Daniel does penance (Dan 9:3-9:3)

“Then I turned

To Yahweh

To seek

An answer,

By prayer,

By supplications,

With fasting,

With sackcloth,

With ashes.”

Daniel, in the first-person singular, turned to Yahweh, and not the God of heaven or the Most High God, as earlier in this book. This was the traditional Hebrew name of Yahweh. Daniel assumed the traditional role of a penitent with prayers and supplications while fasting, and wearing sackcloth with ashes on him.

The last of the ten kingdoms (Dan 7:24-7:26)

“As for the ten horns,

Out of this kingdom,

Ten kings shall arise.

Another shall arise after them.

This one shall

Be different

From the former ones.

He shall put down

Three kings.

He shall speak words

Against the Most High.

He shall wear out

The holy ones

Of the Most High.

He shall attempt

To change

The sacred seasons.

He shall attempt

To change the law.

They shall be given

Into his power

For a time,

Two times,

Half a time.

Then the court shall sit

In judgment.

His dominion shall be

Taken away,

To be consumed,

To be totally destroyed

To the end.”

Next, he explained that the 10 horns on the beast were the 10 Greek kings that succeeded Alexander the Great in his kingdom. However, there was a vehemence against the little horn king that overthrew the 3 kings. This was, of course, a reference to the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), who was different from the other Greek rulers. He spoke openly against the Most High God. He wore out God’s holy ones. He attempted to change the holy seasons and do away with the religious festivals. He also tried to change the Jewish law. He had power for a little while, before the final kingdom would come. Then his dominion would be taken away. He would be consumed and destroyed. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:24-4:25)

“‘This is the interpretation!

O king!

It is a decree

Of the Most High,

That has come upon

My lord!

The king!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The wild animals!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

You shall be bathed

With the dew

Of heaven!

Seven times

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

Daniel then gave his shocking interpretation of the watcher’s cry to the king. He said that this was a decree that came from the Most High God. The king, Daniel’s lord, would be driven away from human society. He was going to live with the wild animals. He was going to eat grass like oxen do. He would be washed in heavenly dew for 7 years, until he would come to recognize that the Most High God ruled over all the mortal kingdoms. God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.

The decision is final (Dan 4:17-4:17)

“‘This sentence is

Rendered by decree

Of the watchers.

The decision

Is given

By order

Of the holy ones.

All who live

May know

That the Most High

Is sovereign

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals.

He gives it

To whom he will.

He sets over it

The lowliest

Of human beings.’”

The holy watcher or angel explained that this decree and sentence was final, because it was given by order of the watchers or holy ones, who live with the Most High God. God was over all mortal kingdoms. He can give and take away human kingdoms. He sets kings up. He sometimes takes the lowliest of humans to be kings.

A reproach against mocking God (Isa 5:18-5:19)

“Woe to you

Who drag iniquity along

With cords of falsehood.

Woe to you

Who draw sin along

With cart ropes.

Woe to you

Who say.

‘Let him make haste.

Let him speed his work.

Thus we may see it.

Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel

Hasten to fulfillment.

Thus we may know it!’”

Isaiah then takes on those who mock God with false allegations. They operate with cords of falsehood and sins like cart ropes. They pretend to want to see the work of Yahweh, the Most High God of Israel as soon as possible. They claim they want to know and see it soon. In fact, all they want to do is to continue in their sinful ways.

The reaction of the people to the actions of Simon (Sir 50:16-50:19)

“Then the sons of Aaron shouted.

They blew their trumpets

Of hammered metal.

They sounded a mighty fanfare,

As a reminder before

The Most High.

Then all the people together

Quickly fell to the ground

On their faces.

They worshiped their Lord,

The Almighty,

The God Most High.

Then the singers praised him

With their voices

In sweet full-toned melody.

The people

Of the Lord Most High

offered their prayers

Before the merciful one,

Until the order of worship of the Lord

Was ended.

Thus they completed Simon’s ritual.”

Next the sons of Aaron shouted. Then they blew their hammered metal trumpets with a great fanfare before the Most High God. The people in the assembly then quickly fell with their faces down to the ground, as they worshipped the Lord Almighty, the Most High God. The singers chimed in with their sweet melodic voices, as the people offered their prayers to the Most High merciful God, until this worship service to the Lord was ended.