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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 8

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1 a 8:1 Here the Hebrew text resumes (see note at 2:4). In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, following my earlier vision. 2In this vision I was in Susa, the capital of the province of Elam, watching beside the Ulai canal. 3I looked up and saw a ram with two horns standing by the canal. The two horns were long, with the longer of the two coming up after the other. 4I watched the ram butting towards the west, the north, and the south. No beast could stand against it, and from its power there was no escape. It did as it pleased, and made a great display of strength.

5While I pondered this, suddenly a he-goat came from the west skimming over the whole earth without touching the ground; it had a prominent horn between its eyes. 6It approached the two-horned ram which I had seen standing by the canal, and charged it with impetuous force. 7I saw it advance on the ram, working itself into a fury against it. Then it struck the ram and shattered both its horns; the ram was powerless to resist. The he-goat threw it to the ground and stamped on it, and there was no one to rescue the ram.

8The he-goat in turn made a great display of its strength, but when it was at the height of its power its great horn broke, and in place of this there came up four prominent horns pointing towards the four quarters of heaven. 9Out of one of them there emerged a little horn, which as it grew put forth its strength towards the south and the east and towards the fairest of all lands. 10It aspired to be as great as the host of heaven, and it flung down to the earth some of the host, even some of the stars, and stamped on them. 11It aspired to be as great as the Prince of the host, suppressed his regular offering, and even threw down his sanctuary. 12The heavenly host was delivered up, and the little horn raised itself b 8:12 and the … itself: prob. rdg; Heb. omits. impiously against the regular offering and cast true religion to the ground; it succeeded in all that it did.

13I heard a holy one speaking and another holy one answering. The one speaker said, ‘How long will the period of this vision last? How long will the regular offering be suppressed c 8:13 be suppressed: so Gk; Heb. omits. and impiety cause desolation d and impiety cause desolation: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure. ? How long will the Holy Place and the fairest of all lands e fairest … lands: prob. rdg, cp. verse 9; Heb. host. be given over to be trodden down?’ 14The answer came, ‘For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the Holy Place will be restored.’

15All the while that I, Daniel, was seeing the vision, I was trying to understand it. Suddenly I saw standing before me one with the appearance of a man; 16at the same time I heard a human voice calling to him across the bend of the Ulai, ‘Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.’ 17He came to where I was standing; and at his approach I prostrated myself in terror. But he said to me, ‘Understand, O man: the vision points to the time of the end.’ 18While he spoke to me, I lay face downwards in a trance, but at his touch I was made to stand up where I was. 19‘I shall make known to you’, he said, ‘what is to happen at the end of the period of wrath; for there is an end at the appointed time. 20The two-horned ram which you saw signifies the kings of Media and Persia, 21the he-goat is the king of Greece f 8:21 Greece: Heb. Javan. , the great horn on its forehead being its first king. 22As for the horn which was broken off and replaced by four other horns: four kingdoms will rise out of that nation, but they will lack its power.

23‘In the last days of those kingdoms, when their sin is at its height, a king of grim aspect will appear, a master of stratagem. 24His power will be great g 8:24 His power … great: so Gk (Theod.); Heb. adds and not with his power. , and he will work havoc untold; he will succeed in whatever he does. He will work havoc on the mighty nations and the holy people. 25By cunning and deceit he will succeed in his designs; he will devise great schemes and wreak havoc on many when they least expect it. He will challenge even the Prince of princes and be broken, but by no human hand. 26This revelation which has been given of the evenings and the mornings is true; but you must keep the vision secret, for it points to days far ahead.’

27As for me, Daniel, my strength failed and I lay sick for some days. Then I rose and attended to the king's business. But I was perplexed by the revelation and no one could explain it.

Notes:

a 8:1 Here the Hebrew text resumes (see note at 2:4).

b 8:12 and the … itself: prob. rdg; Heb. omits.

c 8:13 be suppressed: so Gk; Heb. omits.

d and impiety cause desolation: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure.

e fairest … lands: prob. rdg, cp. verse 9; Heb. host.

f 8:21 Greece: Heb. Javan.

g 8:24 His power … great: so Gk (Theod.); Heb. adds and not with his power.

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