Daniel – Chapter 8

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The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 8


1 After this first vision, I, Daniel, had another, in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar.


2 In my vision I saw myself in the fortress of Susa in the province of Elam; I was beside the river Ulai.


I looked up and saw standing by the river a ram with two great horns, the one larger and newer than the other.


I saw the ram butting toward the west, north, and south. No beast could withstand it or be rescued from its power; it did what it pleased and became very powerful.


As I was reflecting, a he-goat with a prominent horn on its forehead suddenly came from the west across the whole earth without touching the ground.


It approached the two-horned ram I had seen standing by the river, and rushed toward it with savage force.


I saw it attack the ram with furious blows when they met, and break both its horns. It threw the ram, which had not the force to withstand it, to the ground, and trampled upon it; and no one could rescue it from its power.


The he-goat became very powerful, but at the height of its power the great horn was shattered, and in its place came up four others, facing the four winds of heaven.


3 Out of one of them came a little horn which kept growing toward the south, the east, and the glorious country.


4 Its power extended to the host of heaven, so that it cast down to earth some of the host and some of the stars and trampled on them.


It boasted even against the prince of the host, from whom it removed the daily sacrifice, and whose sanctuary it cast down,


as well as the host, while sin replaced the daily sacrifice. It cast truth to the ground, and was succeeding in its undertaking.


5 I heard a holy one speaking, and another said to whichever one it was that spoke, «How long shall the events of this vision last concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating sin which is placed there, the sanctuary, and the trampled host?»


He answered him, «For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be purified.»


While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, a manlike figure stood before me,


6 and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, «Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.»


7 When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, «Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the end time.»


As he spoke to me, I fell forward in a faint; he touched me and made me stand up.


«I will show you,» he said, «what is to happen later in the period of wrath; for at the appointed time, there will be an end.


«The two-horned ram you saw represents the kings of the Medes and Persians.


The he-goat is the king of the Greeks, and the great horn on its forehead is the first king.


The four that rose in its place when it was broken are four kingdoms that will issue from his nation, but without his strength.


«After their reign, when sinners have reached their measure, There shall arise a king, impudent and skilled in intrigue.


He shall be strong and powerful, bring about fearful ruin, and succeed in his undertaking. He shall destroy powerful peoples;


his cunning shall be against the holy ones, his treacherous conduct shall succeed. He shall be proud of heart and destroy many by stealth. But when he rises against the prince of princes, he shall be broken without a hand being raised.


The vision of the evenings and the mornings is true, as spoken; Do you, however, keep this vision undisclosed, because the days are to be many.»


I, Daniel, was weak and ill for some days; then I arose and took care of the king’s affairs. But I was appalled at the vision, which I could not understand.


1 [1-27] This vision repeats the major part of the preceding one, though in a more explicit fashion. As explained in ⇒ Daniel 8:20-22 the two-horned ram represents the combined kingdom of the Medes and Persians, destroyed by Alexander’s Hellenistic empire originating in the west. Once again the author is interested only in the Seleucid dynasty, which emerged from the dissolution of Alexander’s empire after his death in 323 B.C.
2 [2] The fortress of Susa: the royal palace of the Persian kings in the ancient territory of Elam, east of Babylonia. The river Ulai: a canal along the northern side of Susa.
3 [9] A little horn, as in Daniel 7 is Antiochus IV. The glorious country: Palestine.
4 [10-12] The host of heaven: ordinarily meaning the stars, here refers to the people of God; cf ⇒ Daniel 12:3. The prince of the host: God himself, with whose holy religion Antiochus interfered (⇒ 1 Macc 1:45).
5 [13] The desolating sin: the Hebrew contains a wordplay (shomem) on the name Baal Shamem («lord of the heavens,» the Greek Zeus Olympios), referring to the statue with which Antiochus profaned the temple of Jerusalem (⇒ 2 Macc 6:2).
6 [16] The angel Gabriel is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. There is wordplay in the preceding verse on geber – manlike figure.
7 [17] The end time: the day of the Lord, when God sits in judgment on his enemies (⇒ Daniel 8:19).