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Daniel 7:19-20

19. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

19. Tunc aptavi ad veritam 2424     This word ליצבא, litzba, is usually explained to mean “for the truth,” that is. I desired to know. — Calvin. The Vulgate has “diligentius discere.” Wintle, “accurate information.” de bestia quarta, quae erat diversa ab omnibus aliis, terribilis valde, cujus dentes erant ferri, ferrei, et ungues aeris, aerei, comedens et conterens, et residuu pedibus suis conculcans.

20. And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

20. Et super conrnibus decem, de cornibus decem, quae erant in capite ejus, et de postremo quod surgebat, et quod ceciderant ex prioribus tria: et quod cornu illi erant oculi, et os loquens grandia: et aspectus ejus magna prae sociis. 2525     That is, “beyond the other beasts.” — Calvin.

 

Here the Prophet interrogates the angel concerning the Fourth Beast more attentively and carefully; as we formerly saw him touched with greater admiration on beholding the beast which was formidable beyond the other three, so that neither a name nor representation could be found for it. As, therefore, God displayed something great under the image of the fourth beast, he caused his Prophet to wake up to understand the mystery of it. For this reason he now interrogates the angel; for he says he wished for the truth concerning the fourth beast, and he also repeats what we saw before, namely, its being different from the others And surely the subjugation of so many kings by the Romans was a difference worthy of notice. Let us think upon the origin of that nation; — a few robbers seizing upon a desert spot, growing great by brutal audacity and force, until they reduced all their neighbors under their power. Then they crossed the sea, and added first one province, and then another to their sway. And when the kingdom of Macedon came within their power, this was indeed portentous. At length they became masters throughout the whole circuit of the Mediterranean, and there was no corner which did not receive their yoke; and this could never have been imagined by human apprehension.

It is said then, this beast was different from the others, and very terrible. In the same sense its teeth are called iron, and its claws brazen. No mention had hitherto been made of his claw; the Prophet had spoken only of iron teeth, but he now adds brazen claws, as if he had said, This beast shall be endued with such savage madness, as not only to attack all things by its unusual violence, but to tear, lacerate, and devour all things; as he repeats again what he had said, eating and destroying and treading under foot the remainder As. I have already explained all these points, I am unwilling to consume your time in vain and to confuse you with useless repetitions. I asked also, said he, concerning the ten horns, which, were upon its head And this is the reason why I must cut the subject off shortly here, as the angel’s reply will follow directly. The Prophet, therefore, is now, without doubt, placed under a celestial impulse, because God was unwilling to teach him only as a private person; he was to be a witness and herald of so great a mystery; and we may at this day learn from his writings, which are of the utmost use to us when we become fully acquainted with them.

He says, therefore, He also inquired about the ten horns which were on the head of the beast, and of the other horn which had arisen, meaning the small one, and concerning the three horns falling from the face of the beast. We have shewn how provinces were denoted by the tell horns, and how the difference between the Roman Empire and other monarchies was pointed out, because there never was one supreme ruler at Rome, except when Syria and Marius exercised their usurped authority — but each for only a short time. Here then the continual state of the Roman Empire is under review, for it was not simply a single animal, as it had ten horns. A finite number is put for an indefinite one. With regard to the little horn, I said it referred to the Caesars, who attracted the whole government of the state to themselves, after depriving the people of their liberty and the senate of their power, while even under their sway some dignity was continued to the senate and some majesty retained by the people. We have explained also how the three horns were broken; that is, how craftily the Caesars infringed upon and diminished the strength of both people and senate. Lastly, we have accounted for this little horn being displayed with human eyes, since the Caesars exercised their dominion with cunning, when they pretended to be only tribunes of the people, and allowed the ensigns of empire to remain in the hands of the consuls; for when they came into the senate, they sat in a lowly situation in curule scats prepared for the tribunes. As, therefore, they tyrannized with such cleverness and cunning, instead of by open violence, they are said to be endowed with the eyes of a man. Then as to the tongue, the sense is the same; for although they always professed the consular power to be supreme in the state, yet they could not restrain themselves, but vomited forth many reproachful speeches. On the one side, we see them remarkable for eyes, and on the other, for the tongue. And its aspect was terrible beyond its companions This seems not to belong peculiarly to the little horn which had arisen among the ten, but rather to the fourth beast. But if any one wishes to understand it of the little horn, I will not contest the point, as it will thus make tolerable sense. But I rather embrace my former opinion, for it is not surprising to find the Prophet after his discourse on the little horn, returning to the beast himself.


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