Friday, August 8, 2014

Struggles with Daniel 2, Part 2

I talked in my post yesterday about the statue in Daniel 2.  I said that I identified with liberal scholars who argue that the legs represent Greece and the feet represent Alexander’s successors, the Diadachoi.  Conservative scholars tend to argue that the legs and feet represent Rome.

But there is one problem I have with the “liberal” position: what do the silver breast and arms represent?  Liberal scholars tend to say that they represent the Medes.  That means that the head is Babylon, the breast is Media, the thighs are Persia, the legs are Greece, and the feet are Alexander’s successors.  Conservative scholars, by contrast, tend to regard the breast as Medo-Persia.  That would mean that the head is Babylon, the breast is Medo-Persia, the thighs are Greece, the legs are Rome, and the feet may be a revived Roman empire of the future.

So what is my problem?  I have issues with the liberal argument that the silver breast represents the Medes.  While Daniel 5 says that Darius the Mede conquered Babylon, it also affirms that the Babylon will be given to the Medes and Persians.  In Daniel 6, Darius the king follows the law of the Medes and Persians, which tells me that Darius the conqueror of Babylon (according to Daniel, that is) is the king of the Medo-Persian empire, not just the Medes.  Consequently, it makes more sense to me for the silver breast to represent Medo-Persia as the kingdom that will succeed Babylon, not just Media.

Still, I cannot ignore the overlaps between the legs and feet, as well as the fourth beast of Daniel 7, with what Daniel seems to say about Greece and Alexander’s successors: the unsuccessful attempt to foster peace through intermarriage, the little horn persecuting God’s people, etc.  I just don’t know how everything squares together.

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