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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Daniel - Chapter 8

Daniel - Chapter 8

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 8

1. In the third year of Balshazzar's kingdom, a vision appeared to me-I, Daniel-after what had appeared to me in the beginning.   א. בִּשְׁנַת שָׁלוֹשׁ לְמַלְכוּת בֵּלְאשַׁצַּר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָזוֹן נִרְאָה אֵלַי אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל אַחֲרֵי הַנִּרְאָה אֵלַי בַּתְּחִלָּה:
In the third year: after the first vision that appeared to me in the beginning, i.e., the dream stated above (7:1), which appeared to him in the first year of Belshazzar.  
2. And I saw in the vision, and it came to pass when I saw-and I was in Shushan the capital, which is in the province of Elam-and I saw in the vision that I was beside the river Ulai.   ב. וָאֶרְאֶה בֶּחָזוֹן וַיְהִי בִּרְאֹתִי וַאֲנִי בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵילָם הַמְּדִינָה וָאֶרְאֶה בֶּחָזוֹן וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי עַל אוּבַל אוּלָי:
beside the river Ulai: beside the river named Ulai.  
3. And I lifted my eyes, and I saw, and behold a ram was standing before the river, and it had horns, and the horns were high, and one was higher than the other, and the higher one sprouted last.   ג. וָאֶשָּׂא עֵינַי וָאֶרְאֶה וְהִנֵּה | אַיִל אֶחָד עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הָאֻבָל וְלוֹ קְרָנָיִם וְהַקְּרָנַיִם גְּבֹהוֹת וְהָאַחַת גְּבֹהָה מִן הַשֵּׁנִית וְהַגְּבֹהָה עֹלָה בָּאַחֲרֹנָה:
and it had horns: symbolizing the kingdom of Persia and Media.  
and one was higher than the other: symbolizing the kingdom of Persia, which was greater than the kingdom of Media, for the kingdom of Media existed for only one year, as it says (9:1): “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus of the seed of Media,” and we learned in Seder Olam (ch. 28): “We do not find any year ascribed to Media in the Holy Writ but this one only.”  
and the higher one sprouted last: This symbolizes that the kingdom of Media will precede the kingdom of Persia.  
4. I saw the ram goring westward, northward, and southward, and no beasts could stand before it, and no one could save [anyone] from its hand, and it did according to its will, and it grew.   ד. רָאִיתִי אֶת הָאַיִל מְנַגֵּחַ יָמָּה וְצָפוֹנָה וָנֶגְבָּה וְכָל חַיּוֹת לֹא יַעַמְדוּ לְפָנָיו וְאֵין מַצִּיל מִיָּדוֹ וְעָשָׂה כִרְצֹנוֹ וְהִגְדִּיל:
5. And I was pondering, and behold a he-goat came from the west over the surface of the entire earth, and it did not touch the ground, and the goat had a conspicuous horn between its eyes.   ה. וַאֲנִי | הָיִיתִי מֵבִין וְהִנֵּה צְפִיר הָעִזִּים בָּא מִן הַמַּעֲרָב עַל פְּנֵי כָל הָאָרֶץ וְאֵין נוֹגֵעַ בָּאָרֶץ וְהַצָּפִיר קֶרֶן חָזוּת בֵּין עֵינָיו:
I was pondering: I was contemplating it.  
a he goat: Heb. צְפִיר.  
and it did not touch the ground: He resembled one skipping in the air.  
a conspicuous horn: Heb. קֶרֶן חָזוּת, a large horn visible to the eye.  
6. And it came to the horned ram that I saw standing before the river, and it ran toward it with the fury of its power.   ו. וַיָּבֹא עַד הָאַיִל בַּעַל הַקְּרָנַיִם אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הָאֻבָל וַיָּרָץ אֵלָיו בַּחֲמַת כֹּחוֹ:
7. And I saw it coming up to the ram, and it fought with it, and it struck the ram and broke both of its horns, and the ram had no strength to stand before it; so it cast it to the ground and trampled it, and there was no one to save the ram from its hand.   ז. וּרְאִיתִיו מַגִּיעַ | אֵצֶל הָאַיִל וַיִּתְמַרְמַר אֵלָיו וַיַּךְ אֶת הָאַיִל וַיְשַׁבֵּר אֶת שְׁתֵּי קְרָנָיו וְלֹא הָיָה כֹחַ בָּאַיִל לַעֲמֹד לְפָנָיו וַיַּשְׁלִיכֵהוּ אַרְצָה וַיִּרְמְסֵהוּ וְלֹא הָיָה מַצִּיל לָאַיִל מִיָּדוֹ:
and it fought with it: Heb. וַיִתְמַרְמַר אֵלָיו, and it fought with it. That is an expression of bitter (מַר) anger.  
8. And the he-goat waxed exceedingly huge, and when it became strong, the great horn broke, and an appearance of four sprouted in its stead, to the four directions of the heavens.   ח. וּצְפִיר הָעִזִּים הִגְדִּיל עַד מְאֹד וּכְעָצְמוֹ נִשְׁבְּרָה הַקֶּרֶן הַגְּדֹלָה וַתַּעֲלֶנָה חָזוּת אַרְבַּע תַּחְתֶּיהָ לְאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת הַשָּׁמָיִם:
an appearance of four: an appearance of four horns.  
9. And from one of them emerged a small horn, and it became very great to the south and to the east and to the coveted land.   ט. וּמִן הָאַחַת מֵהֶם יָצָא קֶרֶן אַחַת מִצְּעִירָה וַתִּגְדַּל יֶתֶר אֶל הַנֶּגֶב וְאֶל הַמִּזְרָח וְאֶל הַצֶּבִי:
And from one of them: and from one of these kingdoms.  
emerged a… horn: The kingdom of Titus emerged from it.  
small: A small and despised kingdom, as he calls it above one small horn, and that is in the manner of (Obad. 1:2): “… you are very despised.”  
and it became very great: Heb. וַתִּגְדַּל מְאֹד.  
to the south: That is Egypt, which is to the south of the land of Israel.  
and to the coveted land: Heb. הַצְבִי The land of Israel, called אֶרֶץ הַצְבִי, the coveted land [or the land of beauty] after the manner of (Jer. 3:19): “an inheritance of the beauty of hosts of nations.”  
10. And it grew until the host of heaven, and it cast down to the ground some of the host and of the stars and trampled them.   י. וַתִּגְדַּל עַד צְבָא הַשָּׁמָיִם וַתַּפֵּל אַרְצָה מִן הַצָּבָא וּמִן הַכּוֹכָבִים וַתִּרְמְסֵם:
until the host of heaven: They are Israel, who were compared to the stars.  
11. And until the Prince of the host it grew, and through him the daily sacrifice was removed, and the base of His Sanctuary was cast down.   יא. וְעַד שַׂר הַצָּבָא הִגְדִּיל וּמִמֶּנּוּ הֻרַם הַתָּמִיד וְהֻשְׁלַךְ מְכוֹן מִקְדָּשׁוֹ:
And until the Prince of the host: That is the Temple, which is the House of the Holy One, blessed be He, the Prince of the host. He blasphemed the Holy One, blessed be He.  
and through him the daily sacrifice was removed: And through his troops and his armies, which he sent to Jerusalem, the daily sacrifice was abolished, for he sent there Nero Caesar, his general, as our Rabbis relate in Gittin (56a) and in Gorion.  
12. And a time will be given for the daily sacrifice because of transgression, and it will cast truth to the earth, and it will do and prosper.   יב. וְצָבָא תִּנָּתֵן עַל הַתָּמִיד בְּפָשַׁע וְתַשְׁלֵךְ אֱמֶת אַרְצָה וְעָשְׂתָה וְהִצְלִיחָה:
And a time will be given for the daily sacrifice: A set time will be given for the daily sacrifice to be discontinued because of transgression.  
And a time: Heb. וְצָבָא, time, like (Job 7:1): “Is not man on earth for a limited time (צָבָא)” ?  
and it will cast truth to the earth: It humbled the Torah of truth.  
13. Then I heard one holy one speaking, and one holy one said to the anonymous one who was speaking, "How long will be the vision of the daily sacrifice and the mute abomination, permitting the Sanctuary and the host to be trampled?"   יג. וָאֶשְׁמְעָה אֶחָד קָדוֹשׁ מְדַבֵּר וַיֹּאמֶר אֶחָד קָדוֹשׁ לַפַּלְמוֹנִי הַמְדַבֵּר עַד מָתַי הֶחָזוֹן הַתָּמִיד וְהַפֶּשַׁע שֹׁמֵם תֵּת וְקֹדֶשׁ וְצָבָא מִרְמָס:
one holy one: one of the angels.  
and… said: that angel.  
to the anonymous: Heb. לַפַּלְמוֹנִי. This word is like two: פְּלוֹנִי אַלְמוֹנִי, and Jonathan ben Uziel translated it in the Book of Samuel (I 21:3): “covered and hidden,” like (Deut. 17:8): “If a matter be hidden (יִפָּלֵא) from you.” אַלְמוֹנִי means a widower (אַלְמָן) without a name, [i.e., bereft of a name] for he [the angel] did not explain to him what he was and what his name was.  
to the anonymous one who was speaking: to the angel who was speaking and issuing decrees, viz. “And a set time will be given for the daily sacrifice because of transgression.”  
How long will be the vision: this [vision] which concerns the daily sacrifice, that it should be discontinued, and the silent abomination will be placed in its stead. The silent abomination is an idol worshipped by the pagans, which was like a mute stone, and so it is called in this Book in many places, as it says (12:11): “And from the time the daily sacrifice was removed and the silent abomination placed.”  
mute: Heb. שֹּׁמֵם, an expression of being mute and silenced, like (4:16): “was bewildered (אֶשְּׁתּוֹמַם) for awhile;” (Ezek. 3:15): “and I sat there seven days bewildered (מַשְּׁמִים) among them,” like one who is dumb.  
permitting the Sanctuary and the host to be trampled: to make the base of the Sanctuary and the host of heaven, which he cast down to the earth, to be a trampling for his feet, as is stated above (verse 10): “and it cast down to the ground some of the host and some of the stars.”  
the Sanctuary and the host: Heb. וְצָבָא וְקֹדֶשּׁ. The “vav” [of וְקֹדֶשּׁ] is superfluous, and there are many such instances in Scripture, e.g. (Ps. 76:7): “chariot (וָרֶכֶב) and horse were stunned,” and also, in the language of people, some speak that way.  
14. And he said to me, "Until evening and morning, two thousand and three hundred, and the holy ones shall be exonerated."   יד. וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי עַד עֶרֶב בֹּקֶר אַלְפַּיִם וּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וְנִצְדַּק קֹדֶשׁ:
Until evening and morning, one thousand and three hundred: I saw an interpretation in the name of Rav Saadia Gaon for this matter, but it has already passed, and he interpreted further “until evening and morning,” that evening about which it says (Zech. 14:7): “and it shall come to pass that at eventide it shall be light,” and we are confident that our God’s word will stand forever; it will not be nullified. I say, however, that the עֶרֶב and בֹּקֶר stated here are a gematria, and there is support for this matter from two reasons: 1) that this computation should coincide with the other computation at the end of the Book, and 2) that Gabriel said to Daniel later on in this chapter (verse 26): “And the vision of the evening and the morning is true.” Now, if he had not hinted that the computation was doubtful, why did he repeat it to say that it was true? And the seer was commanded to close up and to seal the matter, and to him, too, the matter was revealed in a closed and sealed expression, but we will hope for the promise of our king for end after end, and when the end passes, it will be known that the expounder has erred in his interpretation, and the one who comes after him will search and expound in another manner. This can be interpreted [as follows]: namely, that עֶרֶב בֹּקֶר has the numerical value of 574, ע = 70; ר = 200; ב = 2; ב = 2; ק = 100; ר = 200. Added together, this equals 574; plus 2,300, we have 2,874.  
and the holy ones shall be exonerated: The iniquity of Israel shall be expiated to bring an end to the decrees of their being trodden upon and crumbled since they were exiled in their first exile to Egypt, until they will be redeemed and saved with a perpetual salvation by our king Messiah, and this computation terminates at the end of 1, 290 years from the day the daily sacrifice was removed, and that is what is stated at the end of the Book (12:11): “And from the time the daily sacrifice is removed, and the silent abomination placed, will be 1,290 years,” and no more, for our king Messiah will come and remove the silent abomination. The daily sacrifice was removed six years before the destruction of the Second Temple, and an image was set up in the Heichal. Now that was the seventeenth day of Tammuz, when Apostomos burned the Torah, put an end to the daily sacrifice, and set up an image in the Heichal, as we learned in Tractate Ta’anith (26b), but for the six years that I mentioned, I have no explicit proof, but there is proof that the daily sacrifice was abolished less than a complete shemittah cycle before the destruction, for so did Daniel prophesy about Titus (9:27): “… and half the week of years [shemittah cycle] he will curtail sacrifice and meal-offering,” meaning that a part of the week of years before the destruction, sacrifices will be abolished. So it is explained below in this section. Let us return to the earlier matters, how the computation of “evening and morning, two thousand and three hundred,” fits exactly with the time commencing from the descent to Egypt to terminate at the end of 1,290 years until the day that the daily sacrifice was abolished: 210 years they were in Egypt. 480 years transpired from the Exodus until the building of the Temple. 410 years the Temple existed. 70 years was the Babylonian exile. 420 years the Second Temple stood. 1,290 should be added until the end of days, totaling: 2,880. Subtract six years that the daily sacrifice was removed before the destruction, for Scripture counted 1,290 years only from the time that the daily sacrifice was removed. Here you have the computation of “evening and morning, and 2,300” added to the computation. Fortunate is he who waits and reaches the end of days 45 years over 1,290 [years]. We may say that the king Messiah will come according to the first computation, and he will subsequently be concealed from them for forty-five years. Rabbi Elazar HaKalir established (in the concluding poem of the portion dealing with the month of Nissan): in the foundation of his song: six weeks of years, totaling 42. We may say that the three years that did not total a week of years he did not count. And I found it so in Midrash Ruth that the king Messiah is destined to be concealed for forty-five years after he reveals himself, and proof is brought from these verses.  
15. Now it came to pass when I, Daniel, perceived that vision, that I sought understanding, and behold, there stood before me one who appeared like a man.   טו. וַיְהִי בִּרְאֹתִי אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל אֶת הֶחָזוֹן וָאֲבַקְשָׁה בִינָה וְהִנֵּה עֹמֵד לְנֶגְדִּי כְּמַרְאֵה גָבֶר:
that I sought understanding: I was longing that they should enable me to understand [the vision] from heaven.  
16. And I heard the voice of a man in the midst of the Ulai, and he called and said, "Gabriel, enable this one to understand the vision."   טז. וָאֶשְׁמַע קוֹל אָדָם בֵּין אוּלָי וַיִּקְרָא וַיֹּאמַר גַּבְרִיאֵל הָבֵן לְהַלָּז אֶת הַמַּרְאֶה:
in the midst of the Ulai: in the midst of the river.  
and he called: i.e., the man.  
and said: to the angel, “You, Gabriel.”  
enable this one to understand the vision: explain the vision to this one.  
this one: Heb. לְהַלָּז, an expression of esteem, as he called him חֲמוּדוֹת, one of desirable qualities. Wherever it says הַלָז it refers to a person of form, and from here they learned in the Aggadah: Isaac resembled his father in form and in likeness, for he is called הָאִישּׁ הַלָז in the section commencing, “Now it came to pass when Isaac was old.” (Gen. 39: 6): “… and Joseph was fair in form and fair in appearance.” This is the beauty enumerated among the five things that a father merits for his son.  
17. And he came beside the palace where I was standing, and when he came, I became frightened, and I fell upon my face. Then he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end."   יז. וַיָּבֹא אֵצֶל עָמְדִי וּבְבֹאוֹ נִבְעַתִּי וָאֶפְּלָה עַל פָּנָי וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הָבֵן בֶּן אָדָם כִּי לְעֶת קֵץ הֶחָזוֹן:
to the time of the end.: For many days this vision will come about.  
18. Now, when he spoke to me, I fell into a sound sleep upon my face to the ground, and he touched me and stood me up where I had been standing.   יח. וּבְדַבְּרוֹ עִמִּי נִרְדַּמְתִּי עַל פָּנַי אָרְצָה וַיִּגַּע בִּי וַיַּעֲמִידֵנִי עַל עָמְדִי:
I fell into a sound sleep: An expression of slumber and bewilderment.  
and stood me up where I had been standing: Where my feet were standing.  
19. And he said to me, "Behold I am letting you know what will be at the end of the fury, for it is the end of the time.   יט. וַיֹּאמֶר הִנְנִי מוֹדִיעֲךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בְּאַחֲרִית הַזָּעַם כִּי לְמוֹעֵד קֵץ:
for it is the end of the time: for it is at the time of the end of many days.  
20. The ram that you saw, the one with the horns, represents the kings of Media and Persia.   כ. הָאַיִל אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתָ בַּעַל הַקְּרָנָיִם מַלְכֵי מָדַי וּפָרָס:
The kings of Media and Persia: The two horns represent two ruling nations, as I explained above.  
21. And the he-goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn that is between his eyes-that is the first king.   כא. וְהַצָּפִיר הַשָּׂעִיר מֶלֶךְ יָוָן וְהַקֶּרֶן הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּין עֵינָיו הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הָרִאשׁוֹן:
the first king: He is Alexander of Macedon who slew Darius, the son of Esther, as we find in the book of Josiphon (ch. 9).  
22. And the broken one, in whose stead stood four, represents four kingdoms [that] will rise from a nation, but not with its strength.   כב. וְהַנִּשְׁבֶּרֶת וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה אַרְבַּע תַּחְתֶּיהָ אַרְבַּע מַלְכֻיוֹת מִגּוֹי יַעֲמֹדְנָה וְלֹא בְכֹחוֹ:
And the broken one: that you saw being broken.  
in whose stead stood four: as is written in the narration of the dream above (verse 8), [there] are four kingdoms which will arise from that nation, for Alexander of Macedon divided his kingdom upon his death [into parts for] four youths, and Joseph called them four heads of a leopard in his book, and they were not the sons of the king.  
but not with its strength: The last ones will not be as strong as the first king, but they will be weaker than him.  
23. And at the end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have been destroyed, there will arise a brazen-faced king who understands riddles.   כג. וּבְאַחֲרִית מַלְכוּתָם כְּהָתֵם הַפֹּשְׁעִים יַעֲמֹד מֶלֶךְ עַז פָּנִים וּמֵבִין חִידוֹת:
And at the end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have been destroyed: When the end arrives, and the wicked of Israel in the Second Temple will be finished, a brazen-faced person will rise; he is Titus.  
24. And his power will become strong, but not through his strength, and he will destroy wondrously, and he will prosper and accomplish, and he will destroy the mighty and the people of the holy ones.   כד. וְעָצַם כֹּחוֹ וְלֹא בְכֹחוֹ וְנִפְלָאוֹת יַשְׁחִית וְהִצְלִיחַ וְעָשָׂה וְהִשְׁחִית עֲצוּמִים וְעַם קְדֹשִׁים:
And his power will become strong: and not with might but with smooth talk, as is explained at the end of the Book (11: 21).  
and he will destroy wondrously: and with wonder upon wonder, he will destroy.  
and he will prosper and accomplish: his desire.  
and he will destroy the mighty: many nations.  
and the people of the holy ones: Israel, who believe in the Torah.  
25. And through his intellect, he will cause the deceit in his hand to prosper, and in his heart he will become proud, and in tranquility he will destroy many, and over the Prince of princes he will stand, and without strength he will be broken.   כה. וְעַל שִׂכְלוֹ וְהִצְלִיחַ מִרְמָה בְּיָדוֹ וּבִלְבָבוֹ יַגְדִּיל וּבְשַׁלְוָה יַשְׁחִית רַבִּים וְעַל שַׂר שָׂרִים יַעֲמֹד וּבְאֶפֶס יָד יִשָּׁבֵר:
And through his intellect, he will cause the deceit in his hand to prosper: And because he is clever wherever he turns and [because] he will prosper, he will hold onto deceit with his hand.  
and in his heart he will become proud: Heb. יַגְדִּיל, lit, he will grow larger.  
and in tranquility he will destroy many: With guile and with smooth talk he will destroy many who dwell with him with a covenant and in peace.  
and over the Prince of princes he will stand: He will speak blasphemously about Heaven. This is the meaning of the dream written above (verse 11): [“And until the Prince of the host it grew.”]  
and without strength he will be broken: And without strength he will be broken, through a mosquito, the weakest of creatures, which entered his nose, as we learned in Tractate Gittin (56b).  
26. And the vision of the evening and the morning that was said is true, and you close up the vision, which will be for many days."   כו. וּמַרְאֵה הָעֶרֶב וְהַבֹּקֶר אֲשֶׁר נֶאֱמַר אֱמֶת הוּא וְאַתָּה סְתֹם הֶחָזוֹן כִּי לְיָמִים רַבִּים:
And the vision of the evening and the morning: which was said to you in the preceding dream, is true.  
and you close up the vision: Do not explain it, but close it up in your heart, for it will come about in many days.  
27. And I, Daniel, became broken and ill for days, but I rose and did the king's work, and I was terrified about the vision, but no one realized it.   כז. וַאֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל נִהְיֵיתִי וְנֶחֱלֵיתִי יָמִים וָאָקוּם וָאֶעֱשֶׂה אֶת מְלֶאכֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ וָאֶשְׁתּוֹמֵם עַל הַמַּרְאֶה וְאֵין מֵבִין:
became broken: Heb. נִהְיֵיתִי, an expression of calamity (הוָה) and breach; i. e., I was pained because of this trouble and I was depressed.  
the king’s work: for I was appointed over the assignment of the work of the government of Belshazzar’s kingdom, for Nebuchadnezzar his father had appointed him, as is written in the beginning of the Book (2:48): “… and gave him dominion over all the capital cities of Babylon.”  
and I was terrified about the vision: Heb. עַל הַמַרְאֶה וָאֶשְׁתּוֹמֵם.  
but no one realized: that I was terrified because I restrained myself before the princes.  
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