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Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and 25 languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of 36 my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel : for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of 28 Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
25. unto all the peoples,...unto you] verbally identical with iv. I.
tremble and fear before] Cf. v. 19 (of the dread felt towards Nebuchadnezzar).
stedfast] or subsistent, enduring,-a common epithet of God in the Targums, and often representing the Heb. ‘living,' as in the passages quoted on v. 20+. The combination, 'living and enduring (02) 'D), is also frequent in post-Biblical Jewish literature.
and his kingdom &c.] Cf. ii. 44, iv. 3, 346; also vii. 14, 27. 27. He delivereth and rescueth] And not Darius (v. 14): cf. iii.
signs and wonders] iv. 2, 3. from the power] Aram. from the hand, as in Heb., Ps. xxii. 20 (21), xlix. 15 (16), &c.
28. After this signal deliverance Daniel's gainsayers were silenced ; and prosperity attended him through the rest of the reign of Darius, as well as in that of his successor Cyrus.
CHAPTERS VII.-XII. The second part of the book, describing the four visions seen by Daniel in the reigns of Belshazzar (ch. vii., viii.), Darius the Mede (ch. ix.), and Cyrus (ch. X.---xii.).
CHAP. VII. THE VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS. A vision, seen by Daniel in a dream, in the first year of Belshazzar. The vision was of four beasts emerging from the agitated sea, a lion with eagle's wings, a bear, a leopard with four wings and four heads, and a fourth beast, with powerful iron teeth, destroying all things, and with ten horns, among which another "little horn' sprang up, 'speaking proud things,' before which three of the other horns were rooted up (vv.
-8). Hereupon a celestial assize is held: the Almighty appears, seated on a throne of flame, and surrounded by myriads of attendants ;
Also regularly in the phrases, '(As) I live,' '(As) Jehovah liveth,' 1 Sam. xiv. 39; Ez.'v. 11, &c.
7 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. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great the beast whose horn spake proud things is slain; and a figure in human form comes with the clouds of heaven into the presence of the Divine Judge, and receives from Him a universal and never-ending dominion (vv. 9—14). After this, the vision is interpreted to Daniel: the four beasts are explained to signify four kingdoms; and after the destruction of the fourth, the 'people of the saints of the Most High' will receive the dominion of the entire earth (vv. 15—28).
The vision is parallel to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in ch. i.; and the kingdoms symbolized by the four beasts are generally allowed to be the same as those symbolized by the four parts of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The animal symbolism of the vision is an extension of that found in some of the later prophets, as Ezek. xvii. 3, xix. 1-9, xxix. 3-5, xxxii. 2–6; Is. xxvii. 1.
1. In the first year of Belshazzar] The visions (c. 7--12) are not a continuation of the narratives (c. 1–6), but form a series by themselves: the author accordingly no longer adheres to the chronological order which he has hitherto followed, but goes back to a date anterior to that of ch. v. (see v. 30). In view of what was said at the beginning of ch. v. it is, of course, impossible to estimate the first year' of Belshazzar in
had] lit. saw. visions of his head upon his bed] The same phrase in ii. 28. then he wrote the dream] With reference to the sequel (v. 2 ff.), in which Daniel speaks in the first person, and which in these words is represented as having been committed to writing by Daniel himself. The first person (with the exception of x. I) continues from v. 2 to the end of the book.
the sum of words (or things)] contained in the revelation, i.e. its essential import.
2. Daniel answered and said, I saw) properly, I was seeing (or beholding), as iv. 10, 13: so vv. 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 (twice), 13, 21. LXX. and Theod. rightly render by toewpouv.
the four winds of the heaven] The same expression, viii. 8, xi. 4; Zech. ii. 6, vi. 5; 2 Esdr. xiii. 5. pstrove upon] were breaking forth (see Jud. xx. 33 Heb.) on to, creating a great disturbance of the waters. A.V. strove is to be explained from the sense which the word has in the Targums. The root means to break or burst forth, of water (as Job xxxviii. 8); but in the Targums it is common, in the conjug. here used, in the sense of to wage war, lit. to cause war to break forth, as Deut. xx. 4, and even with ‘war' omitted, Josh. xxiii. 3 al.; hence strove. However, the prep. which here follows does not mean upon, but to.
the great sea] a name of the Mediterranean Sea, Josh. i. 4, ix. I al.
And four great beasts came up from the sea,
diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had a eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were pluckt, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
However, that sense is not to be pressed here'; the 'great sea,' tossed up by the four winds of heaven, symbolizes the agitated world of nations (cf. v. 3 with v. 17; and comp. Rev. xvii. 15: also Is. xvii.
3. came up from the sea] Cf. Rev. xiii. 1; 2 Esdr. xi. 1, xiii. 3 (R. V.).
4. The first beast.
eagle's wings] The eagle' (nesher) of the O.T., as Tristram has shewn (Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 172 ff.), is properly a vulture,—though not the ordinary carrion vulture, but the Griffon-Vulture, or Great Vulture, a "majestic bird, most abundant, and never out of sight, whether on the mountains or the plains of Palestine. Everywhere it is a feature in the sky, as it circles higher and higher, till lost to all but the keenest sight, and then rapidly swoops down again” (Smith's Dict. of the Bible, ed. 2, i. 815).
were pluckt) were plucked off.
lifted up from the earth] on which, as an animal, it had been lying.
upon the feet] upon two feet.
The first beast was like a lion, with the wings of the Griffon-Vulture: it combined consequently the characteristics of the noblest of quadrupeds and of one of the most majestic of birds—the indomitable strength of the lion, and the power of the vulture to soar securely on high, to descry its prey from afar, and to alight unerringly upon it. It corresponds to the head of gold in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (ii. 32, 38), and denotes, analogously to that, the Babylonian empire (comp. the simile of the lion applied to Nebuchadnezzar in Jer. xlix. 19, and that of the Griffon-Vulture to either Nebuchadnezzar, or his armies, in Jer. xlix. 22; Hab. i. 8; Ez. xvii. 3 (see v. 12); Lam. iv. 19). After a time however a change passes over the figure. Its wings are taken away, i.e. it is deprived of the power of Aight, its rapidity of conquest is stopped ; nevertheless it is lifted up into an erect position, and receives both the form and intelligence of a man. It seems that Ewald, Keil, Pusey (p. 69 f.) and others are right in seeing here an allusion to what is narrated in ch. iv.: the empire is regarded as personified in its head; in Nebuchadnezzar's loss of reason its powers were crippled: during this time he is described (iv. 16) as having a beast's heart; afterwards, when his reason returned, and he glorified God (iv. 34, 37), he
gave proof that he possessed the heart (intelligence) of a man; the animal (i.e. heathen) character of the empire disappeared, and it was, so to say, humanized in the person of its representative.
s And behold, another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the
mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus 6 unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back
8. The second beast.
like to a bear] The bear is a voracious animal, living indeed principally upon roots, bulbs, fruits, and other vegetable products, but, especially when pressed by hunger, ready to attack both the smaller wild and domestic animals, and even man?. In the O.T. it is spoken of as being, next to the lion, the most formidable beast of prey known in Palestine (1 Sam. xvii. 34; Am. v. 19; cf. 2 Ki. ii. 24; Hos. xiii. 8); at the same time it is inferior to the lion in strength and appearance, and is heavy and ungainly in its movements. The kingdom denoted by it corresponds to the 'silver' kingdom of ii. 32, which was 'inferior' (ii. 39) to that of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e. the empire of the Medes; as was pointed out on ii. 39, the book of Daniel represents the Chaldæan empire as succeeded not immediately by Cyrus, but by a Median ruler, Darius,
it had raised up one side] This is the Massoretic reading; R. V. įt was raised up on one side, follows a reading (implying a change of only one point) found in some MSS. and editions, but possessing less authority. The two readings do not however differ materially in meaning; though what either is intended to denote cannot be said to be altogether clear. Perhaps, on the whole, the most probable view is that the trait is intended to indicate the animal's aggressiveness: it is pictured as raising one of its shoulders, so as to be ready to use its paw on that side. (The rendering of A.V. and R. V. marg., 'raised up one dominion,' implies shetar for setar; and is not probable.)
and it had three ribs, &c.] as the prey which it had seized. Those who regard the bear as symbolizing the Medo-Persian empire generally suppose the three ribs to denote Lydia, Babylonia, and Egypt, three prominent countries conquered, the first two by Cyrus, and the third by Cambyses; but it is quite possible that the ribs in the creature's mouth are meant simply as an indication of its voracity, and are not intended as an allusion to three particular countries absorbed by the empire which it represents.
and they said] or, and it was said: see on iv. 25.
Arise, devour much flesh) as its nature would prompt it to do. The Medes are the people whom the Heb. prophets of the exile represent as summoned to destroy Babylon (Is. xiii. 17, xxi. 2; Jer. li. 11, 28); and Is. xiii. 17, 18 gives a graphic picture of the insolence and cruelty of their attack.
6. The third beast. A leopard.
1 Arist. H. N. vii. 5 Tambayov (with reference, as the explanation following shews, to its eating fruits, roots, &c., as well as flesh).
2 See many illustrations from different authorities collected by Bochart, Hieroz. lll. ix. (ii, 138 ff., ed. Leipz. 1794).
of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the 7 night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth : it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the
and, as the Heb. text (K`tib) has the mark of the plural, perhaps we ought to render on its sides (so Bevan, Behrmann).
of a fowl] i.e., as we should now say, of a bird.
The leopard is a fierce, carnivorous animal, remarkable for the swiftness and agility of its attack (cf. Hab. i. 8, where the horses of the Chaldæans are said to be 'swifter than leopards'). It is particularly dangerous to cattle; and “specially noted for the patience with which it waits, extended on the branch of a tree, or a rock near a wateringplace, expecting its prey, on which it springs with a deadly precision. Hence Hos. xiii. 7, as a leopard by the way will I observe them'; Jer. v. 6” (G. E. Post, in Hastings' Dict. of the Bible, s. v.).
Here the four wings upon the leopard's back indicate that it is invested with more than ordinary agility of movement; while the four heads, looking, it may be presumed, towards the four quarters of the earth, are meant apparently to indicate that the empire which it symbolised was to extend in every direction?. It was thus a fit emblem of the Persian empire, the founder of which, Cyrus, astonished the world by the extent and rapidity of his conquests.
and dominion was given to it] emphasizing the vastness of its rule: cf. ii. 39, where the corresponding empire is described as 'ruling over all the earth.'
7, 8. The fourth beast'.
7. dreadful and terrible] The same two words occur in combination in the Targ. of Hab. i. 7, 'terrible and dreadful are they.' The rendering of the second word in R.V., powerful, follows a slightly different reading ('emtāni for 'êmtāni), found in some editions, but less well attested and less probable (it would be a ärač elpnuévov in Aram., and explicable only from the Arabic).
and stamped the residue with the feet of it] in wanton destructiveness and ferocity.
and it was diverse, &c. Each of the beasts was 'diverse' from the others (v. 3); but the terrible appearance of this differentiated it materially from the other three, and placed it in a class by itself. 12 The fourth beast has, moreover, no name; for no one creature, or even combination of creatures (as the lion with vulture's wings in v. 4), could adequately represent it; only words expressive of terribleness, ferocity, and might are accumulated for the purpose of characterizing it
. The empire meant (if the two preceding ones are explained correctly)
1 So at least Keil, Meinhold, Behrmann. Others, however, as von Lengerke, Ew., Hitz., Delitzsch, Kuenen, Bevan, Prince, think that the four heads denote the four kings of Persia referred to in xi. 2.