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But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. (Daniel 2:39, NKJV)


The image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream represented a succession of world-kingdoms beginning with his reign in Babylon. The reign of Nebuchadnezzar began in 605 B.C., which was the height of the Babylonian Empire. It lasted until 539 B.C. when it was overthrown by Cyrus the Persian in conjunction with his uncle, Darius the Mede. The Medo-Persian Empire was in power from 539 to 331 B.C. when it was overthrown by Alexander the Great. They Babylonian Empire conquered Judah and took the Israelites into a captivity that lasted seventy years. While this was God’s judgment on an apostate Israel, the treatment of the Jews under Nebuchadnezzar was relatively benign. Under the rule of the Persians, it was Cyrus the king that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and the city walls. Again, the treatment of the Jews under the Persians was relatively benign.

The third kingdom is the Greek Empire, pictured in the dream as the belly and thighs made of bronze and said to be a kingdom that would rule over all the earth. As silver is inferior to gold, bronze is inferior to silver. As such, the Greek Empire was inferior in wealth and duration to the Persian Empire.

The Greek Empire was established by Alexander the Great. He was born on July 20 or 21, 356 B.C. and he studied under Aristotle until the age of 16. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who studied under Plato from the age of 18 until he was 37. His writings cover may subjects and were the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Upon the death of Alexander, he was denounced for not holding the gods in honor and fled for his life and died of natural causes in 332 B.C. Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II of Macedon in October 336 B.C. after Philip was assassinated by one of his bodyguards for reasons that are uncertain.

Alexander was the general of the Greek army and after succeeding his father as Emperor, he used the great power of his army to expand the Greek Empire, which eventually became one of the largest empires of the ancient world, ranging from Greece to what is now Pakistan. Daniel’s explanation of the dream said that “he shall rule over all the earth.” The extent of his kingdom was essentially the known inhabited earth of Daniel’s time. It was said that Alexander boasted that he had conquered the world, and then sat down and wept because there was not another world to conquer. He was undefeated in battle and he is considered to be one of history’s most successful commanders.

The Greeks were descendants of Javan, the fourth son of Japheth, and grandson of Noah. They migrated to and settled in the area we know as Turkey and Greece. Ancient Greece was divided into five parts: Epirus, Peloponnesus, Greece proper, Thessaly, and Macedonia. Geographically, Greece is an appendage dropping down from Eastern Europe, separated from Asia Minor by the Aegean Sea. Epirus was located on the west side of this appendage. Peloponnesus was a peninsula at the south and joined to the rest of Greece by the isthmus of Corinth. Greece proper was directly north of Peloponnesus, and Thessaly and Macedonia to the north of Greece proper.

Javan had four sons who settled these areas and became the heads of different branches or tribes of the Greek nation. Elisha, the eldest son, settled in the Poloponesus; Trasis, the second son, settled in Greece proper; Chittim, the third son, settled in Macedonia; and Dodanim, the fourth son, along with his descendants settled in Thessaly and Epirus. As the families separated from each other their language corrupted into four different dialects known as Attic, Ionic, Doric, and Ćolic. Those who study the Greek language today encounter these different dialects.

Greek history is divided into four periods. The first is the period of petty kingdom, which began some time before 2000 B.C. and lasted about one thousand years. The next period begins after the siege of Troy, somewhere around 1180 B.C., and lasting until the reign of the Persian King, Darius the Great in 522 B.C., about 660 years. The third period lasted from the time of Darius the Great to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., about 199 years. And the fourth period extended from the Death of Alexander the Great to the final subjection under the Romans in 146 B.C. Altogether, the Greek history ran for a period of about 2,150 years.

Alexander the Great lived until June 10 or 11, 323 B.C. He tried to extend his empire to what he called the ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea by invading India in 326 B.C. He eventually was forced to turn back at the demand of his army and returned to Babylon, the city he planned to use as the capital of his empire. He died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II at the age of 32. It is possible he was assassinated by poisoning, but there is also the possibility he may have died of malaria or typhoid fever.

Alexander had no legitimate heir. As he was dying he was asked to whom he wanted to bequeath his kingdom and he answered “to the strongest.” The Empire subsequently was divided into four parts administered by his generals between whom there was constant rivalry. This rivalry continued for generations and completely undermined the Empire.

While the Jews fared well under Babylon and Persia, they did not fare so well under the Greek Empire. Judah constantly was caught between the warring factions of the divided Greek Empire and some of the most awful events in the history of Israel happened at the hands of the bronze kingdom.

In time, God poured out His judgment on the bronze kingdom using the iron legs and feet of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to bring it to its end.