Daniel 2:41
And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
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(41) Shall be divided.—The meaning seems to be, “notwithstanding that there will be inward divisions in this last empire, as is signified by the divisions, first into two legs, then into two feet, and lastly into ten toes, yet the outward character of it will be the strength of iron.”

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 whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay and part of iron - Daniel 2:33. The Chaldee is, "of them clay of the potter, and of them iron;" that is, part was composed of one material and part of the other. The sense is, not that the feet were composed entirely of one, and the toes of the other, but that they were intermingled. There was no homogeneousness of material; nothing in one that would coalesce with the other, or that could be permanently united to it, as two metals might be fused or welded together and form one solid compound. Iron and clay cannot be welded; and the idea here clearly is, that in the empire here referred to there would be two main elements which could never be made to blend.

The kingdom shall be divided - That is, divided as the iron and clay were in the image. It does not necessarily mean that there would be an open rupture - an actual separation into two parts; but that there would be "such a diversity in the internal constitution" that, while there would be the element of great power, there would be also an element of weakness; there would be something which could never be blended with the element of strength, so as to produce one harmonious and homogeneous whole.

But there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay - The principal idea in this part of the description is, that there would be great "power;" that whatever elements of weakness there might be, yet the "power" of the empire would be apparent. No one can fail to perceive how this applies to the Roman empire; a mighty power which, through all its long history, was distinguished for the vigour with which it carried forward its plans, and pressed on to universal dominion. As to the element of "weakness" symbolized too by the clay, it may not be possible to determine, with absolute certainty, what is referred to. Any internal source of weakness; anything in the constitution of the state, whether originally existing and constituting heterogeneous material, or whether springing up in the empire itself, or whether arising from the intermingling of foreign elements that never amalgamated themselves with the state, any one of these suppositions would meet all that is fairly implied in this language.

From Daniel 2:43, "they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men," it would seem, however, that the reference is to some "foreign" admixture - like the intermingling of nations of other languages, laws, and customs, which were never truly amalgamated with the original materials, and which constantly tended to weaken and divide the kingdom. It is to be remarked, in the exposition of the passage, that in the previous three kingdoms there was comparative homogeneousness. In the fourth kingdom, there was to be something of a peculiar character in this respect by which it should be distinguished from the others. As a matter of fact, the other three kingdoms were comparatively homogeneous in their character. The predominant feature was "Oriental;" and though there were different nations and people intermingled in the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, and the Macedonian kingdoms, yet there was the same general prevailing character in each; there was not such an intermingling of foreign nations as to produce disturbing elements, or to mar the symmetry and strength of the whole. It was not thus with Rome. In that empire there was the intermingling of all nations and tongues, and though the essential element of the empire remained always - "the Roman" - yet there was an intermingling of other influences under the same general government, which could be appropriately compared with clay united with iron, and which ultimately contributed to its fall (see the notes at Daniel 2:43).

41-43. feet … toes … part … clay … iron—explained presently, "the kingdom shall be partly strong, partly broken" (rather, "brittle," as earthenware); and Da 2:43, "they shall mingle … with the seed of men," that is, there will be power (in its deteriorated form, iron) mixed up with that which is wholly of man, and therefore brittle; power in the hands of the people having no internal stability, though something is left of the strength of the iron [Tregelles]. Newton, who understands the Roman empire to be parted into the ten kingdoms already (whereas Tregelles makes them future), explains the "clay" mixture as the blending of barbarous nations with Rome by intermarriages and alliances, in which there was no stable amalgamation, though the ten kingdoms retained much of Rome's strength. The "mingling with the seed of men" (Da 2:44) seems to refer to Ge 6:2, where the marriages of the seed of godly Seth with the daughters of ungodly Cain are described in similar words. The reference, therefore, seems to be to the blending of the Christianized Roman empire with the pagan nations, a deterioration being the result. Efforts have been often made to reunite the parts into one great empire, as by Charlemagne and Napoleon, but in vain. Christ alone shall effect that. The kingdom shall be divided; partly strong and partly weak. The Roman kingdom was divided, partly, because tyranny followed aristocracy, and the government made up of both; partly, in their civil wars, when two competitors strove each for dominion, the common people against the senate, Sylla against Marius, Caesar against Pompey; also, partly, when conquered provinces and kingdoms cast off the Roman yoke, and set up kings of their own, and so the empire was divided into ten kingdoms or toes. The vision attributes two legs to the image, and to the fourth monarchy, because the Romans had sometimes duumvirs, two consuls, two emperors, one in the east, the other in the west.

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay, and part of iron,.... That is, some of the toes of the feet were of iron, and others of them of clay: these toes, which are ten, as the toes of men are, design the ten kings or kingdoms, into which the western Roman empire was divided, by the coming in of the Goths, and Hunns, and Vandals, into it; and are the same with the ten horns of the beast, and the ten kings which gave their kingdoms to it, Revelation 13:1; see Gill on Revelation 17:12, Revelation 17:13, Revelation 17:17, Daniel 7:24, some of which were strong like iron, and continued long; others were like clay, and of a less duration:

the kingdom shall be divided; which some understand of the division of it into the eastern and western empires; but rather it means the division of the latter into the ten kingdoms, set up in it by the barbarous nations. Abarbinel and Jacchiades interpret it of the Roman empire being divided into Mahometans and Christians, very wrongly:

but there shall be in it of the strength the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay; notwithstanding this irruption and inundation of the northern nations into the empire; yet still retained, something of the strength and power of the old Romans, which were mingled among those barbarous nations, comparable to miry clay.

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be {x} divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

(x) They will have civil wars, and continual discords among themselves.

41. The kingdom which began by being of iron, ended in being partly of iron and partly of clay, symbolizing its division, one part being stronger than the other.

it shall be a divided kingdom] alluding to the manner in which Alexander’s empire, immediately after his death (b.c. 332) was partitioned between his generals, the two who, in the end, divided it substantially between them being Seleucus and Ptolemy Lagi, who founded, respectively, dynasties which continued long in power at Antioch in Syria and in Egypt (see fuller particulars on Daniel 9:5 ff). The stronger kingdom, represented by the iron, is that of the Seleucidae.

strength] an unusual word, more exactly firmness.

Verses 41-43. - And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided: but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall he partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. The version of the Septuagint is worthy of notice here, "And as thou sawest (hast seen, ἑώρακας) its feet and toes were partly of potter's clay, and partly of iron. Another kingdom shall be divided in itself, as thou sawest the iron mingled with the miry clay, and the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part shall be broken. And as thou sawest the iron mingled with the miry clay, there shall be mixings (συμμιγεῖς) to the generation (γένεσιν) of mankind (ἀνθρώπων), but they shall not agree nor be well affected one to another, just as (ὥσπερ) iron cannot be compounded with clay." It may be observed here that a clause is omitted from ver. 41, "but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron." In the forty-third verse the difference is due to זְרַע as infinitive of the verb "to sow," that is to say, the translator must have read למזרע instead of להון בזיי. The addition of ἄλλη has had its origin in a false idea that the feet and toes of the image represented a new world-dominion. Theodotion renders, "Because (ὅτι) thou sawest the feet and the toes part of potter's clay, and part of iron, a kingdom shall be divided, and there will be in it from the iron root in like manner as thou sawest the iron mingled with the potter's clay. And the toes of the feet were partly iron, and partly clay, part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part of it shall be broken (being broken, συντριβόμενον); because thou sawest the iron mingled with the potter's clay, there shall be mixings with the seed of men: but they shall not adhere one to another, even as iron is not mingled with clay." Neither in Syriac nor Chaldee has netzab the meaning "to be firm;" nitzebthah means, in later Aramaic, "a seedling." Originally, however, it meant "to confirm," "to set up," "to strengthen," as the Hebrew יָצַב (yatzab) and נָצַב (natzab). This meaning had been lost sight of by the time Theodotion wrote, or possibly before the translation was made which he revised. The Peshitta does not call for remark, save that it agrees with Theodotion in translating נצבתא (nitzeba-thah) "root." Jerome renders it plantarium. This new development of the image is to be regarded, not as another empire, but as the outgrowth of the fourth kingdom. This is clear from the fact that there is no new substance introduced of which the feet and toes are wholly made up, but the iron is mingled with a new and inferior substance, potter's clay. The numerical mark "ten," which is to be regarded as the peculiar distinctive sign of the fourth empire, is in the toes. This last empire, whatever it may be taken to be, is one that splits itself up into approximately ten parts or sub-kingdoms. Further, there shall be a foreign element introduced which shall not harmonize with the original material. Professor Bevan is certain that the reference is "to the marriages of the Ptolemies with the Se-leucidae." Notwithstanding that Professor Bevan states this view as if it could not be doubted, it is evidently false. Both the Lagids and the Seleucids were Macedonians, and there was no natural incompatibility. If marriage is intended here, and if the fourth monarchy were the Hellenic, more sensible would have been the suggestion that it referred to the Hellenizing of South-Western Asia - the miscegenation of the peoples inaugurated by Alexander the Great, only it did not proceed very far. Further, it did not signalize the end of the Greek rule, but really the beginning of it. We admit certainly that the LXX. translates in a way that suggests the marriage of a superior with an inferior race. But there is no reference in reality to marriage, but to the mingling of two distinct culture-elements, the infusion of barbarous races into the midst of a civilized; and the barbarians taking on some of the outward forms of civilization would represent better the thing indicated. But to take this as referring to the marriage of the Seleucids and Lagids is certainly as wrong as wrong can be, although it is held by Moses Stuart, Hitzig, Ewald, as well as Professor Bevan. Not one of them shows which, the Seleucid or the Lagid, is "the clay," "the seed of men," and which the governing power or race that mingles with them. Yet the inferiority of the clay is an essential element in the symbolism. Hoffmann's idea, that there is reference to the marriage of the Emperor Otto II. and the Russian grandduke Wladimir with the daughters of the Byzantine emperor, is equally far-fetched. Certainly the intrusion into the Roman Empire of the Germanic tribes on the. one side, and of the Arabs and Turks on the other, is an interpretation much closer to the real meaning of the symbol. A good deal can be said for Dr. Bonnar's theory, that it is the effort of monarchy to rest on democracy. As to the number, ten, it is not to be made absolute; it may be more than ten or fewer than ten. All that is necessary is that the number be considerably more than four, and not so numerous as to suggest an indefinite multitude. The fact of "the toes" occupying the same portion of the image, seems to signify that these ten divisions were simultaneously existing. What is symbolized is clearly a state of matters not unlike what was in Greece after the defeat of the Persians, and before the Macedonian domination - a number of separate states forming part of one system. Such, to a certain extent, was the empire of the Diadochi, or successors of Alexander, only they were not generally more than four, five, or six - mainly four, the Seleucids, the Lagids, the Attalids, and the Anti-gonids. Such was the state of matters under the Holy Roman Empire, when what are now the six great powers were gradually separating themselves off. A similar state of matters existed at the same time among the Mohammedan powers, which acknowledged a certain suzerainty in the Caliph of Bagdad, but warred with each other with great freedom. While we have said that there is an appearance of simultaneity given to these monarchs or dynasties, candour compels us to acknowledge that they may be successive. We would not desire to anticipate what we say below in a special excursus on the four monarchies of Daniel; yet we may be permitted to indicate two senses in which the number ten may indicate Rome. There were ten emperors to the capture of Jerusalem, and the end of Judaism as a civil power, and the consequent independence of the Church from the trammels of Judaism. Further, a fair case might be made out for the different magistrates that exercised authority, more or less supreme, in Rome - consuls, praetors, dictators, magistri equitum, censors, tribunes. All these were replaced by the emperors. We merely indicate this, as we shall consider the subject more at large below. Daniel 2:41The interpretation of the fourth component part of the image, the legs and feet, which represent a fourth world-kingdom, is more extended. That kingdom, corresponding to the legs of iron, shall be hard, firm like iron. Because iron breaks all things in pieces, so shall this kingdom, which is like to iron, break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms.

Daniel 2:40-41

Instead of רביציא, which is formed after the analogy of the Syriac language, the Keri has the usual Chaldee form רביעאה, which shall correspond to the preceding תליתאה, Daniel 2:39. See the same Keri Daniel 3:25; Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:23. דּי כּל־קבל does not mean just as (Ges., v. Leng., Maur., Hitz.), but because, and the passage introduced by this particle contains the ground on which this kingdom is designated as hard like iron. חשׁל, breaks in pieces, in Syriac to forge, i.e., to break by the hammer, cf. חוּשׁלא, bruised grain, and thus separated from the husks. כּל־אלּין is referred by Kran., in conformity with the accents, to the relative clause, "because by its union with the following verbal idea a blending of the image with the thing indicated must first be assumed; also nowhere else, neither here nor in Daniel 7, does the non-natural meaning appear, e.g., that by the fourth kingdom only the first and second kingdoms shall be destroyed; and finally, in the similar expression, Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:19, the הדּק stands likewise without an object." But all the three reasons do not prove much. A mixing of the figure with the thing signified does not lie in the passage: "the fourth (kingdom) shall, like crushing iron, crush to pieces all these" (kingdoms). But the "non-natural meaning," that by the fourth kingdom not only the third, but also the second and the first, would be destroyed, is not set aside by our referring כּל־אלּין to the before-named metals, because the metals indeed characterize and represent kingdoms. Finally, the expressions in Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:19 are not analogous to those before us. The words in question cannot indeed be so understood as if the fourth kingdom would find the three previous kingdoms existing together, and would dash them one against another; for, according to the text, the first kingdom is destroyed by the second, and the second by the third; but the materials of the first two kingdoms were comprehended in the third. "The elements out of which the Babylonian world-kingdom was constituted, the countries, people, and civilisation comprehended in it, as its external form, would be destroyed by the Medo-Persia kingdom, and carried forward with it, so as to be constituted into a new external form. Such, too, was the relation between the Medo-Persian and the Macedonian world-kingdom, that the latter assumed the elements and component parts not only of the Medo-Persian, but also therewith at the same time of the Babylonian kingdom" (Klief.). In such a way shall the fourth world-kingdom crush "all these" past kingdoms as iron, i.e., will not assume the nations and civilisations comprehended in the earlier world-kingdoms as organized formations, but will destroy and break them to atoms with iron strength. Yet will this world-kingdom not throughout possess and manifest the iron hardness. Only the legs of the image are of iron (Daniel 2:41), but the feet and toes which grow out of the legs are partly of clay and partly of iron.

Regarding מנהון, see under Daniel 2:33. חסף means clay, a piece of clay, then an earthly vessel, 2 Samuel 5:20. פּחר in the Targums means potter, also potter's earth, potsherds. The פּחר דּי serves to strengthen the חסף, as in the following the addition of טינא, clay, in order the more to heighten the idea of brittleness. This twofold material denotes that it will be a divided or severed kingdom, not because it separates into several (two to ten) kingdoms, for this is denoted by the duality of the feet and by the number of the toes of the feet, but inwardly divided; for פּלג always in Hebr., and often in Chald., signifies the unnatural or violent division arising from inner disharmony or discord; cf. Genesis 10:25; Psalm 55:10; Job 38:25; and Levy, chald. Worterb. s. v. Notwithstanding this inner division, there will yet be in it the firmness of iron. נצבּא, firmness, related to יצב, Pa. to make fast, but in Chald. generally plantatio, properly a slip, a plant.

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