Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
SECOND (PROPHETIC) DIVISION
1. The vision of the four world-kingdoms and of the Messianic kingdom
1In the first year of1 Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had [saw] a dream, and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.2
2Daniel spake3 and said, I saw4 in my vision by5 night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven [heavens] strove upon [were rushing to] the great sea. 3And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another6
4The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till7 the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made [to] stand upon 5the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And, behold, another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised8 up itself [was made to stand] on one side,9 and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6After this I beheld,4 and lo, another, like a leopard, which [and it] had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl [bird]: the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7After this I saw10 in the night visions, and, behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth:11 it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts 8that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered12 the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom [and from before it] there were three of13 the first horns plucked up by the roots [were extirpated]: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
9I beheld, till7 the thrones were cast [set] down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose [his] garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the14 pure wool: his throne was like the13 fiery flame [flames of fire], and his wheels as burning fire. 10A fiery stream [stream of fire] issued [flowed] and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him,15 and ten thousand times ten thousand stood16 before him: the judgment was set [did sit], the books 11were opened. I beheld4 then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake [was speaking]; I beheld, even till7 the beast was slain, and his 12[its] body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning [And] the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away:17 yet their lives were prolonged for18 a season and time.
13I saw4 in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came [was coming] with the clouds of heaven [the heavens], and came to [reached] the 14Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him [to him was given] dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages,19 should serve20 him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
15I Daniel was grieved in my spirit [my spirit was grieved] in the midst of my body [its sheath], and the visions of my head troubled21 me. 16I came near unto22 one12 of them that stood by, and asked him23 the truth of21 all this. So [And] 17he told me, and made24 me know the interpretation of the things.25 These great 18beasts, which are26 four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But [And] the saints of the Most High26 shall take [receive] the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
19Then I would know [wished] the truth of21 the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others [of them], exceeding dreadful, whose [its] teeth were of iron, and his [its] nails of brass; which devoured, brake [breaking] in pieces, and 20stamped the residue with his [its] feet; and of21 the ten horns that were in his [its] head, and of the other which came up, and before whom [from before it] three fell; even [and] of that horn that [and it] had eyes, and a mouth that spake [speaking] very great things, whose [and its] look was more stout than his 21[its] fellows. I beheld,4 and the same [that] horn made war with the saints, and prevailed1 against them; 22until the Ancient of days came, and [the] judgment was given to the saints of the Most High;26 and the time came [arrived] that [, and] the saints possessed the kingdom.
23Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom27 upon [the] earth, which shall be diverse from all [the] kingdoms, and shall devour the Whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24And the ten horns out of this28 kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise [arise] after them; and he shall be diverse from the29 first, and he shall subdue [abase] three kings. 25And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out [afflict] the saints of the Most High,26 and think to change times and laws [law]: and they shall be given into his hand, until a time and times and the 26dividing of [half a] time. But [And] the judgment shall [did] sit, and they shall take away his dominion, o consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27And the kingdom and [the] dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven [heavens], shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,30 whose [his] kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all [the] dominions shall serve and obey him.
28Hitherto is the end of the matter.31 As for me32 Daniel, my cogitations [thoughts] much troubled20 me, and my countenance33 changed in21 me: but [and] I kept the matter30 in my heart.8
Daniel 7:1. Historical introduction. In the first year of Belshazzar; hence, in the first year after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, the father and predecessor of Belshazzar; see on Daniel 5:1.34This designation of the time “seems substantially to have furnished the occasion for renewed reflection on the part of the prophet, bearing upon the former series of prophetical meditations that had been called forth in him by an important event (the dream of Nebuchadnezzar concerning the image of the monarchies, which Daniel interpreted, chap. 2). The idea of the four heathen kingdoms which were to precede the introduction of the Messianic kingdom of Israel, that was announced by the earlier prophets and believed by them to be near, is again brought out comprehensively in this place, with reference to the course observed by those kingdoms toward the theocracy” (Kranichfeld). —Concerning the chronological parallelism of the series of apocalyptic visions, opened by this new vision of the monarchies, with the series of historical events recorded in the former division of the book, and beginning with chap. 2, see the Introd., § 3.—Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed. Cf. Daniel 2:19; and with reference to the visions of his head, cf. 2:28.—Then he wrote the dream, immediately or soon after it transpired; a note intended to strengthen the following statements concerning its nature (cf. Daniel 12:4). This note, however, as the change of person between Daniel 7:1 and 2 indicates, was probably introduced by the author at a later time, in connection with his final revision of the whole book. The closing verse of the chapter, which likewise is merely important as a transitional passage, seems also to be a later addition.—And told the sum of the matters; gave the leading features. רֶאשׁ מִלִּין, the sum or substance of the words; cf. רֹאשׁ in passages like Lev. 5:24; Psa. 119:160; and also the Talmudic ראשי דברים (Rosh hash., II. 6), and the Gr. κεφάλαιον, which is employed in this place by the Sept. The “sum” signifies, of course, the aggregate of all that is of Messianic significance. Cf. Ewald: “When it is said that Daniel merely recorded the leading features, or gave a mere summary, of the wonderful visions which he saw, the meaning becomes evident, when it is observed with what freedom the leading outlines of the visions are drawn in the first two turns of the description (Daniel 7:1–14), and are afterward repeated for the purpose of interpretation. All the remaining prophetic sections of the book have the same plan in substance; but whenever it is attempted to record personal experiences and observations in writing, it is advisable to furnish the briefest outline consistent with clearness, on account of the readers, if for no other reason.”*
Daniel 7:2, 3. The entrance of the four beasts. Daniel spake and said. The incoherence of these words with the statements of Daniel 7:1 seems to indicate that they no longer belong (as Kranichfeld believes) to the supplementary note, Daniel 7:1, but that they originally served to introduce the description of the vision.—I saw in my vision by night; עִם, “during, by,” spoken of synchronous things; cf. Daniel 3:33.—And behold, the four winds of the heavens strove (“broke forth”) upon the great sea. Concerning אֲרוּ, see on Daniel 2:31.—The fourfold number of the “winds of the heaven” (i.e., the winds blowing from the different quarters of heaven, or, more simply, those blowing under heaven; cf. “the birds of heaven”) has reference, of course, to that of the beasts in Daniel 7:3 et seq. It designates all the winds of the world (cf. Daniel 8:8; Zech. 6:5; Jer. 49:36), and therefore indicates at the outset the universal importance of the following vision. Hence actual winds must be intended, and not “angelicæ potentates” as Jerome suggests, under reference to Deut. 32:8 (Sept.).35 It is not necessary to ask, in connection with a dream-vision, how all the four winds could arise together; nor how the great sea (i.e., probably the Mediterranean, the ocean of the nations of hither Asia; cf. Josh. 15:48) could enter into the dream of an Israelite who resided from his early youth at Babylon. The sea, as is frequent in prophetic figurative language of the Old Testament, represents the heathen world of nations, which unquestionably afforded a striking illustration in every case when they arose in hostility against the theocracy, in order to overwhelm and destroy the constantly-diminishing people of God, as the raging waves of the ocean break upon an insignificant island or coast. Cf. Isa. 8:7 et seq.; 17:12; 27:1; 57:20; Psa. 46:4; also Rev. 8:8; 17:15; and with reference to the overflowing (by hostile forces) see Dan. 9:26; 11:10, 22, 26.—מְגִיחָן לְיַמָּא may be properly translated “breaking forth upon the sea, breaking loose against the sea;” on גִּיחַ, cf. the corresponding Heb. word in Job 40:23; Ezek. 32:22, and also the Syr. and Targum. usage, which principally employs the word to represent the hostile irruption of warlike forces. Less natural is the factitive rendering of the partic, “caused the great sea to break forth” (Kranichf.), and the reciprocal, by Luther, “stormed against each other on the great sea (cf. Ewald’s “swept through the great sea”); the prep. לְ seems not suited to either conception.36
Daniel 7:3. And four (excessively) great beasts came up from the sea. The strengthening of the idea implied in the reduplicated רַבְרְבָן may be rendered, with Ewald, by “monstrous,” or by an adverb of comparison prefixed to “great,” as “very, excessively,” etc.37 Kranichfeld is incorrect and interpolating: “four ravenous beasts.”—The rising of “the beasts from the sea” describes, figuratively, their rising out of the great undefined, and, so to speak, mist-enveloped sea of nations, and their more noticeable entrance into the range of the dreaming prophet’s vision. There is therefore no allusion to a coming up out of the sea to the land (unlike Gen. 41:2, 18 et seq.), especially since, in the parallel description in Daniel 7:17, four kings, corresponding to the four beasts, arise “out of the earth.” [“These four fierce beasts arise, not all at once, but, as Daniel 7:6 and 7 teach, one after another” (Keil).]—Concerning the representation of nations or kingdoms under the figure of certain beasts, especially ravenous beasts, monsters (cf. Isa. 27:1; 40:9; Ezek. 29:3; 32:2; Psa. 68:31; 74:13), see Ewald: “It is an ancient habit to regard beasts as symbols of kings and empires; but it first became really significant through the custom of emblazoning them on standards and arms, especially on shields, and also on permanent monuments and works of art, as standing symbols. The most ancient picture-writing in Egypt and Assyria afterward contributed its part to introduce an intimate connection in thought between a figurative creature and a kingdom corresponding to it. It is now known that each of the twelve tribes of Israel bore the figure of an animal on its standard and its coat of arms; and likewise that every representative of a tribe could wear such a symbol, while a king could elevate the symbol of his tribe to the dignity of a national emblem” (Geschichte des v. Israel, iii. 341, 849). Certain animals, such as the lion, panther, and ox, would naturally be suggested in any case; and others would be chosen by way of contrast. But nowhere would such animal-symbols be likely to become so significant as in the ancient Assyrian empire. This has become the more certain, since the frequent colossal animals scattered among the ruins of Nineveh and other places, which served as symbols of the power and greatness of that empire, i.e., of its kings and gods, have been brought to light. Hence, after Assyria and the other great powers of the ancient world had, from the 8th and 7th centuries B. C, been opposed to the Israelites, whom the latter were continually less and less able to resist, their poets and orators adopted the custom of designating them on proper occasions by such symbols, e. g., Assyria as a lion or as a “reed-beast,” and Egypt as a crocodile or dragon. As a consequence, it is comprehensible why animals were chosen here and in chapters 7 and 8 as symbols of the great monarchies beginning with the Assyrio-Chaldæan, although these animals are selected independently, because an entirely new conception is here introduced. Since an increased spiritual significance was attributed to animals as the emblems of kingdoms, it would become possible for the imagination to extend such figures beyond the realm of actual creation, and to construct ideal forms; but our author clearly avoids the use of wholly imaginary animals for this purpose, as being inappropriate. His object is here to represent in a more striking and impressive manner the four successive changes of the great world-kingdom described in chap. 2 under the figure of a monstrous human image, which t afforded but faint analogies; and for this purpose he selects four wild beasts, which differ among themselves respectively, and which over-come each other in succession.—Diverse one from another, for the reason that they represented distinct kingdoms, which differed from each other respectively, and were peculiarly constituted in respect to their national character and their political tendencies. These distinctions are now to be brought out as clearly and prominently as possible, thus indicating a different purpose from that connected with the image of the monarchies, which was chiefly designed to represent the perpetuation of the same heathen world-power throughout the four successive phases of its development.
Daniel 7:4–8. More detailed description of the four beasts, and especially of the fourth. The first was like a lion and had eagle’s wings. The emblem of a wonderful beast so constituted might be chosen with propriety to represent the Chaldæan, or, if it be preferred, the Assyrio-Chaldæan world-power (cf. supra, Eth.-fund. principles, etc., on chap. 2), since the winged lions with human heads recovered at Nimrud (Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 348) and also the similar images of winged animals at Babylon (Münter, Religion der Babylonier, pp. 98, 139) were doubtless designed as symbols of the power and glory of that empire or of its rulers. In addition, the description of Nebuchadnezzar as a lion in strength and an eagle in swiftness was familiar to his contemporaries, as may be seen on the one hand, in Jer. 4:7; 49:19; 1.17, 44; on the other, in Jer. 49:22; Lam. 4:19; Hab.1:8; Ezek. 17:3, 12. Moreover, the rank of the lion as the king of beasts, and of the eagle as the king of birds, corresponds to that of gold, the most precious of metals, which had been in chap. 2 the symbol of the first world-kingdom. As in that instance (Daniel 7:38) the king was identified with his realm, and therefore was regarded as its representative, so here the fate of the first world-kingdom is illustrated by various traits taken from the history of Nebuchadnezzar in chap. 4—I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, i.e., until its power and unrestrained motion were taken from it; cf. Daniel 4:28 et seq.—And it was lifted up from the earth, to which, after being deprived of its wings, it had been confined; compare Daniel 4:30 with 4:33. The words, therefore, as well as those which follow, relate to the restoration from a state of beastly degradation to the upright posture and free dignity of man. Others, as Jerome, Theodoret, Rashi, Bertholdt, Hitzig, etc., render it, “and it was taken away from the earth,” as if the sentence implied the destruction of the Chaldæan world-power; but neither its connection with the following context, nor the usual meaning of נְטַל “to raise up, elevate,”—cf. 4:31 and the corresponding Heb. verb, Gen. 21:18—will justify this reading.—And made (to) stand upon the feet as a man; cf. Daniel 4:13, 31, 33; 5:21. Notice the suffixless עַל רַגְלַיִן “upon two feet,” instead of “on its two feet,” which (corresponding with 2 Kings 13:21) would have been employed if the description had from the first referred to Nebuchadnezzar in person. [The phrase “does not mean that the whole beast was lifted up into the air, but that it stood upon its hinder legs, taking the upright position of a man. The purpose of this is explained more fully by the clause that follows.—רַגְלַיִן is a Hebraizing dual form, only found in Biblical Chaldee.…—The heart of a man was given to it, i.e., (in connection with the preceding clause), not only did it take the outward position of a man, but also, partook of his internal mind and feelings. I understand the design here to be to characterize the greater moderation and humanity which the Babylonian dominion exhibited after Nebuchadnezzar’s malady and restoration, or, to use the language of the prophet, after ‘its wings were plucked.’ ”—Stuart.]—See Hitzig on this passage, with reference to the at times venturous explanations offered by exegetes who deny its relation to chap. 4 in any way whatever (e.g., Bertholdt: “The writer designed to indicate in this place that human empires are symbolized;” J. D. Michaelis, Dereser: “The civilizing of the formerly barbarous Chaldæns, which was reserved until the Babylonian period, was to be described;” Jerome, Rashi, Ibn-Ezra, etc.: “The standing upon two feet of the hitherto four-footed beast was to symbolize the humiliation of the Chaldæans on the overthrow of their supremacy;” etc., etc.).
Daniel 7:5. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear. אָחֳרִי is the more extended, תִּנְיָנָה the more definite idea; the former only is repeated in Daniel 7:6, and the latter in Daniel 7:7. The bear, considered as being second only to the lion in point of strength and savage disposition, is frequently mentioned in close connection with the latter; e.g., 1 Sam. 17:34; Prov. 28:15 (cf. 17:12); Wisd. 11:17.—And it raised up itself on one side; or even, “it stood leaning to one side” (Hitzig), as it is to be rendered on the authority of the reading שְׁטַר, “side” (for which several MSS. substitute the usual Aram, form סְטַר. The common reading שְׁטַר would require to be regarded as synonymous with the Heb. מִשְׁטָר, “dominion” (Job 38:33), but would thus lead to the vapid sense, “and it raised up one dominion,” which is opposed by the context, and is questionable in every respect. This meaning, however, has recently been unsuccessfully advocated by Kranichfeld, who refers to the erection of a Median empire on the ruins of the Babylonian. Most expositors regard it correctly as indicating a leaning posture of the beast, an inclination to one side. Such a posture would naturally suggest a tendency to fall, an unsteady, vaccillating character of the monarchy in question, verging upon ruin—and thus it has been interpreted by the Sept., Theodot., the Syr., and by many moderns, as Hitzig, Ewald, Kamphausen, etc., who find here a reference to the weakness and brief duration of the Median supremacy, which soon gave way to that of the Persians. The context, however, requires that a strong kingdom, animated with a lust for conquest—or, in the figurative language of the text, a “voracious” kingdom—should be understood, to which the words “arise, devour much flesh,” are not spoken ironically and uselessly. For this reason we must suppose (with Hävernick; cf. also Bertholdt, Von Lengerke, and Maurer) that the beast inclined forward, i.e., that it was prepared to spring and to attack; and this threatening, rapacious, and warlike posture of the beast shows clearly that not the weak and short-lived Median kingdom, but the powerful empire of the Medo-Persians. with its greed for lands and conquest, is intended.38—And it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it. תְּלָת עִלְעִין evidently designates a prey that has already been seized by the beast, and which it is preparing finally to devour (cf. Num. 11:38; Zech. 9:7), and not (as Saadia, Bertholdt, and Hävernick suppose) parts of its own body, such as three molar teeth—an interpretation which עלעין nowhere bears. The three states, or even cities, which became the prey of the Persian empire as symbolized by the “three ribs,” an hardly be specified; perhaps three is used merely as a round and indefinite number. If, however, it is attempted to designate them more particularly, it will certainly be more appropriate to conceive of three countries, e.g., Babylon, Egypt, and Lydia (or, instead of the latter, Palestine, including Syria), which were conquered by the Medes or Medo-Persians (with De Wette), than (with Hitzig) to think of the three great Assyrian cities on the Tigris, Nineveh, Calah, and Resen,—or Nineveh, Mespila (?), and Larissa, which, according to Xenophon, Anab., 3:4, 10, the Medes are said to have destroyed (cf. Gen.10:12; Jon. 3:1 et seq.).—And they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. These words evidently refer to something in the history of the Median empire, that is subsequent to the devouring of the three ribs, and therefore to the later wars of that state for conquest and plunder, which followed after the subjugation of the three neighboring kingdoms. This clearly indicates that the beast described in this connection does not represent Media only, but the united Medo-Persian empire (against Ewald, Kranichfeld, etc., and also against Hitzig, who applies this command to “devour much flesh” to the overthrow of the Chaldæan empire by the Medes, which he believes to have preceded the destruction of the three cities on the Tigris). The direction to devour much flesh is, however, an appropriate feature in the description of the voracity of this ζῶον πάμφαγον; cf. Micah 3:2, 3; Isa. 9:11; Jer. 50:17. The speakers who are implied (אָמְרִין, as in Daniel 3:4; 4:28) are the angelic powers of God, who govern the world and especially watch over and guide the fortunes of the great world-powers.39
Daniel 7:6. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of (or “like”) a fowl. Ewald observes, with entire correctness: “This beast is already distinguished from the other in being less one-sided, and in having ‘four wings of a bird’—i.e., such as are large and capable of carrying it swiftly to any place—on its back. [It moves, however, “not so royally as Nebuchadnezzar—for the panther has not eagle’s wings but only the wings of a fowl—yet extending to all the regions of the earth” (Keil).] Hence it can move with ease and freedom towards either of the four regions of the world, and therefore, in a sense, it possesses all the four regions of the world, i.e., it is in the full sense a world-kingdom.” Cf. Kranichfeld also: “The flashing swiftness of movement, the παρδάλεος ὀξύτης (Hab.1:8), which is here specially indicated by ‘four wings of a fowl on the back of it,’ i.e., in a condition for flying, is regarded as characteristic of this beast (the leopard) while lurking for its prey (Jer. 5:6; Hos. 13:7). Compared with the clearness and correctness of this interpretation there seems to be a strange lack of motive for the refusal of the two scholars to apply it to that world-kingdom, which more than any other was remarkable for its extension by leaps of panther-like swiftness, and by the lightning-like rapidity of its rise and fall—namely, the Macedonian empire of Alex, the Gr.” Cf. the remark of Hitzig: “The special rapidity of the Persian movements to war and victory cannot be historically established”—certainly a correct remark, but one which ought not to have decided its author, who was likewise an opponent of the Macedonian hypothesis, to regard the four wings in this instance, not as symbols of rapid movement, but as “an emblem of the far-reaching protecting royal power from above” (after Lam. 4:20; Psa. 36:8).—The beast had also four heads, i.e., it extended its dominion in the four quarters of the earth, and governed the whole world. The words which follow, “and dominion was given unto it,” are probably merely epexegetical of this symbolical description, in which the four heads have the same significance as the pushing of the ram towards the four quarters of the heavens in Daniel 8:4, or as the four faces of the cherubs which looked towards the four quarters of the earth in Ezek. 1:10 et seq. If it is desired to interpret the four heads more closely, they may be taken to represent the four principal divisions or aggregates of countries which the empire of Alexander embraced (cf. Hävernick on this passage), e.g., Greece, Western Asia, Egypt, and Persia (including India). This is less arbitrary, at least, than the opinion of Jerome, that the heads represented the four leading generals of Alexander, viz.: Ptolemy, Seleucus, Philip, and Antigonus, or than the favorite assumption of many moderns after Von Lengerke (e.g., Hitzig, Ewald, Kamphausen, etc.), that the author represents the four earliest Persian kings, from Cyrus to Xerxes, who alone were known to him as the four heads of the leopard. The advocates of the latter opinion refer for support to Daniel 11:2, which passage, however, does not even imply that Daniel knew of but four kings of Persia (see on that passage), to say nothing of its affording no proof whatever that the present passage is concerned with any Persian kings. Our apocalyptist does not represent kings by heads, but by horns (see Daniel 7:8 and 24 et seq.); a feature which recurs in the apocalypse of St. John, where the ten horns of the beast (Rev. 17:13) symbolize ten kings, while the seven heads indicate seven mountains. This analogy seems to favor the view of Hävernick, which assumes that the four heads represent the four principal sections of the world-kingdom in question, but of course without demonstrating its correctness.
Daniel 7:7. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly. Observe the solemn minuteness with which the fourth beast is introduced, and also the description as both “dreadful and terrible,” דְּחִילָה וְאֶמְתָּנִי; cf. Chr. B. Michaelis: “Jung-untur duo synonyma, ad intendendum rem signi-ficatam, ut hæc bestia non vulgariter, sed supra modum horribilis apparuisse videatur.”40—And it had great iron teeth. Iron is mentioned as signifying firmness and incisive sharpness (cf. Jer.15:12; Mic. 4:13), while the teeth symbolize its lust of conquest (cf. Daniel 7:5).—It devoured and brake in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet of it. Unlike the other beasts, it was not content with simply securing its prey, but, rejoicing in destruction, it stamped with its feet what it could not devour. This description evidently does not indicate that the conquests of the fourth world-kingdom were more extensive than those of its predecessors, but merely that its course was more devastating and destructive. This obviously alludes to the description of the legs of iron and clay (the organs employed in treading and stamping), which belonged to the colossus in chap. 2, and corresponds fully to the actual character of the empires of the Macedonian Diadochi, and particularly that of the Seleucidæ. Cf. Kranichfeld: “It is generally acknowledged that the description of the fourth beast agrees in its leading features with that of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 2:40; especially in regard to its rage for destruction, which crushed without pity and trode everything under foot. Even the iron, the medium of destruction in Daniel 2:23, 40, returns here in the large teeth of the monster. The terrible appearance of the colossus resulted primarily from its fourth constituent part, and corresponding to this, the qualities which produce a terrible appearance are here expressly connected with the form of the fourth beast.”—And it was diverse from all the beasts before it. This does not assert that “it combined in itself all that was prominent in the three former beasts, the lion, bear, and leopard respectively” (Jerome, Hävernick, et al., under comparison with Rev. 13:2), but merely that it differed from them all, and displayed its nature in a way that could not be realized by a comparison with the lion, the bear, or the leopard. This difference of the fourth beast from all the others is chiefly suggestive of the fragmentary and divided character of the fourth world-kingdom, and consequently alludes to the composition of the feet of the colossus out of intermingled iron and clay.41 The opinion of Hävernick and other advocates of the theory which regards the Roman empire as the fourth world-kingdom, that this description indicates the contrast between the character of that empire and that of the Oriental-Hellenistic monarchies which preceded it, is entirely too far-fetched; but that of Hitzig is no less so, when, in the support of his theory that the fourth beast represents Alexander the Great, he asserts that the contrast between the Hellenistic and the Oriental rule is here indicated—a contrast that was far greater than that between Rome and the world-kingdoms which preceded it.—And it had ten horns. According to Daniel 7:24 these ten horns represent “ten kings.” Unlike ordinary animals, which have two horns, this monster representing the fourth world-kingdom has ten, being so many symbols of warlike power and dominion (cf. Deut. 33:17; 1 Sam. 2:1, 10; Psa. 18:3; Job 16:15; Mic. 4:13, etc.). The number ten is hardly to be strained, in this connection, to represent ten specified kings; but like the number four in Daniel 7:6, it is rather to be taken in a symbolic sense, and to be regarded as indicating a multiplicity of rulers, or an indefinitely large number of kings—in harmony with the usual significance of the number, both in the Scriptures and elsewhere, as the symbol of earthly perfection.42 Kranichfeld observes correctly, “It is clearly not in the nature of the prophetic idea, that the number ten, in addition to the value which it thus has for the writer, should be capable of being demonstrated on the analogy of ordinary numerals, in the realization of the picture of the future.” The notes on chap. 11 will show that in the more detailed description of the development of the fourth world-power in that place, there is by no means an exact enumeration of ten kings on the throne of the Seleucidæ.
Daniel 7:8. And behold, there came up among them another little horn. Concerning אָחֳרִי and its relation to the succeeding modifying predicate, see supra, on Daniel 7:5.—The prophet observes the rising or springing up of this little horn, the eleventh one, as taking place between the ten which already existed (notice the idea of continued observation, so to speak, of being lost in observation, which is indicated by the expression מִשְׂתַּכַּל הֲוֵית, “I was engaged in considering, in observing”). The smallness of the new horn in this case, as in the parallel Daniel 8:9, refers merely to its original state, not to its later appearance when fully grown; for, according to Daniel 7:20, it was then greater than any of the other horns. Concerning the reading סִלְקַת, instead of סִלְקָת, see Hitzig on this passage.—Before (or “by”) whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; i.e., it grew so strongly, and through its growth exercised so disturbing an influence upon its neighbors, that three of them were uprooted and wholly destroyed. Here also the definite number “three” is hardly to be strained to signify precisely three kings, who were overthrown by the monarch represented by the eleventh horn.43 The prophecy certainly had its more immediate Messianic fulfilment in the manner in which Antiochus Epiphanes rose from his originally obscure condition to the throne of the Seleucidæ, by removing two or perhaps three of his rivals (see infra); but from the prophet’s point of view, involving substantially a merely ideal, or, more correctly, a dream-like indefinite view of the future, the idea of precisely this personage in future history, and of the political conjunctures preceding his accession to the throne, was assuredly excluded.—And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man. Eyes like those of a man, human eyes (therefore two in number, despite the plural עַיְנִין, which is probably substituted for the dual for euphonic reasons merely, and by virtue of a usage that is frequent in the chaldee), are borne by the horn in token that it represents a man,44 and, moreover, a wise, judicious man; for here as elsewhere (e.g., Ezek. 1:18; 10:12) eyes are the symbol of understanding; cf. שכל, “to look at, understand.”—And a mouth speaking great (or “proud”) things; a farther indication of the human nature and character of the historical personage prefigured by the horn. מְמַלֵּל רַכְרְבָן, properly, “speaking great or monstrous things;” cf. supra, on Daniel 7:3, and also infra, Daniel 7:11; also the Heb. דִּבַּי גְּרוֹלוֹת, Psa. 12:4. The interpretation in Daniel 7:25 shows that blasphemies are meant by this “speaking of great things;” cf. 11:36; Rev. 13:5.45
Daniel 7:9–12. The Divine judgment upon the world-powers. I beheld (such things) till the thrones were cast down (or “set”) The A. V. is literal (רְמִיו). The chairs of the Orientals consist of cushions, which are not set down, but laid down, and, in case of haste, are cast down; cf. ἔκειντο, Rev. 4:2. The place where the thrones are set is not in heaven, for according to Daniel 7:13 the Son of man descends to it from heaven; nor is it on the earth, but, as in Daniel 12:7, a locality intervening between heaven and earth. [“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 (Rabbins), nor of glorified men (Hengstenb. on Rev. 4:4), but of angels (Psa. 89:8), who are to be distinguished from the thousands and tens of thousands mentioned in Daniel 7:10, for those do not sit upon thrones, but stand before God as servants to fulfil his commands and execute His judgments” (Keil).]—And the (“an”) Ancient of days did sit; viz., on his throne, in order to preside at the judgment; cf. Psa. 9:5; 29:10; Isa. 28:6. The “Ancient of days” (עַתִּיק יוֹמִין), i.e., the aged in days (πεπαλαιωμένος ἡμερῶν, Sus. 52), is doubtless the God of Israel, the same as the Most High, Daniel 7:25, who was blasphemed by the little horn. He is described as the “Ancient of days,” probably not by way of comparison with the younger associated judges, nor yet with the “blasphemous upstart,” the little horn (Kranichfeld), but in comparison with the more recent gods of the heathen; cf. Deut. 32:17; Jer. 23:23. This predicate therefore refers to that attribute of the God of the Old Covenant, which is designated in such expressions as אֱלֹהֵי קֶדֶם, Deut. 33:27, ישֵׁב קֶדֶם, Psa. 55:20; βασιλεὺς τῶν αἰώνων, 1 Tim. 1:17; (ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος,) Rev. 1:17 (cf. Isa. 44:6; 48:12). “He, who from primitive times has proven Himself a powerful judge, assumes the form of venerable age, in order to beget the confidence that He possesses the wisdom and power to bring the blasphemer to judgment.”—His garment was white as snow; thus correctly Theodot., Vulg., Hitzig, under comparison with Mark 9:3, but conflicting with the Masoretic accentuation, which requires “as the white snow” The white color of the garment is probably not designed “to increase the impression of awful majesty” (Kranichf.), but to symbolize the purity and innocence of the judge. He appears, “so to speak, robed in the צְדָקָה of the righteous judge;” cf. Isa. 59:17; Job 29:4; 2 Chron. 19:7, and also the passages which mention the light, the symbol of holiness, as the garment of God, e.g., Ezek. 1:26; Psa. 104:2; 1 Tim. 6:16.—And the hair of his head like the pure wool, hence, likewise as white as snow, as in the case of a venerable sage. Cf. the parallelism of snow and wool in passages like Isa. 1:16; Psa. 147:16; Rev. 1:14.—His throne like the fiery flame; flashing like flaming fire, and apparently composed of it. The mention of the fiery appearance of the throne of God, does not of itself convey the conception of flaming vengeance on the part of the strict judge (Deut. 4:24; 9:3; 32:22; Heb. 12:29, etc.); for He frequently appears surrounded by fire in cases where His judicial character is not involved, e.g., Gen. 15:17; Ex. 3:3; Psa. 18:9, etc. In the present instance, however, the judicial significance of the fire that emanates from God is clearly established by the connection, as in Ex. 1916; 20:15; Psa. 50:3 et seq. (against Hitzig and Von Lengerke).—His wheels as burning fire. The throne of the universal judge is therefore mounted on wheels (cf. the cherubic chariot, Ezek. 1:12 et seq.; 10:13 et seq.; Psa. 77:19), whose swift revolutions are encompassed with flashing fire. This description of the Divine throne of judgment as mounted upon wheels leads Kranichfeld to the incongruous opinion that the “casting down of the thrones” was accompanied with noise (!).
Daniel 7:10. A fiery stream issued and came forth from him; i.e., from the Divine Judge, not from His throne; for the קֳדָמוֹהִי of the first sentence can hardly be construed with a different object from that of the second, which clearly relates to God. Nevertheless both the author of the book of Enoch (14:19) and the writer of the Apocalypse (4:9) represent the fiery stream as issuing from the throne, in the descriptions copied by them from this passage. Ewald interprets the “stream of fire” as a “stream of light,” and arbitrarily makes it the symbol of the speech which issues from God, that is, of His command to begin the judgment (in support of which he appeals to Daniel 2:15; 6:27, etc., whose character is entirely different). Hitzig is no less arbitrary when he remarks that the stream must be conceived as flowing evenly over a smooth bottom (hence like liquid glowing lava!), and as constituting the floor for the entire scene of the judicial procedure, since without this “the whole apparition would float in the air without support”—an empty fancy, which the prophet’s language in no wise favors.46—Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The imperfect tense of the verbs indicates that a readiness to serve existed in the thousands as a constant and enduring quality. Concerning “to stand before one” as synonymous with “to serve,” cf. Daniel 1:4.—In relation to the plural ending יכ—in אֲלָפִים, which the Keri rejects as a Hebraism, cf. Daniel 4:14; Ezra 4:3.—The Kethib רִבְוָן (the plural of רִבּוֹ) immediately following is likewise to be retained, in opposition to the Hebraizing Keri רִבְבָן, Hitzig’s suggestion, however, to write רִבּוּ (on the analogy of the corresponding Syr. word) instead of רִבּוֹ is unnecessary.—The “thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand” are of course a host of ministering angels, which, standing in a wide circle, surrounds the council of the judges who are seated beside God (these are angels of a superior order, or perhaps “elders,” cf. Rev. 4:4). Cf. Deut. 33:2; 1 Kings 22:19; Neh. 9:6; Psa. 68:18; 103:20 et seq., and also the mention of the angelic hosts in Gen. 32:3; 2 Kings 6:17, etc. The numbers 1,000 and 10,000 are not to be regarded as definite; they indicate, in a symbolic manner, the impression of an innumerable multitude which was made on the prophet in his dream-vision, while he was naturally in no condition to overlook the whole of this immense host, to say nothing of counting its numbers exactly; cf. Psa. 68:18; 91:7.47—The judgment was set. דִּינָא is properly an abstract word, signifying “judgment;” here used concretely to designate the judicial conclave composed of the superior angels—the angelic princes or archangels (cf. Josh. 5:14; Tob. 12:15, etc.); cf. the analogous use of judicium in the concrete by Cicero, Verr., II. 18. Since chairs indeed were mentioned in the foregoing (Daniel 7:9 a), but nothing was said about the judges taking their seats, we must find it indicated in this place, and it is therefore not necessary to explain, with Dathe and Kranichfeld, that “He seated Himself in judgment” (the Ancient of days), as if this were merely a repetition of יְתב in Daniel 7:9 (similarly also Syrus, who read דַּיָּנָא instead of דִּינָא, and therefore renders it, “the judge seated himself”).—And the books were opened; the books of record, in which the good and bad deeds of men were recorded, that they may serve as a basis of the sentence to be pronounced upon men by God, the heavenly judge. Cf. Rev. 20:12, as well as the frequent mention of the “book of life” in which the names of the heirs of celestial glory, who have been reconciled to God, are inserted,—in Ex. 32:32; Psa. 69:29; Isa. 4:3; Dan. 12:1 (see on that passage); Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 20:15; also the “book of remembrance,” in which God records the sufferings of His faithful servants, which is noticed in Psa. 56:9; Mal. 3:16, etc.
Daniel 7:11. I beheld then, because of the voice of great words which the horn spake—I beheld even till the beast was slain. An anacoluthon, in the second חָזֵה הֲוֵית repeats the first, which was separated from בֵּאדַיִן by the accent, but gives a somewhat different turn to the thought; cf. the similar constructions in Jer. 20:5; Rev. 12:9; 1 Macc. 1:1. עַד דִּי, “till that,” indicates a protracted trial, which ends with the destruction of the beast, i.e., with the judicial execution of the God-opposed world-power. The little horn, representing the last anti-christian king of the fourth monarchy, who brings ruin upon his whole empire by his insolent rebellion against the Most High, is designated as the cause for this destruction.—And his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame; rather, “and given for burning to the flame.” The latter of these expressions illustrates the former; the destroying of the “body” of the beast, i.e., of the entire edifice of anti-christian national power, is effected by burning, which burning (יְקֵדָא= Heb. שְׂרֵפָֹה in Isa. 64:10) is of course to be taken figuratively, as in Isa. 9:4; 66:24; Rev. 19:20; 20:10; and the fiery nature of the Divine Judge of the world, as described in Daniel 7:9, unquestionably stands in a causal relation to the kindling of this devouring fire of judgment; cf. Isa. 10:17; 30:27; Zeph. 1:18, etc.
Daniel 7:12. The rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; rather, “and the power of the rest of the beasts was also taken away.” The subjects of הֶעְדִּיו are the celestial powers, as in Daniel 7:5. Since the dominion of the three earlier beasts was destroyed before the rise of the fourth, so far at least as it was a dominion over the world in the proper sense, and since it does not seem admissible to take הֶעְדִּיו in the sense of the pluperfect, thus explaining the passage as a mere supplementary note (against Ephraem, Polychron., Kamphausen, C. B. Michaelis, etc.), the judgment inflicted on the “rest of the beasts” together with that visited on the fourth must be understood to signify that utter destruction of the heathen world-powers which subjects the remnants of all the four world-kingdoms to the new all-embracing Messianic dominion, and incorporates them in its realm; for as the characteristic expression שְׁאָר חֵיוָתָא, “the rest of the beasts” (instead of חיותא אחרן or כל־חיותא ד־קדמוח, Daniel 7:7 b) indicates, certain fragments or remnants of the three former world-kingdoms are conceived of as continuing to exist beside the fourth, and as being involved in its destruction. The fall of the three earlier world-kingdoms is not regarded as complete by the prophet, inasmuch as larger or smaller portions of them continue to exist beside the last—perhaps temporarily incorporated into it as provinces, but not on that account assimilated to it—until the Messianic judgment involves them in a common destruction. That he refers only to such remnants, and not to new kingdoms essentially distinct from the former world-monarchies (as J. D. Michaelis, Von Lengerke, Hitzig, Ewald, etc., suppose), is evident (1) from the parallel description in chap. 2, where the destruction of the four constituent parts of the colossus results at the last and in the same moment through the agency of the stone which rolls from the mountain (see Daniel 7:34 et seq., and especially Daniel 7:44); (2) from the later parallel, Daniel 8:4, where all the beasts (כָּל־חַיּוֹת) with whom the Persian ram contends, are likewise only the constituent parts into which the latest world-kingdom had dissolved, and which are all overthrown and subjugated by the new dynasty (see on that passage, and compare Kranichfeld’s remarks on this place, p. 265 et seq., which are certainly correct).—Yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time; rather, “for the duration of their life was fixed, to the season and time.” This time (זְמַן, identical with זִמְנָא, Daniel 7:22, according to the correct opinion of Von Lengerke, Kranichfeld, etc.) has come, so far as the seer is concerned, with the judgment of the fourth beast and of the remnants of the other beasts, which has just been described. The duration of their lives (אַרְכָא בְחַיִּין, properly “respite, prolongation of life”) finds its unalterable terminus ad quem in this period of Messianic judgment, beyond which, indeed, the various nations (Daniel 7:14) continue to exist, but not the heathen world powers formerly composed of them. Concerning זְמַן וְעִדָּן Heb.=עֵת וּמּוֹעֵד) see on Daniel 2:21.
Daniel 7:13, 14. The erection of Messiah’s kingdom. I saw in the night visions, and behold; again a solemn and circumstantial introduction, like that preceding the description of the fourth beast in Daniel 7:7. Cf. the minuteness with which the prophet dwelt on the description of the fourth world-power, and of the Messianic judgment which came upon it, in Daniel 2:40 et seq.—(One) like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven; literally, “with the clouds of heaven (one) coming like a Son of man” (אָתֵה הֲוָא). The subject is omitted, and must be rendered indefinitely by “one,” as in Daniel 8:15; 10:16, 18. “With the clouds of heaven,” i.e., together with them (Rev. 1:7), and therefore in them (Mark 13:26) or upon them, ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Rev. 14:14). As the Messiah here comes to God upon the clouds of heaven and stands before Him, so God Himself rides, in poetical and prophetic descriptions elsewhere, upon the clouds as His celestial chariot, cf. Psa. 104:3; Jer. 4:13; also Psa. 18:10–18; 97:2–4; Nah. 1:3 et seq.; Isa.19:1 (cf. Isa. 14:14).—בַּר אֱנָשׁ, “son of a man, son of man,” is a simple circumlocution to express the idea “man,” which is found also in the Syr. and the Targums; and therefore = the Heb. אֱנוֹשׁ or אָדָם, or which the Heb. also occasionally substitutes בֶּן־אָדָם or בֶּן־אֱנוֹשׁ (see Psa. 8:5; 144:3; and infra, Daniel 8:17; 10:16, 18). This combination serves to specially point out an organic connection with or membership in the human race. The personage whom Daniel saw coming with the clouds of heaven had the appearance, therefore, of being one of the human race—a man. The mention of the human appearance of the apparition certainly does not aim at contrasting it with the forms of the beasts before described (as Hofmann supposes, Weissagung und Erfüllung, I. 290); for these have passed from the prophet’s vision in consequence of their destruction, which has already transpired (Daniel 7:11, 12). The comparison with the human form of Him who comes with the clouds, which, although not expressed, is certainly implied, is to be found in the super human—hence the Divine, or at least angelic—form, which the seer would naturally expect to behold in these exalted scenes (see Ewald on this passage). That he should observe a form similar to that of man, shining through the clouds, instead of a terrifying apparition that blinds and confuses his senses, produces on him an impression of wonder, but also of pleasure. Cf. Kranichfeld: “The case here is different from that of Daniel 3:25, where only ordinary men might be looked for in the fiery furnace, so that he who became the associate of the three Jews was at first regarded merely as partaking of human nature, and a comparison with merely human traits was necessary to lead the judgment to express the stronger utterance כְּבַר אֱלָהִין, without thereby denying the human appearance of the form. And as the judgment in 3:25 rests in the conclusion that the personage in question belongs to the race of gods, although present in human form, so it here concludes that the object of notice is one belonging to the human race, but wearing the form of God.” The prophet, however, holds fast to the distinction between a wholly human appearance and the vision he has seen, and indicates this by the particle of comparison כְּ, which points out that he intends to represent a really supernatural, but still human like personage. (The correspondence with the כְּ in Daniel 7:4 and 6, does not militate against this conception of the כְּ here—despite the assertion to the contrary b4y Richno, in the Stud. u. Kritt., 1869, II., p. 255.) There cannot be the slightest doubt, in view of the entire description, particularly in Daniel 7:14, and also in view of the exactly corresponding signification of the destroying stone, in the parallel vision of the 2d chapter (see 2:44 et seq.), that this superhuman form of a man represents the Messiah, the Divine-human founder of that fifth world-kingdom, which is at the same time a heavenly kingdom of eternal duration. The effort of Hitzig to refer the כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ to the people of Israel as the “personified community of saints, which rules over the heathen,” is merely the product of a persistent and fundamental aversion to the idea of a personal Messiah, which results naturally from the extreme rationalistic position of that exegete. The interpretation which asserts a personal Messiah is advocated by nearly all expositors (with the exception of Ibn-Ezra, Jahn, Paulus, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Hofmann, who agree with Hitzig, but, in part, for very different reasons, and giving a more positive turn to the subject), and is removed beyond the region of doubt, (1) by Daniel 7:18 and 21 of this chapter, in which an unbiassed exegesis is compelled to find the people of Israel clearly distinguished from the Son of man (see on Daniel 7:18); (2) by the undeniable reference of υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the pre-eminently favorite Messianic designation of Himself employed by the Saviour, to this passage (Matt. 8:20, etc.; John 12:34); (3) by important testimonies of the Jewish-Hellenistic literature, such as Enoch (46:1–3; 48:2 et seq., 62:7, 9, 14; 63:11; 69:27.—Cf. Hilgenfeld, Jüdische Apokalyptik p. 155 et seq.), Orac. Sibyll. (III., 286 et seq., 653 et seq., ed. Friedlieb; cf. Zündel, Kritische Untersuchungen, p. 163 et seq.);48(4) by most of the rabbins (e.g., R. Joshua in Ibn-Ezra, Saadia, Rashi, Ibn-Jahja, etc.), who frequently designate the Messiah simply as עֲנָנִי, “the beclouded one.” Cf. the Eth. -fund. principles, etc., No. 4.—And came to the Ancient of days; i.e., he was admitted to the immediate presence of God (cf. Ezek. 42:13), conducted before Him until he was placed as near as were the elders who sat on the right and left, and even still nearer.—And they brought him near before him. The subject of הַקְרְבוּהִי is probably not “the clouds,” but rather thy ministering angels, Daniel 7:10. Thus Hitzig, Ewald, etc., correctly hold, in opposition to Kranichfeld, who construes the clouds as the subject, and to several others, as Kamphausen, etc., who prefer to leave the subject wholly undesignated, as with הֶעְדִּיו, Daniel 7:12.—That the Messiah was required to be brought before God and be presented to Him at this juncture, indicates that the prophet regards him as having previously existed while the beasts exercised their dominion—and therefore that he ascribes personal pre-existence to him. Daniel probably conceived of him as pre-existing among the thousands and tens of thousands of the saints of God, and as subduing and crushing the God-opposed world-powers at their head (Daniel 7:11, 12); for only thus can be explained the investing of the Messiah with eternal dominion over the kingdom of God, which is evidently a reward for his valiant battling in the service of the Most High, as described in the next verse; cf. also the parallel description in Daniel 2:44 et seq.
Daniel 7:14. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom. Instead of יְהִב Syrus and the Vulgate read יְהַב—“and He (the Ancient of days) gave him,” etc.; likewise Luther in this place and the parallel Daniel 7:22, where also the Sept. and Theodot. interpret יְהַב. In the latter instance the active sense would certainly seem preferable, since the “Ancient of days” immediately precedes a different verb in the 3d sing. active as its subject; here, however, this subject is too distant, and the analogy of Daniel 7:4 and 6 recommends the passive form יְהִיב.—The triad “dominion, glory, and kingdom” recalls Daniel 3:33; 4:31; 6:22, where at least “dominion” (שָׁלְמָו) and “kingdom” (מַלְבוּ) are given. Upon it is based the ancient, doxology at the close of the Lord’s prayer: σοῦ γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.—And all people.… should serve (“served”) him. Concerning the triad “peoples, tribes, and tongues” see on Daniel 3:4. Von Lengerke and Ewald regard יִפְלְח׳וּן as future, “shall serve him,” but thereby assume a rather harsh change of tense in the midst of the remarks which describe the objects seen in the vision. Hitzig, Kranichfeld, etc., are correct in considering the verb as logically dependent on the preceding principal verb יְהִיב, thus expressing design “in order that,” or, “so that all people, etc., should serve him.” פלח in itself is certainly not to be limited to signify religious service (Divine adoration, cultus), for in the extra-Biblical Chaldee, e.g., in the Targums, it signifies also a purely secular service, and in Daniel 7:27 of this chapter it is synonymous with אשתמע, “to obey;” but in point of fact it serves, both here and in that passage, to designate service rendered to a Divine person, which is also its bearing in Daniel 3:12 et seq.—His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not be destroyed. Cf. Daniel 3:33; 4:3; 6:27; also Mic. 4:7; Luke 1:33; Rev. 11:15; 19:16, etc.
Daniel 7:15–18. The interpretation of the vision in general, without special reference to the fourth beast. The impression of alarm produced on Daniel by what he saw, led him to seek a further explanation of its meaning. He therefore mingles with the host that surrounds the Ancient of days, after having hitherto remained apart as a mere observer. A second act in the drama of the dream-vision, in which the prophet himself takes part, though merely as an inquirer, begins therefore at this point. Von Lengerke arbitrarily remarks: “The vision is now over (with Daniel 7:14); but the seer remains on the heavenly scene, and requests an angel to interpret the dream.” That this is incorrect, appears from Daniel 7:16, where the ministering hosts of angels mentioned in Daniel 7:10 still appear, while on that assumption they must have disappeared with all the other features of the vision; and the character of what follows, to the end of the chapter, does not indicate that it is a mere interpretation as distinguished from the preceding dream.—I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body; properly, “within in the sheath” (בְּגוֹ נִּדְנֶח) i.e., in the body, which contains the spirit, as the sword is contained in its scabbard; cf. Job 27:8; Pliny, H. N., VII., 53. Ewald well remarks that “as the sword remains at rest as long as it is in its sheath, so the spirit of man is generally quiet while it feels itself enclosed by the coarse veil of the body; but there are still moments in which the spirit becomes restless while in its coarse tenement, and when it would break forth impatiently and venture all,” etc. In relation to כְּיָא (properly “to abbreviate, contract, torquere”) as designating an unusually bitter grief, cf. the corresponding Syr. and Arab. verbs. The feature that plunges the prophet into so severe and bitter sorrow is not so much the circumstance that he is unacquainted with the special meaning of the vision, as that a majority of its features, and particularly the four beasts and the dreadful fate imposed on them, were so prophetic of evil and misfortune. The end, indeed, toward which everything was tending, according to Daniel 7:13 and 14, was glorious, but the way by which to reach it was painful, and opened a prospect of severe conflicts for the people of God; and the prophet must have suspected this, even before it was explained to him in detail.—אֲנָא, in the combination רוּחִי אֲנָא, is not the nominat. absol., as Bertholdt supposed, but is in apposition to the suffix in רוּהִי; cf. 8:1, 15; Ezra 7:21; also Winer, § 40, 4, and concerning the corresponding construction in the Hebrew, see Gesenius, Lehrgeb., p. 728. The solemn emphasis which the prophet’s language gains by this appositional supplement, corresponds to the importance of his vision; cf. Daniel 10:1, 7; 12:5.
Daniel 7:16. I came near unto one of them that stood by, i.e., one of those engaged in His service, who stood about God.—And asked him the truth (or “the true explanation”) of all this; יַצִּיבָא properly “the firm, or certain;” here used of the trustworthy interpretation, conforming to the designs of God, for which Daniel asks. Kranichfeld interpolates: “He desires that nothing should be concealed because of a desire to spare the inquirer in his excited state.” This additional idea of laying aside reserve, of disregarding considerations of pity, is not contained in the simple יַצִּיבָא.—And he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things (or “words”), viz.: in the remarks which follow (Daniel 7:17, 18). The clause “and made me to know is therefore epexegetical to “and he told me;” the וּ before פְּשַׁר is explicative, as in Daniel 7:1 a. Von Lengerke and Kranichfeld unnecessarily take יְּהוֹדְעִנַּנִי in the telic sense, “He told me that he would make me to know,” etc. The reason for such a promise to reveal the interpretation is not discoverable, since the interpretation itself immediately follows.
Daniel 7:17. These (exceedingly) great beasts, which are four—four kings—shall arise, etc. With reference to the clause in the nom. absol., “these exceedingly great beasts, which are four” (or, “With reference to these.… beasts, concerning them,” etc.), cf. Daniel 7:23, 24, and also Isa. 49:49.—The four kings מַלְכִין, whom the beasts are here said to denote, are unquestionably not regarded as four individuals, but as the representatives of four kingdoms, as appears from Daniel 7:23, 24 (where the fourth beast is represented as a מַלְכוּ governed by a numerous succession of individual kings). Cf. the identifying of מַלְכוּ and מֶלֶךְ which appears already in Daniel 2:37 (as well as supra, Daniel 7:4) in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, and again in Daniel 8:21 et seq.; 11:2.—The “arising of the kings will be מִן אַרְעָא, i.e., not “out of the earth,” but “from the surface of the earth,” hence, in effect, “on earth” (Luther).—In the later Heb. parallels, 8:22, 23; 11:2, 3 et seq., קוּם is rendered by עָמַד. The future יְקוּמוּן denotes the Divine decree, which limits the duration of the dominion of kings, as well as appoints their rise. Instead of “They shall arise,” יְקוּמוּן may therefore be rendered modally, “They shall be compelled to arise.” If the purely future sense be retained, it will be necessary to assume, with Von Lengerke, Kamphausen, etc., that the prophet carelessly, or by virtue of a denominatio a potiori, included the actually existing, and even partially superseded Babylonian world-kingdom among the future ones of his vision. This view is, however, more eligible than the strange assumption of Hitzig that the author does not in this connection regard the Chaldæan empire as the first of the coming monarchies, but assigns that position to the reign of Belshazzar merely, which opened shortly after the time of this vision; as if Daniel 7:1 did not expressly specify “the first year of Belshazzar” as the time of recording the vision, and as if it were at all certain that the author really regarded Belshazzar as the last Chaldæan king! Moreover, how can it be reconciled, that while formerly (Daniel 2:37) Nebuchadnezzar was selected as the representative of the Chaldæan monarchy, and this was to a certain extent repeated at the commencement of the present vision (see Daniel 7:4), the unimportant, listless, idle Belshazzar should here suddenly be installed in his place?
Daniel 7:18. But the saints of the Most High shall take(“receive”) the kingdom. The plural עֶלְיוֹנִין, which occurs here and in Daniel 7:22, 25, and 27, serves, like עִלַּי in the Targums, as a pluralis excellentiæ, to denote the God of Israel, who in Gen. 14:18 is called אֵל עֶליוֹן. As similar plurals of excellence, cf. not merely אֱלֹהִים, but also קְדוֹשִׁים, Josh. 24:19; Hos. 12:1; Prov. 9:10; 30:3.—The “saints of the Most High,” or the “saints” simply (קדִּישִׁין) as they are called in Daniel 7:21 and 22, are not the angels, mentioned in Daniel 7:10 and 16, who surround the throne of God, but the people of God on the earth, the “real members in the communion of the perfectly true religion” (Ewald), the members of the house of Israel in its ideal spiritual signification (Gal. 6:16), the Israel of the Messianic time of fulfilment; cf. Isa. 4:3; 6:13; 62:12; Rom. 9:6, etc.—The same expression is also found in Daniel 7:22 and 25; cf. עַם־קְדוֹשִׁים, Daniel 8:24, and עַס־קֹדֶשׁ, Daniel 12:7 (also Ex. 19:6; Deut. 7:6; 14:21; Psa. 16:3; 34:10).—When it is said that these saints of the Most High “shall receive the kingdom,” the reference is evidently to the transmission of the Messianic kingdom into the hands of the Son of man from the Ancient of days, as described in Daniel 7:14. The saints, however, are by no means to be regarded as identical with the Son of man, so as to make him a mere personification of the people of Israel. This view, which, besides being advocated by Hitzig and Hofmann (see supra, on Daniel 7:13), is adopted by Herzfeld in his Geschichte Israels, II., 381, is opposed by Daniel 7:21, where the saints are represented as a host of battling persons, and are clearly distinguished from the Messiah, who is exalted far above them, and at the time of their conflict with the anti-christ tarries in heaven with the Ancient of days—hence the relation between the Messiah and the Messianic people is represented to be such that he aids them in heaven and from heaven (strengthening, comforting, and supporting them in their conflicts and sufferings), and for that reason, as their representative, receives for them the dominion over the eternal kingdom from the hand of God, as was already indicated in the vision, Daniel 7:14. Cf. Auberlen p. 51; also Von Lengerke, Kranichfeld, and Ewald on this passage. The latter correctly observes, p. 406: “If the language in this place and in Daniel 7:22 and 27 refers at once to the genuine members of Messiah’s kingdom instead of Himself, this is merely for the purpose of more fully explaining the great picture which has been given once for all. A kingdom and its sovereign cannot exist without subjects, and in fact, they only exist through the latter.… When such a people has really been found, it receives the power and perpetuity, the indestructible and eternal character, as well as the dignity and the pre-eminence which lie in the nature of that empire and its Messiah (cf. 2:44). The language of this interpretation refers therefore to this people, and the subject of the vision in Daniel 7:13 et seq. derives therefrom a self-evident but not unimportant completion. This by no means implies, however, that the Messiah, who was already sufficiently characterized in that passage, is identical with the people who are now, at the final stage, included, any more than that the description of the Messiah in that place, whose majestic character is not easily repeated, has any analogy with the words here employed. The king and his people are associated only in the final results and end, in the eternity and glory of the kingdom itself, as is strikingly remarked in this passage and in Daniel 7:27; and yet even here the distinction is clearly observed that the three things, ‘authority, glory, and dominion,’ i.e., majesty in its full activity and glorious recognition, are in Daniel 7:14 awarded only to the Messiah, and not to his people.” Cf. also the same author’s Jahrbücher der biblischen Wissenschaft, vol. III., p. 231 et seq.—And possess the kingdom for ever, etc. אחסן, “to possess,” here denotes the continued possession, while in Daniel 7:22 it is inceptive, and signifies the assumption of the possession, or the entrance upon it. The superlative expression עַד עָלַם עָלְמַיָּא, “unto the eternity of eternities, unto all eternities,” is exactly like the Hebrew עַד־עוֹלְמֵי עַד, Isa. 14:17; cf. 1 Tim. 1:17; Eph. 3:21, etc.
Daniel 7:19–22. Daniel desires a certain explanation of the FOURTH BEAST. He therefore briefly recapitulates the former description of its appearance and fate in Daniel 7:7–14. In this recapitulation, which recalls to mind the similar ones in Daniel 2:45 (cf. Daniel 7:34), and especially in Daniel 4:17 et seq. (cf. Daniel 7:7 et seq.), we have the new features that claws of brass are noticed in addition to its iron teeth (Daniel 7:19), and that the people of God are mentioned as warring against the beast (aided by the Messiah, and under his protection) and overcoming it.—Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast. צְבִית עַל לְיַצִּבָא, I desired to be certain about this, ἐζῆτουν ἀκριβῶς περί (Theodot.). The reading לְיַצַּבָא, instead of לְיַצִּבָא, which is found in three MSS. at Erfurth, probably owes its origin to the defective form, which in this place, unlike Daniel 7:16, seemed to indicate an Inf. Pael (which, however, is found in no other place). The rendering in the Vulgate: “Post hoc volui diligenter discere,” may also have contributed to originate that reading.—Whose teeth were of iron and its nails of brass. The brazen claws are associated with the iron teeth, by virtue of the association of ideas, which frequently connects iron and brass in thought; see e.g., Deut. 33:25; Jer. 15:12; Isa. 45:2; Psa. 107:16, etc.
Daniel 7:20. And the other which came up, and before whom three fell. Literally, “and they fell before him the three.” The relative construction is dropped at this point, as well as the connection of the speech from וְעַל, at the beginning of the 20th verse, so that the discourse again assumes the character of description, especially from the beginning of the 21st verse.—And (of) that horn that had eyes; properly, “and that horn, and it had eyes,” etc. The וְ before עַיְנִין is epexegetical or correlative, as in Isa. 44:12; Psa. 76:7.—The form מְמַלִּל with—occurs also in Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 6:22.—Whose look was more stout than his fellows. מִן חַבְרָתָהּ, a shortened expression for מִן חֵזוּ ה׳; cf. Daniel 1:10; 4:13, 30.
Daniel 7:21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, etc. This war against the saints merely indicates a special feature connected with the “devouring, breaking in pieces, and stamping under foot” (Daniel 7:19), of which the beast was guilty, but precisely that feature which would especially arouse the attention and fears of the prophet. So far as the mode of expression is concerned, the writer here passes from figurative to literal language; cf. Rev. 11:7; 13:7; 19:19.
Daniel 7:22. Until.… judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; i.e., “until justice was done to them.” דִּרנָא here signifies justice to be secured by law, equivalent to the Heb. מִשְׁפָּט e.g., Deut. 10:18; cf. Psa. 140:13. It cannot here be taken in the sense of judging or performing judicial functions; for according to Daniel 7:9, 10, it is God, with whom are associated the elders of heaven, who sits in judgment and administers justice (cf. Psa. 9:5). There is no design here to assign a participation in this judicial administration of the Almighty to the saints (thus differing from Matt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:2).—Instead of “the saints of the Most High,” the original has “saints of the Most High,” without the article, which is also the case in the latter half of the verse, and in Daniel 7:21. Concerning the omission of the article in solemn and poetic speech, cf. Ewald, Lehrb., § 277 b, where Mic. 7:11 et seq.; Isa. 14:32; Hab. 3:16; Psa. 56:11, etc., are adduced as illustrations of the Hebrew usage.
Daniel 7:23–27. The explanation of the angel respecting the fourth beast and its judgment. The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom; rather, “the fourth beast, a fourth kingdom shall be,” etc. The same construction as in Daniel 7:17 a, and as in Daniel 7:24.—And shall devour the whole earth. The emphasis does not fall on “the whole earth,” but on “shall devour” (.תֵּאכֻל), which is not only placed first, but is also repeated by two synonymous terms following the object. כָּל אַרְעָא does not, therefore, as Hitzig supposes, signify “all the countries of the earth,” for this would result in an unnecessary exaggeration of the hyperbole which, without question, really exists. Nor does the related אכל signify “to swallow up,” which would be equivalent to “appropriating, or incorporating with itself” (as Hitzig asserts, appealing for proof to Deut. 7:16; Isa. 9:11; Jer. 10:25—which passages are, however, by no means convincing), but only “to devour,” which, like the synonyms “to break” and “to stamp” דּוּשׁ and חַדֵּק, indicates merely a devastating and destructive energy, without including the idea of conquering. The fourth world-kingdom, therefore, may be held to signify the empire of the Seleucidæ, in the light of this passage also; and there is no necessity to refer it to the Macedonian empire of Alexander, nor yet to that of the Romans.
Daniel 7:24. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; rather, “And the ten horns; out of this kingdom shall arise ten kings.” מִנֵּהּ מַלְכוּתָה, literally, “out of this, the kingdom,” i.e., out of this same kingdom; cf. on Daniel 3:6. Concerning the form מַלְכוּתָה, for מַלְכוּתָא, see on Daniel 2:7. Hitzig prefers, needlessly, to substitute the ending—הָּ, and refers the resulting “out of it, his kingdom” to the fourth beast, or even to the “other one” (antichrist) who is afterward mentioned, as its subject—which clearly is forced and arbitrary. Hengstenberg (p. 211 et seq.) attempts, contrary to the sense of the prophet, to make the “ten horns” represent ten kingdoms, i.e., ten Christian German states which are developed out of the Roman world-empire. Bleek (Jahrb. für deutsche Theol., 1860, I. p. 68) also inclines to this transformation of the “kings” into kingdoms, since he attempts to apply the fourth beast as a whole to the Macedonian-Hellenistic world-monarchy, the ten horns to the several kingdoms of the Diadochi which sprang from the former, and the eleventh horn directly to the dominion of the Seleucidæ and at the same time to its characteristic leading representative, Antiochus Epiphanes. Since the ten horns correspond to the partly iron and partly clay toes of the colossus in Daniel 2:41 et seq.,49 the assumption that “kings” are here really put for “kingdoms” might seem admissible; but in parallelizing the toes of the image with the horns of the beast, the prophet would hardly think of individual rulers, any more than of distinct states or kingdoms (see on 2:42). A horn, as Hitzig justly observes, would not be especially appropriate as the symbol of a kingdom; and the attempts of Luther, Melancthon, Geier, Ph. Nicolai (De regno Christi, l. I., c. 5 ss.), etc., to make the ten horns denote ten designated states which were formed out of the Roman world-monarchy—e.g., Syria, Asia, Egypt, Africa, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and England, or (as Nicolai, l. c, suggests) Syria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, France, Spain, and England—can only produce absurd and arbitrary results. In Daniel 7:8 the horn is clearly represented as a person; and accordingly the numerous horns in this place are probably intended to denote individual royal personages. Cf. also Daniel 8:21, where the horn is said, in the plainest terms, to represent a personal king.50 For the rest, see Ethico-fund. principles, etc., Nos. 2 and 3.—He shall be diverse from the first. “As then fourth kingdom differs (Daniel 7:7, 19) from the other three, so he differs, and to his disadvantage, from his predecessors; this is true generally, but especially so in his conduct towards God and his saints, Daniel 7:25” (Hitzig).—And he shall subdue three kings. יְהַשְׁפִּיל, the opposite of אֲקִים, as in Daniel 2:21. It does not denote a merely moral humiliation, but a complete degradation, and even a hurling down, a seizing of their dominion (cf. Ezek. 21:32; Isa. 10:33). This is also shown by Daniel 7:8, which speaks very plainly about a “plucking up by the roots” of three of the former horns by the “little horn,” and thereby probably refers to a supplanting of three rulers of the Seleucidæ by the violence of a new sovereign (see on that passage),51
Daniel 7:25. And he shall speak—words against the Most High; יְמַלִּל—מִלִּן, like the Heb. דִבֶּר דְּבָרִים, Hos. 10:4; Isa. 8:10; 58:13. It appears from Daniel 7:8 and 20, and also from the later parallel, Daniel 8:25 b, that blasphemous words are meant. This prophecy was certainly fulfilled in a marked degree by the blasphemous words of Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc. 1:24, etc.), but by no means for the last time; cf. the N.-T. prophecies relating to antichrist, 2 Thess.2:4; Rev. 13:5 et seq. לְצַד עִלָּיָא, properly, “in the direction of the Most High,” i.e., against the Most High (who is personally near), “against the person of the Most High” (Kranichfeld).— And shall wear out (“disturb”) the saints of the Most High. Hitzig’s remark is too farfetched: “יְבַלֵּא is assonant with the preceding parallel יְמַלִל, and is not equivalent to ‘disturb, wear out’ (cf. בַּלּוֹת in 1 Chron. 18:9, and the Targ., Isa. 3:15), but signifies ‘ to try, oppress, make wretched’ ” (?).—And think to change times and laws. זִמְנִין does not signify “statuta sacra” (Hävernick), but=Heb. מוֹעֲדִים, “festival seasons” (Lev. 23:4; Isa. 33:20), i.e., determined, legally appointed times for religious celebrations in general, for the great annual feasts as well as for the weekly and monthly (Sabbaths and new moons); cf. Num. 28:2. The following וִדָת, “and law, traditional usage,” indicates that the impious king shall not merely endeavor to change the appointed times of these rites, but that he shall seek to abrogate the ceremonial observances of religion themselves; hence, what was formerly said in a good sense (Daniel 2:21) of God, the absolutely perfect and omnipotent “changer of times and seasons,” is here predicated in a bad sense of His dasmoniacal adversary, the impious Ἀντίθεος. Cf. the attempts of Antiochus Epiphanes, recorded in 1 Macc. 1:45 et seq.; 2 Macc. 6:2–7, to destroy the theocratic system by abrogating the daily sacrifices, the observance of Sabbaths and feasts, and by introducing the sacrifice of unclean beasts, and the worship of Jupiter and Bacchus—attempts in which the prophecy before us found its more immediate historical fulfilment, while its ultimate realization must be looked for in the last times, according to 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:8, 12 et seq.—And they shall be given into his hand until a time and (two) times and the dividing of (or, “a half”) time. The expression sounds, upon the whole, like Mic. 5:26; but the duration of the period of suffering imposed by the permission and pædagogic wisdom of God is somewhat more definitely fixed in this instance, without, however, omitting the mystical feature in this limitation which requires to be interpreted. The aggregate duration of this time of affliction is divided into three distinct periods, which, however, are sufficiently indefinite in themselves, and therefore in no wise indicate the real measure of time in the prophet’s mind; for while it is entirely probable that עִדָּן has the same signification here as in Daniel 4:13, namely, “a year” (see on that passage), yet the duration of “a year” in a vision of the future, which constantly presents symbolic conceptions, is upon the whole extremely doubtful. It must remain an open question whether ordinary calendar years are intended, or, what is scarcely less probable in itself, whether mystical periods are referred to, which are measured by a standard not known to men, but only to God.52 It may be shown with, more confidence how the three particular designations of time, עִדָּן ,עִדָּנִיןּ and פְּלַג עִדָּן, are related to each other, and also why precisely these terms are employed in the prophecy, which are repeated in the Heb. of the parallel, Daniel 12:7, in the words מוֹעֵד, מוֹעֲדִים and וָחֵצִי. In harmony with a not infrequent Chaldee usage, the plural עִדָּנִין is put for the dual (cf. Targ., Am. 4:6; Ex. 11:5; Num. 19:36; supra, Daniel 7:8 et seq., and, upon the whole question, Winer, § 55, 3), and therefore, like the corresponding Heb. מוֹעֲדִים, represents a double period, a pair of times, and, in case עִדָּן signifies a year, a period of two years. The converse holds with פְּלַג, which, though in itself denoting any fraction whatever, is shown positively by the parallel חֵצִי 12:7 to signify “a half.” Hence a double year is at first added to the year which stands at the beginning, and afterward another half year. The period of 3½ years which thus results is symbolically significant, inasmuch as it forms the half of seven years, and therefore stands related to the prophetically significant “seven times” in Daniel 4:13, as the half to the whole. If, therefore, the sevenfold number of the years passed in lycanthropy by Nebuchadnezzar (which was not to be taken literally, but ideally and prophetically) denoted, in a general way, an extended duration of the sufferings imposed on him by God, it follows that the present figures indicate a period of affliction that is shorter by one-half. “A time, and times, and a half time” represents a time of suffering that is abbreviated by one-half, or that is interrupted at the middle, similar to that referred to in the prophetic words of Christ: εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώνησν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι, οὐκ ἀν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ, Matt. 24:22; Mark 13:20. The same idea of a shortened or halved time of affliction is expressed by the “half-week” (i.e., half week of years) in Daniel 9:27, which, like the 1, 290 days in chap. 12–11 (or the 1, 260 days or 42 months of the Apocalypse, 11:2 et seq.; 13:5), is merely a tolerably exact designation of the 3½ years, in different language. It will be shown hereafter that this prophecy of the affliction of Israel during 3½ years prior to its deliverance likewise had a typical fulfilment in the history of Antiochus Epiphanes, while its final realization is reserved for the eschatological future.53 For the present it will be necessary to remember merely, as the result of an unprejudiced exegesis having a suitable regard for the prophetic usage of language in this book, that a strictly literal conception of the period of 3½ years will hardly conform to the sense of the prophecy, and that there is therefore no need to seek for a period of suffering in the history of the Jews, while subject to that Syrian despot, which shall cover precisely that length of time, for the purpose of demonstrating that first fulfilment of the prophecy.54—But the judgment shall sit; cf. Daniel 7:10 b, and also Daniel 7:22.—And they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy (it) unto the end. שָׁלְטָנֵחּ is to be repeated, as the accusative of the object to the two infinitives. עַד־סדֹפִא, “unto the realized end,” i.e., to the end of the last God-opposed world-power, which marks the end of the heathen world-power as a whole. סדֹפָא therefore designates (unlike Daniel 6:27, where the never-accomplished end of God’s kingdom is referred to) the goal at the end of the development of earthly dominion, which coincides with the erection of the kingdom of God (Daniel 7:13 et seq.).
Daniel 7:27. And the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom (“kingdoms”); a triad similar to that in Daniel 7:14, differing only in the substitution of דֵבדּתא, “the greatness” (Luther, “the power”), for יְקַר “glory.” דִּי מַלְכְוִת depends equally on all the three nouns as a subjective genitive, and therefore denotes that the dominion, power, and greatness possessed by all the heathen kingdoms is intended. On the meaning of the expression “of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,” see supra, on Daniel 7:12.
Daniel 7:28. The impression made on Daniel by what he has seen and heard. Hitherto is the end of the matter (or “remarks”), namely of the interpreter, the conclusion of which coincides with the end of the dream. De Wette, Hitzig, etc., render it inappropriately, and contrary to the sense of מִלְּתָא, “Thus far the history”—an interpretation which finds no support in Daniel 12:6.—As for me, Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, namely, after awaking from his dream-vision; cf. 2:1; 4:2.—And (the color of) my countenance changed in me. Cf. Daniel 5:9, where the same expression is found, and Daniel 10:8, which is parallel in substance.—But I kept the matter in my heart, viz.: the remarks of the interpreting angel, Daniel 7:17 et seq., and consequently, the subject and signification of the dream-vision. Cf. Luke 2:19.
ETHICO-FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES RELATED TO THE HISTORY OF SALVATION, APOLO-GETICAL REMARKS, AND HOMILETICAL
1. After what has been remarked, it is apparent that the principal force and the greatest interest of the prophetic descriptions of this chapter centre in the fourth world-kingdom and in its development as an anti-christian power, which immediately prepares the way for the judicial advent of Christ. In the parallel description in the second chapter,—where the series of world-kingdoms was represented by four metallic substances, respectively inferior to each other in value, in the order of their succession, and although together forming a great colossus, yet indicating its perishable nature by the weakness of the feet on which it rested—the observation of both the dreaming king and the interpreting prophet was fixed equally on all the four world-monarchies. Their intimate relations to each other, their separation, and their subjection to the same ultimate fate through the agency of the rock of Messiah’s kingdom, formed the principal features of that prophecy, which, however, likewise dwelt more extensively upon the fourth kingdom than upon its predecessors (Daniel 7:40 et seq.); but the principal reason for the prominence thus given to the last kingdom in the series, existed substantially in the fact that the aim was to point out that its heterogeneous elements and its divisions laid the foundation for its own ruin, and, as a matter of course, for the fall and ruin of the former empires. The case is different with the present vision and its interpretation. Each of the four beasts which in this instance represent the world-kingdoms is indeed drawn with nervous and strongly characterizing strokes, that admit of no doubt respecting their identity with the four constituents of the image (Daniel 7:4 et seq); but the attention of the narrator is principally directed to the fourth beast, and to the horn which denotes the height of the development of the world-power (Daniel 7:7 et seq.; 11 et seq.), even during the dream-vision itself. The interpretation of the vision disposes of the first three beasts and their reference to the three earliest world-kingdoms very summarily (Daniel 7:17), but emphasizes the fourth beast and its “little horn which speaks blasphemous things,” as symbols of the final phase of development on the part of the world-power, and of the reign of antichrist produced by it; for not only are the characteristic peculiarities of this beast noticed twice over, the second time in a recapitulation denoting the reflections of the prophet concerning its nature and appearance (Daniel 7:18–22), but they receive a somewhat detailed explanation (Daniel 7:23–26), which does not indeed display the clearness of the disclosures in chapters 8, 11, and 12 relating to the same events in the period immediately prior to the Messianic future, but which is nevertheless far superior to all the former prophetic sections of the book, and especially to that contained in chap. 2, in the precision and clearness of its expositions.
2. In order to a correct apprehension of the Messianic bearing of this prophecy, it is requisite before all else, that the identity of the monarchial relations and situations indicated in this chapter with those described in chapters 8, 11, and 12, should be carefully observed; or, in other words, that the common reference of the prophecies in all these chapters to Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabæan period, as marking their more immediate fulfilment, should be recognized. The following considerations will demonstrate that this reference is common to the prophecies mentioned (and also to that contained in Daniel 9:24–27), and that, consequently, the second part of the book of Daniel refers, as a whole, to that time as the epoch of its first and more immediate fulfilment:
a. The world-power in question is described as divided and subject to dissensions in itself, in all the parallel representations, especially in chap. 2 and 7 on the one hand and chap. 11 on the other. This agreement extends even to the point, that in both instances, Daniel 2:43 as well as Daniel 11:6, 17, the vain attempts to secure peace by means of intermarriages are noticed (see on 2:43 and cf. infra, on chap. 11, l. c).
b. The number ten is applied to the kings of the fourth monarchy, and receives prominent mention in at least two of the parallel descriptions (chap. 7 and 11), although merely as a symbolic number, which finds its counterpart, in a general way, in the first ten possessors of the throne of the Seleucidæ. (It must be remembered, however, that [according to the author’s view] neither the ten toes of the image of the monarchies, Daniel 2:42 et seq., nor the four horns of the Grecian goat, Daniel 8:7 et seq., refer to these ten predecessors of Antiochus Epiphanes, or to any individual kings whatever.)
c. The blasphemous and sacrilegious course of the eleventh king—symbolized by the “little horn”—towards the Most High, His law, and His saints, is described in chap. 7 (Daniel 7:8, 11, 20–25), and more fully in Daniel 8:10, 24 et seq.; 9:24 et seq. [?]; 11:31, 36, in a manner that recalls the statements of the Maccabæan books relating to the abominable attempts of Epiphanes to profane the Jewish worship and oppress its adherents, with the liveliest and strongest emphasis.
d. Chapters 7:25; 9:27; 12:7 et seq., agree in limiting the duration of the tribulation caused by the antichristian tyrant to 3½ years. (In relation to the merely apparent discrepancy in the duration of the suffering, as stated in Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 12:12, see on those passages.)
e. The several descriptions agree in superseding and destroying the antichristian supremacy by the erection of a Messianic kingdom. This is not only asserted in the chapter before us and in Daniel 2:44 et seq., but also in chap. 8, where the breaking of the foe without hands (Daniel 7:25) is evidently synonymous with the loosening of the destroying stone “without hand” in Daniel 2:34, 45, and where the “justifying” (Daniel 7:14) of the desolated sanctuary denotes nothing else than the introduction of the Messianic period of salvation. Further illustrations of this head appear in Daniel 9:24 and in 12:1 et seq., 7 et seq., where the Messiah likewise is described as the direct opponent and victorious successor of antichrist and his abominations. Hengstenberg (p. 213 et seq.), Hävernick, Ebrard (Offenb. Joh., p. 84 et seq.), Zündel (p. 119), and Auberlen (p. 197 et seq.) attempt in vain to deny the identity of the antichrist noticed in chapters 2 and 7 with the enemy of the people of God described in chapters 8 and 9, asserting that the former is to be looked for in N.-T. times immediately prior to Messiah’s second advent, while the latter appeared and was destroyed during the Old Dispensation and before the first advent of Christ, and that the prophecies in chapters 2 and 7 relate to the eschatological antichrist, while those in 8 and 11 denote a typical personage!-as if the descriptions in Daniel 7:25 did not already indicate an opponent of the O.-T. church and ceremonial! as if the “changing of (festal) times and laws, there referred to, could designate anything but the violent offences against the temple and the sacrifices of the Old Covenant, as described in chapters 8, 9, and 11 (see supra on Daniel 7:25, and also under c)! and as if an Israelitish prophet could possibly suspect that the worship of Messianic times would differ from that of the former dispensation; and as if he had not, in Daniel 9:24, even expressly opened the prospect of a restoration of the O.-T. sacrifices and sanctuary services when Messiah should appear (see on that passage)! An unprejudiced exegesis, governed by scientific principles, can discover but a single antichrist in all the parallel prophecies, and that one is clearly described as the immediate predecessor of the Messiah, who supersedes and destroys him.55 The prophet, however, was evidently ignorant of the merely typical importance of this antichrist, as being only a forerunner of the antichrist of the last times (to whom refer the N.-T. descriptions of the future, which are based upon this book indeed, and which frequently recall its features—in 2 Thess. 2; Rev. 11:7; 13:1 et seq.; 17; 19:19 et seq.); for instead of representing the former as merely an imperfect analogue of the incomparably more atrocious impiety, the far more concentrated and diabolical wickedness of the latter, as he must have done if he were actually conscious that the distinction between type and anti-type existed in this case, he everywhere presents the idea of a flagrant rebellion against the Most High, and of the desecration of the sanctuary, and the attempted extirpation of the true religion, in expressions of equal force. And instead of dwelling chiefly on the anti-type as the more important character, and as being more significant in his relations to Messiah’s work, as might have been expected, he pursues a contrary course, and furnishes a far more thorough and realistic prophetic description of the type!—We are therefore obliged to conclude that in harmony with the law of prophetic perspective, Daniel saw the type and anti-type, the vista of Old and New-Testament times, the scenes of the more immediate future and those of the eschatological period, as a comprehensive whole, and that from his point of view, as a captive in Babylon, he no more saw the interval between the two features in the history of the future, although it covered thousands of years, than the pilgrim who journeys toward a distant goal is able to observe the broad and depressed valley that intervenes between the mountain immediately before him and that which seems to rise in close proximity beyond it. Cf. Hofmann, Weissagung und Erf., p. 313 et seq., where it is correctly remarked, with reference to the closing verses of chap. 11, which describe the terrible end of the typical antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes, that “at a subsequent point he (the prophet, or rather the angel who speaks to him) observes only the final end of national history, the fear and tribulation which overtake the whole world, and the preservation of Israel in the midst of it, in addition to the final end of human history, the resurrection of the dead to life or to perdition (Daniel 12:1–3).… The connection of these last things with the prospect of the end of that oppressor of Israel is not different, for instance, from that by which Isaiah speaks of the impending attack on Jerusalem by Assyria as the final alarm of that city, or which causes Jeremiah to regard the end of the seventy years as coinciding with the end of all the afflictions of his people.” Similar views are advanced by the same author in his Schriftbeweis, II. 2, 547 et seq., and also by Delitzsch, p. 285: “It is a law of Messianic history that the fulfilment of a prophecy, if not completed by one event, must produce successive developments, until the actual state that has been realized shall correspond to the sense and word of the prophecy. The afflictions caused by Antiochus were not the last experienced by God’s people; but the book of Daniel predicts them as the last, as Isaiah in the downfall of Assyria, chapter 10, and Habakkuk in the destruction of Babylon, chap. 2. et seq., foretell the overthrow of the world-power. The range of the prophet’s vision is decided by the border of the horizon where arises the glory of the congregation of God, but not the measure of the meaning which the Spirit of prophecy introduces into his words, and which history gradually unfolds.”
3. While, however, the more immediate fulfilment of the predicted misfortunes of the dream-vision is to be chiefly, and even exclusively sought in the period of tribulation marked by the reign of the Seleucidæ and the revolt of the Asmonæans, it does not follow in any degree that a contemporary of that generation must be regarded as the composer of this vision, and that therefore it must be held to be a prophecy forged ex eventu. In opposition to this assumption of a pseudological conventional composition of the chapter by an apocalyptist of the Maccabæan period, it must be observed that discrepancies exist between several leading characteristic features of the prophecy and the facts connected with the history of the sufferings of Israel under Antiochus, and also the facts connected with the development of the empire, which are unquestionably more marked than the origin of the chapter in the time of the Maccabees would justify in any way. Above all we notice the following:
a. The difference between the ten horns of the fourth beast (Daniel 7:7 et seq., 20, 24) and the number of the predecessors of Antiochus Epiphanes on the throne of the Seleucidæ. The most plausible method of reconciling the number of the horns with that of the early Seleucidæ—hence, of fixing the number of the latter at ten, while Antiochus follows as the eleventh—is that adopted by Prideaux, Bertholdt, Von Lengerke, Delitzsch, and Ewald, by which Alexander the Great is excluded from the series, and Seleucus Nicator heads the list. This certainly secures a succession of seven rulers down to Seleucus IV. Philopator, the brother and predecessor of Ant. Epiphanes (1. Seleucus Nicator, B. C. 312–280; 2. Antiochus Soter, 279–261; 3. Antiochus Theos, 260–246; 4. Seleucus Callinicus, 245–226; 5. Seleucus Ceraunus, 225–223; 6. Antiochus the Great, 222–187; 7. Seleucus Philopator, 186–176); but every attempt to designate the three missing monarchs, who should fill the brief interregnum and state of restless anarchy which preceded the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes, results in failure. The ordinary resource is to assume that these three kings, whom Antiochus dethroned and superseded, or, as the figurative language in Daniel 7:8 has it, “the three horns which were uprooted before the little horn came up,” were (1) Demetrius, the eldest son of Seleucus Philopator, and therefore the nephew of Ant. Epiphanes, who was at Rome as a hostage when his father died, and whose crown was usurped in his absence by his uncle (who had just returned to Syria from an extended sojourn in Rome, where he had likewise been a hostage); (2) Heliodorus, the murderer of Seleucus Philopator (see Daniel 11:20), who occupied the throne for a short time after poisoning that king, until Epiphanes dethroned him; and finally (3) Ptolemy IV. Philometer, king of Egypt, a minor at the time, who was the son of Cleopatra, the daughter of Antiochus the Great and sister of Epiphanes. It is assumed that this queen laid claim to the throne of the Seleucidæ for her son, or at least to the provinces of Palestine and Phœnicia, which adjoined Egypt. In point of fact, however, none of these rivals of Epiphanes could be regarded as the king of Syria, for Heliodorus was a mere usurper, who was dethroned after a brief reign, and there is no record to show that either Demetrius or Ptolemy Philometer pretended to the throne with any degree of earnestness.56 Hence a variety of different explanations have been attempted; as, for instance, Alexander the Great has been included in the series of the ten kings, as being the actual founder of the empire of the Seleucidæ (!), so that the line begins with him and closes with Seleucus Philopator as the eighth, Heliodorus as the ninth, and Demetrius as the tenth representative of that dynasty (thus Hitzig, on the passage, and Hilgenfeld, Die Propheten Esra und Daniel, 1863, p. 82); or again, attention is called to the fact that exactly that period in the history of Syria which immediately precedes the reign of Epiphanes, is known to be particularly obscure, uncertain, and defective in its records (Ewald, and also Hitzig and Kamphausen); or it is observed that on the analogy of the toes of the image, which were partly of clay and partly of iron, the requisite number of kings is probably to be found both among the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies (Rosenmüller, Delitzsch, following Porphyry, Polychron, and other ancients); or the attempt to discover a succession of ten kings is wholly given up, and the ten horns are regarded as denoting ten contemporary rules, e.g., ten satraps or generals of Alexander the Great, among whom the three that Seleucus Nicator conquered, Antigonus, Ptolemy Lagus, and Lysimachus, were especially prominent (Bleek, p. 68). The uncertain and unsatisfactory nature of all these attempts at an explanation, which Delitzsch (p. 283) also acknowledges in substance, has finally led even several advocates of the theory of the Maccabæan composition of this section (e.g., Hertzfeld, Geschichte Israels) to adopt the only correct view, on which the number ten as applied to the horns is a round or symbolic number, whose more specific interpretation it is useless to attempt. This view is also held in substance by a majority of the expositors who refer the fourth beast to the Roman world-power and the occidental-Christian kingdoms which emanated from it, although they hold fast to the really prophetic character of the vision, and therefore its origin with Daniel and during the captivity.57 We have already shown that the advocacy of the genuineness of this prophetic book by no means involves, as a necessary consequence, the interpretation by which the fourth beast designates Rome. It has also been shown, on Daniel 7:8, that we must be content with a general and symbolic explanation of the subordinate three-fold number of the horns, as well as of the number ten. Cf. infra, on Daniel 11:2 et seq.
b. The statement in Daniel 7:25, according to which the period of tribulation, prepared for God’s people by the eleventh king of the fourth monarchy, was to cover “a time, and two times, and a half time” (hence according to Daniel 4:13 was to extend over three and a half years and then to be ended by an act of Divine judgment), will likewise admit of no exact and thoroughly satisfactory comparison with the periods of religious persecution under Antiochus and of the Maccabæan revolt. If the introduction of a sacrificial worship and the erection of an altar to the Olympic Zeus by Antiochus (1 Macc. 1:54) be taken as the terminus a quo, and the rededication of the desecrated sanctuary by Judas Maccabæus (1 Macc. 4:52) as the terminus ad quern of that period of suffering, the result is merely three years and ten days, instead of three and a half years (cf. Josephus, Ant. XII. 7, 6); for the Maccabæan books fix the date of the former event on the 15th Chisleu of the year 145 of the æra of the Seleucidæ (=B. C. 167) and of the latter on the 25th Chisleu 148 æ. Sel. (B. C. 164). Hitzig attempts unsuccessfully to recover the five and two third months yet lacking by going back to the arrival in Judæa of Appollonius, the commissioner of tribute (which he asserts must have happened about three months before the 15th Chisleu 145, according to 1 Macc. 1:29 [cf. 5:19]), as the actual commencement of the æra of persecution. The result is still only three and a fourth years instead of the requisite three and a half; and a yet more unfortunate feature, which increases the difficulty of settling both the beginning and the end of the epoch of three and a half years in question, appears in the two-fold consideration, that on the one hand the real beginning of the Maccabæan persecution may be found in the barbarous attack on the life and religion of the Jews, which, according to 1 Macc. 1:22, took place fully six years prior to the re-dedication of the temple, while on the other hand it is by no means necessary to regard the dedication of the sanctuary on the 25th Chisleu 148 as marking the cessation of the persecution, which might rather be dated from the great victories of Judas Maccabæus over the Syrian generals Gorgias and Lysias (the one of which was gained during the year 147, and the other in the earlier months of 148 in the æra of the Seleucidæ), or on the contrary, from some event subsequent to the dedication, as the death of Antiochus Epipbanes (cf. infra, on Daniel 12:11). The theories which are admissible, therefore, vacillate between periods covering from three to six years, without being able, in any case, to demonstrate an asra of exactly three and a half years, such as Daniel 7:25 requires, and further, without presenting any evidence from the recorded history of the Maccabæs of so sudden, complete, and wonderful a conclusion of the period of suffering (without being secured by repeated conflicts and successes), as the same passage and its parallels in Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 7:7 et seq. seem to require. For this reason58 we are sometimes referred to the alleged insufficiency of our information respecting the various events connected with the Maccabæan history, which lacks certainty and thoroughness (Hilgenfeld, as above), and at others, the assumption has been adopted that the Maccabæan tendency-writer employed a designedly mystical and indefinite mode of indicating time, which cannot be accurately elucidated by a comparison with the facts of history (Von Lengerke). However conceivable and in itself probable the latter view may be, on the opinion that the prophet was drawing an apocalyptic picture of the distant future, which was necessarily ideal and indefinite so far as details were concerned, it is to the same degree improbable and incapable of being demonstrated, when the author is regarded as a conventional inventor of vaticinia ex eventu, who everywhere attempts to introduce allusions to the circumstances of the recent past or of the present. From such a writer we might assuredly have expected a more exact agreement and palpable correspondence between the prophecy and its fulfilling counterpart than results from the relation of the 1 + 2 +½ times to the period of the Antiochian persecution. “The alleged pseudo-composer of our chapter must accordingly have written for a time, with whose historical conditions he was unacquainted, despite the fact that he was its contemporary; and the entire condition of the theocracy, covered with shame and the want of success as it was, during the three and a half years of this chapter—before whose expiration this advocate of the actually victorious but not by him so-designated Maccabæan rebellion is said to have written—becomes historically inconceivable in the light of the pseudo-Daniel tendency-hypothesis” (Kranichfeld).
c. Intimately connected with this is the discrepancy between the picture of the Messiah drawn in our chapter, and the nature of the Messianic hopes entertained by the Jews of the Maccabæan period, as revealed in the books of the Maccabees, and also in the other products of Jewish apocalyptic literature of nearly the same date. These authorities are indeed able to refer to a final deliverance and re-union of the scattered tribes of Israel (see, e.g., Ecclus. 30:11; 1:24; Tob. 13:13–18; 14:6), and also to a Divine visitation of judgment upon the heathen (Ecclus. 32:18; Judith 16:17, etc.); but they nowhere base their theocratic expectations clearly on the appearance of a single Messianic personage, least of all, on one who is so positively characterized by traits belonging to both Divine and human nature as is the “Son of man” in Daniel 7:13 of this chapter. The προφήτης πιστός of 1 Macc. (14:41) is a purely human prophet, devoid of all celestial, supernatural character; and the “poor righteous one” of the book of Wisdom (Daniel 2:10–20) can make no claim to recognition as an individual Messianic person, but is rather a mere personification of the class of suffering righteous men. The conception of a Messiah is very dim upon the whole in all the apocryphal literature of the two centuries immediately preceding the Christian æra; and in the cases, where the expectation of a personal Messiah, possessed of the Divine-human character to a greater or less degree, actually appears in several productions of this period, as in books II. and III. of the Sibylline Oracles, or in the book of Enoch (which at least some critics admit to have been composed as early as in the second century B. C., and possibly under John Hyrcanus—e.g., Ewald, Dillmann, Jos. Langen), the dependence of such writings on this book must doubtless be assumed (cf. the passage from the Orac. Sibyll. 1. II., cited above, on Daniel 7:8, and also Introd. § 6, note 3). This dependence, however, in no wise compels to the assumption that the prophecies of Daniel originated in the Asmonæan period; it is far more readily understood on the opinion that they originated during the captivity, but that they were recognized at their true value and introduced into general use in all the circles of pious Jewish apocalyptists in the Maccabæan age and as a result of its afflictions.
4. In support of the opinion that He who “came with the clouds of heaven” in Daniel 7:13 is no other than the personal Messiah, it has already been remarked among other things (see on that passage) that Christ preferably and frequently employed the phrase ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, as a testimony in favor of that view. It is now recognized by a majority of expositors and Biblical theologians that this designation, which is found in all eighty-one times in the New Testament, was intended to recall Dan. 7:13, and to assert the identity of Jesus as the Messiah with the אֳנָשׁבַּר who is there described, although several (e.g., Von Hofmann, Delitzsch, Kahnis, etc.) still attempt to advocate the view formerly represented by Huetius, Harduin, Schleiermacher, Neander, Weisse, Baur, etc., on which the phrase was derived from Psa. 8:5, and designates Jesus, not as being the Messiah, but as “the flower of humanity,” as “the ideal and normal man,” the “man of history, toward whom all human development tends.” The former method of explaining the phrase does not exclude the latter, but is rather to be traced back to both these passages of the Old Testament, inasmuch as Dan. 7:13 also expresses the sense of the ideal and normally human, of the perfectly human, and even of the Divine human, as will appear with special clearness from the manner in which the Saviour, in Matt. 26:64, replies to the question of the High priest inquiring whether He were “the Christ, the Son of God,” when, with an evident allusion to this passage, He declares Himself “the Son of man,” who shall thereafter be seen sitting “on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven;” cf. also John 7:35, 36, where in answer to the question of the unbelieving people, “Who is this Son of man?” the Lord declares, “Yet a little while is the light with you,” and thus again identifies himself most clearly with the Messianic “Son of man” of this passage. Cf. Meyer and Lange on both these passages (and also on Matt. 8:20); likewise Gess, Lehre von der Person Christi (1856) p. 7 et seq., 257; J.F. Tafel, Leben Jesu, p. 127 et seq., and especially Nebe, Ueber den Begriff des Namens υιὸς του ἀννρώπου Herborn, 1860; also Holtzmann, Ueber den neutestamentlichen Ausdruck Men-schensohn, in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. f. wissenschaftliche Theologie, 1865, p. 212 et seq. (although the latter has so distorted a view of the reference of the name to Dan. 7:13 that he chooses to entirely exclude that to Psa. 8:5, thus approaching the opinion advocated by Strauss in his Leben Jesu).—In addition to this reference to our passage in the mouth of our Lord as directly testifying to a personal Messiah, and besides the possibly still more ancient references in the same spirit which are found in the Sibyllines and the book of Enoch (see supra), the substantial agreement of its description of Christ with that of the prophets prior to the captivity affords an important testimony in favor of the correctness of our view. Especially if the description of the “Son of man” in Daniel 7:13 et seq., to whom an eternal and all-embracing dominion over all nations is given, be compared with the designation מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד, “an anointed prince,” in Daniel 9:26, which, although primarily applicable to a typical forerunner of Christ (see on that passage), yet clearly indicates the character of the Messianic ruler as being at the same time priest and king, the result will be a demonstration of the close analogy and even identity of Daniel’s description of the Messiah with those by which Isaiah (Daniel 9:5; 11:1 et seq.) and his contemporary, Micah (Daniel 5:1 et seq.), characterize the spiritually anointed ruler of the house of David who should introduce the period of the deliverance of Israel and all nations, and also with the Messianic prophecies of Jeremiah (23:5; 30:9) and Ezekiel (34:23; 37:25) and even those of the time of David and Solomon together with the period immediately subsequent, e.g., David himself (Psa. 110), Nathan (2 Sam. 7), Amos (9:11 et seq.), Hosea (3:5), etc. The Messiah of Daniel does not differ from Him to whom all the earlier prophets bore witness; the super-human glory and perfection of power of Him who nevertheless appears in human form, as described in this vision, correspond exactly to the expectations which the prophetism of Israel in general, from the time of David, when the theocracy bloomed and shone in its splendor, had learned to connect with a later offspring of the house of David, as the restorer, endowed with Divine power and majesty, who should renew the glory of that house, and consequently the glory of the theocracy as a whole.
5. For the purpose of a practical homiletical treatment of the chapter it will of course be necessary to pay special regard to the shining clearness of this description of the Messiah, and through it to clear up the more obscure features of the prophetic vision, in so far as this may be possible and of practical utility. The Divine-human Messiah of Israel, the founder and ruler of the kingdom of God in the earth, the Saviour and Judge of the world (cf. John 4:42; 5:27), is to be described in His relations toward the earthly world-power, which, passing through various forms and phases of development, finally reaches the diabolical rage of anti-Christianity, and rebels against Him; and his ultimate triumph over all His foes is to be displayed as a necessity, founded in the Divine economy of salvation. In this connection it will not be wise to enter upon a consideration of those phases in the development of the world-power, symbolized by the figure of the beasts, in their relation to the pre-Christian world-monarchies which are to be regarded as their historical counterparts, any farther than is imperatively necessary for the purpose of clearness. The ideal and fundamental thought of the prophecy, which substantially coincides with that of the image of the monarchies in chap. 2. and may be expressed by the statement “that all the kingdoms of the earth must be put to shame” (cf. Rev. 11:15; 12:10) before the kingdom of the everlasting God (the Ancient of days, Daniel 7:9), and of His Anointed, must evidently be made prominent; but the details of its realization in the history of the world should receive only a subordinate attention, especially since none of the theories promulgated to the present time, which undertake to specify the particular kingdoms designated by the four beasts, can claim to be absolutely correct, and recourse must therefore be had to a choice between probabilities, or between interpretations, more or less plausible, of the mysterious hieroglyphic animal figures that “came up from the sea.” For as merely the forms of the future world-monarchies were revealed to the prophet—sometimes indeed in surprisingly definite and exact outlines—but he was not made acquainted with their names; as their nature, but not their historic appearance was prefigured to him: so can no effort of scientific penetration on the part of exegetes succeed in establishing an exact correspondence between the character of these monarchies, as shadowed forth in prophetic images, and its actualization in the surging confusion of the life of nations during the course of the last pre-Christian century, and thus in stating, with mathematical exactness and certainty, which great world-kingdom subsequent to the captivity was intended by the Spirit of prophecy by each of the beasts seen by Daniel, what kings were represented by the ten horns of the fourth beast, what was the precise conception of the blasphemous course and anti-theocratic rage of the last horn, and whether, in point of fact, Antiochus Epiphanes conformed to it in all respects, or merely realized it generally and in substance. In view of these unavoidable obscurities and difficulties, the practical expositor, still more than the scientific exegete is limited to a chaste, modest, and reserved course in the treatment of this prophecy as it applies to the history of nations and of the world. Instead of pursuing to particulars the interpretation of the series of monarchies in Daniel 7:4–7, or even of the succession of kings in Daniel 7:8, in the details of history, he will be able to present only examples of the wonderfully exact correspondence between the type and its historical anti-type, or illustrative proofs of the generally unquestionable congruity between the visional and the actual succession of monarchies; and especially, instead of treating the fourth beast and its eleventh horn (in which the idea of the fourth beast attains its complete development, and which may, therefore, to a certain extent, be identified with the beast itself) as referring solely to the anti-Christian world-power in pre-Christian times, or also to the Roman supremacy with Herod or Nero as the representative of its anti-Christian character59—which would be wholly impractical and a grave offence against all the rules of sound homiletics;—instead of so one-sided an Old-Testament or typical interpretation of this beast, he will doubtless be obliged to deal prominently with that more unfettered, spiritual, and ideal mode of treatment, by which the fourth beast represents at the same time both type and anti-type, thus including the world-power of the last times, which is inimical to God and Christ. Here also every one-sided interpretation, centring in a definite point of the history of the past, must be avoided, and the antichrist must not be found specifically in the Turkish nation (so Luther, Vorrede über den Proph. Daniel; Melancthon in the Kommentar, where, however, he also associates the pope; Calov.; M. Geier, etc.), nor in the pope (Luther in his exposition of chap. 11. and 12. and elsewhere frequently; also Brentius, Calvin, Zanchius, Cocceius, Buddeus, Bengel, Roos, and recently, F. Brunn, in the little work, 1st der Pabst der Antichrist? Dresden, 1868), nor in Napoleon I. or III. (cf. Leutwein, Das Thier war und ist nicht, etc., Ludwigsburg, 1825), nor, most remarkable of all, in Count Bismarck as representing the Prussian State (thus, e.g., Groen van Priesterer; many clergymen of Würtemberg in the year 1866, etc.), but his eschatological character as belonging to the final stage of mundane history must be retained. Cf. Lünemann, on 2 Thess. 2, p. 204 et seq.; Auberlen and Riggenbach on the same chapter, p. 117 et seq.; H. O. Köhler, Die Schriftwidrigkeit des Chiliasmus, in Guericke’s Zeitschr. für die luth. Theol. und Kirche, 1861, No. III., p. 459 et seq.) where the numerous writers in the Middle Ages are mentioned, who declared the pope to be the antichrist, e.g., bishop Arnulf of Orleans, 991; Honorius of Autun; John of Salisbury; Joachim 5. Floris; Robert Gross-head; Joh. Milicz; Matth. 5. Janow; Gregory of Heimburg; the Waldenses; many Hussites, et.); S. Baring Gould, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, London, 1866 (chap. 9, the Antichrist); H. W. Rinck, Die Lehre der Heiligen Sohrift vom Antichrist, mit Berüucksichtigung der Zeiehen unserer Zeit, Elberfeld, 1867 [and many of the monographs cited at the close of the Introduction].
Since but few of the practical expositors of former times occupy the ground of this more free and spiritual interpretation, but rather are generally concerned to adapt the visions of the prophet to special events and appearances in modern history, or confine themselves to the work of disproving the interpretation which assumes that the chap. was a vatic, ex eventu, written by a pretended Daniel in the Maccabæan period (so many church fathers, e.g., Jerome, whose observations on this section aim solely to resist the tendency-critical attacks of Porphyry; among moderns, e.g., Hävernick), a thoroughly proper practical and homiletical treatment of the chapter, based on a solid exegetical foundation, can of course derive but little benefit from them. Nevertheless, we quote several observations on the more important passages.
On Daniel 7:4–8, Melancthon: “ Mirabili Dei consilio et voluntate Ecclesia subjecta est cruci.… . Prœdicunt Prophetas et Apostoli, inundum pmnas daturum esse, quod post sparsum evangelium tyranni sœviant in membra Christi, deinde et ab illis ipsis qui gubernant Ecclesiam, polluta sit Ecclesia idolis, falsis dogmatibus, paricidiis sanctorum libidinibus.” (To this, however, is added the one-sided and arbitrary remark, “Esther ex his seminibus ortam esse pestam Mahometicam historia ostendit.”) On Daniel 7:9, Calvin: “ Sciamus non posse a nobis Deum conspici qualis est, donee simus plane similes ei.… Deus certe neque solium aliquod occupat, neque rotis vehitur, sed non debemus imaginari Deum in sua essentia them. esse, qualis prophetœ suo et aliis sanctis patribus apparuit; sed induit subinde varias formas pro captu hominum, quibusœ prœsentia; suœ aliquod signum dare volebat.”
On Daniel 7:11, 12, the Tüinger Bibel: “In His eternal decree God has fixed a limit to every kingdom; beyond this it cannot go, and the Divine providence exerts a special agency to this end (Isa. 23:15).”
On Daniel 7:13 et seq., Luther (Von den letzten Worten Davids, in his Werke, vol. xxxi. p. 80 et seq.): “This eternity or eternal kingdom cannot be given to any evil creature, whether man or angel; for it is the power of God, and of God Himself.… Namely, the Father confers the everlasting power on the Son, and the Son receives it from the Father, and all this from all eternity … At the same time, the Son is also a child, i.e., a real man and the Son of David, to whom such eternal power is given. Thus we see how the prophets properly regarded and understood the word ‘ eternal,’ when God says to David by the mouth of Nathan, ‘ I will place my and thy son in my eternal kingdom’ (2 Sam. 7:13, 16).”
On Daniel 7:25, Starke: “When crowned heads assail God with impious hands, and are not content with the honor of earthly gods, their respect and honor, dominion and glory, are taken from them by a common stroke; cf. Acts 12:22 et seq.”
Or, chief of the words.
Changed this from that.
Was seeing till that.
הקימת is evidently used here to correspond with the description of the preceding verse, and hence the pointing הֳ׳ to is preferred, as in the margin.
לִשְׁטַר־חַד to one side, sidewise, i.e., partially, prob. on the fore or hind feet only; in a crouching or half-risen posture; thus contrasted with the erect attitude of the lion preceding on both feet רַגְלַיִןעל.
[This assumption rests upon the author’s theory that Belshazzar is identical with Evil-merodach, which, as we have shown in the notes appended to the Introduction, is not sustained by the latest authorities or Babylonian history. If Rawlinson’s conjecture is correct, that Belshazzar was the son of Nabouned, left in command of Babylon while his father threw himself into Borsippa, the date in question will relate to the viceroyship of the former, which may well have continued a year or more (or even into the third year, see Daniel 8:1), since the siege of Babylon lasted two years.]
The position of the terms is emphatic, teeth of iron were to it, great ones.
Was occupying my attention with.
Out of, or among.
The definite article is here injurious to the sense.
Would serve him as attendants.
Myriad of myriads would stand.
Literally, caused to pass away.
And a lengthening in their lives was given them till.
As in Daniel 6:25: All the nations, the peoples, and the tongues.
Would ask from him.
In the plur., like most names of Deity.
A kingdom the fourth.
To the side of.
Looks would be.]
[“This vision accords not only in many respects with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar (ch.2), but has the same subject. This subject, however, the representation of the world-power in its principal forms, is differently given in the two chapters. In Daniel 2 it is represented according to its whole character as an image of a man whose different parts consist of different metals, and in chap. 7 under the figure of four beasts which arise one after the other out of the sea. In the former, its destruction is represented by a stone breaking the image in pieces, while in the latter it is effected by a solemn act of judgment. This further difference also is to be observed, that in this chapter, the first, but chiefly the fourth, world-kingdom, in its development and relation to the people of God, is much more clearly exhibited in Daniel 2. These differences have their principal reason in the difference of the recipients of the Divine revelation: Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the world-power, saw this power in its imposing greatness and glory; while Daniel, the prophet of God, saw it in its opposition to God in the form of ravenous beasts of prey. Nebuchadnezzar had his dream in the second year of his reign, when he had just founded his world-monarchy; while Daniel had his vision of the world-kingdoms and of the judgment against them in the first year of Belshazzar, when the glory of the world-monarchy began to fade, and the spirit of its opposition to God became more manifest.”—Keil.]
[Keil’s remark, however, is apposite: “The winds of the heavens represent the heavenly powers and forces by which God sets the nations of the world in motion.”]
[We suggest that the preposition rather indicates the direction of the winds as converging to this one point as a scene of conflict.]
[The reduplicated form, however, seems to be merely the usual one in Chaldee.]
[Keil adopts a different, but, as it seems to us, farfetched and over-ingenious interpretation: “This means neither that it leaned on one side (Ebrard), nor that it stood on its fore feet (Hävernick), for the sides of a bear are not its fore and hinder parts; but we conceive that the beast, resting on its feet, raised up the feet of the one side for the purpose of going forward, and so raised the shoulder or the whole body on that side. But with such a motion of the beast the geographical situation of the kingdom (Geier, Mich., Ros.) cannot naturally be represented, much less can the near approach of the destruction of the kingdom (Hitzig) be signified. Hofmann, Delitzsch, and Kliefoth have found the right interpretation by a reference to Daniel 2 and 8. As in Daniel 2 the arms on each side of the breast signify that the second kingdom will consist of two parts, and this is more distinctly indicated in Daniel 8 by the two horns, one of which rose up after the other, and higher, so also in this verse the double-sidedness of this world-kingdom is represented by the beast lifting itself up on one side. The Medo-Persian bear, as such, has, as Kliefoth well remarks, two sides; the one, the Median side, is at rest after the efforts made for the erection of the world-kingdom; but the other, the Persian side, raises itself up. and then becomes not only higher than the first, but also is prepared for new rapine.”—Stuart justly remarks that “the difficulty seems to have arisen from the fact that, until lately, we have been ignorant of a like symbol sculptured on the ancient monuments of Persia. Münter (Rel. der Bab., p. 112) has given ns a description (with an engraving) of an animal of the symbolic kind, in a group near the star of Belus, which, kneeling or lying on the right foot, has its left one erect. A sense of security, combined with watchfulness, seems to be the indication. Probably this symbol, now on the monuments of Persia and Babylon, was a part of what belonged to the insignia of the royal and national standards.”]
[“The plur. אָמְרִין is impersonal”(Keil); “it might be rendered passively” (Stuart).]
[“The writer gives to this fourth beast no particular name. Plainly it was a peculiar monster. The reason why he omits a name seems to be, that in the world of nature no similitude could be found, for in no case of really-existing beasts are four of them united in one, so as to constitute an appropriate symbol for the four kingdoms of Alexander’s successors. He classes these under the dynasty, comprehensively considered, which grew up out of the predominance or victories of the Greeks in the East. But when enough is introduced to designate the general nature of the dynasty, both here and in Daniel 8 and 9, he goes over into a notice of only such kings as were in the neighborhood of Palestine, and had more or less to do with annoying it. As Antiochus Epiphanes was incomparably the most annoying and mischievous of them all, so a peculiar share of the prophecy respecting the fourth dynasty is allotted to him in each of the chapters named. It is evident from a comparison of historical facts as well as from the nature of the case, that a dynasty is spoken of by Daniel as more or less dreadful and destructive according to the measure in which Palestine was actually affected by it in this way.”—Stuart. Keil, on the contrary, who adopts the common or “orthodox” interpretation of the fourth monarchy, gives a different explanation of this feature: “The fourth kingdom is represented by a nameless beast, because in Daniel’s time Rome had not come into contact with Israel, and as yet lay beyond the circle of vision of Old-Testament prophecy.” This candid admission one would think might have led the commentator to doubt any reference even here to Rome. He does not seem, moreover, to have perceived that for precisely the same reason the Macedonian empire should have been represented by some nameless beast, as being hitherto unknown to the Hebrews.]
[May not the diversity rather consist in the fact that, unlike all the former governments, the Seleucid dynasty began a systematic attack upon the religious institutions of the subject Jews?]
See Leyrer, art. Zahlen in Herzog’s Real-Encyklop., vol. 18, p. 378: also Zöckler, Theologia naturalis, I. 713 et seq. In both places the essentially political or cosmical significance of this number is pointed out, in opposition to Delitzsch, who regards it as the symbol of Divine perfection. cf. further, Bähr. Symbolik des mos. Kultus, I. 175; Hofmann, Weissagung und Erfüllung, I. 75; Hengstenberg, Beiträge z. Einl., III. 391, 605. [On the contrary, it seems to us that the definiteness of the numbers four and three in the same connection requires a similar definiteness in this number likewise. See our remarks in the Ethico-fundamental principles, etc., on this chap. No. 3, a.]
[See, however, the remarks in the Ethico-Fundamental principles, etc., below, 3, a.]
[“The eyes of a man were not attributed to it (merely) in opposition to a beast, but in opposition to a higher celestial being, for whom the ruler denoted by the horn might be mistaken on account of the terribleness of his rule and government: ‘ne cum putemus juxta quorundam opinionem vel diabolum esse vel dæmonem, sed unum de hominibus, in quo totus Satanas habiturus sit corporealiter,’ as Jerome well remarks; cf. Hofmann and Kliefoth.”—Keil.]
[“A mouth which speaketh great things is a vainglorious mouth. רַבְרְבָן are presumptuous things, not directly blasphemous (Hävr.). In the Apocalypse, 13:5, μεγάλα and βλασμίαι are distinguished.”—Keil.]
[“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 on Exod. 3:3.”—Keil.]
[“In the N. T. Christians are represented as sharing in the like solemnities, 1 Cor. 6:2; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; Rev. 3:21. Not improbably such expressions as ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Let us go down and see, ‘Who will go for us?’ take their plural form from such views of the heavenly Concessus. The sum of the matter is that the prophet presents the Supreme Lord and Judge to our view by imagery borrowed from earthly sovereigns, i.e., as having all the insignia of pre-eminence and supremacy around him.”—Stuart.]
Cf. also Sibyll., 1. II, p. 277, ed. Galland: ἥξει ἐν νεφέλη πρὸς ἅφθιτον ἄφθͅτος αὐτὸς ἐν δόξη χριστὸς σὺν ἀμύμοσιν ἀγγελτῆρσι καὶ καθίσει, κτλ.
[This correspondence, however, cannot be legitimately urged as an argument in favor of the contemporaneousness of the ten kings, for it is doubtful if the number of the toes has any special significance, and no stress is laid upon it in the explanation of the vision. Like the two legs, it forms but an accidental accessory in completing the figure. Otherwise we should be obliged to count the toes on both feet likewise, and this would be more than any interpreters are prepared to do.]
[Keil’s reference to Daniel 8:20-22 is unavailing against this express statement of the text here, for not only is the great goat horn there undeniably a personal ruler, but so are likewise the “four notable horns” that succeed it as the founders of so many dynasties. His entire argument on this point is a perversion of the sense: “Since the ten horns all exist at the same time together on the head of the beast, the ten kings that arise out of the fourth kingdom are to be regarded as contemporary.” On the contrary they are explicitly said to “arise” in the sight of the prophet, as if they were not there originally, and this admits, if it does not require, the idea of their gradual and consecutive development. So in the case of the two-horned ram (Daniel 8:3) we might with equal reason have presumed both horns to have arisen simultaneously, but such many words to be kings of one and the same kingdom, they must in the nature of the case be successive; for ten simultaneous sovereigns in one dominion would be a palpable absurdity. In case of the last three only, whose fall makes room for the eleventh, is there a partial simultaneousness
[Keil contends that “the king coming after them can only overthrow three of the ten kingdoms when he himself has established and possesses a kingdom or empire of his own.” But such is not the process represented in the vision. The little horn in the act of arising evidently usurps the room previously occupied by the three others. It is this expansion in their place that makes it become great. They must, therefore, have been themselves rivals at the time, and not well-established in their seat, when this fourth contestant arose in its first insignificance.]
[Few readers, however, will be content with this indefinite exposition of these sharply defined and frequently reiterated statements of time with reference to the event predicted. The difficulties in the way of their literal application to the period of desecration of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes do not appear so formidable as to require such a vague interpretation. See under the Ethico-fundamental considerations below.]
[Some of those modem interpreters who hold in part to the “year-for-a-day theory” make the little horn in this passage to be different from that in Daniel 8, referring the latter to Antiochus Epiphanes, but the former to the papacy or else to Mohammedanism. Such as maintain that the days stand for years in both instances regard the difference in the periods between this passage and that (1,050 years here and 2,300 there) as caused by computing the period in the one case from the rise of the power to its downfall, and in the other from Daniel’s own time. In either case the same fatal objection applies, that there is no good evidence of such a symbolic use of the word “day” by Daniel.]
[Keil in like manner, argues for the purely symbolical and indefinite import of this designation of time, being driven thereto by his theory that this whole prophecy applies to the duration of the Roman power, which he extends into the unknown future. He has all along contended against a literal interpretation of these chronological data as they seem to be.]
[Keil seek (p. 258 et seq.) to make the most of the incidental variations in the description of the “little horn,” in Daniel 7; and 8; but his points are minute and often far-fetched, whereas the coincidences are striking, numerous, and essential. Consult the harmonic table in the introduction. Lest we might be thought to treat the opposite view too lightly, we briefly note the differences adduced by Keil. 1. The little horn of Daniel 7 rises out of one of the four horns without adding to their number or injuring them; that of Daniel 8 arises among the ten as an additional or parallel element, and uproots three. This merely proves that the four powers are not identical with the ten horns, which is precisely our view. 2. The enemy in Daniel 7 goes much farther in his violence than that in Daniel 8; but as the conduct is of the same general character, this is evidently but a fuller or more detailed description. Both certainly tallied with the behavior of Antiochus. It is vain to allege that in one chapter the persecutor is not an antichrist because he is not directly said to arrogate divinity as in the other chapter, but only to oppose the people of God; for those are everywhere in the Bible identitied with God himself, and their cause and interests are his likewise. 3. The periods in the two cases are different (2,300 days, and a year and a half, or 1,290, or 1,335 days). This is readily explained as including in some passages more accessory circumstances than in others. See the exegetical remarks on each.]
[Keil urges these objections with all their force to disprove any reference here to the time of the Seleucidæ; but they apply with equal and even greater force to the Roman list of emperors. It does not appear however, that the three horns in question represent actually reigning kings, nor do the terms “plucked up” and “fell” clearly mean dethronement. It is sufficient that they were royal personages who claimed or were entitled to the throne. One of them, at least, Heliodorus, actually occupied it, for a brief period, indeed, but long enough to come within the description. The other two, as being legitimate heirs, may fairly be designated as princes, and this is all that the figure requires. The partial and temporary royalty of all three is evidently denoted by their speedily succumbing to the upstart. It is difficult to imagine a case of four rivals to the fame throne that would more accurately answer to the vision.]
[So formidable is this difficulty on the Roman theory of interpretation that Keil, its last most noted advocate, takes refuge in a remarkable postponement of the solution. “The kingdoms represented by the ten horns belong still to the future. To be able to judge regarding them with any certainty, we must first make clear to ourselves the place of the Messianic kingdom with reference to the fourth world-kingdom, and then compare the prophecy of the Apocalypse of John regarding the formation of the world-power—a prophecy which rests on the book of Daniel.” This is a virtual abandonment of the field. If all the other parts of this prophecy have their clear counterpart in history, why not this also? If, as Keil claims, these ten horns are found simultaneously on the head of the beast as it first arises, it is obviously inconsistent to refer their identification to the future. But the attempts made to distinguish the horns in question, in their literal application Rome, have signally failed, as the most cursory inspection of the schemes proposed in various commentaries on Daniel and the Apocalypse will abundantly show. The ten kings in Rev. 17:12 are there expressly assigned to the indefinite future; but the seven in Daniel 7:10 are clearly characterized as belonging to proximate history, and the first six as having been at the time actually realized.]
[In this chronological examination the author does injustice to the data in question, as the following exhibit from Stuart’s Commentary (p. 223) will render clear: “Is this expression of time poetical merely and figurative, consisting of round numbers (as they say), and comprising just half of the mystical number seven, which is so often employed in a kind of tropical way? Historical facts seem to speak for the literal interpretation, in the book before us. Yet, considering the nature of the case and of the number usually concerned with such reckonings (i.e., the number seven), we surely need not be solicitous about a day, a week, or even a month, more or less. The convenience of the reckoning, when it is near enough to exactness, for all the purposes of prophecy, is very obvious, and will account for adopting it.
“In exhibiting the historical facts, we will begin with an sera which is certain, viz., the time when Judas Macc, expurgated the temple, and began the service of God anew. This was on the 25th of Dec. 148 ann. Sel. = 165 B.C., see 1 Macc. 5:52. Counting back three and a half years, we come to June in 145 A. S. = 168 B.C. Livy has described the retreat of Antiochus from Eypt, in the early spring (‘primovere,’ Liv. 45:11) of that year. While on that retreat, Antiochus detached Apollonius, one of his military chieftains, to lay waste Jerusalem (comp. 2 Macc. 5:11, which makes the time clear), for he had heard that the Jews exulted at his misfortune, in being obliged by the Romans to retreat from Egypt, and he was determined to wreak his vengeance on them. He did so effectually, as 1 Macc. 1:29 seq. fully shows; and Daniel 7:29, 20, of the same chapter, compared together, show that the year was 145 A. S. as above stated. From June, when Jerusalem was proably taken, to December, is six months; and from December in 168 to December, 165, is three years. In the same way, as to time, does Josephus reckon Prœm. ad Bell. Jud. § 7. But to avoid perplexity, it should be noted that a different mode of reckoning, viz., three years, is sometimes employed, e.g., in 1 Macc. 1:54, and the consecration of it by Judas Maccabæus, 1 Macc. 4:54. Some six months after capture of the city, during which all manner of crueltied and excesses were committed, appear to have elapsed before Antiochus began his swinish offerings in the temple. The consecration of the temple by Judas introduced regular Hebrew worship there; and the death of Antiochus happening shortly afterward, the period of his oppression was of course at its end. Thus did events correspond very exactly with the time designated in our text. We cannot indeed specify the exact day, because history has not done this; but it is enough, that we come so near to the time designed, as to remove all serious difficulty respecting it.”
To this we may add that the period three and a half years may reasonably be taken as a somewhat round number, not only because of its being in itself a general and inexact expression, but more especially as being the half of the conventional term of seven years. See on Daniel 9:27.]
Thus, e.g., Beckmann, Meditationes political, c. 26, and Koch (in Starke, on Daniel 7:8).
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.