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14. And 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.
"...many stand up against the king of the south"—Syria was not
Egypt’s only enemy, for Philip V of Macedonia joined with Antiochus
III against Egypt. Many Jews (your own people, i.e., Daniel’s
people, the Jews; cf. "your people” in 9:24; 10:14) also joined
Antiochus against Egypt. In the expedition he was aided by reprobate
Jews, spoken of in the prophecy as "robbers of thy people", so as to
revolt from Ptolemy, and join themselves to Antiochus; the Jews helped
Antiochus army with provisions, when on his return from Egypt he
besieged the Egyptian garrison left in Jerusalem [JOSEPHUS,
Antiquities, 12.3.3]. to establish the vision—Those turbulent Jews
unconsciously shall help to fulfill the purpose of God, as to the
trials which await Judea, according to this vision. but they shall
fall—Though helping to fulfill the vision, they shall fail in their
aim, of making Judea independent. For this aid rendered by the Jews
Antiochus was, for a time, very favourable to them, but they did
not obtain independence.
15. So 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
The fortified city seems to refer to Sidon which Antiochus captured in
203 B.C. The Egyptian general, met Antiochus at Paneas, near the
sources of the Jordan, and was defeated, and fled to Sidon, a strongly
"fenced city," where he was forced to surrender.
"...chosen people"—Egypt's choicest army was sent under Eropus,
Menocles, and Damoxenus, to deliver Scopas, but in vain [JEROME].
16. But 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.
Antiochus III continued his occupation and by 199 had established
himself in the Beautiful Land (cf. 8:9; 11:41; Ezekiel 20:6,
15). Antiochus sought to bring peace between Egypt and Syria by giving
his daughter to marry Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt. But this attempt
to bring a peaceful alliance between the two nations did not succeed
When he entered Palestine he was received by them with great
demonstrations of joy; and so as foretold, "he stood in the glorious
land"; but in the end this proved to be a calamity for the Jews, for
he fulfilled the words, "And he shall stand in the glorious land,
which by his hand shall be consumed."
"... by his hand shall be consumed"—literally,
"perfected," that is, completely brought under his sway. JOSEPHUS
[Antiquities, 12.3.3] shows that the meaning is not, that the Jews
should be utterly consumed: for Antiochus favored them for taking his
part against Ptolemy, but that their land should be subjected to him
[LENGKERKE]. GROTIUS translates, "shall be perfected by him," that is,
shall flourish under him. English Version gives a good sense; namely,
that Judea was much "consumed" or "desolated" by being the arena of
conflict between the combatants, Syria and Egypt. TREGELLES refers
(Daniel 11:14), "robbers of thy people," to the Gentiles, once
oppressors, attempting to restore the Jews to their land by mere human
effort, whereas this is to be effected only by divine interposition:
their attempt is frustrated (Daniel 11:16) by the wilful king, who
makes Judea the scene of his military operations.
17. He 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.
Antiochus purpose was, however, turned from open assault to wile, by
his war with the Romans in his endeavor to extend his kingdom to the
limits it had under Seleucus Nicator. The term "upright
one"—Jasher, or Jeshurun (Deut. 32:15; Isaiah 44:2); the epithet
applied by the Hebrews to their nation. It is here used not in praise;
for in Daniel 11:14 they are called "robbers," or "men of violence,
factious": it is the general designation of Israel, as having God for
their God. Probably it is used to rebuke those who ought to have been
God's "upright ones" for confederating with godless heathen in acts of
violence (the contrast to the term in Daniel 11:14 favors this).
Instead of at once invading Ptolemy's country with his "whole
strength," he prepares his way for doing so by the following plan: he
gives to Ptolemy Epiphanes his daughter Cleopatra in marriage,
promising Clo-Syria and Judea as a dowry, thus securing his neutrality
in the war with Rome: he hoped through his daughter to obtain Syria,
Cilicia, and Lycia, and even Egypt itself at last; but Cleopatra
favored her husband rather than her father, and so defeated his scheme
[JEROME]. "She shall not stand on his side."
18. After 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
Antiochus III then turned his attention to Asia Minor in 197
B.C. and Greece in 192. However, Antiochus did not succeed because
Cornelius Scipio (a commander) was dispatched from Rome to turn
Antiochus back. Antiochus returned to his own country in 188 and died
a year later. Antiochus III the Great had carried on the most vigorous
military campaigns of any of Alexander’s successors, but his dream
of reuniting Alexander’s empire under his authority was never
He "took many" of the isles in the �gean in his war with
the Romans, and crossed the Hellespont. "a prince for his own behalf
shall cause the reproach . . . to cease"—Lucius Scipio Asiaticus,
the Roman general, by routing Antiochus at Magnesia (190 B.C.), caused
the reproach which he offered Rome by inflicting injuries on Rome's
allies, to cease. He did it for his own glory (without his own
reproach—with untarnished reputation).
19. Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own
land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
Then he turned to make war against the Romans, but was defeated by
Scipio Africanus; after which he returned to his own land, and was
slain by his people, who were aroused to fury by the burdensome taxes
exacted by him to defray the expenses of his unsuccessful war and the
tribute laid upon him by the Romans. It is easily seen that these
incidents, which brought the career of Antiochus the Great to a close,
respond to the predictions of verse 19
20. Then 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.
"in his estate:—in Antiochus' stead: his successor, Seleucus IV
Philopater (187-176 B.C.), his son "in the glory of the
kingdom"—that is, inheriting it by hereditary right. MAURER
translates, "one who shall cause the tax gatherer (Heliodorus) to pass
through the glory of the kingdom," that is, Judea, "the glorious land"
(Daniel 11:16, 41; Daniel 8:9). Simon, a Benjamite, in spite against
Onias III, the high priest, gave information of the treasures in the
Jewish temple; and Seleucus having reunited to Syria Clo-Syria and
Palestine, the dowry formerly given by Antiochus the Great to
Cleopatra, Ptolemy's wife, sent Heliodorus to Jerusalem to plunder the
temple. This is narrated in 2 Macc. 3:4, etc. Contrast Zech. 9:8, "No
oppressor shall pass through . . . any more."
"within few days . . . destroyed"—after a reign of twelve years,
which were "few" compared with the thirty-seven years of Antiochus'
reign. Heliodorus, the instrument of Seleucus' sacrilege, was made by
God the instrument of his punishment. Seeking the crown, in the
absence at Rome of Seleucus' only son and heir, Demetrius, he poisoned
Seleucus. But Antiochus Epiphanes, Seleucus' brother, by the help of
Eumenes, king of Pergamos, succeeded to the throne, 175 B.C. "neither
in anger, nor in battle"—not in a popular outbreak, nor in open
battle was fulfilled by the asassin.
21. And 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.
Verse 21 foretells the rising up of a "vile person." Nearly all
expositors of repute are agreed that this "vile person" (an expression
signifying one greatly abhorred and detested) was Antiochus Epiphanes
successor to Antiochus the Great as king of Syria. This odious person
occupies a very large place in the prophecy; for verses 21 to 35 (2Ma
4:21-35) are taken up with the foretelling of his "a abominable
actions toward the Jews." In I Maccabees 1:10 he is described as "wicked
root." His deeds of cruelty and sacrilege far surpassed anything the
Jews had suffered under previous rulers. Many pages in Maccabees and
Josephus are devoted to the history of this tyrannical king, and his
ill treatment of the Jews.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes was a son of Antiochus III the Great and the
Seleucid who ruled from 175-163 B.C. In prophecy he is given as much
attention as all the others before him combined. He is the little horn
of Daniel 8:9-12, 23-25. A long section (11:21-35) is devoted to him
not only because of the effects of his invasion on the land of Israel,
but more so because he foreshadows the little horn (king) of 7:8 who
in a future day will desecrate and destroy the land of Israel.
Antiochus IV is introduced as a contemptible person. He took
to himself the name Epiphanes which means "the Illustrious One.”
But he was considered so untrustworthy that he was nicknamed Epimanes,
by play of the sound, which means "the Madman.” The throne
rightly belonged to Demetrius Soter, a son of Seleucus IV Philopator,
but Antiochus IV Epiphanes seized the throne and had himself
proclaimed king. Thus he did not come to the throne by rightful
succession; he seized it through intrigue. Hence, for his crafty
supplanting of Demetrius, the rightful heir, from the throne, he is
termed "vile." "... they shall not give . . . kingdom: but . . . by
flatteries"—The nation shall not, by a public act, confer the
kingdom on him, but he shall obtain it by artifice, "flattering"
Eumenes and Attalus of Pergamos to help him, and, as he had seen
candidates at Rome doing, canvassing the Syrian people high and low,
one by one, with embraces [LIVY, 41.20]. He was accepted as ruler
because he was able to turn aside an invading army, perhaps the
Egyptians. He also deposed Onias III, the high priest, called here a
prince of the covenant.
22. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before
him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
shall they be overflown . . . before him—Antiochus
Epiphanes shall invade Egypt with overwhelming forces.
The "prince of the covenant"—could be Onias III, the high
priest, but in this context he is more likely to be Ptolemy
Philometer, the son of Cleopatra, Antiochus' sister, who was joined in
covenant with him. Ptolemy's guardians, while he was a boy, sought to
recover from Epiphanes Clo-Syria and Palestine, which had been
promised by Antiochus the Great as Cleopatra's dowry in marrying
Ptolemy Epiphanes. Hence arose the war. Philometer's generals were
vanquished, and Pelusium, the key of Egypt, taken by Antiochus, 171
23. And after the league made with him he shall work
deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a
In the prophecy it was foretold that, "he shall come in peaceably, and
obtain the kingdom by flatteries.., and after the league made with him
he shall work deceitfully." This was fulfilled quite literally, for
Josephus relates that the king (Antiochus), having determined to make
war on the king of Egypt, "came up to Jerusalem, and, pretending
peace, got possession of the city by treachery" (Bk. II, 5, 4). The
Cambridge edition of the Bible cites II Maccabees 4:7, 10, 23-31 in
connection with the foregoing verses.
TREGELLES notes three divisions in the history of the "vile person,"
which is continued to the end of the chapter: (1) His rise (Daniel
11:21-22). (2) The time from his making the covenant to the taking
away of the daily sacrifice and setting up of the abomination of
desolation (Daniel 11:23-31). (3) His career of blasphemy, to his
destruction (Daniel 11:32-45); the latter two periods answering to the
"week" of years of his "covenant with many" (namely, in Israel)
(Daniel 9:27), and the last being the closing half week of the ninth
chapter. But the context so accurately agrees with the relations of
Antiochus to Ptolemy that the primary reference seems to be to the
"league" between them. Antitypically, Antichrist's relations towards
Israel are probably delineated. Compare Daniel 8:11, 25, with Daniel
11:22 here, "prince of the covenant." work deceitfully—Feigning
friendship to young Ptolemy, as if he wished to order his kingdom for
him, he took possession of Memphis and all Egypt ("the fattest
places," Daniel 11:34) as far as Alexandria. with a small
people—At first, to throw off suspicion, his forces were small.
24. He 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.
Again, according to the prophecy, this "vile person," after entering
peaceably upon the fattest (i.e., the richest) places of the province,
would do "that which his fathers had not done, nor his fathers’
fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches,"
etc. In agreement with this is the fact that none of the predecessors
of Antiochus had ever interfered in the slightest degree with the
worship, laws, or religious observances of the Jews; nor had they ever
violated the temple in any way. Thus, in plundering and profaning the
temple, and in his acts of cruelty and sacrilege (to which we will
refer below), Antiochus Epiphanes did "that which his fathers had not
done, nor his fathers’ fathers."
25. And 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.
Verse 25 of the prophecy foretells this ruler’s military expedition
against Egypt (2Ma 5:1). The histories give a full account of
this campaign. In fact the Cambridge edition of the Bible, and some
others, have in the margin a note on this verse which reads,
"Fulfilled B.C. 170."
26. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him,
and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
"they that feed of . . . his meat"—those from whom he might naturally
have looked for help, his intimates and dependents (Psalm 41:9; John
13:18); his ministers and guardians. "his army shall
overflow"—Philometer's army shall be dissipated as water. The phrase
is used of overflowing numbers, usually in a victorious sense, but
here in the sense of defeat, the very numbers which ordinarily ensure
victory, hastening the defeat through mismanagement. "many shall fall
down slain"—(1 Macc. 1:18, "many fell wounded to death"). Antiochus,
when he might have slain all in the battle near Pelusium, rode around
and ordered the enemy to be taken alive, the fruit of which policy
was, he soon gained Pelusium and all Egypt [DIODORUS SICULUS, 26.77].
27. And 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.
"both . . . to do mischief"—each to the other. "speak lies at one
table"—They shall, under the semblance of intimacy, at Memphis try
to deceive one another (see on Daniel 11:3; Daniel 11:25). "it shall
not prosper"—Neither of them shall carry his point at this time.
"yet the end shall be"—"the end" of the contest between them is
reserved for "the time appointed" (Daniel 11:29-30).
After Antiochus consolidated his kingdom, he moved against Egypt, the
king of the South, in 170. Antiochus was able to move his army from
his homeland to the very border of Egypt before he was met by the
Egyptian army at Pelusium near the Nile Delta. In this battle the
Egyptians had a large army but were defeated and Antiochus professed
friendship with Egypt. The victor and the vanquished sat at a table
together as though friendship had been established, but the goal of
both to establish peace was never realized for they both were
28. Then 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.
Verses 28-30 tell of his return in a second expedition against Egypt,
and of its failure: "For the ships of Chittim shall come against
him. Therefore he shall be grieved (disappointed or made despondent)
and return and have indignation against the holy covenant," etc. The
record of this unsuccessful expedition against Egypt, and of the fury
of Antiochus which he proceeded to vent upon the Jews, is given in
Maccabees and Josephus. Anstey thus condenses their account.
"B.C. 168. Popillius met Antiochus Epiphanes four miles from
Alexandria, drew a circle round him in the sand, and forced him to
cease his war in Egypt. Whereupon Antiochus began his savage
persecution of the Jews, which led to the rise of Mattathias and the
In the Cambridge Bible verse 28 has a note, "Fulfilled B.C. 169; "
and verse 30 a note, "Fulfilled B.C. 168."
Antiochus carried great wealth back to his homeland from his
conquest. On his return he passed through the land of Israel. After
his disappointment in Egypt (he had hoped to take all of Egypt but
failed) he took out his frustrations on the Jews by desecrating the
temple in Jerusalem. Evidently he opposed (set his heart against) the
entire Mosaic system (the holy covenant). After desecrating the
temple, he returned to his own country.
29. At 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"—"the time" spoken of in Daniel 11:27.
"return" refers to his second open invasion of Egypt two year later
in 168. Ptolemy
Philometer, suspecting Antiochus' designs with Physcon, hired
mercenaries from Greece. Whereupon Antiochus advanced with a fleet and
an army, demanding the cession to him of Cyprus, Pelusium, and the
country adjoining the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile. "it shall not be as
the former"—not successful as the former expedition. Popilius
Loenas, the Roman ambassador, met him at Eleusis, four miles from
Alexandria, and presented him the decree of the senate; on Antiochus
replying that he would consider what he was to do, Popilius drew a
line round him with a rod and said, "I must have a reply to give to
the senate before you leave this circle." Antiochus submitted, and
retired from Egypt; and his fleets withdrew from Cyprus. This was a
humiliating defeat for Antiochus Epiphanes (he will lose heart) but he
had no alternative but to return to his own land.
30. For 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.
As he moved into Egypt, he was opposed by the Romans who had
come to Egypt in ships from the western coastlands (lit., "ships of
Kittim”; cf. NIV marg., i.e., Cyprus). From the Roman senate
Popillius Laenas took to Antiochus a letter forbidding him to engage
in war with Egypt. When Antiochus asked for time to consider, the
emissary drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and demanded that
he give his answer before he stepped out of the circle. Antiochus
submitted to Rome’s demands for to resist would be to declare war
This brings us to the climax of the wicked deeds of Antiochus, which
the prophecy foretells distinctly, and which the histories record with
great detail. We refer to his gross impiety and sacrilege in respect
to the temple, the sacrifices, and the religious customs of the
Jews. Verse 30 speaks of his coming to an understanding "with them
that forsake the holy covenant." For many of the Jews apostatised at
that time, forsaking God, and turning against all their religious
customs. Thus in Maccabees we read:
"Moreover, King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all
should be one people, and everyone should leave his laws. So all the
heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many
also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto
idols, and profaned the Sabbath. * * * 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.”(1Ma 1:41-43,52)
For a second time (cf. v. 28) Antiochus took out his frustration on
the Jews, the city of Jerusalem, and their temple. He vented his fury
against the holy covenant, the entire Mosaic system (cf. v. 28),
favoring any renegade Jews who turned to help him (cf. v. 32). He
desecrated the temple and abolished the daily sacrifice. Antiochus
sent his general Apollonius with 22,000 soldiers into Jerusalem on
what was purported to be a peace mission. But they attacked Jerusalem
on the Sabbath, killed many people, took many women and children as
slaves, and plundered and burned the city.
In seeking to exterminate Judaism and to Hellenize the Jews, he
forbade the Jews to follow their religious practices (including their
festivals and circumcision), and commanded that copies of the Law be
burned. Then he set up the abomination that causes desolation. In this
culminating act he erected on December 16, 167 B.C. an altar to Zeus
on the altar of burnt offering outside the temple, and had a pig
offered on the altar. The Jews were compelled to offer a pig on the
25th of each month to celebrate Antiochus Epiphanes’
birthday. Antiochus promised apostate Jews (those who violated the
covenant; cf. v. 30) great reward if they would set aside the God of
Israel and worship Zeus, the god of Greece. Many in Israel were
persuaded by his promises (flattery) and worshiped the false
god. However, a small remnant remained faithful to God, refusing to
engage in those abominable practices. Antiochus IV died insane in
Persia in 163 B.C. (Cf. comments on this Antiochus in 8:23-25.)
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