21 and the buck, the he-goat—the king of Greece; and the large horn on his forehead, that is the first king.
v’-ha-tza-FEER ha-sa-EER ME-lekh ya-VAN v’-ha-KE-ren ha-g’-do-LAH a-SHER BAYN ay-NAV hu ha-ME-lekh ha-ri-SHON
כא וְהַצָּפִיר הַשָּׂעִיר מֶלֶךְ יָוָן וְהַקֶּרֶן הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּין־עֵינָיו הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הָרִאשׁוֹן׃
8:21 And the buck, the he-goat—the king of Greece
In Daniel’s first vision, the second and third kingdoms are represented by vicious beasts – a bear and a leopard. In this vision, they are represented by more tame animals – the ram and the he-goat. Rabbi Yitzchak Abrabanel explains that the first vision depicts the empires’ objective strength, while the second vision portrays how these kingdoms treated the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The Persian-Median empire, as well as the Greeks, were extremely powerful nations who conquered the entire known world at the time. Despite their might, these nations dealt relatively kindly with the Children of Israel. During Persian-Median rule, Cyrus encouraged the Jews to return to Israel. Darius allowed the completion of the Temple’s construction and Xerxes provided material to help this cause. Alexander the Great, the first ruler of Greece, retreated peacefully from Yerushalayim. Only later, under the rule of Antiochus, did the Jews really begin to suffer.