Daniel 8:7
And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
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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 I saw him, come close unto the ram - The ram standing on the banks of the Ulai, and in the very heart of the empire. This representation is designed undoubtedly to denote that the Grecian power would attack the Persian in its own dominions. Perhaps the vision was represented at the place which would be the capital of the empire in order to denote this.

And he was moved with choler against him - (i. e., the ram)." With wrath or anger. That is, he acted as if he were furiously enraged. This is not an improper representation. Alexander, though spurred on by ambition as his ruling motive, yet might be supposed without impropriety to represent the concentrated wrath of all Greece on account of the repeated Persian invasions. It is true the Persians had been defeated at Leuctra, at Marathon, and at Salamis, that their hosts had been held in check at Thermopylae, that they had never succeeded in subduing Greece, and that the Grecians in defending their country had covered themselves with glory. But it is true, also, that the wrongs inflicted or attempted on the Greeks had never been forgotten, and it cannot be doubted that the remembrance of these wrongs was a motive that influenced many a Greek at the battle of the Granicus and Issus, and at Arbela. It would be one of most powerful motives to which Alexander could appeal in stimulating his army.

And brake his two horns - Completely prostrated his power - as Alexander did when he overthrew Darius Codemenus, and subjugated to himself the Medo-Persian empire. That empire ceased at that time, and was merged in that of the son of Philp.

And there was no power in the ram to stand before him - To resist him.

But he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him - An act strikingly expressive of the conduct of Alexander. The empire was crushed beneath his power, and, as it were, trampled to the earth.

And there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand - No auxiliaries that the Persian empire could call to its aid that could save it from the Grecian conqueror.

7. moved with choler—Alexander represented the concentrated wrath of Greece against Persia for the Persian invasions of Greece; also for the Persian cruelties to Greeks, and Darius' attempts to seduce Alexander's soldiers to treachery [Newton].

stamped upon him—In 331 B.C. he defeated Darius Codomanus, and in 330 B.C. burned Persepolis and completed the conquest of Persia.

none … could deliver—Not the immense hosts of Persia could save it from the small army of Alexander (Ps 33:16).

Brake his two horns: Artaxerxes Mnemon, by aiding Cyrus against him and then Darius Codomanus; these are the two horns, or the Medes and Persians.

Cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him; he overthrew him utterly, that he could never rise again. This was at the Granicus, Issus, and Arbela.

And I saw him come close unto the ram,.... Though the distance between Greece and Persia was very great, and many rivers and mountains in the way, which seemed impassable; Alexander got over them all, and came up to Darius, and fought several battles with him, and entirely defeated him, though greatly inferior in number to him, as follows:

and he was moved with choler against him; exceedingly embittered against him; exasperated and provoked to the last degree, by the proud and scornful message he sent him; calling himself king of kings, and akin to the gods, and Alexander his servant; ordering his nobles to take Philip's madding stripling, as he called him in contempt, and whip him with children's rods, and clothe him in purple, and deliver him bound to him; then sink his ships with the mariners, and transport all his soldiers to the further part of the Red sea (d):

and smote the ram; in three battles, in each of which the Persians were smitten and routed by the Grecians: first at the river Granicus, where Alexander with thirty thousand foot, and five thousand horse, met the Persians, though more than five times his number, being, as Justin (e) says, six hundred thousand, and got the victory over them; here twenty thousand of the Persian footmen, and two hundred and fifty of their horse, were slain, and not more than thirty nine of the Macedonians killed (f): Plutarch (g) says, it was reported that the Persians lost twenty thousand footmen, and two thousand five hundred horse; and from Aristobulus he says, that the Macedonians lost only thirty four men, of which twelve were footmen: and Diodorus Siculus (h) relates that the Persians lost more than ten thousand footmen, and not less than two thousand horse, and more than twenty thousand were taken: according to Justin (i), of Alexander's army there only fell nine footmen, and a hundred and twenty horsemen: others say, that, of the Macedonians, twenty five men of Alexander's own troop fell in the first attack, about sixty other of the horsemen were killed, and thirty of the footmen (k); so different are the accounts of the slain in this battle; however, the victory appears to be very great, whereby Sardis, with all Darius's rich furniture, fell into the hands of Alexander, and all the provinces of the lesser Asia submitted to him. The next battle was fought at Issus its Cilicia, where Darius had an army, according to Plutarch (l), consisting of six hundred thousand men; according to Justin (m), four hundred thousand footmen, and a hundred thousand horsemen, which was routed by Alexander; when a hundred thousand of the Persian footmen, and ten thousand of their horsemen, were slain; and only, on Alexander's side, five hundred and four of the footmen wounded, thirty two wanting, and a hundred and fifty of the horsemen killed (n): here also the accounts vary; Plutarch (o) says above a hundred and ten thousand of the Persians were slain: according to Diodorus Siculus (p), there fell of them a hundred and twenty thousand footmen, and not less than ten thousand horsemen; and of the Macedonians three hundred footmen, and about a hundred and fifty horsemen: according to Arrian (q), the Persians lost ten thousand horsemen, and ninety thousand footmen: according to Justin (r), sixty one thousand footmen, and ten thousand horsemen, were slain, and forty thousand taken; and of the Macedonians there fell one hundred and thirty footmen, and one hundred and fifty horsemen; but, be it as it will, the victory was exceeding great, whereby the camp of Darius, his mother, wife, and children, and all his riches at Damascus, fell into the hands of Alexander, with all Syria. The third and last battle was fought near Arbela, or rather at Gaugamela in Assyria, when Alexander with fifty thousand men beat Darius with an army of eleven hundred thousand men; Plutarch (s) says ten hundred thousand; forty thousand of which were slain, and of the Macedonians only three hundred or less were wanting (t); according to Arrian (u) thirty thousand were slain; but Diodorus Siculus (w) says ninety thousand: this was the decisive battle; after this Babylon and Persepolis were taken by Alexander, and he became master of the whole empire, which is intended in the next clause:

and brake his two horns; conquered the Medes and Persians, the two kingdoms united in one monarchy, but now destroyed; another monarchy, the Grecian, took its place:

and there was no power in the ram to stand before him there was no strength in tim whole empire sufficient to resist, oppose, and stop him; though vast armies were collected together, these were soon broken and routed, and Darius at the head of them was forced to fly and make his escape in the best manner he could;

but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: not Darius personally, for he was slain by Bessus, one of his own captains; but the Persian empire, it ceased to be, and was no longer in the hands of the Persians, but was taken from them by Alexander; and all the glory and majesty of it were defaced and despised; the famous city and palace of Persepolis were burnt in a drunken fit, at the instigation of Thais the harlot:

and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand; not his armies, nor his generals, nor his allies, nor his offers to Alexander of his daughter in marriage, and part of his kingdom; all were in vain, and to no purpose; he and his whole empire fell into the conqueror's hands, and there was no remedy against it. Josephus (x) says, that when Alexander was in his way to Jerusalem, Jaddus, the high priest, met and accompanied him into the city and temple, and showed him this prophecy of Daniel, that some one of the Grecians should abolish the empire of the Persians; and, thinking himself to be intended, was greatly pleased. Gorionides (y) says the high priest, whom he calls Ananias, said to Alexander, on showing him the prophecy, thou art this he goat, and Darius is the ram; and thou shall trample him to the ground, and take the kingdom out of his hand; and he greatly strengthened the heart of the king.

(d) Supplem. in Curt. l. 2. p. 27. (e) Trogo, l. 11. c. 6. (f) Supplem. in Curt. l. 2. p. 28. (g) In Vit. Alexandri. (h) Bibliothec. l. 17. p. 503. (i) E Trogo, l. 11. c. 6. (k) Universal History, vol. 5. p. 297. (l) In Vit. Alexandri. (m) E Trogo, l. 11. c. 9. (n) Curtius, l. 3. c. 11. (o) In Vita Alexandri. (p) Bibliothec l. 17. p. 515. (q) Exped. Alex. l. 2.((r) E. Trogo, l. 11. c. 9. (s) Vit. Alexandri. (t) Curtius, l. 4. c. 16. (u) Ut supra, ( Exped. Alex.) l. 3.((w) Biblioth. l. 17. p. 536. (x) Antiqu. l. 11. c. 8. sect. 5. (y) Heb. Hist. l. 2. c. 7. p. 88.

And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and {h} smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

(h) Alexander overcame Darius in two different battles, and so had the two kingdoms of the Medes and Persians.

7. The collapse of the Persian power before Alexander, especially in the two great defeats of Issus and Arbela.

was moved with choler] an effective rendering: so Daniel 11:11. The Heb. is lit. embitter himself, or be embittered, i.e. be maddened, enraged: cf. in Syriac, Euseb. v. 1, 50 for ἠγριώθη, and elsewhere for μαινόμενος (Payne Smit[322] col. 2200).

[322] yne Smith R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus.

stamped] trampled (R.V.), viz. in contempt: so Daniel 8:10. Cf. Isaiah 26:6; Isaiah 63:3. Not the word used in Daniel 7:7; Daniel 7:19.

and there was none, &c.] The ‘ram’ was now as defenceless before the ‘he-goat,’ as others had once (Daniel 8:4) been before it.

Verse 7. - And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. The two Greek versions, though differing very much in the Greek words chosen as equivalent to the Hebrew, yet both represent a text practically identical with that of the Massoretes. The Peshitta omits the introductory "behold," but otherwise can scarcely be said to differ essentially from the received text, though there are some peculiarities due to mistaken reading, but unimportant. The word yithmormar, "he was embittered," is a word that occurs here and in the eleventh chapter. The root, however, as might be guessed from its meaning, is not uncommon, being found in Genesis Exodus, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Ruth, Job, and Zechariah. How Professor Bevan can class this with "words or roots which occur nowhere else in the Old Testament" it is difficult to see. If this part of the verb occurs in later Jewish literature, it is singular that neither Buxtorf nor Levy chronicles the fact. It does not occur in Western Aramaic, but does in Eastern (comp. Peshitta 2 Samuel 18:33; Acts 17:16). It is quite such a word as a man writing among those who spoke Eastern Aramaic might use. Alexander advanced always against Darius; he would not even speak of treating with him. After the passage of the Granicus, he pushed on to Cilicia, overthrew Darius at Issus, B.C.. 333; then, after the conquest of Egypt, advanced against him again at Arbela, and once more inflicted on him an overwhelming defeat. When Darius fled from the field, Alexander pursued him to the shores of the Caspian and into Bactria and Sogdiana, till Darius fell a victim to the treachery of Bessus. Certainly relentlessness was the most marked character of Alexander's pursuit of Darius. The horns of the Persian power were broken, thrown to the earth, and trodden underfoot. Daniel 8:7After 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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