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Daniel 7:12

12. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

12. Et reliquis bestiis abstulerant potestatum, vel dominationem. Et longitudo in vita data illis fuerat usque ad tempus at tempus.

 

Without doubt the Prophet refers to what ought to come first in order, as the empires of which he is speaking were extinct before the Roman. Hence these verbs ought to be taken in the pluperfect tense, because the power had been already removed from the other three beasts. For the Hebrews were, accustomed to repeat afterwards anything which had been omitted, and they do not always observe the order of time in their narratives. Thus, after he had said the fourth beast was slain and consumed by burning, he now adds what he had omitted concerning the remaining three, namely, their dominion had been take, from them. He adds also what is worthy of notice, Length, or continuance, in life was granted to them even for a time and a time. There are two different words used here, but they signify one and the same thing, namely, a convenient time. Here the Prophet understands how nothing happens accidentally, but all things are carried on in the world in their own time, as God has decreed them in heaven. Perhaps when the subject-matter of the discourse is length of life, it signifies the protracted period of these afflictions, as they should not pass away suddenly like clouds. Not only severe but lengthened trials are said to await the faithful, which must afflict their minds with weariness, unless the hope of a better issue propped them up. Thus, the Holy Spirit predicts how God would at length deliver his Church when he had exercised its patience for a length of time. From the rest of the beasts power was taken away. The copula in the word ארכה, ve-arkeh, “and length,” may be resolved in this way — “because length in life;” as if he had said, The trials by which the sons of God were to be oppressed should not be perpetual, because God had prescribed and defined a fixed period. A continuance, therefore, in life was granted to them, namely, for a time and a time. The copula may be treated as “an adversative particle” as if he had said, “although a continuance,” that is, although the people should not immediately escape from those sorrowful cares which oppressed them, yet God’s opportunity would at length arrive, that is, the time at which it pleased God to redeem his own Church. But the former exposition seems more genuine and more consistent, because length of time has its own limits and boundaries. There is also a contrast between, the words ארכה, arkeh, “length,” and זמן, zemen, “time,” and עדן, gneden, “time,” because length or “prolonging” has reference to our perceptions; for when we are suffering pain, the greatest speed seems delay. Thus, any one in anxiety for an improved state of things counts every moment, and is so flagrant in his desires as to call the Almighty in question for any delay. As, then, the impatience of men is so great, when they are expecting with anxiety this freedom from adversity, the Prophet says, in the ordinary acceptation of the phrase, length of time was granted to the beasts; but he opposes a fit time; as if he had said — They act preposterously who thus indulge their own passions. Since God has fixed his own time, they require patience, and need not reckon the years; but this one thing must be concluded, when the Lord pleases he will not delay his help. This, therefore, is the full sense of the verse. It follows: —

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