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I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my 15 body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came 16 near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which
second half of the verse comp. ii. 44, and especially iv. 3b, 346 (of the kingdom of God). All peoples, nations, &c., as iii. 4.
15-28. The explanation of the vision.
15. As for me Daniel, my spirit was pained] or distressed: in modern English we should not say 'grieved' in such a connexion. in the midst of the sheath] or, with a change of punctuation, its sheath, fig. for the body, as the soul's sheath, or receptacle. The word is of Persian origin (nidâna, vessel,' 'receptacle'): it occurs once again in late Heb., 1 Ch. xxi. 27, of the sheath of a sword; and (in the form lidneh for nidneh) several times in the Targums (e.g. Ez. xxi. 8) in the same sense. Levy quotes two passages from the later Jewish literature where it is used in the same application as here: Sanh. 108a 'that their soul should not return to its sheath,' and B'rêshith Rabba § 26 (p. 118 in Wünsche's transl.) 'in the hour (viz. of resurrection) when I bring back the spirit to its sheath, I do not bring back their spirits to their sheaths.' The usage is nevertheless a singular one; and these two passages may be simply based upon this one of Daniel.
has been (בגו נדנה for בגין דנה) The emendation on this account
proposed (Weiss, Buhl, Marti); and LXX. (èv ToÚTOLs) may partly support it it is, however, some objection to it that ', though found in the Palest. Targums, does not otherwise occur in Biblical Aramaic1.
troubled] alarmed (iv. 5). Visions of my head, as v. 1 and iv. 5.
16. one of them that were standing (there)] One of the angels that stood before the Almighty (v. 10), who happened to be nearer than the others to Daniel himself. For the part of interpreter taken by an angel in a vision, cf. Zech. i. 7—vi. 8 passim; and the Apocalypses of Enoch and 2 Esdras. It is characteristic of the later prophecies: in the visions of the earlier prophets (as Am. vii. viii., Is. vi., Jer. i., Ez. ii.—v., viii. ix., &c.), Jehovah speaks Himself to the prophet. We have the transition in Ez. xl.-xlviii., where an angel conducts the prophet, and usually explains things to him (Ez. xl. 3, 4, &c.), though sometimes Jehovah also speaks Himself (xliii. 7-9, xliv. 2, 5, &c.). of all this] better, concerning all this (R.V.).
17. The four beasts represent four kings, or (v. 23) four kingdoms, the 'king' in each case being not an individual king, but a typical king, embodying the characteristics of the empire ruled by him. The angel does not however dwell more fully on the 'beasts,' or interpret their symbolism; but hastens (v. 18) to explain the nature of the kingdom which is to succeed theirs.
1 Nestle would read simply 'in my body' ('', or ').
18 shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom 19 for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and
18. The four kingdoms of the Gentiles will pass away; and be succeeded by the kingdom of the saints of the Most High, which will endure for ever. The saints of the Most High seem here, as also in vv. 22, 27, to take the place of the 'one like unto a son of man' in v. 13, and to receive the same never-ending dominion.
the saints] lit. the holy ones; so vv. 21, 22, 25, 27, viii. 24 (cp. xii. 7). Cf. Ps. xvi. 3, xxxiv. 9. (The word is entirely different from the one (hasid) rendered 'saints' everywhere else in the Psalms, as Ps. xxx. 4, xxxi. 23, xxxvii. 28, &c., and in 1 Sam. ii. 9 [A.V.]; 2 Chron. vi. 41, Prov. ii. 8.) The term, in this application, is an extension of the use of the word 'holy' to denote Israel in its ideal character (Ex. xix. 6; Lev. xi. 44, 45, xix. 2, xx. 7, 26; Deut. vii. 6, xiv. 2, 21, xxxiii. 3 and elsewhere).
the Most High] See on iii. 26. The Hebraizing (and plural) form found here (1) recurs vv. 22, 25 (second time), 27. The plural is probably the so-called 'plural of majesty,' which we have, for instance, in the Heb. of 'holy' in Josh. xxiv. 19, and Prov. ix. 10.
shall receive (v. 31) the kingdom] They will not establish it by their own power (cf. v. 27 'shall be given, &c.).
and possess the kingdom for ever, &c.] Cf. v. 146.
19-22. Daniel asks for further information respecting the fourth beast, and the means by which its power was broken.
19. Then I desired to know the truth concerning, &c. (R.V.)] 'Would' in Old English has often the sense of 'willed,' 'desired'; but in modern English it is not strong enough in a passage like the present. Cf. will in W. A. Wright's Bible Word-Book, who points out that in the A.V. it is sometimes more than a mere auxiliary verb: e.g. Matt. xi. 27 and he to whomsoever the Son will [R.V. willeth to] reveal him,' Luke xiii. 31 'for Herod will [R.V. would fain] kill thee;' John vii. 17 (R.V. willeth to), 1 Tim. v. 11 (R.V. desire to). The case is similar with would, as Col. i. 27, 'To whom God would make known,' &c. (R.V. 'was pleased to make known,'-0λnσev yvwpioa), John i. 43 (also for noéλnoev, R. V. was minded to1).
The description of the fourth beast is in the main repeated from vv. 7, 8; but some traits are noticed here which were not mentioned before.
and his nails of bronze (ii. 32)] Not in v. 7.
1 See a useful little volume, Clapperton's Pitfalls in Bible English (1899), p. 89.
stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns 20 that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgement was 22 given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, 23 The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour
And concerning the ten horns that were on his head, and the other which came up, and before which, &c.] See v. 8.
even of that horn, &c.] and as regards that horn, it had eyes, &c. very great things] great things: the expression is exactly the same as in v. 8.
whose look, &c.] whose appearance was greater than (that of) its fellows. The adj. is the usual one for 'great' in Aramaic. The horn, though called a 'little' one (v. 8), must be supposed to have grown rapidly to a portentous size: cf. esp. viii. 9.
21-22. A recapitulation of the substance of vv. 9-12, and of vv. 13-14, the latter in the phraseology of v. 18,-with a mention of the fact not noticed before, that a war with the 'little horn' had preceded the triumph of the saints.
made war with the saints] Alluding to the violent efforts made by Antiochus Epiphanes to denationalize the Jews and to suppress their religion: cf. v. 25, viii. 10—14, 24, 25.
and prevailed against them] The war was a desperate one; and the 'little horn' would have conquered, had it not been for the intervention of the Most High (v. 22).
the Ancient of days] vv. 9, 13.
judgement was given for, &c. (R.V. marg.)] i.e. was pronounced in their favour. Bevan and Kamph. agree, however, that Ewald was perhaps right in conjecturing that the words so an have dropped out by homœoteleuton before n': the verse would then run, 'and the judgement [sat, and dominion] was given to the saints,' &c. (cf. vv. 106, 14; 26, 27). The rendering to (with the existing text) means that judgement was committed into their hands (1 Cor. vi. 2), an idea alien to the present context: God Himself is here the judge, and by His judgement secures justice for His saints.
and the time came, and, &c.] The time appointed by God for the purpose. Cf. v. 18.
23-27. The answer of the angel.
23. shall be a fourth kingdom, &c.] The fourth beast represents a kingdom different in character from all the kingdoms, i.e. from any of the previous kingdoms, and far more terrible in its operation.
the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be
the whole earth] To be understood with the same limitations as when it is said (ii. 39; cf. also on iv. 1) that the Persian empire should include the whole earth.'
tread it down] The word is used in Hebrew, and at least sometimes in Aramaic, of threshing (which was performed in ancient times by the feet of oxen, Deut. xxv. 4): hence R.V. marg. 'Or, thresh it.' Cf. for the figure Mic. iv. 13; Is. xli. 15.
24. The ten horns are ten kings.
and he (emph.) shall be diverse from the former ones] The king represented by the 'little horn' will differ from the others, viz. by being aggressive and presumptuous.
and he shall subdue three kings] put down (R.V.), as the same word is rendered in the A.V. of v. 19 and Ps. lxxv. 7. Abase, bring down, lay low, is the idea of the word (Is. ii. 12, xxv. 11, 12, xxvi. 5). Cf. v. 8. On the interpretation, see the Additional Note at the end of the Chapter.
25. Expansion of the 'great things' of v. 8 end. He will blaspheme the Most High (cf. xi. 36 will speak marvellous things against the God of gods'), and seek to ruin His saints.
wear away] LXX, катαтρlyει. An expressive figure for continuous persecution and vexation. The idea of the word is to wear or rub away, applied often to clothes (Deut. viii. 4; Josh. ix. 13; Is. 1. 9, al.), though in the usual rendering of A.V., R.V., 'wax old, this is unfortunately obliterated. Cf. Job xiii. 28 and he, like a rotten thing, weareth (or falleth) away'; 1 Ch. xvii. 9 'neither shall the children of unrighteousness any more wear them away' (altered from the 'afflict' of 2 Sam. vii. 10); Is. iii. 15, Targ. 'and the faces of the poor ye wear away' (for Heb. grind).
think to change times and law] The phrase is worded generally; and it is true that Antiochus, according to 1 Macc. i. 41, 42, sought to interfere arbitrarily even with heathen cults: but the allusion is more particularly to the attempts made by him to suppress the Jewish religion by prohibiting the observance of religious festivals and other ordinances of the Law (see 1 Macc. i. 44-49). 'Think' means plan or even hope, a sense which the word used has often in the Targums and in Syriac (Luke xxiv. 21, Pesh.). For 'times' in the sense of fixed times (here, the times fixed for religious observances, the Hebrew mo'ădim, Lev. xxiii. 2, 4 [R. V. set feasts], Is. i. 14 [A.V., R.V., appointed feasts], xxxiii. 20 [A.V., R.V., solemnities]), see in the Targ. Gen. i. 14; Ex. xiii. 10, xxiii. 15; Numb. xxviii. 2; Is. xxxiii. 20 (for 'solemnities'); Jer. viii. 7. By 'law' is meant the Mosaic law, as vi. 5.
given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgement shall sit, and they shall take 26 away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness 27 of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve
until a time and times and half a time (R.V.)] The saints will be given into the hand of this godless king for three years and a half. 'Time' (a different word from that in the preceding clause, and in the note on v. 12 rendered season) has the same sense of year, which it had in iv. 16: the same expression (in its Hebrew form) recurs in xii. 7 (also of the duration of Antiochus' persecution); comp. also Rev. xii. 14. For the particulars of Antiochus' persecution, see the notes on xi. 31. It began with the mission of Apollonius against Jerusalem, probably about June 168, and with the edict of Antiochus which was immediately afterwards put in force (1 Macc. i. 20-53); and it ended (substantially) with the re-dedication of the Temple, after its three years' desecration, on the 25th of Chisleu [Dec.], 165 (1 Macc. iv. 52 f.). This, in all probability, is the period of 3 years which is here intended. The 3 years might also, however, be reckoned from the erection of the heathen altar in the court of the Temple, on the 15th of Chisleu, B.C. 168, to the death of Antiochus, which took place probably about the middle of 164 (see on viii. 14): the terminus a quo would then agree with that of the 1290 days in xii. 11, and the two periods would be (approximately) the same; but the six months before December 168 are more likely to have been included in the period of persecution, than the six months after December 165, when the victories of Judas had stemmed the tide of the persecution, and public worship had been resumed in the Temple.
26-27. At the end of 3 years his power will be taken away from him; and the persecuted saints will receive the kingdom of the entire world.
26. the judgement shall sit, &c.] vv. 10b,
they shall take away his dominion] or, his dominion shall be taken away (cf. v. 12).
to destroy and cause it to perish even unto the end] i.e. finally, for 'Even unto the end,' as vi. 26.
27. of the kingdoms under the whole heaven] not merely the kingdom ruled by the 'little horn,' but all the kingdoms of the earth, will be given then to the saints of the Most High. Under the whole heaven,' as Deut. ii. 25, iv. 19; cf. Job xxviii. 24, xxxvii. 3, xli. II.
its kingdom is, &c.,...shall serve and obey it] The pronouns, as the context shews, must refer to 'people,' not to 'the Most High.' In this verse, even more distinctly than in vv. 18, 22, the universal and never-ending dominion, which in v. 14 is given to the one like unto a son of man,' seems to be conferred upon the people of the saints. For