Daniel 8

Vision of the Ram and Goat

1 In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously.
2 I 1looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of 2Susa, which is in the province of 3Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal.
3 Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a 4ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last.
4 I saw the ram 5butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but 6he did as he pleased and magnified himself.
5 While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a 7conspicuous horn between his eyes.
6 He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath.
7 I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power.
8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly *. But as soon as 8he was mighty, the 9large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the 10four winds of heaven.

The Little Horn

9 Out of one of them came forth a rather 11small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the 12Beautiful Land.
10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the 13stars to fall to the earth, and it 14trampled them down.
11 It even 15magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the 16regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.
12 And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will 17fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper.
13 Then I heard a 18holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "19How long * will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be 20trampled?"
14 He said to me, "For 21 2,300 * * evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored."

Interpretation of the Vision

15 When 22I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a 23man.
16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "24Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision."
17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and 25fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the 26time of the end."
18 Now while he was talking with me, I 27sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he 28touched me and made me stand upright *.
19 He said, "Behold, I am going to 29let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.

The Ram's Identity

20 "The 30ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.

The Goat

21 "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
22 "The 31broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power.
23 "In the latter period of their rule, When the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise, Insolent * and skilled in intrigue.
24 "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will 32destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.
25 "And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even 33oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken 34without human agency.
26 "The vision of the evenings and mornings Which has been told is 35true; But 36keep the vision secret, For it pertains to many 37days in the future."
27 Then I, Daniel, was 38exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and 39carried on the king's business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain 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.

Cross References 39

  • 1. Numbers 12:6; Daniel 7:2, 15; Daniel 8:3
  • 2. Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2; Esther 2:8
  • 3. Genesis 10:22; Genesis 14:1; Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 25:25; Ezekiel 32:24
  • 4. Daniel 8:20
  • 5. Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11; Ezekiel 34:21
  • 6. Daniel 11:3
  • 7. Daniel 8:8, 21; Daniel 11:3
  • 8. 2 Chronicles 26:16; Daniel 5:20
  • 9. Daniel 8:22
  • 10. Daniel 7:2; Revelation 7:1
  • 11. Daniel 8:23
  • 12. Psalms 48:2; Daniel 11:16, 41
  • 13. Isaiah 14:13; Jeremiah 48:26; Revelation 12:4
  • 14. Daniel 7:7; Daniel 8:7
  • 15. 2 Kings 19:22, 23; 2 Chronicles 32:15-17; Isaiah 37:23; Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:36, 37
  • 16. Ezekiel 46:14; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11
  • 17. Isaiah 59:14
  • 18. Daniel 4:13, 23; 1 Peter 1:12
  • 19. Psalms 74:10; Psalms 79:5; Isaiah 6:11; Daniel 12:6, 8; Revelation 6:10
  • 20. Isaiah 63:18; Jeremiah 12:10; Luke 21:24; Hebrews 10:29; Revelation 11:2
  • 21. Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7, 11; Revelation 11:2, 3; Revelation 12:14; Revelation 13:5
  • 22. Daniel 8:1
  • 23. Daniel 7:13; Daniel 10:16, 18
  • 24. Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26
  • 25. Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 44:4; Daniel 2:46; Revelation 1:17
  • 26. Daniel 8:19; Daniel 11:35, 40
  • 27. Daniel 10:9; Luke 9:32
  • 28. Ezekiel 2:2; Dan 10:10, 16, 18
  • 29. Daniel 8:15-17
  • 30. Daniel 8:3
  • 31. Daniel 8:8
  • 32. Daniel 8:11-13; Daniel 11:36; Daniel 12:7
  • 33. Daniel 8:11
  • 34. Job 34:20; Daniel 2:34, 45
  • 35. Daniel 10:1
  • 36. Ezekiel 12:27; Daniel 12:4, 9; Revelation 22:10
  • 37. Daniel 10:14
  • 38. Daniel 7:28; Daniel 8:17; Habakkuk 3:16
  • 39. Daniel 2:48

Footnotes 36

Chapter Summary


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

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