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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 11

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, [even] I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

Also I,i.e., I, Gabriel the angel, glad of such an office, for the good of God’s people, whereunto also I was sent by Christ. Daniel 10:9-10

In the first year of Darius the Mede. — Who now began to think of sending home the captive Jews, but had some hesitations and fluctuations of mind about it.

I stood to confirm and to strengthen him. — Angels cannot enlighten the mind, or powerfully incline the will of man, for so the Holy Ghost only doth; but, as instruments of the Holy Ghost, they can stir up phantasms of the Word read or heard. They can also propose truth and right to the mind, advise and persuade to it as counsellors, and inwardly instigate as it were by speaking and doing after a spiritual manner, suggesting good thoughts, as devils do evil; yea, they can strangely wind themselves into men’s imaginations, so as to appear to them in their dreams. Matthew 1:20

Verse 2

And 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 I will show thee the truth. — The plain, naked truth, in proper and downright terms, dealing with thee more like a historian than a prophet. Truth is, like our first parents, most beautiful when naked.

Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia. — Three besides Darius, viz., Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius Hystaspis; for as for Smerdis or the Magus, who took upon him to be the son of Cyrus, and usurped the throne after Cambyses for six months, the holy angel holds him not worth naming. Herodot, in Thalia.

And the fourth shall be far richer than they all. — This was Xerxes, who was called the hoarder of his kingdom, like as his father Darius had been called the huckster, regni caupo, the huckster of the kingdom, for his unmeasurable riches gathered out of all the East, and prepared for the war against Greece.

And when he shall be strengthened by his riches. — Which were never true to those that trusted them.

He shall stir up all. — He shall bring into the field a million of men, and cover the seas with his ships, thinking to bear down all before him; but was shamefully defeated by the Grecians, and forced in a small fishing boat to get back into Asia, where, falling into inordinate lust and cruelty, he was killed by Artabanus, and left this war hereditary to his successors, until the ruin of the Persian kingdom by great Alexander, of whom in the next verse.

Verse 3

And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

But a mighty king shall stand up. — Alexander the Great, the founder of the Greek monarchy; who, with thirty thousand footmen, and five thousand horsemen, overran and subdued a great part of the habitable world. See Daniel 8:1-27 . The devil, by his oracles, foretold him of his victories, having stolen his skill out of this prophecy of Daniel.

Verse 4

And 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. — And seemeth to be best underlaid, set to live, as we say, when he standeth on his best bottom, expecting ambassadors at Babylon from all the world, requiring divine honours from his Grecians, and enjoining the Jews that their dates should be taken from his reign, and that all the priests’ sons born that year should be called Alexanders.

His kingdom shall be broken. — As brittle ware is apt to be.

And shall be divided toward the four winds.Sic transit gloria mundi. So fleeting is the fame of the world. Fitly compared to the wind, as Daniel 2:35 to a dream, to a shadow, to a dream of a shadow. Great Alexander’s kingdom was first broken into many pieces by twelve of his princes, until, eleven years after his death, it became quadripartite, … Here is foretold being divided among four of his chieftains, Cassander, Antigonus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, till at length these two last got all into their hands, and yet were ever jarring and warring, as appeareth by what here followeth.

And not to his posterity. — For all his kindred were killed by Cassander, with whom it happened accordingly.

Nor according to his dominion. — For although they were all sovereign princes, yet they fell far short of Alexander in command and warlike fame. Daniel 8:22

Verse 5

And 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 shall be strong. — Ptolemy, king of Egypt, together with his whole family, line, and race, the Lagidae, shall be eminently strong; and a great enemy he was to the poor Jews, as Josephus Antiq., lib. xii. cap. 1. explains.

And one of his princes,i.e., Of Alexander’s princes, meaning Seleucus Nisanor, king of Syria, together with his house and line, called the Seleucidae.

And he shall be strong above him,i.e., Stronger than Ptolemy, and that the poor Church shall feel; for Judea lay between these two potent princes, and was therefore beaten on both sides. Perinde ac isthmus inter duo maria interiacens, or as bread grain ground between two millstones. This was here foretold, and much more, three hundred years before it happened, that we may know that there is an omnipotent and omniscient majesty, who decreeth and doeth whatsoever himself pleaseth.

His dominion shall be a great dominion, — viz., As long as it will hold. Besides Syria and Babylon, Seleucus had more of Asia than ever any had but only Alexander. So our Henry VI, till deposed, had been the most potent monarch for dominions that ever England had; yet afterwards he was not the master of a mole hill, nor owner of his own liberty, as hath been said before.

Verse 6

And 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 process of time, after that these two kings had sufficiently worried and wearied out one another in bloody wars.

They shall join themselves together. — Heb., Shall associate themselves, viz., in a friendly amity, and shall make interchangeable marriages, but to little purpose, as it proved. So Calo Joannes, the Christian emperor of Trebizond, gave his daughter Despina in marriage to Usuncassanes, king of Persia, but with ill success; for he soon after lost his empire. Turkish History, 464.

For the king’s daughter of the south. — Bernice, or, as others call her, Berenice or Beronice, i.e., the daughter of innocence or purity, the daughter Ptolemy Philadelph so called for that he married his own sister, and therefore his daughter Beronice was not rightly named. Junius.

Shall come to the king of the north. — To Antiochus Theos, king of Syria, so the Milesians first surnamed him, because he had driven out their tyrant Timarch, and he took it upon him, to his utter undoing; for this god was afterwards poisoned by his wife, Laodice. Pausan., Appian.

To make an agreement. — Marriages made in policy, to serve dishonest ends, are ever of ill success. 1 Samuel 18:21 ; 1 Samuel 18:28

But she shall not retain the power of the arm. — Her interest in her husband, her queendom, and her life were soon after lost. She was not sent home again, as Anne of Cleves was here, but sent out of the world, together with her son and all her retinue, by Laodice, whom Appian maketh to be her own sister; but that is not likely.

Neither shall he stand,i.e., Antiochus Theus, who was poisoned by his jealous wife - a just punishment from a "jealous God."

Nor his arm. — His young son by Bernice.

And he that begat her. — Her father, Ptolemy Philadelph, who died soon after.

Verse 7

But 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 the branch of her roots. — One of her stock; her own brother both by father and mother.

Shall one stand up in his estate. — Ptolemy Euergetes shall succeed his father Philadelph; and making war against Seleucus Callinicus, son of Antiochus Theos by Laodice, in revenge of his sister Bernice’s death, shall prevail on and overrun the greatest part of Callinicus’s kingdom.

Verse 8

And 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 captive their gods. — Goodly gods they were the while, and likely to defend their worshippers! He brought back also the Egyptian idols, carried away by Cambyses, rather in scorn of all religion than hatred of idolatry, and was thereupon called by that superstitious people, Euergetes, that is, Benefactor. See Luke 22:25 .

Verse 9

So 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. — Called out of Syria by a commotion at home, the Parthians invading Egypt; but he soon quelled them, and quieted his own country. Josephus Lib. ii. cont. Appian. writeth that this Ptolemy Euergetes, in his return out of Syria, went to Jerusalem, and in thankfulness to the God of the Jews, offered his oblations at the temple there. Of his father Philadelphus also he reporteth, that he redeemed one hundred and twenty thousand Jews that were slaves in Egypt, and sent them home, and bestowed many rich gifts upon the temple at Jerusalem. Antiq., lib. ii. cap. 2.

Verse 10

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: then shall he return, and be stirred up, [even] to his fortress.

But his sons. — Callinicus’s sons - viz., Seleucus, Ceraunus, and Antiochus Magnus, quasi duo fulmina belli.

Shall be stirred up. — As not enduring that Ptolemy Philopator, son of Euergetes, should possess any part of Syria under their noses.

Shall assemble a multitude of great forces. — Seventy thousand footmen, and fifty thousand horsemen, saith Polybius. Lib. v.

And one shall certainly come. — One, not both; because Ceraunus, who seemed to be as swift and as irresistible as lightning, and therehence had his name, Ceraunias id est fulmineus: quod audaci et veloci ingenio praeditus. - Justin. was slain by Nicanor, so that Antiochus the Great was king alone.

And shall overflow and pass through. — To wit, against the captains of Ptolemy in Syria, Attalus, and Theodatus.

And he shall be stirred up, even to his fortress. — To Ptolemy’s fortress, or fortified city, Raphia, which lieth in the entrances of Egypt, saith Jerome.

Verse 11

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 the king of the south. — Ptolemaeus Philopator, so called, say some, per antiphrasin, because he killed his father. He slew also his both sister and wife Eurydice, and was otherwise very vicious, and yet victorious.

Even with the king of the north,i.e., With Antiochus the Great, who was so called perhaps, saith one, Pausan., lib. v. for undertaking much, and performing little.

And he shall set forth a great multitude. — Sixty-two thousand footmen and six thousand horsemen.

And the multitude. — Antiochus’s army, himself hardly escaping with life through the deserts. Spoliavisset regno Antiochum, si fortunam virtute iuvisset. - Justin.

Verse 12

[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].

His heart shall be lifted up. — So that he shall slight his enemy, and not pursue his victory, but give himself up to a luxurious life. Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis, said that Roman general.

Verse 13

For 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. — Antiochus the Great.

Shall return,. — After Philopator’s death, to fight against his young son and successor Epiphanes.

And shall set forth a multitude greater than the former. — Gathered out of the upper parts of Babylon. He called in the help also of Philip, king of Macedon, and other princes. His army is said to have consisted of three hundred thousand footmen, besides horses and elephants. Jerome.

And shall certainly come. — Heb., By coming he shall come, i.e., surely, swiftly, suddenly; but to small purpose.

And with much riches. — Gold, silver, purple, silks, ivory, as Florus Lib. ii. cap. 8. and Gellius Lib. v. cap. 5. testify.

Verse 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.

And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south. — Many of the Jews who supplied Antiochus in this expedition of his against Egypt, both with men and other warlike provision. Howbeit various Jews, called here "robbers" Effractores, praevaricatores. or refractories, fierce, furious, and desperate fellows, adhered to Ptolemy Epiphanes, who gave them permission to build a temple in Egypt, which was accordingly also done by Onias, not far from Memphis, upon pretence of fulfilling that prophecy, Isaiah 19:19 called here establishing the vision.

But they shall fall. — As they did afterwards by the Romans, who destroyed the Jews there in great multitudes, and burnt their mock temple.

Verse 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 withstand.

So the king of the north shall come,i.e., Not the Romans, as some would have it, but Antiochus Great still. He had been foiled at Raphia, now he greatly prevaileth against the Egyptians. If we princes, said our Henry VII, shall take every occasion that is offered, the world shall never be quiet, but wearied with continual wars.

And the armies of the south shall not withstand. — Scopas, the Egyptian general, though very skilful and valiant, shall be beaten by Antiochus into Sidon, besieged there, and forced to yield, all the power of Egypt being not able to raise the siege and relieve Scopas. The battle is not always to the strong. Ecclesiastes 9:11

Verse 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.

And he shall stand in the glorious land. — Heb., The land of ornaments - that is, Judea, which, lying between these two potent princes, was perpetually afflicted, as grain is ground asunder lying between two heavy millstones. Now Judea is called the "glorious" or beautiful land, In Ezekiel 20:6 ; Ezekiel 20:15 , it is called the comeliness of all countries. not so much for the fertility thereof (Babylon was much more fertile), nor for the miracles done therein (many great works had been likewise done in Egypt), as for the sincere service of God there set up; this is the beauty and bulwark of any nation. Foreign writers have termed England, the fortunate island, the terra florida, the kingdom of God, the paradise of pleasure, … Plato commendeth the Attic country for this, that the inhabitants were αυτοχθονες - the right natives that grew out of it at first ανθρωποι ωκουν οι αυτοι αει . - Thucyd. - but especially for this, that it was θεοφιλης , a place that loved God, and was interchangeably beloved of God. τυγχανει ουσα θεοφιλης . - Plato. May that be evermore England’s commendation!

Which by his hand shall be consumed. — God’s Church goes to wreck, both by south and north; all the comfort is, that whether north or south wind blow on God’s garden, they shall blow good to it at length. Song of Solomon 4:16

Verse 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.

He shall also set his face. — Antiochus longed sore to be lord of Egypt, and therefore undertook a third expedition against Epiphanes; but that not succeeding to his mind, he seweth the fox’s skin to the lion’s hide, and seeketh to get that by treachery which by open hostility he could not.

And upright ones with him. — Or, Equal conditions with him. He shall palliate his treachery with very fair pretences; he shall seem to do righteous things, drawing a fair glove over a foul hand; thus shall he do.

And he shall give him the daughter of women. — The fair Cleopatra, his beautiful daughter, filiam e mulieribus selectam; like as Saul gave Michal to David, to be a snare to him.

Munera pulchra quidem mittis, sed mittis in hamo.

- Martial.

Corrupting her. — Suborning her to make away her husband, Ptolemaeus Epiphanes. This was devilish policy, simulata necessitudo duplex simultas, but it took not.

But she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him. — As became a good wife, she clave to her husband; so did the before mentioned Michal, in whom, though we find no great store of religion - for both she had an image in the house, and afterwards mocked David for his devotion - yet nature had taught her to prefer a husband to a father.

Verse 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 upon him.

After this he shall turn his face unto the isles. — Missing of his design for Egypt, and losing also much in Asia Minor, which Epiphanes got of him by means of his Queen Cleopatra, Antiochus, as an enraged lion, falleth upon foreign countries, as Hellespont, Chersonesus, Euboea, Rhodes, Cyprus, Samos, Colophon, … He marcheth also with his army into Greece, being stirred up thereunto by Hannibal, who, being vanquished in Africa by Scipio, had fled to Antiochus into Asia, and there hatched what mischief he could against the Romans.

But a prince for his own behalf,i.e., Scipio, the Roman consul; or, as some will, Marcus Acilius, their general.

Shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease,i.e., Shall recover the countries that he had taken from the Roman State, and shall also drive back again, down his throat, those contumelies and opprobious speeches that he had thrown out against the Romans; who afterwards overcame him thrice by sea and land, forced him to accept very hard conditions, shred him of a great part of his kingdom, and called him, in contempt, Antiochus, sometime the Great. Liv., dec. 4, lib. xviii., Appian. in Syriac.

Verse 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 shall turn his face. — Not accepting the aforesaid hard conditions; till, beaten again by the Romans, he was forced so to do. He fled into the utmost parts of his kingdom of Syria, and there kept him in forts, not daring to wage war any more.

But he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. — He and his army shall be hewn in pieces by the rude rabble in the Elymeans’ country, while he went about to rob the temple of their Jupiter Bolus. Strabo, lib. xvi.

Verse 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.

Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes. — Heb., One that causeth an exactor to pass over, who shall gather no less sums of curses than of coin. This was Seleucus Philopator, son to Antiochus the Great, and his father’s darling - whence also he had his surname - but not the people’s darling, as Scipio was at Rome, whom they called Corculum, or sweet heart; for this Seleucus, king of Syria, being the Romans’ tribute gatherer - to whom he was to pay, according to his father’s agreement, a thousand talents by the year - he was hated of the people, and poisoned by Heliodorus, a great man about him, in favour of Antiochus Epiphanes, his brother and successor in the kingdom.

Verse 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.

And in his estate shall stand up a vile person. — This was his true title - as "wicked" was Haman’s Esther 7:6 - though he affected to be called Epiphanes, Illustrious or famous; and Josephus reports that the Samaritans, to curry favour with him when he tormented the Jews, styled him Antiochus, the mighty God. Oh, detestable! - surely that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God; Luke 16:15 but the bramble thinketh it a goodly thing to reign, so doth not the vine and fig tree. Judges 9:8-15 A good man honoureth them that fear the Lord, but contemneth a vile person. Psalms 15:4 Mr Foxe, when one asked him, saying, Do ye not remember such an honest, poor man, for whom you did something? Yes, said he, I forget lords and ladies to remember such. And again, when a great lord and wicked met him in the streets, and asked him, How do you, Mr Foxe? he said little. Do you not know me? said the great lord. No, not I, said Mr Foxe. I am such a one, said he. Sir, I desire, said Mr Foxe, to know none but Christ and him crucified.

To whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom. — But he shall take it, whether the nobles will or not; and so might well have been called, as his father sometimes was, Antiochus Hierax, the hawk or puttock, for his swooping and ravaging.

But he shall come in peaceably. — Under pretence of a protector to his nephew Demetrius, as did our Richard III.

And shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries. — Winning men’s hearts by presents, courtesies, and secret practices.

Verse 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.

And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown. — The Egyptians shall, by the forces of Antiochus Epiphanes, who, in the minority of his sister Cleopatra’s son, Ptolemy Philometor, invaded Egypt, and overthrew his two captains, Euleus and Leneus, as with a storm or flood.

Yea, also the prince of the covenant. — Tryphon, the chief contriver of a covenant between the two kings, after the former overthrow. He was removed by Antiochus, that himself might do what he wished in Egypt, when his nephew Philometor was yet a minor.

Verse 23

And after the league [made] with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

He shall work deceitfully. — Outwitting the wisest among the Egyptians, who yet were held great politicians. See Isaiah 19:11 ; Isaiah 19:13 .

And shall become strong with a small people. — He shall come in, as protector and co-adjutor to his nephew Philometor, with a small number, lest the Egyptians should be frightened; but being thus gotten in, he shall play his pranks to some purpose.

Verse 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.

He shall enter peaceably, even upon the fattest places of the province,i.e., Upon Memphis, in the very heart of the country.

And he shall do that which his fathers have not done,i.e., Rob and spoil, as never any of his ancestors did before in Egypt.

And he shall scatter among them the prey. — Throwing handfuls of money among the Vulgate as he went along the streets; and all to ingratiate, and to steal away their hearts. Ptole. Hypom., lib. i. and v. Absalom did the like at Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 15:6

And he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds. — By sowing dissension between Philometor and Physcon, his younger brother. The devil was as great a monster then as since, with his divide et impera, make division and get dominion.

Verse 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.

And he shall stir up his power and his courage. — Antiochus shall, himself being stirred up by the devil, that restless spirit, who continually maketh ado in the world. Fuit etiam Antiochus ingenio inquieto, versatili, turbido, vago et vario: unde multa machinatus est, pauca ad felicem exitum perduxit. Howbeit, in this second expedition against Egypt, he prospered.

Verse 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.

Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat. — His own courtiers, captains, and pensioners, corrupted by Antiochus, betrayed Philometor. See /Apc 1 Maccabees 1:16-20. In trust I have oft found treason, said Queen Elizabeth.

Verse 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.

And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief. — Philometor being beaten, shall seek agreement, give great gifts to Antiochus, and feast him, sed reconciliatione vulpina, but with a fox-like and feigned amity, each of them still retaining their ancient hatreds. "Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross." Proverbs 26:23

And they shall speak lies. — This is ordinary with the wicked; Psalms 62:9 but it is the property of the godly man to "speak the truth from his heart." Psalms 15:2

For yet the end shall be at the time appointed,i.e., The end of those wars shall be at the time when God seeth good, and hath pre-determined it.

Verse 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.

Then shall he return into his land with great riches. — But little content. Gain, when it is either the "Mammon of unrighteousness," or "wages of wickedness," is true loss.

And his heart shall be against the holy covenant,i.e., Against the Jews, God’s covenanters, and against the true religion. The Church is haeres crucis, saith Luther: the truth goes seldom without a scratched face.

Verse 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. — After two years.

And come toward the south. — Toward Egypt. 1 Maccabees 1:29

But it shall not be as the former. — Expedition, Daniel 11:25 .

Or as the latter. — Mentioned Daniel 11:40 . God oft crosseth the wicked in the height of their hopes. Job 20:6

Verse 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.

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him,i.e., Publius Popilius, the Roman envoy, shall come in Italian or Grecian ships, and shall, in the name of the senate and people of Rome, command Antiochus to depart with his army out of Egypt, and that forthwith. Joseph., lib. xii. cap. 6; Liv., dec. 5, lib. v.; Appian. in Syr.; Justin. So true found Antiochus that of the poet,

Omne, sub regno graviore, regnum est.

Therefore he shall be grieved, and return. — And reck his wrath upon the poor Church of God, turning his rage against the Jews.

And have intelligence with them that forsake the covenant. — None are so dangerous and desperate enemies to the truth as apostates and renegades, such as were here, Jason, Menelaus, …, 2 Maccabees 4:7-10 ; 2 Maccabees 4:23-28 who privily packed with Antiochus against the city and people.

Verse 31

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.

And arms shall stand on his part,i.e., Antiochus’s princes and commanders, whom he sent to spoil Jerusalem; such as were Philip the Phrygian, Andronicus, Apollonius, Bacchides, …, who made havoc of God’s people, and revelled in their ruins.

And they shall place the abomination of desolation. — The abominable idol of Jupiter Olympius. The like whereunto was done here in England in those Marian times, of abhorred memory, which yet lasted no longer than those of Antiochus, scil., five or six years.

Verse 32

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].

And such as do wickedly against the covenant. — Apostates sin not common sins, as Korah and his complices died not common deaths. Forsakers of the covenant Daniel 11:30 will soon become wicked doers against the covenant, as here, till they become altogether filthy. Psalms 53:3 1 Peter 2:20 ; 1 Peter 2:22 Matthew 12:43 ; Matthew 12:45 Luke 9:62

“ - non debet aratro,

Dignum opus exercens, vultum in sua terga referre. ”

- Sedulius.

But the people that do know their God. — The faithful Hassideans and zealots, who know and worship their God aright, these shall persevere, and overcome all allurements and fears of the world; Irritamenta et terriculamenta.

Verse 33

And 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 underaand, … — God shall provide, in the worst of times, that his people shall have teachers and faithful monitors. I find in the registers (and wonder at it, saith Mr Foxe) Acts and Mon. that, in Queen Mary’s days, one neighbour resorting to, and conferring with another, eftsoons, with a few words of their first or second talk, did win and turn their minds to that wherein they desired to persuade them touching the truth of God’s Word and sacraments.

Yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame. — The instructors especially shall. Of this persecution the apostle seemeth to speak. Hebrews 11:35 ; Hebrews 11:37

Verse 34

Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.

They shall be holpen with a little help. — With the valiant Asmonians or Maccabees, who were but a handful, and yet did great exploits against the Antiochians; so did the Hussites in Bohemia against the Pontificians. But why were they helped with a little help? That, through weaker means, they might see God’s greater strength.

But many shall cleave to them with flatteries. — So did the false Samaritans. See on Daniel 11:21 . And so the Donatists went to the Goths, when the Arians prevailed. Hypocrites will not sail in a storm; something they will do for God, but little or nothing it is they will suffer.

Verse 35

And [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 of understanding shall fall. — Depth of divine knowledge, and height of holiness, is no target against persecution; the best fall under it soonest. None out of hell have ever suffered more than saints.

To try them. — As hard weather tries what health: hang heavy weights on rotten boughs, and they suddenly break. Withered leaves fall off in a strong wind; not so the green, that have sap.

And to purge, and to make them white. — As foul and stained clothes are whitened by lying abroad in cold frosty nights. Black soap maketh white clothes; so, said that martyr, doth the black cross help us to more whiteness, if God strike with his battledores. Acts and Mon. A beetle or wooden ‘bat’ used in washing, also (when made cylindrical) for smoothing out or ‘mangling’ linen clothes; hence also applied to similarly shaped instruments, e.g. the paddle of a canoe, a utensil for inserting loaves into an oven, or glassware into the kiln, etc. ŒD You know the vessel, before it be made bright, said John Charles the martyr, in a letter to Mr Philpot, another martyr, is soiled with oil and other things, that it may scour the better. Oh happy be you, that you be now in this scouring house, for shortly you shall be set upon the celestial shelf as bright as angels, Acts and Mon., 1743. … Refiners of sugar, saith another author, Dr Goodwin. taking sugar out of the same chest, some thereof they melt but once, other again and again; not that it hath more dross in it, but because they would have it more refined: so dealeth the Lord with his best children, …

Verse 36

And 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. — In Judea he shall, though in Egypt he could not, because the Romans trumped in his way, Daniel 11:30 put a stop to his rage there. But the Jews were looked upon by the proud Romans as a despicable people; and of the God of the Jews Cicero Orat. Pro. Flacce. speaketh basely, not holding him worthy to be compared with Bacchus or Venus, …

And he shall exalt himself, … — A type and picture of the Pope of Rome. 2 Thessalonians 2:4

Till the indignation be accomplished. — Till God have avenged the quarrel of his covenant, and the set time of deliverance be come.

Verse 37

Neither 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. — He shall disannul his own ancient religion, caring neither for the old mumpsimus, One who obstinately adheres to old ways, in spite of the clearest evidence that they are wrong; an ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform. ŒD nor the new sumpsimus, A correct expression taking the place of an incorrect but popular one ( mumpsimus ). ŒD as they say, but showing himself to be a rank atheist. See 1 Maccabees 1:43 .

Nor the desire of women,scil., In an honest lawful way of matrimony; but be addicted to vagrant lust, yea, and to the sin against nature with women, as some sense it, a Deo prohibito et perdito, in which case the Turkish women, when so abused by their husbands (those filthy beasts), may sue a divorce; which they do by taking off their shoes before the judge, and holding them the soles upward, but speaking nothing, for the unnameableness of the fact. Sir Henry Blount’s Voyage into the Levant.

Nor regard any god. — See my Commonplace of Atheism.

Verse 38

But 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 shall he honour the God of forces. — Or, As for the Almighty God, in his seat he shall honour, yea, he shall honour a god whom his fathers knew not, …; that is, in God’s holy temple at Jerusalem Antiochus shall set up Jupiter Olympius, who was none of the dii Syri; for the Syrians worshipped Apollo, Diana, Atargatis, as Strabo Geog., lib. xvi. testifieth. See 2 Maccabees 6:2 .

Shall he honour. — This doubling of the word seemeth to show the angel’s indignation at the indignity of the fact. See the like Genesis 49:4 .

Verse 39

Thus 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. — Heb., In the fortresses of munitions, i.e., both in the temple (called elsewhere, Daniel 11:31 , a stronghold), and in the places of defence near unto the temple, where he set a garrison, to force the people to worship his idols.

Whom he shall ackowledge and increase with glory. — Or, Those whom he shall acknowledge (to be favourers and furtherers of his abominable idolatry), those he "shall increase with glory"; he shall raise and prefer them, as he did Jason, Menelaus, …

And, he shall cause them to rule over many.In praestantes illos, so Piscator rendereth it; over the godly Jews, God’s Rabbis.

And he shall divide the land,scil., Of Judea.

For gain. — Heb., For a price. Sic omnia Romae venalia. All things are saleable and soluble at Rome.

Verse 40

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 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. — The year before his death.

Shall the king af the south. — Ptolemy Philometer.

And the king of the north. — Antiochus’s third expedition into Egypt, see Daniel 11:39 in favour of Physcon.

And shall overflow,i.e., Victoriously overturn Egypt.

Verse 41

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.

He shall enter also into the glorious land. — Judea, as Daniel 11:16 but for no good. In Greece they say, Where the Grand Seignior once setteth his foot, there groweth no more grass.

But they shall escape. — Because they shall side with him.

Verse 42

He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

He shall stretch forth his hand also. — He shall be very victorious toward his latter end, that he may be the riper for ruin; fatted ware are but fitted for destruction.

Verse 43

But 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.

Shall be at his steps,i.e., Obey him as their captain.

Verse 44

But 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, … — It is seldom seen that God alloweth to the greatest darlings of the world a perfect contentment; but something or other they must have to trouble them still.

Verse 45

And 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,i.e., He shall pitch his tent-royal (in token of full power given to his captains Lysias and the rest) in Emmaus, near to Jerusalem, to keep the Jews in subjection. 1 Maccabees 3:40 ; 1 Maccabees 4:3

Between the seas. — The Dead Sea and the Medditerranean Sea, which are the bounds of Judea, called here the glorious holy mountain. Polyb.; Joseph., lib. xii. cap. 12.

Yet he shall come to his end. — A loathsome and lamentable one. See 1 Maccabees 6:8 2 Maccabees 9:5-12 not so much because he would have spoiled the temple of Diana, but because he did spoil the temple at Jerusalem.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 11". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/daniel-11.html. 1865-1868.
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