise among the people will instruct many; yet they will fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder, many days. 34Now when they fall, they will be helped with a little help; but many will join themselves to them with flatteries. 35Some of those who are wise will fall—to refine them, and to purify, and to make them white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for the time appointed.
36“The king will do according to his will. He will exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and will speak marvelous things against the God of gods. He will prosper until the indignation is accomplished, for that which is determined will be done. 37He won’t regard the gods of his fathers, or the desire of women, or regard any god; for he will magnify himself above all. 38But in their place, he will honor the god of fortresses. He will honor a god whom his fathers didn’t know with gold, silver, and with precious stones and pleasant things. 39He will deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. He will increase with glory whoever acknowledges him. He will cause them to rule over many, and will divide the land for a price.
40“At the time of the end the king of the south will contend with him; and the king of the north will come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships. He will enter into the countries, and will overflow and pass through. 41He will enter also into the glorious land, and many countries will be overthrown; but these will be delivered out of his hand: Edom, Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42He will also stretch out his hand on the countries. The land of Egypt won’t escape. 43But he will have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt. The Libyans and the Ethiopians will follow his steps. 44But news out of the east and out of the north will trouble him; and he will go out with great fury to destroy and utterly to sweep away many. 45He will plant the tents of his palace between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
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