« PreviousContinue »
In the former vision there appeared four beasts, because there four empires were represented : but here are only two, because here we have a representation of what was transacted chiefly within two empires. The first of the four empires, that is, the Babylonians, is wholly omitted here, for its fate was sufficiently known, and it was now drawing very near to a conclusion. The second empire in the former vision, is the first in this : and what was there compared to a bear, is here prefigured by a ram. Then I lifted up mine eyes,' saith Daniel, ver. 3,—and saw, and behold, there stood before the river, a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high ; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.”—This ram, with two horns according to the explanation of the angel Gabriel, was the empire of the Medes and Persians, ver.—20,- the ram which thou sawest having two horns, are the kings' or kingdoms of Media and Persia. "The source of this figure of horns for kingdoms," as a learned writer observes, “must be derived from the oriental languages, in which the same word signifies a horn, and a crown, and power, and splendor. Whence a horn was an ensign of royalty among the Phænicians, and the Hebrew word op keren or a horn, is several times by the Chaldee paraphrasts rendered xoiabo malchutha, or a kingdom: and horns are frequently used for kings and kingdoms in the Old Testament.”* This empire therefore, which was formed by the conjunction of the Medes and Persians, and is often called the Medo Persian, was not unfitly represented by a ram with two horns. Cyrus, the founder of this empire, was son of Cambyses king of Persia, and by his mother Mandane was grandson of Astyages king of Media ;t and afterwards marrying the daughter and only child of his uncle Cyaxares king of Media, he succeeded to both crowns, and united the kingdoms of Media and Persia. It was a coalition of two very formidable powers, and therefore it is said that
the two horns were high: but one, it is added, ' was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.' The kingdom of Media was the more ancient of the two, and more famous in history ; Persia was of little note or account till the time of Cyrus : but under
* Quam melius itaque ex linguis' orientis potuisset hujus rei fons erui? quibus, ut id est jam contritum, eadem voce cornu, corona, potentia ac splendor nuncupantur Uude cornu, regium insigne apud Phænices, et Hebræorum op seu cornu Chaldæis interpretibus aliquoties xoiabo seu regnum redditur, ut vidit illustris Grotius ; et cornua pro regno et regibus passim in veteri foedere. [Translated in the text.) Spanheim de Usu Numismatum, vol. i. Diss. 7, p. 400.
+ Xenophon Cyropæd: lib. 1 & 8.
Cyrus the Persians gained and maintained the ascendant; some authors* say that Cyrus subdued the king of the Medes by force of arms; and his son Cambysest on his death-bed earnestly exhorted the Persians not to suffer the kingdom to return again to the Medes. But a question still remains, why that empire, which was before likened to a bear for its cruelty, should now be repre sented by a ram? Mr. Mede's conjecture is ingenious and plausible enough, that the Hebrew word for a ram, and the Hebrew word for Persia, both springing from the same root, and both implying something of strength, the one is not improperly made the type of the other. # The propriety of it appears farther from hence, as is suggested likewise by another writer in the general preface to Mr. Mede's works, that it was usual for the king of Persia “ to wear a ram's head made of gold, and adorned with precious stones, instead of a diadem;"$ for so Ammianus Marcellinus describes him. Bishop Chandler and others farther observe, || that“ rams' heads with horrs, one higher and the other lower, are still to be seen on the pillars at Persepolis.”
The great exploits of the ram are recapitulated in the next verse : ver. 4,— I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand, but he did according to his will, and became great.'
Under Cyrus himself, the Persians pushed their conquests westward as far as the Ægean sea and the bounds of Asia :northward they subdued the Armenians, Cappadocians, and various other nations :t southward they conquered Egypt, if not under Cyrus as Xenophon affirms,f yet most certainly under Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus. Under Darius they subdued India, but in the prophecy no mention is made of their conquests in the east, because those countries lay very remote from the Jews, and were of little concern or consequence to them. The ram was strong and powerful, “ so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there
* Herod. lib. 1, sect. 130, p. 56, edit. Gale. Strabo, lib, 15, p. 730, edit. Paris. 1620, p. 1062, edit. Amstel. 1707. Justin, lib. I, cap. 6. + Herod. lib. 3, sect. 65, p. 188, edit. Gale.
--quis suspicari possit, etiam arietis de rege Persarum in eadem visione typum, ad nominis Elam (quod alterum duorum est quo ea gens appelletur) significatum alludere box enim Hebræis (unde nomen 548 aries) et She atque Dhy Chaldæis, idem significant, nempe fortem seu robustum esse. Forte igitur big Elam istis, ut illis box arietem sonabat, indeque rex Elam hoc typo Danieli figuratur. [Who would have suspected that the type of a ram, which in the same vision represents the king of the Persians, should allude to the signification of the word Elam (one of the two appellations for Persia :) for Sage in the Hebrew (whence box a ram) and she and Sby in the Chaldee have the same import, namely, strong or robust. Perhaps, therefore, Sboy Elam in the Chaldee and boxe a ram in the Hebrew were synonimous , and hence the king of Persia is represented to Daniel by this figure.] Mede's Works, b. 3. Com. A poc
---aureum capitis arietini figmentum interstinctum lapillis pro diademate gestans. [Translated in the text.] Amm. Marcell. lib. 19, cap 1, p. 208, edit. Valesii, Paris, 1681.
|| Bishop Chandler's Vindication, chap. 1, seci. 4, p. 104. Aries item bicornis inter rudera Persepoleos. [A ram with two horns is to be seen among the ruins of Per. sepolis.) Wetstein in Rev. xiii. 11.
that could deliver out of his hand ;' that is, none of the neighbouring kingdoms were able to contend with the Persians, but all fell under their dominion. He did according to his will, and became great:' and the Persian empire was increased and enlarged to such a degree, that it extended, Esther i. 1,— from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven-and-twenty provinces;' so that seven provinces were added to the hundred and twenty, Dan. vi. 1, which it contained in the time of Cyrus.
After the ram the he-goat appears next upon the scene. * And as I was considering,' saith Daniel, ver. 5,— behold, an he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground : and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.' Which is thus interpreted by the angel Gabriel, ver. 21,--The rough goat is the king of Grecia, and the great horn that is between his eyes, is the first king,' or kingdom. A goat is very properly made the type of the Grecian or Macedonian empire, because the Macedonians at first, about two hundred years before Daniel, were denominated Ægeadæ or the goat's people ; and upon this occasion, as heathen authors report: Caranus, their first king, going with a great multitude of Greeks to seek new habitations in Macedonia, was commanded by the oracle to take the goats for his guides to empire ; and afterwards seeing a herd of goats flying from a violent storm, he followed them to Edessa, and there fixed the seat of his empire, made the goats his ensigns or standards, and called the city • Ægeæ' or 'the goat's town,' and the people
Ægeadæ' or 'the goat's people. This observation is likewise owing to the most excellent Mr. Mede : 1 and to this may be added that the city Ægeæ or Ægæ was the usual burying-place of the
* Herod. lib. 1, Xenophon. Cyropæd. lib. 7. + Xenoph. ibid. lib. 3 & 7.
1 Xenoph. ibid. lib. 1 & 8. Herod. lib. 3.
|| Herod. lib. 4, cap. 44, p. 239, edit. Galo. Nec deesse videtur hujusmodi allusionis exemplum apud Danielem, cap. 8, ubi Macedones, qui tunc temporis Ægeades (hoc est, Caprini) dicebantur, typo caprarum,
Macedonian kings.* It is also very remarkable, that Alexander's son by Roxana was named Alexander Ægus or the son of the goat ;' and some of Alexander's successors are represented in their coins with goat's horns.† This he-goat, 'came from the west:' and who is ignorant that Europe lieth westward of Asia ? He came
on the face of the whole earth,' carrying every thing before him in all the three parts of the world then known : and he touched not the ground,' his marches were so swift and his conquests so rapid, that he might be said in a manner to fly over the ground without touching it. For the same reason the same empire in the former vision was likened to 'a leopard, which is a swift nimble animal, and, to denote the greater quickness and impetuosity, to a leopard with four wings. “And the goat had a notable horn between his eyes ;' this horn, saith the angel, is the first king,' or kingdom of the Greeks in Asia, which was erected by Alexander rexque hirci figura designatur. Ecce, inquit, hircus caprarum' (id est, caprarum maritus) 'venit ab occidente,' &c. Innuit autem Alexandrum magnum, Ægeadum regem. Nli Macedones sunt. Ita enim gens ista vocabatur qua prima regni sedes erat, a Carano conditore, ducentis plus minus ante Danielem annis. Occasionem nominis ex Trogo refert epitomator Justinus, lib. 7, cujus verba ascribere non gravabor. “Caranus inquit, cum magna multitudine Græcorum, sedes in Macedonia responsp oraculi jussus quærere, cum in Æmathiam venisset, urbem Edessam non sentientibus oppidanis propter imbrium et nebulæ magnitudinem, gregem caprarum imbrem fugientium secutus, occupavit: revocatusquc in memoriam oraculi, quo jussus erat ducibus capris imperium quærere, regni sedem statuit ; religioseque postea observavit, quocunque agmen moveret, ante signa easdem capras habere, cocptorum duces habiturus quas regni habuerat authores. Urbem Edessam ob memoriam muneris Ægeas, populum Ægeadas vocavit.” [An instance of this sort of allusion occurs in Daniel, chap. 8, where the Macedonians, at that time called Ægedæ (which implies the nation of the goat) are represented under the symbol of a goat, while their king is designated by the same figure. 'Behold,' he says, 'a he-goat, comes from the west,' &c. by which he intimates Alexander the Great, king of the Ægeadæ, that is, of the Macedonians: For by such name was this people distinguished upon the first establishment of the empire by its founder Caranus, about two hundred years before the time of Daniel. The occasion is related by Justin, the the epitomizer of Trogus, in the seventh book, whose words I shall not think it tedious to cite: "Caranus,” he observes, "with a great number of Greeks, being directed by the oracle to seek out a settlement in Macedonia, when he arrived in Æmathia, seized upon the city Edessa. This city he ohtained through the agency of a large flock of goats, which had been driven there for shelter ; the inhabitants not perceiving his entrance, from the extreme density of the mist, and heaviness of the rain. This circumstance recalled the mandate of the oracle, which commanded him to seek an establishment, under the conduct of a herd of goats. On which account he religiously adopted goats as the standards of his army, and still retained them as his leaders, who had proved the source of his good fortune. In commemoration of which, the city Edessa he called Ægeæ, and the people Ægeadæ.”] Vide cætera. Mede's Works, b. 3, Com. Apoc. p. 473, 474.
* Plin. lib. 4, cap. 10, sect. 17, p. 200, edit. Hurduin. Vide etiam notas Harduini † Spanheim de Usu Numismatum, vol. 1, Dessert. 7, p. 389 & 399.
the Great, and continued for some years in his brother Philip Aridæus, and his two young sons Alexander Ægus and Hercules Dean Prideaux, speaking of the swiftness of Alexander's marches, hath a passage, which is very pertinent to our present purpose : “He flew with victory swifter than others can travel, often with his horse pursuing his enemies upon the spur whole days and nights, and sometimes making long marches for several days one after the other, as once he did in pursuit of Darius of near forty miles a day for eleven days together. So that by the speed of his marches he came upon his enemy before they were aware of him, and conquered them before they could be in a posture to resist him. Which exactly agreeth with the description given of him in the prophecies of Daniel some ages before, he being in them set forth under the similitude of a panther or leopard with four wings : for he was impetuous and fierce in his warlike expeditions, as a panther after its prey, and came on upon his enemies with that speed, as if he flew with a double pair of wings. And to this purpose he is in another place of those prophecies compared to an he-goat coming from the west with that swiftness upon the king of Media and Persia, that he seemed as if his feet did not touch the ground. And his actions, as well in this comparison as in the former, fully verified the prophecy."*
In the two next verses we have an account of the Grecians over- , throwing the Persian empire : ver. 6, 7,~' And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.
And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two homs; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him; and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.' The ram had before pushed westward,' and the Persians, in the reigns of Darius Hystaspis and Xerxes, had poured down with great armies into Greece;t but now the Grecians in return carried their arms into Asia, and the he-goat invaded the ram that had invaded him. “And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.' One can hardly read these words without having some image of Darius's army standing
• Prideux Connect. part. I, b. 8. Anno 330. Alexander 2. + Herod. lib. 6 et 7