Daniel 8:25 MEANING

Daniel 8:25
(25) Through his policy.--This is explained more fully in the next two sentences. Through his craft he succeeds, and becomes able to destroy many unexpectedly, and finally raises up himself against God.

Without hand.--Not by the hand of man (comp. Daniel 2:34), but by the act of God.

Verse 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 LXX. renders, "And against the saints shall his purpose be" - evidently reading, as suggested by Gratz, v'al 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 עֹל (ol), "yoke," instead of עַל ('al), "upon," and probably סִבְלו (sib'lo), "his burden," instead of שִׂכְלו (sik'lo), "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 k'baytzeem b'yad yishbar instead of be'eseph 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 (1 Macc. 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 (1 Macc. 1:42) being to unify all the various peoples that were under his sceptre, 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. Schleusner suggests that the word was derived from another root. There dues not seem such a root in Levy. 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 (1 Macc. 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 - a phrase that might be a rendering of לשחת רבבים. 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 baulked in his pursuit after one object. He desired to unite his whole multifarious empire, so that it should be homogeneous; that was baulked 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.

8:15-27 The eternal Son of God stood before the prophet in the appearance of a man, and directed the angel Gabriel to explain the vision. Daniel's fainting and astonishment at the prospect of evils he saw coming on his people and the church, confirm the opinion that long-continued calamities were foretold. The vision being ended, a charge was given to Daniel to keep it private for the present. He kept it to himself, and went on to do the duty of his place. As long as we live in this world we must have something to do in it; and even those whom God has most honoured, must not think themselves above their business. Nor must the pleasure of communion with God take us from the duties of our callings, but we must in them abide with God. All who are intrusted with public business must discharge their trust uprightly; and, amidst all doubts and discouragements, they may, if true believers, look forward to a happy issue. Thus should we endeavour to compose our minds for attending to the duties to which each is appointed, in the church and in the world.And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand,.... His schemes were laid in such deep policy, and he managed so artfully and craftily in the execution of them, that he commonly succeeded; as in getting the kingdom of Syria from his nephew; and, under a pretence of peace and friendship, and to defend Philometer king of Egypt, a minor, and by large promises to the nobles of the land, made himself master of it; and by deceitful methods he prevailed in Judea; see Daniel 11:21,

and he shall magnify himself in his heart; swell with pride, on account of success, through his policy, craft, and cunning, and think himself above all mortals, and equal to God himself; yea, as his antitype antichrist, exalt himself above all that is called God; fancy that he could command the seas, weigh the mountains in scales, and reach heaven itself, in the Apocrypha:

"And thus he that a little afore thought he might command the waves of the sea, (so proud was he beyond the condition of man) and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground, and carried in an horselitter, shewing forth unto all the manifest power of God.'' (2 Maccabees 9:8)

and by peace shall destroy many; under a pretence of peace enter into countries and destroy the inhabitants of them, as in Egypt and Judea; or, by leagues and treaties of peace, outwitting those he made peace with; so some political princes do themselves more service, and their enemies more hurt, by treaties than by battles: or "in peace" (w); when at peace with them, or while they are in peace and tranquillity; coming upon them unexpectedly at an unawares, when they did not so much as dream of war:

he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; not the high priest, as Grotius; nor Michael, as Aben Ezra; but God himself, as Saadiah and Jacchiades; who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, the only Pontentate, to whom all the princes above and below are subject; him Antiochus stood up against, when he profaned his temple at Jerusalem, forbid his worship, persecuted and destroyed his people, and set up the image of Jupiter in his house:

but he shall be broken without hand; alluding to his being a horn; it is expressive of his death, and the manner of it; that he should not die by the hand of an enemy in battle, nor be assassinated by the hand of a ruffian, but be cut off by the immediate hand of God. Jacchiades says, that by the providence of God he fell ill of a bad disease, and at the cry of one of his elephants his chariot was overturned, and he fell on the ground, and his bones were broken. Of his death, and the manner of it, in the Apocrypha:

"Now when the king heard these words, he was astonished and sore moved: whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for.'' (1 Maccabees 6:8)

"But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: or as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts;'' (2 Maccabees 9:5)

"So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army.'' (2 Maccabees 9:9)

which was much like that of Herod's, Acts 12:23, being stricken with a violent disorder in his bowels: his body covered with worms; his flesh flaked off, and emitted such a stench, as was intolerable to his army. Aben Ezra says, he fell from the roof of a house, and was broken, and died.

(w) "in pace", Calvin, Vatablus; "in tranquillitate", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.

Courtesy of Open Bible