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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Analysis of the Chapter
This chapter contains a portion of those things which the angel said were written in "the scripture of truth," and which he came to disclose to Daniel. The revelation also embraces the twelfth chapter, and the two comprise the last recorded communication that was made to Daniel. The revelation which is made in these chapters not only embraces a large portion of history of interest to the Jewish people of ancient times, and designed to give instruction as to the important events that would pertain to their nation, but also, in its progress, alludes to important periods in the future as marking decisive eras in the world's history, and contains hints as to what would occur down to the end of all things.
The chapter before us embraces the following definitely marked periods:
I. The succession of kings in Persia to the time of a mighty king who should arouse all the strength of his kingdom to make war on Greece - referring doubtless to Xerxes, Daniel 11:1-2. Of those kings in Persia there would be three - three so prominent as to deserve notice in the rapid glance at future events - Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis.
II. After this succession of kings, one would stand up or appear who would be characterized as ruling "with great dominion," and "'according to his will," Daniel 11:3. The dominion evidently would pass into his hand, and he would be distinguished from all that went before him. There can be no doubt, from the connection, and from what is said in Daniel 11:4, that the reference here is to Alexander the Great.
III. The state of the empire after the death of this mighty king, Daniel 11:4. His kingdom would be broken, and would be divided into four parts - referring doubtless to the division of the empire of Alexander after his death.
IV. The history then proceeds to notice the events that would pertain to two of these portions of the empire - the conflicts between the king of the south, and the king of the north - or between Egypt and Syria, Daniel 11:5-19. This portion of the history embraces, in detail, an account of the policy, the negotiations, and the wars of Antiochus the Great, until the time of his death. These kingdoms are particularly referred to, probably because their conflicts would affect the holy land, and pertain ultimately to the history of religion, and its establishment and triumph in the world. In the notice of these two sovereignties, there is considerable detail - so much so that the principal events could have been readily anticipated by those who were in possession of the writings of Daniel. The destiny of the other two portions of the empire of Alexander did not particularly affect the history of religion, or pertain to the holy land, and therefore they are not introduced. In a particular manner, the history of Antiochus the Great is traced with great minuteness in this portion of the prophecy, because his doings had a special bearing on the Jewish nation, and were connected with the progress of religion. The commentary on this portion of the chapter will show that the leading events are traced as accurately as would be a summary of the history made out after the transactions had occurred.
V. A brief reference to the successor of Antiochus the Great, Seleucus IV, Daniel 11:20. As he occupied the throne, however, but for a short period, and as his doings did not particularly affect the condition of the Hebrew people, or the interests of religion, and his reign was, in every respect, unimportant, it is passed over with only a slight notice.
VI. The life and acts of Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel 11:21-45. There can be no doubt that this portion of the chapter refers to Antiochus, and it contains a full detail of his character and of his doings. The account here, though without naming him, is just such as would have been given by one who should have written after the events had occurred, and there is no more difficulty in applying the description in this chapter to him now than there would have been in such a historical narrative. The revelation is made, evidently, to prepare the Jewish people for these fearful events, and these heavy trials, in their history; and also to assure them that more glorious results would follow, and that deliverance would succeed these calamities. In the troubles which Antiochus would bring upon the Hebrew people, it was important that they should have before them a record containing the great outlines of what would occur, and the assurance of ultimate triumph - just as it is important for us now in the trials which we have reason to anticipate in this life, to have before us in the Bible the permanent record that we shall yet find deliverance. In the twelfth chapter, therefore, the angel directs the mind onward to brighter times, and assures Daniel that there would be a day of rejoicing.
1Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
Also I-- I the angel. He alludes here to what he had done on a former occasion to promote the interests of the Hebrew people, and to secure those arrangements which were necessary for their welfare - particularly in the favorable disposition of Darius the Mede toward them.
In the first year of Darius the Mede - See the notes at Daniel 5:31. He does not here state the things contemplated or done by Darius in which he had confirmed or strengthened him, but there can be no reasonable doubt that it was the purpose which he had conceived to restore the Jews to their own land, and to give them permission to rebuild their city and temple. Compare Daniel 9:1. It was in that year that Daniel offered his solemn prayer, as recorded in Daniel 9; in that year that, according to the time predicted by Jeremiah (see Daniel 9:2), the captivity would terminate; and in that year that an influence from above led the mind of the Persian king to contemplate the restoration of the captive people. Cyrus was, indeed, the one through whom the edict for their return was promulgated; but as he reigned under his uncle Cyaxares or Darius, and as Cyaxares was the source of authority, it is evident that his mind must have been influenced to grant this favor, and it is to this that the angel here refers.
I stood to confirm and to strengthen him - Compare the notes at Daniel 10:13. It would seem that the mind of Darius was not wholly decided; that there were adverse influences bearing on it: that there were probably counselors of his realm who advised against the proposed measures, and the angel here says that he stood by him, and confirmed him in his purpose, and secured the execution of his benevolent plan. Who can prove that an angel may not exert an influence on the heart of kings? And what class of men is there who, when they intend to do good and right, are more likely to have their purposes changed by evil counselors than kings; and who are there that more need a heavenly influence to confirm their design to do right?
2And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
And now will I show thee the truth - That is, the truth about events that are to occur in the future, and which will accord with what is written in "the scripture of truth," Daniel 10:21.
Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia - The phrase "stand up means that there would be so many kings in Persia; that is, there would be three before the fourth which he mentions. The same Hebrew word here rendered "stand up" (עמד ‛âmad) occurs in Daniel 11:3-4, Daniel 11:6-8, Daniel 11:14-16 (twice), Daniel 11:17, Daniel 11:20, Daniel 11:21, Daniel 11:25, Daniel 11:31; also in Daniel 12:1, Daniel 12:13. In Daniel 11:8 it is rendered "continue;" in Daniel 11:15, "withstand;" in the other cases, "stand up," or simply stand. Gesenius says it is a word used particularly of a new prince, as in Daniel 8:23; Daniel 11:2-3, Daniel 11:20. He does not say that there would be none afterward, but he evidently designs to touch on the great and leading events respecting the Persian empire, so far as they would affect the Hebrew people, and so far as they would constitute prominent points in the history of the world. He does not, therefore, go into all the details respecting the history, nor does he mention all the kings that would reign. The prominent, the material points, would be the reign of those three kings; then the reign of the fourth, or Xerxes, as his mad expedition to Greece would lay the real foundation for the invasion of Persia by Alexander, and the overthrow of the Persian empire; then the life and conquests of Alexander, and then the wars consequent on the division of his empire at his death. The "three kings" here referred to were Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis. As this communication was made in the third year of Cyrus Daniel 10:1, these would be the next in order; and by the fourth is undoubtedly meant Xerxes. There were several kings of Persia after Xerxes, as Artaxerxes Longimanus, Darius Nothus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, Ochus, and Darius Codomanus, but these are not enumerated because the real ground of the invasion of Alexander, the thing which connected him with the affairs of Pcrsia, did not occur in their reign, but it was the invasion of Greece by Xerxes.
And the fourth shall be far richer than they all - That is, Xerxes - for he was the fourth in order, and the description here agrees entirely with him. He would of course inherit the wealth accumulated by these kings, and it is here implied that he would increase that wealth, or that, in some way, he would possess more than they all combined. The wealth of this king is mentioned here probably because the magnificence and glory of an Oriental monarch was estimated in a considerable degree by his possessions, and because his riches enabled him to accomplish his expedition into Greece. Some idea of the treasures of Xerxes may be obtained by considering,
(a) That Cyrus had collected a vast amount of wealth by the conquest of Lydia, and the subjugation of Croesus, its rich king, by the conquest of Asia Miner, of Armenia, and of Babylon - for it is said respecting him, "I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places," Isaiah 45:3 : see the note at that passage.
(b) That Cambyses increased that wealth which he inherited from Cyrus by his victories, and by his plundering the temples wherever he came. A single case occurring in his conquests may illustrate the amount of wealth which was accumulated. On his return from Thebes, in Egypt, he caused all the temples in that city to be pillaged and burned to the ground. But he saved from the flames gold to the amount of three hundred talents, and silver to the amount of two thousand and five hundred talents. He is also said to have carried away the famous circle of gold that encompassed the tomb of king Ozymandias, being three hundred and sixty-five cubits in circumference, on which were represented all the motions of the several constellations. - Universal History, iv. 140.
(c) This was further increased by the conquests of Darius Hystaspis, and by his heavy taxes on the people. So burdensome were these taxes, that he was called by the Persians, ὁ κάπηλος ho kapēlos - the "merchant," or "hoarder." One of the first acts of Darius was to divide his kingdom into provinces for the purpose of raising tribute. "During the reign of Cyrus, and indeed of Cambyses, there were no specific tributes; but presents were made to the sovereign. On account of these and similar innovations, the Persians call Darius a merchant, Cambyses a despot, but Cyrus a parent." - Herodotus, b. iii. lxxxix. A full account of the taxation of the kingdom, and the amount of the revenue under Darius, may be seen in Herodotus, b. iii. xc. - xcvi. The sum of the tribute under Darius, according to Herodotus, was fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty talents. Besides this sum received from regular taxation, Herodotus enumerates a great amount of gold and silver, and other valuable things, which Darius was accustomed to receive annually from the Ethiopians, from the people of Colchis, from the Arabians, and from India. All this vast wealth was inherited by Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius, and the "fourth king" here referred to.
Xerxes was full four years in making provision for his celebrated expedition into Greece. Of the amount of his forces, and his preparation, a full account may be seen in Herodotus, b. vii. Of his wealth Justin makes this remark: "Si regem, spectes, divitias, non ducem, laudes: quarum tanta copia in regno ejus fuit, ut cum flumina multgtudine consumerentur, opes tamen regioe superessent." - Hist. ii. 10. Compare Diod. Sic. x. c. 3; Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxiii. 10; AEl. xiii. 3; Herod. iii. 96; vii. 27-29. In the city of Celaenae, Herodotus says, there lived a man named Pythius, son of Atys, a native of Lydia, who entertained Xerxes and all his army with great magnificence, and who farther engaged to supply the king with money for the war. Xerxes on this was induced to inquire of his Persian attendants who this Pythius was, and what were the resources which enabled him to make these offers. "It is the same," they replied, "who presented your father Darius with a plane-tree and a vine of gold, and who, next to yourself, is the richest of mankind." - Herod. vii. 27.
And by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia - That is, all his kingdom. He was enabled to do this by his great wealth - collecting and equipping, probably, the largest army that was ever assembled. The expedition of Xerxes against Greece is too well known to need to be detailed here, and no one can fail to see the applicability of this description to that invasion. Four years were spent in preparing for this expedition, and the forces that constituted the army were gathered out of all parts of the vast empire of Xerxes, embracing, as was then supposed, all the habitable world except Greece. According to Justin, the army was composed of seven hundred thousand of his own, and three hundred thousand auxiliaries. Diodorus Siculus makes it to be about three hundred thousand men; Prideaux, from Herodotus and others, computes it to have amounted, putting all his forces by sea and land together, to two million six hundred and forty-one thousand six hundred and ten men; and he adds that the servants, eunuchs, suttlers, and such persons as followed the camp, made as manymore, so that the whole number that followed Xerxes could not have been less than five million. - Connexions, pt. i. b. iv. vol. i. p. 410. Grotius reckons his forces at five million two hundred and eighty-two thousand. These immense numbers justify the expression here, and show with what propriety it is applied to the hosts of Xerxes. On the supposition that this was written after the event, and that it was history instead of prophecy, this would be the very language which would be employed.
3And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
And a mighty king shall stand up - So far as the language here is concerned, it is not said whether this would be in Persia, as a successor of the "fourth king" Daniel 11:2, or whether it would be in some other part of the world. The next verse, however, shows that the reference is to Alexander the Great - for to no other one is it applicable. There were several monarchs of Persia, indeed, that succeeded Xerxes before the kingdom was invaded and subdued by Alexander (see the notes at Daniel 11:2), and these are here entirely passed over without being alluded to. It must be admitted, that one who should have read this prophecy before the events had occurred would have inferred naturally that this "mighty king that should stand up" would appeal immediately after the "fourth, "and probably that he would be his successor in the realm; but it may be remarked,
(a) that the language here is not inconsistent with the facts in the case - it being literally true that such a "mighty king" did "stand up" who "ruled with great dominion, and according to his will;"
(b) that there was no necessity in the prophetic history of referring to the acts of these intermediate kings of Persia, since they did not contribute at all to the result - it being well known that the reason alleged by Alexander for his invasion of the Persian empire was not anything which they had done, but the wrongs sustained by Greece in consequence of the invasion by Xerxes and his predecessor. The real succession of events in the case was that last invasion of Greece by Xerxes, and the consequent invasion of the Persian empire by Alexander. It was these transactions which the angel evidently meant to connect together, and hence, all that was intermediate was omitted. Thus Alexander, in his letter to Darius, says: "Your ancestors entered into Macedonia, and the other parts of Greece, and did us damage, when they had received no affront from us as the cause of it; and now I, created general of the Grecians, provoked by you, and desirous of avenging the injury done by the Persians, have passed over into Asia." - Arrian, Exped. Alex. i.2.
That shall rule with great dominion - That shall have a wide and extended empire. The language here would apply to any of the monarchs of Persia that succeeded Xerxes, but it would be more strictly applicable to Alexander the Great than to any prince of ancient or modern times. The whole world, except Greece, was supposed to be subject to the power of Persia; and it was one of the leading and avowed purposes of Darius and Xerxes in invading Greece, by adding that to their empire, to have the earth under their control. When, therefore, Alexander had conquered Persia, it was supposed that he had subdued the world; nor was it an unnatural feeling that, having done this, he, whose sole principle of action was ambition, should sit down and weep because there were no more worlds to conquer. In fact, he then swayed a scepter more extended and mighty than any before him had done, and it is with peculiar propriety that the language here is used in regard to him.
And do according to his will - Would be an arbitrary prince. This also was true of the Persian kings, and of Oriental despots generally; but it was eminently so of Alexander - who, in subduing kingdoms, conquering mighty armies, controlling the million under his sway, laying the foundations of cities, and newly arranging the boundaries of empires, seemed to consult only his own will, and felt that everything was to be subordinate to it. It is said that this passage was shown to Alexander by the high priest of the Jews, and that these prophecies did much to conciliate his favor toward the Hebrew people.
4And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
And when he shall stand up - In the might and power of his kingdom. When his power shall be fully established. I understand this, with Rosenmuller and Havernick, as meaning, when he shall be at the height of his authority and power, then his kingdom would be broken up. The reference is, undoubtedly, to the sudden death of Alexander; and the sense is, that his empire would not "gradually" diminish and decay, but that some event would occur, the effect of which would be to rend it into four parts.
His kingdom shall be broken - To wit, by his death. The language is such as is properly applicable to this, and indeed implies this, for it is said that it would not be "to his posterity" - an event which might be naturally expected to occur; or, in other words, the allusion to his posterity is such language as would be employed on the supposition that the reference here is to his death.
And shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven - Into four parts. For the remarkable fulfillment of this prediction, see the notes at Daniel 8:8.
And not to his posterity - See also the notes at Daniel 8:8.
Nor according to his dominion which he ruled - This was literally true of the division of the empire. No one of his successors ever obtained as wide a dominion as he did himself.
For his kingdom shall be plucked up - By his death. This does not naturally mean that it would be by "conquest," for it is said that it would be "divided toward the four winds of heaven" - language which is not properly expressive of conquest. All that is implied is met by the supposition, that at his decease the kingdom which had been founded by him, and which had been sustained by his valor and political wisdom, would fall to pieces.
Even for others beside those - That is, to others beside those to whom it should be at first divided. Literally, "exclusively, or to the exclusion of" - מלבד mı̂llebad. The word "those" refers to his posterity; and the meaning is, that the process of division would not stop with them, or that the four portions of the empire, as thus divided, would not remain in their hands, or pass to their posterity. There would be other changes and other divisions; and it was not to be expected that just four, and no more, empires would grow out of the one which had been founded, or that when that one should be divided into four parts, that partition would always continue. There would be other divisions, and other princes besides those who first obtained the empire would come in, and the process of division would ultimately be carried much farther. It is unnecessary to say that this occurred in the empire founded by Alexander. It was, soon after his death, separated into four parts, but at no distant period this arrangement was broken up, and all traces of the empire, as established by him, or as divided among his four successors, wholly disappeared.
5And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
And the king of the south - The angel here leaves the general history of the empire, and confines himself, in his predictions, to two parts of it - the kingdom of the south, and the kingdom of the north; or the kingdoms to the north and the south of Palestine - that of Syria and that of Egypt; or that of the Seleucidae, and that of the Ptolemies. The reason why he does this is not stated, but it is, doubtless, because the events pertaining to these kingdoms would particularly affect the Jewish people, and be properly connected with sacred history. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:7-8. The "king of the south" here is, undoubtedly, the king of Egypt. This part of the empire was obtained by Ptolemy, and was in the hands of his successors until Egypt was subdued by the Romans. Between the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria long and bloody wars prevailed, and the prospective history of these wars it is the design of the angel here to trace. As the remainder of the chapter refers to these two dynasties, until the death of the great persecutor, Antiochus Epiphanes, and as the events referred to were very important in history, and as introductory to what was to follow in the world, it may be useful here, in order to a clear exposition of the whole chapter, to present a list of these two lines of princes. It is necessary only to premise, that the death of Alexander the Great occurred 323 b.c.; that of his brother, Philip Aridaeus, b.c. 316; that of his son, Alexander AEgus, by Roxana, 309 b.c.; and that a short time after this (about 306 b.c.), the chief Macedonian governors and princes assumed the royal title. The following list of the succession of the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies - or the kings of the north and the south - of Syria and Egypt, is copied from Elliott "on the Apocalypse," iv. 123: -
Lines of Princes of Ptolemy and Seleucidae B.C. The Ptolemies B.C. The Seleucidae 323 Ptolemy Soter, son of Ptolemy Lagus, governor of Egypt. 323 Seleucus Nicator, governor of Babylon 312 Seleucus Nicator recovers Babylon, and the Era of the Seleucidae begins 306 Ptolemy Soter takes the title of king of Egypt 284 Ptolemy Philadelphus.(It wasunder him that the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament was made.) 280 Antiochus Soter 261 Antiochus Theus 246 Ptolemy Euergetes 246 Seleucus Callinicus 226 Seleucus Ceraunus 225 Antiochus the Great 221 Ptolemy Philopator 204 Ptolemy Epiphanes 187 Seleucus Philopator 180 Ptolemy Philometor 175 Antiochus Epiphanes 164 Antiochus Eupator, of the the Romans assume guardianship "After this, fourteen mere Syrian kings reigned, in reigns of short and uncertain power, until Syria was occupied and formed into a Roman province under Pompey, at which time the era of the Seleucidae properly ends; and six more Egyptian princes, to the death of Ptolemy Auletes, who dying b.c. 51, left his kingdom and children to Roman guardianship - one of these children being the 'Cleopatra' so famous in the histories of Caesar and Anthony." - Elliott, "ut supra."
Shall be strong - This is in accordance with the wellknown fact. One of the most powerful of those monarchies, if not "the" most powerful, was Egypt.
And one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him - The meaning of this passage is, that there would be "one of his princes," that is, of the princes of Alexander, who would be more mighty than the one who obtained Egypt, or the south, and that he would have a more extended dominion. The reference is, doubtless, to Seleucus Nicator, or the conqueror. In the division of the empire he obtained Syria, Babylonia, Media, Susiana, Armenia, a part of Cappadocia, and Cilicia, and his kingdom stretched from the Hellespont to the Indus. See the notes at Daniel 8:8. Compare Arrian, "Exp. Alex." vii. 22; Appian, p. 618; and Lengerke, in loc. The proper translation of this passage probably would be, "And the king of the south shall be mighty. But from among his princes (the princes of Alexander) also there shall be (one) who shall be mightier than he, and he shall reign, and his dominion shall be a great dominion." It was of these two dominions that the angel spake, and hence follows, through the remainder of the chapter, the history pertaining to them and their successors. Seleucus Nicator reigned from 312 b.c. to 280 b.c. - or thirty-two years. In his time lived Berosus and Megasthenes, referred to in the Introduction to Daniel 4.
6And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
And in the end of years - In the future periods of the history of these two kingdoms. The event here referred to did not occur during the lives of these two kings, Seleucus Nicator and Ptolemy Soter, but in the reign of their successors, Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antiochus Theos or Theus. The phrase "the end of years" would well denote such a future period. The Vulgate renders it, "after the end of years;" that is, after many years have elapsed. The meaning is "after a certain course or lapse of years." The word "end" in Daniel (קץ qêts) often seems to refer to a time when a predicted event would be fulfilled, whether near or remote; whether it would be really the "end" or "termination" of an empire or of the world, or whether it would be succeeded by other events. It would be the end of that matter - of the thing predicted; and in this sense the word seems to be employed here. Compare Daniel 8:17; Daniel 11:13 (margin), and Daniel 12:13. "They shall join themselves together." Margin, "associate." The meaning is, that there would be an alliance formed, or an attempt made, to unite the two kingdoms more closely by a marriage between different persons of the royal families. The word "they" refers to the two sovereigns of Egypt and Syria - the south and the north.
For the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement - Margin, "rights." The Hebrew word properly means rectitudes or rights (in the plural מישׁרים mēyshârı̂ym); but here it seems to be used in the sense of "peace," or an alliance. The act of making peace was regarded as an act of "justice," or doing "right," and hence, the word came to be used in the sense of making an alliance or compact. This idea we should now express by saying that the design was "to make things right or straight" - as if they were wrong and crooked before, giving occasion to discord, and misunderstanding, and wars. The intention, now was to establish peace on a permanent basis. The compact here referred to was one formed between Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theos, king of Syria. Ptolemy, in order to bring a war in which he was engaged to an end, and to restore peace, gave his daughter in marriage to Antiochus, in hopes of establishing a permanent peace and alliance between the two kingdoms. One of the conditions of this alliance was, that Antiochus should divorce his former wife Laodice, and that the children of that former wife should be excluded from the succession to the throne. In this way Ptolemy hoped that the kingdom of Syria might become ultimately attached to that of Egypt, if there should be children by the marriage of Berenice with Antiochus. Ptolemy, however, died two years after this marriage was consummated, and Antiochus restored again his former wife Laodice, and put away Berenice, but was himself murdered by Laodice, who feared the fickleness of her husband. The officers of the court of Syria then planned the death of Berenice and her children, but she fled with them to Daphne, and was there put to death, with her children. - Appian, c. lxv.; Lengerke, in loc. She was put to death by poison. See Gill, in loc.
But she shall not retain the power of the arm - The word "retain" here is the same as in Daniel 10:8, "I retained no strength." The word "arm" is a word of frequent use in the Old Testament, both in the singular and plural, to denote "strength, power," whether of an individual or an army. So Job 22:8, "A man of arm," that is, "strength;" Genesis 49:24, "The arms (power) of his hands were made strong by the God of Jacob." Compare Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 62:8. It is frequently used in this chapter in the sense of "strength," or "power." See Daniel 11:15, Daniel 11:22, Daniel 11:31. This alliance was formed with the hope that the succession might be in her. She was, however, as stated above, with her children, put to death. While queen of Syria, she, of course, had power, and had the prospect of succeeding to the supreme authority.
Neither shall he stand - The king of the south; to wit, Egypt. That is, he would not prosper in his ambitious purpose of bringing Syria, by this marriage alliance, under his control.
Nor his arm - What he regarded as his strength, and in which he placed reliance, as one does on his arm in accomplishing any design. The word "arm" here is used in the sense of "help," or "alliance;" that is, that on which he depended for the stability of his empire.
But she shall be given up - That is, she shall be given up to death, to wit, by the command of Laodice.
And they that brought her - That is, those who conducted her to Daphne; or these who came with her into Syria, and who were her attendants and friends. Of course they would be surrendered or delivered up when she was put to death.
And he that begat her - Margin, "or, whom she brought forth." The margin expresses the sense more correctly. The Latin Vulgate is, "adolescentes ejus." The Greek, ἡ νεάνις hē neanis. So the Syriac. The Hebrew (והילרה vehayoledâh) will admit of this construction. The article in the word has the force of a relative, and is connected with the suffix, giving it a relative signification. See Ewald, as quoted by Lengerke, in loc. According to the present pointing, indeed, the literal meaning would be, "and he who begat her;" but this pointing is not authoritative. Dathe, Bertholdt, Dereser, DeWette, and Rosenmuller suppose that the reading should be והילדה vehayaledâh. Then the sense would be, "her child," or "her offspring." Lengerke and Ewald, however, suppose that this idea is implied in the present reading of the text, and that no change is necessary. The obvious meaning is, that she and her child, or her offspring, would be thus surrendered. The matter of fact was, that her little son was slain with her. See Prideaux's "Connexions," iii.120.
And he that stregnthened her in these times - It is not known who is here referred to. Doubtless, on such an occasion, she would have some one who would be a confidential counselor or adviser, and, whoever that was, he would be likely to be cut off with her.
7But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
But out of a branch of her roots - Compare the notes at Isaiah 11:1. The meaning is, that as a branch or shoot springs up from a tree that is decayed and fallen, so there would spring up some one of her family who would come to avenge her. That is, a person is indicated who would be of a common stock with her; or, in other words, if taken strictly, a brother. The phrase "branch of her roots" is somewhat peculiar. The words "her roots" must refer to her family; that from which she sprang. We speak thus of the root or "stem" of a family or house; and the meaning here is, not that one of her "descendants," or one that should "spring from her," would thus come, but a branch of the same family; a branch springing from the same root or stem. The fact in the case - a fact to which there is undoubted reference here - is, that her revenge was undertaken by Ptolemy Euergetes, her brother. As soon as he heard of the calamities that had come upon her, he hastened with a great force out of Egypt to defend and rescue her. But it was in vain. She and her son were cut off before he could arrive for her help, but, in connection with an army which had come from Asia Minor for the same purpose, he undertook to avenge her death. He made himself master not only of Syria and Cilicia, but passed over the Euphrates, and brought all under subjection to him as far as the river Tigris. Having done this, he marched back to Egypt, taking with him vast treasures. See Prideaux, "Con." iii. 120, 121.
Shall one stand up - Shall one arise. See the notes at Daniel 11:2. That is, there shall "be" one who shall appear for that purpose.
In his estate - Margin, "place," or "office." The word כן kên means, properly, stand, station, place; then base, pedestal. Compare Daniel 11:20-21, Daniel 11:38. See also Genesis 40:13 : "Within three days shall Pharaoh restore thee to thy p ace." And again, Genesis 41:13, "to my office." Here it means, in his place or stead. That is, he would take the place which his father would naturally occupy - the place of protector, or defender, or avenger. Ptolemy Philadelphus, her father, in fact died before she was put to death; and his death was the cause of the calamities that came upon her, for as long as he lived his power would be dreaded. But when he was dead, Ptolemy Euergetes stood up in his place as her defender and avenger.
Which shall come with an an army - As Ptolemy Euergetes did. See above. He came out of Egypt as soon as he heard of these calamities, to defend her.
And shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north - His strongholds. In fact, he overran Syria and Cilicia, and extended his ravages to the Euphrates and the Tigris. Polybius (Hist. l. 5) says that he entered into the fortified cities of Syria, and took them. In the passage before us, the singular - "fortress" - is put for the plural.
And shall deal against them - Shall "act" against them. Literally, "shall do against them."
And shall prevail - Shall overcome, or subdue them. As seen above, he took possession of no small part of the kingdom of Syria. He was recalled home by a sedition in Egypt; and had it not been for this (Justin says), he would have made himself master of the whole kingdom of Seleucus.
8And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.
And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods ... - That is, their idols. Jerome (in loc.) says that Ptolemy took with him, on his return, forty thousand talents of silver, a vast number of precious vessels of gold, and images to the number of two thousand four hundred, among which were many of the Egyptian idols, which Cambyses, on his conquering Egypt, had carried into Persia. These Ptolemy restored to the temple to which they belonged, and by this much endeared himself to his people. It was on account of the service which he thus rendered to his country that he was called Euergetes, that is, the Benefactor. - Prideaux, iii. 121. In 1631, an inscription on an ancient marble in honor of this action of Euergetes was published by Allatius: "Sacris quoe ab Egypto Persoe abstulerant receptis, ac cum reliqua congesta gaza in Egyptum relatis." - Wintle.
And he shall continue more years than the king of the north - Ptolemy Euergetes survived Seleucus about four years. - Prideaux, iii. 122. He reigned twenty-five years.
9So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom - That is, into the kingdom of the north, or the kingdom of Syria. This verse seems to be a summary of what had been said about his invading Syria. He would come, on account of the wrongs done to his sister, into the kingdom of the north, and would then return again to his own land.
10But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
But his sons shall be stirred up - Margin, "or, war." The Hebrew word (יתגרוּ yı̂theggârû - from גרה gârâh) means, to be rough; then, in Piel, to excite, stir up; and then, in Hithpa, to excite one's self, to be stirred up to anger, to make war upon .... Here it means, according to Gesenius (Lexicon), that they would be excited or angry. The reference here, according to Lengerke, Maurer, Gill, and others, is to the son of the king of the north, Seleucus Callinicus. He was killed, according to Justin (lib. xxvii. c. 3), by a fall from his horse. The war with Egypt was continued by his two sons, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great, until the death of the former, when it was prosecuted by Antiochus alone. See Prideaux, iii. 136. Seleueus Ceraunus succeeded his father - assuming the name of Ceraunus, or the Thunderer; but, dying soon, he left the crown to his brother, Antiochus the Great, then only fifteen years of age, by whom the war with Egypt was successfully prosecuted.
And shall assemble a multitude of great forces - Against Egypt. In such a war they would naturally summon to their aid all the forces which they could command.
And one shall certainly come - There is a change here in the Hebrew from the plural to the singular number, as is indicated in our translation by the insertion of the word "one." The fact was, that the war was prosecuted by Antiochus the Great alone. Seleucus died in the third year of his reign, in Phrygia; being slain, according to one report (Jerome), through the treachery of Nicanor and Apaturius, or, according to another, was poisoned. See Prideaux, iii. 137. Antiochus succeeded to the empire, and prosecuted the war. This was done for the purpose of recovering Syria from the dominion of Ptolemy of Egypt, and was conducted with various degrees of success, until the whole was brought under the control of Antiochus. See Prideaux, "Con." iii. 138, following.
And overflow - Like a torrent.
And pass through - Through the land - not the land of Egypt, but every part of Syria.
Then shall he return - Margin, "be stirred up again." The margin is the more correct rendering - the Hebrew word being the same as what is used in the first part of the verse. The idea would seem to be, that he would be aroused or stirred up after a defeat, and would on the second expedition enter into the strongholds or fortresses of the land. This was literally true. Ptolemy marched into Syria with an army of seventy thousand foot, five thousand horse, and seventy-three elephants, and was met by Antiochus with an army of sixty-two thousand foot, six thousand horse, and one hundred and two elephants. In a great battle, Antiochus was defeated, and returned to Antioch (Prideaux, Con. iii.-151-153); but the following year he again rallied his forces, and invaded Syria, took Gaza and the other strongholds, and subdued the whole country of Syria (including Palestine) to himself. - Prideaux, "Con." iii. 176, 177.
Even to his fortress - The singular for the plural; perhaps using the word "fortress" by way of eminence, as denoting his "strongest" fortress, and, therefore, including all the others.
11And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
And the king of the south shall be moved with choler - With anger. That is, that his provinces were invaded, and his strongholds taken - referring particularly to the invasion of Syria and Palestine as mentioned in the previous verse, and the attempt to wrest them out of the hands of the king of Egypt. Nothing would be more natural than that this should occur.
And shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north - There were frequent and almost constant wars between these two kingdoms. Yet the reference here is to Ptolemy Philopator, who succeeded Ptolemy Euergetes in Egypt, and who was exasperated at the conduct of Antiochus in invading Syria and Palestine. He assembled an army, and marched with it to Raphia, where he met Antiochus, and a battle was fought.
And he shall set forth a great multitude - This army of Ptolemy, according to Polybius, chapter 86, was led through Arabia Petraea, and consisted of seventy thousand infantry, and five thousand cavalry, and seventy-three elephants. The army of Antiochus consisted of sixty-two thousand foot, six thousand horse, and a hundred and two elephants. - Prideaux, Con. iii.151.
But the multitude shall be given into his hand - That is, the multitude of the army of Antiochus. In the battle that was fought at Raphia, Ptolemy gained the victory. Ten thousand of the army of Antiochus were slain, four thousand taken prisoners, and with the remainder of his forces Antiochus retreated to Antioch. - Prideaux, iii. 152, 153. Perhaps also the expression "the multitude shall be given into his hand" may refer not only to the army, and his victory over it, but to the fact that the inhabitants of Coelo-Syria and Palestine would hasten to submit themselves to him. After this great battle at Raphia, and the retreat of Antiochus, we are told that the cities of Coelo-Syria and Palestine vied with each other in submitting themselves to Ptolemy. They had been long under the government of Egypt, and preferred that to the government of Antiochus. They had submitted to Antiochus only by force, and that force now being removed, they returned readily to the authority of their old masters. Had Ptolemy possessed energy and capacity for government, it would have been easy to have retained the control over these countries.
12And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
And when he hath takcn away the multitude - When he has subdued them. Lengerke, however, renders this, "And the multitude shall lift themselves up," supposing it to refer to the fact that the people as well as the king would be excited. But the more natural interpretation is that in our common version, and the same sense of the word (נשׂא nâss'â') occurs in Ames Daniel 4:2.
His heart shall be lifted up - That is, he will be proud and self-confident. The reference is to the effect which would be produced on him after his defeat of Antiochus. He was a man naturally indolent and effeminate - a most profligate and vicious prince. - Prideaux, Con. iii. 146. The effect of such a victory would be to lift him up with pride.
And he shall cast down many ten thousands - Or, rather, the meaning is, "he has cast down many myriads." The object seems to be to give a reason why his heart was lifted up. The fact that he had been thus successful is the reason which is assigned, and this effect of a great victory has not been uncommon in the world.
But he shall not be strengthened by it - He was wholly given up to luxury, sloth, and voluptuousness, and returned immediately after his victory into Egypt, and surrendered himself up to the enjoyment of his pleasures. The consequence was, that he, by his conduct, excited some of his people to rebellion, and greatly weakened himself in the affections and confidence of the rest. After the victory, he concluded a truce with Antiochus; and the result was, that his people, who expected much more from him, and supposed that he would have prosecuted the war, became dissatisfied with his conduct, and broke out into rebellion. As a matter of fact, he was less strong in the confidence and affections of his people, and would have been less able to wage a war, after his triumph over Antiochus than he was before. See Prideaux, Con. iii. 155, following.
13For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.
For the king of the north shall return - That is, he shall come again into the regions of Coelo-Syria and Palestine, to recover them if possible from the power of the Egyptian king.
And shall set forth a multitude greater than the former - Than he had in the former war when he was defeated. The fact was, that Antiochus, in this expedition, brought with him the forces with which he had successfully invaded the East, and the army had been raised for that purpose, and was much larger than that with which he had formerly attacked Ptolemy. See Prideaux, iii.-163-165.
And shall certainly come after certain years with a great army - This occurred 203 b.c., fourteen years after the former war. - Prideaux, iii.19.
With much riches - Obtained in his conquests in Parthia and other portions of the East. See Prideaux, "ut supra." The "history" of Antiochus corresponds precisely with the statement here.
14And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south - Against the king of Egypt. That is, not only Antiochus the Great, who was always opposed to him, and who was constantly waging war with him, but also others with whom he would be particularly involved, or who would be opposed to him. The reference is especially to Philip, king of Macedon, and to Agathocles, who excited a rebellion against him in Egypt. See Jerome on Daniel 11; Polybius, xv. 20; Lengerke, "in loc.;" and Prideaux, iii. 198. Antiochus and Philip of Macedon entered into an agreement to invade the dominions of Ptolemy Epiphanes, and to divide them between themselves. At the same time a treasonable plot was laid against the life of Ptolemy by Scopas the AEtolian (Polyb. xvii.), who had under his command the army of the Egyptians, and who designed to take advantage of the youth of the king, and seize upon the throne. This project was defeated by the vigilance of Aristomenes, the prime minister. - Prideaux, iii. 181. See also the account of the conspiracy of Agathocles, and his sister Agathoclea, against Ptolemy, when an infant, in Prideaux, iii. 168, seq. These facts fully accord with what is said in the passage before us.
Also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves - The angel here turns to Daniel, and states what would be done in these circumstances by his own people - the Jews. It is to be remembered that, in these times, they were alternately under the dominion of the Egyptian and the Syrian monarchs - of Ptolemy and of Antiochus. The principal seat of the wars between Syria and Egypt was Palestine - the border land between them and Judea, therefore, often changed masters. Ptolemy Philopater had subdued Coelo-Syria and Palestine, and Ptolemy Epiphanes came into possession of them when he ascended the throne. But the angel now says that a portion of his people would take occasion, from the weakness of the youthful monarch of Egypt, and the conspiracies in his own kingdom, and the foreign combinations against him, to attempt to throw off his authority, and to become independent. That part of the people who would attempt to do this is designated in the common translation as "the robbers of thy people."
This, however, is scarcely a correct version, and does not properly indicate the persons that would be engaged in the plot. The marginal reading is, "children of robbers." The Latin Vulgate, "filii quoque proevaricatorum populi tui." The Greek renders it οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν λοιμῶν τοῦ λαοῦ σοῦ hoi huioi tōn loimōn tou laou sou - "the sons of the pests of thy people." Lengerke renders it, "the most powerful people of thy nation " - die gewaltsam sten Leute deines Volkes. The Hebrew word (פריץ pârı̂yts) means, properly, "rending, ravenous" - as of wild beasts, Isaiah 35:9; and then "violent, rapacious; an opressor, robber." - Gesenius, Lexicon The reference here seems to be to the mighty ones of the nation; the chiefs, or rulers - but a name is given them that would properly denote their character for oppression and rapacity.
It would seem - what is indeed probable from the circumstances of the case - that the nation was not only subject to this foreign authority, but that those who were placed over it, under that foreign authority, and who were probably mainly of their own people, were also themselves tyrannical and oppressive in their character. These subordinate rulers, however, preferred the authority of Antiochus to that of Ptolemy, and on the occasion of his return from the conquests of Coelo-Syria and Samaria, they met him, and professed submission to him. - Josephus, "Ant." b. xii. ch. iii. Section 3. "The Jews," says Josephus, "of their own accord, went over to him, and received him into the city (Jerusalem), and gave plentiful provision to his army, and to his elephants, and readily assisted him when he besieged the garrison which was in the citadel of Jerusalem." On this occasion, Josephus says that Antiochus bestowed many favors on the Jews; wrote letters to the generals of his armies commending their conduct; published a decree respecting the piety of the Jewish people, and sent an epistle to Ptolemy, stating what he had done for them, and what he desired should be further done. See these statments and letters in Josephus, "ut supra."
To establish the vision - That is, to bring to pass what is seen in the vision, and what had been predicted in regard to the Hebrew people. Their conduct in this matter shall have an important bearing on the fulfillment of the prophecy pertaining to that people - shall be one of the links in the chain of events securing its accomplishment. The angel does not say that it was a part of their "design" to "establish the vision," but that that would be the "result" of what they did. No doubt their conduct in this matter had a great influence on the series of events that contributed to the accomplishment of that prediction. Lengerke supposes that the "vision" here refers to that spoken of in Daniel 9:24.
But they shall fall - They shall not succeed in the object which they have in view. Their conduct in the affair will indeed promote the fulfillment of the "vision," but it will not secure the ends which "they" have in view - perhaps their own aggrandizement; or the favor of Antiochus toward themselves; or the permanent separation of the nation from the Egyptian rule, or the hope that their country might become independent altogether. As a matter of fact, Antiochus subsequently, on his return from Egypt (198 b.c.), took Jerusalem, and killed many of the party of Ptolemy, who had given themselves up to him, though he showed particular favor to those who had adhered to the observance of their own law, and could not be prevailed on by the king of Egypt to apostatize from it. - Prideaux, iii. 198; Jos. "Ant." b. xii. ch. v. Section 3.
15So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
So the king of the north - Antiochus the Great.
Shall come - Shall come again into these provinces. This occurred after he had vanquished the army of the Egyptians at Paneas. He then took Sidon and Patara, and made himself master of the whole country. - Prideaux, iii. 198. This happened 198 b.c. Scopas, a general of Ptolemy, had been sent by him into Coelo-Syria and Palestine, with a view of subjecting those countries again to Egyptian rule. He was met by Antiochus at Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, and defeated, and fled with ten thousand men to Sidon, where he fortified himself, but from where he was expelled by Antiochus.
And cast up a mount - A fortification. That is, he shall so entrench himself that he cannot be dislodged. The reference does not seem to be to any particular fortification, but to the general fact that he would so entrench or fortify himself that he would make his conquests secure.
And take the most fenced cities - Margin, "city of munitions" Hebrew, "city of fortifications." The singular is used here in a collective sense; or perhaps there is allusion particularly to Sidon, where Scopas entrenched himself, making it as strong as possible.
And the arms of the south shall not withstand - Shall not be able to resist him, or to dislodge him. The power of the Egyptian forces shall not be sufficient to remove him from his entrenchments. The Hebrew is, "shall not stand;" that is, shall not stand against him, or maintain their position in his advances. The word "arms" (זרעות zero‛ôth) is used here in the sense of "heroes, warriors, commanders," as in Ezekiel 30:22, Ezekiel 30:24-25.
Neither his chosen people - Margin, "the people of his choices." Those whom he had selected or chosen to carry on the war - referring, perhaps, to the fact that he would deem it necessary to employ picked men, or to send the choicest of his forces in order to withstand Antiochus. Such an occurrence is in every way probable. To illustrate this, it is only necessary to say that the Egyptians sent three of their most distin. guished generals, with a select army, to deliver Sidon - Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus. - Lengerke, in loc.
Neither shall there be any stregnth to withstand - No forces which the Egyptians can employ. In other words, Antiochus would carry all before him. This is in strict accordance with the history. When Scopas was defeated by Antiochus at Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, he fled and entrenched himself in Sidon. There he was followed and besieged by Antiochus. The king of Egypt sent the three generals above named, with a choice army, to endeavor to deliver Scopas, but they were unable. Scopas was obliged to surrender, in consequence of famine, and the chosen forces returned to Egypt.
16But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.
But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will - That is, Antiochus, who "came against" Scopas, the Egyptian general, sent out by Ptolemy. The idea is, that Antiochus would be entirely successful in the countries of Coelo-Syria and Palestine. As a matter of fact, as stated above, he drove Scopas out of those regions, and compelled him to take refuge in Sidon, and then besieged him, and compelled him to surrender.
And none shall stand before him - That is, neither the forces that Scopas had under his command, nor the choice and select armies sent out from Egypt for his rescue, under Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus.
And he shall stand in the glorious land - Margin, "the land of ornament," or, "goodly land." The Hebrew word צבי tsebı̂y means, properly, "splendor, beauty," and was given to the holy land, or Palestine, on account of its beauty, as being a land of beauty or fertility. Compare Ezekiel 20:6, Ezekiel 20:15; Ezekiel 26:12; Jeremiah 3:19, and Daniel 11:45. The meaning here is, that he would obtain possession of the land of Israel, and that no one would be able to stand against him. By the defeat of Scopas, and of the forces sent to aid him when entrenched in Sidon, this was accomplished.
Which by his hand shall be consumed - As would be natural when his invading army should pass through it. The angel does not seem to refer to any "wanton." destruction of the land, but only to what would necessarily occur in its invasion, and in securing provision for the wants of an army. As a matter of fact, Antiochus did many things to conciliate the favor of the Jews, and granted to them many privileges. See Josephus, "Ant." b. xii. ch. iii. Section 3. But, according to Josephus, these favors were granted subsequently to the wars with Scopas, and as a compensation for the injuries which their country had suffered in the wars which had been waged between him and Scopas within their borders. The following language of Josephus respecting the effect of these wars will justify and explain what is here said by the angel: "Now it happened that, in the reign of Antiochus the Great, who ruled over all Asia, the Jews, as well as the inhabitants of Coelo-Syria, suffered greatly, and their land was sorely harassed, for while he was at war with Ptolemy Philopater, and with his son who was called "Epiphanes," it fell out that these nations were equally sufferers, both when he was beaten, and when he beat the others; so that they were like to a ship in a storm, which is tossed by the waves on both sides; and just thus were they in their situation in the middle between Antiochus' prosperity and its change to adversity." - "Ant." b. xii. ch. iii. Section 3.
When Antiochus was successful against Scopas, however, the Jews "went over to him," says Josephus, "of their own accord," and received him into Jerusalem; and as a consequence of the aid which they rendered him, he granted them the favors and privileges mentioned by Josephus. The immediate consequence of the wars, however, was extended desolation; and it is this to which the passage before us refers. Lengerke, however, supposes that the meaning of the passage is, that the whole land would be subdued under him. The Hebrew word rendered "shall be consumed" - כלה kâlâh - means, properly, "to be completed, finished, closed;" then to be "consumed, wasted, spent, destroyed;" Genesis 21:15; 1 Kings 17:16; Jeremiah 16:4; Ezekiel 5:13. The destruction caused by invading and conflicting armies in a land would answer to all that is properly implied in the use of the word.
17He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
He shall also set his face - Antiochus. That is, he shall resolve or determine. To set one's face in any direction is to determine to go there. The meaning here is, that Antiochus, flushed with success, and resolved to push his conquests to the utmost, would make use of all the forces at his disposal to overcome the Egyptians, and to bring them into subjection to his sway. He had driven Scopas from Coelo-Syria, and from Sidon; had subjected the land of Palestine to his control; and now nothing seemed to prevent his extending his conquests to the utmost limits of his ambition. The reference here is to a "purpose" of Antiochus to wage war with Egypt, and to invade it. From that purpose, however, he was turned, as we shall see, by his wars in Asia Minor; and he endeavored, as stated in the subsequent part of the verse, if not to subdue Egypt and to bring it under his control, at least to neutralize it so that it would not interfere with his wars with the Romans. If his attention had not been diverted, however, by more promising or more brilliant prospects in another direction, he would undoubtedly have made an immediate descent on Egypt itself.
With the strength of his whole kingdom - Summoning all the forces of his empire. This would seem to be necessary in invading Egypt, and in the purpose to dethrone and humble his great rival. The armies which he had employed had been sufficient to drive Scopas out of Palestine, and to subdue that country; but obviously stronger forces would be necessary in carrying the war into Egypt, and attempting a foreign conquest.
And upright ones with him - Margin, "or, much uprightness, or, equal conditions." The Hebrew word used here (ישׁר yâshâr) means, properly, "straight, right;" then what is straight or upright - applied to persons, denoting their righteousness or integrity, Job 1:1, Job 1:8; Psalm 11:7. By way of eminence it is applied to the Jewish people, as being a righteous or upright people - the people of God - and is language which a Hebrew would naturally apply to his own nation. In this sense it is undoubtedly used here, to denote not the "pious" portion, but the nation as such; and the meaning is, that, in addition to those whom he could muster from his own kingdom, Antiochus would expect to be accompanied with large numbers of the Hebrews - the "upright" people - in his invasion of Egypt. This he might anticipate from two causes,
(a) the fact that they had already rendered him so much aid, and showed themselves so friendly, as stated by Josephus in the passage referred to above; and
(b) from the benefits which he had granted to them, which furnished a reasonable presumption that they would not withhold their aid in his further attempts to subdue Egypt.
The Jews might hope at least that if Egypt were subjected to the Syrian scepter, their own country, lying between the two, would be at peace, and that they would no more be harassed by its being made the seat of wars - the battlefield of two great contending powers. It was not without reason, therefore, that Antiochus anticipated that in his invasion of Egypt he would be accompanied and assisted by not a few of the Hebrew people. As this is the natural and obvious meaning of the passage, and accords entirely with the sense of the Hebrew word, it is unnecessary to attempt to prove that the marginal reading is not correct. "Thus shall he do." That is, in the manner which is immediately specified. He shall adopt the policy there stated - by giving his daughter in marriage with an Egyptian prince - to accomplish the ends which he has in view. The reference here is to another stroke of policy, made necessary by his new wars with the Romans, and by the diversion of his forces, in consequence, in a new direction. The "natural" step after the defeat of the Egyptian armies in Palestine, would have been to carly his conquests at once into Egypt, and this he appears to have contemplated. But, in the meantime, he became engaged in wars in another quarter - with the Romans; and, as Ptolemy in such circumstances would be likely to unite with the Romans against Antiochus, in order to bind the Egyptians to himself, and to neutralize them in these wars, this alliance was proposed and formed by which he connected his own family with the royal family in Egypt by marriage.
And he shall give him - Give to Ptolemy. Antiochus would seek to form a matrimonial alliance that would, for the time at least, secure the neutrality or the friendship of the Egyptians.
The daughter of women - The reference here is undoubtedly to his own daughter, Cleopatra. The historical facts in the case, as stated by Lengerke (in loc.), are these: After Antiochus had subdued Coelo-Syria and Palestine, he became involved in wars with the Romans in Asia Minor, in order to extend the kingdom of Syria to the limits which it had in the time of Seleucus Nicator. In order to carry on his designs in that quarter, however, it became necessary to secure the neutrality or the cooperation of Egypt, for Ptolemy would naturally, in such circumstances, favor the Romans in their wars with Antiochus. Antiochus, therefore, negotiated a marriage between his daughter Cleopatra and Ptolemy Epiphanes, the son of Ptolemy Philopater, then thirteen years of age. The valuable consideration in the view of Ptolemy in this marriage was, that, as a dowry, Coelo-Syria, Samaria, Judea, and Phoenicia were given to her. - Josephus, "Ant." b. xii. ch. 4, Section 1. This agreement or contract of marriage was entered into immediately after the defeat of Scopas, 197 b.c. The contract was, that the marriage should take place as soon as the parties were of suitable age, and that Coelo-Syria and Palestine should be given as a dowry. The marriage took place 193 b.c., when Antiochus was making preparation for his wars with the Romans. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," ch. ix. Section 89, p. 246. In this way the neutrality of the king of Egypt was secured, while Antiochus prosecuted his work against the Romans. The appellation here bestowed on Cleopatra - "daughter of women" - seems to have been given to her by way of eminence, as an heiress to the crown, or a princess, or as the principal one among the women of the land. There can be no doubt of its reference to her.
Corrupting her - Margin, as in Hebrew, "to corrupt." There has been some doubt, however, in regard to the word "her," in this place, whether it refers to Cleopatra or to the kingdom of Egypt. Rosenmuller, Prideaux, J. D. Michaelis, Bertholdt, Dereser, and others, refer it to Cleopatra, and suppose that it means that Antiochus had instilled into her mind evil principles, in order that she might betray her husband, and that thus, by the aid of her arts, he might obtain possession of Egypt. On the other hand, Lengerke, Maurer, DeWette, Havernick, Elliott ("Apocalypse," iv. 130), and others, suppose that the reference is to Egypt, and that the meaning is, that Antiochus was disposed to enter into this alliance with a view of influencing the Egyptian government not to unite with the Romans and oppose him; that is, that it was on his part an artful device to turn away the Egyptian government from its true interest, and to accomplish his own purposes.
The latter agrees best with the connection, though the Hebrew will admit of either construction. As a matter of fact, "both" these objects seem to have been aimed at - for it was equally true that in this way he sought to turn away the Egyptian government and kingdom from its true interests, and that in making use of his daughter to carry out this project, it was expected that she would employ artifice to influence her future husband. This arrangement was the more necessary, as, in consequence of the fame which the Romans had acquired in overcoming Hannibal, the Egyptians had applied to them for protection and aid in their wars with Antiochus, and offered them, as a consideration, the guardianship of young Ptolemy. This offer the Romans accepted with joy, and sent M. Aemilius Lepidus to Alexandria as guardian of the young king of Egypt. - Polybius, xv. 20; Appian, "Syriac." i. 1; Livy, xxxi. 14; xxx. 19; Justin, xxx. 2, 3; xxxi. 1. The whole was, on the part of Antiochus, a stroke of policy; and it could not be accomplished without what has been found necessary in political devices - the employment of bribery or corruption. It accords well with the character of Antiochus to suppose that he would not hesitate to instil into the mind of his daughter all his own views of policy.
But she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him - That is, she would become attached to her husband, and would favor his interests rather than the crafty designs of her father. On this passage, Jerome remarks: "Antiochus, desirous not only of possessing Syria, Cilicia, and Lycia, and the other provinces which belonged to Ptolemy, but of extending also his own scepter over Egypt itself, betrothed his own daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy, and promised to give as a dowry Coelo-Syria and Judea. But he could not obtain possession of Egypt in this way, because Ptolemy Epiphanes, perceiving his design, acted with caution, and because Cleopatra favored the purposes of her husband rather than those of her father." So Jahn ("Heb. Commonwealth," p. 246) says: "He indulged the hope that when his daughter became queen of Egypt, she would bring the kingdom under his influence; but she proved more faithful to her husband than to her father."
18After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.
After this shall he turn his face unto the isles - The islands of the Mediterranean, particularly those in the neighborhood of and constituting a part of Greece. This he did in his wars with the Romans, for the Roman power then comprehended that part of the world, and it was the design of Antiochus, as already remarked, to extend the limits of his empire as far as it was at the time of Seleucus Nicator. This occurred after the defeat of Scopas, for, having given his daughter in marriage to Ptolemy, he supposed that he had guarded himself from any interference in his wars with the Romans from the Egyptians, and sent two of his sons with an army by land to Sardis, and he himself with a great fleet sailed at the same time into the AEgean Sea, and took many of the islands in that sea. The war which was waged between Antiochus and the Romans lasted for three years, and ended in the defeat of Antiochus, and in the subjugation of the Syrian kingdom to the Roman power, though, when it became a Roman province, it continued to be governed by its own kings. In this war, Hannibal, general of the Carthaginians, was desirous that Antiochus should unite with him in carrying his arms into Italy, with the hope that together they would be able to overcome the Romans; but Antiochus preferred to confine his operations to Asia Minor and the maritime parts of Greece; and the consequence of this, and of the luxury and indolence into which he sank, was his ultimate overthrow. Compare Jahn's "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 246-249.
And shall take many - Many of those islands; many portions of the maritime country of Asia Minor and Greece. As a matter of fact, during this war which he waged, he became possessed of Ephesus, AEtolia, the island of Euboea, where, in the year 191 b.c. he married Eubia, a young lady of great beauty, and gave himself up for a long time to festivity and amusements - and then entrenched himself strongly at the pass of Thermopyloe. Afterward, when driven from that stronghold, he sailed to the Thracian Chersonesus, and fortified Sestos, Abydos, and other places, and, in fact, during these military expeditions, obtained the mastery of no inconsiderable part of the maritime portions of Greece. The prophecy was strictly fulfilled, that he should "take many" of those places.
But a prince for his own behalf - A Roman prince, or a leader of the Roman armies. The reference is to Lucius Cornelius Scipio, called Scipio Asiaticus, in contradistinction from Publius Cornelius Scipio, called "Africanus, from his conquest over Hannibal and the Carthaginians. The Scipio here referred to received the name "Asiaticus," on account of his victories in the East, and particularly in this war with Antiochus. He was a brother of Scipio Africanus, and had accompanied him in his expedition into Spain and Africa. After his return he was rewarded with the consulship for his services to the state, and was empowered to attack Antiochus, who had declared war against the Romans. In this war he was prosperous, and succeeded in retrieving the honor of the Roman name, and in wiping off the reproach which the Roman armies had suffered from the conquests of Antiochus. When it is said that he would do this "for his own, behalf," the meaning is, doubtless, that he would engage in the enterprise for his own glory, or to secure fame for himself. It was not the love of justice, or the love of country, but it was to secure for himself a public triumph - perhaps hoping, by subduing Antiochus, to obtain one equal to what his brother had received after his wars with Hannibal. The motive here ascribed to this "prince" was so common in the leaders of the Roman armies, and has been so generally prevalent among mankind, that there can be no hesitation in supposing that it was accurately ascribed to this conqueror, Seipio, and that the enterprise in which he embarked in opposing Antiochus was primarily "on his own behalf."
Shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease - The reproach offered by Antiochus to the Roman power. The margin is, "his reproach." The reference is to the disagrace brought on the Roman armies by the conquests of Antiochus. Antiochus had seemed to mock that power; he had engaged in war with the conquerors of nations; he had gained victories, and thus appeared to insult the majesty of the Roman name. All this was turned back again, or caused to cease, by the victories of Scipio.
Without his own reproach - Without any reproach to himself - any discomfiture - any imputation of want of skill or valor. That is, he would so conduct the war as to secure an untarnished reputation. This was in all respects true of Scipio.
He shall cause it to turn upon him - The reproach or shame which he seemed to cast upon the Romans would return upon himself. This occurred in the successive defeats of Antiochus in several engagements by water and by land, and in his final and complete overthrow at the battle of Magnesia (190 b.c.) by Scipio. After being several times overcome by the Romans, and vainly sueing for peace, "Antiochus lost all presence of mind, and withdrew his garrisons from all the cities on the Hellespont, and, in his precipitate flight, left all his military stores behind him. He renewed his attempts to enter into negotiations for peace, but when he was required to relinquish all his possessions west of the Taurus, and defray the expenses of the war, he resolved to try his fortune once more in a battle by land. Antiochus brought into the field seventy thousand infantry, twelve thousand cavalry, and a great number of camels, elephants, and chariots armed with scythes. To these the Romans could oppose but thirty thousand men, and yet they gained a decisive victory. The Romans lost only three hundred and twenty-five men; while, of the forces of Antiochus, fifty thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, and fifteen elephants were left dead on the field, fifteen hundred men were made prisoners, and the king himself with great difficulty made his escape to Sardis. He now humbly sued for peace, and it was granted on the terms with which he had formerly refused compliance - that he should surrender all his possessions west of the Taurus, and that he should defray the expenses of the war. He further obligated himself to keep no elephants, and not more than twelve ships. To secure the performance of these conditions, the Romans required him to deliver up twelve hostages of their own selection, among whom was his son Antiochus, afterward surnamed Epiphanes." - Jahn's "Hebrew Commonwealth," pp. 248, 249.
19Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land - The strong fortifications of his own land - for the Hebrew word is in the plural. This he would do, of course, for protection. He would cease his attempts at conquest, and endeavor to find security in his own fortresses. As a matter of fact, after this defeat, Antiochus, in order to replenish his exhausted coffers, and to find the means of meeting the claims of the Romans, went into certain provinces of his empire. He attempted no other foreign wars, but sought security in his own dominions.
But he shall stumble and fall, and not be found - He died in an attempt to plunder the temple of Elymais. In this he provoked the people to an insurrection, and was slain, together with the soldiers who were with him. What was his "motive" for plundering that temple is uncertain, whether it was to meet the demands of the Romans, or whether it was avarice (Justin, xxxii. 2); but it was in this way that he "stumbled and fell," and passed away. - Jerome, "Com. in loc.;" Diod. Sic., "Fragmenta," xxvi. 30, 49; Justin, xxxii. 2; Strabo, p. 744. The prophecy respecting him terminates here, and the particulars specified are as minute and accurate as if it had been written "after" the event. Indeed, the whole account is just such as one would prepare now who should undertake to express in a brief compass the principal events in the life of Antiochus the Great.
20Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
Then shall stand up in his estate - Margin, "or, place." The word used - כן kên - means, properly, "a stand, station, place" (see the notes at Daniel 11:7), and the idea here is simply that he would be succeeded in the kingdom by such an one. His successor would have the character and destiny which the prophecy proceeds to specify.
A raiser of taxes - One who shall be mainly characterized for this; that is, whose government would be distinguished eminently by his efforts to wring money out of the people. The Hebrew word נגשׂ nâgas' means, properly, to urge, to drive, to impel, and it is then applied to one who urges or presses a debtor, or who exacts tribute of a people. The word is used with reference to "money" exactions in Deuteronomy 15:2-3 : "Every creditor that lendeth aught unto his neighbor, he shall not exact it of his neighbor or of his brother. Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again." So in 2 Kings 23:35, Jehoiakim taxed the land "to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land." In Zechariah 9:8 - "And no oppressor shall pass through them anymore" - the same word is used. Here it denotes one who would be mainly characterized by his extorting tribute of his people, or using means to obtain money.
In the glory of the kingdom - The word "in" here is supplied by our translators. Lengerke renders it, "who shall suffer the tax-gatherer (eintreiber) to go through the glory of the kingdom." This is evidently the meaning. He would lay the richest and most productive parts of his kingdom under contribution. This might be either to pay a debt contracted by a former monarch; or to carry on war; or to obtain the means of luxurious indulgence; or for purposes of magnificence and display.
But within few days - A comparatively brief period. Compare Genesis 27:44; Genesis 29:20. It is impossible from this to determine the precise period which he would live, but the language would leave the impression that his would be a short reign.
He shall be destroyed - Hebrew, "shall be broken. That is, his power shall be broken." he shall cease to reign. It would not be certainly inferred from this that he would be put to death, or would die at that time, but that his reign then would come to an end, though it might be in some peaceful way.
Neither in anger - Hebrew, "angers." Not in any tumult or excitement, or by any rage of his subjects. This would certainly imply that his death would be a peaceful death.
Nor in battle - As many kings fell. The description would indicate a reign of peace, and one whose end would be peace, but who would have but a brief reign. The reference here is, undoubtedly, to Seleucus Philopator, the oldest son of Antiochus the Great, and his immediate successor. The fulfillment of the prediction is seen in the following facts in regard to him:
(a) As an exactor of tribute. He was bound to pay the tribute which his father had agreed to pay to the Romans. This tribute amounted to a thousand talents annually, and consequently made it necessary for him to apply his energies to the raising of that sum. The Jewish talent of silver was equal to (in the 1850's) about 1,505 of American money (about 339 British pounds), and, consequently, this thousand talents, of the Jewish talent of silver here referred to, was equal to (in 1850's) about a million and a half dollars. The Greek talent of silver was worth (in 1850's) 1,055 of American money (about 238 British pounds), and, if this was the talent, the sum would be about one million dollars. To raise this, in addition to the ordinary expenses of the government, would require an effort, and, as this was continued from year to year, and as Seleucus was known for little else, it was not unnatural that the should be characterized as the "raiser of taxes."
(b) Especially would this be true in the estimation of the Jews, for no small part of these taxes, or this revenue, was derived from Palestine. Seleucus, taking advantage of the disturbances in Egypt, had reunited to the Syrian crown the provinces of Coelo-Syria and Palestine, which his father Antiochus the Great had given in dowry to his daughter Cleopatra, who was married to Ptolemy Epiphanes. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 255. In the year 176 b.c., Simon, a Benjamite, who became governor of the temple at Jerusalem, the farmer of the revenues of the Egyptian kings, attempted to make some innovations, which were steadily resisted by the high priest Onias III Simon, in anger, went to Apollonius, governor of Coelo-Syria under Seleucus, and informed him of the great treasures contained in the temple. "The king," says Jahn ("Heb. Commonwealth," p. 255), "through a friend to the Jews, and though he had regularly made disbursements, according to the directions of his father, toward sustaining the expenses of the sacrifices at Jerusalem, determined to apply to his own use the treasures of the temple, for the annual payment of one thousand talents to the Romans had reduced his finances to a very low ebb. With the design, therefore, of replenishing his exhausted treasury, he sent Heliodorus to Jerusalem to plunder the temple." Compare Appian, "Syriac." xlv. 60-65. See also Prideaux, "Con." iii. 208; 2 Macc. 3. Besides this, the necessity of raising so much revenue would give him the character of a "raiser of taxes."
(c) This was done in what might properly be termed "the glory of his kingdom," or in what would, in the language of an Hebrew, be so called - Coelo-Syria and Palestine. To the eye of a Hebrew this was the glory of all lands, and the Jewish writers were accustomed to designate it by some such appellation. Compare the notes at Daniel 11:16.
(d) His reign continued but a short time - answering to what is here said, that it would be for a "few days." In fact, he reigned but eleven or twelve years, and that, compared with the long reign of Antiochus his father - thirty-seven years - was a brief period.
(e) The manner of his death. He did not fall in battle, nor was he cut off in a popular tumult. He was, in fact, poisoned. In the eleventh year of his reign, he sent his only son Demetrius as hostage to Rome, and released his brother Antiochus, who had resided twelve years in that city. As the heir to the crown was now out of the way, Heliodorus sought to raise himself to the royal dignity, and for this purpose he destroyed the king by poison. He attached a large party to his interests, and finally gained over those who were in favor of submitting to the king of Egypt. Antiochus Epiphanes received notice of these transactions while he was at Athens on his return from Rome. He applied himself to Eumenes, king of Pergamos, whom, with his brother Attalus, he easily induced to espouse his cause, and they, with the help of a part of the Syrians, deprived Heliodorus of his usurped authority. Thus, in the year 175 b.c., Antiochus Epiphanes quietly ascended the throne, while the lawful heir, Demetrius, was absent at Rome. Appian, "Syriac." lxv. 60-65; Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," ch. ix. Section 91. The remainder of this chapter is occupied with a detail of the crimes, the cruelties, and the oppressions of Antiochus Epiphanes, or Antiochus IV.
21And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
And in his estate - In his place. See the notes at Daniel 11:7, Daniel 11:20.
Shall stand up a vile person - There shall succeed to the throne. The reference here is to Antiochus Epiphanes, who reigned from 175 b.c. to 163 b.c. The epithet "vile" here given him was one which his subsequent history showed was eminently appropriate to him in all respects, as a man and as a prince. The Hebrew word rendered "vile" - נבזה nı̂bezeh - properly means one despised or held in contempt, Isaiah 49:7; Psalm 22:6 (7). The meaning here is, that he was one who deserved to be despised, and who would be held in contempt - a man of a low, base, contemptible character. Vulgate, "despectus;" Greek ἐξουδενώθη exoudenōthē; Luther, "ein ungeachteter." Never were terms better applied to a man than these to Antiochus Epiphanes - both before and after his ascension to the throne. The manner of his seizing upon the crown is stated above. He was surnamed Epiphanes (Ἐπιφανής Epiphanēs), "the Illustrious," because, if we believe Appian, he vindicated the claims of the royal family against the usurpations of the foreigner Heliodorus. He also bore the name Θεός Theos, "God," which is still seen upon his coins.
But by his subjects he was called Epimanes (Ἐπιμανής Epimanēs) "the Insane," instead of "Epiphanes" - a name which he much more richly deserved. The following statement from Jahn (Heb. Commonwealth, ch. x. Section 92) will show with what propriety the term "vile" was applied to him: "He often lounged like a mere idler about the streets of Antioch, attended by two or three servants, and not deigning to look at the nobles; would talk with goldsmiths and other mechanics in their workshops, engage in idle and trifling conversation with the lowest of the people, and mingle in the society of foreigners and men of the vilest character. He was not ashamed to go into the dissipated circles of the young, to drink and carouse with them, and to assist their merriment by singing songs and playing on his flute. He often appeared in the public baths among the common people, engaging in every kind of foolish jest, without the least regard to the dignity of his station and character. Not unfrequently he was seen drunk in the streets, when he would throw his money. about, and practice various other fooleries equally extravagant. He would parade the streets of his capital in a long robe, and with a garland of roses upon his head: and if any attempted to pass by or to follow him, he would pelt them with stones, which he carried concealed under his garments," etc. See also Appian in "Syriacis," 45:70-75; Eusebius in "Chronicon;" Athenaeus, lib. v. p. 193; x. p. 438; Livy, xli. 20; Diod. Sic. "Frag." xxvi. 65; xxxi. 7, 8; Prideaux, "Con." iii.-212-214; 1 Macc. 1:9.
To whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom - That is, the people. Or, in other words, it should not be conferred on him by any law or act of the nation, or in any regular succession or claim. The true heir to the crown was Demetrius, who was absent at Rome. On him the crown would have regularly devolved; but in his absence it was obtained by Antiochus by arts which he practiced, and not by any voluntary grant of the nation.
But he shall come in peaceably - Quietly; without war or force; by art rather than by arms. Gesenius (Lexicon) renders the phrase used here "in the midst of security;" that is, unexpectedly, suddenly. The idea seems to be, that he would do it when the nation was not expecting it, or apprehending it; when they would be taken off their guard, and he would "steal a march upon them." All this accorded with fact. The nation seemed not to have anticipated that Antiochus would attempt to ascend the throne on the death of his brother. But he quietly left Rome - while Demetrius, his nephew, the true heir to the crown, remained there; came to Athens, and learned what was the state of things in Syria, where Heliodorus had usurped the authority; made an agreement with the king of Pergamos to aid him, and, by the assistance of a part of the Syrians who were opposed to the usurper Heliodorus, deprived him of the authority, and himself took possession of the crown. No one seemed to suspect that this was his aim, or to doubt that his object was to remove an usurper that his nephew might be placed on the throne.
And obtain the kingdom by flatteries - חלקלקות chălaqelaqqôth - "lubricitates, blanditioe." "The word," says Elliott (Rev. iv. 133), "has a double sense, being applied both to the slipperiness of a path, and the slipperiness or flattering and deceit of the tongue." In the former sense it occurs in Psalm 35:6, "Let their way be dark and slippery;" in the latter, its originating verb, Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 7:5, "The stranger that flattereth or dissembleth with his words;" and Proverbs 29:5, "A man that flattereth (or dissembleth to) his neighbor." In this latter sense the verbal seems to be used both here and in the verses Daniel 11:32, Daniel 11:34 below: "arts of dissimulation." - Gesenius. The probable meaning here is, that he would obtain the throne by acts of dissembling, and by promises of rewards and offices. Such promises he would probably make to Eumenes, king of Pergamos, and to the Syrian nobles and people who espoused his cause. It would not be difficult to secure the aid of multitudes in this way, and the character of Antiochus was just such as to permit him to use any of these arts to accomplish his ends. Perhaps, also, he might hold out the hope of aid from the Romans, with whom he had long lived. It was no uncommon thing for an usurper to make his way by flattering certain classes of a people, and by promises of largesses, of offices, and of the removal of oppressive burdens. Compare Prideaux, "Con." iii. 212. See also the case of Absalom in 2 Samuel 15:1-6.
22And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
And with the arms of a flood - The refercnce here is to some mighty invasion of some country by Antiochus, which would sweep everything before him. There seems to be some confusion of metaphor in the phrase, "the arms of a flood." The idea in the mind of the writer appears to have been this: He saw an invasion of some country by hosts of men under the command of Antiochus. This it was not unnatural to compare with an "inundation of waters" spreading over a land. See Isaiah 8:8. Nor was it altogether unnatural to speak of an inundation as having "arms" extending far and near; sweeping everything to itself, or carrying it away. Thus we speak of an arm of the sea, an arm of a river, etc. In this manner the inundation - the invasion - seemed to spread itself out like waters, sweeping all away.
Shall they be overflown, from before him - The prophet does not specify "who" they would be that would thus be overthrown. Some have supposed that the reference is to the Hebrews, but the more correct interpretation is what refers it to Egypt, See the notes at Daniel 11:25. As a matter of fact, the forces of Heliodorus, the forces of the Hebrews, and the forces of the Egyptians, were alike broken and scattered before him. The eye of the prophet, however, seems rather here to be on the invasion of Egypt, which was one of the earliest and most prominent acts of Antiochus, and into the history of which the prophet goes most into detail.
Yea, also the prince of the covenant - He also shall be broken and overcome. There has been some diversity of opinion as to who is meant by "the prince of the covenant" here. Many suppose that it is the high priest of the Jews, as being the chief prince or ruler under the "covenant" which God made with them, or among the "covenant" people. But this appellation is not elsewhere given to the Jewish high priest, nor is it such as could with much propriety be applied to him. The reference is rather to the king of Egypt, with whom a covenant or compact had been made by Antiochus the Great, and who was supposed to be united, therefore, to the Syrians by a solemn treaty. See Lengerke, in loc. So Elliott, "Rev." iv. 133.
23And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
And after the league made with him - A treaty of peace and concord. The great subject of contention between the kings of Syria and Egypt was the possession of Coelo-Syria and Palestine. This they often endeavored to settle by conquest as each of them claimed that in the original partition of the empire of Alexander this portion of the empire fell to himself; and often they endeavored to settle it by treaty. Consequently this region was constantly passing from one to the other, and was also the seat of frequent wars. The "league" here referred to seems to have been that respecting this country - file successive promises which had been made to the king of Egypt that Coelo-Syria and Palestine should be made over to him. These provinces had been secured to Ptolemy Lagus by the treaty made 301 b.c., and they had been again pledged by Antiochus the Great, in dowry, when his daughter Cleopatra should be made queen of Egypt. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 260. Antiochus Epiphanes, however, was by no means disposed to confirm this grant, and hence, the wars in which he was involved with the Egyptians.
He shall work deceitfully - In reference to the covenant or treaty above referred to. He shall endeavor to evade its claims; he shall refuse to comply with its conditions; he shall not deliver up the provinces according to the terms of the compact. The history accords exactly with this, for he did not intend to comply with the terms of the treaty, but sought every means to evade it, and finally waged a succession of bloody wars with Egypt. In reference to the terms of this treaty, and to secure their respective interests, both parties sent ambassadors to Rome to urge their claims before the Roman Senate. - Polybius, "Legat." Sections 78, 82; Jerome, "Com. in loc." As soon as Ptolemy Philometor had reached his fourteenth year, he was solemnly invested with the government; and ambassadors from all surrounding countries came to congatulate him on His accession to the throne. "On this occasion Antiochus sent to Egypt Apollonius, the son of Mnestheus, apparently to congratulate the king on his coronation, but with the real intention of sounding the purposes of the Egyptian court. When Apollonius, on has return, informed Antiochus that he was viewed as an enemy by the Egyptians, he immediately sailed to Joppa to survey his frontiers toward Egypt, and to put them in a state of defense." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth" p. 260; 2 Macc. 4:21.
The purpose of Antiochus was undoubtedly not to surrender Coelo-Syria and Palestine according to the treaties which had been made; and yet he designed to secure them if possible without an open rupture, and hence, his arts of diplomacy, or his efforts to evade compliance with the terms of the compact. Even when he had invaded Egypt, and had obtained possession of the king, Ptolemy Philometor, he still "pretended that he had come to Egypt solely for the good of king Ptolemy, to set the affairs of his kingdom in order for him; and Ptolemy found it expedient to act as though he really thought him his friend. But he must have seen," says Jahn, "that Antiochus, with all his professions of friendship, was not unmindful of spoil, for he plundered Egypt in every quarter." - "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 263.
For he shall come up - Come upon Egypt. The result would be war. Rather than surrender the provinces according to the treaty, he would ultimately invade Egypt, and carry war into its borders.
And shall become strong with a small people - The meaning of this seems to be, that at first his own forces would be small; that he would go up in such a way as not to excite suspicion, but that, either by an increase of his forces there, by uniting himself to confederates, by alluring the people by the promise of rewards, or by gradually taking one town after another and adding them to his dominions, he would become strong. Jahn (Heb. Commonwealth, p. 263) says, "with a small body of troops he made himself master of Memphis, and of all Egypt as far as Alexandria, almost without striking a blow." Compare Diod. Sic. xxvi. 75, 77; Jos. "Ant." xii. 5, 2. The fact in the case was, that Antiochus pretended in his invasion of Egypt to be the friend of the Egyptian king, and that he came to aid him, and to settle him finaly on the throne. By degrees, however, he became possessed of one town after another, and subdued one place after another, until he finally became possessed of the king himself, and had him entirely in his powcr.
24He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province - The margin is, "or, into the peaceable and fat." The version in the text, however, is the more correct, and the sense is, that he would do this "unexpectedly" (Lengerke, uvermuthet); he would make gradual and artful approaches until he had seized upon the best portions of the land. Compare Genesis 27:28, Genesis 27:39. The history is, that he went there with different professions than those of conquest, and one after another he took possession of the principal towns of Egypt. In his first invasion of that country, Diodorus Siculus and Josephus both say that Antiochus "availed himself of a mean artifice," without specifying what it was. Jahn says that probably it was that he pretended to come as the friend of Ptolemy. It was to this that the allusion is here, when it is said that he would "enter peaceably" - that is, with some pretence of peace or friendship, or with some false and flattering art. Josephus (Ant. xii. ch. v. Section 2) says of Antiochus, that "he came with great forces to Pelusium, and circumvented Ptolemy Philorector "by treachery," and seized upon Egypt." The fact stated by Diodorus and Josephus, that he took possession of Memphis and of all Egypt, as far as Alexandria, fully illustrates what is said here, that he would "enter upon the fattest places of the province." These were the most choice and fertile portions of Egypt."
And he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers - Which none of his predecessors have been able to do; to wit, in the conquest of Egypt. No one of them had it so completely in his possession; no one obtained from it so much spoil. There can be no doubt that such was the fact. The wars of his predecessors with the Egyptians had been mostly waged in Coelo-Syria and Palestine, for the possession of these provinces. Antiochus Epiphanes, however, at first took Pelusium, the key of Egypt, and then invaded Egypt itself, seized upon its strongest places, and made the king a captive. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 263. Compare 1 Macc. 1:16.
He shall scatter among them the prey ... - Among his followers. He shall reward them with the spoils of Egypt. Compare 1 Macc. 1:19: "Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt, and he took the spoils thereof.
And he shall forecast his devices - Margin, "think his thoughts." The margin is in accordance with the Hebrew. The meaning is, that he would form plans, or that this would be his aim. He would direct the war against the strongly-fortified places of Egypt.
Against the strongholds - Antiochus took possession of Pelusium, the key of Egypt; he seized upon Memphis, and he then laid siege to Alexandria, supposing that if that were reduced, the whole country would be his. - Jos. "Ant." b. xii. ch. v. Section 2.
Even for a time - Josephus (ut sup.) says that he was driven from Alexandria, and out of all Egypt, by the threatenings of the Romans, commanding him to let that country alone. There were other reasons also which, combined with this, induced him to retire from that country. He was greatly enraged by the effect which a report of his death had produced in Judea. It was said that all the Jews rejoiced at that report, and rose in rebellion; and he therefore resolved to inflict revenge on them, and left Egypt, and went to Jerusalem, and subdued it either by storm or by stratagem.
25And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.
And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army - This must refer to a subsequent invasion of Egypt by Antiochus. In the course of his reign he four times invaded that conntry with various degrees of success. In the first, he took Pelusium, and having placed a garrison there, retired into winter-quarters to Tyre. In the second, above referred to, he took Memphis and laid siege to Alexandria. The third invasion here referred to was after he had taken Jerusalem, and was caused by the fact that, as Ptolemy Philometor for was in the hands of Antiochus, the Egyptians had raised Ptolemy Physcon (the Gross) to the throne. This prince assumed the name of Euergetes II. The pretended object of Antiochus in this invasion (168 b.c.) was to support the claims of Ptolemy Philometor against the usurpation of his brother, but his real purpose was to subject the whole country to his own power. He defeated the Alexandrians by sea near Pelusium, and then drew up his land forces before the city of Alexandria. Ptolemy Physcon sent an embassy to Rome to solicit the protection of the Senate, and at the same time entered into negotiations of peace with Antiochus. The proposals were rejected; but when Antiochus perceived that the conquest of Alexandria would be difficult, he retired to Memphis, and pre tended to deliver up the kingdom to Ptolemy Philometor, and having left a strong garrison at Pelusium, he returned to Antioch. This invasion is thus de scribed by the author of the book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 1:17); "Wherefore he entered Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy." - Porphyry, as quoted by Scaliger; Polybius, Legat, Sections 81, 82, 84; Livy, xliv. 19; xlv. 11; Justin, xxxiv. 2; Prideaux, Con. iii.-232-235.
And the king of the south - Ptolemy Physcon, king of Egypt.
Shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army - To oppose Antiochus.
But he shall not stand - He shall not be able to resist him. His navy was defeated; Antiochus still held possession of Memphis, and laid siege to Alexandria.
For they shall forecast devices against him - Hebrew, "shall think thoughts" (see the notes at Daniel 11:24); that is, they shall form plans against him to defeat him. The reference here is to the invading forces, that they would form sagacious plans for the overthrow of the king of Egypt.
26Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him - They of his own family; they who are nourished at his table; they who are his cabinet counselors, and professed and confidential friends. The meaning is, that they would prove treacherous and unfaithful. This is by no means improbable. Antiochus was powerful, and had seized upon Pelusium, and upon Memphis, and upon the fairest portions of Egypt. He was also in possession of the person of the lawful king, and had a fair prospect of subduing the whole country. In these circumstances, nothing would be more natural than that the very inmates of the palace - the persons around the reigning king - should begin to doubt whether he could hold out, and should be disposed to make terms with the invader.
And his army shall overflow - The connection here requires us to understand this of the army of the king of Egypt. The meaning seems to be, that his forces would be great, and would spread themselves out like overflowing waters, but that not withstanding this many of them would be slain.
And many shall fall down slain - In battle. Not withstanding the army would be numerous, and would, as it were, spread over the land, still it would not be sufficient to keep out the invaders, but many of them would fall in the field. The account in 1 Macc. 1:18 is, that "Ptolemy was afraid of him (Antiochus) and fled; and many were wounded to death."
27And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief - Margin, "their hearts." The meaning is, that their hearts were set on some evil or unjust purpose. The reference here is, evidently, to Antiochus and Ptolemy Philometor, and the time alluded to is when Ptolemy was in the possession of Antiochus, and when they were together forming their plans. Antiochus invaded the country under pretenee of aiding Ptolemy and establishing him in the government, and for the same reason, under pretence of protecting him, he had him now in his possession. At first. also, it would seem that Ptolemy coincided with his plans, or was so far deceived by the acts of Antiochus as to believe in his friendship, and to unite with him in his schemes, for it is expressly said by the historians, as quoted above, that when Antiochus left Egypt, leaving Ptolemy at Memphis, and a strong garrison in Pelusium, Ptolemy began to see through his crafty designs, and to act accordingly. Until that time, however, he seems to have re garded the professions of Antiochus as sincere, and to have entered fully into his plans. To that fact there is allusion here; and the meaning is, that they were forming united schemes of evil - of conquests, and robbery, and oppression. The guiding spirit in this was undoubtedly Antiochus, but Ptolemy seems to have concurred in it.
And they shall speak lies at one table - At the same table. Ptolemy was a captive, and was entirely in the possession of Antiochus, but it was a matter of policy with the latter to hide from him as far as poossible the fact that he was a prisoner, and to treat him as a king. It is to be presumed, therefore, that he would do so, and that they would be seated at the same table; that is, that Ptolemy would be treated outwardly with the respect due to a king. In this familiar condition - in this state of apparently respectful and confidential intercourse - they would form their plans. Yet the devices of both would be "false" - or would be, in fact, "speak ing lies." Antiochus would be acting perfidiously throughout, endeavoring to impose on Ptolemy, and making promises, and giving assurances, which he knew to be false; and Ptolemy would be equally acting a deceitful part - entering into engagements which, perhaps, he did not intend to keep, and which would, at any rate, be soon violated. It is impossible now to know "how" he came into the hands of Antiochus - whether he surrendered himself in war; or whether he was persuaded to do it by the arts of his courtiers; or whether he was really deceived by Antiochus and supposed that he was his friend, and that his protection was necessary. On any of these suppositions it cannot be supposed that he would be very likely to be sincere in his transactions with Antiochus.
But it shall not prosper - The scheme con cocted, whatever it was, would not be successful. The plan of Antiochus was to obtain possession of the whole of Egypt, but in this he failed; and so far as Ptolemy entered into the scheme proposed by Antiochus, on pretence for the good of his country, it also failed. Whatever the purpose was, it was soon broken up by the fact that Antiochus left Egypt, and made war on Jerusalem.
For yet the end shall be at the time appointed - See Daniel 11:29. The end - the result - shall not be now, and in the manner contemplated by these two kings. It shall be at the time "appointed," to wit, by God, and in another manner. The whole case shall issue differently from what they design, and at the time which an over ruling Providence has designated. The "reason" implied here why they could not carry out their design was, that there was an "appointed time" when these affairs were to be determined, and that no purposes of theirs could be allowed to frustrate the higher counsels of the Most High.
28Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
Then shall he return into his land with great riches - Enriched with the spoils of Egypt. Having taken Memphis, and the fairest portions of Egypt, he would, of course, carry great wealth to his own country on his return. Thus it is said in 1 Macc. 1:19: "Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt, and he took the spoils thereof." The meaning here is, that he would "set out" to return to his own land. As a matter of fact, on his way he would pause to bring desolation on Jerusalem, as is intimated in the subsequent part of the verse.
And his heart shall be against the holy covenant - The words "holy covenant" are a technical expression to denote the Jewish institutions. The Hebrew people were called the "covenant people," as being a people with whom God had entered into covenant. All their privileges were regarded as the result of that covenant, and hence, the word came to be applied to all the institutions of the nation. When it is said that his heart Was against that covenant, the meaning is, that he was enraged against it; and determined to bring calamity upon the place and people connected with it. The reason of this was the following: When he was in Egypt, a report was spread abroad that he was dead. In consequence of this rumour, Jason took the opportunity of recovering the office of high priest from his brother Menelaus, and with a thousand men took Jerusalem, drove Menelaus into the castle, and killed many whom he took for his enemies. Antiochus, hearing of this, supposed that all the Jews had revolted, and determined to inflict summary chastisement on them on his way to his own land. See Jahn, "Hebrew Commonwealth," p. 263.
And he shall do exploits, and return to his own land - The word "exploits" is supplied by the translators. The Hebrew is, simply, "he shall do;" that is, he shall accomplish the purpose of his heart on the covenant people. In this expedition he took Jerusalem, whether by storm or by stratagem is not quite certain. Diodorus Siculus, and the author of the second book of Maccabees, and Josephus (Jeweish Wars, i. 1, 2, and vi. 10, 1), say that it was by storm. The account which he gives in his "Antiquities" (b. xii. ch. v. Section 3) is, that he took it by stratagem, but the statement in the "Jewish Wars" is much more probable, for Antiochus plundered the city, killed eighty thousand persons, men, women, and children, took forty thousand prisoners, and sold as many into slavery, 2 Macc. 5:5, 6, 11-14. As if this were not enough, under the guidance of the high priest Menelaus, he went into the sanctuary, uttering blasphemous language, took away all the gold and silver vessels he could find there, the golden table, altar, and candlestick, and all the great vessels, and that he might leave nothing behind, searched the subterranean vaults, and in this manner collected eighteen hundred talents of gold. He then sacrificed swine on the altar, boiled a piece of the flesh, and sprinkled the whole temple with the broth, 2 Macc. 5:15-21; 1 Macc. 1:21-28; Diodorus Sic. xxxiv. 1; Jahn, "Hebrew Commonwealth," p. 264.
29At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
At the time appointed - In the purposes of God. See the notes at Daniel 11:27. That is, at the time when God shall design to accomplish his own purposes in regard to him. The idea is, that there was a definite period in the Divine Mind in which all this was to be done, and that when this should occur Antiochus would return again to invade Egypt.
He shall return, and come toward the south - With an intention of invading Egypt. The occasion of this invasion was, that after the departure of Antiochus, leaving Ptolemy in possession of Egypt, or having professedly given up the kingdom to him, Ptolemy suspected the designs of Antiochus, and came to an agreement with his brother Physcon, that they should share the government between them, and resist Antiochus with their united power. To do this, they hired mercenary troops from Greece. Antiochus, learning this, openly threw off the mask, and prepared to invade Egypt again, 167 b.c. He sent his fleet to Cyprus to secure possession of that island, and led his army toward Egypt to subdue the two brothers, designing to annex the whole country to his dominions.
But it shall not be as the former, or as the latter - At the first invasion or the second. In these he was successful; in this he would not be. The reason of his want of success is stated in the following verse - that by the aid which the two brothers had obtained from abroad, as expressed in the next verse, they would be able to oppose him.
30For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
For the ships of Chittim shall come against him - The word rendered Chittim - כתים kı̂ttı̂ym - according to Gesenius, properly means "Cyprians," so called from a celebrated Phoenician colony in the island of Cyprus. In a wider acceptation the name came to comprehend the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, especially the northern parts, and therefore stands for the islands and coasts of Greece and the AEgean Sea. See Gesenius, Lexicon, and compare Josephus, "Ant." b. i. ch. vi. 1. The Egyptian government had called in the aid of the Romans, and Antiochus, therefore, was threatened with a war with the Romans if he did not abandon his enterprise against Egypt. The reference in the passage before us is to the embassage which the Romans sent to Antiochus in Egypt, requiring him to desist from his enterprise against Egypt. "When he had arrived at Leusine, about four miles from Alexandria, he met Caius Popilins Laenas, Caius Decimius, and Caius Hostilius, ambassadors, whom the Roman Senate had sent to him at the earnest request of Ptolemy Physcon. They were instructed to assure Antiochus that he must leave the kingdom of Egypt and the island of Cyprus in peace, or expect a war with the Romans. When Antiochus said that he would lay the affair before his council, Popilius, the head of the legation, with his staff drew a circle about the king in the sand on which they stood, and exclaimed, 'Before you leave that circle, you must give me an answer which I can report to the Senate.' Antiochius was confounded, but on a little reflection, he said he would do whatever the Senate required." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 265, 266; Polyb. "Legat." Sections 90, 92; Livy, xliv. 14, 29, 41-46; xlv. 10, 12. These ambassadors came by the way of Greece, and in Grecian vessels, and their coming might properly be described as "ships from Chittim." They went from Rome to Brundusium, and then passed over to the Grecian shore, and from thence by the way of Chialcis, Delos, and Rhodes, to Alexandria. - Prideaux, iii.237.
Therefore he shall be grieved - The word used here - כאה kâ'âh - means, properly, to become faint-hearted; to be frightened; to be dejected, sad, humbled, Job 30:8; Ezekiel 13:22; Psalm 109:16. The meaning here is, that he became dispirited, dejected, cast down, and abandoned his purpose. He saw that it would be vain to attempt to contend with the Romans, and he was constrained reluctantly to relinquish his enterprise.
And return - Set out to return to his own land.
And have indignation against the holy covenant - See the notes at Daniel 11:28. That is, he would be filled with wrath against Jerusalem and the Jews. Polybius says that he left Egypt in great anger, because he was compelled by the Romans to abandon his designs. In this condition he was, of course, in a state of mind to become irritated against any other people, and, if an occassion should be given, would seek to vent Iris wrath in sonic other direction. This habitual state of feeling toward Jerusalem and the Jews would make him ready to seize upon the slightest pretext to wreak his vengeance on the holy land. What was the immediate occasion of his taking this opportunity to attack Jerusalem is not certainly known, but in his marching back through Palestine, he detached from his army twenty-two thousand men, under the command of Apollonius, and sent them to Jerusalem to destroy it. - Prideaux, iii. 239; Jahn, "Heb. Commononwealth," p. 266. Apollonius arrived before Jerusalem 167 b.c., just two years after the city had been taken by Antiochus himself.
So shall he do - That is, in the manner described in this and the following verses.
He shall even return - On his way to his own land.
And have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant - Have an understanding with them; that is, with a portion of the nation - with those who were disposed to cast off the religion of their fathers. There was a coonsiderable part of the nation that was inclined to do this, and to introduce the customs of the Greeks (compare Jahn," Heb. Commonwealth, pp. 258-260); and it was natural that Antiochus should seek to have an understanding with them, and to make use of them in accomplishing his designs. It was very probably at the solicitation of this infidel and disaffected party of the Hebrew people that Antiochus had interfered in their affairs at all. Compare 1 Macc. 1:11-15.
31And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
And arms shall stand on his part - Up to this verse there is a general agreement among commentators, that the reference is to Antiochus Epiphanes. From this verse, however, to the end of the chapter, there is no little diversity of opinion. One portion suppose that the description of Antiochus and his deeds continues still to be the design of the prophet; another, that the Romans are here introduced, and that a part of the predictions in the remainder of this chapter are yet to be fulfilled; another, as Jerome, and most of the Christian fathers, suppose that the reference is to Antiochus as the type of Antichrist, and that the description passes from the type to the antitype. In this last class are found Bishop Newton, Gill, Calvin, Prideaux, Wintle, Elliott (Apocalyapse, iv. 137, following), and others; in the former, Grotius, Lengerke, Bertholdt, Maurer .... In this same class is found the name of Porphyry - who maintained that the whole referred to Antiochus, and that the allusion was so clear as to prove that this portion of the book was written "after" the events had occurred.
The reason suggested for the change in the supposed reference, as alleged by Bishop Newton "on the Prophecies," p. 296, is, substantially, that what follows can be applied only in part to Antiochus. Whether this portion of the chapter can be shown to refer to him, we shall be able to determine as we proceed. Nothing can be clearer than the allusion up to this point. The word rendered "arms," in the verse before us (זרעים zero‛ı̂ym - singular זרוע zerôa‛), means, properly, the arm - especially the lower arm below the elbow; and then comes to denote strength, might, power; and thence, is applied to a military force, or an army. See Daniel 11:15. Such is undoubtedly the meaning here, and the reference is to the military force which Antiochus would employ to wreak his vengeance on the Jews - particularly by the instrumentality of Apollonius. Others would apply this to the Romans, and suppose that they are introduced here; but this construction is forced and unnatural, for
(a) the reference in the previous verses was, undoubtedly, to Antiochus, and the narrative seems to proceed as if there were no change.
(b) There is nothing in the statement which does not agree with what was done by Antiochus.
As a matter of fact, as attested by all history, he detached Apollonius with twenty-two thousand men, on his mortified return to his own land, to attack and lay waste Jerusalem, and Apollonius did all that is here said would be done. Bishop Newton concedes (p. 294) that "this interpretation might be admitted, if the other parts were equally applicable to Antiochus; but," says he, "the difficulty, or rather impossibility of applying them to Antiochus, or any of the Syrian kings, his successors, obliges us to look out for another interpretation." Accordingly, he says that Jerome and the Christians of his time contend that these things apply to Antichrist; and he himself adopts the view proposed by Sir Isaac Newton, that it refers to the Romans, and that the allusion is to the fact that, at the very time when Antiochus retreated out of Egypt, the Romans conquered Macedonia, "putting an end to the reign of Daniel's third beast," and that the prophet here leaves off the description of the actions of the Greeks, and commences a description of those of the Romans in Greece. As, however, all that is "here" said is strictly applicable to what was done by Antiochus, such an interpretation is unnecessary.
And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength - The "sanctuary of strength" seems to refer to the fortifications or defenses that had been set up to protect Jerusalem, or the temple. At various points the temple was defended in this manner, not only by the walls of the city, but by fortifications erected within, and so as to prevent an army from approaching the temple, even if they should penetrate the outer wall. Compare 1 Macc. 1:36. The temple itself might thus be regarded as fortified, or as a place of strength - and, as a matter of fact, when Titus ultimately destroyed the city, the chief difficulty was to obtain possession of the temple - a place that held out to the last. When it is said that they would "pollute the sanctuary of strength," the reference is to what was done by Apollonius, at the command of Antiochus, to profane the temple, and to put an end to the sacrifices and worship there.
Compare 1 Macc. 1:29, 37-49; Jos. "Ant." b. xii. ch. v. Section 4. The account in the book of Maccabees is as follows: "Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary and defiled it, insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them, wherefore the city was made a habitation of strangers, and became strange to those who were born in her, and her own children left her. Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, and her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, her honor into contempt. As had been her glory, so was her dishonor increased, and her excellency was turned into mourning. Moreover, king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and every one should leave his laws; so all the pagan agreed, according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath. For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, that they should follow the strange laws of the land, and forbid burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and drink-offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days, and pollute the sanctuary and holy people; set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh and unclean beasts; that they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation, to the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances."
And shall take away the daily sacrifice - That is, shall forbid it, and so pollute the temple and the altar as to prevent its being offered. See the quotation above. This occurred in the month of June, 167 b.c. See Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 267.
And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate - Margin, or, "astonisheth." The Hebrew word משׁמם meshomēm will bear either interpretation, though the usage of the word is in favor of the translation in the text. The passage will also admit of this translation - "the abomination of desolation of him who makes desolate," or "of the desolater." See Gesenius, "Lexicon" 3. The idea is, that somehow the thing here referred to would be connected with the "desolation," or the laying waste of the city and temple; and the sense is not materially varied whether we regard it as "the abomination that makes desolate," that is, that "indicates" the desolation, or, "the abomination of the desolater," that is, of him who has laid the city and temple waste. On the meaning of the phrase "abomination of desolation," see the notes at Daniel 9:27. The reference here is, undoubtedly, to something that Antiochus set up in the temple that was an indication of desolation, or the result of his having laid the temple in ruins.
The very expression occurs in 1 Macc. 1:54: "Now, the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred and forty-fifth year, they set up the "abomination of desolation" upon the altar, and builded idol-altars throughout the cities of Judah on every side." This would seem, from 1 Macc. 1:59, to have been an idol-altar erected "over" or "upon" the altar of burnt-offerings. "They did sacrifice upon the idol-altar, which was upon the altar of God." "At this time an old man, by the name of Athenaeus, was sent to Jerusalem to instruct the Jews in the Greek religion, and compel them to an observance of its rites. He dedicated the temple to Jupiter Olympius; and on the altar of Jehovah he placed a smaller altar, to be used in sacrificing to the pagan god." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 267, 268. The reference here is, probably, to this altar, as being in itself and in the situation where it was located an "abominable" thing in the eyes of the Hebrews, and as being placed there by a "desolater," or "waster." The same "language" which is used here is applied in Daniel 9:27, and in the New Testament, with great propriety to what the Romans set up in the temple as an indication of its conquest and profanation; but that fact does not make it certain that it is so to be understood "here," for it is as applicable to what Antiochus did as it is to what was done by the Romans. See the notes at Daniel 9:27.
32And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
And such as do wickedly against the covenant - That is, among the Jews. They who apostatized, and who became willing to receive the religion of foreigners. There "was" such a party in Jerusalem, and it was numerous. See Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 258, 259. Compare 1 Macc. 1:52: "Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit, every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land."
Shall he corrupt by flatteries - By flattering promises of his favor, of office, of national prosperity .... See the notes at Daniel 11:21. The margin is, "or, cause to dissemble." The meaning of the Hebrew word חנף chânêph is, rather, "to profane, to pollute, to defile;" and the idea here is, that he would cause them to become defiled; that is, that he would seduce them to impiety and apostasy.
But the people that do know their God - They who adhere to the service and worship of the true God, and who are incapable of being seduced to apostasy and sin. The reference here is, undoubtedly, to Judas Maccabeus and his followers - a full account of whose doings is to be found in the books of the Maccabees. See also Prideaux, "Con." iii. 245, following, and Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 268, following.
Shall be, strong - Shall evince great valor, and shall show great vigour in opposing him.
And do exploits - The word "exploits," as in Daniel 11:28, is supplied by the translators, but not improperly. The meaning is, that they would show great prowess, and perform illustrious deeds in battle. See Prideaux, "Con." iii. pp. 262, 263.
33And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
And they that under stand among the people - Among the Hebrew people. The allusion is to such as, in those times of so general corruption and apostasy, should have a proper understanding of the law of God and the nature of religion. There were such in the days of Judas Maccabeus, and it is reasonable to suppose that they would endeavor to inculcate just views among the people.
Shall instruct many - In the nature of religion; in their duty to their country and to God. See Prideaux, "Con." iii.265.
Yet they shall fall by the sword - They shall not be immediately nor always successful. Their final triumph would be only after many of them had fallen in battle, or been made captives. Matrathins, the father of Judas Maccabeus, who began the opposition to Antiochus (1 Macc. 2:1), having summoned to his standard as many as he could induce to follow him, retired for security to the mountains. He was pursued, and refusing to fight on the Sabbath, his enemies came upon him, and killed many of his followers, 1 Macc. 2:14-37. The author of the book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 2:38) says of this: "So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people."
And by flame - By fire. That is, probably, their dwellings would be fired, and they would perish in the flames, or in caves where they fled for shelter, or by being cast into heated caldrons of brass. See 2 Macc. 6:11: "And others that had run together into caves near by" (when Antiochus endeavored to enforce on them the observance of pagan laws and customs), "to keep the sabbath-day secretly, being discovered to Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honor of the most sacred day." 2 Macc. 7:3-5: "Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot: which immediately being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him, being yet alive, to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan," etc.
By captivity - 1 Macc. 1:32: "But the women and children took they captive." See also 2 Macc. 5:24.
And by spoil - By plunder, to wit, of the temple and city. See 1 Macc. 1:20-24.
Many days - Hebrew, "days." The time is not specified, but the idea is that it would be for a considerable period. Josephus says it was three years. - "Ant." b. xii. ch. vii. Sections 6, 7; 1 Macc. 1:59; 4:54; 2 Macc. 10:1-7.
34Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help - By small accessions to their forces. The armies of the Maccabees were never "very" numerous; but the idea here is, that when they should be persecuted, there would be accessions to their forces, so that they would be able to prosecute the war. At first the numbers were very few who took up arms, and undertook to defend the institutions of religion, but their numbers increased until they were finally victorious. Those who first banded together, when the calamities came upon the nation, were Mattathias and his few followers, and this is the little help that is here referred to. See 1 Macc. 2.
But many shall cleave to them - As was the case under Judas Maccabeus, when the forces were so far increased as to be able to contend successfully with Antiochus.
With flatteries - Perhaps with flattering hopes of spoil or honor; that is, that they would not unite sincerely with the defenders of the true religion, but would be actuated by prospect of plunder or reward. For the meaning of the word, see the notes at Daniel 11:21. The sense here is not that Judas would flatter them, or would secure their cooperation by flatteries, but that this would be what they would propose to their own minds, and what would influence them. Compare 1 Macc. 5:55-57: "Now what time as Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Galaad, and Simon his brother in Galilee before Ptolemais, Joseph the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, captains of the garrisons, heard of the valiant acts and warlike deeds which they had done. Wherefore they said, Let us also get us a name, and go fight against the pagan round about us." Compare 2 Macc. 12:40; 13:21. There can be no doubt that many might join them from these motives. Such an event would be likely to occur anywhere, when one was successful, and where there was a prospect of spoils or of fame in uniting with a victorious leader of an amy.
35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
And some of them understanding shall fall - Some of those who have a correct understanding of religion, and who have joined the army from pure motives. The idea seems to be that on some occasion they would meet with a temporary defeat, in order that the sincerity of the others might be tested, or that it might be seen who adhered to the cause from principle, and who from selfish purposes. If they should not always be successful; if they should be temporarily defeated; if some of the most eminent among them should fall among the slain; and if the cause should at any time look dark, this would serve to try the sin cerity of the remainder of the army, and would be likely to "thin it off" of those who had joined it only from mercenary motives.
To try them - Margin, "or, by them." So the Hebrew - בהם bâhem. The meaning perhaps is, that it would be "by" them, as it were, that the army would be tried. As they would fall in battle, and as the cause would seem to be doubtful, this would test the fidelity of others. The word "try" here (צרף tsâraph) means, properly, "to melt, to smelt" - as metals; then to prove anyone; and then to purify.
And to purge - To purify; to test the army and to make it pure.
And to make them white - To wit, by thus allowing those who had joined the army from mercenary motives to withdraw. Compare 2 Macc. 12:39-41.
Even to the time of the end - The end of the war or the conflict. There would be an end of these persecutions and trials, and this process had reference to that, or tended to bring it about. The act of freeing the army from false friends - from those who had joined it from mercenary motives, would have a tendency to accomplish the result in the best way possible, and in the speediest manner.
Because it is yet for a time appointed - See the notes at Daniel 11:27. This seems to be designed for an assurance that the calamity would come to an end, or that there was a limit beyond which it could not pass. Thus it would be an encouragement to those who were engaged in the struggle, for they would see that success must ultimately crown their labors.
36And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
And the king shall do according to his will - Shall be absolute and supreme, and shall accomplish his purposes. This refers, it seems to me, beyond question, to Antiochus Epiphanes, and was exactly fulfilled in him. He accomplished his purposes in regard to the city and temple in the most arbitrary manner, and was, in every respect, an absolute despot. It should be said, however, here, that most Christian interpreters suppose that the allusion here to Antiochus ceases, and that henceforward, it refers to Antichrist. So Jerome, Gill, Bp. Newton, and others; and so Jerome says many of the Jews understood it. The only reason alleged for this is, that there are things affirmed here of the "king" which could not be true of Antiochus. But, in opposition to this, it may be observed
(a) that the allusion in the previous verses is undoubtedly to Antiochus Epiphanes.
(b) There is no indication of any "change," for the prophetic narrative seems to proceed as if the allusion to the same person continued.
(c) The word "king" is not a word to be applied to Antichrist, it being nowhere used of him.
(d) Such a transition, without anymore decided marks of it, would not be in accordance with the usual method in the prophetic writings, leaving a plain prediction in the very midst of the description, and passing on at once to a representation of one who would arise after many hundreds of years, and of whom the former could be considered as in no way the type. The most obvious and honest way, therefore, of interpreting this is, to refer it to Antiochus, and perhaps we shall find that the difficulty of applying it to him is not insuperable.
And he shall exalt himself - No one can doubt that this will agree with Antiochus Epiphanes - a proud, haughty, absolute, and stern monarch, the purpose of whose reign was to exalt himself, and to extend the limits of his empire.
And magnify himself above every god - That is, by directing what gods should or should not be worshipped; attempting to displace the claim of all those who were worshipped as gods at his pleasure, and establishing the worship of other gods in their place. Thus he assumed the right to determine what god should be worshipped in Jerusalem, abolishing the worship of Jehovah, and setting up that of Jupiter Olympius in the stead; and so throughout his whole dominion, by a proclamation, he forbade the worship of any god but his, 1 Macc. 1:44-51; Jos. Ant. b. xii. ch. v. Section 4, 5. One who assumes or claims the right to forbid the adoration of any particular god, and to order divine homage to be rendered to anyone which he chooses, exalts himself above the gods, as he in this way denies the right which they must be supposed to claim to prescribe their own worship.
And shall speak marvelous things - The Hebrew word נפלאות nı̂pelâ'ôth would properly denote things wonderful, or fitted to excite astonishment; things that are unusual and extraordinary: and the meaning here is, that the things spoken would be so impious and atrocious - so amazing and wonderful for their wickedness, as to produce amazement.
Against the God of gods - The true God, Jehovah; he is supreme, and is superior to all that is called God, or that is worshipped as such. Nothing could be better descriptive of Antiochus than this; nothing was ever more strikingly fulfilled than this was in him.
And shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished - Referring still to the fact that there was an appointed time during which this was to continue. That time might well be called a time of "indignation," for the Lord seemed to be angry against his temple and people, and suffered this pagan king to pour out his wrath without measure against the temple, the city, and the whole land.
For that that is determined shall be done - What is purposed in regard to the city and temple, and to all other things, must be accomplished. Compare Daniel 10:21. The angel here states a general truth - that all that God has ordained will come to pass. The application of this truth here is, that the series of events must be suffered to run on, and that it could not be expected that they would be arrested until all that had been determined in the Divine mind should be effected. They who would suffer, therefore, in those times must wait with patience until the Divine purposes should be brought about, and when the period should arrive, the calamities would cease.
37Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers - The God that his fathers or ancestors had worshipped: That is, he would not be bound or restrained by the religion of his own land, or by any of the usual laws of religion. He would worship any God that he pleased, or none as he pleased. The usual restraints that bind men - the restraints derived from the religion of their ancestors - would in this case be of no avail. See the notes at Daniel 11:36. This was in all respects true of Antiochus. At his pleasure he worshipped the gods commonly adored in his country, or the gods worshipped by the Greeks and Romans, or no gods. And, in a special manner, instead of honoring the god of his fathers, and causing the image of that god to be placed in the temple at Jerusalem, as it might have been supposed he would, he caused the altar of Jupiter Olympius to be set up there, and his worship to be celebrated there. In fact, as Antiochus had been educated abroad, and had passed his early life in foreign countries, he had never paid much respect to the religion of his own land. The attempt to introduce a foreign religion into Judea was an attempt to introduce the religion of the Greeks (Jahn, Heb. Commonwealth, p. 267); and in no instance did he endeavor to force upon them the peculiar religion of his own nation. In his private feelings, therefore, and in his public acts, it might be said of Antiochus, that he was characterized in an eminent degree by a want of regard for the faith of his ancestors. The language used here by the angel is what would properly denote great infidelity and impiety.
Nor the desire of women - The phrase "the desire of women" is in itself ambiguous, and may either mean what they desire, that is, what is agreeable to them, or what they commonly seek, and for which they would plead; or it may mean his own desire - that is, that he would not be restrained by the desire of women, by any regard for women, for honorable matrimony, or by irregular passion. The phrase here is probably to be taken in the former sense, as this best suits the connection. There has been great variety in the interpretation of this expression. Some have maintained that it cannot be applicable to Antiochus at all, since he was a man eminently licentious and under the influence of abandoned women. Jerome, in loc., John D. Michaelis, Dereser, Gesenius, and Lengerke suppose that this means that he would not regard the beautiful statue of the goddess Venus whose temple was in Elymais, which he plundered.
Staudlin and Dathe, that he would not regard the weeping or tears of women - that is, that he would be cruel. Bertholdt, that he would not spare little children, the object of a mother's love - that is, that he would be a cruel tyrant. Jerome renders it, Et erit in concupiscentiis faminarum, and explains it of unbridled lust, and applies it principally to Antiochus. Elliott, strangely it seems to me (Apocalypse, iv. 152), interprets it as referring to what was so much the object of desire among the Hebrew women - the Messiah, the promised seed of the woman; and he says that he had found this opinion hinted at by Faber on the Prophecies (Ed. 5), i.-380-385. Others expound it as signifying that he would not regard honorable matrimony, but would be given to unlawful pleasures. It may not be practicable to determine with certainty the meaning of the expression, but it seems to me that the design of the whole is to set forth the impiety and hard-heartedness of Antiochus. He would not regard the gods of his fathers; that is, he would not be controlled by any of the principles of the religion in which he had been educated, but would set them all at defiance, and would do as he pleased; and, in like manner, he would be unaffected by the influences derived from the female character - would disregard the objects that were nearest to their hearts, their sentiments of kindness and compassion; their pleadings and their tears; he would be a cruel tyrant, alike regardless of all the restraints derived from heaven and earth - the best influences from above and from below.
It is not necessary to say that this agrees exactly with the character of Antiochus. He was sensual and corrupt, and given to licentious indulgence, and was incapable of honorable and pure love, and was a stranger to all those bland and pure affections produced by intercourse with refined and enlightened females. If one wishes to describe a high state of tyranny and depravity in a man, it cannot be done better than by saying that he disregards whatever is attractive and interesting to a virtuous female mind.
Nor regard any god - Any religious restraints whatever - the laws of any god worshipped in his own land or elsewhere - in heaven or on earth. That is, he would be utterly irreligious in heart, and where it conflicted with his purposes would set at nought every consideration derived from reverence to God. This harmonizes well with the previous declaration about women. The two commonly go together. He that is unrestrained by the attractive virtues of the female mind and character; he that has no regard for the sympathies and kindnesses that interest virtuous females; he that sees nothing lovely in what commonly engages their thoughts; and he that throws himself beyond the restraints of their society, and the effects of their conversation, is commonly a man who cuts himself loose from all religion, and is at the same time a despiser of virtuous females and of God. No one will expect piety toward God to be found in a bosom that sees nothing to interest him in the sympathies and virtues of the femme mind; and the character of a woman-hater and a hater of God will uniformly be found united in the same person. Such a person was Antiochus Epiphanes; and such men have often been found in the world.
For he shall magnify himself above all - Above all the restraints of religion, and all those derived from the intercourse of virtuous social life - setting at nought all the restraints that usually bind men. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:10-11.
38But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
But in his estate - The marginal reading here is, "As for the Almighty God, in his seat he shall honor, yea, he shall honor a god," etc. The more correct rendering, however, is that in the text, and the reference is to some god which he would honor, or for which he would show respect. The rendering proposed by Lengerke is the true rendering, "But the god of forces (firm places, fastnesses - der Vesten) he shall honor in their foundation" (auf seinem Gestelle). The Vulgate renders this, "But the god Maozim shall he honor in his place." So also the Greek. The phrase "in his estate" - על־כנו 'al-kanô - means, properly, "upon his base," or foundation. It occurs in Daniel 11:20-21, where it is applied to a monarch who would succeed another - occupying the same place, or the same seat or throne. See the notes at Daniel 11:2. Here it seems to mean that he would honor the god referred to in the place which he occupied, or, as it were, on his own throne, or in his own temple. The margin is, "or stead;" but the idea is not that he would honor this god instead of another, but that he would do it in his own place. If, however, as Gesenius and De Wette suppose, the sense is, "in his place, or stead," the correct interpretation is, that he would honor this "god of forces," in the stead of honoring the god of his fathers, or any other god. The general idea is clear, that he would show disrespect or contempt for all other gods, and pay his devotions to this god alone.
Shall he honor - Pay respect to; worship; obey. This would be his god. He would show no respect to the god of his fathers, nor to any of the idols usually worshipped, but would honor this god exclusively.
The God of forces - Margin, Mauzzim, or gods protectors; or, munitions. Hebrew, מעזים mâ‛uzym; Latin Vulgate, Maozim; Greek, Μαωξεὶμ Maōxeim; Syriac, "the strong God;" Luther, Mausim; Lengerke, der Vesten - fastnesses, fortresses. The Hebrew word מעוז mâ‛ôz means, properly, a strong or fortified place, a fortress; and Gesenius (Lexicon) supposes that the reference here is to "the god of fortresses, a deity of the Syrians obtruded upon the Jews, perhaps Mars." So also Grotius, C. B. Michaelis, Staudlin, Bertholdt, and Winer. Dereser, Havernick, and Lengerke explain it as referring to the Jupiter Capitolinus that Antiochus had learned to worship by his long residence in Rome, and whose worship he transferred to his own country. There has been no little speculation as to the meaning of this passage, and as to the god here referred to; but it would seem that the general idea is plain.
It is, that the only god which he would acknowledge would be force, or power, or dominion. He would set at nought the worship of the god of his fathers, and all the usual obligations and restraints of religion; he would discard and despise all the pleadings of humanity and kindness, as if they were the weaknesses of women, and he would depend solely on force. He would, as it were, adore only the "god of force," and carry his purposes, not by right, or by the claims of religion, but by arms. The meaning is not, I apprehend, that he would formally set up this "god of forces," and adore him, but that this would be, in fact, the only god that he would practically acknowledge. In selecting such a god as would properly represent his feelings he would choose such an one as would denote force or dominion. Such a god would be the god of war, or the Roman Jupiter, who, as being supreme, and ruling the world by his mere power, would be a fit representative of the prevailing purpose of the monarch.
The general sentiment is, that all obligations of religion, and justice, and compassion, would be disregarded, and he would carry his purposes by mere power, with the idea, perhaps, included, as seems to be implied in the remainder of the verse, that he would set up and adore such a foreign god as would be a suitable representation of this purpose. It is hardly necessary to say that this was eminently true of Antiochus Epiphanes; and it may be equally said to be true of all the great heroes and conquerors of the world. Mars, the god of war, was thus adored openly in ancient times, and the devotion of heroes and conquerors to that idol god, though less open and formal, has not been less real by the heroes and conquerors of modern times; and, as we say now of an avaricious or covetous man that he is a worshipper of mammon, though he in fact formally worships no god, and has no altar, so it might be affirmed of Antiochus, and may be of heroes and conquerors in general, that the only god that is honored is the god of war, of power, of force; and that setting at nought all the obligations of religion, and of worship of the true God, they pay their devotions to this god alone.
Next to mammon, the god that is most adored in this world is the "god of force" - this Mauzzim that Antiochus so faithfully served. In illustration of the fact that seems here to be implied, that he would introduce such a god as would be a fit representative of this purpose of his life, it may be remarked that, when in Rome, where Antiochus spent his early years, he had learned to worship the Jupiter of the Capitol, and that he endeavored to introduce the worship of that foreign god into Syria. Of this fact there can be no doubt. It was one of the characteristics of Antiochus that he imitated the manners and customs of the Romans to a ridiculous extent (Diod. Sic. Frag, xxvi. 65); and it was a fact that he sent rich gifts to Rome in honor of the Jupiter worshipped there (Livy, lxii. 6), and that he purposed to erect a magnificent temple in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus in Antioch - Livy, xli. 20.
This temple, however, was not completed. It will be remembered, also, that he caused an altar to Jupiter to be erected over the altar of burnt-sacrifice in Jerusalem. It should be added, that they who apply this to Anti-christ, or the Pope, refer it to idol or image worship. Elliott (Apocalypse, iv. 153) supposes that it relates to the homage paid to the saints and martyrs under the Papacy, and says that an appellation answering to the word Mahuzzim was actually given to the departed martyrs and saints under the Papal apostasy. Thus he remarks: "As to what is said of the willful king's honoring the god Mahuzzim (a god whom his fathers knew not) in place of his ancestors' god, and the true God, it seems to me to have been well and consistently explained, by a reference to those saints, and their relics and images, which the apostasy from its first development regarded and worshipped as the Mahuzzim, or fortresses of the places where they were deposited." - Apoc. iv. 157. But all this appears forced and unnatural; and if it be not supposed that it was designed to refer to Antichrist or the Papacy, no application of the language can be found so obvious and appropriate as that which supposes that it refers to Antiochus, and to his reliance on force rather than on justice and right.
And a god whom his fathers knew not - This foreign god, Jupiter, whom he had learned to worship at Rome.
Shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones ... - That is, he shall lavish these things on building a temple for him, or on his image. This accords with the account which Livy gives (xli. 20) of the temple which he commenced at Antioch in honor of Jupiter. Livy says that, although in his conduct he was profligate, and although in many things it was supposed that he was deranged - "Quidam hand dubie insanire aiebunt" - yet that in two respects he was distinguished for having a noble mind - for his worship of the gods, and for his favor toward cities in adorning them: "In duabus tamen magnis honestisque rebus vere regius erat animus, in urbium donis, et deorum cultu." He then adds, in words that are all the commentary which we need on the passage before us: "Magnificentiae vero in deos vel Jovis Olympii ternplum Athenis, unum in terris inchoatum pro magnitudine dei, potest testis esse. Sed et Delon aris insignibus statuarumque copia exornavit; et Antiochiae Joyis capitolini magnificum templum, non laqueatum auro tantum, sed parietibus totis lamina inauratum, et alia multa in aliis locis pollicita, quia perbreve tempus regni ejus fuit, non perfecited."
And pleasant things - Margin, "things desired." That is, with ornaments, or statuary, or perhaps pictures. Compare the notes at Isaiah 2:16. e meant that the temple should be beautified and adorned in the highest degree. This temple, Livy says, he did not live to finish.
39Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
Thus shall he do in, the most strong holds - Margin, "fortresses of munitions." The reference is to strongly fortified places; to those places which bad been made strong for purposes of defense. The idea is, that he would carry on his purposes against these places, as it were, under the auspices of this strange god. It was a fact, that in his wars Antiochus came into possession of the strong places, or the fortified towns of the nations which he attacked - Jerusalem, Sidon, Peluslum, Memphis - then among the strongest places in the world.
With a strange god - A foreign god whom his fathers did not acknowledge; that is, according to the supposition above, and according to the fact, with the god whom he had adored at Rome, and whose worship he was ambitious to transfer to his own empire - the Jupiter of the Capitol. He seemed to be acting under the auspices of this foreign god.
Whom he shall acknowledge - By building temples and altars to him. "And increase with glory." That is, with honor. He would seem to increase or extend his dominion in the world, by introducing his worship in his own county and in the lands which he would conquer. Before, his dominion appeared to be only at Rome; Antiochus sought that it might be extended farther, over his own kingdom, and over the countries that he would conquer.
And he shall cause them to rule over many - That is, the foreign gods. Mention had been made before of only one god; but the introduction of the worship of Jupiter would be naturally connected with that of the other gods of Rome, and they are, therefore, referred to in this manner. The conquests of Antiochus would seem to be a setting up of the dominion of these gods over the lands which he subdued.
And shall divide the land for gain - Margin, "a price." The reference here is, probably, to the holy land, and the idea is that it would be partitioned out among his followers for a price, or with a view to gain; that is, perhaps, that it would be "farmed out" for the purpose of raising revenue, and that with this view, as often occurred, it would be set up for sale to the highest bidder. This was a common way of raising revenue, by "farming out" a conquered province; that is, by disposing of the privilege of raising a revenue in it to the one who would offer most for it, and the consequence was, that it gave rise to vast rapacity in extorting funds from the people. Compare 1 Macc. 3:35, 36, where, speaking of Lysias, whom Antiochus had "set to oversee the affairs of the king from the river Euphrates unto the borders of Egypt," it is said of Antiochus that he "gave him (Lysias) charge of all things that he would have done, as also concerning them that dwelt in Judea and Jerusalem: to wit, that he should send an army against them, to destroy and root out the strength of Israel, and the remnant of Jerusalem, and to take away their memorial from that place; and that he should place strangers in all their quarters, 'and divide their land by lot. '"
40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
And at the time of the end - See Daniel 11:35. The "time of the end" must properly denote the end or consummation of the series of events under consideration, or the matter in hand, and properly and obviously means here the end or consummation of the transactions which had been referred to in the previous part of the vision. It is equivalent to what we should say by expressing it thus: "at the winding up of the affair." In Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9, Daniel 12:13, the word "end," however, obviously refers to another close or consummation - the end or consummation of the affairs that reach far into the future - the final dispensation of things in this world. It has been held by many that this could not be understood as referring to Antiochus, because what is here stated did not occur in the close of his reign. Perhaps at first sight the most obvious interpretation of what is said in this and the subsequent verses to the end of the chapter would be, that, after the series of events referred to in the previous verses; after Antiochus had invaded Egypt, and had been driven thence by the fear of the Romans, he would, in the close of his reign, again attack that country, and bring it, and Libya, and AEthiopia into subjection Daniel 11:43; and that when there, tidings out of the north should compel him to abandon the expedition and return again to his own land.
Porphyry (see Jerome, in loc.) says that this was so, and that Antiochus actually invaded Egypt in the "eleventh year of his reign," which was the year before he died; and he maintains, therefore, that all this had a literal application to Antiochus, and that being so literally true, it must have been written after the events had occurred. Unfortunately the fifteen books of Porphyry are lost, and we have only the fragments of his works preserved which are to be found in the Commentary of Jerome on the book of Daniel. The statement of Porphyry, referred to by Jerome, is contrary to the otherwise universal testimony of history about the last days of Antiochus, and there are such improbabilities in the statement as to leave the general impression that Porphyry in this respect falsified history in order to make it appear that this must have been written after the events referred to. If the statement of Porphyry were correct, there would be no difficulty in applying this to Antiochus. The common belief, however, in regard to Antiochus is, that he did not invade Egypt after the series of events referred to above, and after he had been required to retire by the authority of the Roman ambassadors, as stated in the notes at Daniel 11:30.
This belief accords also with all the probabilities of the case. Under these circumstances, many commentators have supposed that this portion of the chapter Daniel 11:40-45 could not refer to Antiochus, and they have applied it to Anti-christ, or to the Roman power. Yet how forced and unnatural such an application must be, anyone can perceive by examining Newton on the Prophecies, pp. 308-315. The obvious, and perhaps it may be added the honest, application of the passage must be to Antiochus. This is that which would occur to any reader of the prophecy; this is what he would obviously hold to be the true application; and this is that only which would occur to anyone, unless it were deemed necessary to bend the prophecy to accommodate it to the history. Honesty and fairness, it seems to me, require that we should understand this as referring to the series of events which had been described in the previous portion of the chapter, and as designed to state the ultimate issue or close of the whole.
There will be no difficulty in this if we may regard these verses Daniel 11:40-45 as containing a recapitulation, or a summing up of the series of events, with a statement of the manner in which they would close. If so interpreted all will be clear. It will then be a general statement of what would occur in regard to this remarkable transaction that would so materially affect the interests of religion in Judea, and be such an important chapter in the history of the world. This summing up, moreover, would give occasion to mention some circumstances in regard to the conquests of Antiochus which could not so well be introduced in the narrative itself, and to present, in few words, a summary of all that would occur, and to state the manner in which all would be terminated. Such a summing up, or recapitulation, is not uncommon, and in this way the impression of the whole would be more distinct.
With this view, the phrase "and at the time of the end" Daniel 11:40 would refer, not so much to the "time of the end" of the reign of Antiochus, but to the "time of the end" of the whole series of the transactions referred to by the angel as recorded "in the scripture of truth" Daniel 10:21, from the time of Darius the Mede Daniel 11:1 to the close of the reign of Antiochus - a series of events embracing a period of some three hundred and fifty years. Viewed in reference to this long period, the whole reign of Antiochus, which was only eleven years, might be regarded as "the time of the end." It was, indeed, the most disastrous portion of the whole period, and in this chapter it occupies more space than all that went before it - for it was to be the time of the peculiar and dreadful trial of the Hebrew people, but it was "the end" of the matter - the winding up of the series - the closing of the events on which the eye of the angel was fixed, and which were so important to be known beforehand. In these verses, therefore Daniel 11:40-45, he sums up what would occur in what he here calls appropriately "the time of the end" - the period when the predicted termination of this series of important events should arrive - to wit, in the brief and eventful reign of Antiochus.
Shall the king of the south - The king of Egypt. See Daniel 11:5-6, Daniel 11:9.
Push at him - As in the wars referred to in the previous verse - in endeavoring to expel him from Coelo-Syria and Palestine, and from Egypt itself, Daniel 11:25, Daniel 11:29-30. See the note at those verses.
And the king of the north shall come against him - The king of Syria - Antiochus. Against the king of Egypt. He shall repeatedly invade his lands. See the notes above.
Like a whirlwind - As if he would sweep everything before him. This he did when he invaded Egypt; when he seized on Memphis, and the best portion of the land of Egypt, and when he obtained possession of the person of Ptolemy. See the notes at Daniel 11:25-27.
With chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships - All this literally occurred in the successive invasions of Egypt by Antiochus. See the notes above.
And he shall enter into the countries - Into Coelo-Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and the adjacent lands.
And shall overflow and pass over - Like a flood he shall spread his armies over these countries. See the notes at Daniel 11:22.
41He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
He shall enter also into the glorious land - Margin, "land of delight," or ornament, or goodly land. The Hebrew is, "land of ornament;" that is, of beauty, to wit, Palestine, or the holy land. The same word is used in Daniel 11:16. See the note at that place. As to the fact that he would invade that land, see the notes at Daniel 11:28, Daniel 11:31-33.
And many countries shall be overthrown - The word countries here is supplied by the translators. The Hebrew word רבות rabôth may denote "many things," and might refer to cities, dwellings, institutions, etc. The meaning is, that he would produce wide devastation, which was true of Antiochus, when, either personally or by his generals, he invaded the land of Palestine. See the notes above.
But these shall escape out of his hand ... - Intent on his work in Palestine, and having enough there to occupy his attention, the neighboring lands of Edom, Moab, and Ammon shall not be molested by him. The wrath of Antiochus was particularly against the Jews, and it is not a little remarkable that no mention is made of his invading these adjacent countries. The route which he pursued was to Egypt, along the shores of the Mediterranean, and though he turned from his course to wreak his vengeance on the Jews, yet it does not appear that he carried his arms farther from the main line of his march. Antiochus was principally engaged with the Egyptians and the Romans; he was also engaged with the Jews, for Palestine had been the battlefield - the main place and object of contention between the king of Syria and the king of Egypt. Moab, and Edom, and Ammon were comparatively remote from the scene of conflict, and were left unmolested. It would seem most probable, also, that these nations were friendly to Antiochus, and were in alliance with him, or at least it is certain that they were hostile to the Jews, which, for the purposes of Antiochus, amounted to the same thing. Judas Maccabeus is represented as engaged with them in war, and consequently they must have either been in alliance with Antiochus, or in some other way promoting his interests. See 1 Macc. 4:61; 5:3, 6-9. These countries were, therefore, in fact, secure from the invasions of Antiochus, and so far the prophecy was literally fulfilled. It may be added
(a), that no occurrence since that time has taken place to which the prophecy can with propriety be applied; and
(b), that no natural sagacity could have foreseen this, and that, therefore, if the prediction was uttered before the days of Antiochus, it must have been the result of Divine inspiration.
As to the former of these remarks (a), if anyone is desirous of seeing how forced and unnatural must be any attempt to apply this to any other times than those of Antiochus, he has only to consult Bishop Newton on the Prophecies (pp. 311-313), who explains it as referring to the Ottoman empire, and to the fact that though the Turks have been able to take Jerusalem, they have never been able to subdue the Arabians, the Moabites, or the Ammonites. Aleppo, Damascus, and Gaza, says he, were forced to submit, but these other places "escaped out of the hands" of the Turks. As to the other remark (b), if one, writing after the events, had intended to give a brief and striking view of what Antiochus did, he could not find better language to express it than to say in the words of the passage before us, "He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon." But it is clear that there is no natural sagacity by which this could be foreseen. There was nothing in the character of those nations, or in the nature of the case, which would lead one to anticipate it - for the presumption would be, that if a desolating war were waged on Palestine by a cruel conqueror, his ravages would be extended to the neighboring countries also.
42He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries - Margin, send forth. Significant of war and conquest. The idea is, that he would be an invader of foreign lands - a characteristic which it is not necessary to show pertained to Antiochus.
And the land of Egypt shall not escape - Moab and Edom, and the land of Ammon would escape, but Egypt would not. We have seen in the exposition of this chapter (see the notes at Daniel 11:25-28) that he, in fact, subdued Memphis and the best portions of Egypt, and even obtained possession of the person of the king.
43But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver - See the notes at Daniel 11:28. Having seized upon the most important places in Egypt, and having possession of the person of the king, he would, of course, have the wealth of Egypt at his disposal, and would return to his land laden with spoils.
And over all the precious things of Egypt - The rich lands, the public buildings, the contents of the royal palace, the works of art, and the monuments, and books, and implements of war. All these would, of course, be at the disposal of the conqueror.
And the Libyans - The word Libyans, in the Hebrew Scriptures, is everywhere joined with the Egyptians and Ethiopians. They are supposed to have been a people of Egyptian origin, and their country bordered on Egypt in the west. See Tanner's Ancient Atlas. A conquest of Egypt was almost in itself a conquest of Libya.
And the Ethiopians - Hebrew, Cushites - כשׁים kushı̂ym. On the general meaning of the word Cush or Ethiopia in the Scriptures, see the note at Isaiah 11:11. The reference here, undoubtedly, is to the African Cush or Ethiopia, which bounded Egypt on the south. This country comprehended not only Ethiopia above Syene and the Cataracts, but likewise Thebais or Upper Egypt. A subjugation of Egypt would be, in fact, almost a conquest of this land.
Shall be at his steps - Gesenius renders this, "in his company." The word means properly step, or walk. Compare Psalm 37:23; Proverbs 20:24. The Vulgate renders this, "And he shall pass also through Libya and Ethiopia." The Greek, "and he shall have power over all the secret treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the desirable things of Egypt, and of the Libyans, and of the Ethiopians, in their strongholds." Lengerke renders it, "And the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow his steps." The proper sense of the Hebrew would be, that they accompanied him; that they marched with him or followed him; and the phrase would be applicable either to those who were allies, or who were led captive. The more probable idea would be that they were allies, or were associated with him, than that they were captives. I do not know that there are any distinct historical facts which show the truth of what is here predicted respecting Antiochus, but it cannot be considered as improbable that the prophecy was fulfilled, for
(a), as already observed, these nations, naturally allied to Egypt as being a part of the same people, bounded Egypt on the west and on the south;
(b) in the days of Ezekiel EZechariah 30:4-5, we find that they were actually confederated with Egypt in a "league," and that the calamity which fell upon Egypt, also fell directly upon Ethiopia and Libya; and
(c) the possession of Egypt, therefore, would be naturally followed with the subjugation of these places, or it might be presumed that they would seek the alliance and friendship of one who had subdued it.
44But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him - Shall disturb him, or alarm him. That is, he will hear something from those quarters that will disarrange all his other plans, or that will summon him forth in his last and final expedition - on that expedition in which "he will come to his end" Daniel 11:45, or which will be the end of this series of historical events. The reference here is to the winding up of this series of transactions, and, according to the view taken on Daniel 11:40 (see the note at that place), it is not necessary to suppose that this would happen immediately after what is stated in Daniel 11:43, but it is rather to be regarded as a statement of what would occur in the end, or of the manner in which the person here referred to would finally come to an end, or in which these events would be closed. As a matter of fact, Antiochus, as will be seen in the notes at Daniel 11:45, was called forth in a warlike expedition by tidings or reports from Parthia and Armenia - regions lying to the east and the north, and it was in this expedition that he lost his life, and that this series of historical events was closed. Lengerke says, Antiochus assembled an army to take vengeance on the Jews, who, after the close of the unfortunate campaign in Egypt, rose up, under the Maccabees, against Antiochus, 1 Macc. 3:10, following Then the intelligence that the Parthians in the east, and the Armenians in the north, had armed themselves for war against him, alarmed him. So Tacitus (Hist. v. 8) says (Antiochus Judaeis), Demere superstitionem et mores Groecorum dare adnixus, quominus teterrimain gentem in melius mutaret, Parthorum bello prohibitus est, nam ea tempestate Arsaces defecerat. In the year 147 b.c., Antiochus went on the expedition to Persia and Armenia, on the return from which he died. The occasions for this were these:
(a) Artaxias, the king of Armenia, who was his vassal, had revolted from him, and
(b) he sought to replenish his exhausted treasury, that he might wage the war with Judas Maccabeus.
See 1 Macc. 3:27-37; Jos. Ant. b. xii. ch. vii. Section 2; Appian, Syriac. xlvi. 80; Porphyry, in Jerome, in loc.
Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy ... - Great fury at the revolt of Artaxias, and especially at this juncture when he was waging war with the Jews; and great fury at the Jews, with a determination to obtain the means utterly to destroy them. 1 Macc. 3:27: "Now when king Antiochus heard these things (the successes of Judas Maceabeus), he was full of indignation." In every way his wrath was kindled. He was enraged against the Jews on account of their success; he was enraged against Artaxias for revolting from him; he was enraged because his treasury was exhausted, and he had not the means of prosecuting the war. In this mood of mind he crossed the Euphrates (1 Macc. 3:37) to prosecute the war in the East, and, as it is said here, "utterly to make away many." Everything conspired to kindle his fury, and in this state of mind, he went forth on his last expedition to the East. Nothing, in fact, could better describe the state of mind of Antiochus than the language used here by the angel to Daniel.
45And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace - The loyal tents; the military tents of himself and his court. Oriental princes, when they went forth even in war, marched in great state, with a large retinue of the officers of their court, and often with their wives and concubines, and with all the appliances of luxury. Compare the account of the invasion of Greece by Xerxes, or of the camp of Darius, as taken by Alexander the Great. The military stations of Antiochus, therefore, in this march, would be, for a time, the residence of the court, and would be distinguished for as great a degree of royal luxury as the circumstances would allow. At the same time, they would consist of tabernacles or tents, as those stations were not designed to be permanent. The meaning is, that the royal temporary residence in this expedition, and previous to the close - the end of the whole matter, that is, the death of Antiochus - would be in the mountain here referred to.
Between the seas - That is, between some seas in the "east," or "north" - for it was by tidings from the east and north that he would be disturbed and summoned forth, Daniel 11:44. We are, therefore, most naturally to look for this place in one of those quarters. The fact was, that he had two objects in view - the one was to put down the revolt in Armenia, and the other to replenish his exhausted treasury from Persia. The former would be naturally what he would first endeavor to accomplish, for if he suffered the revolt to proceed, it might increase to such an extent that it would be impossible to subdue it. Besides, he would not be likely to go to Persia when there was a formidable insurrection in his rear, by which he might be harassed either in Persia, or on his return. It is most probable, therefore, that he would first quell the rebellion in Armenia on his way to Persia, and that the place here referred to where he would pitch his royal tent, and where he would end his days, would be some mountain where he would encamp before he reached the confines of Persia. There have been various conjectures as to the place here denoted by the phrase "between the seas," and much speculation has been employed to determine the precise location.
Jerome renders it, "And he shall pitch his tent in Apadno between the seas" - regarding the word which our translators have rendered "his palaces" (אפדנו 'apadenô) as a proper name denoting a place. So the Greek, ἐφαδανῷ ephadanō. The Syriac renders it, "in a plain, between the sea and the mountain." Theodoret takes it for a place near Jerusalem; Jerome says it was near Nicopolis, which was formerly called Emmaus, where the mountainous parts of Judea began to rise, and that it lay between the Dead Sea on the east, and the Mediterranean on the west, where he supposes that Anti-christ will pitch his tent; Porphyry and Calmer place it between the two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates - the latter supposing it means "Padan of two rivers," that is, some place in Mesopotamia; and Dr. Goodwin supposes that the British Isles are intended, "which so eminently stand 'between the seas.'" Prof. Stuart understands this of the Mediterranean Sea, and that the idea is, that the encampment of Antiochus was in some situation between this sea and Jerusalem, mentioned here as "the holy and beautiful mountain."
So far as the phrase used here - "between the seas" - is concerned, there can be no difficulty. It might be applied to any place lying between two sheets of water, as the country between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean, or the Dead Sea, and Persian Gulf; or the Caspian and Euxine Seas; or the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, for there is nothing in the language to determine the exact locality. There is no reason for taking the word אפדנו 'apadenô as a proper name - the literal meaning of it being tent or tabernacle; and the simple idea in the passage is, that the transaction here referred to - the event which would close this series, and which would constitute the "end" of these affairs - would occur in some mountainous region situated between two seas or bodies of water. Any such place, so far as the meaning of the word is concerned, would correspond with this prophecy.
In the glorious holy mountain - That is, this would occur
(a) in a mountain, or in a mountainous region; and
(b) it would be a mountain to which the appellation used here - "glorious holy" - would be properly given.
The most obvious application of this phrase, it cannot be doubted, would be Jerusalem, as being the "holy mountain," or "the mountain of holiness," and as the place which the word "glorious" (צבי tsı̂by) would most naturally suggest. Compare Daniel 11:16, Daniel 11:41. Bertholdt and Dereser propose a change in the text here, and understand it as signifying that "he would pitch his tent between a sea and a mountain, and would seize upon a temple (קדשׁ qôdesh) there." But there is no authority for so changing the text. Rosenmuller, whom Lengerke follows, renders it, "between some sea and the glorious holy mountain;" Lengerke supposes that the meaning is, that Antiochus, on his return from Egypt, and before he went to Persia, "pitched his tents in that region, somewhere along the coasts of the Mediterranean, for the purpose of chastising the Jews," and that this is the reference here. But this, as well as the proposed reading of Dereser and Bertholdt, is a forced interpretation. Gesenius (Lexicon) supposes that the phrase means, "mount of holy beauty," i. e., Mount Sion. There are some things which are clear, and which the honest principles of interpretation demand in this passage, such as the following:
(a) What is here stated was to occur after the rumour from the east and the north Daniel 11:44 should call forth the person here referred to on this expedition.
(b) It would not be long before his "end," - before the close of the series, and would be connected with that; or would be the place where that would occur.
(c) It would be on some mountainous region, to which the appellation "glorious holy" might with propriety be applied.
The only question of difficulty is, whether it is necessary to interpret this of Jerusalem, or whether it may be applied to some other mountainous region where it may be supposed Antiochus "pitched his tents" on his last expedition to the East; and near the close of his life. Jerome renders this, Supermontem inclytum, et sanctum; the Greek, "on the holy mountain Sabaein" - σαβαεὶν sabaein. The Syriac, "in a plain, between a sea and a mountain, and shall preserve his sanctuary." The literal meaning of the passage may be thus expressed, "on a mountain of beauty that is holy or sacred." The essential things are,
(a) that it would be on a mountain, or in a mountainous region;
(b) that this mountain would be celebrated or distinguished for "beauty" - צבי tsebı̂y - that is, for the beauty of its situation, or the beauty of its scenery, or the beauty of its structures - or that it should be regarded as beautiful;
(c) that it would be held as sacred or holy - קדשׁ qôdesh - that is, as sacred to religion, or regarded as a holy place, or a place of worship.
Now it is true that this language might be applied to Mount Sion, for that was a mountain; it was distinguished for beauty, or was so regarded by those who dwelt there (compare Psalm 48:2); and it was holy, as being the place where the worship of God was celebrated. But it is also true, that, so far as the language is concerned, it might be applied to any other mountain or mountainous region that was distinguished for beauty, and that was regarded as sacred, or in any way consecrated to religion. I see no objection, therefore, to the supposition, that this may be understood of some mountain or elevated spot which was held as sacred to religion, or where a temple was reared for worship, and hence, it may have referred to some mountain, in the vicinity of some temple dedicated to idol worship, where Antiochus would pitch his tent for the purpose of rapine and plunder.
Yet he shall come to his end - Evidently in the expedition referred to, and in the vicinity referred to. Though he had gone full of wrath; and though he was preparing to wreak his vengeance on the people of God; and though he had every prospect of success in the enterprise, yet he would come to an end there, or would die. This would be the end of his career, and would be at the same time the end of that series of calamities that the angel predicted. The assurance is more than once given Daniel 11:27, Daniel 11:35; that there was an "appointed" time during which these troubles would continue, or that there would be an "end" of them at the appointed time, and the design was, that when these inflictions came upon the Jews they should be permitted to comfort themselves with the assurance that they would have a termination - that is, that the institutions of religion in their land would not be utterly overthrown.
And none shall help him - None shall save his life; none shall rescue him out of his danger. That is, he would certainly die, and his plans of evil would thus be brought to a close.
The question now is, whether this can be applied to the closing scenes in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes. The materials for writing the life of Antiochus are indeed scanty, but there is little doubt as to the place and manner of his death. According to all the accounts, he received intelligence of the success of the Jewish arms under Judas Maccabeus, and the overthrow of the Syrians, at Elymais or Persepolis (2 Macc. 9:2), in Persia; and as he was detained there by an insurrection of the people, occasioned by his robbing the celebrated Temple of Diana (Jos. Ant. b. xii. ch. 9: Section 1), in which his father, Antiochus the Great, lost his life; his vexation was almost beyond endurance. He set out on his return with a determination to make every possible effort to exterminate the Jews; but during his journey he was attacked by a disease, in which he suffered excessive pain, and was tormented by the bitterest anguish of conscience, on account of his sacrilege and other crimes. He finally died at Tabae in Paratacene, on the frontiers of Persia and Babylon, in the year 163 B. C, after a reign of eleven years. See the account of his wretched death in 2 Macc. 9; Jos. Antiq. b. xii. ch. ix.; Section 1; Prideaux, Con. iii. pp. 272, 273; Polybius in Excerpta Valesii de Virtutibus et Vitiis, xxxi., and Appian, Syriac. xlvi. 80. Now this account agrees substantially with the prediction in the passage before us in the following respects:
(a) The circumstances which called him forth. It was on account of "tidings" or rumours out of the east and north that he went on this last expedition.
(b) The place specified where the last scenes would occur, "between the seas." Any one has only to look on a map of the Eastern hemisphere to see that the ancient Persepolis, the capital of Persia, where the rumour of the success of the Jews reached him which induced him to return, is "between the seas" - the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf - lying not far from midway between the two.
(c) The "glorious holy mountain," or, as the interpretation above proposed would render it, "the mountain of beauty," sacred to religion or to worship.
(1) the whole region was mountainous.
(2) it is not unlikely that a temple would be raised on a mountain or elevated place, for this was the almost universal custom among the ancients, and it may be assumed as not improbable, that the temple of Diana, at Elymais, or Persepolis, which Antiochus robbed, and where he "pitched his tent," was on such a place. Such a place would be regarded as "holy," and would be spoken of as "an ornament," or as beautiful, for this was the language which the Hebrews were accustomed to apply to a place of worship.
I suppose, therefore, that the reference is here to the closing scene in the life of Antiochus, and that the account in the prophecy agrees in the most striking manner with the facts of history, and consequently that it is not necessary to look to any other events for a fulfillment, or to suppose that it has any secondary and ultimate reference to what would occur in far-distant years.
In view of this exposition, we may see the force of the opinion maintained by Porphyry, that this portion of the book of Daniel must have been written after the events occurred. He could not but see, as anyone can now, the surprising accuracy of the statements of the chapter, and their applicability to the events of history as they had actually occurred; and seeing this, there was but one of two courses to be taken - either to admit the inspiration of the book, or to maintain that it was written after the events. He chose the latter alternative; and, so far as can be judged from the few fragments which we have of his work in the commentary of Jerome on this book, he did it solely on the ground of the accuracy of the description. He referred to no external evidence; he adduced no historical proofs that the book was written subsequent to the events; but he maintained simply that an account so minute and exact could not have been written before the events, and that the very accuracy of the alleged predictions, and their entire agreement with history, was full demonstration that they were written after. The testimony of Porphyry, therefore, may be allowed to be a sufficient proof of the correspondence of this portion of the book of Daniel with the facts of history; and if the book was written before the age of Antiochus Epiphanes, the evidence is clear of its inspiration, for no man will seriously maintain that these historic events could be drawn out, with so much particularity of detail, by any natural skill, three hundred and seventy years before they occurred, as must have been the case if written by Daniel. Human sagacity does not extend its vision thus far into the future with the power of foretelling the fates of kingdoms, and giving in detail the lives and fortunes of individual men. Either the infidel must dispose of the testimony that Daniel 54ed and wrote at the time alleged, or, as an honest man, he should admit that he was inspired.