« הקודםהמשך »
not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words; and, when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the word that I speak unto thee, and stand upright, for unto thee am I now sent. And, when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, 1 set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? Then there came again, and touched me, one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man, greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee ; be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had thus spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak, for thou hast strengthened me. Then said he, knowest thou wherefore I am come unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the king of Persia: and when I am gone forth, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth; and there is none that holdeth with me in these things but Michael your prince."
And now I will show thee the truth. Behold there shall stand up three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches shall he stir up all against the realms of Grecia. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, Smerdis the Magian, and Darius, the son of Hystaspes, successively occupied the throne of Persia, from the death of Cyrus to the reign of Xerxes. He, being the fourth, was far richer than they all. Such was the riches of his kingdom, over which he held unlimited dominion, that, according to a Roman historian, his wealth continued unexhausted, though rivers were dried up by his armies. Herodotus specifies the armour, and names the princes, or leaders, of the forces of more than forty nations, throughout the whole extent of the Persian dominions, who, in the space of four years of uninterrupted preparation, were stirred up against Greece, and were at last concentrated into an army of seventeen hundred thousand men. The assembled myriads, including the followers of the various camps, according to the same historian, exceeded five millions. And were the number to be reduced one-fourth or one-half, to bring it within the bounds of a rational credibility, enough would remain to illustrate the prophetic declaration, in a remarkable degree, that all were stirred up against the realm of Grecia, for that alone was the object of the mighty armament. The fleet from Asia consisted of twelve hundred ships—coasts and inland countries being ransacked alike to complete his levies. And, not confined to the hosts of Asia, he bribed the Carthaginians, along the coast of Africa, to take part in the general confederacy; and many hired vessels and mercenary troops were exchanged by Spain, Gaul, and Italy for the gold and silver of Xerxes,—the purchase-money, as he accounted it, of all the states of Greece. But all that that expedition of unrivalled magnitude accomplished, was not worthy of a word in prophecy or in history. And the great effort of Xerxes, which has rendered his name familiar to every succeeding age, was that by his strength through his riches he stirred up all against the realm of Grecia. No more was predicted concerning him; and—although it is said, that he vainly lashed the Hellespont, and threatened to cast mount Athos into the sea, as if nothing should have dared to withstand him—no more was done.
Greece itself, the liberty of which, to human view, as the crisis was approaching, seemed destined to be buried for ever under the barbarism of Persia, by the fourth reigning monarch after the death of Daniel, was yet eventually to retaliate the invasion with far greater efficacy, by a son of Mars, and not a slave of Mammon. And passing over the history of the intermediate kings, as unessential to the object of the prophecy or the connexion of the events, but marking the change of dynasty and of empire, the words of the prediction describe the resultof the wars between Persia and Greece, when at length Alexander the Great, not an effeminate prince, trusting to his riches, but a mighty king, bent on carrying victory with his own hand, avenged at once the accumulated wrongs of Greece, and, with fifty thousand Grecians, subdued millions of barbarians, headed by a despot.
And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, mid do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided towards the four winds of heaven: and not according to his posterity, nor according to the dominion which he ruled, for his kingdom must be plucked up even for others besides those.—Alexander was a mighty king, and is known by the title of Great, as if it were his surname. He ruled with great dominion, and claimed, as his own, an universal empire, tie did according to his will. Of uncontrolled power, and of an impetuous temper, his will was a law, which it was death unto friend or foe, or prince or peasant, to resist. Yet he lived but to conquer, and not to reign. The imperious lord ol others, the conqueror of the world, was the slave of his own passions, and less the master of himself than the humblest menial might have been. Intemperance held him captive, and he fell its early victim. When he stood up, whenever his authority was without a challenger, and when, immediately after completing a wide range of conquest, he held the world without a rival, and had no enemy to seek out, none else to conquer,—the silver cord of life was loosed, and the fate of every mortal suddenly befell the mighty king; and death, the enemy not to be subdued, met him on the threshold of his throne; and Alexander the Great, a youth in his prime, became cold and motionless clay. By his death his kingdom, so soon as it was established, or stood up, was broken, and divided towards the four winds of heaven. Though the eighteenth successor, in the royal line, to the throne of Macedon, and the sovereign of an empire to which that country was a speck, yet no son of his succeeded to his throne; and neither was his kingdom divided to his posterity, nor did it continue according to the dominion which he ruled.
Roxana, the wife of Alexander, gave birth to a posthumous heir of his empire, but, ere her own child was born, timely guarding against the danger of a rival to him in the throne, she barbarously caused Statira, the daughter of Darius, whom also Alexander had married, to be put to death. Such atrocity was no security either of the kingdom or of life to her son. In the fourteenth year of his age, he, together with his mother Roxana, were secretly murdered by order of Cassander, even as she had compassed the death of Statira. The name of Hercules, the only remaining son of Alexander, by Parsine, did not save him from a similar fate, at the very time that he was proposed as of competent age to sit on the throne of his father. And the posterity of Alexander, without the kingdom being theirs, became extinct, by violent deaths. He was the greatest but the last of his kingly race.—His brother Arideus, the natural son of Philip, weak in intellect and infirm of purpose, held, for six years, the nominal sovereignty of Macedon, and was slain by order of Olympias (the mother of Alexander) who was not destitute of the blood-thirsty spirit of her son. His captains, the governors of the chief provinces of the empire, held the virtual sovereignty from the time of Alexander's death. And after the extinction of his posterity, the four notable kingdoms of Syria, Egypt, Thrace and Macedon, with various countries annexed to them, arose as distinct dominions under Seleucus, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Cassander.—Thus was his kingdom broken and divided, not to his posterity, but was plucked up for others beside those. It was divided to the four winds of heaven, the east, and south, the west and north.
The angel was to shew unto Daniel the things that should befall his people in the latter days, and omitting all direct reference to the history of the kingdoms of Thrace and of Maced on, which were less important of themselves, and b:re no relation to the state or 'nterests of the Jews, the prophecy embraces only the