Daniel 8:24
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Not by his own power.—Not might, but cunning, will cause his success. (Comp. 1 Maccabees 1:10, &c.) Thus his destructive powers become astonishing.

The mighty.—No special individuals are pointed out, but rulers in general.

Daniel 8:24. And his power shall be mighty — His power shall increase more and more, namely, in Judea; but not by his own power — This shall not be owing so much to himself, as to the wickedness and factions among the Jews. “Antiochus,” says Mr. Wintle, “was certainly much favoured in his designs by a factious party of the Jews themselves, by the treachery of the Jewish people, according to Josephus, and, according to Appion, the perfidy of others. Eumenes, king of Pergamus, and his brother Attalus, being jealous of the Romans, desired to make the king of Syria their friend, and supported Antiochus in his kingdom. The divine displeasure also against the Jews operated to the furtherance of his designs, who was herein an agent of the vindictive justice of God.” And he shall destroy wonderfully — He shall cause a very great and scarcely credible desolation in Judea. Wintle renders it, He shall make astonishing havoc, and shall be successful: which prediction was accomplished when Jerusalem was taken by Antiochus, 40,000 Jews were slain, and as many were sold into slavery. And shall destroy the mighty and the holy people — Or, the people of the holy God, as עם קדשׂיםmay be rendered, the noun plural being sometimes applied to the Deity. Or the expressions may mean, that he should destroy many of the principal and chief men, and many of the common sort, termed the holy people, as being good men, and sincere worshippers of God. With regard to the former, Grotius observes, from Josephus, that men of the greatest reputation, and of the most generous spirit, among the Jews, paid no regard to Antiochus, and therefore were harassed daily, and died under the most bitter torments. Antiochus, in his first invasion of Judea, slew and led captive 80,000 Jews; and two years afterward sent Apollonius, with an army of 22,000 men, to destroy those that assembled in their synagogues on the sabbath, 2Ma 5:14; 2Ma 5:24; and 1Ma 1:29.8:15-27 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.And his power shall be mighty - He shall be a powerful monarch. Though not as mighty as Alexander, yet his conquests of Egypt and other places show that he deserved to be numbered among the mighty kings of the earth.

But not by his own power - That is, it shall not be by any strength of his own, but by the power which God gives him. This is true of all kings and princes (compare John 19:11; Isaiah 10:5, following), but it seems to be referred to here particularly to show that the calamities which he was about to bring upon the Hebrew people were by Divine direction and appointment. This great power was given him in order that he might be an instrument in the Divine hand of inflicting deserved punishment on them for their sins.

And he shall destroy wonderfully - In a wonderful or extraordinary manner shall he spread desolation. This refers particularly to the manner in which he would lay waste the holy city, and the land of Judea. The history in the books of Maccabees shows that this was literally fulfilled.

And shall prosper - Antiochus was among the most successful kings in his various expeditions. Particularly was he successful in his enterprises against the holy land.

And practice - Hebrew, "do." That is, he shall be distinguished not only for "forming" plans, but for "executing" them; not merely for "purposing," but for "doing."

And shall destroy the mighty and the holy people - The people of God - the Jewish nation. See the notes at Daniel 8:9-12.

24. not by his own power—which in the beginning was "little" (Da 8:9; 7:8); but by gaining over others through craft, the once little horn became "mighty" (compare Da 8:25; 11:23). To be fully realized by Antichrist. He shall act by the power of Satan, who shall then be permitted to work through him in unrestricted license, such as he has not now (Re 13:2); hence the ten kingdoms shall give the beast their power (2Th 2:9-12; Re 17:13).

prosper and practise—prosper in all that he attempts (Da 8:12).

holy people—His persecutions are especially directed against the Jews.

Not by his own power; not by any heroic deeds, or truly regal qualities, but by making use of the Jewish factions, and also through the Divine permission, and commission given him to punish a backsliding, degenerate nation; lastly, by the help of Eumenes and Attalus, by whose means and help he got up to this height; who being kings, suspected the Roman power, and raised him to be a kind of cheek to them.

The holy people; he shall by force, craft, and cruelty destroy many of God’s people, from the highest to the meanest ranks of them. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power,.... He should possess a large kingdom, and that should be increased by conquests:

but not in his power (s), the power of Alexander; he should not arrive to that greatness he did, as in Daniel 8:22 so Jacchiades: or, "in his own power" (t); for it was not so much by his own courage and valour, by any heroic actions of Antiochus, he became so great, as by craft and deceit: through sedition he procured the death of his father and eider brother; and by fraud got the kingdom from his nephew; and through the perfidy of Menelaus and Jason, the high priests of the Jews, and other apostates, he obtained what dominion he had over the Jews; and it was by the assistance of Eumenes king of Pergamos, and his brother Attalus, that he kept the kingdom he had usurped, who stood by him, in order to check the growing power of the Romans; and more especially it was by a power given him from above, or by the permission and providence of God, who suffered him to be so great, and to prevail particularly over the Jews; because of their sins, as Aben Ezra and Saadiah observe, to chastise them for them: so his antitype, antichrist, became great and powerful, through craft and policy, and by the help of the ten kings that gave their kingdoms to him:

and he shall destroy wonderfully; or beyond all credit, countries, cities, towns, and their inhabitants; he slew fourscore thousand Jews in three days' time, bound forty thousand, and sold as many,

"And there were destroyed within the space of three whole days fourscore thousand, whereof forty thousand were slain in the conflict; and no fewer sold than slain.'' (2 Maccabees 5:14)

or, "he shall destroy wonderful things" (u); the temple, and the wonderful things of worth and value in it, so Saadiah and Jacchiades; he took away the vessels of the temple, the golden lamps, the ark, and table of gold, &c.:

and shall prosper and practise; for a while do what he pleased, none being able to oppose and hinder him; see Daniel 8:12.

and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people; by the "mighty" may be meant the Egyptians, Parthians, and other nations he made war with; and by the "holy people" the Jews, who were sanctified and separated from other people by the Lord, to be a peculiar people; among whom were his holy temple, his holy priests, his holy word, ordinances, and worship; multitudes of these he destroyed, as before observed. Jacchiades interprets this of the sons of Aaron, the holy priests of the Lord, whom he slew.

(s) "robore ipsius", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (t) "In fortitudine sua", Pagninus, Montanus; "per virtutem suam", Munster. (u) "mirabilia", Montanus, Polanus.

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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power] but rather, so it is implied in this rendering, by the permission of God (Häv., Hitz.). The rendering not by his power (but rather by intrigues) is, however, preferable: the first two clauses of the verse will thus contain an oxymoron. R.V. marg. ‘Or, with his power. See Daniel 8:22’ seems to refer the pron. (with Ewald) to Alexander; but such a reference is here far-fetched.

destroy wonderfully] work destruction in an extraordinary degree;—the idea of ‘wonder,’ ‘wonderful’ in Heb. is properly that of something distinctive, exceptional, extraordinary. Cf. Daniel 11:36, Daniel 12:6.

prosper, and do] cf. Daniel 8:12.

the mighty] them that are mighty (indef.), alluding to Antiochus’ political foes.

and the people of the holy ones (or saints)] i.e. Israel: cf. Daniel 7:25 (‘and shall wear away the holy ones (or saints) of the Most High’).Verse 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. This verse involves many difficulties, grammatical and exegetical. These difficulties may be said to be present in all the versions of this passage. The LXX. renders, "And his power shall be confirmed, and not in his strength, and he shall destroy marvellously, and prosper and do, and shall destroy the rulers and people of the saints." Theodotion is so far slavishly close to the Massoretic text; but he seems to have read qodesh, an adjective agreeing with "people," instead of qedosheem, "saints;" and he omits the negative clause. The Peshitta is very close to the Massoretic. It emphasizes the negative clause by adding denaphsho, and translates "wonders" instead of "wonderfully." Jerome, more intent on expressing what is his own interpretation of the passage than on representing- the original, translates the first heel ("power") by fortitude, and the second by viribus suis. That the power of Epiphanes was great - greater than that of his brother and immediate predecessor - is undoubted. It is also the ease that he was confirmed in his place by the Romans, though, if we are to receive the account of Appian, the direct means of his elevation to the throne was the intervention of Eumenes of Pergamus on his behalf. Thus the reference of the phrase, "not by his own power," may be to this. Little as he might brook the thought, he was but a subject-ally of the great republic. The other interpretations are

(1) that of Theodoret. Keil, Fuller, Havernick. Kranichfeld. and Moses Stuart, that the reference here is to Divine power as setting up Epiphanes to be a scourge to his people;

(2) that of von Lengerke, Kliefoth, Bevan, Behrmann, etc., not by might, but by his cunning;

(3) that of Hitzig, which combines the two - his cunning is divinely given;

(4) that of Calvin and Ewald, that the contrast is with the might of Alexander the Great. All of these have something to favour them, but also something against them. There is against the first that there is no reference in the context to the fact, true though it was, that Antiochus was raised up by God for his own purposes. Against the second is the pronominal suffix, which would be needless if the contrast were between force and fraud. Of course, Hitzig's combination falls with this. Against the view advocated by Calvin and Ewald is the fact that it seems a long time to hold the reference to Alexander in abeyance. Still, it may be urged that the vision was before the prophet; on the other hand, the relative strength of Epiphanes and Alexander does not seem to be of importance. We still think that the real reference is to the fact that he did not attain the throne either by inheritance or by his own prowess, but by the help and authority of others, namely, Eumencs and Rome. And he shall destroy wonderfully. Gratz thinks yasheeth, "destroy," suspicious, and Professor Bevan suggests יַשִׂיח, (yaseeh), and would render, "He shall utter monstrous things;" but, unfortunately for his view, there is no hint in the versions of any difficulty as to the reading, and, further, שׂוּח (sooh) does not mean "utter," but "meditate." We must take the words as they stand (comp. Judges 13:19), and translate, "He shall destroy portentously." Certainly Epiphanes was to the Jews a portent of destruction; there had not been his like - not Nebuchadnezzar, who burned the temple, was to be compared to him who endeavoured to blot out the worship of Jehovah altogether: not any other of the Greek monarchs. He was unique in his enmity against God and his worship. He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. The rendering of the Revised Version better conveys the sense of the original, "He shall destroy the mighty ones." There has been discussion as to the distinction involved here. Ewald regards the mighty as the three other horns of the ten (Daniel 7:8) - an interpretation which proceeds in the false identification of the fourth beast with the Greek Empire. Rashi imagines the star-worshippers; this seems the height of caprice. Jephet-ibn-Ali, who identifies the little horn with Mahommed, holds the "mighty" to be the Romans. Keil and Fuller hold it to be the heathen rulers generally. Von Lengerke, Kliefoth, and others maintain it refers to the rich of the holy people, while עַם (am) are the poor. Hitzig refers it to the three claimants for the crown, whom Antiochus is alleged, on somewhat insufficient evidence, to have overthrown; Behrmann and Zockler, to the political and warlike enemies of Epiphanes, in contrast to the holy people, who were unwarlike. Kranichfeld refers it to the rulers of Israel, as distinct from the people; Calvin to "neighbouring nations." Moses Stuart would render, "great numbers, even the people of the saints;" while Professor Bevan thinks there is an interpolation here, and adopts a reading of Gratz from the LXX. for the beginning of the following verse. On the whole, this seems the best solution of the difficulty. After Epiphanes had destroyed the "mighty," that is to say, the political enemies he had, the Egyptians, etc., he directed his mind the "people of the saints." Regarding the collocation of the words עם אמּה ו, see under Daniel 3:4; and regarding the Nymid@fha and the threatened punishment, see under Daniel 2:5. כּדּנה we regard, with the lxx, Theodot., Vulg., and old interpreters, as a fem. adverbial: οὕτως, ita, as it occurs in Daniel 2:10; Ezra 5:7, and Jeremiah 10:11. The interpreting it as masculine, as this God, does not correspond with the heathen consciousness of God, to which a God perceptible by sight was more appropriate than a God invisible (Kran.). The history concludes (Daniel 3:30) with the remark that Nebuchadnezzar now regarded the three men with the greatest favour. In what way he manifested his regard for them is not stated, inasmuch as this is not necessary to the object of the narrative. הצלח with ל, to give to any one happiness, prosperity, to cause him to be fortunate.

If we attentively consider the import of this narrative in its bearing on the history of the kingdom of God, we learn how the true worshippers of the Lord under the dominion of the world-power could and would come into difficulties, imperilling life, between the demands of the lords of this world and the duties they owe to God. But we also learn, that if in these circumstances they remain faithful to their God, they will in a wonderful manner be protected by Him; while He will reveal His omnipotence so gloriously, that even the heathen world-rulers will be constrained to recognise their God and to give Him glory.

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