Daniel 8

1 After that first vision, it was in the third year of the reign of King Belshatzar that another vision appeared to me, Dani'el.
2 I looked into the vision; and as I looked, I found myself in Shushan the capital, in the province of 'Eilam. I looked into the vision, and I was by the Ulai canal.
3 I looked up; and as I watched, there in front of the stream stood a ram with two horns. The horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up later [than the other].
4 I saw the ram pushing to the west, north and south; and no animals could stand up against it; nor was there anyone that could rescue from its power. So it did as it pleased and became very strong.
5 I was beginning to understand, when a male goat came from the west, passing over the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a prominent horn between its eyes.
6 It approached the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the river, and charged it with savage force.
7 I watched as it advanced on the ram, filled with rage against it, and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it. It threw the ram to the ground and trampled it down, and there was no one that could rescue it from the goat's power.
8 The male goat then became extremely strong; but when it was strong, the big horn was broken; and in its place arose what appeared to be four horns in the directions of the four winds of heaven.
9 Out of one of them came a little horn which grew extremely big in the directions of the south and east, and in the direction of the Glory.
10 It grew so great that it reached the army of heaven; it hurled some of the army and the stars to the ground and trampled on them.
11 Yes, it even considered itself as great as the prince of the army; the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was thrown down.
12 Through sin, the army was put in its power, along with the regular burnt offering. It flung truth on the ground as it acted and prospered.
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the speaker, "How long will the events of the vision last, this vision concerning the regular offering and the transgression which is so appalling, that allows the sanctuary and the army to be trampled underfoot?"
14 The first said to me, "Two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings, after which the sanctuary will be restored to its rightful state."
15 After I, Dani'el, had seen the vision and was trying to understand it, suddenly there stood in front of me someone who appeared to be a man.
16 I heard a human voice calling from between the banks of the Ulai, "Gavri'el, make this man understand the vision!"
17 He came up to where I was standing, and his approach so terrified me that I fell on my face. But he said to me, "Human being! Understand that the vision refers to the time of the end."
18 As he was speaking with me, I fell into a deep sleep, with my face toward the ground; but he touched me, set me on my feet,
19 and said, "I am going to explain to you what will happen at the end of the period of fury, because [the vision] has to do with the time at the end.
20 You saw a ram with two horns which are the kings of Media and Persia.
21 The shaggy male goat is the king of Greece, and the prominent horn between its eyes is the first king.
22 As for the horn that broke and the four which rose up in its place, four kingdoms will arise out of this nation, but not with the power the first king had.
23 In the latter part of their reign, when the evildoers have become as evil as possible, there will arise an arrogant king skilled in intrigue.
24 His power will be great, but not with the power the first king had. He will be amazingly destructive, he will succeed in whatever he does, and he will destroy the mighty and the holy ones.
25 He will succeed through craftiness and deceit, become swelled with pride, and destroy many people just when they feel the most secure. He will even challenge the prince of princes; but, without human intervention, he will be broken.
26 The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; but you are to keep the vision secret, because it is about days in the distant future."
27 I, Dani'el, grew weak and was ill for some days. Then I got up and took care of the king's affairs; but I was appalled at the vision and still couldn't understand it.

Daniel 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

Daniel's vision of the ram and the he-goat. (1-14) The interpretation of it. (15-27)

Verses 1-14 God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we are gone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day. The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media and Persia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This was Alexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years of age, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy. While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting the death of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the great First Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute, and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. A little horn became a great persecutor of the church and people of God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointed out. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holy religion God's right hand had planted. It is just with God to deprive those of the privileges of his house who despise and profane them; and to make those know the worth of ordinances by the want of them, who would not know it by the enjoyment of them. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited and determined; but not the time when it should come. If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, but hid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time here stated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it as to present it blameless to himself.

Verses 15-27 The eternal Son of God stood before the prophet in the appearance of a man, and directed the angel Gabriel to explain the vision. Daniel's fainting and astonishment at the prospect of evils he saw coming on his people and the church, confirm the opinion that long-continued calamities were foretold. The vision being ended, a charge was given to Daniel to keep it private for the present. He kept it to himself, and went on to do the duty of his place. As long as we live in this world we must have something to do in it; and even those whom God has most honoured, must not think themselves above their business. Nor must the pleasure of communion with God take us from the duties of our callings, but we must in them abide with God. All who are intrusted with public business must discharge their trust uprightly; and, amidst all doubts and discouragements, they may, if true believers, look forward to a happy issue. Thus should we endeavour to compose our minds for attending to the duties to which each is appointed, in the church and in the world.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 8

This chapter contains the vision of a ram and he goat, and the interpretation of it. It begins with observing the time and place of the vision, Da 8:1,2, then describes the ram seen; by the place of his situation; by his two horns; and by his pushing several ways with so much force and fury, that none could stand before him, or deliver: out of his hands, Da 8:3,4 next the he goat appears, and is described by the part from whence he came; the swiftness of his motion; the notable horn between his eyes; and his running to ram in great fury, smiting him between his horns, casting him to the ground, and trampling upon him, and none to deliver, Da 8:5-7 but, after waxing great and powerful, its horn was broken, and four more rose up in its stead, and out of one of them a little horn, Da 8:8,9 which little horn is described by its power and prevalence to the south and to the east, towards the pleasant land, the host of heaven, and the Prince of the host; and by it the stars were cast down and trampled upon, the daily sacrifice made to cease; the place of the sanctuary cast down, and truth itself, Da 8:9-12, and upon inquiry it appeared that these sacred things were to continue in this desolate condition unto 2300 days, Da 8:13,14. Daniel being desirous of knowing the meaning of this vision, the Angel Gabriel is ordered by Christ to give him an understanding of it; who drew near to him, and awaked him out of his sleep, and gave him the interpretation of it; Da 8:15-19, which is as follows; the ram; with two horns, signifies the kings of Media and Persia; the rough goat, the king of Greece; and the great horn the first king, Alexander the great; and the four horns, four kingdoms which rose up out of the Grecian empire upon his death, Da 8:20-22, and the little horn a king of fierce countenance, Antiochus Epiphanes; who is, described by his craft, and cunning, by his power and might, and by the destruction he should make; Da 8:23-25, this vision the angel assures the prophet was true, and bids him shut it up, since it was for many days, Da 8:26, upon which Daniel fainted, and was sick for a time; but afterwards recovered, so as to be able to do the king's business; but astonished at the vision himself, and which was not understood by others, Da 8:27.

Daniel 8 Commentaries