Daniel 8

1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, Daniel, after that vision which had appeared unto me before.
2 And I saw in the vision; (and it came to pass, when I saw it, that I was at Shushan, which is the head of the kingdom in the province of Persia); so that I saw in that vision, being by the river of Ulai,
3 and I lifted up my eyes and saw, and, behold, a ram was standing before the river, which had two horns; and even though they were high, the one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
4 I saw that the ram smote with the horns to the west, to the north, and to the south and that no beast could stand before him, nor could anyone escape from his hand; but he did according to his will and made himself great.
5 And as I was considering, behold, a he goat came from the west upon the face of the whole earth and did not touch the earth: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
6 And he came to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing before the river and ran against him in the fury of his power.
7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he rose up against him and smote him, and broke his two horns: because the ram did not have the strength to stand before him; therefore he cast him down to the ground and trod him under; and there was no one to deliver the ram out of his hand.
8 And the he goat made himself very great, and when he was at his greatest strength, that great horn was broken; and in its place came up another four marvellous ones toward the four winds of heaven.
9 And out of the first of them came forth a little horn, which grew much toward the south and toward the east and toward the desirable land.
10 And it magnified itself unto the host of heaven, and it cast down part of the host and of the stars to the ground and trod them under.
11 Even against the prince of the host did he magnify himself, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast to the earth.
12 And the host was given over by reason of the prevarication upon the daily sacrifice; and he cast the truth to the ground; and he did whatever he would and prospered.
13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto the one which spoke, How long shall the vision of the daily sacrifice last and the prevarication of desolation that places both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days of evening and morning; then shall the sanctuary be justified.
15 And it came to pass, as I, Daniel, was considering the vision and seeking to understand it, behold, there stood before me the likeness of a man.
16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, which called and said, Gabriel, teach this man the vision.
17 So he came near where I stood, and with his coming, I was afraid and fell upon my face; and he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time appointed by God the vision shall be fulfilled.
18 Now as he was speaking with me, I fell into a deep sleep on the ground upon my face; and he touched me and changed my state.
19 And he said, Behold, I will show thee that which is to come in the last end of the wrath; for at the time appointed this shall be fulfilled.
20 The ram which thou didst see having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
21 And the he goat is the king of Grecia, and the great horn that he had between his eyes is the first king.
22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up in its place, means that four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his strength.
23 And at the end of their empire, when the prevaricators are come to the full, a king of arrogant countenance and expert in enigmas shall raise himself up.
24 And his power shall be strengthened, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy marvellously and shall prosper and do according to his will and shall destroy the mighty and the people of the saints.
25 And with his understanding he shall cause the deceit in his hand to prosper, and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace he shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, and without hand he shall be broken.
26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true; therefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
27 And I Daniel was broken and was sick certain days; and after I rose up, I did the king’s business; but I was astonished at the vision, and there was no one who could 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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010