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Daniel 8:5

5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.

Read Daniel 8:5 Using Other Translations

And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes.
While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes,

What does Daniel 8:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Daniel 8:5

And as I was considering
The ram, and the strange things done by him; wondering that a creature of so little strength, comparatively with other beasts, should be able to do such exploits: and thinking with himself what should be the meaning of all this, and what would be the issue of it, behold, an he goat came from the west;
which is interpreted of the king or kingdom of Grecia, which lay to the west of Persia; and a kingdom may be said to do what one of its kings did; particularly Alexander, king of Macedon, in Greece, who, with the Grecian army under him, marched from thence to fight the king of Persia; and which might be signified by a "he goat", because of its strength, its comeliness in walking, and its being the guide and leader of the flock: and also it is remarkable, that the arms of Macedon, or the ensigns carried before their armies, were a goat, ever since the days of Caranus; who following a flock of goats, was directed to Edessa, a city of Macedon, and took it; and from this circumstance of the goats called it Aegeas, and the people Aegeades, which signifies "goats"; and put the goat in his arms F17. On the face of the whole earth;
all that lay between Greece and Persia, all Asia; yea, all the whole world, at least as Alexander thought, who wept because there was not another world to conquer: hence Juvenal says {r}, "unus Pelloeo juveni non sufficit orbis"; one world was not enough for this young man. And touched not the ground;
as he went; he seemed rather to fly in the air than to walk upon the earth; with such swiftness did Alexander run over the world, and make his conquests: in six or eight years time he conquered the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, Babylon, Egypt, and all the neighbouring nations; and afar off, Greece, Thrace, Illyricum, and even the greatest part of the then known world: hence the third or Grecian monarchy under him is said to be like a leopard, with four wings of a fowl on its back F19, (See Gill on Daniel 7:6) he conquered countries as soon almost as another could have travelled over them; in his marches he was swift and indefatigable. Aelianus F20 reports, that he marched, clad in armour, thrice four hundred, that is, twelve hundred furlongs, upon a stretch; and, before his army could take any rest, fought his enemies, and conquered them. Some render the words, "whom no man touched in the earth" F21; that is, none could oppose, resist, and stop him; he bore down and carried all before him; there was no coming at him, so as to touch him, or hurt him; he was so swift in his motions, and so powerful in his army. And the goat had a notable horn between his eyes;
or, "a horn of vision": which in ( Daniel 8:21 ) is interpreted of the first king of Greece, that is, when it became a monarchy; who was Alexander the great; and very properly called a "horn", being possessed of great power and authority; and a notable one, very remarkable and famous, as he has been in all ages since: "a horn of vision" F23 as it may be rendered; a very visible and conspicuous one, to be seen afar off, and which attracted the eyes of all unto it: its situation was "between the eyes of the goat", denoting his sagacity, wisdom, prudence, craft, and cunning; being attended and surrounded with his father Philip's wise counsellors as Parmenio, Philotas, Clitus, and others. It is remarkable that by the Arabs Alexander is called Dulcarnaim, or Dhilcarnain; that is, one having two horns F24: the reason of which was, he affected to be the son of Jupiter Hammon, and therefore at feasts and public entertainments would put on the purple and horns of Hammon: hence, as Clemens of Alexandria observes F25, he is by the statuaries represented as horned, or wearing horns; but then, as Arnobius F26 and others take notice, Hammon is made by the painters and statuaries to have ram's horns; whereas it seems more likely that Alexander's were goat's horns, since the goat was in the arms of Macedon; and so Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who mimicked Alexander in his armour, is said to have goat's horns on his helmet, upon the top of his crest F1; and to such ensigns is the allusion here.


FOOTNOTES:

F17 Justin ex Trogo, l. 7. c. 1.
F18 Satyr. 10.
F19 Alexander was remarkable for the agility of his body, as appeared by his mounting his horse Bucephalus (Plutarch in Vita Alexandri), to the admiration of his father, and all that beheld him; as well as famous for the quick marches of his army, and his very swift and expeditious execution of his signs. "Plurimum pedum celeritate pollebat"; he greatly excelled in swiftness of foot, says the historian: and again, "armatusque de navi, tripudianti similis prosiluit"; he leaped armed out of the ship like one that danced (Suppl. in Curt. l. 1. p. 16. l. 2. p. 26) And he himself, speaking of the countries he had conquered, says, "quas tanta velocitate domuimus": and elsewhere, "cujus velocitatem nemo valuisset effugere". And of Bessus it is said, that "Alexandri celeritate perterritus". And Cobares, the magician calls him "velocissimus rex" (Curt. Hist. l. 6. c. 3. & l. 7. c. 4. 7.). And another historian says (Justin ex Trogo, l. 11. c. 2. & l. 12. c. 9.) that having observed the enemy's city forsook by them, "sine ullo satellite desiliit in planitiem urbis": and again, "tanta celeritate instructo paraloque exercitu Graeciam oppressi; ut quem venire non senserant, videre se vix crederant".
F20 Var. Hist. l. 10. c. 4.
F21 (Urab egwn Nyaw) quem neme attingebat in terra, Junius & Tremellius.
F23 (twzh Nrq) "cornu visionis", Montanus; "visibile sive visendum", Vatablus; "conspicuum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F24 See Gregory, de Aeris & Epochis, c. 11. p. 158, 159.
F25 Protreptic. ad Gentes, p. 36.
F26 Adv. Gentes, l. 6. p. 233.
F1 Plutarch. in Vita Pyrrhi.
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