8 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar, I had another dream similar to the first.
2 This time I was at Susa,[a] the capital in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River. 3 As I was looking around, I saw a ram with two long horns standing on the riverbank; and as I watched, one of these horns began to grow, so that it was longer than the other. 4 The ram butted everything out of its way, and no one could stand against it or help its victims. It did as it pleased and became very great.
5 While I was wondering what this could mean, suddenly a buck goat appeared from the west so swiftly that it didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes, 6 rushed furiously at the two-horned ram. 7 And the closer he came, the angrier he was. He charged into the ram and broke off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the buck goat knocked him down and trampled him, for there was no one to rescue him.
8 The victor became both proud and powerful, but suddenly, at the height of his power, his horn was broken, and in its place grew four good-sized horns[b] pointing in four directions. 9 One of these, growing slowly at first, soon became very strong and attacked the south and east, and warred against the land of Israel.[c] 10 He fought against the people of God and defeated some of their leaders.[d] 11 He even challenged the Commander[e] of the army of heaven by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by defiling his Temple. 12 But the army of heaven was restrained from destroying him for this transgression. As a result, truth and righteousness perished, and evil triumphed and prospered.[f]
13 Then I heard two of the holy angels talking to each other. One of them said, “How long will it be until the daily sacrifice is restored again? How long until the destruction of the Temple is avenged and God’s people triumph?”
14 The other replied, “Twenty-three hundred days[g] must first go by.”
15 As I was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, suddenly a man was standing in front of me—or at least he looked like a man— 16 and I heard a man’s voice calling from across the river, “Gabriel, tell Daniel the meaning of his dream.”
17 So Gabriel started toward me. But as he approached, I was too frightened to stand and fell down with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision will not take place until the end times come.”
18 Then I fainted, lying face downward on the ground. But he roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet. 19 “I am here,” he said, “to tell you what is going to happen in the last days of the coming time of terror—for what you have seen pertains to that final event in history.
20 “The two horns of the ram you saw are the kings of Media and Persia; 21 the shaggy-haired goat is the nation of Greece, and its long horn represents the first great king of that country. 22 When you saw the horn break off and four smaller horns replace it, this meant that the Grecian Empire will break into four sections with four kings, none of them as great as the first.
23 “Toward the end of their kingdoms, when they have become morally rotten, an angry king shall rise to power with great shrewdness and intelligence.[h] 24 His power shall be mighty, but it will be satanic strength and not his own.[i] Prospering wherever he turns, he will destroy all who oppose him, though their armies be mighty, and he will devastate God’s people.
25 “He will be a master of deception, defeating many by catching them off guard as they bask in false security. Without warning he will destroy them. So great will he fancy himself to be that he will even take on the Prince of Princes in battle; but in so doing he will seal his own doom, for he shall be broken by the hand of God, though no human means could overpower him.
26 “And then in your vision you heard about the twenty-three hundred days to pass before the rights of worship are restored. This number is literal, and means just that.[j] But none of these things will happen for a long time, so don’t tell anyone about them yet.”
27 Then I grew faint and was sick for several days. Afterward I was up and around again and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly distressed by the dream and did not understand it.
- Daniel 8:2 Susa, one of several capitals of the empire at this time.
- Daniel 8:8 in its place grew four good-sized horns. The four principal successors of Alexander the Great were Ptolemy I of Egypt, Seleucus of Babylonia, Antigonus of Syria and Asia Minor, and Antipater of Macedonia and Greece.
- Daniel 8:9 the land of Israel, literally, “the glorious land.” Israel was attacked by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, with a further fulfillment of this prophecy indicated for the future; see vv. 17, 19, 23.
- Daniel 8:10 the people of God and . . . some of their leaders, literally, “host of heaven . . . the starry host”; see 8:24.
- Daniel 8:11 the Commander, compare Joshua 5:13-15.
- Daniel 8:12 truth and righteousness perished, and evil triumphed and prospered, or “and great indignities were perpetrated against the Temple ceremonies, so truth and righteousness perished.” The Hebrew text is obscure.
- Daniel 8:14 Twenty-three hundred days, literally, “Twenty-three hundred mornings and evenings.”
- Daniel 8:23 with great shrewdness and intelligence, literally, “who understands riddles”; an alternate rendering might read, “skilled in intrigues.” Probably a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes and further future fulfillment by the Antichrist at the end of human history.
- Daniel 8:24 but it will be satanic strength and not his own, implied; literally, “but not with his power.”
- Daniel 8:26 This number is literal, and means just that, literally, “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true.” Verse 14 is the basis for the meaning expressed in the paraphrase.