World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
6. leopard—smaller than the lion; swift (Hab 1:8); cruel (Isa 11:6), the opposite of tame; springing suddenly from its hiding place on its prey (Ho 13:7); spotted. So Alexander, a small king, of a small kingdom, Macedon, attacked Darius at the head of the vast empire reaching from the Ægean Sea to the Indies. In twelve years he subjugated part of Europe, and all Asia from Illyricum and the Adriatic to the Ganges, not so much fighting as conquering [Jerome]. Hence, whereas Babylon is represented with two wings, Macedon has four, so rapid were its conquests. The various spots denote the various nations incorporated into his empire [Bochart]; or Alexander's own variation in character, at one time mild, at another cruel, now temperate, and now drunken and licentious.
four heads—explained in Da 8:8, 22; the four kingdoms of the Diadochi or "successors" into which the Macedonian empire was divided at the death of Alexander, namely, Macedon and Greece under Cassander, Thrace and Bithynia under Lysimachus, Egypt under Ptolemy, and Syria under Seleucus.
dominion … given to it—by God; not by Alexander's own might. For how unlikely it was that thirty thousand men should overthrow several hundreds of thousands! Josephus [Antiquities, 11.6] says that Alexander adored the high priest of Jerusalem, saying that he at Dium in Macedonia had seen a vision of God so habited, inviting him to go to Asia, and promising him success.