Daniel 7:17

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings,.... Or kingdoms, as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions; and so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Saadiah; so the fourth beast is called the fourth kingdom, Daniel 7:23 or a succession of kings in four kingdoms or monarchies, comparable to beasts for their strength, cruelty, and tyranny: these are the words of him that stood by, of one of the angels Daniel applied to, to know the meaning of his dream; and might be better rendered, "as to these {c} great beasts, which are four"; for their quality beasts, for their quantity great, and for number four. The meaning is,

four kings shall arise out of the earth; or kingdoms; which have an earthly original and foundation; are supported by earthly and worldly means, and with earthly and worldly views; and are different from the kingdom of Christ and his saints, which is not of the world, though it may be in it: this explains what is meant by the great sea, from whence these beasts are said to come up, Daniel 7:3, nor is it any material objection that the first of these kingdoms, the Babylonian, was risen already, and almost at an end; since the denomination is taken from the larger number; three of them were to arise, and the first was of the same original with them; thus it is said, Daniel 11:2, that three kings of Persia should stand up, and yet Cyrus, who was one of them, reigned already.

{c} "Quod attinet", Michaelis.