There is some remarkable consensus about the interpretation of Dan 7:5 as shown by Ellicott:
(5) And behold another beast.—We are not told what became of the first beast. (Comp. Daniel 7:12.) The word “behold” implies that this
was the next object which arrested the seer’s attention. The second
beast corresponds to the silver portion of the Colossus (Daniel 2).
One side.—In explaining this very difficult phrase, it must be remembered that the two sides of the bear are parallel in meaning to
the two breasts and two arms of the Colossus. It is implied,
therefore, that the second kingdom consists of two parts, and the
raising up of one side implies that one part of the kingdom would come
into greater prominence than the other. Such was the case with the
Medo-Persian Empire (comp. Daniel 8:3), in which the Persian element
surpassed the Median.
Three ribs.—These cannot signify the people who constitute the second empire, but rather some kingdoms which had already been subdued
by it; and by the command, “Arise and devour,” the second empire is
permitted to make further conquests before its disappearance. The
three ribs have been understood from the time of St. Hippolytus to
mean three nations: the Babylonians, the Lydians, and the Egyptians.
Daniel 7:5. And behold another beast like a bear — This is the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, who, for their cruelty and
greediness after blood, are compared to a bear, which is a most
voracious and cruel animal. ... others, to the elevation of the
Persians above the Medes and Babylonians, which three powers are
conceived to be meant by the three ribs in the mouth of the bear: but
Sir Isaac Newton and Bishop Chandler, with great propriety, explain
them as signifying the kingdoms of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt,
which were conquered by it, but were not properly parts and members of
its body. They might be called ribs, as the conquest of them much
strengthened the Persian empire; and they might be said to be between
the teeth of the bear, as they were much grinded and oppressed by the
The Cambridge commentary -
and it had three ribs, &c.] as the prey which it had seized. Those who regard the bear as symbolizing the Medo-Persian empire generally
suppose the three ribs to denote Lydia, Babylonia, and Egypt,
three prominent countries conquered, the first two by Cyrus, and the
third by Cambyses; but it is quite possible that the ribs in the
creature’s mouth are meant simply as an indication of its voracity,
and are not intended as an allusion to three particular countries
absorbed by the empire which it represents.
Similarly, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The three ribs in its mouth are Media, Lydia, and Babylon, brought
under the Persian sway. Rather, Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, not
properly parts of its body, but seized by Medo-Persia [Sir Isaac
Newton]. Called "ribs" because they strengthened the Medo-Persian
empire. "Between its teeth," as being much grinded by it.
... and so forth.