Vision of the Ram and He-Goat: The Twenty-three Hundred Days of the Sanctuary Being
With this chapter the Hebrew part of the book
begins and continues to be the language of the remainder; the visions
relating wholly to the Jews and Jerusalem. The scene here narrows from
world-wide prophecies to those affecting the one covenant-people in the
five centuries between the exile and the advent. Antichrist, like
Christ, has a more immediate future, as well as one more remote. The
vision, the eighth chapter, begins, and that, the tenth through twelfth
chapters, concludes, the account of the Antichrist of the third
kingdom. Between the two visions the ninth chapter is inserted, as to
Messiah and the covenant-people at the end of the half millennium
(seventy weeks of years).
1. vision—a higher kind of revelation
than a dream.
after that … at the first—that
2. Shushan—Susa. Though then
comparatively insignificant, it was destined to be the capital of
Persia after Cyrus' time. Therefore Daniel is transported into it, as
being the capital of the kingdom signified by the two-horned ram (Ne 1:1; Es
Elam—west of Persia proper, east of
Babylonia, south of Media. Daniel was not present there personally, but
Ulai—called in Pliny Eulœus; by the Greeks, Choaspes. Now
Kerah, or Karasu. So in Da 10:4 he
receives a vision near another river, the Hiddekel. So Ezekiel (Eze 1:1) at the Chebar. Perhaps because
synagogues used to be built near rivers, as before praying they washed
their hands in the water [Rosenmuller],
3. two horns—The "two"
ought not to be in italics, as if it were not in the original; for it
is expressed by the Hebrew dual. "Horn" in the East is the
symbol of power and royalty.
one … higher than … other …
the higher came up last—Persia, which was of little note till
Cyrus' time, became then ascendant over Media, the more ancient
kingdom. Darius was sixty-two years old (Da 5:31) when he began to reign; during his
short reign of two years, being a weak king (Da 6:1-3), the government was almost entirely in
Cyrus' hands. Hence Herodotus does not
mention Darius; but Xenophon does under
the name of Cyaxares II. The "ram" here corresponds to the "bear"
(Da 7:5), symbolizing clumsy
firmness. The king of Persia wore a jewelled ram's head of gold
instead of a diadem, such as are seen on the pillars at Persepolis.
Also the Hebrew for "ram" springs from the same root as "Elam,"
or Persia [Newton]. The "one horn higher
than the other" answers to the bear "raising itself on one side"
(compare Note, see on Da 7:5).
4. ram pushing westward—Persia conquered
westward Babylon, Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor.
northward—Colchis, Armenia, Iberia,
and the dwellers on the Caspian Sea.
southward—Judea, Egypt, Ethiopia,
Libya; also India, under Darius. He does not say eastward, for
the Persians themselves came from the east (Isa 46:11).
did according to his will—(Da 11:3,
16; compare Da 5:19).
notable horn—Alexander. "Touched not
… ground," implies the incredible swiftness of his conquests; he
overran the world in less than twelve years. The he-goat answers to the
7:6). Caranus, the first king
of Macedonia, was said to have been led by goats to Edessa,
which he made the seat of his kingdom, and called Æge, that is,
6. standing before the river—Ulai. It
was at the "river" Granicus that Alexander fought his first victorious
battle against Darius, 334 B.C.
7. moved with choler—Alexander
represented the concentrated wrath of Greece against Persia for the
Persian invasions of Greece; also for the Persian cruelties to Greeks,
and Darius' attempts to seduce Alexander's soldiers to treachery [Newton].
stamped upon him—In 331 B.C. he defeated Darius Codomanus, and in 330 B.C. burned Persepolis and completed the
conquest of Persia.
none … could deliver—Not the
immense hosts of Persia could save it from the small army of Alexander
8. when he was strong … great horn was
broken—The empire was in full strength at Alexander's death
by fever at Babylon, and seemed then least likely to fall. Yet it was
then "broken." His natural brother, Philip Aridœus, and his two
sons, Alexander Ægus and Hercules, in fifteen months were
four … toward … four
winds—Seleucus, in the east, obtained Syria, Babylonia,
Media, &c.; Cassander, in the west, Macedon Thessaly, Greece;
Ptolemy, in the south, Egypt, Cyprus, &c.; Lysimachus, in the
north, Thrace, Cappadocia, and the north parts of Asia Minor.
9. little horn—not to be confounded with
the little horn of the fourth kingdom in Da 7:8. The little horn in Da 7:8 comes as an eleventh horn after ten
preceding horns. In Da 8:9 it is
not an independent fifth horn, after the four previous ones, but it
arises out of one of the four existing horns. This horn is explained
8:23) to be "a king of fierce
countenance," &c. Antiochus Epiphanes is meant. Greece with all its
refinement produces the first, that is, the Old Testament Antichrist.
Antiochus had an extraordinary love of art, which expressed itself in
grand temples. He wished to substitute Zeus Olympius for Jehovah at
Jerusalem. Thus first heathen civilization from below, and revealed
religion from above, came into collision. Identifying himself with
Jupiter, his aim was to make his own worship universal (compare
8:25 with Da 11:36); so mad
was he in this that he was called Epimanes (maniac) instead of
Epiphanes. None of the previous world rulers, Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:31-34), Darius (Da 6:27, 28), Cyrus (Ezr 1:2-4), Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezr 7:12), had systematically opposed the Jews'
religious worship. Hence the need of prophecy to prepare them for
Antiochus. The struggle of the Maccabees was a fruit of Daniel's
prophecy (1 Maccabees 2:59). He is the forerunner of the final
Antichrist, standing in the same relation to the first advent of Christ
that Antichrist does to His second coming. The sins in Israel which
gave rise to the Greek Antichrist were that some Jews adopted Hellenic
customs (compare Da 11:30, 32), erecting theaters, and regarding all
religions alike, sacrificing to Jehovah, but at the same time sending
money for sacrifices to Hercules. Such shall be the state of the world
when ripe for Antichrist. At Da 8:9 and Da 8:23 the description passes from the literal
Antiochus to features which, though partially attributed to him, hold
good in their fullest sense only of his antitype, the New Testament
Antichrist. The Mohammedan Antichrist may also be included; answering
to the Euphratean (Turk) horsemen (Re 9:14-21), loosed "an hour, a day, a month, a
year" (391 years, in the year-day theory), to scourge corrupted,
idolatrous Christianity. In A.D. 637 the
Saracen Moslem mosque of Omar was founded on the site of the temple,
"treading under foot the sanctuary" (Da 8:11-13); and there it still remains. The first
conquest of the Turks over Christians was in A.D. 1281; and 391 years after they reached their
zenith of power and began to decline, Sobieski defeating them at
Vienna. Mohammed II, called "the conqueror," reigned A.D. 1451-1481, in which period Constantinople fell;
391 years after brings us to our own day, in which Turkey's fall is
waxed … great, toward …
Antiochus fought against Ptolemy Philometer and Egypt, that is, the
toward the east—He fought against
those who attempted a change of government in Persia.
toward the pleasant land—Judea, "the
glorious land" (Da 11:16, 41, 45; compare Ps 48:2; Eze 20:6, 15). Its chief pleasantness
consists in its being God's chosen land (Ps 132:13; Jer 3:19). Into it Antiochus made his inroad
after his return from Egypt.
10. great, even to … host of
heaven—explained in Da 8:24, "the mighty and holy people," that is,
the Jews (Da
7:21) and their priests
(compare Isa 24:21).
The Levites' service is called "a warfare" (Nu 8:24, 25, Margin). Great civil and
religious powers are symbolized by "stars" (Mt 24:29). See 1 Maccabees 1:25, &c.; 1
Maccabees 2:35, &c.; 1 Maccabees 5:2, 12, 13. Tregelles refers "stars" to those Jews whose portion
from God is heavenly glory (Da 12:3),
being believers in Him who is above at God's right hand: not the
cast … stars to the ground—So
Babel, as type of Antichrist, is described (Isa 14:13, 14), "I will exalt my throne above
the stars of God." Compare Re 12:4; 2
Maccabees 9:10, as to Antiochus.
11. to the prince of the host—that is,
God Himself, the Lord of Sabaoth, the hosts in heaven and earth, stars,
angels, and earthly ministers. So Da 8:25, "he shall stand up against the
Prince of princes"; "against the God of gods" (Da 11:36; compare Da 7:8). He not only opposes God's ancient
people, but also God Himself.
daily sacrifice—offered morning and
evening (Ex 29:38, 39).
taken away—by Antiochus (1
sanctuary … cast down—Though
robbed of its treasures, it was not strictly "cast down" by Antiochus.
So that a fuller accomplishment is future. Antiochus took away the
daily sacrifice for a few years; the Romans, for many ages, and "cast
down" the temple; and Antichrist, in connection with Rome, the fourth
kingdom, shall do so again after the Jews in their own land, still
unbelieving, shall have rebuilt the temple, and restored the Mosaic
ritual: God giving them up to him "by reason of transgression" (Da 8:12), that is, not owning the worship
so rendered [Tregelles]; and then the
opposition of the horn to the "truth" is especially mentioned.
12. an host—rather, "the host was
given up to him," that is, the holy people were given
into his hands. So in Da 8:10 "the
host" is used; and again in Da 8:13,
where also "give" is used as here for "giving up" for
destruction (compare Da 11:6)
against … daily sacrifice—rather
(the host was given up for him to tread upon), "together with
the daily sacrifice" (compare Da 8:13).
by reason of transgression—1
Maccabees 1:11-16 traces all the calamities suffered under
Antiochus to the transgression of certain Jews who introduced
heathen customs into Jerusalem just before. But transgression
was not at the full (Da 8:23)
under Antiochus; for Onias the high priest administered the laws in
godliness at the time (2 Maccabees 3:1). Therefore the
"transgression" must refer to that of the Jews hereafter restored to
Palestine in unbelief.
the truth—the worship of the true God.
59:14, "Truth is fallen in
practised, and prospered—Whatever he
undertook succeeded (Da 8:4; 11:28, 36).
13. that certain saint—Daniel did not
know the names of these two holy angels, but saw only that one was
speaking to the other.
How long shall be the vision concerning
… daily sacrifice—How long shall the daily sacrifice be
transgression of desolation—literally,
"making desolate," that is, Antiochus desolating profanation of
the temple (Da 11:31; 12:11). Compare as to Rome and the last
Antichrist, Mt 24:15.
14. unto me—The answer is to
Daniel, not to the inquirer, for the latter had asked in
Daniel's name; as vice versa the saint or angel (Job 15:15;
Ps 89:6, 7) speaks of the
vision granted to Daniel, as if it had been granted to himself. For
holy men are in Scripture represented as having attendant angels, with
whom they are in a way identified in interests. If the conversation had
been limited to the angels, it could have been of no use to us. But God
conveys it to prophetical men, for our good, through the ministry of
two thousand … three hundred
days—literally, "mornings and evenings," specified in
connection with the morning and evening sacrifice. Compare Ge 1:5. Six years and a hundred ten days. This
includes not only the three and a half years during which the daily
sacrifice was forbidden by Antiochus [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 1:1.1], but the
whole series of events whereby it was practically interrupted:
beginning with the "little horn waxing great toward the pleasant land,"
and "casting down some of the host" (Da 8:9, 10); namely, when in 171 B.C., or the month Sivan in the year 142 of the era
of the Seleucidæ, the sacrifices began to be neglected, owing to
the high priest Jason introducing at Jerusalem Grecian customs and
amusements, the palæstra and gymnasium; ending with the death of
Antiochus, 165 B.C., or the month
Shebath, in the year 148 of the Seleucid era. Compare 1 Maccabees
1:11-15; 2 Maccabees 4:9, &c. The reason for the greater
minuteness of historical facts and dates, given in Daniel's prophecies,
than in those of the New Testament, is that Israel, not having yet the
clear views which Christians have of immortality and the heavenly
inheritance, could only be directed to the earthly future: for it was
on earth the looked-for Messiah was to appear, and the sum and subject
of Old Testament prophecy was the kingdom of God upon earth. The
minuteness of the revelation of Israel's earthly destiny was to
compensate for the absence, in the Old Testament, of views of heavenly
glory. Thus, in Da 9:24-27, the times of Messiah are foretold to
the very year; in Da 8:14 the
times of Antiochus, even to the day; and in Da 11:5-20 the Syro-Egyptian struggles in
most minute detail. Tregelles thinks the
twenty-three hundred "days" answer to the week of years (Da 9:27), during which the destroying prince
9:26) makes a covenant, which
he breaks in the midst of the week (namely, at the end of three and a
half years). The seven years exceed the twenty-three hundred days by
considerably more than a half year. This period of the seven years'
excess above the twenty-three hundred days may be allotted to the
preparations needed for setting up the temple-worship, with
Antichrist's permission to the restored Jews, according to his
"covenant" with them; and the twenty-three hundred days may date from
the actual setting up of the worship. But, says Auberlen, the more accurate to a day the dates as to
Antiochus are given, the less should we say the 1290, or 1335 days
12:11, 12) correspond to the
half week (roughly), and the twenty-three hundred to the whole. The
event, however, may, in the case of Antichrist, show a correspondence
between the days here given and Da 9:27, such as is not yet discernible. The
term of twenty-three hundred days cannot refer twenty-three hundred
years of the treading down of Christianity by Mohammedanism, as this
would leave the greater portion of the time yet future; whereas,
Mohammedanism is fast waning. If the twenty-three hundred days
mean years, dating from Alexander's conquests, 334 B.C. to 323, we should arrive at about the close of
the sixth thousand years of the world, just as the 1260 years (Da 7:25) from Justinian's decree arrive at
the same terminus. The Jews' tradition represents the seventh thousand
as the millennium. Cumming remarks, 480
B.C. is the date of the waning of the
Persian empire before Greece; deducting 480 from 2300, we have 1820;
and in 1821, Turkey, the successor of the Greek empire, began to wane,
and Greece became a separate kingdom. See on Da
vindicated from profanation. Judas Maccabeus celebrated the feast of
dedication after the cleansing, on the twenty-fifth of the ninth month,
Kisleu (1 Maccabees 4:51-58; 2 Maccabees 10:1-7; Joh 10:22). As to the antitypical dedication of
the new temple, see Eze 43:1-27, &c.; also Am 9:11, 12.
16. Gabriel—meaning, "the strength of
17. the time of the end—so Da 8:19;
Da 11:35, 36, 40. The event
being to take place at "the time of the end" makes it likely that the
Antichrist ultimately referred to (besides the immediate reference to
Antiochus) in this chapter, and the one in Da 7:8, are one and the same. The objection
that the one in the seventh chapter springs out of the ten divisions of
the Roman earth, the fourth kingdom, the one in the eighth chapter and
the eleventh chapter from one of the four divisions of the third
kingdom, Greece, is answered thus: The four divisions of the Grecian
empire, having become parts of the Roman empire, shall at the end form
four of its ten final divisions [Tregelles]. However, the origin from one of the four
parts of the third kingdom may be limited to Antiochus, the
immediate subject of the eighth and eleventh chapter, while the
ulterior typical reference of these chapters (namely, Antichrist) may
belong to one of the ten Roman divisions, not necessarily one
formerly of the four of the third kingdom. The event will tell. "Time
of the end" may apply to the time of Antiochus. For it is the prophetic
phrase for the time of fulfilment, seen always at the end of the
prophetic horizon (Ge 49:1; Nu 24:14).
19. the last end of the
indignation—God's displeasure against the Jews for their
sins. For their comfort they are told, the calamities about to come are
not to be for ever. The "time" is limited (Da 9:27; 11:27, 35, 36; 12:7; Hab 2:3).
21. the first king—Philip was king of
Macedon before Alexander, but the latter was the first who, as a
generalissimo of Greece, subdued the Persian empire.
22. not in his power—not with the power
which Alexander possessed [Maurer]. An
empire united, as under Alexander, is more powerful than one divided,
as under the four Diadochi.
23. transgressors are come to the
full—This does not hold good of the times of Antiochus, but
of the closing times of the Christian era. Compare Lu 18:8, and
2Ti 3:1-9, as to the
wickedness of the world in general just before Christ's second coming.
Israel's guilt, too, shall then be at the full, when they who
rejected Christ shall receive Antichrist; fulfilling Jesus words, "I am
come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not; if another shall come
in his own name, him ye will receive" (compare Ge
15:16; Mt 23:32; 1Th 2:16).
of fierce countenance—(De 28:50); one who will spare neither old nor
understanding dark sentences—rather,
"artifices" [Gesenius]. Antiochus made
himself master of Egypt and Jerusalem successively by craft
(1 Maccabees 1:30, &c.; 2 Maccabees 5:24, &c.).
24. not by his own power—which in the
beginning was "little" (Da 8:9; 7:8); but by gaining over others through
craft, the once little horn became "mighty" (compare Da 8:25;
11:23). To be fully realized
by Antichrist. He shall act by the power of Satan, who shall then be
permitted to work through him in unrestricted license, such as he has
not now (Re
13:2); hence the ten kingdoms
shall give the beast their power (2Th 2:9-12; Re 17:13).
prosper and practise—prosper in all
that he attempts (Da 8:12).
holy people—His persecutions are
especially directed against the Jews.
25. by peace—by pretending "peace" and
friendship; in the midst of security [Gesenius], suddenly striking his blow (compare
Note, see on Jer 15:8). "A spoiler at
also … against the Prince of
princes—not merely against the Jews (Da 8:11;
broken without hand—by God's special
visitation. The stone "cut out of the mountain without hands," that is,
Christ is to smite the world power image on his feet (Da 2:34), that is, in its last development
7:11). Antiochus' horrible
death by worms and ulcers, when on his way to Judea, intending to take
vengeance for the defeat of his armies by the Maccabees, was a primary
fulfilment, foreshadowing God's judgment on the last enemy of the
26. shut … up …
vision—implying the vision was not to be understood
for the present. In Re 22:10 it
is said, "Seal not the vision, for the time is at hand." What in
Daniel's time was hidden was more fully explained in Revelation, and as
the time draws nearer, it will be clearer still.
it shall be for many days—It refers to
remote times (Eze 12:27).
27. I … was sick—through grief at
the calamities coming on my people and the Church of God (compare Ps 102:14).
afterward I … did the king's
business—He who holds nearest communion with heaven can best
discharge the duties of common life.
none understood it—He had heard of
kings, but knew not their names; He foresaw the events, but not the
time when they were to take place; thereupon he could only feel
"astonished," and leave all with the omniscient God [Jerome].