Daniel then saw a ram standing by the river. Obviously, it had 2 long horns, but one horn was longer than the other. Perhaps, this was an indication of the longer Persian was the shorter Medes horn. This ram charged west, north, and south, but not eastward. All the other animals were powerless before it. No one could escape from it, because it did what it pleased, as it seemed to get stronger.
Daniel once again assumes the first-person singular. His second vision took place two years after the first dream, around 542 BCE, the 3rd year of King Belshazzar. In this vision, he was in Susa, the winter capital of Babylon, also mentioned in the Book of Esther. Susa was the ancient capital of the province of Elam. The Ulai River or the Eulaeus River, or as it is known today as the Karkheh River flowed through Susa. Today Susa is known as Shush, in Iran.
Daniel finished his account about the terrifying dream of the four beasts. Actually, most of it was about the little horn of the 4th beast. He was a little introspective, as he kept all these disturbing thoughts about these matters in his mind. However, his face turned pale.
All the kingships, dominions, and greatness of these kingdoms will be given to the holy ones of the Most High God, the righteous of Israel. Their kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, where everyone would obey and serve them.
Next, he explained that the 10 horns on the beast were the 10 Greek kings that succeeded Alexander the Great in his kingdom. However, there was a vehemence against the little horn king that overthrew the 3 kings. This was, of course, a reference to the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), who was different from the other Greek rulers. He spoke openly against the Most High God. He wore out God’s holy ones. He attempted to change the holy seasons and do away with the religious festivals. He also tried to change the Jewish law. He had power for a little while, before the final kingdom would come. Then his dominion would be taken away. He would be consumed and destroyed. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.
It is not clear who the “he” speaking here is. It could be the Ancient One or that attendant who was standing around, but it is not Daniel. The 4th beast would have a kingdom, unlike any other kingdom. This kingdom would devour the whole earth, trample it down, and finally break it into pieces. This could be a reference to Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) and the large Greek kingdom that he established.
Rather than dwell on the 4th beast, Daniel took notice of the little horn that came out of its head to replace 3 other horns. This little horn had eyes and an arrogant mouth. Somehow, it seemed greater than the others. Then Daniel saw the little horn start a war with the holy ones. In fact, the little horn was winning, until the Ancient One showed up and proclaimed judgment in favor of the holy ones of the Most High God. Finally, the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.
Daniel wanted to know the truth about why the 4th beast was so different. It was more terrifying. It had great iron teeth that devoured and tore to pieces anything it wanted to. It also had claws of bronze, which was not mentioned in the earlier description. It even stamped on whatever was left over with its feet.
In a strange way, Daniel approached one of the people in his dream or vision to ask for an interpretation of his dream. In fact, it seems to be just one of the attendants standing around there. Daniel wanted to know the truth and the interpretation about these 4 beasts. Then, this attendant told him that the 4 beasts were 4 kings that rose up and ruled. However, the holy ones of the Most High God got possession of the kingdom. They were then going to have possession of this kingdom forever. It was not clear whether the other 4 kings had ruled this same kingdom or other kingdoms.