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
Third year of Cyrus: 536 B.C.E.
Compare Ezek. 1.1
The passage uses some of the same terms as Ezek. 1.15–28
. The man is probably the angel Gabriel.
Compare Acts 9.7
for a vision seen by one person but not by his companions.
Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, came to the aid of Gabriel (vv. 5–6 n.
) when the latter was battling the guardian angel of the kingdom of Persia.
The battle of the angels reflects the battles of the people; Greece here is probably the kingdom of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, though it may be the empire of Alexander.
The Book of Truth revealed. This was apparently an explanation of history and its fulfillment, and not the same as the book of
Since there were more than four kings in Persian history, it is not known which ones the author meant.
Apocalyptic literature seems to flow directly from historical events (here the wars brought on by Antiochus) to events of
the end times. As in
, the period before the very end would be the most distressful. The book: compare Ps. 69.28; see 10.21–11.2 n.
This is a clear statement of resurrection, and unique in the OT.
The book here seems to be that of
, rather than
see Ezek. 9.2
Time, times, and a half: three and a half years, as it is in
These figures, perhaps representing separate traditions, seem to be related to those of
7.25 and 8.14
See 9.27 n.
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