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Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary Keil & Delitzsch
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 8". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ kdo/ daniel-8.html. 1854-1889.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 8". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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Part Second - The Development of the Kingdom of God - Daniel 8-12
This Part contains three revelations which Daniel received during the reigns of Belshazzar, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian, regarding the development of the kingdom of God. After describing in the First Part the development of the world-power and its relation to the people and kingdom of God from the days of Nebuchadnezzar, its founder, down to the time of its final destruction by the perfected kingdom of God, in this Second Part it is revealed to the prophet how the kingdom of God, in war against the power and enmity of the rulers of the world, and amid severe oppressions, is carried forward to final victory and is perfected.
The first vision, Daniel 8, represents what will happen to the people of God during the developments of the second and third world-kingdoms. The second revelation, Daniel 9, gives to the prophet, in answer to his penitential prayer for the restoration of the ruined holy city and the desolated sanctuary, disclosures regarding the whole development of the kingdom of God, from the close of the Babylonish exile to the final accomplishment of God's plan of salvation. In the last vision, in the third year of Cyrus, Daniel 10-12, he received yet further and more special revelations regarding the severe persecutions which await the people of God for their purification, in the nearer future under Antiochus Epiphanes, and in the time of the end under the last foe, the Antichrist.
At Susa, in the province of Elam, Daniel saw in vision (Daniel 8:1, Daniel 8:2) a ram with two horns, which a he-goat coming from the west, running over the earth, having a great horn on his brow, smote and destroyed (Daniel 8:3-7). After that the goat waxed very mighty, till his great horn was broken; and in its place four notable horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven, and out of one of them there came forth a little horn, which directed its might toward the south and the east and toward the holy land, contended against the host of heaven, and magnified itself to the Prince of the heavenly host, took away the daily sacrifice, and desolated the place of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:8-12). He then hears from an angel how long this sacrilege shall continue (Daniel 8:13, Daniel 8:14). Another angel thereafter gives him an explanation (Daniel 8:15-26) of the vision; and with a remark (Daniel 8:27) regarding the effect of this revelation on the mind of Daniel, the chapter closes.
This vision, it is manifest from the definition of the time in Daniel 8:1, stands in relation to the vision of the foregoing chapter, and in its contents is united to it also in so far as it gives more particular revelations regarding the relations of the second and third world-kingdoms, which are only briefly set forth in Daniel 7. But notwithstanding this point of union, this chapter does not form a mere appendix to the foregoing, but gives a new revelation regarding a phase in the development of the world-power and its enmity against the people of God of which nothing is prophesied in Daniel 7. The opinion that this chapter forms only an appendix to Daniel 7 is based on the erroneous idea that the fourth world-kingdom, the Macedonian, and the little horn in Daniel 7 are identical with that prophesied of in this chapter.
(Note: According to the modern critics (Berth., v. Leng., Hitz., Bleek), this chapter must have been written shortly before the re-consecration of the temple, or immediately thereafter, before or immediately after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes. This supposition is drawn from Daniel 8:14, according to which the period of oppression shall continue 2300 evening-mornings. But, overlooking the circumstance that these critics cannot agree as to the reckoning of this period of time, and thus announce the uncertainty of their hypothesis, the whole of the other contents of the chapter stand in contradiction to this supposition. It contains no hint whatever of the great victories of the Maccabees which preceded the consecration of the temple, and first made it possible, but, on the contrary, speaks of the oppression as continuing unchanged till the oppressor is himself destroyed (Daniel 8:25), and then it breaks off without any Messianic view, as one should expect from a parenetic poem of a Maccabean Jews; so that Bleek finds himself compelled from his own resources to add “the intimation, that the beginning of the deliverance destined by God for His people is closely and immediately joined to the discontinuance of the worship of Jehovah by Antioch. Epiph., and to the destruction of this prince,” in order to give to the vision “a Messianic character.”)
Daniel 8:1, Daniel 8:2 contain the historical introduction to this new revelation. This was given to Daniel in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, and thus two years after the vision of the four world-kingdoms (Daniel 7:1), but not in a dream as that was, but while he was awake. The words, I, Daniel, are neither a pleonasm (Hהv.) nor a sign that the writer wished specially to give himself out for Daniel (Ewald), but expressly denote that Daniel continues to speak of himself in the first person (Kliefoth). The article in הנראה ( that which appeared) takes place of the relative אשׁר , and the expression is concise for נראה אשׁר החזון ( the vision which appeared); cf. Ewald's Lehr. §335 a. בּתּחלּה ( at the first), as in Daniel 9:21, in the general signification earlier, and in Genesis 13:3; Genesis 41:21; Genesis 43:18, Genesis 43:20; Isaiah 1:26, synonymous with בּראשׁנה ( in the beginning). Here the word points back to Daniel 7, and in Daniel 9:21 it refers to Daniel 8:16 of this chapter.
“In vision,” i.e., ἐν πνεύματι , not ἐν σώματι , Daniel was placed in the city of Susa, in the province of Elam (Elymaïs). By the words, “I saw in vision; and it came to pass when I saw,” which precede the specification of the scene of the vision, is indicated the fact that he was in Susa only in vision, and the misconception is sufficiently guarded against that Daniel was actually there in the body. This is acknowledge by v. Leng., Hitzig, Maurer, Häv., Hgstb., Kran., and Kliefoth, against Bertholdt and Rosenmüller, who understand this, in connection with Daniel 8:27, as meaning that Daniel was personally present in Susa to execute the king's business, from which Bertholdt frames the charge against the pseudo-Daniel, that he was not conscious that Elam under Nabonned did not belong to Babylon, and that the royal palace at Susa had as yet no existence. But this accusation has no historical foundation. We have no accurate information whether under Belshazzar Elam was added to Babylon or the Chaldean empire. It is true that not Hengstenberg ( Beitr. i. p. 42f.) only has, with older theologians, concluded from the prophecies of Jeremiah 49:34., compared with Jeremiah 25:25 and Ezekiel 32:24, that Nebuchadnezzar subjugated Susa, but Niebuhr also ( Gesch. Assurs, p. 211ff.) seeks from these and other passages of the O.T. to establish the view, that Nebuchadnezzar, after the death of Cyaxares (Uwakhshatra), to whom he owed allegiance, refused to do homage to his successor, and entered on a war against Media, which resulted in the annexation of Elam to his kingdom. But, on the contrary, Hävernick has well remarked, that the subjugation of Elam by Nebuchadnezzar can scarcely harmonize with the fact of the division of the Assyrian kingdom between the Babylonian king Nabopolassar and the Median king Cyaxares, whereby the former obtained the western and the latter the eastern half, and that from these passages of prophecy a subjugation of Elam by the Chaldeans cannot be concluded. Jeremiah announces neither in Jeremiah 25:25 nor in Jeremiah 49:34. a conquest of Elam by Nebuchadnezzar, but rather in Jer. 49 prophesies the complete destruction of Elam, or a divine judgment, in language which is much too strong and elevated for a mere making of it tributary and annexing it to a new state.
Besides, this passage in no respect requires that Susa and Elam should be regarded as provinces of the Chaldean kingdom, since the opinion that Daniel was in Susa engaged in some public business for the Chaldean king is founded only on a false interpretation of Daniel 8:2, Daniel 8:27. From the prophet's having been placed in an ecstasy in the city of Susa, there follows nothing further than that this city was already at the time of the existing Chaldean kingdom a central-point of Elamitish or Persian power. And the more definite description of the situation of this city in the words, “which was in the province of Elam,” points decidedly to the time of Daniel, in which Susa as yet belonged to the province of Elam, while this province was made a satrapy, Susis, Susiana, now Chusistan, by the kings of Persia, and Susa became the capital of this province; therefore the capital Susa is not reckoned as situated in Elam by writers, who after this time distinguish between Susis (Susiana) and Elymaïs (Elam), as Strabo, xvi. 1. 17f., Pliny, hist. nat. vi. 27: Susianen ab Elymaide disterminat amnis Eulaeus .
Still more groundless is the assertion, that the city of Susa was not in existence in the time of Daniel, or, as Duncker ( Gesch. der Alterth. ii. p. 913, 3 Auf.) affirms, that Darius first removed the residence or seat of the king to Susa with the intention that it should become the permanent residence for him and his successors, the central-point of his kingdom and of his government, and that Pliny and Aelian say decidedly that Darius built Susa, the king's city of Persia, and that the inscriptions confirm this saying. For, to begin with the latter statement, an inscription found in the ruins of a palace at Susa, according to the deciphering of Mordtmann ( in der D. morgl. Ztschr. xvi. pp. 123ff.), which Duncker cites as confirming his statement, contains only these words: “Thus speaks Artaxerxes the great king, the son of Darius the son of Achämenides Vistaçpa: This building my great-great-grandfather Darius erected; afterwards it was improved by Artaxerxes my grandfather.” This inscription thus confirms only the fact of the building of a palace in Susa by Darius, but nothing further, from which it is impossible to conclude that Darius first founded the city, or built the first tower in it. Still less does such an idea lie in the words of Aelian, nat. animal. i. 59: “Darius was proud of the erection of a celebrated building which he had raised in Susa.” And Pliny also, taken strictly, speaks only of the elevation of Susa to the rank of capital of the kingdom by Darius, which does not exclude the opinion that Susa was before this already a considerable town, and had a royal castle, in which Cyrus may have resided during several months of the year (according to Xenophon, Cyrop. viii. 6. 22, Anab. iii. 5. 15; cf. Brissonius, de regio Pers. princ. p. 88f.).
(Note: Pliny, hist. nat. vi. 27, says regarding Susiana, “ In qua vetus regia Presarum Susa a Dario Hystaspis filio condita, ” which may be understood as if he ascribed to Darius the founding of the city of Susa. But how little weight is to be given to this statement appears from the similar statement, hist. nat. vi. 14 (17): “ Ecbatana caput Mediae Seleucus rex condidit, ” which plainly contains an error, since Ecbatana, under the name of Achmeta, is mentioned (Ezra 6:2) in the time of Darius Hystaspes, in the tower of which the archives of the Persian kings were preserved.)
The founding of Susa, and of the old tower in Susa, reaches back into pre-historic times. According to Strabo, xv. 2. 3, Susa must have been built by Tithonos, the father of Memnon. With this the epithet Μεμνόνια Σοῦσα , which Herod. vii. 151, v. 54, 53, and Aelian, nat. anim. xiii. 18, gives to the town of Susa, stands in unison. For if this proves nothing more than that in Susa there was a tomb of Memnon (Häv.), yet would this sufficiently prove that the city or its citadel existed from ancient times - times so ancient that the mythic Memnon lived and was buried there.
The city had its name שׁוּשׁן , Lily, from the lilies which grew in great abundance in that region (Athen. Deipnos. xii. p. 409; Stephan. Byz., etc.), and had, according to Strabo, xv. 3. 2, a circuit of 120 (twelve English miles), and according to others, 200 stadia. Its palace was called Memnoneion, and was strongly fortified. Here was “the golden seat;” here also were “the apartments of Darius, which were adorned with gold,” as Aeschylos says ( Pers. 3. 4. 159, 160), “the widely-famed palace,” - the περιβόητα βασιλεῖα , as Diod. Sic. xvii. 65, expresses himself.
The ruins of Susa are not only a wilderness, inhabited by lions and hyaenas, on the eastern banks of the Shapur, between it and the Dizful, where three great mountains of ruins, from 80 to 100 feet high, raise themselves, showing the compass of the city, while eastward smaller heaps of ruins point out the remains of the city, which to this day bear the name Schusch; cf. Herz.'s Realenc. xvi. p. 263f., and Duncker, Gesch. d. Alt. ii. p. 942ff.
The designation of Elam as מדינה , a province, does not refer to a Chaldean province. עילם , in Greek ̓Ελυμαΐ́ς , formed the western part of the Persian satrapy of Susis or Susiana, which lay at the foot of the highlands of Iran, at the beginning of the valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates between Persia and Babylon, called by the Persians Uvaja, and by the Greeks Susis or Susiana after the capital, or Cissia after its inhabitants. It is bounded by the western border mountains of Persia and the Tigris, and on the south terminates in a arm, swampy and harbourless coast, which stretches from the mouth of the Tigris to that of the Aurvaiti (Oroatis). Strabo (xv. 732) says Susiana is inhabited by two races, the Cissaei and the Elymäi; Herodotus (iii. 91, v. 49, vii. 62), on the contrary, names only the Cissaei as the inhabitants of the country of the same name. The saying put into circulation by Josephus ( Antt. i. 6. 4, ̓́Ελαμος γὰρ ̓Ελαμαίους Περσῶν ὄντας ἀρχηγέτας κατέλιπεν ), that the Elamites are the primitive race of the Persians, has no historical foundation. The deep valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates was the country of the Semites. “The names of the towns and rivers of the country confirm the statements of Genesis, which names Elam among the sons of Shem, although the erecting of the Persian royal residence in Elam, and the long continuance of the Persian rule, could not but exercise, as it did, an influence on the manners and arts of the Semitish inhabitants” (Duncker, p. 942).
The further statement, that Daniel in vision was by the river Ulai, shows that Susa lay on the banks of the river. אוּלי is the Εὐλαῖος , Eulaeus, of the Greeks and Romans, of which Pliny says, “ circuit arcem Susorum ,” and which Arrian ( Exped. Alex. vii. 7) also mentions as a navigable river of Susis. On the contrary, Herodotus, i. 188, v. 49, 52, and Strabo, xv. 3, 4, place Susa on the river Choaspes. These contradictory statements are reconciled in the simplest manner by the supposition that Ulai, Eulaeus, was the Semitish, Choaspes the Aryan (Persian) name of the Kuran, which received the Shapur and Dizful. In favour of this, we have not only the circumstance that the name Choaspes is undoubtedly of Persian origin, while, on the other hand, אוּלי is a word of Semitic formation; but still more, that Herodotus knows nothing whatever of the Eulaeus, while Ptolemy (vi. 3. 2) does not mention the Choaspes, but, on the contrary, two sources of the Eulaeus, the one in Media, the other in Susiana; and that what Herod. i. 188, says of the Choaspes, that the kings of Persia drink its water only, and caused it to be carried far after them, is mentioned by Pliny of the Euläus, h. n. vi. 27, and in 31:3 of the Choaspes and Euläus.
(Note: There is little probability in the supposition that Choaspes is the modern Kerrah or Kerkha, the Euläus the modern Dizful, as Susa lay between these two rivers (Ker Porter, Winer, Ruetschi in Herz.'s Realen. xv. 246), and receives no sufficient support from the bas relief of Kojundshik discovered by Layard, which represents the siege of a town lying between two rivers, since the identification of this town with Susa is a mere conjecture.)
Daniel was in spirit conveyed to Susa, that here in the future royal citadel of the Persian kingdom he might witness the destruction of this world-power, as Ezekiel was removed to Jerusalem that he might there see the judgment of its destruction. The placing of the prophet also on the river of Ulai is significant, yet it is not to be explained, with Kranichfeld, from Daniel 8:3, Daniel 8:6, “where the kingdom in question stands in the same relation to the flowing river as the four kingdoms in Daniel 7:2 do to the sea.” For the geographically defined river Ulai has nothing in common with the sea as a symbol of the nations of the world (Daniel 7:2). The Ulai is rather named as the place where afterwards the ram and the he-goat pushed against one another, and the shock followed, deciding the fate of the Persian kingdom.
As, the, the scene of the vision stands in intimate relation to its contents, so also the time at which the revelation was made to Daniel. With the third year of Belshazzar the dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the Babylonian world-kingdom, was extinguished. In this year Belshazzar, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, died, and the sovereignty was transferred to a collateral branch, and finally to an intruder, under whom that world-kingdom, once so powerful, in a few years fell to pieces. Shortly before the death of Belshazzar the end of the Babylonian monarchy was thus to be seen, and the point of time, not very remote, which must end the Exile with the fall of Babylon. This point of time was altogether fitted to reveal to the prophet in a vision what would happen after the overthrow of Babylon, and after the termination of the Exile.
The vision. - Daniel 8:3. Daniel first sees one ram, איל , standing by the river. The אחד ( one) does not here stand for the indefinite article, but is a numeral, in contradistinction to the two horns which the one ram has. The two horns of the ram were high, but the one was higher than the other, the higher coming up later. האחת does not mean the first, but the one, and השּׁנית the other; for the higher grew up last. This is not to be understood as if Daniel first saw the ram without horns, and then saw the horns grow up, and at length the one horn become higher than the other (v. Leng., Hitzig); but that from the first Daniel saw the ram with two horns, but afterwards saw the one horn grow higher than the other (Kliefoth). The angel (Daniel 8:20) explains the ram with two horns of the king of Media and Persia. This does not mean that the two horns are to be understood (with Theodoret) of the two dynasties of Cyrus and of Darius Hystaspes; but since the ram represents the one kingdom of the Medes and Persians, so the two horns represent the people of the Medes and Persians, from the union of which the Medo-Persian kingdom grew up. Both nations were the horns, i.e., the power of the monarchy; therefore are they both high. The one horn, which afterwards grew up higher than the other, represents the Persians, who raised themselves above the Medians. A ram and goat, as emblems of kings, princes, chiefs, often occur; cf. Isaiah 14:9; Ezekiel 34:17; Ezekiel 39:18; Jeremiah 50:8; Zechariah 10:3. In Bundehesch the guardian spirit of the Persian kingdom appears under the form of a ram with clean feet and sharp-pointed horns, and, according to Amm. Marcell. xix. 1, the Persian king, when he stood at the head of his army, bore, instead of the diadem, the head of a ram (cf. Häv.). The point of resemblance of this symbol is to be sought, not in the richness (the wool) and in the aggressive nature (the horns) of the ram (Theod., Venema), but the ram and the he-goat form, as Hofmann has justly remarked, a contrast to dull firmness and nimble lightness, as the bear and the panther.
The ram stands by the river and pushes toward the west, north, and south, but not toward the east. The river is thus not the one flowing on the east of Susa, for, standing there, the ram pushing toward the west from Susa would push against the capital of his kingdom, but the one flowing on the west; and the ram is to be conceived of as standing on the western bank of this river, from whence he pushed down with his horns all beasts before him, i.e., subdued all nations and kingdoms to his power in three regions of the earth. In the west he pushed against Babylon, Syria, and Asia Minor; in the south, Egypt; in the north, the Armenian and Scythian nations. These he subdued and incorporated in the Persian kingdom. He did not push toward the east - not because he could only push forwards and against that which was nearer, but not, without changing his position, backwards (Hitzig); nor because the Medo-Persians themselves came from the east (v. Leng., Kran.); not yet because the conquests of the Persians did not stretch toward the east (Häv.), for Cyrus and Darius subdued nations to the east of Persia even as far as to the Indus; but because, for the unfolding of the Medo-Persian monarchy as a world-power, its conquests in the east were subordinate, and therefore are not mentioned. The pushing toward the three world-regions corresponds to the three ribs in the mouth of the bear, Daniel 7:5, and intimates that the Medo-Persian world-kingdom, in spite of the irresistibility of its arms, did not, however, extend its power into all the regions of the world. חיּוח , to push, of beast, Exodus 21:28, in the Piel figuratively is used of nations, Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalms 44:6. יעמדוּ is potentialis : could not stand. The masculine is here used, because חיּות ( beasts) represents kingdoms and nations. כרצנו עשׂה , did according to his will, expresses arbitrary conduct, a despotic behaviour. הגדּיל , became great. The word does not mean to become haughty, for בּלבבו , in his heart, is not added here as it is in Psalms 44:25, but to magnify the action. It is equivalent to לעשׂות הגדּיל in Joel 2:20 ( hath done great things), and Psalms 126:2-3, in the sense of to become great, powerful; cf. Daniel 8:8.
After Daniel had for a while contemplated the conduct of the ram, he saw a he-goat come from the west over the earth, run with furious might against the two-horned ram, and throw it to the ground and tread upon it. The he-goat, according to the interpretation of the angel, Daniel 8:21, represents the king of Javan (Greece and Macedonia) - not the person of the king (Gesen.), but the kingship of Javan; for, according to Daniel 8:21, the great horn of the goat symbolizes the first king, and thus the goat itself cannot represent a separate king. The goat comes from the west; for Macedonia lay to the west of Susa or Persia. Its coming over the earth is more definitely denoted by the expression בּארץ נוגע ואין , and he was not touching the earth, i.e., as he hastened over it in his flight. This remark corresponds with the four wings of the leopard, Daniel 7:6. The goat had between its eyes חזוּת קרן ; i.e., not a horn of vision, a horn such as a goat naturally has, but here only in vision (Hofm., Klief.). This interpretation would render חזוּת an altogether useless addition, since the goat itself, only seen in vision, is described as it appeared in the vision. For the right explanation of the expression reference must be made to Daniel 8:8, where, instead of horn of vision, there is used the expression הגּדולה הקרן ( the great horn). Accordingly חזוּת has the meaning of מראה , in the Keri מראה אישׁ , 2 Samuel 23:21, a man of countenance or sight (cf. Targ. Esther 2:2): a horn of sight, consideration, of considerable greatness; κέρας θεορητόν (lxx, Theodot.), which Theodoret explains by ἐπίσημον καὶ περίβλεπτον .
The horn was between the eyes, i.e., in the middle of the forehead, the centre of its whole strength, and represents, according to Daniel 8:21, the first king, i.e., the founder of the Javanic world-kingdom, or the dynasty of this kingdom represented by him. The he-goat ran up against the ram, the possessor of the two horns, i.e., the two-horned ram by the river Ulai, in the fire of his anger, i.e., in the glowing anger which gave him his strength, and with the greatest fury threw him down. The prophet adds, “And I saw him come close unto the ram,” as giving prominence to the chief matter, and then further describes its complete destruction. It broke in pieces both of the horns, which the ram still had, i.e., the power of the Medes and Persians, the two component elements of the Persian world-kingdom. This representation proves itself to be genuine prophecy, whilst an author writing ex eventu would have spoken of the horn representing the power of the Medes as assailed and overthrown earlier by that other horn (see under Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20). The pushing and trampling down by the Ulai is explained from the idea of the prophecy, according to which the power of the ram is destroyed at the central seat of its might, without reference to the historical course of the victories by which Alexander the Great completed the subjugation of the Persian monarchy. In the concluding passage, Daniel 8:7, the complete destruction is described in the words of the fourth verse, to express the idea of righteous retribution. As the Medo-Persian had crushed the other kingdoms, so now it also was itself destroyed.
The transformation of the Javanic kingdom. - By the kingdom of the ram the he-goat became very great, powerful ( הגדּיל as in Daniel 8:4). But the great horn was broken at the height of his strength, and four similar horns grew up in its stead, toward the four regions of heaven. חזוּת is here used adverbially, conspicuously: there came forth conspicuously four in its place. This statement does not contradict Daniel 8:22 and Daniel 11:4, according to which the four kingdom shave not the power of the one great horn; for the thought is only this: they represent in themselves a considerable power, without, however, gaining the power of the one undivided kingdom. The breaking of the great horn indicates the breaking up of the monarchy of Alexander by his death. The four horns which grow up in the place of the one great horn are, according to Daniel 8:22, four kingdoms. These are the dynasties of the Diadochs, of whom there were indeed five: Antigonus, Ptolemy, Cassander, and Lysimachus laid claim to the title of king; but for the first time after the overthrow of Antigonus at the battle of Ipsus, 301 b.c., and thus twenty-two years after the death of Alexander (323 b.c.), they became in reality four kings, and so divided the kingdom among themselves, that Lysimachus had Thrace and Bithynia, - Cassander, Macedonia and Greece, - Seleucus, Syria, Babylonia, and the Eastern countries as far as India, - and Ptolemy, Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia Petrea. But from the fact that this first happened after all the descendants of the royal family had been extirpated, we are not to conclude, with Hävernick, that the breaking of the great horn did not denote the death of Alexander, but the extinction of his race or house; a conclusion which derives no valid support from these words of Justin: “All of them abstained from the use of the insignia of this (royal) dignity while the sons of their king survived. So great was their veneration, that although they had royal wealth and resources, they cared not for the name of kings so long as there existed a legitimate heir to Alexander” ( Hist. xv. 2. 13). If the breaking of the horn is placed at the point of time when the horn was powerful, here as well as at Daniel 11:4, the reference of the words to the sudden death of Alexander in the prime of his days, and when in the very height of his victorious career, cannot be disputed; and by the breaking of the horn we can only understand Alexander's death, and the breaking up of the kingdom founded by him, although it was still held together in a considerable degree for two decenniums by his generals, till the most imperious and the most powerful amongst them usurped the rank of kings, and then, after the conquest of Antigonus, a formal division of the kingdom into the four considerable kingdoms here named raised them to royal dignity.
The prophetic representation is not a prediction of historical details, but it gives only the fundamental traces of the development of the world-kingdoms, and that not in the form of a historiographical prophecy, but only so that it sketches the ground-thoughts of the divinely ordained unfolding of these world-kingdoms. This ideal fundamental thought of the prophecy has so wrought itself out in actual history, that from the one great kingdom, after the death of the founder, in the course of time four considerable kingdoms arise. The number four in the prophetic contemplation comes into view only according to its symbolical idea as the number of the world in its extension toward the four regions of heaven, so that thereby only the thought is declared, that a kingdom embracing the world will fall to ruins in a plurality of kingdoms toward all the regions of heaven (Kliefoth). This has been so historically realized, that out of the wars of the Diadochs for the supremacy four kingdoms arose toward the four regions of the earth into longer duration, - that of Cassander (Macedonia) toward the west, that of Seleucus (Babylonia, etc.) toward the east, that of Lysimachus (Thracia and Bithynia) toward the north, and finally that of Ptolemy (Egypt) toward the south.
(Note: When, on the other hand, Hitzig seeks to explain the prophetic representation, here as well as at Daniel 11:4, that with or immediately after the death of Alexander his kingdom was divided, by reference to 1 Macc. 1:6, according to which Alexander himself, shortly before his death, divided the kingdom among his generals, he thereby not only misapprehends the ideal character of the prophecy, but does not in the least degree clear up the matter itself. For the passage in 1 Macc. 1:6, which not only Arabic and Persian authors repeat, but also Moses v. Chroene, and even later Greek and Latin historiographers, as Ammian Marcell., has been explained by Curtius (x. 10. 5) as a fama vana , and is proved by Wernsdorf ( de Fide Librr. Macc. p. 40 f) and Droysen ( das Test. Alex. 3te Beilage, zu Gesch. des Hellen. i.) to be without foundation (cf. Grimm, K. ex. Hdb. zu 1 Macc. 1:6). This may have been originally put into circulation by the partisans of the Hellenic kings, in order to legitimatize their sovereignty in the eyes of the people, as Grimm conjectures; yet the confirmation which the book of Daniel appears to give to it contributed to its wide diffusion by Oriental and Byzantine authors, and the author of the first book of the Maccabees had without doubt the book of Daniel before his eyes in the representation he gives.)
The interpretation of the vision.
Without following the development of the four horns further, the prophecy passes over to the little horn, which grew up out of one of the four horns, and gained great significance in relation to the history of the people of God. The masculine forms מהם and יצא ( out of them came) are to be explained as a constructio ad sensum . אחת ( one) after קרן ( horn) is as little superfluous as is the מן in מצּעירה . אחת is a numeral, one horn, not several; מן is either comparative, less than little, i.e., very little (Ewald), or, as less than insignificance, wretchedness, i.e., in an altogether miserable way (Häv.). The one explanation is more forced than the other, and the idea of wretchedness is altogether untenable. Yet the מן serves as a circumlocution for the superlative = perpaucus (Gesen., Win., Aub.), while verbal analogies for it are wanting. מן signifies from, out of; but it is not to be united with קרן : one horn of smallness (v. Leng.), in which case מן would be superfluous, but with the verb יצא : it came up out of littleness, a parvo, i.e., a parvis initiis (Maur., Hofm., Kran., Klief.). Thus it corresponds with סלקת זעירה , Daniel 7:8. In the words “it arose out of littleness” there lies the idea that it grew to great power from a small beginning; for it became very great, i.e., powerful, toward the south, toward the east, and toward the הצּבי ( the splendour, glory), i.e., toward the glorious land. הצּבי = הצּבי ארץ , Daniel 11:16, Daniel 11:41. This designation of the land of Israel is framed after Jeremiah 3:19 and Ezekiel 20:6, Ezekiel 20:15, where this land is called “a heritage of the greatest glory of nations” (a goodly heritage of the host of nations, E. V.), “a glory of all lands,” i.e., the most glorious land which a people can possess. The expression is synonymous with חמדּה ארץ (“pleasant land”), Jeremiah 3:19; Zechariah 7:14; Psalms 106:24. Canaan was so designate don account of its great fruitfulness as a land flowing with milk and honey; cf. Ezekiel 20:6.
The one of the four horns from which the little horn grew up is the Syrian monarchy, and the horn growing up out of it is the king Antiochus Epiphanes, as Josephus ( Ant. x. 11. 7) and all interpreters acknowledge, on the ground of 1 Macc. 1:10. The south, against which he became great, is Egypt (cf. Daniel 11:5 and 1 Macc. 1:16ff.). The east is not Asia (Kranichfeld), but Babylon, and particularly Elymaïs and Armenia, 1 Macc. 1:31, 37; 3:31, 37; 6:1-4, according to which he subdued Elymaïs and overcame Artaxias, king of Armenia (App. Syr. c. 45, 46; Polyb. xxxi. 11). Besides the south and the east, Canaan, the holy land, as lying between, is named as the third land, as in Isaiah 19:23. it is named as third, between Egypt and Assyria; but הצּבי ואל (“and toward the glorious land”) is not, with Kranichfeld, to be regarded as an exegetical addition to המּזרח ואל (“and toward the east”). Palestine lay neither to the east of Daniel, nor geographically to the east of the kingdom denoted by the little horn, because the text gives no support to the identifying of this kingdom with the Javanic, the horn operating from the west.
As this horn became great in extent toward the south and toward the east, so also it grew up in height even unto the host of heaven, and some of them it cast down, i.e., some of the stars, to the earth. The host of heaven is here, as in Jeremiah 33:22, the whole body of the stars of heaven, the constellations, and of the stars is epexegetical of of the host. Daniel in the vision sees the horn grow so great in height, that it reaches even to the heavens, can reach the heavenly bodies with the hand, and throws some of the stars ( מן is partitive) down to the earth and tramples upon them, destroys them with scorn. The words of the angel, Jeremiah 33:24, show that by the stars we are to understand the people of the saints, the people of God. The stars cast down to the earth are, according to this, neither the Levites (Grotius), nor the viri illustres in Israel (Glass.), nor the chief rulers of the Jews in church and state (Dathe). If the people of the saints generally are compared to the host of heaven, the stars, then the separate stars cannot be the ecclesiastical or civil chiefs, but the members of this nation in common. But by “the people of the saints” is to be understood (since the little horn denotes Antiochus Epiphanes) the people of God in the Old Covenant, the people of Israel. They are named the people of the saints by virtue of their being called to be an holy nation (Exodus 19:6), because “they had the revelation of God and God Himself dwelling among them, altogether irrespective of the subjective degrees of sanctification in individuals” (Kliefoth). But the comparing of them with the host of the stars does not arise from Jewish national pride, nor does it mean that Daniel thought only of the truly faithful in Israel (Theod., Häv.), or that the pseudo-Daniel thought that with the death of Antiochus the Messiah would appear, and that then Israel, after the extermination of the godless, would become a people of pure holiness. The comparison rather has its roots in this, that God, the King of Israel, is called the God of hosts, and by the צבאות ( hosts) are generally to be understood the stars or the angels; but the tribes of Israel also, who were led by God out of Egypt, are called “the hosts of Jehovah” (Exodus 7:4; Exodus 12:41). As in heaven the angels and stars, so on earth the sons of Israel form the host of God; and as the angels on account of the glory of their nature are called קדושׁים ( holy ones), so the Israelites by virtue of their being chosen to be the holy nation of God, forming the kingdom of heaven in this world. As God, the King of this people, has His throne in heaven, so there also Israel have their true home, and are in the eyes of God regarded as like unto the stars. This comparison serves, then, to characterize the insolence of Antiochus as a wickedness against Heaven and the heavenly order of things. Cf. 2 Macc. 9:10.
(Note: The deep practical explanation of Calvin deserves attention: - ”Although the church often lies prostrate in the world and is trodden under foot, yet is it always precious before God. Hence the prophet adorns the church with this remarkable praise, not to obtain for it great dignity in the sight of men, but because God has separated it from the world and provided for it a sure inheritance in heaven. Although the sons of God are pilgrims on the earth, and have scarcely any place in it, because they are as castaways, yet they are nevertheless citizens of heaven. Hence we derive this useful lesson, that we should bear it patiently when we are thrown prostrate on the ground, and are despised by tyrants and contemners of God. In the meantime our seat is laid up in heaven, and God numbers us among the stars, although, as Paul says, we are as dung and as the offscourings of all things.” - Calv. in loc.)
This horn raised its might even to the Prince of the host. הצבא שׂר , the Prince of the host of heaven, is obviously not the high priest Onias (Grotius), but the God of heaven and the King of Israel, the Prince of princes, as He is called in Daniel 8:25. עד הגדּיל ( he magnified himself to) is repeated in Daniel 8:25 by על יעמוד ( he shall stand up against). Wherein this rising up against God consisted, the second half of the verse indicates in the statement that the תּמיד ( daily sacrifice) was taken away, and the building of His sanctuary was destroyed. This verse does not record a part of the vision, but is a further development of that which was seen in prophetic words. Hence we may not, with Ebrard, refer its contents to heavenly events, to a putting away of the sacrifice from before the throne of God and a destruction of the heavenly sanctuary. On the contrary, Kliefoth has well remarked that it is “without example in Scripture that men penetrate into heaven to insult God; what men do against God is done on the earth.” התּמיד is everything in the worship of God which is not used merely temporarily, but is permanent, as the daily sacrifice, the setting forth of the shew-bread, and the like. The limitation of it to the daily morning and evening service in the writings of the Rabbis is unknown in the O.T. The word much rather comprehends all that is of permanent use in the holy services of divine worship (Hgst., Häv., Hofm., Kran., Klief.). Thus interpreted, the prophetic announcement corresponds with history; for, according to 1 Macc. 1:45, Antiochus gave orders that they should “forbid burnt-offerings, and sacrifice, and drink-offerings in the temple; and that they should profane the Sabbath and festival days.”
The horn also overthrew the place of the sanctuary of Jehovah. השׁליך , to cast away, to cast forth, - used of buildings, to lay waste; cf. Jeremiah 9:18. מכון , properly, that which is set up, erected; here, as frequently, of the dwelling-place of God, the temple: so also שׁבתּך מכון ( a settled place for thee to dwell in), Exodus 15:17; 1 Kings 8:13. It is used also of the heavenly dwelling-place of God, 1 Kings 8:39, 1 Kings 8:43; here, of the temple of Jerusalem. With regard to the historical fulfilment, cf. The expressions, “ her (Jerusalem's) sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness,” and “pollute the sanctuary,” 1 Macc. 1:39, 46; and “the sanctuary was trodden down,” 1 Macc. 3:45.
The actions of the little horn are definitively comprehended in this verse, as may be seen from this, that in the first hemistich צבא and תּמיד are mentioned together. But this hemistich has been very variously interpreted. We must altogether reject the interpretation of the Vulgate, ” Robur autem datum est contra juge sacrificium propter peccata,” which is reproduced in Luther's translation, “ There was given to him such strength against the daily sacrifice on account of sin;” or Calvin's, ” Et tempus datum est super jugi sacrificio in scelere,” whereby, after Raschi's example, צבא is interpreted of the statio militaris , and thence the interpretation tempus or intervallum is derived. For צבא means neither robur , nor tempus , nor statio militaris , but only military service, and perhaps military forces. Add to this that צבא both in Daniel 8:10, Daniel 8:13 means host. If we maintain this, with the majority of interpreters, only two explanations are admissible, according as we understand צבא of the host of heaven, i.e., of Israel, or of some other host. The latter interpretation is apparently supported partly by the absence of the article in צבא , and partly by the construction of the word as fem. ( תּנּתן ). Accordingly, Hitzig says that a Hebrew reader could not understand the words otherwise than as meaning, “ and a warlike expedition was made or conducted against the daily sacrifice with wickedness” (i.e., the impure service of idols); while others translate, “and a host placed against he daily sacrifice on account of sin” (Syr., Grot., Harenb., J. D. Michaelis); or, “a host is given against the daily sacrifice in wickedness” (Wieseler); or, “given against that which was continual with the service of idols,” i.e., so that, in the place of the “continual,” wickedness, the worship of idols, is appointed (Hofmann); or, “the power of an army is given to it (the horn) against the daily sacrifice through wickedness,” i.e., by the evil higher demons (Ebrard). But the latter interpretation is to be rejected on account of the arbitrary insertion of לו ( to it); and against all the others it is to be remarked, that there is no proof either from Daniel 8:13, or from Ezekiel 32:23 or Ezekiel 26:8, that נתן means to lead out, to bring forward, to give contrary to or against.
In Daniel 8:13 תּת ( to give) is more closely defined by מרמס ( something trodden under foot); but in these passages in Ezekiel above referred to, it [the verb נתן ] is connected with an actual object. Construed with the accus. pers. and על , נתן means “to place one over anything.” This conception in its different shades is not so much derived from the words of the text as from a reference to the history; for it is supposed (cf. Grotius, Wies.) that because the matter spoken of is the wickedness of Antiochus, the entrance of the Syrian army into Jerusalem and its proceedings (1 Macc. 1:29ff.) must be set forth. צבא , notwithstanding the want of the article, and notwithstanding the feminine construction, cannot properly be otherwise understood in Daniel 8:12 than in Daniel 8:10, Daniel 8:13, not of the host of the Syrians, but only of the people of Israel. The article is wanting also in Daniel 8:13, where yet, because of its being taken in connection with קדשׁ , it can only refer to Israel. Besides this passage, the fem. construction is found also only in Isaiah 40:2, where it signifies the service of war or vassalage. But this meaning here, where weighty reasons oppose it, this construction does not require us to adopt, for such a construction is not infrequent. It is found not merely with names of nations and races, so far as land and people are nearly related ideas, but also with other words, such as even עם , people, fem., Exodus 5:16; 1 Kings 18:7; Jeremiah 8:5; המון , a multitude, Job 31:34; זרע , seed, i.e., descendants, Deuteronomy 31:21; cf. Ewald's Lehr. §174. But the want of the article in צבא in Daniel 8:12 and in Daniel 8:13 has its reason in this, that that which is said does not concern the whole host, but only one part of it, since, according to Daniel 8:10, the hostile horn will cast only some הצבא מן ( of the host) to the earth. If, therefore, there is no sufficient ground for rejecting the application of the צבא to the people of Israel, it follows that this interpretation is decidedly required not only by the connection, chiefly by Daniel 8:13, but also by that which is said of צבא in Daniel 8:12.
“Since in Daniel 8:13 the inquirer resumes the contents of Daniel 8:10-12, and along with the sanctuary names also the 'host' as the object of the 'treading down,' it is not credible that this 'host' should be different from that mentioned in Daniel 8:12” (Klief.). Moreover, תּנּתן can have in this passage only the meaning of to be given up. התּמיד על can then only be translated because of the permanent sacrifice, if בּפשׁע ( by reason of transgression) is united as object with תּנּתן in the sense: “was delivered up in transgression.” But apart from this, that נתן in the sense of to give up is construed with בּיד , and there are wanting certain parallels for its construction with ב merely, this interpretation, “the host (= Israel) is given up in wickedness on account of the continual sacrifice,” presents an idea not to be tolerated. We agree, therefore, in general with the interpretation of Daniel B. Michaelis, Hävernick, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Kranichfeld, and Kliefoth, and explain the words thus: “and (an) host shall be given up together with the daily sacrifice, because of transgression.” צבא , an host, i.e., a great company of the host, the people of Israel. ב before פּשׁע ( transgression) in the meaning of ב pretii, on account of ( um), or because of, cf. Genesis 18:28. פּשׁע is the apostasy of the Israelites from God, the wickedness proceeding from the פּשׁעים ( transgressors), Daniel 8:23. The objection that this interpretation is not appropriate, because פּשׁע is repeated in Daniel 8:13 in union with שׁמם ( desolation), and therefore a wickedness devoted to destruction is characterized (Klief.), avails nothing, because it in no way follows from this that the “transgression” must be wickedness seating itself in the place of the “daily sacrifice,” idolatrous worship supplanting the true worship. But “the transgression” cannot be that which sets itself in the place of the “daily sacrifice,” because התּמיד is not the subject of the sentence, but is only co-ordinated to the subject. If ב in בּפשׁע is regarded as the ב pretii, then פשׁע can only be that which would be put in the place of the צבא . The preposition על before התּמיד means thereon, after that, also at the same time, or together with, as in Amos 3:15; Hosea 10:14, etc. תּמיד , as in Daniel 8:11, is not merely the daily sacrifice, but all that had continuance in the Mosaic worship. Finally, the jussive forms תּנּתן and תּשׁלך d ( to be trodden) are to be observed, since, according to the just observation of Kran., they are not simply identical with the future, as Ewald (§343) thinks, but here, as in Daniel 11:4, Daniel 11:10, Daniel 11:16, modify the conception of time by the presentation of the divine pre-determination or the decree, and thus express a should, may, or a faculty, a being able, in consequence of the divine counsel. To the verbs of the second half of the verse קרן ( horn) is easily supplied from the foregoing context as the subject; and the passage closes with the thought: thus must the horn throw the truth to the ground, and he shall succeed in this.
(Note: ” Successus Antiochi potuit pios omnes turbare, acsi tyrannus ille esset Deo superior. Ergo oportuit etiam hoc praedici, ne quid novum vel inopinatum constingeret fidelibus.” - Calvin.)
אמת , the objective truth, the word of God, so far as it is embodied in the worship. As to this matter cf. 1 Macc. 1:43-52, 56, 60.
In addition to what has been already seen and communicated in the vision, a further vision unfolds itself, by which there is conveyed to the prophet disclosures regarding the duration of the oppression of the people of God by the little horn. Daniel hears a holy one, i.e., an angel (see under Daniel 4:10), talking. What he said is not recorded. But while he is talking, another angel interrupts him with the question as to the duration of the affliction, and this is done that Daniel may hear the answer. Therefore the first angel immediately turns himself to Daniel, and, addressing him, makes known to him the information that was desired.
The אלי ( to me), Daniel 8:14, is not, according to the old versions, to be changed into אליו ( to him). What Hitzig says in justification of אליו is of no weight; cf. Kran. The angel that talked is designated by פּלמוני , quidam, nescio quis , as not being more particularly definable. The question condenses the contents of Daniel 8:10-12: “ Till how long is the vision, etc.?” החזון is not the action, but the contents of the vision, the thing seen. The contents of the vision are arranged in the form of appositions: that which is continual and the desolating wickedness, for: the vision of that which is continual and of the desolation. The meaning of this apposition is more particularly defined by the further passage following asyndetos: to give up the sanctuary as well as the host to destruction. שׁמם after the definite noun without the article, which is sometimes wanting (Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 39:27; cf. Ew. §293), does not mean being benumbed, confounded, but laid waste, fallen into ruin; thus the wickedness which consists in laying waste. שׁמם cannot be understood transitively, since שׁמם and משׁמם are placed over against each other in Daniel 9:27.
In the answer, עד is to be interpreted as in the question: till 2300 evening-mornings have been, or have passed, thus: 2300 evening-mornings long, so (=then) the sanctuary is brought into its right state. צדק primarily means to be just, whence the meaning is derived to justify, which is not here suitable, for it must be followed by, from the defilement of the desolation. The restoration of the temple to its right condition is, it is true, at the same time a justification of it from its desolation, and it includes in it the restoration of the permanent worship.
The interpretation of the period of time, 2300 evening-mornings, named by the angel is beset with difficulty. And first the verbal import of בּקר ערב is doubtful. Among recent interpreters, Berth., Häv., v. Leng., Maur., and Horm. ( Weiss. u. Erf. p. 295) understand by its days consisting of morning and evening (twenty-four hours); others, as Bleek, Kirmss, Ewald, Hitzig, Wieseler (who, however, in his treatise, Die 70 Wochen, u.s.w., p. 115ff., defends the first explanation), Kran., and Delitzsch, are of opinion that evening-morning is particularly reckoned with reference to the offering of a morning and an evening sacrifice each day, so that 2300 evening-mornings make only 1150 whole days. But there is no exegetical foundation for this latter opinion. It is derived only from a comparison, or rather an identification, of this passage with Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:11., and Daniel 9:27; and therewith it is proved that, according to 1 Macc. 1:54, 59, cf. 4:52, the desolation of the sanctuary by the worship of idols under Antiochus Epiphanes lasted not longer than three years and ten days, and that from Daniel 12:11 it extends only to 1290 days. But these arguments rest on assertions which must first be justified. The passages Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 9:27 cannot be here taken into account, because they do not speak of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the 1290 days (1335 days, Daniel 12:11.) do not give 2300 evening-mornings, that we can and may at once identify these statements with this before us. In Daniel 12:11 the terminus a quo of the 1290 days is unquestionably the putting away or the removal of the תּמיד ( daily sacrifice), and the giving (placing, raising up) of the abomination that maketh desolate (i.e., the altar of idol-worship); but in this verse (Daniel 8:14), on the contrary, the continuance not only of the taking away of the תּמיד , but also of the delivering up of the saints and the people to be trodden under foot, is fixed to 2300 evening-mornings. This oppression continued longer than the removal of the appointed daily sacrifice. According to 1 Macc. 1:10ff., the violent assaults of Antiochus against the temple and the Jews who remained faithful to the law began in the 143rd year of the era of the Seleucidae, but the abomination that maketh desolate, i.e., the idol-altar, was first erected on Jehovah's altar of burnt-offering, according to 1 Macc. 1:54, in the 145th year of the Seleucidae, and the purification of the temple from this abomination, and its re-consecration, took place on the 25th day of Kisleu (9th month) of the year of the Seleucidae 148. According to this, from the beginning of the desecration of the temple by the plundering of its vessels and its golden ornaments (1 Macc. 1:20ff.) to its restoration to its right condition, more than five years passed. The fulfilment, or the historical reference, of this prophecy accordingly affords, as is sufficiently manifest, no proper means of ascertaining the import of the “evening-morning.” This must rather be exegetically decided. It occurs only here, and corresponds to νυχθήμερον , 2 Corinthians 11:25. But the choice of so unusual a measure of time, derived from the two chief parts of the day, instead of the simple measure of time by days, probably originates with reference to the morning and evening sacrifice, by which the day was to be consecrated to the Lord, after Genesis 1:5, Genesis 1:8, Genesis 1:13, etc., where the days of the creation week are named and reckoned according to the succession of evening and morning. This separation of the expression into evening and morning, so that to number them separately and add them together would make 2300 evening-mornings = 1150 days, is shown to be inadmissible, both by the asyndeton evening-morning and the usages of the Hebrew language. That in Daniel 8:26 והבּקר הערב ( the evening and the morning) stands for it, does not prove that the evening ad morning are reckoned separately, but only that evening-morning is a period of time consisting of evening and morning. When the Hebrews wish to express separately day and night, the component parts of a day of a week, then the number of both is expressed. They say, e.g., forty days and forty nights (Genesis 7:4, Genesis 7:12; Exodus 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8), and three days and three nights (Jonah 2:1; Matthew 12:40), but not eighty or six days-and-nights, when they wish to speak of forty or three full days. A Hebrew reader could not possibly understand the period of time 2300 evening-mornings of 2300 half days or 1150 whole days, because evening and morning at the creation constituted not the half but the whole day. Still less, in the designation of time, “till 2300 evening-mornings,” could “evening-mornings” be understood of the evening and morning sacrifices, and the words be regarded as meaning, that till 1150 evening sacrifices and 1150 morning sacrifices are discontinued. We must therefore take the words as they are, i.e., understand them of 2300 whole days.
This exegetical resolution of the matter is not made doubtful by the remark, that an increasing of the period of oppression to 2300 days, over against the duration of the oppression limited in Daniel 7:25 to only three and a half times, or to 1290 (or 1335 days, Daniel 12:11-12), is very unlikely, since there is in no respect any reason for this increase over against these statements (Kran. p. 298). This remark can only be valid as proof if, on the one side, the three and a half times in Daniel 7:25 are equal to three and a half civil years, for which the proof fails, and, on the other side, if the 1290 or the 1335 days in Daniel 12:11. indicate the whole duration of the oppression of Israel by Antiochus. But if these periods, on the contrary, refer only to the time of the greatest oppression, the erection of the idol-altar in the temple, this time cannot be made the measure for the duration of the whole period of tribulation.
The objection also, that it is more difficult to prove historically an oppression of the people of God for 2300 days by Antiochus than the 1150 days' duration of this oppression, need not move us to depart from the exegetically ascertained meaning of the words. The opponents of this view are indeed at one in this, that the consecration of the temple after its purification, and after the altar of Jehovah was restored, on the 25th Kisleu of the 148th year of the Seleucidae, formed the termination of the period named, but they are at variance as to the commencement of the period. Delitzsch reckons from the erection of the idol-altar in the temple on 15th Kisleu in the 145th year of the Sel., and thus makes it only three years and ten days, or 1090 to 1105 days. Hitzig reckons from the taking away of the daily sacrifice, which would take place somewhat earlier than the setting up of the idol-altar, but has not furnished proof that this happened tow months earlier. Bleek and Kirmss reckon from the taking of Jerusalem by Apollonius in the year of the Sel. 145 (1 Macc. 1:30ff.; 2 Macc. 5:24ff.), misplacing this in the first month of the year named, but without having any other proof for it than the agreement of the reckoning.
To this is to be added, that the adoption of the consecration of the temple as the terminus ad quem is not so well grounded as is supposed. The words of the text, קדשׁ ונצדּק (“thus is the sanctuary placed in the right state”), comprehend more than the purification and re-consecration of the temple. In Daniel 8:11, also Daniel 9:17 and Daniel 11:31, Daniel uses the word מקדּשׁ for temple, while on the other hand קדשׁ means all that is holy. Was, then, the sanctuary, in this comprehensive meaning of the word, placed in its right state with the consecration of the temple, when after this occurrence “they that were in the tower (Acra) shut up the Israelites round about the sanctuary,” sought to hinder access to the temple, and, when Judas Maccabaeus had begun to besiege the tower, the Syrians approached with a reinforced army, besieged the sanctuary for many days, and on their departure demolished its strongholds (1 Macc. 6:18ff., 51, 62)? - when, again, under Demetrius Soter of Bacchides, the high priest Menelaus was deposed, and Alcimus, who was not descended from the family of a high priest, was advanced to his place, who cruelly persecuted the pious in Israel? - when the Syrian general Nicanor mocked the priests who showed to him the burnt-offering for the king, and defiled and threatened to burn the temple (1 Macc. 7)? And did the trampling upon Israel cease with the consecration of the temple, when at the building up of the altar and the restoration of the temple the heathen around became so furious, that they resolved to destroy all who were of the race of Jacob amongst them, and began to murder them (1 Macc. 5:1ff.)? Hävernick therefore, with Bertholdt, places the terminus ad quem of the 2300 days in the victory over Nicanor, by which the power of the Syrians over Judea was first broken, and the land enjoyed rest, so that it was resolved to celebrate annually this victory as well as the consecration of the temple (1 Macc. 7:48-50), according to which the terminus a quo of the period named would be shortly before the erection of the abomination of idolatry in the temple.
If we now, however, turn from this supposition, since the text speaks further of it, to seek the end of the oppression in the restoration of the legal temple-worship, or in the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes, which the angel brings to view in the interpretation of the vision (Daniel 8:26), so also in these cases the 2300 days are to be calculated. C. v. Leng., Maur., and Wiesel., who regard the death of Antiochus as the termination, place the beginning of the 2300 days one year before the beginning of violence with which Antiochus, after his return from the expedition into Egypt in the year 143 Sel., went forth to destroy (1 Macc. 1:20) the Mosaic worship and law. Only a few weeks or months earlier, in the middle of the year 142 Sel., the point of commencement must be placed, if the consecration of the temple is held to be the termination. In the year 142 not only was the pious high priest Onias removed from his office by the godless Jason, but also Jason himself was forced from the place he had usurped by Menelaus, who gave Antiochus a greater bribe than he did, and gave away as presents and sold to the heathen the golden utensils of the temple, and commanded Onias, who denounced his wickedness, to be deceitfully murdered (2 Macc. 2:4). Hence we need not, with Hofmann, regard the deposition of Onias, the date of which cannot be accurately fixed, but which, 2 Macc. 4:7ff., is brought into connection with the commencement of the reign of Antiochus, and which probably took place before the year 142, as the date of the commencement of the 2300 days, although the laying waste of the sanctuary may be dated from it; since Jason by royal authority set up a heathen γυμνάσιον with an ἐφηβεῖον , and by the wickedness of the profane and unpriestly conduct of this man Greek customs and the adoption of heathenish manners so prevailed, that the priests ceased to concern themselves about the service of the altar, but, despising the temple and forgetting the sacrifice, they hastened to witness the spectacles in the palaestra, which were contrary to the law; cf. 2 Macc. 4:13ff. with 1 Macc. 1:11-15. The 2300 days are thus, as well as the 1150 days, historically authenticated.
But it is on the whole questionable whether the number given by the angel is to be reckoned as an historico-chronological period of time, or is not rather to be interpreted as symbolical. The analogy of the other prophetic numbers speaks decidedly for the symbolical interpretation. The 2300 cannot, it is true, be directly a symbolical number, such as 7, 10, 40, 70, and other numbers are, but yet it can stand in such a relation to the number seven as to receive a symbolical meaning. The longer periods of time are usually reckoned not by days, but by weeks, months, or years; if, therefore, as to the question of the duration of the 2300 days, we reduce the days to weeks, months, and years, we shall find six years, three or four months, and some days, and discover that the oppression of the people by the little horn was to continue not fully a period of seven years. But the times of God's visitations, trials, and judgments are so often measured by the number seven, that this number came to bear stamped on it this signification; see under Daniel 4:13; Daniel 7:25. The number of seven years is used in the symbolical meaning when, not to mention the cases in Genesis 29:18, Genesis 29:27; Genesis 41:26., and Judges 6:1, seven years' famine were laid upon the land as a punishment for David's sin in numbering the people (2 Samuel 24:13), and when in Elisha's time Israel was visited with seven years' famine (2 Kings 8:1). Thus the answer of the angel has this meaning: The time of the predicted oppression of Israel, and of the desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus, the little horn, shall not reach the full duration of a period of divine judgment, shall not last so long as the severe oppression of Israel by the Midianites, Judges 6:1, or as the famine which fell upon Israel in the time of Elisha, and shall not reach to a tenth part of the time of trial and of sorrow endured by the exiles, and under the weight of which Israel then mourned.
But if this is the meaning of the angel's message, why does not the divine messenger use a pure symbolical expression, such as “not full seven times?” and why does he not simply say, “not quite seven years?” As to the first of these questions, we answer that the expression “times” is too indefinite; for the duration of this period of sorrow must be given more minutely. As to the second question, we know no other answer that can be given than this, that, on the one side, only the positive determination of the length of time, measured by days, can afford full confidence that the domination and the tyranny of the oppressor shall not continue one day longer than God has before fixed; but, on the other side, by the measuring of this period by a number defined according to thousands and hundreds, both the long duration of the affliction is shown, and the symbolical character of the period named is indicated. While by the period “evening-morning” every ambiguity of the expression, and every uncertainty thence arising regarding the actual length of the time of affliction, is excluded, yet the number 2300 shows that the period must be defined in round numbers, measuring only nearly the actual time, in conformity with all genuine prophecy, which never passes over into the mantic prediction of historico-chronological data.
If we compare with this the designation of time in Daniel 7:25, instead of the general idea there expressed, of “time, times, and half a time,” which is not to be computed as to its duration, we have here a very definite space of time mentioned. This difference corresponds to the contents of the two prophecies. The oppression prophesied of in this chapter would visit the people of Israel at not too distant a time; and its commencement as well as its termination, announced by God beforehand, was fitted to strengthen believers in the faith of the truth and fidelity of God for the time of the great tribulation of the end, the duration of which God the Lord indeed determined accurately and firmly beforehand, but according to a measure of time whose extent men cannot calculate in advance. In this respect the designation of the time of the affliction which the horn growing up out of the third world-kingdom will bring upon God's people, becomes a type for the duration of the oppression of the last enemy of the church of the Lord at the end of the days.
The interpretation of the vision - The interpretation of Daniel's vision, as given by the angel, falls within the vision itself. When Daniel sought to understand the vision, viz., in his mind, not by prayer or by asking a question, he saw before him, according to Daniel 8:17, one standing at some distance, who had the appearance of a man, but was not a man, but a supernatural being in human likeness. This person resembling a man is (Daniel 8:16) named by the angel, Gabriel, i.e., man of God. The voice of another, whom Daniel did not see, hearing only a human voice proceeding from the Ulai, commanded this person to explain the vision to the prophet ( להלּז , i.e., to Daniel). Nothing further is indicated of the person from whom the voice proceeded than what may be conjectured from אוּלי בּין ( between the Ulai), whence the voice sounded. These words do not mean “hither from Ulai” (Bertholdt), but “between the two banks of the Ulai” (Chr. B. Mich., Häv., etc.); according to which, the being whose voice Daniel heard appears as if hovering over the waters of the river Ulai. This conjecture is confirmed by Daniel 12:6-7, where Daniel sees a man hovering over the waters of the river of Ulai, who by the majesty of his appearance and his words shows himself to be a divine being, and is more minutely described according to the majesty of his appearance in Daniel 10:5. The question, who this man might be, is first answered in Daniel Daniel 10:5. Gabriel is not a nomen proprium but appellativum . The angel who was described as an appearance like a גּבר ( man) is named, for Daniel, Gabriel (“man of God”), that on subsequent occasions (e.g., Daniel 9:21) he might recognise him again as the same (Hgst., Hofm., Kliefoth). As to his relation to other angels and archangels, the Scripture gives no information. If Lengerke and Maurer regard him, after the book of Enoch, along with Michael, and Raphael, and Uriel whose name does not occur in Scripture, as one of the four angels that stand before the throne of God, the Scripture affords no support for it; nor does it countenance the supposition of Hitzig, that the two angels in Daniel 8:15, Daniel 8:16 are identical with those in Daniel 8:13, Daniel 8:14 - that Gabriel who spake, and the unknown angel, was the angel of the “rivers and fountains of waters,” Revelation 16:4.
(Note: Altogether groundless, also, is the identification of them with the Persian Amschaspands, since neither the doctrine of angels nor the names of angels of the O.T. are derived from Parsism. The most recent attempt by Dr. Al. Kohut, in his researches regarding Jewish angelology and demonology in their dependence on Parsism ( Abhand. für die Kunde des Morgen. iv. Bc., Nr. 3), to establish this connection, is extremely poor and superficial. The proof adduced in the first ten pages of his treatise is confined to these points: that in the writings of the O.T. after the Exile or during the Exile the appearance of the angels is altogether different from that presented in the portions written before the Exile. It is said that, as a rule, the angels in the period first named take the human form, and bear names corresponding to their properties - Michael, Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1; Gabriel, Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; and in the book of Tobit, 12:15, not much later in date (?), Raphael; - now also, in contrast to the period before the Exile, there is an order in rank among the angels; Michael, Daniel 10:12, is designated as one of the first angel-princes, and, Daniel 12:1, as the greatest angel-prince; moreover, the number of שׂרים ( angel-princes) is spoken of as seven, corresponding to the Persian Amesha-çpentas (Tob. 12:15, and Book of Enoch 90:21). But does this distinction between the pre-exilian and post-exilian doctrine of angels, even though it were allowed to be as great as Kohut supposes, furnish a proof for the derivation of the latter from Parsism? or does this derivation follow from the fact that the Jews in exile came into intercourse with the Persians and the Medes, and that about this time the Zend worship flourished? And do the angels in the post-exilian writings for the first time indeed assume the human form? Kohut seems to know nothing of the appearance of angels in Genesis 19:1., Judges 6:11., Judges 13:9. Then does the agreement, not of the doctrine of the O.T., but of the later Jewish apocryphal writings, Tobit and the Book of Enoch, with regard to the number of angel-princes and of the Amesha-çpenta, furnish a sufficient proof of this derivation? Dr. Kohut does not himself appear to think so, since he regards it as necessary, in addition to this, which is “perhaps purely accidental,” to furnish an etymological argument. Amesha-çpenta means “ non connivens sanctus = the holy one not sleeping;” “thus,” he says, “it is a mere Chaldee rendering of the word Amesha-çpenta, when in Daniel 4:10, Daniel 4:14, Daniel 4:20; Daniel 8:13, the Jewish angel-princes are called עירין קדּשׁין = holy watchers.” But was, then, the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar, to whom in a dream a “holy watcher” appeared, a Jew? and in what edition of the Bible has Dr. Kohut found in Daniel 8:13 the angel name עיר ? Nor is it any better proof that the demonology of the O.T. is a foreign production, resulting from the contact of the Jews with the Persians and Medes during the exile, because in Zechariah 3:1., Psalms 48:1-14:49; 1 Chronicles 21:1, and especially in Job 1:6., Daniel 2:1, Satan “is depicted as a plague-spirit, altogether corresponding to the Persian Agromainjus, the killing spirit.” Such silly talk needs no refutation.)
As commanded, the angel goes to the place where Daniel stands. On his approach Daniel is so filled with terror that he falls on his face, because as a sinful and mortal man he could not bear the holiness of God which appeared before him in the pure heavenly being. At the appearance of God he fears that he must die. Cf. remarks at Genesis 16:13 and Exodus 33:20. But the angel, in order to mitigate his alarm, calls him to take heed, for the vision relates to the time of the end. The address (Daniel 8:17), “son of man,” stands in contrast to “man of God” (= Gabriel), and is designed to remind Daniel of his human weakness (cf. Psalms 8:5), not that he may be humbled (Hävernick), without any occasion for that, but to inform him that, notwithstanding this, he was deemed worthy of receiving high divine revelations (Kliefoth). The foundation of the summons to give heed, “for the vision relates to the time of the end,” is variously interpreted. Auberlen (p. 87) and Zündel (p. 105ff.) understand עת־קץ not of the time of the end of all history, but of a nearer relative end of the prophecy. “Time of the end” is the general prophetic expression for the time which, as the period of fulfilment, lies at the end of the existing prophetic horizon - in the present case the time of Antiochus. Bleek ( Jahrb.f. D. Theol. v. p. 57) remarks, on the contrary, that if the seer was exhorted to special attention because the vision related to the time of the end, then קץ here, as in Daniel 8:19; Daniel 11:35, Daniel 11:40; Daniel 12:4, also Daniel 9:26, without doubt is to be interpreted of the end of the time of trial and sorrow of the people, and at the same time of the beginning of the new time of deliverance vouchsafed by God to His people; and herein lay the intimation, “that the beginning of the deliverance destined by God for His people (i.e., the Messianic time) would connect itself immediately with the cessation of the suppression of the worship of Jehovah by Antiochus Epiphanes, and with the destruction of that ruler.” From the passages referred to, Daniel 11:40 and Daniel 12:4, it is certainly proved that עתקץ denotes the time of all suffering, and the completion of the kingdom of God by the Messiah. It does not, however, follow, either that these words “are to be understood of the absolute end of all things, of the time when the Messiah will come to set up His regum gloriae , and of the time of the last tribulation going before this coming of the Lord” (Klief.); or that the prophet cherished the idea, that immediately after the downfall of Antiochus, thus at the close of the 2300 days, the Messiah would appear, bring the world to an end, and erect the kingdom of eternity (v. Leng., Hitz., Maur., etc.). The latter conclusion is not, it is true, refuted by the remark, that the words do not say that the vision has the time of the end directly for its subject, that the prophecy will find its fulfilment in the time of the end, but only that the vision has a relation, a reference, to the time of the end, that there is a parallelism between the time of Antiochus and the time of Antichrist, that “that which will happen to Javan and Antiochus shall repeat itself in, shall be a type of, that which will happen in the time of the end with the last world-kingdom and the Antichrist arising out of it” (Kliefoth). For this idea does not lie in the words. That is shown by the parallel passage, Daniel 10:14, which Kliefoth thus understands - ”The vision extends to the days which are before named הימים אחרית ( latter days); it goes over the same events which will then happen.” Accordingly the angel can also here (Daniel 8:17) only say, “Give heed, for the vision relates to the end-time; it gives information of that which shall happen in the end of time.”
The justice of this exposition is placed beyond a doubt by this verse. Here the angel says in distinct words, “I will show thee what will happen הזּעם בּאחרית ( in the last time of the indignation), for it relates to the appointed time of the end.” Kliefoth indeed thinks that what the angel, Daniel 8:19, says to the prophet for his comfort is not the same that he had said to him in Daniel 8:17, and which cast him down, and that Daniel 8:19 does not contain anything so weighty and so overwhelming as Daniel 8:17, but something more cheering and consoling; that it gives to the vision another aspect, which relieves Daniel of the sorrow which it had brought upon him on account of its import with reference to the end. From this view of the contents of Daniel 8:19 Kliefoth concludes that Daniel, after he had recovered from his terror in the presence of the heavenly messenger, and had turned his mind to the contents of the vision, was thrown to the ground by the thought presented to him by the angel, that the vision had reference to the end of all things, and that, in order to raise him up, the angel said something else to him more comforting of the vision. But this conclusion has no foundation in the text. The circumstance that Daniel was not again cast to the ground by the communication of the angel in Daniel 8:19, is not to be accounted for by supposing that the angel now made known to him something more consoling; but it has its foundation in this, that the angel touched the prophet, who had fallen dismayed to the earth, and placed him again on his feet (Daniel 8:18), and by means of this touch communicated to him the strength to hear his words. But the explanation which Kliefoth gives of Daniel 8:19 the words do not bear. “The last end of the indignation” must denote the time which will follow after the expiration of the זעם , i.e., the period of anger of the Babylonian Exile. But אחרית means, when space is spoken of, that which is farthest (cf. Psalms 139:9), and when time is spoken of, the last, the end, the opposite of רשׁית , the end over against the beginning. If הימים אחרית does not denote such a time was follows an otherwise fixed termination, but the last time, the end-time (see under Daniel 2:28), so also, since זעם is here the time of the revelation of the divine wrath, הזּעם אחרית ה can only denote the last time, or the end-time, of the revelation of the divine wrath. This explanation of the words, the only one which the terms admit of, is also required by the closing words of Daniel 8:19, קץ למועד כּי ( for at the time appointed the end). According to the example of the Vulg., quoniam habet tempus finem suum , and Luther's version, “for the end has its appointed time,” Kliefoth translates the words, “for the firmly-ordained, definite time has its end,” and refers this to the time of the Babylonish Exile, which indeed, as Daniel knew (Daniel 9:2), was fixed by God to seventy years. But that in the Babylonish Exile will have its fixed end, will come to an end with the seventy years, the angel needed not to announce to the prophet, for he did not doubt it, and the putting him in remembrance of that fact would have afforded him but very poor consolation regarding the time of the future wrath. This conception of the words depends on the inaccurate interpretation of the words הזּעם אחרית , and will consequently fall to the ground along with it. If למועד ( to the appointment) were separated from קץ , and were to be taken by itself, and to be understood of the time of the זעם , then it ought to have the article, as in Daniel 11:27, Daniel 11:35. Without the article, as here, it must be connected with קץ , and them, with החזון supplied as the subject from the context (Daniel 8:17), is to be translated, as it is by almost all modern interpreters: for the vision relates to the appointed time of the end. But עתקץ , the time of the end, and קץ מועד , the appointed time of the end, is not the absolute end of all things, the time of the setting up of the regnum gloriae , and the time of the tribulation preceding the return of our Lord; but the time of the judgment of the world-kingdom and the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God by the appearance of the Messiah, the end of αἰὼν οὕτος and the commencement of the αἰὼν μέλλων , the time of the הימים אחרית (Daniel 10:14), which the apostle calls (1 Corinthians 10:11) τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων , and speaks of as having then already come.
Since, 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 la מועד 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 (Zündel); 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.
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 ו consec. 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 (Vöklerwelt) 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.
Daniel 8:23-26 give the interpretation of the vision of the little horn (Daniel 8:9-12) , with a more special definition of certain elements not made prominent in the vision. The horn signifies a king who will arise “in the last time of their kingdom.” The suffix to מלכוּתם ( of their kingdom) relates to the idea contained in מלכיּות ni deniat ( kings). הפּשׁעים כּהתם , when the transgressors have made full, scil. the transgression or measure of the sins. The object wanting to התם is seen from the conception of the subject. הפּשׁעים , the rebellious, are not the heathen, for פּשׁע denotes the apostasy from God which is only said of the Israelites, but not of the heathen; and the word points back to בּפשׁע in Daniel 8:12. The king that rises up is Antiochus Epiphanes (cf. 1 Macc. 1:10ff.). עז־פּנים , hard of countenance, i.e., impudent, unashamed in trampling down, without fear of God or man; cf. Deuteronomy 28:50. חידות מבין , understanding mysteries; here sensu malo , concealing his purpose behind ambiguous words, using dissimulation, forming an artifice, interpreted in Daniel 8:25 by מרמה , cf. Daniel 11:21. The unfolding of these qualities is presented in Daniel 8:24, Daniel 8:25; in Daniel 8:24 of the עז־פּנים . By virtue of the audacity of his conduct his power will be strengthened, בכחו ולא , but not by his own might. The contrast here is not: by the power or permission of God (Ephr., Theodrt., Häv., Hitz., Kran.), reference being made to תּנּתן ( was given) in Daniel 8:12, and to תּת ( to give) in Daniel 8:13. This contrast is foreign to the passage. The context much rather relates to the audacity and the cunning by which, more than by his power, Antiochus raised himself to might. The strengthening of the power is limited neither to his reaching the throne by the overthrow of other pretenders to it (Berth. and others), nor to the to the following statements, he developed as king against Israel, as well as against other kingdoms. נפּלאות ( wonderful works) is used adverbially, as in Job 37:5: in an astonishing, wonderful way, he will work destruction. But from this word it does not follow that the expression בכחו ולא is to be referred to the power of God, for it does not necessarily mean deeds or things supernaturally originating from God; and even though it had only this meaning, yet here they could not be thought of as deeds accomplished in God's strength, but only as deeds performed by demoniacal strength, because ישׁחית ( shall destroy) cannot be predicated of God in the sense determined by the context. This destructive work he shall direct against the mighty and against the people of the saints. עצוּמים does not here signify many, numerous, many individual Israelites (v. Leng., Maur., Kliefoth), partly because in Daniel 8:25 רבּים stands for that, partly because of the קדשׁים עם , by which we are to understand the people of Israel, not merely the insignificant and weak, or pious (Kran.). Hence עצוּמים cannot mean the elders of Israel, much less merely foreign kings (Berth., Dereser), but the mighty generally, under which perhaps we are specially to think of heathen rulers.
In Daniel 8:25 the cunning and craftiness of his action and demeanour are depicted. שׂכלו על ( through his craft) is placed first. שׂכל , sagacity, here sensu malo , cunning. On the ground of this cunning his deceit will be successful. מרמה without the article means “all kinds of deceit which he designs” (Hitzig). On that account his heart is raised in haughtiness, so that not only does he destroy many unexpectedly, but also raises himself against God. In the רבּים ( many) are comprehended “the mighty and the holy people” (Daniel 8:24). בּשׁלוה does not mean in deep peace, but in careless security, and thus unexpectedly. An historical proof of this is found in 1 Macc. 1:10. שׂרים שׂר ( Prince of princes) corresponds with אדני האדנים ( Lord of lords) in Psalms 136:3. It is God; cf. Daniel 8:11. But the angel adds, “he shall be destroyed without hands,” i.e., he shall be destroyed not by the hand of man, but by God.
In Daniel 8:26 there follows, in conclusion, the confirmation of the truth of what is said of the duration of this oppression for the people of God. Because the time of it was not seen by Daniel, but was revealed to him in words, נאמר אשׁר is here used in reference to that which was, or of which it was, said. But we need not connect this relative sentence with the genitive והבּקר הערב ( the evening and the morning), although this were admissible, but can make it depend on מראה ( vision), since the world-revelation of the evenings and mornings forms an integral part of the “vision.” והבּקר הערב are to be taken collectively. The confirmation of the truth of this revelation does not betray the purpose to make the book falsely appear as if it were old (v. Leng., Hitzig); it much more is fitted to serve the purpose of strengthening the weakness of the faithful, and giving them consolation in the hour of trial. For in the statement of the duration of the afflictions lies not only the fact that they will come to an end, but at the same time also that this end is determined beforehand by God; cf. Daniel 12:7. In other places this confirmation serves only to meet doubts, arising from the weakness of the flesh, as to the realization of revelations of such weighty import; cf. Daniel 10:1; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6.
But Daniel must close the prophecy, because it extends into a long time. סתן is not equivalent to חתם , to seal up, but it means to stop, to conclude, to hide (cf. 2 Kings 3:19; Ezekiel 28:3), but not in the sense of keeping secret, or because it would be incomprehensible for the nearest times; for to seal or to shut up has nothing in common with incomprehensibility, but is used in the sense of keeping. “A document is sealed up in the original text, and laid up in archives (shut up), that it may remain preserved for remote times, but not that it may remain secret, while copies of it remain in public use” (Kliefoth). The meaning of the command, then, is simply this: “Preserve the revelation, not because it is not yet to be understood, also not for the purpose of keeping it secret, but that it may remain preserved for distant times” (Kliefoth). The reason assigned for the command only agrees with this interpretation. רבּים לימים ( to many days) is not to be identified with לעת־קץ in Daniel 8:17, but designates only a long time; and this indefinite expression is here used because it was not intended to give exactly again the termination according to Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19, but only to say that the time of the end was not near.
In Daniel 8:27 the influence of this vision on Daniel is mentioned (cf. Daniel 7:28). It so deeply agitated the prophet that he was sick certain days, and not till after he had recovered from this sickness could he attend to the king's business. The contents of the vision remained fixed in his mind; the scene filled him with amazement, and no one understood it. Maurer, Hitzig, and Kranichfeld interpret מבין אין ( I understood it not,) supplying the pronoun of the first person from the connection. But even though the construction of the words should admit of this supplement, for which a valid proof is not adduced, yet it would be here unsuitable, and is derived merely from giving to סתן (Daniel 8:26) the false interpretation of to conceal. If Daniel had been required to keep the prophecy secret according to the command in Daniel 8:26, then the remark “no one understood it” would have been altogether superfluous. But if he was required only to preserve the prophecy, and it deeply moved him, then those around him must have had knowledge of it, and the amazement of Daniel would become the greater when not only he but all others failed to understand it. To refer מבין אין only to Daniel is forbidden by the comparison with אבין ולא in Daniel 12:8. The fulfilment of this vision can alone lead to its full understanding.