Dissertation 2.


Daniel 7:7

The controversy which has arisen between commentator's respecting these ten horns, refers first to the question, were they "kings" or "kingdoms?" And next, if "kings," who are they? and if kingdoms, what are they? They are usually supposed to be the kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided. Vitringa in his Commentary on the Apocalypse, page 788, enumerates them after his own method, and the variety in the reckoning of these kingdoms is so great, that it has been used by many writers as an objection to their being kingdoms at all. Augustine (De. civit. Del., lib. 20, c. 23) considers the number "ten" to be indefinite, and to include all the kings of the Roman Empire. Willet, in loc., has collected a variety of interpretations from different writers; while Tyso gives a table of twenty-nine distinct lists, shewing that sixty-five different kingdoms and persons have been suggested. Elucidation of the Prophecies. 8vo, London, 1838, pages 100-114.

Rosenmuller treats them as kings. With him the fourth empire is not Rome, but that of the Seleucidae and Lagidae. By this assumption ten kings are easily found among those who reigned over both Egypt and Syria between Alexander and Antiochus Epiphanes, who on this plan is the Little Horn. He simply states his opinion without supporting it by any arguments. It by no means requires any, as the statement itself becomes its best refutation. This view was adopted by Bertholdt, and has been overthrown by Hengstenberg, with his usual learning and ability. See pages 164 and following, of the work cited in volume 1. The determination of some German writers to make Antiochus Epiphanes the Little Horn, has induced them to divide the four empires thus: -- the Chaldean, Median, Persian, and Macedonian, the last including the various kingdoms which sprung from it. See Eichorn Einl., 4to, Ausg., B. 4, page 48; also the works of Jahn, Dereser, De Wette, and Bleek, ap. Hew. pages 161-169.

Some light is thrown on this subject by Fry in his Second Advent, volume 2, page 16, edit. 1822, London. He translates this and other visions and prophecies of Daniel with great clearness, and the hundred pages which he devotes to their explanation are well worthy of perusal. They contain many judicious quotations from Sir Isaac Newton, Mede, Faber, and the most celebrated English expounders of prophecy. As he considers the fourth beast the Roman Empire, and extends its duration throughout the modern history of Europe, he adopts the views of Bishop Chandler and Faber, as to the ten horns being ten kingdoms into which that empire was divided after the irruption of the barbarians. The northern nations parceled out the Roman Empire among themselves. These nations invaded the empire and settled within it. Now, it appears from history, that there were ten principal kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided. These ten primary kingdoms are then enumerated according to Machiavel; but it is beyond our province to pursue this view of the subject further; it is enough to refer to Fry's translations of difficult passages of this Prophet, as clear, sound, and judicious. The Editor deems it his duty to point out the best opinions and explanations wherever he may find them; and to direct the reader's attention especially to those which illustrate our Reformer's Commentary.