Daniel 8:8

8. Therefore the he-goat waxed very great: and, when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones, toward the four winds of heaven.

8. Et hircus caprarum magnificatus est admodum: et cum in robore suo esset, fractum fuit cornu magnum, et prodierunt loco ejus illusttria quatuor alia, versus quatuor ventos coelorum.


This prophecy relates to the death of Alexander. We have explained how, under the image of a he-goat, the Macedonian empire is set before us, having its beginning in the person of Alexander, but by no means ending there, as the monarchy was divided into four parts. The angel said, or at least Daniel records his words, -- that he-goat increased to an immense magnitude, because he wandered as it were in sport through almost the whole east, and at the same time subdued it; but when it was in its strength, says he, its great horn was broken. By the great horn, he means the monarchy which was solely m Alexander's power during his life, as he, was the first and last monarch of his race. And in consequence of his generals, who had obtained dominion in the four quarters of the world, becoming kings, as we shall soon see, the word "he-goat" is not restricted to his person, but is extended to his successors. He Himself is called "the great horn." Hence, when the he-goat was in his strength, the great horn was broken. For Alexander had arrived at the height of prosperity when he died. Whether he perished by disease or by poison is unknown, since historians report; a great suspicion of foul-play. The angel does not notice his age, which was thirty-three years at his death, while he seemed to have been born for subduing the whole world, although he was so suddenly snatched away. But the angel regards those continued successes, since Alexander almost by a look subdued the whole land, as we have stated before, and hurried on rashly from place to place. Hence he perpetually gained fresh victories, though at the constant hazard of his life, as he had far more audacity than skill. When he was in his strength, says he; meaning, after having subjugated the whole east. He had returned from India, and had determined to re-cross the sea, and to reduce Greece under his power; for the States had rebelled against him, and the Athenians had already collected a great army; but all the eastern States of Asia had been rendered subservient to Alexander when he died. The angel refers to this by the breaking of the great horn.

He afterwards adds, In his place four conspicuous horns sprang up. For he uses the noun twzx chezeveth, notable," as in yesterday's Lecture. 1 There were, therefore, four kingdoms which excelled, and each of them was celebrated and placed aloft. Nor is This superfluous, since we know how many became kings, who had enlisted in the service of Alexander with reputation and dignity. Perdiccas was the first, and all thought him to have been favored with special honor by Alexander When asked whom he wished for a successor, he replied, according to the greatness or pride of his spirit, "The person whom he considered most worthy of empire." He had a son by Roxana the daughter of Darius, as well as another son; then Aridmus his brother approached; yet he deemed no one worthy of the honor of being his successor, as if the world contained no equal to himself. His answer, then, was a proof of his pride. But when he was unable to speak, he took a ring from his hand and gave it to Perdieeas. Hence all conjectured that he had the preference in Alexander's judgment, and he obtained the supreme authority. After this, Eumenes was slain, who had served under him. Although he was an ally, he was judged as an enemy, and betrayed by his men; Lysimachus being slain on the other side. Fifteen generals were put to death. And as so many succeeded to the place of Alexander and exercised the royal authority, the angel correctly expresses how four conspicuous horns sprang up in the place of one great one. For after various conflicts and many fluctuations for fifteen years or thereabouts, Alexander's monarchy was at length divided into four parts. Cassander, the son of Antipater, obtained the kingdom of Macedon, after slaying Olympias, the mother of Alexander, his sister, his sons, and his wife Rexaria. This was a horrible slaughter, and if ever God offered a visible spectacle to the world, whereby he openly denounced the shedding of human blood, surely a memorable proof of this existed in the whole of Alexander's race! Not a single one survived for twenty years after his death. Though his mother had grown old, she was not permitted to descend naturally to the grave, but was murdered. His wife, and son, and brother, and all his relations, shared her fate. And that slaughter was even yet more cruel, as no single leader spared the life of his companions, but each either openly attacked or craftily assailed his friend and confederate! But omitting details, four kingdoms were at last left after such remarkable devastation's. For Cassander, the son of Antipater, obtained Macedon and some part of Thrace, together with the cities of Greece. Seleucus became master in Syria; Antigonus in Asia Minor, joining Phrygia, Paphlagonia, and all other Asiatic regions, after five or six generals were slain. Ptolemy became prefect of Egypt. This makes four horns, which the angel calls "conspicuous," for on the testimony of history, all the other principalities vanished away. Alexander's generals had divided among themselves many large and fertile provinces, but at length they were summed up in these four heads. He says, by the four winds of heaven , that is, of the atmosphere. Now the kingdom of Macedon was very far distant from Syria; Asia was in the midst, and Egypt lay to the south. Thus, the he-goat, as we saw before, reigned throughout the four quarters of the globe; since Egypt, as we have said, was situated towards the south; but the kingdom of Persia, which was possessed by Seleucus, was towards the east and united with Syria; the kingdom of Asia was to the north, and that of Macedon to the west, as we formerly saw the he-goat setting out from the west. It now follows, --

1 This noun is connected with Nwzx chezeven, "vision," and is translated in our version variously. In Isaiah 28:18, it is rendered by "agreement," and in Daniel 8:5, by "notable," and in the margin correctly by "of sight." Calvin's Latin "illustre," is very suitable. -- Ed.


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