[b-hebrew] Four Beasts in Daniel

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 16:05:18 EDT 2006

Answering Shoshanna first, no, I do not agree that the final part in
Daniel's prophecy speaks of Rome.  Besides the "ktym" reference
where it is not at all clear that ktym refers to Rome (and probably
does not) even if it refers to an action on behalf of Rome during the
time of Antiochus Epiphanes (the Hannukah Antiochus during the
Greek period), ktym does not refer to a kingdom that could compare
with the way Greece, Media, Persia or Babylon are described.

On 9/13/06, K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com> wrote:

> One question is: are all the visions of Daniel complementary, i.e.
> working together while each has some details not in the other, or are
> they each unique and to be taken separately?
> If the former, then a clue to the identities of the beasts in chapter
> seven would be found in chapter eight, where it is clear that one
> beast was for the Medo-Persian empire, and another for the Hellenistic
> kingdoms. Further the Hellenistic kingdoms are shown to be four. In
> fact, throughout Daniel's prophecies, Alexander's kingdom is shown as
> splitting into four.

I think that while Ch. 8 can throw light on the identity of the kingdoms,
simply saying that one beast in one vision = one beast in another vision
is a rather superficial comparison.  More significant is the wording of the
text where it is apparent that the author of Daniel uses the word king
relatively interchangeably with kingdom.  Thus, in Daniel 7:17, "These
four beasts are four kings" (mlkyn) ... but in 7:23 the fourth beast is a
"fourth kingdom" (mlkw).  But Daniel 8 speaks of the ram as "kings"
of Media and of Persia.  In fact, the word "kings" is used in close
proximity to the word "horns" that it's not clear if the verse says, "And
as for the ram with the horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia"
or whether the verse refers to the ram itself as representing the kings of
Media and Persia.  Another important comparison is the size of these
horns and their order.  Daniel 8 speaks of one horn being much more
inferior and the larger one coming up last.  This seems directly to
match Daniel 2's description of the size of the empires where the
second is described as inferior, but the third as much larger.  Supporting
all this is the fact that the book of Daniel doesn't speak of a single
king of Media and Persia (compared with a book like Esther that does).
The king related to Media (Darius) is consistently named as solely
Median.  This seems to speak for the kingdom envisioned as
exclusively Media rather than both Median and Persian.  Of
course, we can also compare the usage of the little horn on the
greece beast in Daniel 8:9 as opposed to the little horn on the
fourth beast in Daniel 7:8.  All this seems to speak for the
symbology in Daniel 7 and 8 indeed being complimentary but
speaking of three separate kingdoms of Media, Persia, and
Greece, rather than a united Median-Persian kingdom.  And
if we mentioned that the Hellenistic kingdom is always divided,
the fourth kingdom is the only one mentioned to be divided
in Daniel 2:41.

Yitzhak Sapir

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