Sts. Daniel the Prophet and his Companions Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnez’zar, Nebuchadnez’zar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.
 Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chalde’ans be summoned, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.
 And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”
 Then the Chalde’ans said to the king, “O king, live for ever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
 The king answered the Chalde’ans, “The word from me is sure: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins.
 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.”
 They answered a second time, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.”
 The king answered, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is sure
 that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.”
 The Chalde’ans answered the king, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand; for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chalde’an.
 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and none can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
 Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.
 So the decree went forth that the wise men were to be slain, and they sought Daniel and his companions, to slay them.
 Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Ar’i-och, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to slay the wise men of Babylon;
 he said to Ar’i-och, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so severe?” Then Ar’i-och made the matter known to Daniel.
 And Daniel went in and besought the king to appoint him a time, that he might show to the king the interpretation.
 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hanani’ah, Mish’a-el, and Azari’ah, his companions,
 and told them to seek mercy of the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
 Daniel said:
“Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever.
to whom belong wisdom and might.
 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
 he reveals deep and mysterious things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
 To thee, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for thou hast given me wisdom and strength,
and hast now made known to me what we asked of thee,
for thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.”
 Therefore Daniel went in to Ar’i-och, 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; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”
 Then Ar’i-och brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can make known to the king the interpretation.”
 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshaz’zar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?”
 Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery which the king has asked,
 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnez’zar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:
 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be.
 But as for me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living has this mystery been revealed to me, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.
 “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening.
 The head of this image was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
 As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it smote the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces;
 then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation.
 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,
 and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the sons of men, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, making you rule over them all — you are the head of gold.
 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things; and like iron which crushes, it shall break and crush all these.
 And as you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the miry clay.
 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.
 As you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.
 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever;
 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
 Then King Nebuchadnez’zar fell upon his face, and did homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.
 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
 Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
 Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel remained at the king’s court.
 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets —
 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.
 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.
 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated —
 of whom the world was not worthy — wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised,
 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
 And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another.
 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
 And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.
 But he who endures to the end will be saved.
 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.
 “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)
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