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 on them.
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(10) The host of heaven.—Probably meaning the stars, as Jeremiah 33:22, but in a metaphorical sense indicating the people of Israel. (Comp. Exodus 7:4; Numbers 24:17.) The actions of Antiochus, predicted here, are related 1 Maccabees 1:24; 1 Maccabees 1:30; 1 Maccabees 1:37; 1 Maccabees 2:38; 2 Maccabees 9:10.

Daniel 8:10-11. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven — By the host of heaven, seems to be here meant the Jewish priesthood, so called from their continual attendance on God’s service in the temple, as the angels do in heaven. The word צבא, here rendered host, is applied to the attendants in the sanctuary, Exodus 38:8; Numbers 4:23. And it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground — Persons of principal dignity and high offices are often called stars in the Scriptures. In Isaiah 24:21, The host of the high ones that are on high, is explained by Vitringa of the Jewish rulers and people: see Daniel 12:3, and Revelation 1:20, where the angels, or governors of the church, are called stars. The words here seem to import, either that Antiochus should put an end to the services of the temple, by taking away the daily sacrifice, Daniel 8:12; or else that he should seduce some of the priests and rulers, by threats and flatteries, to turn apostates. And stamped upon them — Utterly subdued and destroyed them: see Daniel 7:7. Yea, he magnified himself even to [or against] the prince of the host — This may be understood of the high-priest Onias, (compare Daniel 11:22,) whom Antiochus deprived of his office, putting Jason in his place, an ungodly wretch, who set up heathen rites in God’s temple, 2Ma 4:13-17. But Jerome and Theodoret understand it of God himself, as do many others; or of Christ, the High-Priest over the house of God, whose sanctuary the temple is called in the following words. Antiochus erected in the temple a statue to Jupiter Olympus, deservedly esteemed the abomination of desolation, and thus magnified himself against God, to whom the sanctuary and its services were appropriated. And by him the daily sacrifice was taken away — The sacrifice which was offered, in the name of the whole nation, every morning and evening: see Numbers 28:3. This was taken away by Antiochus, together with the whole customary worship, and both altar and temple profaned: see 1Ma 1:44-64. And the place of his sanctuary was cast down — Or cast out, or rendered profane: comp. Revelation 11:2. It was deprived of the honour and privileges that belonged to a holy place, as if the enclosures had been thrown down which separated it from common ground. It may include also the profanation of the high- priesthood, which Antiochus set up to sale, and let men of the most profligate lives have it; so that both the sanctuary itself, and the priesthood, might truly be said to be rendered profane.8:1-14 God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we are gone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day. The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media and Persia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This was Alexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years of age, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy. While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting the death of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the great First Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute, and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. A little horn became a great persecutor of the church and people of God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointed out. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holy religion God's right hand had planted. 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. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited and determined; but not the time when it should come. If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, but hid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time here stated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it as to present it blameless to himself.And it waxed great - It became very powerful. This was eminently true of Antiochus, after having subdued Egypt, etc.

Even to the host of heaven - Margin, against. The Hebrew word (עד ‛ad) means "to" or "unto," and the natural idea would seem to be that he wished to place himself among the stars, or to exalt himself above all that was earthly. Compare the notes at Isaiah 14:13 : "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God." Lengerke supposes that the meaning here is, that he not only carried his conquests to Egypt and to the East, and to the holy land in general, but that he made war on the holy army of God - the priests and worshippers of Jehovah, here spoken of as the host of heaven. So Maurer understands it. In 2 Macc. 9:10, Antiochus is described in this language: "And the man that thought a little afore he could reach the stars of heaven, etc." The connection, would seem to demand the interpretation proposed by Lengerke and Maurer, for it is immediately said that he cast down some of the host and the stars to the ground. And such an interpretation accords with the language elsewhere used, of the priests and rulers of the Hebrew people. Thus, in Isaiah 24:21, they are called "the host of the high ones that are on high." See the note at that passage. This language is by no means uncommon in the Scriptures. It is usual to compare princes and rulers, and especially ecclesiastical rulers, with the sun, moon, and stars. Undoubtedly it is the design here to describe the pride and ambition of Antiochus, and to show that he did not think anything too exalted for his aspiration. None were too high or too sacred to be secure from his attempts to overthrow them, and even those who, by their position and character, seemed to deserve to be spoken of as suns and stars, as "the host of heaven," were not secure.

And it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground - The horn seemed to grow up to the stars, and to wrest them from their places, and to cast them to the earth. Antiochus, in the fulfillment of this, east down and trampled on the princes, and rulers, and people, of the holy host or army of God. All that is implied in this was abundantly fulfilled in what he did to the Jewish people. Compare 1 Macc. 1, and 2 Macc. 8:2.

And stamped upon them - With indignation and contempt. Nothing could better express the conduct of Antiochus toward the Jews.

10. great, even to … host of heaven—explained in Da 8:24, "the mighty and holy people," that is, the Jews (Da 7:21) and their priests (compare Isa 24:21). The Levites' service is called "a warfare" (Nu 8:24, 25, Margin). Great civil and religious powers are symbolized by "stars" (Mt 24:29). See 1 Maccabees 1:25, &c.; 1 Maccabees 2:35, &c.; 1 Maccabees 5:2, 12, 13. Tregelles refers "stars" to those Jews whose portion from God is heavenly glory (Da 12:3), being believers in Him who is above at God's right hand: not the blinded Jews.

cast … stars to the ground—So Babel, as type of Antichrist, is described (Isa 14:13, 14), "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God." Compare Re 12:4; 2 Maccabees 9:10, as to Antiochus.

Even to the host of heaven, i.e. the church of God militant, who worship the God of heaven, who are citizens of heaven, whose names are written in heaven; and among these chiefly the priests, and nobles, and champions, who were as stars shining above the rest; these he profaned and slew cruelly. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven,.... The people of the Jews, the army of the living God, the church militant, among whom were many of the citizens of heaven, whose names are written there; such was the insolence of this king, as to molest and disturb them:

and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped them; some of the common people he persecuted and destroyed, or prevailed upon them, either by threats or flatteries, to relinquish their religion; and even some of the "stars", the lights of the people, the priests and Levites, that ministered unto them; or the princes, and elders of the people, whom he slew, as Jacchiades interprets it; or removed from their posts so that they could not do their office; or they turned apostates; and those that did not he barbarously put to death, and insulted over them, and used them in a very contemptuous manner, as old Eleazar, the mother and her seven sons; see 2 Maccabees chapter 7.

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.

10. The horn ‘waxed great,’ in the vision, not only over the surface of the earth (Daniel 8:9); it even towered up to heaven, struck and hurled down to the earth some of the stars, and then trampled contumeliously upon them.

even to] as far as, so as even to reach. Cf. Isaiah 14:13-14; Job 20:6; and 2Ma 9:10, ‘the man (Ant. Ep.) that a little afore supposed himself to touch the stars of heaven.’ The ‘host of heaven’ are the stars (as Deuteronomy 4:19, Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 33:22, and elsewhere)[323]. Antiochus did not merely (cf. the passages quoted) touch heaven in his pride: he is represented further, with allusion to his insolent assaults upon the religion of the Jews, and to the martyrs who fell in consequence (Daniel 8:24; cf. 1Ma 1:24; 1Ma 1:30; 1Ma 1:57; 1Ma 1:63, &c.), as audaciously attacking it, and hurling down some of the stars to the earth.

[323] See Host of Heaven in Hasytings’ Dict. of the Bible. It denotes them as a disciplined army, obedient to the commands of its leader (Isaiah 40:26).

and it cast, &c.] better, R.V. and some of the host and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled (Daniel 8:7) upon them. The stars are intended to symbolize the faithful Israelites: cf. Enoch xlvi. 7.Verse 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. The reading of the LXX. is very different after the first clause, "And it was exalted to the stars of heaven, and it was shattered to the earth by thestars, and by them trampled down." The verb תַּסֵּל (tappayl) translated "cast down," has been read as if it had been תֻּפַּל (tooppal). So too the last verb has evidently been read וַירְמְסוּהוּ (vayyir'msoohoo) instead of וַתִּרְמְסֵם (vattir'msaym), due to the resemblance which there was between yod and tan in the older script. Theodotion differs hardly less from the Massoretic, "And it was magnified to the power of heaven, and it fell to the earth from the power of heaven and from the stars, and they trode them down." The verb translated "fell" is evidently read with a vocalization different from both the Massoretic and the LXX The sense of Theodotion is more in accordance with the Septuagint than with the Massoretic. The Peshitta and the Vulgate agree with the Massoretic. The question of which reading is to be preferred can scarcely be settled without regarding the meaning of the terms here used. The crucial point is - What is the meaning of the "host of heaven"? The general consensus of interpreters is that this refers to Israel. Some maintain that the best of heaven is Israel, and the stars their leaders (Glassins); the stars are the Levites (Grotius). Moses Stuart would hold the host to be the priests, and the stars the teachers. Kliefoth is right in commencing first with the picture, and requiring that it be realized in thought. The horn grows and grows before Daniel's gaze, until it seems to touch the stars, that is, the host of heaven. As to what is meant by the stars, we must look elsewhere for an explanation. Have we any right to take "the host of heaven" as meaning the people of God? The phrase, "host of heaven," occurs elsewhere in Scripture nearly a score of times, and it rover means anything else than the stars or the angels. Therefore all interpretations that make this mean either the people of God or the Levites, must be thrown aside. It may, however, mean the people of God mediately. A quite elaborate line of deduction has been brought forward - the promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:5), to Isaac (Genesis 26:4), that their seed should be as the stars of heaven, is brought into connection with the use of the word "hosts" in regard to Israel (Numbers 1:52, etc.) - and the title given to God as the God of Israel, "Jehovah of hosts." This is very ingenious, but it has no support from scriptural usage or from the usage in apocalyptic writings. In the Book of Enoch, which, since it is modelled on this book, furnishes us with the earliest commentary on it, we find the stars are invariably the symbol of the angels. When we pass to the Book of Revelation, we find the same thing. We find when we pass on to the tenth chapter of this book, that all the nations are regarded as under the rule of some special angel We must apply, so far as we can, rules of interpretation which the author himself supplies us with. Using this guide, we see next that, when a nation was defeated and oppressed, its angel or star was regarded as thrown to the earth and trodden underfoot. The treatment Epiphanes meted out to Egypt and Palestine seems specially referred to. If we take the reading of the LXX., then the reference will be to the humiliation Epiphanes received at the hands of the Romans first, and then the Jews, and lastly the Elamites, whose temple he attempted to plunder. In the answer of the accused, נבוּכדנצּר is not, contrary to the accent, to be placed in apposition to למלכּא; for, as Kran. has rightly remarked, an intentional omission of מלכּא in addressing Nebuchadnezzar is, after Daniel 3:18, where מלכּא occurs in the address, as little likely as that the Athnach is placed under למלכּא only on account of the apposition going before, to separate from it the nomen propr.; and an error in the placing of the distinctivus, judging from the existing accuracy, is untenable. "The direct address of the king by his name plainly corresponds to the king's address to the three officers in the preceding words, Daniel 3:14." We are not to conclude from it, as Hitz. supposes, "that they address him as a plebeian," but much rather, as in the corresponding address, Daniel 3:14, are to see in it an evidence of the deep impression sought to be produced in the person concerned.

פּתגּם is the accus., and is not to be connected with דּנה על: as to this command (Hv.). If the demonstrative were present only before the noun, then the noun must stand in the status absol. as Daniel 4:15 (18). פּתגּם, from the Zend. paiti equals πρός, and gâm, to go, properly, "the going to," therefore message, edict, then generally word (as here) and matter (Ezra 6:11), as frequently in the Targ., corresponding to the Hebr. דּבר.

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