Daniel 8
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

A vision of Daniel in the third year of Belshazzar. A ram with two horns appeared, pushing towards the west, north, and south, until a he-goat, with a ‘notable horn’ between its eyes, emerged from the west, and, drawing nigh, attacked the ram, and broke its two horns (Daniel 8:1-7). After this, the he-goat increased in strength; but ere long its horn was broken; and in place of it there rose up four other horns, looking towards the four quarters of the earth (Daniel 8:8). Out of one of these there came forth a little horn, which, waxing great towards the land of Judah, exalted itself against the host of heaven and against its Prince (God), desecrating His sanctuary, and interrupting the daily sacrifice for 2300 half-days (Daniel 8:9-14). The meaning of this vision was explained to Daniel by the angel Gabriel. The ram with two horns was the Medo-Persian empire; the he-goat was the empire of the Greeks, the ‘notable horn’ being its first king, Alexander the Great: and the four horns which followed were the four kingdoms into which, after his death, his empire was ultimately resolved (Daniel 8:15-22). The little horn, which arose out of one of these, represented a king who, though not named, is shewn, by the description of his doings (Daniel 8:23-25), to be Antiochus Epiphanes.

Although the vision is dated in the third year of Belshazzar, its main subject is thus the empire of the Greeks, especially the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, whose character and policy are clearly depicted in it. The vision differs from the one in ch. 7 in that it dwells more exclusively upon the human side of the history, and describes with greater particularity Antiochus’ dealings with the Jews.

Additional Note on the Ruins of Susa

The site of Susa was visited, and partly excavated, by Mr Loftus in 1852: it was excavated much more completely, and with more important results, by M. Dieulafoy, a French architect and engineer, in 1884–6. The site of the city, which was distinct from the ‘castle’ (cf. Esther 3:15), and in fact separated from it by the stream, is marked only by hardly perceptible undulations of the plain; but three huge mounds, forming a rhomboidal mass, 4500 feet long from N. to S., and 3000 feet broad from E. to W., are a standing witness to the size and magnificence of the buildings which formed the ancient citadel or acropolis. The plan of the citadel, and many remains of the buildings of which it consisted, have been recovered by M. Dieulafoy. Artaxerxes, in an inscription found on one of the columns, says, “My ancestor Darius built this Apadâna in ancient times. In the reign of Artaxerxes, my grandfather, it was consumed by fire. By the grace of Ahuramazda, Anaïtis, and Mithras, I have restored this Apadâna.” An Apadâna (see on Daniel 11:45) was a large hall or throne-room. The Apadâna of Susa stood on the N. of the acropolis: it formed a square of about 250 feet each way. The roof (which consisted of rafters and beams of cedar, brought from Lebanon) was supported by 36 columns in rows of six; the sides and back were composed of walls of brick, each pierced by four doors; the front of the hall was open. The columns were slender shafts of limestone, delicately fluted, and topped by magnificently carved capitals. In front of the hall, on each side, was a pylon or colonnade, with a frieze at the top 12 feet high, formed of beautifully enamelled bricks, the one decorated by a procession of lions, the other by a procession of ‘Immortals,’ the armed life-guards of the Persian kings[329]. A garden surrounded the Apadâna, and in front of it, on the south, was a large square for military manœuvres, &c. Adjoining it, on the east, was a large block of buildings forming the royal harem (the ‘house of the women’ of Esther 2:3, &c.): south of this was the royal palace, with a court in the centre (Esther 4:11; Esther 5:1). The entire acropolis covered an area of 300 acres.

[329] In one of the galleries at the Louvre several rooms are devoted to sculptures, &c., brought from Susa, and to a restoration of parts of the apadâna.

It was this entire complex of buildings that was called the Birah, or ‘citadel[330].’

[330] See further Evetts, Fresh Light on the Bible, p. 229 ff.; Vigouroux, La Bible et les découvertes modernes, ed. 6, 1896, iv. 621 ff.; and esp. Dieulafoy, L’Acropole de Suse (Paris, 1890–92), passim: also Mme. Dieulafoy, A Suse, Journal des Fouilles, 1884–6 (1888), and La Perse, la Chaldée, et la Susiane (1887). Chap. xxxix.—all with numerous illustrations and Maps; also, more briefly, Billerbeck’s excellent monograph, Susa (1893).

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.
1. In the third year &c.] See the note on Daniel 7:1.

at the first] properly, at the beginning (Genesis 13:3; Genesis 41:21; Genesis 43:18; Genesis 43:20). The reference is to ch. 7 where the first of Daniel’s visions is recorded.

And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
2. And I saw in the vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in Elam, the province; and I saw in the vision, and I was by the stream Ulai] The verse is awkwardly worded, and in part tautologous; its object is to describe where Daniel seemed to find himself in the vision. ‘Elam’ is the Heb. form of the Sumerian (or ‘Accadian’) Êlam-ma, ‘highland,’ which in Ass. assumed the fem. term. and became Êlamtu: it denoted originally (Delitzsch, Paradies, p. 320 f.) ‘the mountainous region beginning N. and E. of Susa, and corresponding roughly to the modern Khusistan.’ Persia proper was S. E. of it. It is mentioned frequently both in the O.T. (Genesis 10:22; Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 49:34, &c.), and also in the Assyrian Inscriptions: Anshan, or Anzan, the home of Cyrus, was the district in the S.-W. of Elam, bordering on what is now the lower course of the Tigris, but what in ancient times was the upper part of the Persian Gulf (called by the Assyrians the Nâr Marratum, or Bitter (salt) River)[318]. Shushan (Susa) was the capital of Elam. Asshurbanipal (b.c. 668–626) invaded Elam more than once, and has left a full and vivid account of the occasion on which he stormed and sacked Shushan (KB[319], ii. 203 ff.). Darius Hystaspis appears to have been the first Persian king who erected palaces at Shushan, or held his court there[320]; and from his time onwards, as the principal residence of the Persian kings (cf. Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2, and passim), it held for nearly two centuries a commanding position in the ancient world. ‘From Susa, during this period, the peoples of W. Asia and E. Europe awaited their destiny; in the Apadâna tributary princes, ambassadors, and satraps, including the noblest of the Greeks, as Antalkidas (387 and 372), Pelopidas and Ismenias (367), did homage at the feet of the Great King. In the palaces of the citadel were enacted bloody harem-tragedies, in which eunuchs and women were the actors (Esther, Amytis, Amestris, Parysatis, Statira). Here Xerxes fell under the daggers of Artabanus and Aspamithras, and here Bagoas poisoned two kings’ (Billerbeck, Susa, p. 154). Susa was thus a suitable spot at which the seer should find himself in a vision that pourtrayed with some prominence both the rise and the fall of the Persian power (Daniel 8:3-7). See further, on Susa, p. 125 f.

[318] Maspero, Struggle of the Nations (with Map), p. 30 f.

[319] B. Eb. Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek (transliterations and translations of Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions), 1889–1900.

[320] Billerbeck, Susa (1893), pp. 128, 129, 133 ff.

For other instances of visionary transference to a distant locality, see Ezekiel 8:3 to Ezekiel 11:24, Ezekiel 40:2 ff.

Shushan, the citadel] the standing title of Shushan in the O. T. (Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2; Esther 1:5; Esther 2:3; Esther 2:5; Esther 2:8; Esther 3:15; Esther 8:14; Esther 9:6; Esther 9:11-12). The word rendered ‘citadel’ (birah) is peculiar to the later Hebrew, being found otherwise only in 1 Chronicles 29:1; 1 Chronicles 29:19; Ezra 6:2; Nehemiah 2:8 (see Ryle’s note), vii. 2. It is probably the Ass. birtu, ‘castle’ (Delitzsch, Ass. Handwörterbuch, p. 185), and denotes a castellated building or enclosure, a castle, citadel, or acropolis.

Elam, the province] Cf. Ezra 6:2, ‘Media, the province.’ It is, however, extremely doubtful whether Elam, especially after the rise and successes of Cyrus, was a ‘province’ (Daniel 3:2-3) of the Babylonian empire: the word seems rather a reminiscence of the time when the district in which Susa lay was a principal ‘province’ of the Persian empire.

the stream Ulai] The word rendered stream occurs only here and Daniel 8:3; Daniel 8:6; but it appears to differ only phonetically from the one found in Jeremiah 17:8, and (in a slightly different form) in Isaiah 30:25; Isaiah 44:4. The Ulai is the Ass. U-la-a-a—the waters of which Asshurbanipal, on his first invasion of Elam, states that he ‘coloured with blood like wool’ (KB[321] ii. 183)—the Eulaeus of the classical writers, which Pliny (H. N. vi. 27) says flowed close by Susa. The difficulties which were formerly felt in identifying the Eulaeus have been cleared up by the surveys of Loftus and Dieulafoy. There are at present three rivers flowing near Susa, from the mountains on the north, into the Persian Gulf. On the S.-W. of Susa, some four or five miles from the site of the ancient acropolis, flows the Kerkha (the ancient Choaspes): on the east is the Abdizful (the Coprates), which runs into the Karun (the Pasitigris); and the Eulaeus was a large artificial canal some 900 feet broad, of which traces remain, though it is now dry, which left the Choaspes at Pai Pul, about 20 miles N.-W. of Susa, passed close by the town of Susa on the N. or N.-E., and afterwards joined the Coprates.

[321] B. Eb. Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek (transliterations and translations of Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions), 1889–1900.

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.
3. And I lifted up my eyes] in the vision: cf. Daniel 10:5; Genesis 31:10; Zechariah 1:18; Zechariah 2:1; Zechariah 5:1; Zechariah 5:9; Zechariah 6:1.

a ram standing before the stream, and it had two horns; and the two horns were high, &c.] The ram is an emblem of power and dominion: cf. Ezekiel 39:18. The symbolism of the figure is explained in Daniel 8:20 : the ram, as a whole, represents the combined power of the Medes and Persians; but the strength of the animal lying in its horns, these are taken as representing more particularly the two powers separately, that of Persia, as being the stronger, and arising after that of Media, being represented by the higher horn, which came up last. On the distinction between the two empires, see the notes on Daniel 2:39 and Daniel 5:31.

I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
4. pushing] i.e. butting: cf. Exodus 21:28 (‘gore’); and applied figuratively to peoples, Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalm 44:5 (‘push down,’ properly ‘butt’).

stand before him] so Daniel 8:7. For the expression cf. 2 Kings 10:4.

did according to his will] did exactly what he pleased; cf. Daniel 11:3; Daniel 11:16; Daniel 11:36, Nehemiah 9:24, Esther 1:8; Esther 9:5 (the Heb. in all being the same).

and became great] and did greatly, or (R.V.) magnified himself. The verb (in the conjug. here used) means to shew greatness, to do greatly, usually in a bad sense; e.g. Psalm 55:12; Jeremiah 48:26; Jeremiah 48:42; Lamentations 1:9. So Daniel 8:8; Daniel 8:11; Daniel 8:25. The verse describes the irresistible advances of the Persian arms, especially in the direction of Palestine, Asia Minor, and Egypt, with particular allusion to the conquests of Cyrus and Cambyses.

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. considering] paying attention, reflecting (מבין): not, as in Daniel 7:8 (where the word is a different one), contemplating.

a he goat] For the he-goat (though the Heb. word is different), the leader of the flock, as a symbol of a prince or ruler, cf. Isaiah 14:9; Isaiah 34:6; Ezekiel 39:18; Zechariah 10:3.

on] over; its course carried it over the whole earth (the hyperbole, as in Daniel 4:1,—though it is true that Alexander penetrated further to the east than any Assyrian or Babylonian king of whom we know). Cf. 1Ma 1:3, where it is said of him that he ‘went through to the ends of the earth’ (διῆλθεν ἕως ἄκρων τῆς γῆς).

and touched not the ground] as though flying,—such was the incredible rapidity of its course. The Heb. is properly, ‘and there was none touching the earth,’—a more graphic and forcible expression than simply, ‘and it touched not the earth.’ One is reminded involuntarily of Homer’s description of the horses of Erichthonius (Il. xx. 226–9), and of Vergil’s of the huntress Camilla (Aen. vii. 807–811, ‘Illa vel intactae segetis,’ &c.).

a notable horn] a conspicuous horn; lit. a horn of sight. Explained in Daniel 8:21 to signify Alexander.

Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont in the spring of b.c. 334. Having routed the Persian forces, which had assembled to oppose his advance, at the Granicus, he marched through Asia Minor, receiving the submission of many cities and peoples; and in Nov. b.c. 333, defeated Darius Codomannus, with great loss, at Issus, on the E. border of Cilicia. Having reduced Tyre (July 332), he marched through Palestine and conquered Egypt, founding in memory of the event the afterwards celebrated city of Alexandria. In 331 he crossed the Euphrates, and gave the final blow to the power of Persia at Arbçla, a little E. of Nineveh. Having made a triumphal entry into Babylon, he took possession of Persepolis and Susa, the two official capitals of the Persian kings. Darius meanwhile had fled into Bactria, where he was slain by conspirators; and Alexander, pursuing after him (330), secured only his corpse. Alexander then started for the further East. First, he invaded Hyrcania (on the S. of the Caspian Sea), then he passed on to Bactria and Sogdiana, after which, retracing his steps, he crossed (327) the Indus, and found himself in the country now called the Punjaub. Defeating Porus, a powerful Indian king, he subjugated the country; and then, with a large fleet, sailed down the Indus to its mouth. Thence (326) he returned through Gedrosia and Carmania (N. of the Persian Gulf) to Persepolis; and afterwards (325) to Susa. In 324 he was again in Babylon. There ambassadors from Greece and other parts were waiting to salute him, and greet him as the conqueror of Asia. He was planning further conquests,—in particular, an expedition into Arabia,—when he was seized with a fever, which after 11 days carried him off (June 28, b.c. 323), at the early age of 32.

5–7. A he-goat, with a conspicuous horn between its eyes, appearing from the west, attacked the ram, and beat it down to the ground. The empire of the Greeks; the horn (cf. Daniel 8:21) being Alexander the Great.

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. Alexander’s attack upon Persia.

that had two horns] that had the two horns (Daniel 8:3).

the river] the stream (Daniel 8:2).

ran unto him] at or (R.V.) upon him (Job 15:26).

And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
7. The collapse of the Persian power before Alexander, especially in the two great defeats of Issus and Arbela.

was moved with choler] an effective rendering: so Daniel 11:11. The Heb. is lit. embitter himself, or be embittered, i.e. be maddened, enraged: cf. in Syriac, Euseb. v. 1, 50 for ἠγριώθη, and elsewhere for μαινόμενος (Payne Smit[322] col. 2200).

[322] yne Smith R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

stamped] trampled (R.V.), viz. in contempt: so Daniel 8:10. Cf. Isaiah 26:6; Isaiah 63:3. Not the word used in Daniel 7:7; Daniel 7:19.

and there was none, &c.] The ‘ram’ was now as defenceless before the ‘he-goat,’ as others had once (Daniel 8:4) been before it.

Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
8. Therefore, &c.] And the he goat did very greatly (Daniel 8:4) i.e. performed great exploits.

and when he was strong, the great horn—the ‘conspicuous horn’ of Daniel 8:5was broken] Alexander was struck down by his fatal malady, just when he had risen to the summit of his power.

and instead of it came up four notable ones] lit. a sight of four, which is explained to mean ‘four conspicuous ones’ (cf. Daniel 8:5, though the expression there is not quite the same). But the explanation is forced: and from Daniel 8:22, end, it would seem also that these four horns were by no means so ‘conspicuous,’ or ‘notable,’ as the original horn; so that very probably LXX and Theod. are right in reading, with a slight change (אחרות for חזות), four other ones.

toward the four winds of heaven] cf. Jeremiah 49:36; Ezekiel 42:20; 1 Chronicles 9:24; and esp. (in the same connexion) ch. Daniel 11:4. See also Daniel 7:2.

Alexander left no legitimate heir (though his widow, Roxana, gave birth to a son shortly after his death); and hence his empire became the prey of rivalries and disputes between his generals. A division of the provinces was agreed upon at a military council held the day after his death; but the only permanent elements in this were the allotment of Egypt to Ptolemy Lagi, and Thrace to Lysimachus. After the death of Perdikkas (who had acted as regent) in 321, a fresh distribution took place at a meeting of generals held at Triparadisus in Syria; and another one, after a four years’ war, undertaken for the purpose of checking the ambitious designs of Alexander’s veteran general Antigonus, in 311. The final settlement was brought about by the battle of Ipsus (in Phrygia), in 301, in which Antigonus was defeated and slain by Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Lysimachus, who had coalesced against him. The result of this victory was that Cassander obtained Macedonia and Greece, Lysimachus Thrace and Bithynia, Seleucus Syria, Babylonia, and other Eastern countries as far as the Indus, while Ptolemy remained in possession of Egypt. These are the four kingdoms (cf. Daniel 8:22) denoted here by the four ‘horns.’

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
9. out of one of them] The history of Seleucus himself and his immediate successors is passed over: and the prophecy proceeds at once to Antiochus Epiphanes (b.c. 175–164), whose reign was fraught with such momentous consequences for the Jews.

a little horn] cf. Daniel 7:8. The general sense is, no doubt, given correctly; but the exact meaning of the Heb. (which is very peculiar) is far from clear. The explanation which is least forced is ‘a horn (arising) out of (being) a small one.’ It is quite possible, however, that the text is slightly in error: by omitting one letter, we should obtain the ordinary Hebrew for ‘a little horn’; and by altering two letters, we should get ‘another horn, a little one’ (cf. Daniel 7:8). Probably one of these is the true reading: LXX. Theod. support the former.

toward the south] i.e. Egypt, as in ch. 11 (Daniel 8:5, &c.). On the wars of Antiochus against Egypt, see more fully on ch. Daniel 11:21 ff.

toward the east] Antiochus led an expedition into Elymais (on the E. of Babylonia) in the last year of his life (see on Daniel 11:40).

and toward the beauteous (land)] lit. the beauty; but the full expression ‘land of beauty,’ or ‘beauteous land,’ occurs in Daniel 11:16; Daniel 11:41. It is a title of honour for the land of Israel, based upon Jeremiah 3:19, where Canaan is called ‘the heritage of beauty (i.e. the most beauteous heritage) of the hosts of the nations,’ and Ezekiel 20:6; Ezekiel 20:9, ‘the land flowing with milk and honey, which is the beauty of all lands’ (or, as we might say, the crown of all lands).

9–14. Antiochus Epiphanes (b.c. 175–164), and his assaults upon the religion of the Jews (cf. Daniel 8:23-25).

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.
10. The horn ‘waxed great,’ in the vision, not only over the surface of the earth (Daniel 8:9); it even towered up to heaven, struck and hurled down to the earth some of the stars, and then trampled contumeliously upon them.

even to] as far as, so as even to reach. Cf. Isaiah 14:13-14; Job 20:6; and 2Ma 9:10, ‘the man (Ant. Ep.) that a little afore supposed himself to touch the stars of heaven.’ The ‘host of heaven’ are the stars (as Deuteronomy 4:19, Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 33:22, and elsewhere)[323]. Antiochus did not merely (cf. the passages quoted) touch heaven in his pride: he is represented further, with allusion to his insolent assaults upon the religion of the Jews, and to the martyrs who fell in consequence (Daniel 8:24; cf. 1Ma 1:24; 1Ma 1:30; 1Ma 1:57; 1Ma 1:63, &c.), as audaciously attacking it, and hurling down some of the stars to the earth.

[323] See Host of Heaven in Hasytings’ Dict. of the Bible. It denotes them as a disciplined army, obedient to the commands of its leader (Isaiah 40:26).

and it cast, &c.] better, R.V. and some of the host and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled (Daniel 8:7) upon them. The stars are intended to symbolize the faithful Israelites: cf. Enoch xlvi. 7.

Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
11. And even unto the prince of the host it magnified itself] it not only mounted to the stars, but in impious defiance it shewed greatness (Daniel 8:4; Daniel 8:25), i.e. continued its acts of pride and presumption, even to the throne of the prince of the host, i.e. of God himself.

and it took away from him (i.e. from the prince of the host) the continual (burnt-offering)] So the Heb. text (K’tib): the Heb. marg. (Qrê) has, and by it the continual (burnt-offering) was taken away. The allusion is to Antiochus’ suspension of the temple-services for three years (1Ma 1:45; 1Ma 1:59; 1Ma 4:52 f.); see further on Daniel 11:31.

The daily burnt-offering is called in Exodus 29:42 and elsewhere the ‘continual (i.e. daily recurring) burnt-offering,’ lit. ‘the burnt-offering of continuance (Heb. tâmîd)’: from this expression, the daily burnt-offering came in later Heb. to be spoken of simply as ‘the tâmîd’; and this usage is found here, and in Daniel 8:12-13, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11. It does not occur elsewhere in the O.T., but it is common in the Mishna, &c., where the word is even used in the plural, ‘the tâmîds’ (תמידין).

and the place of his sanctuary was cast down] or, by a change of points, which has the effect of improving the sentence, and cast down the place, &c. The Temple does not seem to have been literally ‘cast down’ by Antiochus: but it suffered severely at his hands: its sacred vessels were carried away (1Ma 1:21-23); the sanctuary is described as being ‘laid waste like a wilderness (8:39), and ‘trampled down (καταπατούμενον)’ (1Ma 3:45); and in 1Ma 4:38 we read that when Judas and his brethren went up to mount Zion for the purpose of re-dedicating it, they ‘saw the sanctuary laid desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the court as in a forest or in one of the mountains, and the priests’ chambers pulled down’ (cf. 8:48, ‘and they built the holy place (τὰ ἅγια), and the inner parts of the house’).

place] not the usual word, but a rarer word, chiefly poetical, and meaning properly fixed or established place, used mostly of God’s abode, whether on earth, Exodus 15:17, 1 Kings 8:13, or in heaven, Isaiah 18:4, 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Kings 8:43; 1 Kings 8:49, Psalm 33:14, al.

And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
12. And a host, &c.] The first part of this verse is difficult and uncertain; but the most natural rendering is, ‘And a host was appointed [or, a warfare (Isaiah 40:2) was undertaken] against[324] the continual (burnt-offering), with transgression (i.e. wickedly).’ The allusion, with this rendering, will be to the violent measures adopted by Antiochus for the purpose of suppressing the sacred rites of the Jews—in particular, perhaps, to the armed garrison established by him in the ‘city of David’ with the object of overawing the worshippers, which remained there for many years (1Ma 1:33-38; cf. 8:51, 1Ma 2:15; 1Ma 2:31 f., 1Ma 4:41). R.V. has ‘And the host [better, with Meinhold, Keil, &c. an host]—i.e. an army of Israelites, the figure of Daniel 8:10-11 being kept up—was given over to it (i.e. into the power of the horn) together with the continual (burnt-offering) through transgression (i.e. on account of the apostasy of the Hellenizing Jews): this has the advantage of taking ‘host,’ ‘give’ (i.e. give up, abandon[325]), and ‘transgression,’ in the same senses as in Daniel 8:13; but the rendering together with is not here very natural.

[324] A.V. and the first marg. of R.V. do not differ in general sense; but ‘was appointed’ (absolutely) is better than ‘was given (to it).’ The 2nd marg. of R.V. renders (nearly as Ewald) ‘was set over the continual (burnt-offering)’—viz. to lay compulsion upon it, or to suppress it—also with no difference in the general sense. For the rendering appoint (or set) see 2 Chronicles 20:22, Nehemiah 9:17; and with over, 2 Chronicles 32:6, Nehemiah 9:37.

[325] In Heb. to give may mean, according to the context, either to set, place (as Genesis 1:17, and frequently), or to give over, deliver (Deuteronomy 1:27, &c.), and abs. (though this usage is rare) to give up, abandon, Numbers 21:3; 1 Kings 14:16; Micah 5:3; Daniel 11:6.

and it cast down truth to the ground] i.e. overthrew the true religion. ‘Truth’ is commonly used in Heb. subjectively of a moral quality; but here it denotes that which is true objectively, a body of true principles, i.e. true religion. So Daniel 9:13, Psalm 25:5.

As pointed, the verb ‘and it cast down’ ought strictly to be construed as a future; but the rest of the description is in the past time; and probably the punctuation should be altered accordingly. The other two verbs in the verse may denote either future or past time; they must be rendered, therefore, so as to agree with the tense of ‘cast down.’

and it did, and prospered] cf. Daniel 8:24. ‘Did’ is used in a pregnant sense, acted (viz. with effect), carried through his purpose; hence R.V. ‘did (its pleasure)’. Cf. 2 Chronicles 31:21 ‘And in every work that he began …, he did (i.e. acted) with all his heart, and prospered;’ also the absolute use of ‘do’ of God, Psalm 22:31; Psalm 52:9 (there is no ‘it’ in the Heb.), Psalm 37:5 (lit. ‘and he will do’). Comp. ch. Daniel 11:28; Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:32.

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
13. one saint] a holy one, i.e. an angel, as Daniel 4:13 (where see the note). So in the next line, and another holy one. In A.V. ‘saint’ is used, in an application which is now obsolete, of the angels: see Deuteronomy 33:2, Job 5:1; Job 15:15, Psalm 89:5; Psalm 89:7, Zechariah 14:5, Judges 14, and probably 1 Thessalonians 3:13. But the term, as limited by modern usage, yields an incorrect sense; and hence, in all the passages quoted, except the last, ‘holy one(s)’ has been substituted in R.V.

speaking] What was said is not stated: but the question which follows shews that it had some reference to the vision which Daniel had just seen.

unto that certain one which spake] The indef. expression is used (cf. 1 Samuel 21:3; Ruth 4:1), as the speaker could not be specified more closely.

How long (shall be) the vision? the continual (burnt-offering), and the transgression causing appalment, the giving both the sanctuary and the host (to be) trampled under foot?] The sentence (if the text is correct) is harshly constructed; but the words following ‘vision’ must be understood to be in apposition with that word, and to indicate the contents of the vision. The rendering of LXX. might suggest that ‘taken away’ had dropped out after ‘continual (burnt-offering)’; at any rate, whether actually read by the translators or not, this is a correct interpretation of the sense. ‘The transgression causing appalment’ is the heathen worship established by Antiochus in the Temple, with special reference, perhaps (cf. Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11), to the heathen altar erected by him on the altar of burnt-offering in the Temple court, which was naturally an object of extreme abhorrence to the pious Jews (see 1Ma 1:47; 1Ma 1:51; 1Ma 1:54; 1Ma 1:59).

causing appalment] Except in Daniel, the word used means either laid waste, desolated[326] (Isaiah 49:8; Lamentations 1:4; Lamentations 1:13; Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 3:11), or appalled1 (2 Samuel 13:20): but the passive sense is unsuitable both here, and in Daniel 9:27 (last word), Daniel 12:11; and the active, whether causing appalment, or causing desolation, being defensible (see Ges.-Kautzsch, §§ 55 c, f; 52 s; König, Lehrgebäude, ii. p. 106), must be adopted. Comp. Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31 (where a probable explanation of the expression is mentioned in the note), Daniel 12:11 : and the note on p. 151.

[326] On the connexion between these two senses, see the note on Daniel 4:19. In the corresponding verb, the sense to be appalled, horror-struck, is common, as Jeremiah 2:12; Jeremiah 18:16, Ezekiel 26:16; Ezekiel 27:35 (A.V., R.V., be astonished).

the giving both] The meaning both is uncommon, though instances occur: perhaps, with a redivision of the words (תתו קדש for תת וקדש), we should read ‘his giving the sanctuary,’ &c., or (Bevan, Marti) מתתוsince he hath given,’ &c.

the host] i.e. the army, fig. of the Israelites, as in Daniel 8:10.

(to be) trampled under foot] lit. (to be) a trampling (or treading down), exactly as Isaiah 10:6 (cf. R.V. marg.). See Daniel 8:10 end (where the figure is the same), 11 end.

13, 14. A dialogue between two angels, which is overheard by Daniel, and the object of which is evidently to inform Daniel how long the suspension of the daily sacrifices and the desecration of the Temple are to continue.

And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
14. unto me] Sept. Theod. Pesh. unto him, which is adopted by most moderns, and is probably right.

unto two thousand and three hundred evenings, mornings] i.e. successive evenings and mornings: cf. Daniel 8:26 ‘the vision of the evenings and the mornings.’ The expression is peculiar; but it seems to have been suggested by the fact that the burnt-offering (Daniel 8:11; Daniel 8:13) was offered morning and evening daily (Exodus 29:38-42); the meaning consequently is that this offering would cease for 2300 times, i.e. during 1150 days (so most commentators). In Daniel 7:25 (where see the note), Daniel 12:7, the period of persecution is to last 31/2 years, i.e. (if the year be reckoned at 360 days) 1260 days, or, if account be taken of the varying possibilities of the Calendar in use in the 2nd century b.c.[327], 1274 or 1309 days; and, according to 1Ma 1:54; 1Ma 4:52-53, the interval which actually elapsed between the erection of the heathen altar upon the altar of burnt-offering, on the 15th of Chisleu, b.c. 168, and the dedication of the new altar on the 25th of Chisleu, b.c. 165, was 3 years and 10 days (i.e. 1090, 1102–3, or 1132–3 days). The period assigned here is some months less than 31/2 years; it is not however identified with the entire period of the persecution, but only with that part of it during which the daily sacrifice was interrupted and the Temple desecrated. It seems therefore (cf. Daniel 12:11) that 15 Chisleu b.c. 168 must be the terminus a quo, the end of the period assigned not agreeing precisely with the event. Cornill’s supposition (pp. 22–26) that the edict of Antiochus (1 Macc. 1:44–6) is the terminus a quo, in spite of the very ingenious argument by which he seeks to shew that this edict might have been issued just 1150 days before 25 Chisleu, b.c. 165, hardly does justice to the terms of Daniel 8:13 (which lay stress on the cessation of the daily sacrifice as the beginning of the period referred to); cf. Bevan, p. 128 f.

[327] Cornill, Die Siebzig Jahrwochen Daniels (1889), p. 22.

By some commentators the expression ‘evening, morning’ has been understood as equivalent to day (cf. Genesis 1:5 b, 8 b, &c.); and the 2300 days have been reckoned either from the time when Menelaus, in 171, purchased for himself the high-priesthood from Antiochus (see on Daniel 9:26) to the dedication of the Temple in Dec. 165, or from the profanation of the Temple in Dec. 168 to the great victory of Judas over Nicanor at Adasa, near Beth-horon (1Ma 7:43-50) on Adar 13, b.c. 162 (cf. Hävernick, Pusey, p. 219). But either of these periods seems to embrace much which is not legitimately included in the terms of the question in Daniel 8:13. And as against the second period suggested, the reference to an event some two years after the death of Antiochus is not probable.

then shall the sanctuary be justified] i.e. have justice done to it, be shewn not to have deserved desecration. “The justification of the sanctuary is the vindication of its cause, for as long as it is polluted it lies under condemnation” (Bevan).

And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
15–27. Daniel seeks to know the meaning of the vision, which is imparted to him, as in Daniel 7:16 ff., by an angel.

15 that I sought to understand (it), and, behold, &c.] cf. Daniel 7:19.

there was standing in front of me] appearing suddenly, some little way off (see Daniel 8:17, ‘came near’).

as the appearance of a man] The expression ‘as the appearance of’ is borrowed from Ez. (Ezekiel 1:13-14; Ezekiel 1:26-28, Ezekiel 8:2, Daniel 10:1, Ezekiel 40:3, Ezekiel 42:11), and recurs below, Daniel 10:6; Daniel 10:18. The word for man (geber)—different from that in Daniel 10:18—is evidently chosen with allusion to the name ‘Gabriel,’ ‘man of God’ [not the word used in the common phrase, ‘man of God,’ for a prophet].

And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
16. between Ulai] This singular expression can, it seems, mean only ‘between (the banks of) Ulai’ (Daniel 8:2): the voice seemed to come to Daniel from above the waters of the river (cf. Daniel 12:6-7).

Gabriel] mentioned also in Daniel 9:21 as explaining to Daniel Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 years, and in Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26, as foretelling the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias, and acting as the angel of the Annunciation to Mary. Gabriel is also often mentioned in non-canonical Jewish writings. In Enoch ix. 1 and xx. 7, he is one of the four (or seven) principal angels or ‘archangels’ (see their names on Daniel 10:13); in xl. 3–7, 9, he is one of the four ‘presences’ (Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Phanuel; so liv. 6, lxxi. 8, 9, 13), who bless, or make intercession, or ward off the accusing ‘Satans,’ before God (comp. Luke 1:19, ‘I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God’); in Daniel 10:9 he is commissioned to destroy the wicked giants. Gabriel is also mentioned not unfrequently in the later (post-Christian) Jewish literature (Weber, System der altsynag. Theologie, pp. 162, 163–4, 167–8, 306): so, for instance, in the Targ. of Pseudo-Jon. on Genesis 37:15, he is the ‘man’ who shews Joseph the way to his brethren, and in the Targ. on Job 25:2 he is said to stand on God’s left hand, while Michael is at His right. See, further, on Daniel 10:13.

So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
17. afraid] affrighted (R.V.), as Isaiah 21:4, A.V. (Job 7:14 al. ‘terrify’): ‘afraid’ is not strong enough. At the approach of the celestial being Daniel is terrified.

fell upon my face] a mark of awe or respect (Genesis 17:3; Jdg 13:20; Ruth 2:10, al.); cf. in the visions of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 3:23; Ezekiel 9:8; Ezekiel 11:13; Ezekiel 43:3; Ezekiel 44:4.

Song of Solomon of man] Borrowed, no doubt, from the book of Ezekiel, where it is the standing title by which the prophet is addressed (Daniel 2:1; Daniel 2:3; Daniel 2:6; Daniel 2:8, Daniel 3:1; Daniel 3:3-4; Daniel 3:10; Daniel 3:17; Daniel 3:25, &c.—more than a hundred times altogether).

for the vision belongeth to the time of the end] and therefore deserves attention. The ‘time of the end’ is a standing expression in Daniel (Daniel 11:35; Daniel 11:40, Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:9; cf. ‘the appointed-time [מועד] of the end’ Daniel 8:19, and ‘the end’ Daniel 9:26 b), and means (spoken from Daniel’s standpoint) the period of Antiochus’s persecution, together with the short interval, consisting of a few months, which followed before his death (Daniel 11:35; Daniel 11:40), that being, in the view of the author, the ‘end’ of the present condition of things, and the divine kingdom (Daniel 7:14; Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:27, Daniel 12:2-3) being established immediately afterwards. This sense of ‘end’ is based probably upon the use of the word in Amos 8:2, Ezekiel 7:2, ‘an end is come, the end is come upon the four corners of the land,’ 3, 6: cf. also ‘in the time of the iniquity of the end,’ Ezekiel 21:25; Ezekiel 21:29; Ezekiel 35:5; and Habakkuk 2:3, ‘For the vision is yet for the appointed-time [has reference to the time of its destined fulfilment], and it hasteth toward the end.’

Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.
18. I fell into a dead sleep] Daniel was alarmed when the angel approached (Daniel 8:17): when he spoke to him, he fell paralysed and motionless—or, as we might say (in a figurative sense), stunned—upon his face (cf. the similar passage, Daniel 10:9). The word is used of a deep sleep, Jdg 4:21; Psalm 76:6 (here of the sleep of death): cf. the corresponding subst., Genesis 2:21; Genesis 15:12; 1 Samuel 26:12; Isaiah 29:10 (here fig. of insensibility).

set me upright] lit. made me stand upon my standing (cf. Daniel 8:17 Heb.), a late Heb. idiom for in my place, where I had stood (R.V. marg.), 2 Chronicles 30:16; 2 Chronicles 34:31, Nehemiah 13:11, al.: in the same application as here, Daniel 10:11. For the fear occasioned by a vision, and the restoration by an angelic touch, cf. Daniel 10:8; Daniel 10:10; Daniel 10:16; Daniel 10:18; Enoch lx. 3, 4; 2Es 5:14-15.

And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
19. in the latter time (R.V.) of the indignation] The ‘indignation’ is the Divine wrath implied in Israel’s subjection to the nations: the persecution by Antiochus is the last stage of this indignation: when that is over, the kingdom of the saints will be set up. Cf. Daniel 11:36, ‘and he (Antiochus) shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished;’ and 1Ma 1:64, ‘and there came exceeding great wrath upon Israel.’ The word may be suggested by Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 26:20.

for it (i.e. the vision, Daniel 8:17) belongeth to the appointed-time of the end] The sentence seems suggested by Habakkuk 2:3 (quoted on Daniel 8:17), though the word ‘end’ has not there the special sense which it has acquired in Daniel.

The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
20. having the two horns] see on Daniel 8:3.

20–26. The explanation of the vision.

And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
21. the rough he-goat] Daniel 8:5. The word rendering ‘rough’ (sâ‘îr), treated as a subst., is the usual old Hebrew word for a he-goat (Genesis 37:31, &c.): the word here rendered ‘he-goat’ (ṣâphîr) being properly the Aramaic word for the same animal (Ezra 6:17, and in the Targums), and being found in Heb. only in late passages (Daniel 8:5; Daniel 8:8; 2 Chronicles 29:21; Ezra 8:35). Perhaps, therefore, sâ‘îr is not intended here to be an adj., but is simply the old Heb. synonym of ṣâphîr, added by way of explanation; and the whole expression should be rendered simply the he-goat.

Grecia] or, as we should now say, Greece. So Daniel 10:20; Daniel 11:2 (but Zechariah 9:13 ‘Greece’); and similarly Grecians for Greeks, Joel 3:6, Acts 6:1 al. The Heb. (both here and elsewhere) is Yavan, Genesis 10:2; Genesis 10:4 = 1 Chronicles 1:5; 1 Chronicles 1:7; Isaiah 66:19; Ezekiel 27:13; Ezekiel 27:19 (?), i.e. Ἰάϝων, Ἰάϝον-ες, the name by which the ‘Greeks’ were known also to the Assyrians and Egyptians. The reason is to be found in the fact that the ‘Ionians’ on the west coast of Asia Minor were that branch of the Greeks which was the earliest to develope civilization, and to engage extensively in commerce; it was thus the first to become generally known in the Eastern world.

the first king] i.e. Alexander the Great.

Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
22. And as for that which was broken, in the place whereof four stood up (R.V.), four kingdoms shall stand up, &c.] see on Daniel 8:8.

stand up] i.e. arise. Late Hebrew uses ‘âmad, ‘to stand,’ or ‘stand up,’ where early Hebrew would say ḳûm, ‘to arise’ (e.g. Exodus 1:8): similarly Daniel 8:23, and several times in ch. 11.

out of the nation] There is no art. in Heb.; and the passage, as it stands, reads baldly. Read probably, with LXX, Theod., Vulg., ‘his nation’ (gôyô for gôy), i.e. Alexander’s.

but not with his power] None of the four kingdoms which ultimately (see on Daniel 8:8) took the place of the Macedonian empire possessed the power which Alexander enjoyed. Cf. Daniel 11:4 b.

And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
23. in the latter time of their kingdom] in the closing period of the rule of the Diadochi (which the author pictures as brought altogether to an end at the death of Antiochus).

when the transgressors have completed (their guilt)] i.e. filled up the measure of their transgressions (cf., though the Heb. word is not the same, Genesis 15:16). Or, with ‘transgressions’ for ‘transgressors’ (Sept., Theod., Pesh., Ew., Meinh.: the difference affects only the vocalization), when they (or men) have completed transgressions. It is disputed whether the reference is to the Israelites (Keil, Behrm.) or their heathen oppressors (Hitz., Meinh., Bevan). In the former case, the meaning will be that when the measure of Israel’s guilt is full, this final and severest of persecutions will fall upon them: in the latter case, Antiochus will be viewed as the climax of heathen impiety.

a king of hard countenance] i.e. unyielding, unmoved, deflant: lit. ‘strong of countenance,’ i.e. hard, firm (in a bad sense). The expression is borrowed from Deuteronomy 28:50 : cf., with the corresponding verb, Proverbs 7:13 (of the harlot), ‘she made her face strong,’ i.e. hard, impudent, Proverbs 21:29; ‘a wicked man hardeneth his face,’ Ecclesiastes 8:1.

and understanding riddles (Daniel 5:12)] a master of dissimulation, able to conceal his meaning under ambiguous words, and so disguising his real purposes. Cf. Daniel 8:25, ‘deceit,’ Daniel 11:27, ‘obtain the kingdom by smooth sayings.’ Examples are afforded by his treatment of his nephew, Ptolemy Philometor, and the manner in which he completely misled the legates who were sent by the Romans for the purpose of ascertaining his feelings towards them (see on Daniel 11:27; Daniel 11:40). Antiochus was habitually successful in concealing his real motives and intentions when his interests required it.

23–25. A fuller description of the character and policy of Antiochus Epiphanes.

And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
24. his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power] but rather, so it is implied in this rendering, by the permission of God (Häv., Hitz.). The rendering not by his power (but rather by intrigues) is, however, preferable: the first two clauses of the verse will thus contain an oxymoron. R.V. marg. ‘Or, with his power. See Daniel 8:22’ seems to refer the pron. (with Ewald) to Alexander; but such a reference is here far-fetched.

destroy wonderfully] work destruction in an extraordinary degree;—the idea of ‘wonder,’ ‘wonderful’ in Heb. is properly that of something distinctive, exceptional, extraordinary. Cf. Daniel 11:36, Daniel 12:6.

prosper, and do] cf. Daniel 8:12.

the mighty] them that are mighty (indef.), alluding to Antiochus’ political foes.

and the people of the holy ones (or saints)] i.e. Israel: cf. Daniel 7:25 (‘and shall wear away the holy ones (or saints) of the Most High’).

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
25. And through—properly, on (the basis of)—his understanding] or insight, cleverness,—usually in a good sense (1 Samuel 25:3, Job 17:4, al.), here in a bad sense = astuteness.

he (without ‘also’)[328] will cause deceit to prosper in his hand] his intrigues will prove successful (cf. Daniel 11:23, also of Antiochus). For ‘in his hand,’ cf. Genesis 39:3, Isaiah 53:10.

[328] See on the construction Ges.-Kautzsch, § 112. 5, or the writer’s Hebrew Tenses, § 123 γ. It is against the reading of lxx (followed by Grätz and Bevan), that שׂכל does not signify διανόημα, or ‘mind.’

and in his heart he will shew greatness] i.e. here (cf. on Daniel 8:4), devise proud, presumptuous schemes. Comp. the expression ‘greatness of heart’ Isaiah 9:9; Isaiah 10:12 (A.V. ‘stoutness,’ ‘stout’).

and in (time of) security he will destroy many] i.e. he will come upon them unawares, and destroy them while off their guard. Many modern scholars render indeed by unawares, supposing that the Heb. expression (בשלוה ‘in tranquillity’) is used with the force of a similar Aramaic idiom מן שלי suddenly, unawares, (lit. out of quiet): see e.g. Jeremiah 4:20, Pesh. The same expression recurs in ch. Daniel 11:21; Daniel 11:24 (LXX. both times ἐξάπινα), also of Antiochus. Comp. 1Ma 1:29-30, where it is related how Antiochus’s chief collector of tribute, Apollonius, came to Jerusalem, and ‘spake words of peace unto them in subtilty, and they gave him credence; and he fell upon the city suddenly (ἐξάπινα: Pesh. מן שלי),’ and killed many of its inhabitants (cf. 2Ma 5:23-26).

the Prince of princes] i.e. God, the ‘prince of the host’ of Daniel 8:11. Cf. Daniel 2:47; and the ‘Lord of lords’ of Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalm 136:3.

broken without hand] i.e. not by human means, but by a Divine intervention; cf. Daniel 2:34, with the note. Antiochus died suddenly, in b.c. 164, a few months after the re-dedication of the Temple (25 Chisleu [Dec.], 165), apparently from some mental disorder, such as might well suggest the idea of a Divine stroke, at Tabae in Persia (see p. 194 f.).

And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
26. the vision of the evenings and mornings (Daniel 8:14) which hath been told, is true] a solemn asseveration of the truth of what has been told (cf. Daniel 10:1, Daniel 11:2, Daniel 12:7; also Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6), intended here as an encouragement to the persecuted Israelites, who may rest assured that their sufferings will ere long reach the appointed limit.

but thou (emph.), shut thou up the vision] keep it secret (cf. Daniel 12:4). The vision is supposed to have been seen in the third year of Belshazzar (Daniel 8:1), but it relates to the age of Antiochus; it is consequently to remain hidden till then, partly because it would not be intelligible before, partly in order to explain why no one had ever heard of it till the days of Antiochus himself. For the idea of a revelation given in the interests of a distant future, cf. Enoch i. 2, civ. 13.

for it belongeth to many days (to come)] i.e. it relates to a distant future. The expression is exactly the same (in the Heb.) as in Exodus 12:27.

And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
27. fainted] The expression is peculiar: if correct, it must mean I was done with, exhausted, the verb being the same that is used in Daniel 2:1 in the passage ‘his sleep was done with upon him.’ It does not occur in this sense elsewhere in the O. T.

for (some) days] so Genesis 40:4 (A.V., R.V., ‘a season’); Nehemiah 1:4.

rose up] from his bed of sickness, as Psalm 41:8.

the king’s business] what business is not stated; nor can we be sure (cf. Daniel 5:13) that the writer pictured him as still holding the office to which Nebuchadnezzar had appointed him some 60 years previously (Daniel 2:48). For the expression, cf. Esther 9:3.

was astonished] cf. on Daniel 4:19.

but none understood it] The expression is strange, and difficult to reconcile with what has preceded: if the vision was to be ‘shut up,’ the remark that no one understood it would seem to be superfluous. Perhaps ‘none’ may be used as in Daniel 8:5; and Daniel himself may be really meant (cf. Daniel 12:8): the meaning will then be that, though the vision had been partly explained to him, he did not understand it fully: Daniel 8:23-25 are, for instance, expressed enigmatically, and without any name being given (Hitz., Bevan). Other renderings are, but no one perceived it (cf. 1 Samuel 3:8 Heb.), i.e. no one perceived that Daniel had had a vision, or of what nature it was (Meinh.); or but no one gave heed (cf. Isaiah 57:1 Heb.; A.V. ‘considering’), viz. to Daniel’s astonishment (Behrm.).

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