Daniel 7:9
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
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(9) I beheld.—Literally, I kept on looking, and suddenly seats were placed, on which the assessors of the Great Judge were to sit. These have been interpreted from Psalm 89:7 to be the angels, but a truer explanation is to be found in Matthew 19:28. It should be noticed that those who sat on the thrones are distinguished from the countless multitude mentioned in Daniel 7:10.

Ancient of days.—Literally, a very aged man. (Comp. Ezekiel 1:26-28.) The attribute of age expresses the majesty of the judge. (Comp. Psalm 55:19; Deuteronomy 33:27.) It may be remarked that notwithstanding the title “Ancient” is applied to the Deity, “Anou,” yet His titles, “generator and father of the gods,” are so completely at variance with Old Testament doctrines that it is inconceivable that Daniel should have incorporated in his vision any portions of Babylonian mythology. Similar remarks apply to Silik-moulou-khi, between whom and the Son of man (Daniel 7:13) a parallel has been pointed out. The conception of the former is completely different from what is revealed about the latter.

White as snow.—Indicating, like the “pure wool,” the purity and justice of the Judge.

Fiery flame.—Fire appears in Scripture sometimes as a metaphor for affliction or punishment (e.g., 1Corinthians 3:13, &c.), sometimes as a symbol of the chastening and punitive righteousness of God (Ezekiel 1:13-14; Ezekiel 1:27-28). Elsewhere it sets forth the fiery indignation which devours the enemies of God (Hebrews 10:27; Revelation 19:11-12). The figure of speech is here used in each of these senses. The “wheels” represent the omnipresence of Almighty God.

Daniel 7:9-10. I beheld till the thrones were cast down — Till all these earthly kingdoms were brought to an end, and all enemies and opposite powers were destroyed. But the word רמיו, here used, maybe rendered, were pitched, or placed, namely, for the reception of God, and his assessors in judgment, the saints and angels. Thus the LXX., εως οτου οι θρονοι ετεθησαν, till the thrones were placed, or set, or fixed; and so the Vulgate. And the verb in the text is used in the same sense in the Chaldee paraphrase on Jeremiah 1:15; where our translation reads, They shall set every one his throne, &c. The following words justify this translation; And the Ancient of days did sit — That is, the eternal Judge of the world, who has been from everlasting, who is at present, and who shall always be: and whom the prophet thus describes, to adapt himself to human apprehensions, and to make the following part of his description more intelligible; but no similitude is pointed out, nor ought we from hence to attempt to represent the invisible God by any figure. The metaphors here used, says Bishop Newton, “are borrowed from the solemnities of earthly judicatories, and particularly of the great sanhedrim of the Jews, where the father of the consistory sat, with his assessors seated on each side of him, in the form of a semicircle, with the people standing before him: and from this description again was borrowed the description of the day of judgment in the New Testament.” Whose garment was white as snow — Signifying the unspotted righteousness of his proceedings. He is elsewhere described as covering himself with light as with a garment, Psalm 104:2 : see also 1 John 1:5. Kings and princes used anciently to wear white garments, as an emblem of perfect justice. And the hair of his head like the pure wool — To denote the eternity and maturity of his counsels, and that his decisions are all perfectly right and true, without the least mixture of any partial affections. His throne was like the fiery flame — Denoting his awful majesty, and the severity of his judgments on the ungodly; and his wheels of burning fire — Emblematical of the revolutions and dispensations of his providence, Ezekiel 1:15, being dreadfully severe and destructive to the wicked. The reader will observe, God’s throne is here described in the nature of a triumphal chariot, supported by angels as so many fiery wheels. Grotius remarks, that the ancient thrones and sellæ curules had wheels. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him — Signifying his justice and wrath in giving forth and executing sentence against the ungodly. Thousand thousands ministered unto him — His retinue was an innumerable company of angels; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him — To receive their sentence from his lips. The judgment was set — That is, the court, namely, God the supreme judge, and the saints as his assessors, made their public appearance. And the books were opened — That is, “those evidences which contained the laws and will of God, whether natural or revealed; those in which the actions of men, with all their circumstances of aggravation or extenuation were recorded; those from which the clearest and completest conviction might be adduced, in order to render the judgment such as that all should be obliged to acknowledge it to be the result of the most perfect truth and consummate justice: see Revelation 20:12.” — Wintle.

7:9-14 These verses are for the comfort and support of the people of God, in reference to the persecutions that would come upon them. Many New Testament predictions of the judgment to come, have plain allusion to this vision; especially Re 20:11,12. The Messiah is here called the Son of man; he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was found in fashion as a man, but he is the Son of God. The great event foretold in this passage, is Christ's glorious coming, to destroy every antichristian power, and to render his own kingdom universal upon earth. But ere the solemn time arrives, for manifesting the glory of God to all worlds in his dealings with his creatures, we may expect that the doom of each of us will be determined at the hour of our death; and before the end shall come, the Father will openly give to his incarnate Son, our Mediator and Judge, the inheritance of the nations as his willing subjects.I beheld - "I continued looking on these strange sights, and contemplating these transformations." This implies that some time elapsed before all these things had occurred. He looked on until he saw a solemn judgment passed on this fourth beast particularly, as if God had come forth in his majesty and glory to pronounce that judgment, and to bring the power and arrogance of the beast to an end.

Till the thrones were cast down - The Chaldee word (כרסון kâresâvân) means, properly, thrones - seats on which monarchs sit. So far as the word is concerned, it would apply either to a throne occupied by an earthly monarch, or to the throne of God. The use of the plural here would seem to imply, at least, that the reference is not to the throne of God, but to some other throne. Maurer and Lengerke suppose that the allusion is to the thrones on which the celestial beings sat in the solemn judgment that was to be pronounced - the throne of God, and the thrones or seats of the attending inhabitants of heaven, coming with him to the solemn judgment. Lengerke refers for illustration to 1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1; Job 1:6, and Revelation 5:11-12. But the word itself might be properly applied to the thrones of earthly monarchs as well as to the throne of God. The phrase "were cast down" (רמיו remı̂yv), in our translation, would seem to suppose that there was some throwing down, or overturning of thrones, at this period, and that the solemn judgment would follow this, or be consequent on this.

The Chaldee word (רמא remâh) means, as explained by Gesenius, to cast, to throw Daniel 3:21, Daniel 3:24; Daniel 6:16-17; to set, to place, e. g., thrones; to impose tribute Ezra 7:24. The passage is rendered by the Latin Vulgate, throni positi sunt - "thrones were placed;" by the Greek, ἐτέθησαν etethēsan - "were placed." So Luther, stuhle gesetzt; and so Lengerke, stuhle aufgestellt - the thrones were placed, or set up. The proper meaning, therefore, of the phrase would seem to be - not, as in our translation, that the "thrones would be cast down" - as if there was to be an overturning of thrones on the earth to mark this particular period of history - but that there was, in the vision, a setting up, or a placing of thrones for the purpose of administering judgment, etc., on the beast. The use of the plural is, doubtless, in accordance with the language elsewhere employed, to denote the fact that the great Judge would be surrounded with others who would be, as it were, associated in administering justice - either angels or redeemed spirits.

Nothing is more common in the Scripture than to represent others as thus associated with God in pronouncing judgment on men. Compare Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; 1 Timothy 5:21; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 4:4. The era, or period, therefore, marked here, would be when a solemn Divine judgment was to be passed on the "beast," or when some events were to take place, as if such a judgment were pronounced. The events pertaining to the fourth beast were to be the last in the series preparatory to the reign of the saints, or the setting up of the kingdom of the Messiah, and therefore it is introduced in this manner, as if a solemn judgment scene were to occur.

And the Ancient of days did sit - Was seated for the purposes of judgment. The phrase "Ancient of days" - יומין עתיק ‛attı̂yq yômı̂yn - is one that denotes an elderly or old person; meaning, he who is most ancient as to days, and is equivalent to the French L'Eternel, or English, The Eternal. It occurs only in Daniel 7:9, Daniel 7:13, Daniel 7:22, and is a representation of one venerable in years, sitting down for the purposes of judgment. The appellation does not of itself denote eternity, but it is employed, probably, with reference to the fact that God is eternal. God is often represented under some such appellation, as he that is "from everlasting to everlasting" Psalm 90:2, "the first and the last" Isaiah 44:6, etc. There can be no doubt that the reference here is to God as a Judge, or as about to pronounce judgment, though there is no necessity for supposing that it will be in a visible and literal form, anymore than there is for supposing that all that is here represented by symbols will literally take place.

If it should be insisted on that the proper interpretation demands that there will be a literal and visible judgment, such as is here described, it may be replied that the same rigid interpretation would demand that there will be a literal "slaying of the beast, and a giving of his body to the flame" Daniel 7:11, and more generally still, that all that is here referred to by symbols will literally occur. The fact, however, is, that all these events are referred to by symbols - symbols which have an expressive meaning, but which, by their very nature and design, are not to be literally understood. All that is fairly implied here is, that events would occur in regard to this fourth beast as if God should sit in solemn judgment on it, and should condemn it in the manner here referred to. We are, doubtless, in the fulfillment of this - to look for some event that will be of so decisive and marked a character, that it may be regarded as a Divine judgment in the case, or that will show the strongly marked Divine disapprobation - as really as if the judgment-seat were formally set, and God should appear in majesty to give sentence. Sitting was the usual posture among the ancients, as it is among the moderns, in pronouncing judgment. Among the ancients the judge sat on a throne or bench while the parties stood before him (compare Zechariah 4:13), and with the Greeks and Romans so essential was the sitting posture for a judge, that a sentence pronounced in any other posture was not valid. - Lengerke. It was a maxim, Animus sedendo magis sapit; or, as Servius on the AEn. i. 56, remarks, Est enim curantis et solliciti sedere.

Whose garment was white as snow - Whose robe. The reference here is to the long flowing robe that was worn by ancient princes, noblemen, or priests. See the notes at Isaiah 6:1. Compare the notes at Revelation 1:13. White was an emblem of purity and honor, and was not an improper symbol of the purity of the judge, and of the justness of the sentence which he would pronounce. So the elder Pitt, in his celebrated speech against employing Indians in the war with the American people, besought the bishops to "interpose the unsullied purity of their lawn." Lengerke supposes, as Prof. Stuart does on Revelation 1:13, that the whiteness here referred to was not the mere color of the material of which the robe was made, but, was a celestial splendor or brightness, as if it were lightning or fire - such as is appropriate to the Divine Majesty. Lengerke refers here to Exodus 19:18-24; Daniel 2:22; Matthew 17:2; 1 Timothy 6:16; 2 Esdras 7:55; Ascension of Isaiah 8:21-25; Revelation 1:13-14; Revelation 4:2-4. But the more correct interpretation is to suppose that this refers to a pure white robe, such as judges might wear, and which would not be an improper symbol of their office.

And the hair of his head like the pure wool - That is, for whiteness - a characteristic of venerable age. Compare the notes at Revelation 1:14. The image here set before us is that of one venerable by years and wisdom.

His throne was like the fiery flame - The seat on which he sat seemed to be fire. That is, it was brilliant and splendid, as if it were a mass of flame.

And his wheels as burning fire - The wheels of his throne - for, as in Ezekiel 1; 10, the throne on which Jehovah sat appeared to be on wheels. In Ezekiel EZechariah 1:16; Ezekiel 10:9, the wheels of the throne appeared to be of the color of beryl; that is, they were like precious stones. Here, perhaps, they had only the appearance of a flame - as such wheels would seem to flash flames. So, Milton, in describing the chariot of the Son of God:

"Forth rush'd with whirlwind sound

The chariot of Paternal Deity,

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn,

Itself instinct with spirit, but convoyed


9. I beheld till—I continued looking till.

thrones … cast down—rather, "thrones were placed" [Vulgate and Luther], namely, for the saints and elect angels to whom "judgment is given" (Da 7:22), as assessors with the Judge. Compare Da 7:10, "thousand thousands ministered unto Him" (Mt 19:28; Lu 22:30; 1Co 6:2, 3; 1Ti 5:21; Re 2:26; 4:4). In English Version the thrones cast down are those of the previously mentioned kings who give place to Messiah.

Ancient of days—"The everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6). He is the Judge here, as THE Son does not judge in His own cause, and it is His cause which is the one at issue with Antichrist.

sit—the attitude of a judge about to pass sentence.

white—The judicial purity of the Judge, and of all things round Him, is hereby expressed (Re 1:14).

wheels—as Oriental thrones move on wheels. Like the rapid flame, God's judgments are most swift in falling where He wills them (Eze 1:15, 16). The judgment here is not the last judgment, for then there will be no beast, and heaven and earth shall have passed away; but it is that on Antichrist (the last development of the fourth kingdom), typical of the last judgment: Christ coming to substitute the millennial kingdom of glory for that of the cross (Re 17:12-14; 19:15-21; 11:15).


thrones cast down must be meant the kingdoms of this world, destroyed by Christ the King and Judge of all, called the Ancient of days, because of his eternal Deity;

without beginning and end of days. Whose garment was white as snow; thus kings’ viceroys were clothed, as Joseph in fine silk, Genesis 41:42, and Mordecai, Esther 8:15.

The hair of his head like the pure wool; see Revelation 1:14; noting his innocence, and righteousness in judgment, Isaiah 42:4.

His throne was like the fiery flame: this notes his majesty in judgment: see Psalm 1:3,4 Mal 4:1 Revelation 19:11,12.

His wheels as burning fire; arguing the greatest and most formidable state of the last Judge and judgment; alluding to the kings who had movable thrones, which had wheels: it notes also God’s swiftness in judgment, Malachi 3:5.

I beheld till the thrones were cast down,.... On which the governors of the above monarchies sat; and those of the ten kings, signified by the ten horns; and also that of the little horn. The prophet kept looking on the objects before him, till he in his dream, and the visions of the night, saw all those empires and kingdoms demolished, and all rule, power, and authority, put down, and way made for the glorious kingdom of the Messiah, and his saints with him; to this sense Aben Ezra, Saadiah, and Jacchiades, interpret the word used; but the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "until the thrones were set up" (q); for the judges to sit upon to try, judge, and condemn the four beasts or monarchies; in order to make way for the kingdom of the Son of man to take place in the spirituality and glory of it: here are more thrones than one; see Revelation 20:4, one for the Ancient of days, and another for him who was like to the Son of man, brought near before him; and so the Jews (r) say, here were two thrones pitched and prepared, one for the Ancient of days, and another for David, that is, the Messiah, or Son of David; and so Jarchi paraphrases the words,

"the thrones were pitched and prepared to sit upon in judgment:''

and this sense is confirmed by the use of the word in Ezra 7:24 and in the Targum on 2 Kings 18:14 and to this agrees best the following clause:

and the Ancient of days did sit; on one of the thrones pitched, as chief Judge: this is to be understood of God the Father, as distinct from the Messiah, the Son of God, said to be like the Son of man brought unto him, Daniel 7:13 and is so called, not only because he is from everlasting, and without beginning of days; but chiefly because he is permanent, and endures for ever; his years fail not, and of his days there will be no end; and he will be when these empires, signified by the four beasts, will be no more; and very fit to be Judge of them, because of his consummate wisdom and prudence, signified also by this phrase; and the divine Father of Christ is still more proper, because it is in Christ's cause the judgment will proceed; and this in order to introduce him openly into his dominions in the world:

whose garment was white as snow; denoting the purity of his nature, the brightness of his majesty, and his uncorruptness in judgment:

and the hair of his head like the pure wool; signifying his venerableness, gravity, wisdom, and ripeness of judgment; being wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working:

his throne was like the fiery flame; expressive of him, as awful and formidable, as a consuming fire; and of his piercing judgment, and the severity of it:

and his wheels as burning fire; the wheels of his throne; alluding to such seats and thrones as were made to turn about, and to be moved from place to place; denoting the power and providence of God everywhere; the clear view he has of all things, in all places; and his swiftness in the execution of his judgments.

(q) "subsellia posita sunt", Tigurine version; "solia posita sunt", Piscator, Cocceius; "throni elati sunt", Pagninus, Montanus. (r) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 14. 1. & Gloss in ib.

I beheld till the {s} thrones were cast down, and the {t} Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

(s) Meaning, the places where God and his angels would come to judge these monarchies, which judgment would begin at the first coming of Christ.

(t) That is, God who was before all times, and is here described in a way such that man's nature is able to comprehend some portion of his glory.

9. till thrones were placed (R.V.)] for the angelic assessors of the Judge, who are not further mentioned, but who are naturally to be distinguished from the hosts which ‘stand,’ ministering before Him, in Daniel 7:10. A.V. means, ‘till the thrones of the Gentile powers were overthrown’; but the rendering of R.V. is much preferable. Exactly the same expression occurs in the Targ. of Jeremiah 1:15, ‘and they shall cast down (i.e. set down, place) each his throne in front of the gates of Jerusalem.’

the Ancient of days] The expression does not mean what the English words seem to imply, one who had existed from the days of eternity; it means simply an aged man; and the R.V., one that was ancient of days, is meant to indicate this. Exactly the same expression occurs in the Syriac version of Wis 2:10 for an ‘old man,’ and in Sir 25:4 (in the plural) for ‘elders.’ ‘What Daniel sees is not the eternal God Himself, but an aged man, in whose dignified and impressive form God reveals Himself: cf. Ezekiel 1:26’ (Keil).

his raiment was white as snow] symbolizing purity (Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51:7). The white hair would have the same symbolism, though this would be natural independently in an aged man. The imagery of Revelation 1:14 is derived from the present passage.

like pure wool] The imagery of the visions in the Book of Enoch is based largely upon that of the present passage of Daniel. With the words quoted, cf. Enoch xlvi. 1 (cited below, p. 106), and lxxi. 10.

his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire] in accordance with the usual representation of God as surrounded by, or manifested in, fire, the most immaterial of elements, and at the same time the agency best suited to represent symbolically His power to destroy all that is sinful or unholy: cf.—in different connexions—Genesis 15:17; Exodus 3:2; Numbers 16:35; Deuteronomy 4:24; Psalm 18:12-13; Psalm 50:3; Psalm 97:3; Isaiah 30:27; Ezekiel 1:4; Ezekiel 1:13; Ezekiel 10:2; Ezekiel 10:6-7 (fire between the cherubim supporting the Divine throne), Ezekiel 1:27, Ezekiel 8:2 (fire representing the Divine form). With the description itself, comp. also Enoch xiv. 18–22 (in the Greek text, p. 347 of Charles’ edition): ‘And I beheld, and saw a lofty throne … And underneath the throne there came forth rivers of flaming fire; and I could not look thereon. And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment was brighter than the sun, and whiter than any snow … Fire burnt round about, and a great fire stood beside Him, and no one approacheth Him round about: thousand thousands stand before Him, and every word of His is deed.’

the wheels thereof] The throne is pictured implicitly as a chariot, as in Ezekiel 1:15-28. The representation of the throne and wheels as being fire is, however, more than is found even in the visions of Ezekiel.

9–14. The judgement on the Gentile powers. The scene is majestically conceived. Thrones are set for the heavenly powers, the assessors of the Judge: the Almighty Himself appears in the likeness of an aged man, seated on a throne of flame: angels in countless myriads stand in attendance around Him: and the books recording the deeds of the Gentile rulers are opened. The four beasts are given over to destruction: while a figure in human form is brought before the Almighty in the clouds of heaven, and receives from Him an everlasting dominion.

Verses 9, 10. - I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. The Septuagint Version here does not differ much from the Massoretic save that there are two cases of-doublet. Theodotion and the Peshitta are evidently translated from a text identical with that of the Massoretic. There is, however, one point where the versions agree against the Authorized Version - the thrones are not cast down, they are "placed," as in the Revised. Luther and most German commentators render thus, as does Jerome. Ewald translates "cast," that is, "set." In the third chapter, where we have the same word, it means" cast down; "this leads us to prefer the Authorized rendering. The word for "throne" is to be observed. It means not so much the throne-royal as the seat of a judge (Behrmann); but the office of judge was that essentially of the king. The Ancient of days did sit. It is not "the Ancient of days," but "one ancient in days," that is to say, the phrase is not appellative, but descriptive. After the thrones of these earlier kingdoms were cast down, then one appeared like an old man clad in a garment of snowy whiteness, and the hair of his head as wool. That this is a symbolic appearance of God is beyond doubt. Ewald remarks on the grandeur of the description as excelling in boldness even the vision of Ezekiel. The throne, the judgment-seat of the Ancient of days, is a chariot of "fiery flame," with "wheels of burning fire" - a description that suggests the translation of Elijah. His throne is at once the judge's scat and the chariot of the warrior. From beneath this chariot-throne "a fiery stream issued forth." In the Book of Revelation (Revelation 22:1), from beneath the throne of God there issued the river of the water of life, clear as crystal Compare with this also Enoch 14:9-22. Enoch's description is derived from this, but amplified to a great extent. Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times tea thousand stood before him. The word "thousands" in the Aramaic has the Hebrew plural termination in the K'thib, but in the most ancient forms of Aramaic there are many points where the two tongues have not yet diverged. The symbol here is of a royal court, only the numbers are vaster than any earthly court could show. The angels of God are present to carry out the decisions of the judgment. Compare with this Enoch 1:9 (Charles's trans), "Lo! he comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon them." Those that minister unto the Judge are those whose duty it is to carry out the Divine sentence; those who stand before him are those who are spectators of this great assize. The judgment was set. This translation is not accurate. The word translated "was set" is the same as that rendered in the second clause of the preceding verse "did sit." Again, although deena, thus vocalized, means "judgment," it may be differently vocalized, dayyana, and mean "Judge." If we take the present pointing, the phrase may be taken as equivalent to "the assize began." And the books were opened. It ought to be noted that the word here used for" books" is derived from a root primarily meaning "engrave." The Babylonian books, as they have come down to us, are clay tablets "engraved" or "impressed" with letters. We have all manner of legal documents in this form. The piles of tiles and cylinders which contain the deeds of those before the judgment-seat stand before the Judge. One by one they are displayed before him. The scene presented is one of unspeakable grandeur, and all put before us with a few masterly strokes. We see the great fiery throne'; the Judge, awful with the dignity of unnumbered ages, attended by a million of angels who are ready to do his will; and a hundred million watching and listening spectators. We find that this description of the judgment in the first Apocalypse reappears, modified and made yet more solemn, in the last Apocalypse. We are, however, not to regard this as the final judgment. Daniel is rather admitted into the presence of God in the heavens, and sees his judgment continually being prepared against the wicked. Daniel 7:9The 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 Revelation 4:4), but of angels (Psalm 89:8), who are to be distinguished from the thousands and tens of thousands mentioned in Daniel 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. Ezekiel 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 Deuteronomy 32:17 and Jeremiah 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. Revelation 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 Exodus 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. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 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 Daniel 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 (Daniel 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. Revelation 20:12, and the notes under Daniel 12:1. The horn speaking great things is first visited with the sentence of death.

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