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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Daniel 8



Verses 1-27

The Vision of the Ram and the Hebrews -Goat (550 B.C.) - Daniel 8:1-27 records the vision of the ram and the Hebrews -goat. The traditional view is that this vision represents the conquests of Alexander the Great, king of the Grecian Empire, over the Persians, a conquest extending down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and to the calamities and desolations that he would bring upon the holy land

Daniel 8:1 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.

Daniel 8:1 — "In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar" - Comments- Nebuchadnezzar, the grandfather of Belshazzar and father of Nabonidus, ruled the Babylonian Empire from 604-561 B.C. Gleason Archer dates the first year of Belshazzar's reign in 556-555 B.C. as coregent with his father Nabonidus, 111] while John Goldingay gives a date of 550 B.C. 112] Thus, the third year of the reign of Belshazzar would be either 554-553 B.C. or 548-547 B.C. Belshazzar will be the last ruler of the Babylonian Empire, with the city of Babylon falling to the Medes and Persians later under the leadership of Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian in 539 B.C.

111] Gleason L. Archer, Jeremiah , Daniel , The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 7, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House), 1976-1992, in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), notes on Daniel 7:1.

112] John E. Goldingay, Daniel , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 30, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Daniel 9:24.

"a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel , after that which appeared unto me at the first" - Comments - In Daniel 8:1 the prophet Daniel refers to a former vision, which is generally understood as the one recorded in Daniel 7:1-28.

Daniel 8:2 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.

Daniel 8:2Comments - Scholars are divided as to whether Daniel was physically present in the palace at Shushan or present only in the vision.

Daniel 8:3 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.

Daniel 8:3Comments - Daniel 8:3 describes the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire, with the Persian kings rising up to take control.

Daniel 8:4 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.

Daniel 8:4Comments - Daniel 8:4 describes the expansion of the Persian Empire.

Daniel 8:5 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.

Daniel 8:5Comments - Daniel 8:5 describes the rise of Alexander the Great. His rapid expansion is reflecting in the phrase "he touched not the ground." Within a period of four years (334-331 B.C.), he brought down the Persian Empire, establishing his rule from Europe to India.

Daniel 8:6 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.

Daniel 8:6Comments - Daniel 8:6 describes the important battles fought between Alexander the Great and the Persians.

Daniel 8:7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

Daniel 8:7Comments- It is a natural instinct for rams and goats to butt with their heads in conflict, which is what Daniel saw take place in his vision.

Comments- Daniel 8:7 describes the defeat of the Persians at the hands of Alexander the Great.

Daniel 8:8 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.

Daniel 8:8Comments- Daniel 8:8 describes the rise of Alexander the Great, his untimely death, and his replacement by four leading Greek generals.

Daniel 8:9 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.

Daniel 8:9Comments - Daniel 8:9 describes the rise of one of these generals called Antiochus IV (175-164 B.C.). His exploits are described in Daniel 11:21-45.

The phrase "pleasant land" is generally understood to be a reference to the land of Israel.

Daniel 8:10 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.

Daniel 8:10Comments - Daniel 8:10 describes the efforts of Antiochus IV to persecution the Jews. The reference to the stars in the heavenly host could be figurative of God's children. We find in 2 Maccabees 9:10 a statement that this wicked leader thought that "he could tough the stars of heaven."

2 Maccabees 9:10, "Because of his intolerable stench no one was able to carry the man who a little while before had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven." (NRSV)

Daniel 8:11 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.

Daniel 8:11Comments - The account of Antiochus IV destroying the city of Jerusalem, stopping the Temple sacrifice, and defiling its Temple is recorded in 1 Maccabees 1:29-38.

Daniel 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Daniel 8:21 Comments- The first king of Grecia, or Java, would be Alexander of Macedonia.

Daniel 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

Daniel 8:22Comments- History tells us that the kingdom of Greece broke up into four parts after the death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.): the Seleucid (Syria), the Ptolemaic (Egypt), the Thrace-Asia Minor domain of Lysimachus, and the Macedonian-Greco merger maintained by Cassander. We know that none of these four subdivisions ever had the power of the first kingdom.

Daniel 8:23 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.

Daniel 8:23 — "And in the latter time of their kingdom" - Comments- Some scholars suggest that the phrase "and in the latter time of their kingdom" in Daniel 8:23 takes the vision of Daniel into a giant leap of several thousand years to the Tribulation Period and the time of the second desecration of the Temple, which Jesus referred to in Matthew 24.

Daniel 8:23 — "a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up" - Comments- A popular interpretation regarding the fierce king that stood up in Daniel 8:23-25 is to say that it is a reference to the Syrian king of the Greek Empire named Antiochus Epiphanes, who was very hostile to the people of God during his reign. He represents a type of Antichrist, which will arise in the last days.

Daniel 8:26 — "but he shall be broken without hand" - Comments- That Isaiah , the Prince of princes shall break him without man's hands contributing to this great victory. This clearly describes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when He shall slay the enemies of God with the sword of His mouth.


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Daniel 8:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

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