on Daniel 8 :5
Behold, a he-goat - This was Alexander the Great; and a goat was a very proper symbol of the Grecian or Macedonian people. Bp. Newton very properly observes that, two hundred years before the time of Daniel, they were called Aegeadae, the goats' people; the origin of which name is said to be as follows: Caranus, their first king, going with a multitude of Greeks to seek a new habitation in Macedonia, was advised by an oracle to take the goats for his guides; and afterwards, seeing a herd of goats flying from a violent storm, he followed them to Edessa, and there fixed the seat of his empire, and made the goats his ensigns or standards; and called the place Aege or Aegea, the goats' town; and the people Aegeadae, the goats' people; names which are derived from αιξ, αιγος, a goat. The city Aege or Aegea, was the usual burying-place of the Macedonian kings; and, in reference to this origin, Alexander called his son by Roxana, Alexander Aegus, Alexander the goat. All this shows the very great propriety of the symbol here used.
Came from the west - Europe lies westward of Asia.
On the face of the whole earth - Carrying every thing before him.
Touched not the ground - Seemed to fly from conquest to conquest. By the time Alexander was thirty years of age he had conquered all Asia: and, because of the rapidity of his conquests, he is represented as a leopard with four wings, in the preceding vision.
A notable horn between his eyes - This, says the angel, is the first king, Daniel 8:21, that is, the first kingdom of the Greeks in Asia, which was erected by Alexander; and continued some years in his brother Philip Aridaeus, and in his two young sons, Alexander Aegus and Hercules. See Newton.
on Daniel 8 :5
And as I was considering - As I was looking on this vision. It was a vison which would naturally attract attention, and one which would not be readily understood. It evidently denoted some combined power that was attempting conquest, but we are not to suppose that Daniel would readily understand what was meant by it. The whole scene was future - for the Medo-Persian power was not yet consolidated in the time of Belshazzar, and the conquests represented by the ram continued through many years, and those denoted by the he-goat extended still much further into futurity.
Behold, an he-goat came from the west - In Daniel 8:21, this is called the "rough-goat," There can be no doubt as to the application of this, for in Daniel 8:21 it is expressly said that it was "the king of Grecia." The power represented is that of Greece when it was consolidated under Alexander the Great, and when he went forth to the subjugation of this vast Persian empire. It may serve to illustrate this, and to show the propriety of representing the Macedonian power by the symbol of a goat, to remark that this symbol is often found, in various ways, in connection with Macedon, and that, for some reason, the goat was used as emblematic of that power. A few facts, furnished to the editor of Calmet's Dictionary, by Taylor Combe, Esq., will show the propriety of this allusion to Macedonia under the emblem of a goat, and that the allusion would be readily understood in after-times. They are condensed here from his account in Taylor's Calmet, v. 410-412.
(1) Caranus, the first king of the Macedonians, commenced his reign 814 years before the Christian era. The circumstance of his being led by goats to the city of Edessa, the name of which, when he established there the seat of his kingdom, he converted into AEgae, is well worthy of remark: Urbem Edessam, ob memoriam muneris AEgas populam AEgeadas. - Justin, lib. vii. c. 1. The adoption of the goat as an emblem of Macedon would have been early suggested by an important event in their history.
(2) bronze figures of a goat have been found as the symbol of Macedon. Mr. Combe says, "I have lately had an opportunity of procuring an ancient bronze figure of a goat with one horn, which was the old symbol of Macedon. As figures representing the types of ancient countries are extremely rare, and as neither a bronze nor marble symbol of Macedon has been hitherto noticed, I beg leave to trouble you with the few following observations, etc." He then says, "The goat which is sent for your inspection was dug up in Asia Minor, and was brought, together with other antiquities, into this country by a poor Turk." The annexed engraving is a representation of this figure. The slightest inspection of this figure will show the propriety of the representation before us. Mr. Combe then says, "Not only many of the individual towns in Macedon and Thrace employed this type, but the kingdom itself of Macedon, which is the oldest in Europe of which we have any regular and connected history, was represented also by a goat, with this peculiarity, that it had but one horn."
(3) In the reign of Amyntas the First, nearly 300 years after Caranus, and about 547 years before Christ, the Macedonians, upon being threatened with an invasion, became tributary to the Persians. In one of the pilasters of Persepolis, this very event seems to be recorded in a manner that throws considerable light on this subject. A goat is represented with an immense horn growing out of the middle of his forehead, and a man in a Persian dress is seen by his side, holding the horn with his left hand, by which is signified the subjection of Macedon. The subjoined is the figure referred to, and it strikingly shows how early this symbol was used.
(4) In the reign of Archelaus of Macedon, 413 b.c., there occurs on the reverse of a coin of that king the head of a goat having only one horn. Of this coin, so remarkable for the single horn, there are two varieties, one (No. 1) engraved by Pellerin, and the oth. er (No. 2) preserved in the cabinet of the late Dr. W. Hunter.
(5) "there is a gem," says Mr. Combe, "engraved in the Florentine collection, which, as it confirms what has been already said, and has not hitherto been understood, I think worthy of mention. It will be seen by the drawing of this gem that nothing more or less is meant by the ram's head with two horns, and the goat's head with one, than the kingdoms of Persia and Macedon, represented under their appropriate symbols. From the circumstance, however; of these characteristic types being united, it is extremely probable that the gem was engraved after the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great." These remarks and illustrations will show the propriety of the symbol used here, and show also how readily it would be understood in after-times. There is no evidence that Daniel understood that this ever had been a symbol of Mace-donia, or that, if he had, he could have conjectured, by any natural sagacity, that a power represented by that symbol would have become the conqueror of Media and Persia, and every circumstance, therefore, connected with this only shows the more clearly that he was under the influence of inspiration. It is affirmed by Josephus (Ant. b. xi. ch. viii.) that when Alexander was at Jerusalem, the prophecies of Daniel respecting him were shown to him by the high priest, and that this fact was the means of his conferring important favors on the Jews. If such an event occurred, the circumstances here alluded to show how readily Alexander would recognize the reference to his own country, and to himself, and how probable the account of Josephus is, that this was the means of conciliating him toward the Jewish people. The credibilty of the account, which has been called in question, is examined in Newton on the Prophecies, pp. 241-246.
On the face of the whole earth - He seemed to move over the whole world - well representing the movements of Alexander, who conquered the known world, and who is said to have wept because there were no other worlds to conquer.
And touched not the ground - Margin, none touched him in the earth. The translation in the text, however, is more correct than that in the margin. He seemed to bound along as if he did not touch the ground - denoting the rapidity of his movements and conquests. A similar description of great beauty occurs in Virgil, AEn. vii. 806, following of Camillia:
"Cursu pedum pravertere ventos.
Illa vel intactae segetis per summa volaret
Gramina, nec teneras cursu laesisset aristas,
Vel mare per medium fluctu suspensa tumenti
Ferretiter, celeres nec tingeret aequore plantas"
on Daniel 8 :5
8:5 An he - goat - The Grecian empire. The whole earth - The whole Persian empire. Touched not the ground - Went with incredible swiftness. A horn - This was Alexander the great.