Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
2. The vision of the two world-kingdoms and their fall
1In the third year of1 the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me [I] Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. 2And I saw in a vision (and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at [in] Shushan in the palace [or, citadel], which is in the province of Elam); and I saw in a vision, and I was by [upon] the river of Ulai.
3Then [And] I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a [single] ram which [and he] had two horns, and the two horns were high; but [the] one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4I saw the ram pushing2 westward [sea-ward], and northward, and southward; so that [and] no beasts might [could] stand before him, neither was there any that could. deliver out of his hand; but [and] he did according to his will, and became great.3
5And as I was considering [then], behold, a he-goat4 came from the west,5 on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground [earth]: and the goat had a notable [sightly] horn between his eyes. 6And he came to the ram that had [master of the] two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7And I saw him come close unto6 the ram, and he was moved with choler7 against [towards] 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 [earth], and stamped upon [trampled] him: and there was none that could deliver8 the ram out of his hand.
8Therefore [And] the he-goat4 waxed [became] very9 great:3 and when [as] he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable 9[sightly] ones,10 toward the four winds of heaven [the heavens]. And out of [the] one of them came forth a [single] little11 horn which waxed [and it became exceeding great,3 toward the south, and toward the east and toward the pleasant land.12 10And it waxed [became] great,3 even to the host of heaven [the heavens]; and it cast down13 some of the host and of the stars to the ground [earth], and 11stamped upon [trampled] them. Yea [And] he magnified himself3 even to the prince of the host, and by [from] him the daily [continual] sacrifice was taken 12away,14 and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was [would be] given him against the daily [continual] sacrifice by reason of [in] transgression, and it [would] cast down the truth to the ground [earth]; and it practised [did], and prospered.
13Then [And] I [quite] heard one saint [holy one] speaking, and another saint [one holy one] said unto that certain saint which spake [to so-and-so the one speaking], How long shall be the vision concerning [of] the daily [continual] sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation [desolating or astounding transgression], to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days [evening-mornings];15 then [and] shall the sanctuary be cleansed [sanctified].
15And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning [understanding], then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man [person]. 16And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which [and he] called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the 17vision [appearance]. So [And] he came near where I stood;16 and when he came, I was afraid, and fell [quite] upon my face: but [and] he said unto me, Understand, O son of man; for [that] at [to] the time of the end shall be the 18vision. Now [And], as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep [stunned] on my face toward the ground [earth]: but [and] he touched me, and set me [made me stand] upright.17 19And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be [it is to the time of the end].
20The ram which thou sawest18 having [master of the] two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21And the rough goat19 is the king of Græcia [Javan]; and the great horn that is between his eyes [, that] is the first king. 22Now that being broken, whereas [And the broken one, and] four stood up for it, four kingdoms 23shall stand up out of the nation, but [and] not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when [as] the transgressors are come to the full [have completed], a king of fierce countenance [strong (bold) of face], and understanding dark sentences [stratagems], shall stand up. 24And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy [or, corrupt] wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise [do], and shall destroy [or, corrupt] the 25mighty [ones] and the holy people [people of the holy ones]. And through [upon] his policy also [and] he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself3 in his heart, and by peace [in security] shall destroy [or, corrupt] many: he shall also [and he will] stand up against the Prince of 26princes; but [and] he shall be broken without20 hand. And the vision [appearance] of the evening and the morning20 which was told is true [, it is truth]: wherefore [and thou] shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
27And I Daniel fainted,21 and was sick certain days: afterward [and] I rose up, and did the king’s business [work]; and I was astonished at the vision [appearance], but [and] none understood it.
Daniel 8:1, 2. Time and place of the vision. In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar; hence, shortly before the end of this king, who reigned but little more than two years (cf. Introd., § 8, note 3), and therefore not long after the incident recorded in chap. 5, which revealed the Medo-Persian kingdom already rising with a threatening light above the political horizon of the Chaldæan empire, as the heiress of Babylonia. Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the image and that of the four beasts and the Son of man (seen perhaps two years before the present date), as well as the vision of the Medo-Persian ram and the Græcian goat, described in the following verses, had already prepared Daniel, before he interpreted the mysterious writing on the wall of Belshazzar’s banquethall, to see Medo-Persia standing on the arena of history as the leading world-power instead of Babylonia in the not distant future The extent, however, to which recent political events, such as successes achieved by the Medes, or, what is more probable, the rise of the youthful Persian prince Cyrus and his victory over Astyages (B. C. 559, and therefore two years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar in 561, and shortly after the overthrow of his successor Belshazzar-Evilmerodach), may have been influential in inciting the prophet to the politico-religious meditations from which originated the vision of this chapter, cannot be positively decided, in view of the silence of the book with regard to such externally conditioning circumstances. The political situation must certainly not be apprehended as if the fall of the Babylonian empire were immediately impending, and the approach of the Medes under Darius were looked for shortly. Against this view, which is based on the familiar but incorrect interpretation of Daniel 5:29 et seq., and which is still advocated by Hitzig, Ewald, etc., see supra, on that passage.22—A vision appeared unto me … Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first; i.e., “after having seen, somewhat earlier, an important prophetic vision, another of a similar character appeared to me.” This new vision, however, is not called a “dream” or a dreamvision, like that in Daniel 7:1, but simply a חָזוֹן, “’ vision, what has been seen;” cf. Daniel 8:15, 26, and also מַרְאֶח (Daniel 8:16, 27; Daniel 10:7; also Ex. 3:3; Ezek. 43:3), which is often substituted for חָזֹון. It is evident that the prophet was awake and conscious during this vision, from the language of the verses at the beginning and end of the section (Daniel 8:2 and 27), and also from a comparison with the vision in chap. 10, which is analogous in form (see especially Daniel 8:7–10).—הנִּרְאָה, instead of הֶחָזוֹן אֲשֶׁר נִרְאָה. On this apparently relative use of the article, cf. Ewald, Lehrb., § 335 a.—בַּתְּהִלָּה, properly, “in the beginning,” is here and in Daniel 9:21 equivalent to “formerly, before,” and therefore:=בָּרִאשֹׁנָה, Isa. 1:26; Gen. 13:3, 4 (in both passages the two terms are employed as synonyms). The expression refers back to chap. 7, and especially to 7:28.
Daniel 8:2. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, וַיְהִי בִּוְאֹתִי indicates that he was merely visionally present at Shushan, or that in spirit he was transported to that Persian metropolis; but in the following words he describes its situation and locality in so realizing and exact a manner that his actual presence in or near that city becomes exceedingly probable. During his long official and semi-official service under Nebuchadnezzar he may have visited that region more than once (cf. supra, on 3:12 and 4:6). Like Josephus, a majority of the older translators, Luther, Grotius, etc., Bertholdt and Gesenius advocate the view that the words beginning with ויִהִי are in parenthesis; but this is contrary to the Heb. usage and to the expression of the author, and consequently the view adopted by nearly all the modern expositors, which finds only a presence of Daniel ἑν πνεύματι at Shushan indicated by this language, is preferable. This destroys all foundation for the charge of Bertholdt, that the writer is guilty of anachronism in this instance, since Shushan was no longer subject to the Babylonian empire in the reign of Belshazzar, i.e., Nabonidus. Even prior to the fall of the Chaldæan world-power Daniel was able to speak of the palace (or castle) of Shushan (with regard to בִּירָּה, Pers. bāru, “a castle,” Sanscr. bura, Gr. βάρις, cf. Gesenius and Dietrich, s. v) as a centre of Persian power, and even, in a measure, as the heart of the Medo-Persian world-monarchy, because the city of Susa (Old-Pers. probably Shuza, now Shush—see Lassen, Zeitschr. für Kunde des Morgenl., VI. 47), together with its well-fortified castle, was, from the earliest times, a principal feature in the province of Elymaïs (which is indicated by the terms applied to it by Herodotus, e.g., Μεμνόνιον ἀστυ, Σοῦσα τὰ Μεμνό-νια etc.; see Herod., V. 53, 54; VII. 151; cf. Strabo, XV. 52 et seq.; Pausan., IV. 31, 5), and because the prominent and all-controlling part which that city would take under the direction of a native Persian prince could readily be foreseen, even before cyrus should have solemnly declared it the capital of his empire, and before Darius Hystaspis should have enlarged and splendidly ornamented it as such (cf. Hävernick, on this passage).—Which is in the province of Elam. Kranichfeld observes correctly that “if this book had been written subsequent to the exile, Shushan would not have been located in Elam, but in Susiana” (cf. Füller, p. 190); for Elam (Gr. Ἐλυμαΐς Sept. Αἰλάμ) is the old-Heb. designation of the countries situated east of Babylon and the lower Tigris, which were inhabited from the earliest times by Shemites (see Gen. 10:22; 14:19; cf. Isa. 11:11; 21:2; 22:6; Jer. 25:25, etc.), and it was not till the period of the Persian supremacy that the extended province of Elam was limited to the narrow strip between the Tigris and the Eulæus, or between the Persian satrapies of Babylonia and Susiana, by which arrangement the river Eulæus (see the notes immediately following) became the boundary between Elymaïs and Susiana, and the city of Susa was assigned to the latter province. Cf. Strabo, XV. 3, 12; XVI. 1, 17; Pliny, II, N., VI. 27: “susianam ab Elymaide disterminat omnis Eulœus.” The expression עֵילָם הַמְּדִינָה, “the province of Elam,” does not by any means convey the idea of a Chaldœan province of that name, whose capital was Susa, because the author conforms entirely to the ancient Heb. usage. Cf. Niebuhr, Gesch. Assurs und Babels, p. 198 et seq.; Vaihinger, in Herzog’s Real-Encykl., Art. Elam.—And I was by the river of Ulai, i.e., on the banks of the Eulæus, which flowed on one side of the city of Susa, while the Choaspes (on which river the classics, as Herod., I. 188; V. 49, 52; Strab., XV. p. 728, etc., locate that town) probably bounded it on the other. Corresponding with this, the representation of a large city, lying between two rivers, on a bas-relief of Kuyunjik copied by Layard (Nineveh and Babylon, p. 452), was probably designed for Susa. The explorations of Loftus in the region of Shush in 1851 make it probable that the Eulæus itself was merely a fork or branch of the ancient Choaspes or modern Kerkhah, and that the latter stream was also occasionally called Eulæus (see Rödiger, Zeitschr. f. Kunde des Morgenl., 13:715 et seq.; Rüetschi, in Herzog’s Real-Encykl., art. Susa). The peculiar name אוּבָל, stream, water-course,” which is applied to the Ulai in this place and in Daniel 8:3, 6, 16, appears likewise to indicate that it was not so much a single river as a stream which divided into two forks. The same idea was probably intended by the expression “between the Ulai,” Daniel 8:16 (see on that passage).23
Daniel 8:3, 4. The first leading feature of the vision: the Persian ram. And behold there stood before the river a ram. “Before it,” i.e., probably, eastward from it, in case the branch of the river which flowed to the west of Susa is intended; for if Daniel did not stand in the castle of Shushan, he was at any rate close beside it, and therefore on the eastern bank of that branch of the stream. If from this position he saw the ram standing before the river, the latter must likewise have been on the eastern bank. [“Daniel first sees one ram, אַיּל standing by the river. The אֶחָד (one) does not here stand for the indefinite article, but is a numeral in contradistinction to the two horns which the one ram has” (Keil). Rather it indicates a solitary ram, and not a member of a flock, as is usual with these gregarious animals. For every ram has of course two horns.] The vision symbolizes the Persian monarchy as a ram (and afterward the Græcian empire as a he goat), in harmony with that mode of representation—which prevailed generally in the figurative language of O.–T. prophecy and accorded with Oriental modes of conception in general—by which princes, national sovereigns, or military leaders were typified under similar figures; cf. Isa. 14:9 (“all the great goats of the earth”), and as parallel with it, “all the kings of the heathen,” Jer. 1:8; Ezek. 34:17; Zech. 10:3. From extra-Biblical sources, cf. Zendav., part II., p. 273 et seq., in Kleuker (Ized Behram appears “like a ram with clean feet and sharp-pointed horns”); Hamasa, p. 482, ed. Shultens; also the Iliad, 13:491–493; Cicero, de divinat., i. 22, 14; Plutarch, Sulla, c. 27.24 It is especially significant that Persia is represented as a male sheep, while the Macedonian-Greek empire is symbolized as a he-goat, in view of the contrast between the solid prosperity and even abundant wealth of the Persian monarchy, and the combative, rampant, and warlike nature of Macedon. With similar propriety the preceding vision (Daniel 7:5 et seq.) employed the bear to represent the slow, clumsy, but enormous power of Medo-Persia, and the four-winged leopard to illustrate the fleetness and warlike spirit of the Macedonians. It is also possible that an indirect allusion to the ethical contrast between Medo-Persia, as a power which in a religious point of view approximated somewhat towards Shemitism and the Theocracy, and maintained friendly relations with them, and the Græcian empire, as being thoroughly heathen and fundamentally opposed to all monotheism, was implied in this representation; for the parallel descriptions in chapters 2 and 7 likewise describe the succeeding world-kingdoms as in every case more degraded and abominable, in a religious and ethical light, than their predecessors (see Eth.-fund. principles, etc., on chap. 2 No. 3, a and b). He-goats serve elsewhere also as symbols of a violent, savage, and obstinately hostile disposition, while sheep (and consequently rams also) are distinguished by being more governable, and by evincing a more peaceful and mild nature, and thus are better adapted to typify what is ethically good and attractive. See Matt. 25:31–46, and cf. Lange on that passage, who observes against Meyer, and certainly with justice, that in this description of the last judgment, Christ does not represent the wicked under the symbol of goats because of the inferior value of that animal (Luke 15:29), but because of its “incorrigible obstinacy” and ungovernable temper (Vol. I. of the New-Test portion of this Bible work). Cf. also Piper, Christus der Weltrichter in the evangel. Kalender, 1853, p. 25.—Which had two horns; and the horns were high. The ram was therefore not impotent and defenceless, since the tall horns which he bore are symbols of great power, being the natural weapons of rams, both for offence and defence; cf. on Daniel 7:7, 24.—But one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. The vision therefore represents the horns as still growing, and fixes the prophet’s attention on the fact that the horn which comes up last excels the other in its powerful growth—a striking illustration of the well-known process of development by which the Persian nation became the head of the Medo-Persian world-empire after the time of Cyrus, as being the more powerful element in the confederacy, and thus able to compel the Median branch, though older, to assume the second place in power and dignity. Theodoret thinks that this passage refers to the expulsion of the dynasty of Cyrus by the later, but more powerful family of Darius Hystaspis; the ram, however, does not represent Persia only, but the combined Medo-Persia, as the angel expressly states in the interpretation Daniel 8:20, and as the parallel visions in Daniel 2:39 and 7:5, when properly conceived and understood, compel us to suppose (see on that passage).
Daniel 8:4. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward. The “pushing” can only be intended to signify the assertion and extension of its power in a warlike manner; cf. Daniel 11:40; Psa. 44:6; Deut. 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11. In this place the pushing westward denotes more particularly the victories of Medo-Persia over Babylonia and the Lydian kingdom of Asia Minor; that toward the north, the expeditions for the conquest of Scythia, led by Cyrus and Darius; and that towards the south, the conquest of Egypt and Libya by Cambyses. The ram does not push eastward, because the east already belonged to the Medo-Persian empire, and no farther extension in that direction was to be expected. Hitzig remarks, with incredible absurdity: “The fourth quarter of the earth is here unnoticed. While the ram turns his head to the right or left, he may, without changing his position, push northward and southward, but not backwards; in that direction, moreover, he would assail Daniel himself, and afterward Susa”—as if there could have been any difficulty in the matter of changing the position of the ram, in case it became necessary to represent an extension of its power eastward, by the symbol of pushing in that direction!25—So that no beasts might stand before him; literally, “and all beasts—they stood not before him.” The imperfect לֹא רַעַמְדוּ expresses here, as often, the sense of “not being able to resist” (cf. Gesen., Lehrgeb., p. 772 et seq.). The verb in this place is masculine (unlike Daniel 8:22), because the writer has in his mind the kingdoms or monarchs symbolized by the חַיּוֹת. Cf. the similar enallage gen. in Job 15:6; Hos. 14:1.—But he did according to his will and became great. וְהִגְדִּיל properly, “and he made great,” namely, his power, i.e., he became strong, mighty. Not “and he pretended to be great, gave himself boastful airs”(de Wette, van Ess, Ewald, etc.); for, as Daniel 8:25 shows, הִגְדִּיל never expresses the sense of boasting or conceited superciliousness when standing alone, as it does here and in Daniel 8:8, but only when joined with the particularizing בִּלְבָבוֹ.26 With regard to Daniel 8:10 and 11 cf. infra, on those passages.
Daniel 8:5–7. The Græcian he-goat and its victory over the Persian ram. And as I was considering, behold, a he-goat, etc. “Considering,” מֵבִין, as in Daniel 8:27. The he-goat with a single notable horn between the eyes—hence in its general appearance resembling one of the unicorns which are prominent in the drawings on the monuments of Nineveh, Babylon, and Persepolis—symbolizes the Macedonian-Hellenistic world-monarchy founded by Alexander the Great (whom the single great horn more directly represents, see Daniel 8:21), and at the same time the kingdoms of the Diadochi which emanated from it, as Daniel 8:8 indicates with all possible clearness by the growth of four new horns in the place of the great horn which was broken. This comprehensive animal symbol accordingly includes all that had been characterized separately in the two former visions of the world-monarchies, chapters 2 and 7, at-first by the figure of two different parts of the body of the colossus, and afterward by the symbol of two beasts appearing in succession. This departure from the former mode of representation involves no questionable features whatever, inasmuch as this chapter follows a different train of ideas in many other respects as well, and the advocates of the interpretation of the fourth beast in chap. 7 (and of the legs of clay and iron intermingled, in chap. 2), which differs from ours, must not be permitted to urge their view to the exclusion of our own, because they also are compelled to acknowledge that the present vision combines in one two features which are there found separately, so that the one Medo-Persian ram in this place corresponds to the two beasts in the former vision, which, in their judgment, represent Media and Persia (cf. supra).—Came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground; therefore, with great swiftness, as if flying, or as if borne on the wings of the storm. Cf. the description of the leopard in Daniel 7:6, and the statement respecting Alexander the Great, in 1 Macc.1:3 διῆλθεν έως ἀκρων τῆς γῆς; also Isa. 41:2 et seq.; Hos. 13:7; Hab. 1:6, 8, and other descriptions relating to conquerors of earlier times.—And the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. קֶרֶן חָזוּת does not signify a “horn of vision” (Hofmann, Weiss und Erfüllung, I. 292), but rather a “notable horn,” as the parallel גְּדוֹלָה in Daniel 8:8 and 21 shows, and as the ancient versions already declare (Theod.: κέρας θεωρητόν; Vulg.: cornu insigne, etc.); cf. אִישׁ מַרְאָה,2 Sam. 23:21; also Targ., Esth. 2:2; Gen. 12:11.
Daniel 8:6. And he came to the ram that had two horns. The Arabs term Alexander the Great “the two-horned one,” because he was represented on coins, etc., as the son of Jupiter Amnion, wearing two horns on his head. The fact that on the contrary, the Medo-Persian empire which he conquered is represented as a double-horned ram, indicates with sufficient clearness that the symbolic visions of this chapter did not originate with a pseudo-Daniel, who prophesied subsequent to the event. Cf. Kranichfeld on this passage, where he justly rejects Hitzig’s opinion that we have here merely an “accidental analogy” to the Arabian idea.—And ran unto him in the fury of his power; properly, in the heat of his power, i.e., in the irresistible rage (חמח) of which he was capable by reason of his mighty power. Hävernick is not exactly correct when he reads “full of a fierce desire for battle;” nor are De Wette, Von Lengerke, etc., in their version, “in his mighty rage.”
Daniel 8:7. And I saw him come close unto the ram. The manner in which Alexander the Great, at the head of the Macedonian forces, put an end to the Medo-Persian empire, corresponds in the main with this description of the assault by the goat upon the ram, which resulted in the breaking of the two horns of the latter (i.e., the power of Media and of Persia), but still not so exactly as to suggest a sketching ex eventu of that event. The figurative description is especially defective in not containing any tolerably clear indication of the fact that several vigorous blows by the ram, which were inflicted at different points (the first at Granicus, the next at Issus, and the final one in the neighborhood of Susa and the Eulæus river), were required to break and destroy the Persian power. A Maccabæan pseudo-Daniel would hardly have escaped the temptation to introduce more tangible allusions to these features.
Daniel 8:8–12. The little horn which grew from the goat, and its violence against the Most High and His sanctuary. And the goat waxed very great. Here again חִגְּדִּיל does not signify “to pretend to greatness,” but “to become great, to develop mightily.”27 עַר מְאֹד, “unto excess,” as in Gen. 27:33; 1 Kings 1:4; Isa. 64:8.—And when he was (or, “had become”) strong, the great horn was broken. כְּעָצְמוֹ, when the height of his “becoming great” was reached, when his power was at its climax. Think of Alexander’s expeditions to Bactria, Sogdiana, and India, which were soon followed by his death. The “breaking of the great horn,” however, does not refer simply to Alexander’s death, but also to the division of the dominion and disruption of the unity of the realm immediately consequent on the decease of that monarch.—And for it came up four notable ones. חָזוּת is properly in apposition with אַרְבַּע, “conspicuousness, four,” or also an adverbial accusative, “in conspicuousness, in a notable manner;” cf. supra, on Daniel 8:5. Each of the separate powers is therefore still important, although each receives but a fourth of the power and greatness of the original collective empire.—Toward the four winds of heaven. This addition alludes to the centrifugal principle, tending to division and separation, which after Alexander’s death (not after the battle of Ipsus, as Hitzig prefers) seized on the Macedonian-Hellenistic world-monarchy, in which the centralizing principle had hitherto prevailed. The number of the horns appears to be based on the number of the winds, and to be a standing symbolic expression which is found in other writers also (cf. Jer. 49:36; Zech. 2:10; 6:5; Job 1:19). It is at any rate of symbolic significance, referring to the separation and parting of the empire toward all quarters of the world; and it is therefore not admissible to seek four particular kingdoms which should be denoted by the four horns growing towards the four quarters of the earth, as those of Cassander (Macedon), Lysimachus (Thrace and Asia Minor), Seleucus (Syria, Babylonia, and Persia), and Ptolemy (Egypt),28 Both the opponents and the advocates of the genuineness of this book, since Porphyry and Jerome, are agreed in this specializing interpretation of the four horns, by which the kingdoms of the four Diadochi, who have been mentioned, are obtained (cf. in addition Hävernick, Hitzig, Ewald, and Kamphausen, on the passage). But they do not consider (1) that not the battle of Ipsus, but the death of Alexander, the monarch who founded the empire, is given as the terminus a quo at which the growth of the “four horns” begins; (2) that in point of fact the number of the great empires of the Diadochi Cassander, Lysimachus, etc., was limited to four during a period even more brief than that during which the empire was a unit under Alexander; (3) that the enumeration of four such empires even immediately subsequent to the battle of Ipsus might be assailed as being inexact, inasmuch as Demetrius, the son of Antigonus whom those kings had conquered, stood upon the scene of action (as ruler of the sea, and lord of Phœnicia, Cyprus, Athens, etc.), as well as the independent rulers of the Achæmenidæ who governed Pontus, Armenia, and Cappadocia; (4) that the parallel visions in chap. 2 and 7 appear to indicate a division of the original empire into two kingdoms (the “two legs” of the colossus, Daniel 2:33, 40 et seq.), or into ten (cf. Bleek’s interpretation of the ten horns, Daniel 7:7) instead of four. Among modern expositors Kranichfeld advocates the correct view by laying the principal stress on the symbolic idea of a “dispersion to the four winds,” and contenting himself with observing in relation to the bearing of this prophecy upon the four empires of the Diadochi in question, that “the prophetic idea is verified formally also, by events suggesting its fulfilment which were connected with the four kingdoms of the Diadochi in the Macedonian realm.”
Daniel 8:9. And out of one of them came forth a little horn. מִצְּעִירָה, literally, “out of littleness, in a small way,” an adverbial conception of similar formation as מִן יַצִּיב ,מִן קְשׁוֹט in Daniel 2:8, 47 (see on those passages). On the masculine forms מֵהֶם and יָצָא cf. the similar constructions ad sensum in Daniel 8:4 (יַעַמְדוּ) and Daniel 8:11 (הִגְדִּיל).—The horn from which the horn “sprouting in a diminutive manner” comes forth has its historical counterpart in the kingdom of the Seleucidæ; the little horn which sprouts or branches forth from it—after the manner of the prongs in the antlers of a deer—finds, like that in Daniel 7:8, its most pregnant historical illustration in the most godless offspring of that dynasty, Antiochus Epiphanes. The little horn, however, was certainly not intended to represent Epiphanes only and exclusively, as the description shows that immediately follows, which relates to the predecessors of Epiphanes also, especially to Antiochus the Great, and perhaps even suggests a reference to Seleucus Nicator and his expeditions to Persia and India in search of conquest.—Which waxed exceeding great toward the south and toward the east. It is usual to apply this to the wars of Ant. Epiphanes against Egypt (1 Macc. 1:18 et seq.; cf. infra, Dan. 11:22 et seq.), against the countries beyond the Euphrates, Armenia and Elymaïs (1 Macc. 1:31, 37; 6:1 et seq.; cf. Appian., Syr., c. 45, 66), and against the Jews under the leadership of the Asmonæans. But Syria derived no “exceeding greatness under that tyrant from these wars; the וְתִגְדַּל־יֶתֶר may be far more appropriately applied to the former extensions of the power of the Seleucidæ under Sel. Nicator and Antiochus the Great (whose conquests toward the west are not noticed, probably because of their transient character). Moreover in case the reference to the undertakings of Epiphanes that have been mentioned could be established, the prophecy would be so direct in its application, that it would be hardly possible to defend its origin during the captivity with Daniel.29 It is better, therefore, to be content with the more general, and, so to speak, collective or genealogical interpretation of the “little horn,” by which it signifies, more immediately, the antitheocratic or anti-Christian governing power in the empire of the Seleucidæ merely, the power of the “transgressors,” who are clearly distinguished in like manner in Daniel 8:23 from Ant. Epiphanes as the most concentrated expression of the anti-theistic principle (see on that passage). Cf. also Kranichfeld, who, while assenting to this general idea of the little horn, seeks to explain the circumstance that the growth of this horn toward the west is not mentioned, by assuming that “the Græcian horn as such is conceived as being in the west and as operating from thence,” and that therefore the author “would naturally describe it as asserting its power only in the regions which lay southward and eastward from Javan.”—And toward the pleasant land. הצְבִי, properly, “the ornament;” here equivalent to אֶרֶץ הַצְבִי (Daniel 11:16, 41), i.e., the valued, precious land, the blessed land, the land of Israel; cf. Jer. 3:19; Ezek. 20:6, 15; Zech. 7:14; Psa. 106:24. “Palestine is here noticed as a third land between the south and the east, as, in a different connection, in Isa. 19:23 et seq., it is located between the once hostile Egypt and Assyria,”30
Daniel 8:10. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven. The “becoming great” is here no longer to be taken in the strict and proper objective sense, but is subjective, an impious presumption, a conceited pride whose greatness reached to the host of heaven; cf. Daniel 8:25. The “host of heaven,” however, is doubtless a figurative expression, referring in strong eulogistic phrase to Israel, the community of saints, who contsitute “the Lord’s host” on earth, even as the glittering stars form His host in the sky; cf. Gen. 15:5; 22:17; Num. 24:17; also Ex. 7:4; 12:41; and further, the name Jehovah Sabaoth, which probably designates God in a two-fold sense, namely, as the “Lord of hosts,” with reference to the starry host, and also to people of Israel, the host of His earthly servants and elect ones. The figurative designation of Israel as the “host of heaven” was probably caused by the designed assonance between צָבָא and צָבִי, the latter of which had just been employed to characterize the land of Israel.31—And it cast down (some) of the host and of the stars to the ground. The copula before הַכּוֹכָבִיםמִן is explicative (=namely), and serves to introduce an explanatory clause, intended to sustain the force of the figure presented in the preceding sentence while applying the term צָבָא—which is not metaphorical in itself—to the host of Israel, and thus to strengthen the conception of the impious character of the attempt.—And stamped upon them, namely, the members of the people of God; cf. Daniel 8:13 and Daniel 7:21, 25. The manner in which this part of the prophetic vision was fulfilled under Ant. Epiphanes is recorded in 1 Macc. 1:24, 30, 37; 2:38. Cf. the reference expressly to this prophecy in 2 Macc. 9:10.
Daniel 8:11. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host. The masculine הִגְדִּיל is used because the foe who is typified by the horn is intended; cf. 11:36.—The “prince of the host” is of course not identical with him who is mentioned in Josh. 5:14 (who is probably identical with Michael, Dan. 10:13), but the Most High God Himself, to whom Daniel 8:25 refers as the “Prince of princes.” Cf. Daniel 7:8, 20, 25; 11:36.—And by him the daily sacrifice was taken away. The enemy of God’s people, who is symbolized by the horn, must be regarded as the agent of the two passive verbs הוּרָם and הֻשְׁלָךְ (for which Hitzig, following the Keri and the versions, unnecessarily desires to substitute the actives הֵרִום and וְהַשְׁלֵךְ, הַתָּמִיד “the daily” (Gr. ἐνδελεχισμός), designates, as is shown by the mention of “the place of his sanctuary” immediately afterward, the daily service in the temple, and more particularly, probably the daily morning and evening sacrifices, the תָמִידעוֹלָה, Num. 28:3; 1 Chron. 16:40; 2 Chron. 29:7. Cf. the rabbinical usage which expresses, this idea also by הִתמיד simply; cf. also infra, on Daniel 8:14.—The events in the history of the theocracy immediately prior to the Christian æra, which fulfilled this prophecy in a measure, are narrated in 1 Macc. 1:39, 45 et seq.; 3:45.
Daniel 8:12. And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression; rather, “and war is raised against the daily sacrifice, with outrage.” The imperf. verbs תִּנָתֵן and תַּשְׁלֵךְ are not, indeed, præterites (Hitzig), but they are not used in a strictly future sense (Ewald, Lehrb., p. 829 et seq.). They denote, rather, the idea that the predicted course of conduct accords with the Divine decree, or that it is ordained or permitted by God, thus corresponding to Daniel 7:14, 17, or supra, Daniel 8:4. This sense is most readily expressed in the English by the present tense.—צָבָא תִּנָּתֵן does not signify “the host is given up, or devoted to ruin” (De Wette, Von Lengerke, Hävernick, Kranichfeld, etc.), but, “a war is carried on, a warlike expedition is begun, a campaign is undertaken” (cf. Isa. 40:2). The correct view was already entertained by Jerome, Luther, etc., and among moderns by Hitzig, Kamphausen, and Ewald, the latter of whom justly notices the contrast between צָבָא here and the same word in Daniel 8:10, where it stands in a different sense, and therefore translates, “and the compulsion of a host is imposed on the daily. His idea is that compulsion is employed for the purpose of introducing idolatrous worship in place of the service of the true God, and particularly, compulsion to service in the host, so that “host stands opposed to host, serfdom to the true service (of God), coercion to freedom.”—In imitation of Theodotion (καὶ ἐδόθη ἐπὶ τὴν θνσίαν ἁμαρτία), Bertholdt makes the very uncalled-for proposition of rejecting וְצָבָא from the text, and then reading בְּפֶשַׁעהַפֶּשַׁע unquestionably indicates the method of making war upon the daily sacrifice; it stands sensu objectivo, to designate the outrageous heathen idolatry or sacrificial service, which superseded the worship belonging to the true faith. The same feature occurs in Daniel 8:13, where שֹׁמֵם is added, to strengthen the idea.32—And it cast (“casts”) down the truth to the ground. The subject of וְתַשְׁלֵךְ (for which Hitzig, following the Septuagint, Theodot., and Syr., prefers to read וְתֻשְׁלַךְ) is the קֶרֶן, which is last mentioned in Daniel 8:10, and which forms the principal feature of the entire description before us. The “truth” (אֱמֶת Theodot., διλαιοσύνη) to be cast down by this “horn” is the true religion, the objective truth of God, which is revealed in the law and the prophets (cf. Psa. 19:10; 30:10; also Dan. 9:13). Daniel 8:14 shows that its being cast down, like that of the daily sacrifice, shall continue but for a brief period.—And it practised and prospered; rather, “and it accomplishes this, and prospers,” namely, because of the Divine permission. The words, and indeed the verse as a whole, serve to recapitulate and gather together the preceding statements.
Daniel 8:13, 14. A question concerning the duration of the oppression of the truth, and the answer to this question. Then I heard one saint speaking. This speaking angel (for קָדֹושׁ here signifies an angel, cf. קַדִּישׁ, Daniel 4:10, and also Deut. 33:2; Job 5:1; 15:5; Psa. 89:6, 8; Zech. 14:1) enters into the vision here described without previous notice, because the prophet conceives of the whole scene as surrounded by angels, similar to Daniel 7:10; cf. Daniel 8:16, and analogous features (perhaps in imitation of this passage) in the night visions of Zechariah, e.g., Zech. 1:9 et seq., 13 et seq.; 2:2, 5, 7; 3:1 et seq.; 4:1 et seq. The prophet does not state what the angel, who is introduced in this mysterious and dream-like manner, said at first, evidently because he does not know, i.e., because, although he has heard him speak, he has not understood his words. He saw, therefore, two angels, who were engaged in conversing with each other, and heard one of them say something which he failed to understand; the question, however, which the other addressed to the first speaker was so clearly apprehended by the prophet that he was able to repeat it in the latter half of this verse. Ewald puts it, correctly: “Thus, at the first moment of silence after that speech, he suddenly hears one angel ask another, with whom he is conversing,” etc. Hitzig, Kamphausen, etc., on the other hand, are arbitrary: “The second angel addressed the speaker, by directing an inquiry in the interest of Daniel to him (Daniel 8:13 b), by replying to which the other angel became for the first time speaker.” According to this the greater part of Daniel 8:13 would be a logical parenthesis, and the words “and he said unto me” at the beginning of Daniel 8:14 would serve simply to resume the introductory words of Daniel 8:13; the language of the writer, however, does not accord with this view. His evident aim is to repeat what he has overheard of a conversation between two angels; otherwise the most simple course for him would have been to address the inquiry concerning the duration of the tribulation to the angel in person, as in Daniel 7:16, which is, in other respects, an analogous case.—How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice. “The vision,” i.e., the subject of the vision, which is here more specially indicated by the two genitives that follow, viz.: הַתָּמַיד and וְהַפֶּשַׁע שֹׁמֵם. The anxious question as to “how long?” (cf. Isa. 6:11) is caused by the fearful and alarming character of the profanation and destruction, as seen in the vision of the prophet.—And the transgression of desolation; rather, “and the horrible transgression.” שֹׁמֵם, the partic. of שָׁמֵם, “to be astonished,” and then “to be desolate or laid waste,” certainly expresses the idea of the “horrible or monstrous” (Lat. horrendus), whether the intransitive sense of “being astounded,” or, in accord with Ezek. 36:3, the less general transitive sense of “laying waste,” be regarded as the radical meaning; cf. on Daniel 9:27. In the latter case it would probably be necessary to translate the participle as a substantive in apposition; “and (of) the transgressor, the destroyer;”33 but in the former case also, where the adjective sense “’ horrible” (Ewald) or “astounding” (Kranichfeld) is chosen, the participle must be regarded as a kind of appositional supplement to פֶּשַׁע, to which it is therefore added without the article (as in Ezek. 39:27). The expression שׁמֵם הַפֶּשַׁע, instead of which פֶּשַׁע הַשֹׁמֵם might have been expected (cf. 11:31), produces a solemn emphasis, which warrants the urgent question that is proposed.—To give both the sanctuary (rather, “the most sacred thing”) and the host to be trodden under foot, i.e., to give both the holy sacrifice (the central point of worship) and the community of the saints of the Most High (cf. 7:18, 22, 27), the partakers of the theocratic covenant, to be trodden under foot (thus Ewald, correctly). [The grammatical construction of the latter clause of the verse seems to be that תֵּת and קֹדָשׁ and צָבָא are all in dependence upon חָזוֹן, like תָּמִיד and פֶּשַׁע preceding. “How long shall be.… (the) giving, and (the) sanctuary, and (the) host (to be) trampled.” מִרְמָס thus qualifies all the last three nouns, the latter two directly as an adj., and the former as an equivalent for the infin.] “The expression adds nothing that is new to the former statements, but simply repeats the comprehensive estimate of the condition of the Jewish religion referred to, and the outrage committed against it, in the light of the idea that they are permitted by a superior Providence; and, in point of fact, the only object of the question is to recapitulate what has already been said. The asyndetic connection accords with the abrupt conciseness of the description, and the disjunctive וְ before קֹדֶשׁ and צָבָא, added to the lack of conjunctions, is suited to its poetic character (note also the omission of articles!. Consequently, everything that Hitzig regards as objectionable in this place, and that he urges against the traditional pointing for the purpose of removing תֵּת to the preceding clause, arises naturally from the subject itself. Moreover, the explanation of נָתַן by Hitzig, ‘to permit the horrible transgression to go on,’ has no parallel, neither in Daniel 8:12. nor in Isa. 10:6, where, like the synonymous שׂים, ‘to make into something,’ it is joined to a double accusative; and when Hitzig takes נָתַן at first in the sense of ‘ to permit,’ and immediately afterward makes it signify ‘ to make into something,’ the artificial zeugma certainly does not diminish the imaginary difficulty which, in view of the disjunctive vav, he discovers in the vav that is not prefixed to תֵּת,” (Kranichfeld.)
Daniel 8:14. And he said unto me. Thus all the MSS., which read אֵלַי, while the ancient translators, and among modern expositors, Bertholdt. Dereser, Hitzig, Ewald, etc., prefer אֵלָיו. The latter form certainly seems to accord better with the contents of Daniel 8:13, since it is supposed that the פַּלְמֹנִי הַמְּדַבֵּר (cf. Ruth 4:1) who says what follows, would address it to the other angel, who inquires of him; but it is conceivable, on both logical and psychological grounds, that the witness to the conversation of the angels would represent the information conveyed in the reply to the angel’s question as imparted to himself, because he was still more interested in that information than was the inquirer. Accordingly, he substitutes himself for the angel, because the interest felt by him in equal measure justifies him in identifying himself to some extent with the questioner.—Unto two-thousand and three-hundred days (“evening-mornings”); then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (rather, “justified”). The “justifying of the sanctuary” is the re-consecration of the desecrated sanctuary and its services (which were permitted to be trodden under foot), which is accomplished by the renewal of the daily sacrifices. וְנּצְדּק consequently denotes a being justified by that work, and, in its position at the head of the apodosis to the antecedent clause beginning with the connective עַד, expresses to some extent the sense of the fut. exactum. The material justification or renewal of the perfection of the host, according to Daniel 8:13, the second of the objects exposed to being “trodden under foot,” is conceived of as essentially coincident with that of the sanctuary, or as immediately involved in it, and for that reason is not expressly mentioned. The neglect to mention the host does not warrant the conclusion reached by Hitzig, under reference to 1 Macc. 5:2 et seq., that the author intended to point out that its state of being trodden under foot was to be more protracted, while that of the sanctuary was to cease at an earlier date.—The duration of the period which is to precede the re-dedication of the sanctuary, is again indicated by a mystically indefinite and equivocal limitation of time, as in Daniel 7:25. The 2,300 evening-mornings (עֶרֶב בּקֶר) cannot be intended to signify so many days (as Bertholdt, Hävernick, v. Lengerke, etc., assume), for although the several days are, in Gen. 1:5 et seq., divided into the two parts which represent them, עֶרֶב and בּקֶר, they are not numbered accordingly; and the Gr. νυχθήμερον, which is often adduced in comparison, is the less adapted to serve as an analogy or ground of probability for the signification of evening-morning as synonymous with “day,” as עֶרֶב בֹּקֶר can hardly be regarded as a compound word (on the analogy of מַסִגֵר), but is, on the contrary, an asyndeton, arising from the poetic brevity of expression in this section (similar to הַפֶּשַׁע שֹׁמֵם in Daniel 8:13), which, so far from being a “current phrase” or “stereotyped formula,” occurs only in this place as a designation of time. The limitation of the expression in this sense to this passage indicates, with an almost absolute certainty, that ערב and בקר do not signify the corresponding periods of the day, but rather the sacrifices required to be offered in them. The whole prophecy relates principally to the תָּמִיד, to which the passage under consideration assigns an especially prominent position; but as, according to Ex. 29:41 (cf. infra, Daniel 9:21), this consists of a מִנְחַת־עֶרֶב and a מ׳־בקר, the terms “evening” and “morning” in this place clearly denote the evening and morning sacrifices, or, if it be preferred, the times at which they were offered. “Morning” and “evening” are therefore to be counted separately;34 and thus the period indicated by the author covers 1,150 days instead of 2,300. This period is nearly equivalent to the three and a half years in Daniel 7:25, while, on the other hand, the later numbers of 1,290 and 1,335 days (Daniel 12:11 et seq.) exceed the medium of three and a half years but little. How this discrepancy in the limits assigned to the duration of the time of anti-Christian persecution and oppression is to be explained, and, in particular, how the number in this place is to be interpreted, is of course very uncertain, and must always remain undecided. In general, those expositors of the truth who always come nearest to the sense of the prophetic author, will regard the present number 1,150 as a designed narrowing, and the numbers 1,290 and 1,335 as a designed extension or overstepping of the limit of three and a half years, and seek to establish a conformity to law both in the narrowing and the extension of that period. If it is assumed that this book limits the year to 360 days (or to twelve months of thirty days each) besides five intercalated days, amounting in all to 365 days, it will be found (1) that the whole number of 1,277 days, which are necessary to cover the period of three and a half years, is decreased by 127 days, or something more than four months, by the number 1,150; (2) that the number 1,290 adds twelve days or about half a month to 1,277 days or three and a half years; and (3) that the number 1,335 adds fifty-eight days, or nearly two months, to the period of three and a half years. A certain conformity to law is evident from these figures, inasmuch as the two months by which the three and a half years are extended in the last number, are added to the shorter period of three years in the first (i.e., to 1,095 days); or, in other words, in the one case the prophet regards the period of three and a half years as extended by two months, in the other (in the present passage) as shortened by four months. These prophetic limitations of time correspond generally to the events of the primary historical fulfilment of this vision in the Maccabæan æra of oppression and revolt, without being chronologically covered by them. It has already been shown, on Daniel 7:25, that the interval between the abrogation of the daily sacrifices by Epiphanes (1 Macc. 1:54) and the reconsecration of the sanctuary by Judas Maccabæus (ibid. 4:52) amounted to three years and ten days, or 1,105 days, thus covering forty-five days or one and a half months less than 1,150 days, as here stated. But if, on the other hand, the arrival in Judæa of Appollonius, the commissioner of tribute (1 Macc. 1:29), is taken as the starting-point of the calculation (as Hitzig does), a result of three and a quarter years to the rededication of the temple is obtained, with tolerable exactness, which amounts at least to from one to one and a half months more than 1,150 days. A comparison of the larger periods of 1,290 and 1,335 days with the circumstances of the æra of the religious persecution by Antiochus, as recorded in the books of Maccabæs, leads to still more unsatisfactory results (cf. infra, on Daniel 12:11 et seq.). Hence, nothing more definite than a general or approximate correspondence between the predicted periods and their historical counterparts can be looked for; or, what amounts to the same thing, the prophetically-ideal value of the numbers in question must be recognized. Cf. the remarks in the Eth.-fund. principles, etc., No. 1, respecting the necessity that the predictions of any prophet which involve numbers should be only approximately fulfilled.—All the expositors of this passage, whether upholding or denying the composition of Daniel’s prophecies during the captivity, are in the end obliged to assume a merely approximate correspondence of the number 1,150 to the periods of the Maccabæan æra of persecution. Among the former class, the view we have presented comes nearest to that of Delitzsch (p. 280), who holds that, “for reasons which our knowledge of history does not permit us to recognize,” the prophet’s estimate of the period of something more than three years, from the 15th Chisleu 145 æ. Sel. to the 25th Chisleu 148, is “somewhat inadequate;” and also to that of Kranichfeld (p. 300 et seq.), who diverges from us on the mode of estimating the duration of the years in question, but is wholly agreed on the general principle. His opinion is that here, as well as elsewhere in the book, Daniel estimated the year at twelve months of thirty days each, intercalating a month of thirty days every third year. This results in exactly 1,290 days for 3½ years, but leaves a discrepancy of forty days between 1,150 days and three years or 1,110 days. With regard to this difference he then observes: “It is equally in harmony with the very general employment of the number forty in theocratic representations of times of severe trial and sifting (e.g., Gen. 7:4, 12, 17; Num. 14:33, 34; Ezek. 4:6; 29:11 et seq.; 1 Kings 19:8; Matt. 6:1 et seq.), and with the author’s general usage which employs numbers in an ideal sense (cf. on 4:13; 7:25), as well as with the context more especially, that precisely this number should be found in combination with the final half-time. Consequently the amount 1,110 + 40 results as substantially identical with the more direct measurement of the three and a half times in Daniel 12:11; and this discrepancy within the book itself becomes no more strange than that for instance, which represents the same kingdom at one time as divided into two parts, at another as falling into ten, and again (see supra, on Daniel 8:8) as separating into four, in all of which descriptions the same fundamental idea prevails, although presented under different forms.” We cannot adopt this estimate of the 1,150 days, by which they are made to consist of 1,110 + 40 days, because it seems too artificial upon the whole, and because the opinion on which it rests, that Daniel added an intercalary month of thirty days to every third year of 360 days, seems to be untenable, and to conflict with the 1, 260 days or forty-two months of the Apocalypse, which, beyond all question, are synonymous with the three and a half years of this book (cf. Auberlen, Daniel, etc., pp. 185, 286 et seq.).—Among those who deny the genuineness of this book, Ewald approaches our method of reckoning, upon the whole, inasmuch as he supposes that the author constantly assigns 365 days to the year; and he consequently extends the 1,290 days over three and a half years + one-half month, and the 1,335 days over three and a half years + two months; but he departs from our view in arbitrarily reducing the number 2,300 to 2,230, so as to obtain only 1,115 days, or three years + one month, instead of 1,150 (p. 468). In opposition to such critical violence, Hilgenfeld, Kamphausen, etc., retain the reading 2,300 in the text, reckon the 1,150 days backwards from the dedication of the temple on the 25th Chisleu 148, and accept some unknown event as marking the beginning of the 1,150 days, since they exceed the period to the 15th Chisleu 145 by forty days. Hitzig thinks that only 1,105 days elapsed between the 15th Chisleu 145 and the 25th Chisleu 148, instead of 1,110, and therefore forty-five less than 2,300 evening-mornings, and that this difference of one and a half months “belongs to the interval between the abrogation of the תָּמִיד (1 Macc. 1:45) and the introduction of the βδέλυγμα ἐρημώσεως (ibid. Daniel 8:54).” A hasty glance at the description of these incidents in 1 Maccabæs will be sufficient to show that this interval of exactly forty-five days between the interdict of the daily sacrifices and the erection of the statue of Zeus in the temple is wholly imaginary. Moreover, the critic contradicts himself, since he employs all his acuteness to prove, on Daniel 7:25, that the Antiochian persecution began at least a quarter of a year, or more than three months, before the 15th Chisleu 145, while he finds it proper in this place to place the abrogation of the תָּמִיד, or the beginning of the same period of oppression, only one and a half months earlier than this date.—While the representatives of the opinion that the 2,300 evening-mornings are but half as many days, fail to establish an exact correspondence between the prophecy and its fulfilment, those expositors who regard the language as designating 2,300 days succeed no better. Bertholdt and Hävernick go three years beyond the time of Antiochus, to the defeat of Nicanor (1 Macc. 7:43, 49), and assign to that period 2,271 days; the 29 days which, accordingly, are still lacking, are placed by Bertholdt at the close of the period, as an interval between that victory and the consequent celebration of the triumph, while Hävernick would prefer to assign them to the beginning, prior to the 15th Chisleu 145 (in opposition to both, see Hitzig, p. 136). On the other hand, Dereser. Von Lengerke, Wieseler (Die 70 Jahrwochen, etc., p. 110 et seq.), and Von Hofmann (Weissagung und Erfüllung, I., 295 et seq.) go back to the year 142 æ. Sel. in reckoning the entire period of about six years—Dereser and Hofmann calculating from the 25th Chisleu 148 (the day of the dedication of the temple), and Von Lengerke and Wieseler from the death of Ant. Epiphanes in the month of Shebat 148. The former are thus carried back to the summer of the year 142 in fixing the date of the beginning of the apostasy of the Jews who were seduced by Antiochus, Von Lengerke to Sivan, or the third month, and Wieseler only to the feast of tabernacles in the same year, 142. Wieseler himself afterwards recognized the untenable character of this method of reckoning, and therefore acknowledged his conversion to the exegetically more correct view entertained by a majority of moderns, which estimates only 1,150 days, in his subsequent essay in the Gött. Gelehrten-Anzeigen, 1846.35 [The author, it will be perceived, ignores that class of interpreters, quite common in this country and Great Britain, but comparatively rare in Germany, who understand by the days in question so many years, and generally apply the prophecy to the continuance of the papal supremacy. There is, however, a great discrepancy among these interpreters as to the point of time from which to date the period spoken of as well as some diversity as to its length, whether 2,300 years or only 1,150 years, although the majority prefer the latter. It would be a tedious, and, in our opinion, a bootless task, to follow them into all the details of their historical investigations, computations, and comparisons. Others, adopting the same substitution of years for “days,” apply the prophecy to the rise and sway of Mohammedanism, and make out the requisite dates as best they can. It is an adequate answer to all these interpretations to say that such a meaning of the word day has no sufficient—if any—warrant in Scripture use, and certainly is not hinted at in this entire passage. A calm but fundamental refutation of the theory in question is given by Tregelles, Remarks on Daniel (Lond., 1864, 5th ed.), p. 110 et seq. It is also abundantly met by Stuart in his Commentary on the Apocalypse, II. 459 seq. Elliott, the strongest advocate of this theory, admits (Horæ Apocalypticæ, II. 965) that it was unknown till the close of the fourteenth century, when it was first broached by Walter Brute. It came into vogue with the Reformation, and owes its prevalence, not to any sound exegetical support, but to the polemical spirit of the times, which has seized upon it as a popular weapon against papacy.]
Daniel 8:15–19. Preparatory to the interpretation of the vision of the ram and the he-goat. And … when I … sought for the meaning, namely, of the entire vision that was seen. The seeking was purely subjective, and not expressed in the form of a question addressed to the angel (Von Leng.), nor in a silent prayer to God (Hävernick).—Behold, there stood before me (one), as the appearance of a man, i.e., appearing like a man. The expression “behold, there stood,” etc., indicates the startling and extraordinary character of the apparition, which argued something terrible and superhuman (cf. Job 4:16); the כְּמַרְאֵה גֶבֶר then follows to denote the encouraging effect produced on the seer by the manlike appearance of the form. The term גֶּבֶר is employed instead of אָדָם or אֱנוֹשׁ, doubtless in allusion to the name of the angel, which is given below, in Daniel 8:16; see on that passage, and cf. Daniel 9:21, where the same angel is designated as “the man Gabriel,” but where his super-human nature is also very clearly implied (in his “flying”).
Daniel 8:16. And I heard a man’s voice between (the) Ulai, i.e., between the two branches of the Eulæus; cf. supra, on Daniel 8:2. בֵּין does not stand for מִבֵּין, as if the voice only, and not also the listener, were stationed between the Ulai; nor does בֵּין אוּלַי signify “between the banks of the Ulai” (against Von Lengerke, Hitzig, etc.).—Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. גַּבְרִיאֵל, i.e., “man of God,” or also “man-god” (according to Ewald, “a God who kindly condescends to man”), is the name of one of the principal angels or angel-princes (cf. Luke 1:19), one of the ἀρχάγγελοι or שָׂרִים (Daniel 10:13 et seq.), whose number is fixed at seven in Rev. 8:2 (οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀγγελοι, οῖ ἐνώπιον τοῦ νεοῦ ἑστήκασι), equal to that of the amshaspands, who stand beside Ormuzd as a divine council, according to the ancient religious books of Parseeism. The Scriptural archangels, however, of whom another, Michael, is mentioned hereafter in this book, are not to be regarded as identical with the Amêshaspentas of Parseeism; for (1) the number seven in the latter case is obtained only by adding Ormuzd himself to six others; (2) they are not represented as angels or servants of God, but as being themselves divine, and as governing determined portions of creation in that character, e.g., Bohumano (Bohman) governs the sky, Ardihesht the fire, Sapandomad the earth, etc; (3) the names of the amshaspands are as thoroughly Persian or Aryan in their character as those of the Scriptural archangel, so far as they occur in the Holy Bible (namely, Gabriel and Michael, and Raphael in the Apocrypha, Tob. 3:25; 12:12 et seq.) are specifically Shemitic, and bear, by virtue of the ending אֵל in each case, a thoroughly monotheistic character; (4) the attempts to establish the identity of individual amshaspands with individual archangels of the Bible must be regarded, without exception, as failures; e.g., the supposed recognition of Chordad (Haurvatat) in the Apocalyptic “angel of the waters,” Rev. 16:5 (Hitzig; also Hilgenfeld, Das Judenthum im pers. Zeitalter, in the Zeitschr. wissenschaftl. Theologie, 1866, No. 4), the proposed identifying of Gabriel with Craosha and of Michael with Bohman (by Alex. Kohut, Ueber die jüdische Angelologie und Dämonologie in ihrer Abhängigkeit vom Parsismus,” in Abhandlungen der Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesellschaft, vol. IV. No. 3). Cf. Haneberg, in Reusch’s Theolog. Literaturbl., 1837, No. 3, p. 72; also Döllinger, Heidenthum und Judenthum, p. 361; M. Haug. Essays on the sacred language, writings, and religion of the Parsees, Bombay; 1862.—Ewald appears inclined to regard Gabriel not as one of the superior angels, but as occupying an intermediate or inferior rank, since he designates the “man’s voice” which calls to him as that of a still higher angel. This assumption, however, is unnecessary; it is conceivable that an angel of equal rank may have given him this direction, or, if this should not be preferred, that God Himself, giving a human. sound to His voice that He might be heard by Daniel, addressed the angel.—It must remain undecided whether the “man’s voice” is to be considered as belonging to the former of the קְדשִׁים who were speaking together in Daniel 8:13, while Gabriel is to be identified with the questioner in that place (as Hitzig supposes), since the author has not definitely indicated such an identity.
Daniel 8:17. So he came near where I stood; literally, “beside my standing” (cf. Daniel 8:18). Luther renders it, “and he came hard by me.”—And when (or “as”) he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face. Cf. Daniel 10:9; Ezek. 1:28; 43:3; Rev. 1:17.—Understand, O son of man (—this address is probably modelled after Ezekiel—); for at the time of the end shall be the vision; rather, “for the vision is for the final time,” i.e., it refers to the final period of earthly history; cf. Daniel 8:19 b, 26. [But these verses do not warrant this interpretation. See below.] The words are not designed to comfort, but to direct attention to the impressive and alarming nature of the prophecy, in which, according to the following context, they are successful.
Daniel 8:18. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground; rather, “and while he was speaking with me, I fell stunned upon my face to the ground.” Not until this repeated falling down in terror did the “benumbing” or Divine ἔκστασις, take place, as the immediate presence of God for the purpose of imparting to the prophet a highly important revelation, was not realized until then. Cf. the case of Moses (Ex. 33:20), Isaiah (Isa. 6:5), Peter, John, and James, on the mount of transfiguration (Luke 9:32), Paul and his companions near Damascus (Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:12), etc.—But he touched me, and set me upright. Cf. 10:10 et seq.; Neh. 9:3, etc.
Daniel 8:19. Behold.… what shall be in the last end or the indignation, namely, of the Divine indignation upon the godless world (the ὀργὴ μεγαλη, 1 Macc. 1:64; cf. Rom. 2:5; Isa. 10:5, 25; 26:20; Jer. 1:5), which naturally will be manifested most strongly toward the close of human history, when the tares of wickedness shall flourish most luxuriantly (see Daniel 8:23 and Matt. 13:30, 39; cf. Matt. 24:9 et seq.). For this reason the last times shall constitute a period of great tribulation and woes (θλίψεις, ὠδινες—Matt. 24:7 et seq.).—For at the time appointed the end shall be; rather, “for it relates to the point of time of the end.” The subject here, as in Daniel 8:17 b, is the vision (הָלָזוֹן), or rather its contents, which, according to this assurance from the angel, refers to the מוֹעֵד קֵץ, the determined point of time of the end.”36
Daniel 8:20–26. The interpretation of the vision. On Daniel 8:20, cf. supra, on Daniel 8:3; concerning Daniel 8:21, on Daniel 8:5.—The king of Græcia; properly, of Javan (יָוָן). By this term the Hebrews designated all the Hellenic lands and peoples, because the Ionians (Homer, Ἰάονες) dwelt in the eastern portions of Hellas, and through their colonies in Asia Minor were the first to become acquainted with the Asiatics. The Egyptians, ancient Persians, and Indians appear likewise to have constantly denominated the whole body of Græcian nations as Ionians or Jaonians; Æschylus and Aristophanes, at least, introduce Persians as employing the term Ἰάονες instead of Ἐλληνες. Cf. generally, Knobel, Völkertafel, p. 78 et seq.
Daniel 8:22. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it; rather, “and that which was broken, and in whose stead four stood up.” It should have read, properly, “and concerning this, that it (the great horn) was broken, and that in its stead four stood up;” but instead of this, וְהַנִּשְׁבֶרֶת stands abruptly at the beginning (cf. 7:17), and the ecbactic וַתַּעֲמֹדְּנָה וגו׳, “and four stood up,” etc., is subordinate to that term in its absolute position.—Four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation; יַעֲמֹדְנָה, an archaism (Gen. 30:38; 1 Sam. 6:12), that here seems to be renewed under the influence of the Chaldee element.—But not in his power. The suffix in בְּכֹהוֹ does not refer back to מִגּוֹי, but to הַמֶּלֶך in Daniel 8:21 b. The power of the first great Græcian conqueror shall not descend to the kingdoms which spring from his empire; they shall not equal him, neither singly, nor all taken together.
Daniel 8:23. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, namely, of the measure of their wicked plans and actions; cf. the same elliptic usage of חֵתֵם in Daniel 9:24 Keri, and in addition Gen. 15:16; 2 Macc. 6:14; Matt. 23:32; 1 Thess. 2:16. The פּשְׁעִים who are here charged with “filling the measure of their sins” are not the Israelites who have forsaken Jehovah and His law (Dereser, Von Lengerke, Kranichfeld), but, without doubt, the enemies of God’s people, the heathen oppressors of the saints of the Most High; for the term פּשְׁצים alludes with sufficient clearness to פֵּשַׁע in Daniel 8:6, 12, and 13. For the opinion that this does not probably refer to the servants and abettors of Antiochus Epiphanes, but rather to his predecessors, see supra, on Daniel 8:9.37—A king of fierce (rather, “insolent”) countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. עַז פָּנִים, properly, “of hard countenance” (cf. Deut. 28:50; Isa. 19:4). The predicate probably refers chiefly to the blasphemous sayings of the tyrant, see Daniel 7:3 et seq. The following predicate, מֵבִין חִידוֹת, “versed in riddles,” denotes his art of cunning dissimulation, by which he is able to conceal his purposes from both friend and foe; cf. Daniel 8:25, and 11:21, 27.
Daniel 8:24. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power. The implied thought is, “but by Divine permission;” cf. Daniel 8:12 and 13, and also Isa. 10:5 et seq.; 1 Sam. 2:9, etc.—It is incorrect to supply, with Dereser, Von Lengerke, etc., an antithesis to “not by his own power,” so that it will read “but by his cunning.” לֹא בִּכֹחו is a litotes, which, exactly similar to the expression “without hand” (Daniel 2:34 and infra, Daniel 8:25), alludes to the superhuman providence of God as compared to human power, which is never more than impotence.—And he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper; נִפְלָאוֹת, an adverb, as in Job 37:5. For what remains, cf. supra, Daniel 8:12 b.—And shall destroy the mighty (ones) and the holy people. The וְ in וְהִשְׁחִית is explicative; it is designed to denote more particularly the respects in which the king shall prosper. The “mighty ones” are the warlike enemies over whom he shall triumph, and to them are added, by way of contrast, the “nation of saints” (cf. 7:18, 22), as unwarlike opponents. In the opinion of Hitzig, Ewald, etc., the עַצוּמִים are the three pretenders to the crown whom Epiphanes was compelled to depose; but not one of these deserved to be called a mighty one, not even the usurper Heliodorus; see supra, on Daniel 7:8, 25.38
Daniel 8:25. And through (rather, “according to”) his policy he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand. עַל־שִׁכְלוֹ is probably not “by reason of,” but “according to his cunning;” cf. Psa. 110:4; Esth. 9:26, etc. This expression, in an absolute position at the beginning, is connected with the principal sentence which follows by an emphatic וְ; cf. Gesenius, Thesaur., p. 396 a. הִצְלִיחַ is not transitive (Hitzig, et al.), as if the following מִרְמָח were its accusative, but probably intransitive, despite the fem. מִרְמָה; cf. Isa. 53:10.—“In (or with) his hand” (cf. Isa. 44:20), considered as the outward sphere of action, seems intended to form an antithesis to the following “in his heart.” Concerning בִּלְבָבוֹ and the signification of יַגְדִּיל which results from it, cf. supra, on Daniel 8:4.—And by peace shall destroy many; rather, “and unawares shall destroy many.” וּבְשַׁלְוָה does not exactly signify “in the midst of profound peace” (Job 15:21), but more indefinitely, “with suddenness, by a malignant surprise.” an illustration of the malice and dissimulation practised by this tyrant, which were already mentioned in Daniel 8:23. The circumstance that it is recorded of Antiochus Epiphanes, in 1 Macc. 1:30, καὶ ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ την πολιν ἐξάπινα, proves nothing in favor of a vatic. ex eventu, beyond the fact that malignant and sudden surprises are necessarily practised by every warlike foe of cruel disposition. [“In the רַבִּים (many) are comprehended ‘the mighty (one) and the holy people’ (Daniel 8:24).”—Keil.]—He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, etc. Cf. Daniel 8:11, and with regard to the being “broken without hand,” cf. Daniel 2:34; also Job 34:20 and Lam. 4:6. It is not necessary to seek a definite reference to the death of Epiphanes by sickness or extraordinary accident in this passage, instead of permitting him to fall on the battle-field, or by the hand of a murderer (against Bertholdt, Von Lengerke, Hävernick, etc.).39
Daniel 8:26. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told, namely, in Daniel 8:14. Since the observation in that place respecting the 2,300 evening-mornings was really a מִשְׁמַע, and not a מַרְאֶה the words אֲשֶׁר נֶאֱמַר seem to refer back to the genitive הָעֶיֶב וגו׳, instead of to the Stat. constr. (thus Hitzig). Words and things told, however, form the subject of visions in other cases also (cf. Isa. 2:1; Am. 1:1; Hab. 2:1, etc.); and the remark concerning the 2,300 evening-mornings may consequently be termed a “vision” in this instance.—Is true (rather “truth”), i.e., it is correct, deserves to be credited, inasmuch as 2,300 evening-mornings must elapse before the end of the period of affliction. That period is thus determined as an extended one, which shall not soon reach its close. On אֶמֶת, cf. Daniel 10:1; 11:2; also 12:7; Jer. 26:15; 28:9; Rev. 19:9; 21:5; 22:6.—Wherefore shut thou up the vision; rather, “and thou, conceal the vision,” i.e., do not publish it, do not be anxious to spread a report concerning it. ססם is not equivalent to חרּם “to seal up” (Theodotion, Hävernick, Von Lengerke); for “sealing” is added to the mere “concealing” in Daniel 12:4, as a strengthening term.—For it shall be for many days, i.e., it (the vision) shall retain its prophetic value for a long period, it does not relate to a near, but to a distant future; cf. Daniel 12:4, 9. As the direction to conceal the vision is here based on the consideration that a long period must elapse before it shall be fulfilled, so, on the contrary, the prophet is directed, in Rev. 22:10, not to seal what has been revealed to him, because the time of its fulfilment is near. Notice the difference between the Old-Testament seer, who is far removed from the final future, and only sees it primarily in types (e.g., instead of beholding the antichrist he only sees his forerunner Epiphanes), and the New-Testament prophet, who beholds the events of the last times in the history of the world much nearer at hand, and is therefore not obliged to conceal the prophecies relating to them, especially since he addresses a communnity composed exclusively of νεοδιδακτοί (Isa. 54:3; John 6:45; cf. 1 John 2:20, 27).
Daniel 8:27. The effect of the vision upon the prophet. And I Daniel fainted, and was sick (certain) days. Cf. 7:28, and especially Daniel 2:1, in relation to נִחְיֵיתִי.—Afterward I rose up, namely, from the sick-bed. This formal statement by the prophet cannot be regarded as extraordinary, since not only the vision as such (i.e., by reason of its startling character), but also the fasting which preceded it (cf. Daniel 9:3; 10:2 et seq.), comes under consideration as the cause of the complete exhaustion which followed.—And did the king’s business. Concerning the extent to which Daniel might have transacted official business for the king in the reign of Belshazzar, without being personally known to him, see on Daniel 5:7.—And was astonished at (rather, “dumb concerning”) the vision, but (“and”) none understood (rather, “became aware of”) it; usually rendered, “none understood it,” or, “and to me there was no understanding, I did not understand it” (thus Maurer, Hitzig, Kranichfeld, Kamphausen, etc., under comparison with Daniel 12:8). Since, however, the obvious design is to state what Daniel did “to conceal” the vision, the signification of “not noticing, not learning” seems to be the only logical and suitable one for לֹא הֵבִין in this passage; cf. on this interpretation, Daniel 8:5, 17; Job 28:23; Isa. 28:19, etc.
ETHICO-FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES RELATED TO THE HISTORY OF SALVATION, APOLOGETICAL REMARKS, AND HOMILETICAL SUGGESTIONS
1. The principal difficulty to be met with in this section relates to the concrete number of 1150 days or 2300 evening-mornings, in Daniel 8:14, and in its failure to agree with the three and a half years of the preceding vision (Daniel 7:25). If simply the idea was to be expressed that the period of tribulation should expire in something less than three and a half years, why did the author not permit the angel to say, “even before three and a half years shall have passed,” etc.? Or why did he not select really a round number, as 1200 days (to denote 1277, which amount exactly to three and a half years)? Or why did he not pursue the course adopted by the New-Test. apocalyptist, who substituted forty-two months for forty-two and a half, and hence 1260 days for 1277 (see Rev. 11:2; 12:6; 13:5)?—This strange feature admits of a correct explanation, only when it is remembered that prophecies relating to time are necessarily and unavoidably of a symbolic-concrete character, and that for this reason, no exact correspondence, or mechanically precise agreement of the prophetic numbers with the extent of the periods in which they are realized, can be expected. Neither the seventy years of being forgotten and of ruin which Isaiah predicted for the Tyrians (Daniel 25:15–18), nor the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, which Jeremiah (Daniel 25:11, et seq.; 29:10 et seq.) foretold to the Israelites of his time, were fulfilled with literal exactness40 (cf. infra. on chap. 9); and as the “two days” (יֹמַיִם) during which Israel’s state of death or the period of its affliction was to continue, according to Hos. 6:2, have primarily an ideal-symbolic value only, so the “three days and three nights,” which were to be spent by the prophet in the belly of the great fish, according to Jon. 2:1, were, in like manner, not an exact number, amounting to precisely seventy-two hours (cf. Kleinert on that passage)—and yet tooth these prophetic numbers were designed to foretell the resurrection of the Saviour on the third day, i.e., after two whole nights and one entire day.41 The prophets are accustomed to employ concrete conceptions of time, and to clothe them in definite form. This form might arise from any incident or event, most of which can no longer be discovered; but their relation to the duration of the events which fulfil the prophecy must as certainly be a merely approximate agreement, and not mathematically exact, as the manner in which God secures the fulfilment of the prophecies uttered by holy men through the Spirit, is in nowise a matter entrusted to man, but belongs only to the God who brings the predictions to pass (cf. 2 Pet. 1:20 et seq.)42 The predictions of the prophets in the Church during the Middle Ages and in modern times (e.g., St. Hildegard, Joachim, the Parisian professor Nicholas Oresmius, who, in 1364, foretold the great papal schism, which actually broke out in 1378; Huss and Savonarola, who predicted the Reformation; the Lutheran Michael Stiefel of Jena († 1567); the astrologer Nostradamus († 1566); and finally J. A. Benzel and Jung-Stilling) might be substantially treated in the same manner, so far as they assume a numerically exact, or definitely chronological form.43 The partial non-agreement of their predictions with the points of time or periods of the future in which they were to be realized does not destroy their character as genuine prophets, or disprove that they were employed in a superior and heavenly calling; but the approximate agreement or partial coincidence of their vaticinations with the facts of fulfilment and their chronological relations, does not warrant a suspicion that they were forged subsequently to the beginning of their fulfilment, any more than the approximate agreement of either the 1150 days or the three and a half years, etc., in the prophecy before us, with the epochs of the Maccabæan history will justify the pseudo-Daniel tendency-hypothesis.
2. While the slight difference between the prophetic number and the events connected with its realization, discussed above, belongs undoubtedly to the category of those “slight discrepancies” which, according to M. v. Niebuhr, “must excite our awe, instead of begetting a doubt of the truth of the prophecy, or shaking our confidence in the chronology of ancient history” (Geschichte Assurs und Babels, p. 90), the relation between the character of the history of nations and kingdoms as described in the vision under consideration, and the condition of Israel during the æra of oppression and revolt in the Maccabæan age, which corresponds to it as a primary historical fulfilment, is such, that it unconditionally forbids the idea that the vision is a prophecy ex eventu, and was composed to favor a tendency. There is no complete and thorough correspondence between prophecy and fulfilment, that could favor the suspicion of its composition under such circumstances and for such a purpose; on the contrary, the discrepancies are so numerous, that to trace historical facts which shall correspond in every case to the particular features of the prophetic vision, involves the greatest uncertainty and difficulty. Bertholdt and v. Lengerke assume that the chapter was written shortly after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes; Hitzig, that it was composed shortly before that event; Bleek (Jahrb. für deutsche Theologie, 1860, No. 1, p. 57), that it was framed at least about that time. “According to this, the section was at any rate composed at a time when the Jews had already demonstrated their superiority in arms over the troops of the tyrant. At the same time, these bloody feats of arms, which formed the basis of all the hopes that animated the newly-awakened national consciousness of the Jews, are not mentioned with a single word. As in chap. 7 the heathen oppressor triumphs in battle over the holy people to the end of the three and a half times, so in this selection the host and sanctuary are represented as being trodden under foot until the close of the period mentioned in Daniel 8:14. Even the restoration of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:14), which might at least indirectly be interpreted as consequent on a warlike triumph of the Jews, is, in Daniel 8:25, referred only to a theocratic judgment imposed directly by God, and not to a national victory. The latter, indeed, is directly excluded. The great deeds of the oppressor only are spoken of, and his overthrow בְּאֶפֶס יָד is immediately connected with them. Every real foundation for the opinion that this section originated at that juncture which was marked by the triumphs over Apollonius and Seron, over Gorgias and Lysius, dearly bought as they were with the blood of the people, is thus taken away, since the situation described in the chapter, testifies only to defeat down to the time of restoring the temple, and denotes a disposition which looked for help only from a supernatural agency” (Kranichfeld, p. 286 et seq.).—Remarkable as is this total silence respecting the national revolt, which was so successfully introduced, when the author is regarded as a Maccabæan pseudo-Daniel, it is no less difficult to understand why, if the vision was recorded soon after the death of Antiochus, the Messianic hopes which must have been connected with that death, should not be mentioned with a single word. The only tolerable explanation of this fact is that the death of the oppressor (his “being broken without hand,” Daniel 8:25) was future to the writer, as much so as everything else. Even the restoration of the temple-service, which had been abolished, is clearly placed in the future by the description in Daniel 8:14, and does not appear as an incident in the past experience of the prophet. The only comfort offered by him in the entire section has no relation to the sufferings of the present or the past, but to tribulations belonging to the far-distant future.
3. The only circumstance which seems seriously to favor the theory of a Maccabæan composition is the express mention of Juvan in Daniel 8:21, as the world-power from which the impious oppressor of Israel should come forth (preceded, however, by a number of anti-theistic kingdoms [5:22] and wicked sovereigns [5:23]). But this circumstance also loses its apparent character, as disproving the origin of the chapter during the captivity, and becomes decidedly more intelligible, as soon as we remember the frequent contact of the orientals with Hellenic civilization and culture, as well as with Græcian military art and bravery, which began even before the time of Nebuchadnezzar (see Introd. § 7, Note 2). Let it also be remembered that the ancient prophecy by Balaam (Num. 24), which threatened destruction to the Assyrians and Hebrews through “ships from Chittim,” i.e., through Greek invasions from the sea (cf. supra, on chap. 2), must have been known to Daniel, even if it had originated as late as the age of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, and afterward been incorporated with the early history in the Pentateuch. There is no lack of natural indications arising from the events of current history, which might suggest to a seer of the period of the exile, that precisely the distant nation of the Greeks would become a threatening rival, and eventually, a victorious opponent of the Persian power and greatness, and which might also awaken in him a presentiment of the internally divided and disunited, and therefore transient character of the future empire of the Greeks. The definite character of the predictions respecting the development of that Javanic empire is certainly marvellous and inexplicable, unless referred to the Divine Spirit of prophecy; but it is scarcely more wonderful than the equally definite character of Balaam’s prophecy, which likewise related to the Greeks, or than the surprising clearness and confidence with which Amos foretold that the Israel of his day should “go into captivity beyond Damascus” (Daniel 5:27), or Isaiah was able to predict that the successors of Hezekiah should be led into captivity at Babylon (Daniel 39:6 et seq.; 2 Kings 20:17 et seq.), or Jeremiah could describe to his contemporaries the overthrow of Babylon by the Medo-Persians! Cf. also Kranichfeld, p. 128 et seq.
4. The real and fundamental Messianic feature of this section, and, at the same time, the thought which is pre-eminently adapted to practical homiletical treatment, is that already noticed in the exegesis of Daniel 8:19 and 23, according to which the moral degradation and the wickedness of the world-power in its hostility to God becomes more excessive with each stage through which that power passes in its development, until it reaches its climax, when God interferes to judge and deliver—thus bringing it, in its character as an oppressive, pseudo-prophetic antichristianity, into the strongest contrast with the transparent light and holiness of the Messiah and the community of His saints, who are born of God. This thought is also presented by the Saviour in the parable which describes the tares as growing together with the good seed in the field, and as ripening for the harvest at the judgment (Matt. 13:30 et seq.); it is the same Messianic truth and necessity to which he refers in the former half of his oratio eschatologica in thoroughly prophetic language (Matt. 24:5 et seq.); it is the fundamental thought of all apocalyptic prophecy, of all prophecy relating to the future history of empires, as the analogous sections in 2 Thess. and the book of Revelation show with sufficient clearness. The goats triumph over the more harmless rams in the last times; the place of the weaker horns that arise against the Lord is supplied by others who succeed each other in constantly increasing strength. The “great power” of the enemy is reinforced by “great cunning,” which increases with the lapse of time; and his insolence is joined to craft which steadily develops, and to malignant dissimulation (cf. Daniel 8:23–25), until, through the instigation of the great arch-enemy, who is ever the same, nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. To increase the need and oppression of the righteous, many false prophets arise and practice their deceitful arts, and because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold (Matt. 24:7 et seq., 11 et seq.).—If all this, considered as the real fundamental idea of the visional representation, be duly regarded, the jejune character of this section, which at first sight seems to offer nothing that possesses practical value, or that is available for homiletical purposes, will speedily disappear; and as the danger of feeling that only unimportant features, such as the animal-symbols (Daniel 8:3–7) or the doctrine of angels (Daniel 8:13–18), are here presented, becomes less, the preacher will find the energetic warning and promise by the Saviour, “But he that endureth to the end shall be saved,” available as an encouraging and hortatory theme that covers the ground of the whole chapter. This forms the pregnant and solemn expression of the New Testament, which marks the consoling and elevating Messianic back-ground in which the discouraging and stormy scene of the chapter is laid, but which here appears but for a brief moment in the concluding words of Daniel 8:19, like the cheering sun at evening against the border of the stormy cloud.
5. Special homiletical suggestions relating to separate passages:
On Daniel 8:3 et seq., Melancthon: “Aliquoties dictum est, ad quid prosit tenere prædictiones de serie monarchiarum et omnium temporum usque ad extremum judicium? Est Ecclesiæ hac doctrina et consolatione opus, ne inter tot afflictiones et scandala desperet. Est etiam admonitione opus, ut causas cogitemus afflictionum.… Hæ atroces comminationes exsuscitent nos, ut simus diligentiores in conservanda puritate doctrinæ et in vita, ne Deus sinat exoriri majores tenebras.”—The Tübing. Bib.: “How uncertain is the glory and majesty of the kingdoms of earth! Even when they have attained the highest prosperity they must yet be humbled, fall, and pass away, like every other earthly good and honor. The kingdom of heaven alone is immutable, and forms the hope of every believer,” Psa. 145:13.
On Daniel 8:10 et seq., the Tüb. Bib.: “Nothing is more dangerous than pride, which leads man even to war against God, His Church, and the true worship. This must inevitably be followed by heavy judgments from God.”—Starke: “An earthly ruler will not permit rebellion against his authority to pass unpunished. How shall he escape, who revolts against the Prince over the host of God (Isa. 10:13)?”
On Daniel 8:14, Cramer: “The persecution and rage of the godless is a storm that sweeps over us; God fixes its limits, results, and measure.”—Starke: “God has indeed revealed something in relation to the hope of Christ’s Church for better times on the earth, in order that no doubt may be entertained concerning the fact itself; but to seek to ascertain the particular time, would be fool-hardiness and useless trouble (Acts 1:7).”
On Daniel 8:17 et seq., Jerome: “Et Ezechiel et Daniel Authenticity Of The Booket Zacharias, quia sæpe inter angelos esse se cernunt, ne eleventur in superbiam et angelicæ vel naturæ vel dignitatis se esse credant, admonentur fragilitatis suæ, et filii hominum appellantur, ut homines se esse noverint.”—Geier: “If the presence of a holy angel was so insupportable to Daniel, how terrible will be the experience of the wicked when they shall behold the Lord of angels and Judge of the whole world, Jesus Christ Himself (Rev. 6:15 et seq.)!”
On Daniel 8:24, Osiander: “God sometimes permits the plans of the wicked to succeed, in order that the saints may be tried.”—Starke: “God requires no great preparation or mighty instruments to cast down a tyrant; He can adapt the most insignificant means to that end (Acts 12:23).”
מְנַגֵּחַ, butting, as rams are fond of doing.
הִגְדִּיל, acted proudly.
Literally, a leaper of the goats.
מַעֲרָב, a different term from that used in Daniel 8:4, יָמ, the sea, i.e., Mediterranean, which here might have been misunderstood as being literally the place of origin, whereas the idea of direction only is intended.
Literally, touching the side of.
Literally, imbittered himself, i.e., was exasperated.
Literally, no deliverer for.
Literally, till exceedingly.
Literally, a sight of four.
מצעירה, diminution; the order too is emphatic, one horn—a petty one.
הַצֶבִי, the beauty of lands.
Caused to fall.
According to the text הֵרִים, one took away.
The original is exceedingly laconic and obscure, תֵּת וִקדֶֹשׁ וְצָבָא מִרְמָס, literally, a giving and the sanctuary and the host a treading.
The original is very peculiar, Till an evening-morning, 2300.
Literally, to the side of my standing.
Literally, upon my standing.
Literally, hairy leaper.
Literally, with a cessation of.
נִהְיֵיתִי, q.d., “Was done up,” was overcome.]
[If, however, Rawlinson’s identification of Belshazzar with Nabonned’s son and viceroy be correct, the Medo-Persian army was at this very time besieging Babylon, though with apparently little prospect of success; and the fall of the city must have followed shortly after this vision. Hence the first monarchy, the Chaldæan, is here kept out of view, as if already a thing of the past.]
[“But why such a locality? Because the prophet’s present vision begins with the Medo-Persian empire, and Shushan was to be its capital. And why on the river’s bank? Not because the Jews were wont to build prayer-houses in such places, Acts 16:13; nor because Ezekiel had visions on the Chaboras, 1:1, 3; 3:15, 25 al. (Leng.); nor because of the solitude of the place (Maurer); but simply, as I understand it, because the castle (בִּירָה) stood on the banks of the river. The mention of the river, however, would still be in a measure superfluous, were not this mention a preparation for what is said in Daniel 8:16.”—Stuart.]
Iliad, 1. c.:
Οί οἰ ἁμ̓ ἡγεμόςες Τρώων ἔσαν αὐταρ ἔπειτα
Ααοὶ ἕπονθ, ὼσεὶ τε μετὰ κτίου ἕσπετο μῆλα
Πιόμεν ἐκ βοτάνης γάνυται δ̓ ἄρα τε φρἐνα ποιμήν
Cf. the prophetic dream relating to the murder of a brother of Brutus by Tarquin Superbus, and to the vengeance inflicted by Brutus for that deed, as narrated by Tarquin in Cicero, de divin., l.c.
“Visus’t in somnis pastor ad me adpellere
Pecus lanigerum exinda pulchritudine,
Duo consanguineos arietes inde eligi
Prœclarioremque alterum immolare me;
Deinde ejus germanum cornibus connitier
In me arietare, toque ictu me ad casum dari.”
In Plutarch’s Sylla the following is related, and treated as an omen of the defeat of the younger Marius and the consul Norbanus, which occurred soon afterwards: ἐν Καμπανίο πεπὶ τὸ Ἥφαιον (? read Τίφατον instead) ὅρος ἡμέρας ὥφθησαν δύο τράγοι μεγάλοι συμφερόμενοι, καὶ πάντα δρῶςτες καὶ πάσχοντες, ἅ συμβαίνει μαχομένοις ἀςθρώποις—Cf. additional extracts from the classics and from the oriental liter ature which bear on this point in Hävernick.
[“He did push toward the east—not because. … the Medo-Persians themselves came from the east (Von Leng., Kran.): nor yet because the conquests of the Persians did not stretch toward the east (Häv.), for Cyrus and Darius subdued nations to the east of Persia, even as far as to the Indus, but because, for the unfolding of the Medo-Persian monarchy as a world-power, its conquests in the east were subordinate, and therefore are not mentioned. The pushing toward the three world-regions corresponds to the three ribs of the bear, Daniel 7:5, and intimates that the Medo-Persian world-kingdom, in spite of the irresistibility of its arms, did not extend its power into all the regions of the world.”—Keil.]
[Yet “the idea of insolence or arrogance is not absent from הִגְדִּיל used thus absolutely, see Sam. 1:9; Zeph. 2:8. Flushed with success, we know from all quarters that the Persians assumed a haughty position; so Crœsus (in Herod, 1:89), Πέρσαι … ὑβρισταί and so Æschylus (Pers. 795) ὑπέρκομποι ἅγαν.“—Stuart.”]
[The necessity for this limitation of the meaning of הִגְדִּיל here is not clear; it seems better to take it in the same sense of arrogance as the result of success which it bears in the remainder of the chapter.]
[Yet Daniel says explicitly that the four horns are four kingdoms (Daniel 8:22), and the coincidence is too striking and minute to be accidental. There were indeed originally five of the Diadochi, but they so soon resolved themselves into four that this temporary pentarchy is disregarded.]
[The force of these arguments, especially the last, for extending the import of “the little horn” beyond Antiochus Epiphanes, it is very difficult for those who are wholly untinged with rationalistic sentiments to appreciate.]
A later Rabbinical interpretation conceives צְבִי the sense of “gazelle,” and refers this designation partly to its beauty, and partly to its peculiarity to extend its borders when inhabited, like the skin of a gazelle, but to shrink when uninhabited (Taanith, 69 a).
[“The comparison of the saints to the host of heaven has its root in this, that God, the king of Israel, is called the God of hosts, and by the צְבָאוֹת (hosts) are generally to be understood the stars or angels; but the tribes of Israel also, who were led by God out of Egypt, are called ‘the hosts of Jehovah’ (Exod. 7:4; 12:41).”—Keil.]
[Keil thus reviews the various interpretations proposed of this difficult clause: “We must altogether reject the interpretation of the Vulgate, ‘ Robur autem datum est contra juge sacriflcium propter peccata,’ which is reproduced in Luther’s translation, ‘There was given to him such strength against the daily sacrifice on account of sin;’ or Calvin’s, ‘Et tempus datum est super jugi sacrificio in scelere,” whereby, after Rashi’s example, צָבָא is interpreted of the statio militaris, and thence the interpretation tempus or intervallum is derived. For צָבָא means neither robur nor tempus, nor statio militaris, but only military service, and perhaps military forces. Add to this that צָבָא both in Daniel 8:10 and 13 means host. If we maintain this, with the majority of interpreters, only two explanations are admissible, according as we understand צָבָא of the host of heaven, i.e., of Israel, or of some other host. The latter interpretation is apparently supported partly by the absence of the article in צָבָא partly by the construction of the word as fem. (תנתן). Accordingly, Hitzig says that a Hebrew reader could not understand the words otherwise than as meaning, ‘and a warlike expedition was made or conducted against the daily sacrifice with wickedness’ (i.e., the impure service of idols): while others translate, ‘and a host placed against the daily sacrifice on account of sin’ (Syr., Grot., Harenb., J. D. Michaelis); or, ‘a host is given against the daily sacrifice in wickedness’ (Wieseler): or, ‘given against that which was continual with the service of idols,’ i.e., so that, in the place of the ‘continual’ wickedness, the worship of idols is appointed (Hofmann); or, ‘the power of an army is given to it (the horn) against the daily sacrifice through wickedness,’ i.e., by the evil higher dæmons (Ebrard). But the latter interpretation is to be rejected on account of the arbitrary insertion of לֹו (to it); and against all the others it is to be remarked that there is no proof either from Daniel 8:13, or from Ezek. 32:23, or 36:8, that נתן means to lead out, to bring forward, to give contrary to or against.” Keil concludes by translating: “And (a) host shall be given up together with the daily sacrifice, because of transgression. “Stuart renders,” And a host was placed over the daily sacrifice by wickedness,” and remarks: “Put or place is a very common meaning of נָתַן, as also the kindred signification to appoint, constitute: see Lex.—עַל, over, in a hostile sense, implying that the daily sacrifice was subjected to oppression and impious supervision.—בְּפֶשַׁע, by the rebel. Hence, in the N. Test., 2 Thess. 2:3, ἀποστασία (an exact version of פֶּשַׁע), also ὁἄνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας and in Daniel 8:8 (ib.), ὁ ἄνομος; expressions having their basis, as I apprehend, in the verse before us, and applied by Paul to some personage of a character similar to that of Antiochus.1”]
[Stuart, on the other hand, strongly contends for the passive sense of שֹׁמֵם here, “equivalent to which ought to be laid waste or destroyed” as being sustained not only by the intransitive force of the root, but by the distinctive use of the transitive מְשֹׁמֵם in Daniel 9:27. Keil takes substantially the same view.]
[This conclusion, however, is by no means certain, as the following considerations will serve to show: “עָרָב בֹּקֶר have no copula or conjunction between them; it would therefore seem to be a popular mode of compound expression, like that of the Greek νυχθήμερον (2 Cor. 11:25), in order to designate the whole of a day. Compare Gen. 1, where the evening and morning constitute respectively day the first, day the second, etc.; for it seems plain that the phraseology before us is derived from this source. In other words, בֹּקֶר עָרָב, as here employed, may be admitted to contain an allusion to the morning and evening sacrifices, and thus the phrase virtually becomes a kind of substitution for תָּמִיד, which is generic, and includes both the morning and the evening sacrifice.”—Stuart. “That in Daniel 8:26 יְהַבֹּקָר הִעָרָב (the evening and the morning) stands for the phrase in question, does not prove that the evening and morning are reckoned separately, but only that evening-morning is a period of time consisting of evening and morning. When the Hebrews wish to express separately day and night, the component parts of a day of a week, then the number of both is expressed. Thus they say, e.g., forty days and forty nights (Gen. 7:4, 12; Exod. 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8), or three days and three nights (Jonah 2:1; Matt. 12:40), but not eighty or six days and nights, when, they wish to speak of forty or three full days.’—Keil.]
[These difficulties in the way of the literal exactness of the period in question as applicable to the history of the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes, are drawn out in detail by Keil p. 302 et seq., who does not, however, add anything of importance to what the author adduces. They seem to us to be fairly met by the following explanation of Stuart in his Commentary, p. 238 et seq.: “And then shall that which is holy be vindicated, וְנִעְדַּק, shall have justice done, i.e., the rights of the sanctuary shall be effectually restored, its claims shall be vindicated. This was done when Judas Maccabæus, after the three and a half years in which all temple rites had been suspended, and heathen sacrifices had been offered there, made a thorough expurgation of everything pertaining to the temple, and restored its entire services. This was on the 25th of Dec., 165 B. C., just three years from the time when swine’s flesh was first offered there by Antiochus. We have then the terminus ad quem of the 2,300 days; and it is not difficult, therefore, to find the terminus a quo. These days, at thirty in a month (which is clearly the prophetic mode of reckoning), make six years, four months, and twenty days. Dec. 25th of 171 makes six years, and the four months and twenty days will bring the time to the latter half of July in the same year, i.e., 171 B. C. During this year, Menelaus, the high-priest appointed by Antiochus on the ground of a proffered bribe, rifled the temple of many of the treasures to pay that bribe, and in this transaction he was assisted by his brother Lysimachus. The regular and lawful high-priest, Onias III., who had been removed, severely reproved this sacrilege committed by his brethren; and afterward, through fear of them, fled for refuge to Daphne, an asylum near Antioch, in Syria. Thence he was allured by the false promises of Menelaus, and perfidiously murdered by the king’s lieutenant, Andronicus. See the whole story in 2 Macc. 4:27 seq. The Jews at Jerusalem, incensed by the violent death of their lawful high-priest, and by the sacrilegious robberies of Menelaus and Lysimachus, became tumultuous, and a severe contest took place between them and the adherents of those who committed the robbery, in which the patriotic Jews at last gained the victory, and Lysimachus was slain at the treasury. This was the first contest that took place between the friends of Antiochus and the adherents to the Hebrew laws and usages. The whole of it was occasioned by the baseness of Antiochus in accepting bribes for bestowing the office of high-priest on those who had no just claim to it. The payment of the bribes occasioned the robbing of the temple and the sacrilege-committed there; and this was the commencement of that long series of oppression, persecution, and bloodshed which took place in the sequel under Antiochus.
“We have, indeed, no data in ancient history by which the very day, or even month, connected with the transactions above related can be exactly ascertained. But the year is certain; and, as the time seems to be definite in our text, the fair presumption is, that the outbreak of the populace and the battle that followed constitutes the terminus a quo of the 2,300 days. See Frœlich, Annates Reg. Syr., p. 46; and also Usher’s Chronol. … As to the difference between the time here, viz., 2,300 days, and the three and a half years in 7:25, if the reader narrowly inspects the latter, he will perceive that the time there specified has relation to the period during which Antiochus entirely prohibited the Jewish religion in every shape. This period, as is well known, corresponds with historical facts. In the passage before us a more extensive series of events is comprised, as Daniel 8:10–12 indicate. They begin with assaults on the priesthood (which we have seen to be matter of fact, as stated above), and end with the desecration and prostration of all that is sacred and holy. It is unnecessary to show that each of the things described belongs to each and every part of the 2,300 days. Enough that the events are successive, and spread over the time specified in our text. The trampling down or degradation of the priesthood and the sanctuary commenced the whole series of oppression and persecution, and this, with most aggravated acts of sacrilege and blasphemy, was also the consummation of the tyrant’s outrages.” Cowles gives a similar explanation in detail, Commentary, p. 378 et seq.]
[Keil, however, justly remarks: “But עֵת־קֵץ, the time of the end, and מוֹעֵד קֵץ, the appointed time of the end, is not the absolute end of all things, the time of the setting up of the regnum gloriæ, and the time of the tribulation preceding the return of the Lord; but the time of the judgment of the world-kingdom and the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God by the appearance of the Messiah, the end of αἰὼν οὒτος and the commencement of the αἰὼν μέλλων, the time of the אַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים (Daniel 9:14), which an apostle calls (1 Cor. 10:11) τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων, and speaks of as having then already come.” Stuart still more correctly says: “End of what? Of Antiochus? or of a troublous state of things? or end of the world? Not merely of Antiochus; for his importance, as exhibited in the book of Daniel, arises principally from his power to annoy the people of God. Not the end of the world; for in chap. 8 no Messianic period is developed at the close of its predictions, and yet the Messianic reign is itself the end or last time of the world. Daniel 8:19 gives us perhaps more light; בְּאַהֲרִית הַוָּעַם, in the latter time of the indignation, i.e., the latter time of afflictions permitted to be brought upon Israel, because of the divine indignation against their sins. The vision itself in fact reaches only to the end of those special afflictions that are to come on the people of the Jews before the Messianic period, and which are made the subject of prophecy because of their importance. The warning to mark well or consider the vision, because it discloses these afflictions, connects itself of course with a supposed importance attached to the knowledge of the final special troubles of the Jews before the coming of the Messiah. The Rabbins call these troubles מָשִׁיחַ חַבְלֵי.” In other words, as Keil presently says more distinctly, “הַזָּעַם is the wrath of God against Israel, the punishment which God hung over them on account of their sins, as in Isa. 10:5; Jer. 25:11; Ezek. 22:24, etc., and here the sufferings of punishment and discipline which the little horn shall bring over Israel.”]
[Stuart and Keil, on the contrary, strongly maintain that “the transgressors” here are not the heathen, but the apostate Jews, whose sin will be visited by the indignation of God; and this seems to be more appropriate to the whole connection.]
[“עֲצוּמִים does not here signify many, numerous, many individual Israelites (Von Leng., Maurer, Kliefoth [Stuart]), partly because in Daniel 8:25 רַבִּים stands for that partly because of the עַם קְדשִׁים, by which we are to understand the people of Israel”—Keil.]
[“The language is adapted to the symbol, namely, the little horn. The meaning is, totally destroyed. Facts correspond. According to history, Antiochus, after marching into Persia, and robbing the temple at Elymais, was driven away by popular tumult; and on his return back towards Syria, he was met with the news of the total defeat of his army in Judæa. and of the restoration of the temple services there. Polybius (31:11) says of him, that ‘he fell mad (δαιμονήσας) and died;’ 1 Macc. 6:8 relates that he fell sick of grief for his losses; Appian (De reb. Syr., 66) says simply: oiívwv ereyeutrjoe. Various shades are given to the picture by the different writers; e.g., in 1 Macc. 6:8 seq., which narrates his penitent confessions. But these have a strong tinge of Jewish coloring. So much is undoubtedly true, viz., that he perished suddenly by a violent sickness, during which he probably fell into a state of mania. He died, therefore, without violence by the hand of man, and so as to make a deep impression of perishing by a peculiar visitation of God.”—Stuart.]
[With regard to the latter point at least the author concedes too much, for the Babylonian captivity was exactly seventy years in length, namely, from the fourth year of Jehoiakim, B. C. 606, to the edict of Cyrus, B.C. 536. See Browne’s Ordo Sædorum, Daniel 3 sec. 1. §§ 161 et seq. Had we the data extant we might doubtless prove the truth of the other periods named in Scripture prophecy with equal precision.]
[The “three days and three nights” in question are an exact expression according to Hebrew usage, which includes both extremes in all such periods.]
Cf. Tholuck Die Propheten und ihre Weissagungen; eine apologetisch-hermeneutiche Studie (Gotha, 1860), p. 113 et seq., where the remark is made concerning the seventy years of Jeremiah, considered as being a designation of time that agreed, generally at least, with the duration of the captivity. “Can any means of escaping this conclusion be discovered? Only that one, which, among others, Ewald has not despised, viz., to regard the number seventy as a round number, and therefore=‘a long time.’ … . Is then, round number really=long time in the Oriental use of language? The master of Old-Test. language will certainly not attempt to deny that it rather denotes an ‘approximate limitation of time!’ … . Such numbers are clearly approximate, e.g., in Am. 2:4, where it is said, ‘For three transgressions of Judah and for four, I will not turn away,’ etc; Mic. 5:5, ‘Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds and eight principal men;’ cf. Hos. 6:2. In like manner a desolation of forty years is predicted for Egypt, by Ezekiel, in Daniel 29:11, 12, which is, indeed, a round number of probable reckoning, but is, at the same time, an approximate number, namely, 36 or 37,” etc. [But these conventional numbers in a general statement are very different from those obviously given as chronological data.]
In relation to the prophets of the Christian æra, above referred to, and also with regard to several others, cf. the interesting statements in Splittgerber, Schlaf und Tod, etc. (Halle. 1866), p. 235–253. [But sound theologians—indeed, accurate observers merely—would certainly place all these pseudo-predictions on a very different level from those of the prophets of Scripture.]
In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.