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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
Bible Study Resources
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit); Church; Temple; Scofield Reference Index - Desolation; The Topic Concordance - Abomination; Empires/world Powers; Last Days; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Armies;
Verse 13. One saint speaking, and another saint said — One angel asked another how long the sanctuary was to be trodden down?
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/daniel-8.html. 1832.
Vision of the ram and the goat (8:1-14)
This vision is easier to understand than that of the previous chapter (which was given to Daniel two years earlier; cf. 7:1; 8:1). This is partly because of the interpretation given to Daniel, and partly because of ancient records that show a remarkable correspondence between details of the vision and events as they actually happened.
It was now almost 550 BC, and though Babylon was still the dominant power in the region, Persia had now begun to challenge it. The significant event of 550 BC was Persia’s conquest of the formerly great kingdom of Media. Then, in 539 BC, the combined armies of Persia and Media conquered Babylon. This combined Medo-Persian power was pictured in the vision as a ram, one of whose horns (Persia) was higher than the other (Media) (8:1-4; see also v. 20).
Persia ruled till about 333 BC, when Alexander the Great came from the west and with unbelievable speed overran the Persian Empire. His Greek Empire was symbolized in Daniel’s vision as a goat, with Alexander as the large horn between the goat’s eyes. But at the height of his power, when only thirty-two years of age, Alexander suddenly died. His empire soon split into four sectors (‘four new horns’) (5-8; see also. v. 21-22).
One of these sectors was centred on Syria. From this sector there arose, many years later, a king (‘a little horn’) who attacked God’s people and even God himself (‘the stars of heaven and the Prince of those stars’). This king, Antiochus Epiphanes, stopped the regular sacrifices that the Jews offered each morning and evening, set up Greek idols and a heathen altar in their holy temple, and forced the Jews to carry out practices that he knew their law prohibited (9-12; see also v. 23-25).
This attack on the Jewish religion lasted more than three years (1150 days, or 2300 morning and evening sacrifices). It came to an end in 165 BC, when the Jews regained control of their temple. They then cleansed and rededicated it to the holy worship of God (13-14).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/daniel-8.html. 2005.
Then I heard one saint speaking - One holy one. The vision was now ended, and the prophet represents himself now as hearing earnest inquiries as to the length of time during which this desolation was to continue. This conversation, or these inquiries, he represents himself as hearing among those whom he calls “saints” - or holy ones - קדשׁ qâdôsh. This word might refer to a saint on earth, or to an angel - to any holy being. As one of these, however, was able to explain the vision, and to tell how long the desolation was to continue, it is more natural to refer it to angels. So Lengerke understands it. The representation is, that one holy one, or angel, was heard by Daniel speaking on this subject, but nothing is recorded of what he said. It is implied only that he was conversing about the desolations that were to come upon the holy city and the people of God. To him thus speaking, and who is introduced as having power to explain it, another holy one approaches, and asks how long this state of things was to continue. The answer to this question Daniel 8:14 is made, not to the one who made the inquiry, but to Daniel, evidently that it might be recorded. Daniel does not say where this vision occurred - whether in heaven or on earth. It was so near to him, however, that he could hear what was said.
And another saint - Another holy one - probably an angel. If so, we may conclude, what is in itself every way probable, that one angel has more knowledge than another, or that things are communicated to some which are not to others.
Unto that certain saint which spake - Margin, Palmoni, or, the numberer of secrets, or, the wondeful numberer. The Hebrew word, פלמוני palemônı̂y, occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures. The similar form, פלני pelonı̂y, occurs in Ruth 4:1, “Ho, such a one, turn aside;” in 1 Samuel 21:2, “appointed my servants to such and such a place;” and 2 Kings 6:8, “In such and such a place.” The Italic words denote the corresponding Hebrew word. The word, according to Gesenius, means some one, a certain one; in Arabic, one who is distinct or definite, whom one points out as with the finger, and not by name. It is derived from an obsolete noun, פלון pâlôn, from the verb פלה pâlâh, to distinguish, and is united commonly with the word אלמני 'alemonı̂y - meaning, properly, one concealed or unknown. It is language, therefore, which would be properly addressed to an unknown person with whom we would desire to speak, or whom we would designate by the finger, or in some such way, without being able to call the name. Thus applied in the passage here, it means that Daniel did not know the names of the persons thus speaking, but simply saw that one was speaking to another. He had no other way of designating or distinguishing them than by applying a term which was commonly used of a stranger when one wished to address him, or to point him out, or to call him to him. There is no foundation in the word for the meaning suggested in the margin. Theodotion does not attempt to translate the word, but retains it - φελμουνὶ phelmouni - Phelmouni. The Latin Vulgate well expresses the meaning, dixit unus sanctus alteri nescio loquenti. The full sense is undoubtedly conveyed by the two ideas,
(a) that the one referred to was unknown by name, and
(b) that he wished to designate him in some way, or to point him out.
How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice? - How long is what is designed to be represented by the vision to continue; that is, how long in fact will the offering of the daily sacrifice in the temple be suspended?
And the transgression of desolation - Margin, making desolate. That is, the act of iniquity on the part of Antiochus producing such desolation in the holy city and the temple - show long is that to continue?
To give both the sanctuary - The temple; the holy place where God dwelt by a visible symbol, and where he was worshipped.
And the host - The people of God - the Jewish people.
To be trodden under foot - To be utterly despised and prostrated - as anything which is trodden under our feet.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/daniel-8.html. 1870.
Here he expresses more clearly, what I formerly said, unfolding God’s intention of consoling and soothing the sorrows of the pious lest they should sink under the severity of their trials, at the sight of an impious tyrant domineering in the sanctuary of God. Besides, the spot which God had promised should be his perpetual dwelling-place, was exposed to impious superstitions, for the idol of Jupiter Olympius was erected there, the history of the Maccabees informs us. (Genesis 1:57; Genesis 6:2.) God therefore wished to uphold his servants, lest too severe a temptation should overwhelm them, and lest trial in so many forms should cause them to yield and become deficient in piety through want of courage. But while Daniel is stupefied through astonishment, God provides for his infirmity by means of an angel. Daniel himself, without doubt, inquired concerning the vision as we shall see he did afterwards; but here God desired to meet him, as he saw the holy man so overcome by fear as scarcely to dare to make any inquiry. God, therefore, here affords no common proof of his paternal goodness and indulgence, in interposing and sending his angel to make inquiries in the Prophet’s name. He says, then, he heard a holy one, meaning an angel. For, although God deigns to call the faithful while dwelling in the world by this honorable title, yet the superior purity of angels is familiar to us, as they are altogether free from the lusts of the flesh. But we, alas! are detained in this prison-house, we are bound down in slavery to sin, and are polluted by much corruption. The holiness of angels, however, is far greater than that of mortals, and thus this attribute of “holiness” is properly applied to them. When Daniel was caught up by the prophetic spirit, he was separated from the society of men, and was admitted to that of angels.
An angel then, said to the wonderful one The Hebrews often use this expression when they mean “whoever it may be” — ploni almoni and apply it to places as well as persons. They use it also of any place unknown to them or concealed from them. They treat the noun as compounded of two words, and many interpret it of any one unknown, but I think the word to be more emphatic than this. (62) Daniel here brings forward an angel speaking, and adds dignity to his description by calling him “holy.” Without doubt, then, the person of whom the angel asked the question was his superior; it is not likely that he would be called “a certain one,” while the angel is termed a holy one. Reason, then, requires the expression to be applied to some angel whose glory was incomprehensible, or at least far superior to ordinary ones; for, as Daniel calls one angel “holy,” so he would have called the rest, as we shall afterwards see. When treating, however, of a distinct being, he uses the word פלמוני, palmoni, and its etymology guides us to its sense, as meaning something mysterious and incomprehensible. Then, who does not see that Christ is denoted, who is the chief of angels and far superior to them all? In the ninth chapter of Isaiah, (Isaiah 9:6,) he is called פלא pela, “wonderful.” The word in the text is a compound one, as we have said, but as פלא pela, signifies “hidden” in Hebrew, as Christ is so called, and as in Jude 3:1, God claims this name as peculiarly his own, all these points agree well together. The sense then is, an angel comes to Christ for the sake of Daniel and of the whole Church, and seeks from him as from the supreme teacher and master, the meaning of the declarations which we have just heard. We need not feel surprise at angels inquiring into eternity, as if it were unknown to them. It is the property of Deity alone to know all things, while the knowledge of angels is necessarily limited. Paul teaches us to wonder at the Church being collected out of profane and strange people; this was a mystery hidden from angels themselves, before God really showed himself the father of the whole world. (Ephesians 3:10.) Hence, there is no absurdity in supposing angels to inquire into mysteries, as ignorance is not necessarily deserving of blame, and as God has not raised his creatures for his own level. It is his peculiar province to know all things, and to have everything under his eye. The angel desires to understand this mystery, not so much for his own sake as on account of the whole Church; for we know them to be our ministers, according to the clear testimony of the Apostle. (Hebrews 1:14.) As they keep watch over us so carefully, it does not surprise us to find the angel inquiring so anxiously concerning this vision, and thus benefiting the whole Church by the hand of Daniel.
Meanwhile, we must notice, how Christ is the chief of angels and also their instructor, because he is the eternal Wisdom of God. Angels, therefore, must draw all the light of their intelligence from that single fountain. Thus angels draw us to Christ by their example, and induce us to devote ourselves to him through the persuasion that this is the supreme and only wisdom. If we are his disciples, being obedient, humble, and teachable, we shall desire to know only what he will make manifest to us. But the angel asks. What is the meaning of the vision of the perpetual sacrifice, and of the sin? that is, what, is the object of the vision concerning the abrogation of the perpetual sacrifice, and concerning the sin which lays waste? As to the second point, we explained yesterday the various opinions of interpreters, some twisting it to Antiochus, who impiously dared to violate God’s temple, and others to the priests. But we said the people were intended, lest many, as they are accustomed, should blame the Almighty for so heavily afflicting the Church. But God wished to bear witness to the origin of this devastation from the sins of the people. It is just as if the angel had said, How long will the sacrifices cease? How long will this vengeance, by which God will chastise the wickedness of his people, endure? For the sin is called devastating, through being the cause of that calamity. It is afterwards added, how long will the sanctuary and the army be trodden, down? that is, how long will the worship of God, and true piety, and the people itself, be trodden down under this cruel tyranny of Antiochus? But this question has far more efficacy, than if the Prophet had said, as we saw yesterday, that the punishment should be uniform and temporal. It was now necessary to explain what had already been stated more clearly. Thus this question was interposed with the view of rendering Daniel more attentive, and of stirring up the people by this narrative to the pursuit of learning. For it is no common event when angels approach Christ for our sakes, and inquire into the events which concern the state and safety of the Church. As, therefore, angels discharge this duty, we must be worse than stony, if we are not urged to eagerness and carefulness in the pursuit of divine knowledge. We see, then, why this passage concerning the angel is interposed.
(62) Calvin means to imply that the Jews used these words to express the idea of the Latin phrase, “ omne ignotum pro magnifico ” — Ed.
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/daniel-8.html. 1840-57.
Now two years later:
In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even as unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first ( Daniel 8:1 ).
A similar type of a vision.
But in this vision; it came to pass, and I saw, that I was in 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. And then I lifted up my eyes, and I saw, behold, there stood before a river a ram that had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last ( Daniel 8:2-3 ).
The Medo-Persian Empire represented by the two horns. The Persian Empire being the higher coming up last and was more powerful than the Median Empire.
And I saw the ram [that is, the Medo-Persian Empire], as it was pushing westward, and northward, southward; so that no beast might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; and he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, a he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes ( Daniel 8:4-5 ).
So he was watching this ram, the Medo-Persian Empire, as it was conquering, but suddenly there comes this goat out of the west, Greece, with a notable horn, Alexander the Great. And conquering so rapidly that the feet weren't touching the ground. You read of the conquests of Alexander the Great, and it's amazing how rapidly he was able to conquer the known world at that time.
And he came to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and he ran unto to him with a fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and he smote the ram, and broke his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stomped on him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and was strong, and the great horn was broken; and from it there came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven ( Daniel 8:6-8 ).
A graphic prophecy, fabulous, interesting prophecy. How could Daniel know this except by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the great horn, Alexander would be broken in his youth. Thirty-two years old when he died. And the Grecian Empire passed on to the four generals, Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes, and then of course out of Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece.
And out of one of them came forth a little horn [Antiochus Epiphanes], who waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land ( Daniel 8:9 ).
Antiochus Epiphanes who moved against Egypt down toward the south and, of course, in passing from Syria into Egypt, he had to go through the land of Israel.
And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host ( Daniel 8:10 )
Now we go from Antiochus Epiphanes to what he has a type of the antichrist and we go on now right to the antichrist. "And it waxed great even to the Host of Heaven,"
and it cast down some of the host of the stars to the ground, and stomped upon them. 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. And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking to another saint and 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? And he said unto me, Two thousand three hundred days; and then shall the sanctuary be cleansed ( Daniel 8:10-14 ).
Now this, of course, is a prophecy concerning Antiochus Epiphanes. It does have a dual aspect in the fulfillment. But he's talking about this profaning of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes. When he came to Jerusalem to show his utter disregard for God and for their beliefs, he sacrificed a pig upon the holy altar there in Jerusalem. And he sought to turn the temple into a pagan temple. This created such a feeling of incense in the Jewish zealots, that Judas Maccabaeus gathered together a group of men and against insurmountable odds came to Jerusalem and defeated the Syrian army that was there.
Now this is where the Feast of Dedication comes from, Hanukkah. They wanted to re-establish the true worship, and interestingly enough, it was 2,300 days after Antiochus Epiphanes had profaned the temple, exactly as Daniel said. Twenty-three hundred days later, Judas Maccabaeus and these faithful zealots had come and they were wanting to re-institute the proper sacrifices and the temple worship again. But it was found that they had, of course, only enough holy anointing oil to last for one day, there in the candle set. And it took a period of about seven days to prepare this oil, or eight days, whatever it is. And so by divine miracle the one-day supply lasted until they were able to get the new supply of oil compounded and made for the lights there in the temple, and hence the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, and even to the present day the lighting of the nine candles to symbolize the miraculous preservation of the oil in the lamps during the period that they were preparing new oil for them.
Jesus was in Jerusalem for Hanukkah, in John, chapter 10. It was, notice, in the middle of the winter. Hanukkah corresponds, of course... Hanukkah is tomorrow. In the celebration, Hanukkah comes this year on the twenty-first, that's tomorrow, and so the Jews will be celebrating Hanukkah at the time that we are celebrating Christmas. The Feast of Dedication it was called. And it relates to, actually, the period of history of Judas Maccabaeus, but it is prophesied and predicted here the profaning of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes and the resultant cleansing 2,300 days later by Judas Maccabaeus. And so the sanctuary was trodden down for the 2,300 days.
Now, there was a fellow by the name of Miller. He was a minister in the United States back in the 1800's and he took and said, 2,300 days is actually 2,300 years. And he took the day that the temple was profaned and he added to that 2,300 years and he said Jesus is coming in the 2,300 years after the profaning of the temple and so he picked a date in 1844 that he had determined Christ was coming. And they got white robes and they went out in the hills there in Illinois and waited for Jesus to come. After a couple of weeks, they had sold everything, sold their houses, farms, everything else, so certain the Lord would come. And, of course, when the Lord didn't come, the group that were known as the Millerites sort of disbanded. But then a lady came along, Ellen G. White, and said, "Oh Jesus at this point cleansed the sanctuary in the heavens. He entered into the sanctuary and cleansed it in the heavens." And so she developed the Seventh Day Adventists and they follow her writings and so forth, which it turns out aren't necessarily her writing. She was a plagiarist and has copied from other books and so forth, which some of their own scholars are discovering nowadays and exposing and getting kicked out of the Seventh Day Adventist. It's quite a stir that's going on in that particular denomination right now. But at any rate, they took the prophecy from here in Daniel, but there is no basis whatsoever to make the 2,300 days 2,300 years. That's not good Biblical interpretation or exegesis, or whatever.
Now the Lord interprets the whole thing for Daniel.
And it came to pass when I, Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he [that is, Gabriel] came near to where I was standing ( Daniel 8:15-17 ):
Gabriel is an interesting angel. He's going to be a fun one to meet too. We'll talk more about him next week as we meet him again in chapter 9. We meet him during the Christmas season. He's the one that came to Mary and told her that she was to have a child. He came to Zacharias the priest and let him know that his wife Elizabeth would have the child, John the Baptist. He said, "How can I know this?" He said, "I'm Gabriel, I stand in the presence of God. Think I'd lie to you man?" And so he is a very interesting angel. And here he's commanded, "Explain to the fellow what it's all about."
So he came near where I was standing: and I was afraid, and I fell on my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for the time of the end shall be the vision ( Daniel 8:17 ).
Now this vision is gonna to take you out to the time of the end.
Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make you to know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. Now the ram which you saw having two horns ( Daniel 8:18-20 ),
We don't need to question what is the ram, for he tells us.
they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Greece ( Daniel 8:20-21 ):
And, of course, this is when Greece was nothing.
and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king ( Daniel 8:21 ).
Or Alexander the Great. That is the first king during the time of its conquering. Philip, Alexander's father did not conquer or begin any kind of a world conquest. That would be the first king in its conquering efforts.
Now that being broken ( Daniel 8:22 ),
Alexander dying at thirty-two years,
whereas four stood up, there will be four kingdoms that will come out of the nation, but not in the power ( Daniel 8:22 ).
Of Alexander the Great, which was true, and did happen.
And the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressions are come to a full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty ( Daniel 8:23-24 ),
And this, of course, is referring now to the antichrist.
but not by his own power ( Daniel 8:24 ):
We read in Revelation 13:0 that this beast that rises out of the sea that Satan gives unto him his authority and his power. So this man of sin is going to arise; he's going to be tremendously powerful, but not his own power. It will be Satan's power that will be vested in him. All of the power of Satan will be given unto man, this man. "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power."
and he shall destroy awesomely, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people ( Daniel 8:24 ).
He's gonna make war against Israel, ultimately.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace will he destroy many ( Daniel 8:25 ):
He's gonna come on with a program of peace. And be hailed, really, as the savior of the world.
he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without a hand ( Daniel 8:25 ).
The brightness of the coming of Jesus Christ with the word that goes forth out of the mouth of Christ, the antichrist will be broken and destroyed without a hand touching him.
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 ( Daniel 8:26 ).
Just close it because it isn't pronounced for the future.
And I Daniel fainted, and I was sick for certain days, and afterward I rose up, and I did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it ( Daniel 8:27 ).
It was all before the fact. No one understood it, he just wrote it. And, of course, that's an interesting thing. "Man, I don't understand it. This is weird you know, but this is what it was, you know." Now we look at it, we say, "Wow, that's so clear! Man, that's interesting how he could write with such clarity things that had not happened, you know." But that's because we're looking at it from this standpoint and we can see where it was fulfilled. Whereas Daniel, "Who, Grecia? Man, that little area of Grecia? Well, it's over there, you know. How can they ever destroy the Persian Empire?" And yet, in time it all was fulfilled.
As we get into the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, I think that it does posses, really, the key to the understanding of all of prophecy. If you understand the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, the whole subject of prophecy will become very clear to you. If you're garbled on the ninth chapter of the book of prophecy, your whole prophetic picture will be garbled. The ninth chapter is the key to the understanding of the subject of prophecy. And so we'll be spending a lot of time next Sunday night in the ninth chapter because I want you to get the key. Because if you can get this chapter then prophecy shouldn't be a problem for you ever. Everything will fit together perfectly if you get this ninth chapter. So, next week we'll finish the book of Daniel, Lord willing. But paying a special attention, special attention to the ninth chapter of this prophecy of Daniel.
May the Lord be with you in this hectic week. One of my little granddaughters was in a little ballet today at South Coast Plaza. She was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Naturally, grandpa had to go up and see her do her little bit. But oh my, South Coast Plaza on the Sunday before Christmas, what a zoo. Was I ever glad I wasn't there to buy anything, just to observe. And this week before Christmas is so oftentimes hectic. They're out of what you were planning to get, you know. And now it throws a whole new dilemma on this problem of giving the gift. And may the Lord see you through the whole malaise. And may the giving of the gifts to each other become secondary as our relationship with God is enriched and becomes more meaningful. As we remember that God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son. And thus, through it all, may the Lord be magnified and may you be drawn close to Him. And thus, may your Christmas be a very meaningful day of sharing God's love, receiving God's joy, and experiencing the peace of God which passes human understanding. May indeed you know the joy that He came to bring to this world. The peace on earth and the good will. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/daniel-8.html. 2014.
4. The little horn on the goat 8:9-14
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/daniel-8.html. 2012.
The holy ones (Heb. qados) that Daniel heard conversing were evidently angels (cf. Daniel 4:17). Here the transgression in view seems to be that of Antiochus, not the Jews (cf. Daniel 8:12). It causes horror among the Jews because it involves desecration of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:11). The holy place is the temple, and the host is the Jews. The angel wanted to know how long the desecration of the sanctuary and the persecution of the Jews would last.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/daniel-8.html. 2012.
Then I heard one saint speaking,.... An angel, either a created angel, pure and holy in his nature, as Gabriel; or the uncreated Angel Jesus Christ, the Word of God; what he was speaking of is not said; perhaps Daniel did not hear what he said, though he heard him speaking, or perceived that he spake; yet did not understand what he said, or what was the subject of his discourse; very probably it was something relative to the vision now seen:
and another saint said unto that certain saint that spake; another angel said to him that spake, whose name is unknown, only called such an one, or Palmoni, which some render "the wonderful numberer"; or, "the numberer of secrets", or "that has all secrets numbered" g; and apply it to Christ, whose name is "Pele", wonderful; the eternal Word of God, that is in the bosom of the Father, and knows all secrets, and the number of times and seasons, how long they will last; what created angels know not, he does; and therefore they apply to him for instruction and knowledge in hidden things:
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 underfoot? that is, how long will this vision last? or when will this prophecy be at an end, and have its full and final accomplishment? how long will the sacrifice be taken away, or made to cease? how long will that transgression, that abomination, making the temple desolate, the image of Jupiter Olympius set up by Antiochus, continue in it? how long shall it be given to him, or he be permitted to tread under foot, and use in the most contemptuous manner, the temple of the Lord, and his people?
g לפלמוני "illi qui occulta in numerato habet", Junius & Tremellius.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/daniel-8.html. 1999.
|The Vision of the Ram and Goat.||B. C. 553.|
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. 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. 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. 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. 5 And as I was considering, behold, a 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 12 And a 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. 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? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Here is, I. The date of this vision, Daniel 8:1; Daniel 8:1. It was in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, which proved to be his last year, as many reckon; so that this chapter also should be, in order of time, before the fifth. That Daniel might not be surprised at the destruction of Babylon, now at hand, God gives him a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms hereafter, which in their day had been as potent as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be hereafter, when we are gone, we should the less admire, and be less affected with, the changes in our own day; for that which is done is that which shall be done,Ecclesiastes 1:9. Then it was that a vision appeared to me, even to me, Daniel. Here he solemnly attests the truth of it: it was to him, even to him, that the vision was shown; he was the eye-witness of it. And this vision puts him in mind of a former vision which appeared to him at the first, in the first year of this reign, which he makes mention of because this vision was an explication and confirmation of that, and points at many of the same events. That seems to have been a dream, a vision in his sleep; this seems to have been when he was awake.
II. The scene of this vision. The place where that was laid was in Shushan the palace, one of the royal seats of the kings of Persia, situated on the banks of the river Ulai, which surrounded the city; it was in the province of Elam, that part of Persia which lay next to Babylon. Daniel was not there in person, for he was now in Babylon, a captive, in some employment under Belshazzar, and might not go to such a distant country, especially being now an enemy's country. But he was there in vision; as Ezekiel, when a captive in Babylon, was often brought, in the spirit, to the land of Israel. Note, The soul may be a liberty when the body is in captivity; for, when we are bound, the Spirit of the Lord is not bound. The vision related to that country, and therefore there he was made to fancy himself to be as strongly as if he had really been there.
III. The vision itself and the process of it.
1. He saw a ram with two horns,Daniel 8:3; Daniel 8:3. This was the second monarchy, of which the kingdoms of Media and Persia were the two horns. The horns were very high; but that which came up last was the higher, and got the start of the former. So the last shall be first, and the first last. The kingdom of Persia, which rose last, in Cyrus, became more eminent than that of the Medes.
2. He saw this ram pushing all about him with his horns (Daniel 8:4; Daniel 8:4), westward (towards Babylon, Syria, Greece, and Asia the less), northward (towards the Lydians, Armenians, and Scythians), and southward (towards Arabia, Ethiopia, and Egypt), for all these nations did the Persian empire, one time or other, make attempts upon for the enlarging of their dominion. And at last he became so powerful that no beasts might stand before him. This ram, though of a species of animal often preyed upon, became formidable even to the beasts of prey themselves, so that there was no standing before him, no escaping him, none that could deliver out of his hand, but all must yield to him: the kings of Persia did according to their will, prospered in all their ways abroad, had an uncontrollable power at home, and became great. He thought himself great because he did what he would; but to do good is that which makes men truly great.
3. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. He was considering the ram (wondering that so weak an animal should come to be so prevalent) and thinking what would be the issue; and, behold, a he-goat came,Daniel 8:5; Daniel 8:5. This was Alexander the Great, the son of Philip king of Macedonia. He came from the west, from Greece, which lay west from Persia. He fetched a great compass with his army: he came upon the face of the whole earth; he did in effect conquer the world, and then sat down and wept because there was not another world to be conquered. Unus Pellæo juveni non sufficit orbis--One world was too little for the youth of Pellæ. This he-goat (a creature famed for comeliness in going, Proverbs 30:31) went on with incredible swiftness, so that he touched not the ground, so lightly did he move; he rather seemed to fly above the ground than to go upon the ground; or none touched him in the earth, that is, he met with little or no opposition. This he-goat, or buck, had a notable horn between his eyes, like a unicorn. He had strength, and knew his own strength; he saw himself a match for all his neighbours. Alexander pushed his conquests on so fast, and with so much fury, that none of the kingdoms he attacked had courage to make a stand, or give check to the progress of his victorious arms. In six years he made himself master of the greatest part of the then known world. Well might he be called a notable horn, for his name still lives in history as the name of one of the most celebrated commanders in war that ever the world knew. Alexander's victories and achievements are still the entertainment of the ingenious. This he-goat came to the ram that had two horns,Daniel 8:6; Daniel 8:6. Alexander with his victorious army attacked the kingdom of Persia, an army consisting of no more than 30,000 foot and 5000 horse. He ran unto him, to surprise him ere he could get intelligence of his motions, in the fury of his power. He came close to the ram. Alexander with his army came up with Darius Codomannus, then emperor of Persia, being moved with choler against him,Daniel 8:7; Daniel 8:7. It was with the greatest violence that Alexander pushed on his war against Darius, who, though he brought vast numbers into the field, yet, for want of skill, was an unequal match for him, so that Alexander was too hard for him whenever he engaged him, smote him, cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him, which three expressions, some think, refer to the three famous victories that Alexander obtained over Darius, at Granicus, at Issus, and at Arbela, by which he was at length totally routed, having, in the last battle, had 600,000 men killed, so that Alexander became absolute master of all the Persian empire, broke his two horns, the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The ram that had destroyed all before him (Daniel 8:4; Daniel 8:4) now is himself destroyed; Darius has no power to stand before Alexander, not has he any friends or allies to help to deliver him out of his hand. Note, Those kingdoms which, when they had power, abused it, and, because none could oppose them, withheld not themselves from the doing of any wrong, may expect to have their power at length taken from them, and to be served in their own kind, Isaiah 33:1.
4. He saw the he-goat made hereby very considerable; but the great horn, that had done all this execution, was broken,Daniel 8:8; Daniel 8:8. Alexander was about twenty years old when he began his wars. When he was about twenty-six he conquered Darius, and became master of the whole Persian empire; but when he was about thirty-two or thirty-three years of age, when he was strong, in his full strength, he was broken. He was not killed in war, in the bed of honour, but died of a drunken surfeit, or, as some suspect, by poison and left no child living behind him to enjoy that which he had endlessly laboured for, but left a lasting monument of the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and their insufficiency to make a man happy.
5. He saw this kingdom divided into four parts, and that instead of that one great horn there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four captains, to whom he bequeathed his conquests; and he had so much that, when it was divided among four, they had each of them enough for any one man. These four notable horns were towards the four winds of heaven, the same with the four heads of the leopard (Daniel 7:6; Daniel 7:6), the kingdoms of Syria and Egypt, Asia and Greece-Syria lying to the east, Greece to the west, Asia Minor to the north, and Egypt to the south. Note, Those that heap up riches know not who shall gather them, nor whose all those things shall be which they have provided.
6. He saw a little horn which became a great persecutor of the church and people of God; and this was the principal thing that was intended to be shown to him in this vision, as afterwards, Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:30, c. All agree that this was Antiochus Epiphanes (so he called himself)--the illustrious, but others called him Antiochus Epimanes--Antiochus the furious. He is called here (as before, Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:8), a little horn, because he was in his original contemptible; there were others between him and the kingdom, and he was of a base servile disposition, had nothing in him of princely qualities, and had been for some time a hostage and prisoner at Rome, whence he made his escape, and, though, the youngest brother, and his elder living, got the kingdom. He waxed exceedingly great towards the south, for he seized upon Egypt, and towards the east, for he invaded Persia and Armenia. But that which is here especially taken notice of is the mischief that he did to the people of the Jews. They are not expressly named, or prophecies must not be too plain; but they are here so described that it would be easy for those who understood scripture-language to know who were meant; and the Jews, having notice of this before, might be awakened to prepare themselves and their children beforehand for these suffering trying times. (1.) He set himself against the pleasant land, the land of Israel, so called because it was the glory of all lands, for fruitfulness and all the delights of human life, but especially for the tokens of God's presence in it, and its being blessed with divine revelations and institutions; it was Mount Zion that was beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth,Psalms 48:2. The pleasantness of that land was that there the Messiah was to be born, who would be both the consolation and the glory of his people Israel. Note, We have reason to reckon that a pleasant place which is a holy place, in which God dwells, and where we may have opportunity of communing with him. Surely, It is good to be here. (2.) He fought against the host of heaven, that is, the people of God, the church, which is the kingdom of heaven, the church-militant here on earth. The saints, being born from above, and citizens of heaven, and doing the will of God, by his grace, in some measure, as the angels of heaven do it, may be well called a heavenly host. Or the priests and Levites, who were employed in the service of the tabernacle, and there warred a good warfare, were this host of heaven. These Antiochus set himself against; he waxed great to the host of heaven, in opposition to them and in defiance of them. (3.) He cast down some of the host (that is, of the stars, for they are called the host of heaven) to the ground, and stamped upon them. Some of those that were most eminent both in church and state, that were burning and shining lights in their generation, he either forced to comply with his idolatries or put them to death; he got them into his hands, and then trampled upon them and triumphed over them; as good old Eleazar, and the seven brethren, whom he put to death with cruel tortures, because they would not eat swine's flesh, 2 Mac. vi. 7. He gloried in it that herein he insulted Heaven itself and exalted his throne above the stars of God,Isaiah 14:13. (4.) He magnified himself even to the prince of the host. He set himself against the high priest, Onias, whom he deprived of his dignity, or rather against God himself, who was Israel's King of old, who reigns for ever Zion's King, who himself heads his own host that fight his battles. Against him Antiochus magnified himself; as Pharaoh, when he said, Who is the Lord? Note, Those who persecute the people of God persecute God himself. (5.) He took away the daily sacrifice. The morning and evening lamb, which God appointed to be offered every day upon his altar to his honour, Antiochus forbade and restrained the offering of. No doubt he took away all other sacrifices, but only the daily sacrifice is mentioned, because that was the greatest loss of all, for in that they kept up their constant communion with God, which they preferred before that which is only occasional. God's people reckon their daily sacrifices, their morning and evening exercises of devotion, the most needful of their daily business and the most delightful of their daily comforts, and would not for all the world part with them. (6.) He cast down the place of his sanctuary. He did not burn and demolish the temple, but he cast it down, when he profaned it, made it the temple of Jupiter Olympius, and set up his image in it. He also cast down the truth to the ground, trampled upon the book of the law, that word of truth, tore it, and burnt it, and did what he could to destroy it quite, that it might be lost and forgotten for ever. These were the projects of that wicked prince. In these he practised. And (would you think it?) in these he prospered. He carried the matter very far, seemed to have gained his point, and went near to extirpate that holy religion which God's right hand had planted. But lest he or any other should triumph, as if herein he had prevailed against God himself and been too hard for him, the matter is here explained and set in a true light. [1.] He could not have done this if God had not permitted him to do it, could have had no power against Israel unless it had been given him from above. God put this power into his hand, and gave him a host against the daily sacrifice. God's providence put that sword into his hand by which he was enabled thus to bear down all before him. Note, We ought to eye and own the hand of God in all the enterprises and all the successes of the church's enemies against the church. They are but the rod in God's hand. [2.] God would not have permitted it if his people had not provoked him to do so. It is by reason of transgression, the transgression of Israel, to correct them for that, that Antiochus is employed to give them all this trouble. Note, When the pleasant land and all its pleasant things are laid waste, it must be acknowledged that sin is the procuring cause of all the desolation. Who gave Jacob to the spoil? Did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned?Isaiah 42:24. The great transgression of the Jews after the captivity (when they were cured of idolatry) was a contempt and profanation of the holy things, snuffing at the service of God, bringing the torn and the lame for sacrifice, as if the table of the Lord were a contemptible thing (so we find Malachi 1:7; Malachi 1:8, c., and that the priests were guilty of this Malachi 2:1; Malachi 2:8), and therefore God sent Antiochus to take away the daily sacrifice and cast down the place of his sanctuary. Note, It is just with God to deprive those of the privileges of his house who despise and profane them, and to make those know the worth of ordinances by the want of them who would not know it by the enjoyment of them.
7. He heard the time of this calamity limited and determined, not the time when it should come (that is not here fixed, because God would have his people always prepared for it), but how long it should last, that, when they had no more any prophets to tell them how long (Psalms 74:9, which psalm seems to have been calculated for this dark and doleful day), they might have this prophecy to give them a prospect of deliverance in due time. Now concerning this we have here,
(1.) The question asked concerning it, Daniel 8:13; Daniel 8:13. Observe [1.] By whom the question was put: I heard one saint speaking to this purport, and then another saint seconded him. "O that we knew how long this trouble will last!" The angels here are called saints, for they are holy ones (Daniel 4:13; Daniel 4:13), the holy myriads,Jude 1:14. The angels concern themselves in the affairs of the church, and enquire concerning them, if, as here, concerning its temporal salvations, much more do they desire to look into the great salvation,1 Peter 1:12. One saint spoke of the thing, and another enquired concerning it. Thus John, who lay in Christ's bosom, was beckoned to by Peter to ask Christ a question, John 13:23; John 13:24. [2.] To whom the question was put. He said unto Palmoni that spoke. Some make this certain saint to be a superior angel who understood more than the rest, to whom therefore they came with their enquiries. Others make it to be the eternal Word, the Son of God. He is the unknown One. Palmoni seems to be compounded of Peloni Almoni, which is used (Ruth 4:1) for Ho, such a one, and (2 Kings 6:8) for such a place. Christ was yet the nameless One. Wherefore asked thou after my name, seeing it is secret?Judges 13:18. He is the numberer of secrets (as some translate it), for from him there is nothing hidden--the wonderful numberer, so others; his name is called Wonderful. Note, If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Jesus Christ, who lay in the bosom of the Father, and in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, not hidden from us, but hidden for us. [3.] The question itself that was asked: "How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice? How long shall the prohibition of it continue? How long shall the pleasant land be made unpleasant by that severe interdict? How long shall the transgression of desolation (the image of Jupiter), that great transgression which makes all our sacred things desolate, how long shall that stand in the temple? How long shall the sanctuary and the host, the holy place and the holy persons that minister in it, be trodden under foot by the oppressor?" Note, Angels are concerned for the prosperity of the church on earth and desirous to see an end of its desolations. The angels asked, for the satisfaction of Daniel, not doubting but he was desirous to know, how long these calamities should last? The question takes it for granted that they should not last always. The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, though it may come upon their lot. Christ comforted himself in his sufferings with this, The things concerning me have an end (Luke 22:37), and so may the church in hers. But it is desirable to know how long they shall last, that we may provide accordingly.
(2.) The answer given to this question, Daniel 8:14; Daniel 8:14. Christ gives instruction to the holy angels, for they are our fellow-servants; but here the answer was given to Daniel, because for his sake the question was asked: He said unto me. God sometimes gives in great favours to his people, in answer to the enquiries and requests of their friends for them. Now, [1.] Christ assures him that the trouble shall end; it shall continue 2300 days and no longer, so many evenings and mornings (so the word is), so many nychthemerai, so many natural days, reckoned, as in the beginning of Genesis, by the evenings and mornings, because it was the evening and the morning sacrifice that they most lamented the loss of, and thought the time passed very slowly while they were deprived of them. Some make the morning and the evening, in this number, to stand for two, and then 2300 evenings and as many mornings will make but 1150 days; and about so many days it was that the daily sacrifice was interrupted: and this comes nearer to the computation (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 7:25) of a time, times, and the dividing of a time. But it is less forced to understand them of so many natural days; 2300 days make six years and three months, and about eighteen days; and just so long they reckon from the defection of the people, procured by Menelaus the high priest in the 142nd year of the kingdom of the Seleucidæ, the sixth month of that year, and the 6th day of the month (so Josephus dates it), to the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the reestablishment of religion among them, which was in the 148th year, the 9th month, and the 25th day of the month, 1 Mac. iv. 52. God reckons the time of his people's afflictions he is afflicted. Revelation 2:10, Thou shalt have tribulation ten days. [2.] He assures him that they shall see better days afterwards: Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Note, The cleansing of the sanctuary is a happy token for good to any people; when they begin to be reformed they will soon be relieved. Though the righteous God may, for the correction of his people, suffer his sanctuary to be profaned for a while, yet the jealous God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of it in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church, and he will so cleanse it as at length to present it blameless to himself.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Daniel 8:13". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/daniel-8.html. 1706.
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter