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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



DANIEL 8

 

CHAPTER VIII

 

Ver. 1.  Beginning.  This vision was to explain what he had seen C. vii. respecting the four monarchies.  The conflict of the Persians with Alexander, after two hundred years and twenty years, is here described.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Castle; some read "city."  Here the kings had a palace; and Hystaspes, &c. generally resided in it.  Nabuchodonosor seems to have subdued Elam.  Cyrus had it for his share; but Darius, the Mede, appears from Eschylus to have plundered Susa again.  Daniel probably spent the latter part of his life in this city.  C. --- Gate, or "stagnant water;" (paludem.  v. 3.  H.) though most understand the river Euleus, on the side of Susiana.  The prophets often sought retired places.  C. x. 4.  Ezec. i. l.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  A ram.  The empire of the Medes and Persians.  Ch.  W. --- Cyrus, the founder, was allied to both. --- Higher, denoting the Persians; or Hystaspes, and his posterity, the second branch of the royal family, which reigned to the end: whereas Cambyses was the only one of the race of Cyrus who succeeded to the throne.  Others think that he alludes to Codomannus, whom Alexander certainly attacked. --- Afterward is not in Heb.  S. Jerom supposed that another ram was designated, but it is the same.

 

Ver. 4.  South.  Codomannus reigned in peace for two years, when he was invaded.  But his predecessors had made war chiefly in Greece, Scythia, and Egypt.  The stupendous preparations of Xerxes against Greece only accelerated the fall of his own kingdom, by irritating the two nations.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  A he-goat.  The empire of the Greeks, or Macedonians. --- He touched not the ground.  He conquered all before him with so much rapidity, that he seemed rather to fly than to walk upon the earth. --- A notable horn.  Alexander the great.  Ch. --- He succeeded his father when only twenty years old, and the next year was chosen generalissimo of the Greeks against Persia, which he invaded at the head of 30,000 foot and 4,000 horses, having only seventy talents of silver and provisions for one month.  With this he attacked the most flourishing empire, and conquered it in less than four years' time, when Darius was slain.  A. 3674.  Alexander survived only six years and ten months, yet subdued so many nations that it is almost incredible that he should have travelled over them.  He is the belly of brass and the leopard, C. ii. 39. and vii. 6.  C. --- He died in the midst of his prosperity, (H.) when not quite thirty-three years old, (W.) and left no heirs to succeed him.  This conqueror would be painted with two horns, to intimate that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Hand.  He routed all the forces of his enemy (H.) at the Granicus, at Issus; and at Gaugamela, (C.) or Arbela, Darius escaped, but was slain by his own servants.  H. --- The clemency of the conqueror towards the fallen royal family is not here specified.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Broken, by death.  Usher, A. 3681. --- Four.  Seleucus, Antigonus, Philip, and Ptolemeus, the successors of Alexander, who divided his empire among them.  Ch. --- Other generals held out for some time.  Philip was only a nominal king; Antipater governed Macedon and Greece.  Syria, Asia, and Egypt, formed three other kingdoms.  All four marked out by the four heads of the leopard.  C. vii. 6.  But the prophet is intent upon Syria and Egypt, which had most to do with the Jews.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  A little horn.  Antiochus Epiphanes, a descendant of Seleucus.  He grew against the south and the east, by his victories over the kings of Egypt and Armenia; and against the strength, that is, against Jerusalem and the people of God.  Ch. --- He persecuted God's people, and set up the idol of Jupiter Olympius in the very temple.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Even unto, or against the strength of heaven.  So are here called the army of the Jews, the people of God, (Ch.) and particularly the teachers.  Many priests gave way to idolatry.  1 Mac. i. 48. and 2 Mac. iv. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Strength; the God of armies, (H.) over whom Epiphanes seemed to triumph.

 

Ver. 12.  Strength.  Heb. "the army was delivered up to him, for the," &c.  While several contended for the high priesthood, and imitated the manners of the Greeks, the sacrifices were neglected, and then Antiochus prevailed.  2 Mac. iv. 7. --- Ground.  The ambitious pontiffs, as well as the king and his officers, kept not their promises.  Onias, the lawful high priest, being displaced, went to seek redress at Antioch, in the asylum at Daphne.  Andronicus prevailed on him to come out by treacherous promises, and slew him; whereupon even Epiphanes wept, and ordered the murderer to be punished.  2 Mac. iv. 32.  The following year he entered Jerusalem, and committed horrible profanations.

 

Ver. 13.  Another.  We do not inquire how the angels explained themselves, or whether they instruct each other.  This conversation was for the prophet's information.  C. --- One angel asked the other a question about futurity.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Days.  That is, six years and almost four months; which was the whole time from the beginning of the persecution of Antiochus till his death.  Ch. --- He began A. 143, and died A. 149, according to the era of Seleucus.  H. --- The temple was purified in the mean time.  1 Mac. i. 21. and vi. 16.  W. --- Full days are specified.  Sacrifice entirely ceased for three years, A. 145.  C. vii. 25.  Sym. has 2,400, others 2,200, as quoted by S. Jerom.  We know not whether the solar year of 365 days, or the lunar of 354, be meant.

 

Ver 16.  Between, in an island formed by the river.  It was the Son of God, (C.) or S. Michael, (S. Jer.) directing Gabriel to explain the vision.

 

Ver. 17.  Man.  So Ezechiel is usually styled, to shew that the human nature is different from that of angels, and would be greatly honoured by Jesus Christ, who takes this appellation.  W. --- Of the end, or determined.  This shall take place, (C.) but the period is distinct.  Grot. v. 26.

 

Ver. 19.  Malediction.  Hebrew: "wrath" against the people of God, and their enemies.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Is.  Heb. "are the kings," (H.) including all.  v. 3.

 

Ver. 22.  Nation, yet not his children.  v. 8.

 

Ver. 23.  Shameless.  Heb. "hard," cruel, and impudent, as Epiphanes was.  1 Mac. i. 2.  Marcellinus styles him "wrathful and savage." --- Sentences, making use of artifice to seize the estates of his nephew Philometor, and to oppress the Jews.  2 Mac. v. 24.  C. --- The history speaks of Antiochus: antichrist is also meant, as C. xii. and Mat. xxiv.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  By.  Heb. "not to his (Alexander's) strength."  v. 22.  Epiphanes conquered Egypt and the Jews: but the former had an infant king, and the latter were unprovided.  He shewed more cunning than prowess.

 

Ver. 25.  Prince: God. --- Hand of man.  He confessed that he was justly punished.  1 Mac. vi. 10.  Gr. "He shall raise himself by the ruin of many, (Theod. and some MSS. add, and shall rise up against the prince of princes) and he shall break them like eggs with his hand."

 

Ver. 26.  Morning of this day, or of what shall happen in certain full days.  v. 14. --- Seal.  When the predictions were to take place, soon they were dated and published.  C. --- This will remain obscure till after the event.  S. Jer. --- What regarded the temple, happened in 300 years' time.  But it alludes also to antichrist.  S. Greg. Mor. xxx. 12.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  Business, at Susa.  Nabuchodonosor had given him the province of Babylon. --- It.  All prophecies have a degree of obscurity before they be accomplished.  Heb. may intimate that none could tell the cause of his anxiety.  C.

 

 








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