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Vision of a Ram and a Goat


In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me at first. 2In the vision I was looking and saw myself in Susa the capital, in the province of Elam, and I was by the river Ulai. 3I looked up and saw a ram standing beside the river. It had two horns. Both horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up second. 4I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. All beasts were powerless to withstand it, and no one could rescue from its power; it did as it pleased and became strong.

5 As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a horn between its eyes. 6It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside the river, and it ran at it with savage force. 7I saw it approaching the ram. It was enraged against it and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram did not have power to withstand it; it threw the ram down to the ground and trampled upon it, and there was no one who could rescue the ram from its power. 8Then the male goat grew exceedingly great; but at the height of its power, the great horn was broken, and in its place there came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven.

9 Out of one of them came another horn, a little one, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land. 10It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them. 11Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary. 12Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering; it cast truth to the ground, and kept prospering in what it did. 13Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one that spoke, “For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?” 14And he answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Gabriel Interprets the Vision

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man, 16and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, “Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.” 17So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I became frightened and fell prostrate. But he said to me, “Understand, O mortal, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

18 As he was speaking to me, I fell into a trance, face to the ground; then he touched me and set me on my feet. 19He said, “Listen, and I will tell you what will take place later in the period of wrath; for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21The male goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eyes is the first king. 22As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.


At the end of their rule,

when the transgressions have reached their full measure,

a king of bold countenance shall arise,

skilled in intrigue.


He shall grow strong in power,

shall cause fearful destruction,

and shall succeed in what he does.

He shall destroy the powerful

and the people of the holy ones.


By his cunning

he shall make deceit prosper under his hand,

and in his own mind he shall be great.

Without warning he shall destroy many

and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes.

But he shall be broken, and not by human hands.

26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”

27 So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king’s business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it.

And at the end of their reign, when the wicked shall be at their height, one king shall stand By saying at the end of their kingdom, he does not mean to imply the destruction of the four kingdoms had ceased. The successors of Antiochus were not directly cast down from their sway, and Syria was not reduced into a province till about eighty or a hundred years after Antiochus the Great had been completely conquered. He again left heirs, who, without doubt, succeeded to the throne, as we shall see more clearly in the eleventh chapter. But this point is certain — Perseus was the last king of Macedon, and the Ptolemies continued to the times of Julius Caesar and Augustus, and we are well aware how completely Cleopatra was conquered and ruined by Antony. As women succeeded to the throne, we could not place the destruction of the Macedonian empire under Antiochus Epiphanes. But the angel means, at the end of their kingdom, when they had really come to the close of their reigns, and their final ruin was at hand. For when Antiochus Epiphanes returned to his country, he seemed to have re-established his power though it very soon afterwards began to die away. Similar circumstances also happened to Egypt and to Macedon, for the reign of all their kings was precarious, and although not directly overthrown, yet they depended on the Romans, and thus their royal majesty was but fleeting. At the end, therefore, of their kingdom, that is, when they arrived at the height, and their fall led them on to ruin, then, says he, when the wicked were consummated or perfected. Some apply this to the professed and outward enemies of the Church, but I rather approve of another opinion, which supposes the angel to be speaking of the impious, who provoked God’s wrath, till it became necessary for grievous and severe penalties to be inflicted on the people, to whom God had so magnificently promised a happy and a tranquil state. This, however, was no common temptation, after the prophets had treated so fully of the happy and prosperous state of the people after their return from captivity, to behold the horrible dispersion, and to witness these tyrants making their assault not only upon men, but upon the temple of God itself. Wherefore the angel, as before, fortifies the Prophet and all the rest of the pious against this kind of trial, and shews how God had not changed his counsels in afflicting his Church, to which he had promised tranquillity, but had been grievously provoked by the sins of the people. He then shews the urgent necessity which had compelled God to exercise this severity. When, therefore, the impious had come to their height, that is, when they had arrived at the highest pitch, and their intolerable obstinacy had become desperate. We perceive how the angel here meets the trial, and instructs the pious beforehand, unfolding to them the inviolability of God’s word, while the people’s impiety compelled him to treat, them severely, although he had determined to display liberality in every way. Then, he says, a king shall stand with a fierce countenance But the rest tomorrow.

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