Daniel 8:20
The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
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(20-22) See Notes on Daniel 8:3-8.

Daniel 8:20-22. The ram, &c., having two horns, are the kings, or kingdoms rather, of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king, or kingdom, of Grecia. And the great horn, &c., is the first king — Namely, Alexander the Great, the first Grecian king that reigned over Asia. Now that being broken — That is, this first king being deceased; four kingdoms shall stand up, &c. — Shall arise from it, under the rule of the same nation that the first king was of, namely, the Grecian. But not in his power — They were to be kingdoms of Greeks, not of Alexander’s own family, but only of his nation; neither were they to be equal to him in power and dominion, as an empire united is certainly more powerful than the same empire divided, and the whole is greater than any of its parts.

8:15-27 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.The ram which thou sawest ... - See the notes at Daniel 8:3. This is one of the instances in the Scriptures in which symbols are explained. There can be no doubt, therefore, as to the meaning. 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). Or the kingdom, Daniel 7:17.

The ram which thou sawest having two horns,.... Here begins the particular explanation of the above vision, and of the first thing which the prophet saw in it, a ram with two horns: which two horns, he says,

are the kings of Media and Persia; Darius the first king was a Mede, and Cyrus, that succeeded him, or rather reigned with him, was a Persian: or rather the ram with two horns signifies the two kingdoms of the Medes and Persians united in one monarchy, of which the ram was an emblem; See Gill on Daniel 8:3 for Darius and Cyrus were dead many years before the time of Alexander; and therefore could not personally be the two horns of the ram broken by him; nor is it to be understood of the kings of two different families, as the one of. Cyrus, and the other of Darius Hystaspes, in whose successors the Persian monarchy continued till destroyed by Alexander, as Theodoret.

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.

Verse 20. - The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. All the versions - the Septuagint, Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate - have read, not מַלְכֵי, as we find in the Massoretic text, but מֶלֶד The ancient construct case in Hebrew was formed by adding י to the root. Possibly this may be a survival of that usage. In this case the change is due to scribal blunder. When we turn to Jeremiah 25:25 and Jeremiah 51:11, 58, we have the same phrases used as here: this is probably the origin of the blunder. For any one to ground an argument, as does Professor Bevan, on this, and maintain that it proves the writer to have held that there were two separate empires - one of Media, and the other of Persia - is absurd. When the true reading is adopted, this passage proves the very reverse of that for which Professor Bevan contends. The reasoning of Kliefoth, that the distinction between plural and singular points to the fact that, while several kings reigned ever the Persian Empire, only one ruled over the Greek, is very ingenious, but, unfortunately, it has no foundation in fact. "King," it may be observed, stands for dynasty, only that in the crisis of history, when the two powers encountered, each was ruled and represented by one king - Persia by Darius Codomannus, and Greece by Alexander. Daniel 8:20Since, from the explanation given by the angel in this verse, the vision relates to the Medo-Persian and the Javanic world-kingdoms, and to the persecuting kingdom of Antiochus which arose out of the latter, so it cannot be disputed that here, in prophetic perspective, the time of the end is seen together with the period of the oppression of the people of God by Antiochus, and the first appearance of the Messiah with His return in glory to the final judgment, as the latter is the case also in Daniel 2:34., 44f., and Daniel 7:13, Daniel 7:25. If Kliefoth objects: The coming of the Messiah may certainly be conceived of as bound up with the end of all things, and this is done, since both events stand in intimate causal relation to each other, not seldom in those O.T. prophets who yet do not distinguish the times; but they also know well that this intimate causal connection does not include contemporaneousness, that the coming of the Messiah in the flesh will certainly bring about the end of all things, but not as an immediate consequence, but after a somewhat lengthened intervening space, that thus, after the coming of the Messiah, a course of historical events will further unfold themselves before the end comes (which Daniel also knew, as Daniel 9 shows), and where the supposition is this, as in Daniel, there the time before the appearance of Christ in the flesh cannot be called the time of the end: - then the inference drawn in these last passages is not confirmed by the contents of the book of Daniel. For in the last vision (Daniel 10-12) which Daniel saw, not only the time of oppression of Antiochus and that of the last enemy are contemplated together as one, but also the whole contents of this one vision are, Daniel 10:14, transferred to the "end of the days;" for the divine messenger says to Daniel, "I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the end of the days, for the vision yet relates to the days." And not only this, but also in Daniel 11:35 it is said of the tribulation brought upon the people of God by Antiochus, that in it many would fall, to cleanse them and to purify them to the time of the end, for it is yet for the appointed time. Here, beyond doubt, the time of the persecution by Antiochus is placed in intimate union with the time of the end, but, as is to be particularly observed, not so that the two are spoken of as synchronous. This point is of importance for the right exposition of the verse before us. If, in Daniel 11:35, Daniel 11:40, it is twice said laמועד קץ עוד כּי (the end is yet for the appointed time), and thus does not begin with the oppression of the people of God by Antiochus, so we may not conclude from these verses - and in this Kliefoth is perfectly justified - that Daniel expected the erection of the Messianic kingdom and the end of all history with the overthrow of Antiochus. If, however, on the whole, the intimate causal connection of the two periods of tribulation placed together in Daniel 11 in one vision neither demands nor even permits us to regard the two as synchronous, so this erroneous conclusion drawn from these verses before us, in connection with an incorrect interpretation of Daniel 11:36-45, is sufficiently obviated, both by Daniel 2 and 7, according to which the fourth world-kingdom shall precede the erection of the everlasting kingdom of God and the manifestation of the Son of man, as also by Daniel 9:24-27, where - as our exposition will show - the coming of the Messiah and the perfecting of the kingdom of God by the overthrow of the last enemy are dependent on one another in point of time - the coming of the Messiah after seven weeks, the perfecting of the kingdom of God will follow, but not trill after the lapse of seventy weeks.

This passage is to be understood according to these distinct revelations and statements, and not that because in them, according to prophetic perspective, the oppression of the people of the saints by Antiochus, the little horn, is seen in one vision with the tribulation of the end-time, therefore the synchronism or identity of the two is to be concluded, and the erection of the regnum gloriae and the end of the world to be placed at the destruction of this little horn. The words, "the vision relates to the time of the end," thus only declare that the prophecy has a reference to Messianic times. As to the nature of this reference, the angel gives some intimation when, having touched the prophet, who had fallen in amazement to the ground, he raised him up and enabled him to listen to his words (Daniel 8:18), the intimation that he would make known to him what would happen in the last time of violence (Daniel 8:19). הזּעם is the wrath of God against Israel, the punishment which God hung over them on account of their sins, as in Isaiah 10:5; Jeremiah 25:17; Ezekiel 22:24, etc., and here the sufferings of punishment and discipline which the little horn shall bring over Israel. The time of this revelation of divine wrath is called אחרית because it belongs to the הימים אחרית, prepares the Messianic future, and with its conclusion begins the last age of the world, of which, however, nothing more particular is here said, for the prophecy breaks off with the destruction of the little horn. The vision of the eleventh chapter first supplies more particular disclosures on this point. In that chapter the great enemy of the saints of God, arising out of the third world-kingdom, is set forth and represented as the prefiguration or type of their last enemy at the end of the days. Under the words יהיה אשׁר (which shall be) the angel understands all that the vision of this chapter contains, from the rising up of the Medo-Persian world-kingdom to the time of the destruction of Antiochus Epiphanes, as Daniel 8:20-25 show. But when he adds הזּעם אחרית, he immediately makes prominent that which is the most important matter in the whole vision, the severe oppression which awaits the people of Israel in the future for their purification, and repeats, in justification of that which is said, the conclusion from Daniel 8:17, in which he only exchanges עת for מועד is the definite time in its duration; קץ מועד thus denotes the end-time as to its duration. This expression is here chosen with regard to the circumstance that in Daniel 8:14 the end of the oppression was accurately defined by the declaration of its continuance. The object of these words also is variously viewed by interpreters. The meaning is not that the angel wished to console Daniel with the thought that the judgment of the vision was not yet so near at hand (Zndel); for, according to Daniel 8:17, Daniel was not terrified by the contents of the vision, but by the approach of the heavenly being; and if, according to Daniel 8:18, the words of the angel so increased his terror that he fell down confounded to the earth, and the angel had to raise him by touching him, yet it is not at the same time said that the words of the angel of the end-time had so confounded him, and that the subsequent fuller explanation was somewhat less overwhelming than the words, Daniel 8:17, something lighter or more comforting. Even though the statement about the time of the end contributed to the increase of the terror, yet the contents of Daniel 8:19 were not fitted to raise up the prophet, but the whole discourse of the angel was for Daniel so oppressive that after hearing it, he was for some days sick, Daniel 8:27. From Daniel's astonishment we are not to conclude that the angel in Daniel 8:17 spoke of the absolute end of all things, and in Daniel 8:19, on the contrary, of the end of the oppression of the people of Israel by Antiochus. By the words, "the vision relates to the appointed end-time," the angel wished only to point to the importance of his announcement, and to add emphasis to his call to the prophet to give heed.

Daniel 8:20-26

After the introductory words, we have now in these verses the explanation of the chief points of the vision.

Daniel 8:20-22 explain Daniel 8:3-8. "The kings of Media and Persia" are the whole number of the Medo-Persian kings as they succeed each other, i.e., the Medo-Persian monarchy in the whole of its historical development. To הצּפיר the epithet השּׂעיר, hairy, shaggy, is added to characterize the animal as an he-goat. The king of Javan (Greece) is the founder and representative of the Macedo-Grecian world-kingdom, or rather the royalty of this kingdom, since the great horn of the ram is forthwith interpreted of Alexander the Great, the first king of this kingdom. The words והנּשׁבּרת to תּחתּיה (Daniel 8:22) form an absolute subject-sentence, in which, however, ותּעמדנה is not to be taken ἐκβατικῶς, it broke in pieces, so that ... (Kran.); for "the statement of the principal passage may not appear here in the subordinate relative passage" (Hitzig); but to the statement beginning with the participle the further definition in the verb. in. with וconsec. is added, without the relative אשׁר, as is frequently the case (cf. Ewald's Lehr. 351), which we cannot give with so much brevity, but must express thus: "as concerning the horn, that it was broken in pieces, and then four stood up in its place, (this signifies) that four kingdoms shall arise from the people." מגּוי without the article does not signify from the people of Javan, for in this case the article would not have been omitted; nor does it signify from the heathen world, because a direct contrast to Israel does not lie before us; but indefinitely, from the territory of the people, or the world of the people, since the prophecy conceives of the whole world of the people (Vklerwelt) as united under the sceptre of the king of Javan. יעמדנה is a revived archaism; cf. Genesis 30:38; 1 Samuel 6:12; Ewald, 191; Gesen. Gramm. 47. - בכוחו ולא, but not in his power, not armed with the strength of the first king, cf. Daniel 11:4.

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