And, behold, another beast, a second, like to a bear
Another monarchy, and which succeeded the former, and rose up upon the ruins of it, the Medo-Persian monarchy; and so the Syriac version prefixes to this verse, by way of explanation,
``the kingdom of the Medes''like to a bear, less generous and strong than the lion; more rough and uncivil, but equally cruel and voracious; which describes the Medes and Persians as a fierce and cruel people, and less polished, and more uncivilized, than the Chaldeans; and answers to the silver breasts and arms in Nebuchadnezzar's dream; see ( Isaiah 13:17 Isaiah 13:18 ) ( Jeremiah 51:27 Jeremiah 51:28 ) : and it raised up itself on one side;
either of the lion, the first beast it destroyed; or rather on one side of itself, on the side of Persia; from whence Cyrus came, who was the principal instrument of raising this empire to the pitch it was brought unto. Some render it, "and it raised up one government" F4; one empire out of many nations and kingdoms it subdued: and it had three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it;
that is, three ribs covered with flesh, which, it was devouring; the bear being very voracious, and a great flesh eater: these, according to some, signify three kings that followed Darius the Mede; Cyrus, Ahasuerus, and Darius; so Jarchi and Jacchiades; and, according to Jerom, three kingdoms, the Babylonian, Median, and Persian: but neither of these kings nor kingdoms can be said to be in its mouth, and between its teeth, as ground and devoured by it, unless the Babylonian; wherefore it is better interpreted by others, as Theodoret, the three parts of the world it conquered, westward, northward, and southward, ( Daniel 8:4 ) , though it is best of all, with Sir Isaac Newton and Bishop Chandler, to understand by them Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt; which countries were ground and oppressed by the Medes and Persians, as the ribs of any creature are ground in the mouth of a bear: and they said thus unto it, arise, devour much flesh;
which Jerom refers to Haman's orders to destroy the Jews in the times of Ahasuerus; but it is much better applied by others to Cyaxares or Darius sending for Cyrus to take upon him the command of his army; and to the Hyrcanians, Gobryas, and others, inviting him to avenge them on the Babylonians, promising to join and assist him, as Xenophon F5 relates: or rather this is to be interpreted of the divine will, and of the conduct of Providence by means of angels stirring up the spirit of Cyrus, and of the Medes and Persians, to attack and subdue many nations, and particularly the Babylonians, and fill themselves with their wealth and substance; hence they are styled the Lord's sanctified, whom he ordered and called to such service; see ( Isaiah 13:3 ) ( 21:2 ) .
F4 (tmyqh rx rjvlw) "quae dominatum unum erexit", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus; "et dominatum quendana erexit", Piscator.
F5 Cyropaedia l. 1. c. 22. l. 4. c. 4, 24.