Daniel 2:40
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
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(40) And the fourth.—It should be observed that the description of this kingdom is much fuller than those of the preceding empires. The same fact will be remarked in the later visions (Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:19-20).

Breaketh all things.—Remembering that the comparison is between iron and the fourth empire, this portion of the vision implies that the Roman empire, which is here intended (see Exc. E), will crush out all traces that remain of preceding empires, just as iron is capable of breaking gold, silver, or copper. Of the second and third empires, each borrowed something from that which preceded it. The fourth empire introduces a new system, and a new civilisation.

Daniel 2:40-43. The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, &c. — This description agrees well with the Roman empire, and the event answered the prediction; for the Roman was vastly more strong and extensive than any of the preceding three. As iron breaketh and bruiseth all other metals, so this brake and subdued all the former kingdoms. The metal is here different, and consequently likewise the nation must be different from the preceding. For the four metals must signify four different nations; and as the gold signified the Babylonians, the silver the Persians, and the brass the Macedonians, so the iron must necessarily denote some other nation: and it may safely be said, that there is not, and has not been, a nation upon earth, to which this description is applicable, but the Romans. The Romans succeeded to the Macedonians, and therefore, in course, were next to be mentioned. And as the two arms of silver denoted the two kings of the Medes and Persians, so the two legs of iron seem equally to have signified the two Roman consuls. The iron was mixed with clay; and the Romans were defiled with a mixture of barbarous nations. The Roman empire was at length divided into ten lesser kingdoms, answering to the ten toes of the image. These kingdoms retained much of the old Roman strength; so that the kingdom was partly strong and partly broken — It subdued Syria, and made the kingdom of the Seleucidæ a Roman province, in the year sixty- five before Christ; it subdued Egypt, and made the kingdom of the Lagidæ a Roman province, in the year thirty before Christ; and, in the fourth century after Christ, it began to be torn in pieces by the incursions of the barbarous nations. Mr. Mede, who was as able and consummate a judge as any in these matters, observes, “That the Roman empire was the fourth kingdom of Daniel, was believed by the church of Israel, both before and in our Saviour’s time; received by the disciples of the apostles, and the whole Christian Church, for the first three hundred years, without any known contradiction. And, I confess, having so good a ground in Scripture, it is with me tantum non articulus fidei, little less than an article of faith:” see his Works, book 4. Ephesians 6, p. 735, and Bishop Newton.

Daniel seems to divide this kingdom into three periods. The first is its strongest and flourishing state, which seems to be denoted by the iron legs: the second is the same kingdom, weakened by civil wars and the divided state of the empire, denoted by the feet, which were part of potter’s clay, and part of iron; for which reason the prophet tells us the kingdom shall be divided, though there shall be in it something of the strength of iron, because the iron was mixed with the clay: the third is the same empire in a yet further state of declension, during which one part of it was to be absolutely destroyed, denoted by the toes, the extremity of the image, and of consequence the last period of this fourth empire. As the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken — That is, one part of this divided empire shall remain, and the other part be entirely destroyed. And as the last period of this kingdom is denoted by the toes, this evidently intimates that the remaining part, which was not broken, should be divided into ten distinct kingdoms or governments. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, &c. — The conjunction of the Romans with the conquered nations, and afterward with the Goths, Vandals, and other barbarians, who subverted the empire, seems to be here intended: in consequence of which these ten kingdoms became a medley of people, of different nations, laws, and customs. But they shall not cleave one to another — Although the kings of the several nations shall try to strengthen themselves by marriage alliances, yet reasons of state, the desire of empire, and the different interests which they pursue, will prove stronger than ties of blood, and often engage them in contentions and wars with each other, and thereby weaken the common strength. As Tacitus observes, “Dominandi cupido cunctis affectibus flagrantior erit:” The lust of ruling will be more powerful than all the affections. “It is especially observable,” says Wintle, “that in the declining state of the Roman empire, intermarriages with the barbarians were frequent and distinguished, as may be learned from the histories of the times; but yet the cement would not hold so as to form any great kingdom, or even to prevent the impending fate of the empire.” But some explain the verse of the commotions and clashings that took place between the secular and ecclesiastical powers, after the kingdom was divided into ten parts, answerable to the ten toes of the image.2:31-45 This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.And the fourth kingdom - Represented in the image by the legs of iron, and the feet "part of iron, and part of clay," Daniel 2:33. The first question which arises here is, what kingdom is referred to by this? In regard to this, there have been two leading opinions: one, that it refers to the Roman empire; the other, that it refers to the kingdoms or dynasties that immediately succeeded the reign of Alexander the Great; embracing the kingdoms of the Seleucidae and Lagidae, Syria, and Egypt - in the language of Prof. Stuart, who adopts this opinion, "that the legs and feet were symbols of that intermingled and confused empire which sprung up under the Grecian chiefs who finally succeeded him," (Alexander the Great). - "Com. on Daniel," p. 173. For the reasoning by which this opinion is supported, see Prof. Stuart, pp. 173-193. The common opinion has been, that the reference is to the Roman empire, and in support of this opinion the following conditions may be suggested:

(1) The obvious design of the image was to symbolize the succession of great monarchies, which would precede the setting up of the kingdom of the Redeemer, and which would have an important agency in preparing the world for that. The Roman empire was in itself too important, and performed too important an agency in preparing the world for that, to be omitted in such an enumeration.

(2) The kingdom here referred to was to be in existence at the time symbolized by the cutting of the stone out of the mountain, for, during the continuance of that kingdom, or under it, "the God of heaven was to set up a kingdom which should never be destroyed," Daniel 2:44. But the kingdoms of the Seleucidae and the Lagidae - the "intermingled and confused empires that sprang up" after Alexander the Great - had ceased before that time, being superseded by the Roman.

(3) unless the Roman power be represented, the symmetry of the image is destroyed, for it would make what was, in fact, one kingdom represented by two different metals - brass and iron. We have seen above that the Babylonian empire was represented appropriately by gold; the Medo-Persian by silver; and the Macedonian by brass. We have seen also, that in fact the empire founded by Alexander, and continued through his successors in Syria and Egypt, was in fact one kingdom, so spoken of by the ancients, and being in fact a "Greek" dynasty. If the appellation of "brass" belonged to that kingdom as a Greek kingdom, there is an obvious incongruity, and a departure from the method of interpreting the other portions of the image, in applying the term "iron" to any portion of that kingdom.

(4) By the application of the term "iron," it is evidently implied that the kingdom thus referred to would be distinguished for "strength" - strength greater than its predecessors - as iron surpasses brass, and silver, and gold, in that quality. But this was not true of the confused reigns that immediately followed Alexander. They were unitedly weaker than the Babylonian and the Medo-Persian, and weaker than the empire of Alexander. out of which they arose. Compare Daniel 8:21-22. It was true, however, of the Roman power, that it was so much superior to all its predecessors in power, that it might well be represented by iron in comparison with brass, silver, and gold.

(5) The fourth monarchy represented in Nebuchadnezzars dream is evidently the same which is represented by the fourth beast in Daniel 7:7-8, Daniel 7:23, Daniel 7:25. But it will appear, from the exposition of that chapter, that the reference there is to the Roman empire. See the note at these passages. There can be no well-founded objection to this view on the ground that this kingdom was not properly a "succession" of the kingdom of Alexander, and did not occupy precisely the same territory. The same was true of each of the other kingdoms - the Medo-Persian and Macedonian. Yet while they were not, in the usual sense of the term, in the "successions," they did, in fact, follow one after the other; and with such accessions as were derived from conquest, and from the hereditary dominions of the conquerors, they did occupy the same territory. The design seems to have been to give a representation of a series of great monarchies, which would be, in an important sense, universal monarchies, and which should follow each other before the advent of the Saviour. The Roman, in addition to what it possessed in the West, actually occupied in the East substantially the same territory as the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, and the Macedonian, and, like them, it had all the claims which any ancient sovereignty had to the title of a universal monarchy; indeed no kingdom has ever existed to which this title could with more justice be applied.

Shall be strong as iron - It is scarcely necessary to observe that this description is applicable to the Roman power. In nothing was it more remarkable than its "strength;" for that irresistible power before which all other nations were perfectly weak. This characteristic of the Roman power is thus noticed by Mr. Gibbon: "The arms of the Republic, sometimes vanquished in battle, always victorious in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the ocean; and the images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the "iron" monarchy of Rome." - "Dec. and Fall," p. 642, Lond. ed. 1830, as quoted by Prof. Bush.

Forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things - Iron is the metal which is used, and always has been used, for the purpose here suggested. In the form of hammers, sledges, and cannon-balls, and, in general, in reference to the accomplishment of any purpose, by beating or battering, this has been found to be the most valuable of the metals. It is heavy, is capable of being easily wrought into desired shapes; is abundant; is susceptible of being made hard so as not to be itself bruised, and has therefore, all the properties which could be desired for purposes like this.

And as iron that breaketh all these - That is, all these things; to wit, everything. Nothing is able to stand before it; there is nothing which it cannot reduce to powder. There is some repetition here, but it is for the sake of emphasis.

Shall it break in pieces and bruise - Nothing could better characterize the Roman power than this. Everything was crushed before it. The nations which they conquered ceased to be kingdoms, and were reduced to provinces, and as kingdoms they were blotted out from the list of nations. This has been well described by Mr. Irving: "The Roman empire did beat down the constitution and establishment of all other kingdoms; abolishing their independence, and bringing them into the most entire subjection; humbling the pride, subjecting the will, using the property, and trampling upon the power and dignity of all other states. For by this was the Roman dominion distinguished from all the rest, that it was the work of almost as many centuries as those were of years; the fruit of a thousand battles in which million of men were slain. It made room for itself, as doth a battering-ram, by continual successive blows; and it ceased not to beat and bruise all nations, so long as they continued to offer any resistance." - "Discourse on Daniel's Visions," p. 180.

40. iron—This vision sets forth the character of the Roman power, rather than its territorial extent [Tregelles].

breaketh in pieces—So, in righteous retribution, itself will at last be broken in pieces (Da 2:44) by the kingdom of God (Re 13:10).

The fourth kingdom is the kingdom of the Romans; and was to last not only to Christ’s first coming, but under antichrist to his second coming, but still going down as to pagan worship, and at last to antichristian and papal power; for in Daniel 2:28 Daniel tells the king that God made known to him that should be in the latter days; therefore he intended a general history to the end of the world, Daniel 2:44 Da 7, latter end; and Da 11, Da 12.

It shall break in pieces and bruise: this did break in pieces all other kingdoms, being too strong for them, and was never in subjection to any, but brought all in subjection to it, till the stone fell upon it, of which afterward. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron,.... This is not the kingdom of the Lagidae and Seleucidae, the successors of Alexander, as some have thought; for these are designed by the thighs in the third kingdom; and, besides, the kingdom of Christ was to arise in the time of this fourth kingdom, which it did not in that; nor the kingdom of Gog, or the empire of the Turks, as Saadiah, Aben Ezra, and Jarchi; but the Roman empire, which is compared to iron for its strength, firmness, and duration in itself; and for its power over other nations; and also for its cruelty to the Jews above all others, in utterly destroying their city, temple, and nation:

forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; so this kingdom has subdued and conquered all others; not the Jews only, but the Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, Africans, French, Germans, yea, all the world:

and as iron that breaketh, or "even as iron breaketh all these",

shall it break in pieces, and bruise; all nations and kingdoms; hence Rome has been called the mistress of the world, and its empire in Scripture is called the whole world, Luke 2:1.

And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in {u} pieces and bruise.

(u) That is, the Roman empire will subdue all these others, which after Alexander were divided into the Macedonians, Grecians, Syrians, and Egyptians.

40. The fourth kingdom, the formidable crushing power of which is compared to iron. The allusion is to the Macedonian empire, founded by Alexander the Great.

subdueth] or beateth down: in Syr. the word used means to forge a metal.

breaketh all these … and bruise] crusheth all theseand crush (R.V.).Verse 40. - And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. The version of the LXX. differs considerably here, "The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, as iron which subdueth all things, even as iron cutteth down every tree." It is evident that the translator has read אִילָן ('illan), "a tree," instead of אִלֵּין ('illeen), "these." The last clause is due to וְתֵּרֹעַ (vetayroa') being written with the א: ותארע; however, ו (vav) is not unlike, in ancient Aramaic script, to כּ (kaph), although ל (lamed) is not like ת (tau), yet the phrase כָלאּאֲרַע would carry the reader over every obstacle. Theodotion differs less from the Massoretic," The fourth kingdom is that which shall be as strong as iron, just as (ὅν τρόπον) iron beateth small and subdueth all things, thus shall it beat small and subdue all things." It may be observed that the clause, "and as iron breaketh all these," is omitted from the text. It certainly appears to be an addition, indeed, has the look of a "doublet." This view is confirmed by the fact that the Peshitta also omits this clause. The Peshitta rendering is," The fourth kingdom shall be strong like iron, and even as iron crushes and bruises all, thus even it shall beat small and subdue all." The Vulgate rendering also omits a clause, "And the fourth kingdom shall be like iron, as iron beats small and subdues all things, it shall beat small (comminuet) all these." For these grounds we feel inclined to regard the clause in question as an explanatory note, which has slipped into the text. Before we leave the consideration of the text, we must observe that the word for "fourth" assumes the Syriac, or Eastern Aramaic form, not the form in Chaldee, or Western Aramaic. That empire which was represented by the basest of the four metals, and occupied the lowest position in the figure, is that which is the most powerful. When we go back we find brass is the next in point of hardness and strength; it is the third, and of it, at all events, if not also of that which preceded it, it is said that "it shall bear rule over all the earth." The inferiority indicated by the metals and by the position occupied in the image, did not indicate inferiority in power or in extent of dominion. An interesting theory has been formed by Dr. Bonnar ('Great Interregnum'), that this degeneration was one of type. The monarchy as exhibited in Babylon, especially when the monarch was a man of genius, as was Nebuchadnezzar, was likest to the rule of the Almighty over the world: his authority was without limit, direct and absolute over every one subject to his sceptre The Medo-Persian monarchy had much of the Babylonian absoluteness, but there were, if Herodotus is to be trusted, the peers of the crown, and, above all, there were the satraps, with their almost independent position in respect to the central power. The third, in our author's opinion, the Hellenic, had the monarchy limited, not only by numerous compeers, as the king in Antioch was balanced by the kings in Alexandria and Pergamus, not to speak of the monarchs of Parthia, but also by the autonomous cities with the semblance of freedom. The fourth, the Roman, was yet further removed from the old Divine-right monarchy of the Babylonian type. At their first intercourse with the Jews the Romans were Republicans. Their first conquest of Judaea was made by Pompey, the general of the Republic. To the last the emperor, whatever his power, was still theoretically the first magistrate of a republic. The feet and toes of mingled clay and iron, he held, were modern constitutional monarchies - monarchies built upon democracy and the will of the people. All this is doomed to be overthrown by the coming of the Messianic kingdom. The Sacrificial Kitchens for the Priests and for the People

Ezekiel 46:19. And he brought me up the entrance by the shoulder of the gate to the holy cells for the priests, which looked to the north; and behold there was a place on the outermost side toward the west. Ezekiel 46:20. And he said to me, This is the place where the priests boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, where they bake the meat-offering that they may not need to carry it out into the outer court, to sanctify the people. Ezekiel 46:21. And he led me out into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and behold, in every corner of the court there was again a court. Ezekiel 46:22. In the four corners of the court were closed courts of forty cubits in length and thirty cubits in breadth; all four corner spaces had one measure. Ezekiel 46:23. And a row of stands was round about therein in all four, and boiling hearths were under the rows made round about. Ezekiel 46:24. And he said to me, These are the kitchen-house, where the servants of the house boil the slain-offering of the people. - In the list and description of the subordinate buildings of the temple, the sacrificial kitchens are passed over; and they are therefore referred to here again in a supplementary manner. Ewald has shifted Ezekiel 46:19-24, and placed them after Ezekiel 42:14, which would certainly have been the most suitable place for mentioning the sacrificial kitchens for the priests. But it is evident that they stood here originally, and not there; not only from the fact that in Ezekiel 46:19 the passage to the holy cells (Ezekiel 42:1.) is circumstantially described, which would have been unnecessary if the description of the kitchens had originally followed immediately after Ezekiel 42:14, as Ezekiel was then standing by the cells; but also, and still more clearly, from the words that serve as an introduction to what follows, "he led me back to the door of the house" (Ezekiel 47:1), which are unintelligible unless he had changed his standing-place between Ezekiel 46:18 and Ezekiel 47:1, as is related in Ezekiel 46:19 and Ezekiel 46:21, since Ezekiel had received the sacrificial thorah (Ezekiel 44:5-46:18) in front of the house (Ezekiel 44:4). If Ezekiel 46:19-24 had originally stood elsewhere, so that Ezekiel 47:1 was immediately connected with Ezekiel 46:18, the transition-formula in Ezekiel 47:1 would necessarily have read very differently. - But with this section the right of the preceding one, Ezekiel 46:16-18, which Ewald has arbitrarily interpolated in Ezekiel 45 between Ezekiel 45:8 and Ezekiel 45:9, to hold its present place in the chapter before us as an appendix, is fully vindicated. - The holy cells (Ezekiel 46:19) are those of the northern cell-building (Ezekiel 42:1-10) described in Ezekiel 42:1-14 (see Plate I L). בּמּבוא is the approach or way mentioned in Ezekiel 42:9, which led from the northern inner gate to these cells (see Plate I l); not the place to which Ezekiel was brought (Kliefoth), but the passage along which he was led. The spot to which he was conducted follows in אל (the article before the construct state, as in Ezekiel 43:21, etc.). אל הכּהנים is appended to this in the form of an apposition; and here לשׁכות is to be repeated in thought: to those for the priests. 'הפּנות צ belongs to הלשׁכות. There, i.e., by the cells, was a space set apart at the outermost (hindermost) sides toward the west (Plate I M), for the boiling of the flesh of the trespass-offering and sin-offering, and the baking of the minchah, - that is to say, of those portions of the sacrifices which the priests were to eat in their official capacity (see the comm. on Ezekiel 42:13). For the motive assigned in Ezekiel 46:20 for the provision of special kitchens for this object, see the exposition of Ezekiel 44:19.

In addition to these, kitchens were required for the preparation of the sacrificial meals, which were connected with the offering of the shelamim, and were held by those who presented them. These sacrificial kitchens for the people are treated of in Ezekiel 46:20-24. They were situated in the four corners of the outer court (Plate I N). To show them to the prophet, the angel leads him into the outer court. The holy cells (Ezekiel 46:19) and the sacrificial kitchens for the priests (Ezekiel 46:20) were also situated by the outside wall of the inner court; and for this reason Ezekiel had already been led out of the inner court, where he had received the sacrificial thorah, through the northern gate of the court by the way which led to the holy cells, that he might be shown the sacrificial kitchens. When, therefore, it is stated in Ezekiel 46:21 that "he led me out into the outer court," יוציאני can only be explained on the supposition that the space from the surrounding wall of the inner court to the way which led from the gate porch of that court to the holy cells, and to the passage which continued this way in front of the cells (Plate I l and m), was regarded as an appurtenance of the inner court. In every one of the four corners of the outer court there was a (small) courtyard in the court. The repetition of 'חצר בּמקצע הח has a distributive force. The small courtyards in the four corners of the court were קטרות, i.e., not "uncovered," as this would be unmeaning, since all courts or courtyards were uncovered; nor "contracted" (Bttcher), for קטר has no such meaning; nor "fumum exhalantia," as the Talmudists suppose; nor "bridged over" (Hitzig), which there is also nothing in the language to sustain; but in all probability atria clausa, i.e., muris cincta et janius clausa (Ges. Thes.), from קטר; in Aram. ligavit; in Ethiop. clausit, obseravit januam. The word מהקצעות is marked with puncta extraordinaria by the Masoretes as a suspicious word, and is also omitted in the Septuagint and Vulgate. Bttcher and Hitzig have therefore expunged it as a gloss. But even Hitzig admits that this does not explain how it found its way into the text. The word is a Hophal participle of קצע, in the sense of cornered off, cut off into corners, and is in apposition to the suffix to לארבּעתּם, - literally, one measure wax to all four, the spaces or courtyards cut off in the corners. For this appositional use of the participle, compare 1 Kings 14:6. There is also a difference of opinion as to the meaning of the word טוּר, which only occurs here and in Exodus 28:17. and Ezekiel 39:10, where it signifies "row," and not "enclosure" (Kliefoth). טירות, which follows, is evidently merely the feminine plural, from טוּר, as טירה is also derived from טוּר, in the sense of "to encircle" (see the comm. on Psalm 69:26). Consequently טוּר does not mean a covering or boundary wall, but a row or shelf of brickwork which had several separate shelves, under which the cooking hearths were placed. מבשּׁלות, not kitchens, but cooking hearths; strictly speaking a partic. Piel, things which cause to boil. - בּית המּבשּׁלים - .liob ot e, kitchen house. משׁרתּי הבּית, the temple servants, as distinguished from the servants of Jehovah (Ezekiel 44:15-16), are the Levites (Ezekiel 44:11-12). עשׂוּי is construed as in Ezekiel 40:17 and Ezekiel 41:18-19.

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