5. 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.
5. Et ego eram intentus, 1 ecce, inquit hircus caprarum venit ab Occasu, 2 super faciem totius terrae, neque tamen attingebat terram, 3 et hirco cornu illustre erat inter oculos ejus.
6. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.
6. Et venit ad arietem, cui erant cornua duo, 4 quem videram standem in ripa fluvii, 5 et cucurrit, ad eum cum furore fortitudinnnis suae.
Here another change is shown to the Prophet, namely, Alexander's coming to the east and acquiring. for himself the mighty sway of the Persians, as afterwards happened. With the view, then, of procuring confidence for his prediction, he says, he was attentive. He doubtless dwells upon the reverence with which he received the vision to exhort us to the pursuit of piety, and also to modesty and attention. The Prophet, therefore, was not carried away in imagination by a dream which could be called in question; he knew this vision to have been set before him by God, and acknowledged his duty to receive it with modesty and humility. Wherefore, I was attentive, and behold a he-goat came forth from the west, says he. The situation of Macedon with respect to Persia must be noticed. As the Greeks were situated to the west, of Persia, the Prophet says, the he-goat came from the west, and went over the surface of the whole earth. These words signify the very extensive dominion of Alexander, aid. the terror of surrounding nations. His arrival in Asia with a very insignificant army is well known. He thought 30,000 men sufficient, after he had been created their general by the States of Greece. Hence, the passage is to be understood not of numbers, but of the terror inspired on all sides; for, although he advanced with but a moderate force, yet he terrified the whole earth.
But he did not touch the ground, says he. This refers to his swiftness, for he rather flew than traveled either on foot or by sea, so incredible was his speed in this expedition. For if any one had galloped through regions completely at peace, he could not have passed through Asia more speedily. Hence a he-goat was shewn to the Prophet who did not touch the ground, that is, who was borne along with a rapid impulse, like that of lightning itself. And the goat had a horn, says he, between its eyes -- a remarkable horn. We know how much glory .Alexander acquired for himself in a short time, and yet he did not undertake the war in his own name, or on his own responsibility, but he used every artifice to obtain from the Grecian States the office of general-in-chief against the Persians, as perpetual enemies. We are well acquainted with the hostility of the Persians to the Greeks, who, though often compelled to retreat with great disgrace, and infamy, and loss of troops, still kept renewing the war, as they had abundance of men and of pecuniary resources. When Alexander was created general of the whole of Greece, he had a remarkable horn between his eyes; that is, he took care to have his title of general made known to increase his personal superiority. Besides, it was sufficiently prominent to constitute him alone general of the whole army, while all things were carried on according to his will, as he had undertaken the war. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet says, the horn was visible between the eyes of the goat. It follows, It came to the ram, which had two horns; that is, it came against the king of the Medes and Persians. Cyrus also had seized on Babylon, and had subdued many kings, but two horns are assigned to the ram, since the Persian kings had united the Medes in alliance to themselves. Hence one he-goat with his horn, came against the ram which had two horns, and ran against it in the ardor of its bravery. Thus the perseverance of Alexander is denoted, as he hastened so as to surpass all expectation by the speed of his arrival. For Darius continued in security, although he had collected a large army, but Alexander rushed forwards in the boldness of his strength, and surrounded the enemy by his celerity. It follows: --