Daniel 8

 

The scribe reverts to Hebrew here in v. 1 and for the rest of the book.  There seems to be no reason for the return to the main language of the bible, just as there was no obvious reason for abandoning it.

בִּשְׁנַת שָׁלֹושׁ לְמַלְכוּת בֵּלְאשַׁצַּר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָזֹון נִרְאָה אֵלַי אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל אַחֲרֵי הַנִּרְאָה אֵלַי בַּתְּחִלָּה׃   8:1

Dani. 8:1   In the third year in the reign of Belshazzar, the king, a vision appeared to me (I am Daniel) after the one appearing to me at the beginning.

Presumably, the reference here is to the vision in the last chapter, that is, in Belshazzar’s first year.

וָאֶרְאֶה בֶּחָזֹון וַיְהִי בִּרְאֹתִי וַאֲנִי בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵילָם הַמְּדִינָה וָאֶרְאֶה בֶּחָזֹון וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי    8:2

עַל־אוּבַל אוּלָי׃

Dani. 8:2   And I saw in the vision, and my perceiving was that I was in Shushan of the castle, which is in Elam of the province, and I looked in the vision and I was by the stream Ulai.

There has been a lot of discussion about this verse.  Scholars have offered two different interpretations. One is that Daniel is still in Babylon, and only in the vision does he find himself transported to Shushan.  The other is that he is actually in the city of Shushan; Josephus claims that Daniel even built an “elegant tower” there in Media.  From my rendering of the Hebrew, it seems plain that the first interpretation is the more reasonable.  This is the sort of experience Ezekiel had (Ezek. 8:3).  See also the last verse of this chapter, which seems to support that first interpretation.

וָאֶשָּׂא עֵינַי וָאֶרְאֶה וְהִנֵּה אַיִל אֶחָד עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הָאֻבָל וְלֹו קְרָנָיִם וְהַקְּרָנַיִם גְּבֹהֹות וְהָאַחַת גְּבֹהָה   8:3

מִן־הַשֵּׁנִית וְהַגְּבֹהָה עֹלָה בָּאַחֲרֹנָה׃

Dani. 8:3   And I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, one ram was standing before the stream, and it had horns.  And the horns were high, but one was higher than the other, with the higher ascending behind it.

רָאִיתִי אֶת־הָאַיִל מְנַגֵּחַ יָמָּה וְצָפֹונָה וָנֶגְבָּה וְכָל־חַיֹּות לֹא־יַעַמְדוּ לְפָנָיו וְאֵין מַצִּיל מִיָּדֹו וְעָשָׂה   8:4

כִרְצֹנֹו וְהִגְדִּיל׃

Dani. 8:4   I saw the ram thrusting westward and northward and southward and no beasts could stand before it, and there was no deliverer from its hand so it could do according to its will and become great.

וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי מֵבִין וְהִנֵּה צְפִיר־הָעִזִּים בָּא מִן־הַמַּעֲרָב עַל־פְּנֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ וְאֵין נֹוגֵעַ בָּאָרֶץ וְהַצָּפִיר קֶרֶן   8:5

 חָזוּת בֵּין עֵינָיו׃

Dani. 8:5   As I was observing, then behold, a young he-goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth and it was not touching the land.  And the goat?  A conspicuous horn was between its eyes.

וַיָּבֹא עַד־הָאַיִל בַּעַל הַקְּרָנַיִם אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הָאֻבָל וַיָּרָץ אֵלָיו בַּחֲמַת כֹּחֹו׃   8:6

Dani. 8:6   And it came up to the ram that I saw standing before the stream on which were the horns, and it darted toward it with the power of its might.

וּרְאִיתִיו מַגִּיעַ אֵצֶל הָאַיִל וַיִּתְמַרְמַר אֵלָיו וַיַּךְ אֶת־הָאַיִל וַיְשַׁבֵּר אֶת־שְׁתֵּי קְרָנָיו וְלֹא־הָיָה כֹחַ בָּאַיִל   8:7

 לַעֲמֹד לְפָנָיו וַיַּשְׁלִיכֵהוּ אַרְצָה וַיִּרְמְסֵהוּ וְלֹא־הָיָה מַצִּיל לָאַיִל מִיָּדֹו׃

Dani. 8:7   And I could see it touching near the ram, and it was enraged because of it, and it struck the ram and crushed its two horns, and there was no longer any strength in the ram to stand before it as it cast it down to the ground and trampled it, and there was no deliverer for the ram from its hand.

וּצְפִיר הָעִזִּים הִגְדִּיל עַד־מְאֹד וּכְעָצְמֹו נִשְׁבְּרָה הַקֶּרֶן הַגְּדֹולָה וַתַּעֲלֶנָה חָזוּת אַרְבַּע תַּחְתֶּיהָ לְאַרְבַּע   8:8

 רוּחֹות הַשָּׁמָיִם׃

Dani. 8:8   And the young he-goat became magnified to a great degree, and after its becoming mighty the great horn was shattered and an appearance of four came up in its place toward the four winds of heaven.

וּמִן־הָאַחַת מֵהֶם יָצָא קֶרֶן־אַחַת מִצְּעִירָה וַתִּגְדַּל־יֶתֶר אֶל־הַנֶּגֶב וְאֶל־הַמִּזְרָח וְאֶל־הַצֶּבִי׃   8:9

Dani. 8:9   And out of one from them came forth another smaller horn and it became abundantly great toward the south and toward the east and toward the beautiful [land].

The last Hebrew word in this verse is literally the beautiful, but the context implies that the word land should be added.  Most bibles carry translations similar to this one; a few take liberties to omit the word land.

וַתִּגְדַּל עַד־צְבָא הַשָּׁמָיִם וַתַּפֵּל אַרְצָה מִן־הַצָּבָא וּמִן־הַכֹּוכָבִים וַתִּרְמְסֵם׃   8:10

Dani. 8:10   And it grew great up to the host of heaven, and it made some of the host and some of the stars fall to the ground and it trampled them.

וְעַד שַׂר־הַצָּבָא הִגְדִּיל וּמִמֶּנּוּ (הֵרִים) [הוּרַם] הַתָּמִיד וְהֻשְׁלַךְ מְכֹון מִקְדָּשֹׁו׃   8:11

Dani. 8:11   It was magnified even up to the prince of the host, and from him was removed the continual [burnt offering], so the fixed place of his sanctuary could be cast off,

Three remarks about this verse.  First, the English words in the brackets are not found in the Hebrew.  It is normally  assumed they were intended, though, that the fourth-from-last word in the Hebrew, which means continual, continuity, or perpetual (as in ner tamid, meaning perpetual lamp), was an ancient idiom for continual burnt offering.  This anomaly occurs twice more in this chapter, and once each in Chapters 11 and 12.  My second remark is about the identity of the prince.  If this is a reference to God, as it is interpreted in about half the popular bibles, than the above-mentioned possible idiom cannot be interpreted differently.  It could not be that the continuity of God was removed.  If, on the other hand, the high priest is the prince, than either translation would be appropriate.  I have translated the verse so it could be interpreted either way.  The third remark concerns the error in the parentheses.  The yad is inappropriate, and the vav in the correction in the brackets is necessary to make the meaning more correct.

וְצָבָא תִּנָּתֵן עַל־הַתָּמִיד בְּפָשַׁע וְתַשְׁלֵךְ אֱמֶת אַרְצָה וְעָשְׂתָה וְהִצְלִיחָה׃   8:12

Dani. 8:12   and the host assigned because of the continual [burnt offering] into transgression, and truth was cast down to the ground, so it could act and make progress.

וָאֶשְׁמְעָה אֶחָד־קָדֹושׁ מְדַבֵּר וַיֹּאמֶר אֶחָד קָדֹושׁ לַפַּלְמֹונִי הַמְדַבֵּר עַד־מָתַי הֶחָזֹון הַתָּמִיד וְהַפֶּשַׁע   8:13

שֹׁםֵם תֵּת וְקֹדֶשׁ וְצָבָא מִרְמָס׃

Dani. 8:13   Then I heard someone holy speaking, and another holy one said to the certain one who had been speaking, “How long will the vision of the continual [burnt offering] and the appalling transgression be set and the holy place and the host be a trampling place?”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי עַד עֶרֶב בֹּקֶר אַלְפַּיִם וּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאֹות וְנִצְדַּק קֹדֶשׁ׃   8:14

Dani. 8:14   And he said to me, “For two thousand and three hundred, evening, morning; then will the holy place be justified.

The peculiar wording in the Hebrew of this verse makes its understanding somewhat uncertain.  The time period, whose beginning is not known, is the elapsed time before the holy place is justified.  If the number refers to twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, when the offerings would normally have been made, the period amounts to 1,150 days, or (counting thirty days to a Jewish month) 38 1/3 months, or a month less than 3 1/3 years.  On the other hand, if the count is made once each day, the period becomes 76 2/3 months, or a bit more than 6 1/3 years.  Some exegetes have assumed the number represents a much greater period (as suggested in v. 17 below) and is interpreted teleologically, which can lead to some rather imaginative possibilities.  The words evening, morning may actually mean a period much longer than a day.  Could it be 2,300 years?  Who knows!

וַיְהִי בִּרְאֹתִי אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל אֶת־הֶחָזֹון וָאֲבַקְשָׁה בִינָה וְהִנֵּה עֹמֵד לְנֶגְדִּי כְּמַרְאֵה־גָבֶר׃   8:15

Dani. 8:15   And it was with my watching, I, Daniel, the vision that I desired understanding, and behold, standing before me, like the appearance of a man.

וָאֶשְׁמַע קֹול־אָדָם בֵּין אוּלָי וַיִּקְרָא וַיֹּאמַר גַּבְרִיאֵל הָבֵן לְהַלָּז אֶת־הַמַּרְאֶה׃   8:16

Dani. 8:16   And I heard a human voice in the midst of Ulai, and it called and said, “Gabriel, explain to this one the vision.”

וַיָּבֹא אֵצֶל עָמְדִי וּבְבֹאֹו נִבְעַתִּי וָאֶפְּלָה עַל־פָּנָי וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הָבֵן בֶּן־אָדָם כִּי לְעֶת־קֵץ הֶחָזֹון׃   8:17

Dani. 8:17   So he came beside my standing place, and by his coming I was terrified and fell on my face, and he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision is for the end time.”

וּבְדַבְּרֹו עִמִּי נִרְדַּמְתִּי עַל־פָּנַי אָרְצָה וַיִּגַּע־בִּי וַיַּעֲמִידֵנִי עַל־עָמְדִי׃   8:18

Dani. 8:18   And at his speaking with me I went into a deep sleep on my face to the ground, and he reached to me and set me upright at my standing place.

וַיֹּאמֶר הִנְנִי מֹודִיעֲךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶה בְּאַחֲרִית הַזָּעַם כִּי לְמֹועֵד קֵץ׃   8:19

Dani. 8:19   Then he said, “Behold, I am declaring to you what shall be at the end of the indignation, that is for the appointed time of the end.”

הָאַיִל אֲשֶׁר־רָאִיתָ בַּעַל הַקְּרָנָיִם מַלְכֵי מָדַי וּפָרָס׃   8:20

Dani. 8:20   The ram that you saw was the owner of the horns, the kings of Media and Persia.

וְהַצָּפִיר הַשָּׂעִיר מֶלֶךְ יָוָן וְהַקֶּרֶן הַגְּדֹולָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּין־עֵינָיו הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הָרִאשֹׁון׃   8:21

Dani. 8:21   And the hairy he-goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn that was between its eyes, that is the first king.

וְהַנִּשְׁבֶּרֶת וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה אַרְבַּע תַּחְתֶּיהָ אַרְבַּע מַלְכֻיֹות מִגֹּוי יַעֲמֹדְנָה וְלֹא בְכֹחֹו׃   8:22

Dani. 8:22   And the broken four that had stood in its place?  Four kingdoms out of the nation shall arise, but not with his power.”

וּבְאַחֲרִית מַלְכוּתָם כְּהָתֵם הַפֹּשְׁעִים יַעֲמֹד מֶלֶךְ עַז־פָּנִים וּמֵבִין חִידֹות׃   8:23

Dani. 8:23   “And upon the end of their dominion at the completion of the transgressions shall arise an insolent king and discerner of puzzles.”

וְעָצַם כֹּחֹו וְלֹא בְכֹחֹו וְנִפְלָאֹות יַשְׁחִית וְהִצְלִיחַ וְעָשָׂה וְהִשְׁחִית עֲצוּמִים וְעַם־קְדֹשִׁים׃   8:24

Dani. 8:24   “And his strength shall be mighty, but not with his own power, and he shall corrupt marvelous things, and make prosperous and accomplish, and he shall vanquish the mighty and the people of the saints.”

וְעַל־שִׂכְלֹו וְהִצְלִיחַ מִרְמָה בְּיָדֹו וּבִלְבָבֹו יַגְדִּיל וּבְשַׁלְוָה יַשְׁחִית רַבִּים וְעַל־שַׂר־שָׂרִים יַעֲמֹד וּבְאֶפֶס   8:25

 יָד יִשָּׁבֵר׃

Dani. 8:25   “And by his cunning and the success of deceit in his hand and in his heart, he shall become great, and in prosperity shall vanquish many, and against the prince of princes he shall stand up, but in the end he shall break a hand.”

וּמַרְאֵה הָעֶרֶב וְהַבֹּקֶר אֲשֶׁר נֶאֱמַר אֱמֶת הוּא וְאַתָּה סְתֹם הֶחָזֹון כִּי לְיָמִים רַבִּים׃   8:26

Dani. 8:26   “So the spectacle of the evening and the morning that had been told, true it was.  Now you, shut up the vision, for it is for many days.”

וַאֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל נִהְיֵיתִי וְנֶחֱלֵיתִי יָמִים וָאָקוּם וָאֶעֱשֶׂה אֶת־מְלֶאכֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ וָאֶשְׁתֹּוםֵם עַל־הַמַּרְאֶה וְאֵין   8:27

מֵבִין׃

Dani. 8:27   Then I, Daniel, was so done that I could be sick days, but I arose and did the business of the king, though I was stunned by the spectacle and had no understanding.

And I have even less understanding.  Yet I do believe I understand this verse to describe his awakening from the vision, upon which he did the business of the king.

 

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