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Daniel, who lived amidst an ungodly culture, did what was right in Gods eyes, regardless of the
circumstances or consequences; in so doing he showed what covenant faithfulness during Exile
looked like, and brought glory to God.


Were all fascinated with the future. We want
to know whats in store for us down the road.
Some movies and books even paint vivid pictures of what the world could be like years from
nowoften with an apocalyptic, end-of-the-
world-as-we-know-it twist.
The people of the ancient world were no different when it came to wondering about what
was next. But instead of consulting Hollywood
storytellers, they sought the word of prophets
who shared visions of future events. Many of
those prophets served false gods, so their predictions were also false. But the one true God
also had servants
individuals like Daniel
who could share His message, and the future,
Daniel spent his early years in Judah, but
he would spend the rest of his life in another
land. Babylon had conquered the Assyrian Empire in 612 b.c., and Jewish prophets like Jeremiah (Jer. 2021) and Habakkuk (Hab. 1:511)
warned Judah to expect (and submit to) Babylonian rule as a part of Gods judgment. When
the Jewish leaders continued to resist, Babylon
struck back, conquering the city and taking
captives on three separate occasions between
605 b.c. and Jerusalems ultimate destruction
in 586 b.c.
Daniel was taken to Babylon with the first
wave of exiles (605 b.c.) and spent the rest of
his life in captivity. The book that bears his
name was written from Babylon and includes
a unique mixture of literary forms. In true prophetic tradition, Daniel provides both:

forthtelling, application lessons based on

the present, and
foretelling, explanations of what will come.

For example, Daniels determination to reject the kings provisions (Dan. 1:8) and his
friends stand against the kings idol (3:130)


Daniels integrity in Exile (1:8)
Daniel, interpreter of dreams (2:17, 18)
No guarantees in the fiery furnace (3:1618)
The writing on the wall (5:5)
Daniels lions sleep (6:123)
Prophecies about the future (7:1)
reminded readers in his day and in our own
generation of the benefits of following God
despite the risks. At the same time, his ability to recount and interpret Nebuchadnezzars
dream (2:145) and the visions Daniel received
in chapters 7
12 provided insights for the
worlds immediate and distant future.
Daniels book is divided almost perfectly
into historical narrative (chapters 1
6) and
prophetic visions (chapters 7
12). While the
narrative aspects fit a model that most readers
would understand, the visions present strange
images that could make interpretation more
difficult. The use of such images places these
sections of Daniel into a category known as
apocalyptic literature, which many Christians
might be more familiar with through Johns
use of apocalyptic scenes in the Book of
In many cases, ancient writers would
practice pseudonymity by creating a series
of stunning prophecies and attributing those
predictions to a famous person to lend credibility. Since Daniels divinely-inspired visions
closely resemble the style of pseudonymous
writers, some scholars have questioned his
authorship. They believe that an unidentified
writer who lived centuries after Daniel collected
Babylonian court legends and recorded them
under the prophets name.

1190 | Daniel INTRODUCTION

Many of these objections, however, are
based on a rejection of supernatural events
and prophecy. When one accepts Gods ability
to work miracles and share insights into the future, it is not difficult to believe that Daniel wrote
the book during his lifetime. In addition, Jesus
affirmed the authorship of Daniel in His own
teachings about the future (Matt. 24:15, 16).

In both the narrative and the prophetic sections of the book, Daniel focuses on the leadership of God in every situation. Throughout
the circumstances of Daniels Babylonian life,
God was actively at work through both His
children and the most powerful leaders in the

Daniel and His Friends Obey God

of that time they might serve before

the king. 6 Now from among those of
the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7To them
the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he
gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to
Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart
that he would not defile himself with
the portion of the kings delicacies, nor
with the wine which he drank; therefore
he requested of the chief of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself. 9 Now
God had brought Daniel into the favor
and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.
10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to
Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who has
appointed your food and drink. For why
should he see your faces looking worse
than the young men who are your age?
Then you would endanger my head before the king.
11So Daniel said to the steward a

In the third year of the reign of

Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord
gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his
hand, with some of the articles of the
house of God, which he carried into the
land of Shinar to the house of his god;
and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
3T hen the king instructed Ashpenaz,
the master of his eunuchs, to bring some
of the children of Israel and some of the
kings descendants and some of the nobles, 4young men in whom there was
no blemish, but good-
l ooking, gifted in
all wisdom, possessing knowledge and
quick to understand, who had ability to
serve in the kings palace, and whom
they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. 5And the
king appointed for them a daily provision of the kings delicacies and of the
wine which he drank, and three years
of training for them, so that at the end
1:1 Jehoiakim king of Judah. Jehoiakim was an evil
king who sided first with the Egyptians and then
with the Babylonians, until he finally decided to
rebel. His independence was short-lived, however,
his death (2Kin. 23:3424:6).
1:2 the treasure house of his god. These articles
taken from the temple appear later, on the night
of Belshazzars feast (ch.5). Eventually they were
returned to Zerubbabel, who brought them back to
Israel (Ezra 1:7).
1:3 master of his eunuchs. A term which became
synonymous with official. In ancient Middle Eastern monarchies, royal harems were typically superintended by men who had been emasculated and
were considered reliable to serve in that capacity.
Some have speculated that Daniel and his friends
were eunuchs, but there is no specific statement in
the book to this effect.
1:4 language and literature. The language of most

1:11aHebrew Melzar, also in verse16

and Assyrians produced a massive body of literature of all types. Though Aramaic had begun to
replace Akkadian by the time of Nebuchadnezzar,
scholars continued to study and write literature in
their classical tongue. Chaldeans. This name was
commonly applied to Babylonians in general, and
also to the guild of astrologers, diviners, and other
practitioners of wisdom to which Daniel was being
introduced (1:17; 2:2; 3:8).
1:7 names. Daniel means God is my judge; Belteshazzar means lady protect the king, referring
to the goddess Sarpanitu, wife of the god Marduk.
Hananiah means the Lord is gracious; Shadrach
means I am fearful of the God. Mishael means
who is what God is? Meshach means I am of little
account. Azariah means the Lord has helped me;
Abed-Nego means servant of [the god] Nebo.
1:8 defile himself. The issue here was not the richness of the food or the alcohol. The kings table no
doubt included unclean meats and food which had
both meat and wines may well have already been
offered to idols.

Daniel 2:1 | 1191


Daniel 1:8

Daniels integrity in Exile

For centuries, the Assyrians had been the
bullies on the block. For as long as anyone
could remember, they had terrorized nations
and dispersed them across their wide empire.
That included the northern kingdom of Israel,
which fell to Assyria in 722 b.c.
But all that changed in 626 b.c. with the rise
of Nabopolassar, the new leader of Babylon.
By 612 b.c. the Babylonians had overthrown
Assyria and taken the reins as a world power.
By 605 b.c. they had begun taking Jewish
exiles from Jerusalem back home to Babylon.
Along with King Jehoiakim, the Babylonians
(also known as Chaldeans) looted the house
of God and brought its treasures to their own
temple (Dan. 1:2).
This first Jewish exile to Babylon was
Daniels debut on the world scene, and he
immediately made an impression on his new
masters. Among the cream of the Jewish
crop, Daniel and his friends
H ananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah
were placed in a
special education program to groom exiles
into roles of Babylonian leadership. His good
looks and academic aptitude represented
everything the Chaldeans valued.
But though Daniel learned about Chaldean

whom the chief of the eunuchs had set

over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and
Azariah, 12 Please test your servants for
ten days, and let them give us vegetables
to eat and water to drink. 13T hen let our
appearance be examined before you,
and the appearance of the young men
who eat the portion of the kings delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your
servants. 14So he consented with them
in this matter, and tested them ten days.
15And at the end of ten days their
features appeared better and fatter in
flesh than all the young men who ate the
portion of the kings delicacies. 16T hus
the steward took away their portion of
delicacies and the wine that they were to
drink, and gave them vegetables.
17As for these four young men, God
gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

language and literature, he refused to violate

Gods law and his own conscience by eating the food offered by the king. With great
respect, he sought an alternative, and God
blessed his efforts.
Daniels initial determination to stand
for his beliefs highlights a recurring theme
throughout the book: doing whats right in
Gods eyes, regardless of the circumstances
or consequences. The lesson served Daniel
well as he eventually rose to serve at the highest levels of both the Babylonian and Persian

While Daniel was standing tall for his beliefs
in Babylon, another prophet, Jeremiah,
was doing the same back in Jerusalem.
The consequences, however, produced a
striking contrast. Daniels integrity won him
the approval of foreign leaders. Jeremiahs
honest presentation of Gods message to the
remnant in Judah earned him persecution
from his own people.
next: Daniel 2:17, 18

18 Now at the end of the days, when

the king had said that they should be
brought in, the chief of the eunuchs
brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19T hen the king interviewed a
them, and among them all none was
found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael,
and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of
wisdom and understanding about which
the king examined them, he found them
ten times better than all the magicians
and astrologers who were in all his
realm. 21T hus Daniel continued until
the first year of King Cyrus.

Nebuchadnezzars Dream

ow in the second year of Neb

chadn ezz ars reign, Nebuc hadn ez
zar had dreams; and his spirit was so
1:19aLiterally talked with them

1192 | Daniel 2:2

troubled that his sleep left him. 2T hen
the king gave the command to call the
magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king
his dreams. So they came and stood
before the king. 3And the king said to
them, I have had a dream, and my spirit
is anxious to know the dream.
4 T hen the Chaldeans spoke to the
king in Aramaic, a O king, live forever!
Tell your servants the dream, and we
will give the interpretation.
5T he king answered and said to the
Chaldeans, My decision is firm: if you
do not make known the dream to me,
and its interpretation, you shall be cut
in pieces, and your houses shall be made
an ash heap. 6 However, if you tell the
dream and its interpretation, you shall
receive from me gifts, rewards, and
great honor. Therefore tell me the dream
and its interpretation.
7T hey answered again and said, Let
the king tell his servants the dream, and
we will give its interpretation.
8 T he king answered and said, I
know for certain that you would gain
time, because you see that my decision
is firm: 9 if you do not make known the
dream to me, there is only one decree
for you! For you have agreed to speak
lying and corrupt words before me till
the time has changed. Therefore tell me
the dream, and I shall know that you
can give me its interpretation.
10T he Chaldeans answered the king,
and said, There is not a man on earth
who can tell the kings matter; therefore
no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked
such things of any magician, astrologer,
or Chaldean. 11It is a difficult thing that
the king requests, and there is no other
who can tell it to the king except the
gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
12 For this reason the king was angry
and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of
Babylon. 13So the decree went out, and
they began killing the wise men; and

they sought Daniel and his companions,

to kill them.

2:2 magicians. The word translated magicians

refers to those who use a penmost likely, those
learned in the sacred writings of the Babylonians.
2:4 in Aramaic. Daniel 2:4b7:28 is written in Aramaic, the common language of the day.
2:8 gain time. Nebuchadnezzar obviously did not
have any faith in the integrity of his wise men or in the
reality of their wisdom. He wanted to know for sure
revelation, not just a clever story to please a king.

2:11 except the gods. The wise men were forced to

acknowledge their own limitations. As far as they
the answers did not speak with men.
2:18 that they might seek mercies from the God of
heaven. Daniel and his friends knew the same thing
reveal the kings dream. But, unlike the other wise
men, they knew that their God would answer when
they called on Him.

God Reveals Nebuchadnezzars

14 T hen with counsel and wisdom
Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of
the kings guard, who had gone out to
kill the wise men of Babylon; 15he answered and said to Arioch the kings
captain, Why is the decree from the
king so urgent? Then Arioch made
the decision known to Daniel.
16 So Daniel went in and asked the
king to give him time, that he might
tell the king the interpretation. 17T hen
Daniel went to his house, and made the
decision known to Hananiah, Mishael,
and Azariah, his companions, 18 that
they might seek mercies from the God
of heaven concerning this secret, so that
Daniel and his companions might not
perish with the rest of the wise men of
Babylon. 19T hen the secret was revealed
to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel
blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said:

Blessed be the name of God forever

and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the
He removes kings and raises up
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have
22 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
23 I thank You and praise You,

O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and
And have now made known to me
what we asked of You,

:4aThe original language of Daniel 2:4b

through 7:28 is Aramaic.

Daniel 2:31 | 1193

For You have made known to us the
kings demand.

Daniel Explains theDream

24 T herefore Daniel went to Arioch,
whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went
and said thus to him: Do not destroy
the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the
25T hen Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him,
I have found a man of the captives a
of Judah, who will make known to the
king the interpretation.
26 T he king answered and said to
Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar,
Are you able to make known to me
the dream which I have seen, and its
27Daniel answered in the presence
of the king, and said, The secret which
the king has demanded, the wise men,

2:28 the latter days. This is an expression used frequentlyfortheendtimeswhenGodwillintervenein

human history to establish His eternal kingdom (Is.
2:2; Hos. 3:5; Mic. 4:13).

the astrologers, the magicians, and the

soothsayers cannot declare to the king.
28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known
to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in
the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were
these: 29As for you, O king, thoughts
came to your mind while on your bed,
about what would come to pass after
this; and He who reveals secrets has
made known to you what will be. 30 But
as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our
sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know
the thoughts of your heart.
31You, O king, were watching; and
behold, a great image! This great image,
whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.
2:25aLiterally of the sons of the captivity

all the earth.


Daniel 2:17, 18

Daniel, interpreter of dreams

Imagine trying to interpret someone elses
dream. Pretty tough, right? Now imagine trying to interpret a dream without even knowing
what the dream was about. You might say
that would take a miracle.
Youd be right. Thats exactly why Daniel
and his friends turned to God in these verses.
When Nebuchadnezzar decided to kill all
his wise men because they couldnt describe
and then interpret a dream, Daniel and his
friends sprang into action. Facing a life-or-
death deadline, they did the only thing they
knew to do: they turned to God for answers.
Though Daniel had learned a lot about
Babylonian language, literature, and politics
during his time in captivity, he needed what
no human teacher could provide. He sought
mercies from the God of heaven concerning
this secret (v. 18). In the end, God honored
his humility and obedience by revealing the
answer in a vision.
Daniel never forgot the true Source of his

help. First, he praised God for answering his

prayers (Dan. 2:2023). Then, before giving
the king a detailed description and interpretation of the dream, he refused to take
credit. Instead Daniel attributed the dream
and its meaning to the Lord. There is a God
in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has
made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what
will be in the latter days (Dan. 2:28).

The wisdom of the Chaldeans consisted
of sciences current at the time, including
the interpretation of omens communicated
through astrology; the examination of livers,
kidneys, and other animal entrails; and the
examination of the organs and flight patterns
of birds. Daniel had the additional advantage
of understanding visions and dreams.
previous: Daniel 1:8
next: Daniel 3:1618

1194 | Daniel 2:32

Last Things / Note 1

Old Testament
Daniel 2:28

Eschatology is simply the study of last

things, the culmination of human history.
And while the New Testament writers
composed several passages related to
eschatology, the Old Testament prophets
also shared Gods message about the
end times. For example, both Micah (4:3)
and Isaiah (2:4) pointed to a day of great
peace when soldiers would turn their
swords into plowshares and their spears
into pruning hooks.
The prophet Daniel also received
messages from God about how history
would unfold. In Daniel 2:2745, Daniel
interpreted a dream for Nebuchadnezzar
related to a series of earthly kingdoms.
While the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia,
Greece, and Rome have come and
gone, the final kingdom (feet mixed with
iron and clay) is generally understood to
be in the future. Also, the rock formed
without hands that eventually became
a massive mountain likely points to God
overwhelming all earthly kingdoms and
setting up His own reign on earth.
The earlier kingdoms have come and
gone just as God said. We can be confident that the rest of the prophecy is still
in Gods hands as well.
next: 1Corinthians 15:26

32T his

images head was of fine gold,

its chest and arms of silver, its belly and
thighs a of bronze, 33its legs of iron, its
feet partly of iron and partly of clay. a
34You watched while a stone was cut out
without hands, which struck the image
2:37 the God of heaven has given you a kingdom.
The rulers of the nations of the world may not recognize Gods authority, but that does not alter the
fact that they have their positions only through His
2:38 head of gold. The first worldwide empire, the
head of gold, was Babylon.
2:39 another kingdom inferior to yours. The second
empire, the chest and arms of silver, was Medo-Persia. Just as silver is inferior to gold, Medo-Persia was

on its feet of iron and clay, and broke

them in pieces. 35T hen the iron, the clay,
the bronze, the silver, and the gold were
crushed together, and became like chaff
from the summer threshing floors; the
wind carried them away so that no trace
of them was found. And the stone that
struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 This is the dream. Now we will
tell the interpretation of it before the
king. 37You, O king, are a king of kings.
For the God of heaven has given you a
kingdom, power, strength, and glory;
38 and wherever the children of men
dwell, or the beasts of the field and
the birds of the heaven, He has given
them into your hand, and has made you
ruler over them all
you are this head
of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then
another, a third kingdom of bronze,
which shall rule over all the earth.
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as
strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks
in pieces and shatters everything; and
like iron that crushes, that kingdom
will break in pieces and crush all the
others. 41W hereas you saw the feet and
toes, partly of potters clay and partly
of iron, the kingdom shall be divided;
yet the strength of the iron shall be in
it, just as you saw the iron mixed with
2:32aOr sides 2:33aOr baked clay, and so
in verses34, 35, and 42

in governing its people. third kingdom of bronze.

The third kingdom would be the Greek Empire.
2:40 fourth kingdom... strong as iron. The fourth
kingdom, the legs of iron, is the only one not specifically identified within the Book of Daniel. Rome is
the most likely choice, for it succeeded Greece, and
was certainly a very strong empire.
when the kingdom was divided and the fabric of the
empire was weakening in the early centuries after
Christ. In this case the kingdom which shall never
be destroyed (obviously the kingdom of God) is a
spiritual kingdom introduced by Christ at His first
coming, and the mountain that grew from the rock
would be a reference to the spread of Christianity,
Roman Empire.
Others believe that verses 4145 point to future
events that have not yet been fulfilled. When this
vision is compared with the four beasts of chapter 7,
It is theorized that the kingdom of iron does actually
refer to the Roman Empire, which will be revived in
some form in the last days, perhaps as a ten-nation
confederacy (the ten toes, or the ten horns of the

Daniel 3:13 | 1195

42 And

ceramic clay.
as the toes of the
feet were partly of iron and partly of
clay, so the kingdom shall be partly
strong and partly fragile. 43As you saw
iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will
mingle with the seed of men; but they
will not adhere to one another, just as
iron does not mix with clay. 44And in the
days of these kings the God of heaven
will set up a kingdom which shall never
be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not
be left to other people; it shall break in
pieces and consume all these kingdoms,
and it shall stand forever. 45Inasmuch
as you saw that the stone was cut out of
the mountain without hands, and that it
broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the
clay, the silver, and the gold
the great
God has made known to the king what
will come to pass after this. The dream
is certain, and its interpretation is sure.

Daniel and His Friends Promoted

46 T hen King Nebuchadnezzar fell
on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and
commanded that they should present
an offering and incense to him. 47T he
king answered Daniel, and said, Truly
your God is the God of gods, the Lord
of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since
you could reveal this secret. 48T hen
the king promoted Daniel and gave him
many great gifts; and he made him ruler
over the whole province of Babylon,
and chief administrator over all the
wise men of Babylon. 49Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-
N ego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but
Daniel sat in the gatea of the king.

TheImage ofGold

ebuchadnezzar the king made an

image of gold, whose height was
sixty cubits and its width six cubits.
He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the
province of Babylon. 2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together
the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers,
the judges, the magistrates, and all the
beast of chapter 7). In this case, the kingdom which
shall never be destroyed is a literal kingdom to be
established by Jesus Christ at the second coming,
at which time He will destroy the kingdoms of the
world (Rev. 19:15).
3:1 cubits. A cubit in Israel was approximately
18 inches; in Babylon it was about 20 inches.

officials of the provinces, to come to

the dedication of the image which King
Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3So the
satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the
judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together
for the dedication of the image that King
Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they
stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4T hen a herald cried
aloud: To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at
the time you hear the sound of the horn,
flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall
fall down and worship the gold image
that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up;
6 and whoever does not fall down and
worship shall be cast immediately into
the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
7 So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute,
harp, and lyre, in symphony with all
kinds of music, all the people, nations,
and languages fell down and worshiped
the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had setup.

Daniels Friends Disobey theKing

8T herefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the
Jews. 9T hey spoke and said to King
Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever!
10You, O king, have made a decree that
everyone who hears the sound of the
horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in
symphony with all kinds of music, shall
fall down and worship the gold image;
11and whoever does not fall down and
worship shall be cast into the midst of
a burning fiery furnace. 12T here are
certain Jews whom you have set over
the affairs of the province of Babylon:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-
N ego;
these men, O king, have not paid due
regard to you. They do not serve your
gods or worship the gold image which
you have set up.
13T hen Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and

2:49aThat is, the kings court

Nebuchadnezzars image was 90 to 100 feet tall.

The odd proportions of this figure (a normal human
height-to-width ratio is about 4:1 rather than 10:1)
may indicate that the height includes a base or pedestal.
3:2 satraps. Satraps were the chief officials of the
provinces of the empire.

1196 | Daniel 3:14

fury, gave the command to bring Sha your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be
r ach, Meshach, and Abed-
N ego. So known to you, O king, that we do not
they brought these men before the king. serve your gods, nor will we worship
14 Nebuchadnezzar
spoke, saying to the gold image which you have set up.
them, Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-N ego, that you do not serve Saved in Fiery Trial
19 T hen Nebuchadnezzar was full
my gods or worship the gold image
which I have set up? 15Now if you are of fury, and the expression on his face
ready at the time you hear the sound of changed toward Shadrach, Meshach,
the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, and Abed-
N ego. He spoke and comin symphony with all kinds of music, manded that they heat the furnace seven
and you fall down and worship the times more than it was usually heated.
image which I have made, good! But if 20 And he commanded certain mighty
you do not worship, you shall be cast men of valor who were in his army to
immediately into the midst of a burning bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-
fiery furnace. And who is the god who Nego, and cast them into the burning
will deliver you from my hands?
fiery furnace. 21T hen these men were
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed- bound in their coats, their trousers, their
Nego answered and said to the king, turbans, and their other garments, and
O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need were cast into the midst of the burning
to answer you in this matter. 17If that fiery furnace. 22T herefore, because the
is the case, our God whom we serve is kings command was urgent, and the
able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of
furnace, and He will deliver us from the fire killed those men who took up
3:18 But if not. The faithful men knew that God could
deliver them (v. 17), yet they were also aware that
God could have chosen not to do so. Faith in God

(Heb.11:3239).Tothesementheoutcomewasirrelevant, for what was at stake was not Gods ability

or their own lives, but their faith and obedience to
serve Him regardless of the cost.


Daniel 3:1618

No guarantees in the fiery furnace

For one chapter, Daniel moved off center
stage of the narrative as the focus temporarily
shifted to the stand taken by his three friends:
Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach),
and Azariah (Abed-Nego). The familiar story
of three Hebrews who faced the flames has
inspired many believers throughout the ages.
The presence of the fourth person in the fire
also points to the presence of God in our
most difficult situations.
Another aspect of the story, however,
might be easy to miss. With the benefits of
hindsight centuries later, we know the rest
of the story. We know God miraculously
protected His servants in the middle of the
furnace. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-
Nego didnt enjoy the luxury of hindsight. In
the moment, they had no guarantees of a
happy ending.
That makes their bold statement in Daniel
18 all the more powerful: Our God
whom we serve is able to deliver us from the

burning fiery furnace . . . but if not, let it be

known to you... we do not serve your gods,
nor will we worship the gold image which you
have set up. In the face of life-or-death pressure, they declared two great truths. First,
God could save them from death. Second,
death was not the real issue; obedience was.
They vowed they would not bow to an idol
made by human hands, even though God
might not choose to save them.

The fourth man Nebuchadnezzar saw, who
was like the Son of God (Dan. 3:25), is considered a theophany; that is, an appearance
of God. Although the doctrine of the Trinity
was not fully revealed until Jesus time, we
find clues in the Old Testament that God was
preparing humanity for this truth. This fourth
man is one of those clues.
previous: Daniel 2:17, 18
next: Daniel 5:5

Daniel 4:9 | 1197

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-
N ego.
23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-N ego, fell down bound
into the midst of the burning fiery
24 T hen King Nebuchadnezzar was
astonished; and he rose in haste and
spoke, saying to his counselors, Did we
not cast three men bound into the midst
of the fire?
They answered and said to the king,
True, Oking.
25 Look! he answered, I see four
men loose, walking in the midst of the
fire; and they are not hurt, and the form
of the fourth is like the Son of God.a

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

30T hen

the king promoted Shadrach,

Meshach, and Abed-
N ego in the province of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzars Second Dream

Nebuchadnezzar the king,

To all peoples, nations, and
languages that dwell in all the
Peace be multiplied to you.

I thought it good to declare the signs

and wonders that the Most High
God has worked forme.

How great are His signs,

And how mighty His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting
And His dominion is from
generation to generation.

26 T hen Nebuchadnezzar went near

the mouth of the burning fiery furnace
and spoke, saying, Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-
N ego, servants of the Most
High God, come out, and come here. 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in
my house, and flourishing in my
Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-
palace. 5I saw a dream which made
Nego came from the midst of the fire.
27And the satraps, administrators, govme afraid, and the thoughts on my
bed and the visions of my head
ernors, and the kings counselors gathtroubled me. 6Therefore I issued
ered together, and they saw these men
a decree to bring in all the wise
on whose bodies the fire had no power;
men of Babylon before me, that
the hair of their head was not singed nor
were their garments affected, and the
they might make known to me the
smell of fire was not on them.
interpretation of the dream. 7Then
28 Nebuchadnezzar
spoke, saying,
the magicians, the astrologers, the
Blessed be the God of Shadrach, MeChaldeans, and the soothsayers
shach, and Abed-
N ego, who sent His
came in, and I told them the dream;
Angel a and delivered His servants who
but they did not make known to
trusted in Him, and they have frustrated
me its interpretation. 8But at last
the kings word, and yielded their bodies,
Daniel came before me (his name is
that they should not serve nor worship
Belteshazzar, according to the name
any god except their own God! 29Thereof my god; in him is the Spirit of
fore I make a decree that any people, nathe Holy God), and I told the dream
tion, or language which speaks anything
before him, saying: 9Belteshazzar,
amiss against the God of Shadrach, Mechief of the magicians, because I
shach, and Abed-
N ego shall be cut in
know that the Spirit of the Holy God
pieces, and their houses shall be made
is in you, and no secret troubles
an ash heap; because there is no other
God who can deliver like this.
3:25aOr a son of the gods 3:28aOr angel

3:25 I see four men loose. The fourth man walking

with the three friends in the furnace may have been
an angel. Many believe that this was an appearance
of the preincarnate Christ.
3:28 Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abed-Nego. Pagan cultures did not deny the existence of other gods, even those of other peoples.
Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with the God of Israel, but that did not mean that he recognized that
God is the only true god.
4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king. These verses are a
the God of Israel, in which the king celebrated what

God had done for him and extolled His power and
4:8 my god. This refers to Marduk. Nebuchadnezzar
was still a pagan, but he also recognized that Daniel
had the spirit of his God, and that Daniels God was
different from other gods.
4:9 chief of the magicians. Daniels position as
head magician did not mean that he practiced sorcery or witchcraft, a thing clearly forbidden by the
law (Deut. 18:1011). In the pluralistic Babylonian
society, Daniels relationship with the God of Israel would automatically have been categorized as
another form of magic, or astrology, or divination,

1198 | Daniel 4:10

you, explain to me the visions of
my dream that I have seen, and its
10 These were the visions of my head

Gives it to whomever He will,

And sets over it the lowest of men.

while on my bed:

I was looking, and behold,

A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height was great.
11 The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of
all the earth.
12 Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
The beasts of the field found shade
under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its
And all flesh was fed fromit.

I saw in the visions of my head

while on my bed, and there was a
watcher, a holy one, coming down
from heaven. 14He cried aloud and
said thus:

Chop down the tree and cut off its

Strip off its leaves and scatter its
Let the beasts get out from under it,
And the birds from its branches.
15 Nevertheless leave the stump and
roots in the earth,
Bound with a band of iron and
In the tender grass of the field.
Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
And let him graze with the beasts
On the grass of the earth.
16 Let his heart be changed from that
of a man,
Let him be given the heart of a beast,
And let seven timesa pass over him.

This decision is by the decree of the

And the sentence by the word of the
holy ones,
In order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the
kingdom of men,

the wisdom of the day. He received the honor and

position of one who has favor with the gods.
4:16 seven times. These times could refer to years,
months, weeks, days, or hours. Most take them as
years, as elsewhere in the book (7:25).
4:20 tree. In the Old Testament, a tree is a common

This dream I, King

Nebuchadnezzar, have seen.
Now you, Belteshazzar, declare
its interpretation, since all the
wise men of my kingdom are not
able to make known to me the
interpretation; but you are able, for
the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.

Daniel Explains theSecond Dream


Then Daniel, whose name was

Belteshazzar, was astonished for
a time, and his thoughts troubled
him. So the king spoke, and said,
Belteshazzar, do not let the dream
or its interpretation trouble you.
Belteshazzar answered and
said, My lord, may the dream
concern those who hate you, and
its interpretation concern your


The tree that you saw, which grew

and became strong, whose height
reached to the heavens and which
could be seen by all the earth,
21whose leaves were lovely and its
fruit abundant, in which was food
for all, under which the beasts of the
field dwelt, and in whose branches
the birds of the heaven had their
home22it is you, Oking, who have
grown and become strong; for your
greatness has grown and reaches to
the heavens, and your dominion to
the end of the earth.
23 And inasmuch as the king saw a
watcher, a holy one, coming down
from heaven and saying, Chop
down the tree and destroy it, but
leave its stump and roots in the
earth, bound with a band of iron
and bronze in the tender grass of
the field; let it be wet with the dew
of heaven, and let him graze with
the beasts of the field, till seven
times pass over him; 24this is the
interpretation, Oking, and this
4:16aPossibly seven years, and so in
verses23, 25, and 32

symbol for a ruler (Judg. 9:715; Ezek. 31:214; Zech.

4:23 a watcher. The term watcher means waking
one, one who is constantly alert. The parallel holy
one suggests that the watcher is either the Lord
Himself or one of His angels (3:28; 6:22; 8:16; 10:13).

Daniel 5:2 | 1199

is the decree of the Most High,
which has come upon my lord the
king: 25They shall drive you from
men, your dwelling shall be with
the beasts of the field, and they
shall make you eat grass like oxen.
They shall wet you with the dew of
heaven, and seven times shall pass
over you, till you know that the
Most High rules in the kingdom of
men, and gives it to whomever He
26 And inasmuch as they gave the
command to leave the stump and
roots of the tree, your kingdom
shall be assured to you, after you
come to know that Heaven rules.
27Therefore, Oking, let my advice
be acceptable to you; break off
your sins by being righteous,
and your iniquities by showing
mercy to the poor. Perhaps there
may be a lengthening of your

Nebuchadnezzars Humiliation
28 All this came upon King

Nebuchadnezzar. 29At the end

of the twelve months he was
walking about the royal palace of
Babylon. 30The king spoke, saying,
Is not this great Babylon, that I
have built for a royal dwelling by
my mighty power and for the honor
of my majesty?
31 While the word was still in the
kings mouth, a voice fell from
heaven: King Nebuchadnezzar,
to you it is spoken: the kingdom
has departed from you! 32And they
shall drive you from men, and your
dwelling shall be with the beasts
of the field. They shall make you
eat grass like oxen; and seven
times shall pass over you, until you
know that the Most High rules in
the kingdom of men, and gives it to
whomever He chooses.
33 That very hour the word was fulfilled
4:32 until you know that the Most High rules. Nebuchadnezzar would become insane, yet in his animal-like state he would learn more of God than he
ever had before. The chastisement of God is always
for a holy and helpful purpose, if we will accept it.
5:1 Belshazzar the king. Belshazzar is called the
king and the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Other ancient
records indicate that Belshazzar was the son of
Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. It is possible

concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he
was driven from men and ate grass
like oxen; his body was wet with the
dew of heaven till his hair had grown
like eagles feathers and his nails
like birds claws.

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God


And at the end of the timea I,

Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes
to heaven, and my understanding
returned to me; and I blessed the
Most High and praised and honored
Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting

And His kingdom is from
generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are
reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the
army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, What have You

At the same time my reason

returned to me, and for the glory
of my kingdom, my honor and
splendor returned to me. My
counselors and nobles resorted to
me, I was restored to my kingdom,
and excellent majesty was added
to me. 37Now I, Nebuchadnezzar,
praise and extol and honor the King
of heaven, all of whose works are
truth, and His ways justice. And
those who walk in pride He is able
to put down.

Belshazzars Feast

elshazzar the king made a great

feast for a thousand of his lords,
and drank wine in the presence of the
thousand. 2W hile he tasted the wine,
Belshazzar gave the command to bring
4:34aLiterally days

that Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. In ancient writings, the term father is often
used to indicate ancestry rather than immediate
family (2Kin. 14:3). Belshazzar may have served as
vice-regent while his father was still living (Nabonidus seems to have spent a number of the years of
as king, even if he was not officially king. Note that
Darius the Mede was also called king, even though
he served Cyrus (5:31; 6:6).

1200 | Daniel 5:3

the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from
the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his
wives, and his concubines might drink
from them. 3T hen they brought the gold
vessels that had been taken from the
temple of the house of God which had
been in Jerusalem; and the king and
his lords, his wives, and his concubines
drank from them. 4T hey drank wine,
and praised the gods of gold and silver,
bronze and iron, wood and stone.
5 In the same hour the fingers of a
mans hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the
wall of the kings palace; and the king
saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6T hen the kings countenance changed,
and his thoughts troubled him, so that
the joints of his hips were loosened and
his knees knocked against each other.

7T he

5:7 third ruler. Assuming that Belshazzar was acting

as regent for his father Nabonidus, the third ruler
would have been next in line for the throne.

5:11 the Spirit of the Holy God. This is the same

expression used by Nebuchadnezzar (4:89,18).

king cried aloud to bring in the

astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the
soothsayers. The king spoke, saying
to the wise men of Babylon, Whoever
reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his
neck; and he shall be the third ruler in
the kingdom. 8 Now all the kings wise
men came, but they could not read the
writing, or make known to the king its
interpretation. 9 T hen King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were
10T he queen, because of the words
of the king and his lords, came to the
banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying,
O king, live forever! Do not let your
thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11T here is a man in
your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of


Daniel 5:5

The writing on the wall

Youve probably heard the saying the writing
is on the wall when it seems that the end
of something is approaching. But you may
not have known this idiom has its roots in the
Book of Daniel.
In Daniel 5 Belshazzar, grandson of
Nebuchadnezzar, held a wild party for
hundreds of friends. During the party, he
ordered that the valuable cups and other
utensils taken from the temple in Jerusalem
be used to serve his guests. Essentially, he
and his friends got drunk using items dedicated to God.
Thats when the hand showed up. Out
of nowhere, the image of a human hand
appeared and wrote a message on one of
the palace walls. When no one could interpret the writing, the shaken leader called on
Daniel. It was a prophecy of judgment: God
had evaluated the Babylonian kingdom, and
it had come up short.
In less than twenty-
f our hours, the
Persians conquered the city, executed
Belshazzar, and took their place as world

By using items dedicated to God to honor

his own deities of gold and silver, bronze and
iron, wood and stone (Dan. 5:4), Belshazzar
crossed a line. He blasphemed God and
showed total disregard for His holiness. As
a result, the writing was on the wall, and
Babylons days were numbered.

The words on the wall were written in some
form of Hebrew. MENE means numbered,
indicating that the days of the Babylonian
dynasty were expiring. TEKEL means
weighed and relates to the fact that God had
measured Belshazzars kingdom and found it
lacking. UPHARSIN means divided and
points to the division of the kingdom between
the Medes and Persians. Meanwhile, Daniels
reputation remained intact, and he went on
to serve his new masters faithfully, starting
with King Cyrus.
previous: Daniel 3:1618
next: Daniel 6:123

Daniel 5:29 | 1201

the Holy God. And in the days of your
father, light and understanding and
wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods,
were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father
y our father the
made him chief of the magicians,
astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit,
knowledge, understanding, interpreting
dreams, solving riddles, and explaining
enigmas a were found in this Daniel,
whom the king named Belteshazzar,
now let Daniel be called, and he will
give the interpretation.

TheWriting on theWall Explained

his spirit was hardened in pride, he

was deposed from his kingly throne,
and they took his glory from him.
21 T hen he was driven from the sons
of men, his heart was made like the
beasts, and his dwelling was with the
wild donkeys. 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 rules in the kingdom
of men, and appoints over it whomever
He chooses.
22 But you his son, Belshazzar, have
not humbled your heart, although you
knew all this. 23And you have lifted
yourself up against the Lord of heaven.
They have brought the vessels of His
house before you, and you and your
lords, your wives and your concubines,
have drunk wine from them. And you
have praised the gods of silver and gold,
bronze and iron, wood and stone, which
do not see or hear or know; and the God
who holds your breath in His hand and
owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24T hen the fingers a of the hand
were sent from Him, and this writing
was written.
25 And this is the inscription that
was written:

13T hen Daniel was brought in before

the king. The king spoke, and said to
Daniel, Are you that Daniel who is one
of the captives a from Judah, whom my
father the king brought from Judah? 14 I
have heard of you, that the Spirit of God
is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in
you. 15Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me,
that they should read this writing and
make known to me its interpretation,
but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16And I have heard of
you, that you can give interpretations
and explain enigmas. Now if you can
read the writing and make known to me
its interpretation, you shall be clothed
with purple and have a chain of gold
around your neck, and shall be the third
ruler in the kingdom.
17 T hen Daniel answered, and said
before the king, Let your gifts be for
yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the
king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High
God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father
a kingdom and majesty, glory and
honor. 19 And because of the majesty
that He gave him, all peoples, nations,
and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept
alive; whomever he wished, he set up;
and whomever he wished, he put down.
20 But when his heart was lifted up, and

5:12aLiterally untying knots, and so in

verse16 5
:13aLiterally of the sons of the
captivity 5:24aLiterally palm
5:25aLiterally a mina (50 shekels) from the
verb to number bLiterally a shekel from
the verb to weigh cLiterally and half
shekels from the verb to divide
5:28aAramaic P
aras, consonant with Peres

5:13 that Daniel who is one of the captives. Daniel

was an old man by this time, possibly 80 years old
or older.
5:2528 Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. Mene means
numbered. The repetition is for emphasis. God
had numbered the days of Belshazzars kingdom,

and the time was up. Tekel means weighed.

God had weighed Belshazzars character, and he
did not measure up. Upharsin (the plural of Peres)
means divided. That very night Babylon would
be divided and defeated by the Medes and the Persians.


26 T his

is the interpretation of each

word. MENE: God has numbered your
kingdom, and finished it; 27T EKEL: You
have been weighed in the balances, and
found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the
Medes and Persians.a 29T hen Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed
Daniel with purple and put a chain of
gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should
be the third ruler in the kingdom.

1202 | Daniel 5:30

Belshazzars Fall
30T hat

very night Belshazzar, king of

the Chaldeans, was slain. 31And Darius
the Mede received the kingdom, being
about sixty-two years old.

ThePlot Against Daniel

It pleased Darius to set over the

kingdom one hundred and twenty
satraps, to be over the whole kingdom;
2 and over these, three governors, of
whom Daniel was one, that the satraps
might give account to them, so that the
king would suffer no loss. 3T hen this
Daniel distinguished himself above the
governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king
gave thought to setting him over the
whole realm. 4 So the governors and
satraps sought to find some charge
against Daniel concerning the kingdom;
but they could find no charge or fault,
because he was faithful; nor was there
any error or fault found in him. 5T hen
5:30 That very night. That very evening (October
12, 539 b.c.), Babylon fell to the Persian army commanded by Gubaru.
by name only in the Book of Daniel. He cannot be the
famous Darius I Hystaspes because Darius I was not
a Mede, and he lived too late (522486 b.c.) to be a
contemporary of Daniel. It is believed that Darius
the Mede was Gubaru, a governor appointed by
Cyrus. Ancient literary sources indicate that this

these men said, We shall not find any

charge against this Daniel unless we
find it against him concerning the law
of his God.
6 So these governors and satraps
thronged before the king, and said thus
to him: King Darius, live forever! 7All
the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors
and advisors, have consulted together
to establish a royal statute and to make
a firm decree, that whoever petitions
any god or man for thirty days, except
you, O king, shall be cast into the den
of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of
the Medes and Persians, which does not
alter. 9T herefore King Darius signed
the written decree.

Daniel in theLions Den

10 Now when Daniel knew that the
writing was signed, he went home. And

538 b.c. Why Gubaru might have been called Darius

is uncertain, though ancient rulers often took other
names for themselves.
6:3 an excellent spirit. This probably refers to Daniels surpassing ability to do his job well and perhaps
also indicates a commendable attitude.
6:5 the law of his God. Daniel had such integrity that,
even after alife spentingovernmentcircles,hisenemiescouldfindnothingagainsthim.Hisdevotionto
God was so well known that these men were confident that Daniel would obey His law even if it would
cost him his life.


Daniel 6:12 3

Daniels lions sleep

Daniels conviction to stand firm for God
provided bookends to the narrative portion
of the book that bears his name. In chapter
1, he refused to defile himself by eating the
kings food (v. 8). By chapter 6, the empires
had shifted, but Daniels core values had not
changed. He still refused to compromise his
faith for the sake of personal comfort.
Like his friends in the fiery furnace, Daniel
believed God could protect him, but he didnt
have any guarantees. Through it all, one thing
was certain: Daniel would rather spend a
night in a den of lions than shrink from what
he believed was right. That kind of obedience
allowed God to work freelyand bring glory
to Himself.

Once a royal decree had been issued (such
as the law of the Medes and Persians in
Daniel 6:8), it could not be revoked, not even
by the king himself. It remained in force until
its time of expiration. The practice of creating
an unchangeable law may follow from the
idea that changing a decree was an admission that it had been faulty.
previous: Daniel 5:5
next: Daniel 7:1

Daniel 6:27 | 1203

in his upper room, with his windows
open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down
on his knees three times that day, and
prayed and gave thanks before his God,
as was his custom since early days.
11 T hen these men assembled and
found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they
went before the king, and spoke concerning the kings decree: Have you
not signed a decree that every man who
petitions any god or man within thirty
days, except you, 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 does not
13So they answered and said before
the king, That Daniel, who is one of the
captives a from Judah, does not show
due regard for you, O king, or for the
decree that you have signed, but makes
his petition three times a day.
14 And the king, when he heard these
words, was greatly 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. 15T hen
these men approached the king, and
said to the king, Know, O king, that
it is the law of the
M edes and Persians
that no decree or statute which the king
establishes may be changed.
16 So the king gave the command,
and they brought Daniel and cast him
into the den of lions. But the king spoke,
saying to Daniel, Your God, whom you
serve continually, He will deliver you.
17T hen a stone was brought and laid
on the mouth of the den, and the king
sealed it with his own signet ring and
with the signets of his lords, that the
purpose concerning Daniel might not
be changed.

Daniel Saved from theLions

18 Now the king went to his palace
and spent the night fasting; and no musicians a were brought before him. Also
his sleep went from him. 19T hen the
king arose very early in the morning

6:13 who is one of the captives from Judah. Daniels

accusers did not describe him as governor (v. 2), but
as a captive from another land, in order to implicate
him as a treasonous and dangerous person.
6:14wasgreatlydispleased.Itisclear that Darius had
not factored Daniel into the situation in the beginning. He never had the intention of harming him.

and went in haste to the den of lions.

20And when he came to the den, he cried
out with a lamenting voice to Daniel.
The king spoke, saying to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God, has your
God, whom you serve continually, been
able to deliver you from the lions?
21 T hen Daniel said to the king,
O king, live forever! 22 My God sent
His angel and shut the lions mouths,
so that they have not hurt me, because
I was found innocent before Him; and
also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.
23 Now the king was exceedingly
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 injury whatever was found on him,
because he believed in his God.

Darius Honors God

24 And the king gave the command,
and they brought those men who had
accused Daniel, and they cast them into
the den of lions
t hem, their children,
and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in
pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.
25Then King Darius wrote:

To all peoples, nations, and

languages that dwell in all the
Peace be multiplied to you.

I make a decree that in every

dominion of my kingdom men must
tremble and fear before the God of

For He is the living God,

And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which shall
not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall endure to
the end.
27 He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders
6:13aLiterally of the sons of the captivity
6:18aExact meaning unknown

6:23 he believed in his God. Daniels faithfulness got

him into trouble; faith got him out of it (Heb. 11:33).
6:24 their children, and their wives. The entire
families of the wicked conspirators were destroyed
because the Persians, like the Hebrews and other
(Num. 16:135; Josh. 7).

1204 | Daniel 6:28

In heaven and on earth,
Who has 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.

Vision oftheFour Beasts

In the first year of Belshazzar king

of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and
visions of his head while on his bed.
Then he wrote down the dream, telling
the main facts.a
2Daniel spoke, saying, I saw in my vi6:28 and in the reign of Cyrus. Gubaru, or Darius,
served Cyrus for about one year, after which Cyrus
7:1 the first year of Belshazzar. Chapter 5 records
Belshazzars death, indicating that the Book of Daniel is not arranged chronologically.
7:3 four great beasts. These four beasts represent
kings or kingdoms, like the four metals of the statue
in chapter 2.

sion by night, and behold, the four winds

of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.
3And four great beasts came up from
the sea, each different from the other.
4T he first was like a lion, and had eagles wings. I watched till its wings were
plucked off; and it was lifted up from the
earth and made to stand on two feet like
a man, and a mans heart was given toit.
5 And suddenly another beast, a
second, like a bear. It was raised up on
one side, and had three ribs in its mouth
7:1aLiterally the head (or chief) of the

7:4 like a lion, and had eagles wings. There has

been almost universal agreement from the early
centuries until today that this beast represents Babylon. It is also agreed that the visions of chapters 2
and 7 speak of the same four kingdoms.
successor, the Medo-Persian Empire (2:3839). The
three ribs may represent the three kingdoms that


Daniel 7:1

Prophecies about the future

Beginning in chapter 7, the Book of Daniel
takes a strange turn that fascinates some
readers and confuses others. Thats because
most of this second half of the book was written in an apocalyptic style.
Apocalyptic literature relies heavily
on symbolic elements to represent either
current world events or future events. The
symbols usually need interpretation to be
understood, which is where Daniel came in.
In Daniel 2, the image of the great statue and
the stone cut without hands reflected apocalyptic elements, which Daniel explained to
Many Bible students believe that the
four animals found in Daniel 7 correspond
to the different metals in the statue, while
the Ancient of Days corresponds to the
stone cut without hands. The interpretation
Daniel received affirms that interpretation.
Other apocalyptic symbols in the book have
sparked disagreement. However, one unifying factor in biblical apocalyptic literature is
the supremacy of God.
The apocalyptic visions of Daniel most
closely resemble the visions of Revelation
given to John on the island of Patmos.

Instead of strange statues and wild animals

representing the future, Jesus gave John a
glimpse of heaven. But John still had trouble
expressing what he saw with human words.
He described things like thrones surrounded
by rainbows (Rev. 4:2, 3), seals on a scroll
(Rev. 6:18:5), trumpets of judgment (Rev.
11:19), a dragon (Rev. 12:1
17), and a
beast (Rev. 17). But, like Daniel, Johns primary message focused not on the symbols,
but on the ultimate victory of God over evil
(Rev. 1921) when He will wipe away tears
and make all things new (Rev. 21:5).

The Bible presents angels as real beings but
provides little detailed information about
them. It seems God wants us to know that
reality extends beyond our normal perceptions but He doesnt want us to be consumed
by that larger view. He occasionally lifts the
veil and lets us glimpse the spiritual realm.
Daniel saw that larger universe and found it
overwhelming (Dan. 7:15; 8:27; 10:15, 16).
previous: Daniel 6:123

Daniel 7:20 | 1205

between its teeth. And they said thus to
it: Arise, devour much flesh!
6 After this I looked, and there was
another, like a leopard, which had on
its back four wings of a bird. The beast
also had four heads, and dominion was
given toit.
7 After this I saw in the night visions,
and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and
terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge
iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in
pieces, and trampling the residue with
its feet. It was different from all the
beasts that were before it, and it had
ten horns. 8 I was considering the horns,
and there was another horn, a little one,
coming up among them, before whom
three of the first horns were plucked
out by the roots. And there, in this horn,
were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a
mouth speaking pompous words.

Vision oftheAncient ofDays


I watched till thrones were put in

And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like
pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered
to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand
stood before Him.
The courta was seated,
And the books were opened.
11I watched then because of the
sound of the pompous words which
the horn was speaking; I watched till
the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had
their dominion taken away, yet their

7:6 like a leopard. The leopard is believed to represent Greece. The Greeks, under the leadership
of Alexander the Great, rapidly conquered the
known world. four heads. After Alexanders death,
his empire was divided into four different parts
(8:822)Macedonia, Egypt, Syria, and Thracia.
7:7 fourth beast. The last of the beasts may represent Rome (2:40).
7:9 Ancient of Days. Ancient of Days is a reference
to God the Father as certified by the submission of
the One like the Son of Man (vv. 1314) and His role
in judgment (v. 22).
7:10 And the books were opened. The books record

lives were prolonged for a season and

a time.
13 I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of

Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before
14 Then to Him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and
languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

Daniels Visions Interpreted

15 I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit
within my body, and the visions of my
head troubled me. 16 I came near to one
of those who stood by, and asked him
the truth of all this. So he told me and
made known to me the interpretation
of these things: 17 Those great beasts,
which are four, are four kings a which
arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints
of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever,
even forever and ever.
19 Then I wished to know the truth
about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly
dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its
nails of bronze, which devoured, broke
in pieces, and trampled the residue with
its feet; 20 and the ten horns that were on
its head, and the other horn which came
up, before which three fell, namely, that
horn which had eyes and a mouth which
spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.

7:10aOr judgment 7:17aRepresenting

their kingdoms (compare verse23)

the names and deeds of those who will be judged

(Rev. 20:12).
7:13 with the clouds of heaven. John uses the same
expression to speak of Jesus coming in judgment
(Rev. 1:7). One like the Son of Man. The term son of
name to emphasize His humanity (Matt. 9:6; 10:23).
7:14 to Him was given dominion. Jesus will reign
over all things (1Cor. 15:2728; Eph. 1:2023; Phil.
2:911; Rev. 17:14; 19:10).

1206 | Daniel 7:21

21I was watching; and the same horn
was making war against the saints, and
prevailing against them, 22until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was
made in favor of the saints of the Most
High, and the time came for the saints
to possess the kingdom.
23Thus he said:

The fourth beast shallbe

A fourth kingdom on earth,
Which shall be different from all
other kingdoms,
And shall devour the whole earth,
Trample it and break it in pieces.
24 The ten horns are ten kings
Who shall arise from this
And another shall rise after them;
He shall be different from the first
And shall subdue three kings.
25 He shall speak pompous words
against the Most High,
Shall persecutea the saints of the
Most High,
And shall intend to change times
and law.
Then the saints shall be given into
his hand
For a time and times and half a time.

But the court shall be seated,

And they shall take away his
To consume and destroy it forever.
27 Then the kingdom and dominion,
And the greatness of the kingdoms
under the whole heaven,
Shall be given to the people, the
saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting
And all dominions shall serve and
obey Him.
7:21 the same horn was making war. The little horns
militaristic character is seen also in 11:3839 and
of a beast, this blasphemous enemy of the saints
prevails for 42 months. The connection between
Daniels little horn and Johns beast from the sea is
7:24 The ten horns. Some perceive the fourth beast
as representing Rome, and the ten horns as the fragments of the Roman Empire. Others see the fourth
beast as a revived Roman Empire and the ten horns
as kings of a future realm.
7:25 a time and times and half a time. If the expression time is taken to mean a year, and times as
two years, the three and a half years would exactly
equal the 42 months mentioned in the Book of

28 This is the end of the account. a

As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly
troubled me, and my countenance
changed; but I kept the matter in my

Vision ofa Ram and a Goat

In the third year of the reign of King

Belshazzar a vision appeared to
to me, Daniel
a fter the one that
appeared to me the first time. 2 I saw
in the vision, and it so happened while
I was looking, that I was in Shushan,
the citadel, which is in the province
of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I
was by the River Ulai. 3T hen I lifted
my eyes and saw, and there, standing
beside the river, was a ram which had
two horns, and the two horns were high;
but one was higher than the other, and
the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the
ram pushing westward, northward,
and southward, so that no animal could
withstand him; nor was there any that
could deliver from his hand, but he did
according to his will and became great.
5And as I was considering, suddenly
a male goat came from the west, across
the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat
had a notable horn between his eyes.
6T hen he came to the ram that had two
horns, which I had seen standing beside
the river, and ran at him with furious
power. 7And I saw him confronting the
ram; he was moved with rage against
him, attacked the ram, and broke his
two horns. There was no power in the
ram to withstand him, but he cast him
down to the ground and trampled him;
and there was no one that could deliver
the ram from his hand.
7:25aLiterally wear out 7:28aLiterally
the word

Revelation (Rev. 13:110), half of the 70th week of

years of 9:27. Some also believe that the expression
does not indicate a specific number of years but
instead a period of time that God in His mercy would
8:1 In the third year. After writing in Aramaic from
2:47:28, Daniel returns to writing in Hebrew.
8:3 a ram which had two horns. The ram represents
Medo-Persia (v. 20). The two horns symbolize the
peoples of Media and Persia.
8:5 a male goat. The goat represents Greece (v. 21).
The notable horn symbolizes Alexander the Great
(v. 21) who launched his attack against Persia in
the Persian Empire. His conquest was so rapid that it
seemed as if he never touched the ground.

Daniel 8:26 | 1207

8T herefore

the male goat grew very

great; but when he became strong, the
large horn was broken, and in place of
it four notable ones came up toward the
four winds of heaven. 9And out of one
of them came a little horn which grew
exceedingly great toward the south,
toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10And it grew up to the host
of heaven; and it cast down some of the
host and some of the stars to the ground,
and trampled them. 11He even exalted
himself as high as the Prince of the host;
and by him the daily sacrifices were
taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12Because of transgression, an army was given over to the
horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and
he cast truth down to the ground. He did
all this and prospered.
13T hen I heard a holy one speaking;
and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, How long
will the vision be, concerning the daily
sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary
and the host to be trampled underfoot?
14 And he said to me, For two thousand three hundred days; a then the
sanctuary shall be cleansed.

Gabriel Interprets theVision

ground; but he touched me, and stood

me upright. 19And he said, Look, I am
making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation;
for at the appointed time the end shall
be. 20T he ram which you saw, having
the two horns
t hey are the kings of
Media and Persia. 21And the male goat
is the
k ingdom a of Greece. The large
horn that is between its eyes is the first
king. 22 As for the broken horn and the
four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but
not with its power.
23 And in the latter time of their

When the transgressors have
reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
24 His power shall be mighty, but not
by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and
also the holy people.
25 Through his cunning

He shall cause deceit to prosper

under his rule;a
And he shall exalt himself in his
He shall destroy many in their
He shall even rise against the
Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without
human means.b

15T hen it happened, when I, Daniel,

had seen the vision and was seeking
the meaning, that suddenly there stood
before me one having the appearance
of a man. 16And I heard a mans voice
between the banks of the Ulai, who
called, and said, Gabriel, make this
man understand the vision. 17 So he
came near where I stood, and when he
came I was afraid and fell on my face;
but he said to me, Understand, son of
man, that the vision refers to the time
of the end.
18 Now, as he was speaking with me,
I was in a deep sleep with my face to the

8:14aLiterally eveningmornings
8:21aLiterally king, representing his
kingdom (compare 7:17, 23) 8:25aLiterally
hand bLiterally hand

8:8 the large horn was broken. Alexander the Great

died at the height of his career, before he was 33
years old. After his death, his empire was divided
among his four generals (11:4).
8:9 a little horn. This horn is Antiochus Epiphanes,
who ruled part of the Greek Empire from 175 to
164 b.c.
8:11 Prince of the host. This is clearly God Himself.
The host refers to Gods people (12:3; Gen. 15:5).
Antiochus is remembered in infamy by the Jews
because he desecrated the temple by setting up a
statue of Zeus and sacrificing a pig on the holy altar.

8:14 two thousand three hundred days. This was the

temple and the Maccabees cleansing of it.
8:16 Gabriel. This is the first mention of the angel
Gabriel. This angel is mentioned by name three
other times (9:21; Luke 1:19,26).
8:24 not by his own power. Like the antichrist
(2Thess. 2:9), Antiochus would be energized by
8:25 broken without human means. According to

26 And the vision of the evenings and

Which was told is true;
Therefore seal up the vision,

1208 | Daniel 8:27

For it refers to many days in the
27And I, Daniel, fainted and
sick for days; afterward I arose
went about the kings business. I
astonished by the vision, but no


Daniels Prayer for thePeople

In the first year of Darius the son

of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of
the Medes, who was made king over
the realm of the Chaldeans2in the
first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the
years specified by the word of the Lord
through Jeremiah the prophet, that He
would accomplish seventy years in the
desolations of Jerusalem.
3T hen I set my face toward the Lord
God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and
ashes. 4 And I prayed to the L ord my
God, and made confession, and said,
O Lord, great and awesome God, who
keeps His cov
e n
a nt and mercy with
those who love Him, and with those
who keep His commandments, 5 we
have sinned and committed iniquity,
we have done wickedly and rebelled,
even by departing from Your precepts
and Your judgments. 6 Neither have we
heeded Your servants the prophets, who
spoke in Your name to our kings and our
princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7O Lord, righteousness
belongs to You, but to us shame of face,
as it is this day
to the men of Judah,
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all
Israel, those near and those far off in all
the countries to which You have driven
them, because of the unfaithfulness
which they have committed against You.
9:2 by the books. The books were the Scriptures,
specifically the Book of Jeremiah, which states that
the captivity would last 70 years (Jer. 25:1112;
29:1014). By this time, Daniel himself had been in
captivity for about 67 years, and he knew that the
punishment was nearly over.
9:34 Prayer and FastingThere are many examples in Scripture of people who pray to learn the will
do not pray and find themselves in trouble (Josh. 9).
Most Christians quickly learn that one of the most
important ways we learn the will of God for our lives
is through prayer. If any of you lacks wisdom, let
him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without
reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5). See
also Psalm 143:810 and James 4:2.
Other verses in the Bible link prayer with fasting.

8 O Lord, to us belongs shame of

face, to our kings, our princes, and
our fathers, because we have sinned
against You. 9To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we
have rebelled against Him. 10We have
not obeyed the voice of the L ord our
God, to walk in His laws, which He set
before us by His servants the prophets.
11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your
law, and has departed so as not to obey
Your voice; therefore the curse and the
oath written in the Law of Moses the
servant of God have been poured out
on us, because we have sinned against
Him. 12 And He has confirmed His
words, which He spoke against us and
against our judges who judged us, by
bringing upon us a great disaster; for
under the whole heaven such has never
been done as what has been done to
13 As it is written in the Law of
Moses, all this disaster has come upon
us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might
turn from our iniquities and understand
Your truth. 14T herefore the L ord has
kept the disaster in mind, and brought
it upon us; for the L ord our God is
righteous in all the works which He
does, though we have not obeyed His
voice. 15And now, O Lord our God, who
brought Your people out of the land of
Egypt with a mighty hand, and made
Yourself a name, as it is this day
have sinned, we have done wickedly!
16 O Lord, according to all Your
righteousness, I pray, let Your anger
and Your fury be turned away from
Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the
iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and

To fast is to abstain for a period of time from some

important and necessary activity in our lives. The
purpose of fasting is to be able to spend that time
in prayer before God. Different kinds of fasting are
possible. One may for a time refrain from sleep
(2Cor. 6:5; 11:27), marital sex (1Cor. 7:15), or food
(Matt. 4:12). There are also many examples of fasting in the Word: Moses in Deuteronomy 9:9, Elijah in
1Kings 19:8, Daniel in Daniel 9:3, Ezra in Ezra 10:6,
and Nehemiah in Nehemiah 1:4.
9:11 the curse and the oath. Covenant documents
typically contained statements concerning the
2728). The most feared and devastating curse of all
had come to pass when the people were deported
from the land.

Daniel 9:27 | 1209

Your people are a reproach to all those
around us. 17Now therefore, our God,
hear the prayer of Your servant, and his
supplications, and for the Lords sake
cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes
and see our desolations, and the city
which is called by Your name; for we do
not present our supplications before You
because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19 O Lord,
hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and
act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my
God, for Your city and Your people are
called by Your name.

TheSeventy-Weeks Prophecy
20 Now

while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin
of my people Israel, and presenting my
supplication before the L ord my God
for the holy mountain of my God, 21yes,
while I was speaking in prayer, the man
Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision
at the beginning, being caused to fly
swiftly, reached me about the time of
the evening offering. 22 And he informed
me, and talked with me, and said,
O Daniel, I have now come forth to give
you skill to understand. 23At the beginning of your supplications the command
went out, and I have come to tell you, for
you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the
24 Seventy weeksa are determined

For your people and for your holy

To finish the transgression,
To make an end ofb sins,

9:21 the time of the evening offering. The temple

was in ruins,andregulardailysacrifices were impossible. Nevertheless, Daniel observed the ritual of
worship by praying at the hour of the evening sacrifice. Daniels prayer was his evening offering.
9:24 Seventy weeks. The word weeks can also be
translated sevens. Many scholars agree that the
sevens are periods of seven years.
9:25 the going forth of the command to restore
and build Jerusalem. This may refer to the decree
of Cyrus in Ezra 1, the decree of Darius in Ezra 6, the
decree of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7, or the decree of Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2.
9:26 sixty-two weeks. When the 7 weeks and 62
weeks (v. 25) are added together, they equal 483
years. If these years are added to the date of the
decree of Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2 (445 b.c.), with
an adjustment to allow for a 360-day year, the
end of the 69 weeks coincides with the date of the

To make reconciliation for iniquity,

To bring in everlasting
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand,

That from the going forth of the

To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and
sixty-two weeks;
The streeta shall be built again, and
the wall,b
Even in troublesome times.

26 And after the sixty-t wo weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for

And the people of the prince who is
to come
Shall destroy the city and the
The end of it shall be with a
And till the end of the war
desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant
with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice
and offering.
And on the wing of abominations
shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation,
which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.
9:24aLiterally sevens, and so throughout
the chapter bFollowing Qere, Septuagint,
Syriac, and Vulgate; Kethib and Theodotion
read To seal up. 9
:25aOr open square
bOr moat

triumphalentryintoJerusalemjustbeforethecrucifixion. the prince who is to come. This seems to be a

reference to the antichrist.
9:27 in the middle of the week. That is, 3-1/2 years
later. These 3-1/2 years of the rule of the antichrist
seem to correspond with the time and times and
half a time when the fourth beast rules (7:25) and
with the 42-month rule of the beast from the sea
(Rev. 13:110). one who makes desolate. Antiochus
committed an abomination by setting up an altar
to the god Zeus in the holy place in the temple in
Jerusalem (11:31). The antichrist will also commit
an abomination of desolation against the living
God. Jesus reference to the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matt.
24:15) occurred long after the desolation caused by
Antiochus and indicatesthatthisverseisdescribing
the abomination of the antichrist and not that of

1210 | Daniel 10:1

Vision oftheGlorious Man


In the third year of Cyrus king of

Persia a message was revealed
to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but
the appointed time was long; a and he
understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. 2 In those
days I, Daniel, was mourning three full
weeks. 3I ate no pleasant food, no meat
or wine came into my mouth, nor did
I anoint myself at all, till three whole
weeks were fulfilled.
4 Now on the twenty-
f ourth day of
the first month, as I was by the side of
the great river, that is, the Tigris, a 5I
lifted my eyes and looked, and behold,
a certain man clothed in linen, whose
waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!
6 His body was like beryl, his face like
the appearance of lightning, his eyes
like torches of fire, his arms and feet
like burnished bronze in color, and the
sound of his words like the voice of a
7And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me
did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to
hide themselves. 8T herefore I was left
alone when I saw this great vision, and
no strength remained in me; for my
vigor was turned to frailty in me, and
I retained no strength. 9Yet I heard the
sound of his words; and while I heard
the sound of his words I was in a deep
sleep on my face, with my face to the

Prophecies Concerning Persia and

10 Suddenly, a hand touched me,
which made me tremble on my knees
and on the palms of my hands. 11And
he said to me, O Daniel, man greatly
beloved, understand the words that I

10:2 three full weeks. This period of time refers to

month of the year (Ex. 12:120).
10:6 his face like the appearance of lightning. The
description of this man is very much like Ezekiels
description of the glory of God (Ezek. 1:428) and
Johns description of the risen Christ (Rev. 1:920).
10:13 the prince of the kingdom of Persia. This
referred to here is in the spiritual, heavenly realm, as
the allusion to the angel Michael (also referred to as

speak to you, and stand upright, for I

have now been sent to you. While he
was speaking this word to me, I stood
12T hen he said to me, Do not fear,
Daniel, for from the first day that you set
your heart to understand, and to humble
yourself before your God, your words
were heard; and I have come because of
your words. 13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-
days; and behold, Michael, one of the
chief princes, came to help me, for I had
been left alone there with the kings of
Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you
understand what will happen to your
people in the latter days, for the vision
refers to many days yet to come.
15W hen he had spoken such words
to me, I turned my face toward the
ground and became speechless. 16And
suddenly, one having the likeness of
the sons a of men touched my lips; then
I opened my mouth and spoke, saying
to him who stood before me, My lord,
because of the vision my sorrows have
overwhelmed me, and I have retained
no strength. 17For how can this servant
of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for
me, no strength remains in me now, nor
is any breath left in me.
18 T hen again, the one having the
likeness of a man touched me and
strengthened me. 19And he said, O man
greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to
you; be strong, yes, be strong!
So when he spoke to me I was
strengthened, and said, Let my lord
speak, for you have strengthened me.
20T hen he said, Do you know why
I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia;
10:1aOr and of great conflict
10:4aHebrew Hiddekel 10:16aTheodotion
and Vulgate read the son; Septuagint reads
a hand.

political structures to evil. The apostle Paul refers
to spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly
places (Eph. 6:12). The prince of Persia apparently
sought to detain the angel so that Daniel would be
prevented from hearing more of Gods revelation
(vv. 1214). Michael. Michael seems to be one of
the most powerful angels. He is mentioned three
times in the Old Testament, all in the Book of Daniel
(v. 21; 12:1), and twice in the New Testament (Jude 9;
Rev. 12:7).
10:20 with the prince of Persia. Persia was under

Daniel 11:15 | 1211

and when I have gone forth, indeed the
prince of Greece will come. 21But I will
tell you what is noted in the Scripture
of Truth. (No one upholds me against
these, except Michael your prince.
Also in the first year of Dari

the Mede, I, even I, stood up to
confirm and strengthen him.) 2 And now
I will tell you the truth: Behold, three
more kings will arise in Persia, and
the fourth shall be far richer than them
all; by his strength, through his riches,
he shall stir up all against the realm
of Greece. 3T hen a mighty king shall
arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4And
when he has arisen, his kingdom shall
be broken up and divided toward the
four winds of heaven, but not among his
posterity nor according to his dominion
with which he ruled; for his kingdom
shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.


Warring Kings ofNorth and South

5 Also the king of the South shall
become strong, as well as one of his
princes; and he shall gain power over
him and have dominion. His dominion
shall be a great dominion. 6And at the
end of some years they shall join forces,
for the daughter of the king of the South
shall go to the king of the North to make
an agreement; but she shall not retain
the power of her authority, a and neither
he nor his authorityb shall stand; but
she shall be given up, with those who
brought her, and with him who begot
her, and with him who strengthened her
in those times. 7But from a branch of her
roots one shall arise in his place, who

the ultimate dominion of an evil spirit from Satan

(vv.1314), and so also was Greece. The succession
of world powers follows the pattern of Daniels second vision (8:2022).
11:1 the first year of Darius. This is the same year as
that of the revelation of the 70 weeks, 539 b.c.
11:2 three more kings. Darius (under Cyrus) was
followed by Cambyses (530522 b.c.), Gaumata
(522 b.c.), Darius I (522486 b.c.), and Xerxes
(486465 b.c.)who was the richest king of all,
due to the extent of the empires conquests and the
severe taxation.
11:4 but not among his posterity. The mighty king
of verse 3 fits with Alexander the Great, the first
ruler of the Greek Empire. When Alexander died,
Cassander ruled over Macedonia; Ptolemy ruled in
achus ruled over Thrace.

shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal
with them and prevail. 8 And he shall
also carry their gods captive to Egypt,
with their princes a and their precious
articles of silver and gold; and he shall
continue more years than the king of
the North.
9 Also the king of the North shall
come to the kingdom of the king of the
South, but shall return to his own land.
10 However his sons shall stir up strife,
and assemble a multitude of great
forces; and one shall certainly come
and overwhelm and pass through; then
he shall return to his fortress and stir
up strife.
11And the king of the South shall be
moved with rage, and go out and fight
with him, with the king of the North,
who shall muster a great multitude;
but the multitude shall be given into
the hand of his enemy. 12W hen he has
taken away the multitude, his heart will
be lifted up; and he will cast down tens
of thousands, but he will not prevail.
13 For the king of the North will return
and muster a multitude greater than the
former, and shall certainly come at the
end of some years with a great army
and much equipment.
14 Now in those times many shall
rise up against the king of the South.
Also, violent men a of your people shall
exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall. 15So the king of
the North shall come and build a siege
11:6aLiterally arm bLiterally arm
11:8aOr molded images 11:14aOr
robbers, literally sons of breakage

11:5 the king of the South. Alexanders general Ptol

emy I Soter was the first king of the southern kingdomthat is, Egypt.
11:615 at the end of some years. The events
described in these verses fit with the actual history
of the divided Greek Empire. the daughter of the
king. This refers to Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285246 b.c.) of Egypt. the king
of the North. This is Antiochus II Theos (261246b.c.)
of Syria. a branch of her roots. This is Berenices
brother, Ptolemy III Eurgetes (246221 b.c.), who
conquered Seleucus Callinicus (246226 b.c.) of
Syria (the king of the North). Seleucus did attempt a
accomplishing his goal. The kings of Egypt and Syria
(the south and the north) continued to war against
take a fortified city. Antiochus of Syria defeated the
fortified city of Sidon in 198 b.c.

1212 | Daniel 11:16

mound, and take a fortified city; and
the forces a of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall
have no strength to resist. 16But he who
comes against him shall do according
to his own will, and no one shall stand
against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power.a
17 He shall also set his face to enter
with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright
o nes a with him; thus
shall he do. And he shall give him the
daughter of women to destroy it; but she
shall not stand with him, or be for him.
18 After this he shall turn his face to the
coastlands, and shall take many. But a
ruler shall bring the reproach against
them to an end; and with the reproach
removed, he shall turn back on him.
19T hen he shall turn his face toward the
fortress of his own land; but he shall
stumble and fall, and not be found.
20 There shall arise in his place one
who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be
destroyed, but not in anger or in battle. 21And in his place shall arise a vile
person, to whom they will not give the
honor of royalty; but he shall come in
peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22W ith the force a of a flood they
shall be swept away from before him
and be broken, and also the prince of
the cove nant. 23And after the league is
made with him he shall act deceitfully,
for he shall come up and become strong
with a small number of people. 24 He
shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall
do what his fathers have not done, nor
his forefathers: he shall disperse among
them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and
he shall devise his plans against the
strongholds, but only for a time.

25He shall stir up his power and his

courage against the king of the South
with a great army. And the king of the
South shall be stirred up to battle with
a very great and mighty army; but he
shall not stand, for they shall devise
plans against him. 26Yes, those who
eat of the portion of his delicacies shall
destroy him; his army shall be swept
away, and many shall fall down slain.
27Both these kings hearts shall be bent
on evil, and they shall speak lies at the
same table; but it shall not prosper, for
the end will still be at the appointed
time. 28W hile returning to his land with
great riches, his heart shall be moved
against the holy cov
e n
a nt; so he shall
do damage and return to his own land.

11:17the daughterofwomen.Antiochus IIIs daughter Cleopatra was given in marriage to Ptolemy V

Egypt, but Cleopatra sided with her husband over
her father.
11:1819 the coastlands... his own land. Antiochus
III undertook a vigorous campaign into Asia Minor
Scipio defeated Antiochus. Having lost all that he
had gained, Antiochus returned to his own land,
where he was defeated and killed while trying to
plunder a temple.
11:21 a vile person. Antiochus IV Epiphanes seized
the throne through treachery and later defiled the
temple in Jerusalem (v. 31; 9:27).
11:29 he shall return and go toward the south. After

a union against him, Antiochus returned to Egypt in

168 b.c., but he was driven out by the Romans.
11:31 abomination of desolation. Antiochus defiled
the sanctuary by sacrificing a pig on the altar. He put
a stop to the daily sacrifices, and he set up an image
of Zeus in the holy place. Jesus said that a similar
thing would happen just prior to His return (Matt.
11:32 the people who know their God. The books of
of five sons, who refused to offer profane sacrifices
and killed the kings agents. He and his sons then
fled to the mountains and began the famous Maccabean revolt.
11:32 Know God Through His WordThe highest
knowledge to which men and women can attain is
personal knowledge of God (Jer. 9:24). One of the

TheNorthern Kings Blasphemies

29 At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall
not be like the former or the latter. 30 For
ships from Cyprus a shall come against
him; therefore he shall be grieved, and
return in rage against the holy cov
enant, and do damage.
So he shall return and show regard
for those who forsake the holy cov
enant. 31And forces a shall be mustered
by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away
the daily sacrifices, and place there the
abomination of desolation. 32T hose who
do wickedly against the cov
e n
a nt he
shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong,
and carry out great exploits. 33 And

11:15aLiterally arms 11:16aLiterally hand

11:17aOr bring equitable terms
11:22aLiterally arms 11:30aHebrew
Kittim, western lands, especially Cyprus
11:31aLiterally arms

Daniel 12:2 | 1213

those of the people who understand
shall instruct many; yet for many days
they shall fall by sword and flame, by
captivity and plundering. 34 Now when
they fall, they shall be aided with a little
help; but many shall join with them by
intrigue. 35And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until
the time of the end; because it is still for
the appointed time.
36 Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and
magnify himself above every god, shall
speak blasphemies against the God of
gods, and shall prosper till the wrath
has been accomplished; for what has
been determined shall be done. 37He
shall regard neither the God a of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself
above them all. 38 But in their place he
shall honor a god of fortresses; and a
god which his fathers did not know he
shall honor with gold and silver, with
precious stones and pleasant things.
39T hus he shall act against the strongest
fortresses with a foreign god, which he
shall acknowledge, and advance its
glory; and he shall cause them to rule
over many, and divide the land for gain.

TheNorthern Kings Conquests

40 At the time of the end the king of
the South shall attack him; and the king
of the North shall come against him
like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall

most valuable teachings of Scripture is that we can

actually know God through His Word. To know God
personally is to be saved and have eternal life (Job
17:3). We gain this knowledge primarily through
interaction with His Word in four ways: First, we
listen to and receive Gods Word as the Holy Spirit
interprets it and applies it to our hearts. Second,
Scripture reveals Gods nature and character. We
know God through understanding of the works He
has done, which are explained in Scripture. Third,
our knowledge of God moves from intellectual to
us and do what He commands. Fourth, our personal
knowledge of God grows as we rejoice in the love He
shows us in Scripture and express joy in response
to what He has done for us and given us. The Word
leads to knowledge of all that is true about God. This
knowledge of God then produces fellowship with
11:35 it is still for the appointed time. Clearly, the
trouble and wickedness of Antiochus reign was not
the end. That is yet to come.
11:36 Then the king. Many ancient and modern
interpreters have concluded that at this point a new

enter the countries, overwhelm them,

and pass through. 41He shall also enter
the Glorious Land, and many countries
shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and
the prominent people of Ammon. 42He
shall stretch out his hand against the
countries, and the land of Egypt shall
not escape. 43He shall have power over
the treasures of gold and silver, and over
all the precious things of Egypt; also the
Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at
his heels. 44 But news from the east and
the north shall trouble him; therefore he
shall go out with great fury to destroy
and annihilate many. 45And he shall
plant the tents of his palace between the
seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet
he shall come to his end, and no one will
help him.

Prophecy oftheEnd Time


At that time Michael shall

stand up,
The great prince who stands watch
over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was
a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall
be delivered,
Every one who is found written in
the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the
dust of the earth shall awake,
11:37aOr gods

person, the antichrist, is introduced. This king is distinguished from the king of the North (v. 40); therefore, he cannot be Antiochus Epiphanes. It appears
that there is a gap of many years between verses 35
and 36, and this refers back to the time of the end
which will come at the appointed time (v. 35).
11:38 a god which his fathers did not know. This
11:40 time of the end. This is the period just before
the return of Christ (Matt. 24:14).
11:45 no one will help him. The end of the king is
sealed at Christs second coming (Rev. 19:1121).
12:1 written in the book. The Book of Life is Gods
record of those who are justified by faith (Ex. 32:32;
Ps. 69:28; Luke 10:20; Rev. 20:12).
12:2 many... who sleep... shall awake. This passageappearstorefertoageneralresurrection,while
other passages suggest that there is more than one
(John 5:25). It is not unusual for prophecy in the Old
Testament to present events separated by a considerable span of time as if they occurred in immediate relationship to each other (see, for example, Is.

1214 | Daniel 12:3

Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the
And those who turn many to
Like the stars forever and ever.
4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words,
and seal the book until the time of the
end; many shall run to and fro, and
knowledge shall increase.
5 T hen I, Daniel, looked; and there
stood two others, one on this riverbank
and the other on that riverbank. 6And
one said to the man clothed in linen,
who was above the waters of the river,
How long shall the fulfillment of these
wonders be?
7T hen I heard the man clothed in
linen, who was above the waters of the
river, when he held up his right hand
and his left hand to heaven, and swore

by Him who lives forever, that it shall

be for a time, times, and half a time;
and when the power of the holy people
has been completely shattered, all these
things shall be finished.
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, My lord, what shall
be the end of these things?
9 And he said, Go your way, Daniel,
for the words are closed up and sealed
till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be
purified, made white, and refined, but
the wicked shall do wickedly; and none
of the wicked shall understand, but the
wise shall understand.
11And from the time that the daily
sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there
shall be one thousand two hundred and
ninety days. 12Blessed is he who waits,
and comes to the one thousand three
hundred and thirty-f ive days.
13 But you, go your way till the end;
for you shall rest, and will arise to your
inheritance at the end of the days.

12:6 How long. This question refers to the duration

of the trials, not the dates of the events.
12:7 a time, times, and half a time. If a time is a
year, this adds up to 3-1/2 years (7:25), which may
refer to the period immediately preceding the second coming of Christ (7:27). Some believe that this
expression is not meant to indicate anything more
specific than a length of time.
12:11 one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Various interpretations have been suggested. One
significant interpretation is that these days refer to

the time following a point halfway through a seven-

year period of tribulation prior to the coming of
Christ (9:27).
12:12 the one thousand three hundred and thirtyfive days. The extra 45 days may be the amount of
time that the last battles will take before the victory
is completely established.
12:13 you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance. Daniel died before these things came to pass,
but at the end he will be among those resurrected
(v. 2).

Through Hoseas marriage to an adulterous woman, God illustrated peoples unfaithfulness to
Him, the resulting punishment they would bear, and His redeeming love that would ultimately
restore them.


Hosea and Gomer did not live out your typical
love story. Sure, their story has all the makings
of drama
p assion, betrayal, conflict, pain,
pursuit, forgiveness, tenderness, and undying
love. But their relationship was about something much bigger than the two of them.
Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom
of Israel in the days leading up to Israels fall
to Assyria (722 b.c.). He began to prophesy
around 785 b.c., when King Jeroboam II reigned
over Israel (793753 b.c.) and King Uzziah (Azariah) ruled Judah (792740 b.c.). During Hoseas
ministry, he saw three more kings follow Uzziah
to the throne of Judah. And Hosea witnessed
the reign of the last six kings of Israel.
At the time Hosea addressed Israel, the
nation was a picture of political and economic
prosperity, but of moral bankruptcy. The northern kingdom of Israel had expanded its borders
through Jeroboams military campaigns (2 Kin.
28). In the southern kingdom, Uzziah
had bolstered Judahs army and conquered its
enemies (2 Chr. 26:115).
With these conquests came economic
prosperity. Many people grew wealthy. Luxuries were plentiful. Booming construction gave
evidence to the flourishing economy. But not
everyone in the land experienced the benefit. Alongside the wealthy were the ones the
wealthy oppressed. These persons were unable to find justice in the courts.
The nations immorality spread beyond the
social realm to the spiritual one. Gods people
chose to live in an ongoing violation of the first
commandment, committing idolatry at the altar
of the Canaanite god Baal. Instead of allying
with God, the people formed alliances with
their pagan neighbors.
Amid this climate, God had a message for
His people. Hosea was the messenger. And
Hosea was to deliver the message in a most


Three children, three ominous names (1:39)
Dont mix harlotry and religion (5:3)
Self-righteousness isnt righteousness (7:2)
Israel chooses stubbornness (10:9)
God pursues us (11:18)
The other side of repentance (14:47)
dramatic fashion. God told Hosea to marry
Gomer to illustrate Gods relationship with
the people of Israel. Hoseas bride, God said,
would be unfaithful to him. Her adultery would
illuminate the disloyalty of Gods people toward
Him. Hoseas promiscuous wife would bear
three children, whose names would symbolize
the judgment God was preparing to bring on
the Israelites.
Hoseas message was a proclamation of
condemnation and a warning of punishment.
Judgment was certain, and it would be severe.
God had made a binding covenant with His
people built upon absolute loyalty. God had
upheld His promise, but His people had not.
Hoseas warnings became reality during the
second half of the eighth century b.c. Assyria
took over Israel in stages, crushing the once
proud nation. The people suffered their punishment through drought, invasion, and exile.
But annihilation was not Gods final plan
for Israel. Hoseas message was clear: Gods
steadfast love for His people was a redemptive
love. He would not give up on even the most
stubborn and defiant among His people. God
punishes His children to bring us to repentance
and to restore us to a right relationship with
Symbolic of Gods interaction with His people, Hosea did not leave his wandering wife


with her extramarital lovers. He sought her
out and literally bought her back as his own.
With Hoseas incredible mercy toward his faithless wife, he illustrated the final note of Gods
message to His people: Although punishment
would come, it would not persist. God would
continue to seek His people until they turned to
Him in repentance. And one day in the future,
He would welcome them home with love and
A read through the book of Hosea can be
a disheartening reminder that although God is

faithful, His people fail Him time and again. We

are rebellious, stubborn, faithless, disloyal, and
inconsistent in our love for Him. Hosea also reminds us that sin brings consequences. We
reap what we sow. But more than all this, God
loves us with an everlasting love. God is always
pursuing us even when we stray. Gods theme
of redemption runs throughout the Bible.
Just as Hosea sought Gomer in her wayward
state and bought her back, God sent His Son,
Jesus, to purchase us and bring us back to

Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, a

For I will no longer have mercy on
the house of Israel,
But I will utterly take them away.b
7 Yet I will have mercy on the house
of Judah,
Will save them by the Lord their
And will not save them by bow,
Nor by sword or battle,
By horses or horsemen.

The word of the Lord that came to

Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days
of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

TheFamily ofHosea
2 W hen

the L ord began to speak by

Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:
Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
And children of harlotry,
For the land has committed great
By departing from the Lord.

he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and
bore him a son. 4T hen the Lord said to
Call his name Jezreel,
For in a little while
I will avenge the bloodshed of
Jezreel on the house of Jehu,
And bring an end to the kingdom of
the house of Israel.
5 It shall come to pass in that day
That I will break the bow of Israel in
the Valley of Jezreel.

8 Now when she had weaned Lo-

Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a
son. 9Then God said:

Call his name Lo-Ammi, a

For you are not My people,
And I will not be your God.

TheRestoration ofIsrael
10 Yet the number of the children of

Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to

she conceived again and bore a

daughter. Then God said to him:

1:6aLiterally NoMercy bOr That I may

forgive them at all 1:9aLiterally

1:23 wife of harlotry. Gomer may have been a

common prostitute at the time Hosea married her,
or perhaps she had participated in a ritual sexual
act as part of a Baal cult. However, it is more likely
that the descriptive phrase anticipates what Gomer
would become following her marriage to Hosea.
children of harlotry. If Gomer was a prostitute when
she married Hosea, this could refer to children that
Gomer already had and that Hosea adopted at the
time of marriage. A more likely possibility is that the
title anticipates children born to a mother whose
suspect. Gomers marital infidelity is a picture of

Israels idolatry and unfaithfulness to its covenant

with God.
1:5 break the bow. This phrase means to destroy an
opponents military strength (1Sam. 2:4; Ps. 46:9;
Jer. 49:35).
1:6 Lo-Ruhamah. This means no mercy or not
1:9Lo-Ammi.Thismeansnotmypeople,threatening the termination of the Lords covenant relationship with His people (Lev. 26:12).
1:10 Shall be as the sand of the sea. The Lord would
not reject His people forever. God would fulfill His
promise to Abraham (Gen. 22:17; 32:12).


Hosea 2:3 | 1217

You are not My people,a

There it shall be said to them,

You are sons of the living God.
11 Then the children of Judah and the
children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head;
And they shall come up out of the
For great will be the day of Jezreel!
Say to your brethren, My people,a
And to your sisters, Mercyb is

Gods Unfaithful People


Bring charges against your mother,

bring charges;

2:2 she is not My wife. This may be a formal

announcement of divorce or a realistic confession
that the relationship between God and Israel had
lost its vitality.

For she is not My wife, nor am I her

Let her put away her harlotries from
her sight,
And her adulteries from between
her breasts;
3 Lest I strip her naked
And expose her, as in the day she
was born,
And make her like a
And set her like a dry land,
And slay her with thirst.
1:10aHebrew loammi (compare verse9)
2:1aHebrew Ammi (compare 1:9, 10)
bHebrew Ruhamah (compare 1:6)

2:3 And make her like a wilderness. This simile picturesthelossoffertility,anappropriatepunishment

for a nation that had sought fertility by worshiping
another god.

Three children, three ominous names

Most often Scripture advises men to stay
away from women of ill repute (Prov. 6:2527;
7:127; 23:2628; 29:3). By striking contrast,
God instructed the prophet Hosea to join
himself in marriage to a harlot and become
father to her children. Perhaps Gomer was
already a common prostitute when they wed
or was involved in ritual sexual acts used in
the worship of the pagan god Baal. But most
likely she developed her reputation as a harlot
after marrying Hosea.
If Gomer was already a prostitute when
Hosea married her, the children of harlotry
may have been children Hosea adopted,
whom Gomer had from previous relationships. More likely the children came after
Gomers marriage to Hosea. The phrase children of harlotry suggests offspring born to a
woman whose reputation and behavior would
raise questions about her childrens paternity.
The first child of Hosea and Gomers
marriage was a son God instructed Hosea to
name Jezreel. In the city by the same name in
841 b.c., then king of Israel Jehu slaughtered
the evil dynasty of Omri, including Jezebel,
the sons of Ahab, and the prophets and
priests of Baal (2 Kin. 910). Another bloody
massacre was coming at the same place. This
time God would destroy the house of Jehu.


Hosea 1:39

The second child of Hosea and Gomer

was a daughter named LoRuhamah, meaning no mercy. Her name foreshadowed
Gods rejection of Israel.
The third child was a son they called Lo
Ammi, which means not My people.
By the names given them, the children
became personifications of the broken
relationship between God and His people.
He cast them off as orphans, surely a harsh
But there is more to the story. Continue
reading Hosea.

Names in Bible times often held significance.
Changing a persons name was frequently a
promise of divine action to change that individuals status or character. The meaning of
the names of Hoseas children indicates a low
point in the relationship between God and His
people. But He would not give up on them.
Read what He said about giving them a new
name in Isaiah 62:112.
next: Hosea 5:3

1218 | Hosea 2:4


I will not have mercy on her

For they are the children of harlotry.
5 For their mother has played the
She who conceived them has
behaved shamefully.
For she said, I will go after my
Who give me my bread and my
My wool and my linen,
My oil and my drink.

Therefore, behold,
I will hedge up your way with
And wall her in,
So that she cannot find her paths.
7 She will chase her lovers,
But not overtake them;
Yes, she will seek them, but not find
Then she will say,
I will go and return to my first
For then it was better for me than
8 For she did not know
That I gave her grain, new wine,
and oil,
And multiplied her silver and gold
Which they prepared for Baal.

Therefore I will return and take

My grain in its time
And My new wine in its season,
And will take back My wool and My
Given to cover her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in
the sight of her lovers,
And no one shall deliver her from
My hand.
11 I will also cause all her mirth to
Her feast days,
Her New Moons,
Her Sabbaths
All her appointed feasts.
2:67 She will chase her lovers. This word draws
attention to the strong passion the people of Israel
felt for Baal. These verses anticipate the exile, when
Israel would be separated from the idols of Baal.
2:12 beasts of the field. The Lord would break down
thickets inhabited by wild animals.
2:14 I will allure her. Having separated Israel from
her lovers, the Lord would seek to win her back by

12 And I will destroy her vines and her

fig trees,
Of which she has said,
These are my wages that my lovers
have given me.
So I will make them a forest,
And the beasts of the field shall eat
13 I will punish her
For the days of the Baals to which
she burned incense.
She decked herself with her
earrings and jewelry,
And went after her lovers;
But Me she forgot, says the Lord.

Gods Mercy on His People

14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her,

Will bring her into the wilderness,

And speak comfort to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from
And the Valley of Achor as a door
of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up
from the land of Egypt.
16 And it shall be, in that day,

Says the Lord,

That you will call Me My
And no longer call Me My Master,b
17 For I will take from her mouth the
names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by
their name no more.
18 In that day I will make a covenant
for them
With the beasts of the field,
With the birds of the air,
And with the creeping things of the
Bow and sword of battle I will
shatter from the earth,
To make them lie down safely.
19 I will betroth you to Me forever;

Yes, I will betroth you toMe

2:16aHebrew Ishi

bHebrew Baali

making romantic overtures and wooing her with

tender words of love.
2:15 Valley of Achor. This meant valley of trouble.
It was a reminder of the sin of Achan and Gods
discipline of the nation of Israel for his sin (Josh.
2:1920 betroth. Betrothal was a binding commitment,thelaststepbeforetheweddingandconsummation of the marriage.

Hosea 4:5 | 1219

In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
20 I will betroth you to Me in
And you shall know the Lord.
21 It shall come to pass in that day

That I will answer, says the Lord;

I will answer the heavens,
And they shall answer the earth.
22 The earth shall answer
With grain,
With new wine,
And with oil;
They shall answer Jezreel.a
23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the
And I will have mercy on her who
had not obtained mercy;a
Then I will say to those who were
not My people,b
You are My people!
And they shall say, You are my God!

Israel Will Return to God

T hen the Lord said to me, Go again,

love a woman who is loved by a
lovera and is committing adultery, just
like the love of the Lord for the children
of Israel, who look to other gods and
love the raisin cakes of the pagans.
2So I bought her for myself for fifteen
shekels of silver, and one and one-
homers of barley. 3And I said to her, You
shall stay with me many days; you shall
not play the harlot, nor shall you have a
manso, too, will I be toward you.
4 For the children of Israel shall abide
many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without
reconciliation even ifitmeanssubjecting Himself to
humiliation (Phil. 2:8). One of the great truths presented in the Old Testament is Gods undying love
for Israel. From among all the ancient nations on
earth, He had chosen Israel.
3:1 The Extent of Gods LovePeople who think
of the God of the Old Testament as a God of judgment and the God of the New Testament as a God of
Gomer who is consistently unfaithful. The Book of
Hosea is a living parable about how far God will go
to love Israel. While there is definitely judgment in
Hosea, the consistent ongoing message is God will
go to any extreme to demonstrate His love.
He is even willing to play the betrayed spouse
in order to save us. He is willing to be an object of
scorn and disrespect if that is what it takes to win
us back to Him. Gods own given law allows for the


ephod or teraphim.
the children of Israel shall return and seek the
L ord their God and David their king.
They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.

Gods Charge Against Israel

ear the word of the Lord,

You children of Israel,
For the Lord brings a charge
against the inhabitants of the

There is no truth or mercy

Or knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will
waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be
taken away.

Now let no man contend, or rebuke

For your people are like those who
contend with the priest.
5 Therefore you shall stumble in the
The prophet also shall stumble with
you in the night;
And I will destroy your mother.
2:22aLiterally God Will Sow
2:23aHebrew loruhamah bHebrew
loammi 3:1aLiterally friend or husband

20:10). God cares deeply about this sin. He cares
more deeply about His people.
the initiative. He does not wait passively for us to
come to Him. He is faithful about the task of going
after us. Even though there is every reason to reject
and ignore us, God is right there working to win us
in spite of the fact that we reject Him at every turn.
3:4 sacred pillar. These were stone pillars used by
the Canaanites in their worship of Baal and other
gods (2Kin. 3:2; 10:2627; 17:10). ephod. This was a
priestly garment.
4:1 charge. The Hebrew word refers to a formal complaint charging Israel with breaking the covenant.
mercy. This means loyalty or devotion. knowledge.
This does not refer to intellectual awareness, but to
recognition of Gods authority as Israels covenant
4:2 swearing and lying, killing and stealing and
committing adultery. Five of the Ten Commandments are mentioned here.

1220 | Hosea 4:6


My people are destroyed for lack of

Because you have rejected
I also will reject you from being
priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law
of your God,
I also will forget your children.

The more they increased,

The more they sinned against Me;
I will changea their gloryb into
8 They eat up the sin of My people;
They set their heart on their
9 And it shall be: like people, like
So I will punish them for their ways,
And reward them for their deeds.
10 For they shall eat, but not have
They shall commit harlotry, but not
Because they have ceased obeying
the Lord.

TheIdolatry ofIsrael
11 Harlotry, wine, and new wine

enslave the heart.

My people ask counsel from their
wooden idols,
And their staff informs them.
For the spirit of harlotry has caused
them to stray,
And they have played the harlot
against their God.
13 They offer sacrifices on the
And burn incense on the hills,
Under oaks, poplars, and
Because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters commit
And your brides commit adultery.

4:56 lack of knowledge. The priests had failed to

teach Gods law to the people (Mal. 2:7). As a result,
the priests would be the special object of Gods
judgment. He would terminate the priestly line.
4:78 They eat up the sin of My people. The priests
greedilyacceptedthemeatfromthepeopleshypocritical and empty sacrifices (6:6; 8:1113).
4:10 harlotry. This refers to religious prostitution
associated with Baal worship, not to immorality in
general. The Israelites worshiped Baal in order to
have good crops and many children, but they still
would not have enough to eat, nor would they multiply in number.

14 I will not punish your daughters

when they commit harlotry,

Nor your brides when they commit
For the men themselves go apart
with harlots,
And offer sacrifices with a ritual
Therefore people who do not
understand will be trampled.

15 Though you, Israel, play the

Let not Judah offend.
Do not come up to Gilgal,
Nor go up to Beth Aven,
Nor swear an oath, saying, As the
Lord lives

16 For Israel is stubborn

Like a stubborn calf;

Now the Lord will let them forage
Like a lamb in open country.

17 Ephraim is joined to idols,

Let him alone.

Their drink is rebellion,
They commit harlotry continually.
Her rulers dearlya love dishonor.
19 The wind has wrapped her up in its
And they shall be ashamed because
of their sacrifices.

Impending Judgment on Israel and


Hear this, Opriests!

Take heed, Ohouse of Israel!
Give ear, Ohouse of the king!
For yours is the judgment,

4:7aFollowing Masoretic Text, Septuagint,

and Vulgate; scribal tradition, Syriac, and
Targum read They will change. bFollowing
Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Syriac, Targum,
and Vulgate; scribal tradition reads My
glory. 4
:14aCompare Deuteronomy 23:18
4:18aHebrew is difficult; a Jewish tradition
reads Her rulers shamefully love, Give!

4:12 their staff. This refers to wooden idols that Baal

worshipers consulted for guidance.
4:15 Gilgal. This was an important religious center in
the north, known in Hoseas time for its hypocritical
religious practices (9:15; 12:11; Amos 4:4). Beth Aven.
This means house of iniquity, and is a sarcastic
reference to the important religious center Bethel,
which means house of God (Amos 5:5).
4:1719 Ephraim. This tribe was one of the largest
tribes of Israel. It is used here to represent the entire
northern kingdom.

Hosea 5:10 | 1221

Because you have been a snare to
And a net spread on Tabor.
2 The revolters are deeply involved in
Though I rebuke them all.
3 I know Ephraim,
And Israel is not hidden from Me;
For now, OEphraim, you commit
Israel is defiled.

They do not direct their deeds

Toward turning to their God,
For the spirit of harlotry is in their
And they do not know the Lord.
5 The pride of Israel testifies to his
Therefore Israel and Ephraim
stumble in their iniquity;
Judah also stumbles with them.

5:4 spirit of harlotry. The people had an uncontrollable desire to worship other gods.
5:89 Blow the rams horn. This act signaled an
emergency and mustered the fighting men to
defend the land. The towns mentioned were north

of Jerusalem, within or near the borders of Benjamin. The implication is that the enemy army had
already swept through the north and was ready to
invade Judah.
5:10 remove a landmark. Stones were used to mark

With their flocks and herds

They shall go to seek the Lord,
But they will not find Him;
He has withdrawn Himself from
7 They have dealt treacherously with
the Lord,
For they have begotten pagan
Now a New Moon shall devour them
and their heritage.
Blow the rams horn in Gibeah,
The trumpet in Ramah!
Cry aloud at Beth Aven,
Look behind you, OBenjamin!
9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day
of rebuke;
Among the tribes of Israel I make
known what is sure.
10 The princes of Judah are like those

who remove a landmark;


Hosea 5:3

Dont mix harlotry and religion

How does a nation commit harlotry? The
Hebrew word zanah denotes having illicit sexual relations, especially acts involving prostitution. Israels prostitution was spiritual, and it
spilled into their everyday actions. The people
had been unfaithful in their relationship to
God by worshiping idols. Old Testament writers often used harlotry to represent the sin
of idol worshipof honoring anyone in front
of God. Israel had made a covenant to serve
only God (Ex. 20:3); idolatry was a betrayal of
that promise not unlike marital unfaithfulness.
But in addition to their spiritual adultery,
Gods people also engaged in the physical
act of prostitution. Cultic prostitution played
a key role in Middle Eastern religions during
Hoseas time. When the Israelites fell under
the influence of their neighbors pagan religions, Israelite daughters and daughters-in-
law participated in the prostitution that was
part of it.
Both idolatry and sexual sin are not only an
affront to God but harmful to the person committing them. In the New Testament Paul wrote

that those who commit sexual sin, sin against

their own body (1 Cor. 6:18, 19). Speaking to
Jerusalem, Ezekiel painted a horrifying picture of the consequences of betraying God
for idols (Ezek. 16:3543).
Biblical passages that detail the results of
sin provide for us a cautionary tale: choosing
against Gods commands creates painful

What exactly was cultic prostitution? Men
would bring their sacrifices to pagan shrines
where they would prepare and offer them
to idols with the cult prostitutes. Afterward,
worshipers would engage in intercourse with
prostitutes, believing this ritual act would
motivate the god (or gods) to fertilize the
land. God said He would hold accountable
not just the prostitutes but also the men who
interacted with them (Hos. 4:14).
previous: Hosea 1:39
next: Hosea 7:2

1222 | Hosea 5:11

I will pour out My wrath on them
like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in
Because he willingly walked by
human precept.
12 Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a
And to the house of Judah like
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,

And Judah saw his wound,

Then Ephraim went to Assyria
And sent to King Jareb;
Yet he cannot cure you,
Nor heal you of your wound.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
And like a young lion to the house
of Judah.
I, even I, will tear them and go
I will take them away, and no one
shall rescue.
15 I will return again to My place
Till they acknowledge their offense.
Then they will seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly
seek Me.

A Call to Repentance

ome, and let us return to the Lord;

For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the
His going forth is established as the
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to
the earth.
the boundaries of property. A thief could steal a part
of someones land by moving one. The law warned
that altering a boundary in this way would bring a
special judgment from God (Deut. 19:14; 27:17; Prov.
5:12 I will be to Ephraim like a moth. As a moth
slowly destroys clothing, so the Lord would destroy
this word referstobone ortodecay (Prov.12:4;14:30;
Hab. 3:16).
5:1415 like a young lion. God would scatter His
people as judgment for their treachery. But the purpose of the Lords discipline was to drive the people
to earnestly seek Him.

Impenitence ofIsrael and Judah


O Ephraim, what shall I do to you?

O Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your faithfulness is like a
morning cloud,
And like the early dew it goes
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the
I have slain them by the words of
My mouth;
And your judgments are like light
that goes forth.
6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more
than burnt offerings.

But like mena they transgressed the

There they dealt treacherously
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers
And defiled with blood.
9 As bands of robbers lie in wait for a
So the company of priests murder
on the way to Shechem;
Surely they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in the
house of Israel:
There is the harlotry of Ephraim;
Israel is defiled.
11 Also, OJudah, a harvest is
appointed for you,
When I return the captives of My

When I would have healed Israel,

Then the iniquity of Ephraim was
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil

6:7aOr like Adam

6:3 like the latter and former rain. Two periods of

rain are alluded to here. The former rains came in
the autumn and softened the ground for plowing
and sowing. The latter rains came in the spring and
caused the plants to grow.
6:5 judgments are like light that goes forth. This
comparison suggests that Gods judgment, like
bright sunlight, was obvious to all; or that, like a
bolt of lightning or a blinding flash of light, it came
6:11 a harvest is appointed for you. The comparison
of Gods judgment to a harvest indicates that the
judgment was inevitable and implies that it would
be thorough in its destruction.

Hosea 7:11 | 1223


They do not consider in their

That I remember all their
Now their own deeds have
surrounded them;
They are before My face.
3 They make a king glad with their
And princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers.

They are all hot, like an oven,

And have devoured their judges;
All their kings have fallen.
None among them calls uponMe.

Ephraim has mixed himself among

the peoples;
Ephraim is a cake unturned.
9 Aliens have devoured his strength,
But he does not know it;
Yes, gray hairs are here and there
on him,
Yet he does not knowit.
10 And the pride of Israel testifies to
his face,
But they do not return to the Lord
their God,
Nor seek Him for all this.

Like an oven heated by a baker

He ceases stirring the fire after
kneading the dough,
Until it is leavened.
5 In the day of our king
Princes have made him sick,
inflamed with wine;
He stretched out his hand with
6 They prepare their heart like an
While they lie in wait;
Their bakera sleeps all night;
In the morning it burns like a
flaming fire.

7:6aFollowing Masoretic Text and Vulgate;

Syriac and Targum read Their anger;
Septuagint reads Ephraim.

7:47 Like an oven. The background for these verses

is the political turmoil of the northern kingdom.
During a 20-year period (752732 b.c.), four Israelite
kings were assassinated (2Kin. 15). The dangerous,
uncontrollable perpetuators of these crimes are
described here. These conspirators were like a large
bakers oven that has been heating up for several
hours while the bread dough rises. By morning the
fire in the oven can be destructive.
7:8 Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples. Instead of depending on the Lord for political

stability, Israel formed alliances with surrounding

nations. The destructive outcome of this policy is
compared to a cake that has been placed over a fire
and left unturned.
7:910 gray hairs. Israel did not recognize that its
power was declining and its freedom was slipping
away, like an aging man who is gradually overtaken
by the signs of old age.
7:1112 Egypt... Assyria. Israel was caught between
these two superpowers. It tried to maintain its independence by playing one power against the other,

Futile Reliance on theNations

11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove,

without sense
They call to Egypt,
They go to Assyria.

Self-righteousness isnt righteousness

I thought I was right doesnt help when
youve broken the law. Say youre driving the
wrong way on a one-way street. Your thinking
you were going the right way wont keep you
from getting points on your license, having
to pay a fine, or getting hit head-on. Thinking
you are right doesnt make it so.
The Israelites thought they were on good
terms with God. They believed they were in
good shape spiritually. They claimed to know
God, but their actions contradicted their
smugness. They had rejected the good, and
instead had given their loyalty to people and
things that would hurt them. Their lips said,


Hosea 7:2

We know you, God, but their lives told a

different truth.

As the capital of the northern kingdom,
Samaria became a symbol of all of Israels
sins. Built around 875 b.c. by King Omri, the
city was home to an unbroken line of sinful
kings (Hos. 7:3). The city was infamous for
its idolatry.
previous: Hosea 5:3
next: Hosea 10:9

1224 | Hosea 7:12


Wherever they go, I will spread My

net on them;
I will bring them down like birds of
the air;
I will chastise them
According to what their
congregation has heard.

13 Woe to them, for they have fled

from Me!
Destruction to them,
Because they have transgressed
against Me!
Though I redeemed them,
Yet they have spoken lies
14 They did not cry out to Me with
their heart
When they wailed upon their
They assemble together fora grain
and new wine,
They rebel against Me;b
15 Though I disciplined and
strengthened their arms,
Yet they devise evil against Me;
16 They return, but not to the Most
They are like a treacherous bow.
Their princes shall fall by the
For the cursings of their tongue.
This shall be their derision in the
land of Egypt.

TheApostasy ofIsrael

Set the trumpeta to your mouth!

He shall come like an eagle
against the house of the
Because they have transgressed My
And rebelled against My law.

but this vacillating policy didnt work. Israel was like

a silly dove, flitting about from place to place.
7:13 Woe to them. When prophets spoke this way,
they were saying a funeral dirge for those under the
sentence of Gods judgment.
7:14 grain and new wine. God sent a drought on
Israel, but instead of the people turning to Him in
their devotion to Baal. According to Canaanite religious beliefs, prolonged drought was a signal that
the storm god Baal had been temporarily defeated
by the god of death and was imprisoned by the
underworld. Baals worshipers would mourn his
death in hopes that their tears might facilitate his
resurrection and the restoration of crops.
8:13 like an eagle. As a bird of prey would do,
Assyria would invade Israel and take its people into

Israel will cry to Me,

My God, we know You!
3 Israel has rejected the good;
The enemy will pursue him.

They set up kings, but not by Me;

They made princes, but I did not
acknowledge them.
From their silver and gold
They made idols for themselves
That they might be cut off.
5 Your calf is rejected, OSamaria!
My anger is aroused against
How long until they attain to
6 For from Israel is even this:
A workman made it, and it is not
But the calf of Samaria shall be
broken to pieces.

They sow the wind,

And reap the whirlwind.
The stalk has no bud;
It shall never produce meal.
If it should produce,
Aliens would swallow itup.
8 Israel is swallowed up;
Now they are among the Gentiles
Like a vessel in which is no
9 For they have gone up to
Like a wild donkey alone by
Ephraim has hired lovers.
7:14aFollowing Masoretic Text and Targum;
Vulgate reads thought upon; Septuagint
reads slashed themselves for (compare
1Kings 18:28). bFollowing Masoretic Text,
Syriac, and Targum; Septuagint omits They
rebel against Me; Vulgate reads They
departed from Me. 7:16aOr upward
8:1aHebrew shophar, rams horn

captivity. we know You. Though Israel claimed to

acknowledge the Lords authority, it had violated
His covenant and rejected the qualities the Lord
regardedasgood,suchasjustice,loyalty,andhumility (Amos 5:1415; Mic. 6:8).
8:4 They set up kings. This phrase alludes to the
political turmoil surrounding the throne of the
northern kingdom during the eighth century b.c.,
when four kings were assassinated during a 20-year
period (7:47).
8:6 A workman made it. Hosea reasoned that anything that is made with human hands cannot possibly qualify as a god.
8:910 a wild donkey. This comparison draws attentiontoIsraelsfree-spiritedattitudeanddesiretolive
unrestrained by Gods standards.

Hosea 9:9 | 1225


Yes, though they have hired among

the nations,
Now I will gather them;
And they shall sorrow a little, a
Because of the burdenb of the king
of princes.

11 Because Ephraim has made many

altars for sin,

They have become for him altars for
12 I have written for him the great
things of My law,
But they were considered a strange
13 For the sacrifices of My offerings
they sacrifice flesh and eat it,
But the Lord does not accept them.
Now He will remember their
iniquity and punish their sins.
They shall return to Egypt.
14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker,

And has built temples;a

Judah also has multiplied fortified
But I will send fire upon his cities,
And it shall devour his palaces.

Judgment ofIsraels Sin

Do not rejoice, OIsrael, with joy

like other peoples,
For you have played the harlot
against your God.
You have made love for hire on
every threshing floor.
2 The threshing floor and the
Shall not feed them,
And the new wine shall fail in her.

They shall not dwell in the Lords

But Ephraim shall return to
And shall eat unclean things in

8:14 temples . . . multiplied fortified cities. True

security comes from the Creator, but Gods people
trusted instead in their own efforts, symbolized by
their important buildings.
9:12 threshing floor. Because of their association
with the harvest, threshing floors were the site of
agricultural festivals in which Israel offered up sacrifices to Baal. The Lord would take away the joy of
the harvest by destroying the crops and leaving the
threshing floors and wine vats empty.
9:3 the Lords land. Israel had forgotten that their
land belonged to the Lord. He alone decided who
would or would not live in it (Lev. 25:23).
9:7 the spiritual man is insane. The word translated
insane is used in 1Samuel 21:15 of David when

They shall not offer wine offerings

to the Lord,
Nor shall their sacrifices be
pleasing to Him.
It shall be like bread of mourners to
All who eat it shall be defiled.
For their bread shall be for their
own life;
It shall not come into the house of
the Lord.

What will you do in the appointed

And in the day of the feast of the
6 For indeed they are gone because of
Egypt shall gather them up;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their valuables
of silver;
Thorns shall be in their tents.

The days of punishment have

The days of recompense have
Israel knows!
The prophet is a fool,
The spiritual man is insane,
Because of the greatness of your
iniquity and great enmity.
8 The watchman of Ephraim is with
my God;
But the prophet is a fowlersa snare
in all his ways
Enmity in the house of his God.
9 They are deeply corrupted,
As in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity;
He will punish their sins.
8:10aOr begin to diminish bOr oracle
8:14aOr palaces 9:8aThat is, one who
catches birds in a trap or snare

he pretended to be insane before the Philistine

9:8 watchman. He would look for approaching
armies and then warn the people so that they could
secure the city and prepare for battle (Ezek. 33:6).
The prophets were like watchmen because they
were sent by God to warn the people of judgment
and urge them to repent (Ezek. 3:17).
9:9 As in the days of Gibeah. The reference here is to
the rape and murder of a young woman by men of
Gibeah, an event that started a civil war (Judg. 19).
Those who witnessed this violent deed remarked
that it was the worst crime committed in Israels
history until that time. However, the sins of Hoseas
generation rivaled the infamous Gibeah.

1226 | Hosea 9:10

10 I found Israel

Like grapes in the wilderness;

I saw your fathers
As the firstfruits on the fig tree in
its first season.
But they went to Baal Peor,
And separated themselves to that
They became an abomination like
the thing they loved.
11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly
away like a bird
No birth, no pregnancy, and no
12 Though they bring up their
Yet I will bereave them to the last
Yes, woe to them when I depart
from them!
13 Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre,
planted in a pleasant place,
So Ephraim will bring out his
children to the murderer.

Give them, OLord

What will You give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
And dry breasts!

15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal,

For there I hated them.

Because of the evil of their deeds
I will drive them from My house;
I will love them no more.
All their princes are rebellious.
16 Ephraim is stricken,
Their root is dried up;
They shall bear no fruit.
Yes, were they to bear children,
I would kill the darlings of their

My God will cast them away,

Because they did not obey Him;
And they shall be wanderers among
the nations.

Israels Sin and Captivity


I srael empties his vine;

He brings forth fruit for himself.
According to the multitude of his
He has increased the altars;
According to the bounty of his land

9:14 miscarrying womb. Some women of Israel

would be barren (v. 11); others would bear children,
only to lose them to the invaders sword (vv. 1213).
Still others would conceive but miscarry.
10:1 Israel empties his vine. This refers to Gods

They have embellished his sacred

2 Their heart is divided;
Now they are held guilty.
He will break down their altars;
He will ruin their sacred pillars.

For now they say,

We have no king,
Because we did not fear the
And as for a king, what would
he do for us?
4 They have spoken words,
Swearing falsely in making a
Thus judgment springs up like
hemlock in the furrows of the

The inhabitants of Samaria fear

Because of the calfa of Beth
For its people mourn for it,
And its priests shriek for it
Because its glory has departed
6 The idol also shall be carried to
As a present for King Jareb.
Ephraim shall receive shame,
And Israel shall be ashamed of his
own counsel.

As for Samaria, her king is cut

Like a twig on the water.
8 Also the high places of Aven, the
sin of Israel,
Shall be destroyed.
The thorn and thistle shall grow on
their altars;
They shall say to the mountains,
Cover us!
And to the hills, Fall on us!

O Israel, you have sinned from the

days of Gibeah;
There they stood.
The battle in Gibeah against the
children of iniquitya
Did not overtake them.

10:5aLiterally calves 10:9aSo read many

Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, and
Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads unruliness.

blessings upon the nation, which contrast with the

nations ingratitude and idolatry.
10:4 judgment springs up like hemlock in the furrows of the field. In much the same way judgment
would replace Gods blessings.

Hosea 11:2 | 1227

10 When it is My desire, I will chasten



Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains
righteousness on you.

Gods Continuing Love forIsrael


You have plowed wickedness;

You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own
In the multitude of your mighty men.

Peoples shall be gathered against
When I bind them for their two
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
That loves to thresh grain;
But I harnessed her fair neck,
I will make Ephraim pull a plow.
Judah shall plow;
Jacob shall break his clods.

10:11 loves to thresh grain. Israel preferred to be

unrestrained,likeanunmuzzledheiferatthethreshing floor that can simply lean down and eat grain.
I will make Ephraim pull a plow. Israels rebellious
to a farmer binding his calf to the yoke and forcing
it to do hard labor. Threshing in this context refers
to Israels service to the Lord; plowing refers to the

Therefore tumult shall arise among

your people,
And all your fortresses shall be
As Shalman plundered Beth Arbel
in the day of battle
A mother dashed in pieces upon her
15 Thus it shall be done to you, OBethel,
Because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel
Shall be cut off utterly.


When Israel was a child, I loved

And out of Egypt I called My son.
2 As they called them, a
So they went from them;b
10:10aOr in their two habitations
11:2aFollowing Masoretic Text and Vulgate;
Septuagint reads Just as I called them;
Targum interprets as I sent prophets to a
thousand of them. bFollowing Masoretic
Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint reads
from My face.

discipline that Israel had to acquire through judgment and exile.

10:12 Break up your fallow ground. Plowing and
planting are necessary preliminary steps for growing a crop, which eventually sprouts when the rain
falls in season. In the same way, repentance would
eventually rain down on His people.


Hosea 10:9

Israel chooses stubbornness

Some children heed their parents instruction,
avoid trouble, and learn life lessons without
going through the pain of doing things the
hard way. And then there are children who
wont be told. They discover lifes lessons the
painful way.
The Israelites wouldnt be told.
God had called them to turn from their sin
through multiple prophets. But even amid His
judgment, Israel refused to repent.
Hosea sounded a final warning, but still
the people persisted in their stubborn rebellion. They developed a pattern of returning
to disobedience time and again, heedless of
Gods warnings or punishment.
Hoseas accusation that Israel had developed a pattern of sinning from the days
of Gibeah is a reference to an incident that

had occurred years ago when the men of

Gibeah raped and murdered a young woman
(Judg. 19). The heinous event set off a civil
war. Witnesses to the violence remarked that
it was the worst crime committed in Israels
history up to that point (Judg. 19:30). The sins
of the people in Hoseas day were comparable to what happened in Gibeah (Hos. 9:9).

Hosea 10:8 refers to thorn and thistle. This
may be an allusion to Genesis 3:18, the only
other place in the Old Testament where this
wording occurs.
previous: Hosea 7:2
next: Hosea 11:18

1228 | Hosea 11:3

They sacrificed to the Baals,
And burned incense to carved

I taught Ephraim to walk,

Taking them by their arms;a
But they did not know that I healed
4 I drew them with gentle cords, a
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take
the yoke from their neck.b
I stooped and fed them.
11:3 I taught Ephraim to walk. Like a father teaching
his child to walk, the Lord patiently gave the people
they experienced pain or injury.
11:4 cords... bands. The Lord had placed restraints
on Israel, but His regulations, rather than being
overly strict or harsh, reflected His concern for
the peoples well-being. God did not drive them

He shall not return to the land of

But the Assyrian shall be his king,
Because they refused to repent.
6 And the sword shall slash in his cities,
Devour his districts,
And consume them,
Because of their own counsels.
11:3aSome Hebrew manuscripts,
Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate read My
arms. 1
1:4aLiterally cords of a man
bLiterally jaws

mercilessly but provided for their needs, like a

farmer who periodically removes the yoke from an
animals neck so that it can eat.
11:6 consume. This is the same Hebrew word translated fed in verse 4. The people of Israel had
rejected the gentle Master who fed them and provided for their needs. As a result, they would be
devoured by the swords of the invading Assyrians.


Hosea 11:18

God pursues us
God demonstrated His patient, relentless determination to win back His rebellious people
when He instructed Hosea to marry and keep
going after a wayward wife. Here in Hosea
11, God loved His people as a parent does
a child (v. 1). He compared His care for them
to that of a parent who called them when
they strayed (v. 2), taught them to walk (v. 3),
healed them (v.3), led them with kindness and
love (v. 4), and fed them (v. 4). Although His
people were determined to turn from Him,
God could not bear to give them up (v.8).
In Hosea 2, Gods people are compared to
the straying wife. Despite her persistent unfaithfulness, God is all the more determined
to woo her tenderly and win back her love.
Jeremiah 31 echoes this theme. There, God
joyfully redeems His people from captivity
because He is the One who loved [them]
with an everlasting love and drew them
with lovingkindness (Jer. 31:3). In the New
Testament, Jesus explained Gods pursuit of
His wayward children with the parable of a
shepherd who leaves his ninety-nine sheep
to reclaim one who has wandered away (Matt.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word
hesed is often translated lovingkindness
or mercy. It describes Gods everlasting
covenant love toward His people. It is a

loyal, steadfast love, bound by relationship.

It is a love that remains faithful even when
the other party is faithless and undeserving.
It is Gods love that will not give up on His
wayward children who disappoint Him time
and again. In Hosea 2:19 God will redeem
His rebellious people with hesed. In verses
22 and 23 of Lamentations 3, Jeremiah proclaimed, Through the Lords hesed we are
not consumed, because His compassions
fail not. They are new every morning; great
is Your faithfulness. And in that beloved
psalm where the psalmist described God as
the Shepherd of his soul, he testified, Surely
goodness and hesed shall follow me all the
days of my life (Ps. 23:6).

In Hosea 11:4 God is compared to a farmer
and Israel to a beast of burden. The Lord had
placed restraints
cords and bands
Israel, but His regulations, rather than being
overly strict or harsh, reflected His concern
for the peoples well-
b eing. God did not
drive them mercilessly. but provided for their
needs like a farmer who periodically removes
the yoke from an animals neck so it can eat.
previous: Hosea 10:9
next: Hosea 14:47

Hosea 12:13 | 1229


My people are bent on backsliding

Though they call to the Most High, a
None at all exalt Him.

How can I give you up, Ephraim?

How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of
My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come with terror.a
10 They shall walk after the Lord.

He will roar like a lion.

When He roars,
Then His sons shall come trembling
from the west;
11 They shall come trembling like a
bird from Egypt,
Like a dove from the land of
And I will let them dwell in their
Says the Lord.

Gods Charge Against Ephraim

12 Ephraim has encircled Me with

And the house of Israel with
But Judah still walks with God,
Even with the Holy Onea who is

He took his brother by the heel in

the womb,
And in his strength he struggled
with God.a
4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel
and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from
He found Him in Bethel,
And there He spoke to us
5 That is, the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord is His memorable name.
6 So you, by the help of your God,
Observe mercy and justice,
And wait on your God continually.

A cunning Canaanite!
Deceitful scales are in his hand;
He loves to oppress.
8 And Ephraim said,
Surely I have become rich,
I have found wealth for myself;
In all my labors
They shall find in me no iniquity
that is sin.

But I am the Lord your God,

Ever since the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
As in the days of the appointed
10 I have also spoken by the prophets,
And have multiplied visions;
I have given symbols through the
witness of the prophets.


Ephraim feeds on the wind,

And pursues the east wind;
He daily increases lies and
Also they make a covenant with the
And oil is carried to Egypt.

2 The Lord also brings a charge

against Judah,
And will punish Jacob according to
his ways;
According to his deeds He will
recompense him.

11:9 For I am God, and not man. When human

beings get angry, they are often incapable of temperingtheirangerwithcompassion,butGodsemotions operate in perfect balance.
12:1 oil is carried to Egypt. Oil may have been used in
a ritual ratifying a treaty or given as a sign of loyalty.
12:7 Deceitful scales are in his hand. In violation of

Though Gilead has idols

Surely they are vanity
Though they sacrifice bulls in
Indeed their altars shall be heaps in
the furrows of the field.


Jacob fled to the country of Syria;

Israel served for a spouse,
And for a wife he tended sheep.
13 By a prophet the Lord brought
Israel out of Egypt,
And by a prophet he was preserved.
11:7aOr upward 11:9aOr I will not enter a
city 11:12aOr holy ones 12:3aCompare
Genesis 32:28

the Old Testament law (Lev. 19:36), dishonest merchants sometimes rigged their scales so that they
could give buyers less than what they thought they
were purchasing (Prov. 11:1; 16:11).
12:9 I will again make you dwell in tents. During the

1230 | Hosea 12:14


Ephraim provoked Him to anger

most bitterly;
Therefore his Lord will leave the
guilt of his bloodshed upon him,
And return his reproach upon him.

Relentless Judgment on Israel


hen Ephraim spoke, trembling,

He exalted himself in Israel;
But when he offended through Baal
worship, he died.
2 Now they sin more and more,
And have made for themselves
molded images,
Idols of their silver, according to
their skill;
All of it is the work of craftsmen.
They say of them,
Let the men who sacrificea kiss the
3 Therefore they shall be like the
morning cloud
And like the early dew that passes
Like chaff blown off from a
threshing floor
And like smoke from a chimney.

Yet I am the Lord your God

Ever since the land of Egypt,
And you shall know no God
but Me;
For there is no savior besidesMe.
5 I knew you in the wilderness,
In the land of great drought.
6 When they had pasture, they were
They were filled and their heart was
Therefore they forgotMe.

So I will be to them like a lion;

Like a leopard by the road I will
8 I will meet them like a bear
deprived of her cubs;
I will tear open their rib cage,
And there I will devour them like a
The wild beast shall tear them.
13:2 kiss the calves. This is a reference to the idolatrous practice of kissing images as a sign of homage
(1Kin. 19:18).
rebellion had turned its Helper into a Destroyer.

O Israel, you are destroyed, a

But your helpb is fromMe.
10 I will be your King;a
Where is any other,
That he may save you in all your
And your judges to whom you
Give me a king and princes?
11 I gave you a king in My anger,
And took him away in My wrath.
12 The iniquity of Ephraim is

His sin is storedup.
13 The sorrows of a woman in
childbirth shall come upon him.
He is an unwise son,
For he should not stay long where
children are born.
14 I will ransom them from the power

of the grave;a
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!b
O Grave,c I will be your
Pity is hidden from My eyes.


Though he is fruitful among his

An east wind shall come;
The wind of the Lord shall come up
from the wilderness.
Then his spring shall become dry,
And his fountain shall be driedup.
He shall plunder the treasury of
every desirable prize.
16 Samaria is held guilty, a
For she has rebelled against her
They shall fall by the sword,
13:2aOr those who offer human sacrifice
13:9aLiterally it or he destroyed you
bLiterally in your help
Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate read Where is
your king? 13:14aOr Sheol bSeptuagint
reads where is your punishment? cOr
Sheol dSeptuagint reads where is your
sting? 13:16aSeptuagint reads shall be

13:12 bound up... stored up. God had kept a careful

record of Israels sins, to be revealed as evidence of
guilt in the day of judgment.
13:13 The sorrows of a woman in childbirth. This
metaphor illustrates Israels spiritual insensitivity.
When the crucial time of judgment arrived, Israel
would respond unwisely, resulting in death. The
nations failure to repent is compared to a baby that
is not positioned properly during labor and jeopardizes the life of both mother and child.

Hosea 14:6 | 1231

Their infants shall be dashed in
And their women with child ripped

Israel Restored at Last


Israel, return to the Lord your

For you have stumbled because of
your iniquity;
2 Take words with you,
And return to the Lord.
Say to Him,
Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrificesa of
our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us,
We will not ride on horses,
14:13 Take away all iniquity. The final section of
Hoseas prophecy begins with a call to repentance
that includes a model prayer. The people of Israel
were to pray for Gods gracious forgiveness and
alliances, their own military strength, and artificial

Nor will we say anymore to the

work of our hands, You are our
For in You the fatherless finds

I will heal their backsliding,

I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
He shall grow like the lily,
And lengthen his roots like
6 His branches shall spread;
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
And his fragrance like Lebanon.
14:2aLiterally bull calves; Septuagint reads

14:4 I will heal their backsliding. The grief-stricken

Hosea does not tell us whether a reconciliation took
place between him and his adulterous wife Gomer.
But there is no question concerning the outcome
between God and faithless Israel. Several beautiful
the results and effects of Gods love for Israel.


Hosea 14:47

The other side of repentance

The final chapter of Gomers life is not
Runaway Wife or Promiscuous Woman.
Better titles would be Beloved Redeemed
or Coming Home. Gomer, and the wayward
people of Israel she represented, would not
forever languish in the pit of shame and punishment. Although Israel would be destroyed,
overthrown by the Assyrians, God would
preserve a remnant of His people and would
redeem them in the future.
On the other side of repentance is restoration and blessing. The God who relentlessly
pursues the wayward sinner is the Father
of the prodigal who runs with outstretched
arms to welcome His broken, repentant child
home, kills the fatted calf, and throws a party
(Luke 15:11
24). In Psalm 32, the psalmist
called blessed those whose transgression
is forgiven and whose sin is covered. Before
he confessed his sin, he was wracked with
pain and sapped of strength under the heavy
hand of Gods conviction. But afterward he
was joyful in his newfound freedom.

Hosea 14:24 looked to a future day when

God would gladly receive a repentant Israel.
He would respond to their contrition with
mercy. He would restore the blessings of
bounty He had rightly withdrawn from them
in punishment (vv.57).

Hosea pictured Israels future blessings in
figures of speech, using trees and flowers
(vv. 57). He compared them to a lily, the
cedars of Lebanon, an olive tree, and a vine.
Such symbols held special significance
for people living in a semiarid land like
Palestine. Abundant plant life represented
prosperity. Deep roots were a reference to
stability. References to their scent indicated
previous: Hosea 11:18

1232 | Hosea 14:7


Those who dwell under his shadow

shall return;
They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like a vine.
Their scenta shall be like the wine of

8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to

do anymore with idols?

I have heard and observed him.
I am like a green cypress tree;
Your fruit is found in Me.

14:9 For the ways of the Lord are right. Gods

demands and principles are completely true. The

9 Who is wise?

Let him understand these

Who is prudent?
Let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are
The righteous walk in them,
But transgressors stumble in

14:7aLiterally remembrance

person will ignore them and consequently stumble

into judgment.