Daniel 7:5 Index
"And behold another beast, a second, 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 of it: and they said thus unto it, 'Arise, devour much flesh.'"
Research Material

"And behold another beast..."

  • BEAST: Another term, common to symbolic Bible prophecy, is that of "beasts." Nations were effectively cartooned or portrayed by various well-known or unknown beasts, just as some are today: the British lion, the Russian bear, or the American eagle. In Daniel's day a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a fearful monster without an earthly replica appeared in Daniel 7, and the ram and he-goat of Daniel 8 are expressly explained by the prophet as symbols, respectively, of "Media and Persia" and "Grecia" (Daniel 8:20, 21). Similar "beasts" are pictured in the Revelation. These terms are not epithets of derision; they are simply the divine method of cartooning nations and their careers through the centuries. So a prophetic "beast" merely means a kingdom or nation, no more and no less. (Froom 32-33)

"...a second, like to a bear..."

  • Babylon fell to Medo-Persia in 539 B.C. Medo-Persia corresponds to the silver of the image of Daniel 2. Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian had formed an alliance to overthrow Babylon. The Bear, raised on one side, represents Persia, the stronger of the two countries. The three ribs in its mouth represent the nations overthrown by the Bear (Medo-Persia). They were Lydia 546 B.C., Babylon 539 B.C., and Egypt 535 B.C. The Ram of Daniel 8 is this same power and God will repeat and enlarge so there is no doubt as to its identity. (KC 78)
  • The Persian, or Medo-Persian, Empire, corresponding to the silver of the image (Daniel 2:39). As silver is inferior to gold, so in some respects at least, the bear is inferior to the lion. The bear is, nevertheless, cruel and rapacious, characteristics that are attributed to the Medes in Isaiah 13:17, 18. (4BC 821)
  • As in the image of Daniel 2, so in this series of symbols a marked deterioration is noticed was we descend from one kingdom to another. The silver of the breast and arms is inferior to the gold of the head. The bear is inferior to the lion. Medo-Persia fell short of Babylon in wealth, magnificence, and brilliance. The bear raised itself up on one side. The kingdom was composed of two nationalities, the Medes and the Persians. The same fact is represented by the two horns of the ram in Daniel 8. Of these horns it is said that the higher came up last, and of the bear that it raised itself up on one side. This was fulfilled by the Persian division of the kingdom, for although it came up last, it attained the higher eminence, becoming a dominant influence in the nation. (Daniel 8:3). The three ribs doubtless signify the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which were especially oppressed by Medo-Persia. The command, "Arise, devour much flesh,"would naturally refer to the stimulus given to the Medes and Persians by the overthrow of these provinces. The character of the power is well represented by a bear. The Medes and Persians were cruel and rapacious, robbers and spoilers of the people. This Medo-Persian kingdom continued from the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus to the battle of Arbela in 331 B.C., a period of 207 years. (US 107-108)
  • The Medo-Persian kingdom was bloodthirsty and cruel in its nature, and is represented by a bear. Darius was a Mede; and Cyrus, the leading general, a Persian. Darius the Mede took the Babylonian kingdom, and ruled for a short time. Cyrus the Persian was the leading spirit in the government after Darius had passed away. The bear, as well as the other beasts which followed the lion, represented kingdoms yet in the future at the time Daniel saw the vision. The bear of Daniel 7 symbolizes the same power as the ram in Daniel 8 which the angel there tells the prophet represented the Medo-Persian empire. The history of this empire, given in Daniel 11... together with Isaiah 13 and Isaiah 21 and the book of Esther, will reveal the bear-like character of the nation which arose and devoured much flesh. The history of the second great kingdom covers the years from 538 to 331 B.C. (SNH 105)

"...it raised up itself on one side..."

  • The interpreter (Daniel 7:16) does not explain this feature of the vision. However, a comparison with Daniel 8:3, 20 seems clearly to indicate that the kingdom was composed of two parts. Of the Medes and the Persians, the latter became the dominant power a few years before the dual empire conquered Babylon. (Daniel 2:39). (4BC 821)

"...it had three ribs in the mouth of it..."

  • These are not mentioned in the interpretation (Daniel 8:17-27), but many commentators have considered them a symbol of the three principle powers that were conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire -- Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt. (Isaiah 41:6). (4BC 821)

"...they said unto it..."

  • The speaker is not identified. (4BC 821)