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.
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(4) I saw the ram pushing.—The ram pushes in three different directions. This corresponds to the three ribs in the mouth of the bear. The animal does not push towards the east, as it is presumed that he has already made conquests in those quarters.

Daniel 8:4. I saw the ram pushing westward, &c. — Under Cyrus himself the Persians pushed their conquests westward, as far as the Ægean sea, subduing Babylonia, Syria, and Asia Minor; and extended them to part of Greece under his successors, Darius the son of Hystaspes, and Xerxes: northward they subdued the Lydians, Iberians, Albanians, Armenians, Cappadocians, and the adjacent countries: southward they conquered Arabia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, if not under Cyrus, as Xenophon affirms, yet most certainly under Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus. Under Darius they subdued India; but in the prophecy no mention is made of their conquests in the East, because those countries lay very remote from the Jews, and were of little concern or consequence to them.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.I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward - Denoting the conquests of the united kingdom. The east is not mentioned, for none of the conquests of the Medo-Persian empire extended in that direction: Yet nothing could better express the conquests actually made by the Medo-Persian empire than this representation. On the west the conquests embraced Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor; on the north, Colchis, Armenia, Iberia, and the regions around the Caspian Sea; and on the south, Palestine, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Lybia. - Lengerke. This Medo-Persian power is represented as coming from the east. Isaiah 41:2 : "who raised up the righteous man from the east, etc." Isaiah 46:11 : "calling a ravenous bird from the east, etc."

He did according to his will, and became great - This expresses well also the character of the Medo-Persian empire. It extended over a great part of the known world, subduing to itself a large portion of the earth. In its early conquests it met with no successful opposition, nor was it stayed until it was subdued by Greece - as at Leuctra and Marathon, and then as it was finally overthrown by Alexander the Great.

4. ram pushing westward—Persia conquered westward Babylon, Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor.

northward—Colchis, Armenia, Iberia, and the dwellers on the Caspian Sea.

southward—Judea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya; also India, under Darius. He does not say eastward, for the Persians themselves came from the east (Isa 46:11).

did according to his will—(Da 11:3, 16; compare Da 5:19).

Westward, i.e. towards Babylon, Syria, Cappadocia. Asia the Less, and Greece, all westward from Media and Persia; for the Persians under Darius and Xerxes made war against Greece.

Northward, i.e. against the Armenians, Iberians, Lydians, Colchi, Cusptans.

Southward, i.e. against Ethiopia, Arabia, Egypt, which Cambyses invaded.

No beasts might stand before him; they prospered and conquered all, as did Cyrus.

He did according to his will, and became great; he prevailed against all that opposed, and did what he would without control, and became the greatest king of the earth then. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward,.... That is, with his horns, as rams do; these kingdoms using all their power and strength, wealth and riches, in fighting with and subduing nations, and pushing on their conquests in all parts here mentioned; to the west, Babylon, Syria, Asia, and part of Greece; to the north, Iberia, Albania, Armenia, Scythia, Colchis, and the inhabitants of the Caspian sea; and to the south, Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and India; all which places were conquered by Cyrus and his successors. No mention is made of the east, because this ram stood in the east, facing the west; and at the right and left were the north and south; and so Cyrus is said to come from the east, Isaiah 46:11.

So that no beast might stand before him: no, not the first beast, the Babylonian monarchy, which; fell into the hands of Cyrus; nor any other king or kingdom he and his successors fought against:

neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; or power; Croesus, the rich king of Lydia, and other allies of the king of Babylon, assisted him against Cyrus, and endeavoured to prevent his falling into his hands, but all in vain:

but he did according to his will, and became great; none being able to oppose him, he carried his arms where he pleased, and imposed what tribute he thought fit, and obliged them to do whatever was his will; and so became great in power and dignity, in riches and wealth: this monarchy was very large and extensive, and very rich and wealthy, in the times of Cyrus and his successors; and especially in the times of Darius, the last monarch of it, conquered by Alexander, who is described as follows:

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.

4. pushing] i.e. butting: cf. Exodus 21:28 (‘gore’); and applied figuratively to peoples, Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalm 44:5 (‘push down,’ properly ‘butt’).

stand before him] so Daniel 8:7. For the expression cf. 2 Kings 10:4.

did according to his will] did exactly what he pleased; cf. Daniel 11:3; Daniel 11:16; Daniel 11:36, Nehemiah 9:24, Esther 1:8; Esther 9:5 (the Heb. in all being the same).

and became great] and did greatly, or (R.V.) magnified himself. The verb (in the conjug. here used) means to shew greatness, to do greatly, usually in a bad sense; e.g. Psalm 55:12; Jeremiah 48:26; Jeremiah 48:42; Lamentations 1:9. So Daniel 8:8; Daniel 8:11; Daniel 8:25. The verse describes the irresistible advances of the Persian arms, especially in the direction of Palestine, Asia Minor, and Egypt, with particular allusion to the conquests of Cyrus and Cambyses.Verse 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. The opening words of the Septuagint appear to be a translation of the last word of the preceding verse, ha'aheronah. being rendered, "after these things" - a change that is not defensible. It is more important to note that in the LXX. we have the four points of the compass mentioned, not merely three as in the Massoretic, "I saw the ram butting eastward, and northward, and westward, and southward." Had a falsarius been wishful to supply the missing direction, he would have inserted "eastward" between "northward" and "southward," only if he had begun with "eastward" would he have gone on as it at present stands in the Septuagint. What could make him change "west" to "east"? Our opinion is that the LXX. represents the original text. It is confirmatory of this that Theodotion. in strict agreement with the text of the Massoretes, renders the first direction "seaward" (κατὰ θάλασσαν). The Peshitta renders "westward," not by yammah, but by the term for "west" that became common in Exilic and post-Exilic Hebrew, ma'arab - the word that is used in the next verse. Ezekiel uses yammah for "west," when in vision he places himself in Palestine, otherwise it is not used for "west" by Exilic and post-Exilic writers. If we take the statement of the next verse as fixing what was "the west" to the author of Daniel, where would "seaward" be? If we draw a line from Tress, where Alexander landed, and continue it through Babylon, it reaches the Persian Gulf. "Seaward" would mean consequently "eastward," or approximately so, to one writing in Babylon. A great number of suggestions have been offered to explain the singular omission of "eastward" from the direction in which the ram pushes with his horns, Havernick, and following him Moses Stuart, assert that "eastward" is not mentioned because the Persians made no conquests to the east until the days of Darius Hystaspis, and then not permanent ones. Against this is the fact that Elam and Media were mainly east of Ansan. Further, the picture here given of the Persian Empire is not restricted to the days of Cyrus and Cambyses, but all through its course. As to the permanence of these Eastern conquests, the territories of Darius Codomannus east of Arbela embraced modern Persia and other territories to the confines of India. Keil assumes that the ram stands on the western bank of the Shapur, so, if he pushed eastward, it would be against his own capital; but if oobal means "a river," then the only meaning possible for liphnee is "eastward." He would then be butting towards the river across which the enemy was likely to come, moreover, against his own capital, unless the ram is supposed to be between the river and the city - an unlikely supposition, as Shushan was on the river Eulaeus. He further maintains that the unfolding of the power of Persia was towards these three named directions, and not towards the last, whatever that may mean. Ewald declares the ram does not butt towards the east, because that already belongs to him. As a matter of fact, and, as exhibited by the Book of Esther, welt known to the Jews, the Persian Empire did conquer towards the east. Behrmann says, "The ram does not push towards the east, because he comes from the east - a delicacy the Septuagint overlooked." In point of fact, there is no word in the vision of the ram coming from anywhere - this delicacy (feinheit) Professor Behrmann has overlooked. Kranich-fold and Zockler follow this. The view of Bishop Newton, followed by Archdeacon Rose, is that the east had no importance to the Jews; but north and south had just a little. Jephet-ihn-Ali and several modern commentators think the three directions, as the three ribs, imply the limitation of the Persian Empire. It certainly was recognized by the Jews to be little, if at all, less than that of Alexander the Great Hitzig propounds in all gravity an absurd view; he assumes that the ram was standing on the west bank of the river, and faced west, and argues that he did not butt eastward because he could not butt backwards. His preliminary assumption is groundless, as we have seen, and rams can change their position. The true explanation is that a direction has dropped out. While "seaward" had ceased to mean "west" to the Jews in Babylon, it did not take long residence in Palestine to recover this name for "west." A copyist living in Palestine, finding yammah, in the first place would translate it "westward;" then after "northward" he would, in the third place, come upon ms'arab, which also meant "west;" so naturally he dropped the second of what seemed to him synonymous terms. If we are correct in our supposition, we have here demonstrative proof that Daniel was written by one living in Babylon Are beasts might stand before him. All the powers round Persia had to submit to him. And be became great affords proof, if proof were needed, that the vision applies to the whole of the history of Persia. There is little necessity for Moses Stuart's translation, "became haughty." The Chaldeans immediately denounced Daniel's three friends as transgressors of the king's command. דּנה כּל־קבל, therefore, viz., because the friends of Daniel who were placed over the province of Babylon had not, by falling down before the golden image, done it homage. That they did not do so is not expressly said, but is expressed in what follows. כּשׂדּאין גּברין are not Chaldeans as astrologers of magi (כּשׂדּים), but members of the Chaldean nation, in contrast to יהוּדיא, the Jews. קרבוּ, they came near to the king. דּי קרצי אכל, literally, to eat the flesh of any one, is in Aramaic the common expression for to calumniate, to denounce. That which was odious in their report was, that they used this instance of disobedience to the king's command on the part of the Jewish officers as an occasion of removing them from their offices, - that their denunciation of them arose from their envying the Jews their position of influence, as in Daniel 6:5 (4)f. Therefore they give prominence to the fact that the king had raised these Jews to places of rule in the province of Babylon.

With this form of address in Daniel 3:9, cf. Daniel 2:4. טעם שׂים signifies in Daniel 3:12 rationem reddere, to attend to, to have regard for. In Daniel 3:10, as frequently, the expression signifies, on the contrary, to give an opinion, a judgment, i.e., to publish a command. The Keth. לאלהיך (Daniel 3:12), for which the Keri prefers the sing. form לאלהך, in sound the same as the contracted plur., is to be maintained as correct; for the Keri here, as in Daniel 3:18, supporting itself on לאלהי, Daniel 3:14, rests on the idea that by the honouring of his god only the doing of homage to the image is meant, while the not doing homage to the image only gives proof of this, that they altogether refused to honour the gods of Nebuchadnezzar. This is placed in the foreground by the accusers, so as to arouse the indignation of the king. "These Chaldeans," Hitz. remarks quite justly, "knew the three Jews, who were so placed as to be well known, and at the same time envied, before this. They had long known that they did not worship idols; but on this occasion, when their religion made it necessary for the Jews to disobey the king's command, they make use of their knowledge."

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