Daniel 7:19
Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
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(19) Whose teeth.—The recapitulation in this verse of what was stated in Daniel 7:7 must be noticed. The additional features mentioned here are the brazen claws. (Comp. Daniel 2:37; Daniel 4:20.)

Daniel 7:19-22. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast — Namely, what was intended to be signified by it. And of the ten horns that were in his head — Of what they were emblems; and of the other which came up, &c. — See Daniel 7:8; whose look was more stout than his fellows — Or more great and magnificent; or, who was more arrogant, and claimed a superiority over the rest: for though this horn, or power, was small at first, it at length exceeded all other powers in pomp and pre-eminence, exalting itself not only above all temporal authorities, but above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. I beheld — Chaldee, I was seeing, or considering attentively; and the same horn made war with the saints — By the saints here is to be understood the servants of Christ. So antichrist is described as making war with the saints, and overcoming them for a time: see the margin. Until the Ancient of days came — To vindicate their cause, to crush the idolaters, and to extirpate the dominion of antichrist: or until the final judgment, when the saints shall sit as assessors with Christ, shall be seated on thrones, and reign as kings and priests with God and Christ, and possess the kingdom for ever. And judgment was given to the saints, &c. — Power to judge and rule over their enemies. And the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom —

See on Daniel 7:14.

7:15-28 It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians. St. John, in his visions and prophecies, which point in the first place at Rome, has plain reference to these visions. Daniel had a joyful prospect of the prevalence of God's kingdom among men. This refers to the second coming of our blessed Lord, when the saints shall triumph in the complete fall of Satan's kingdom. The saints of the Most High shall possess the kingdom for ever. Far be it from us to infer from hence, that dominion is founded on grace. It promises that the gospel kingdom shall be set up; a kingdom of light, holiness, and love; a kingdom of grace, the privileges and comforts of which shall be the earnest and first-fruits of the kingdom of glory. But the full accomplishment will be in the everlasting happiness of the saints, the kingdom that cannot be moved. The gathering together the whole family of God will be a blessedness of Christ's coming.Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast - I desired to know particularly what was symbolized by that. He appears to have been satisfied with the most general intimations in regard to the first three beasts, for the kingdoms represented by them seemed to have nothing very remarkable. But it was different in regard to the fourth. The beast itself was so remarkable - so fierce and terrific; the number of the horns was so great; the springing up of the little horn was so surprising; the character of that horn was so unusual; the judgment passed on it was so solemn; and the vision of one like the Son of man coming to take possession of the kingdom - all these things were of so fearful and so uncommon a character, that the mind of Daniel was peculiarly affected in view of them, and he sought earnestly for a further explanation. In the description that Daniel here gives of the beast and the horns, he refers in the main to the same cirumstances which he had before described; but he adds a few which he had before omitted, all tending to impress the mind more deeply with the fearful character and the momentous import of the vision; as, for instance, the fact that it had nails of brass, and made war with the saints.

Which was diverse from all the others - Different in its form and character; - so different as to attract particular attention, and to leave the impression that something very peculiar and remarkable was denoted by it. Notes, Daniel 7:7.

Exceeding dreadful - Notes, Daniel 7:7.

And his nails of brass - This circumstance is not mentioned in the first statement, Daniel 7:7. It accords well with the other part of the description, that his teeth were of iron, and is designed to denote the fearful and terrific character of tho kingdom, symbolized by the beast.

Which devoured ... - See the notes at Daniel 7:7.

19. Balaam, an Aramean, dwelling on the Euphrates, at the beginning of Israel's independent history, and Daniel at the close of it, prophetically exhibit to the hostile world powers Israel as triumphant over them at last, though the world powers of the East (Asshur) and the West (Chittim) carry all before them and afflict Eber (Israel) for a time (Nu 23:8-10, 28; 24:2, 7-9, 22-24). To Balaam's "Asshur" correspond Daniel's two eastern kingdoms, Babylon and Medo-Persia; to "Chittim," the two western kingdoms, Greece and Rome (compare Ge 10:4, 11, 22). In Babel, Nimrod the hunter (revolter) founds the first kingdom of the world (Ge 10:8-13). The Babylonian world power takes up the thread interrupted at the building of Babel, and the kingdom of Nimrod. As at Babel, so in Babylon the world is united against God; Babylon, the first world power, thus becomes the type of the God-opposed world. The fourth monarchy consummates the evil; it is "diverse" from the others only in its more unlimited universality. The three first were not in the full sense universal monarchies. The fourth is; so in it the God-opposed principle finds its full development. All history moves within the Romanic, Germanic, and Slavonic nations; it shall continue so to Christ's second advent. The fourth monarchy represents universalism externally; Christianity, internally. Rome is Babylon fully developed. It is the world power corresponding in contrast to Christianity, and therefore contemporary with it (Mt 13:38; Mr 1:15; Lu 2:1; Ga 4:4). I would feign know it more perfectly and exactly, because the Jewish nation and church were to be scattered long by and under the fourth beast.

Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast;.... What it represented, what kingdom or monarchy was meant by it; for, by the above answer of the angel, he understood the four beasts signified four kings or kingdoms; the three first he pretty well understood; at least he was not so solicitous about them as about the fourth; and this he was desirous of having a very particular and exact account of; it threatening, by its appearance, a great deal of trouble to the world, and especially to the church of God:

which was diverse from all the others; or, "from all them", or "those" (h), the other three beasts:

exceeding dreadful; to other kingdoms and nations:

whose teeth were of iron; of these parts of its description, see on Daniel 7:7,

and his nails of brass; this is a new circumstance, not before mentioned, and here added with great propriety: "nails" belonging to a beast of prey, and these said to be of "brass", to denote its strength, cruelty, and voraciousness in tearing its prey, to pieces; and, moreover, to show that this kingdom has somewhat of the nature of the third or Grecian monarchy, said to be of brass in Nebuchadnezzar's dream; some out of that kingdom being taken into the Roman militia, as, Theodoret observes; and soldiers are to a king what nails are to a beast:

which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; some kingdoms and provinces were destroyed by it, and the rest were made subject to it; see Daniel 7:7.

(h) "a cunctis ipse", Pagninus, Montanus; "ab omnibus illis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was {h} diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the {i} residue with his feet;

(h) For the other three monarchies were governed by a king, and the Roman empire by consuls: the Romans changed their governors yearly, and the other monarchies retained them for term of life: also the Romans were the strongest of all the others, and were never at peace among themselves.

(i) Read Dan 7:7.

19. Then I desired to know the truth concerning, &c. (R.V.)] ‘Would’ in Old English has often the sense of ‘willed,’ ‘desired’; but in modern English it is not strong enough in a passage like the present. Cf. will in W. A. Wright’s Bible Word-Book, who points out that in the A.V. it is sometimes more than a mere auxiliary verb: e.g. Matthew 11:27 ‘and he to whomsoever the Son will [R.V. willeth to] reveal him,’ Luke 13:31 ‘for Herod will [R.V. would fain] kill thee;’ John 7:17 (R.V. willeth to), 1 Timothy 5:11 (R.V. desire to). The case is similar with would, as Colossians 1:27, ‘To whom God would make known,’ &c. (R.V. ‘was pleased to make known,’—ἠθέλησεν γνωρίσαι), John 1:43 (also for ἠθέλησεν, R.V. was minded to)[272].

[272] See a useful little volume, Clapperton’s Pitfalls in Bible English (1899), p. 89.

The description of the fourth beast is in the main repeated from Daniel 7:7-8; but some traits are noticed here which were not mentioned before.

and his nails of bronze (Daniel 2:32)] Not in Daniel 7:7.

19–22. Daniel asks for further information respecting the fourth beast, and the means by which its power was broken.

Verses 19-22. - Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. In regard to the version of the LXX. here, we have the advantage of Justin Martyr's transcription, in which, however, the difference from the Chigi texts are not of great importance. The LXX. here is pretty close to the Masseretic text. "Behold" has intruded into the text; it is, however, omitted from Justin Martyr. Another clause, evidently a doublet, is emitted also, and the clause assumes nearly the shape it has in Theodotion. It is difficult to imagine how the reading of the LXX. arose. The differences from the Massoretic text are for the rest not essential. This is the case with Theodotion and the Peshitta. These verses to some extent recapitulate the earlier description of this fourth beast. There are, however, features added - to the "iron teeth" of the seventh verse are added "claws of brass." The main change is in regard to the little horn that came up last. We not only learn here that three other horns were plucked up before it, but the personification is now carried further, and the horn makes war against the saints, and prevails against them. This description does not suit Epiphanes. He certainly made war against the saints, but as certainly he did not prevail against them. When he came up from Egypt, and entered into the sanctuary and plundered it, he could not be said to make war against Israel. Judaea was one of his own provinces. When a tyrannical government takes possession of the wealth and property of individuals or corporations, it may be called cruel and oppressive, but its conduct is not called war. Even the massacre of the inhabitants of Jerusalem by the collector of taxes was not war. There was no war levied by Epiphanes against the saints till Mattathias and his sons rebelled, and thereafter Epiphanes did not prevail against the Jews. The Romans did make war against Israel, and did prevail. If the saints are a nation, then Epiphanes did not prevail in war against them If persecution is to be regarded as warfare, then it is not warfare against a nation, but against a community like a Church. If we look upon the Christian Church as succeeding to the position of Israel, then Rome persecuted the Church, and persecution ceased only when Rome became Christian. But a wider view opens itself to us. All modern states are in a sense a continuance of Rome, and so far as they do not submit themselves to the direction of Christ, they are still at war with the saints. It is only when the Son of man comes in his power that the kingdom will belong to the saints. It is to be observed, the figure of an assize is still kept up, and "judgment is given to" or "for the saints," and in virtue of this decision they possess the kingdom. Daniel 7:19In Daniel 7:17-27 the angel gives the wished-for explanation. In Daniel 7:17 and Daniel 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 Daniel 7:23 shows, where the fourth beast is explained as מלכוּ, "dominion," "kingdom." Compare also Daniel 8:20 and Daniel 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 (Daniel 7:12, Daniel 7:25). But the modal interpretation does not agree with Daniel 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 (Daniel 7:14) has given it. עליונין (cf. Daniel 7:22, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 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" (Daniel 7:21, Daniel 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 Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 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 Daniel 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 Daniel 7:19-21, and are completed by certain circumstances there omitted. Thus Daniel 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 Daniel 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.

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