Hosea 1:4
And the LORD said to him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
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(4) Jezreel means “God shall sow.” The prophet had already discovered the faithlessness of his spouse, and that his married life was symbolic of his nation’s history. Observe the resemblance in sound between Jezreel and Israel, and the historic associations of the former. It was the name of a very fertile plain in the tribe of Issachar, which was many times the scene of terrible struggles (Judges 4:13; Judges 6:33; Judges 7:1; 1Samuel 29:1). It was also the name of a town associated with the guilt of Ahab and Jezebel in bringing about the murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21), and with the final extinction of Ahab’s house by Jehu (2Kings 9:21; 2Kings 10:11).

Hosea 1:4. And the Lord said, Call his name Jezreel — This name, compounded of the nouns זרעseed, and אל, God, signifies the seed of God. The names, it must be observed, imposed upon the woman’s children by God’s direction, sufficiently declare what particular parts of the Jewish nation were severally represented by them. The persons signified by this the prophet’s proper son, says Bishop Horsley, “were all those true servants of God, scattered among all the twelve tribes of Israel, who, in the times of the nation’s greatest depravity, worshipped the everlasting God in the hope of the Redeemer to come. These were a holy seed, the genuine sons of God, begotten of him to a lively hope, and the early seed of that church which shall at last embrace all the families of the earth. These are Jezreel, typified by the prophet’s own son, and rightful heir, as the children of God, and heirs of the promises. For yet a little while — And yet this little was a long while, through God’s gracious forbearance. As bad as this people were, they should not perish without warning. Φιλει ο Θεος προσημαινειν, God loves to premonish, or forewarn, says the heathen historian, Herodotus. I will avenge the blood — Hebrew, bloods of Jezreel: that is, says Bishop Horsley, “the blood of the holy seed, the faithful servants of God, shed by the idolatrous princes of Jehu’s family in persecution, and the blood of the children shed in their horrible rites upon the altars of their idols.” It must be observed further here, that this mystical name of the prophet’s son, Jezreel, was the name of a city in the tribe of Issachar, and of a valley, or plain, in which the city stood: the city famous for its vineyard, which cost its rightful owner Naboth his life; and, by the righteous judgment of God, gave occasion to the downfall of the royal house of Ahab: the plain, one of the finest parts of the whole land of Canaan. As it was here that Jehu shed the blood of Ahab’s family with unsparing hand, many modern expositors, “forgetting the prophet’s son, have thought of nothing in this passage but the place, the city or the plain.” And by the blood of Jezreel, which God here threatens to avenge upon the house of Jehu, they have understood the blood of Ahab’s posterity; because though, in shedding that blood, Jehu executed the judgment which God had denounced by Elijah against the house of Ahab, for the cruel murder of Naboth; yet, in doing that, he acted from a principle of ambition and cruelty, without any regard to God’s glory, whose worship he forsook, maintaining in the country the idolatry which Jeroboam had first set up. Upon this exposition, Bishop Horsley remarks as follows: “It is true, that when the purposes of God are accomplished by the hand of man, the very same act may be just and good as it proceeds from God, and makes a part of the scheme of providence, and criminal in the highest degree as it is performed by the man, who is the immediate agent. The man may act from sinful motives of his own, without any consideration, or knowledge, of the end to which God directs the action. In many cases the man may be incited, by enmity to God and the true religion, to the very act in which he accomplishes God’s secret, or even revealed purpose. The man, therefore, may justly incur wrath and punishment for those very deeds in which, with much evil intention of his own, he is the instrument of God’s good providence. But these distinctions will not apply to the case of Jehu, in such manner as to solve the difficulty arising from this interpretation of the text. Jehu was specially commissioned by a prophet to smite the house of Ahab his master, to avenge the blood of the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Jehovah, at the hand of Jezebel, 2 Kings 9:7. And however the general corruption of human nature, and the recorded imperfections of Jehu’s character, might give room to suspect, that in the excision of Ahab’s family, and of the whole faction of Baal’s worshippers, he might be instigated by motives of private ambition, and by a cruel, sanguinary disposition, the fact appears from the history to have been otherwise; that he acted, through the whole business, with a conscientious regard to God’s commands, and a zeal for his service, insomuch that, when the work was completed, he received the express approbation of God; and the continuance of the sceptre of Israel in his family, to the fourth generation, was promised as the reward of this good and accepted service: see 2 Kings 10:30. And it cannot be conceived, that the very same deed, which was commanded, approved, and rewarded in Jehu, who performed it, should be punished as a crime in Jehu’s posterity, who had no share in the transaction. For these reasons, I am persuaded that Jezreel is to be taken in this passage in its mystical meaning; and is to be understood of the persons typified by the prophet’s son — the holy seed — the true servants and worshippers of God. It is threatened that their blood is to be visited upon the house of Jehu, by which it had been shed. The princes descended from Jehu were all idolaters; and idolaters have always been persecutors of the true religion. In all ages, and in all countries, they have persecuted the Jezreel unto death, whenever they have had the power of doing it. The blood of Jezreel, therefore, which was to be visited on the house of Jehu, was the blood of God’s servants, shed in persecution, and of infants shed upon the altars of their idols, by the idolatrous princes of the line of Jehu. And so the expression was understood by St. Jerome and by Luther.” This threatening, denounced against the house of Jehu, was executed in the days of his great-grandson, the son of Jeroboam II., during whose reign Hosea received this prophecy from the Lord. For Zechariah, as we find 2 Kings 15:10, was killed by a conspiracy of Shallum, who made himself king in his stead; and, no doubt, many of his kindred, who were of the house of Jehu, were slain with him. And will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel — In the family of Jehu. Or rather, this is a prophecy of the destruction of the whole kingdom of Israel, which was in a declining condition from the death of Jeroboam, and the history of which, from the usurpation of Shallum, is little else than an account of conspiracies, murders, and usurpations, till it was entirely subverted by the Assyrians; and the people were carried captives into Assyria, and were dispersed through the various provinces of that empire.1:1-7 Israel was prosperous, yet then Hosea boldly tells them of their sins, and foretells their destruction. Men are not to be flattered in sinful ways because they prosper in the world; nor will it last long if they go on still in their trespasses. The prophet must show Israel their sin; show it to be exceedingly hateful. Their idolatry is the sin they are here charged with. Giving that glory to any creature which is due to God alone, is an injury and affront to God; such as for a wife to take a stranger, is to her husband. The Lord, doubtless, had good reasons for giving such a command to the prophet; it would form an affecting picture of the Lord's unmerited goodness and unwearied patience, and of the perverseness and ingratitude of Israel. We should be broken and wearied with half that perverseness from others, with which we try the patience and grieve the Spirit of our God. Let us also be ready to bear any cross the Lord appoints. The prophet must show the ruin of the people, in the names given to his children. He foretells the fall of the royal family in the name of his first child: call his name Jezreel, which signifies dispersion. He foretells God's abandoning the nation in the name of the second child; Lo-ruhamah, not beloved, or not having obtained mercy. God showed great mercy, but Israel abused his favours. Sin turns away the mercy of God, even from Israel, his own professing people. If pardoning mercy is denied, no other mercy can be expected. Though some, through unbelief, are broken off, yet God will have a church in this world till the end of time. Our salvation is owing to God's mercy, not to any merit of our own. That salvation is sure, of which he is the Author; and if he will work, none shall hinder.Call his name Jezreel - that is, in its first sense here, "God will scatter." The life of the prophet, and his union with one so unworthy of him, were a continued prophecy of God's mercy. The names of the children were a life-long admonition of His intervening judgments. Since Israel refused to hear God's words, He made the prophet's sons, through the mere fact of their presence among them, their going out and coming in, and the names which He gave them, to be preachers to the people. He depicted in them and in their names what was to be, in order that, whenever they saw or heard of them, His warnings might be forced upon them, and those who would take warning, might be saved. If, with their mother's disgrace, these sons inherited and copied their mother's sins, then their names became even more expressive, that, being such as they were, they would be scattered by God, would not be owned by God as His people, or be pitied by Him.

I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu - Yet Jehu shed this blood, the blood of the house of Ahab, of Joram and Jezebel and the seventy sons of Ahab, at God's command and in fulfillment of His will. How was it then sin? Because, if we do what is the will of God for any end of our own, for anything except God, we do, in fact, our own will, not God's. It was not lawful for Jehu to depose and slay the king his master, except at the command of God, who, as the Supreme King, sets up and puts down earthly rulers as He wills. For any other end, and done otherwise than at God's express command, such an act is sin. Jehu was rewarded for the measure in which he fulfilled God's commands, as Ahab who had "sold himself to work wickedness," had yet a temporal reward for humbling himself publicly, when rebuked by God for his sin, and so honoring God, amid an apostate people. But Jehu, by cleaving, against the will of God, to Jeroboam's sin, which served his own political ends, showed that, in the slaughter of his master, he acted not, as he pretended, out of zeal 2 Kings 10:16 for the will of God, but served his own will and his own ambition only.

By his disobedience to the one command of God, he showed that he would have equally disobeyed the other, had it been contrary to his own will of interest. He had no principle of obedience. And so the blood, which was shed according to the righteous judgment of God, became sin to him who shed it in order to fulfill, not the will of God, but his own. Thus God said to Baasha, "I exalted thee out of the dust, and made the prince over My people Israel" 1 Kings 16:2, which he became by slaying his master, the son of Jeroboam, and all the house of Jeroboam. Yet, because he followed the sins of Jeroboam, "the word of the Lord came against Baasha, for all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and because he killed him" 1 Kings 16:7. The two courses of action were inconsistent; to destroy the son and the house of Jeroboam, and to do those things, for which God condemned him to be destroyed. Further yet. Not only was such execution of God's judgments itself an offence against Almighty God, but it was sin, whereby he condemned himself, and made his other sins to be sins against the light. In executing the judgment of God against another, he pronounced His judgment against himself, in that he that "judged," in God's stead, "did the same things" Romans 2:1. So awful a thing is it, to be the instrument of God in punishing or reproving others, if we do not, by His grace, keep our own hearts and hands pure from sin.

And will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel - Not the kingdom of the house of Jehu, but all Israel. God had promised that the family of Jehu should sit on the throne to the fourth generation. Jeroboam II, the third of these, was now reigning over Israel, in the fulness of his might. He "restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath" 2 Kings 14:25, i. e., from the Northern extremity, near Mount Hermon, where Palestine joins on to Syria, and, which Solomon only in all his glory had won for Israel, "unto the sea of the plain" 2 Chronicles 8:3-4, the Dead sea, regaining all which Hazael had conquered 2 Kings 10:32-33, and even subduing Moab also (see the note at Amos 6:14), "according to the word of the Lord by Jonah the son of Amittan." He had recovered to Israel, Damascus, which had been lost to Judah, ever since the close of the reign of Solomon 1 Kings 11:24. He was a warlike prince, like that first Jeroboam, who had formed the strength and the sin of the ten tribes. Yet both his house and his kingdom fell with him. The whole history of that kingdom afterward is little more than that of the murder of one family by another, such as is spoken of in the later chapters of Hosea; and Israel, i. e., the ten tribes, were finally carried captive, fifty years after the death of Zechariah, Jeroboam's son. Of so little account is any seeming prosperity or strength.

4. Jezreel—that is, "God will scatter" (compare Zec 10:9). It was the royal city of Ahab and his successors, in the tribe of Issachar. Here Jehu exercised his greatest cruelties (2Ki 9:16, 25, 33; 10:11, 14, 17). There is in the name an allusion to "Israel" by a play of letters and sounds. And the Lord said unto him, Hosea the prophet, who as in taking to wife an adulteress, so in giving name’ to his son by her, was to presignify Israel’s future calamities. Call his name, thy son now born,

Jezreel: the word is, The seed of the Lord, or, The arm of the Lord, or, The Lord will scatter; so it may insinuate that God by his own arm will scatter among the people, i.e. the Assyrians, those who were his people or seed. But we have a surer guide to lead us through this, i.e. the history of what was by Jehu done in Jezreel; of which more presently.

For; this is the reason why the prophet’s son is so called.

Yet a little while: it was four generations of Jehu God promised the throne to, and now the third that is now running, how near to an end we know not, but are sure it was within twenty-eight years; for Jeroboam began his reign in the fifteenth of Amaziah, and so thirteen years of his forty-one are spent ere Uzziah comes to the throne, 2 Kings 14:23; this according to one account: but 2 Kings 15:1 accounteth Jeroboam’s twenty-seventh to be the first of Uzziah, and then there are not above fourteen years to come; so little a while was this here spoken of, for in six months after Jeroboam’s death Shallum conspired against Zachariah, and slew him, and reigned a month; so Jehu’s seed was cast out of the throne.

Will avenge; inquire after and punish these crimes, which were committed in Jezreel. Heb. I will visit, i.e. as a just and impartial judge I will require an account, and execute punishments.

The blood: murders committed are in Scripture expressed thus by blood: here are particularly meant the slaughters made by Jehu’s hand or by his order, 2 Kings 9:10,11 10:1-7, in Jezreel, where he did with a treacherous mind, and aiming at his own greatness, destroy Ahab’s house, and slew Ahaziah king of Judah also. This was the just judgment of God upon that wicked house by Jehu executed, but he did it not with that mind God required.

Of Jezreel; the town which Ahab chose above others to dwell in, where the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood, when his chariot was washed and cleansed of the blood of that slain king, and where dogs did eat Jezebel, as the prophet threatened, 1 Kings 21:23.

Upon the house of Jehu; which had now possessed the throne (Jehu usurped) through the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and Jeroboam; but the usurper and his successors adhering to the idolatry of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and adding other sins to it, had now provoked God to declare a sudden extirpation of the family, which God will in his just revenge make as like to Jeroboam’s family as Ahab’s, and they had made themselves like them in sin; all which came to pass when Shallum, conspiring against Zachariah, slew him, 2 Kings 15:10. And will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel; not immediately, but soon after the death of Zachariah, the kingdom of Israel did cease first to be free, for Menahem made it tributary to strengthen himself; so it is likely it continued for ten years during his life, and two years during his son Pekahiah’s reign; after him Pekah the conspirator and murderer usurped the throne for twenty years, and probably was feudatory to Tiglath-pileser; to be sure Hoses was so, and in his ninth year this word was fulfilled in the letter of it, the kingdom of Israel, after one and forty years’ tottering, fell to utter ruin, and hath so continued to this day. Israel, or the ten tribes divided from the house of David. And the Lord said unto him call his name Jezreel,.... Which some interpret the "seed of God", as Jerom; or "arm of God", as others; and Kimchi applies it to Jeroboam the son of Joash, who was strong, and prospered in his kingdom; but it rather signifies "God will sow", or "scatter" (n); denoting either their dissension among themselves; or their dispersion among the nations, which afterwards came to pass; and so the Targum, "call their name scattered"; and alluding also to the city of Jezreel, where some of the idolatrous kings of Israel lived, and where much blood had been shed, which should be avenged, as follows:

for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu; not the blood of Naboth the Jezreelite, that was shed by Ahab; but the blood of Joram the son of Ahab, and seventy other sons of his, and all his great men, kinsfolks and priests, shed by Jehu in this place; and though this was done according to the will of God, and for which he received the kingdom, and it was continued in his family to the fourth generation; yet, inasmuch as this was not done by him from a pure and hearty zeal for the Lord and his worship, and with a sincere view to his glory, but in order to gain the kingdom, increase his power, and satiate his tyranny and lust; and because, though he destroyed one species of idolatry, the worship of Baal, yet he continued another, the worshipping of the calves at Dan and Bethel, and regarded not the law of the Lord, and so his successors after him; and were the means of causing many to sin, and so consequently of the ruin of many souls, whose blood would be required of them, which some take to be the meaning here; this is threatened; see 2 Kings 9:24. It may be observed, that God sometimes punishes the instruments he makes use of in doing his work; they either over doing it, exercising too much cruelty; and not doing it upon right principles, and with right views, as the kings of Assyria and Babylon, Isaiah 10:5. It is here said to be but a little while ere this vengeance would be taken, it being at the latter end of Jeroboam's reign when this prophecy was delivered out; and his son Zachariah, in whom the kingdom as in his family ceased, reigned but six months, being conspired against and slain by Shallum, who reigned in his stead, 2 Kings 15:8. The Targum is,

"for yet a little while I will avenge the blood of those that worship idols which Jehu shed in Jezreel, whom he slew because they served Baal; but they turned to err after the calves which were in Bethel; therefore I will reckon that innocent blood upon the house of Jehu:''

and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel; that is, in the family of Jehu; Zachariah the son of the then reigning prince being the last, and his reign only the short reign of six months; unless this has reference to the utter cessation of this kingdom as such in the times of Hoshea by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, 2 Kings 17:6.

(n) A rad. "seminavit, disseminavit", Schmidt.

And the LORD said unto him, Call his name {e} Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of {f} Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

(e) Meaning that they would no longer be called Israelites, which name they boasted because Israel did prevail with God: but that they were as bastards, and therefore should be called Jezreelites, that is, scattered people, alluding to Jezreel, which was the chief city of the ten tribes under Ahab, where Jehu shed so much blood; 1Ki 18:45.

(f) I will be avenged upon Jehu for the blood that he shed in Jezreel: for even though God stirred him up to execute his judgments, yet he did them for his own ambition, and not for the glory of God as the intended goal: for he built up that idolatry which he had destroyed.

4. Call his name Jezreel] The child of guilt; therefore not Israel but Jezreel (or, more exactly, Izreel). The name is referred to for its historical associations (comp. on Hosea 2:22). It points both backward and forward—backward to the massacre of Ahab’s family by Jehu (2 Kings 9:10.), and forward to the punishment for that wild and cruel act. Hosea (in whom natural peculiarities have been purified and not extinguished by the spirit of prophecy) regards the conduct of Jehu in a different light from the writer of 2 Kings 10:30. The latter praises Jehu for having ‘done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in by mind’; he speaks on the assumption that Jehu had the interests of Jehovah’s worship at heart, and that he destroyed the house of Ahab as the only effectual means of advancing them. The former blames Jehu apparently on the high moral ground that Jehovah ‘desires mercy (love) and not sacrifice’ (Hosea 6:6). He speaks as the Israelites of his time doubtless felt. They no more recognized Jehu as a champion of Jehovah than did the priests of Baal whom he basely entrapped (2 Kings 10:18, &c.). But Hosea doubtless felt in addition that the idolatry to which the house of Jehu was addicted rendered a permanent religious reform hopeless. Image-worship could not be suppressed by such halfhearted worshippers of Jehovah, and hence, Jehovah’s moral government of His people must have made it certain to Hosea that even on this ground alone the dynasty of Jehu could not escape an overthrow.

yet a little while, and I will avenge …] ‘Avenge’; lit. ‘visit’. Hosea represents (like a fellow-prophet, Amos 7:9) the destruction of the northern kingdom as synchronizing with the overthrow of Jehu’s dynasty. This was a remarkable proof of insight into God’s purposes. Both prophets saw the beginning of the end, though the final catastrophe (722) took place about nineteen years later than the death of Jeroboam II. (741).Verse 4. - And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel. The name which the people inherited from a distinguished ancestor was one of honor and dignity - Israel or Yisrael, "prince with God;" the name imposed by their sins was one of reproach and disaster - Izreel, or Yizreel, "scattered by God." The Hebrews had a peculiar fondness for a paronomasia of this kind; thus Bethel, "house of God," becomes Bethaven, "house of vanity." Keil regrets the appellative sense in this passage, and refers to the historical importance of the place. The latter view seems favored by the succeeding explanation of the name. For yet a little while, and I will avenge (visit) the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu. The verb here rendered "avenge" is literally to "visit," and is used sometimes in a good sense, implying a benevolent purpose, as in Ruth 1:6, "For she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread;" sometimes it expresses a hostile intention, as in Exodus 20:5, "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children." In the present passage, as elsewhere in this book (see Hosea 2:13; Hosea 4:9), it is taken in the sense assigned it in the Authorized Version, with which the Septuagint and Syriac are in accord. But what are we to understand by the blood of Jezreel, which brought down this vengeance on the house of Jehu? Some suppose that the expression denotes the bloody deeds of Ahab's house, including, not only the murder of Naboth, but also their bloody persecution of the servants and prophets of Jehovah, as we read in 1 Kings 18:4, that "Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord;" and in 2 Kings 9:7, "Thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel." These and like deeds of blood brought down retribution on the house of Ahab; Jehu, the instrument of this retribution, was himself guilty of such enormities that the cry of blood for vengeance was repeated, and the criminality of the preceding dynasty continuing, the ate of Jehu's was redoubled. This view appears to us both clumsy and far-fetched. The plain meaning is that which refers the blood of Jezreel to the bloody massacres of Jehn himself, when in a single day he put an end to the dynasty of Omri and the wicked house of Ahab. On that memorable occasion he slew the queen-mother Jezebel, the seventy sons of Ahab, and forty-two relatives of King Ahaziah, also all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. The royal house of Israel he exterminated, for he "slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolk, and his priests, until he left him none remaining;" the royal house or' Judah he brought at the same time to the very verge of extinction. The slaughter of Ahab's sons, of Jezebel and Joram, and that whole royal line, was, it is true, in compliance with God's express command; and, for the measure of his obedience to that command, Jehu was rewarded by the promise of his family occupying the throne of Israel to the fourth generation. But what was the motive that prompted this performance of the Divine will? Was it really zeal for God, as he pretended, and consequent diligence in obeying the Divine direction? Or did human passion predominate and political advantage hurry him on? We trow not. Certain it is that his subsequent career rendered the purity of his zeal more than doubtful. He exterminated the idolatry of Baal, but he clave to the calves of Jeroboam at Bethel and Dan - the fundamental sin of the kings of Israel. In what he did, therefore, the act itself was right, for God commanded it; but the motive was wrong, for it was selfish ambition that prompted it. Thus it was with Baasha; he executed vengeance by command of God on the wicked house of Jeroboam I., and for so doing was exalted to be prince over God's people Israel; but the word of the Lord came against him, as we read, "For all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord... in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him." The Chaldee regards the blood shed by Jehu in Jezreel, though shed in a righteous cause and for the rooting out of the Baal idolatry, as innocent blood, because Jehu himself and his house turned aside to the idolatry of the calves. Jerome takes a similar view of the matter. Kimchi adopts the same; his words, literally translated, are the following: "And why does he call it the blood of Jezreel? Because it was shod in Jezreel. And though in this matter he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, yet, since he did not observe to walk in the Law of Jehovah, and did not turn aside from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the blood which he shed was reckoned to him as innocent blood." He then adduces as a parallel the case of Baasha already mentioned. And will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. Jeroboam II., the third of Jehu's family, was now reigning; a fourth member of the same was to occupy the throne. That fourth sovereign was Zechariah, whose short inglorious reign lasted only six months, at the expiration of which he fell a victim in the conspiracy by Shallum. Thus ended the dynasty of Jehu; while its overthrow paralyzed the strength of the northern kingdom. Anti, though the day of its complete destruction was deferred for half a century, yet the disorders, dethronements, anarchy at times, and repeated assassination of the sovereigns, to which Menahem was the only exception, prepared the way for the final catastrophe. The overthrow of the house of Jehu has been aptly termed by Hengstenberg "the beginning of the end, the commencement of the process of decomposition." In 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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