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Daniel 7:4 (NASB)

The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.

I would like to know more about the grammar of the word translated "made to stand" in Daniel 7:4. The same word is used in vs 5, "was raised up."

Daniel 7:5

And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!'

Grammatically speaking, what does the word tell us about this "event" or "action"? For example, did the lion-beast make itself to stand, or was this done by someone/thing else, possibly against its will? I know there are limits to what can be ascertained, but any information or insights would be appreciated.

  • Steve, thanks for re-formatting my question. I'll do a better job next time. – Rong Wei Dec 6 '16 at 6:44
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Daniel 7:4 (NASB):

The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.

The MT:

קַדְמָיְתָא כְאַרְיֵה וְגַפִּין דִּי נְשַׁר לַהּ חָזֵה הֲוֵית עַד דִּי מְּרִיטוּ גַפַּיהּ וּנְטִילַת מִן אַרְעָא וְעַל רַגְלַיִן כֶּאֱנָשׁ הֳקִימַת וּלְבַב אֱנָשׁ יְהִיב לַהּ

Daniel 7:5 (NASB);

And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!'

The MT:

וַאֲרוּ חֵיוָה אָחֳרִי תִנְיָנָה דָּמְיָה לְדֹב וְלִשְׂטַר חַד הֳקִמַת, וּתְלָת עִלְעִין בְּפֻמַּהּ בֵּין שִׁנַּהּ וְכֵן אָמְרִין לַהּ קוּמִי אֲכֻלִי בְּשַׂר שַׂגִּיא

In both verses the Aramaic word that is translated as "made to stand" and "raised up on one side" is the the same word הֳקִמַת "hakimath". The root is ק-ו-מ, to stand, in aph'el construction (corresponding to Hebrew hiph'il) in simple past tense passive feminine, with the meaning "[she] was stood", although as a translation, the simple past, "stood on two feet" or "stood on one side" would also be reasonable.

Since in formal English composition we don't say "was stood", and the translator desired to maintain the consistency of the passive voice of the rest of the verse in order to indicate that this standing was done by some agency, rather than translate simply "stood", the translator uses "made to stand" as a passive form for "stood". Unfortunately, this composition introduces two translation artifacts. The first is that "made" can mean "was coerced to", and the second is that "made" can mean "was built such that it stood". Neither of these meanings are in the Aramaic text.

The passive voice gives us no clue as to the agency that performs this standing, or even if it is just the beasts themselves that do the standing.

Like many such visions in the later prophecies, the sequence of scenes symbolizes the actions of some nation or some historical process. It is clear that it is God who stands [does the standing ;-)] behind all of this, but the actual agencies and actors involved are never explicitly named. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the author used the passive voice intentionally in these verses to maintain mystery, or to hide the intent from a hostile reader.

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During the first year of king Belshazzar, Daniel’s dream of 4 beasts came out of the sea (the world). The represent the key figures that head up the empires.

▪ First Beast: A Lion with wings that stood like a man. Could have described Nebuchadnezzar who was raised up by God from the level of an animal to become human, but he was in the past. It is equally fitting of Cyrus the Great who proved to be more humane - given the mind of a human and standing on two legs. It is likely that he was taught what Isaiah prophesied about hIm being a Shepherd (Isaiah 44:28). Though he said he would build Jerusalem's temple and city this was not his honour - perhaps like king David having blood on his hands was a disqualification for the task.

▪ Second Beast: Bear with 3 ribs in his mouth. This is rule of Darius I. Because of his lineage, he unified the 3 lines of the Achaemenids (Persians, Medes and Aryans) . Again it is God in control that makes the beasts to become human - in Darius I case we have it that Ezra was thankful for the 'change of mind' so that temple would be built (Ezra 6:22). The reference to 'Get up and eat you fill of flesh' seems to be in he punishing of the nations that God was still angry with (Zechariah 1:14-15) through the Persian empire.

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