Daniel 8 – a verse-by-verse commentary (verses 4 – 9)

According to Britannica, Cyrus the Great was the grandson of the King of the Medes. JIV: A large contingency of Medes trace their identities back to the Assyrian dispersion of the Northern Tribes of Israel. The same is true of the Kurds. Most of them have Abraham DNA but thy have walked away from his (their) God.

What might all this possibly mean? The Israelis dispersed to the Zagros Mountains of the Medes by the Assyrians in and after 720 B.C. are the Medes. The original kingdom of the Medes (dispersed Israelis) was established BEFORE the Persian dynasty. The larger horn that grew up later (Persia) conquered the first shorter horn (Medes).

Daniel 8:4 I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.

The ram with two horns, charged the lands to its west, north, and south. It was only stopped when invading India. Media, ancient country of northwestern Iran, generally corresponds to the modern regions of Azerbaijan and Kurdistan (Kurds). This was once called Persia/Media. However, from a historical perspective, this was a major reason to Alexander some 150 years later to attack Persia. We see this in the next verse even though there is a 150 gap between verses 4 and 5.

Daniel 8:5 And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

From Persia’s west, initially defined in Daniel 7:6 as a Leopard (for its great speed) is a ram with one prominent horn in Daniel 8:5. This is Alexander the Great. He is avenging the Persian attacks on Greece (city-states) from 150 years earlier. The four heads mentioned in Daniel 7:6 are the four generals that divided up Alexander’s massive empire. The notable horn in verse 5 is Alexander.

Daniel 8:6 Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power.

Alexander had no mercy upon Persia. Newton very properly observes that, two hundred years before the time of Daniel, they (Macedonian Greeks; emphasis mine) were called, the goats’ people.” (Clarke Commentary). The Aegean Sea area was home to many herds of goats. Therefore, the people around the Aegean Sea were nicknamed the Goat People. Hmmm? Who else was known for large herds of sheep and goats? The large number of sheep in the land can be understood when it is realized that Job had fourteen thousand sheep (Job. 42:12), and that King Solomon at the Temple’s dedication, sacrificed one hundred and twenty thousand sheep (1 Kings 8:63).

Daniel 8:7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him, and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.

Alexander had a very small army compared to the Persians and many of the previously destroyed armies in his pathway to Persia. We should remember Psalms 33:16No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. The two horns are once again, the combined strength of the Mede & Persia Empires. Two empires melded into one. The Ram with one horn destroyed both the Media and Persian Empire.

Daniel 8:8 Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.

the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones…Seven generals of Alexander’s Greek army initially partitioned their conquered empire lands to call their own. Four Generals dominated the others and annexed the lands of three other generals. The four conquering Generals were: Cassander, ruling over Greece and its region’; Lysimachus, ruling over Asia Minor; Seleucus, ruling over Syria and Israel’s land; Ptolemy, ruling over Egypt. Now we begin to get a preview of End Time events and week 70 of Daniel’s seventy 7’s vision/dream.

This is particularly so when considering the history of the Seleucus’ rule over Syria and Israel plus their appetite for conquering additional people and lands. Add to this mix, one will soon see their hate for Jews and Judaism. Later we will identify the historical fulfillment of this little horn that grew up amongst the other four horns pictured in Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled over Syria and Israel’s land under the Seleucid dynasty. This verse also begins the parallel prophetic actions of the End of Time (Tribulation). No longer will it be Antiochus Epiphany IV but antichrist.

Daniel 8:9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.

JIV NOTE: Notice the pronouns in this chapter. No icon is given a proper identity and name. A few weeks back we published a series of commentaries on Daniel 11. We compared the prophetic history of these unnamed characters alongside the secular history of Middle East books. We identified every single pronoun with a noun. Verse 10 of Daniel 8 begins the parallel of the antichrist during the time of the Tribulation.

Hmmm? And out of one of them… One of the prevailing four generals who divided the Alexandrian Empire between them, out of ONE OF THEM came a little horn which grew. Jamison-Fausset-Brown Commentary:

“…not to be confounded with the little horn of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7:8. The little horn in Daniel 7:8 comes as an eleventh horn after ten preceding horns. In Daniel 8:9 it is not an independent fifth horn, after the four previous ones, but it arises out of one of the four existing horns. This horn is explained (Daniel 8:23) to be “a king of fierce countenance,”

However, this incident is comparable to the End Time antichrist. The Antichrist will arise out of a power that exists in End Time. This parallel prophecy of the End Time (Daniel’s 70th week vision) was exhibited during the time of Antiochus Epiphany IV.  What he did would be like Antichrist’s action during the Tribulation. This is a forewarning to Israel at the end of times.

Rev. Dr.Jstark