These form the second half of the book. Two separate themes—the four beasts and the heavenly visions—become united.
The Great Sea: the ocean was viewed as the chaos dragon, slain by the deity; see e.g. Isa. 27.1 and Ps. 89.9–10 n.
Compare the four creatures in Ezek. 1.5–10
. According to v. 17
, the beasts probably represent kingdoms; see 2.37–40
A little horn: the ten horns would represent a round number of successors of Alexander the Great in the Near East; see v. 24
. The little horn would be the contemporaneous persecutor of the Jews, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (see Introduction). See also 1 Macc. 1.41–50
A vision of heaven.
Ancient in Years: God. On the scene depicted here, see 1 Kgs. 22.19 and Ezek. 1.26–28
The court … the books: the picture of a courtroom scene is found in other writings, such as Enoch
A continuation of v. 8
A continuation of vv. 9–10
Human being: lit. “son of humankind,” traditionally translated “son of man.” The term does not carry here all the levels of meaning it
later acquired, such as “messiah.”
The prerogatives are to be effective forever for the one like a human being (v. 13
), as anticipated in
A continuation of v. 12
The holy ones: the people persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes; see v. 27
. In v. 14
such power was given to “the one like a human being.”
The Ancient in Years: God would deliver the holy ones; compare the deliverance of the young men in chs. 3 and 6
A time and times and half a time: three and a half years. Time means year; times, two years; see 4.16
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