Brit-Am Biblical Commentaries
Daniel Foresees Alexander the Great and the Distant Future
Daniel and the One-Horned Goat
This chapter is in Hebrew. Up unto now from the second chapter onwards the language used has been Aramaic.
[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 8:2] 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.
RIVER: The word used here for "River" is "Uval" or "Ubal". It is an unusual form possibly from the root "Hoval" meaning to conduct and therefore connoting some kind of canal or river converted into a canal.
"Elam" was a son of Shem. The Elamites had been conquered by the Persians. The rank and file of the Persian forces spoke the Elamite language which may have been similar to Hungarian. One of the sages identified the Persians as Elamites. Craig White in his work "The Origin of Nations" traces the Poles of Poland to Elam. There was also a branch of Elam in what is now Serbia.
<<THE RIVER>>: According to the Bible bodies of water in their natural state (rivers, springs, the sea, etc) are sources of purity. Areas outside the Land of Israel relatively speaking are impure but where there is water this is less applicable and such areas are more suited for Divine Inspiration. The Sages also said that most sailors are naturally religious. This may come as a surprise to some of us who are used to the popular image of pirates and sailors out on the town but perhaps this is a misconception.
[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.
There once existed a kind of wild goat that had a one-horn type protuberance on its forehead. It was known to the Assyrian as a "sakea". It is depicted on the Black Obelisk of King Shalmaneser III (r. 858-824 BC).
[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 8:5] 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.
See our article,
"The Unicorn" by Yair Davidiy in "Brit-Am Truth" issue no.7
See also the article by Michael Banyai
"THE ARAB FRINGE"
Scroll down to almost half-way to see the picture.
Banyai describes it as looking like a kind of deer and suggests that it never existed but was a mythical creature. It our mind it looks more like a large wild goat.
Rabbi Saadia says that the horn represents rulership.
[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.
We will see below that the angel Gabriel explains to Daniel that the Ram with two horns represents the Persian Empire of the Medes and Persians. The wild one-horned goat is Alexander the Great who established the Macedonian-Greek Empire. When Alexander died his Empire was divided into four independent sections. One of these sections was the Seleucids who were centered in Syria and oppressed the Jews until they rebelled and declared their independence under the Maccabees. The Hasmoneans (Maccabees) were a priestly family (Cohens) from t he Tribe of Levi.
An interesting Midrash says:
<<Four tribes from amongst the Tribes of Israel were chosen to overcome the Four Kingdoms.
The Tribe of Judah, the lion's cub (Genesis 49:9), was destined to overcome Babylon. This was fulfilled in Daniel who was from the Tribe of Judah. He ruled over Babylon and in the end was instrumental in its fall when he read the writing on the wall (Daniel ch.5).
The Tribe of Benjamin, the wolf (Genesis 49:27), was destined to overcome Persia. This was fulfilled in Mordecai who was from Benjamin (The Book of Esther).
The Tribe of Levi, who were the smallest in number of all the tribes, was destined to overcome the Kingdom of Yavan [Greece] whose soldiers were numerous. This was fulfilled in the Hasmoneans who were from the Tribe of Levi. The Greeks ("The Many against the few") were delivered in to their hands. This is what Moses intended, "SMITE THROUGH THE LOINS OF THEM THAT RISE AGAINST HIM, AND OF THEM THAT HATE HIM, THAT THEY RISE NOT AGAIN" [Deuteronomy 33:11]. The Tribe of Joseph is destined (in the Last Days) to overcome the Kingdom of Edom. The horns of Joseph, "HIS HORNS ARE LIKE THE HORNS OF UNICORNS" [Deuteronomy 33:17], will break the ten horns of Edom>>
(Midrash Breishit Rabah 99, 2, Theodore-Albeck pp.1273-1274, quoted in "Daat Mikra").
On the subject of Joseph versus Edom in the Last Days see the Brit-Am Commentary to Obadiah 1:21
Another point (also quoted by "Daat Mikra") is that according to another Midrash (Shochar Tov, Tehilim 6) the Four Kingdoms come in pairs i.e. there are not just Four Kingdoms but rather eight with each pair being counted as one.
The four pairs are:
Another version (Eicah Rabah 1:14) gives Seir-Edom as the last couple instead of Ishmael-Edom.
[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.
<<THE PLEASANT LAND>>: Hebrew "Eretz HaZvi" i.e. Land that is Desirable" meaning the Land of Israel.
[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 8:9] 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 8:10] 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.
Daat Mikra quotes sources to the effect that the stars that were trampled down were the Holy Men (Hasidim) of Judah who gave their lives for their faith.
See the following Brit-Am articles for some background to the Maccabee Period.
Antiochus and the Revolt of the Macabees
[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 THE SANCTUARY WAS CAST DOWN.
The Malbim says that two prophecies are indicated here: The abolition of the daily sacrifice by Antiochus and the destruction of the Temple by the Romans.
[Daniel 8:12] 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.
This is Rome (Malbim) and the Nations of Europe that developed from Rome.
[Daniel 8:13] 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?
On the principle of a year for a day one could say that this indicates that the site of the Temple will be purified and ready use once more 2300 years after its destruction. It was destroyed in ca. 70 CE so that leaves a lot of time. Some Commentators said that the years should be counted from the time of the destruction of the First Temple or from when Daniel received the prophecy but if so the appointed hour has already passed. Other reckonings have been made and had been proved mistaken. No-one really knows.
[Daniel 8:14] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, UNTO TWO THOUSAND AND THREE HUNDRED DAYS; THEN SHALL THE SANCTUARY BE CLEANSED.
Pictures of Temple Being Destroyed
[Daniel 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 AS THE APPEARANCE OF A MAN.
Only in the Book of Daniel are angels recalled by their names. Here we have Gabriel and later there is Michael (Daniel 10:13, 21 12:1).
[Daniel 8:16] AND I HEARD A MAN'S VOICE BETWEEN THE BANKS OF ULAI, WHICH CALLED, AND SAID, GABRIEL, MAKE THIS MAN TO UNDERSTAND THE VISION.
[Daniel 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 AT THE TIME OF THE END SHALL BE THE VISION.
<< THE TIME OF THE END>>: Hebrew "Moed Kaytz" which could also be interpreted to connote "The End of the Period". Nevertheless there are grounds to agree with the understanding that this vision has applicability to the End Times in addition to its express pertinence to the Hasmonean Era.
[Daniel 8:18] 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.
[Daniel 8:19] 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.
[Daniel 8:20] THE RAM WHICH THOU SAWEST HAVING TWO HORNS ARE THE KINGS OF MEDIA AND PERSIA.
[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.
<<GRECIA>>: In Hebrew "Yavan". The Russian Orthodox Church follows the Greek Rite. The Cossacks who were the instruments of Russian Imperialism and frequently persecuted the Jews with massacres and pogroms are often referred to in Rabbinical Literature of thev time as "Yavanim" (belonging to Yavan-Greece) apparently because they were fanatical adherents of the Russian (Greek-Rite) Orthodox Church.
[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.
<<THE LATTER TIME OF THEIR KINGDOM>>: Commentators (Rashi, Nachmanides, Saadia) understood the Prophecy here to go beyond the Hasmonean Period into that of the Romans and after them the Ishmaelites (Muslim Arabs) and beyond.
[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 8:24] 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.
All this is speaking of some leader of anti-Israelite forces who will take over the world in the End Times, do evil and persecute the Holy Ones of Israel. Hitler may have been a kind of prototype for this creature. Hitler was mentally and physically sick and perverted but he had the ability to inspire his people to make superhuman efforts for an evil selfish cause. He was also able to promote and execute a program of extermination against the People of God and convinced his followers that they were doing what they should do and gave their lives for it.
[Daniel 8:25] 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.
[Daniel 8:26] 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.
[Daniel 8:27] 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.
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