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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 8

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

Verse 1

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

After that — In the other vision he speaks o[ all the four monarchies; here only of the three first; this vision being a comment upon the first.

Verse 2

And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.

The river of Ulai — Which ran round the city.

Verse 3

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

Two horns — The kingdom of Media and Persia.

And the higher — The kingdom of Persia which rose last, in Cyrus, became more eminent than that of the Medes.

Verse 4

I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

West-ward — Toward Babylon, Syria, Cappadocia, Asia the less, and Greece, all westward from Media and Persia.

North-ward — Against the Armenians, Iberians, Lydians, Colchi Caspians.

South-ward — Against Ethiopia, Arabia, Egypt.

Verse 5

And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

An he-goat — The Grecian empire.

The whole earth — The whole Persian empire.

Touched not the ground — Went with incredible swiftness.

A horn — This was Alexander the great.

Verse 6

And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

The ram — The king of Media and Persia.

Verse 8

Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

Was broken — When Alexander was greatest, then was he broken, and that to pieces, for he, his mother, son, brother, and all his kindred were destroyed.

The four winds — 1. Antipater got Greece — 2. Asia was possessed by Antigonus — 3. Ptolemy got Egypt — 4. Seleucus had Babylon and Syria. All these were variously situated; to the east, Babylon and Syria; to the south, Egypt; to the north, Asia the less; to the west, Greece.

Verse 9

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

A little horn — This little horn was Antiochus Epiphanes.

The south — Egypt where he besieged and took many places.

The east — In Syria, Babylon, Armenia.

The pleasant land — Judea, so called because of the temple and people of God in it, and the fruitfulness of it.

Verse 10

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

The host of heaven — The church of God militant, who worship the God of heaven, who are citizens of heaven, whose names are written in heaven; and among these the priests, and champions, who were as stars shining above the rest; these he profaned and slew cruelly.

Verse 11

Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

The prince — Not only against the high-priest, but against God himself.

Was cast down — He took away the use of the temple as to the holy service and sacrifices.

Verse 12

And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

By reason of transgression — Both the transgression of the priests, and of the people.

Verse 13

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

One saint — That is, one holy angel.

How long — How long shall Antiochus continue his vexations against the people and prevent the worship of God? This is, the treading down of the sanctuary, and the host.

Verse 14

And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

He — That angel.

Then — Just so long it was, from the defection of the people, procured by Menelaus, the high-priest, to the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the re-establishment of religion among them.

Verse 15

And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

The meaning — A more clear discovery of those things.

The appearance of a man — Probably Gabriel.

Verse 16

And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

A man’s voice — Of him before mentioned, namely, Christ.

Verse 17

So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

He came near — That he might speak more familiarly to him, yet Daniel could not bear the glory of it. How much less can we bear the glory of God, and how graciously hath the Lord dealt with us, to teach us by men, and not by angels? O son of man - He calls him son of man, to make him mind his frailty, and not to be lifted up with this great condescension of heaven.

At the time — In God’s appointed time, in the latter day, but not now in thy life-time.

Verse 18

Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.

Toward the ground — Being terrified with the splendor and grandeur both of the messenger and message.

Set me upright — By one touch only. The power of spirits is incomparably greater than that of the strongest of men.

Verse 19

And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

The indignation — God will raise up Antiochus to execute his wrath against the Jews for their sins, yet there shall be an end of that indignation.

Verse 23

And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

In the latter time — When they were come to the height, and beginning to decline.

When the transgressors — When the Jews were grown to an excess of wickedness, then God suffered Antiochus to persecute them.

Dark sentences — Full of subtilty: such all histories declare Antiochus to be.

Verse 24

And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

Not by his own power — Not by any heroick deeds, but by making use of the Jewish factions, through the divine commission to punish a backsliding nation; and by means of Eumenes and Attalus, by whose help he got up to this height.

Shall destroy — He shall by force, craft, and cruelty, destroy many of God’s people.

Verse 25

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

By peace — Under colour of kindness.

Against the prince of princes — He fought against God, affronting God’s laws, profaning God’s worship, and temple, and setting up the image and worship of Jupiter there.

Without hand — By a disease whereof he died, 1 Maccabees 6:8.

Verse 26

And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.

Shut thou up — Lay it up in thy heart.

For many days — Three hundred years after this; long after Daniel’s days.

Verse 27

And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Was sick — Being overwhelmed by a sense of the calamity that should befall the people of God.

Did the king’s business — Having recovered strength, he minded his place, duty and trust, and concealed the whole, that they might not see it by his countenance.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Daniel 8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/daniel-8.html. 1765.
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