[b-hebrew] Four Beasts in Daniel

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 06:49:09 EDT 2006

On 9/13/06, Harold Holmyard wrote:

> But in verse 29 [11:30] it is mentioned that when the king of the
> north (Syria) attacks the king of the south (Egypt), the ships of
> Kittim will come against him.  Kittim here represents Rome.
> Remember that both the kings of the north and south represent
> remnants of the Greek kingdom, so Kittim is not Greece but Rome.
> historical treatments of Daniel 11 have the details at hand.

Geza Vermes' translation of the DSS has a lengthy introduction where
he identifies Kittim of Dan 11:30 as the Romans:

  ...  But from the second century BCE, Jewish writers also used
  'Kittim' to denote the greatest world power of the day.  In 1
  Maccabees (1:1, 8:5), they are Greeks; Alexander the Great and
  Perseus are called kings of the 'Kittim'.  In Daniel 11:30 on the
  other hand, the 'Kittim' are Romans;  it was the ambassador of the
  Roman senate, [Popilius] Laenas, brought to Alexandria by 'ships of
  Kittim', who instructed the 'king of the North', the Selecuid monarch
  Antiochus Epiphanes, to withdraw at once from Egypt.  The term
  'Romans' is substituted for 'Kittim' already in the old Greek or
  Septuagint version of Daniel 11:30.  None of these texts is critical
  of the 'Kittim'.  They are seen as the ruling force of the time, but not
  as hostile to Israel.  In fact, in Daniel they humiliate the enemy of
  the Jews. (4th ed, p. 33)

There are various problems with Vermes' treatment.  He first
(before this quote) notes how Josephus refers to the maritime people
as "Kittim".  Then he goes back to the 2nd century BCE to use it to
refer to the ruling power of the day.  Then in Daniel it is Romans,
while 1 Maccabees it is still Greeks.  So how is it the ruling power
of the day if we both agree that Daniel was authored before 1
Maccabees?  I find the following suggestion much more persuasive:


I note that "cyym ktym" is a problematic pair of words.  If it meant to
say "ships of ktym" it should have said "cyy ktym".  As it stands now,
and in view of the above suggestion, we can suggest that this is the
result of haplography: "cyym mktym" -> "cyym ktym".  Also, perhaps
this was further complicated by the identification in Roman times of
"ktym" with the Romans and the understanding that this does indeed
refer to Popilius.  Since the ships were known to not have departed from
Rome, "cyym mktym" appeared wrong to a later editor.

Yitzhak Sapir

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