Daniel 8

 

 

THE RAM AND THE HE-GOAT

 

This chapter marks the change from Aramaic to Hebrew. The character of

the chapter is like that which immediately precedes it. It consists, like it, of

the account of a vision, and the interpretation of it. The subject of this

vision is the overthrow of the Persian monarchy by Alexander the Great,

the division of his empire, and the oppression of Israel by Epiphanes.

 

1 “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.”  The text of the Septuagint does not differ greatly

from the Hebrew, but avoids the strange anarthrous position of anu, “I.”

The Septuagint renders this verse as a title to the chapter, thus: “A vision

which I Daniel saw in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar (Beltasar),

after that I saw formerly (πρώτην – protean - first).” The Septuagint reading

seems to have  been asher roeh anee. Theodotion and the Peshitta are in

verbal agreement with the Massoretic text. The third year of the reign of King

Belshazzar. We learn now that Belshazzar did not reign independently; but

that for at least five years he exercised all the functions of government. If

Daniel’s investiture with the position of third man in the kingdom took

place on the occasion of Belshazzar’s inauguration of his vice-regal reign,

Daniel may have remained in the royal service continuously till the

overthrow of the Babylonian monarchy. After that which appeared ,into

me at the first. The former vision referred to is clearly the vision of the

preceding chapter.

 

2 “And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that

I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and

I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.”  The Septuagint presents

several slight differences, “And I saw in the vision of my dream, when I

was in the city Susa, which is in the province Elymais, and I seemed in my

vision to be at the gate Ailam.” Theodotion renders more briefly, “And I

was in Susa the palace (Σούσοις τῇ βάρει Sousois tae bareiSusa the

palace), in the province Ailam, and I was on the Ubal.” The Syriac is in

close agreement with the Massoretic. even to the transcription of the doubtful

word Ubal. The transcription is carried so far that medeenatha, “a city,” is

used to translate mdeena, “a province.” Jerome renders mdeena, cicitas, and

uval, portam, and beera, castrum. The word lb"Wa (‘oobal) is nearly a hapax

legomenon (one time use), absolutely so if we do not admit joobal, in

Jeremiah 17:8, to be the same word.  There is, as will have been seen above,

great differences among the versions. The Septuagint and Jerome seem to have

read μlwa (oolam), “porch” or “gate,” instead of oobal. Ewald would make the

word mean “river basin.” In many respects “marsh” might be a more suitable

rendering. To the south-west of the present ruins of Susa there is an extensive

marsh, which may have been of old date. The preposition liphnee, which occurs

in v. 3, is all but meaningless applied to a river, if we use it in its ordinary

meaning, “before.” If we take it as meaning “eastward,” the ram would be

westward” from Shushan, ie. between Shushan and the river; but as

Daniel was in Shushan, he would naturally state the position of the “ram”

in relation to it rather than to the river. The preposition l[" (‘al) is nearly

as meaningless with regard to a river, unless a bridge or a boat is intended.

We are inclined to read oolam as “porch.” At the same time, we know that

there was the river Ulai (Eulaeus) near Shushan. It is mentioned in one of

the inscriptions of Asshurbanipal in connection with Shushan (Smith’s

Asshurbanipal,’ p. 130). The palace. Beera really seems to mean

fortress.” It occurs ten times in Esther, and always as the appellation of

Shushan. In Nehemiah it is once used with this connotation, but twice in

regard to some building in Jerusalem, probably the temple; in Chronicles it

is used for the temple. In Ezra 6:2 it is used of Achmetha, equivalent to

Ecbatana. From the fact that the Septuagint translates πόλει   polei - city

it might be reasoned that the translator had ry[ before him, but the translation

probably was due to ignorance of the precise meaning of the word. In

Esther this word is rendered  πόλις

 (city).  In Nehemiah it is once rendered

πόλις, once it is rendered ἅβὶρα - abira and once βιρα – Bira. The derivation

of the  word seems to be from the Assyrian birtu. It really means “citadel” or

“fortress,” and thus may be compared with the Carthaginian byrsa.

Jerome’s translation, castrum, suits this. It is not necessary to maintain that

at this time Daniel was in Shushan. All that is implied is that in his dream

he was there. Shushan is first referred to in the inscriptions of Asshur-banipal

as the capital of Elam. In the history of that monarch there is an

inscription of his given in which he says, “Shushan, the great city, the seat

of their gods, the place of their oracle, I captured.” Then follows a

description of the plunder he took from it. We do not know when it

recovered from that overthrow. The name is said to be derived from the

number of lilies growing in the neighborhood; but shushan, “a lily,” is a

Shemitie word, and the Elamites are usually regarded as an Aryan people.

The association of Babylon with Elam and Media must have been intimate,

if any credit is to be placed on the Greek accounts of the marriage of

Nebuchadnezzar. Hence, even if Elam was not, at the date specified, a

province of the Babylonian Empire, perhaps never was, yet the Babylonian.

court might well have envoys visiting the court of Elam. We find from the

well-known inscription of Nabunahid, that he regarded Cyrus at first as a

friend and deliverer from the formidable Astyages, King of Umman-Manda.

Daniel may have been sent to Elam, although there is no necessity for

maintaining that this was the case. It was not until he had conquered

Astyages that Cyrus held possession of Shushan.

3 “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there

stood before the river a ram which had two horns; and the two horns

were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up

last.” The rendering of the Septuagint does not differ essentially from the

Massoretic Version, save in the last clause, which is rendered, “and the

higher ascended (ἀνέβαινε – anebaine – came up last).” As in the former verse,

oobal is translated “gate.” Certainly, as before remarked, “before a river” is an

awkward combination; “before” or “over against a gate” is intelligible. “Eastward,”

which liphnee also means, will not suit the geographical circumstances, as

Shushan itself stood on the east bank of the river Eulaeus, or Shapur. If,

further, oobal means a “marsh,” as Jerome renders it, then “eastward”

would not suit for the existing marsh is to the south-west of Shushan.

Theodotion is in closer agreement with the Massoretic text, but does not

translate (oobal, he merely transliterates it. The Peshitta is in strict

agreement with the text of the Massoretes. Jerome, as we just said. in this

verse renders oobal by paludem. Daniel in his vision seems looking from

the walls of the citadel of Shushan, most likely even now the capital of the

triumphant young conqueror. The progress of the arms of Cyrus would no

doubt be viewed with apprehension by the court of Babylon. Daniel’s

thoughts would be naturally filled with the new factor in the polities of the

Euphrates valley. Hence it was not unnatural that the thoughts of the day

should color the visions of the night. The choice of the animal — the ram

— to represent the Medo-Persian monarchy is by some supposed to be

illustrated by the figures of goats and rams on Persian cylinders. If it has

any special meaning, it probably is that the monarchy had sprung up among

a pastoral people. The empire, we know, was built up by two races — the race

which last came into prominence became the predominant. Here in the symbol

before us the unity of the empire is exhibited by the animal being one, and the

two races are indicated by the two horns. The duality of the symbol ought to

be noted.

4 “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and

southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was

there any that could deliver out of his hand: but he did according to

his will, and became great.”  The opening words of the Septuagint appear

to be a translation of the last word of the preceding verse, haaheronah.

being rendered, “after these things” — a change that is not defensible. It is

more important to note that in the Septuagint we have the four points of the

compass mentioned, not merely three as in the Massoretic, “I saw the ram

butting eastward, and northward, and westward, and southward.” Had a

falsarius been wishful to supply the missing direction, he would have

inserted “eastward” between “northward” and “southward,” only if he had

begun with “eastward” would he have gone on as it at present stands in the

Septuagint. What could make him change “west” to “east”? Our opinion is

that the Septuagint represents the original text. It is confirmatory of this that

Theodotion. in strict agreement with the text of the Massoretes, renders

the first direction (κατὰ θάλασσαν kata thalassan - seaward). The Peshitta

renders  “westward,” not by yammah, but by the term for “west” that became

common in Exilic and post-Exilic Hebrew, maarab — the word that is

used in the next verse. Ezekiel uses yammah for “west,” when in vision he

places himself in Palestine, otherwise it is not used for “west” by Exilic and

post-Exilic writers. If we take the statement of the next verse as fixing

what was “the west” to the author of Daniel, where would “seaward” be?

If we draw a line from Tress, where Alexander landed, and continue it

through Babylon, it reaches the Persian Gulf. “Seaward” would mean

consequently “eastward,” or approximately so, to one writing in Babylon.

A great number of suggestions have been offered to explain the singular

omission of “eastward” from the direction in which the ram pushes with his

horns, Havernick, and following him Moses Stuart, assert that “eastward”

is not mentioned because the Persians made no conquests to the east until

the days of Darius Hystaspis, and then not permanent ones. Against this is

the fact that Elam and Media were mainly east of Ansan. Further, the

picture here given of the Persian Empire is not restricted to the days of

Cyrus and Cambyses, but all through its course. As to the permanence of

these Eastern conquests, the territories of Darius Codomannus east of

Arbela embraced modern Persia and other territories to the confines of

India. Keil assumes that the ram stands on the western bank of the Shapur,

so, if he pushed eastward, it would be against his own capital; but if oobal

means “a river,” then the only meaning possible for liphnee is “eastward.”

He would then be butting towards the river across which the enemy was

likely to come, moreover, against his own capital, unless the ram is

supposed to be between the river and the city — an unlikely supposition, as

Shushan was on the river Eulaeus. He further maintains that the unfolding

of the power of Persia was towards these three named directions, and not

towards the last, whatever that may mean. Ewald declares the ram does not

butt towards the east, because that already belongs to him. As a matter of

fact, and, as exhibited by the Book of Esther, welt known to the Jews, the

Persian Empire did conquer towards the east. Behrmann says, “The ram

does not push towards the east, because he comes from the east — a

delicacy the Septuagint overlooked.” In point of fact, there is no word in

the vision of the ram coming from anywhere — this delicacy (feinheit)

Professor Behrmann has overlooked. Kranich-fold and Zockler follow this.

The view of Bishop Newton, followed by Archdeacon Rose, is that the

east had no importance to the Jews; but north and south had just a little.

Jephet-ihn-Ali and several modern commentators think the three directions,

as the three ribs, imply the limitation of the Persian Empire. It certainly was

recognized by the Jews to be little, if at all, less than that of Alexander the

Great.  The true explanation is that a direction has dropped

out. While “seaward” had ceased to mean “west” to the Jews in Babylon, it

did not take long residence in Palestine to recover this name for “west.” A

copyist living in Palestine, finding yammah, in the first place would

translate it “westward;” then after “northward” he would, in the third

place, come upon msarab, which also meant “west;” so naturally he

dropped the second of what seemed to him synonymous terms. If we are

correct in our supposition, we have here demonstrative proof that Daniel

was written by one living in Babylon.  No beasts might stand before him.

All the powers round Persia had to submit to him. And he became great

affords proof, if proof were needed, that the vision applies to the whole of

the history of Persia.

5 “And as I was considering, behold, an he-goat came from the

west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and

the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.”   The Septuagint, when

completed from Paulus Tellensis, agrees in the main with the Massoretic,

omitting only “whole” before “earth.” The Christian MS. omits the clause,

“and touched the ground,” but it is in Paulus Tellensis. As I was

considering. “Was” is here used much as an auxiliary verb — an Aramaic

usage. “Considering” really suggests “meditating on.” He-goat. The word

here used does not elsewhere occur in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is really an

Aramaic word, though vocalized here after the analogy of Hebrew. On the

face of the whole earth. The writer had probably in his mind the negative

idea expressed in the next verse; hence the word kol. A notable horn; “a

horn of sight;” a horn that no one could fail to remark upon. No symbol

could express in a more graphic way the rapidity of the conquests of

Alexander the Great than this of the goat that flew over the ground. One

can parallel with this the four wings of the leopard in ch. 7. It is singular

that Alexander should generally on his coins be figured as horned. Had this

vision been due to a knowledge of this — which could not have escaped a

Jew of the days of the Maccabees — the writer would certainly have made

Alexander not a goat, but a ram. as it is a ram’s horn that is intended to be

figured on the portraits of Alexander. As everybody knows, this refers to

the fable that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon, the ram-horned. It is

difficult to assign a reason why the goat was chosen as the symbol of the

Grecian power, save that, as compared with the Persian power, the Greek

was the more agile.

6 “And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had

seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his

power.”  The differences of the Septuagint from the received text are slight

here. Oobal is still translated πύλῃ – pulae  - gateway; it renders, “fury of his rage”

rather -  than “fury of his power.” The Massoretic, as the less obvious collocation,

is the better reading. Theodotion and the Peshitta leave oobal untranslated.

The latter omits the last clause of the Massoretic. In the Hebrew the ram is

called Baal-karnayeem, “lord of two horns.” Alexander’s war against

Persia was one of simple aggression.

7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved

with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns:

and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast

him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none

that could deliver the ram out of his hand.”  The two Greek versions,

though differing very much in the Greek words chosen as equivalent to the

Hebrew, yet both represent a text practically identical with that of the

Massoretes. The Peshitta omits the introductory “behold,” but otherwise

can scarcely be said to differ essentially from the received text, though

there are some peculiarities due to mistaken reading, but unimportant. The

word yithmormar, “he was embittered,” is a word that occurs here and in

the eleventh chapter. The root, however, as might be guessed from its

meaning, is not uncommon, being found in Genesis Exodus, Samuel,

Kings, Isaiah, Ruth, Job, and Zechariah. It does not occur in Western Aramaic,

but does in Eastern (compare Peshitta II Samuel 18:33; Acts 17:16). It is quite

such a word as a man writing among those who spoke Eastern Aramaic might use.

Alexander advanced always against Darius; he would not even speak of treating

with him. After the passage of the Granicus, he pushed on to Cilicia, overthrew

Darius at Issus, B.C.. 333; then, after the conquest of Egypt, advanced against

Him again at Arbela, and once more inflicted on him an overwhelming defeat.

When Darius fled from the field, Alexander pursued him to the shores of

the Caspian and into Bactria and Sogdiana, till Darius fell a victim to the

treachery of Bessus. Certainly relentlessness was the most marked

character of Alexander’s pursuit of Darius. The horns of the Persian power

were broken, thrown to the earth, and trodden underfoot.

8 “Therefore the he-goat waxed very great: and when he was

strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable

ones toward the four winds of heaven.” The two Greek versions differ

from the Massoretic only in this — that the four horns are not mentioned

as notable horns, but simply ἕτερα – hetera - other. The Peshitta agrees closely

with the Massoretic. The Greek versions indicate that the reading they had

before them was ‘“haroth instead of hazooth; hazooth has been borrowed

from the fifth verse. The empire of Alexander had reached its greatest

extent when the young conqueror fell a victim to what seems malarial

fever, aggravated by his drinking. His life was broken off before its

legitimate conclusion. At his death there was great confusion. Perdiccas

assumed the guardianship of the children of the conqueror, and attempted

to succeed him in the empire. After his death Antigonus in turn attempted

to secure the imperial power, but was defeated and slain at the battle of

Ipsus. The empire of Alexander was then divided into four main portions:

In the two first of these there were several revolutions, but finally

the Antigonids established themselves in Macedon, and the Attalids in Asia

Minor.

9 “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which

waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east. and

toward the pleasant land.”   The Greek versions here differ considerably

from the Massoretic text. The Septuagint is as follows: “And out of one there

sprang a strong horn, and it prevailed and smote toward the south, ἐπὶ νὸτον

epi noton –  toward the south; southwest - and toward the east, and toward

the north.” In this case, ἐπὶ νὸτον is clearly a doublet — an alternative rendering

that has got into the text from the margin.  Ἐπὶ βορρᾶν - Epi Borran – north;

northern -  results from reading tzephonah (hn;wOpx]) instead of tzebee (ybix,).

Theodotion renders, “From one of them went forth a strong horn, and was

magnified exceedingly to the south and to the power” — reading ab;x; (tzaba),

“host,” for tzebee. It is to be observed that both translate mitztzeeeroth as

(ἰσχυρὸν – ischuron - strong) instead of “little.” The reason of this is that they

have taken m] as equivalent to ex, therefore equivalent to a negative. The

Peshitta agrees with the Authorized in reading mitztzeeroth as “little,” but leaves

out the difficult final word rendered “the pleasant land” in our Authorized

Version. Jerome translates mitztzeeeroth by modicum, and tzebee by fortitudinem

A combination of Theodotion and the Massoretic; he must have had tzaba in

his text instead of tzebee, — this may have been due to the fact that tzaba

occurs in the next verse. The reference is sufficiently obvious to Antiochus.

The description is accurate; he sprang from one of the four horns or

dynasties that succeeded the great conqueror. He carried his arms to the

east, but mainly to the south against Egypt. The great difficulties are in the

two Hebrew words mitztzeeroth and tzebee. As to the first word, the fact

that the two Greek versions have read it are conclusive against the

suggestion that we should omit ˆmi. (min). Jephet-ibn-Ali takes min as

denoting the origin of the horn, “from a little one.” The readings alike of the

Septuagint and Theodotion could have sprung from the Massoretic reading,

whereas neither of these could so readily be the original reading. It was necessary

that Israel should be prominent in this part of the prophecy; it all leads up to the

persecution the Jews endured at the hands of Antiochus Epiphanes It is necessary,

then, to hold that this word, whatever reading we adopt, and whatever immediate

meaning we assign to it, must refer to Palestine.

10 “And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast

down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped

upon them.”   The reading of the Septuagint is very different after the first clause,

“And it was exalted to the stars of heaven, and it was shattered to the earth

by the stars, and by them trampled down.” The verb lSeT" (tappayl)

translated “cast down,” has been read as if it had been lP"Tu (tooppal). So

too the last verb has evidently been read WhWsm]r]yw" (vayyirmsoohoo)

instead of μsem]r]Tiw" (vattirmsaym), due to the resemblance which there

was between yod and tan in the older script. Theodotion differs hardly less

from the Massoretic, “And it was magnified to the power of heaven, and it

fell to the earth from the power of heaven and from the stars, and they

trode them down.” The verb translated “fell” is evidently read with a

vocalization different from both the Massoretic and the Septuagint.

The sense of Theodotion is more in accordance with the Septuagint than with the

Massoretic. The Peshitta and the Vulgate agree with the Massoretic. The

question of which reading is to be preferred can scarcely be settled without

regarding the meaning of the terms here used. The crucial point is — What

is the meaning of the “host of heaven”? The general consensus of

interpreters is that this refers to Israel. Some maintain that the best of

heaven is Israel, and the stars their leaders (Glassins); the stars are the

Levites (Grotius). Moses Stuart would hold the host to be the priests, and

the stars the teachers. Kliefoth is right in commencing first with the picture,

and requiring that it be realized in thought. The horn grows and grows

before Daniel’s gaze, until it seems to touch the stars, that is, the host of

heaven. As to what is meant by the stars, we must look elsewhere for an

explanation. Have we any right to take “the host of heaven” as meaning the

people of God? The phrase, “host of heaven,” occurs elsewhere in

Scripture nearly a score of times, and it never means anything else than the

stars or the angels. Therefore all interpretations that make this mean either

the people of God or the Levites, must be thrown aside. It may, however,

mean the people of God mediately. A quite elaborate line of deduction has

been brought forward — the promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:5), to

Isaac (Genesis 26:4), that their seed should be as the stars of heaven, is

brought into connection with the use of the word “hosts” in regard to

Israel (Numbers 1:52, etc.) — and the title given to God as the God of

Israel, “Jehovah of hosts.” This is very ingenious, but it has no support

from scriptural usage or from the usage in apocalyptic writings. In the

Book of Enoch, which, since it is modeled on this book, furnishes us with

the earliest commentary on it, we find the stars are invariably the symbol of

the angels. When we pass to the Book of Revelation, we find the same

thing. We find when we pass on to the tenth chapter of this book, that all

the nations are regarded as under the rule of some special angel We must

apply, so far as we can, rules of interpretation which the author himself

supplies us with. Using this guide, we see next that, when a nation was

defeated and oppressed, its angel or star was regarded as thrown to the

earth and trodden underfoot. The treatment Epiphanes meted out to Egypt

and Palestine seems specially referred to. If we take the reading of the

Septuagint, then the reference will be to the humiliation Epiphanes received at

the hands of the Romans first, and then the Jews, and lastly the Elamites,

whose temple he attempted to plunder.

11 “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host,

and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his

sanctuary was cast down.”  This is said by Bevan to be the most difficult

verse in this whole book. There is a difference here between the Q’ri and

the K’thib. The latter reads μyrh, the hiphil of μwr, while the former

reads μrh, the hophal of the same verb At first sight the difficulty is not

lessened by consideration of the versions. The Septuagint as it at present

stands is utterly unintelligible, “Until the leader of the host shall save the

captivity, and by him everlasting mountains were broken down, and their

place and sacrifice taken away, and he placed it in the very ground, and he

prospered [reading with Syriac] and was, and the holy place shall be laid

waste.” This confusion is due to confluence of readings, and is not difficult

to disentangle with the help of the Massoretic text. Up to the last two

words the Septuagint is a translation of a text differing from the Massoretic

simply by intelligible variations and repetitions not uncommon in the

Septuagint. The first clause of the Septuagint originally was probably, “Till the

prince shall deliver the captivity,” reading ybiv] (shebee) instead of ab;x"

(tzaba) — a scribe, finding abx in his Hebrew, then added the translation

of it to the margin of his Greek copy, from which it got into the text. The

original of the Septuagint had also lYXiy" (yatztzeel) instead of lydig]hi (higdeel)

— a confusion easily made in the older script, in which y and h were like.

We learn from the Talmud (Shabb., 103b) that g was liable to be mistaken

by scribes for x. Moreover, “captivity” would naturally suggest lxn, “to

deliver.” The second clause is, “By him the everlasting mountains were

broken down.” Here hayreem has been read with the K’thib, and vocalized

as if it were hareem, and tameed, “continual,” translated as equivalent to

μlw[ (‘olam), “everlasting.” The next clause reveals the other meaning of

tameed, “sacrifice,” which probably had been written on the margin, and

then dropped into the text. The latter part of the Septuagint verse appears

to be confused with the latter part of the following verse according to the

Massoretes. Theodotion is even less intelligible than the Septuagint, “Until

the leader of the host shall save the captivity, and through him the sacrifice

was broken down, and he prospered, and the holy place shall be made

desolate.” It is to be noticed that the first clause here agrees with the Septuagint.

It is possible that “and he prospered” is a doublet, jy"lix]hi being read for

dl"v]ju in some copy. The Peshitta differs from both the Greek versions,

“Until it arrive to the chiefs of the host, and by it was set up in perpetuity,

and preparing he strengthened the sanctuary,” and while it is difficult to

understand the origin of the variation in the first clause, it is clear that in

the second clause the translator must have read hish-leem for hooshlak.

The one thing that seems clear is that the reading of the K’thib is to be

preferred. We should read hayreem, not hooram. Only the first of these

could be read “mountains.” If we translate the words as they stand, we

shall certainly be removed out of the region of all the commentators. It is

assumed that “the little horn” is the subject of this sentence; but “horn” is

feminine in Hebrew, and the verbs here are in the masculine; this is against

it being the nominative. The “prince of the host,” then, must be the

nominative of the verbs and subject of the sentence. The rendering of the

first clause ought to be, then, “Until the prince of the host magnify himself

(I Samuel 12:24), and by himself he shall offer the daily sacrifice. And

he shall cast down the foundation of his holy place,” reading hishlayk

instead of hooshlak. We should feel strongly inclined to transfer the first

“and” to hayreem, and, changing the punctuation, read, “Until the prince of

the host shall make himself greater than he” — viz, the tyrant represented

by “the little horn” — “and shall offer the daily sacrifice.” If we might read

hishleem with the Peshitta instead of hoosh-lak, we get a satisfactory

meaning to the last clause, in which case we should render, “He shall

complete the place of his sanctuary.” We would understand by “complete,”

“to perfectly purify.” Taking the Massoretic text thus with little

modification, we have a description of the successes of Judas Maccabaeus,

who was prince of the host, and as such became stronger than Epiphanes,

and then cleansed the temple, and offered the continual daily sacrifice. We

give, as a curiosity, the note of Saadiah Gaon: “The King of Ishmael was

more powerful than the kings of Rome who had Jerusalem, and he took

Jerusalem from them by force.”

12 “And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by

reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and

it practiced, and prospered.”  The renderings of the Septuagint. and

Theodotion are closely related, and both differ from the Massoretic text. The

first is, “And the sins were upon the sacrifice, and righteousness was fallen to

the earth, and he (or, it) did, and prospered.” Theodotion renders, “And sin

was placed (given) upon the sacrifice, and righteousness is fallen to the

earth, and he (it) did and prospered.” The Peshitta is nearer the Massoretic

text, but better in accordance with the Authorized Version, “A host was

given against the perpetuity, in transgression the holy place was thrown to

the ground, and he did and prospered.” From the fact that ab;x; (tzaba) is

omitted from the two Greek versions, we venture to omit it also; it has

probably been inserted from the verse above. Both versions also omit the

preposition before” transgression;” we omit it also. We would thus render,

“And transgression was upon the sacrifice, and,” reading Ël"v]T", “truth

was cast to the ground, and it did and prospered.” After Judas Maccabaeus

had cleansed the temple and offered sacrifices, sin mingled with it. We

know that the stricter Hasidim, objected to the foreign alliances into which

the Maccabees were inclined to enter; the battle of Beth-zecharias was

largely lost by the abstention of the stricter party. After that, Lysias,

representing really the same movement as Epiphanes, advanced to the

capture of Bethshur. Thus it might be said of the little horn, that “it did and

prospered.” Were it not that there is no authority for it in the versions, we

should read μliveT" instead of Ël"v]T". In that case we should render, “And

transgression was upon the sacrifice” — regarding this sacrifice as the

atonement for the transgression (Leviticus 16:21) — “and truth shall

make peace in the land, and do and prosper.”

The Temporary Triumph of Violence (vs. 1-12)

The good use of God’s revelation leads to the impartation of further and

clearer revelation. “To those who have, it shall be given.” The former

vision had well exercised Daniel’s mind; now a more minute vision is

vouchsafed. In the improvement of character is piety’s reward.

AMBITION OF MEN. Lands, cities, palaces, extensive provinces, all fail

to satisfy the man in whose breast vulgar ambition dwells. The possessor of

the great kingdom of Persia did not conduct himself as a man, but as a silly

ram. He was supreme master of these things; but since he did not extract

advantage or enjoyment from them, he could not be said to possess them.

His one thought was how to acquire more. Instead of cherishing a grateful

disposition that God had given him so much, and afforded him such fine

opportunities for useful service, his dominant passion was to dispossess

others of their dominion. Nor did the fact afflict his soul, that in the career

of violence, much innocent blood would be shed, men would be diverted

from occupations of husbandry, and misery would be widely sown. The

palace in which vain Ambition hatches her plots is no better than a pesthouse.

And the monarch who is prodigal with human blood is no other

than a murderer. Like Satan, the destroyer, “he also goeth about seeking

whom he may devour.”  (I Peter 5:8)

DEADLY REVENGE. The arbiter of war settles nothing. The victor today

is the vanquished tomorrow. The memories of the conquered people

hold, with a deathless tenacity, purposes of revenge; and if the conqueror

himself does not live to see his military fortune reversed, his successors feel

the blow with accumulated fury. The ram, with his two unequal horns,

pushed westward, northward, and southward, and for a moment was

accounted great. But ere long the goat with one strong horn assailed him

with uncontrollable rage, smote him to the ground, and trod him underfoot.

The arm of muscular strength soon decays. If a monarch has nothing better

to depend upon than an arm of flesh, his glory will soon fade. It is

surprising how that, generation after generation, monarchs still rely upon

human battalions rather than on THE LIVING GOD!  So ingrained in their

imperial nature is ambitions pride, that they need to be bruised and

pulverized in a mortar before the pride can be extracted.  (Proverbs 27:22)

Very significantly is it said respecting this he-goat, that “when he was

strong, the great horn was broken.” Alexander, surnamed by flatterers “the

Great,” was to the kingdom of Macedon merely a horn — a weapon of

offence. Can there be a more humiliating statement? If God has given to

the inferior animals natural horns, they are intended to serve as defensive

weapons. If the animal has any native sagacity, it will reserve its horns for

fitting occasions of danger; for if it should rush into needless hostilities, its

horns may be broken, and in the hour of peril the animal will become a

helpless prey. How often does God snap the horn of human power in the

hour of boastful triumph! Herod was drinking the sweet potion of profane

flattery, when an angel smote him, and he was eaten up of worms. (Acts 12:23)

Nebuchadnezzar was feasting on the pride of his great success, when his

reason forsook him, and he was degraded to a place among the cattle.

Alexander sat down to weep, because there seemed no further scope for

his ambition; but God’s shaft of disease pierced him, and left him a corpse.

PROFANE. If God takes away, He also gives. Where the one strong horn

had been broken off, four other horns came up instead. The vital energy

which could produce this is the direct gift of God. Whoever is meant by

this “little horn,” he ought to have learned, as the very first lesson of his life,

that he had been raised up by God to replace one who had been removed

by death, But instead of learning lessons of humility and pious trust from

the patent scenes of human mortality, men, for the most part, become more

presumptuous and profane. No outward events permanently impress the

soul. Nothing but the mysterious grace of God can soften and purify man’s

heart. This “little horn” ventures to assail the very stars of heaven. As high

as the stars are above the earth — as bright and as useful — so are God’s

saints compared with earthly and sensual men. Against these this proud

ruler arrays his hostile forces — yea against the Prince of heaven. He

corrupts the priesthood, defiles God’s sanctuary, interrupts the daily

sacrifice. This is a sin of sins — a crime of blackest dye. Herein we see

what is the natural effect of military conquest upon the victor himself. It:

Ø      hardens the feelings,

Ø      stupefies the conscience,

Ø      makes the man a demon, and

Ø      hurries him along to the brink of self-destruction.

·         PRESENT TRIUMPHS OVER THE RIGHTEOUS ARE DIVINELY

PERMITTED, IN’ ORDER TO SECURE HIGHER GOOD. Although the

leaders among the Jews were vastly superior to the invading hordes of

Antiochus — superior in virtue and morality — nevertheless they were far

from perfect. A strange intermingling of good and evil — of light and

darkness — appeared in their nature. So great was God’s regard for His

chosen people, that He made adversity to serve as moral medicine. Military

disaster may serve as moral triumph. The armies of proud monarchs God

used as His instruments of chastisement. The wicked are His hand — His

sword. The victorious army usually boasts that, by their own might, they

have conquered. They can see no other result or end than their own fame.

But God sees other and remoter results. In this case it was not simply

because Syria’s army was mightier than the Jewish force, that the former

triumphed, and made the daily sacrifice to cease. The real cause was that

transgression was found in Israel; and if God’s remedy was severe, it was

not more severe than needful. Israel was smitten before the Canaanites,

because a spirit el mercenary selfishness was found in Achan. (Joshua 7)

The cause of righteousness may be arrested, impeded, dishonored, if some

flagrant sin be found in its leaders. The kingdom of righteousness can

only be advanced by righteous methods. It is true that God had promised

to shield His people Israel from their foes, but there was a condition, tacit

or expressed, viz. that they should honor His commands.

Ø      An army is defeated; 

Ø      the temple is desecrated;

Ø      access to God interrupted;

BECAUSE TRANSGRESSION WAS FOUND IN ISRAEL!

13 “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said

unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision

concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to

give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” Our

Authorized rendering is clearly mistaken; it ought not to be “saint,” but

“holy one,” as in the Revised Version. The versions leave palmoni, “a

certain one,” untranslated. Fust’s suggestion, held also by Behrmann, is

that this is a contraction for paloni almoni. The renderings of the versions

are worthy of note. The Septuagint., “And I heard one holy one speaking, and

another holy one said to Phehnouni who spoke, How long shall the vision

stand, and the removed sacrifice, and the sin of desolation given, and the

holy place be desolate to be trodden underfoot (εἰς καταπάτημα   – eis katapataema –

to be trampled down)?” Here the word στήσεται - staesetai - shall stand, is supposed

by Professor Bevan to be an  addition by one who did not fully comprehend the

sentence. Following Gratz, Professor Bevan suggests a word, μr;Wm (mooram),

“removed,” to explain the presence of ἀρθεῖσα – hae artheisa - ? – CY – 2014)

 a suggestion that appears well-founded.  His further suggestion, that sim (μci),

“to set up,” has been read instead of shomaym (μmevo), must be due to inattention

to the Greek. In it there is nothing about “set up,” unless he transfers στήσεται,

from its place in the beginning of the sentence to the middle, and changes it to the

active voice. Equally extraordinary is the suggestion that the translators read

abxy, instead of abxw. The truth is, the introduction of ἐρημωθήσεται

 eraemothaesetai – multitude; host ? -  is probably due to a gloss or a confluence

of readings  (of  ἐρημώσεως – eraemoseos – desolation -  and  συμπατηθήσεται

 sumpataethaesetai – trampled under foot - ???? – Best I could come

up with – CY – 2014).   Theodotion is in close agreement with the Septuagint,

save in the last clause, which he  renders, “And the sanctuary and the power be

trodden underfoot.” The  Peshitta is closer to the Massoretic, “And I heard a

holy one who spake, and a holy one said to palmoni, who spake, When shall

the vision of the perpetuity (daily sacrifice?), and of sin and of corruption

be completed, and     the holy place and the host be trodden underfoot?”

The translators must have read shahata instead of shomaym. “Completed,”

nesh-tlem, may have been added, as στήσεται in the Greek, but the fact that

all the versions have a word not represented in the Massoretic would indicate the

probability that something has dropped out. Some part of the verb μWc is

suggested by the Greek Version, whereas some portion of μl"v; is

suggested by the Peshitta. Daniel hears one of those watching angels who

desire to look into the evolution of the Divine purpose concerning man and

his salvation, asking another, “How long shall be the desolation of

Jerusalem under Epiphanes?” The irregular construction here suggests

corruption. We would render the speech of the angel, “How long — the

vision, the sacrifice — the sin of desolation to give the sanctuary and the

service to be trodden underfoot?” as if Daniel had only heard snatches of

what was said; we would, we may say, omit the “and” before “sanctuary.”

The Septuagint translators may have omitted ab;x; (tzaba), thinking only of

its ordinary meaning, “host,” forgetful of the fact that it is used of the

temple service in Numbers 4:23. These angels are most interested in the

length of time that the sanctuary shall remain desolate. This may indicate

that it was evident, from the vision, that the period of desolation was a

limited one. The scene presented to the imagination is striking. The seer, as

he gazes on the vision appearing to him over the marsh at Susa, hears

angelic voices that direct attention to what was most important to him and

to his people. To the Israelites of the period of the Maccabees, the length

of time that the temple service would be in abeyance was of the highest

importance. It was well that they should know that the time was shortened

for the elect’s sake.

14 “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three

hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”  The Massoretic

reading is here clearly corrupt. “Unto me” ought to be “unto him,” as

proved by the versions and necessitated by sense. The Septuagint is somewhat

violent in construction, but means, “And he said to him, Until evenings and

mornings are two thousand three hundred days, and the sanctuary shall be

purified.” Theodotion agrees closely with the Septuagint only he has “five

hundred” instead of “three hundred.” The Peshitta agrees with the

Massoretic, save as above mentioned — “him” instead of “me,” and the

last clause, which ought naturally to rendered “and the sacrifice be

purified.” The Hebrew phrase for this clause is an unnatural one — it might

be rendered, “And holiness (or, ‘holy thing,’ ‘offering’) shall be justified.”

The want of the article is not an objection, as the manner of the author is to

use the article sparingly. The word translated “cleansed” really means

“justified;” it is the only example of this part of the verb. All the versions

translate as if the word had been some derivative of rh"f; (tahar). The

period referred to is that between the desolation inflicted on the temple by

Antiochus Epiphanes and its cleansing by Judas Maccabaeus. It is

somewhat difficult to fix the exact space of time intended by these two

thousand three hundred evening-mornings. Does it mean two thousand

three hundred days? For this may be urged that this succession. “evening

and morning,” not “morning and evening,” resembles Genesis 1. If this

resemblance is intentional, then “evening-morning” means a space of

twenty-four hours. If the days are literal days, then the space of time would

amount to nearly six years and a half, if’ we take the year here as three

hundred and sixty days. Another view is that day and night are separated

and each reckoned; hence the number of days involved would be eleven

hundred and fifty — fifty-five days more than three average years, and

seventy days more than three years of three hundred and sixty days each.

If, however, the year be the lunar year of three hundred and fifty-four days,

it closely approximates to three years and a quarter. The period that one

would naturally think of is that between the setting up of the abomination

of desolation (I Macabbees 1:54), on the fifteenth day of Casleu, in the hundred

and forty-fifth year of the Seleucid era to the rededication of the temple on

the twenty-fifth of Casleu, in the hundred and forty-eighth year (from B.C.

167 to B.C. 164), but that is only three years and ten days. If the first and

last of these years were respectively the fifth and seventh of a metonic

cycle, in each of which there were intercalary months, then there is only a

difference of eighteen days between the interval given above and the actual

historical interval. If, however, we are to believe Maerobius (‘Satur.,’ 1:13,

§ 9), and hold that the intercalations were supplied by adding the three

months in one year, if one of the years in question was the year in the cycle

in which this took place, then the interval would be twelve days too much.

In either case the difference is very small. The attempt to take the interval

as two thousand three hundred days leads to very arbitrary results.

The Triumph of Evil (vs. 1-14)   

not only powerful, but ascendant and dominant, apparently sweeping all

before it.

  

Ø      Evil is destructive. Kingdoms under the sway of evil become mutually

destructive. The successive visions of the world-empires represent them

with increasingly destructive characteristics. The first brings before us a

monstrous image of incongruous elements, but with a certain unity and

peaceful relation of parts (ch. 2.). The second shows us a series of

ravenous beasts, which, however, are not represented as all fighting one

with another (ch. 7.). The third introduces us to animals, by nature

peaceful, in fierce mutually destructive conflict. Thus as the knowledge of

the evil kingdoms grows, they are seen to be more destructive, even in

their most peaceful relations. The more we see of evil the more shall we

feel its essentially destructive character (James 1:15).

 

Ø      The world without God deteriorates. These kingdoms get worse and

worse.  The moral progress of mankind is dependent on OUR

RELATION WITH GOD! on our submission to His

Redemptive and educational influence.  When these are discarded,

                        morality declines.

 

Ø      When evil triumphs in the state, the exercise of religious ordinances

are endangered (v. 11). Persecution usually has a moral cause.

            The protest of pure public worship is regarded as a danger to the

sway of wickedness.

 

Ø       Evil is inimical to truth, and when it triumphs truth suffers. Evil is

darkness; it is essentially a lie (John 8:44). Truth is a protest against

evil, therefore evil “casts truth to the ground” (v. 12; see

II Thessalonians 2:11).

 

Ø      Evil gains power from its prosperity. It “practices and prospers.” When

it flourishes it puts on an imposing appearance and grows by popularity.

Thus the more it prospers the more it tends to prosper.

 

 

 

Ø      It  was foreseen and predicted. It was foreknown by

God from the Creation. It was known when the promises of Divine

blessing were given. All the plans of Providence were made in view

of it. Yet they are bright and hopeful (Romans 8:19-23).

 

Ø      It is converted into a chastisement for sin and a means of purifying those

who suffer by it. Though wicked men may only intend harm to God’s

people, the wrong they do may be the means of the highest good.

 

Ø      Its duration is limited. A period is named for the termination of its sway

(vs. 13-14). Evil is but for a time, and this is short compared with

eternity. God holds power over it and fixes its limitations.

 

Ø      Ultimately evil shall be ENTIRELY CAST OUT!  Then the triumph

of goodness will be the greater by its contrast with the sway of evil.

The glory of Christ in redeeming from sin and restoring the world to God

Is only possible after evil has had an opportunity of asserting its power

(II Thessalonians 2:7-8).

15 “And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the

vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before

me as the appearance of a man.”  The versions here are unimportant.

Daniel desires to understand the meaning of this vision. From this we see

that, at the time when this book was written, it was understood that

prophets might be ignorant of the meaning of the revelations made to them.

This is at variance with the assumption of even believing critics, that if a

prophecy were given to a prophet, he must have understood the reference

of the message. On the accuracy of this assumption, they found the

rejection of any interpretation of a prophecy which sees more in it than the

prophet could have seen. This latest critical date of Daniel is separated by

approximately two centuries and a half from prophecy in actual existence in

Malachi. The tradition of the conditions of the phenomenon would still be

vital. The phrase before us probably means that Daniel applied the various

Babylonian formulae to the dream, to find the interpretation , but,

suspicious of them, he still continued his search. In answer to Daniel’s

search, there stood before him one having “the appearance of a man

(gaber)” — an angelic being in human form. The Hebrew word translated

“man” is gaber, which suggests the name given to the angel, “Gabriel.

16 “And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai,

which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the

vision.”   The Septuagint has an addition, “And the man called out, saying,

To that purpose is the vision.” This seems to be a gloss. Theodotion and

the Peshita agree with the Massoretic, only that Theodotion does not

indicate the difference of the word used for “man” in this verse from that in

v. 15, and renders Ulai “Oubeh” “Between Ulai” is a singular phrase. The

versions do not attempt any solution. The preposition bayin means usually

“between.” If we assume that the river Ulai is here meant, and that it

divided into two branches, the thing is explicable. Only it would have been

more in accordance with usage to have put “Ulai” in the plural. It may,

perhaps refer to the marsh, in which case it might be between the citadel

and the marsh. Daniel had seen the appearance of a man; now he hears a

voice addressing the man, and naming him Gabriel, “Hero of God.” It is to

be noted that this is the earliest instance of the naming of angels in

Scripture. In the tenth chapter Michael is also named. These are the only

angelic names in the whole of Scripture. These two names, and these alone,

recur in the New Testament, the first of them in Luke 1: 19, 26 and

the second in Revelation 12:7 and Jude. The Book of Tobit added

another angelic name on the same lines, Raphael. When we pass to the

Books of Enoch, we have most elaborate hierarchies of angels, in all of

which, however much they may otherwise differ, occur the two angels

mentioned here and Raphael. The difference in atmosphere between the

elaborate angelology of Enoch and the reticent accounts in the book before

us is great. It is hardly possible to imagine so great a difference between

the works of men that were all but contemporaries. The function assigned

to Gabriel here is in accordance with that he fulfils in the New Testament

    he is to make Daniel “understand the vision.”

   

17 “So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was

afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son

of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.”  The versions are

here in close agreement with the Massoretic text. On Gabriel’s approach

Daniel fell on his face, overwhelmed at contact with the spiritual. It is

mentioned as if this were the natural result of such an interview as that

vouchsafed to Daniel. At first sight this contradicts ch.7:16, where

Daniel interrogates one of the angelic bystanders. In the first place,

Ibid. v.15 shows that Daniel had been grieved and disturbed before he

ventured on the question; and, next, Gabriel was one of the great angels

that stood before God. Gabriel addressed Daniel by the title so often given

to Ezekiel, “son of man,” ben-adam.  Notice the contrast between Gabriel,

Hero of God,” and ben-adam, son of man The time of the end does not

mean the end of the world, or of the appearance of the Messiah, for in this

vision there is no reference to either of these. It is rather to be rendered,

after the analogy of Jeremiah 50:26, where miqqetz means “from the

utmost border,” and reaches to a far-off time.

18 “Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on

my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright.”

The Septuagint joins the opening words of the next verse to this. I was in a

deep sleep suggests the case of the three apostles, Peter, James, and John,

on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:32). The numbing effect of

the presence of the supernatural produces a state analogous to sleep, yet

“the eyes are open” (Numbers 24:4) the senses are ready to convey

impressions to the mind. The angel, however, touched Daniel, and set him

upright.

19 “And 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.” The Septuagint here inserts a clause after “indignation.” It reads,

“on the children of thy people.” It may have been inserted from ch.12:1,

only it is used in such a different sense that that does not seem very

likely. It may have been in the original text, and dropped out not unlikely

by homoioteleuton. The missing clause would be ÚM,[" yneB] l[", the last

word of which is like two. On the other hand, its omission from

Theodotion and the Peshitta is not so easily intelligible. Theodotion is in

close agreement with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta is more brief,

practically omitting the last clause. We have here the reference to the end,

as in v. 17 it is not the end of the world that is in the mind of the writer,

but the “end of the indignation.” The Jews, while maintaining their gallant

struggle against Epiphanes, have need of being assured that the battle will

have an end, and one determined before by God, The angel has to make

Daniel know the end of the indignation. It may be said that the present

time, when Israel has neither country nor city, is one of indignation; but the

immediate reference is to the persecution against the Jews inaugurated by

Epiphanes.

20 “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the

kings of Media and Persia.” All the versions — the Septuagint,

Theodotion, the Peshitta, and the Vulgate — have read, not ykel]m", as we

find in the Massoretic text, but dl,m, The ancient construct case in Hebrew

was formed by adding y to the root. Possibly this may be a survival of that

usage. In this case the change is due to scribal blunder. When we turn to

Jeremiah 25:25 and 51:11, 28, we have the same phrases used as here:

this is probably the origin of the blunder.

.

21 “And the rough goat is the King of Grecia; and the great

horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”  Again all the versions

agree in omitting the word “rough,” and in inserting “of the goats,” as in

the fifth verse. The authority of these is much too great to be resisted. The

Massoretic reading is probably due to a confluence of readings, as the

word translated “rough” also means “goats.” The omission of the word “of

the goats” is probably due to the inclusion of ry[ic; (saeer). Here, as in

the previous case, “king” stands for dynasty; and this is proved by the fact

that there is implied a series of kings, of whom the great horn is the first.

22 “Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four

kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” The

Septuagint,  if we take the reading of the Roman edition, agrees with the

Massoretic, save in the last clause, where it reads, “their power” instead of

“his power.” In this variation we find also Theodotion and the Peshitta

agreeing. Jerome has “ejus.” It is difficult to decide what is the true reading

here. In the reading of the older versions the meaning is that these kings

which should succeed Alexander should not be mighty. The reading of the

Massoretic and Jerome implies a direct and natural comparison with

Alexander the Great. As for the Greek versions, οὗ – ou – not - is easily

mistaken for ω o – O- in uncial manuscripts. As for the Syriac, <ARAMAIC>

is apt to be added to <ARAMAIC> of the third person, and produce the

difference we find.  While the Greek versions and Jerome render, “his nation”

instead of “the nation,” as in the Massoretic, the Peshitta follows the Massoretic ,

which is wrong here. The point of the contrast is that the kings that succeeded

Alexander were not of his family. Certainly none of the successors of

Alexander had an empire nearly so extensive as his. The only one that

really even comes into comparison with the empire of Alexander is that of

Seleucus Nicator. But not only had he neither European nor African

dominions, he did not possess, save for a little while. Asia Minor, nor

Palestine, nor India beyond the Indus at all. The Parthian Empire seen

sprang up, and wrested from the Solenoid a large portion of their

possessions east of the Euphrates. It can well be said, even of the empire of

Seleucus, that it had not the power of that of Alexander the Great.

 

 

Two World-Empires (vs. 3-8, 20-22)

 

“The ram which thou sawest,” etc. (vs. 20-21). The only way in which

the substance of the vision can be legitimately treated seems to us the

expository. But be it remembered that the exposition of a chapter like this

is really an explication of the gradual unfolding of a part of the history of

the kingdom of God antecedent to the Incarnation. We set up here simply

directing-posts to mark the way. Note particularly the partial character of

this vision — it is not now of the four world-empires and of the everlasting

kingdom, but only of two — Persia, Greece — and the development of

Greece. And mark, the symbols are authoritatively interpreted (vs. 21-22).

Here we have a key wherewith to unlock the secrets of the rest of the book.

 

 

Ø       Its unity. “A ram.”

Ø      Its duality. “Two horns.” Media and Persia.

Ø      Its inequality. One horn the higher; and came up last.

Ø      The direction of its aggression. (v. 4.) Babylon; Lydia; Egypt.

Ø      Its temporary irresistibility. (Ibid.)

Ø      Complete overthrow. (v. 7.) Compare throughout with the

bear of ch. 7.

 

 

Ø      The fitness of the goat as a symbol; e.g. Greece abounded in goats;

several municipalities adopted it as a symbol, and struck its image

on their coins, etc. See detailed Expositions.

Ø      Its ubiquity. “On the face of the whole earth.”

Ø      Celerity. “Touched not the ground.”

Ø      The concentration of its genius. “A notable horn.” Alexander (v. 21).

Ø      Its victory.

 

o       The conflict was within the Persian lines. “Close unto the ram.”

o       The attack made with the concentrated wrath of Greece.

“Moved with choler.” The provocation was the successive Persian

invasions.

Ø      Complete.

o        Its sudden growth

o       Sudden break-down.

 

 

 

Ø      Into four. Greece; Asia Minor; Syria; Egypt.

Ø      At the zenith of power; i.e. under Alexander (v. 8).

Ø      With instant collapse. (v. 22.) “Not in his power.”

23 “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the

transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and

understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”  The versions here are, on

the whole, in agreement with the Massoretic. The Greek versions read,

“their sins,” as if it were the iniquities of the successors of Alexander that

had become full, and thus afforded the occasion of the appearance of

Epiphanes. The Peshitta and Jerome have “iniquities” generally, without

reference to the kings, but with probable reference to the Jewish people.

The probability is decidedly in favor of the Massoretic reading; it was an

easy suggestion that the iniquities to be punished were those of the heathen

kings. The whole analogy of Scripture leads us to look at the iniquity of the

people of God being the cause of evil befalling them. Certainly immediately

before the persecution inflicted on the Jews by Antiochus, the progress of

the unbelieving Hellenizing party had been very great, as we see by I

Maccabees 1:13-16. It was “like people, like priest;” the people devoted

themselves to Grecian games with all their heathen associations, and strove

to hide their Hebrew origin and the covenant of their faith, and high priests

were ready to abet their practices. A king of fierce countenance;strong of

countenance.” This refers to courage and success in war. Thus Amaziah

(II Kings 14:8), when he wishes to challenge Joash King of Israel,

desires to “look in his face.” Epiphanes’ countenance was one that could

successfully stand a hostile meeting. The Greek versions render x[" (‘az)

by ἀναιδὴς – anaidaes -  reckless; shameless; impudent. Understanding dark

sentences. There may be some reference to incantations and superstitious

observances; it may mean that he was well acquainted with omens, and how

to benefit by them. Regardlessness in the matter of religion was a prominent

characteristic of Antiochus; but it is quite a possible thing that, like most

irreligious men, he was superstitious. He certainly was very keen-sighted in

observing the political signs of the times, and very adroit at availing himself

of what made for his own advantage.  Some think it means that the king here

pictured “will be cunning to hide his own designs from friend and foe.” Yet

more common is the view that it refers generally to his mastery in

the use of artifice. The main difficulty in regard to this view is that usage,

does not support assigning such a meaning to heedoth. On the other hand,

when we bear in mind that here we have the language of symbol and

prophecy, so tricks of strategy and chicane of policy may all be symbolized

by “dark sayings,” without necessary reference to sentences such as those

with which the Queen of Sheba tested the wisdom of Solomon.

24 “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:

and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and

shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”  This verse involves many

difficulties, grammatical and exegetical. These difficulties may be said to be

present in all the versions of this passage. The Septuagint renders, “And his

power shall be confirmed, and not in his strength, and he shall destroy

marvelously, and prosper and do, and shall destroy the rulers and people

of the saints.” Theodotion is so far slavishly close to the Massoretic text;

but he seems to have read qodesh, an adjective agreeing with “people,”

instead of qedosheem, “saints;” and he omits the negative clause. The

Peshitta is very close to the Massoretic. It emphasizes the negative clause

by adding denaphsho, and translates “wonders” instead of “wonderfully.”

Jerome, more intent on expressing what is his own interpretation of the

passage than on representing- the original, translates the first heel

(“power”) by fortitude, and the second by viribus suis. That the power of

Epiphanes was great — greater than that of his brother and immediate

predecessor — is undoubted. It is also the case that he was confirmed in

his place by the Romans, though, if we are to receive the account of

Appian, the direct means of his elevation to the throne was the intervention

of Eumenes of Pergamus on his behalf. Thus the reference of the phrase,

“not by his own power,” may be to this. Little as he might brook the

thought, he was but a subject-ally of the great republic. The other

interpretations are:

to be a scourge to his people; there is no reference in the context

to the fact, true though it was, that Antiochus was raised up

by God for His own purposes.

which would be needless if the contrast were between force and fraud.

combination falls with the last reason above.

this is the fact that it seems a long time to hold the reference

to Alexander in abeyance. Still, it may be urged that the vision was before

the prophet; on the other hand, the relative strength of Epiphanes and

Alexander does not seem to be of importance.

We still think that the real reference is to the fact that he did not attain the throne

either by inheritance or by his own prowess, but by the help and authority of

others, namely, Eumenes and Rome. And he shall destroy wonderfully. Gratz thinks

yasheeth, “destroy,” suspicious, and Professor Bevan suggests jyciy",

(yasee.h), and would render, “He shall utter monstrous things;” but,

unfortunately for his view, there is no hint in the versions of any difficulty

as to the reading, and, further, jWc (sooh) does not mean “utter,” but

“meditate.” We must take the words as they stand (compare Judges

13:19), and translate, “He shall destroy portentously.” Certainly Epiphanes

was to the Jews a portent of destruction; there had not been his like — not

Nebuchadnezzar, who burned the temple, was to be compared to him who

endeavored to blot out the worship of Jehovah altogether: not any other

of the Greek monarchs. He was unique in his enmity against God and his

worship. He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. The rendering

of the Revised Version better conveys the sense of the original, “He shall

destroy the mighty ones.” On the whole, this seems the best solution of the

difficulty. After Epiphanes had destroyed the “mighty,” that is to say, the

political enemies he had, the Egyptians, etc., he directed his mind to the

“people of the saints.”

25 “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper

in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace

shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of

princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”  The versions here are at

variance with each other and with the Massoretic recension. The Septuagint.

renders, “And against the saints shall his purpose be” — evidently reading,

val qedosheem siklo — “and craft shall prosper in his hands, and his heart

shall be lifted up, and by treachery he shall destroy many, and for the destruction

of men shall he stand, and he shall make a gathering of power, and shall sell (it).”

Theodotion is, in regard to the first clause, considerably more at variance with the

Massorctic, “And the yoke of his collar (or chain) shall prosper.” Evidently Theodotion

had read l[O (‘ol), “yoke,” instead of l[" (‘al), “upon,” and probably wOlb]si (siblo),

“his burden,” instead of wOlk]ci (siklo), “his thought.” “And in his heart he

shall be magnified, and by treachery shall he corrupt many and for the

destruction of many. shall he stand, and as eggs shall he crush (them) in his

hand,” reading kbaytzeem byad yishbar instead of beeseph yad

yishahabayr. The Peshitta has several points of peculiarity, “And in his

might he shall prosper: he shall restrain with his hand, and his heart shall be

lifted up, and by treachery shall he corrupt many and against the Ruler of

rulers shall he rise up, and with grasp of the hand shall be taken.” Even

Jerome, who is usually in close agreement with the Massoretic text,

translates at variance with their pointing. He begins this verse really with

the last clause of the previous one, “And he shall slay strong ones and the

people of the saints according to his will, and treachery shall be directed in

his hand, and in plenty of all things he shall slay many, and against the

Prince of princes shall he rise, and without hand shall be broken.” The most

singular thing is the omission by both the Greek versions of the phrase sar

sareem, which both appear to have read yishhat rabbeem a variation of

reading difficult to understand. On the whole, these varying versions seem

to have sprung from a text originally not differing much from the

Massoretic, save in the opening clause, in which the Septuagint appears to

suit the succession of thought better. The return of Antiochus from his

expedition to Egypt was the signal for his persecution of the saints; then his

“purpose, was against the holy people.” Craft shall prosper in his hand.

The account we have in the First Book of the Maccabees shows the

perpetual exercise by Antiochus and those under him of treachery. At first,

at all events, his craft prospered (I Maccabees  1:30). And he shall magnify

himself in his heart. Bevan thinks this hardly accurate, as the hiphil is

ordinarily causative. Only Zephaniah 2:8 has this verb used in hiphil as

reflexive. The sense, however, seems to be, not that he shall become

proud, but that he has many great projects in his mind,  one (I Maccabees 1:42)

being to unify all the various peoples that were under his scepter, so that

they should be one in religion and law. He further had the design of

conquering Egypt and uniting it to his empire, and would have done so had

the Romans not intervened. And by peace shall destroy many. The word

translated “peace” means also “suddenly.” The Greek versions both render

it by δόλῳ - dolo – cheat; disguise.   The probability is that the

meaning passed from “tranquillity” to the notion of “treachery.” The

meaning assigned to the word by Jerome is inexplicable, copia rerum. It

happens that both the meaning attached to the word shalvah by the Greek

versions here, and that found in other passages, harmonize. The treachery

of the chief collector of tribute lay in feigning peace, and then slaying the

people (I Maccabees 1:29). He shall also stand up against the Prince of

princes. The Greek versions, as above observed, have instead of this,

ἐπὶ ἀπωλείας ἀνδρῶν στήσεται - epi apoleias andron staesetai – and he

shall rise up and  destroy many – (best I can decipher – CY – 2014) –

 a phrase that might be a rendering of μybbr tjçl. The Massoretic text here

seems the preferable. Antiochus had certainly risen up against God, the

“Prince of princes,” or, as the Peshitta renders, “Ruler of rulers.” He shall be

broken without hand. The fact of Antiochus dying immediately after an ineffectual

attempt to rob a temple in Elymais, and dying, not from the effect of wounds

received, but from chagrin, is symbolized by this statement. The figure of a horn

pushing in this direction and in that is resumed; hence Epiphanes is said to be

broken. And that he was not overthrown in battle by any rival for the

crown is shown by the statement that it was without hands that he was so

broken. The Romans resisted his attempt to take possession of Egypt, so

he was balked in his pursuit after one object. He desired to unite his

whole multifarious empire, so that it should be homogeneous; that was

balked by the victorious revolt of the Jews under Judas Maccabaeus. If he

could have made his empire homogeneous, he might have expected to be

able to defy the Romans. The defeat of his army by Judas might easily be

remedied if he had money to pay his troops, so he attempted the plunder of

the temple in Elymais, said to be that of Artemis. The inhabitants resisted

so vehemently, that he had to retire baffled. This it was that caused his

death. Polybius hints at madness inflicted by a Divine hand.

 

 

Subtle Sin (vs. 23-25)

 

We have here a description of a terrible evil power which, in manner and

appearance, is deceptively harmless, and yet which is really most

destructive and wicked and destined to detection and overthrow.

 

CHARACTER.

 

Ø      It works under a fair show.  The king has “an insolent countenance”

and “magnifies himself in his heart.” There is a bold self-assertion and an

apparent frankness which sometimes blind men to the falsehood beneath. 

 

Ø      It works by craft, as much as by force. The king “understands dark

stratagems” and “craft prospers under his hand.” The tempter is more

successful when he appears as the subtle serpent than when he comes as a

raging lion. Transformed into an angel of light, he persuades by deceit.

(II Corinthians 11:14; I Peter 5:8)  Intellect is a more dangerous weapon

in the hands of a bad man than mere brute force.

 

Ø      It turns peaceful prosperity into a means of harm. Warfare and

persecution are less dangerous than the insidious temptations of luxurious

vices and flattering indolence.

 

AND DESTINY ARE NOT CHANGED.

 

Ø      It is still destructive. This crafty and peace-loving king is really as

destructive as the old warlike monarch. Sin is not the less fated

because it wears a fair mask.

 

Ø      It is still only the abuse of Divine gifts. The king is mighty,

but not by his own power.” All sin is only possible by the abuse of

talents lent us by God. The boldness of self-assertion is no proof of

independence and liberty to pursue our own course.

 

Ø       It is still defiance of the will of God. “He shall stand up against the

Prince of princes.” We may rebel against God with a smile as much as

with a frown. Guilt is not measured by manners, but by motives.

Crafty treachery is not less guilty than open rebellion.

 

Ø      It is still destined to judgment and overthrow. We may deceive men;

we cannot deceive God (Romans 2:16). God also “understands the dark

stratagems” of subtle wickedness. They will be detected and defeated.

The punishment of sins of subtlety and craft is as certain as that of sins

of open and confessed guilt.

 

 

The Scourge of Israel (vs. 9-12, 23-25)

 

“He shall stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken

without hand” (v. 25). As in the previous homily, we give a mere

directive outline, for the help of those who may care to make the antichrist

of the later Hebrew time the subject of treatment. The sketch given by the

prophet undoubtedly applies to Antiochus Epiphanes. The only question

has been raised by those who wish to throw discredit on the supernatural in

prophecy, and who, struck by the marvelous minuteness of Daniel’s

description, have tried to show that it must have been written after the

event, and therefore not by Daniel at all. Observe:

 

  1. The general description.  Out of one of the four kingdoms into which

Alexander’s empire was divided and came forth a new kingdom — at least a

new king, with special characteristics, and with special antagonistic

relations to the kingdom of God.

 

      B,  The notes of time — very remarkable. The date of the rise of Antiochus

is given. “In the latter time” of the dominion of the four kingdoms “a king

of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”

These kingdoms were gradually absorbed into the Roman empire, but may

be considered to have commenced with the defeat of Perseus at the battle

of Pydna, B.C. 168. Another note: “When the transgressions are come to

the full.” We understand that to be said of the state of things in Judaea.

There affairs were in a frightful state. We can imagine the condition when

men fought for the high priesthood, and obtained it often by bribery or

murder. The sacred writers often speak of iniquity as being full — of the

cup of iniquity as being full — as if there was a certain limit or capacity

beyond which it could not be allowed to go Genesis 13:13-16).  When that

arrives, God interferes, and cuts off the guilty by some heavy judgment.

Such a state of things existed at Jerusalem, when Antiochus ascended

the throne of Syria.

 

 

Ø      Shameless audacity. “Of fierce countenance;” i.e. “hardy of

countenance” (v. 23). Destitute of shame. Most conquerors respected

the religion of the conquered; this man forced on the Jews his own.

 

Ø      Deceitful subtlety. Master of deceitful wiles. Understanding dark

sentences” (v. 23).

 

Ø      Power. But such advantage as he gained against Israel was “not by his

own power.” By whose?  By God’s! In what sense? The eternal law of

righteousness made him its instrument, as against the iniquity of Israel.

 

Ø      Practical genius. “He shall practice” (v. 24); i.e. “he shall do;” i.e. the

man was to be no mere dreamer. What he professed he would perform.

 

Ø      Destructiveness. (v. 24.) The activity should be malicious.

 

 

Ø      He practiced deceit. (v. 25.) “And though… by peace shall destroy

many.” He would destroy a people resting in an unreal security.

 

Ø      He disliked the ecclesiastical rulers in Israel. (v. 10.) Read, The horn

“waxed great against the host,” etc.

 

Ø      He acted so that the whole Hebrew commonwealth was at his mercy.

(v. 12.) Read, “A host was given [him] with the daily sacrifice, by

reason of transgression.”

 

Ø      He abolished the daily sacrifice. (v. 11.) Read, “And by him was

taken away the perpetual, and was cast down the place of his

sanctuary.”No doubt the daily sacrifice is principally intended,

but there is given to it grandeur by designating it “the perpetual,” i.e.

the everlasting changeless element in the Hebrew ritual. The undying

testimony to the atonement of the Lord (Exodus 29:35-44; Leviticus 6:13).

Against the Redeemer’s own memorial did Antiochus lift up his hand.

That struck down, the sanctuary was desolate. (See terrible description,

I Maccabees 1.  Note the heroic fidelity of some, vs. 63-64.)

 

Ø      He struck at the truth. (v. 12.)

 

Ø      He sets himself against God. “He magnified himself against the

Prince of the hosts;” “He stood up against the Prince of princes”

(vs. 11, 25).

 

Ø      He attained to a certain sort and measure of prosperity. (v. 9.) The

reference is to Egypt, to what remained of Persia, and to Judaea.

 

hand.  How terrible the fulfillment! He fell by an invisible blow

from THE KING OF KINGS!   He died of grief and remorse at

Babylon!  (II Macabbees 9)

26 “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told

is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.” The

rendering of the Septuagint here is, “The vision of the evening and morning was

found true, and the vision has been secured for many days.” rm}a,n, rv"a}

(asher neemar) has been read l[ axmn, although it is difficult to see the

genesis of such a reading from the Massoretic , or vice versa. The Septuagint

rendering of μts ought to be observed — not “shut up,” in the sense of

being “sealed,” but “defended from interference by being secured as with a

hedge.” Theodotion and the Peshitta agree with the Massoretic text, but

have μtj, construct of μts. The vision of the evening and the morning

refers to v. 14. The phrase used here differs by the insertion of the

definite article: but this merely intimates a reference. This statement does

not mean that the period indicated by the two thousand three hundred

evenings and mornings would end with the death of Antiochus. Certainly,

his death occurred in the year following the cleansing of the temple

(IMaccabees 6:16). If the writer reckons the beginning of the year according to

the Macedonian Calendar, almost a year must have elapsed between the

temple-cleansing and the death of Antiochus; but it is the cleansing that is

the terminus ad quem, not the death of Antiochus. The pollution of the

temple was the event that, of all others, would be trying to the faith and

patience of Jewish believers; therefore attention is directed to this. As the

beginning of this season of trial is the point to which the whole history of

the Greek Empire travels, so the termination of this desecration is the end

contemplated. Shut thou up the vision. Certainly the verb satham means

sometimes “to hide;” and it is also certain that it is a characteristic of

apocalyptic literature to contain, in the text, elaborate directions for hiding

the vision; e.g. the Apocalypse of Moses. It has been argued that this is a

preparation for the publication of Daniel in the age of the Maccabees, so

long after the date at which it purports to be written. But there is no

description of how the book is to be hidden, as in the Assumption of

Moses. Moreover, the translators of the Septuagint did not understand satham

as “hide.” If it had been hidden, and had been discovered, he would have

known and translated accordingly. Then when we turn to the next verse,

we find that Daniel himself did not understand the command as meaning

that he was to keep the vision secret from his contemporaries; so far from

that being the case, one of his reasons for distress is that no one

understood the vision. The vision shall be far many days. That is to say,

that a long interval divided the time when the revelation was made from the

time of its fulfillment (Ezekiel 12:27); the vision he sees is for many

days to come. Before the beginning of the history revealed to Daniel,

certainly not many years intervened; but between the days of Belshazzar

and those of Antiochus was an interval of approximately four centuries.

The Persian Empire rose and fell, and the Macedonian Empire rose and

was approaching its fall. At the end of the period, the light of the vision fell

most clearly. It was not necessary that Daniel should know the events

portrayed to foretell them truly, any more than it was needful that the

Isaiah should know the exact historical events portrayed so clearly

in his fifty-third chapter. Daniel could not fail to know of Persia, and it

even did not require more than a knowledge of the past, and ordinary

powers of political forecast, to see that Cyrus might, and probably would,

found a world-empire. He knew of the Greeks: there were Greeks in the

army of Nebuchadnezzar. Moreover, we learn from Herodotus (1:77) that

Nabu-nahid Labynetus had made an alliance with Croesus, in order to

check the advance of Cyrus. We know from Herodotus (1:26, 27) that

Croesus subdued all the Greek cities in Asia Minor. To Daniel, who

possibly had favored this alliance with the Western monarch, the King of

Javan would mean, not Alexander the Great, as it means to us, but

Croesus. But his hopes that Babylon will be delivered by the help of

Croesus are shown to be groundless, by the intimation that it will be “for

many days.” The intimation that he had made to Belshazzar, of the

interpretation of the inscription on the palace wall, did not necessarily, in

his mind, militate against the hope that repentance might lead to respite.

Daniel may have made use of political expedients to help in the result he

wished.

 

 

Prophecy’s Sure Fulfillments (vs. 23-24, 26)

 

“Unto evenings and mornings, two thousand and three hundred; The vision

of the evening and the morning which was told is true” (vs. 14, 26). Two

thousand three hundred days, that is, six years and a hundred and ten days.

Whence reckoned? To what time? The cleansing of the sanctuary took

place under Judas Maccabaeus, December 25, B.C. 165. Reckoning back

two thousand three hundred days, we come to August 1, B.C. 171. Up to

this latter date the relations between Antiochus and the Jewish people had

been peaceful; then began a series of aggressions, which ended only with

his death. (For account of the new dedication of the temple, see I Maccabees

4:36-61.) We suggest a homily on The certainty of the fulfillment of the

Divine Word.

 

sanctuary.”

 

SECOND CAUSES. The number, force, combination, duration of their

action.

 

necessarily revealed to us; though the exact number of the days was so in

this case.

 

 

 

Ø      Belief in the word.

Ø      Confidence in the Word-giver.

Ø      Obedience, active and passive.

Ø      The entertainment of a great hope.

 

Let the sunshine of the assured future light the present.

27 “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward

I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the

vision, but none understood it.” The Septuagint omits “fainted,” but

otherwise agrees with the above. Theodotion evidently has had the

Massoretic text before him; but he has not understood, and has slavishly

rendered it word for word. The Peshitta represents also a text practically

identical with that of the Massoretes. Jerome also agrees with the received

text; he renders the last clause, non erat qui interpretaretur. That Daniel

should faint, and remain sick for days — “many days,” says the Septuagint — is

quite in accordance with what we might imagine to be the natural effect of

interaction  with the spiritual world. The mental strain and the intense

excitement incident upon such an occurrence would necessarily produce a

reaction. Afterward I rose up, and did the kings business. We have no

distinct evidence of what the business was that took Daniel to Susa, if he

was there in reality, and not merely in vision; but we may surmise that it

was about the advance of Cyrus.  Elam and Media were both embraced in

the dominion of Cyrus very early. Cyrus had overthrown the Umman-

Manda, and delivered Babylon. At that time there seems to have been

somewhat of a rapprochement between Nabu-nahid and Cyrus; but at the

time before us, Cyrus must have begun to realize his destiny, and possibly

would not be easy to treat with. Daniel may have been plenipotentiary of

Babylon at the court of Cyrus, endeavoring to secure a treaty. At the

same time, aware that Croesus, the rival of Cyrus, might be called in, he

continues the negotiation. I was astonished at the vision, but none

understood it. The idea of the word translated “astonished” is “benumbed;”

it may be exegetic of the first clause, explaining the cause of the fainting

and subsequent sickness. It is clear that Daniel did not regard the command

“to guard μts (satham) the vision” as implying that he should keep it

secret. We see, as we said above, that his complaint is that no one

understood the vision. “And I was no understander thereof.”

 

These grand disclosures of things heavenly, of things future, of things Divine, to our

souls; the high enjoyments of religion;  should only disposed us to be more faithful

in meeting present obligations. There is no proper separation between

deepest spirituality and the faithful plodding on the path of duty, which so

much becomes us. “He who has been favored with the clearest views of

Divine things will be none the less prepared to discharge with faithfulness

the duties of this life. He who is permitted and enabled to look into the

future will be none the less likely to be diligent, faithful, laborious in

meeting the responsibilities of the present moment. If a man could see all

that there is in heaven, it would only serve to inspire him with a deeper

conviction of his obligations in every relation. If he could see all that there

is to come in the vast eternity before him, it would only inspire him with a

profounder sense of the consequences which may follow from the

discharge of the present duty.”

 

 

The Place of Angelic Ministration (vs. 13-27)

 

Angels appear upon Daniel’s visionary scene, and indicate the manifold

services they discharge for men. In all probability they have individual and

special qualifications for different kinds of service. The utmost variety of

gift is consistent with wisdom, happiness, and purity.

 

saints,” i.e. “holy ones.” Our Lord distinctly styles them by this epithet,

the holy angels.” They are capable of sin; have been exposed to

temptation; and yet have preserved their original purity. This is their high

distinction, their crown of excellence. So far they are models for our

imitation.

 

thinking and planning about themselves. The very reverse. Their chief

concern is the honor and majesty of Godabout the well-being of man.

They are represented as inquiring of each other respecting the cessation of

symbolic sacrifice, the desolations of God’s temple, and the unhappy

prospects of mankind. Into the great problems of atonement and

redemption “the angels desire to look.” (I Peter 1:12)  So absorbed are

their minds in these momentous themes, that all time appears to them but as a

season of atonement. “Days” are described as “evening-morning.” They are

the subjects of hope, even as are men; and they encourage the faith of the

godly by announcing the brevity of the disaster. It stirs their joy to

anticipate the termination of the transient eclipse, and to see beforehand

THE BRIGHTNESS OF MESSIAH’S REIGN!

 

Lord of angels, as well as Lord of saints. Without doubt this was a pre-

incarnate visit of Christ to our earth. Daniel was staggered by the vision,

and stood in an attitude of reverent inquiry. He was knocking at the gate of

truth, and lo! INCARNATE TRUTH HIMSELF stood before him. To his

rapt vision there was “the appearance of a man.” His organ of hearing

caught the sounds of a human voice. Yet this voice was not addressed

directly to Daniel.   Gabriel was summoned to intervene as mediator and  

instructor.  Immediately Gabriel undertakes the office and proceeds to

instruct the trembling prophet. The obedience of angels is prompt, hearty,

and complete.

 

They are said in the Book of Psalms to “Bless the Lord, ye His angels,

that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto

the voice of His word.  Bless ye the Lord, all ye His hosts, ye ministers of

His, that do his pleasure.  (Psalm 103:20-21) We know that

they excel in purity; here we learn that they excel also in wisdom and

knowledge. Without doubt, they have clearer and larger vision of THE

KINGDOM OF GOD AS IT EXTENDS THROUGH THE UNIVERSE!

 As man possesses, through God’s goodness, a gift of memory; so it is

possible that the unfallen angels are endowed with a measure of fore-

knowledge.  In this case Gabriel certainly knew the precise import of the

vision, and knew the order of events which were about to occur in the

Eastern empires. Such prescience may be an assistance to their loyal

service; it would be mainly a hindrance in the discharge of human duty.

But the case of Daniel was exceptional. So much of humility and patient

trust had he THE HE WOULD NOT RUN COUNTER TO THE

REVEALED WILL OF GOD!  This was a manifest reward of his piety,

and was a banquet of peace for his soul. A large accession was made to

his knowledge through the friendly interest of Gabriel.

 

THE WILL OF GOD. Having certified to the veracity of the vision and to

the certainty of approaching events, Gabriel enjoins Daniel to fulfill his part,

viz. to seal up the vision. For the present it must be concealed from the

common eye, and be carefully preserved for the FUTURE

CONFIRMATION OF HUMAN FAITH!  To many men there would be

a subtle temptation to publish abroad what they knew touching the march of

events. This would serve  to swell their self-importance. But Daniel was a

wiser man. Fully to obey his God was his first principle in creed and life.

To disclose these things prematurely might have injured the existing

prospects of the captive Hebrews — might, in some measure, have turned

the history of the world into another channel. To wait is at times as plain a

duty as to act.   Patiently to endure is one of the most heroic virtues the

world has seen.

 

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