What does the three ribs in the bears mouth symbolize?

Daniel 7:5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

7 Answers 7


The three ribs represent three kingdoms: Media, Persia, and Babylon.

William Miller, in the 19th century, expounded on this "beast" as follows:

The "second beast like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth, and they said thus unto it, arise devour much flesh." This is a prophecy of the Mede and Persian kingdom; which conquered Babylon, by the figure of the bear, representing that lust for conquest, and showing by the figure, that this government would have three separate kingdoms under its authority, by the "three ribs in the mouth of it," to wit. Chaldean, Mede, and Persian, and that it would be governed by a line of kings from one of these nations only, when it began its conquests. "Raised up itself on one side," Cyrus the conqueror of Babylon being a Mede; and by the expression, "arise, devour much flesh," we are taught that they would subdue many and populous kingdoms, which proved to be true, for in the days of Ahasueras, he reigned from India even unto Ethiopia over an hundred and twenty-seven provinces. This kingdom agrees with the breast and arms of silver. Dan. 7:5.

Ribs are bones. In Biblical typology, bones represent commandments and laws (which is why none of Jesus' bones were to be broken on the cross, as he had not broken any of God's laws). The bear, having three such bones, might be thought of as having conquered three different legal systems or governments. Clearly, the Medes and the Persians were first united, followed by the conquering of Babylon (the Chaldeans). This final conquest came under the generalship of Cyrus, who was named in and fulfilled a separate prophecy (see Isaiah 45:1-6) related to the fall of Babylon some decades before Cyrus had even been born.


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.

Similarly, Benson:

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 Persians.

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.


Cyrus was the 1st King of the Medes and Persians who ascended from Persian line; having deposed the Median king Astyages(source taken from here).

He is also the Cyrus the Persian of Dan. 6:28,

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Why this is important is it describes the ascendency of the Persians, who gained prominence during the Medes and Persians Empire, which was represented by the bear, a vicious, yet clumsy animal. Rising on one side meant the Persian kings ruled from this time forward, until Alexander the Great.

It was also from this time that the Persians began attacking the Greeks; 3 kings, Xerxes, Artaxerxes I, and Darius III fought major battles with the Greeks; these events were marked with vicious cruelty, as revenge being the motivation which caused the clash between a huge, yet ungainly empire(Medes and Persians), and an emerging independant coalition of city-states, joined together to face a common enemy(Greeks) (source Wikipedia).

The Battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Thermopylae spelled doom for the Persian kings who in the process of attempting to exert vengeance in their attacks, were themselves destroyed in the process.

The 3 Tusks are the 3 Vicious Persian Kings, and the 3 major battles they fought.


I'm taking this out from a very in depth article I read.

"Daniel saw [the bear] devouring three ribs from some other animal it had killed. Indeed, it was divinely encouraged to feast on the ribs. This corresponds perfectly to the three major conquests the Medes and Persians made under the leadership of King Cyrus and his son Cambyses: [namely] the Lydian kingdom in Asia Minor (which fell to Cyrus in 546), the [Babylonian] Chaldean Empire (which he annexed in 539), and the kingdom of Egypt (which Cambyses acquired in 525)"

Here is the source of the article: https://bible.ucg.org/bible-commentary/Daniel/Daniel's-vision-of-four-beasts-and-the-Ancient-of-Days/

To summarize. The three ribs are three kingdoms which the Medes and Persians had victory over in becoming the next empire. That is my current belief.

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I say since the bible mentions Eve coming from Adam rib, it signifies 3 countries that came from the bear. If Russia is the bear it takes back countries that separated themselves from it.Ukraine for example is one rib

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    Mar 12, 2022 at 13:58

People make mistakes when studying the text by not referencing the Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek upon which the bible is initially written. This is ever so true in the prophecy of Daniel and specifically the prophecy related to the Bear king in Chapter 7. Its also the same mistake made in Genesis relative to Eve.

In those texts, the Hebrew word 6763 is translated "Rib". At the time of the English translation Rib was the closest English translation the authors could relate to the Hebrew "Curve". 6763 finds its root in word 6760, where which means "to Curve".

Today we know of the Helix Curve (aka DNA) to which the original translators had no knowledge. Both the texts relative to Eve and that given in Daniel 7 would have better been translated Curve or best DNA Curve.

It would make sense that Eve was taken from Adam's DNA (not his Rib) It would equally make sense that the order to "Arise and devour much flesh" relative to the bear would be associated with 3 types of DNA, as Persia/Media is not a of one single DNA. This is also the reason the 3rd Reich went to search for their Aryan ancestors in Persia.

The 3 DNA mix which is discussed in Daniel 7 concerning the Bear king, is a mix which stands firmly against the house of Israel, especially Judah/Benjamin, which many refer to as "The Jews", a name given by Rome relative to those who resided in Judea.

In not to distant history (WW II) there was a concerted effort by not only the 3rd Reich but the Grand Mufti, to exterminate the Jews. We see such efforts continuing today with Persia, and its ally Palestine, which forms the DNA of the Bear king.

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    May 3, 2023 at 17:32

Babylon is represented in the Bible as a harlot, a woman of bad reputation, Lydia is a woman, a godly woman, a first gentile from the region that accepts the teachings of Paul..that leaves Egypt...where Egypt in the Bible is always adressed as "her" (book of Ezequiel). Not only that the bear represents Communism led by 2 countries, Russia and China, and the ribs, as their representatives refers to, Babylon= individualism, Lydia= freedom of religion, Egypt= equality. Just from the top of my head.

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    Apr 3, 2023 at 19:19

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