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Song of Solomon
Daniel 8 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)
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In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me,
me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.
- 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.
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
, "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 (
)." The Septuagint reading seems to have been
asher r'oeh 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.
And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I
the palace, which
in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
- 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 LXX. 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
), 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
The transcription is carried so far that
, "a city," is used to translate
, "a province." Jerome renders
) is nearly a
, absolutely so if we do not admit
, to be the same word. There is, as will have been seen above, great differences among the versions. The LXX. and Jerome seem to have read
), "porch" or "gate," instead of
Ewald would make the word mean "river-basin,"
- a view supported also by Zockler. 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
, which occurs in ver. 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,
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
) is nearly as meaningless with regard to a river, unless a bridge or a boat is intended. We are inclined to read
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. B.C.era
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
it is used of Achmetha, equivalent to Ecbatana. From the fact that the LXX. translates
, it might be reasoned that the translator had
before him, but the translation probably was due to ignorance of the precise meaning of the word. In Esther this word is rendered
. In Nehemiah it is once rendered
, once it is rendered
, and once
. The derivation of the word seems to be from the
It really means "citadel" or "fortress," and thus may be compared with the Carthaginian
, 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-bani-pal 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 neighbourhood; but
, "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
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.
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had
horns: and the
high; but one
higher than the other, and the higher came up last.
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 LXX. does not differ essentially from the Massoretic Version, save in the last clause, which is rendered, "and the higher ascended (
)." As in the former verse,
is translated "gate." Certainly, as before remarked, "
a river" is an awkward combination; "
over against a
gate" is intelligible. "Eastward," which
also means, will not suit the geographical circumstances, as Shushan itself stood on the east bank of the river Eulaeus, or Shapur. If, further,
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 (
, 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
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 (lay should colour 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. It is maintained by Professor Bevan, that this figure of a ram with two horns proves that there were two successive empires - a Median and a Persian. If Mr. Bevan would use his ingenuity, and show us any way by which the actual facts of the history and constitution of the Medo-Persian Empire could be represented in a symbol that would not be liable to his misinterpretation, it would be an advantage. 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.
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.
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,
rendered, "after these things" - a change that is not defensible. It is more important to note that in the LXX. 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
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 LXX. represents the original text. It is confirmatory of this that Theodotion. in strict agreement with the text of the Massoretes, renders the first direction "seaward" (
). The Peshitta renders "westward," not by
, but by the term for "west" that became common in Exilic and post-Exilic Hebrew,
- the word that is used in the next verse. Ezekiel uses
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
means "a river," then the only meaning possible for
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 (
) 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 Hitzig propounds in all gravity an absurd view; he assumes that the ram was standing on the west bank of the river, and faced west, and argues that he did not butt eastward because he could not butt backwards. His preliminary assumption is groundless, as we have seen, and rams can change their position. The true explanation is that a direction has dropped out. While "
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
the first place would translate it "westward;" then after "northward" he would, in the third place, come upon
, which also meant "
;" so naturally he dropped the second of what seemed
him synonymous terms. If we are correct in our supposition, we have here demonstrative proof that Daniel was written by one living in Babylon Are
beasts might stand before him.
All the powers round Persia had to submit to him.
And be became great
affords proof, if proof were needed, that the vision applies to the whole of the history of Persia. There is little necessity for Moses Stuart's translation, "became haughty."
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
a notable horn between his eyes.
And as I was considering, behold, an he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched net 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."
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.
And he came to the ram that had
horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.
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.
is still translated
; 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
untranslated. The latter omits the last clause of the Massoretic. In the Hebrew the ram is called
, "lord of two horns." Alexander's war against Persia was one of simple aggression.
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.
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
, "he was embittered," is a word that occurs here and in the eleventh chapter. The root, however, as might be guessed from its meaning, is not uncommon, being found in Genesis Exodus, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Ruth, Job, and Zechariah. How Professor Bevan can class this with "words or roots which occur nowhere else in the Old Testament" it is difficult to see. If this part of the verb occurs in later Jewish literature, it is singular that neither Buxtorf nor Levy chronicles the fact. It does not occur in Western Aramaic, but does in Eastern (comp. Peshitta
2 Samuel 18:33
). 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.
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.
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
, "other." The Peshitta agrees closely with the Massoretic. The Greek versions indicate that the reading they had before them was '"
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 - Macedonia and Greece, under Cassander; Asia Minor, under Lysimachus; Syria and all the East, under Seleucus; and Cyrene, under Ptolemy. In the two first of these there were several revolutions, but finally the Antigonids established themselves in Macedon, and the Attalids in Asia Minor.
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
And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east. and toward the pleasant land
. The Greek versions here differ considerably from the Massoretic text. The LXX. is as follows: "And out of one there sprang a strong horn, and it prevailed and smote toward the south, toward the south-west (
), and toward the east, and toward the north." In this case,
is clearly a doublet - an alternative rendering that has got into the text from the margin.
results from reading
) instead of
). Theodotion renders, "From one of them went forth a strong horn, and was magnified exceedingly to the south and to the power" - reading
), "host," for
It is to be observed that both translate
as "strong" (
) instead of "little." The reason of this is that they have taken
as equivalent to
, therefore equivalent to a negative. The Peshitta agrees with the Authorized in reading
"little," but leaves out the difficult final word rendered "the pleasant land" in our Authorized Version. Jerome translates
- a combination of Theodotion and the Massoretic; he must have had
in his text instead of
, - this may have been due to the fact that
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
As to the first word, the fact that the two Greek versions have read it are conclusive against the suggestion of Gratz and Hitzig, supported by Bevan, that we should omit
). Jephet-ibn-Ali takes
as denoting the origin of the horn, "from a little one." The further suggestion of Gratz, that we should adopt the reading of the LXX., is rightly combatted by Professor Bevan. The readings alike of the LXX. and Theodotion could have sprung from the Massoretic reading, whereas neither of these could so readily be the original reading. It was necessary that Israel should be prominent in this part of the prophecy; it all leads up to the persecution the Jews endured at the hands of Epiphanes. It is necessary, then, to hold that this word, whatever reading we adopt, and whatever immediate meaning we assign to it, must refer to Palestine. Ewald renders it "ornament;" Bevan, "glory."
And it waxed great,
to the host of heaven; and it cast down
of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.
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 LXX. is very different after the first clause, "And it was exalted to the stars of heaven, and it was shattered to the earth by thestars, and by them trampled down." The verb
) translated "cast down," has been read as if it had been
). So too the last verb has evidently been read
) instead of
), due to the resemblance which there was between
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 LXX 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 rover 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 (
), to Isaac (
), 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 (
, 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 modelled 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 LXX., 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.
Yea, he magnified
even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily
was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
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
, the hiphil of
, while the former reads
, 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 LXX. originally was probably, "Till the prince shall deliver the captivity," reading
) instead of
(tzaba) - a scribe, finding
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 LXX. had also
) instead of
) - a confusion easily made in the elder script, in which
were like. We learn from the Talmud (
, 103b) that
was liable to be mistaken by scribes for
. Moreover, "captivity" would naturally suggest
The second clause is, "By him the everlasting mountains were broken down." Here
has been read with the K'thib, and vocalized as if it were
, "continual," translated as equivalent to
), "everlasting." The next clause reveals the other meaning of
, "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 LXX. It is possible that "and he prospered" is a doublet,
being read for
in some copy. The Peshitta differs from beth 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
The one thing that seems clear is that the reading of the K'thib is to be preferred. We should read
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 (
1 Samuel 12:24
), and by himself he shall offer the daily sacrifice. And he shall cast down the foundation of his holy place," reading
We should feel strongly in. clined to transfer the first "and" to
, 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
with the Peshitta instead of
, 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 Maccabseus, 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."
And an host was given
against the daily
by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
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 practised, and
The renderings of the LXX. 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
) 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
, "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
, 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
. In that ease we should render, "And transgression was upon the sacrifice" - regarding this sacrifice as the atonement for the transgression (
) - "and truth shall make peace in the land, and do and prosper."
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain
which spake, How long
, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
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
Our Authorized rendering is clearly mistaken; it ought not to be "saint," but "holy one," as in the Revised Version. The versions leave
, "a certain one," untranslated. Fust's suggestion, held also by Behrmann, is that this is a contraction for
The renderings of the versions are worthy of note. The LXX., "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 (
Here the word
, "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,
), "removed," to explain the presence of
suggestion that appears well-founded. His further suggestion, that
), "to set up," has been read instead of
), must be due to inattention to the Greek. In it there is nothing about "set up," unless he transfers
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
, instead of
. The truth is, the introduction of
is probably due to a gloss or a confluence of readings. 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
, 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
, may have been added, as
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
is suggested by the Greek Version, whereas some portion of
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
), thinking only of its ordinary meaning, "host," forgetful of the fact that it is used of the temple service in
. 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.
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
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 LXX. 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 LXX., 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
). 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
. 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 (1 Macc. 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
), 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. Behrmann takes the victory of Adasa, which Judas gained over Nicanor, as the termination of the period - a purely arbitrary date, and reckons back to the displacement of Onias, another date that, so far as can be seen, was not regarded as of importance by the Jews, however important it has become in the eye of critics.
And it came to pass, when I,
I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
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 (
)" - an angelic being in human form. The H,.brew word translated "man" is
, which suggests the name given to the angel, "Gabriel."
And I heard a man's voice between
the banks of
Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this
to understand the vision.
And I heard a man's voice between the hanks 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
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 ver 15, and renders Ulai "
Ulai" is a singular phrase. The versions do not attempt any solution. The preposition
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
, "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 the first chapter of Luke, and the second in
and Jude. The Book of Tobit added another angelic name on the same lines, Raphael. When we
to the Books of Enoch, we have moat 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."
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
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
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
, where Daniel interrogates one of the angelic bystanders. In the first place,
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,"
Professor Fuller, and also Kranichfeld, remark on the contrast between
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
means "from the utmost border," and reaches to a far-off time.
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.
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 LXX. 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 9:82). The numbing effect of the presence of the supernatural produces a state analogous to sleep, yet "the eyes are open" (
are ready to convey impressions to the mind. The angel, however, touched Daniel, and set him upright.
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
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
, 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
The missing clause would be
עַל בְּנֵי עַמֶּך
, 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 ver. 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.
The ram which thou sawest having
the kings of Media and Persia.
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
, as we find in the Massoretic text, but
The ancient construct case in Hebrew was formed by adding
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
and Jeremiah 51:11, 58, we have the same phrases used as here: this is probably the origin of the blunder. For any one to ground an argument, as does Professor Bevan, on this, and maintain that it proves the writer to have held that there were two separate empires - one of Media, and the other of Persia - is absurd. When the true reading is adopted, this passage proves the very reverse of that for which Professor Bevan contends. The reasoning of Kliefoth, that the distinction between plural and singular points to the fact that, while several kings reigned ever the Persian Empire, only one ruled over the Greek, is very ingenious, but, unfortunately, it has no foundation in fact. "King," it may be observed, stands for dynasty, only that in the crisis of history, when the two powers encountered, each was ruled and represented by one king - Persia by Darius Codomannus, and Greece by Alexander.
And the rough goat
the king of Grecia: and the great horn that
between his eyes
the first king.
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
). 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.
Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in
The LXX., if we take the reading of the Roman edition, agrees with the Masso-retie, 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 "
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,
is easily mistaken for
in uncial manuscripts. As for the Syriac, is apt to be added to 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
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.
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.
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 favour 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
by Antiochus, the progress of the unbelieving Hellenizing party had been very great, as we see by 1 Macc. 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
of countenance." This refers to courage and success in war. Thus Amaziah (
2 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
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. This last is the interpretation of Ewald. Zockler and Hitzig 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 of Keil, Behrmann, Stuart, and Bevan, 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
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
such as those with which the Queen of Sheba tested the wisdom of Solomon.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, 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 LXX. renders, "And his power shall be confirmed, and not in his strength, and he shall destroy marvellously, 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
, an adjective agreeing with "
," instead of
;" and he omits the negative clause. The Peshitta is very close to the Massoretic. It emphasizes the negative clause by adding
, and translates "
instead of "wonderfully." Jerome, more intent on expressing what is his own interpretation of the passage than on representing- the original, translates the first
, and the second by
That the power of Epiphanes was great - greater than that of his brother and immediate predecessor - is undoubted. It is also the ease 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
that of Theodoret. Keil, Fuller, Havernick. Kranichfeld. and Moses Stuart, that the reference here is to Divine power as setting up Epiphanes to be a scourge to his people;
that of von Lengerke, Kliefoth, Bevan, Behrmann, etc., not by might, but by his cunning;
that of Hitzig, which combines the two - his cunning is divinely given;
that of Calvin and Ewald, that the contrast is with the might of Alexander the Great. All of these have something to favour them, but also something against them. There is against the first that 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. Against the second is the pronominal suffix, which would be needless if the contrast were between force and fraud. Of course, Hitzig's combination falls with this. Against the view advocated by Calvin and Ewald 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, Eumencs and Rome.
And he shall destroy wonderfully.
, "destroy," suspicious, and Professor Bevan suggests
), 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,
) does not mean "
," but "meditate." We must take the words as they stand (comp.
), 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 endeavoured 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.
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." There has been discussion as to the distinction involved here. Ewald regards the mighty as the three other horns of the ten (
) - an interpretation which proceeds in the false identification of the fourth beast with the Greek Empire. Rashi imagines the star-worshippers; this seems the height of caprice. Jephet-ibn-Ali, who identifies the little horn with Mahommed, holds the "mighty" to be the Romans. Keil and Fuller hold it to be the heathen rulers generally. Von Lengerke, Kliefoth, and others maintain it refers to the rich of the holy people, while
) are the poor. Hitzig refers it to the three claimants for the crown, whom Antiochus is alleged, on somewhat insufficient evidence, to have overthrown; Behrmann and Zockler, to the political and warlike enemies of Epiphanes, in contrast to the holy people, who were unwarlike. Kranichfeld refers it to the rulers of Israel, as distinct from the people; Calvin to "neighbouring nations." Moses Stuart would render, "great numbers, even the people of the saints;" while Professor Bevan thinks there is an interpolation here, and adopts a reading of Gratz from the LXX. for the beginning of the following verse. 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 the "people of the saints."
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify
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.
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
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
), "yoke," instead of
), "upon," and probably
), "his burden," instead of
), "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
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
, which both appear to have read
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
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 "
The Greek versions both render it by
. 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,
It happens that both the meaning attached to the word
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,
ἀπωλείας ἀνδρῶν στήσεται
- a phrase that might be a rendering of
. 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
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.
And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told
true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it
for many days.
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 LXX. here is, "The vision of the evening and morning was found true, and the vision has been secured for many days."
) has been read
, although it is difficult to see the genesis of such a reading from the Massoretic , or
The LXX. rendering of
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
, construct of
The vision of the evening and the morning
refers to ver. 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 (1 Macc. 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
means sometimes "to hide;" and it is also certain that it is a characteristic of apocalyptic literature to contain, in the text, elaborate directions fur hiding the vision;
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
of Moses. Moreover, the translators of the LXX. did not understand
"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 at' 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 fulfilment (
); 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 Second 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
Minor. To Daniel, who possibly had favoured 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.
And I Daniel fainted, and was sick
days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood
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 lind 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 LXX. - is quite in accordance with what we might imagine to be the natural effect of intercourse 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 king's 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
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 on. at with. Daniel may have been plenipotentiary of Babylon at the court of Cyrus, endeavouring 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
) 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. Behrmann maintains that
), "to understand," ought to be translated "marked," "observed," but
would be the natural verb to use in such a connection, not
. Hitzig explains this by saying, "He had imparted the vision to no one." If Daniel had indulged in statements of float kind, the word before us would not have inaugurated a new form of literature. Professor Bevan's interpretation is as farfetched, "And I was no understander thereof." The example he brings forward of ver. 5 is not to the purpose, because the distinction between the first person and the third is too great. Moses Stuart has the same view.
Courtesy of Open Bible
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