Daniel 8 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Daniel 8)
8:1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, [even unto] me Daniel, a after that which appeared unto me at the first.

(a) After the general vision, he comes to certain particular visions with regard to the destruction of the monarchy of the Persians, and Macedonians: for the ruin of the Babylonians was at hand, and also he had sufficiently spoken of it.

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 b of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.

(b) That is, of Persia.

8:3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a c ram which had [two] horns: and the [two] horns [were] high; but one [was] d higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

(c) Which represented the kingdom of the Persians and Medes, which were united together.
(d) Meaning Cyrus, who after grew greater in power than Darius his uncle and father-in-law.

8:4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no e 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.

(e) That is, no kings or nations.

8:5 And as I was considering, behold, f 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 g horn between his eyes.

(f) Meaning Alexander that came from Greece with great speed and warlike undertaking.
(g) Even though he came in the name of all Greece, yet he bore the title and dignity of the general captain, so that the strength was attributed to him, which is meant by this horn.

8:7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and h 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.

(h) Alexander overcame Darius in two different battles, and so had the two kingdoms of the Medes and Persians.

8:8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great i horn was broken; and for it came up four k notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

(i) Alexander's great power was broken: for when he had overcome all the East, he thought to return towards Greece to subdue those that had rebelled, and so died along the way.
(k) That is, who were famous: for almost in the space of fifteen years there were fifteen different successors before this monarchy was divided to these four, of which Cassander had Macedonia, Seleucus had Syria, Antigonus had Asia the less, and Ptolemeus had Egypt.

8:9 And out of one of them came forth a l little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the m south, and toward the n east, and toward the o pleasant [land].

(l) Which was Antiochus Epiphanes, who was of a servile and flattering nature, and also there were others between him and the kingdom: and therefore he is here called the little horn, because neither princely conditions, nor any other thing was in him, why he should obtain this kingdom.
(m) That is, towards Egypt.
(n) By which he means Ptolemais.
(o) That is, Judea.

8:10 And it waxed great, [even] to the p host of heaven; and it cast down [some] of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

(p) Antiochus raged against the elect of God, and tread his precious stars underfoot, who are so called because they are separated from the world.

8:11 Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the q prince of the host, and by him the r daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

(q) That is, God, who governs and maintains his Church.
(r) He laboured to abolish all religion, and therefore cast God's service out of his temple, which God had chosen as a little corner from all the rest of the world to have his name there truly called upon.

8:12 And s an host was given [him] against the daily [sacrifice] by reason of transgression, and it t cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

(s) He shows that their sins are the cause of these horrible afflictions: and yet comforts them, in that he appoints this tyrant for a time, whom he would not allow to utterly abolish his religion.
(t) This horn will abolish for a time the true doctrine, and so corrupt God's service.

8:13 Then I heard one u 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 x desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the y host to be trodden under foot?

(u) Meaning that he heard one of the angels asking this question of Christ, whom he called a certain one, or a secret one, or a marvellous one.
(x) That is, the Jews' sins, which were the cause of its destruction.
(y) That is, which suppresses God's religion and his people.

8:14 And z he said unto me, Unto a two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

(z) Christ answered me for the comfort of the Church.
(a) That is, until so many natural days have passed, which make six years, and three and a half months: for the temple was profaned this long under Antiochus.

8:15 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 b as the appearance of a man.

(b) Who was Christ who in this manner declared himself to the old fathers, how he would be God manifest in flesh.

8:16 And I heard a man's voice between [the banks of] Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, c make this [man] to understand the vision.

(c) This power to command the angel, declared that he was God.

8:17 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 d at the time of the end [shall be] the vision.

(d) The effect of this vision will not yet appear, until a long time after.

8:19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last e end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end [shall be].

(e) Meaning that great rage which Antiochus would show against the Church.

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

(f) That is, out of Greece.
(g) They will not have similar power as Alexander had.

8:23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of h fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

(h) Noting that this Antiochus was impudent and cruel, and also crafty so that he could not be deceived.

8:24 And his power shall be mighty, but not i by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the k mighty and the holy people.

(i) That is, not like Alexander's strength.
(k) Both the Gentiles that dwelt around him, and also the Jews.

8:25 And through his l policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by m peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the n Prince of princes; but he shall be broken o without hand.

(l) Whatever he goes about by his craft, he will bring it to pass.
(m) That is, under pretence of peace, or as it were in sport.
(n) Meaning, against God.
(o) For God would destroy him with a notable plague, and so comfort his Church.

8:26 And the vision of the p evening and the morning which was told [is] true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it [shall be] for many days.

(p) Read (Daniel 8:14).

8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick q [certain] days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood [it].

(q) Because of fear and astonishment.