Almighty and eternal God,
you have kindled the flame of love
in the hearts of the saints:
grant to us the same faith and power of love,
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs,
we may be sustained by their example and fellowship;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him: ‘I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can tell the king the interpretation.’ The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, ‘Are you able to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?’ Daniel answered the king, ‘No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed, came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and the revealer of mysteries disclosed to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me because of any wisdom that I have more than any other living being, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the king and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.
‘You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all 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 statue 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, the might, and the glory, into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. 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 strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they 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 that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush 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 the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.’
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshipped Daniel, and commanded that a grain-offering and incense be offered 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 promoted Daniel, gave him 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 a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your marvellous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will make music to your name, O Most High.
When my enemies are driven back,
they stumble and perish at your presence.
For you have maintained my right and my cause;
you sat on your throne giving righteous judgement.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
The enemy was utterly laid waste.
You uprooted their cities;
their very memory has perished.
But the Lord shall endure for ever;
he has made fast his throne for judgement.
For he shall rule the world with righteousness
and govern the peoples with equity.
Then will the Lord be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in the time of trouble.
And those who know your name will put their trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never failed those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion;
declare among the peoples the things he has done.
The avenger of blood has remembered them;
he did not forget the cry of the oppressed.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord;
consider the trouble I suffer from those who hate me,
you that lift me up from the gates of death;
That I may tell all your praises in the gates of the city of Zion
and rejoice in your salvation.
The nations shall sink into the pit of their making
and in the snare which they set will their own foot be taken.
The Lord makes himself known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are snared in the works of their own hands.
They shall return to the land of darkness,
all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten
and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O Lord, and let not mortals have the upper hand;
let the nations be judged before your face.
Put them in fear, O Lord,
that the nations may know themselves to be but mortal.
Sing praise to the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and has blest your children within you.
He has established peace in your borders
and satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends forth his command to the earth
and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool
and scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casts down his hailstones like morsels of bread;
who can endure his frost?
He sends forth his word and melts them;
he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and judgements to Israel.
He has not dealt so with any other nation;
they do not know his laws.