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Who are the "mixed" people described in Dan 2:41,43?

"Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay... And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay."
The word translated "mixed", "mixture", and "mixes" in the above verses is a word which is transliterated into English (according to Strong's Hebrew Lexicon) as "arab". In the Old Testament, however, this word is not identical with the other words (also transliterated as "arab" or "ereb") which are often translated "Arab" or "Arabia" or "Arabian", as referring to the land or peoples of that name.

Why a different word? Because the Daniel passage was originally written in Aramaic. (Only a very small portion of the OT -- basically, parts of Ezra and Daniel -- was actually composed in Aramaic: a Semitic language very closely related to Hebrew, which eventually replaced Hebrew as the common language during the latter part of the Old Testament times.)

So, technically, the Aramaic "arab" occurring in Dan 2:41,43 (and nowhere else in the Old Testament) is not identical with the other, Hebrew, "arab" occurring in a number of passages... although Strong's Hebrew Lexicon states unequivocally that the two words are closely related -- as shall be seen.

A brief review of a section of Strong's Hebrew Lexicon may help to clarify:

6148 (arab)
is a primitive root, meaning "to braid, to intermix". [6148 occurs 26 times in the OT, and is variously translated "mixing, mingling, etc" as well as "buying, trading, giving surety" and "meddling".]
6150 (arab)
is "a primitive root" identical with 6148 through the idea of "covering with a texture"; signifying "to grow dusky at sundown -- be darkened, (toward) evening." [6150 occurs 3 times: Jdg 19:9; 1Sa 17:16; Isa 24:11.]
6151 (arab)
is the Aramaic, "corresponding to" 6148 (the Hebrew). [6151 is the word which occurs (only) in Dan 2:41,43.]
6152 (arab)
is derived from 6150, and signifies the land of Arabia. [6152 occurs in 5 verses: 1Ki 10:15; 2Ch 9:14; Isa 21:13; Jer 25:24; Eze 27:21.]
6154 (ereb)
is derived from 6148, and signifies a "web of cloth", also a mixture (or mongrel race), and especially the people of Arabia, a "mingled people" or "mixed multitude": This Hebrew word (6154) occurs in 15 verses: Nine of these -- in one chapter (Lev 13:48,49,51-53,56-59) -- all have to do with fabrics, mixed or woven or braided together. Of the other 6 verses where 6154 occurs,

Exo 12:38 is about the "mixed multitude" who accompany Israel out of Egypt. Who these were we cannot know for sure, but it is certainly possible that they were other enslaved, oppressed people who seized the opportunity to escape Egypt along with the Israelites. Of what nations? The other occurrences of the same word (below) certainly give clues!

Neh 13:3 refers to the people of "mixed" extraction in the Land at the time of return from captivity in Babylon (the immediate context points to the Ammonites and Moabites: Neh 13:1);

Jer 50:37 refers to the "foreigners" amongst the Babylonians (the larger context mentions the allies of Babylon: Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar, and Elam: Jer 46-49);

Eze 30:5 refers to other "mixed" peoples (actually translated "Arabia" by NIV) alongside Cush, Put, Libya, and Egypt.

Especially interesting are the final passages, Jer 25:20 and Jer 25:24, where "ereb" occurs twice, bracketing a list of nations -- "all the kings of Uz; all the kings of the Philistines (those of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod); Edom, Moab and Ammon; all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the coastlands across the sea; Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in distant places; all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign people who live in the desert." Basically a checklist of all the "Arab" nations!
6163 (arabee)
is derived from 6152, and signifies "an Arab or inhabitant of Arabia". [6163 occurs in 8 verses: 2Ch 17:11; 21:16; 22:1; 26:7; Neh 2:19; 4:7; 6:1; Jer 3:2.]

Each word in this whole cluster may be seen to be related to all the others in the cluster; a "family tree" diagram demonstrates these relationships (not in my words, but in Strong's words!):

ARAB (6150) is identical with ARAB (6148) # -- which corresponds to ARAB (6151) #.

ARAB (6150)
is root of:
ARAB (6152)*,
Which traces to:
ARABEE (6163)*


ARAB (6151)
Is root of:
EREB (6154)*

(The three words marked * are indisputably descriptive of the Arabs. The two words marked # both indisputably mean "mixed".)

It should be seen at a glance, therefore, that "Arab" and "mixed" are closely related terms; they all belong to the same "family" of words.

In other words -- studying the chart above -- it may be noted:

  1. The primary words for "Arab" and "Arabia" are derived from the root word "arab" (6150).
  2. The basic Hebrew word for "mixed, mingled" (6154) is derived from a root word "arab" (6148), which (says Strong's) is "identical with" the root word for "Arab" (6150).
  3. The Aramaic for "mixed, mingled" (6151) "corresponds to" the Hebrew root (6148), from which is derived the basic Hebrew word for "mixed, mingled" (6154).
Now we already know, from Strong's, that the "arab" (6151) of Dan 2:41,43 is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew "ereb" (6154) in the above passages. Both words -- apparently without any doubt -- signify "mixed or mingled", and the second (the Hebrew word, 6154) plainly indicates, in a number of its usages, Arab peoples!

Smith's Bible Dictionary also states that "Arab" and "mixed" are related terms and ideas:

"Arabia cannot be held to have a more extended signification than the Hebrew equivalents in the Old Testament. (a) 'erb' (Exo 12:38; Neh 13:3) and 'erb' (1Ki 10:15; Jer 25:20, 50:37; Eze 30:5), rendered in the AV "a mixed multitude" (Exo 12:38), here followed by 'rb', 'the mixed multitude,' kings of 'Arabia' so in Vulgate, and in Hebrew in corresponding passage in 2Ch 9:14, and (in the last two instances) 'the mingled people,' have been thought to signify the Arabs."


It should be noted that, even if -- somehow -- the linguistic connections outlined above are disputed, the same conclusion may easily be drawn from other lines of inquiry.

For example, let us ask the simple question: 'What peoples in the Old Testament are described as the result of racial mixing?' And the Bible answer would have to be, primarily... the Arabs!

Why? Because, first of all (and leaving aside the linguistic connections altogether), the last six verses cited above where "ereb" (mixed, mingled) occurs [6154] plainly point to the Arab peoples... which include: Ammon, Moab, Egypt, Philistia, Edom, Damascus (Syria), Kedar (Ishmael), Elam, Philistia, Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon), Dedan, Tema, and Buz (Bedouin, Saudis). (Does this sound something like Psa 83?)

Even if there were absolutely NO linguistic connection between "mixed" and "arab" in Dan 2:41,43... the Bible evidence would still point to the Arabs as the preeminent and predominant "mixed" people of Old Testament times! When Daniel the Jew hears, and writes, about the "mixed" people, of whom would he naturally be thinking?

There is more:

The Book of Genesis describes in some detail how the people of the covenant -- the descendants and relatives of Abraham -- sinned against the LORD and violated His covenant by intermarrying with those who had no regard for that covenant:

  1. Ishmael, the son of Hagar the Egyptian, mocks Isaac, the true "son of the covenant", and Ishmael's descendants (the results, of course, of further mixing) have done the same toward Isaac's descendants ever since. (Abraham, meanwhile, takes careful steps to see that his seed of promise, Isaac, avoids marriage with the daughters of the Land.)
  2. Lot, the nephew of Abraham and a righteous man, becomes the father of other "mixed races", the Ammonites and Moabites, wicked and idolatrous nations who have no regard for the God of their father, and who hate God's people.
  3. Esau marries daughters of the Hittites (Gen 26:34); his family, the Edomites, are another group of "Arab" (mixed) peoples who hate their "cousins" the Jews, who have received the Promises. (Isaac warns his other son, Jacob, not to marry a Canaanite woman: Gen 28:1. Esau later compounds his previous marital errors by marrying a daughter of Ishmael: Gen 28:8,9.)
  4. When the Jews were about to enter the Land they were warned by Moses not to make marriages with the people of the Land, lest they turn them away from God toward idols (Deu 7:3-4; cp Jos 23:12-13). Such errors by Solomon eventually turned his heart to idolatry (1Ki 11:1-6; cp 1Co 7:39; 2Co 6:14).
  5. Ezra and Nehemiah -- at a much later date -- also lament that the priests and Levites have "mixed" and "mingled" their seed with the daughters of the land -- specifically the women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab (Neh 13:23).
  6. More generally, the earlier peoples of the Land -- enumerated in Gen 15:19-21: "Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites" -- were not all destroyed or driven out of that Land, and they remained as a continual snare to the people of Israel throughout their time there.
Three or four thousand years after the events outlined above, it is now impossible to mark out any individual Arab as an Ammonite or an Edomite or a Philistine... just as it is impossible to point out one who is a Canaanite or a Jebusite. In one sense, all these ancient peoples and nations have "disappeared"; the old national identities are gone. But the fact is (and the Bible is absolutely plain on this) these people were never completely wiped out by the Israelites. Their bloodlines remain, and ever since Bible times have been merging and mingling with one another to create the modern "Arabs", the quintessential "mixed" people.

As has been pointed out in other studies, these "Arab" peoples bear a strong genetic likeness to, and linkage with, the Jews [see Lesson Jews and Arabs are cousins]. But they are different, they are "mixed", and they hate their Jewish "cousins" with a fierce passion. Also, they desperately desire the same Land promised to Abraham's seed... because they are (in part) -- or believe themselves to be -- Abraham's "seed" too. Their prevailing religion, Islam, teaches them as well that they, and not the Jews, are Allah's chosen people! They are the true rivals of Israel... by history, by blood, by proximity, by Old Testament example and type, and by (many) Bible prophecies.


Question: 'But isn't Dan 2:41-43 all about the "ten toes" of the old Roman empire? How can the Arabs have any part in this?'

However, in fact, the Arabs do have ancient connections with the Roman Empire, and particularly as it related to the Land and People of Israel. For details on this, see Lesson, Ten toes, identity.



  1. Ten nations in the Promised Land at the beginning: Gen 15:19-21.
  2. Ten nations, the sworn enemies of Israel, in Psa 83.
  3. Ten Gentile nations, neighbors of Judah, upon which God lays "burdens" for their treatment and hatred of His people: Isa 13-23.
  4. Ten nations in Jer 25: Arabian enemies of Israel... (or 12 or 14 here, hard to group and enumerate... but a similar number, and a lot of overlapping with other lists).
  5. And ten modern nations that came into existence in the same generation (between 1922 and 1971, a 50-year period centered on 1948). Ten Arab nations living on land that once formed part of the old Roman empire. With an 11th nation, Palestine, poised to be "born" after the others... a "little horn" springing up last, ready and eager to be the spearhead to destroy the State of Israel (see Lesson, Beasts, heads, and horns).
Possible connections with the (ten?) toes of Daniel's image, and the 10 horns and kings of Daniel and Revelation?


Also, there is a plain and evident connection between Daniel's image in Dan 2, and the great image of Goliath, slain by the little stone flung by David (1Sa 17). And that "image" -- so very much like the other -- was... Philistine, or Palestinian!

Furthermore, Goliath, being Philistine, would probably have been of Greek lineage, as were all the Philistines. Therefore we have added to the "mixture" an element derived from the third portion of Nebuchadnezzar's "four-part" image, Greece.

Now this gets interesting...

So we might see the Philistines as a Greek element in the decidedly varied "mixture" of Arab peoples in and around the Land today.

So the "mixed" peoples calling themselves "Arabs" (Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Bedouin, etc, etc) are not just the Last Days mixture of Abraham's (apostate) seed and the Canaanites/Jebusites/et al of Gen 15.

They include a "spoonful" of Greeks too.

Is this surprising? Not really. Think about it. Conquering, ruling minorities always leave something of themselves behind. And one of the ways of controlling ruled-over peoples is to systematically undermine their ethnic uniqueness, their national identity. Thus the Assyrian conquerors of the Northern Kingdom moved all the conquered peoples here and there, with the purpose of mixing them all up with one another (and obscuring/obliterating the strains of national identity, and these people's connections with their own lands): see the history in 2Ki 17:24ff.

Then of course there is the racial "mixing" that happens more or less "accidentally". (Reminding us of the slur perpetrated against Jesus by some of the early rabbinical writings: that he was the result of an illicit relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier. How could such a story be told about any specific person, unless similar things had happened generally?)

Just a thought, then: the "Arabs", in the broadest sense of the modern word, are plainly a very "mixed" peoples... genetic makeup contributed from 50 different ethnic groups -- including, no doubt, all of Daniel's "image parts / beasts" that ruled over their Land for hundreds of years. {This is no particular slur in and of itself: many peoples today are really a genetic mixture of a dozen or a score of earlier races. But... in the Middle East, and in the context of Bible teaching, God always desired that His people be "pure" of outside influences, that they not intermarry with the idolaters around them -- not disparaging, of course, the occasional "Ruth" who in faith became a Jew.}

In fact, and naturally speaking, we should expect to see -- in the area of Palestine/Israel/Canaan (the extended Holy Land) -- even more mixing than is normal elsewhere in the world, because this land is the natural "bridge" connecting the three great continental land masses of the ancient world. Over this "bridge" passed Egyptians on their way to the east, and Babylonians on their way to Africa, and Greeks on their way to India, and countless other generals and armies, explorers and travelers, and traders.

One might ask, "Why would God deliberately put His people in a place where they would be exposed to so many other non-Jewish influences... if He really wanted them to remain pure and undefiled from such peoples?" And the answer -- an aside to the main point here -- would be: they were SUPPOSED to be a "light to the Gentiles", a "city set on a hill"; that's why they were placed at the "crossroads" of the world! In large measure, however, they failed -- they did not "conquer" the world with the light of God's truth, but the world "conquered" them instead! But later... from this same "crossroads" the Gospel message, carried by Jews, went forth in all directions, so that the Hope of Israel will yet "conquer" the world! And God's purpose did not -- and will not -- fail after all!

Enough on the "aside".

So... when we talk of the whole image of Dan 2 being joined together, and acting as one, to trample down the Land of God's Promises... is it just possible that we can see, in the extended "Arab world" of today, the whole of Daniel's "image" standing up together? A microcosm of practically the whole "world", bent on the destruction of God's people? A great blended "mixture" of Canaanites, Amorites, Jebusites, Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans... and others besides... whose one unifying feature is their bitter hatred of Israel?

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