|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:15-27 The eternal Son of God stood before the prophet in the appearance of a man, and directed the angel Gabriel to explain the vision. Daniel's fainting and astonishment at the prospect of evils he saw coming on his people and the church, confirm the opinion that long-continued calamities were foretold. The vision being ended, a charge was given to Daniel to keep it private for the present. He kept it to himself, and went on to do the duty of his place. As long as we live in this world we must have something to do in it; and even those whom God has most honoured, must not think themselves above their business. Nor must the pleasure of communion with God take us from the duties of our callings, but we must in them abide with God. All who are intrusted with public business must discharge their trust uprightly; and, amidst all doubts and discouragements, they may, if true believers, look forward to a happy issue. Thus should we endeavour to compose our minds for attending to the duties to which each is appointed, in the church and in the world.
Verse 20. - The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. All the versions - the Septuagint, Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate - have read, not מַלְכֵי, as we find in the Massoretic text, but מֶלֶד The ancient construct case in Hebrew was formed by adding י to the root. Possibly this may be a survival of that usage. In this case the change is due to scribal blunder. When we turn to Jeremiah 25:25 and Jeremiah 51:11, 58, we have the same phrases used as here: this is probably the origin of the blunder. For any one to ground an argument, as does Professor Bevan, on this, and maintain that it proves the writer to have held that there were two separate empires - one of Media, and the other of Persia - is absurd. When the true reading is adopted, this passage proves the very reverse of that for which Professor Bevan contends. The reasoning of Kliefoth, that the distinction between plural and singular points to the fact that, while several kings reigned ever the Persian Empire, only one ruled over the Greek, is very ingenious, but, unfortunately, it has no foundation in fact. "King," it may be observed, stands for dynasty, only that in the crisis of history, when the two powers encountered, each was ruled and represented by one king - Persia by Darius Codomannus, and Greece by Alexander.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The ram which thou sawest having two horns,.... Here begins the particular explanation of the above vision, and of the first thing which the prophet saw in it, a ram with two horns: which two horns, he says,
are the kings of Media and Persia; Darius the first king was a Mede, and Cyrus, that succeeded him, or rather reigned with him, was a Persian: or rather the ram with two horns signifies the two kingdoms of the Medes and Persians united in one monarchy, of which the ram was an emblem; See Gill on Daniel 8:3 for Darius and Cyrus were dead many years before the time of Alexander; and therefore could not personally be the two horns of the ram broken by him; nor is it to be understood of the kings of two different families, as the one of. Cyrus, and the other of Darius Hystaspes, in whose successors the Persian monarchy continued till destroyed by Alexander, as Theodoret.
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