Reference: Alexander The Great
the king of Macedonia, the great conqueror; probably represented in Daniel by the "belly of brass" (Da 2:32), and the leopard and the he-goat (Da 7:6; 11:3-4). He succeeded his father Philip, and died at the age of thirty-two from the effects of intemperance, B.C. 323. His empire was divided among his four generals.
A Jewish tradition, reported by Josephus and the Talmud, relates that whilst the renowned Macedonian conqueror was besieging Tyre (b.c. 333), rival embassies from the Jews and the Samaritans solicited his protection. At the close of the siege he set out for Jerusalem, and was met outside by the entire population, with the high priest at their head. Recognizing the latter as the person who had appeared to him in a dream and promised him victory, the king prostrated himself. He then entered the city, offered sacrifice, was shown the passages in Daniel relating to himself, granted the people unmolested use of their customs, promised to befriend their eastern settlements, and welcomed Jews to his army (Ant. XI. viii.). The objections to this story are: (1) that although there are references to Alexander and his successors in Daniel (Da 2:40 ff., Da 7:7; 8/5'>8:5,8,21; 11:3 f.), they were not written till the 2nd cent. b.c.; and (2) that the accounts given by Arrian and Curtius do not mention these events. It is also most likely that when Josephus declares that Alexander gave to the Jews in Alexandria equal privileges with the Macedonians (c. Ap. ii. 4), he is anticipating by some years what happened under the Ptolemys.
The deep impression made by Alexander's successes is evinced by the numerous legends connected with his name in later Jewish literature. But his real importance to the Biblical student consists in this
Alexan'der the Great
This conqueror is not mentioned by name in scripture, but his kingdom is certainly referred to in prophecy, principally in Daniel, some 200 years before he was born. It is first spoken of as a part of the great image seen in a dream by Nebuchadnezzar; it is foreshadowed by the belly and thighs, which are of brass, a depreciation in the character of the kingdom in comparison with the empires of Babylon and of the Medes and Persians, though it was larger in extent: it "shall bear rule over all the earth." Da 2:32,39. It is also compared to a leopard which had four heads and four wings of a fowl. The leopard is distinguished for its blood-thirstiness and tearing its prey : this indeed magnifies the contrast in the millennium when it will lie down with the kid. Isa 11:6. Also remarkable for its swiftness of action: 'their horses also are swifter than the leopards.' Hab 1:8. These characteristics exactly agree with the character and actions of Alexander. The four heads and four wings refer to the extension of the kingdom to the four winds of heaven, as it was divided among four of his generals after his death. Da 7:6. Again in Dan, 8., where the kingdom of Media and Persia is compared to a ram, Greece is compared to a he goat, with a great horn, which is its first king, Alexander, Da 8:21. Here again we get his character described: so swift that he 'touched not the ground,' he rushed against the ram 'with choler,' cast him to the ground and stamped upon him. Da 8:5-8. In Zec 6:2-3, the four great monarchies are alluded to, and the third, the kingdom of Greece, is compared to a chariot with white horses.
Alexander the Great, son of Philip II. and Olympias, was born at Pella B.C. 356; became king of Macedon on the assassination of his father in 336: subdued the Greeks in 335; defeated the Persians, 334; took Tyre; conquered Syria and Egypt, and founded Alexandria 332; defeated Darius in 331; conquered Parthia, Media, Bactria, and invaded India, 330-324, sought fresh conquests, but died at Babylon in 323. These dates show the rapidity of his conquests, agreeing with the above scriptures. As to his cruelty let one instance suffice: at the capture of Tyre which then belonged to Persia, provoked by the long resistance and valiant defence, 8,000 of the inhabitants were massacred, 2,000 being crucified: of the rest, except those who escaped by sea, 30,000 were sold into slavery, the king and the chief magistrates were spared, doubtless as trophies. This was the work of the 'leopard' of scripture. While besieging Tyre Alexander sent to demand the submission of the Jews; but was told they were faithful vassals of Darius. After the conquest of Gaza, the conqueror marched to Jerusalem. The high priest Jaddua, being warned of God in a vision, hung the city with garlands and went forth in his robes with the other priests and the people in white to meet the king. On seeing these Alexander was arrested, fell to the ground and then embraced the high priest. In reply to an astonished courtier, Alexander said he did not worship the priest, but the name on his frontlet, and explained that he had seen in a vision a figure resembling this very priest, who told him to conquer Persia. He granted the Jews in Palestine, Media and Babylonia the free enjoyment of their laws and exemption from tribute during the Sabbatical year. Such is a rapid sketch of how prophecy and history agree. The empire of Greece had thus to do with God's ancient people the Jews, and formed a link in the chain of kingdoms until the Messiah Himself appeared and laid the foundation for His kingdom that shall endure for ever.