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.
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(5) An he goat.—This, according to Daniel 8:21, means the Greek empire, the large horn being the first king, or Alexander the Great. It may be remarked that the goat and the ram form the same contrast as the panther and the bear. Matchless activity is contrasted with physical strength and brutal fierceness.

Touched not the ground.—An exact prediction of the early conquests of Alexander, all whose movements were characterised by marvellous rapidity. This is expressed by “the wings of a fowl” (Daniel 7:6).

A notable horn.—See margin. This is explained (Daniel 8:21) to be Alexander himself.

Daniel 8:5. As I was considering, behold, a he-goat, &c. — This is interpreted, Daniel 8:21, to be the king, or kingdom, of Grecia. “A goat is very properly made the type of the Grecian or Macedonian empire; because the Macedonians at first, about two hundred years before Daniel, were denominated Ægeadæ, or the goats’ people; and upon this occasion, as heathen authors report: Caranus, their first king, going with a great multitude of Greeks to seek new habitations in Macedonia, was commanded by the oracle to take the goats for his guides to empire: and afterward, seeing a herd of goats flying from a violent storm, he followed them to Edessa, and there fixed the seat of his empire, made the goats his ensigns, or standards, and called the city Ægeæ, or, The Goats’ Town, and the people Ægeadæ, or, The goats’ people. And to this may be added, that the city Ægeæ, or Ægæ, was the usual burying-place of the Macedonian kings. It is also very remarkable, that Alexander’s son, by Roxana, was named Alexander Ægus, or the son of the goat; and some of Alexander’s successors are represented on their coins with goats’ horns. This he-goat came from the west; and who is ignorant that Europe lies westward of Asia? He came on the face of the whole earth, carrying every thing before him in all the three parts of the world then known; and he touched not the ground — His marches were so swift, and his conquests so rapid, that he might be said, in a manner, to fly over the ground without touching it. For the same reason, the same empire, in the former vision, was likened to a leopard, which is a swift, nimble animal; and, to denote the greater quickness and impetuosity, to a leopard with four wings.” “He flew,” says Dean Prideaux, “with victory, swifter than others can travel; often with his horse pursuing his enemies upon the spur whole days and nights; and sometimes making long marches for several days one after the other, as once he did in pursuit of Darius, of near forty miles a day, for eleven days together. So that, by the speed of his marches, he came upon his enemies before they were aware of him, and conquered them before they could be in a posture to resist him.” The goat had a notable horn between his eyes — “This horn, says the angel, is the first king, or kingdom, of the Greeks in Asia, which was erected by Alexander the Great, and continued for some years in his brother, Philip Aridæus, and his two young sons, Alexander Ægus and Hercules.” — Bishop Newton.

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 as I was considering - As I was looking on this vision. It was a vison which would naturally attract attention, and one which would not be readily understood. It evidently denoted some combined power that was attempting conquest, but we are not to suppose that Daniel would readily understand what was meant by it. The whole scene was future - for the Medo-Persian power was not yet consolidated in the time of Belshazzar, and the conquests represented by the ram continued through many years, and those denoted by the he-goat extended still much further into futurity.

Behold, an he-goat came from the west - In Daniel 8:21, this is called the "rough-goat," There can be no doubt as to the application of this, for in Daniel 8:21 it is expressly said that it was "the king of Grecia." The power represented is that of Greece when it was consolidated under Alexander the Great, and when he went forth to the subjugation of this vast Persian empire. It may serve to illustrate this, and to show the propriety of representing the Macedonian power by the symbol of a goat, to remark that this symbol is often found, in various ways, in connection with Macedon, and that, for some reason, the goat was used as emblematic of that power. A few facts, furnished to the editor of Calmet's Dictionary, by Taylor Combe, Esq., will show the propriety of this allusion to Macedonia under the emblem of a goat, and that the allusion would be readily understood in after-times. They are condensed here from his account in Taylor's Calmet, v. 410-412.

(1) Caranus, the first king of the Macedonians, commenced his reign 814 years before the Christian era. The circumstance of his being led by goats to the city of Edessa, the name of which, when he established there the seat of his kingdom, he converted into AEgae, is well worthy of remark: Urbem Edessam, ob memoriam muneris AEgas populam AEgeadas. - Justin, lib. vii. c. 1. The adoption of the goat as an emblem of Macedon would have been early suggested by an important event in their history.

(2) bronze figures of a goat have been found as the symbol of Macedon. Mr. Combe says, "I have lately had an opportunity of procuring an ancient bronze figure of a goat with one horn, which was the old symbol of Macedon. As figures representing the types of ancient countries are extremely rare, and as neither a bronze nor marble symbol of Macedon has been hitherto noticed, I beg leave to trouble you with the few following observations, etc." He then says, "The goat which is sent for your inspection was dug up in Asia Minor, and was brought, together with other antiquities, into this country by a poor Turk." The annexed engraving is a representation of this figure. The slightest inspection of this figure will show the propriety of the representation before us. Mr. Combe then says, "Not only many of the individual towns in Macedon and Thrace employed this type, but the kingdom itself of Macedon, which is the oldest in Europe of which we have any regular and connected history, was represented also by a goat, with this peculiarity, that it had but one horn."

(3) In the reign of Amyntas the First, nearly 300 years after Caranus, and about 547 years before Christ, the Macedonians, upon being threatened with an invasion, became tributary to the Persians. In one of the pilasters of Persepolis, this very event seems to be recorded in a manner that throws considerable light on this subject. A goat is represented with an immense horn growing out of the middle of his forehead, and a man in a Persian dress is seen by his side, holding the horn with his left hand, by which is signified the subjection of Macedon. The subjoined is the figure referred to, and it strikingly shows how early this symbol was used.

(4) In the reign of Archelaus of Macedon, 413 b.c., there occurs on the reverse of a coin of that king the head of a goat having only one horn. Of this coin, so remarkable for the single horn, there are two varieties, one (No. 1) engraved by Pellerin, and the oth. er (No. 2) preserved in the cabinet of the late Dr. W. Hunter.

(5) "there is a gem," says Mr. Combe, "engraved in the Florentine collection, which, as it confirms what has been already said, and has not hitherto been understood, I think worthy of mention. It will be seen by the drawing of this gem that nothing more or less is meant by the ram's head with two horns, and the goat's head with one, than the kingdoms of Persia and Macedon, represented under their appropriate symbols. From the circumstance, however; of these characteristic types being united, it is extremely probable that the gem was engraved after the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great." These remarks and illustrations will show the propriety of the symbol used here, and show also how readily it would be understood in after-times. There is no evidence that Daniel understood that this ever had been a symbol of Mace-donia, or that, if he had, he could have conjectured, by any natural sagacity, that a power represented by that symbol would have become the conqueror of Media and Persia, and every circumstance, therefore, connected with this only shows the more clearly that he was under the influence of inspiration. It is affirmed by Josephus (Ant. b. xi. ch. viii.) that when Alexander was at Jerusalem, the prophecies of Daniel respecting him were shown to him by the high priest, and that this fact was the means of his conferring important favors on the Jews. If such an event occurred, the circumstances here alluded to show how readily Alexander would recognize the reference to his own country, and to himself, and how probable the account of Josephus is, that this was the means of conciliating him toward the Jewish people. The credibilty of the account, which has been called in question, is examined in Newton on the Prophecies, pp. 241-246.

On the face of the whole earth - He seemed to move over the whole world - well representing the movements of Alexander, who conquered the known world, and who is said to have wept because there were no other worlds to conquer.

And touched not the ground - Margin, none touched him in the earth. The translation in the text, however, is more correct than that in the margin. He seemed to bound along as if he did not touch the ground - denoting the rapidity of his movements and conquests. A similar description of great beauty occurs in Virgil, AEn. vii. 806, following of Camillia:

"Cursu pedum pravertere ventos.

Illa vel intactae segetis per summa volaret

Gramina, nec teneras cursu laesisset aristas,

Vel mare per medium fluctu suspensa tumenti

Ferretiter, celeres nec tingeret aequore plantas"


5. he-goat—Græco-Macedonia.

notable horn—Alexander. "Touched not … ground," implies the incredible swiftness of his conquests; he overran the world in less than twelve years. The he-goat answers to the leopard (Da 7:6). Caranus, the first king of Macedonia, was said to have been led by goats to Edessa, which he made the seat of his kingdom, and called Æge, that is, "goat-city."

An he-goat; Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia and all Greece, called a he-goat because the Greeks were called Ægeans, as was their sea, that country and its islands abounding in goats, as the word signifies, goatish. The word

he-goat signifies a

young he-goat; for so was Alexander, called pellaeus juvenis. The he-goat goes before the flock, Jeremiah 1:8. This notes him to be the Grecian captain and leader. This he-goat answers to the belly and thighs of the image, and to the leopard and third beast.

On the face of the whole earth, i.e. in that part of Asia where he opposed Xerxes, and overran all the Eastern empire.

Touched not the ground; therefore called a

leopard with wings, for he conquered with incredible swiftness in a short time, for in six years’ space he overcame the Medes and Persians, Babylon, Egypt, and all the countries round far and near; as if he had but travelled over them, he so came, saw, and overcame them.

A notable horn between his eyes: this was Alexander the Great, the western emperor. Creatures that have one horn are therefore strong, as the monoceros or unicorn, Numbers 23:22.

Between his eyes, noting his power and policy; also his wise council, captains, and conduct, as Parmenio, Clitus, Philotes, &c.

And as I was considering,.... The ram, and the strange things done by him; wondering that a creature of so little strength, comparatively with other beasts, should be able to do such exploits: and thinking with himself what should be the meaning of all this, and what would be the issue of it,

behold, an he goat came from the west; which is interpreted of the king or kingdom of Grecia, which lay to the west of Persia; and a kingdom may be said to do what one of its kings did; particularly Alexander, king of Macedon, in Greece, who, with the Grecian army under him, marched from thence to fight the king of Persia; and which might be signified by a "he goat", because of its strength, its comeliness in walking, and its being the guide and leader of the flock: and also it is remarkable, that the arms of Macedon, or the ensigns carried before their armies, were a goat, ever since the days of Caranus; who following a flock of goats, was directed to Edessa, a city of Macedon, and took it; and from this circumstance of the goats called it Aegeas, and the people Aegeades, which signifies "goats"; and put the goat in his arms (q).

On the face of the whole earth; all that lay between Greece and Persia, all Asia; yea, all the whole world, at least as Alexander thought, who wept because there was not another world to conquer: hence Juvenal says (r), "unus Pelloeo juveni non sufficit orbis"; one world was not enough for this young man.

And touched not the ground; as he went; he seemed rather to fly in the air than to walk upon the earth; with such swiftness did Alexander run over the world, and make his conquests: in six or eight years time he conquered the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, Babylon, Egypt, and all the neighbouring nations; and afar off, Greece, Thrace, Illyricum, and even the greatest part of the then known world: hence the third or Grecian monarchy under him is said to be like a leopard, with four wings of a fowl on its back (s); see Gill on Daniel 7:6 he conquered countries as soon almost as another could have travelled over them; in his marches he was swift and indefatigable. Aelianus (t) reports, that he marched, clad in armour, thrice four hundred, that is, twelve hundred furlongs, upon a stretch; and, before his army could take any rest, fought his enemies, and conquered them. Some render the words, "whom no man touched in the earth" (u); that is, none could oppose, resist, and stop him; he bore down and carried all before him; there was no coming at him, so as to touch him, or hurt him; he was so swift in his motions, and so powerful in his army.

And the goat had a notable horn between his eyes; or, "a horn of vision": which in Daniel 8:21 is interpreted of the first king of Greece, that is, when it became a monarchy; who was Alexander the great; and very properly called a "horn", being possessed of great power and authority; and a notable one, very remarkable and famous, as he has been in all ages since: "a horn of vision" (w) as it may be rendered; a very visible and conspicuous one, to be seen afar off, and which attracted the eyes of all unto it: its situation was "between the eyes of the goat", denoting his sagacity, wisdom, prudence, craft, and cunning; being attended and surrounded with his father Philip's wise counsellors as Parmenio, Philotas, Clitus, and others. It is remarkable that by the Arabs Alexander is called Dulcarnaim, or Dhilcarnain; that is, one having two horns (x): the reason of which was, he affected to be the son of Jupiter Hammon, and therefore at feasts and public entertainments would put on the purple and horns of Hammon: hence, as Clemens of Alexandria observes (y), he is by the statuaries represented as horned, or wearing horns; but then, as Arnobius (z) and others take notice, Hammon is made by the painters and statuaries to have ram's horns; whereas it seems more likely that Alexander's were goat's horns, since the goat was in the arms of Macedon; and so Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who mimicked Alexander in his armour, is said to have goat's horns on his helmet, upon the top of his crest (a); and to such ensigns is the allusion here.

(q) Justin ex Trogo, l. 7. c. 1.((r) Satyr. 10. (s) Alexander was remarkable for the agility of his body, as appeared by his mounting his horse Bucephalus (Plutarch in Vita Alexandri), to the admiration of his father, and all that beheld him; as well as famous for the quick marches of his army, and his very swift and expeditious execution of his signs. "Plurimum pedum celeritate pollebat"; he greatly excelled in swiftness of foot, says the historian: and again, "armatusque de navi, tripudianti similis prosiluit"; he leaped armed out of the ship like one that danced (Suppl. in Curt. l. 1. p. 16. l. 2. p. 26) And he himself, speaking of the countries he had conquered, says, "quas tanta velocitate domuimus": and elsewhere, "cujus velocitatem nemo valuisset effugere". And of Bessus it is said, that "Alexandri celeritate perterritus". And Cobares, the magician calls him "velocissimus rex" (Curt. Hist. l. 6. c. 3. & l. 7. c. 4. 7.). And another historian says (Justin ex Trogo, l. 11. c. 2. & l. 12. c. 9.) that having observed the enemy's city forsook by them, "sine ullo satellite desiliit in planitiem urbis": and again, "tanta celeritate instructo paraloque exercitu Graeciam oppressi; ut quem venire non senserant, videre se vix crederant". (t) Var. Hist. l. 10. c. 4. (u) quem neme attingebat in terra, Junius & Tremellius. (w) "cornu visionis", Montanus; "visibile sive visendum", Vatablus; "conspicuum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (x) See Gregory, de Aeris & Epochis, c. 11. p. 158, 159. (y) Protreptic. ad Gentes, p. 36. (z) Adv. Gentes, l. 6. p. 233. (a) Plutarch. in Vita Pyrrhi.

And as I was considering, behold, {f} 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 {g} horn between his eyes.

(f) Meaning Alexander that came from Greece with great speed and warlike undertaking.

(g) Even though he came in the name of all Greece, yet he bore the title and dignity of the general captain, so that the strength was attributed to him, which is meant by this horn.

5. considering] paying attention, reflecting (מבין): not, as in Daniel 7:8 (where the word is a different one), contemplating.

a he goat] For the he-goat (though the Heb. word is different), the leader of the flock, as a symbol of a prince or ruler, cf. Isaiah 14:9; Isaiah 34:6; Ezekiel 39:18; Zechariah 10:3.

on] over; its course carried it over the whole earth (the hyperbole, as in Daniel 4:1,—though it is true that Alexander penetrated further to the east than any Assyrian or Babylonian king of whom we know). Cf. 1Ma 1:3, where it is said of him that he ‘went through to the ends of the earth’ (διῆλθεν ἕως ἄκρων τῆς γῆς).

and touched not the ground] as though flying,—such was the incredible rapidity of its course. The Heb. is properly, ‘and there was none touching the earth,’—a more graphic and forcible expression than simply, ‘and it touched not the earth.’ One is reminded involuntarily of Homer’s description of the horses of Erichthonius (Il. xx. 226–9), and of Vergil’s of the huntress Camilla (Aen. vii. 807–811, ‘Illa vel intactae segetis,’ &c.).

a notable horn] a conspicuous horn; lit. a horn of sight. Explained in Daniel 8:21 to signify Alexander.

Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont in the spring of b.c. 334. Having routed the Persian forces, which had assembled to oppose his advance, at the Granicus, he marched through Asia Minor, receiving the submission of many cities and peoples; and in Nov. b.c. 333, defeated Darius Codomannus, with great loss, at Issus, on the E. border of Cilicia. Having reduced Tyre (July 332), he marched through Palestine and conquered Egypt, founding in memory of the event the afterwards celebrated city of Alexandria. In 331 he crossed the Euphrates, and gave the final blow to the power of Persia at Arbçla, a little E. of Nineveh. Having made a triumphal entry into Babylon, he took possession of Persepolis and Susa, the two official capitals of the Persian kings. Darius meanwhile had fled into Bactria, where he was slain by conspirators; and Alexander, pursuing after him (330), secured only his corpse. Alexander then started for the further East. First, he invaded Hyrcania (on the S. of the Caspian Sea), then he passed on to Bactria and Sogdiana, after which, retracing his steps, he crossed (327) the Indus, and found himself in the country now called the Punjaub. Defeating Porus, a powerful Indian king, he subjugated the country; and then, with a large fleet, sailed down the Indus to its mouth. Thence (326) he returned through Gedrosia and Carmania (N. of the Persian Gulf) to Persepolis; and afterwards (325) to Susa. In 324 he was again in Babylon. There ambassadors from Greece and other parts were waiting to salute him, and greet him as the conqueror of Asia. He was planning further conquests,—in particular, an expedition into Arabia,—when he was seized with a fever, which after 11 days carried him off (June 28, b.c. 323), at the early age of 32.

5–7. A he-goat, with a conspicuous horn between its eyes, appearing from the west, attacked the ram, and beat it down to the ground. The empire of the Greeks; the horn (cf. Daniel 8:21) being Alexander the Great.

Verse 5. - And as I was considering, behold, an he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched net the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. The Septuagint, when completed from Paulus Tellensis, agrees in the main with the Massoretic, omitting only "whole" before "earth." The Christian MS. omits the clause, "and touched the ground," but it is in Paulus Tellensis. As I was considering. "Was" is here used much as an auxiliary verb - an Aramaic usage. "Considering" really suggests "meditating on." He-goat. The word here used does not elsewhere occur in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is really an Aramaic word, though vocalized here after the analogy of Hebrew. On the face of the whole earth. The writer had probably in his mind the negative idea expressed in the next verse; hence the word kol. A notable horn; "a horn of sight;" a horn that no one could fail to remark upon. No symbol could express in a more graphic way the rapidity of the conquests of Alexander the Great than this of the goat that flew over the ground. One can parallel with this the four wings of the leopard in ch. 7. It is singular that Alexander should generally on his coins be figured as horned. Had this vision been due to a knowledge of this - which could not have escaped a Jew of the days of the Maccabees - the writer would certainly have made Alexander not a goat, but a ram. as it is a ram's horn that is intended to be figured on the portraits of Alexander. As everybody knows, this refers to the fable that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon, the ram-horned. It is difficult to assign a reason why the goat was chosen as the symbol of the Grecian power, save that, as compared with the Persian power, the Greek was the more agile. Daniel 8:5After Daniel had for a while contemplated the conduct of the ram, he saw a he-goat come from the west over the earth, run with furious might against the two-horned ram, and throw it to the ground and tread upon it. The he-goat, according to the interpretation of the angel, Daniel 8:21, represents the king of Javan (Greece and Macedonia) - not the person of the king (Gesen.), but the kingship of Javan; for, according to Daniel 8:21, the great horn of the goat symbolizes the first king, and thus the goat itself cannot represent a separate king. The goat comes from the west; for Macedonia lay to the west of Susa or Persia. Its coming over the earth is more definitely denoted by the expression בּארץ נוגע ואין, and he was not touching the earth, i.e., as he hastened over it in his flight. This remark corresponds with the four wings of the leopard, Daniel 7:6. The goat had between its eyes חזוּת קרן; i.e., not a horn of vision, a horn such as a goat naturally has, but here only in vision (Hofm., Klief.). This interpretation would render חזוּת an altogether useless addition, since the goat itself, only seen in vision, is described as it appeared in the vision. For the right explanation of the expression reference must be made to Daniel 8:8, where, instead of horn of vision, there is used the expression הגּדולה הקרן (the great horn). Accordingly חזוּת has the meaning of מראה, in the Keri מראה אישׁ, 2 Samuel 23:21, a man of countenance or sight (cf. Targ. Esther 2:2): a horn of sight, consideration, of considerable greatness; κέρας θεορητόν (lxx, Theodot.), which Theodoret explains by ἐπίσημον καὶ περίβλεπτον.

The horn was between the eyes, i.e., in the middle of the forehead, the centre of its whole strength, and represents, according to Daniel 8:21, the first king, i.e., the founder of the Javanic world-kingdom, or the dynasty of this kingdom represented by him. The he-goat ran up against the ram, the possessor of the two horns, i.e., the two-horned ram by the river Ulai, in the fire of his anger, i.e., in the glowing anger which gave him his strength, and with the greatest fury threw him down. The prophet adds, "And I saw him come close unto the ram," as giving prominence to the chief matter, and then further describes its complete destruction. It broke in pieces both of the horns, which the ram still had, i.e., the power of the Medes and Persians, the two component elements of the Persian world-kingdom. This representation proves itself to be genuine prophecy, whilst an author writing ex eventu would have spoken of the horn representing the power of the Medes as assailed and overthrown earlier by that other horn (see under Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20). The pushing and trampling down by the Ulai is explained from the idea of the prophecy, according to which the power of the ram is destroyed at the central seat of its might, without reference to the historical course of the victories by which Alexander the Great completed the subjugation of the Persian monarchy. In the concluding passage, Daniel 8:7, the complete destruction is described in the words of the fourth verse, to express the idea of righteous retribution. As the Medo-Persian had crushed the other kingdoms, so now it also was itself destroyed.

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