Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
The Vision of the Four World-Kingdoms; the Judgment; and the Kingdom of the Holy God
After presenting to view (Daniel 3-6) in concrete delineation, partly in the prophetically significant experiences of Daniel and his friends, and partly in the typical events which befell the world-rulers, the position and conduct of the representatives of the world-power in relation to the worshippers of the living God, there follows in this chapter the record of a vision seen by Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar. In this vision the four world-monarchies which were shown to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream in the form of an image are represented under the symbol of beasts; and there is a further unfolding not only of the nature and character of the four successive world-kingdoms, but also of the everlasting kingdom of God established by the judgment of the world-kingdoms. With this vision, recorded like the preceding chapters in the Chaldean language, the first part of this work, treating of the development of the world-power in its four principal forms, is brought to a conclusion suitable to its form and contents.
This chapter is divided, according to its contents, into two equal portions. Dan 7:1-14 contain the vision, and Dan 7:15-28 its interpretation. After an historical introduction it is narrated how Daniel saw (Dan 7:2-8) four great beasts rise up one after another out of the storm-tossed sea; then the judgment of God against the fourth beast and the other beasts (Dan 7:9-12); and finally (Dan 7:13, Dan 7:14), the delivering up of the kingdom over all nations to the Son of man, who came with the clouds of heaven. Being deeply moved (Dan 7:15) by what he saw, the import of the vision is first made known to him in general by an angel (Dan 7:16-18), and then more particularly by the judgment (Dan 7:19-26) against the fourth beast, and its destruction, and by the setting up of the kingdom of the saints of the Most High (Dan 7:27). The narrative of the vision is brought to a close by a statement of the impression made by this divine revelation on the mind of the prophet (Dan 7:28).
(Note: According to the modern critics, this vision also is to be regarded as belonging to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes; and, as von Lengerke says, the representation of the Messianic kingdom (Dan 7:13 and Dan 7:14) is the only prophetic portion of it, all the other parts merely announcing what had already occurred. According to Hitzig, this dream-vision must have been composed (cf. Dan 7:25, Dan 8:14) shortly before the consecration of the temple (1 Macc. 4:52, 59). On the other hand, Kranichfeld remarks, that if this chapter were composed during the time of the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, "then it would show that its author was in the greatest ignorance as to the principal historical dates of his own time;" and he adduces in illustration the date in Dan 7:25, and the failure of the attempts of the opponents of its genuineness to authenticate in history the ten horns which grew up before the eleventh horn, and the three kingdoms (Dan 7:7., 20). According to Dan 7:25, the blaspheming of the Most High, the wearing out of the saints, and the changing of all religious ordinances continue for three and a half times, which are taken for three and a half years, after the expiry of which an end will be made, by means of the judgment, to the heathen oppression. But these three and a half years are not historically proved to be the period of the religious persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes. "In both of the books of the Maccabees (1 Macc. 1:54; 2 Macc. 10:5) the period of the desecration of the temple (according to v. Leng.) lasted only three years; and Josephus, Ant. xii. 7. 6, speaks also of three years, reckoning from the year 145 Seleucid. and the 25th day of the month Kisleu, when the first burnt-offering was offered on the idol-altar (1 Macc. 1:57), to the 25th day of Kisleu in the year 148 Seleucid., when for the first time sacrifice was offered (1 Macc. 4:52) on the newly erected altar." But since the βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως was, according to 1 Macc. 1:54, erected on the 15th day of Kisleu in the year 145 Seleucid., ten days before the first offering of sacrifice upon it, most reckon from the 15th Kisleu, and thus make the period three years and ten days. Hitzig seeks to gain a quarter of a year more by going back in his reckoning to the arrival in Judea (1 Macc. 1:29, cf. 2 Macc. 5:24) of the chief collector of tribute sent by Apollonius. C. von Lengerke thinks that the period of three and a half years cannot be reckoned with historical accuracy. Hilgenfeld would reckon the commencement of this period from some other event in relation to the temple, which, however, has not been recorded in history. - From all this it is clear as noonday that the three and a half years are not historically identified, and thus that the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel was ignorant of the principal events of his time. Just as little are these critics able historically to identify the ten kings (Dan 7:7 and Dan 7:20), as we shall show in an Excursus on the four world-kingdoms at the close of this chapter.)
Appendix to Daniel 1-7
The Four World-Kingdoms
There yet remains for our consideration the question, What are the historical world-kingdoms which are represented by Nebuchadnezzar's image (Daniel 2), and by Daniel's vision of four beasts rising up out of the sea? Almost all interpreters understand that these two vision are to be interpreted in the same way. "The four kingdoms or dynasties, which were symbolized (Daniel 2) by the different parts of the human image, from the head to the feet, are the same as those which were symbolized by the four great beasts rising up out of the sea." This is the view not only of Bleek, who herein agrees with Auberlen, but also of Kranichfeld and Kliefoth, and all church interpreters. These four kingdoms, according to the interpretation commonly received in the church, are the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedo-Grecian, and the Roman. "In this interpretation and opinion," Luther observes, "all the world are agreed, and history and fact abundantly establish it." This opinion prevailed till about the end of the last century, for the contrary opinion of individual earlier interprets had found no favour.
(Note: This is true regarding the opinion of Ephrem Syrus and of Cosmas Indicopleustes, who held that the second kingdom was the Median, the third the Persian, and the fourth the kingdom of Alexander and his successors. This view has been adopted only by an anonymous writer in the Comment. Var. in Dan. in Mai's Collectio nov. Script. Vett. p. 176. The same thing may be said of the opinion of Polychronius and Grotius, that the second kingdom was the Medo-Persian, the third the monarchy of Alexander, and the fourth the kingdom of his followers - a view which has found only one weak advocate in J. Chr. Becmann in a dissert. de Monarchia Quarta, Franc. ad Od. 1671.)
But from that time, when faith in the supernatural origin and character of biblical prophecy was shaken by Deism and Rationalism, then as a consequence, with the rejection of the genuineness of the book of Daniel the reference of the fourth kingdom to the Roman world-monarchy was also denied. For the pseudo-Daniel of the times of the Maccabees could furnish no prophecy which could reach further than the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. If the reference of the fourth kingdom to the Roman empire was therefore a priori excluded, the four kingdoms must be so explained that the pretended prophecy should not extend further than to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. For this end all probabilities were created, and yet nothing further was reached than that one critic confuted another. While Ewald and Bunsen advanced the opinion that the Assyrian kingdom is specially to be understood by the first kingdom, and that the Maccabean author of the book was first compelled by the reference to Nebuchadnezzar to separate, in opposition to history, the Median from the Persian kingdom, so as to preserve the number four, Hitzig, in agreement with von Redepenning, has sought to divide the Babylonian kingdom, and to refer the first kingdom to Nebuchadnezzar and the second to his successor Belshazzar; while Bertholdt, Jahn, and Rosenmller, with Grotius, have divided the kingdom of Alexander from the kingdom of his successors. But as both of these divisions appear to be altogether too arbitrary, Venema, Bleek, de Wette, Lcke, v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig (Daniel vii.), Hilgenfeld, and Kranichfeld have disjoined the Medo-Persian monarchy into two world-kingdoms, the Median and the Persian, and in this they are followed by Delitzsch. See Art. Daniel in Herz.'s Real Encyc.
When we examine these views more closely, the first named is confuted by what Ewald himself (Die Proph. iii. 314) has said on this point. The four world-kingdoms "must follow each other strictly in chronological order, the succeeding being always inferior, sterner, and more reckless than that which went before. They thus appear in the gigantic image (Daniel 2), which in its four parts, from head to feet, is formed of altogether different materials; in like manner in Daniel 7 four different beasts successively appear on the scene, the one of which, according to Daniel 8, always destroys the other. Now it cannot be said, indeed, in strict historical fact that the Chaldean kingdom first gave way to the Median, and this again to the Persian, but, as it is always said, the Persian and Median together under Cyrus overthrew the Chaldean and formed one kingdom. This is stated by the author himself in Daniel 8, where the Medo-Persian kingdom is presented as one under the image of a two-horned ram. According to this, he should have reckoned from Nabucodrossor only three world-kingdoms, if he had not received the number of four world-kingdoms from an old prophet living under the Assyrian dominion, who understood by the four kingdoms the Assyrian, the Chaldean, the Medo-Persian, and the Grecian. Since now this number, it is self-evident to him, can neither be increased nor diminished, there remained nothing else for him than to separate the Median from the Persian kingdom at that point where he rendered directly prominent the order and the number four, while he at other times views them together." But what then made it necessary for this pseudo-prophet to interpret the golden head of Nebuchadnezzar, and to entangle himself thereby, in opposition not only to the history, but also to his own better judgment, Daniel 8, if in the old sources used by him the Assyrian is to be understood as the first kingdom? To this manifest objection Ewald has given no answer, and has not shown that in Daniel 2 and 7 the Median kingdom is separated from the Persian. Thus this hypothesis is destitute of every foundation, and the derivation of the number four for the world-kingdoms from a prophetic book of the Assyrian period is one of the groundless ideas with which Ewald thinks to enrich biblical literature.
Hitzig's opinion, that Daniel had derived the idea of separating the heathen power into four kingdoms following each other from the representation of the four ages of the world, has no better foundation. It was natural for him to represent Assyria as the first kingdom, yet as he wished not to refer to the past, but to future, he could only begin with the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. Regarding himself as bound to the number four, he divided on that account, in Daniel 2, the Chaldean dominion into two periods, and in Daniel 7, for the same reason, the Medo-Persian into two kingdoms, the Median and the Persian. This view Hitzig founds partly on this, that in Dan 2:38 not the Chaldean kingdom but Nebuchadnezzar is designated as the golden head, and that for Daniel there exist only two Chaldean kings; and partly on this, that the second מלכוּ (Dan 2:39) is named as inferior to the Chaldean, which could not be said of the Medo-Persian as compared with the Chaldean; and, finally, partly on this, that in the vision seen in the first year of Belshazzar (Daniel 7), Nebuchadnezzar already belonged to the past, while according to Dan 7:17 the first kingdom was yet future. But apart from the incorrectness of the assertion, that for the author of this book only two Chaldean kings existed, it does not follow from the circumstance that Nebuchadnezzar is styled the golden head of the image, that he personally is meant as distinct from the Chaldean king that succeeded him; on the contrary, that Nebuchadnezzar comes to view only as the founder, and at that time the actual ruler, of the kingdom, is clear from Dan 2:39, "after thee shall arise another kingdom" (מלכוּ), not another king (מלך), as it ought to be read, according to Hitzig's opinion. Belshazzar did not found another kingdom, or, as Hitzig says, another dominion (Herschaft), but he only continued the kingdom or dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. The two other reasons advanced have been already disposed of in the interpretation of Dan 2:39 and of Dan 7:17. The expression, "inferior to thee" (Dan 2:39), would not relate to the Medo-Persian kingdom as compared with the Chaldean only if it referred to the geographical extension of the kingdom, which is not the case. And the argument deduced from the words "shall arise" in Dan 7:17 proves too much, and therefore nothing. If in the word יקוּמוּן (shall arise) it be held that the first kingdom was yet to arise, then also the dominion of Belshazzar would be thereby excluded, which existed at the time of that vision. Moreover the supposition that מלכוּ means in Dan 2:39 the government of an individual king, but in Dan 2:4 a kingdom, the passages being parallel in their contents and in their form, and that מלכין in Dan 7:17 ("the four beasts are four kings") means, when applied to the first two beasts, separate kings, and when applied to the two last, kingdoms, violates all the rules of hermeneutics. "Two rulers personally cannot possibly be placed in the same category with two kingdoms" (Kliefoth).
But the view of Bertholdt, that the third kingdom represents the monarchy of Alexander, and the fourth that of his διάδοχοι (successors), is at the present day generally abandoned. And there is good reason that it should be so; for it is plain that the description of the iron nature of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 2 breaking all things in pieces, as well as of the terribleness of the fourth beast in Daniel 7, by no means agrees with the kingdoms of the successors of Alexander, which in point of might and greatness were far inferior to the monarchy of Alexander, as is indeed expressly stated in Dan 11:4. Hitzig has, moreover, justly remarked, on the other hand, that "for the author of this book the kingdom of Alexander and that of his successors form together the יון מלכוּת, Dan 8:21 (the kingdom of Javan = Grecia). But if he had separated them, he could not have spoken of the kingdom of the successors as 'diverse' in character from that of Alexander, Dan 7:7, Dan 7:19. Finally, by such a view a right interpretation of the four heads, Dan 7:6, and the special meaning of the legs which were wholly of iron, Dan 2:33, is lost."
Now, since the untenableness of these three suppositions is obvious, there only remains the expedient to divide the Medo-Persian world-kingdom into a Median and a Persian kingdom, and to combine the former with the second and the latter with the third of Daniel's kingdoms. But this scheme also is broken to pieces by the twofold circumstance, (1) that, as Maurer himself acknowledges, history knows nothing whatever of a Median world-kingdom; and (2) that, as Kranichfeld is compelled to confess (p. 122ff.), "it cannot be proved from Dan 5:28; Dan 7:1, 29; Dan 9:1; Dan 11:1, that the author of the book, in the vision in Daniel 2 or 7, or at all, conceived of an exclusively Median world-kingdom, and knew nothing of the Persian race as an inner component part of this kingdom." It is true the book of Daniel, according to Daniel 8, recognises a distinction between a Median and a Persian dynasty (cf. Dan 8:3), but in other respects it recognises only one kingdom, which comprehends in its unity the Median and the Persian race. In harmony with this, the author speaks, at the time when the Median government over Babylon was actually in existence, only of one law of the kingdom for Medes and Persians (Dan 6:9, Dan 6:13, Dan 6:16), i.e., one law which rested on a common agreement of the two nations bound together into one kingdom. "The author of this book, who at the time of Darius, king of the Medes, knew only of one kingdom common to both races," according to Kran., "speaks also in the preceding period of the Chaldean independence of the Medes only in conjunction with the Persians (cf. Dan 5:28; Dan 8:20), and, after the analogy of the remark already made, not as of two separated kingdoms, but in the sense of one kingdom, comprehending in it, along with the Median race, also the Persians as another and an important component part. This finds its ratification during the independence of Babylon even in Dan 8:20; for there the kings of the Medes and the Persians are represented by one beast, although at the same time two separate dynasties are in view. This actual fact of a national union into one kingdom very naturally and fully explains why, in the case of Cyrus, as well as in that of Darius, the national origin of the governors, emphatically set forth, was of interest for the author (cf. Dan 9:1; Dan 6:1; Dan 11:1; Dan 6:28), while with regard to the Chaldean kings there is no similar particular notice taken of their origin; and generally, instead of a statement of the personal descent of Darius and Cyrus, much rather only a direct mention of the particular people ruled by each - e.g., for these rulers the special designations 'king of the Persians,' 'king of the Medes'-was to be expected
(Note: Kranichfeld goes on to say, that Hilgenfeld goes too far if he concludes from the attribute, the Mede (Dan 6:1 Dan 5:31), that the author wished to represent thereby a separate kingdom of the Medes in opposition to a kingdom of the Persians at a later time nationally distinct from it; further, that as in the sequel the Median dynasty of the Medo-Persian kingdom passed over into a Persian dynasty, and through the government of the Persian Cyrus the Persian race naturally came forth into the foreground and assumed a prominent place, the kingdom was designated a potiori as that of the Persians (Dan 10:1, Dan 10:13, Dan 10:20; Dan 11:2), like as, in other circumstances (Isa 13:17; Jer 51:11, Jer 51:28), the Medians alone are a potiori represented as the destroyers of Babylon. "As there was, during the flourishing period of the Median dynasty, a kingdom of the Medes and Persians (cf. Dan 5:28; Dan 8:20), so there is, since the time of Cyrus the Persian, a kingdom of the Persians and Medes (cf. Est 1:3, Est 1:18, 1 Macc. 1:1; 14:2). We find in Daniel, at the time of the Median supremacy in the kingdom, the law of the Medes and Persians (Dan 6:9, Dan 6:13, Dan 6:16), and subsequently we naturally find the law of the Persians and Medes, Est 1:19.")
(cf. Dan 8:20; Dan 10:1, Dan 10:13, Dan 10:20; Dan 11:2)." Hence, as Kranichfeld further rightly judges, it could not (Daniel 8) appear appropriate to suppose that the author had Persian in view as the third kingdom, while in the visions Daniel 2 and 7 we would regard Persian as a kingdom altogether separated from the Median kingdom. Moreover the author in Daniel 8 speaks of the one horn of the ram as growing up after the other, in order thereby to indicate the growing up of the Persian dynasty after the Median, and consequently the two dynasties together in one and the same kingdom (Dan 8:3, cf. Dan 8:20). Yet, in spite of all these testimonies to the contrary, Daniel must in Daniel 2 and 7 have had in view by the second world-kingdom the Median, and by the third the Persian, because at that time he did not think that in the relation of the Median and the Persian no other change in the future would happen than a simple change of dynasty, but because, at the time in which the Median kingdom stood in a threatening attitude toward the Chaldean (both in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar and in the first year of his son Belshazzar, i.e., Evilmerodach), he thought that a sovereign Persian kingdom would rise up victoriously opposite the Median rival of Nebuchadnezzar.
As opposed to this expedient, we will not insist on the improbability that Daniel within two years should have wholly changed his opinion as to the relation between the Medians and the Persians, though it would be difficult to find a valid ground for this. Nor shall we lay any stress on this consideration, that the assumed error of the prophet regarding the contents of the divine revelation in Daniel 2 and 7 appears irreconcilable with the supernatural illumination of Daniel, because Kranichfeld regards the prophetic statements as only the produce of enlightened human mental culture. But we must closely examine the question how this reference of the world-kingdoms spoken of stands related to the characteristics of the third and fourth kingdoms as stated in Daniel 2 and 7.
The description of the second and third kingdoms is very briefly given in Daniel 2 and 7. Even though the statement, Dan 2:39, that the second kingdom would be smaller than the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar could point to a Median kingdom, and the statement that the third kingdom would rule over the whole earth might refer to the spread of the dominion of the Persians beyond the boundaries of the Chaldean and Medo-Persian kingdom under Darius, yet the description of both of these kingdoms in Dan 7:5 sufficiently shows the untenableness of this interpretation. The second kingdom is represented under the image of a bear, which raises itself up on one side, and has three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. The three ribs in its mouth the advocates of this view do not know how to interpret. According to Kran., they are to be regarded as pointing out constituent parts of a whole, of an older kingdom, which he does not attempt more definitely to describe, because history records nothing of the conquests which Darius the Mede may have gained during the two years of his reign after the conquest of Babylon and the overthrow of the Chaldean kingdom by Cyrus. And the leopard representing (Dan 7:6) the third kingdom has not only four wings, but also four heads. The four heads show beyond a doubt the vision of the kingdom represented by the leopard into four kingdoms, just as in Daniel 8 the four horns of the he-goat, which in Dan 8:22 are expressly interpreted of four kingdoms rising out of the kingdom of Javan. But a division into four kingdoms cannot by any means be proved of the Persian world-kingdom. Therefore the four heads must here, according to Kran., represent only the vigilant watchfulness and aggression over all the regions of the earth, the pushing movement toward the different regions of the heavens, or, according to Hitzig, the four kings of Persia whom alone Daniel knew. But the first of these interpretations confutes itself, since heads are never the symbol of watchfulness or of aggressive power; and the second is set aside by a comparison with Dan 8:22. If the four horns of the he-goat represent four world-kingdoms rising up together, then the four heads of the leopard can never represent four kings reigning after one another, even though it were the case, which it is not (Dan 11:2), that Daniel knew only four kings of Persia.
Yet more incompatible are the statements regarding the fourth world-kingdom in Daniel 2 and 7 with the supposition that the kingdom of Alexander and his followers is to be understood by it. Neither the monarchy of Alexander nor the Javanic world-kingdom accords with the iron nature of the fourth kingdom, represented by the legs of iron, breaking all things in pieces, nor with the internal division of this kingdom, represented by the feet consisting partly of iron and partly of clay, nor finally with the ten toes formed of iron and clay mixed (Dan 2:33, Dan 2:40-43). As little does the monarchy of Alexander and his successors resemble a fearful beast with ten horns, which was without any representative in the animal world, according to which Daniel could have named it (Dan 7:7, Dan 7:19). Kranichfeld rejects, therefore, the historical meaning of the image in Daniel 2, and seeks to interpret its separate features only as the expression of the irreparable division of the ungodly kingdom assailing the theocracy with destructive vehemence, and therein of dependent weakness and inner dissolution. Hitzig finds in the two legs the representation of a monarchy which, as the Greek domination, sets its one foot on Europe and its other on Asia; and he regards Syria and Egypt as the material of it - Syria as the iron, Egypt as the clay. Others, again, regard the feet as the kingdoms of the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies, and in the ten horns they seek the other kingdoms of the Διάδοχοι. On the other hand, Kliefoth justly asks, "How came Syria and Egypt to be feet? And the toes go out of the feet, but the other kingdoms of the Διάδοχοι do not arise out of Syria and Egypt." And if in this circumstance, that it is said of the fourth terrible beast that it was different from all the beasts that went before, and that no likeness was found for it among the beasts of prey, Kran. only finds it declared "that it puts forth its whole peculiarity according to its power in such a way that no name can any longer be found for it," then this in no respect whatever agrees with the monarchy of Alexander. According to Hitz., the difference of the fourth beast is to be sought in the monarchy of Alexander transplanted from Europe into Asia, as over against the three monarchies, which shared in common an oriental home, a different kind of culture, and a despotic government. But was the transference of a European monarchy and culture into Asia something so fearful that Daniel could find no name whereby to represent the terribleness of this beast? The relation of Alexander to the Jews in no respect corresponds to this representation; and in Daniel 8 Daniel does not say a word about the rapidity of its conquests. He had thus an entirely different conception of the Greek monarchy from that of his modern interpreters.
Finally, if we take into consideration that the terrible beast which represents the fourth world-power has ten horns (Dan 7:7), which is to be explained as denoting that out of the same kingdom ten kings shall arise (Dan 7:24), and, on the contrary, that by the breaking off from the he-goat, representing the monarchy of Alexander, of the one great horn, which signified the first king, and the subsequent springing up of four similar horns, is to be understood that four kingdoms shall arise out of it (Dan 8:5, Dan 8:8,Dan 8:21-22); then the difference of the number of the horns shows that the beast with the ten horns cannot represent the same kingdom as that which is represented by the he-goat with four horns, since the number four is neither according to its numerical nor its symbolical meaning identical with the number ten. Moreover, this identifying of the two is quite set aside by the impossibility of interpreting the ten horns historically. Giving weight to the explanation of the angel, that the ten horns represent the rising up of ten kings, Berth., v. Leng., Hitz., and Del. have endeavoured to find these kings among the Seleucidae, but they have not been able to discover more than seven: 1. Seleucus Nicator; 2. Antiochus Soter; 3. Antiochus Theus; 4. Seleucus Callinicus; 5. Seleuchus Ceraunus; 6. Antiochus the Great; 7. Seleucus Philopator, the brother and predecessor of Antiochus Epiphanes, who after Philopator's death mounted the throne of Syria, having set aside other heirs who had a better title to it, and who must be that little horn which reached the kingdom by the rooting up of three kings. The three kings whom Antiochus plucked up by the roots (cf. Dan 7:8, Dan 7:20,Dan 7:24) must be Heliodorus, the murderer of Philopator; Demetrius, who was a hostage in Rome, the son of Philopator, and the legitimate successor to the throne; and the son of Ptolemy Philometor, for whom his mother Cleopatra, the sister of Seleucus Philopator and of Antiochus Epiphanes, claimed the Syrian throne. But no one of these three reached the royal dignity, and none of them was dethroned or plucked up by the roots by Antiochus Epiphanes. Heliodorus, it is true, strove for the kingdom (Appian, Syriac. 45); but his efforts were defeated, yet not by Antiochus Epiphanes, but by Attalus and Eumenes. Demetrius, after his death, was the legitimate heir to the throne, but could not assert his rights, because he was a hostage in Rome; and since he did not at all mount the throne, he was not of course dethroned by his uncle Antiochus Epiphanes. Finally, Ptolemy Philometor, after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, for a short time, it is true, united the Syrian crown with the Egyptian (1 Macc. 11:13; Polyb. 40:12), but during the life of Antiochus Epiphanes, and before he ascended the throne, he was neither de jure nor de facto king of Syria; and the "pretended efforts of Cleopatra to gain for her son Philometor the crown of Syria are nowhere proved" (Hitzig).
Of this historical interpretation we cannot thus say even so much as that it "only very scantily meets the case" (Delitzsch); for it does not at all accord with the prophecy that the little horn (Antiochus Epiphanes) plucked up by the roots three of the existing kings. Hitzig and Hilgenfeld (Die Proph. Esra u. Daniel p. 82) have therefore dropped out of view the Syrian kingdom of Philometor, and, in order to gain the number ten, have ranked Alexander the Great among the Syrian kings, and taken Seleucus Philopator into the triad of the pretended Syrian kings that were plucked up by the roots by Antiochus Epiphanes. But Alexander the Great can neither according to the evidence of history, nor according to the statement of the book of Daniel, be counted among the kings of Syria; and Seleucus Philopator was not murdered by Antiochus Epiphanes, but Antiochus Epiphanes lived at the time of this deed in Athens (Appian, Syr. 45); and the murderer Heliodorus cannot have accomplished that crime as the instrument of Antiochus, because he aspired to gain the throne for himself, and was only prevented from doing so by the intervention of Attalus and Eumenes. Hilgenfeld also does not venture to reckon Heliodorus, the murderer of the king, among the triad of uprooted kings, but seeks to supply his place by an older son of Seleucus Philopator, murdered at the instigation of Antiochus Epiphanes according to Gutschmid; but he fails to observe that a king's son murdered during the lifetime of his father, reigning as king, could not possibly be represented as a king whom Antiochus Epiphanes drove from his throne. Of the ten kings of the Grecian world-kingdom of the branch of the Seleucidae before Antiochus Epiphanes, whom Hilgenfeld believes that he is almost able "to grasp with his hands," history gives as little information as of the uprooting of the three Syrian kings by Antiochus Epiphanes.
But even though the historical relevancy of the attempt to authenticate the ten Syrian kings in the kingdom of the Seleucidae were more satisfactory than, from what has been remarked, appears to be the case, yet this interpretation of the fourth beast would be shattered against the ten horns, because these horns did not grow up one after another, but are found simultaneously on the head of the beast, and consequently cannot mean ten Syrian kings following one another, as not only all interpreters who regard the beast as representing the Roman empire, but also Bell. and Kran., acknowledge, in spite of the reference of this beast to the Javanic world-kingdom. "We are induced," as Bleek justly observes, "by Dan 7:8, where it is said of the little horn that it would rise up between the ten horns, to think of ten contemporaneous kings, or rather kingdoms, existing along with each other, which rise out of the fourth kingdom." Therefore he will "not deny that the reference to the successors of Alexander is rendered obscure by the fact that Daniel 8 speaks of four monarchies which arise out of that of Alexander after his death." This obscurity, however, he thinks he is able to clear up by the remark, that "in the kind of development of the historical relations after the death of Alexander, the parts of his kingdom which formed themselves into independent kingdoms might be numbered in different ways." Thus, in Daniel 7, "as ten from the number of the generals who in the arrangements of the division of the kingdom (323 b.c.) retained the chief provinces: 1. Kraterus (Macedonia); 2. Antipater (Greece); 3. Lysimachus (Thrace); 4. Leonatus (Phrygia Minor on the Hellespont); 5. Antigonus (Phrygia Major, Lycia, and Pamphylia); 6. Cassander (Karia); 7. Eumenes (Cappadocia and Paphlagonia); 8. Laomedon (Syria and Palestine); 9. Pithon (Media); 10. Ptolemy Lagus (Egypt)." But Zndel justly observes in opposition to this view, that "these kingdoms could only have significance if this number, instead of being a selection from the whole, had been itself the whole. But this is not the case. For at that time the kingdom, according to Justin, hist. L. xiii. 4, was divided into more than thirty separate parts.
(Note: Justinus, l.c., mentions the following, viz.: 1. Ptolemy (Egypt, Africa, Arabia); 2. Laomedon (Syria and Palestine); 3. Philotas (Cilicia); 4. Philo (Illyria); 5. Atropatos (Media Major); 6. Scynus (Susiana); 7. Antigonus (Phrygia Major); 8. Nearchus (Lycia and Pamphylia); 9. Cassander (Caria); 10. Menander (Lydia); 11. Leonatus (Phrygia Minor); 12. Lysimachus (Thracia and Pontus); 13. Eumenes (Cappadocia and Paphlagonia); 14. Taxiles (the countries between the Hydaspes and the Indus); 15. Pithon (India); 16. Extarches (Caucasus); 17. Sybirtios (Gedrosia); 18. Statanor or Stasanor (Drangiana and Aria); 19. Amyntas (Bactria); 20. Seytaeus (Sogdiana); 21. Nicanor (Parthia); 22. Philippus (Hyrcania); 23. Phrataphernes (Armenia); 24. Tlepolenus (Persia); 25. Peucestes (Babylonia); 26. Archon (the Pelasgi); 27. Arcesilaus (Mesopotamia). Besides these there were other generals not named.)
Although all the names do not perfectly agree as given by different writers, yet this is manifest, that there is no information regarding a division of the kingdom of Alexander into ten exclusively. History knows nothing of such a thing; not only so, but much more, this reckoning of Bleek's falls into the same mistake as the oldest of Porphyry, that it is an arbitrary selection and not a fixed number." But if Bleek wishes to support his arbitrary selection by references to the Sibylline Oracles, where also mention is made of the horns of Daniel in connection with Alexander, Hilgenfeld (Jd. Apokal. p. 71ff.) has, on the contrary, shown that this passage is derived from Daniel, and is therefore useless as a support to Bleek's hypothesis, because in it the immediate successors of Alexander are not meant, but ten kings following one another; this passage also only shows that the sibyllist had given to the number ten an interpretation regarded by Bleek himself as incompatible with the words of Daniel.
But notwithstanding the impossibility of interpreting the ten horns of the Greek world-kingdom, and notwithstanding the above-mentioned incompatibility of the statements of Daniel 2 and 7 regarding the third kingdom with those of Daniel 8 regarding the Medo-Persian kingdom,
(Note: This incompatibility Kliefoth has so conclusively (p. 245f.) stated, that in confirmation of the above remarks we quote his words. "The bear and the panther," he says, "are related to each other as the ram and the he-goat; but how, in two visions following each other and related to each other, the one Medo-Persian kingdom could be likened to beasts so entirely different as a winged panther and a he-goat is quite inconceivable. The interpreters must help themselves by saying that the choice of the beasts is altogether arbitrary. Daniel 8 describes Medo-Persia as a kingdom comprehending two peoples united together within it; but Daniel 7 says regarding its third kingdom with four heads, that after an original unity it shall fall to pieces on all sides. And interpreters are compelled to meet this contradiction by explaining the four heads, some in one way, and others in another, but all equally unsuccessfully. According to Daniel 8 Medo-Persia will extend itself only into three regions of the earth, while according to Daniel 7 the third kingdom with its four wings will extend itself on all sides. It comes to this, therefore, that these interpreters must divide Medo-Persia in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 into two kingdoms, of Media and Persia, while in Daniel 8 they must recognise but one Medo-Persian kingdom.")
yet, according to Kranichfeld, the identification of the fourth kingdom of Daniel with the Javanic world-kingdom receives a confirmation from the representation of Daniel 11 and Dan 12:1-13, particularly by the striking resemblance of the description of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 2 and 7 with that of the Javanic in Daniel 8ff. "As in Daniel 2 and 7 the inward discord of the fourth kingdom is predicated, so this is obviously represented in the inner hateful strife of the kingdom, of which Dan 11:3. treats; as here the discord appears as inextinguishable, so there; as to the special means also for preventing so striking that it can overbalance the fundamental differences? "Of all that Daniel 8 says, in Dan 8:5-8, Dan 8:21, Dan 8:22, of Macedonia, nothing at all is found in the statements of Daniel 2 and 7 regarding the fourth kingdom." Kliefoth. Also the inner dissolution predicated of the fourth kingdom, Dan 2:41., which is represented by the iron and clay of the feet of the image, is fundamentally different from the strife of the prince of the south with the prince of the north represented in Dan 11:3. The mixing of iron and clay, which do not unite together, refers to two nationalities essentially different from each other, which cannot be combined into one nation by any means of human effort, but not at all to the wars and conflicts of princes (Dan 11:3.), the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae, for the supremacy; and the attempts to combine together national individualities into one kingdom by means of the mingling together of different races by external force, are essentially different from the political marriages by which the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae sought to establish peace and friendship with each other.
(Note: How little political marriages were characteristic of the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae, rather how much more frequently they took place among the Romans, from the time of Sulla down to that of Diocletian, and that often in a violent way - cum frequenti divortio et raptu gravidarum - as a means of obtaining or holding the government, is shown from the numerous collection of cases of this sort compiled by J. C. Velthusen in his treatise Animad. ad Dan. 2:277-25, imprimis de principum Romanorum connubiis ad firmandam tyrannidem inventis, Helmst. 1783, in vol. v. of the Comentatt. Theolog. of Velth., edited by Kuinoel and Ruperti. Since this treatise has not received any attention from modern critics, we will quote from it the judgment which Cato passed on Caesar's triplex ad evertendam rempublicam inventa politicarum nuptiarum conspiratio. His words are these: "rem esse plane non tolerabilem, quod connubiorum lenociniis imperium collocari (διαμαστρωπεύεσθαι) caeperit, et per mulieres sese mutuo ad praefecturas, exercitus, imperia auderet introducere" (p. 379).)
There is more plausibility in criticism which gives prominence to the resemblance in the description of the two violent persecutors of the people of God who arise out of the Javanic and the fourth world-kingdom, and are represented in Daniel 8 as well as in Daniel 7 under the figure of a little horn. "If" - for thus Kran. has formulated this resemblance - "in the fourth kingdom, according to Dan 7:8, Dan 7:11, Dan 7:20-21, Dan 7:25, the heathen oppressor appears speaking insolent words against the Most High and making war with the saints, so Dan 8:10., 24, Dan 11:31, Dan 11:36, unfolds, only more fully, in his fundamental characteristics, the same enemy; and as in Dan 7:25 the severe oppression continues or three and a half times, so also that contemplated in Dan 8:14 and in Dan 12:7, in connection with Dan 12:1. and Daniel 11." On the ground of this view of the case, Delitzsch asks, "Is it likely that the little horn which raised itself up and persecuted the church of God is in Daniel 8. Antiochus Epiphanes rising up out of the divided kingdom of Alexander, and in Daniel 7, on the contrary, is a king rising up in the Roman world-kingdom? The representation of both, in their relation to Jehovah, His people, and their religion, is the same. The symbolism in Daniel 7 and 8 coincides, in so far as the arch-enemy is a little horn which rises above three others." We must answer this question decidedly in the affirmative, since the difference between the two enemies is not only likely, but certain. The similarity of the symbol in Daniel 7 and 8 reaches no further than that in both chapters the persecuting enemy is represented as a little horn growing gradually to greater power. But in Dan 8:9 this little horn arises from one of the four horns of the he-goat, without doing injury to the other three horns; while in Dan 7:8 the little horn rises up between the ten horns of the dreadful beast, and outroots three of these horns. The little horn in Daniel 8, as a branch which grows out of one of these, does not increase the number of the existing horns, as that in Daniel 7, which increases the number there to eleven. This distinction cannot, as Kranichfeld supposes, be regarded merely as a formal difference in the figurative representation; it constitutes an essential distinction for which the use of different symbols for the representation of the world-kingdoms in Daniel 2 and 7 furnishes no true analogue. By these two different images two wholly different things are compared with each other.
The representations of the four world-kingdoms in Daniel 2 and in Daniel 7 are only formally different - in Daniel 2 a human image, in Daniel 7 four beasts - but in reality these representations answer to each other, feature for feature, only so that in Daniel 7 further outlines are added, which entirely agree with, but do not contradict, the image in Daniel 2. On the contrary, in Daniel 7 and 8 essential contradictions present themselves in the parallel symbols - four horns and ten horns - which cannot be weakened down to mere formal differences. As little does the description of the enemy of the people of God, portrayed as a little horn in Daniel 8, correspond with that in Daniel 7. The fierce and crafty king arising out of the kingdoms of Alexander's successors will become "great toward the south and toward the east and toward the pleasant land, and wax great even to the host of heaven, and cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground; yea, he will magnify himself even to the prince of the host, and take away the daily sacrifice, and cast down the place of the sanctuary" (Dan 8:9-12, Dan 8:23-25). On the other hand, the king who rises up out of the fourth world-kingdom, who overthrows three other kings, will "speak great things against the Most High, and make war against the saints of the Most High, and prevail against them, and think to change times and laws" (Dan 7:8, Dan 7:20,Dan 7:25). These two enemies resemble each other in this, that they both make war against the people of God; but they differ in that he who arises out of the third world-kingdom, extending his power toward the south and the east, i.e., towards Egypt and Babylon, and towards the Holy Land, shall crush some of the people of God, and by the taking away of the daily worship and the destruction of the sanctuary in Jerusalem, will rise up against God; while, on the contrary, he that shall arise out of the fourth world-kingdom will go much further. He will establish his kingdom by the destruction of three kingdoms, by great words put himself in the place of God, and as if he were God will think to change the times and the laws of men. Conformably to this, the length of time during which the persecution of these two adversaries will continue is different. The laying waste of the sanctuary by the power of the little horn arising out the Javanic world-kingdom will continue 2300 evening-mornings (Dan 8:14): to the power of the little horn arising out of the fourth world-kingdom the saints of the Most High must be given up for a time, two times, and half a time (Dan 7:25). No one will be persuaded, with Kranichfeld, that these two entirely different periods of time are alike. This difference of the periods of time again appears in Dan 12:7, Dan 12:11-12, where also the three and a half times (Dan 12:7) agree neither with the 1290 nor with the 1335 days. It is therefore not correct to say that in Daniel 8 and 7 Antichrist, the last enemy of the church, is represented, and that the aspects of the imagery in both chapters strongly resemble each other. The very opposite is apparent as soon as one considers the contents of the description without prejudice, and does not, with Kranichfeld and others, hold merely by the details of the representation and take the husk for the kernel. The enemy in Daniel 8 proceeds only so far against God that he attacks His people, removes His worship, and lays waste the sanctuary; the enemy in Daniel 7 makes himself like God (לצד, Dan 7:25), thinks himself to be God, and in his madness dares even to seek to change the times and the laws which God has ordained, and which He alone has the power to change. The enemy in Daniel 8 it is an abuse of words to call Antichrist; for his offence against God is not greater than the crime of Ahaz and Manasseh, who also took away the worship of the true God, and set up the worship of idols in His stead. On the other hand, it never came into the mind of an Ahaz, nor of Manasseh, nor of Antiochus Epiphanes, who set himself to put an end to the worship of God among the Jews, to put themselves in the place of God, and to seek to change times and laws. The likeness which the enemy in Daniel 8, i.e., Antiochus Epiphanes, in his rage against the Mosaic religion and the Jews who were faithful to their law, has to the enemy in Daniel 7, who makes himself like God, limits itself to the relation between the type and the antitype. Antiochus, in his conduct towards the Old Testament people of God, is only the type of Antichrist, who will arise out of the ten kingdoms of the fourth world-kingdom (Dan 7:24) and be diverse from them, arrogate to himself the omnipotence which is given to Christ, and in this arrogance will put himself in the place of God.
The sameness of the designation given to both of these adversaries of the people of God, a "little horn," not only points to the relation of type and antitype, but also, as Kliefoth has justly remarked, to "intentional and definite" parallelism between the third world-kingdom (the Macedonian) and the fourth (the Roman). "On all points the changes of the fourth kingdom are described similarly to the changes which took place in the Macedonian kingdom; but in every point of resemblance also there is indicated some distinct difference, so that the Macedonian kingdom in its development comes to stand as the type and representative of the fourth kingdom, lying as yet in the far-off future." The parallelism appears in this, that in the he-goat, representing the Javanic kingdom, after the breaking of the one great horn four considerable horns come up; and the fourth beast has ten horns; and the horns in both show that out of the one kingdom four, and out of the other ten, kingdoms shall arise;-further, that as out of one of the Javanic Diadoch kingdoms, so also from among the ten kingdoms into which the fourth kingdom is divided, a little horn comes up; the little horn in the Javanic kingdom, however, developes itself and founds its dominion differently from that of the fourth kingdom. If one carefully considers the resemblances and the differences of this description, he cannot fail to observe "the relation of an imperfect preliminary step of heathenish ungodliness to a higher step afterwards taken," which Kran. (p. 282) seeks in a typical delineation. For the assertion of this critic, that "in the pretended typical, as in the antitypical situation, the same thoughts of the rising up against the Most High, the removal of His worship, and the destruction of the sanctuary always similarly occur," is, according to the exegetical explanation given above, simply untrue. The difference reduces itself not merely to the greater fulness with which, "not the chief hero, but the type," is treated, but it shows itself in the diversity of the thoughts; for the elevation to the place of God, and the seeking to change the times and the laws, manifests one of a higher degree of godlessness than the removing of the Jewish sacrificial worship and the desecration of the Jewish temple.
Finally, the relation of the type to the antitype appears yet more distinctly in the determining of the time which will be appointed to both enemies for their opposition to God; for, though apparently they are alike, they are in reality very differently designated, and particularly in the explanation of the angel, Dan 8:17, Dan 8:19, and in the representation of the conduct of both enemies in Daniel 11 and Dan 12:1-13, as we shall show in our exposition of these chapters.
Since, then, neither the division of the Medo-Persian kingdom into the Median and the Persian is allowable, nor the identification of the fourth kingdom, Daniel 2 and 7, with the Javanic world-kingdom in Daniel 8, we may regard as correct the traditional church view, that the four world-kingdoms are the Chaldean, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman. This opinion, which has been recently maintained by Hv., Hengst., Hofm., Auberl., Zndel, Klief., and by C. P. Caspari and H. L. Reichel, alone accords without any force or arbitrariness with the representation of these kingdoms in both visions, with each separately as well as with both together. If we compare, for instance, the two visions with each other, they are partly distinguished in this, that while Nebuchadnezzar sees the world-power in its successive unfoldings represented by one metallic image, Daniel, on the other hand, sees it in the form of four ravenous beasts; partly in this, that in Daniel 7 the nature of the world-power, and its relation to the kingdom of God, is more distinctly described than in the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 2. These diversities have their foundation in the person of the respective recipients of the revelation. Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the world-power, sees its development in its unity and in its earthly glory. As opposed to the kingdom of God, the world-kingdoms, in all the phases of their development, form a united power of outward glory. But its splendour gradually decreases. The image with the golden head has its breast and arms of silver, its belly of brass, its legs of iron, its feet of iron and clay mixed. Thus the image stands on feet that are weak and easily broken, so that a stone rolling against them can break in pieces the whole colossus. Since, then, the image must represent four phases of the world-kingdoms following each other, they must be represented by the separate parts of the image. Beginning with the head, as denoting the first kingdom, the second kingdom is in natural order represented by the breast and arms, the third by the belly, and the fourth by the legs and feet. Since this of necessity follows from the image being that of the human body, yet in the interpretation we may not attach any weight to the circumstance that the second kingdom is represented by the breasts and the two arms, and the fourth by the two legs; but this circumstance may be taken into consideration only in so far as importance is given to it by the interpretation which is furnished in the text, or as it finds corresponding importance in the vision of Daniel 7.
If we thus consider now the image, Daniel 2, the selection of different metals for its separate parts must be regarded as certainly designed not only to distinguish the four world-kingdoms from each other, but also at the same time to bring to view their different natures and qualities. This is evident from the interpretation in Dan 2:39., where the hardness and the crushing power of the iron, and the brittleness of the clay, are brought to view. From this intimation it is at the same time obvious that the metals are not, as Auberlen, p. 228ff., thinks, to be viewed only as to their worth, and that by the successive depreciation of the materials - gold, silver, brass, iron, clay - a continuous decline of the world-power, or a diminution of the world-kingdoms as to their inner worth and power, is intended. Though Aub. says many things that are true and excellent regarding the downward progress of the world-development in general, the successive deterioration of humanity from paradise to the day of judgment, yet this aspect of the subject does not come here primarily before us, but is only a subordinate element in the contemplation. Daniel does not depict, as Aub. with P. Lange supposes, the world-civilisations in the world-monarchies; he does not describe "the progress from a state of nature to one of refined culture - from a natural, vigorous, solid mode of existence to a life of refinement and intellectualism, which is represented by the eye (Dan 7:8) of Antichrist;" but he describes in both visions only the development of the world-power opposite to the kingdom of God, and its influence upon it in the future. If Aub. holds as the foundation of his opinion, that "gold and silver are nobler and more valuable metals, but that, on the other hand, iron and brass are infinitely more important for the cause of civilisation and culture," he has confounded two different points of view: he has made the essential worth and value of the former metals, and the purpose and use of the latter, the one point of comparison. Gold and silver are nobler and more valuable than brass and iron, yet they have less intrinsic worth. The difference is frequently noticed in the Old Testament. Gold and silver are not only more highly valued than brass and iron (cf. Isa 60:17), but silver and gold are also metonymically used to designate moral purity and righteousness (cf. Mal 3:3 with Isa 1:22); brass and iron, on the contrary, are used to designate moral impurity (cf. Jer 6:28; Eze 22:18) and stubborn rebellion against God (Isa 48:4). With reference to the relative worth of the metals, their gradation in the image shows, without doubt, an increasing moral and religious deterioration of the world-kingdoms. It must not, however, be hence thought, as Auberlen does, "that the Babylonian and Persian religions presuppose more genuine truthfulness, more sacred reverence for that which is divine, deeper earnestness in contending against the evil, in the nations among whom they sprung up, than the Hellenic, which is so much richer and more beautifully developed;" for this distinction is not supported by history. But although this may be said of the Persian, it cannot be held as true of the Babylonian religion, from all we know of it. Kranichfeld (p. 107) is more correct when in the succession of the metals he finds "the thought conceived by the theocrat of a definite fourfold procedure or expression of character comparatively corresponding to them, of a fourfold דּרך (way, Jer 6:27) of the heathen kingdoms manifesting an increasing deterioration." The two first kingdoms, the golden and the silver, in general appear to him in their conduct as proportionally noble, virtuous, and in their relation to the theocracy even relatively pious; the two latter, on the contrary, which presented themselves to him in the likeness of brass and iron, as among the four morally base, as standing in the moral scale lower and lowest, and in relation to the theocracy as more relentless and wicked (see v. 40)
(Note: Kliefoth (p. 93) in a similar manner says, "From the application which in Dan 2:40 is made of the iron material, we see that the substances representing the different kingdoms, and their deterioration from the gold down to the iron, must denote something else than that the world-power, in the course of its historical formation, will become always baser and more worthless - that also its more tender or more cruel treatment of the nations, and of the men subdued by it, must be characterized. If the bonds which the Babylonian world-monarchy wound around the nations which were brought into subjection to it, by its very primitive military and bureaucratic regulations, were loose, gentle, pliable as a golden ring, those of the Medo-Persian were of harder silver, those of the Macedonian of yet harder copper, but the yoke of the fourth will be one of iron.")).
With this the declaration of the text as to the position of the four world-kingdoms and their rulers with referenced to the people of God stand in accord; for, on the one hand, Nebuchadnezzar, and the first rulers of the second kingdom, Darius the Median and Cyrus the Persian, respect the revelations of the living God, and not only in their own persons give honour to this God, but also command their heathen subjects to render unto Him fear and reverence; on the other hand, on the contrary, from the third and the fourth kingdoms the greatest persecutors of the kingdom of God, who wish utterly to destroy it (Daniel 7, 8), arise. In this respect the two first world-kingdoms, seen in their rulers, are like gold and silver, the two latter like copper and iron.
The relation of the world-kingdoms to the kingdom and people of God, represented by this gradation of the metals, corresponds only to the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman world-kingdoms, but not to the Babylonian, Median, and Persian. This appears more manifest in the representation of them by four ravenous beasts, the lion, the ear, the leopard, and another beast to which no likeness can be found, Daniel 7. Its eagle's wings were torn from the lion, and it had given to it, by God, a man's heart; the bear shows only wild voracity-holding its prey between its teeth, it raises its one side for new prey; the leopard with four heads and four wings springs forward as in flight over the whole earth, to seize it and to exercise dominion over it; the fourth nameless beast devours and breaks in pieces with its iron teeth all that remains, and stamps upon it with its iron feet, and thus represents godless barbarity in its fullest development. But for the historical interpretation there comes yet particularly into view the circumstance that the fourth beast is represented by no animal existing in nature, and is designated by no historical name, as in the case of the first (Dan 2:38) and the second and third (Dan 8:20-21); for the two first had already come into existence in Daniel's time, and of the third, the people at least out of whom it was to arise had then already come into relation to the people of Israel (Joe 3:6, Joe 3:8). The fourth kingdom, on the contrary, is represented by a nameless beast, because in Daniel's time Rome had not come into contact with Israel, and as yet lay beyond the circle of vision of Old Testament prophecy. Although Daniel receives much more special revelations regarding this world-kingdom (Daniel 7) than Nebuchadnezzar does in his dream (Daniel 2), yet all the separate lines of the representation of the beast and its horn are given with so much want of precision that every reference to a historical people is at fault, and from the vision and its interpretation it was not to be known where this kingdom would arise, whether in Asia or elsewhere. The strength of the monster, devouring and trampling mercilessly on all things, is in harmony with its iron nature, and in its ten horns its powerful armour is depicted. The very concrete expressions regarding the little or eleventh horn contain only ideal traces respecting the position of the king or kingdom represented by it, which distinctly show, indeed, the elevation of the same above all human and divine authority, but give no indication at all of any special historical connections.
Thus it appears that the two vision, on the one hand, do not copy their prophetic representation from historical facts, that the prophecy is not vaticinium ex eventu; but, on the other hand, also that it is not derived from general ideas, as Hitz. and Kran. have attempted to show. While Hitzig thinks that the idea of the four ages of the world lies at the foundation, not of the fourfoldness of the monarchies, but of the kind of representation given of them in Daniel 2, - an idea which came from India to Greece, and was adopted by Daniel in its Greek form, - Kranichfeld considers that, under divine enlightenment, Daniel delineated the ideal of the advancing completion of heathen depravation in four stages (not in five, six, etc.), after the notion of the four ages of the world which we find not only in the Indian four jugas, but also in the Greco-Roman representation of the metallic aeons. Now although for this book of Daniel no special dependence on the Greeks can be proved from the use and value of the metals, because they were used by the ancient Hebrews as metaphorical symbols, yet the combination of the idea of the ages of the world so firmly and definitely stamped with just the number four remains a very noteworthy phenomenon, which must have had a deeper foundation lying in the very fact itself. This foundation, he concludes, is to be sought in the four stages of the age of man.
This conjecture might appear plausible if Kranichfeld had proved the supposed four stages of the age of man as an idea familiar to the O.T. He has not, however, furnished this proof, but limited himself to the remark, that the combination of the number four with the ages of the life of man was one lying very near to Daniel, since the four phases of the development of heathenism come into view (Daniel 2) in the image of a human being, the personification of heathendom. A very marvellous conclusion indeed! What, then, have the four parts of the human figure - the head, breast, belly, feet - in common with the four stages of the age of man? The whole combination wants every point of support. The idea of the development of the world-power in four kingdoms following after each other, and becoming continually the more oppressive to the people of God, has no inward connection with the representation of the four ages of the world, and - as even Ewald (Daniel p. 346), in opposition to this combination, remarks - "the mere comparison with gold, silver, brass, iron lies too near for the author of this book to need to borrow it from Hesiod." The agreement of the two ideas in the number four (although Hesiod has inserted the age of the heroes between the brazen and the iron aeon, and thus has not adhered to the number four) would much more readily have been explained from the symbolical meaning of four as the number of the world, if it were the mere product of human speculation or combination in the case of the world-ages as of the world-kingdoms, and not much rather, in the case of the world-ages, were derived from the historical development of humanity and of Daniel's world-kingdoms, from divine revelation. Yet much less are the remaining declarations regarding the development and the course of the world-kingdoms to be conceived of as the product of enlightened human thought. This may be said of the general delineation of the second and third world-kingdoms (Daniel 2 and 7), and yet much more of the very special declaration regarding them in Daniel 8, but most of all of the fourth world-kingdom. If one wished to deduce the fearful power of this kingdom destroying all things from the idea of the rising up of hostility against that which is divine, closely bound up with the deterioration of the state of the world, and to attach importance to this, that the number ten of the horns of the fourth beast, corresponding to the number of the toes of the feet, is derived from the apprehension of heathendom as the figure of a man, and is not to be understood numerically, but symbolically; yet there remains, not to mention other elements, the growth of the little horn between the ten existing horns, and its elevation to power through the destruction of three existing horns, which are deduced neither from the symbolical meaning of the numbers nor are devised by enlightened human thought, but much rather constrain us to a recognition of an immediate divine revelation.
If we now approach more closely to the historical reference of the fourth world-kingdom, it must be acknowledge that we cannot understand by it the Grecian, but only the Roman world-power. With it, not with the Macedonian monarchy, agree both the iron nature of the image (Daniel 2), and the statements (Dan 7:23) that this kingdom would be different from all that preceded it, and that it would devour and break and trample upon the whole earth. The Roman kingdom was the first universal monarchy in the full sense. Along with the three earlier world-kingdoms, the nations of the world-historical future remained still unsubdued: along with the Oriental kingdoms, Greece and Rome, and along with the Macedonia, the growing power of Rome.
First the Roman kingdom spread its power and dominion over the whole οἰκουμένη, over all the historical nations of antiquity in Europe, Africa, and Asia. "There is" (says Herodian, ii. 11. 7) "no part of the earth and no region of the heavens whither the Romans have not extended their dominion." Still more the prophecy of Daniel reminds us of the comparison of the Roman world-kingdom with the earlier world-kingdoms, the Assyrico-Baylonian, the Persian, and the Grecian, in Dionys. Halicar., when in the proaem. 9 he says: "There are the most famous kingdoms down to our time, and this their duration and power. But the kingdom of the Romans ruled through all the regions of the earth which are not inaccessible, but are inhabited by men; it ruled also over the whole sea, and it alone and first made the east and the west its boundaries." Concerning the other features of the image in Daniel 2, we can seek neither in the two legs and feet of the image, nor in the twofold material of the feet, any hint as to the division of the Roman kingdom into the Eastern and Western Rome. The iron and clay are in the image indeed not so divided as that the one foot is of iron and the other of clay, but iron and clay are bound together in both of the feet. In this union of two heterogeneous materials there also lies no hint that, by the dispersion of the nations, the plastic material of the Germanic and the Slavic tribes was added to the Old Roman universal kingdom (Dan 2:40) with its thoroughly iron nature (Auberl. p. 252, cf. with Hof. Weiss. u. Erf. i. p. 281). For the clay in the image does not comes into view as a malleable and plastic material, but, according to the express interpretation of Daniel (v. 42), only in respect of its brittleness. The mixing of iron and clay, which do not inwardly combine together, shows the inner division of the nations, of separate natural stocks and national character is, which constituted the Roman empire, who were kept together by external force, whereby the iron firmness of the Roman nation was mingled with brittle clay.
The kingdoms represented by the ten horns belong still to the future. To be able to judge regarding them with any certainty, we must first make clear to ourselves the place of the Messianic kingdom with reference to the fourth world-kingdom, and then compare the prophecy of the Apocalypse of John regarding the formation of the world-power - a prophecy which rests on the book of Daniel.
The Messianic Kingdom and the Son of Man
In the image of the monarchies, Daniel 2, the everlasting kingdom of God is simply placed over against the kingdoms of the world without mention being made of the king of this kingdom. The human image is struck and broken to pieces by a stone rolling down against its feet, but the stone itself grows into a great mountain and fills the whole earth (Dan 2:34.). This stone is a figure of that kingdom which the God of heaven will erect in the days of the kings of the fourth world-kingdom; a kingdom which to all eternity shall never be destroyed, and which shall crush all the kingdoms of the world (Dan 2:44). In Daniel 7, on the contrary, Daniel sees not only the judgment which God holds over the kingdoms of the world, to destroy them for ever with the death of their last ruler, but also the deliverance of the kingdom to the Messiah coming with the clouds of heaven in the likeness of a son of man, whom all nations shall serve, and whose dominion shall stand for ever (Dan 7:9-14, cf. Dan 7:26.).
In both visions the Messianic kingdom appears in its completion. Whence Auberlen (p. 248), with other chiliasts, concludes that the beginning of this kingdom can refer to nothing else than to the coming of Christ for the founding of the so-called kingdom of the thousand years; an event still imminent to us. In favour of this view, he argues (1) that the judgment on Antichrist, whose appearance is yet future, goes before the beginning of this kingdom; (2) that this kingdom in both chapters is depicted as a kingdom of glory and dominion while till this time the kingdom of heaven on the earth is yet a kingdom of the cross. But the judgment on Antichrist does not altogether go before the beginning of this kingdom, but only before the final completion of the Messianic kingdom; and the Messianic kingdom has the glory and dominion over all the kingdoms under heaven, according to Daniel 2 and 7, not from the beginning, but acquires them only for the first time after the destruction of all the world-kingdoms and of the last powerful enemy arising out of them. The stone which breaks the image becomes for the first time after it has struck the image a great mountain which fills the whole earth (Dan 2:35), and the kingdom of God is erected by the God of heaven, according to Dan 2:44, not for the first time after the destruction of all the world-kingdoms, but in the days of the kings of the fourth world-monarchy, and thus during its continuance. With this Daniel 7 harmonizes; for, according to Dan 7:21, Dan 7:22, Dan 7:25, Dan 7:27, the little horn of the fourth beast carries on war with the saints of the Most High till the Ancient of days executes judgment in their behalf, and the time arrives when the saints shall possess the kingdom. Here we distinctly see the kingdom of heaven upon earth bearing the form of the cross, out of which condition it shall be raised by the judgment into the state of glory. The kingdom of the Messiah is thus already begun, and is warred against by Antichrist, and the judgment on Antichrist only goes before the raising of it to glory. (3) Auberlen adduces as a third argument, that (according to Roos, Hofm., etc.) only the people of Israel in opposition to the heathen nations and kingdoms can be understood by the "people of the saints of the Most High" (Dan 7:18, Dan 7:27), because Daniel could only think of this people. But to this Kranichfeld has rightly replied, that Daniel and the whole O.T. knew nothing whatever of such a distinction between a non-Israelitish and an Israelitish epoch within the kingdom of Messiah, but only a Messianic kingdom in which Israel forms the enduring centre for the heathen believing nations drawing near to them. To this we add, that the division of the kingdom of heaven founded by Christ on the earth into a period of the church of the Gentiles, and following this a period of a thousand years of the dominion of Jewish Christians, contradicts the clear statements of Christ and the apostles in the N.T., and is only based on a misconception of a few passages of the Apocalypse.
Daniel certainly predicts the completion of the kingdom of God in glory, but he does not prophesy that the kingdom of heaven will then for the first time begin, but indicates its beginnings in a simple form, although he does not at large represent its gradual development in the war against the world-power, just as he also gives only a few brief intimations of the temporary development of the world-kingdoms. If Aub. (p. 251) replies that the words of the text, Dan 2:35, "then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together," cannot at all permit the thought of the co-existence of the fourth world-kingdom and the kingdom of God, he attributes to these words a meaning which they do not bear. The "together" refers only to the breaking in pieces of the five substances named, of which the world-kingdoms are formed, the destruction of the world-power in all its parts, but not that this happened at one and the same moment, and that then for the first time the kingdom of God which is from heaven began. The stone which brake the image in pieces, then first, it is true, grows up into a great mountain filling the whole earth. The destruction of the world-kingdoms can in reality proceed only gradually along with the growth of the stone, and thus also the kingdom of God can destroy the world-kingdoms only by its gradual extension over the earth. The destruction of the world-power in all its component parts began with the foundation of the kingdom of heaven at the appearance of Christ upon earth, or with the establishment of the church of Christ, and only reaches its completion at the second coming of our Lord at the final judgment. In the image Daniel saw in a moment, as a single act, what in its actual accomplishment or in its historical development extends through the centuries of Christendom. Auberlen has in his argument identified the image with the actual realization, and has not observed that his conception of the words Dan 2:35 does not accord with the millennium, which according to Rev 20:1-15 does not gradually from small beginnings spread itself over the earth - is not to be likened to a stone which first after the destruction of the world-kingdom grows up into a mountain.
So also in Daniel 7 Daniel sees the judgment of the world-kingdoms in the form of an act limited to a point of time, by which not only the beast whose power culminates in the little horn is killed, but also the dominion and the kingdom over all nations is given over to the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven and appearing before God the Judge. If one here identifies the form of the prophetic vision with the actual fact, then he places Daniel in opposition to the teaching of the N.T. regarding the judgment of the world. According to N.T. doctrine, Christ, the Son of man, receives the dominion and power over all nations not for the first time on the day of judgment, after the destruction of the world-kingdoms by the Father, but He received it (Mat 28:18) after the completion of His work and before His ascension; and it is not God the Father who holds the judgment, but the Son raised to the right hand of the Father comes in the clouds of heaven to judge the world (Mat 25:31). The Father committed the judgment to the Son even while He yet sojourned on this earth in the form of a servant and founded the kingdom of heaven (Joh 5:27). The judgment begins not for the first time either before or after the millennium, about which chiliasts contend with one another, but the last judgment forms only the final completion of the judgment commencing at the first coming of Christ to the earth, which continues from that time onward through the centuries of the spread of the kingdom of heaven upon earth in the form of the Christian church, till the visible return of Christ in His glory in the clouds of heaven to the final judgment of the living and the dead. This doctrine is disclosed to us for the first time by the appearance of Christ; for by it are unfolded to us for the first time the prophecies regarding the Messiah in His lowliness and in His glory, in the clear knowledge of the first appearance of Christ in the form of a servant for the founding of the kingdom of God by His death and resurrection, and the return of the Son of man from heaven in the glory of His Father for the perfecting of His kingdom by the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment.
That which has been said above, avails also for explaining the revelation which Daniel received regarding the King of the kingdom of God. While His appearance in the form of a son of man with the clouds of heaven, according to the statements of the N.T. regarding the second coming of Christ, points to His coming again in glory, yet, as above remarked, His coming before the Ancient of days, i.e., before God, and receiving from God the kingdom and the dominion, does not accord with the statements of the N.T. regarding the return of Christ to judge the world; so that we must here also distinguish between the actual contents and the form of the prophetic representation, and between the thought of the prophecy and its realization or historical fulfilment. Only because of a disregard of this distinction could Fries, e.g., derive from Dan 7:13 an argument against the parallelizing of this passage with Mat 24:30; Mar 14:62, and Rev 1:7, as well as against the reference to the Messias of the personage seen by Daniel in the clouds of heaven as a son of man.
In the vision, in which the Ancient of days, i.e., God, holds judgment over the world and its rulers, and in the solemn assembly for judgment grants to the Son of man appearing before Him the kingdom and the dominion, only this truth is contemplated by the prophet, that the Father gave to the Son all power in heaven and in earth; that He gave the power over the nations which the rulers of the earth had, and which they used only for the oppression of the saints of God, to the Son of man, and in Him to the people of the saints, and thereby founded the kingdom which shall endure for ever. But as to the way and manner in which God executes judgment over the world-power, and in which He gives (Dan 7:22, Dan 7:27) to the Son of man and to the people of the saints the dominion and the power over all the kingdoms under the heavens - on this the prophecy gives no particular disclosures; this much, however, is clear from Dan 7:27, that the judgment held by the Ancient of days over the world-power which was hostile to God is not a full annihilation of the kingdoms under the whole heavens, but only an abolition of their hostile dominion and power, and a subjection of all the kingdoms of this earth to the power and dominion of the Son of man, whereby the hostile rulers, together with all ungodly natures, shall be for ever destroyed. The further disclosures regarding the completion of this judgment are given us in the N.T., from which we learn that the Father executes judgment by the Son, to whom He has given all power in heaven and on earth. With this further explanation of the matter the passages of the N.T. referring to Dan 7:13, regarding the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven to execute judgment over the world, easily harmonize. To show this, we must examine somewhat more closely the conception and the use of the words "Son of man" in the N.T.
The Son of Man, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου
It is well known that Jesus only during His sojourn on earth made use of this designation of Himself, as appears in the N.T. Bengel on Mat 16:13 remarks: "Nemo nisi solus Christus a nemine dum ipse in terra ambularet, nisi a semetipso appellitatus est filius hominis." Even after Christ's ascension the apostles do not use this name of Christ. In the passages Act 7:56 and Rev 1:13; Rev 14:14, where alone it is found in the N.T. beyond the Gospels, the title is borrowed from Dan 7:13. It is, moreover, generally acknowledged that Jesus wished by thus designating Himself to point Himself out as the Messiah; and "this pointing Himself out as the Messiah is founded," as H. A. W. Meyer on Mat 8:20 rightly remarks, "not on Psa 8:1-9, but, as is manifest from such passages as Mat 24:30; Mat 26:64 (cf. also Act 7:56), on the description of that prophetic vision, Dan 7:13, well known to the Jews (Joh 12:34), and found also in the pre-Christian book of Enoch, where the Messiah appears in the clouds of heaven = כּבר אנשׁὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου, amid the angels of the divine judgment-seat." The comparison in the = כὡς to a son of man refers to the form in which He is seen by the prophet (see pp. 645f.), and affirms neither the true humanity nor the superhuman nature of Him who appeared. The superhuman or divine nature of the person seen in the form of a man lies in the coming with the clouds of heaven, since it is true only of God that He makes the clouds His chariot; Psa 104:3, cf. Isa 19:1. But on the other hand, also, the words do not exclude the humanity, as little as the ὅμοιος υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου, Rev 1:13; for, as C. B. Michaelis has remarked, כ non excludit rei veritatem, sed formam ejus quod visum est describit; so that with Oehler (Herz. Realenc.) we may say: The Messiah here appears as a divine being as much as He does a human. The union of the divine and the human natures lies also in the self-designation of Christ as ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, although as to the meaning Jesus unites with it there is diversity of opinion.
That this was a designation of the Messiah common among the Jews in the time of Jesus, we cannot positively affirm, because only Jesus Himself made use of it; His disciples did not, much less did the people so style the Messiah. If, then, Jesus speaks of Himself as the Son of man, He means thereby not merely to say that He was the Messiah, but He wishes to designate Himself as the Messiah of Daniel's prophecy, i.e., as the Son of man coming to the earth in the clouds of heaven. He thereby lays claim at once to a divine original, or a divine pre-existence, as well as to affirm true humanity of His person, and seeks to represent Himself, according to John's expression, as the Logos becoming flesh.
(Note: Meyer justly remarks: "The consciousness from which Jesus appropriates to Himself this designation by Daniel was the antithesis of the God-sonship, the necessary (contrary to Schleiermacher) self-consciousness of a divine pre-existence appearing in the most decided manner in John, the glory (δόχα) of which He had laid aside that He might appear as that ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου of Daniel in a form not originally appertaining to Him ... . Whatever has, apart from this, been found in the expression, as that Christ hereby designated Himself as the Son of man in the highest sense of the word, as the second Adam, as the ideal of humanity (Bhme, Neander, Ebrard, Olsh., Kahnis, Gess, and Weisse), or as the man whom the whole history of mankind since Adam has in view (Hofm. Schriftbew. ii. 1, p. 81, cf. Thomas. Chr. Pers. u. Werk, ii. p. 15), is introduced unhistorically with reference to Daniel 7.")
This view of the expression will be confirmed by a comparison of the passages in which Jesus uses it. In Joh 1:51, "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man," the divine glory is intimated as concealed in the lowliness of the Son of man: the Son of man who walks on the earth in the form of a man is the Son of God. So also in the answer which Jesus gave to the high priest, when he solemnly adjured Him to say "whether He were the Christ, the Son of God" (Mat 26:63), pointing distinctly to Dan 7:13, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." In like manner in all the other passages in the Gospels in which Jesus designates Himself the Son of man, He points either to His present lowliness or to His future glory, as is abundantly proved by Fr. A. Philippi (Kirch. Glaubenslehre, iv. 1, p. 415, der 2 Auf.) by a lucid comparison of all the passages in the Gospel of Matthew.
From the use of the expression "the Son of man" by Jesus (not only where He refers to His supernatural greatness or His divine pre-existence, but also where He places His human lowliness in contrast with His divine nature), it follows that even in those passages which treat of His coming to judgment, connected with the description, borrowed from Dan 7:13, of His coming in the clouds of heaven, He seeks to prove not so much His appearance for judgment, as rather only the divine power and glory which the Father gave Him, or to indicate from the Scriptures that the Father gave Him dominion over all people, and that He will come to reveal this dominion by the judgment of the world and the completion of His kingdom. The power to execute judgment over the living and the dead, the Father, i.e., God as the Lord of the world, has given to His Son, to Christ, because He is the Son of man (Joh 5:27), i.e., because He as man is at the same time of a divine nature, by virtue of which He is of one essence with the Father. This truth is manifested in the vision, Dan 7:13-14, in this, that the Ancient of days gives glory and the kingdom to Him who appears before Him in the form of a man coming in the clouds of heaven, that all people and nations might honour Him. Therewith He gave Him also implicite the power to execute judgment over all peoples; for the judgment is only a disclosure of the sovereignty given to Him.
The Little Horn and the Apocalyptic Beast
The giving of the kingdom to the Son of man goes before the appearance of the great adversary of the people of God represented by the little horn - the adversary in whom the enmity of the world against the kingdom of God reaches its highest manifestation. But to form a well-founded judgment regarding the appearance of this last enemy, we must compare the description given of him in Dan 7:8, Dan 7:24. with the apocalyptic description of the same enemy under the image of the beast out of the sea or out of the abyss, Rev 13:1-8 and Rev 17:7-13.
John saw a Beast Rise Up Out Of The Sea which had seven heads and ten horns, and on its horns ten crowns; it was like a leopard, but had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his throne and great power. One of its heads appears as if it had received a deadly wound, but its deadly wound was healed, Rev 13:1-3. In this beast the four beasts of Daniel, the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the nameless ten-horned beast (Dan 7:7), are united, and its heads and horns are represented, like the beasts of Daniel, as kings (Rev 17:9, Rev 17:12). The beast seen by John represents accordingly the world-power, in such a way that the four aspects of the same, which Daniel saw in the form of four beasts rising up one after another, are a whole united together into one. In this all interpreters are agreed. Hofmann is wrong (Schriftbew. ii. 2, p. 699), however, when from the circumstance that this beast has the body of a leopard, has its peculiar form like that of a leopard, he draws the conclusion "that John sees the Grecian kingdom rise again in a new form, in which it bears the lion's mouth of the Chaldean, the bear's feet of the Median or Persian, and the ten horns of the last kingdom." For the apocalyptic beast has the body of a leopard from no other reason than because the fourth beast of Daniel was to be compared with no other beast existing in nature, whose appearance could be selected for that purpose. In these circumstances nothing else remained than to lay hold on the form of Daniel's third beast and to make choice of it for the body of the beast, and to unite with it the feet, the mouth or the jaws, and the ten horns of the other beasts.
But that the apocalyptic beast must represent not the rising again of Daniel's third world-kingdom, but the appearance of the fourth, and that specially in its last form, which Daniel had seen as the little horn, appears evidently from this, not to mention the explanation given in Rev 17, that the beast with the seven heads and ten horns, with the name of blasphemy on its heads (Rev 13:1), the marks of the little horn of Daniel, speaks great things and blasphemies, and continues forty and two months (Rev 13:5), corresponding to the three and a half times of Daniel, Dan 7:25. Hofmann, on the other hand, rightly remarks, that the beast must represent not merely the last world-power, but at the same time the last world-ruler, the chief enemy of the saints of God. As with Daniel the world-power and its representative are conceived of as one and the same, so here also with John. This is seen in the insensible transition of the neuter to the masculine, τῷ θηρίῳ ὅς ἔχει, v. 14. In this beast not only does the whole world-power concentrate itself, but in it also attains to its personal head. The ten horns are to be conceived of as on one of the heads, and that the seventh or last, and not (Dsterdieck, etc.) as distributed among the seven heads, so that one horn should be assigned to each head, and three horns should be conceived as between the sixth and the seventh head. This wonderful supposition owes its origin only to the historical reference of the beast to the first Roman emperor, and stands in opposition to the interpretation of the beast which is given by John, Rev 17:7. There John sees the woman, the great Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations, sitting on a scarlet-coloured beast, which was full of names of blasphemy, and had ten horns (Rev 17:3). The identity of the seven-headed beast (Daniel 13) with the scarlet-coloured beast (Rev 17) is justly recognised by the greater number of recent interpreters, even by Dst. Of this red beast the angel, Rev 17:8, says first, "The beast that thou sawest was and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder ... when they behold the beast that was and is not, and yet is" (καὶ πάρεσται = shall come, be present, i.e., again, according to a more accurate reading). In these words the most of interpreters find a paraphrase of the statement, Rev 13:3, Rev 13:12, Rev 13:14, that the beast was wounded to the death, but that its deadly wound was healed. "The distinguishing of the two statements (viz., of the not-being and the death-wound, the coming again and the healing of the wound) has," as A. Christiani (uebersichtl. Darstellung des Inhalts der Apok., in der Dorpater Zeitschriftf. Thel. 1861, iii. p. 219) rightly remarks, "its foundation (against Ebrard) either in the false supposition that the beast in Rev 17 is different from that in Rev 13, or in this, that there must abstractly be a distinction between the world-power (Rev 13) and the ruler of the world (Rev 17); whereby, moreover, it is not clear wherein the difference between the death-wound and the not-being consists (against Aub.)." The being, the not-being, and the appearing gain of the beast, are not to be understood of the present time as regards the seer, so as to mean: the beast existed before John's time, after that it was not, and then one day shall again appear, which has been combined with the fable of Nero's coming again; but the past, the present, and the future of the beast are, with Vitringa, Bengel, Christ., to be regarded from the standpoint of the vision, according to which the time of the fulfilment, belonging to the future, is to be regarded as the point of time from which the being, the not-being, and the appearing again are represented, so that these three elements form the determination of the nature of the beast in its historical manifestation.
Hereupon the angel points out to the seer the secret of the woman and of the beast which bears the woman, beginning with the interpretation of the beast, Rev 17:9. "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth; and there are seven kings." The heads are thus defined in a twofold way: For the woman they are seven mountains, on which she sits; but in so far as they belong to the beast, they are seven kings (Hofm. p. 711, Christ., etc.). The reference of the mountains to the seven hills of Rome is to be rejected, because it is difficult to understand how the heads can represent at one and the same time both mountains and kings. Mountains are, according to the prophetic view, seats of power, symbols of world-kingdoms (cf. Psa 68:17; Psa 76:5; Jer 51:25; Eze 35:2), and thus are here as little to be thought of as occupying space along with one another as are the seven kings to be thought of as contemporaneous (Hofm., Aub.). According to this, the βασιλείς are not also separate kings of one kingdom, but kingships, dominions, as in Daniel ruler and kingdom are taken together. One need not, however, on this account assume that βασιλείς stands for βασιλείαι; for, according to Dan 8:20-22, "the kingdom is named where the person of the ruler is at once brought into view; but where it is sought to designate the sovereignty, then the king is named, either so that he represents it altogether, or so that its founder is particularly distinguished" (Hofm. p. 714).
The angel further says of the seven heads: "Five (of these sovereignties) are fallen," i.e., are already past, "one is," i.e., still exists, "the other is not yet come; and when it cometh, it must continue a short space." This explanation is obviously given from the point of view of the present of the seer. The five fallen βασιλείς (sovereignties) are Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, and Greece (Hengst., Aub., Christ.), and not Assyria, Chaldea, Persia, Grecia, and the kingdom of the Seleucidae, as Hofmann, with Ebrard and Stier, affirms. The reception of the Seleucidae or of Antiochus Epiphanes into the rank of world-rulers, depends, with Hofmann, on the erroneous interpretation of the apocalyptic beast-image as representing the reappearance of the Grecian world-kingdom, and falls with this error. The chief argument which Hofmann alleges against Egypt, that it was never a power which raised itself up to subdue or unite the world under itself, or is thus represented in the Scriptures, Aub. (p. 309) has already invalidated by showing that Egypt was the first world-power with which the kingdom of God came into conflict under Moses, when it began to exist as a nation and a kingdom. Afterwards, under the kings, Israel was involved in the wars of Egypt and Assyria in like manner as at a later period they were in those of the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae. For this reason Egypt and Assyria are often named together by the prophets, particularly as the world-powers with which the people of God committed whoredom, yea, by the older prophets generally as the representatives of the world-power (Kg2 17:4; Hos 7:11; Hos 12:1; Hos 9:3; Hos 11:5, Hos 11:11; Mic 7:12; Isa 52:4; Isa 19:23-25; Jer 2:18, Jer 2:36; Zac 10:10). On the other hand, the Seleucidan appears before us in Daniel 8 and 11:1-25 as an offshoot of the Grecian world-kingdom, without anything further being intimated regarding him. In Daniel 7 there is as little said of him as there is in Zechariah's vision of the four-horsed chariots.
The sixth sovereignty, which "is" (ὁ εἷς ἔστιν), is the Roman world-power exercising dominion at the time of John, the Roman emperor. The seventh is as yet future, and must, when it comes, continue a short time (ὀλίγον). If the sixth sovereignty is the Roman, they by the seventh we may understand the world-powers of modern Europe that have come into its place. The angel adds (Rev 17:11), "The beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth (king), and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." By that which is called "even the eighth" can properly be meant only the seventh. The contrast lying in the καὶ αὐτὸς ὀγδοός demands this. But that instead of the seventh (Rev 17:10, ὁ ἄλλος the beast itself is named, therewith it is manifestly intimated that in the eighth the beast embodies itself, or passes into its completed form of existence as a beast. This is supported partly by the expression ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά which is added to ὀγδοός, partly by the designation as "the beast that was and is not." That addition does not merely say, one out of the seven, for which John would have written εἷς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά (cf. Rev 17:1 and Rev 21:9), or, formed like the seven, but, growing up out of the seven, as the blossom out of the plant (βλαστάνων, as the Greek Andreas explains, and erroneously adds ἐκ μίας αὐτῶν). It is the comprehensive essence of these seven, the embodiment of the beast itself, which for the first time reaches in it to its perfect form (Aub., Dsterd., Christ.). As such it is placed over against the seven as the eighth; but it is not therefore an eighth kingdom, for it is not represented by an eighth head, but only by the beast-only the beast which was, and is not, and then shall be again (πάρεσται, Rev 17:11, cf. Rev 17:8). If now this definition, according to the above, means the same thing as is intended in Daniel 13 by the deadly wound of the beast and the healing again of the wound, then these words mean that the world-power in one of its heads (the seventh?) receives the deadly wound, so that the beast is not-i.e., it cannot show its power, its beast-nature-till the healing of the same, but after the healing of the wound it will appear as the eighth ruler in its full nature as a beast, and will unfold the power of its ten horns. Of these ten horns the angel says, Rev 17:12, "They are ten kings which have received no βασιλείαν, but will receive power as kings one hour with the beast." By this is it affirmed, on the one side, that the ten horns belong to the seventh beast; but, on the other, it appears from this interpretation of the angel, taken in connection with that going before, that the ruler with the ten horns and the highest phases of the development of the world-power, and is to be regarded as contemporary with the ten βασιλείς which receive power as kings with the beast.
The statement, however, that the seventh ruler is also an eighth, and must represent the beast in its perfect form, without his being denoted by an eighth head to the beast, has its foundation, without doubt, in the dependence of the apocalyptic delineation on Daniel's prophecy of the fourth world-power, in which (Daniel 2) the iron legs are distinguished from the feet, which consist partly of iron and partly of clay; and yet more distinctly in Daniel 7 the climax of the power of the fourth beast is represented in the little horn growing up between its ten horns, and yet neither is it called in Daniel 2 a fifth kingdom, nor yet in Daniel 7 is the little horn designated as a fifth world-ruler.
The apocalyptic delineation of the world-power and the world-ruler is related, therefore, to the prophecy of Daniel in such a manner that, in the first place, it goes back to the elements of the same, and gathers them together into one combined image, according to its whole development in the past, present, and future, while Daniel's prophecy goes forth from the present, beginning with the Chaldean world-kingdom. Moreover, the Apocalypse discloses the spiritual principle working in the world-power. The dragon, i.e., Satan, as prince of this world, gave his throne and his power to the beast. Finally, the Apocalypse extends itself at large over the unfolding, as yet future, of the ungodly world-kingdom; for it places in view, in addition to the sixth ruler existing in the presence of the seer, the rising up of yet a seventh, in which the beast, healed of its death-wound, will first as the eighth ruler fully reveal its ungodly nature. The dividing of the fourth world-kingdom of Daniel between two rulers has its foundation in the purpose to gain the significant number seven. By the number seven of the heads while Daniel saw only four beasts, the apocalyptic beast must be represented as the diabolical contrast to the Lamb. The seven heads and ten horns the beast has in common with the dragon, which gave his power to the beast (cf. Rev 13:1-2 with Rev 12:3). The seven heads of the dragon and of the beast are the infernal caricature and the antithesis of the seven Spirits of God, the seven eyes and seven horns of the Lamb (Rev 5:6), just as the seven mountains on which the woman sits are the antitype and the antithesis of the hill of Zion, the chosen mountain of the Lord. (Cf. Lmmert, Babel, das Thier u. der falsche Prophet, 1863, p. 84.) From the symbolical signification of the numbers, it is also clear how the beast which was and is not can also appear as the eighth ruler. The eighth, arising from the addition of one to seven, denotes a new beginning, or the beginning of a new life, as frequently in the laws relating to religious worship, as e.g., regarding circumcision, the consecration of priests, the purification of lepers, the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles, etc. Cf. Leyrer in Herz.'s Real. Encycl. xviii. p. 370. According to him, the beast is called καὶ αὐτὸς ὀγδοός (Rev 17:11), "because, although it is of the seven which hitherto have constituted the antichristian development in its completeness, a new one presumes to establish itself in self-deification, and in open rebellion against God, raising itself to the experiment of an absolute world-monarchy before the final judgment passes upon it."
As the number seven of the heads of the beast in the Apocalypse, so also the number four of the beasts rising up out of the sea in Daniel's vision comes first under consideration, according to their symbolical meaning as the number of the world. For the sake of this significance of the number four, only the four world-kingdoms are spoken of, while in the fourth there are distinctly two different phases of the development of the world-kingdom. If we look at this significance of the numbers, the difference between the representation of Daniel and that of the Apocalypse reduces itself to this, that Daniel designates the world-power simply only in opposition to the kingdom of God; the Apocalypse, on the contrary, designates it according to its concealed spiritual background, and in its antichristian form. The world-number four appears here augmented to the antichristian contrast to the divine number seven. But in both representations the beast forming the last phase of the world-kingdom has ten horns. This number also has a symbolical meaning; it is the signature of definitive completeness, of fullest development and perfection. "The ten horns are kings; for 'horn' as well as 'king' signifies might crushing, conquering" (Lmmert, p. 78). The little horn which outrooted three existing ones and entered into their place, makes, with the remaining seven, eight; but eight is seven augmented. It is therefore the beast itself in its highest power, and ripe for judgment, just as the beast which was and is not mounts up as the eighth ruler, to be destroyed, after a short period of action, by the judgment.
But while we attach a symbolical import to the numbers, we do not, however, wish to dispute that their numerical worth may not also be realized in the fulfilment. As the comparison of Daniel 7 with 8 beyond doubt shows that the second and third kingdoms which the prophet saw have historically realized themselves in the succession of the Medo-Persian and Grecian kingdoms after the Babylonian; as, moreover, in the prophet delineation of the fourth world-kingdom the character of the Roman world-power is not to be mistaken; finally, as in the Apocalypse the first six heads of the beast are referred to the world-powers that have hitherto appeared in history: so may also the prophecy of the seven heads and of the ten horns of the beast (in Daniel. and the Apoc.) perhaps yet so fulfil itself in the future, that the antichristian world-power may reach its completion in ten rulers who receive power as kings one hour with the beast, i.e., as companions and helpers of Antichrist, carry on war for a while against the Lord and His saints, till at the appearance of the Lord to judgment they shall be destroyed, together with the beast and the dragon.
How indeed this part of the prophecy, relating to the last unfolding of the ungodly and antichristian world-power, shall fulfil itself, whether merely according to the symbolical meaning of the numbers, or finally also actually, the day will first make clear.
The time here indicated, "in the first year of Belshazzar," which cannot, as is evident, mean "shortly before the reign of Belshazzar" (Hitz.), but that Daniel received the following revelation in the course of the first year of the reign of this king, stands related to the contest of the revelation. This vision accords not only in many respects with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2), but has the same subject. This subject, however, the representation of the world-power in its principal forms, is differently given in the two chapters. In Daniel 2 it is represented according to its whole character as an image of a man whose different parts consist of different metals, and in Daniel 7 under the figure of four beasts which arise one after the other out of the sea. In the former its destruction is represented by a stone breaking the image in pieces, while in the latter it is effected by a solemn act of judgment. This further difference also is to be observed, that in this chapter, the first, but chiefly the fourth world-kingdom, in its development and relation to the people of God, is much more clearly exhibited than in Daniel 2. These differences have their principal reason in the difference of the recipients of the divine revelation: Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the world-power, saw this power in its imposing greatness and glory; while Daniel, the prophet of God, saw it in its opposition to God in the form of ravenous beasts of prey. Nebuchadnezzar had his dream in the second year of his reign, when he had just founded his world-monarchy; while Daniel had his vision of the world-kingdoms and of the judgment against them in the first year of Belshazzar, i.e., Evilmerodach, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, when with the death of the golden head of the world-monarchy its glory began to fade, and the spirit of its opposition to God became more manifest. This revelation was made to the prophet in a dream-vision by night upon his bed. Compare Dan 2:28. Immediately thereafter Daniel wrote down the principal parts of the dream, that it might be publicly proclaimed - the sum of the things (מלּין ראשׁ) which he had seen in the dream. אמר, to say, to relate, is not opposed to כּתב, to write, but explains it: by means of writing down the vision he said, i.e., reported, the chief contents of the dream, omitting secondary things, e.g., the minute description of the beasts.
With Dan 7:2 Daniel begins his written report: "Daniel began and said," introduces the matter. חזוי עם־ליליא, visions in (during) the night, cf. Dan 2:19. Dan 7:2 and Dan 7:3 describe the scene in general. The four winds of heaven break loose upon the great sea, and rage fiercely, so that four great beasts, each diverse from the others, arise out of its bosom. The great sea is not the Mediterranean (Berth., Ges., Hitz., Ewald), for such a geographical reference is foreign to the context. It is the ocean; and the storm on it represents the "tumults of the people," commotions among the nations of the world (Hv., Leng., Hofm., etc.), corresponding to the prophetic comparison found in Jer 17:12; Jer 46:7. "Since the beasts represent the forms of the world-power, the sea must represent that out of which they arise, the whole heathen world" (Hofmann). In the interpretation of the image (Dan 7:17) יגּמא מן is explained by ארעא מן. גּיח means to break forth (Eze 32:2), to burst out in storm, not causative, "to make the great sea break forth" (Kran.). The causative meaning is not certainly found either in the Hebrew or the Chaldee. The four winds stand in relation to the four quarters of the heavens; cf. Jer 49:39. Calvin remarks: Mundus similis turbulento mari, quod non agitatur una procella vel uno vento, sed diversis ventis inter se confligentibus, ac si totum coelum conspiraret ad motus excitandos. With this, however, the meaning of the words is not exhausted. The four winds of heaven are not merely diversi venti, and their bursting forth is not only an image of a general commotion represented by a storm in the ocean. The winds of the heavens represent the heavenly powers and forces by which God sets the nations of the world in motion; and the number four has a symbolical meaning: that the people of all regions of the earth are moved hither and thither in violent commotion. "(Ecumenical commotions give rise to oecumenical kingdoms" (Kliefoth). As a consequence of the storm on the sea, there arise out of it four fierce beasts, not all at once, but, as Dan 7:6 and Dan 7:7 teach, one after another, and each having a different appearance. The diversity of the form of the beasts, inasmuch as they represent kingdoms, is determined beforehand, not only to make it noticeable that the selection of this symbol is not arbitrary but is significant (Hvernick), but emphatically to intimate that the vision of different kingdoms is not to be dealt with, as many interpreters seem inclined to do, as one only of different kings of one kingdom.
In these verses there is a description of the four beasts. - Dan 7:4. The first beasts resembled a lion with eagle's wings. At the entrance to a temple at Birs Nimrud there has been found (Layard, Bab. and Nin.) such a symbolical figure, viz., a winged eagle with the head of a man. There have been found also images of winged beasts at Babylon (Mnter, Relig. der Bab.). These discoveries may be referred to as evidence that this book was composed in Babylon, and also as explaining the Babylonian colouring of the dream. But the representation of nations and kingdoms by the images of beasts is much more widely spread, and affords the prophetic symbolism the necessary analogues and substrata for the vision. Lions and eagles are not taken into consideration here on account of their strength, rapacity, and swiftness, but simply because they are kings among beasts and birds: "The beast rules royally like the lion, and wings its conquering royal flight high over the οἰκουμένη like the eagle" (Kliefoth). This emblem corresponds with the representation of the first kingdom with the golden head (Daniel 2). What the gold is among metals and the head among the members of the body, that the lion is among beasts and the eagle among birds.
After a time Daniel sees a change take place with this beast. The wings, i.e., the feathers by which it flies, are plucked off: it is deprived of its power of flight, so that it can no more fly conquering over the earth, or hover as a ruler over it; i.e., the kingdom will be deprived of the power of conquering, for it will be lifted up from the earth (הקימת is Hoph., cf. Dan 4:33), and be placed on its feet as a man. The lifting up from the earth does not represent, accordingly, being taken away or blown away from the earth, not the destruction of the Chaldean kingdom (Theodrt., Hieron., Raschi, Hitzig, and others), but the raising of it up when lying prostrate on the ground to the right attitude of a human being. This change is further described by the words, "a man's heart was given to it," denoting that the beast-nature was transformed to that of a man. The three expressions thus convey the idea, that the lion, after it was deprived of its power of flight, was not only in external appearance raised from the form of a beast to that of a man, but also that inwardly the nature of the beast was ennobled into that of a man. In this description of the change that occurred to the lion there is without doubt a reference to what is said of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4: it cannot, however, be thence concluded, with Hofmann and others, that the words refer directly to Nebuchadnezzar's insanity; for here it is not the king, but the kingdom, that is the subject with reference to whose fate that event in the life of its founder was significant. Forasmuch as it was on account of his haughtiness that madness came upon him, so that he sank down to the level of the beasts of the field, so also for the same reason was his kingdom hindered in its flight over the earth. "Nebuchadnezzar's madness was for his kingdom the plucking off of its wings;" and as when he gave glory to the Most High his reason returned to him, and then for the first time he attained to the true dignity of man, so also was his world-kingdom ennobled in him, although the continued influence of this ennobling may not be perceived from the events in the reign of his son, recorded in Daniel 5. Besides, there lies herein not only the idea of the superiority of the first world-kingdom over the others, as is represented in Daniel 2 by the golden head of the metallic image, but also manifestly the typical thought that the world-kingdom will first be raised to the dignity of manhood when its beast-like nature is taken away. Where this transformation does not take place, or where it is not permanent, there must the kingdom perish. This is the prophetic meaning, for the sake of which that occurrence in the life of the founder of the world-monarchy is here transferred to his kingdom.
The second beast. - וארו signifies that this beast came first into sight after the lion, which also the predicates תנינה אחרי prove.אחרי expresses the difference from the first beast, תנינה the order in which it appears. The beast was like a bear. Next to the lion it is the strongest among animals; and on account of its voracity it was called by Aristotle ζῶον παμφάγον. The words לשׁטר־חד הקימת present some difficulty. They have been differently explained. The explanation of Rabbi Nathan, "and it established a dominion," with which Kranichfeld also agrees, is not only in opposition to the חד, but is also irreconcilable with the line of thought. חד is not the indefinite article, but the numeral; and the thought that the beast established one dominion, or a united dominion, is in the highest degree strange, for the character of a united or compact dominion belongs to the second world-kingdom in no case in a greater degree than to the Babylonian kingdom, and in general the establishing of a dominion cannot properly be predicated of a beast = a kingdom. The old translators (lxx, Theod., Peshito, Saad.) and the rabbis have interpreted the word שׁטר in the sense of side, a meaning which is supported by the Targ. סטר, and is greatly strengthened by the Arabic s'thar, without our needing to adopt the reading שׂטר, found in several Codd. The object to the verb הקימת is easily supplied by the context: it raised up, i.e., its body, on one side. This means neither that it leaned on one side (Ebrard), nor that it stood on its fore feet (Hvernick), for the sides of a bear are not its fore and hinder part; but we are to conceive that the beast, resting on its feet, raised up the feet of the one side for the purpose of going forward, and so raised the shoulder or the whole body on that side. But with such a motion of the beast the geographical situation of the kingdom (Geier, Mich., Ros.) cannot naturally be represented, much less can the near approach of the destruction of the kingdom (Hitzig) be signified. Hofmann, Delitzsch, and Kliefoth have found the right interpretation by a reference to Daniel 2 and 8. As in Daniel 2 the arms on each side of the breast signify that the second kingdom will consist of two parts, and this is more distinctly indicated in Daniel 8 by the two horns, one of which rose up after the other, and higher, so also in this verse the double-sidedness of this world-kingdom is represented by the beast lifting itself up on the one side. The Medo-Persian bear, as such, has, as Kliefoth well remarks, two sides: the one, the Median side, is at rest after the efforts made for the erection of the world-kingdom; but the other, the Persian side, raises itself up, and then becomes not only higher than the first, but also is prepared for new rapine.
The further expression, it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth, has also been variously interpreted. That עלעין means ribs, not sides, is as certain as that the ribs in the mouth between the teeth do not denote side-teeth, tusks, or fangs (Saad., Hv.). The עלעין in the mouth between the teeth are the booty which the bear has seized, according to the undoubted use of the word; cf. Amo 3:12; Psa 124:6; Job 29:17; Jer 51:44. Accordingly, by the ribs we cannot understand either the Persians, Medians, and Babylonians, as the nations that constituted the strength of the kingdom (Ephr. Syr., Hieron., Ros.), or the three Median kings (Ewald), because neither the Medes nor the three Median kings can be regarded as a prey of the Median or Medo-Persian world. The "ribs" which the beast is grinding between its teeth cannot be the peoples who constitute the kingdom, or the kings ruling over it, but only peoples who constitute the kingdom, or the kings ruling over it, but only peoples or countries which it has conquered and annexed to itself. The determining of these peoples and countries depends on which kingdom is represented by the bear. Of the interpreters who understand by the bear the Median kingdom, Maurer and Delitzsch refer to the three chief satrapies (Daniel 6:3 [Dan 6:2]). Not these, however, but only the lands divided between them, could be regarded as the prey between the teeth of the beast, and then Media also must be excluded; so that the reference of the words to the three satrapies is altogether inadmissible. Hitzig thinks that the reference is to three towns that were destroyed by the Medians, viz., Nineveh, Larissa, and a third which he cannot specify; v. Leng. regards the number three as a round number, by which the voracity of the beast is shown; Kranichfeld understands by the three ribs constituent parts of a whole of an older national confederation already dissolved and broken asunder, of which, however, he has no proof. We see, then, that if the bear is taken as representing the Median kingdom, the three ribs in its mouth cannot be explained. If, on the other hand, the Medo-Persian world-kingdom is intended by the bear, then the three ribs in its mouth are the three kingdoms Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were conquered by the Medo-Persians. This is the view of Hofm., Ebr., Znd., and Klief. The latter, however, thinks that the number "Three" ought not to be regarded as symbolical, but as forming only the contrast to the number four in Dan 7:6, and intimating that the second beast will not devour in all the regions of the world, but only on three sides, and will make a threefold and not a fourfold plunder, and therefore will not reach absolute universality. But since the symbolical value of each number is formed from its arithmetical signification, there is no reason here, any more than there is in the analogous passages, Dan 8:4, Dan 8:22, to depart wholly from the exact signification.
The last expression of the verse, Arise, devour much flesh, most interpreters regard as a summons to go forth conquering. But this exposition is neither necessary, nor does it correspond to the relative position of the words. The eating much flesh does not form such a contrast to the three ribs in the mouth between the teeth, that it must be interpreted of other flesh than that already held by the teeth with the ribs. It may be very well understood, with Ebrard and Kliefoth, of the consuming of the flesh of the ribs; so that the command to eat much flesh is only an explication of the figure of the ribs held between the teeth, and contains only the thought that the beast must wholly consume the plunder it has seized with its teeth. The plur. אמרין (they spoke) is impersonal, and is therefore not to be attributed to the angel as speaking.
The third beast, which Daniel saw after the second, was like a panther (leopard), which is neither so kingly as the lion nor so strong as the bear, but is like to both in rapacity, and superior to them in the springing agility with which it catches its prey; so that one may say, with Kliefoth, that in the subordination of the panther to the lion and the bear, the same gradation is repeated as that this is found (of the third kingdom) in Daniel 2 of the copper (brass). Of the panther it is said, that it had four wings of a fowl and four heads. The representation of the beast with four wings increases the agility of its movements to the speed of the flight of a bird, and expresses the thought that the kingdom represented by that beast would extend itself in flight over the earth; not so royally as Nebuchadnezzar, - for the panther has not eagle's wings, but only the wings of a fowl, - but extending to all the regions of the earth, for it has four wings. At the same time the beast has four heads, not two only, as one might have expected with four wings. The number four thus shows that the heads have an independent signification, and do not stand in relation to the four wings, symbolizing the spreading out of the kingdom into the four quarters of the heavens (Bertholdt, Hv., Kran.). As little do the four wings correspond with the four heads in such a way that by both there is represented only the dividing of the kingdom into four other kingdoms (Hv.. Comment., Auberl.). Wings are everywhere an emblem of rapid motion; heads, on the contrary, where the beast signifies a kingdom, are the heads of the kingdom, i.e., the kings or rulers: hence it follows that the four heads of the panther are the four successive Persian kings whom alone Daniel knows (Dan 11:2). Without regard to the false interpretations of Dan 11:2 on which this opinion rests, it is to be noticed that the four heads do not rise up one after another, but that they all exist contemporaneously on the body of the beast, and therefore can only represent four contemporary kings, or signify that this kingdom is divided into four kingdoms. That the four wings are mentioned before the four heads, signifies that the kingdom spreads itself over the earth with the speed of a bird's flight, and then becomes a fourfold-kingdom, or divides itself into four kingdoms, as is distinctly shown in Dan 8:5. - The last statement, and dominion was given to it, corresponds with that in Dan 2:39, it shall bear rule over all the earth, i.e., shall found an actual and strong world-empire.
The fourth beast. - Introduced by a more detailed description, the fourth beast is presented more distinctly before our notice than those which preceded it. Its terribleness and its strength, breaking in pieces and destroying all things, and the fact that no beast is named to which it can be likened, represent it as different from all the beasts that went before. This description corresponds with that of the fourth kingdom denoted by the legs and the feet of the metallic image of the monarchies (Daniel 2). The iron breaking in pieces all things (Dan 2:40) is here represented by the great iron teeth with which this monster devoured and brake in pieces. In addition to that, there are also feet, or, as Dan 7:19 by way of supplement adds, "claws of brass," with which in the mere fury of its rage it destroyed all that remained, i.e., all that it did not devour and destroy with its teeth. וגו משׁניה היא (it was made different) denotes not complete diversity of being, from which Hitz. and Del. conclude that the expression suits only the Macedonian world-kingdom, which as occidental was different in its nature from the three preceding monarchies, which shared among themselves an oriental home and a different form of civilisation and despotic government. For although משׁניה expresses more than אחרי (Dan 7:5), yet the דּא מן דּא שׁנין (diverse one from another), spoken (Dan 7:3) of all the beasts, shows that משׁניה cannot be regarded as expressing perfect diversity of being, but only diversity in appearance. The beast was of such terrible strength and destructive rage, that the whole animal world could furnish no representative by whose name it might be characterized. It had ten horns, by which its terrible strength is denoted, because a horn is in Scripture always the universal symbol of armed strength. With this the interpretation (Dan 7:24), that these horns are so many kings or kingdoms, fully corresponds. In the ten horns the ten toes of the image (Daniel 2) are again repeated. The number ten comes into consideration only according to its symbolical meaning of comprehensive and definite totality. That the horns are on the head of the one beast, signifies that the unfolding of its power in the ten kingdoms is not a weakening of its power, but only its full display.
Here a new event is brought under our notice. While continuing to contemplate the horns (the idea of continuance lies in the particip. with the verb. fin.), Daniel sees another little horn rise up among them, which uproots, i.e., destroys, three of the other horns that were already there. He observes that this horn had the eyes of a man, and a mouth which spake great things. The eye and the mouth suggest a human being as represented by the horn. Eyes and seeing with eyes are the symbols of insight, circumspection, prudence. This king will thus excel the others in point of wisdom and circumspection. But why the eyes of a man? Certainly this is not merely to indicate to the reader that the horn signified a man. This is already distinctly enough shown by the fact that eyes, a mouth, and speech were attributed to it. The eyes of a man were not attributed to it in opposition to a beast, but in opposition to a higher celestial being, for whom the ruler denoted by the horn might be mistaken on account of the terribleness of his rule and government; "ne eum putemus juxta quorundam opinionem vel diabolum esse vel daemonem, sed unum de hominibus, in quo totus Satanas habitaturus sit corporaliter," as Jerome well remarks; cf. Hofmann and Kliefoth. - A mouth which speaketh great things is a vainglorious mouth. רברבן are presumptuous things, not directly blasphemies (Hv.). In the Apocalypse, Rev 13:5, μεγάλα and βλασφημίαι are distinguished.
The judgment on the horn speaking great things and on the other beasts, and the delivering of the kingdom to the Son of Man.
After Daniel had for a while contemplated the rising up of the little horn that appeared among the ten horns, the scene changed. There is a solemn sitting in judgment by God, and sentence is pronounced. Seats or chairs were placed. רמיו, activ. with an indefinite subject: they were thrown, i.e., they were placed in order quickly, or with a noise. Seats, not merely a throne for God the Judge, but a number of seats for the assembly sitting in judgment with God. That assembly consists neither of the elders of Israel (Rabb.), nor of glorified men (Hengstb. on Rev 4:4), but of angels (Psa 89:8), who are to be distinguished from the thousands and tens of thousands mentioned in Dan 7:10; for these do not sit upon thrones, but stand before God as servants to fulfil His commands and execute His judgments. יומין עתּיק, one advanced in days, very old, is not the Eternal; for although God is meant, yet Daniel does not see the everlasting God, but an old man, or a man of grey hairs, in whose majestic from God makes Himself visible (cf. Eze 1:26). When Daniel represents the true God as an aged man, he does so not in contrast with the recent gods of the heathen which Antiochus Epiphanes wished to introduce, or specially with reference to new gods, as Hitzig and Kran. suppose, by reference to Deu 32:17 and Jer 23:23; for God is not called the old God, but appears only as an old man, because age inspires veneration and conveys the impression of majesty. This impression is heightened by the robe with which He is covered, and by the appearance of the hair of His head, and also by the flames of fire which are seen to go forth from His throne. His robe is white as snow, and the hair of His head is white like pure wool; cf. Rev 1:14. Both are symbols of spotless purity and holiness. Flames of fire proceed from His throne as if it consisted of it, and the wheels of His throne scatter forth fire. One must not take the fire exclusively as a sign of punishment. Fire and the shining of fire are the constant phenomena of the manifestation of God in the world, as the earthly elements most fitting for the representation of the burning zeal with which the holy God not only punishes and destroys sinners, but also purifies and renders glorious His own people; see under Exo 3:3. The fire-scattering wheels of the throne show the omnipresence of the divine throne of judgment, the going of the judgment of God over the whole earth (Kliefoth). The fire which engirds with flame the throne of God pours itself forth as a stream from God into the world, consuming all that is sinful and hostile to God in the world, and rendering the people and kingdom of God glorious. קדמוהי מן (from before Him) refers to God, and not to His throne. A thousand times a thousand and ten thousand times ten thousand are hyperbolical expressions for an innumerable company of angels, who as His servants stand around God; cf. Deu 33:2; Psa 68:18. The Keri presents the Chaldaic form אלפין for the Hebraizing form of the text אלפים (thousands), and for רבון the Hebraizing form רבבן (myriads), often found in the Targg., to harmonize the plur. form with the singular רבּו going before.
Forthwith the judgment begins. יתב דּינא we translate, with most interpreters, the judgment sets itself. דּינא, judgment, abstr. pro concreto, as judicium in Cicero, Verr. 2. 18. This idea alone is admissible in Dan 7:26, and here also it is more simple than that defended by Dathe and Kran.: "He" (i.e., the Ancient of days) "sets Himself for judgment," - which would form a pure tautology, since His placing Himself for judgment has been already (Dan 7:9) mentioned, and nothing would be said regarding the object for which the throne was set. - "The books were opened." The actions of men are recorded in the books, according to which they are judged, some being ordained to eternal life and others condemned to eternal death; cf. Rev 20:12, and the notes under Dan 12:1. The horn speaking great things is first visited with the sentence of death.
The construction of this verse is disputed. The second הוית חזה (I was seeing) repeats the first for the purpose of carrying on the line of thought broken by the interposed sentence. בּאדין (then) is separated by the accents from the first הוית חזה and joined to the clause following: "then on account of the voice of the great words." By this interposed sentence the occasion of the judgment which Daniel sees passed upon the beast is once more brought to view. קל מן, "on account of the voice of the words," i.e., on account of the loud words, not "from the time of the words, or from the time when the voice of the great words made itself heard" (Klief.). The following expression, דּי עד (till that), does not by any means require the temporal conception מן. To specify the terminus a quo of the vision was as little necessary here as in the דּי עד הוית חזה, Dan 7:9. The temporal conception of מן alters not only the parallelism of the passage Dan 7:9 and Dan 7:11, but also the course of thought in the representation, according to which Daniel remains overwhelmed during the vision till all the separate parts of it have passed before his view, i.e., till he has seen the close of the judgment. The first part of this scene consists of the constituting of the judgment (Dan 7:9, Dan 7:10), the second of the death and extinction of the horn speaking great things (Dan 7:11), with which is connected (Dan 7:12) the mention of the destruction of the dominion of the other beasts. If one considers that the words "I beheld till that" correspond with the like expression in Dan 7:9, he will not seek, with Kran., in the דּי עד a reference to a lasting process of judicial execution ending with destruction. The thought is simply this: Daniel remained contemplating the vision till the beast was slain, etc. חיותא (the beast) is, by virtue of the explanatory sentence interposed in the first hemistich, the horn speaking great things. The ungodly power of the fourth beast reaches its climax in the blaspheming horn; in this horn, therefore, the beast is slain and destroyed, while its body is given to the burning. אשּׁא ליקדת (to the burning fire) corresponds with the Hebr. אשׁ לשׂרפת, Isa 64:10. The burning in the fire is not the mere figure of destruction, specially justified by the thunder-storm which gathered as a veil around the scene of judgment (Kran.), for there is no mention of a storm either in Dan 7:9 or anywhere else in this entire vision. The supposition that the burning is only the figure of destruction, as e.g., in Isa 9:4, is decidedly opposed by the parallel passages, Isa 66:14, which Daniel had in view, and Rev 19:20 and Rev 20:10, where this prophecy is again taken up, and the judgment is expressed by a being cast into a like of fire with everlasting torment; so that v. Lengerke is right when he remarks that this passage speaks of the fiery torments of the wicked after death, and thus that a state of retribution after death is indicated.
In this verse it is in addition remarked, that the dominion of the other beasts was also destroyed, because the duration of their lives was determined for a time and an hour. The construction of the words forbids us (with Luther) to regard the first part of Dan 7:12 as dependent on דּי עד of Dan 7:11. The object חיותא וּשׁאר (the rest of the beasts) is presented in the form of an absolute nominative, whereby the statement of Dan 7:12 is separated from the preceding. העדּיו, impersonal, instead of the passive, as דּקוּ in Dan 2:35 : "their dominion was made to perish," for "their dominion was destroyed." "The other beasts" are not those that remained of the seven horns of the fourth beast, which were not uprooted by the horn coming up amongst them, the remaining kingdoms of the fourth monarchy after the destruction by that horn, for with the death of the beast the whole fourth world-monarchy is destroyed; nor are they the other kingdoms yet remaining at the time of the overthrow of the fourth world-monarchy or the destruction of the fourth beast (J. D. Mich., v. Leng.), which only lose their political power, but first of all would become subject to the new dominant people (Hitzig), for such other kingdoms have no existence in the prophetic view of Daniel, since the beasts represent world-kingdoms whose dominion stretches over the whole earth. The "remaining beasts" are much rather the first three beasts which arose out of the sea before the fourth, as is rightly acknowledged by Chr. B. Mich., Ros., Hv., Hofm., Maur., Klief., and Kran., with the old interpreters. Although the four world-kingdoms symbolized by those beasts follow each other in actual history, so that the earlier is always overthrown by that which comes after it, yet the dominion of the one is transferred to the other; so in the prophetic representation the death or the disappearance of the first three beasts is not expressly remarked, but is here first indicated, without our needing for that reason to regard העדּיו as the pluperfect. For the exposition of this verse also we may not appeal to Daniel 2, where all the four world-kingdoms are represented in one human image, and the stone which rolled against the feet of this image broke not only the feet, but with them the whole image to pieces (Dan 2:34.), which in Dan 2:44 is explained as meaning that the kingdom of God will bring to an end all those kingdoms. From this we cannot conclude that those kingdoms had long before already perished at the hour appointed for them, but that a remainder (שׁאר) of them yet continued to exist (Hv.), for the representation in this chapter is different; and the rest of the beasts cannot possibly mean that which remained of the beasts after their destruction, but only the beasts that remained after the death of the fourth beast. The mas. suff. to שׁלטנהון (their dominion) and להון refer ad sensum to the possessor or ruler of the world-kingdom represented by the beasts. With that interpretation of "the rest of the beasts" the statement also of the second half of the verse does not agree, for it proves that the subject is the destruction of the dominion of all the beasts which arose up before the fourth. The length or duration of life is the time of the continuance of the world-kingdoms represented by the beasts, and thus the end of life is the destruction of the kingdom. The passive pret. יהיבת is not to be taken thus as the imperf.: "a period of life was appointed to them," but as the pluperf.: "had been granted to them," and the passage formally connected by the simple וis to be taken as confirming the preceding statement. ועדּן זמן (placed together as Dan 2:21 in the meaning there explained) is not to be identified with זמנא, Dan 7:22 (v. Leng., Kran.). The form (stat. absol., not emphat.) shows that not a definite time, the time of the divine judgment of the fourth beast, is meant, but the time of the continuance of the power and dominion for each of the several beasts (kingdoms), foreseen only in the counsel of the Most High, and not further defined. In accordance with this, the statement of Dan 7:12 is that the first three beasts also had their dominion taken away one after another, each at its appointed time; for to each God gave its duration of life, extending to the season and time appointed by Him. Thus Kliefoth, with the older interpreters, correctly regards the connecting of the end of the first three beasts with that of the last as denoting that in the horn not merely the fourth kingdom, but also the first three kingdoms, the whole world-power, is brought to an end by the last judgment. This thought, right in itself, and distinctly announced in the destruction of the image (Daniel 2), appears, however, to lie less in the altogether loose connection of Dan 7:12 with Dan 7:11 than in the whole context, and certainly in this, that with the fourth beast in general the unfolding of the world-power in its diverse phases is exhausted, and with the judgment of this kingdom the kingdom of God is raised to everlasting supremacy.
The giving of the kingdom to the Son of Man. - The judgment does not come to an end with the destruction of the world-power in its various embodiments. That is only its first act, which is immediately followed by the second, the erection of the kingdom of God by the Son of man. This act is introduced by the repetition of the formula, I saw in the night-visions (Dan 7:7 and Dan 7:2). (One) like a son of man came in the clouds of heaven. ענני עם, with the clouds, i.e., in connection with them, in or on them as the case may be, surrounded by clouds; cf. Rev 1:7, Mar 13:26, Mat 24:30; Mat 26:64. He who comes is not named, but is only described according to his appearance like a son of man, i.e., resembling a man (אנשׁ בּר as אדם בן = אנושׁ or אדם). That this was a man is not implied in these words, but only that he was like a man, and not like a beast or some other creature. Now, as the beasts signify not beasts but kingdoms, so that which appeared in the form of a man may signify something else than a human individuum. Following the example of Aben Ezra, Paulus, and Wegscheider, Hofmann (Schriftbew. ii. 1. 80, and 2, p. 582f.), Hitzig, Weisse, Volkmar, Fries (Jahrbb.f. D. Theol. iv. p. 261), Baxmann, and Herzfeld (Gesch. des V. Isr. ii. p. 381) interpret this appearance in the form of a man not of the Messiah, as the Jewish and Christian interpreters in general do, but of the people of Israel, and adduce in support of this view the fact that, in the explanation of the vision, Dan 7:27, cf. Dan 7:24, the kingdom, the dominion, and the power, which according to Dan 7:14 the son of man received, was given to the people of the saints of the Most High. But Dan 7:27 affords no valid support to this supposition, for the angel there gives forth his declaration regarding the everlasting kingdom of God, not in the form of an interpretation of Daniel's vision, as in the case of the four beasts in Dan 7:17 and Dan 7:23, but he only says that, after the destruction of the horn and its dominion, the kingdom and the power will be given to the people of the saints, because he had before (Dan 7:26, cf. 22) spoken of the blasphemies of the horn against God, and of its war against the saints of the Most High. But the delivering of the kingdom to the people of God does not, according to the prophetic mode of contemplation, exclude the Messiah as its king, but much rather includes Him, inasmuch as Daniel, like the other prophets, knows nothing of a kingdom without a head, a Messianic kingdom without the King Messiah. But when Hofmann further remarks, that "somewhere it must be seen that by that appearance in the form of a man is meant not the holy congregation of Israel, but an individual, a fifth king, the Messiah," Auberlen and Kranichfeld have, with reference to this, shown that, according to Dan 7:21, the saints appear in their multiplicity engaged in war when the person who comes in the clouds becomes visible, and thus that the difference between the saints and that person is distinctly manifest. Hence it appears that the "coming with the clouds of heaven" can only be applied to the congregation of Israel, if we agree with Hofmann in the opinion that he who appeared was not carried by the clouds of heaven down to the earth, but from the earth up to heaven, in order that he might there receive the kingdom and the dominion. But this opinion is contradicted by all that the Scriptures teach regarding this matter. In this very chapter before us there is no expression or any intimation whatever that the judgment is held in heaven. No place is named. It is only said that judgment was held over the power of the fourth beast, which came to a head in the horn speaking blasphemies, and that the beast was slain and his body burned. If he who appears as a son of man with the clouds of heaven comes before the Ancient of days executing the judgment on the earth, it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the "chariot" on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Psa 18:10., Psa 97:2-4; Psa 104:3, Isa 19:1; Nah 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Mat 24:30; Mat 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev 1:7; Rev 14:14. Against this, Hofmann, in behalf of his explanation, can only adduce Th1 4:17, in total disregard of the preceding context, Dan 7:16.
(Note: The force of these considerations is also recognised by Hitzig. Since the people of the saints cannot come from heaven, he resorts to the expedient that the Son of man is a "figure for the concrete whole, the kingdom, the saints - this kingdom comes down from heaven." The difficulties of such an idea are very obvious. Fries appears to be of opinion, with Hofmann, that there is an ascension to heaven of the people of the saints; for to him "clear evidence" that the "Son of man" is the people of Israel lies especially in the words, "and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before Him," which necessitates the adoption of the opposite terminus a quo from Mat 24:30; Mar 14:62; Rev 1:7; and hence makes the direct parallelism of Dan 7:13 with the passages named impossible (?).)
With all other interpreters, we must accordingly firmly maintain that he who appears with the clouds of heaven comes from heaven to earth and is a personal existence, and is brought before God, who judges the world, that he may receive dominion, majesty, and a kingdom. But in the words "as a man" it is not meant that he was only a man. He that comes with the clouds of heaven may, as Kranichfeld rightly observes, "be regarded, according to current representations, as the God of Israel coming on the clouds, while yet he who appears takes the outward from of a man." The comparison (כ, as a man) proves accordingly much more, that this heavenly or divine being was in human form. This "Son of man" came near to the Ancient of days, as God appears in the vision of the judgment, Dan 7:9, and was placed before Him. The subject to הקרבוּהי is undefined; Kran. thinks that it is the clouds just mentioned, others think it is the ministering angels. Analogous passages may be adduced in support of both views: for the first, the νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτόν in Act 1:9; but the parallel passages with intransitive verbs speak more in favour of the impersonal translation, "they brought him" = he was brought. The words, "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom were given to him," remind us of the expression used of Nebuchadnezzar, Dan 2:37., but they are elevated by the description following to the conception of the everlasting dominion of God. God gave to Nebuchadnezzar, the founder and first bearer of the world-power, a kingdom, and might, and majesty, and dominion over all the inhabitants of the earth, men, and beasts, and birds, that he might govern all nations, and tribes, and tongues (Dan 5:18-19), but not indeed in such a manner as that all nations and tribes should render him religious homage, nor was his dominion one of everlasting duration. These two things belong only to the kingdom of God. פּלח is used in biblical Chaldee only of the service and homage due to God; cf. Dan 7:27; Dan 3:12-13, Dan 3:17., Ezr 7:19, Ezr 7:24. Thus it indicates here also the religious service, the reverence which belong to God, though in the Targg. it corresponds with the Heb. עבד in all its meanings, colere Deum, terram, laborare. Regarding the expression "nations, tribes, and tongues," see under Dan 7:3, Dan 7:4. The eternity of the duration of the dominion is in this book the constant predicate of the kingdom of God and His Anointed, the Messiah; cf. Daniel 3:33; Dan 4:31; Dan 2:44. For further remarks regarding the Son of man, see at the close of this chapter.
The interpretation of the vision. - Dan 7:14 concludes the account of the contents of the vision, but not the vision itself. That continues to the end of the chapter. Dan 7:15. The things which Daniel saw made a deep impression on his mind. His spirit was troubled within him; the sight filled him with terror. It was not the mystery of the images, nor the fact that all was not clear before his sight, that troubled and disquieted him; for Dan 7:28 shows that the disquietude did not subside when an angel explained the images he had seen. It was the things themselves as they passed in vision before him - the momentous events, the calamities which the people of God would have to endure till the time of the completion of the everlasting kingdom of God - which filled him with anxiety and terror. רוּחי stands for the Hebr. נפשׁי, and דּניּאל אנה is in apposition to the suffix in רוּחי, for the suffix is repeated with emphasis by the pronoun, Dan 8:1, Dan 8:15; Ezr 7:21, and more frequently also in the Hebr.; cf. Winer, Chald. Gram. 40, 4; Ges. Hebr. Gram. 121, 3. The emphatic bringing forward of the person of the prophet corresponds to the significance of the vision, which made so deep an impression on him; cf. also Dan 10:1, Dan 10:7; Dan 12:1-13 :15. In this there is no trace of anxiety on the part of the speaker to make known that he is Daniel, as Hitzig supposes. The figure here used, "in the sheath" (E. V. "in the midst of my body"), by which the body is likened to a sheath for the soul, which as a sword in its sheath is concealed by it, is found also in Job 27:8, and in the writings of the rabbis (cf. Buxt. Lex. talm. s.v.). It is used also by Pliny, vii. 52. On "visions of my head," cf. Dan 7:1.
Daniel turned himself towards an angel who stood by, with a request for an explanation of these things. One of them that stood by refers to those mentioned in Dan 7:10, who stood around the throne of God; whence it is obvious that the vision is still continued. אבעא is not the preterite, I asked him, but the subjunctive, that (ו) I might ask. So also יהודענּני is to be taken with the וgoing before: he spake to me, that he informed me, namely by his speaking.
In Dan 7:17-27 the angel gives the wished-for explanation. In Dan 7:17 and Dan 7:18 he gives first a general interpretation of the vision. The words, these great beasts, of which there were four, form an absolute nominal clause: "as for the beasts;" as concerning their meaning, it is this: "they represent four kings." The kings are named as founders and representatives of world-kingdoms. Four kingdoms are meant, as Dan 7:23 shows, where the fourth beast is explained as מלכוּ, "dominion," "kingdom." Compare also Dan 8:20 and Dan 8:21, where in like manner kings are named and kingdoms are meant. From the future יקוּמוּן (shall arise) Hitzig concludes that the first kingdom was yet future, and therefore, that since Daniel had the vision under Belshazzar, the first king could only be Belshazzar, but could not represent the Chaldean monarchy. But if from the words shall arise it follows that the vision is only of kings who arise in the future, then, since Daniel saw the vision in the first year of Belshazzar, it cannot of course be Belshazzar who is represented by the first beast; and if Belshazzar was, as Hitzig thinks, the last king of Chaldea, than the entire Chaldean monarchy is excluded from the number of the four great beasts. Kranichfeld therefore understands this word as modal, and interprets it should arise. This was the divine decree by which also the duration of their kingdoms was determined (Dan 7:12, Dan 7:25). But the modal interpretation does not agree with Dan 7:16, according to which the angel wishes to make known the meaning of the matter to Daniel, not to show what was determined in the divine counsel, but what God had revealed to him by the beasts rising up out of the sea. The future, shall arise, is rather (Ros., v. Leng., Maur., Klief., etc.) for the purpose of declaring that the vision represents the development of the world-power as a whole, as it would unfold itself in four successive phases; whereupon the angel so summarily interprets the vision to the prophet, that, dating from the time of their origin, he points out the first world-kingdom as arising along with the rest, notwithstanding that it had already come into existence, and only its last stages were then future. The thought of this summary interpretation is manifestly nothing else than this: "Four kingdoms shall arise on the earth, and shall again disappear; but the saints of God shall receive the kingdom which shall have an everlasting duration." יקבּלוּן, receive; not found and establish by their own might, but receive through the Son of man, to whom God (Dan 7:14) has given it. עליונין (cf. Dan 7:22, Dan 7:25, Dan 7:27) is the name of God, the Most High, analogous to the plur. forms אלהים, קדשׁים. "The saints of the Most High," or briefly "the saints" (Dan 7:21, Dan 7:22), are neither the Jews, who are accustomed to call themselves "saints," in contrast with the heathen (v. Leng., Maur., Hitzig, etc.), nor the converted Israel of the millennium (Hofmann and other chiliasts), but, as we argue from Exo 19:6; Deu 7:6, the true members of the covenant nation, the New Testament Israel of God, i.e., the congregation of the New Covenant, consisting of Israel and the faithful of all nations; for the kingdom which God gives to the Son of man will, according to Dan 7:14, comprehend those that are redeemed from among all the nations of the earth. The idea of the everlasting duration of their kingdom is, by the words עלמיּא עלם (for ever and ever), raised to the superlative degree.
The angel does not here give further explanations regarding the first three kingdoms. Since the second chapter treats of them, and the eighth also gives further description of the second and third, it is enough here to state that the first three beasts represent those kingdoms that are mentioned in Daniel 2. The form of the fourth beast, however, comprehends much more regarding the fourth world-kingdom that the dream-image of Nebuchadnezzar did. Therefore Daniel asks the angel further for certain information (certainty) regarding the dreadful form of this beast, and consequently the principal outlines of the representation before given of it are repeated by him in Dan 7:19-21, and are completed by certain circumstances there omitted. Thus Dan 7:19 presents the addition, that the beast had, along with iron teeth, also claws of brass, with which it stamped to pieces what it could not devour; and Dan 7:20, that the little horn became greater than its fellows, made war against the people of God and overcame them, till the judgment brought its dominion to an end. צבית ליצּבא, I wished or sure knowledge, i.e., to experience certainty regarding it.
In Dan 7:20, from וּנפלוּ (fell down) the relative connection of the passage is broken, and the direct description is continued. דּכּן וקרנא (and that horn) is an absolute idea, which is then explained by the Vav epexegetic. חזוהּ, the appearance which is presented, i.e., its aspect. חברתהּ מן (above his fellows), for חזוּ חברתהּ מן (above the aspect of his fellows), see under Dan 1:10.
קדּישיּן (without the article), although used in a definite sense of the saints already mentioned, appertains to the elevated solemn style of speech, in which also in the Hebr. The article is frequently wanting in definite names; cf. Ewald's Lehrb. 277.
As compared with Dan 7:13 and Dan 7:14, this verse says nothing new regarding the judgment. For יהיב דּינא is not to be rendered, as Hengstenberg thinks (Beitr. i. p. 274), by a reference to Co1 6:2 : "to the saints of the Most High the judgment is given," i.e., the function of the judge. This interpretation is opposed to the context, according to which it is God Himself who executes judgment, and by that judgment justice is done to the people of God, i.e., they are delivered from the unrighteous oppression of the beast, and receive the kingdom. דּינא is justice procured by the judgment, corresponding to the Hebrew word משׁפּט, Deu 10:18.
Daniel receives the following explanation regarding the fourth beast. It signifies a fourth kingdom, which would be different from all the preceding, and would eat up and destroy the whole earth. "The whole earth is the οἰκουμένη," the expression, without any hyperbole, for the "whole circle of the historical nations" (Kliefoth). The ten horns which the beast had signify ten kings who shall arise out of that kingdom. מלכוּתהּ מנּהּ, from it, the kingdom, i.e., from this very kingdom. Since the ten horns all exist at the same time together on the head of the beast, the ten kings that arise out of the fourth kingdom are to be regarded as contemporary. In this manner the division or dismemberment of this kingdom into ten principalities or kingdoms is symbolized. For the ten contemporaneous kings imply the existence at the same time of ten kingdoms. Hitzig's objections against this view are of no weight. That מלכוּ and מלך are in this verse used as distinct from each other proves nothing, because in the whole vision king and kingdom are congruent ideas. But that the horn, Dan 7:8, unmistakeably denotes a person, is only so far right, as things are said of the horn which are in abstracto not suitable to a kingdom, but they can only be applicable to the bearer of royal power. But Dan 8:20 and Dan 8:21, to which Hitzig further refers, furnishes no foundation for his view, but on the contrary confutes it. For although in Dan 8:21 the great horn of the goat is interpreted as the first king of Javan, yet the four horns springing up immediately (Dan 8:22) in the place of this one which was broken, are interpreted as four kingdoms (not kings), in distinct proof not only that in Daniel's vision king and kingdom are not "separate from each other," but also that the further assertion, that "horn" is less fitted than "head" to represent a kingdom, is untenable.
After those ten kingdoms another shall arise which shall be different from the previous ten, and shall overthrow three of them. יהשׁפּל, in contrast with אקים (cf. Dan 2:21), signifies to overthrow, to deprive of the sovereignty. But the king coming after them can only overthrow three of the ten kingdoms when he himself has established and possesses a kingdom or empire of his own. According to this, the king arising after the ten is not an isolated ruler, but the monarch of a kingdom which has destroyed three of the kingdoms already in existence.
Dan 7:25 refers to the same king, and says that he shall speak against the Most High. לצד means, properly, against or at the side of, and is more expressive than על. It denotes that he would use language by which he would set God aside, regard and give himself out as God; cf. Th2 2:4. Making himself like God, he will destroy the saints of God. בּלא, Pa., not "make unfortunate" (Hitzig), but consume, afflict, like the Hebr. בּלּה, Ch1 17:9, and Targ. Jes. Dan 3:15. These passages show that the assertion that בּלּה, in the sense of to destroy, never takes after it the accusative of the person (Hitz.), is false. Finally, "he thinks to change times and laws." "To change times" belongs to the all-perfect power of God (cf. Dan 2:21), the creator and ordainer of times (Gen 1:14). There is no ground for supposing that זמנין is to be specially understood of "festival or sacred times," since the word, like the corresponding Hebr. מועדים, does not throughout signify merely "festival times;" cf. Gen 1:14; Gen 17:21; Gen 18:14, etc. The annexed ודּת does not point to arrangements of divine worship, but denotes "law" or "ordinance" in general, human as well as divine law; cf. Dan 2:13, Dan 2:15 with Dan 6:6, Dan 6:9. "Times and laws" are the foundations and main conditions, emanating from God, of the life and actions of men in the world. The sin of the king in placing himself with God, therefore, as Kliefoth rightly remarks, "consists in this, that in these ordinances he does not regard the fundamental conditions given by God, but so changes the laws of human life that he puts his own pleasure in the place of the divine arrangements." Thus shall he do with the ordinances of life, not only of God's people, but of all men. "But it is to be confessed that the people of God are most affected thereby, because they hold their ordinances of life most according to the divine plan; and therefore the otherwise general passage stands between two expressions affecting the conduct of the horn in its relation to the people of God."
This tyranny God's people will suffer "till, i.e., during, a time, (two) times, and half a time." By these specifications of time the duration of the last phase of the world-power is more definitely declared, as a period in its whole course measured by God; Dan 7:12 and Dan 7:22. The plural word עדּנין (times) standing between time and half a time can only designate the simple plural, i.e., two times used in the dual sense, since in the Chaldee the plural is often used to denote a pair where the dual is used in Hebrew; cf. Winer, Chald. Gr. 55, 3. Three and a half times are the half of seven times (Dan 4:13). The greater number of the older as well as of the more recent interpreters take imte (עדּן) as representing the space of a year, thus three and a half times as three and a half years; and they base this view partly on Dan 4:13, where seven times must mean seven years, partly on Dan 12:7, where the corresponding expression is found in Hebrew, partly on Rev 13:5 and Rev 11:2-3, where forty-two months and 1260 days are used interchangeably. But none of these passages supplies a proof that will stand the test. The supposition that in Dan 4:13 the seven times represent seven years, neither is nor can be proved. As regards the time and times in Dan 12:7, and the periods named in the passages of the Rev. referred to, it is very questionable whether the weeks and the days represent the ordinary weeks of the year and days of the week, and whether these periods of time are to be taken chronologically. Still less can any explanation as to this designation of time be derived from the 2300 days (evening-mornings) in Dan 8:14, since the periods do not agree, nor do both passages treat of the same event. The choice of the chronologically indefinite expression עדּן, time, shows that a chronological determination of the period is not in view, but that the designation of time is to be understood symbolically. We have thus to inquire after the symbolical meaning of the statement. This is not to be sought, with Hofmann (Weiss. i. 289), in the supposition that as three and a half years are the half of a Sabbath-period, it is thus announced that Israel would be oppressed during half a Sabbath-period by Antichrist. For, apart from the unwarrantable identification of time with year, one does not perceive what Sabbath-periods and the oppression of the people of God have in common. This much is beyond doubt, that three and a half times are the half of seven times. The meaning of this half, however, is not to be derived, with Kranichfeld, from Dan 4:13, where "seven times" is an expression used for a long continuance of divinely-ordained suffering. It is not hence to be supposed that the dividing of this period into two designates only a proportionally short time of severest oppression endured by the people of God at the hands of the heathen. For the humbling of the haughty ruler Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:13) does not stand in any inner connection with the elevation of the world-power over the people of God, in such a way that we could explain the three and a half times of this passage after the seven times of Dan 4:13. In general, the question may be asked, Whether the meaning of the three and a half times is to be derived merely from the symbolical signification of the number seven, or whether, with Lmmert, we must not much rather go back, in order to ascertain the import of this measure of time, to the divine judgments under Elias, when the heavens were shut for three years and six months; Luk 4:25 and Jam 5:17. "As Ahab did more to provoke God to anger than all the kings who were before him, so this king, Dan 7:24, in a way altogether different from those who went before him, spake words against the Most High and persecuted His saints, etc." But should this reference also not be established, and the three and a half times be regarded as only the half of seven times, yet the seven does not here come into view as the time of God's works, so that it could be said the oppression of the people of God by the little horn will last (Kliefoth) only half as long as a work of God; but according to the symbolical interpretation of the seven times, the three and a half, as the period of the duration of the circumstances into which the people of God are brought by the world-power through the divine permission, indicate "a testing period, a period of judgment which will (Mat 24:22; Pro 10:27), for the elect's sake, be interrupted and shortened (septenarius truncus)." Leyrer in Herz.'s Real. Enc. xviii. 369. Besides, it is to be considered how this space of time is described, not as three and a half, but a time, two times, and half a time. Ebrard (Offenb. p. 49) well remarks regarding this, that "it appears as if his tyranny would extend itself always the longer and longer: first a time, then the doubled time, then the fourfold - this would be a seven times; but it does not go that length; suddenly it comes to an end in the midst of the seven times, so that instead of the fourfold time there is only half a time." "The proper analysis of the three and a half times," Kliefoth further remarks, "in that the periods first mount up by doubling them, and then suddenly decline, shows that the power of the horn and its oppression of the people of God would first quickly manifest itself, in order then to come to a sudden end by the interposition of the divine judgment (Dan 7:26)." For, a thing which is not here to be overlooked, the three and a half times present not the whole duration of the existence of the little horn, but, as the half of a week, only the latter half of its time, in which dominion over the saints of God is given to it (Dan 7:21), and at the expiry of which it falls before the judgment. See under Dan 12:7.
In Dan 7:26 and Dan 7:27 this judgment is described (cf. Dan 7:10), but only as to its consequences for the world-power. The dominion of the horn in which the power of the fourth beast culminates is taken away and altogether annihilated. The destruction of the beast is here passed by, inasmuch as it is already mentioned in Dan 7:11; while, on the other hand, that which is said (Dan 7:12) about the taking away of its power and its dominion is strengthened by the inf. להשׁמדה (to destroy), וּלהובדה (and to consume), being added to יהעדּוּן (they shall take away), to which שׁלטנהּ (his dominion) is to be repeated as the object. סופא עד, to the end, i.e., not absolutely, but, as in Dan 6:27, to the end of the days, i.e., for ever.
After the destruction of the beast, the kingdom and the dominion, which hitherto comprehended the kingdom under the whole heaven, are given to the people of God, i.e., under the reign of the Son of man, as is to be supplied from Dan 7:14. As in Dan 7:26 nothing is further said of the fate of the horn, because all that was necessary regarding it had been already said (Dan 7:11), so also all that was to be said of the Son of man was already mentioned in Dan 7:13 and Dan 7:14; and according to the representation of the Scripture, the kingdom of the people of the saints without the Son of man as king is not a conceivable idea. מלכות דּי (of the kingdom) is a subjective genitive, which is required by the idea of the intransitive רבוּתא (the greatness) preceding it. The meaning is thus not "power over all kingdoms," but "the power which the kingdoms under the whole heaven had." With regard to Dan 7:27, cf. Dan 7:14 and Dan 7:18.
In Dan 7:28 the end of the vision is stated, and the impression which it left on Daniel. Hitherto, to this point, was the end of the history; i.e., thus far the history, or, with this the matter is at an end. מלּתא, the matter, is not merely the interpretation of the angel, but the whole revelation, the vision together with its interpretation. Daniel was greatly moved by the event (cf. Dan 5:9), and kept it in his heart.