Bible Commentaries
Daniel 7

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Baltassar. Chaldee: a letter is wanting. (Haydock) --- This Baltassar was slain. (Chap. v.) (Calmet) --- The two visions happened before that event. (Worthington) --- The. Protestant: "visions of his head, upon his bed. Then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters." (Haydock)

Verse 2

Winds, to imply the tumults occasioned by fresh kingdoms (Worthington) in the world. (Theod.)

Verse 3

Four great beasts; viz. the Chaldeans, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires. But some rather choose to understand the fourth beast of the successors of Alexander the great, more especially of them that reigned in Asia and Syria, (Challoner) or in Egypt. (Chap. ii. 40.) (Haydock)

Verse 4

Man. The emperors of Babylon were forced to confess that they were nothing more. (Calmet) --- Their cruel and rapid conquests (Worthington) are denoted by this monstrous animal. Its wings shew how the lands were divided between the Medes and Persians. Perhaps Neriglissor, &c. shared a part. (Chap. v. 1.) (Calmet)

Verse 5

Bear, which is cruel, and eats what is set before it greedily. (Worthington) --- Side. Cyrus did not attack the Jews. (St. Jerome) --- He stood ready to attack the Chaldeans. --- Three. He ruled over the Medes and Chaldeans, as well as over the Persians. (Calmet) --- Rows. Greek: "wings or sides" of an animal, (Haydock) or "bones." (Grotius) --- Cyrus was always at war; and Justin (1.) says, that Tomyris II. of Scythia, ordered his head to be cut off, and thrown into a vessel full of blood. His troops are styled robbers, Jeremias li. 48. The ambition of Cambyses, Hystaspes, &c. are insatiable.

Verse 6

Leopard, a small spotted beast, may denote the size and disposition of Alexander, as well as his rapid conquests. When he was asked how he had subdued so many, he answered, "by never putting off." (Calmet) --- Four. He led his forces on all sides; (Haydock) and after his death, his empire was divided into four, (Worthington) Egypt, Syria, Asia, and Macedon, (Theod.) as he had united in his person the empire of the Chaldees, Medes, Persians, and Greeks. (Calmet)

Verse 7

Unlike. It is not named: but shews the incomparable power of the Romans, governed by kings, consuls, tribunes, dictators, emperors, at different times. (Worthington) --- This in the opinion generally received, which we shall explain. Yet many think that the kingdoms of Syria and Egypt are designated, as Chap. ii. 40. St. Jerome acknowledged that what is understood of antichrist, had been partly verified in Epiphanes, his figure. The beast was to be slain before the coming of the Son of man. (verses 11, 26.) It would persecute for three years and a half; but God would grant victory to his saints, as he did to the Machabees. Yet they only exhibited a faint idea of what has been done by the Church. The same subject is treated, Chap. xi. Many things caused the dominion of the successors of Alexander to be unlike that of others. It was never united, and was very destructive to the Jews. (Calmet) --- Horns. That is, ten kingdoms, (as Apocalypse xvii. 12.) among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parcelled: or ten kings of the number of the successors of Alexander, as figures of such as shall be about the time of antichrist. (Challoner) --- Epiphanes was the eighth king, and Laomedon, Antigonus, and Demetrius, had been governors of Syria before. Most understand this of antichrist, whom Epiphanes foreshewed. Others think that it points out Vespasian, the tenth successor of Cæsar, who made war on the Jews. The same prediction may regard different events, as the abomination (Chap. ix.) may allude to the profanations committed by Epiphanes, by the Romans at the last siege, and by antichrist. Others apply this to the Turkish empire, which may be paving the way for the great antagonist of Christ. (Calmet) Dioclesian and Julian may also be meant, as well as other forerunners of the man of sin. (Haydock) --- He shall overcome many, but his fury shall continue but a short time. (ver. 25.) (Worthington)

Verse 8

Little horn. This is commonly understood of antichrist. It may also be applied to that great persecutor, Antiochus Epiphanes, as a figure of antichrist. (Challoner) --- He was the youngest son of Antiochus the great, and was a hostage of Rome. While he was returning, his elder brother died, and Epiphanes excluded his son Philometor, of Egypt, and the usurper Heliodorus. He also defeated three, Philometor, on the south; Artaxias, king of Armenia, on the east; and the strength, or God’s people, verse 24. and Chap. viii. 9. --- Man. He gained several at first, by his affability. --- Things: blasphemy. (1 Machabees i. 23. 43.) (Calmet)

Verse 9

Ancient. The Son is born of the Father, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from both, yet all three are coeternal. (Worthington) --- Hence the Father is sometimes painted in this manner, though he be a pure spirit. His throne resembled that seen by Ezechiel, Chap. i. (Haydock) --- He takes cognizance of all, and punishes accordingly. (Calmet)

Verse 10

Fire. Psalm xcvi. 3. --- Thousands. Greek implies one million and one hundred millions. (Menochius) --- The angels are very numerous, particularly the highest, styled assistants. (St. Thomas Aquinas; Worthington)

Verse 11

Spoke. I wished to see how the king would be punished. He felt the hand of God as he was going to destroy all the Jews, when he pretended to repent. (1 Machabees vi. and 2 Machabees ix. 4.) His successors could not much disturb the Jews. (ver. 13.) (Calmet)

Verse 12

Time. Each of the four empires had its period assigned. That of Rome attracted the prophet’s attention most, and is mentioned first. (Menochius)

Verse 13

Heaven. Christ appeared about sixty years after the subversion of the Syrian monarchy. Yet these expressions literally refer to his second coming. (Matthew xxvi. 64.) (Calmet) --- He had the form of man, as he had the nature. (Menochius) --- He is clearly predicted. by his power antichrist is overthrown. (Worthington)

Verse 14

Destroyed. The eternal dominion of Christ could not be expressed in stronger terms. He seems to allude to them, Matthew xxviii. 18. (Calmet)

Verse 17

Earth. The first was on the point of disappearing. (Chap. v. 31.) (Haydock)

Verse 18

Most High, (Th.) or rather Chaldee: "the very high saints of God;" as also verses 22, 25, and 27.

Verse 21

Saints. The Machabees at last prevailed. Christ will punish the Jews. (Matthew xxiv. 30.)

Verse 23

Greater. Chaldee: "unlike," as verse 7. Epiphanes was a greater scourge of the Jews than any of the preceding.

Verse 24


Mightier. Chaldee again, "unlike." Antiochus the great had lost many provinces: but his son was the most implacable enemy of God’s people. He subdued them, Egypt and Armenia; or his three competitors. (verse 8.)

Verse 25

Against, or "over against," like an accuser. Sym.: "as if he were God." --- Laws. He did this with regard to the Jews, (1 Machabees i. 41.) (Calmet) prohibiting their festivals. Antichrist will do the like, and pretend to work miracles. (Haydock) --- A time, &c. That is, three years and a half; which is supposed to be the length of the duration of the persecution of antichrist. (Challoner) (Apocalypse xi. 2. and xii. 14.) --- Josephus (Bel. pref. [Jewish Wars, preface]) says the sacrifices were discontinued so long, or rather this time elapsed from the publishing his edict till the temple was purified. During six months, people offered sacrifice clandestinely. (1 Machabees iv. 36. 52.)

Verse 27

Him. The power of the Machabees was too limited, to be here understood. The Church and Christ must be meant.

Verse 28

Word. The angel spoke no more at this time. (Calmet)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Daniel 7". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.