Daniel 8

1 `In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king, a vision hath appeared unto me -- I Daniel -- after that which had appeared unto me at the beginning.
2 And I see in a vision, and it cometh to pass, in my seeing, and I [am] in Shushan the palace that [is] in Elam the province, and I see in a vision, and I have been by the stream Ulai.
3 And I lift up mine eyes, and look, and lo, a certain ram is standing before the stream, and it hath two horns, and the two horns [are] high; and the one [is] higher than the other, and the high one is coming up last.
4 I have seen the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, and no living creatures do stand before it, and there is none delivering out of its hand, and it hath done according to its pleasure, and hath exerted itself.
5 `And I have been considering, and lo, a young he-goat hath come from the west, over the face of the whole earth, whom none is touching in the earth; as to the young he-goat, a conspicuous horn [is] between its eyes.
6 And it cometh unto the ram possessing the two horns, that I had seen standing before the stream, and runneth unto it in the fury of its power.
7 And I have seen it coming near the ram, and it becometh embittered at it, and smiteth the ram, and breaketh its two horns, and there hath been no power in the ram to stand before it, and it casteth it to the earth, and trampleth it down, and there hath been no deliverer to the ram out of its power.
8 `And the young he-goat hath exerted itself very much, and when it is strong, broken hath been the great horn; and come up doth a vision of four in its place, at the four winds of the heavens.
9 And from the one of them come forth hath a little horn, and it exerteth itself greatly toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the beauteous [land];
10 yea, it exerteth unto the host of the heavens, and causeth to fall to the earth of the host, and of the stars, and trampleth them down.
11 And unto the prince of the host it exerteth itself, and by it taken away hath been the continual [sacrifice], and thrown down the base of his sanctuary.
12 And the host is given up, with the continual [sacrifice], through transgression, and it throweth down truth to the earth, and it hath worked, and prospered.
13 `And I hear a certain holy one speaking, and a certain holy one saith to the wonderful numberer who is speaking: Till when [is] the vision of the continual [sacrifice], and of the transgression, an astonishment, to make both sanctuary and host a treading down?
14 And he saith unto me, Till evening -- morning two thousand and three hundred, then is the holy place declared right.
15 `And it cometh to pass in my seeing -- I, Daniel -- the vision, that I require understanding, and lo, standing over-against me [is] as the appearance of a mighty one.
16 And I hear a voice of man between [the banks of] Ulai, and he calleth and saith: Gabriel, cause this [one] to understand the appearance.
17 And he cometh in near my station, and at his coming in I have been afraid, and I fall on my face, and he saith unto me: Understand, son of man, for at the time of the end [is] the vision.
18 And in his speaking with me, I have been in a trance on my face, on the earth; and he cometh against me, and causeth me to stand on my station,
19 and saith: Lo, I -- I am causing thee to know that which is in the latter end of the indignation; for, at the appointed time [is] the end.
20 `The ram that thou hast seen possessing two horns, [are] the kings of Media and Persia.
21 And the young he-goat, the hairy one, [is] the king of Javan; and the great horn that [is] between its eyes is the first king;
22 and that being broken, stand up do four in its place, four kingdoms from the nation do stand up, and not in its power.
23 `And in the latter end of their kingdom, about the perfecting of the transgressors, stand up doth a king, fierce of face, and understanding hidden things;
24 and his power hath been mighty, and not by his own power; and wonderful things he destroyeth, and he hath prospered, and wrought, and destroyed mighty ones, and the people of the Holy Ones.
25 `And by his understanding he hath also caused deceit to prosper in his hand, and in his heart he exerteth himself, and by ease he destroyeth many; and against the prince of princes he standeth -- and without hand he is broken.
26 And the appearance of the evening and of the morning, that is told, is true; and thou, hide thou the vision, for [it is] after many days.'
27 And I, Daniel, have been, yea, I became sick [for] days, and I rise, and do the king's work, and am astonished at the appearance, and there is none understanding.

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