The Ram and the Goat
In this vision of a Ram and a Goat, Daniel prophesies the coming of Alexander the Great, and the division of his Kingdom into four kingdoms.
1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, even to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first.
after that one that appeared to me the first time – Daniel is referring to the vision of Chapter 7. The little horn which came out of the “four Spirits of heaven” in Dan 7:2, is going to be explained a bit more here in Chapter 8.
2 I saw in the vision; now it was so, that when I saw, I was in Shushan the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision, and I was by the river Ulai.
in Shushan, the citadel – the same place of Nehemiah, in Nehemiah 1:1.
3 Then I lifted up my 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.
a ram with two horns – explained as the kings of Media and Persia (Dan 8:20). The kings who conquered Babylon in Dan 5:30-31.
one higher than the other – King Cyrus the Persian, was the higher horn.
the higher one came up last – it appears that Darius the Mede, originally had more influence but Cyrus eventually took over.
4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; and no animals could stand before him, neither was there any who could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and magnified himself.
the ram pushing northward, westward and southward – the Greek Septuagint includes all four directions. The conquest of the Persians to the west was Babylon, Syria, Asia, and part of Greece; to the north was Iberia, Albania, Armenia, Scythia, Colchis, and the Caspian sea; to the south was Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and India. Cyrus himself came from the East direction.
This movement from one direction towards the other three is repeated in verse 9.
5 As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west over the surface of the whole earth, and didn’t touch the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
a male goat – explained as the kingdom of Greece in Dan 8:21.
a notable horn – the first King, Alexander the Great, as explained in Dan 8:21.
6 He came to the ram that had the two horns, which I saw standing before the river, and ran on him in the fury of his power. 7 I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with anger against him, and struck the ram, and broke his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him; but he cast him down to the ground, and trampled on him; and there was none who could deliver the ram out of his hand.
no power in the Ram to withstand him – he conquered the Persian Empire in 5 years with little resistance.
8 The male goat magnified himself exceedingly: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and instead of it there came up four notable [horns] toward the four winds of the sky.
the large horn was broken – Alexander the Great died unexpectedly.
in place of it, four notable ones – described in Dan 8:22 as “four kingdoms…but not with its power.”
In Dan 7:6, we saw Alexander’s Kingdom was divided to his four generals: Macedonia under Antipater; Egypt under Ptolemy; Syria under Seleucus; and Asia under Antigonus.
came up toward the four winds of heaven – see also Dan 11:4: meaning four directions, and also up to the Spiritual world, see Zechariah 6:5-8. As we mentioned, wind and spirit are the same Hebrew word, and used metaphorically to demonstrate the interaction with the Spiritual world.
In Dan 11:21-30, Antiochus of the Seleucus line of kings (in yellow below), makes a covenant with Satan, see Daniel 11:23, and is moved against the holy Covenant, see Daniel 11:28. This is the interaction with the spiritual world.
Dan 11:31 goes on to say that, after Antiochus, Satan will then work through the Romans, “the people of the Ruler to come” (Daniel 9:26), who shall “destroy the City and the Sanctuary.” And “bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”