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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 11

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-45

Now He begins to reveal unto Daniel these things are going to transpire, as far as the future is concerned. And here Daniel gets into such interesting details that many of the Bible critics have a difficult time with the eleventh chapter of the book of Daniel. And they say that it was actually written in the year 166 B.C., after all of these events took place, because it was impossible that he could have written of these events until they had happened. However, that's of course quite a miracle in itself, because the Septuagint version was made in about 220 or so B.C., and in the Septuagint the book of Daniel is included. They accepted it as written by Daniel and as authentic. At least sixty years before these critics say the book of Daniel was written. So it's interesting that they could have had the copies sixty years before it was written and translated it into Greek. They say that figures don't lie but liars can sure figure.

Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. And now I will show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia ( Daniel 11:1-2 );

Darius was the king at this time. The three kings that would follow would be Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes, and another Darius. These are in secular history known as Cambyses, pseudo-Smerdis, and Darius or Darius Hystaspes. So there will be three kings that will rise up.

and the fourth will be richer [this is Xerxes] than they all: and by his strength and through his riches he will stir up all against the realm of Grecia ( Daniel 11:2 ).

Xerxes was very wealthy, very powerful. And he made an expedition against Greece and was able to defeat, but yet, not conquer Greece. And so that particular part was fulfilled; there were the three kings, Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes, Darius, and then Xerxes the fourth richer than the others made the expedition against Greece.

But then Greece will arise.

And a mighty king [Alexander the Great] shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom will be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; but not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those ( Daniel 11:3-4 ).

So Alexander the Great will rise up, but when he falls the kingdom will not go to his family, to his posterity, nor will they receive the full extent of his dominion.

For the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above, and have dominion; and his dominion shall be a great dominion ( Daniel 11:5 ).

The king of the south, and was, of course, the General Ptolemy, who took over in Egypt. General Seleucus took over in Syria. And there also was another general who took over in Greece, and another one who took over in Thracia. So Greece was divided into the four dominions. But he speaks now and he doesn't bring up the Grecian or the Thracian kingdom, but only the Syrian and Egyptian, because they are the ones that relate to Israel. For in their wars, Israel was the middle ground between Syria and Egypt, and so in their fighting each other they had to pass through the land of Israel.

Now he begins to give some interesting details that were all fulfilled in history. "The king of the south will be strong, have a dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion."

And in the end of the years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter ( Daniel 11:6 )

The king of the north and the king of the south were fighting, but in the end they'll 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 ( Daniel 11:6 ).

Now, what happened is that the king of Egypt gave his daughter, Berenice, to the king of the north, who divorced his wife in order to marry Berenice. But when Ptolemy died, then he got rid of Berenice and took his wife back again, who in turn poisoned him. And she killed also Berenice and her son. Now when Berenice had a son, the former queen, her sons were X'ed out according to the agreement. But when she poisoned her husband and killed Berenice and her sons, then of course her sons were in line again for the throne. And here Daniel tells all of this intrigue and everything else is going to take place. And then the brother of Berenice gathered together an army in Egypt and came up and destroyed this wife, who had poisoned her husband and had killed his sister. So, "and he that is begotten of her," actually is referring to a family member which was her brother. And he strengthened her in these times.

And a branch of her roots [that is, her brother] shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and prevail ( Daniel 11:7 ):

Who was Ptolemy Euergetes, the brother of Berenice, who invaded Syria just as it's described here.

He shall also carry away captives into Egypt with their gods, and their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return to his own land. But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through ( Daniel 11:8-10 ):

That is, his sons, the king of the north, who was defeated by Euergetes. And he will assemble... they will assemble a multitude of great forces. One shall certainly come and overflow and pass through.

then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. And 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 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 ( Daniel 11:10-12 ).

This is Philopater, who is the Ptolemy Philopater who was the king of the south at this time. He gathered together a great army. Came against the king of the north, however, though he defeated him and took a lot of loot, the guy did not take full advantage and subjugate the people. He was too interested in the licentious life that he was living in Egypt. And so where it says here, "He will cast down many ten thousands," he did destroy a lot of the army, "but he will not be strengthened by it." He didn't take advantage of it. He just went back and lived a life of luxury and licentiousness in Egypt.

For the king of the north then 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. And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south ( Daniel 11:13-14 ):

So the king of the north came back again, which was Antiochus Megas, known as Antiochus the Great. "But many shall stand up." Philip of Macedon joined with him against Egypt at this point, plus some rebels in Egypt, plus some of the Jews who were called

the robbers of thy people will exalt themselves to establish the vision; and they shall fall. So the king of the north [Antiochus the Great] shall come, and cast up a mount, and take most of the fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. But he that comes 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. He shall also set his face to enter with 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 ( Daniel 11:14-17 ).

Now, Euergetes is the king of the south in Egypt. When he took over he was just seven years old. So, he was just at that point a figurehead. But Antiochus the Great took his daughter Cleopatra, and she... he made a deal that she should marry Euergetes. Figuring that when she got there in the kingdom of Egypt she would be for her old man. But when the marriage some years later was made and Cleopatra became the wife of Euergetes, rather than siding with her father, Antiochus the Great, she sided with her own husband against her father. So his little plan backfired. Now Daniel tells about the plan and how it will backfire. If he had only read the Bible, he would have known better than to send his daughter down there. "He shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her, but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him." She won't be for him and if he had only read that he would have known better than to send her down.

Now after this shall he turn his face unto the isles ( Daniel 11:18 ),

So not being able to conquer into Egypt, he then turned and began... he gathered a navy of 300 ships and he began to travel in the Mediterranean, beginning to fight actually against Rome, which at this point was beginning to be a power in the ancient world. So he turned his face unto the isles,

and shall take away 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. And then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. Then ( Daniel 11:18-20 )

Now what happened, of course, is he was defeated by the Romans and they determined then that they would charge him for all of these wars. And so he was given a sum that he was to pay every year. Well, he and his men went into a temple to take away the treasures and the people of the city were so incensed they killed him. And so he fell; he stumbled and fell, was not, you know, he was lost in the place of history.

And there shall stand up in his place [his son, Seleucus Philopater], who would be a raiser of taxes ( Daniel 11:20 )

He tried to raise the taxes to pay this Roman tribute.

in the glory of the kingdom: but within a few days he will be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle ( Daniel 11:20 ).

He was poisoned and killed. And after just a very short reign, because the people didn't like the taxes he was trying to exact from them.

And in his estate shall stand up a vile person [Antiochus Epiphanes], to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: and he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries ( Daniel 11:21 ).

Now this, Antiochus Epiphanes was a real treacherous person.

And with the arms with a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. And he shall enter peaceably even on 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 the spoil, and the riches ( Daniel 11:22-24 ):

He began to conquer and he did what his fathers did not do, in that they amassed the wealth for themselves, but he began to give away all of the money to all of his generals and those that were with him. So his practice of distributing the loot among the men is here predicted by Daniel. "He shall scatter among them the prey and the spoil and the riches."

yes, and he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. 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 ( Daniel 11:24-25 ).

So he came against Egypt with a tremendous army and Egypt met him, but he began to defeat the Egyptians.

Yea, they the feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. And both these kings' heart shall be to do mischief ( Daniel 11:26-27 ),

Now, they were stopped by the Roman government and yet both of them sought to do mischief. And, of course, you read the history and it's interesting--the king of Egypt, his brother was in Alexandria and both of them were doing a lot of lying and cunning and all, and so the kings' heart shall be in them to do mischief.

and they shall speak lies at one table; and shall not prosper ( Daniel 11:27 ):

They were just lying to each other making treaties and everything else, which neither of them intended to honor.

for yet at the end shall be the time appointed. Then shall he return unto his land with great riches; his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. And at the time appointed he shall return, and come towards the south ( Daniel 11:27-29 );

So he sought again to invade. Antiochus Epiphanes sought again to invade Egypt.

but it shall not be as the former, or the latter. For the ships of Chittim ( Daniel 11:29-30 )

Actually, when he came this time to Alexandria, the Roman ships were there in the port. And so the Roman general, Popillius Laenas, came to him, and he said, "The Roman senate has ordered you to go home with your troops." And he said, "I will consult with my men and we will send an answer to Rome." And Popillius, the Roman general took his cane and he drew a circle in the sand around him and he said, "Make your decision before you leave that circle." And he was intimidated by the Roman general, and so he said, "I've decided to go home, tell the Roman senate." And so here, this is all predicted here. The Roman navy met him. They were waiting in port at Alexandria when he came. All predicted in advance. Amazing that God would speak in such detail of these things that had not yet transpired.

Now he was angry because he was rebuffed by Rome. And so he was determined to take it out upon the nation of Israel. And on his way back to Syria, he came to Jerusalem and really sought to desecrate the place.

he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And 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 ( Daniel 11:30-31 ).

He came back to Jerusalem and polluted the temple. He built an altar, a pagan altar above the altar of God and he offered a pig upon this altar to an idol that they had set up there in the temple of God.

And 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 ( Daniel 11:32 ).

His desecration of the temple so incensed the people that Judas Maccabaeus gathered together a group of zealots and they began to attack the Syrians in guerrilla type warfare, and they defeated every Syrian contingency that was sent against them. And they finally retook the temple and purified the temple, which period we've just gone through the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah in the Jewish calendar to celebrate Judas Maccabaeus retaking and rededicating the temple unto God.

So the people that do know their God, Judas Maccabaeus and those Maccabean brothers will be strong and do exploits.

And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and the flame, and by captivity, and by spoil, many days ( Daniel 11:33 ).

Both Judas and his brothers were all slain by the sword.

Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them shall understand and shall fall, and try to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed ( Daniel 11:34-35 ).

Now at this point Daniel's prophecy goes out to the end and he sees now the man who is commonly called the antichrist. But in scripture is called the son of perdition or is called the man of sin or is called the beast.

And the king shall do according to his will; [the antichrist] he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god; and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper until the indignation ( Daniel 11:36 )

Which is the Old Testament word for the Great Tribulation

shall be accomplished ( Daniel 11:36 ):

He will prosper until the Tribulation be accomplished.

for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers ( Daniel 11:36-37 ),

And so he will obviously be a Jew.

nor the desire of women ( Daniel 11:37 ),

Now this "not regarding the desire of women" can have one of two meanings. It was the desire of every Jewish girl to be privileged to bear the Messiah. And Christ was called the desire of nations. But the desire, really, of every young girl--to be chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. Mary was the one that God chose. But the desire of women. That is why so many of the Jewish mothers name their child Joshua. Hoping that God would use him for the salvation of Israel.

Now it is interesting today, there is an off-branch of the Moslems known as the Druze. It's a very secretive kind of a religion. In fact, the people do not know what it's about. Only the priests know what they believe. They don't teach the people. It's a secret religion. And the priests are the ones that do all of the worship and they're the ones that know the secrets and no one else knows but them. And, of course, they're sworn not to reveal the secrets to anybody. Now you go into the Druze' villages and you see the priest and they have a special little headband by which you know that they are priests, but not only that, they have these baggy pants with a big sack, sort of a contraption here in the front. And the reason why they have this big sack contraption in the front is that among the Druze' religion they believe that the Messiah will be born of a man. And thus, they have this big sack in the front in case they get pregnant. It's true. I've got pictures of them and you can go to the Druze' villages today and it's very amusing and interesting to see these men walking with these big sacks hanging down the front of their pants there in the front and all of them in hopes that they'll be chosen to bear the Messiah and to become pregnant with the Messiah.

So, "the desire of women" would in that sense be a reference to Jesus Christ. So he does not regard the God of his fathers nor Jesus Christ. He is a man who speaks blasphemously,

not regarding any god: for he'll magnify himself above all ( Daniel 11:37 ).

So that is, no doubt, the correct interpretation. There are some that says he'll be a homosexual, not regarding the desire of women. But more apt looking at the context of the Hebrew people, rather than referring to a homosexual, it is probably referring to the fact that he does not regard Jesus Christ.

But his god is the god of forces: a god whom his father knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things ( Daniel 11:38 ).

Look how today men are honoring the god of forces with gold and silver. Do you realize that one trillion dollars was spent this year for weapons? One trillion dollars was spent this year in order to build tanks and guns and equip the military and all. One trillion dollars, what a tragic misuse of the resources of the world. But it's all preparing for this man who honors the god of force.

Thus shall he do in the most strongholds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause him to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain ( Daniel 11:39 ).

So the land of Israel, he will divide it for gain.

And 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 horsemen, many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and overflow and pass over. And he shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these will escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, [which is Jordan] and the chief of the children of Ammon ( Daniel 11:40-41 ).

So Jordan will not be taken by the antichrist, though Israel will. Interesting, because the Jews will actually flee for protection to Jordan at this point, to the rock city of Petra, where they will be preserved by God for three and half years, during the time of the great indignation or the wrath of God which is to be poured out upon the earth.

So Edom or Jordan escapes. However, he moves towards Egypt.

He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape ( Daniel 11:42 ).

He will take the land of Egypt.

And he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be [at his doorsteps or] at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with his great fury to destroy, and utterly make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; he shall come to his end, and none shall help him ( Daniel 11:43-45 ).

Now this is a reference to the antichrist who will be the leader of the united nations of Europe. He shall be moving towards Africa in the conquest of Africa. Taking Egypt, passing through Israel, taking Egypt moving towards Libya and Ethiopia, at which time he will hear of the troops from China and Russia coming against him. So he will turn from his proposed conquest of Africa and come back and they will meet in the Valley of Megiddo there in Israel. The tremendous force of the Chinese for whom the river Euphrates will be dried up in order that they might cross, according to the book of Revelation. Those forces that are remaining in Russia, gathering against the combined forces of Europe, and the United States will no doubt be in league with those forces of Europe at this point. And this final great world war, the major scene of battle, will be the Valley of Megiddo there in Israel. This is what is commonly called the Battle of Armageddon of which you have read and heard so much about. And this, of course, is what will perpetrate this battle, as he is moving against Africa, getting news that Chinese and the Russians have confederated together to come against him. He turns in great anger and the place of the their meeting is the Valley of Megiddo. And it is at that time where the blood will flow to the horses' bridle throughout the whole Valley of Megiddo as the slain of the earth. Millions destroyed in that great carnage and bloodshed.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 11". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/daniel-11.html. 2014.
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