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The Revelation of the Future - Daniel 11:2-12:3
Proceeding from the present, the angel reveals in great general outlines the career of the Persian world-kingdom, and the establishment and destruction, which immediately followed, of the kingdom which was founded by the valiant king of Javan, which would not descend to his posterity, but would fall to others (Daniel 11:2-4). Then there follows a detailed description of the wars of the kings of the south and the north for the supremacy, wherein first the king of the south prevails (Daniel 11:5-9); the decisive conflicts between the two (Daniel 11:10-12), wherein the south is subjugated; and the attempts of the kings of the north to extend their power more widely, wherein they perish (Daniel 11:13-20); finally, the coming of a “vile person,” who rises suddenly to power by cunning and intrigue, humbles the king of the south, has “indignation against the holy covenant,” desolates the sanctuary of God, and brings severe affliction upon the people of God, “to purge and to make them white to the time of the end” (Daniel 11:21-35). At the time of the end this hostile king shall raise himself above all gods, and above every human ordinance, and make the “god of fortresses” his god, “whom he will acknowledge and increase with glory” (Daniel 11:36-39). But in the time of the end he shall pass through the countries with his army as a flood, enter into the glorious land, and take possession of Egypt with its treasures; but, troubled by tidings out of the east and the north, shall go forth in great fury utterly to destroy many, and shall come to his end on the holy mountain (Daniel 11:40-45). At this time of greatest tribulation shall the angel-prince Michael contend for the people of Daniel. Every one that shall be found written in the book shall be saved, and the dead shall rise again, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:1-3).
This prophecy is so rich in special features which in part have been literally fulfilled, that believing interpreters from Jerome to Kliefoth have found in it predictions which extend far beyond the measure of prophetic revelation, while rationalistic and naturalistic interpreters, following the example of Porphyry, from the speciality of the predictions, conclude that the chapter does not contain a prophetic revelation of the future, but only an apocalyptic description of the past and of the present of the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel. Against both views Kranichfeld has decidedly declared himself, and sought to show that in these prophetic representations “the prediction does not press itself into the place of historical development, i.e., that it does not concern itself with such future dates as do not connect themselves with the historical present of the prophetic author (Daniel), as the unfolding of religious moral thought animated by divine influence.” This is on the whole correct. Here also the prophecy does not become the prediction of historical dates which do not stand in inner connection with the fundamental idea of the book, which is to announce the unfolding of the heathen world-power over against the kingdom of God. This vision, also, as to its contents and form, is accounted for from the circumstances of time stated in Daniel 10:1, and contains much which a supposed Maccabean origin makes in the highest degree improbable, and directly contradicts. First, it is “against the nature of a fictitious production which should be written in the time of the greatest national commotion, that the great repeated victories of the people over the Syrian power should have been so slightingly spoken of as is the case here (Daniel 11:34),” i.e., should be designated only as “a little help.” Then the prophetic representation over against the historical facts of the case is full of inaccuracies; and these historical inconveniences are found not only in the description which had reference to the history of the times preceding the author, but also, above all, in the history of the times of the Maccabees themselves. Thus, e.g., in Daniel 11:40-45 an Egyptian expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes shortly before his death is prophesied, for which, besides Porphyry, no voucher and, in general, no historical probability exists (Kran.).
Kranichfeld, however, goes too far when he holds all the special features of the prophetic revelation to be only individualizing paintings for the purpose of the contemplation, and therein seeks to find further developed only the fundamental thoughts of the great inner incurable enmity of the heathen ungodly kingdom already stated in Daniel 2:41-43; Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24; Daniel 8:8, Daniel 8:22, Daniel 8:24. The truth lies in the middle between these two extremes.
This chapter contains neither mere individualizing paintings of general prophetic thoughts, nor predictions of historical dates inconsistent with the nature of prophecy, but prophetic descriptions of the development of the heathen world-power from the days of Cyrus to the fall of the Javanic world-kingdom, as well as of the position which the two kingdoms (arising out of this kingdom) of the north and south, between which the holy land lay, assumed toward each other and toward the theocracy; for by the war of these two kingdoms for the sovereignty, not merely were the covenant land and the covenant people brought in general into a sorrowful condition, but they also were the special object of a war which typically characterizes and portrays the relation of the world-kingdom to the kingdom of God. This war arose under the Seleucidan Antiochus Epiphanes to such a height, that it formed a prelude of the war of the time of the end. The undertaking of this king to root out the worship of the living God and destroy the Jewish religion, shows in type the great war which the world-power in the last phases of its development shall undertake against the kingdom of God, by exalting itself above every god, to hasten on its own destruction and the consummation of the kingdom of God.
The description of this war as to its origin, character, and issue forms the principal subject of this prophecy. It is set forth in the revelation of the angel from Daniel 11:21 to the end (Daniel 12:3), while the preceding description, as well of the course of the Persian and Javanic world-kingdoms as of the wars of the kings of the north and the south (Daniel 11:2-20), prepares for it. But this preparatory description is not merely individualizing pictures of the idea of the incurable hostility of the heathen ungodly kingdom, but a prophetic delineation of the chief lines of the process which the heathen world-power shall pass through till it shall advance to the attempt to destroy the kingdom of God. These chief lines are so distinctly laid down, that they contain their concrete fulfilment in the historical development of the world-power. In like manner are so described the appearance and the wars of the enemy of God, who desolates the sanctuary of God and takes away the daily sacrifice, that we can recognise in the assault of Antiochus Epiphanes against the temple and the worship of the people of Israel a fulfilling of this prophecy. Yet here the foretelling ( Weissagung) does not renounce the character of prophecy ( Prophetie): it does not pass over into prediction ( Praediction) of historical facts and events, but so places in the light of the divine foresight and predetermination the image of this enemy of God, and his wickedness against the sanctuary and the people of God, that it brings under contemplation, and places under the point of view of the purification of the covenant people for the time of the end (Daniel 11:35), the gradual progress of his enmity against God till he exalts himself above all divine and human relations.
From the typical relation in which Antiochus, the O.T. enemy of God, stands to Antichrist, the N.T. enemy, is explained the connection of the end, the final salvation of the people of God, and the resurrection from the dead, with the destruction of this enemy, without any express mention being made of the fourth world-kingdom and of the last enemy arising out of it; from which the modern critics have drawn the erroneous conclusion, that the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel expected the setting up of the Messianic kingdom in glory along with the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes. At the foundation of this conclusion there lies an entire misapprehension of the contents and object of this prophecy, namely, the idea that the prophecy seeks to furnish a historical sketch, clothed in an apocalyptic form, of the development of the world-kingdoms from Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes. In support of this error, it is true that the church interpretation given by Jerome is so far valid, in that it interprets the prophecy partially considered under the point of view of the very special predictions of historical persons and events, and from this view concludes that Daniel 11:21-35 treat of Antiochus Epiphanes, and Daniel 11:36-45 of Antichrist; according to which there would be in Daniel 11:36 an immediate passing from Antiochus to the Antichrist, or in Daniel 12:1 a sudden transition from the death of Antiochus to the time of the end and the resurrection from the dead. But the prophecy does not at all correspond to this representation. The Angel of the Lord will reveal to Daniel, not what shall happen from the third year of Cyrus to the time of Antiochus, and further to the resurrection of the dead, but, according to the express declaration of Daniel 10:14, what shall happen to his people בּאחרית היּמים , i.e., in the Messianic future, because the prophecy relates to this time. In the אחרית takes place the destruction of the world-power, and the setting up of the Messianic kingdom at the end of the present world-aeon. All that the angel says regarding the Persian and the Javanic world-kingdoms, and the wars of the kings of the north and the south, has its aim to the end-time, serves only briefly to indicate the chief elements of the development of the world-kingdoms till the time when the war that brings in the end shall burst forth, and to show how, after the overthrow of the Javanic world-kingdom, neither the kings of the north nor those of the south shall gain the possession of the dominion of the world. Neither by the violence of war, nor by covenants which they will ratify by political marriages, shall they succeed in establishing a lasting power. They shall not prosper, because (Daniel 11:27) the end goes yet to the times appointed (by God). A new attempt of the king of the north to subjugate the kingdom of the south shall be defeated by the intervention of the ships of Chittim; and the anger awakened in him by this frustration of his plans shall break forth against the holy covenant, only for the purifying of the people of God for the time of the end, because the end goes yet to the appointed time (Daniel 11:35). At the time of the end his power will greatly increase, because that which was determined by God shall prosper till the end of the indignation (Daniel 11:36); but in the time of the end he shall suddenly fall from the summit of his power and come to his end (Daniel 11:45), but the people of God shall be saved, and the wise shall shine in heavenly glory (Daniel 12:1-3).
Accordingly the revelation has this as its object, to show how the heathen world-kingdoms shall not attain to an enduring stability, and by their persecution of the people of God shall only accomplish their purification, and bring on the end, in which, through their destruction, the people of God shall be delivered from all oppression and be transfigured. In order to reveal this to him (that it must be carried forward to completion by severe tribulation), it was not necessary that he should receive a complete account of the different events which shall take place in the heathen world-power in the course of time, nor have it especially made prominent that their enmity shall first come to a completed manifestation under the last king who should arise out of the fourth world-kingdom. For that the Javanic world-kingdom shall not form the last embodiment of the world-power, but that after it a fourth more powerful kingdom shall arise - this was already revealed to Daniel in Daniel 7. Moreover, in Daniel 8 the violent enemy of the people of Israel who would arise from the Diadoch-kingdoms of the Javanic world-monarchy, was already designated as the type of the last enemy who would arise out of the ten kingdoms of the fourth world-kingdom. After these preceding revelations, the announcement of the great tribulation that would come upon the people of God from these two enemies could be presented in one comprehensive painting, wherein the assault made by the prefigurative enemy against the covenant people shall form the foreground of the picture for a representation of the daring of the antitypical enemy, proceeding even to the extent of abolishing all divine and human ordinances, who shall bring the last and severest tribulation on the church of God, at the end of the days, for its purification and preparation for eternity.
The first verse of the eleventh chapter belongs to Daniel 10:21; the ואני ( also I) is emphatically placed over against the mention of Michael, whereby the connection of this verse with Daniel 10:21 is placed beyond a doubt, and at the same time the reference of לו ( Daniel 11:1) to מיכאל (Daniel 10:21 b) is decided. Hengstenberg indeed thinks ( Christol. iii. 2, p. 53) that the reference of the לו to Michael is “against all that is already spoken in relation to Michael, and particularly against that which immediately goes before,” under a reference to Hitzig. But Hitzig only says that in Daniel 10:21 Michael is of one lineage with the speaker; but, on the contrary, the expressions למחזיק ( to confirm) and למעוז ( to strengthen) are so strong, that in לו we must think on one inferior, a man. Moreover, Hitzig can think of nothing done by Michael under Darius, since the transference of the kingdom to the Medes changed nothing in the fortune of the Jews. This was first effected by Cyrus. But Hengstenberg himself does not recognise this last reason, but remarks that Daniel 11:1 relates to the transference of the sovereignty from the Chaldeans to the Persians, whereby a way was opened for the return of Israel, and rightly, with Häv., thus determines the meaning of the verse in general: “As at that time the Lord made the change of the monarchy a cause of blessing to the covenant people, so in all the troubles that may arise to them in the heathen monarchies He will show Himself to be the same true and gracious God.” The other reason, namely, that the strong expressions, “to confirm and strengthen,” necessitate us to think of one inferior as referred to in לו , affects only the view already refuted above, that the speaker is either Gabriel or another inferior angel. If, on the contrary, the speaker is one person with him who is clothed in linen, i.e., with the Angel of the Lord, who is like unto God, then this person can also say of himself that he was a help and protection to the angel-prince Michael, because he stands higher than Michael; and the reference of the לו to Michael, which the “also I” in contrast to “Michael your prince” demands, corresponds wholly with that which is said of Michael. Besides, the reference of לו to Darius (Häv., Hengstb.) is excluded by this, that the name of Darius the Mede is not at all the object of the statements of the verse to which לו could refer, but occurs only in a subordinate or secondary determination of time. The thought of the verse is accordingly the following: “In the first year of Darius the Mede, Michael effected this, that Babylon, which was hostile to the people of God, was overthrown by the power of Medo-Persia, in doing which the Angel of the Lord rendered to him powerful help.” To this follows in order in Daniel 11:2 the announcement of the future, which is introduced by the formula ' וגו ועתּה resumed from Daniel 10:21.
The events of the nearest future - Daniel 11:2-20
The revelation passes quickly from Persia ( Daniel 11:2) and the kingdom of Alexander (Daniel 11:3, Daniel 11:4), to the description of the wars of the kingdoms of the south and the north, arising out of the latter, in which wars the Holy Land, lying between the two, was implicated. Regarding Persia it is only said that yet three kings shall arise, and that the fourth, having reached to great power by his riches, shall stir up all against the kingdom of Javan. Since this prophecy originates in the third year of the Persian king Cyrus (Daniel 10:1), then the three kings who shall yet ( עוד ) arise are the three successors of Cyrus, viz., Cambyses, the pseudo-Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspes; the fourth is then Xerxes, with whom all that is said regarding the fourth perfectly agrees. Thus Hävernick, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Auberlen, and Kliefoth interpret; on the contrary, v. Lengerke, Maurer, Hitzig, and Kranichfeld will make the fourth the third, so as thereby to justify the erroneous interpretation of the four wings and the four heads of the leopard (Daniel 7:6) of the first four kings of the Persian monarchy, because, as they say, the article in הרביעי necessarily requires that the fourth is already mentioned in the immediately preceding statements. But the validity of this conclusion is not to be conceived; and the assertion that the O.T. knows only of four kings of Persia (Hitzig) cannot be established from Ezra 4:5-7, nor from any other passage. From the naming of only four kings of Persia in the book of Ezra, since from the end of the Exile to Ezra and Nehemiah four kings had reigned, it in no way follows that the book of Daniel and the O.T. generally know of only four. Moreover, this assertion is not at all correct; for in Nehemiah 12:22, besides those four there is mention made also of a Darius, and to the Jews in the age of the Maccabees there was well known, according to 1 Macc. 1:1, also the name of the last Persian king, Darius, who was put to death by Alexander. If the last named, the king who by great riches (Daniel 11:2) reached to a higher power, is included among the three previously named, then he should have been here designated “the third.” The verb עמד , to place oneself, then to stand, is used here and frequently in the following passages, as in Daniel 8:23, in the sense of to stand up (= קוּם ), with reference to the coming of a new ruler. The gathering together of greater riches than all (his predecessors), agrees specially with Xerxes; cf. Herodot. iii. 96, vi. 27-29, and Justini Histor. ii. 2. The latter says of him: ” Divitias, non ducem laudes, quarum tanta copia in regno ejus fuit, ut, cum flumina multitudine consumerentur, opes tamen regiae superessent.”
חזקתו is the infinit. or nomen actionis, the becoming strong; cf. 2 Chronicles 12:1 with 2 Kings 14:5 and Isaiah 8:11. בּעשׁרו is not in apposition to it, “ according to his riches” (Häv.); but it gives the means by which he became strong. “Xerxes expended his treasures for the raising and arming of an immense host, so as by such חזק (cf. Amos 6:13) to conquer Greece” (Hitzig). יון מלכוּת את is not in apposition to הכּל , all, namely, the kingdom of Javan (Maurer, Kranichfeld). This does not furnish a suitable sense; for the thought that הכּל , “they all,” designates the divided states of Greece, and the apposition, “the kingdom of Javan,” denotes that they were brought by the war with Xerxes to form themselves into the unity of the Macedonian kingdom, could not possibly be so expressed. Moreover, the reference to the circumstances of the Grecian states is quite foreign to the context. מ יון את is much rather a second, more remote object, and את is to be interpreted, with Hävernick, either as the preposition with, so far as יעיר involves the idea of war, conflict, or simply, with Hitzig, as the accusative of the object of the movement (cf. Exodus 9:29, Exodus 9:33), to stir up, to rouse, after the kingdom of Javan, properly to make, to cause, that all ( הכּל = every one, cf. Psalms 14:3) set out towards. Daniel calls Greece מלכוּת , after the analogy of the Oriental states, as a united historical power, without respect to the political constitution of the Grecian states, not suitable to prophecy (Kliefoth).
From the conflict of Persia with Greece, the angel (Daniel 11:3) passes immediately over to the founder of the Grecian (Macedonian) world-kingdom; for the prophecy proceeds not to the prediction of historical details, but mentions only the elements and factors which constitute the historical development. The expedition of Xerxes against Greece brings to the foreground the world-historical conflict between Persia and Greece, which led to the destruction of the Persian kingdom by Alexander the Great. The reply of Alexander to Darius Codomannus (Arrian, Exped Alex. ii. 14. 4) supplies a historical document, in which Alexander justifies his expedition against Persia by saying that Macedonia and the rest of Hellas were assailed in war by the Persians without any cause ( οὐδὲν προηδικημένοι ), and that therefore he had resolved to punish the Persians. A deeper reason for this lies in this, that the prophecy closes the list of Persian kings with Xerxes, but not in this, that under Xerxes the Persian monarchy reached its climax, and partly already under him, and yet more after his reign, the fall of the kingdom had begun (Hävernick, Auberlen); still less in the opinion, proved to be erroneous, that the Maccabean Jew knew no other Persian kings, and confounded Xerxes with Darius Codomannus (v. Lengerke, Maurer, Hitzig).
But only brief notices, characterizing its nature, were given regarding the Macedonian kingdom, which agree with the prophecies Daniel 7:6 and Daniel 8:5-8, Daniel 8:21-22, without adding new elements. The founder of the kingdom is called גּבּור מלך , “brave king,” “hero-king,” and his kingdom “a great dominion.” Of his government it is said כּרצונו עשׂה , he does, rules, according to his will (cf. Daniel 8:4), so that his power might be characterized as irresistible and boundless self-will. Similarly Curtius writes of him (x. 5. 35): Fatendum est, cum plurimum virtuti debuerit, plus debuisse fortunae, quam solus omnium mortalium in potestate habuit. Hujus siquidem beneficio agere videbatur gentibus quidquid placebat . By the כ in כּעמדו the coming of the king and the destruction of his kingdom are stated as synchronous, so as to express with great force the shortness of its duration. עמדו is not to be otherwise interpreted than עמד in Daniel 11:3, and is thus not to be translated: “when he thus stands up,” sc. in the regal power described in Daniel 11:3 (Kran.), or: “on the pinnacle of his might” (Häv.), but: “when (or as) he has made his appearance, his kingdom shall be broken.” In the words, also, there does not lie the idea “that he himself in his life-time is deprived of this throne and his kingdom by a violent catastrophe” (Kran.); for the destruction of the kingdom does not necessarily include in it the putting to death of the ruler. The thought is only this: “when he has appeared and founded a great dominion, his kingdom shall be immediately broken.” תּשּׁבר ( shall be broken) is chosen with reference to Daniel 8:8, “toward the four winds of heaven.” We may neither supply תחץ ( shall be divided) to לאחריתו ולא ( and not to his posterity), nor is this latter expression “connected with תחץ in pregnant construction;” for תחץ , from חצה , signifies to divide, from which we are not to assume the idea of to allot, assign. We have simply to supply היא in the sense of the verb. subst., shall be, as well here as in the following clause, כמשׁלו ולא . The אחרית e signifies here as little as in Amos 4:2; Amos 9:1, posterity = זרע , but remnant, that which is left behind, the survivors of the king, by which we are to understand not merely his sons, but all the members of his family. כמשׁלו ולא , “and it shall not be according to the dominion which he ruled.” This thought, corresponding to בכחו ולא in Daniel 8:22, is the natural conclusion from the idea of division to all the four winds, which the falling asunder into several or many small kingdoms involves. הנּתשׁ , “shall be plucked up” (of plants from the earth), denotes the rooting up of that which is table, the destroying and dissolving of the kingdom into portions. In this division it shall pass to others מלּבד־אלּה , “with the exclusion of those” (the אחרית ), the surviving members of the family of Alexander. To ולאחרים ( and for others) supply תּהיה ( shall be).
In Daniel 11:4, accordingly, the prophetic thought is expressed, that the Javanic kingdom, as soon as the brave king has founded a great dominion, shall be broken to pieces and divided toward the four winds of heaven, so that its separate parts, without reaching to the might of the broken kingdom, shall be given not to the survivors of the family of the founder, but to strangers. This was historically fulfilled in the fact, that after the sudden death of Alexander his son Hercules was not recognised by his generals as successor on the throne, but was afterwards murdered by Polysperchon; his son also born by Roxana, along with his guardian Philip Arideus, met the same fate; but the generals, after they had at first divided the kingdom into more than thirty parts, soon began to war with each other, the result of which was, that at last four larger kingdoms were firmly established. Cf. Diod. Sic. xx. 28, xix. 105; Pausan. ix. 7; Justini hist. xv. 2, and Appiani Syr. c. 51.
From the 5th verse the prophecy passes to the wars of the kings of the south and the north for the supremacy and for the dominion over the Holy Land, which lay between the two. Daniel 11:5 describes the growing strength of these two kings, and Daniel 11:6 an attempt made by them to join themselves together. חזק , to become strong. The king of the south is the ruler of Egypt; this appears from the context, and is confirmed by Daniel 11:8. שׂריו וּמן is differently interpreted; מן , however, is unanimously regarded as a partitive: “one of his princes,” as e.g., Nehemiah 13:28; Genesis 28:11; Exodus 6:25. The suffix to שׂריו ( his princes) does not (with C. B. Michaelis, Bertholdt, Rosenmüller, and Kranichfeld) refer to גּבּור מלך , Daniel 11:3, because this noun is too far removed, and then also עליו must be referred to it; but thereby the statement in Daniel 11:5, that one of the princes of the king of Javan would gain greater power and dominion than the valiant king had, would contradict the statement in Daniel 11:4, that no one of the Diadochs would attain to the dominion of Alexander.
(Note: This contradiction is not set aside, but only strengthened, by translating עליו יחזק “he overcame him” (Kran.), according to which the king of Javan must be thought of as overcome by one of his princes, the king of the south. For the thought that the king of Javan survived the destruction of his kingdom, and that, after one of his princes had become the king of the south and had founded a great dominion, he was overcome by him, contradicts too strongly the statement of Daniel 11:5, that the kingdom of the valiant king of Javan would be destroyed, and that it would not fall to his survivors, but to others with the exception of those, for one to be able to interpret the words in this sense.)
The suffix to שׂריו can only be referred to the immediately preceding הנגב מלך : “one of the princes of the king of the south.” But then ו in וּמן cannot be explicative, but is only the simple copula. This interpretation also is not opposed by the Atnach under שׂריו , for this accent is added to the subject because it stands before separately, and is again resumed in ויחזק by the copula , ו as e.g., Ezekiel 34:19. The thought is this: one of the princes of the king of the south shall attain to greater power than this king, and shall found a great dominion. That this prince is the king of the north, or founds a dominion in the north, is not expressly said, but is gathered from Daniel 11:6, where the king of the south enters into a league with the king of the north.
שׁנים לקץ , “in the end of years,” i.e., after the expiry of a course of years; cf. 2 Chronicles 18:2. The subject to יתחבּרוּ ( join themselves, 2 Chronicles 20:35) cannot, it is evident, be אהרים , Daniel 11:4 (Kran.), but only the king of the south and his prince who founded a great dominion, since the covenant, according to the following clause, is brought about by the daughter of the king of the south being given in marriage ( אל בּוא , to come to, as Joshua 15:18; Judges 1:14) to the king of the north, to make מישׁרים , to effect an agreement. מישׁרים , rectitudes, synonymous with righteousness and right, Proverbs 1:3, here designates the rectitude of the relation of the two rulers to each other in regard to the intrigues and deceits they had previously practised toward each other; thus not union, but sincerity in keeping the covenant that had been concluded. “But she shall not retain the power of the arm.” כּוח עשׂר as Daniel 10:8, Daniel 10:16, and הזּרוע , the arm as a figure of help, assistance. The meaning is: she will not retain the power to render the help which her marriage should secure; she shall not be able to bring about and to preserve the sincerity of the covenant; and thus the king of the south shall not be preserved with this his help, but shall become subject to the more powerful king of the north. The following passages state this. The subject to יעמד לא is the נגב מלך ; and his, i.e., this king's, help is his own daughter, who should establish מישׁרים by her marriage with the king of the north. וּזרעו is a second subject subordinated or co-ordinated to the subject lying in the verb: he together with his help. We may not explain the passage: neither he nor his help, because in this case הוּא could not be wanting, particularly in comparison with the following היא . The “not standing” is further positively defined by ותּנּתן , to be delivered up, to perish. The plur. מביאיה is the plur. of the category: who brought her, i.e., who brought her into the marriage ( מביא to be explained after בּוא ), without reference to the number of those who were engaged in doing so; cf. The similar plur. in particip. Leviticus 19:8; Numbers 24:9, and in the noun, Genesis 21:7. היּלדהּ , particip. with the suffix, wherein the article represents the relative אשׁר מחזיק , in the same meaning as Daniel 11:1, the support, the helper. The sense is: not only she, but all who brought about the establishment of this marriage, and the object aimed at by it. בּעתּים has the article: in the times determined for each of these persons.
A violent war shall then break out, in which the king of the north shall be overcome. One of the offspring of her roots shall appear. מן in מנּצר is partitive, as Daniel 11:5, and נצר is used collectively. The figure reminds us of Isaiah 11:1. The suffix to שׁרשׁיה refers to the king's daughter, Daniel 11:6. Her roots are her parents, and the offspring of her roots a brother of the king's daughter, but not a descendant of his daughter, as Kranichfeld by losing sight of נצר supposes. כּנּו is the accusative of direction, for which, in Daniel 11:20, Daniel 11:21, Daniel 11:38, כּנּו על stands more distinctly; the suffix refers to the king of the south, who was also the subject in יעמד , Daniel 11:6. אל־החיל יבא does not mean: he will go to the (to his) army (Michaelis, Berth., v. Leng., Hitz., Klief.); this would be a very heavy remark within the very characteristic, significant description here given (Kran., Häv.); nor does it mean: he attained to might (Häv.); but: he shall come to the army, i.e., against the host of the enemy, i.e., the king of the north (Kran.). אל בּוא , as Genesis 32:9; Isaiah 37:33, is used of a hostile approach against a camp, a city, so as to take it, in contradistinction to the following בּמעוז יבא : to penetrate into the fortress. מעוז has a collective signification, as בּהם referring to it shows. ב עשׂה , to act against or with any one, cf. Jeremiah 18:23 (“deal with them”), ad libidinem agere (Maurer), essentially corresponding to כּרצונו in Daniel 11:33, Daniel 11:36. החזיק , to show power, i.e., to demonstrate his superior power.
To bring the subjugated kingdom wholly under his power, he shall carry away its gods along with all the precious treasures into Egypt. The carrying away of the images of the gods was a usual custom with conquerors; cf. Isaiah 46:1., Jeremiah 48:7; Jeremiah 49:3. In the images the gods themselves were carried away; therefore they are called “their gods.” נסכיהם signifies here not drink-offerings, but molten images; the form is analogous to the plur. פּסילים , formed from פּסל ; on the contrary, נסיכם libationes, Deuteronomy 32:38, stands for נסכּיהם , Isaiah 41:29. The suffix is not to be referred to אלהים , but, like the suffix in חמדּתם , to the inhabitants of the conquered country. וזהב כּסף are in apposition to חמדּתם כּלי , not the genitive of the subject (Kran.), because an attributive genitive cannot follow a noun determined by a suffix. Häv., v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald, and Klief. translate ' וגו יעמד שׁנים והוּא : he shall during (some) years stand off from the king of the north. Literally this translation may perhaps be justified, for עמד , c. מן , Genesis 29:35, has the meaning of “to leave off,” and the expression “to stand off from war” may be used concisely for “to desist from making war” upon one. But this interpretation does not accord with the connection. First, it is opposed by the expressive והוּא , which cannot be understood, if nothing further should be said than that the king of the south, after he had overthrown the fortresses of the enemies' country, and had carried away their gods and their treasures, abstained from war for some years. The והוּא much rather leads us to this, that the passage introduced by it states some new important matter which does not of itself appear from the subjugation of the enemy and his kingdom. To this is to be added, that the contents of Daniel 11:9, where the subject to בּא can only be the king of the north, do not accord with the abstaining of the king of the south from warring against the king of the north. By Ewald's remark, “With such miserable marchings to and fro they mutually weaken themselves,” the matter is not made intelligible. For the penetrating of the king of the south into the fortresses of his enemy, and the carrying away of his gods and his treasures, was not a miserable, useless expedition; but then we do not understand how the completely humbled king of the north, after his conqueror abstained from war, was in the condition to penetrate into his kingdom and then to return to his own land. Would his conqueror have suffered him to do this? We must, therefore, with Kranichfeld, Gesenius, de Wette, and Winer, after the example of the Syriac and Vulgate, take מן יעמד in the sense of: to stand out before, מן in the sense of מפּני , contra, as in Psalms 43:1 it is construed with ריב , which is supported by the circumstance that עמד in Daniel 11:6, Daniel 11:15, Daniel 11:17, and Daniel 11:25, has this meaning. By this not only is והוּא rightly translated: and he, the same who penetrated into the fortresses of his adversary and carried away his gods, shall also take his stand against him, assert his supremacy for years; but also Daniel 11:9 contains a suitable addition, for it shows how he kept his ground. The king of the north shall after some time invade the kingdom of the king of the south, but shall return to his own land, namely, because he can effect nothing. Kran. takes the king of the south as the subject to וּבא , Daniel 11:9; but this is impossible, for then the word must be בּמלכוּתו , particularly in parallelism with אדמתו . As the words stand, הנגב מלך , can only be the genitive to בּמלכוּת ; thus the supposition that “the king of the south is the subject” is excluded, because the expression, “the king of the south comes into the kingdom of the south and returns to his own land,” has no meaning when, according to the context, the south denotes Egypt. With the וּבא there also begins a change of the subject, which, though it appears contrary to the idiom of the German [and English] language, is frequently found in Hebrew; e.g., in Daniel 11:11 and Daniel 11:9. By the mention of an expedition of the king of the north into the kingdom of the king of the south, from which he again returned without having effected anything, the way is opened for passing to the following description of the supremacy of the king of the north over the king of the south.
The decisive wars - Daniel 11:10-12
Here the suffix in בּנו refers to the king of the north, who in Daniel 11:9 was the person acting. Thus all interpreters with the exception of Kranichfeld, who understand בנו of the son of the Egyptian prince, according to which this verse ought to speak of the hostilities sought, in the wantonness of his own mind, of the king of the south against the king of the north. But this interpretation of Kranichfeld is shattered, not to speak of other verbal reasons which oppose it, against the contents of Daniel 11:11. The rage of the king of the south, and his going to war against the king of the north, supposes that the latter had given rise to this rage by an assault. Besides, the description given in Daniel 11:10 is much too grand to be capable of being referred to hostility exercised in mere wantonness. For such conflicts we do not assemble a multitude of powerful armies, and, when these powerful hosts penetrate into the fortresses of the enemy's country, then find that for the victorious invaders there is wanting the occasion of becoming exasperated for new warfare. The Kethiv בנו is rightly interpreted by the Masoretes as plur., which the following verbs demand, while the singulars ועבר ושׁטף וּבא ( shall come, and overflow, and pass through) are explained from the circumstance that the hosts are viewed unitedly in המון ( multitude). בּוא בּא expresses the unrestrained coming or pressing forward, while the verbs ועבר שׁטף , reminding us of Isaiah 8:8, describe pictorially the overflowing of the land by the masses of the hostile army. וישׁב (jussive, denoting the divine guidance), and shall return, expresses the repetition of the deluge of the land by the hosts marching back out of it after the עבּר , the march through the land, - not the new arming for war (Häv.), but renewed entrance into the region of the enemy, whereby they carry on the war מעזּה עד , to the fortress of the king of the south, corresponding with the הצּפון מלך בּמעוז in Daniel 11:7 ( to the fortress of the king of the north). יתגּרוּ signifies properly to stir up to war, i.e., to arm, then to engage in war. In the first member of the verse it has the former, and in the last the latter meaning. The violent pressing forward of the adversary will greatly embitter the king of the south, fill him with the greatest anger, so that he will go out to make war with him. The adversary marshals a great multitude of combatants; but these shall be given into his hand, into the hand of the king of the south. רב המון העמיד ( he raised up a great multitude) the context requires us to refer to the king of the north. בּידו נתּן , v. Leng., Maurer, and Hitzig understand of the acceptance of the command over the army - contrary to the usage of the words, which mean, to give into the hand = to deliver up, cf. 1 Kings 20:28; Daniel 1:2; Daniel 8:12-13, and is contrary also to the context. The marshalling of the host supposes certainly the power to direct it, so that it needs not then for the first time to be given into the power of him who marshalled it. The expression also, “to give into his hand,” as meaning “to place under his command,” is not found in Scripture. To this is to be added, that the article in ההמון refers back to רב המון . But if ההמון is the host assembled by the king of the north, then it can only be given up into the hand of the enemy, i.e., the king of the south, and thus the suffix in בּידו can only refer to him. The statements in Daniel 11:12 are in harmony with this, so far as they confessedly speak of the king of the south.
This verse illustrates the last clause of Daniel 11:11, i.e., explains more fully how the great multitude of the enemy are given into his hand. The first two clauses of Daniel 11:12 stand in correlation to each other, as the change of the time and the absence of the copula before ירוּם show (the Keri ורם proceeds from a misunderstanding). The meaning is this: “As the multitude rises up, so his heart is lifted up.” ההמון , with the article, can only be the host of the king of the north mentioned in Daniel 11:12. The supposition that the Egyptian army is meant, is the result of the difficulty arising out of the misapprehension of the right relation in which the perfect ונשּׂא ( hath lifted up raised) stands to the imperfect ירוּם נשּׂא as in Isaiah 33:10: they raise themselves to the conflict. לבב רוּם , the lifting up of the heart, commonly in the sense of pride; here the increase of courage, but so that pride is not altogether to be excluded. The subject to ירוּם is the king of the south, to whom the suffix to בּידו , Daniel 11:11, points. With excited courage he overthrows myriads, namely, the powerful multitude of the enemies, but he yet does not reach to power, he does not attain to the supremacy over the king of the north and over his kingdom which he is striving after. The Vulgate, without however fully expressing the meaning, has rendered יעוז ולא by sed non praevalebit .
This thought is expanded and proved in these verses. - Daniel 11:13. The king of the north returns to his own land, gathers a host together more numerous than before, and shall then, at the end of the times of years, come again with a more powerful army and with a great train. רכוּשׁ , that which is acquired, the goods, is the train necessary for the suitable equipment of the army-”the condition to a successful warlike expedition” (Kran.). The definition of time corresponding to the בּעתּים in Daniel 11:6 is specially to be observed: שׁנים העתּים לקץ הע ( at the end of times, years), in which שׁנים is to be interpreted (as ימים with שׁבעים , Daniel 10:3-4, and other designations of time) as denoting that the `itiym stretch over years, are times lasting during years. העתּים , with the definite article, are in prophetic discourse the times determined by God.
In those times shall many rise up against the king of the south ( על עמד as Daniel 8:20); also עמך פריצי בּני , the violent people of the nation (of the Jews), shall raise themselves against him. פריצים .mih ts בּני are such as belong to the classes of violent men who break through the barriers of the divine law (Ezekiel 18:10). These shall raise themselves חזון להעמיד , to establish the prophecy, i.e., to bring it to an accomplishment. ha`amiyd = qayeem, Ezekiel 13:6, as עמד קוּם in Daniel, and generally in the later Hebrew. Almost all interpreters since Jerome have referred this to Daniel's vision of the oppression under Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel 8:9-14, Daniel 11:23. This is so far right, as the apostasy of one party among the Jews from the law of their fathers, and their adoption of heathen customs, contributed to bring about that oppression with which the theocracy was visited by Antiochus Epiphanes; but the limiting of the חזון to those definite prophecies is too narrow. חזון without the article is prophecy in undefined generality, and is to be extended to all the prophecies which threatened the people of Israel with severe chastisements and sufferings on account of their falling away from the law and their apostasy from their God. ונכשׁלוּ , they shall stumble, fall. “The falling away shall bring to them no gain, but only the sufferings and tribulation prophesied of” (Kliefoth).
In this verse, with ויבא the בּוא eht וי יבוא , Daniel 11:13, is again assumed, and the consequence of the war announced. סוללה שׁפך , to heap up an entrenchment; cf. Ezekiel 4:2; 2 Kings 19:32. מבצרות עיר , city of fortifications, without the article, also collectively of the fortresses of the kingdom of the south generally. Before such power the army, i.e., the war-strength, of the south shall not maintain its ground; even his chosen people shall not possess strength necessary for this.
The Further Undertakings of the King of the North - Daniel 11:16-19
Having penetrated into the kingdom of the south, he shall act there according to his own pleasure, without any one being able to withstand him; just as before this the king of the south did in the kingdom of the north (Daniel 11:7). With ויעשׂ the jussive appears instead of the future - cf. וישׂם יתּן (Daniel 11:17), ישׁב (Daniel 11:18 and Daniel 11:19) - to show that the further actions and undertakings of the king of the north are carried on under the divine decree. אליו הבּא is he that comes into the land of the south, the king of the north (Daniel 11:14, Daniel 11:15). Having reached the height of victory, he falls under the dominion of pride and haughtiness, by which he hastens on his ruin and overthrow. After he has subdued the kingdom of the southern king, he will go into the land of beauty, i.e., into the Holy Land (with reference to הצּבי ארץ , Daniel 8:9). בּידו וכלה , and destruction is in his hand (an explanatory clause), כלה being here not a verb, but a substantive. Only this meaning of כלה is verbally established, see under Daniel 9:27, but not the meaning attributed to the word, from the unsuitable introduction of historical events, accomplishing, perfection, according to which Häv., v. Leng., Maur., and Kliefoth translate the clause: and it (the Holy Land) is wholly given into his hand. כלה means finishing, conclusion, only in the sense of destruction, also in 2 Chronicles 12:2 and Ezekiel 13:13. For the use of בּידו of spiritual things which one intends or aims at, cf. Job 11:14, Isa. 54:20. The destruction, however, refers not to the Egyptians (Hitzig), but to the Holy Land, in which violent (rapacious) people (Daniel 11:14) make common cause with the heathen king, and thereby put arms into his hands by which he may destroy the land.
This verse has been very differently expounded. According to the example of Jerome, who translates it: et ponet faciem suam ut veniat ad tenendum universum regnum ejus , and adds to this the explanatory remark: ut evertat illum h. e. Ptolemaeum, sive illud, h. e. regnum ejus , many translate the words וגו בּתקף לבוא by to come in or against the strength of his whole (Egyptian) kingdom (C. B. Michaelis, Venema, Hävernick, v. Lengerke, Maurer), i.e., to obtain the superiority over the Egyptian kingdom (Kliefoth). But this last interpretation is decidedly opposed by the circumstance that תּקף means strength not in the active sense = power over something, but only in the intransitive or passive sense, strength as the property of any one. Moreover, both of these explanations are opposed by the verbal use of בּוא c. ב rei, which does not signify: to come in or against a matter, but: to come with - cf. בּחיל בּוא , to come with power, Daniel 11:13, also Isaiah 40:10; Psalms 71:16 - as well as by the context, for of the completely subjugated south (according to Daniel 11:15, Daniel 11:16) it cannot yet be said מלכוּתו תּקף . Correctly, Theodot. translates: εἰσελθεῖν ἐν ἰσχύι ” πάσης τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ ; Luther: “to come with the strength of his whole kingdom.” Similarly M. Geier, Hitzig, and Kran. The king of the north intends thus to come with the force of his whole kingdom to obtain full possession of the kingdom of the south. עמּו וישׁרים is an explanatory clause defining the manner in which he seeks to gain his object. ישׁרים , plur. of the adjective ישׁר , in a substantive signification, that which is straight, recta, as Proverbs 16:13, proba (Ewald's Gram. §172; while in his commentary he translates the word by agreement). עמּו , with him, i.e., having in intention. The sense of the passage is determined according to מישׁרים לעשׂות , Daniel 11:6: with the intention of establishing a direct, right relation, namely, by means of a political marriage to bring to himself the kingdom of the south. ועשׂה forms a clause by itself: he shall do it, carry it out; there is therefore no need for Hitzig's arbitrary change of the text into יעשׂה .
The second half of this verse (Daniel 11:17) describes how he carries out this intention, but yet does not reach his end. “He shall give him the daughter of women.” הנּשׁים , of women, the plur. of the class, as אריות כּפיר , Judges 14:5, a young lion ( of lionesses); בּן אתנות , Zechariah 9:9, the foal of an ass ( of she-asses). The suffix to להשׁחיתהּ ( corrupting her, E.V.) is referred by many to מלכוּתו ( his kingdom); but this reference fails along with the incorrect interpretation of the בּתקף as the end of the coming. Since in the first half of the verse the object of his undertaking is not named, but in Daniel 11:16 is denoted by אליו , the suffix in question can only be referred to הנּשׁים בּת . Thus J. D. Michaelis, Bertholdt, Rosenmüller; the former, however, gives to the word להשׁחיתהּ the verbally untenable meaning: “to seduce her into a morally corrupt course of conduct;” but Hitzig changes the text, strikes out the suffix, and translates: “to accomplish vileness.” השׁחית means only to destroy, to ruin, hence “to destroy her” (Kran.). This, it is true, was not the object of the marriage, but only its consequence; but the consequence is set forth as had in view, so as forcibly to express the thought that the marriage could lead, according to a higher direction, only to the destruction of the daughter.
The last clauses of the verse express the failure of the measure adopted. The verbs are fem., not neut.; thus the meaning is not: “it shall neither stand, nor succeed to him” (v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig), but: “she (the daughter) shall not stand,” not be able to carry out the plan contemplated by her father. The words תּהיה ולא־לו do not stand for לו (<) תּהיה ולא : “she shall not be to him” or “for him.” In this case לא must be connected with the verb. According to the text, לא־לו forms one idea, as כּוח לא , impotent (cf. Ewald, §270): “she shall be a not for him ” ( ein Nichtihm ), i.e., he shall have nothing at all from her.
His fate further drives him to make an assault on the islands and maritime coasts of the west ( איּים ), many of which he takes. וישׁב is not, after the Keri, to be changed into וישׂם ; for turning himself from Egypt to the islands, he turns back his face toward his own land in the north. The two following clauses are explained by most interpreters thus: “but a captain shall stop his scorn (bring it to silence), and moreover shall give back (recompense) scorn to him in return.” This is then, according to the example of Jerome, referred to the expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Grecian islands which were under the protection of Rome, for which he was assailed and overcome by the consul Lucius Scipio (Asiaticus) in a battle fought at Magnesia ad Sipylum in Lydia. But the translation in question affords a tolerable sense only when we take בּלתּי in the meaning moreover, in addition to; a meaning which it has not, and cannot have according to its etymology. In all places where it is so rendered a negative sentence goes before it, cf. Genesis 43:3; Genesis 47:18; Judges 7:14, or a sentence asking a question with a negative sense, as Amos 3:3-4; according to which, לא must here stand before השׁבּית if we would translate it by besides that or only. בּלתּי has the idea of exception, and can only be rendered after an affirmative statement by however, for the passage introduced by its limits the statement going before. Thus Theodot. rightly: καταπαύσει ἄρχοντας ὀνειδισμοῦ αὐτῶν, πλὴν ὁ ὀνειδισμὸς αὐτοῦ ἐπιστρέψει αὐτῷ ; and in close connection with this, Jerome has: et cessare faciet principem opprobrii sui et opprobrium ejus convertetur in eum . In like manner the Peshito. This rendering we must, with Kranichfeld, accede to, and accordingly understand וגו והשׁבּית of the king of the north, and interpret the indefinite קצין ( leader, chief) in undefined generality or collectively, and חרפּתו ( his reproach) as the second object subordinated to קצין , and refer לו as the dative to קצין . Thus the second חרפּתו gains expressiveness corresponding to its place before the verb as the contrast to לו (<) חרפּתו : “however his reproach,” i.e., the dishonour he did to the chiefs, “shall they recompense to him.” The subject to ישׁיב is the collective קצין . The statement of the last clause introduces us to the announcement, mentioned in Daniel 11:19, of the overthrow of the king of the north, who wished to spread his power also over the west. Since the chiefs (princes) of the islands rendered back to him his reproach, i.e., required to him his attack against them, he was under the necessity of returning to the fortresses of his own land. With that begins his fall, which ends with his complete destruction.
Another stands up in his place, who causeth נוגשׂ to pass over, through his eagerness for riches. נוגשׂ most understand as a collector of tribute, referring for this to 2 Kings 23:35, and מלכוּת הדר מלכוּת as the Holy Land, and then think on Heliodorus, whom Seleucus Nicator sent to Jerusalem to seize the temple treasure. But this interpretation of the words is too limited. נגשׂ denotes, no doubt (2 Kings 23:35), to collect gold and silver; but it does not thence follow that נוגשׂ , when silver and gold are not spoken of, means to collect tribute. The word in general designates the taskmaster who urges on the people to severe labour, afflicts and oppresses them as cattle. מלכוּת הדר is not synonymous with הצּבי ארץ , Daniel 11:16, but stands much nearer to מלכוּת הוד , Daniel 11:21, and designates the glory of the kingdom. The glory of the kingdom was brought down by נוגשׂ , and העביר refers to the whole kingdom of the king spoken of, not merely to the Holy Land, which formed but a part of his kingdom. By these oppressions of his kingdom he prepared himself in a short time for destruction. אחדים ימים ( days few), as in Genesis 27:44; Genesis 29:20, the designation of a very short time. The reference of these words, “ in days few,” to the time after the pillage of the temple of Jerusalem by Heliodorus is not only an arbitrary proceeding, but is also contrary to the import of the words, since ב in בּימים does not mean post. מאפּים ולא , in contradistinction and contrast to במלחמה ולא , can only denote private enmity or private revenge. “Neither by anger (i.e., private revenge) nor by war” points to an immediate divine judgment.
If we now, before proceeding further in our exposition, attentively consider the contents of the revelation of vv. 5-20, so as to have a clear view of its relation to the historical fulfilment, we shall find the following to be the course of the thoughts exhibited: - After the fall of the Javanic world-kingdom (Daniel 11:4) the king of the south shall attain to great power, and one of his princes shall found (Daniel 11:5) a yet greater dominion in the north. After the course of years they shall enter into an agreement, for the king of the south shall give his daughter in marriage to the king of the north so as to establish a right relationship between them; but this agreement shall bring about the destruction of the daughter, as well as of her father and all who co-operated for the effecting of this marriage (Daniel 11:6). Hereupon a descendant of that king of the south shall undertake a war against the king of the north, victoriously invade the country of the adversary, gather together great spoil and carry it away to Egypt, and for years hold the supremacy. The king of the north shall, it is true, penetrate into his kingdom, but he shall again return home without effecting anything (Daniel 11:7-9). His sons also shall pass over the kingdom of the south with a multitude of hosts, but the multitude shall be given into the hand of the king, who shall not come to power by casting down myriads. The king of the north shall return with a host yet more numerous; against the king of the south many, also faithless members of the Jewish nation, shall rise up, and the king of the north shall take the fortified cities, without the king of the south having the power to offer him resistance (Daniel 11:10-15). The conqueror shall now rule in the conquered lands after his own pleasure, and set his foot on the Holy Land with the intention of destroying it. Thereupon he shall come with the whole might of his kingdom against the king of the south, and by the marriage of his daughter seek to establish a right relationship with him, but he shall only thereby bring about the destruction of his daughter. Finally, he shall make an assault against the islands and the maritime countries of the west; but he shall be smitten by his chiefs, and be compelled to return to the fortresses of his own land, and shall fall (Daniel 11:16-19). But his successor, who shall send taskmasters through the most glorious regions of the kingdom, shall be destroyed in a short time (Daniel 11:20).
Thus the revelation depicts how, in the war of the kings of the south and of the north, first the king of the south subdued the north, but when at the summit of his conquest he sank under the power of his adversary through the insurrections and the revolt of an apostate party of the Jews; whereupon, by an assault upon the west in his endeavour, after a firmer establishment and a wider extension of his power, he brings about his own overthrow, and his successor, in consequence of the oppression of his kingdom, comes to his end in a few days.
Now, since the king who comes into his place (Daniel 11:21.) after he has become strong raises himself up against the holy covenant, takes away the daily worship in the temple of the Lord, etc., is, according to the historical evidence found in the books of the Maccabees, the Seleucidan Antiochus Epiphanes, so the prophetic announcement, vv. 5-20, stretches itself over the period from the division of the monarchy of Alexander among his generals to the commencement of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes in the year 175 b.c., during which there reigned seven Syrian and six Egyptian kings, viz. -
Syrian Kings (from b.c.) Egyptian Kings (from b.c.) Seleucus Nicator 310-280 Ptolemy Lagus 323-284 Antiochus Sidetes 280-260 Ptolemy Philadelphus 284 Antiochus Theus 260-245 Ptolemy Euergetes 246-221 Seleucus Callinicus 245-225 Ptolemy Philopator 221-204 Seleucis Ceraunus 225-223 Ptolemy Epiphanes 204-180 Antiochus the Great 223-186 Ptolemy Philometor 180
But in the prophetic revelation there is mention made of only four kings of the north (one in Daniel 11:5-9; his sons, Daniel 11:10-12; a third, Daniel 11:13-19; and the fourth, Daniel 11:20) and three kings of the south (the first, Daniel 11:5 and Daniel 11:6; the “branch,” Daniel 11:7-9; and the king, Daniel 11:10-15), distinctly different, whereby of the former, the relation of the sons (Daniel 11:10) to the king indefinitely mentioned in Daniel 11:11, is admitted, and of the latter the kings of the south, it remains doubtful whether he who is spoken of in Daniel 11:9-15 is different from or is identical with “the branch of her roots” (Daniel 11:7). This circumstance shows that the prophecy does not treat of individual historical personages, but only places in view the king of the south and the king of the north as representatives of the power of these two kingdoms. Of these kings special deeds and undertakings are indeed mentioned, which point to definite persons; e.g., of the king of the north, that he was one of the princes of the king of the south, and founded a greater dominion than his (Daniel 11:5); the marriage of the daughter of the king of the south to the king of the north (Daniel 11:6); afterwards the marriage also of the daughter of the king of the north (Daniel 11:17), and other special circumstances in the wars between the two, which are to be regarded not merely as individualizing portraitures, but denote concrete facts which have verified themselves in history. But yet all these specialities do not establish the view that the prophecy consists of a series of predictions of historical facta, because even these features of the prophecy which find their actual fulfilments in history do not coincide with the historical reality.
Thus all interpreters regard the king of the south, Daniel 11:5, as Ptolemy Lagus, and that one of his princes ( מן־שׂריו ) who founded a greater dominion as Seleucus Nicator, or the “Conqueror,” who, in the division of the countries which the conquerors made after the overthrow and death of Antiochus, obtained, according to Appian, Syr. c. 55, Syria from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean Sea and Phrygia; then by using every opportunity of enlarging his kingdom, he obtained also Mesopotamia, Armenia, and a part of Cappadocia, and besides subjugated the Persians, Parthians, Bactrains, Arabians, and other nations as far as the Indus, which Alexander had conquered; so that, after Alexander, no one had more nations of Asia under his sway than Seleucus, for from the borders of Phyrgia to the Indus all owned his sway. While this extension of his kingdom quite harmonizes with the prophecy of the greatness of his sovereignty, yet the designation “one of his princes” does not accord with the position of Ptolemy Lagus. Both of these were certainly at the beginning generals of Alexander. Seleucus, afterwards vicegerent of the Babylonians, found himself, however, from fear of Antigonus, who sought to put him to death, under the necessity of fleeing to Egypt to Ptolemy, by whom he was hospitably received, and with whom and other vicegerents he entered into a league against Antigonus, and when war arose, led an Egyptian fleet against Antigonus (Diod. Sic. xix. 55-62). He was accordingly not one of Ptolemy's generals.
Moreover, the marriage of the king's daughter, Daniel 11:6, is thus explained by Jerome, and all interpreters who follow him: - Ptolemy Philadelphus made peace with Antiochus Theus, after many years' war, on the condition that Antiochus should put away his own wife Laodice, who was at the same time his half-sister, and disinherit her son, and should marry Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy, and should appoint her first-born son as his successor on the throne of the kingdom (Appian, Syr. c. 65, and Jerome). This factum can be regarded as a fulfilling of the prophecy, Daniel 11:6; but the consequences which resulted from this political marriage do not correspond with the consequences prophesied of. According to the testimony of history, Ptolemy died two years after this marriage, whereupon Antiochus set aside Berenice, and took to himself again his former wife Laodice, along with her children. But she effected the death of her husband by poison, as she feared his fickleness, and then her son Seleucus Callinicus ascended the throne. Berenice fled with her son to the asylum of Daphne, but she was there murdered along with him. The prophecy, according to this, differs from the historical facts, not merely in regard to the consequences of the events, but also in regard to the matter itself; for it speaks not only of the daughter, but also of her father being given up to death, while the natural death of her father is in no respect connected with that marriage, and not till after his death did the consequences fatal to his daughter and her child develop themselves.
Further, as to the contents of Daniel 11:7-9, history furnishes the following confirmations: - In order to save his sister, who was put aside by Antiochus Theus, her brother, Ptolemy Euergetes, invaded the Syrian kingdom, in which Seleucus Callinicus had succeeded his father on the throne, in alliance with the armies of the Asiatic cities, and put to death his mother Laodice, since he had come too late to save his sister, in revenge for her murder, overthrew all the Syrian fortresses from Cilicia to the Tigris and Babylonia, and would have conquered the whole of the Syrian kingdom, if an insurrection which had broken out in Egypt had not caused him to return thither, carrying with him many images of the gods, and immense treasure, which he had taken from the vanquished cities. Then, while engaged in Egypt, Callinicus recovered the cities of Asia Minor, but failed to conquer the maritime countries, because his fleet was wrecked in a storm; and when he thereupon undertook a land expedition against Egypt, he was totally defeated, so that he returned to Antioch with only a few followers: cf. Justin, Hist. xxvii. 1, 2; Polyb. v. 58; and Appian, Syr. c. 65. On the other hand, the announcement of the war of his sons with many hosts overflowing the land, Daniel 11:10, is not confirmed by history. After the death of Callinicus in captivity, his son Seleucus Ceraunus succeeded to the government, a very incompetent man, who after tow years was poisoned by his generals in the war with Attalus, without having undertaken anything against Egypt. His brother Antiochus, surnamed the Great, succeeded him, who, in order to recover Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, renewed the war against the king of Egypt (not till about two years after he ascended the throne, however, did Ptolemy Philopator begin to reign), in which he penetrated twice to Dura, two (German) miles north from Caesarea (Polyb. x. 49), then concluded a four months' truce, and led his host back to the Orontes (Polyb. v. 66; Justin, xxx. 1). After the renewal of hostilities he drove the Egyptian army back to Sidon, conquered Gilead and Samaria, and took up his winter-quarters in Ptolemais (Polyb. v. 63-71). In the beginning of the following year, however, he was defeated by the Egyptians at Raphia, not far from Gaza, and was compelled, with great loss in dead and prisoners, to return as quickly as possible to Antioch, and to leave Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine to the Egyptians (Polyb. v. 79, 80, 82-86). Daniel 11:11 and Daniel 11:12 refer to this war. Thirteen our fourteen years after this, Antiochus, in league with Philip III of Macedon, renewed the war against the Egyptians, when, after Philopator's death, Ptolemy Epiphanes, being five years old, had ascended the throne, retook the three above-named countries (Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine), vanquished the Egyptian host led by Scopas near Paneas, and compelled the fortress of Sidon, into which the Egyptians had fled, to surrender after a lengthened siege, and then concluded a peace with Ptolemy on the condition that he took to wife the daughter of Antiochus, Cleopatra, who should bring with her, as her dowry, Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine (Polyb. xv. 20, xxviii. 17; App. Syr. c. i.; Liv. xxxiii. 19; and Joseph. Antt. xii. 4. 1). Since the time of Jerome, the prophecy Daniel 11:13-17 has been referred to this last war. But also here the historical events fall far behind the contents of the prophecy. The prophecy points to the complete subjugation of the king of the south, while this war was carried on only for the possession of the Asiatic provinces of the Egyptian kingdom. Also the rising up of many ( רבּים , Daniel 11:14) against the king of the south is not historically verified; and even the relation spoken of by Josephus ( Antt. xii. 3. 3) in which the Jews stood to Antiochus the Great was not of such a kind as to be capable of being regarded as a fulfilling of the “exalting themselves” of the פריצים בּני , Daniel 11:14. Still less does the statement of Daniel 11:16, that the king of the north would stand in the glorious land, agree with כּלה interpreted of conduct of Antiochus the Great toward the Jews; for according to Josephus, Antt. l.c., he treated the Jews round about Jerusalem favourably, because of their own accord they had submitted to him and had supported his army, and granted to them not only indulgence in regard to the observance of their religious ordinances, but also afforded them protection.
Moreover, Daniel 11:18, containing the prophecy of the undertaking of the king of the north against the islands, has not its historical fulfilment in the expedition of Antiochus the Great against the coasts and islands of Asia Minor and the Hellespont; but Daniel 11:19, that which is said regarding his return to the fortresses of his own land and his overthrow, does not so correspond with the historical issues of the reign of this king that one would be able to recognise therein a prediction of it. Finally, of his successor, Seleucus Philopator, to whom Daniel 11:20 must refer, if the foregoing verses treat of Antiochus the Great, nothing further is communicated, than that he quum paternis cladibus fractas admodum Syriae opes accepisset, post otiosum nullisque admodum rebus gestis nobilitatum annorum duodecim regnum, was put to death through the treachery of Heliodorus, unius ex purpuratis (Liv. xli. 19, cf. App. Syr. c. 45), and the mission of Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the treasures of the temple, which is fabulously described in 2 Macc. 3:4ff. The ישּׁבר ( shall be destroyed) of this king אחדים בּימים ( within few days) does not harmonize with the fact of his twelve years' reign.
From this comparison this much follows, that the prophecy does not furnish a prediction of the historical wars of the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies, but an ideal description of the war of the kings of the north and the south in its general outlines, whereby, it is true, diverse special elements of the prophetical announcement have historically been fulfilled, but the historical reality does not correspond with the contents of the prophecy in anything like an exhaustive manner. This ideal character of the prophecy comes yet more prominently forward to view in the following prophetic description.
The further Unveiling of the Future
In this section we have (Daniel 11:21) first the description of the prince who, in striving after supremacy, sues all the means that cunning and power can contrive, and in his enmity against the holy covenant knows no bounds. This description is divided into two parts - (1) Daniel 11:21-25, and (2) vv. 36-12:3-which designate the two stadia of his proceedings. In the first part are described, (1) his gradual rising to power, Daniel 11:21-24; (2) his war with the king of the south for the supremacy, Daniel 11:25-27; (3) his rising up against the covenant people, even to the desecration of the sanctuary by the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination of desolation, Daniel 11:28-32; (4) the effect and consequence of this for the people of God, Daniel 11:32-35. This prince is the enemy of the holy God who is prophesied of in Daniel 8:9-13, Daniel 8:23-25, under the figure of the little horn, and is typically represented in the rising up of the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes against the covenant people and their worship of God.
The prince's advancement to power. - He appears as נבזה , one despised, i.e., not such an one as by reason of birth has any just claim to the throne, and therefore as an intruder, also one who finds no recognition (Kranichfeld); which Hitzig has more definitely explained by mentioning that not Antiochus Epiphanes, but his nephew Demetrius, the son of the murdered Seleucus Philopator, was the true heir, but was of such a character that he was not esteemed worthy of the throne. נבזה , is despised, not = bad, unworthy, but yet supposes unworthiness. There was not laid on him the honour or majesty of the kingdom. The dignity of the kingdom requires הוד , splendour, majesty, such as God lays upon the king of Israel, Psalms 21:6 (5), 1 Chronicles 29:25. But here the subject spoken of is the honour which men give to the king, and which was denied to the “despised one” on account of his character. He comes בּשׁלוה , in security, i.e., unexpectedly (cf. Daniel 8:25), and takes possession of the kingdom. החזיק , to grasp, here to draw violently to himself. בּחלקלקּות , properly, by smoothnesses, intrigues and cunning, not merely flatteries or smooth words, but generally hypocritical behaviour in word and deed; cf. Daniel 11:34.
The kingdom he seized he also knew how to hold fast with great power. השׁטף זרעות , arms (i.e., warlike strength) of an inundation, i.e., armies overflowing the land are swept away before him, destroyed by yet stronger military forces. It is not merely the enemy, but also the “prince of the covenant,” whom he destroys. בּרית נגיד is analogous to בּרית בּעלי , Genesis 14:13, and בּרית אנשׁי , Obadiah 1:7, cf. Malachi 2:14, and, as the absence of the article shows, is to be taken in a general sense. The interpretation of בּרית נגיד of the high priest Onias III, who at the commencement of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes was driven from his office by his brother, and afterwards, at the instigation of Menelaus, was murdered by the Syrian governor Andronicus at Daphne near Antioch, 2 Macc. 4:1ff., 33ff. (Rosenmüller, Hitzig, etc.) - this interpretation is not warranted by the facts of history. This murder does not at all relate to the matter before us, not only because the Jewish high priest at Antioch did not sustain the relation of a “prince of the covenant,” but also because the murder was perpetrated without the previous knowledge of Antiochus, and when the matter was reported to him, the murderer was put to death by his command (2 Macc. 4:36-38). Thus also it stands in no connection with the war of Antiochus against Egypt. The words cannot also (with Hävernick, v. Leng., Maurer, Ebrard, Kliefoth) be referred to the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philometor, because history knows nothing of a covenant entered into between this king and Antiochus Epiphanes, but only that soon after the commencement of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes the guardians of the young Philometor demanded Coele-Syria from Antiochus, which Antiochus the Great had promised as a dowry to his daughter Cleopatra, who was betrothed to Ptolemy Philometor, but Antiochus did not deliver it up, and hence a war arose between them. To this is to be added, that, as Dereser, v. Lengerke, Maurer, and Kranichfeld have rightly remarked, the description in Daniel 11:22-24 bears an altogether general character, so that v. Leng. and Maurer find therein references to all the three expeditions of Antiochus, and in Daniel 11:25-27 find more fully foretold what is only briefly hinted at in Daniel 11:22-24. The undertaking of the king against Egypt is first described in Daniel 11:24. We must therefore, with Kranichfeld, understand בּרית נגיד in undefined generality of covenant princes in general, in the sense already given.
In these verses there is a fuller statement of the manner in which he treats the princes of the covenant and takes possession of their territory. The ו at the beginning of Daniel 11:23 is explicative, and the suffix in אליו , pointing back to נגיד ב , is also to be interpreted collectively. אליו מן־התחבּרוּת , literally, “from the confederating himself with them” ( התחבּרוּת is infin. formed in the Syriac manner), i.e., from the time when he had made a covenant with them, he practised deceit. This was done by his coming ( עלה of a warlike coming) and gaining strength with a few people, namely (Daniel 11:24), by his coming unexpectedly into the fattest and richest places of the province, and there doing unheard-of things - things which no previous king, no one of his predecessors, had ever done, scattering among them (his followers) spoil and prey and riches. Thus rightly, after the Syriac and the Vulgate ( dissipabit ), Rosenmüller, Kranichfeld, and Ewald; while, on the contrary, v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig, and Kliefoth interpret בּזר in the sense of to distribute, and refer the words to the circumstance that Antiochus Epiphanes squandered money lavishly, and made presents to his inferiors often without any occasion. But to distribute money and spoil is nothing unheard of, and in no way does it agree with the “fattest provinces.” The contest decidedly refers to conduct which injured the fat provinces. This can only consist in squandering and dissipating the wealth of this province which he had plundered to its injury ( להם [ to them], dativ. incommodi). An historical confirmation is found in 1 Macc. 3:29-31. To bring the provinces wholly under his power, he devises plans against the fortresses that he might subdue them. ועד־עת , and indeed (he did this) even for a time. We cannot, with Klief., refer this merely to the last preceding passage, that his assaults against the fortresses succeeded only partly and for a time. The addition (“and that for a time”) denotes a period determined by a higher power (cf. Daniel 11:24 and Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:6), and relates to the whole proceedings of this prince hitherto described; as C. B. Michaelis has already rightly explained: nec enim semper et in perpetuum dolus ei succedet et terminus suus ei tandem erit .
These verses describe the victorious war of the king who had come to power against the king of the south, the war of Antiochus Epiphanes against king Ptolemy Philometor, which is described in 1 Macc. 1:16-19, with manifest reference to this prophecy. ויער ( he shall stir up) is potentialis in the sense of divine decree: “he shall stir up his power and his heart.” כּח is not warlike power, which is mentioned in בּחיל־גּדול (Daniel 11:25), but the power which consists in the bringing of a great army under his command; לבב , the mental energy for the carrying out of his plans. For יעמד לא , cf. Daniel 8:4. The subject is the last-named king of the south, who, notwithstanding his very great and powerful army, shall not stand in battle, but shall give way, because devices are contrived against him. The subject to יחשׁבוּ is not the enemy, the king of the north, with his army, but, according to Daniel 11:26, his table-companions.
Here it is more definitely stated why he cannot stand. פתבּגו אכּלי , who eat his food ( פּתבּג , see under Daniel 1:5), i.e., his table-companions (cf. Psalms 41:10), persons about him. ישׁבּרוּהוּ , shall break him, i.e., cast him to the ground. His army shall therefore overflow, but shall execute nothing, only many shall fall down slain. The first member of the verse points to treachery, whereby the battle was lost and the war was fruitless. Hitzig incorrectly interprets ישׁטוף rushes away, i.e., is disorganized and takes to flight. But שׁטף cannot have this meaning.
Here then is described how the two kings seek through feigned friendship to destroy one another. The two kings are of course the two kings of the north and the south previously named. Of a third, namely, of two kings of Egypt, Philometor and Physkon, Daniel knows nothing. The third, Physkon, is introduced from history; and hence Hitzig, v. Lengerke, and others understand by the “ two kings,” the two kings Antiochus and Philometor confederated against the king of the south, but Kliefoth, on the contrary, thinks of Antiochus and Physkon, the latter of whom he regards as the king of the south, Daniel 11:25. All this is arbitrary. Jerome has already rejected the historical evidence for this, and remarks: verum ex eo, quia scriptura nunc dicit: duos fuisse reges, quorum cor fuerit fraudulentum ... hoc secundum historiam demonstrari non potest . למרע לבבם Hitzig translates: “their heart belongs to wickedness,” contrary to the context. ל denotes also here only the direction: “their heart goes toward wicked deeds,” is directed thereto. מרע (from רעע ), formed after מצר (cf. Ewald, §160 a), the evil-doing, consists in this, that the one seeks to overthrow and destroy the other under the cloak of feigned friendship; for they eat as friends at one table, and “speak lies” - the one tells lies to the other, professing friendship. But their design shall not succeed. All interpretations of these words which are determined by historical facta are arbitrary. The history of Antiochus Epiphanes furnishes no illustrations for this. In the sense of the prophecy תצלח לא has only this meaning: the design of the king of the north to destroy the king of the south, and to make himself master both of the north and the south, shall not succeed, and the king of the south will not fulfil what he promises to his deceitful adversary. For yet the end shall be at the time appointed. These words state the reason why the מרע shall not succeed. Hitzig incorrectly translates: “but the end holds onwards to the appointed time;” for כּי cannot in this connection be rendered by but, and ל cannot express the idea of holding to anything. ל denotes here, as generally, the direction toward the end, as Daniel 11:35, and Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19. The end goes yet on to the time appointed by God. That this מועד ( appointment of time) does not lie in the present, but in the future, is denoted by עוד , although we do not, with Hävernick, interpret עוד by “for the end lies yet further out,” nor, with v. Lengerke and Maurer, may we supply the verb “withdraws itself, is reserved.” עוד stands before קץ because on it the emphasis lies. קץ is, however, not the end of the war between Antiochus and Egypt (v. Leng., Maur., Hitzig), but cannot be otherwise taken than קץ עת , Daniel 11:35, Daniel 11:40, and Daniel 12:4. But in the latter passage קץ עת is the time of the resurrection of the dead, thus the end of the present course of the world, with which all the oppression of the people of God ceases. Accordingly קץ in the verse before us, as in Daniel 11:35, Daniel 11:40, is the time in which the conduct of the kings previously described, in their rising up and in their hostility against the people of God, reaches its end (Daniel 11:45); and with the overthrow of these enemies the period of oppression also comes to an end. This end comes only למועד , at the time which God has determined for the purifying of His people (Daniel 11:35). So long may the kings of the north and the south prosecute their aims; so long shall they strive for the possession of the kingdom without succeeding in their plans. למועד has here and in Daniel 11:35 the definite article, because in both verses the language refers not to any definite time, but to the time determined by God for the consummation of His kingdom. The placing of the article in this word in the verse before us is not, with Kliefoth, to be explained from a reference to Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19. The two revelations are separated from each other by too long a space of time for this one to refer back to that earlier one by the mere use of the article, although both treat of the same subject. The למועד occurs besides in Daniel 11:29, where it is natural to suppose that it has the same meaning as here; but the contents of the verse oppose such a conclusion. Daniel 11:29 treats, it is true, of a renewed warlike expedition against the south, which, however, brings neither the final deciding of the war with the south (cf. Daniel 11:40), nor yet the end of the oppression of the people of God; המועד is thus only the time determined for the second aggression against the south, not the time of the end.
The success gained by the crafty king of the north in his war against the king of the south (Daniel 11:25.) increases his endeavours after the enlarging of his dominions. Returning from Egypt with great riches, i.e., with rich spoil, he raises his heart against the holy covenant. By the potentialis ישׁב ( he shall return) this new undertaking is placed in the point of view of a divine decree, to denote that he thereby brings about his own destruction. קדשׁ בּרית signifies not the holy people in covenant with God (v. Lengerke, Maurer, and many older interpreters), but the divine institution of the Old Covenant, the Jewish Theocracy. The Jews are only members of this covenant, cf. Daniel 11:30. Calvin is right when he says: Mihi simplicior sensus probatur, quod scilicet bellum gerat adversus Deum . The holy covenant is named instead of the covenant people to represent the undertaking as an outrage against the kingdom of God, which was founded in Israel. ועשׂה , and he shall do, perform, that which his heart thinks, or that which he has in his mind against the holy covenant. The historical fulfilment is narrated in 1 Macc. 1:22-29. לארצו ושׁב resumes ארצו וישׁב , and teaches us that Antiochus undertook the first assault against the holy covenant on his return from Egypt into his kingdom (to Antioch), as is expressly stated in 1 Macc. 1:20.
In order that he might bring Egypt wholly under his power, he undertook a new expedition thither ( וּבא ישׁוּב , he comes again). But this expedition, like the first, was not successful ( כ־כ , as-so, cf. Joshua 14:11; Ezekiel 18:4). For the ships of Chittim come against him. כּתּים ציּים , ships the Chittaei, for כּתּים מיד צים , Numbers 24:24, whence the expression is derived כּתּים is Cyprus with its chief city Κίττιον (now Chieti or Chitti); see under Genesis 10:4. Ships coming from Cyprus are ships which come from the west, from the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean. In 1 Macc. 1:1 and 8:5 כּתּים is interpreted of Macedonia, according to which Bertholdt and Dereser think of the Macedonian fleet with which the Roman embassy sailed to Alexandria. This much is historically verified, that the Roman embassy, led by Popillius, appeared with a fleet in Alexandria, and imperiously commanded Antiochus to desist from his undertaking against Egypt and to return to his own land (Liv. xlv. 10-12). The lxx have therefore translated these words by: καὶ ἥξουσι ̔Ρηωμαῖοι καὶ ἐχώσουσιν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐμβριμήσονται αὐτῷ , and correctly, so far as the prophecy has received the first historical accomplishment in that factum. ונכאה , he shall lose courage, is rightly explained by Jerome: non quod interierit, sed quod omnem arrogantiae perdiderit magnitudinem .
(Note: The historical facts have been briefly and conclusively brought together by Hitzig thus: “On the complaint of the Alexandrians the Roman senate sent an embassage, at the head of which was C. Popillius Laenas (Polyb. xxix. 1; Liv. xliv. 19). After being detained at Delos (Liv. xliv. 29), they set sail to Egypt after the battle at Pydna (Liv. xlv. 10). Here he met Antiochus four Roman miles from Alexandria, and presented to him the message of the senate. When Antiochus explained that he wished to lay the matter before his counsellors, Popillius described with the staff he carried on his hand a circle round the king, and commanded him to give his answer before he left this circle. Antiochus, confounded by the circumstance, submitted and withdrew from Egypt (Liv. xlv. 12; Polyb. xxix. 11; Appian, Syr. c. 66; Justin. xxxiv. 3).”)
וזעם ושׁב , not: he was again enraged, for nothing is said of a previous זעם ושׁב , and he turned round (back) from his expedition against Egypt. Since he was not able to accomplish anything against the נגב ( the south), he turns his indignation against Judah to destroy the covenant people (cf. Daniel 11:28). The ושׁב in Daniel 11:30 resumes the ושׁב in Daniel 11:30, so as further to express how he gave vent to his anger. Hitzig's interpretation of the first ושׁב of the return to Palestine, of the second, of the return from Palestine to Antiochus, is not justified. ויבן , he shall observe, direct his attention to the Jews who forsook the holy covenant, i.e., the apostate Jews, that he might by their help execute his plans against the Mosaic religion - partim ornando illos honoribus, partim illorum studiis ad patriam religionem obliterandam comparatis obsecundando , as C. B. Michaelis excellently remarks; cf. 1 Macc. 1:11-16 with 2:18.
Here is stated what he accomplished by the help of the apostate Jews. זרעים , arms, figuratively for help (Daniel 11:5), are warlike forces, as Daniel 11:15, Daniel 11:22. That the plur. has here the masculine form, while in those verses it has the fem. form, furnishes no reason for a difference of meaning, since זרוע in its proper sense of arm occurs promiscue with both endings in the plur.; cf. for זרעים Genesis 49:24; Isaiah 51:5; 2 Kings 9:24. מן in ממּנּוּ is not partitive, a part of him, i.e., the host as a part of the king (Hitzig), but out from him, or by his command. יעמדוּ , to stand up, not to stand still, as Hitzig, on the ground of the supposition that Antiochus on his return from Egypt placed a standing army-corps in Jerusalem, would interpret it, contrary to the usage of the word, since עמד does not signify to stand still in the sense of to remain behind, though it means to endure, to keep the ground (Daniel 11:6, Daniel 11:15). It is disputed whether these זרעים denote military forces, troops of the hostile king (Hävernick, v. Leng., Maur., Hitz., Klief.), or his accomplices of the apostate party of the Jews, and thus essentially identical with בּרית עזבי , Daniel 11:30 (Calvin, Hengstb. Christol. iii. 1, p. 110, Kran., and others). In favour of the latter view, Kranichfeld argues that the בּרית עזבי ( those that forsake the covenant), according to Daniel 11:30, come under consideration as a support to the king, and the ממּנּוּ of this verse before us evidently refers to the king's own army, and therefore would be superfluous. But these two reasons prove nothing. The ממּנּוּ is not superfluous, even though it were used of the king's own army. Since in Daniel 11:30, Daniel 11:32 the king of the north is the subject of the clause, it was necessary in זרעים to define in what relation they stood to the king. But the other remark, that the בּרית עזבי come into view as a support to the king, does not prove that these are the same who desecrate the sanctuary and set up the abomination of desolation. On the contrary, if ממּנּוּ denotes the causal exit, the זרעים cannot be the apostate Jews, but only warlike forces which the king leads forth. If we refer זרעים to the apostate Jews, then we must, with Hengstenberg and Gesenius, take ממּנּוּ in the sense of eo jubente . Moreover, the זרעים manifestly stand in contrast to the בּרית מרשׁיעי of Daniel 11:32. By his troops (military forces) the king lays waste the sanctuary, and he makes by means of smooth words those who sin against the covenant heathen. Kranichfeld himself recognises this contrast, and therefore will understand as the subject to וחלּלוּ not merely “those that forsake the covenant” (Daniel 11:30), but these along with and including the warlike power of the hostile king. An expedient which the difficulty suggested. המקדּשׁ is the temple, and המעוז ( the strength) is in apposition. This apposition, however, does not say that the temple was fortified (v. Leng., Hitzig, Ewald), but it points out the temple as the spiritual fortress of Israel. The temple is the “ Feste Burg ” (firm tower) of the holy covenant (Daniel 11:28), as the dwelling-place of Jehovah, which is a firm fortress to His people; cf. Psalms 31:4-5, (3, 4); Isaiah 25:4; Psalms 18:3 (2). חלּלוּ is essentially identical with מקדּשׁו מכון השׁלך , Daniel 8:11. The two following clauses state what the desecration consists in: in the taking away, the removal of the stated worship of Jehovah, and in the placing, setting up of the abomination of desolation, i.e., of the idol-altar on Jehovah's altar of burnt-offering; see under Daniel 8:11. משׁמם is not the genitive, but an adjective to השּׁקּוּץ (without the article after the definite noun, as e.g., Daniel 8:13): the desolating abomination, i.e., the abomination which effects the desolation. With reference to the fulfilment, cf. 1 Macc. 1:37, 45, 54.
The consequences to the people of Israel which result from this sin against the holy covenant. - The ungodly shall become heathen, i.e., shall wholly apostatize from the true God; but, on the other hand, the pious shall be strengthened in their confidence in the Lord. This is in general the import of Daniel 11:32, the first half of which, however, has been very differently interpreted. בּרית מרשׁיעי signifies neither “those who sinfully make a covenant” (Hävernick), nor “sinners among the covenant people” (v. Lengerke), nor “those who condemn the covenant,” i.e., those who reject the sign of the covenant, circumcision (Hitzig). The latter meaning is altogether arbitrary. Against the second is the fact that רשׁעים is in use for sinners; against the first, that בּרית הרשׁיע could only mean: “to declare the covenant punishable.” הרשׁיע means to act wickedly, to sin, and בּרית can only be the accusative of reference, which is subordinated to the participle for the purpose of limitation (Ewald, §288); literally, “the acting wickedly with reference to the covenant.” The absence of the article in בּרית is no proof against he reference of the word to the holy covenant. The article is wanting in Daniel where otherwise the determination is found from the connection, e.g., Daniel 8:13. Sinning against the covenant is, it is true, a stronger expression than בּרית עזב ( to forsake the covenant), but it does not include the idea of the entire apostasy from God, but only insolent violation of the covenant law, so that of בּרית מרשׁיעי it can very well be predicated יחניף החניף does not mean to pollute (Kran.), but to desecrate, to make profane; and spoken of persons, to make them as heathen, as frequently in the Syriac. חלקּות , flatteries, here deceitful promises of earthly advantage; cf. under Daniel 11:21. For the subject spoken of here, see 1 Macc. 2:18. אלהיו ידעי are the true confessors of the Lord. The suffix to אלהיו is neither to be interpreted distributively nor to be referred to עם . To יחזיקוּ we are to supply בּבּרית from the context: “to hold fast to the covenant.” ועשׂוּ , as Daniel 11:17, Daniel 11:28, Daniel 11:30, to carry out the design. In what way this is done is explained in Daniel 11:33 and Daniel 11:34.
משׂכּילי is not the teachers, but intelligentes , those who have insight or understanding. The pious are meant by the word, those who know their God (Daniel 11:32). This is seen from the contrast רשׁעים , Daniel 12:10. According to the O.T. view, wisdom, insight, are correlative ideas with the fear of God, piety, Psalms 14:1; Job 28:28; and לרבּים with the article, the many, the great multitude of the people who bring themselves forward to view by the judicious appearance of the pious, are moved to hold fast by the law of the Lord. Yet they who understand shall for a time fall by the sword, etc. The subject to נכשׁלוּ is not the רבּים , or those with the teachers (Hitzig), but the עם משׂכּילי , but not all, but, according to Daniel 11:35, a number of them; for in Daniel 11:35 falling is not first specially predicated of the teachers, as Hitzig thinks, but only the effect which that would have on the whole people. The words point to a warlike rising up of the faithful members of the covenant people against the hostile king, and have had their first historical fulfilment in the insurrection of the Maccabees against Antiochus Epiphanes; cf. 1 Macc. 2ff. In 1 Macc. 1:57; 2:38; 3:41; 5:13, 2 Macc. 6:11, there are examples of this falling by the sword. The רבּים after ימים in several Codd. is a worthless gloss.
Through the fall of the pious in war little help shall come to the people of God. מעט ( little) is not “spoken contemptuously” (Hitzig), but the help is so named in comparison with the great deliverance which shall come to the people of God in the time of the end by the complete destruction of the oppressor. We may not therefore, with Hitzig and others, limit this expression to the circumstance that with the victories of Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 3:11ff., 23ff., 4:14, etc.) they were far from gaining all, for they also met with a defeat (1 Macc. 5:60f.). For with the overthrow of Antiochus and the liberation of the Jews from the Syrian yoke, full help was not yet rendered to the people of God. The “little help” consists in this, that by the rising up and the wars of those that had understanding among the people the theocracy was preserved, the destruction of the service of Jehovah and of the church of God, which was aimed at by the hostile king, was prevented, and, as the following clauses express, the purifying of the people of God is brought about. This purifying is the design and the fruit of the oppression which God brings upon His people by means of the hostile king. The attaining of this end is a “little help” in comparison with the complete victory over the arch-enemy of the time of the end. Many shall connect themselves with the משׂכּילים ( intelligentes , Daniel 11:33) with flatteries (as Daniel 11:21). “The successes of Judas, and the severity with which he and Mattathias treated the apostates (1 Macc. 2:44; 3:5, 8), had the result of causing many to join them only through hypocrisy (1 Macc. 7:6; 2 Macc. 14:6), who again forsook them as soon as opportunity offered; 1 Macc. 6:21ff., 9:23” (Hitzig, Kliefoth).
Such has been the experience in all periods of the church's history. Therefore does the church need to pass through the purifying process of affliction, in which not only the lukewarm fall away in the time of conflict, but also many even מן־המּשׂכּילים מן is here partitive. יכּשׁלוּ ( they shall fall) is to be understood (cf. Daniel 11:33, בח נכשׁלוּ ) not merely of death in battle, but of other calamities, such as being imprisoned, plundered, etc. בּהם לצרוף to melt, i.e., to purify by them, not as to them; for ב rof ;meht does not represent the accusative, as Kranichfeld thinks, referring in confirmation to Ewald, §282. The use of ב there spoken of is of a different nature. The suffix in בּהם refers neither to “those that understand” alone (Häv.), nor to the “many,” Daniel 11:33 (v. Leng.), still less to the flatterers in Daniel 11:34 (Maurer), but to all of these together, or to the whole company of the people of God in the sum of their individuals. The verbs וללבּן לברר serve to strengthen the expression ( ללבּן for ללבּין on account of the assonance). קץ עד־עת ( to the time of the end) is connected with יכּשׁלוּ , the chief idea of the passage. The stumbling and falling of “those who understand” (the pious) shall continue to the time of the end, to bring about the purification of the people for their glorification in the time of the end. For the end stretches itself out yet to the time appointed (cf. Daniel 11:27); i.e., it does not come in with the “little help” which Israel received by the rising up of “those who understand” against the hostile king, thus not with the afflictions that came upon them by Antiochus, but it shall come afterwards at the time appointed by God. The assertion that “the end is connected with the death of king Antiochus Epiphanes” (Hitzig, Bleek, and others) is founded on a misunderstanding of the following section, Daniel 11:36-45. On the contrary, Kranichfeld has rightly remarked, that “the statements made in Daniel 11:36-39 incl. regarding the king of the north, now fall, in accordance with the context, into the period which shall expire at that time of the end are then to be prophesied.
The Hostile King Exalting Himself above All Divine and Human Ordinances at the Time of the End - Daniel 11:36-39
This exaltation of the king is here introduced by the formula כרצנו ועשׂה , which expresses the self-will and the irresistible might of his proceeding; cf. Daniel 3:16 and Daniel 8:4 - ”a feature common to Antiochus and Antichrist” (Klief.). He shall raise himself above every god, not merely “subjectively in his lofty imagination” (Hitzig), but also by his actions. כּל־אל , every god, not merely the God of Israel, but also the gods of the heathen. This does not agree with Antiochus. The ἰσόθεα φρονεῖν ὑπερηφανῶς which is said of him, 2 Macc. 9:12, is not an exalting of himself above every god. “Antiochus was not an ἄθεος ; he even wished to render the worship of Zeus universal; and that he once spoiled the temple does not imply his raising himself above every god” (Klief.). Of Antiochus much rather, as is said by Livy (41:20), in duabus tamen magnis honestisque rebus fere regius erat animus, in urbium donis et deorum cultu . On the contrary, these words before us are expressly referred to Antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
Yet further, in his arrogance he shall speak נפּלאות , wonderful, i.e., impious and astonishing things, against the God of gods, i.e., the true God. This clause expounds and strengthens the מלּל רברבן ( speaking great things), which is said of the enemy at the time of the end, Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:20. In this he will prosper, but only till the anger of God against His people ( זעם as Daniel 8:19) shall be accomplished. Regarding כלה see at Daniel 9:27. This anger of God is irrevocably determined ( נחרצה ), that His people may be wholly purified for the consummation of His kingdom in glory. The perf. נעשׂתה does not stand for the imperf. because it is decreed, but in its proper meaning, according to which it represents the matter as finished, settled. Here it accordingly means: “for that which is irrevocably decreed is accomplished, is not to be recalled, but must be done.”
The exalting of himself above all on the part of the king is further described. “He shall not regard the gods of his fathers,” i.e., shall cast aside the worship of the gods transmitted to him from his fathers. This again does not accord with Antiochus Epiphanes, regarding whom it is true that history records that he wished to suppress the worship practised by the Jews, but it knows nothing
(Note: The statement in 1 Macc. 1:41ff., “Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and every one should have his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king,” does not amount to a proof of this. “For,” as Grimm rightly remarks, “the account of such a decree of Antiochus to all (not Hellenic) peoples of his kingdom is very doubtful. No profane historian records anything about it, neither does Josephus, nor the author of the second book of the Maccabees in the parallel passages. It is true that Antiochus, according to Livy, xli. 20, put great honour upon Jupiter by building a splendid temple to Tages, and according to Polybius, xxvi. 10, 11, he excelled all kings who preceded him in expensive sacrifices and gifts in honour of the gods; but this is no proof of a proselytizing fanaticism.” The contrary rather appears from Josephus, Antt. xii. 5. 5, where the Samaritans, in a letter to Antiochus, declare, contrary to the opinion entertained regarding them by their governor, that by descent and custom they were not Jews. Their letter rests on the supposition that the royal decree was directed only against the Jews. Cf. Falthe, Gesch. Macedoniens, ii. p. 596. Diodorus also (xxxiv. 1), to whom Hitzig refers, only states that Antiochus wished to dissolve τὰ νόμιμα of the Jewish people, and to compel the Jews to abandon their manner of life ( τὰς ἀγωγὰς μεταθέσθαι ).
of attempts made by him to destroy the gods and the worship of other nations. The words which follow, נשׁים על־חמדּת , the old interpreters understood of the love of women, or of conjugal love; the modern, after the example of J. D. Michaelis and Gesenius, on the contrary, understand them of the goddess Anaïtis or Mylitta, the Assyrian Venus, and refer them specially to the spoiling of the temple of this goddess in Elymaïs (1 Macc. 6:1, cf. 2 Macc. 1:13). Ewald finally would understand by the expression “the desire of women,” the Syrian deity Tammuz-Adonis. The connection requires us to think on a deity, because these words are placed between two expressions which refer to the gods. But the connection is not altogether decisive; rather the כּל על in the clause at the end of the verse denotes that the subject spoken of is not merely the king's raising himself above the gods, but also above other objects of pious veneration. A verbal proof that נשׁים חמדּת denotes the Anaïtis or Adonis as the favourite deity of women has not been adduced. For these words, desiderium mulierum , denote not that which women desire, but that which women possess which is desirable; cf. under 1 Samuel 9:20. But it is impossible that this can be Anaïtis or Adonis, but it is a possession or precious treasure of women. This desirable possession of women is without doubt love; so that, as C. B. Michaelis has remarked, the expression is not materially different from נשׁים אהבת , the love of women, 2 Samuel 1:26. The thought: “he shall not regard the desire of women, or the love of women,” agrees perfectly with the connection. After it has been said in the first clause: he shall set himself free from all religious reverence transmitted from his fathers, from all piety toward the gods in which he had been trained, it is then added in the second clause: not merely so, but generally from all piety toward men and God, from all the tender affections of the love of men and of God. The “love of women” is named as an example selected from the sphere of human piety, as that affection of human love and attachment for which even the most selfish and most savage of men feel some sensibility. Along with this he shall set himself free from כּל־אלוהּ , from all piety or reverence toward God or toward that which is divine (Klief.). This thought is then established by the last clause: “for he shall magnify himself above all.” To כּל על we may not supply אלוהּ ; for this clause not only presents the reason for the foregoing clause, וגו כּל־אלוהּ על , but for both of the foregoing clauses. Hitzig and Kliefoth are right in their interpretation: “above everything, or all, gods and men,” he shall magnify himself, raise himself up in arrogance.
On the other hand, he will honour the god of fortresses. That מעזּים is not, with Theodotion, the Vulgate, Luther, and others, to be regarded as the proper name of a god, is now generally acknowledge. But as to which god is to be understood by the “god of fortresses,” there is very great diversity of opinion. Grotius, C. B. Michaelis, Gesenius, and others think on Mars, the god of war, as the one intended; Hävernick, v. Lengerke, Maurer, and Ewald regard Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom Antiochus purposed to erect a temple in Antioch (Livy, xli. 20); others, Jupiter Olympius; while Hitzig, by changing מעזּים into ים מעז , fortress of the sea, thinks that Melkart, or the Phoenician Hercules, is referred to. But according to the following passage, this god was not known to his fathers. That could not be said either of Mars, or Jupiter, or Melkart. Add to this, “that if the statement here refers to the honouring of Hercules, or Mars, or Zeus, or Jupiter, then therewith all would be denied that was previously said of the king's being destitute of all religion” (Klief.). The words thus in no respect agree with Antiochus, and do not permit us to think on any definite heathen deity. כּנּו על does not signify on his foundation, pedestal (Häv., v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald), because the remark that he honoured God on his pedestal would be quite inappropriate, unless it had been also said that he had erected a statue to him. כּנּו על has here the same meaning as in Daniel 11:7, Daniel 11:20, Daniel 11:21: “in his place or stead” (Gesenius, de Wette, Kliefoth, and others). But the suffix is not, with Klief., to be referred to כּל על : in the place of all that, which he did not regard, but it refers to כּל־אלוהּ : in the place of every god; which is not overthrown by the objection that in that case the suffix should have been plur., because the suffix is connected with the singular אלוה . The “god of fortresses” is the personification of war, and the thought is this: he will regard no other god, but only war; the taking of fortresses he will make his god; and he will worship this god above all as the means of his gaining the world-power. Of this god, war as the object of deification, it might be said that his fathers knew nothing, because no other king had made war his religion, his god to whom he offered up in sacrifice all, gold, silver, precious stones, jewels.
With the help of this god, who was unknown to his fathers, he will so proceed against the strong fortresses that he rewards with honour, might, and wealth those who acknowledge him. This is the meaning of the verse, which has been very differently rendered. The majority of modern interpreters separate the two parts of the verse from each other, for they refer the first hemistich to the preceding, and in the second they find a new thought expressed. Hהvernick and v. Lengerke supply a demonstrative כּה , thus: - thus shall he do to the armed fortresses together with the strange gods, i.e., fill the fortified temples with treasures, and promote their worship. But the supplement כּה is here just as arbitrary as is the interpreting of the armed fortresses of temples. Hitzig misses the object to עשׂה , and seeks it by changing עם into עם : he prepares for the armed fortresses a people of a strange god; but apart from the fact that the change of the text is arbitrary, the use of the expression “people of a strange god” for colonists is most singular. Ewald translates the expression thus: “he proceeds with the strong fortresses as with the strange god,” and explains: “he loves the fortresses only just as a god;” but he has given no proof that ל עשׂה means to love. The missing object to ועשׂה follows in the second hemistich, just as in Deuteronomy 31:4; Joshua 8:2; Isaiah 10:11. עשׂה means simply to do anything to one (Kran., Klief.). נכר אלוהּ עם , with the help of the strange god ( עם of assistance, as in 1 Samuel 14:45), not: in the mind of the strange god (Kliefoth). מעזּים מבצרי , fortified, i.e., strong fortresses, are not the fortified walls and houses, but the inhabitants of the fortified cities. With these he does according to his will with the help of his god, i.e., of war, namely in this, that he rewards with honour and power only those who acknowledge him. הכּיר אשׁר , who acknowledges, sc. him, the king who made war his god. Hitzig has incorrectly interpreted: whom he acknowledges. The Keri יכּיר for the Kethiv הכּיר is an unnecessary emendation here, as in Isaiah 28:15 with עבּר . The verb הכּיר is chosen to reflect upon the word נכר . It means to recognise, properly to acknowledge him as what he is or wishes to be; cf. Deuteronomy 21:17. Such an one he shall increase with honour, confer upon him sovereignty over many, and divide the land. בּמחיר is not for payment, for recompense, as the contrast to חנּם ( gratuitously) (Kran.). That is not a suitable rendering here. The word rather means pro praemio , as a reward (Maur., Klief.), as a reward for the recognition accorded to him. The Vulgate renders it rightly according to the sense, gratuito . In this most modern interpreters find a reference to the circumstance that Antiochus occupied the Jewish fortresses with heathen garrisons, and rewarded his adherents with places of honour and with possessions of land (2 Macc. 4:10, 24; 5:15). But this is what all conquerors do, and it was not peculiar to Antiochus, so that it could be mentioned as characteristic of him. The words contain the altogether common thought that the king will bestow honour, power, and possessions on those who acknowledge him and conduct themselves according to his will, and they accord with the character of Antichrist in a yet higher degree than with that of Antiochus.
The last Undertakings of the Hostile King, and His End
By the words קץ בּעת , which introduce these verses, the following events are placed in the time of the end. Proceeding from the view that the whole of the second half of this chapter (vv. 21-45) treats of Antiochus and his undertakings, most modern interpreters find in the verses the prophecy of a last expedition of this Syrian king against Egypt, and quote in support of this view the words of Jerome: Et haec Porphyrius ad Antiochum refert, quod undecimo anno regni sui rursus contra sororis filium, Ptolem. Philometorem dimicaverit, qui audiens venire Antiochum congregaverit multa populorum millia, sed Antiochus quasi tempestas valida in curribus et in equitibus et in classe magna ingressus sit terras plurimas et transeundo universa vastaverit, veneritque ad Judaeam et arcem munierit de ruinis murorum civitatis et sic perrexerit in Aegyptum . But regarding this expedition not only are historians silent, but the supposition of such a thing stands in irreconcilable contradiction to the historical facts regarding the last undertakings of Antiochus. According to 1 Macc. 3:27ff., Antiochus, on receiving tidings of the successful insurrection of the Maccabees, and of the victory which Judas had won, since he found that money was wanting to him to carry on the war, resolved to return to Persia, “there to collect the tribute of the countries” (1 Macc. 3:31); and after he had made Lysias governor, he delivered to him the one half of his army, that he might with it “destroy and root out the strength of Israel,” and with the other half departed from Antioch and crossed the Euphrates into the high countries, i.e., the high-lying countries on the farther side of the Euphrates (1 Macc. 3:33-37). There he heard of the great treasures of a rich city in Persia, and resolved to fall upon this city and to take its treasures; but as the inhabitants received notice of the king's intention, he was driven back and compelled to return to Babylon, having accomplished nothing. On his return he heard in Persia the tidings of the overthrow of Lysias in a battle with the Maccabees, and of the re-erection of the altar of Jehovah at Jerusalem; whereupon he was so overcome with terror and dismay, that he fell sick and died (1 Macc. 6:1-16). The historical truth of this report is confirmed by Polybius, who mentions ( Fragm. xxxi. 11) that Antiochus, being in difficulty for want of money, sought to spoil the temple of Artemis and Elymaïs, and in consequence of the failure of his design he fell ill at Tabae in Persia, and there died. By these well-established facts the supposition of an invasion of Egypt by Antiochus in the eleventh, i.e., the last year of his reign, is excluded. The Romans also, after they had already by their intervention frustrated his design against Egypt, would certainly have prevented a new war, least of all would they have permitted an entire subjugation of Egypt and the south, which we must accept after Daniel 11:42, Daniel 11:43. Besides, the statement made by Porphyry shows itself to be destitute of historical validity by this, that according to it, Antiochus must have made the assault against Egypt, while on the contrary, according to the prophecy, Daniel 11:40, the king of the south begins the war against the king of the north, and the latter, in consequence of this attack, passes through the lands with a powerful host and subdues Egypt.
For these reasons, therefore, v. Lengerke, Maurer, and Hitzig have abandoned the statement of Porphyry as unhistorical, and limited themselves to the supposition that the section (Daniel 11:40-45) is only a comprehensive repetition of that which has already been said regarding Antiochus Epiphanes, according to which “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40) denotes not the near time of the death of Antiochus, but generally the whole period of this king. But this is, when compared with Daniel 11:27, Daniel 11:35, impossible. If thus, according to Daniel 11:35, the tribulation with which the people of God shall be visited by the hostile king for their purification shall last till the time of the end, then the time of the end to which the prophecies of Daniel 11:40-45 fall cannot designate the whole duration of the conduct of this enemy, but only the end of his reign and of his persecutions, in which he perishes (Daniel 11:40). On the contrary, the reference to Daniel 8:17 avails nothing, because there also קץ עת has the same meaning as here, i.e., it denotes the termination of the epoch referred to, and is there only made a more general expression by means of לעת than here, where by בּעת and the connection with Daniel 11:35 the end is more sharply defined. To this is to be added, that the contents of Daniel 11:40-45 are irreconcilable with the supposition that in them is repeated in a comprehensive form what has already been said of Antiochus, for here something new is announced, something of which nothing has been said before. This even Maurer and Hitzig have not been able to deny, but have sought to conceal as much as possible, - Maurer by the remark: res a scriptore iterum ac saepius pertractatas esse, extremam vero manum operi defuisse ; and Hitzig by various turnings - ”as it seems,” “but is not more precisely acknowledged,” “the fact is not elsewhere communicated” - which are obviously mere make-shifts.
Thus Daniel 11:40-45 do not apply to Antiochus Epiphanes, but, with most ancient interpreters, they refer only to the final enemy of the people of God, the Antichrist. This reference has been rightly vindicated by Kliefoth. We cannot, however, agree with him in distinguishing this enemy in Daniel 11:40 from the king of the south and of the north, and in understanding this verse as denoting “ that at the time of this hostile king, which shall be the time of the end, the kings of the south as well as of the north shall attack him, but that he shall penetrate into their lands and overthrow them.” Without taking into account the connection, this interpretation is not merely possible, but it is even very natural to refer the suffix in עליו and in עמּו to one and the same person, namely, to the king who has hitherto been spoken of, and who continues in Daniel 11:40-45 to be the chief subject. But the connection makes this reference impossible. It is true, indeed, that the suffix in עמּו refers without doubt to this king, but the suffix in עליו can be referred only to the king of the south named immediately before, who pushes at him, because the king against whom the king of the south pushes, and of whom mention is made vv. 21-39, is not only distinctly designated as the king of the north (Daniel 11:13-21), but also, according to Daniel 11:40-43, he advances from the north against the Holy Land and against Egypt; thus also, according to Daniel 11:40-43, must be identical with the king of the north. In Daniel 11:40-43 we do not read of a war of the hostile king against the king of the south and the king of the north. The words in which Kliefoth finds indications of this kind are otherwise to be understood.
If we now more closely look into particulars, we find that קץ עת is not the end of the hostile king, but, as in Daniel 11:27, Daniel 11:35, the end of the present world-period, in which also, it is true, occurs the end of this king ( קצּו , Daniel 11:45). For the figurative expression יתנגּח ( shall push), cf. Daniel 8:4. In the word there lies the idea that the king of the south commences the war, makes an aggression against the hostile king. In the second clause the subject is more precisely defined by “the king of the north” for the sake of distinctness, or to avoid ambiguity, from which it thence follows that the suffix in עליו refers to the king of the south. If the subject were not named, then “the king of the south” might have been taken for it in this clause. The words, “with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships,” are an oratorical exemplification of the powerful war-host which the king of the north displayed; for the further statement, “he presses into the countries, overflows and passes over” ( ועבר שׁטף as Daniel 11:10), does not agree with the idea of a fleet, but refers to land forces. The plur. בּארצות ( into the countries) does not at all agree with the expedition of a Syrian king against Egypt, since between Syria and Egypt there lay one land, Palestine; but it also does not prove that “the south-land and the north-land, the lands of the kings of the south and of the north, are meant” (Klief.), but it is to be explained from this, that the north, from which the angry king comes in his fury against the king of the south, reached far beyond Syria. The king of the north is thought of as the ruler of the distant north.
Penetrating into the countries and overflowing them with his host, he comes into the glorious land, i.e., Palestine, the land of the people of God. See at Daniel 11:16 and Daniel 8:9. “And many shall be overthrown.” רבּות is not neuter, but refers to ארצות , Daniel 11:40. For “that the whole lands are meant, represented by their inhabitants (cf. The verb masc. יכּשׁלוּ [ shall be overthrown ]), proceeds from the exceptions of which the second half of the verse makes mention” (Kran.). The three peoples, Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, are represented as altogether spared, because, as Jerome has remarked, they lay in the interior, out of the way of the line of march of Antiochus to Egypt (v. Leng., Hitzig, and others). This opinion Hitzig with justice speaks of as altogether superficial, since Antiochus would not have omitted to make war against them, as e.g., his father overcame the Ammonites in war (Polyb. v. 71), if they had not given indubitable proofs of their submission to him. Besides, it is a historical fact that the Edomites and Ammonites supported Antiochus in his operations against the Jews (1 Macc. 5:3-8; 4:61); therefore Maurer remarks, under ימּלטוּ ( they shall escape): eorum enim in oppremendis Judaeis Antiochus usus est auxilio . But since the king here spoken of is not Antiochus, this historizing interpretation falls of itself to the ground. There is further with justice objected against it, that at the time of Antiochus the nation of Moab no longer existed. After the Exile the Moabites no longer appear as a nation. They are only named (Nehemiah 13:1 and Ezra 9:1), in a passage cited from the Pentateuch, along with the Philistines and the Hittites, to characterize the relations of the present after the relations of the time of Moses. Edom, Moab, and Ammon, related with Israel by descent, are the old hereditary and chief enemies of this people, who have become by name representatives of all the hereditary and chief enemies of the people of God. These enemies escape the overthrow when the other nations sink under the power of the Antichrist. עמּון בּני ראשׁית , “the firstling of the sons of Ammon,” i.e., that which was most valued or distinguished of the Ammonites as a first-fruit, by which Kranichfeld understands the chief city of the Ammonites. More simply others understand by the expression, “the flower of the people, the very kernel of the nation;” cf. Numbers 24:20; Amos 6:1; Jeremiah 49:35. The expression is so far altogether suitable as in the flower of the people the character of the nation shows itself, the enmity against the people of God is most distinctly revealed; but in this enmity lies the reason for this people's being spared by the enemy of God.
The stretching forth of his hand upon the countries is a sign expressive of his seizing them, taking possession of them, for which he falls upon them. בּארצות are not other countries besides those which, according to Daniel 11:40, he overflowed (Klief.), but the same. Of these lands Egypt is specially noticed in Daniel 11:42 as the most powerful, which had hitherto successfully withstood the assaults of the king of the north, but which in the time of the end shall also be overthrown. Egypt, as the chief power of the south, represents the mightiest kingdoms of the earth. לפּליטה תּהיה לא ( and there shall not be for an escape), expressive of complete overthrow, cf. Joel 2:3; Jeremiah 50:29.
Along with the countries all their treasures fall into the possession of the conqueror, and also all the allies of the fallen kingdom shall be compelled to submit to him. The genitive מצרים belongs not merely to חמות ( precious things), but to all the before-named objects. בּמצעדיו ( at his steps) = בּרגליו , Judges 4:10, denotes the camp-followers, but not as mercenary soldiers (v. Leng., Hitz.). The Lybians and Cushites represent all the allies of the Egyptians (cf. Ezekiel 30:5; Nahum 3:9), the most southern nations of the earth.
The End of the Hostile King
As has been already seen, the expressions in Daniel 11:40-43 regarding this king do not agree with Antiochus Epiphanes, so also the statements regarding his end are in contradiction to the historical facts regarding the end of the Syrian king. When the hostile king took possession of Egypt and its treasures, and made the Lybians and Cushites subject to him, tidings from the east and the north overwhelm him with terror. The masc. יבהלהוּ stands ad sensum related to the persons who occasion the reports. The reports excited his anger, so that he goes forth to destroy many. We have to think thus on the reports of revolt and insurrections in the east and the north of his kingdom, which came to his ears in Egypt. On this ground Hitzig, with other interpreters, refuses to refer the statement in Daniel 11:44 to the expedition of Antiochus against the Parthians and Armenians (Tacit. hist. Daniel 11:8, and App. Syr. c. 45, 46; 1 Macc. 3:37), because Antiochus did not undertake this expedition from Egypt; and rather, in regard to the east, thinks on the tidings from Jerusalem of the rebellion of Judea (2 Macc. 5:11ff.; 1 Macc. 1:24), and in regard to the north, on the very problematical expedition against the Aradiaei, without observing, however, that no Scripture writer designates Jerusalem as lying in the east of Egypt, But besides, Antiochus, since he has occupied for some years beyond the Euphrates, and there met with his death, could not shortly before his end lead an expedition out of Egypt against Aradus. What Porphyry says
נטע of planting a tent, only here instead of the usual word נטה , to spread out, to set up, probably with reference to the great palace-like tent of the oriental ruler, whose poles must be struck very deep into the earth. Cf. The description of the tent of Alexander the Great, which was erected after the oriental type, in Polyaen. Strateg. iv. 3. 24, and of the tent of Nadir-Schah in Rosenmüller, A. u. N. Morgl. iv. p. 364f. These tents were surrounded by a multitude of smaller tents for the guards and servants, a circumstance which explains the use of the plur. אהלי is incorrectly taken by Theodotion, Porphyry, Jerome, and others for a nomen propr., meaning in Syria, palace or tower. להר בּין וּבּין בּין , Genesis 1:6; Joel 2:17, of a space between two other places or objects. צבי קדשׁ צב הר , the holy hill of the delight, i.e., of Palestine (cf. Daniel 8:9), is without doubt the mountain on which stood the temple of Jerusalem, as v. Leng., Maur., Hitzig, and Ewald acknowledge. The interpretation of the mountain of the temple of Anaïtis in Elymaïs (Dereser, Hävernick) needs no refutation. According to this, ימּים cannot designate the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, as Kliefoth supposes, but it is only the poetic plur. of fulness, as a sign of the great Mediterranean Sea. Since now this scene where the great enemy of the people of God comes to his end, i.e., perishes, in no respect agrees with the place where Antiochus died, then according to Hitzig the pseudo-Daniel does not here accurately distinguish the separate expeditions from one another, and must have omitted between the first and the second half of the verse the interval between the return of Antiochus from Egypt and his death, because Antiochus never again trod the soil of Palestine. Such expedients condemn themselves. With “ he shall come to his end,” cf. Daniel 8:25, where the end of this enemy of God is described as a being “broken without the hand of man.” Here the expression “and none shall help him” is added to designate the hopelessness of his overthrow.
The placing of the overthrow of this enemy with his host near the temple-mountain agrees with the other prophecies of the O.T., which place the decisive destruction of the hostile world-power by the appearance of the Lord for the consummation of His kingdom upon the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:4), or in the valley of Jehoshaphat at Jerusalem, or at Jerusalem (Joel 3:2, Joel 3:12.; Zechariah 14:2), and confirms the result of our exposition, that the hostile king, the last enemy of the world-power, is the Antichrist. With this also the conclusion, Daniel 12:1-3, is in harmony.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Daniel 11". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany