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iv. 19.



VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS * 239

earth, and humanised, and made to stand on its feet as
a man, and a man's heart is given to it.^

IV. The bear, which places itself upon one side, is
the Median Empire, smaller than the Chaldean, as the
bear is smaller and less formidable than the lion. The
crouching on one side is obscure. It is explained by
some as implying that it was lower in exaltation than
the Babylonian Empire ; by others that " it gravitated,
as regards its power, only towards the countries west
of the Tigris and Euphrates."^ The meaning of the
"three ribs in its mouth" is also uncertain. Some
regard the number three as a vag[ue round number;
others refer it to the three countries over which the
Median dominion extended — Babylonia, Assyria, and
Syria; others, less probably, to the three chief cities.
The command, "Arise, devour much flesh," refers to
the prophecies of Median conquest,' and perhaps to
uncertain historical reminiscences which confused
" Darius the Mede " with Darius the son of Hystaspes.
Those who explain this monster as an emblem, not
of the Median but of the Medo-Persian Empire,
neglect the plain indications of the Book itself, for the
author regards the Median and Persian Empires as
distinct.*

V. The leopard or panther represents the Persian
kingdom.* It has four wings on its back, to indicate



' The use of enosh — not eesh — indicates chastening and weakness.

" Ewald.

' Isa. xiii. 17; Jer. li. 11, 28. Aristotle, H. N., viii. S, calls the bear
vd/iKpayos, " all-devouring." A bear appears as a dream-symbol in an
Assyrian book of auguries (Lenormant, Magte, 492).

* Dan. V. 28, 31, vi. 8, 12, 15, 28, viii. 20, ix. i, xi. i.

' The composite beast of Rev. ziii. 2 combines leopard, bear, and
lion.



240 THE BOOK OF DANIEL

how freely and swiftly it soared to the four quarters of
the world. Its four heads indicate four kings. There
were indeed twelve or thirteen kings of Persia between
B.C. 536 and B.C. 333 ; but the author of the Book of
Daniel, who of course had no books of history before
him, only thinks of the four who were most prominent
in popular tradition — namely (as it would seem), Cyrus,
Darius, Artaxerxes, and Xerxes.^ These are the only
four names which the writer knew, because they are
the only ones which occur in Scripture. It is true that
the Darius of Neh. xii. 22 is not the Great Darius, son
of Hystaspes, but Darius Codomannus (b.c. 424-404).
But this fact may most easily have been overlooked in
uncritical and unhistoric times. And " power was given
to it," for it was far stronger than the preceding kingdom
of the Medes.

VI. The fourth monster won its chief aspect of
terribleness from the conquests of Alexander, which
blazed over the East with such irresistible force and
suddenness.^ The great Macedonian, after his massa-
cres at Tyre, struck into the Eastern world the intense
feeling of terror which we still can recognise in the
narrative of Josephus. His rule is therefore symbolised
by a monster diverse from all the beasts before it in
its sudden leap out of obscurity, in the lightning-like
rapidity of its flash from West to East, and in its
instantaneous disintegration into four separate kingdoms.
It is with one only of those four kingdoms of the
Diadochi, the one which so terribly affected the fortunes
of the Holy Land, that the writer is predominantly

' Comp. viii. 4-8.

'' Battle of the Granicus, b.c. 334 ; Battle of Issus, 333 ; Siege of
Tyre, 332 ; Battle of Arbela, 331 ; Death of Darius, 330. Alexander
died B.C. 323.



VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS 941

concerned — namely, the empire of the Seleucid kings.
It is in that portion of the kingdom — namely, from the
Euxine to the confines of Arabia — that the ten horns
arise which, we are told, symbolise ten kings. It seems
almost certain that these ten kings are intended for : —



1. Seleucus I. (Nicator')^

2. Antiochus I. (Soter) .

3. Antiochus II. (Theos) .

4. Seleucus II. {Kallinikos)

5. Seleucus III. (JCeraunos)
. 6. Antiochus III. (Megas)

7. Seleucus IV. (JPhilopatm)



B.C.

312-280
280-261
261-246
246-226
226-223
223-187
187-176



Then followed the three kings (actual or potential)
who were plucked up before the little horn : namely —

B.C.

8. Demetrius 175

9. Heliodorus 176

10. Ptolemy Pliilometor 181-146

Of these three who succumbed to the machinations
of Antiochus Epiphanes, or the little horn,^ the first,
Demetrius, was the only son of Seleucus Philopator,
and true heir to the crown. His father sent him to
Rome as a hostage, and released his brother Antiochus.
So far from showing gratitude for this generosity,
Antiochus, on the murder of Seleucus IV. (b.c. 175),
usurped the rights of his nephew (Dan. xi. 21).

The second, Heliodorus, seeing that Demetrius the

' This was the interpretation given by the great father Ephrsem
Syrus in the first century. Hitzig, Kuenen, and others coun tfrom
Alexander the Great, and omit Ptolemy Philometor.

' Dan. xi. 21.

16



242 THE BOOK OF DANIEL



heir was out of the way, poisoned Seleucus Philopator,
and himself usurped the kingdom.*

Ptolemy Philometor was the son of Cleopatra, the
sister of Seleucus Philopator. A large party was in
favour of uniting Egypt and Persia under his rule.
But Antiochus Epiphanes ignored the compact which
had made Coele-Syria and Phoenicia the dower of
Cleopatra, and not only kept Philometor from his
rights, but would have deprived him of Egypt also but
for the strenuous interposition of the Romans and their
ambassador M. Popilius Lsenas.'

When the three horns had thus fallen before him, the
little horn — Antiochus Epiphanes — sprang into promi-
nence. The mention of his " eyes " seems to be a
reference to his shrewdness, cunning, and vigilance.*
The " mouth that spoke very great things " * alludes to
the boastful arrogance which led him to assume the
title of Epiphanes, or " the illustrious '' — which his
scornful subjects changed into Epimanes, " the mad " —
and to his assumption even of the title Theos, "the
god," on some of his coins.' His look " was bigger

' Appian, Syr., 45 ; Liv., xli. 24. The story of his attempt to rob
the Temple at Jerusalem, rendered so famous by the great picture of
Raphael in the Vatican stanze, is not mentioned by Josephus, but only
in 2 Mace. iii. 24-40. In 4 Mace, it is told, without the miracle, of Apollo-
nius. There can be little doubt that something of the kind happened,
but it was perhaps due to an imposture of the Jewish high priest.

' Porphyry interpreted the three kings who succumbed to the little
horn to be Ptolemy Philometor, Ptolemy Euergetes II., and Artaxias,
King of Armenia. The critics who begin the ten kings with Alexander
the Great count Seleucus IV. (Philopator) as one of the three who
were supplanted by Antiochus. Von Gutschmid counts as one of the
three a younger brother of Demetrius, said to have been murdered by
Antiochus (MuUer, Fr. Hist. Grac, iv. 558).

° Comp. viii. 23.

* Comp. XaXeik' iiiyaKa (Rev. xiii. 5) ; Horn., Od., xvi. 243.

• Comp. xi, 36.



VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS • 243

than his fellows," for he inspired the kings of Egypt
and other countries with terror. " He made war against
the saints," with the aid of " Jason and Menelaus, those
ungodly wretches," and " prevailed against them." He
" wore out the saints of the Most High," for he took
Jerusalem by storm, plundered it, slew eighty thousand
men, women, and children, took forty thousand prisoners,
and sold as many into slavery (b.c. 170).* "As he
entered the sanctuary to plunder it, under the guidance
of the apostate high priest Menelaus, he uttered words
of blasphemy, and he carried off all the gold and silver
he could find, including the golden table, altar of
incense, candlesticks, and vessels, and even rifled the
subterraneous vaults, so that he seized no less than
eighteen hundred talents of gold." * He then sacrificed
swine upon the altar, and sprinkled the whole Temple
with the broth.

Further than all this, " he thought to change times and
laws " ; and they were " given into his hand until a time,
and two times, and a half." For he made a determined
attempt to put down the Jewish feasts, the Sabbath,
circumcision, and all the most distinctive Jewish ordi-
nances.' In B.C. 167, two years after his cruel devasta-
tion of the city, he sent ApoUonius, his chief collector
of tribute, against Jerusalem, with an army of twenty-
two thousand men. On the first Sabbath after his

' Jos., B.J., I. i. 2, VI. X. I. In Antt., XII. v. 3, Josephus says he
took Jerusalem by stratagem.

' Jahn, Hebr. Commonwealth, § xciv. ; Ewald, Hist, oj Isr,, v.

• 2 Mace, iv. 9-15 '■ " The priests had no courage to serve any
more at the altar, but despising the Temple, and neglecting the
sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of the unlawful allowance in the
place of exercise, after the game of Discus , . . not setting by the honours
of their fathers, but liking the glory of the Grecians best of all "



244 THE BOOK OF DANIEL

arrival, Apollonius sent his soldiers to massacre all the
men whom they met in the streets, and to seize the
women and children as slaves. He occupied the castle
on Mount Zion, and prevented the Jews from attending
the public ordinances of their sanctuary. Hence in
June B.C. 167 the daily sacrifice ceased, and the Jews
fled for their lives from the Holy City. Antiochus
then published an edict forbidding all his subjects in
Syria and elsewhere — even the Zoroastrians in Armenia
and Persia — to worship any gods, or acknowledge any
religion but his.* The Jewish sacred books were burnt,
and not only the Samaritans but many Jews apostatised,
while others hid themselves in mountains and deserts.'
He sent an old philosopher named Athenaeus to
instruct the Jews in the Greek religion, and to en-
force its observance. He dedicated the Temple to Zeus
Olympios, and built on the altar of Jehovah a smaller
altar for sacrifice to Zeus, to whom he must also have
erected a statue. This heathen altar was set up on
Kisleu (December) 15, and the heathen sacrifice began
on Kisleu 25. All observance of the Jewish Law was
now treated as a capital crime. The Jews were forced
to sacrifice in heathen groves at heathen altars, and to
walk, crowned with ivy, in Bacchic processions. Two
women who had braved the despot's wrath by cir-
cumcising their children were flung from the Temple
battlements into the vale below.'

The triumph of this blasphemous and despotic

' I Mace. i. 29-40; 2 Mace. v. 24-26; Jos., AnH., XII. v. 4. Comp.
Dan. xi. 30, 31. See Sehurer, i. 155 ff.

' Jerome, Comm. in Dan., viii., ix. ; Tac, Hisl., v. 8; i Mace. i.
41-53 ; 2 Mace. v. 27, vi. 2 ; Jos., Antt., XII. v. 4.

' I Mace. ii. 41-64, iv. 54; 2 Mace. vi. I-9, x. 5; Jos., Antt.,
XII. V. 4; Dan. xi. 31.



/



VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS 245



savagery was arrested, first by the irresistible force of
determined martyrdom which preferred death to un-
faithfulness, and next by the armed resistance evoked
by the heroism of Mattathias, the priest at Modin.
Whpn Apelles visited the town, and ordered the Jews
to sacrifice, Mattathias struck down with his own hand
a Jew who was preparing to obey. Then, aided by his
strong heroic sons, he attacked Apelles, slew him and
his soldiers, tore down the idolatrous altar, and with
his sons and adherents fled into the wilderness, where
they were joined by many of the Jews.

The news of this revolt brought Antiochus to Pales-
tine in B.C. 166, and among his other atrocities he
ordered the execution by torture of the venerable scribe
Eleazar, and of the pious mother with her seven sons.
In spite of all his efforts the party of the Chasidim
grew in numbers and in strength. When Mattathias
died, Judas the Maccabee became their leader, and his
brother Simon their counsellor.' While Antiochus was
celebrating his mad and licentious festival at Daphne,
Judas inflicted a severe defeat on Apollonius, and won
other battles, which made Antiochus vow in an access
of fury that he would exterminate the nation (Dan. xi.
44). But he found himself bankrupt, and the Persians
and Armenians were revolting from him in disgust.
He therefore sent Lysias as his general to Judaea, and
Lysias assembled an immense army of forty thousand
foot and seven thousand horse, to whom Judas could
only oppose six thousand men.^ Lysias pitched his
camp at Beth-shur, south of Jerusalem. There Judas

' Maccabee perhaps means " the Hammerer " (comp. the names
Charles Martel and Malleus haretieorum). Simeon was called
Tadshi, " he increases " (? Gk., Qauaii),

^ The numbers vary in the records.



246 THE BOOK OF DANIEL

attacked him with irresistible valour and confidence,
slew five thousand of his soldiers, and drove the rest to
flight.

Lysias retired to Antioch, intending to renew the
invasion next year. Thereupon Judas and his army
recaptured Jerusalem, and restored and cleansed and
reconsecrated the dilapidated and desecrated sanctuary.
He made a new shewbread-table, incense-altar, and
candlestick of gold in place of those which Antiochus
had carried off, and new vessels of gold, and a new
veil before the Holiest Place. All this was completed
on Kisleu 25, B.C. 165, about the time of the winter
solstice, " on the same day of the year on which, three
years before, it had been profaned by Antiochus, and
just three years and a half — 'a time, two times, and
half a time' — after the city and Temple had been
desolated by Apollonius." ^ They began the day by
renewing the sacrifices, kindling the altar and the
candlestick by pure fire struck by flints. The whole
law of the Temple service continued thenceforward
without interruption till the destruction of the Temple
by the Romans. It was a feast in commemoration of
this dedication — called the Encaenia and " the Lights "
— -which Christ honoured by His presence at Jerusalem.*

The neighbouring nations, when they heard of this
revolt of the Jews, and its splendid success, proposed
to join with Antiochus for their extermination. But
meanwhile the king, having been shamefully repulsed
in his sacrilegious attack on the Temple of Artemis at
Elymais, retired in deep chagrin to Ecbatana, in Media.
It was there that he heard of the Jewish successes and



' Prideaux, Connection, ii. 21'' Comp. Rev. xii. 14, xi. 2, 3.
• John X. 22.



VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS ^ 247

set out to chastise the rebels. On his way he heard
of the recovery of Jerusalem, the destruction of his
heathen altars, and the purification of the Temple.
The news flung him into one of those paroxysms of
fury to which he was liable, and, breathing out threaten-
ings and slaughter, he declared that he would turn
Jerusalem into one vast cemetery for the whole Jewish
race. Suddenly smitten with a violent internal malady,
he would not stay his course, but still urged his
charioteer to the utmost speed.^ In consequence of
this the chariot was overturned, and he was flung
violently to the ground, receiving severe injuries. He
was placed in a litter, but, unable to bear the agonies
caused by its motion, he stopped at Tabse, in the
mountains of Parsetacene, on the borders of Persia and
Babylonia, where he died, B.C. 164, in very evfl case,
half mad with the furies of a remorseful conscience.^
The Jewish historians say that, before his death, he
repented, acknowledged the crimes he had committed
against the Jews, and vowed that he would repair them
if he survived. The stories of his death resemble
those of the deaths of Herod, of Galerius, of Philip II.,
and of other bitter persecutors of the saints of God.
Judas the Maccabee, who had overthrown his power in
Palestine, died at Eleasa in B.C. 161, after a series of
brilliant victories.

Such were the fortunes of the king whom the writer
shadows forth under the emblem of the little horn with

' On the death ot Antiochus see i Mace. vi. 8; 2 Mace. ix. ;
Polybius, xxxi. II; Jos., Antt., XII. ix. i, 2.

■' Polybiiis, De yirt. et Vit., Eic. Vales, p. 144; Q. Curtius, v. 13;
Strabo, xi. 522; Appian, Syriaca, xlvi. 80; i Mace, vi.; 2 Mace. ix. ;
Jos., AntU, XII. ix. I ; Prideaux, ii. 217 ; Jahn, Hebr. Commonwealth
§ xcvi.



248 THE BOOK OF DANIEL

human eyes and a mouth which spake blasphemies,
whose power was to be made transitory, and to be
annihilated and destroyed unto the end.* And when
this wild beast was slain, and its body given to the
burning fire, the rest of the beasts were indeed to be
deprived of their splendid dominions, but a respite of
life is given them, and they are suffered to endure for
a time and a period.'

But the eternal life, and the imperishable dominion,
which were denied to them, are given to another in the
epiphany of the Ancient of Days. The vision of the
seer is one of a great scene of judgment. Thrones are
set for the heavenly assessors, and the Almighty ap-
pears in snow-white raiment, and on His chariot-throne
of burning flame which flashes round Him like a vast
photosphere.' The books of everlasting record are
opened before the glittering faces of the myriads of
saints who accompany Him, and the fiery doom is
passed on the monstrous world-powers who would fain
usurp His authority.*

But who is the "one even as a son of man," who
" comes with the clouds of heaven," and who is brought
before the Ancient of Days,"* to whom is given the
imperishable dominion ? That he is not an angel



' Dan. vii. 26.

' Dan. vii. 12. This is only explicable at all — and then not clearly
— on the supposition that the fourth beast represents Alexander and
the Diadochi. See even Piisey, p. 78.

' Ezek. i. 26 ; Psalm 1. 3. Comp. the adaptation of this vision in
Enoch xlvi. 1-3.

* Isa. 1. II, Ix. 10-12, Ixvi. 24, Joel iii. I, 2. See Rev. i. 13. In
the Gospels it is not " a son of man," but generally ulAs toB anSpilnrou.
Comp. Matt. xvi. 13, xxiv. 30; John xii. 34; Acts vii. 56; Justin,
Dial. c. Tryph., 31.

» Comp. Mark xiv. 62 ; Rev. i. 7 ; Horn., //., v. 867, ofiov vetphariv.



VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS 249

appears from the fact that he seems to be separate
from all the ten thousand times ten thousand who
stand around the cherubic chariot. He is not a man,
but something more. In this respect he resembles the
angels described in Dan. viii. 15, x. 16-18. He has
"the appearance of a man," and is " like the similitude
of the sons of men." *

We should naturally answer, in accordance with the
multitude of ancient and modern commentators both
Jewish and Christian, that the Messiah is intended ;* and,
indeed, our Lord alludes to the prophecy in Matt. xxvi.
64. That the vision is meant to indicate the establish-
ment of the Messianic theocracy cannot be doubted.
But if we follow the interpretation given by the angel
himself in answer to Daniel's entreaty, the personality
of the Messiah seems to be at least somewhat subordi-
nate or indistinct. For the interpretation, without men-
tioning any person, seems to point only to the saints
of Israel who are to inherit and maintain that Divine
kingdom which has been already thrice asserted and
prophesied. It is the " holy ones " {Qaddishin), " the
holy ones of the Most High " (Qaddisht Elionin), upon
whom the never-ending sovereignty is conferred ; ' and
who these are cannot be misunderstood, for they are
the very same as those against whom the little horn
has been engaged in war.* The Messianic kingdom is

' Comp. Ezek. i. 26.

" It is so understood by the Book of Enoch ; the Talmud (Sanhedrin,
f. 98, l) ; the early father Justin Martyr, Dial. e. Tryph., 31, etc. Some
of the Jewish commentators (^e.g., Abn Ezra) understood it of the
people of God, and so Hofmann, Hitzig, Meinhold, etc. See Behrmann,
Dan., p. 48.

' Dan. iv. 3, 34, vi. 26. See Schflrer, ii. 247; Wellhausen, Dit
Pharis. u. Sadd., 24 ff.

• Dan. vii. 16, 22, 23, 27.



25© THE BOOK OF DANIEL

here predominantly represented as the spiritual supre-
macy of the chosen people. Neither here, nor in ii. 44,
nor in xii. 3, does the writer separately indicate any
Davidic king, or priest upon his throne, as had been
already done by so many previous prophets.* This
vision does not seem to have brought into prominence
the rule of any Divinely Incarnate Christ over the king-
dom of the Highest. In this respect the interpretation
of the " one even as a son of man " comes upon us as
a surprise, and seems to indicate that the true interpre-
tation of that element of the vision is that the kingdom
of the saints is there personified ; so that as wild beasts
were appropriate emblems of the world-powers, the
reasonableness and sanctity of the saintly theocracy
are indicated by a human form, which has its origin in
the clouds of heaven, not in the miry and troubled sea.
This is the view of the Christian father Ephrsem Syrus,
as well as of the Jewish exegete Abn Ezra ; and it is
supported by the fact that in other apocryphal books of
the later epoch, as in the Assumption of Moses Mi^^ ie
Book of Jubilees, the Messianic hope is concjH^^Kin
the conception that the holy
dominance over the Gentiles,
that, if truth is to guide
prepossession, we must
writer, not from the emblems
the divinely imparted interpre
the figure of "one as
(w. 18, 22, 27) expla
Himself, but for " 1



' Zech. ix. 9.

' See SchOrer, ii. 13;
xxxii. 18, 19, xxxiii. I
Baruch ii. 27-3S ; Tobi'




VISION OF THE FOUR WILD BEASTS * 231

whose dominion Christ's coming should inaugurate and
secure.

The chapter closes with the words : " Here is the end
of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts much
troubled me, and my brightness was changed in me :
but I kept the matter in my heart."

Messianic King appears more distinctly in Orac. SibylL, iii.; in parts
of the Book of Enoch (of which, however, xlv.-lvii. are of unknown
date); and the Psalms of Solomon. In Philo we seem to have
traces of the Ring as well as of the kingdom. See Drummond, The
Jtwish Mtssiah, pp. 10 £f. ; Stanton, The Jewish and Christian BItssiah,
pp. 109-I18.



CHAPTER II
THE RAM AND THE HE-GOAT

THIS vision is dated as having occurred in the
third year of Belshazzar ; but it is not easy to see
the significance of the date, since it is almost exclusively
occupied with the establishment of the Greek Empire,
its dissolution into the kingdoms of the Diadochi, and
the godless despotism of King Antiochus Epiphanes.

The seer imagines himself to be in the palace o
Shushan : " As I beheld I was in the castle of Shushan." '
It has been supposed by some that Daniel was really
there upon some business connected with the kingdom
of Babylon. But this view creates a needless difficulty.
Shushan, which the Greeks called Susa, and the Persians
Shush (now Shushter), " the city of the lily," was " the
palace " or fortress (birah ^) of the Achaemenid kings
of Persia, and it is most unlikely that a chief officer
of the kingdom of Babylon should have been there in
the third year of the imaginary King Belshazzar, just
when Cyrus was on the eve of capturing Babylon with-
out a blow. If Belshazzar is some dim reflection of
the son of Nabunaid (though he never reigned), Shushan

' Ezra vi. 2 ; Neh. i. I ; Herod., v. 49 ; Polyb., v. 48. A supposed
tomb of Daniel has long been revered at Shushan.

' Pers., baru; Skr., bura; Assyr., birlu; Gk., /3d/Ms. Comp. i£sch.,
Pers. 554; Herod., ii. 96.

252



THE RAM AND THE HE-GOAT 253



was not then subject to the King of Babylonia. But
the ideal presence of the prophet there, in vision, is
analogous to the presence of the exile Ezekiel in Jeru-
salem (Ezek. xl. i); and these transferences of the
prophets to the scenes of their operation were some-
times even regarded as bodily, as in the legend of
Habakkuk taken to the lions' den to support Daniel.

Shushan is described as being in the province ol
Elam or Elymais, which may be here used as a general
designation of the district in which Susiana was in-
cluded. The prophet imagines himself as standing by
the river-basin {pobdl^') of the Ulai, which shows that
we must take the words " in the castle of Shushan " in
an ideal sense ; for, as Ewald says, " it is only in a
dream that images and places are changed so rapidly."
The Ulai is the river called by the Greeks the Eulaeus,
now the KarOn.''

Shushan is said by Pliny and Arrian to have been
on the river Eulaeus, and by Herodotus to have been
on the banks of

"Choaspes, amber stream,
The drink of none but kings."

It seems now to have been proved that the Ulai was
merely a branch of the Choaspes or Kerkhah.^



Online LibraryW. Robertson (William Robertson) NicollThe Expositor's Bible → online text (page 55 of 61)