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I received this question on my interpretation of Daniel 7:24 from Brian Godawa. Since then I have had several people reiterate. Brian is the author of a series of novels called the Chronicles of the Apocalypse, in which he presents a historical fiction that shows how the acts of the mad emperor Nero crossed paths with the lives of the Apostles Paul, Peter and John weaving a realistic scenario as to how most of the Book of Revelation could have been fulfilled prior to AD 70. Brian was intrigued with my interpretation of the Little Horn as Nero (or at least the line of Caesars as Calvin thought) but was curious about a seeming contradiction in Daniel 7:24. Jay, I’m going through your explanation of the Little Horn of Daniel 7 as Nero. I can see that in verse 8, the Little Horn “comes up among” the other horns. If Nero is the sixth king, that works safely with Nero. He is “among” the line of kings. Sounds good. The Nero thesis seems to work well, except for one little verse that is troubling me. In verse 7:24, it says the little horn arises “after them” (the ten horns). You wrote: “The Little Horn does not come after the ten horns. It comes up ‘among them.’” This is better translated as “in the midst of them.” But I can’t find this in any Hebrew language sources I have in Logos Bible Software. Also, I can’t find any translation that takes that approach. They all use “after.” Can you point me to a lexical or other source that supports the translation as “among” or “in the midst”? ~ Brian Godawa
MY RESPONSE: There are three points that lead me to understand that the “Little Horn” must come up “among” the ten horns in all of Daniel 7.
First, the preposition, ’a·ḥă·rê·hō·wn, translated as “after them” in English, is translated differently in the Septuagint. Prepositions often mean different things depending on the context. You asked for a translation that has something other than “after them.” In the Septuagint version of Daniel, the Greek word here is opisó, and can mean “back, behind, after.”
Second, the verse can be read as if Daniel saw the Little Horn growing up in the midst of the ten after he saw the ten. This is James Jordan’s view in Handwriting on the Wall.
Third, it is necessary to harmonize Daniel 7:8 and 7:20 with 7:24. This is the most compelling argument. In verses 7:8 and 7:20, Daniel describes how he saw ten horns and that a little horn that grew up in the midst of them. We are also told that three kings fell before him. Since 7:24 is the angel’s interpretation of 7:8 and 7:20, it must mean the same thing. Therefore, “after them” must mean that the “Little Horn” grew up after the three that fell before him, not after the ten, at least not from a historical-chronological perspective.