Daniel 8:1-8

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. 

Dan 8:1
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. 

Dan 8:2
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. 

Dan 8:3
 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. 

Dan 8:4
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. 

Dan 8:5
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. 

Dan 8:6-7
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. 

Dan 8:8
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 11:4-30, we will see that Satan, through Antiochus, of the Seleucus line of kings (in yellow below) shall be moved against the holy covenant. This is the meaning of the interaction of these four kingdoms 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.”