Daniel 8:9 Commentaries: Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.
Daniel 8:9
And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
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(9) Little.—Literally, out of littleness. (Comp. Daniel 7:8.) This is explained more fully in Daniel 8:23. The southern campaigns of Antiochus Epiphanes are related 1 Maccabees 1:16; for his eastern wars see 1 Maccabees 3:31-37; 1 Maccabees 6:1-4.

The pleasant land—i.e., Palestine, which here, as in Isaiah 19:23-24, is spoken of as a third land, between south and east. The phrase, “pleasant land,” or “glorious land,” which recurs Daniel 11:16-41, was suggested to Daniel by the language of Jeremiah 3:19; Ezekiel 20:6; Ezekiel 20:15.

Daniel 8:9. And out of one of them — Namely, out of one of the four notable horns, mentioned in the preceding verse, came forth a little horn — The reader will be pleased particularly to observe this, as being a key to the right interpretation of the subsequent prophecy. The little horn proceeded from one of the four kingdoms just mentioned, into which Alexander’s empire was divided after his death: therefore to look for it elsewhere, or to interpret it of any power, king, or kingdom, which had not its origin in one of them, must be a misinterpretation of the prophecy. From one of the four successors of Alexander, namely, from Antiochus the Great, came forth Antiochus, afterward called Epiphanes, or Illustrious, by his flatterers; but by Polybius termed more properly Epimanes, or the madman. He was indeed a vile person, as the angel characterizes him, Daniel 11:21, to whom the honour of the kingdom did not belong, Demetrius, his eldest brother’s son, being the rightful heir. He is here called a little horn: as he was originally of no great fortune or dignity, a younger brother, a contemptible person, and a sort of captive at Rome. Some have objected, that the word horn, in these visions, never signifies a single king, but always a kingdom or empire; but this is evidently a mistake, as the notable horn, mentioned Daniel 8:5, which the goat had between his eyes, manifestly means Alexander the Great. This little horn belonging to the third, or Macedonian monarchy, must not be confounded with the little horn belonging to the fourth, mentioned Daniel 7:8-20, although this here spoken of may be allowed to be a type or figure of the latter. Which waxed exceeding great toward the south — He extended his dominion toward the south, when, taking advantage of the youth of Ptolemy Philometer, (see 1Ma 1:16-19,) he made himself master of Egypt, called the south, in several places of chap. 11. of this prophecy. And toward the east — Where he conquered Armenia, and penetrated into Persia. And toward the pleasant land — Or, the land of Judea, called the pleasant land, by the holy writers, as being chosen by God for the place of his people’s habitation, and of his house or temple; where also the Messiah was to appear, called elsewhere the glory of all lands, Ezekiel 20:6; Ezekiel 20:15. The cruelties which Antiochus Epiphanes exercised in Judea seem to be the primary subject of the following verses. In which, however, he may be considered as a type of antichrist, exercising still greater cruelties on the Christian Church.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 out of one of them, came forth a little horn - Emblematic of new power that should spring up. Compare the notes at Daniel 7:8. This little horn sprang, up out of one of the others; it did not spring up in the midst of the others as the little horn, in Daniel 7:8, did among the ten others. This seemed to grow out of one of the four, and the meaning cannot be misunderstood. From one of the four powers or kingdoms into which the empire of Alexander would be divided, there would spring up this ambitions and persecuting power.

Which waxed exceeding great - Which became exceedingly powerful. It was comparatively small at first, but ultimately became mighty. There can be no doubt that Antiochus Epiphanes is denoted here. All the circumstances of the prediction find a fulfillment in him; and if it were supposed that this was written after he had lived, and that it was the design of the writer to describe him by this symbol, he could not have found a symbol that would have been more striking or appropriate than this. The Syriac version has inserted here, in the Syriae text, the words "Antiochus Epiphanes," and almost without exception expositors have been agreed in the opinion that he is referred to. For a general account of him, see the notes at Daniel 7:24, following The author of the book of Maccabees, after noticing, in the passage above quoted, the death of Alexander, and the distractions that followed his death, says, "And there came out of them a wicked root, Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been a hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks," 1 Macc. 1:10. A few expositors have supposed that this passage refers to Antichrist - what will not expositors of the Bible suppose? But the great body of interpreters have understood it to refer to Antiochus. This prince was a successor of Seleucus Nicator, who, in the division of the empire of Alexander, obtained Syria, Babylonia, Media, etc. (see above the note at Daniel 8:8), and whose capital was Antioch. The succession of princes who reigned in Antioch, from Seleucus to Antiochus Epiphanes, were as follows:

(1) Seleucus Nicator, 312-280 b.c.

(2) Antiochus Soter, his son, 280-261.

(3) Antiochus Theos, his son, 261-247.

(4) Seleucus Callinicus, his son, 247-226.

(5) (Alexander), or Seleucus Ceraunus, his son, 226-223.

(6) Antiochus the Great, his brother, 223-187.

(7) Seleucus Philopater, his son, 187-176.

(8) Antiochus Epiphanes, his brother, 176-164.

- Clinton's Fasti Hellenici, vol. iii. Appendix, ch. iii.

The succession of the Syrian kings reigning in Antioch was continued until Syria was reduced to the form of a Roman province by Pompey, 63 b.c. Seleucus Philopater, the immediate predecessor of Antiochus, having been assassinated by one of his courtiers, his brother Antiochus hastened to occupy the vacant throne, although the natural heir, Demetrius, son of Seleucus, was yet alive, but a hostage at Rome. Antiochus assumed the name of Epiphanes, or Illustrious. In Daniel 11:21, it is intimated that he gained the kingdom by flatteries; and there can be no doubt that bribery, and the promise of reward to others, was made use of to secure his power. See Kitto's Cyclo., i.-168-170. Of the acts of this prince there will be occasion for a fuller detail in the notes on the remainder of this chapter, and Daniel 11.

Toward the south - Toward the country of Egypt, etc. In the year 171 b.c., he declared war against Ptolemy Philometer, and in the year 170 he conquered Egypt, and plundered Jerusalem. 1 Macc. 1:16-19: "Now when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Egypt, that he might have the dominion of two realms. Wherefore he entered Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy. And made war against Ptolemee king of Egypt: but Ptolemee was afraid of him, and fled; and many were wounded to death. Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt, and he took the spoils thereof."

And toward the east - Toward Persia and the countries of the East. He went there - these countries being nominally subject to him - according to the author of the book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 3:21-37), in order to replenish his exhausted treasury, that he might carry on his wars with the Jews, and that he might keep up the splendor and liberality of his court: "He saw that the money of his treasures failed, and that the tributes in the country were small, because of the dissension and plague which he had brought upon the land, and he feared that he should not be able to bear the charges any longer, nor to have such gifts to give so liberally as he did before; wherefore, being greatly perplexed in his mind, he determined to go into Persia, there to take the tributes of the countries, and to gather much money. So the king departed from Antioch, his royal city, the hundred forty and seventh year; and having passed the river Euphrates, he went through the high countries."


9. little horn—not to be confounded with the little horn of the fourth kingdom in Da 7:8. The little horn in Da 7:8 comes as an eleventh horn after ten preceding horns. In Da 8:9 it is not an independent fifth horn, after the four previous ones, but it arises out of one of the four existing horns. This horn is explained (Da 8:23) to be "a king of fierce countenance," &c. Antiochus Epiphanes is meant. Greece with all its refinement produces the first, that is, the Old Testament Antichrist. Antiochus had an extraordinary love of art, which expressed itself in grand temples. He wished to substitute Zeus Olympius for Jehovah at Jerusalem. Thus first heathen civilization from below, and revealed religion from above, came into collision. Identifying himself with Jupiter, his aim was to make his own worship universal (compare Da 8:25 with Da 11:36); so mad was he in this that he was called Epimanes (maniac) instead of Epiphanes. None of the previous world rulers, Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:31-34), Darius (Da 6:27, 28), Cyrus (Ezr 1:2-4), Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezr 7:12), had systematically opposed the Jews' religious worship. Hence the need of prophecy to prepare them for Antiochus. The struggle of the Maccabees was a fruit of Daniel's prophecy (1 Maccabees 2:59). He is the forerunner of the final Antichrist, standing in the same relation to the first advent of Christ that Antichrist does to His second coming. The sins in Israel which gave rise to the Greek Antichrist were that some Jews adopted Hellenic customs (compare Da 11:30, 32), erecting theaters, and regarding all religions alike, sacrificing to Jehovah, but at the same time sending money for sacrifices to Hercules. Such shall be the state of the world when ripe for Antichrist. At Da 8:9 and Da 8:23 the description passes from the literal Antiochus to features which, though partially attributed to him, hold good in their fullest sense only of his antitype, the New Testament Antichrist. The Mohammedan Antichrist may also be included; answering to the Euphratean (Turk) horsemen (Re 9:14-21), loosed "an hour, a day, a month, a year" (391 years, in the year-day theory), to scourge corrupted, idolatrous Christianity. In A.D. 637 the Saracen Moslem mosque of Omar was founded on the site of the temple, "treading under foot the sanctuary" (Da 8:11-13); and there it still remains. The first conquest of the Turks over Christians was in A.D. 1281; and 391 years after they reached their zenith of power and began to decline, Sobieski defeating them at Vienna. Mohammed II, called "the conqueror," reigned A.D. 1451-1481, in which period Constantinople fell; 391 years after brings us to our own day, in which Turkey's fall is imminent.

waxed … great, toward … south—(Da 11:25). Antiochus fought against Ptolemy Philometer and Egypt, that is, the south.

toward the east—He fought against those who attempted a change of government in Persia.

toward the pleasant land—Judea, "the glorious land" (Da 11:16, 41, 45; compare Ps 48:2; Eze 20:6, 15). Its chief pleasantness consists in its being God's chosen land (Ps 132:13; Jer 3:19). Into it Antiochus made his inroad after his return from Egypt.

A little horn; the little horn was Antiochus Epiphanes, he arose out of the Seleucidae of Syria; called a little horn,

1. Because he was much less than Alexander, called a notable horn; Daniel 8:5.

2. Little, because he was the youngest of his brethren.

3. He was held a prisoner and pledge at Rome, whence he escaped.

4. Little, because he had nothing at first of greatness and heroic nobleness in him, also of low fortune.

Toward the south, i.e. Egypt, where he besieged and took many places from Philometer, till the Romans stopped him.

Toward the east, i.e. in Syria, Babylon, Armenia.

Toward the pleasant land; Judea, so called because of the temple and people of God in it, and the fruitfulness of it, Ezekiel 20:6,

the glory of all lands. So Daniel 9:15 Psalm 48:2,3, Jeremiah 3:19 Daniel 11:16,41,45. And out of one of them came forth a little horn,.... Meaning not the kingdom of Titus Vespasian, as Jarchi; nor the kingdom of the Turks, as Saadiah; but the kingdom of Antiochia, as Aben Ezra and Jacchiades; or rather Antiochus Epiphanes, who sprung from the kingdom of the Seleucidae in Syria, or from Seleucus king of Syria, one of the four horns before mentioned: this is that sinful root said to come out from thence, in the Apocrypha:

"And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.'' (1 Maccabees 1:10)

called "a horn", because he had some power and authority, and which he usurped and increased in; though but a "little" one in comparison of Alexander the great horn; or at his beginning, being an hostage at Rome; from whence he got away by stealth, and seized the kingdom of Syria, which belonged to his elder brother's son, whom he dispossessed of it; and by mean, artful, and deceitful methods, got it into his hands, who had no right unto it, nor any princely qualities for it:

which waxed exceeding great toward the south; towards Egypt, which lay south of Syria; into which Antiochus entered, and fought against Ptolemy Philometer, king of it, took many cities, and besieged Alexandria; and in all probability would have subdued the whole country, had not the Romans (c) restrained him, by sending their ambassador Popilius to him, who obliged him to desist and depart;

"17 Wherefore he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy, 18 And made war against Ptolemee king of Egypt: but Ptolemee was afraid of him, and fled; and many were wounded to death. 19 Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt and he took the spoils thereof. 20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude,'' (1 Maccabees 1)

and toward the east; towards Armenia and Persia, the Atropatii in Media, and the countries beyond the Euphrates, whom he made tributary to him; in the Apocrypha:

"Wherefore, being greatly perplexed in his mind, he determined to go into Persia, there to take the tributes of the countries, and to gather much money.'' (1 Maccabees 3:31)

"1 About that time king Antiochus travelling through the high countries heard say, that Elymais in the country of Persia was a city greatly renowned for riches, silver, and gold; 2 And that there was in it a very rich temple, wherein were coverings of gold, and breastplates, and shields, which Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Grecians, had left there.'' (1 Maccabees 6)

and toward the pleasant land; the land of Judea, so called because of its delightful situation, and great fruitfulness; and because God chose it above all others for his habitation; where his word, and worship, and ordinances, were observed and enjoyed; and where the Messiah should be born and dwell; into this Antiochus led his army, and greatly afflicted and distressed it; he made himself master of most places in Galilee and Judea. The Arabic version reads "toward the west"; no mention is made of the north, because there he himself reigned; Syria being north to Egypt, as that was south to Syria; hence afterwards the king of Egypt is called the king of the south, and the king of Syria the king of the north.

(c) See Joseph. Antiqu. l. 12. c. 5. sect. 2.

And out of one of them came forth a {l} little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the {m} south, and toward the {n} east, and toward the {o} pleasant land.

(l) Which was Antiochus Epiphanes, who was of a servile and flattering nature, and also there were others between him and the kingdom: and therefore he is here called the little horn, because neither princely conditions, nor any other thing was in him, why he should obtain this kingdom.

(m) That is, towards Egypt.

(n) By which he means Ptolemais.

(o) That is, Judea.

9. out of one of them] The history of Seleucus himself and his immediate successors is passed over: and the prophecy proceeds at once to Antiochus Epiphanes (b.c. 175–164), whose reign was fraught with such momentous consequences for the Jews.

a little horn] cf. Daniel 7:8. The general sense is, no doubt, given correctly; but the exact meaning of the Heb. (which is very peculiar) is far from clear. The explanation which is least forced is ‘a horn (arising) out of (being) a small one.’ It is quite possible, however, that the text is slightly in error: by omitting one letter, we should obtain the ordinary Hebrew for ‘a little horn’; and by altering two letters, we should get ‘another horn, a little one’ (cf. Daniel 7:8). Probably one of these is the true reading: LXX. Theod. support the former.

toward the south] i.e. Egypt, as in ch. 11 (Daniel 8:5, &c.). On the wars of Antiochus against Egypt, see more fully on ch. Daniel 11:21 ff.

toward the east] Antiochus led an expedition into Elymais (on the E. of Babylonia) in the last year of his life (see on Daniel 11:40).

and toward the beauteous (land)] lit. the beauty; but the full expression ‘land of beauty,’ or ‘beauteous land,’ occurs in Daniel 11:16; Daniel 11:41. It is a title of honour for the land of Israel, based upon Jeremiah 3:19, where Canaan is called ‘the heritage of beauty (i.e. the most beauteous heritage) of the hosts of the nations,’ and Ezekiel 20:6; Ezekiel 20:9, ‘the land flowing with milk and honey, which is the beauty of all lands’ (or, as we might say, the crown of all lands).

9–14. Antiochus Epiphanes (b.c. 175–164), and his assaults upon the religion of the Jews (cf. Daniel 8:23-25).Verse 9. - And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east. and toward the pleasant land. The Greek versions here differ considerably from the Massoretic text. The LXX. is as follows: "And out of one there sprang a strong horn, and it prevailed and smote toward the south, toward the south-west (ἐπὶ νότον), and toward the east, and toward the north." In this case, ἐπὶ νότον is clearly a doublet - an alternative rendering that has got into the text from the margin. Ἐπὶ βοῥῤὰν results from reading tzephonah (צְפונָה) instead of tzebee (צֶבִי). Theodotion renders, "From one of them went forth a strong horn, and was magnified exceedingly to the south and to the power" - reading צָבָא (tzaba), "host," for tzebee. It is to be observed that both translate mitztze'eeroth as "strong" (ἰσχυρός) instead of "little." The reason of this is that they have taken מְ as equivalent to ex, therefore equivalent to a negative. The Peshitta agrees with the Authorized in reading mitztzeeroth as "little," but leaves out the difficult final word rendered "the pleasant land" in our Authorized Version. Jerome translates mitztze'eeroth by modicum, and tzebee by fortitudinem - a combination of Theodotion and the Massoretic; he must have had tzaba in his text instead of tzebee, - this may have been due to the fact that tzaba occurs in the next verse. The reference is sufficiently obvious to Antiochus. The description is accurate; he sprang from one of the four horns or dynasties that succeeded the great conqueror. He carried his arms to the east, but mainly to the south against Egypt. The great difficulties are in the two Hebrew words mitztz"eeroth and tzebee. As to the first word, the fact that the two Greek versions have read it are conclusive against the suggestion of Gratz and Hitzig, supported by Bevan, that we should omit מִן. (min). Jephet-ibn-Ali takes min as denoting the origin of the horn, "from a little one." The further suggestion of Gratz, that we should adopt the reading of the LXX., is rightly combatted by Professor Bevan. The readings alike of the LXX. and Theodotion could have sprung from the Massoretic reading, whereas neither of these could so readily be the original reading. It was necessary that Israel should be prominent in this part of the prophecy; it all leads up to the persecution the Jews endured at the hands of Epiphanes. It is necessary, then, to hold that this word, whatever reading we adopt, and whatever immediate meaning we assign to it, must refer to Palestine. Ewald renders it "ornament;" Bevan, "glory." עתידין taken with the following clause, תּפּלוּן ... דּי, is not a circumlocution for the future (according to Winer, Chald. Gram. 45, 2). This does not follow from the use of the simple future in contrast, but it retains its peculiar meaning ready. The conclusion to the first clause is omitted, because it is self-evident from the conclusion of the second, opposed passage: then ye will not be cast into the fiery furnace. Similar omissions are found in Exodus 32:32; Luke 13:9. For the purpose of giving strength to his threatening, Nebuchadnezzar adds that no god would deliver them out of his hand. In this Hitz. is not justified in supposing there is included a blaspheming of Jehovah like that of Sennacherib, Isaiah 37:10. The case is different. Sennacherib raised his gods above Jehovah, the God of the Jews; Nebuchadnezzar only declares that deliverance out of the fiery furnace is a work which no god can accomplish, and in this he only indirectly likens the God of the Jews to the gods of the heathen.
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