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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 11

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Dan 11:1

Jewish Destiny in their Latter Days (Daniel 11)

Chapters 10 through 12 all consist of Daniel’s vision of Jewish latter days. Chapter 10 was an account of the events and circumstances leading up to the vision. Chapter 11 begins with the actual vision of prophecy which deals with the Destiny of the Jewish people as the commonwealth of God. Upon the fulfillment of this prophecy, all people, from all nations, from all across the earth will have the power to become the chosen people of God. The temple in Jerusalem, which at the reception of this vision, had previously lain in ruins for several decades, was in a laborious process of being rebuilt in the face of great opposition from without. Daniel’s distress over this resistance is most likely what compelled him into a period of fasting and mourning which culminated in the reception of this vision. Daniel wanted to know what lay in store for his people in the immediate future. He received a prophetic vision of what would befall his people until they were no longer a chosen people of God.

Chapter 11 starts with the actual vision of the Jewish latter days from the overthrow of Babylon and continues on until a few years preceding the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

Daniel 11:1 Also IH589 in the firstH259 yearH8141 of DariusH1867 the Mede,H4075 even I, stoodH5975 to confirmH2388 and to strengthenH4581 him.

Daniel 11:1

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

The individual speaking here is the heavenly visitor who came to give Daniel this vision. The identity of this visitor is uncertain and was discussed throughout the study on the preceding chapter. The first year of Darius the Mede coincides with the overthrow of Babylon and the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire which was dominated by the Persians upon the death of Darius the Mede. The initial overthrow of the Babylonian Empire was a cooperative effort between the Persians and the Medes. Interestingly, the Medians played a large role in the Babylonian overthrow of Assyria. Recall that Nebuchadnezzar’s wife was a Median princess.

The Medians were ancient Iranians who entered the region in the second millennium BC. By the 6th century BC, after having together with the Babylonians defeated the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Medes were able to establish their own empire, the largest of its day, lasting for about sixty years, from the defeat of Nineveh in 612 BC until 549 BC when Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire by defeating his overlord and grandfather, Astyages, king of Media. Astyages is commonly regarded as the last king of the Medes.

Darius was the name of several kings of Media and Persia. At least three and possibly four kings bearing this name are mentioned in the writings of the Old Testament. The exact identity of this king named Darius is not certain. This is most likely the same Darius who loved Daniel and was coerced into throwing him into the Lion’s Den. An exhaustive treatment of this individual’s identity is contained in the study of chapter 9. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia has this to say about the word "Darius":


In the original Persian it is spelled "Darayavaush"; in Babylonian, usually "Dariamush"; in Susian (?), "Tariyamaush"; in Egyptian "Antaryuash"; on Aramaic inscriptions, d-r-y-h-w-sh or d-r-y-w-h-w-sh; in Hebrew, dareyawesh; in Greek, Dareios; in Latin, "Darius." In meaning it is probably connected with the new Persian word Dara, "king." Herodotus says it means in Greek, Erxeies, coercitor, "restrainer," "compeller," "commander."

Thus the name Darius is as much a designation as it is a proper name. Calling a man "Darius" at the time was the equivalent of referring to him as "Governor".

"even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him."

Daniel’s heavenly visitor declared that he supported Michael, the prince of Israel. This verse goes with chapter 10 much better than chapter 11. Starting the chapter with this verse makes it appear as if this heavenly visitor was confirming and strengthening Darius. Such is not the case. Upon going back to review the context of chapter 10 it is obvious that Michael was the one referred to in this verse as "him".

Daniel would have known who this Darius was in reference to, especially when he was identified as a Median. Obviously the agenda of Darius the Mede worked in favor of the overall plan of God for the accomplishment of His purpose through the Israelites. God made a promise with Abraham and with king David that together assured the arrival of the Messiah through their bloodlines. This of course had to be accomplished by preserving the Israelite bloodline throughout the process. We learn from the declarations of this heavenly visitor in the preceding chapter that there are affairs being handled beyond our perception. It is obvious that God did not make these promises with the Patriarchs and then leave the affairs of the world to happenstance, rather, God had a system of support and guidance for world affairs in place that operated to sustain His overall plan and purpose and to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. It is obvious that Michael, the arch angel, played a significant leadership role in the execution of this plan and had been active in it at least from the time of Darius the Mede.

There is more said about this in the preceding study and for those who may be picking this study up at this point, I recommend going back to the study of chapter 10 and reviewing the information there in regards to the spiritual warfare being carried out beyond the perception of man.

Before we get into the details of this prophecy, we need to be aware of the fact that without recorded history, it would be impossible to compare all of the elements of this vision with actual facts. Let’s keep in mind that this is an overall history lesson by prophecy. It’s not going to be exact in every detail but the overall picture we draw as we compare it to historical facts undoubtedly ties it to the history of the Israelite nation. There can be no reasonable doubt raised against this fact. As with all apocalyptic language, it is vitally important to keep our eyes on the big picture and try not to get bogged down in the minute details.

Before we launch into the daunting task of trying to accurately pinpoint every single verse of scripture with a known historical fact, lets take the time to consider this vision from the perspective of Daniel and those who would be reading it and living through the events as they unfolded. The vision is unquestionably a prophetic vision about Jewish destiny. The Jews who read it and were familiar with it throughout the centuries would be able to make the connections as they unfolded. They would see the events unfolding around them and upon reflection, make associations from this vision to their general circumstances wherever they fit. Key elements such as events associated with Antiochus, Egypt and Alexander the Great would be obvious to those living at the time who were familiar with Daniel’s writings and were perceptive enough to recognize them and make the connection.

This is the same as those living during the time of the Revelation. They could have looked at the elements of John’s vision and made the connections with the events going on around them. They would make associations from the vision that directly applied to their circumstances. This is going on even today. People who believe the Revelation is yet to be fulfilled make all kinds of wild comparisons with catastrophes and events of today with elements of the Revelation. It’s human nature so we have to believe the people living in Daniel’s time would do the same. They would look at the atrocities perpetrated by Antiochus IV and associate him with the king in Daniel that best fit the model.

Let’s keep in mind as we study through and consider this vision, that it was written to them. Our task is to understand it in light of what it represented to them. We must keep in mind that what we know of history is all that we know. We are limited in our comparison of this vision to what we have available to compare it to. We have no way of knowing how complete our knowledge of history is. What cannot know what we do not know. What is important to keep in mind is that we know enough of history that we can confidently assert that it is accurate to a degree that is nothing short of astounding. Where there are blanks and uncertainties, we can be assured that the events unfolded as they were foretold whether we know about them or not. The historical accuracy we do have is sufficient enough to validate that which we can not know.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this prophecy is written in apocalyptic language. Apocalyptic language is designed to reveal things to the readers through signs and symbols which have a specific meaning to them. Those who are unfamiliar with the symbolism would be at a loss to understand the message. Apocalyptic language is rarely chronological and rarely exhaustive, meaning it covers all the details. Generally, only enough about something is revealed in order for those who are familiar with it to be able to understand the message. In short, apocalyptic language is hard to understand by design. It is meant to communicate a message to an intended audience while leaving the unintended readers out of the loop.

Daniel’s intended readers are going to be the Israelites from that point until the destruction of Jerusalem. This vision covers centuries of what is now Jewish history in their latter days. They had a lot of enemies to contend with throughout this period of time. Many nations and many kings were going to come and go and the faithful Israelites were going to have to cope with all the circumstances that would arise as a consequence of the things yet to come. For them to be found with a vision which foretold the death of Alexander, and the splitting up of his empire, and the rise and fall of numerous nasty kings such as Antiochus would incriminate them and bring additional suffering and hardship to the faithful if their enemies could understand the language. Stop and think for a moment just how devastating such a piece of literature would be in the wrong hands. What if Antiochus knew before he set out on certain conquests whether they would be successes or failure? What if Alexander knew his empire would be split up four ways? What if Antiochus knew the Maccabeans were going to be such a thorn in the flesh for him? What would these leaders do if they had possession of such a document that accurately foretold their future? The language is designed to be hard to understand. In fact, it is so hard to understand that unless one has an accurate understanding of history and is familiar with the symbolism and structure of the language, it can’t be understood at all. To someone unfamiliar with the imagery, it looks like nonsensical text. It’s supposed to be that way. This explanation of apocalyptic language is meant to serve as a broad application. This vision does not contain the elements of imagery one finds in Revelation 9, but it is veiled and difficult to understand, especially for those living before there were any historical events to match them up with.

This prophecy is one of the most remarkable evidences of the divine inspiration of scripture that we have available. The evidence of the divine foreknowledge of God is overwhelming to the degree that it cannot be reasonably denied by anyone who is willing to look at it honestly and accept it for what it is. Critics of the Bible who try and use this prophecy as a means of discrediting the authenticity of scripture need to take a long hard look at what they are willing to accept or deny within themselves in order to believe what they want to believe.

Verses 1-45

Dan 11:1-45

Commentary on Daniel Chapter 11 by Mark Dunagan

Daniel 11:1 “I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him”: In the previous chapter we found that Michael the archangel and an angelic messenger stood together against the evil that surrounded the Persian kingdom. “So God’s people have powerful opponents but they have powerful allies!” (McGuiggan p. 170). The person talking in Daniel 11:1 appears to still be the angelic messenger who had come to Daniel (Daniel 11:10), and the person he is encouraging is either Darius or Michael.

Daniel 11:2 “I will tell you the truth”: Of all the viewpoints and perspectives in the world, the Bible is the book that contains the truth(John 17:17). The section that follows in Daniel 11 can be challenging, but what we need to realize is that God is unfolding precise details about the future to Daniel. It is a section of Scripture that can increase our faith, that the Bible is indeed an inspired book (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and is given by the God who can indeed see the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). “Three more kings are going to arise in Persia”: In addition to Cyrus, the kings that would follow would include Cambyses, Darius I and Hystaspis. “Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them”: This would be the king mentioned in the book of Esther, Xerxes (Esther 1:3-4). “He will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece”: Under Xerxes the Persians attempted to conquer Greece in 480 B.C., but were soundly defeated at Salamis. From secular sources Xerxes is reported to have been very rich, indulgent, and to act habitually like a spoiled child, this is also the picture that we have of him in the Scriptures.

Daniel 11:3 “And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases”: From the time of the failed attempt to conquer Greece the Persian Empire began to wane, and Alexander the Great finally overwhelmed it.

Daniel 11:4 “His kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to the authority which he wielded”: When Alexander died in 323 B.C. after conquering most of the known world, he left no heir. A son was born to his wife Roxana, after his death, but both mother and son were murdered. Alexander had many able generals, but there was not one that arose as his logical successor. As the prophecy states, his empire was divided up into four sections, among four of his generals, yet their rule will lack his success and power. “It is nothing short of supernatural and miraculous to observe how the actual history of this period, and this part of the world, and these people confirms in minute detail the prophecies here made by Daniel some 300 years before it transpired! The minuteness and detail of this eleventh chapter, and its actual fulfillment to the letter is the one major factor motivating the destructive critics of the Bible to place the book of Daniel as late as the 2nd century B.C. For if the book of Daniel was written near 600-500 B.C. his prediction of these details of history which can only have happened to the Ptolemies and Seleucids is proof-positive of supernatural revelation” (Butler p. 410).

Ptolemies and Seleucids

Daniel 11:5 “Then the king of the South”: One of Alexander’s generals was Ptolemy TOL en mih) who received the territory of Egypt and southern Syria. The king of Egypt, Ptolemy shall be strong, and so will one of his generals, Seleucus (sih LOO kuhs) Nicator. “Who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion”: Three of Alexander’s generals had formed an alliance against Antigonus in 315 B.C. and defeated him in battle, but during this battle, Ptolemy had sat on the sidelines and had allowed Seleucus to do his fighting for him. As a result, the other generals decided that Seleucus should be sovereign over Syria and Palestine. As a matter of historical fact, the dominion of the family of Seleucus (the Seleucids) did actually exceed that of the Ptolemies. It reached from Phrygia in the west to the Indus River in the east.

Daniel 11:6 “After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North”: Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II, shall marry the Seleucid king, Antiochus II, this marriage was done for political purposes and took place around 252 B.C. “But she will not retain her position of power”: Two years after this marriage was arranged, Ptolemy II was dead, and Antiochus divorced her and will return to a former wife. The former wife, Laodice, fearing lest her husband might again turn to Berenice, had him poisoned and encouraged her son to murder Berenice and her infant child.

Daniel 11:7 “But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place”: In 245 B.C., Ptolemy III arises, who is the brother of Berenice. “And he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North”: The brother of Berenice attacks the Seleucid king, Seleucus II, son of Laodice, resulting in the Laodicean war, is very successful, gains a number of brilliant victories in northern Syria, completely subjugated it, and executes the murderess Laodice. 11:8 Ptolemy III returns home with plunder, and lives the rest of his reign in peace.

Daniel 11:9 About 240 B.C. Seleucus II, succeeded in regaining lost territories as far south as Damascus, then proceeded to march against Ptolemy and was soundly defeated. No further attacks were made on Syria during the reign of Ptolemy III.

Daniel 11:10 The “sons” are the sons of Seleucus III (226-223 B.C.), who died in battle in Asia Minor. History records that Antiochus III (son of Seleucus) attempted an invasion of Palestine in the summer of 221 B.C. He attempted another invasion in 219 B.C., and by 217 B.C. he had conquered all of Palestine and had reached the Egyptian frontier town of Raphia.

Daniel 11:11 An Egyptian army under the personal command of Ptolemy met the Syrians south of Raphia, with an army of 70,000 infantry, 5000 cavalry and 73 war elephants, and defeated them. “Then the later will raise a great multitude, but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former”: The Syrians lost in battle 10,000 infantry, 300 cavalry, 5 elephants and 4,000 lost as prisoners.

Daniel 11:12 “His heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail”: Ptolemy IV will be elated by this success, however, he was too much of a playboy to utilize this success to the fullest. He resumed his life of luxury and dissolution and died in 203 B.C. without building up or strengthening his imperial fortifications.

Daniel 11:13 While Ptolemy IV was living it up, Antiochus was making plans to attack, and this time with a larger force than before. The statement here in some translations, “at the end times”, does not refer to some supposed Antichrist coming at the end of the world, but simply describes the years intervening between Antiochus’ defeat in Daniel 11:12 and his victory in Daniel 11:13. The NASV renders this statement, “after an interval of some years”.

Daniel 11:14 “The violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down”: At this time many warlike Jews allied themselves with Antiochus III, and thus helped him to victory, but this will be their undoing. The “vision” under consideration appears to be the vision in Daniel 9:25, that is, the troubling times that will come upon Israel in the years before the Messiah comes. “Many will rise against the king of the South”: Philip of Macedon and by some rebel forces or malcontents in Egypt joined Antiochus.

Daniel 11:15 Near the sources of the Jordan, Scopas the Egyptian general, fled to the city of Sidon where Antiochus besieged him by land and sea. In the spring of 198 B.C. Scopas was forced to surrender, leaving all of Syria and Palestine in the hands of Antiochus.

Daniel 11:16 The “glorious land” refers to Palestine, and Antiochus on this occasion will be unstoppable. The phrase “with destruction in his hand” might be interpreted to mean, “Having reached the height of victory, he falls under the dominion of pride and haughtiness by which he hastens on his ruin and overthrow” (Keil). Antiochus did not devastate the land at this time, but rather the destruction might be a corrupting influence upon God’s people.

Daniel 11:17 “Bringing with him a proposal of peace”: “God not only knows historical events before they happen but also the schemes of men before they are even thought” (Butler p. 419). Antiochus did treat the Jews in an equitable way, he released Jerusalem from taxes for three years and he also sent a large sum of money for the service of the Temple, but all this was done to strengthen his hold on the people and establish a strong home front in Palestine. “He will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand for him or be on his side”: In 198 B.C., in a treaty with Ptolemy V (204-181 B.C.), who was then only seven years old, Antiochus III betrothed his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy. The marriage was not consummated until five years later, and Antiochus had hoped by this marriage to gain advantage over the king of Egypt by trusting that his daughter would be her father’s ally rather than her husband’s. But, as history records, Cleopatra constantly sided with her husband over against her father; fulfilling the above words, “she will not take a stand for him or be on his side”.

Daniel 11:18 “Then he will turn his face to the coastlands”: When Hannibal was defeated by the Romans at Zama (202 B.C.), bringing an end to the Punic War, he fled eastward and took refuge in the court of Antiochus III. Interested in stirring up trouble for Rome, Hannibal encouraged Antiochus to invade Greece. “But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover he will repay him for his scorn”: The Romans under the brilliant Cornelius Scipio defeated Antiochus (190 B.C.). He had to pay an enormous indemnity (15,000 talents or more), and surrender his war elephants and his navy. His younger son, later to rule as Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), was taken to Rome as hostage for repayment of the indemnity.

Daniel 11:19 In 187 B.C., in order to replenish his exhausted treasury, he will march against the revolting Armenians and attempt to plunder their temple, but both he and his soldiers were slain by the Elamites. 11:20 The next rule was Seleucus IV (187-175 B.C.). He will send Heliodorus his prime minister, throughout his kingdom to raise money. Soon after the money-raising expedition Seleucus IV will be slain by Heliodorus as a political expedient.

“It very nearly overwhelms the finite mind of man to realize that Daniel is being told 200 years of history before it happens. Details such as partitioning of kingdoms, wars, victories and defeats, treaties, marriages, deaths, taxations, all before the people are born and the battles are fought, all predicted centuries in advance! The Bible is the Word of God! And this word reveals that God not only knows history before it happens, but He is also active in and directs history to serve His glorious purpose to redeem all from iniquity and purify for Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good works. His immediate purpose was to reveal to Daniel, and subsequently to the Jews, all that they must endure as a purifying process preparing them for their presentation of the Messiah” (Butler p. 420).

Daniel 11:21 “And in his place a despicable person will arise”: This is no other than the notorious Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes, who will reign from 175-164 B.C. The name “Epiphanes”, which Antiochus gave himself means “illustrious one”, the Jews called him “Epimanes”, which means “mad-man”. The Syrian kingdom was not given to Antiochus by right of succession; rather, he took it, from the expected heir. “And seize the kingdom by intrigue”: History records this man as being a master of intrigue and flattery. “His manner of taking the kingdom was catching people unawares in times when they thought things were safe and secure and by intrigue and deceit” (Butler p. 423).

Daniel 11:22 Antiochus was successful in war against great armies like that of Ptolemy Vl (170 B.C.). This is a graphic picture when the armies of the Syrians and Ptolemies shall surge back and forth through the land of Palestine. “The prince of the covenant”: In the early days of his reign, Jerusalem was ruled by the High Priest, Onias II, a descendant of Simon the Just, a strictly orthodox Jew. The Jews who wanted to embrace Greek culture opposed Onias and backed the cause of his brother, Jason. By promising a larger tribute to Antiochus, Jason succeeded in gaining the High Priesthood, and Onias was murdered in 172 B.C. Jason, who had changed his name from the Hebrew “Joshua” to the Greek “Jason”, encouraged the Hebrews to adopt Greek ways and customs. During this period of time Hebrew ways and doctrines were looked upon as “behind the times” (Romans 12:1-2).

Daniel 11:23 Through many devices of intrigue, flattery, and deception, and with a small army, Antiochus won a significant victory at Pelusium in Egypt. Many would make leagues with him but he will work deceitfully against his allies. In Egypt he pretended to support the cause of one nephew against another nephew, pretending that it was his nephew’s interests that had caused him to invade Egypt.

Daniel 11:24 “He will accomplish what his fathers never did”: Lower Egypt (which is really the northern part of Egypt) was well known for its fertility and wealth. This is the region that Antiochus captured, something that his forefathers had not been able to do. “He will distribute plunder”: Antiochus lavished upon is troops a distribution of the plunder taken in conquest. “He will devise his schemes against strongholds”: Antiochus would enter one rich Egyptian city after another by deception, when the people actually thought he was bringing peace and security.

Daniel 11:25-26 Antiochus was forced to return to Syria and quell a revolt in Cilicia, but then he attempted to invade Egypt again with a great army. In this expedition he came as close as ever to subduing the empire of the Ptolemies. The king of Egypt will go up against him with a large army, but he shall not stand, even his own friends (“those who eat his choice food”) undermine his success by giving poor military advice. The “king of the South”, Ptolemy IV (170 B.C.), will be defeated partly by sedition and desertion in and from his army.

Daniel 11:27 “As for both kings”: Antiochus called a truce and met with Ptolemy Philometor at the conference table. Antiochus pretended to be conducting his campaign against Egypt in order to help Ptolemy regain total control of Egypt, and Ptolemy pretended to believe him. “For the end is still to come at the appointed time”: Obviously, this does not mean the “end of the world”. “All the apparent candor and joint projects discussed will mask only evil intentions. Neither of these kings will ultimately benefit anything since their end is appointed by God; both kingdoms will fall” (McGuiggan p. 175). Once again, there is that great lesson that powerful men and nations may scheme and plot, but God ultimately controls the timetable including the destiny of various nations (Jeremiah 18:5-10). In addition, two wicked rulers may try to work out a deceptive peace, but God can frustrate such plans.

Daniel 11:28 Laden with the spoils of war, Antiochus returns to Syria, as he passes through Israel there is a burning hatred in this heart against the Jews, other documents such as 1 Maccabees 1:20-28 is a record of his plundering Palestine. “The prophecy here made by Daniel was intended to strengthen the Jews in that future time when it would appear as if evil were prospering under Antiochus; they were to understand that it was only temporary and that in the appointed time of God it would come to an end” (Butler p. 427). In like manner, various prophecies in the New Testament do encourage us to remain faithful (2 Timothy 4:2-4; 1 Timothy 4:1-4).

Daniel 11:29 “At the appointed time”: That is, at the appointed time within God’s providence. This third expedition of Antiochus against Egypt was in the spring of 168 B.C. As the verse states, his efforts against Egypt did not fare well, in fact, he was humiliated. In Egypt, the two Ptolemy brothers were no longer at odds with each other, their sister Cleopatra, had succeeded in persuading them that their interests were the same, and besides, the brothers had sought the support of the Romans.

Daniel 11:30 “Ships of Kittim”: Ships from Cyrus, a Roman dominion, bearing Roman envoys, came and ordered his withdrawal from Egypt. What happened is a famous historical episode that has often been retold. Antiochus, who was besieging Alexandria, was ordered by the Roman embassy to withdraw. Antiochus hesitated and sought to gain time, with his staff the head of the Roman embassy drew a circle about the king and told him that his decision must be reached before he stepped outside the circle, or else he would have to meet the Romans in war. Though vexed and agitated, he withdrew. Yet the rage he was unable to vent on Egypt was now turned against the Jews. He dispatched his general to occupy Jerusalem and in an attack on the Sabbath, he slaughtered large numbers of Jews. “Show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant”: Menelaus and his apostate Jewish followers assisted Antiochus’ forces.

Daniel 11:31 Antiochus sought to force the Jewish people to embrace Greek culture and Greek gods. An elderly Athenian philosopher was sent to Jerusalem to supervise the enforcement of this order. He identified the God of Israel with Jupiter and ordered a bearded image of the pagan deity, to be set up upon the Temple altar. The faithful Jews referred to this as the “abomination of desolation”. Immoral rites were performed in the Temple courts, swine were sacrificed on the altar, the Jews were forbidden to circumcise, observe the Sabbath or the various feasts, and copies of the Hebrew Scriptures were destroyed.

Daniel 11:32-33 “But the people who know their God will display strength and take action…yet they will fall by the sword”: Yet, God will have a faithful remnant (Romans 11:1-5). Great persecution always separates the chaff from the wheat. Faithful Jews arose who taught others the faithful way of God, but many of them shall suffer much for their faith. It is possible thatHebrews 11:32-40 may have reference to these times. Notice while the faithful hold on to God, the unfaithful become even more degenerate.

Daniel 11:34-35 “They will be granted a little help”: This “little help” “probably refers to Judas Maccabeus whose efforts were valiant enough, but he was never able to put an end to all the distresses of the people” (Butler p. 433). Of course, during the same time there will be those who continue to spy for the enemy (“many will join with them in hypocrisy”). This suffering however would have a purifying effect on the faithful, as it always does (1 Peter 1:6-8). It did not take long to separate the hypocrites from the godly ones. “Until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time”: God has appointed the time when this troubles will end, that is, when Syrian domination ends with the coming of the Romans to Palestine.

Daniel 11:36 “Then the king will do as he pleases”: There are various speculations as to who “the king” is here. There is the premillenial view that this is some future “Antichrist”, yet: 1. Daniel has not been talking about the end of the world, but rather, things that would happen in the centuries leading up to the Messiah. 2. The Bible does not predict the emergence of a single “Antichrist”, but rather, anyone who opposes Jesus is an antichrist (1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:22). 3. The scope of the book has consistently been to Rome and no further. McGuiggan feels that this king cannot be Antiochus because he never fought a war against Egypt after 168 B.C. (11:29,40), and he never conquered Libya and or Ethiopia (11:40-45). Others feel that this “king” represents the Roman Empire, with their Caesars, the empire that exists when God sets up His kingdom (Daniel 2:44).

Daniel 11:36 “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god”: Both Antiochus and the Roman Caesars viewed themselves as divine. Antiochus proclaimed himself “God, Manifest, Victory-bearer”, and magnified himself above every god by plundering the temples at Jerusalem, Elymais, and other places. “The indignation is finished”: That is, the outpouring of God’s wrath. The king will be permitted to prosper until God is through with him as an instrument of punishment. “For that which is decreed will be done”: “Over and over again we are told that the times and the season are in the hand of God. There is much consolation there. The world is not, no matter how it looks, running in wild chaos. No trends take God by surprise; no movements come up on Him unexpectedly” (McGuiggan p. 180). 11:37 “There are numerous basic elements which move men. Family, religion, tradition, female companionship, home, etc. None of these things matter to this king in comparison to success and power” (McGuiggan p. 180).

Daniel 11:38 “A god of fortresses”: “All strong fortresses and stratagems of war shall receive his adoration and worship. All who worship warfare and fortification will receive his support” (Butler p. 435).

Daniel 11:39 “With the help of a foreign god”: His worship is only a political expediency. Whatever is necessary for gaining or holding on to power, he will do it. He will offer up sacrifices to the gods of anyone if it will gain his end.

Daniel 11:40 “At the end time”: Not the end of the world, such a time is pictured as being one of normal conditions (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). Rather, the end time is the period leading up to the Messiah, the time of the last empire of Daniel 2:44. Here we might have a prophecy concerning when the last of the Ptolemies move against the Romans. Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemy line, aided by Mark Antony begin the push against Rome, which will move Rome to declare war on Egypt. After a few successful land engagements against the Romans, Mark Antony is urged by Cleopatra to execute the war as a predominately naval affair. This was a grave mistake, the Romans finally overwhelmed Cleopatra at the battle of Actium in 31 B.C., and this ended the Ptolemy kingdom, the last vestige of the Greek empire.

Daniel 11:41 Following the above battle, Octavian will appoint Herod as ruler over Palestine.

Daniel 11:42-43 The entire country of Egypt surrendered to the Romans and came under direct Roman rule. “And Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels”: This may refer to the triumphal procession of Roman generals in which they showed off to the Senate and Roman people that they had conquered. Premillennialists try to make the Egyptians as those who oppose some future Antichrist, so much for the claim that they consistently take the Bible literally. They do the same thing in 11:40, where they tell us that this is a land battle, so we should not press the “ships” element.

Daniel 11:44 The Parthians on the east and the Germanic tribes in the north were always giving the Romans trouble.

Daniel 11:45 Though Rome will set its authority and rule in Palestine, this empire will also come to an end, and it will prosper until it has served God’s purpose.

Verse 2

Dan 11:2

Daniel 11:2 And nowH6258 will I shewH5046 thee the truth.H571 Behold,H2009 there shall stand upH5975 yetH5750 threeH7969 kingsH4428 in Persia;H6539 and the fourthH7243 shall be far richerH6238 H1419 H6239 than they all:H4480 H3605 and by his strengthH2393 through his richesH6239 he shall stir upH5782 allH3605 againstH854 the realmH4438 of Grecia.H3120

Daniel 11:2

And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.

"And now"

Daniel’s heavenly visitor bookended the starting point of this vision from the first year of Darius the Mede and then in two words jumps forward to the very moment in history when he was standing in front of Daniel. There was no need for this heavenly visitor to say anything about the events between Darius and then because Daniel lived through that and knew all he needed to know. This heavenly visitor had no reason to expound on things already known and chose not to do so.

"Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia"

From this point forward there will be three more kings over Persia with the fourth one, counting Cyrus, who had enough prominence to receive more than a passing mention which makes it possible for us today to pinpoint his identity from the historical accounts. At the time of this vision Cyrus the Great was in his third year as the supreme king of the Persian empire (Daniel 10:1). The three Persian kings yet to rise to power are:

1) Cambyses II, reigned from 530 to 522 BC. He was the son of Cyrus the Great (r. 559-530 BC), founder of the Persian Empire and its first dynasty. His grandfather was Cambyses I, king of Anshan. Following Cyrus’ conquests of the Near East and Central Asia, Cambyses further expanded the Persian empire into Egypt before his death in 522 BC.

2) Darius I (Darius the Great), who reigned from 522 to 486 BC. He was the third Zoroastrian king of kings of the Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire. Darius held the empire at its peak which included Egypt, and parts of Greece. Darius ascended the throne by assassinating Bardiya who was a son of Cyrus the Great and was seeking the throne of Persia himself. Darius expanded the Persian empire by moving against what is modern Europe today. In history this is known as the First Persian invasion of Greece.

Starting with the Scythians, Darius conquered Scythia, Thrace and many cities of the northern Aegean, while Macedonia submitted voluntarily. The Asiatic Greeks and Greek islands had submitted to Persian rule by 510 BCE.

There were certain Greeks who were pro-Persian which were largely grouped at Athens. This improved Greek-Persian relations as Darius opened his court and treasuries to the Greeks that wanted to serve him. These Greeks served as soldiers, artisans, statesmen and mariners for Darius. However, Greek fear of the Persians becoming strong and overpowering them led them to distrust and to resist Darius.

Aristagoras organized the Ionian revolt, Eretria and Athens supported him by sending ships to Ionia and burning Sardis. Persian forces were sent to end the revolt by force and resulted in the the Persian reoccupation of Ionian and Greek islands. However, anti-Persian parties gained power in Athens expelled the pro-Persian leaders. Darius responded by sending a group of troops led by his son-in-law across the Hellespont. However, the battle was lost due to a violent storm and harassment by Thracians.

Darius was determined to punish the anti-Persian forces in Athens and he sent a second army consisting of 20,000 men under Datis who captured Eretria and moved onwards to Marathon. In 490, at the Battle of Marathon, the Persians were defeated by a heavily armed Athenian army with 9,000 men who were supported by 600 Plataeans and 10,000 lightly armed soldiers led by Miltiades. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the First Persian invasion of Greece. This happened late in the reign of Darius and before he set out on this effort, he was required by Persian law to name his successor, Xerxes 1 who was his son by Atossa who was a daughter of Cyrus the Great.

Darius organized the empire, by dividing it into provinces and placing governors to govern it. He organized a new monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Babylon, and Egypt. Darius also created a codification of laws for Egypt.

This Darius is the king who finally put an end to the opposition against the rebuilding of the temple and re-issued the original decree of his grandfather Cyrus to build the house of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 6). Darius released the remaining temple vessels from the Persian treasury which had originally been confiscated by Nebuchadnezzar and he further assisted in financing the rebuilding by pledging some of the tax money from Tattenai, the Persian governor of the provinces in Samaria. These were the same Samarians who were heading the resistance against the Jews in the rebuilding of the temple and now their tribute money was ordered to be used to help finance the rebuilding the temple.

Darius died in October of 486 BC and was buried in an elaborate cliffside tomb at modern day Naqsh-e Rustam, Iran. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes I.

3) Xerxes I (Ahasuerus of Esther and son of Darius the Great) who reigned from 486 until his assassination in 465 BC. Ahasuerus was the third king yet to stand up and the fourth king in the Persian empire under the dynasty established by Cyrus the Great. These four kings are known in history as Zoroastrian kings of the Achamenid Empire. The word "Zoroastrian" relates to their religion which is called "Zoroastrianism". These were Persian kings at the height of the Persian empire as a world power.

Ahasuerus was a king of vast wealth. When he rose to power, his father, Darius, had already initiated efforts to conquer Greece and had run into major difficulties. When Ahasuerus took power, he was determined to carry out his father’s initiative against Greece and he began the Second Invasion of Greece. Ahasuerus spent 10 years organizing and planning this invasion which involved the cooperation of some 70 city-states in the campaign. He prepared an enormous army and navy, invaded Greece and encountered total failure. He suffered great losses at Thermopylae, Salamis (480 BC) and at Plataea and Mycale. The Battle of Thermopylae was the site of the famous Spartan soldiers who with 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans, fought face to face with the Persian army which supposedly numbered close to a million men strong.

With these defeats at the hands of the Greeks, the invasion was ended and Persian power in the region was broken. The Greeks, motivated by the threat of future invasions moved to the offensive and eventually expelled the Persians from Europe completely in about 449 BC.

"and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia."

No king of the Persian Empire better fits this description than Ahasuerus. He was wealthy, he used his wealth and his strength to amass a huge force against the realm of the Greeks and he was the fourth great Persian king after the overthrow of Babylon when Persia became a world power. Daniel’s vision has now made it to the time when Ahasuerus was "stirring up all against the realm of Grecia". This is roughly 470 to 480 BC.

As is normal with apocalyptic language, we arrive at a significant jump through history. Apocalyptic language rarely lays all the elements out in Chronological order and it also makes skips in time which is the case here. There is no accounting of history between Ahasuerus and Alexander the Great. Ahasuerus was not the last king of the Persian empire to be followed immediately by Alexander. So between verse 2 and verse three, we skip ahead in time till 336 BC when Alexander "stood up" or came to power.

Verse 3

Dan 11:3

Daniel 11:3 And a mightyH1368 kingH4428 shall stand up,H5975 that shall ruleH4910 with greatH7227 dominion,H4474 and doH6213 according to his will.H7522

Daniel 11:3

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

Alexander the Great was one of the most famous of all ancient conquerors. The son of Philip II of Macedon, he amassed the largest empire the world had ever known. He was only 32 years old when he died and he had appointed no heir, and no regent for his unborn son by his wife Roxane. Upon his death, the Greek empire he had forged was split apart into four separate realms. This mighty king corresponds with the leopard nation of the Grecian Empire in Daniel’s prior vision of the four kingdoms that he received in the first year of the last king of the Babylonian Empire.

"shall rule with great dominion"

Alexander’s Father, Philip had brought most of the city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian rule. Upon Philip’s death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He succeeded in rising to power after the death of his father and continued the military plans for expansion left by his father. He invaded Persia and began a series of campaigns lasting ten years. Alexander overthrew the Persian king Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire. Following his desire to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea", he invaded India, but was eventually forced to turn back because his army was tired and wanted to return home. Alexander died before he had a chance to expand any further in that direction. His dominion included almost all of Europe and the entire Persian empire.

Verse 4

Dan 11:4

Daniel 11:4 And when he shall stand up,H5975 his kingdomH4438 shall be broken,H7665 and shall be dividedH2673 toward the fourH702 windsH7307 of heaven;H8064 and notH3808 to his posterity,H319 norH3808 according to his dominionH4915 whichH834 he ruled:H4910 forH3588 his kingdomH4438 shall be plucked up,H5428 even for othersH312 besideH4480 H905 those.H428

Daniel 11:4

And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

Alexander the Great died of a fever in 323 BC at the age of 32. He was married to Roxane who was pregnant with Alexander IV. The empire had been newly forged and was still unstable so with the death of Alexander and no apparent heir to replace him, and with no regent appointed to reign in his heir’s stead, the leadership of the vast empire fell into dispute and was broken into four separate kingdoms. Macedon and Greece came under the rule of Cassander. Thrace and Bithynia were under the reign of Lysimachus, Egypt under Ptolemy, and Syria under Seleucus. This dividing of Alexander’s kingdom corresponds with the four horns of the leopard beast in Daniel’s vision of the four kingdoms, Alexander himself being the broken horn.

Important to keep in mind with the dividing of Alexander’s kingdom is that it was anything but a calm and orderly process. There was a confusing flurry of ambitious, power hungry men who served under Alexander the Great. There was everything one would expect from such a situation as an empire the size of Alexander’s which was suddenly left without its leader and without a living heir. There was murder, war, deceit, deception, treachery and assassination at every turn. This Bible student has read numerous accounts of the wars which ensued immediately after the death of Alexander and every single one of them have been a quagmire of confusing facts that will make one’s head spin. These power struggles were called the wars of the Diadochi. The word Diadochi means successors, so the conflicts over Alexander’s kingdom came to be known as the wars of the successors. There were four major conflicts which spanned a period of time from 322 to 301 BC. And after that, the conflicts continued as the territories were constantly disputed and the power hungry kings struggled to seize more land for themselves.

To make the events more easy to understand and keep straight in our minds, we’re going to focus on the events of this vision from the perspective of the Jews. There were two major powers in view. This was the kingdom of the north and the kingdom of the south. Jerusalem was caught in the middle between the two and were naturally going to get caught up in the power struggle between the king of the north and the king of the south. The kings of the north were of Seleucid dynasty who ruled over the territories associated with Babylon, otherwise known as Syria. The kings of the south were of the Ptolemaic Dynasty who ruled over the territories of Egypt. Recall from the study of Nebuchadnezzar’s initial overthrow of Jerusalem that he accomplished this on his way to Egypt. Jerusalem suffered a great deal as a consequence of being between Babylon and Egypt and the consequences of their location was going to further plague them in the centuries to come. The Jews of Palestine lay as the buffer between Syria and Egypt and were therefore destined to suffer in the conflicts between these two powers.

"and not to his posterity, "

The kingdom was not divided according to Alexander’s design. It was more like the plundering of a dead man’s possessions rather than the orderly administration of one’s holdings. The wars that raged over the Greek Empire lasted for centuries and their lack of unity and constant warring among themselves facilitated their eventual overthrow by the Roman Empire. Had the Greek empire not been ravaged by war and divided from within by internal power struggles, it is unlikely the Roman Empire would have been able to rise to power and overthrow the Greeks. As it was, the Roman Empire grew in strength slowly while the major powers which were the old Greek Empire fought among themselves.

"nor according to his dominion which he ruled"

The kingdom was not divided according to any law of the empire. It was divided up among the most powerful generals of Alexander according to who had the power to take and defend what they could seize.

Verse 5

Dan 11:5

Daniel 11:5 And the kingH4428 of the southH5045 shall be strong,H2388 and one ofH4480 his princes;H8269 and he shall be strongH2388 aboveH5921 him, and have dominion;H4910 his dominionH4474 shall be a greatH7227 dominion.H4474

Daniel 11:5

And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.

The "King of the South was Ptolemy I Soter who had eventually established himself in Egypt. Ptolemy was a Macedonian Greek general under Alexander the Great who became ruler of Egypt from 323 to 283 BC. He was the founder of both the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Dynasty. He took the title of pharaoh of Egypt in about 305 BC.

He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedon. He was described in ancient times as either the son of Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or that he was an illegitimate son of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. This would make Alexander his half brother and would account for the close friendship they shared. Ptolemy was a few years older than Alexander and one of his closest friends since childhood. As a result of this, he became one of Alexander’s most trusted generals. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a leadership role in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Artakama.

"and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion."

Ptolemy’s prince was Seleucus I Nicator of Syria, who had fled to him in temporary exile from the power threats of Antigonus of Asia Minor. Antigonus was one of Alexander’s generals who ended up with all of Asia Minor under his authority after a number of conflicts. Antigonus then entered Babylon, of which Seleucus I Nicator of Syria was governor. Seleucus fled to Ptolemy and entered into a league with him. After serving as an officer to Ptolemy for four years (316-312 BC), he returned to Syria and established himself as ruler and established the Seleucid Dynasty and as a result, rose in power to rule a kingdom larger and more powerful than Egypt, however, it was Egypt that was the more stable of the two. This alliance did not last long as their respective successors, Antiochus I Soter and Ptolemy II Philadelphus waged territorial wars among themselves which served to drastically deplete their respective resources. The great dominion spoke of in this vision was the Seleucid Empire which encompassed Babylon. At the height of its power it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today’s Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.

Verse 6

Dan 11:6

Daniel 11:6 And in the endH7093 of yearsH8141 they shall join themselves together;H2266 for the king’sH4428 daughterH1323 of the southH5045 shall comeH935 toH413 the kingH4428 of the northH6828 to makeH6213 an agreement:H4339 but she shall notH3808 retainH6113 the powerH3581 of the arm;H2220 neitherH3808 shall he stand,H5975 nor his arm:H2220 but sheH1931 shall be given up,H5414 and they that broughtH935 her, and he that begatH3205 her, and he that strengthenedH2388 her in these times.H6256

Daniel 11:6

And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.

The successors of Seleucus I and Ptolemy I warred over territories. The first major conflict which lasted from 274 to 271 BC was between Antiochus I Soter of the Seleucus Empire and Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt. Ptolemy II emerged victorious in this war but it was not to last. In 260 BC, Ptolemy II went to war against Antiochus II Theos, who had succeeded Antiochus I of the Seleucus Empire. Another king meant another war for Ptolemy II which he really did not want. So in order to forge some kind of alliance between himself and Antiochus II, he gave his daughter, Berenice, to Antiochus II as a truce marriage. Antiochus II was all for this arrangement but he was already married to Laodice so he expelled her to make a place for Berenice.

"but she shall not retain the power of the arm"

The truce marriage between Antiochus II and Berenice only lasted four years and then Antiochus expelled Berenice in favor of his former wife, Laodice in 246 BC. Antiochus II and Berenice had a child together who would have been heir to the throne of the Seleucid Empire. Laodice had other plans however, and after poisoning her adulterous husband, Antiochus II, moved to have her son placed on the throne instead of the son of Antiochus and Berenice. In order to expedite this venture of hers with little opposition, she had Berenice and her son killed.

"neither shall he stand, nor his arm"

The infant son of Antiochus II and Berenice was slain along with his mother. Berenice’s infant son and the anticipated kingly linage which was planned did not come to pass. Ptolemy II figured that with a line of kings on the throne of the Seleucid Empire who was related to him, the hostilities between them would cease and he would have an advocate on the throne. This plan failed miserably when Laodice returned to the favor of Antiochus II and had them all killed, thus extinguishing any hope of a Ptolemaic line on the throne of the Seleucid Empire.

"but she shall be given up, and they that brought her"

Antiochus II expelled Berenice in favor of his former wife who he had earlier expelled. This did not work out well for Antiochus II at all. His first wife, Laodice, killed him with poison and had everybody else involved in the plot to place a Ptolemaic king on the Seleucid throne executed.

"and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times."

Ptolemy II had a great deal riding on this arrangement. He was the father of Berenice thus he was the one who "begat her". He was also the one that strengthened her in that before Berenice and her infant son were killed by Laodice, Berenice had requested her brother Ptolemy III Euergetes of Egypt to support her being regent for her infant son to succeed the late Antiochus II who had been killed by Laodice. The support did not come in time so the plan to place a Ptolemy on the Seleucid throne failed.

Verse 7

Dan 11:7

Daniel 11:7 But out of a branchH4480 H5342 of her rootsH8328 shall one stand upH5975 in his estate,H3653 which shall comeH935 withH413 an army,H2428 and shall enterH935 into the fortressH4581 of the kingH4428 of the north,H6828 and shall dealH6213 against them, and shall prevail:H2388

Daniel 11:7

But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:

Berenice was the daughter of Ptolemy II. Ptolemy II was succeeded by his son Ptolemy III, brother of Berenice, which made them branches from the same root. Ptolemy III was furious over the assassination of his sister and his nephew and he set out to avenge them. Syria and Babylon were plundered and territory was gained by Egypt of which a portion was held for about thirty years.

Verse 8

Dan 11:8

Daniel 11:8 And shall alsoH1571 carryH935 captivesH7628 into EgyptH4714 their gods,H430 withH5973 their princes,H5257 and withH5973 their preciousH2532 vesselsH3627 of silverH3701 and of gold;H2091 and heH1931 shall continueH5975 more yearsH8141 than the kingH4480 H4428 of the north.H6828

Daniel 11:8

And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.

Egypt is named by name here. This naming makes it possible to positively match the elements of the vision to actual historical facts. This is in reference to the plundering of Syria and Babylon by Ptolemy III. The king of the north at this time was Seleucus II who died in 225 BC from a fall off his horse, while Ptolemy III died in 222 BC. Ptolemy III therefore continued more years than the king of the north. It is also a fact that when kings are referred to in apocalyptic language it is also in reference to the kingdoms in view and not just the kings. Historically, Egypt which was the kingdom of the south, stood against the Roman Empire longer than any other territory of Alexander. Egypt was the last holdout, so if one views the kings in verse 8 as the respective kingdoms, then history aligns with this view as well.

Verse 9

Dan 11:9

Daniel 11:9 So the kingH4428 of the southH5045 shall comeH935 into his kingdom,H4438 and shall returnH7725 intoH413 his own land.H127

Daniel 11:9

So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.

After the plundering of Syria and Babylon by Ptolemy III, he returned to Egypt and with him he took great treasures and spoil.

Verse 10

Dan 11:10

Daniel 11:10 But his sonsH1121 shall be stirred up,H1624 and shall assembleH622 a multitudeH1995 of greatH7227 forces:H2428 and one shall certainly come,H935 H935 and overflow,H7857 and pass through:H5674 then shall he return,H7725 and be stirred up,H1624 even toH5704 his fortress.H4581

Daniel 11:10

But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.

Daniel 11:11 makes it clear that these sons are the from the northern kingdom and not the southern kingdom of Egypt. There were two of them who were the sons of Seleucus II who died in 225 BC in an accident where he was thrown from a horse. His two sons were Seleucus III Ceraunus and Antiochus III who was called great. Seleucus III was the successor to the throne in 222 when his father, Seleucus II died. Seleucus III reigned until 223 BC when he was assassinated by members of his own army. His younger brother, Antiochus III replaced him on the throne of the Seleucid Empire.

Both of these rulers were quite upset with Egypt over the loss of territory under Ptolemy III who had since died and been replaced by Ptolemy IV Philopater. They came against Egypt with a vast host of forces and recovered all the territories of Syria which had been taken by Ptolemy III.

"and one shall certainly come"

Only one of the two sons of Seleucus II would "certainly come" because the other one, Seleucus III, died leaving Antiochus III on the throne and solely in charge of the war against Egypt.

"and pass through"

Antiochus III penetrated Egypt with his forces almost as far as Caesarea which was in Jewish territory. Keeping in mind here that Palestine was caught in the middle of these two empires and served as a buffer between the two. Antiochus III passed through Jewish territory on his vengeful quest against Egypt.

"then shall he return"

Antiochus III ceased his hostilities against Ptolemy IV for a period of about four months and returned to renew the war.

and be stirred up, even to his fortress.

This fortress was at Raphia which was a border fortress of Egypt guarding against attacks by way of Edom and Arabia. Antiochus III had penetrated well into the territory of Egypt and appeared to be on his way to victory but was soundly defeated at the Battle of Raphia in 217 BC.

Verse 11

Dan 11:11

Daniel 11:11 And the kingH4428 of the southH5045 shall be moved with choler,H4843 and shall come forthH3318 and fightH3898 withH5973 him, even withH5973 the kingH4428 of the north:H6828 and he shall set forthH5975 a greatH7227 multitude;H1995 but the multitudeH1995 shall be givenH5414 into his hand.H3027

Daniel 11:11

And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.

Ptolemy IV was "moved with choler". This means he was motivated because of his great loss, in this case towards Antiochus III. Ptolemy IV was historically known as an indolent man who was really more interested in the pursuits of the flesh than he was in the defense of Egypt. But with Antiochus III coming like he was, Ptolemy IV finally got his head in the game and dealt with the seriousness of the issue before him.

The force that Ptolemy IV sent to meet Antiochus III at the Battle of Raphia consisted of 3,000 Hypaspists under Eurylochus the Magnesian, 2,000 peltasts under Socrates the Boeotian, 25,000 Phalangites under Andromachus the Aspendian and Ptolemy, the son of Thraseas, and 8,000 Greek mercenaries under Phoxidas the Achaean and 2,000 Cretan and 1,000 Neocretan archers under Philon the Cnossian. He had another 3,000 Libyans under Ammonius the Barcian and 20,000 Egyptians under his chief minister Sosibius. Apart from these he also employed 4,000 Thracians and Gauls from Egypt and another 2,000 from Europe under Dionysius the Thracian.

Ptolemy IV was concerned enough that he even sent his household cavalry to fight in this conflict which numbered 700 horsemen with an additional 2,300 foot soldiers. Ptolemy’s force was also supplemented by the presence of 73 African war elephants.

"but the multitude shall be given into his hand."

At the Battle of Raphia, 10,000 of Antiochus III’ army were slain and 4000 were taken captive.

Verse 12

Dan 11:12

Daniel 11:12 And when he hath taken awayH5375 the multitude,H1995 his heartH3824 shall be lifted up;H7311 and he shall cast downH5307 many ten thousands:H7239 but he shall notH3808 be strengthenedH5810 by it.

Daniel 11:12

And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.

Ptolemy IV was feeling good about his victory at Raphia. He figured Antiochus III would return to Syria with his tail between his legs and give up the conflict over territory. Ptolemy IV did not pursue Antiochus III and returned to his life of indolence and pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh. But his illusions over his victory were short lived. Antiochus III did not return home and forget all about his defeat at Raphia. Ptolemy IV died in 205 BC leaving the consequences of his poor decision to his son Ptolemy V Epiphanes.

Verse 13

Dan 11:13

Daniel 11:13 For the kingH4428 of the northH6828 shall return,H7725 and shall set forthH5975 a multitudeH1995 greaterH7227 thanH4480 the former,H7223 and shall certainly comeH935 H935 afterH7093 certainH6256 yearsH8141 with a greatH1419 armyH2428 and with muchH7227 riches.H7399

Daniel 11:13

For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.

In 202 BC, 14 years after his defeat at Raphia, Antiochus III returned with a bigger force and attacked Ptolemy V Epiphanes who was very young and had taken the throne of Egypt just two years earlier in 204 BC. Antiochus III had been successful after campaigns against Persia and India and was refortified from these conquests with the means to conduct a war.

Verse 14

Dan 11:14

Daniel 11:14 And in thoseH1992 timesH6256 there shall manyH7227 stand upH5975 againstH5921 the kingH4428 of the south:H5045 also the robbersH1121 H6530 of thy peopleH5971 shall exalt themselvesH5375 to establishH5975 the vision;H2377 but they shall fall.H3782

Daniel 11:14

And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.

Philip V king of Macedon, and rebels in Egypt itself, combined with Antiochus III all opposed Egypt under Ptolemy V.

"also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision"

Many Jews desired to be free of Egyptian subjugation and sought to ally themselves with Antiochus III. The Jews helped by supplying provisions for Antiochus’ army, when on his return from Egypt he besieged the Egyptian garrison which was located within the city of Jerusalem. The vision they had was short sighted indeed. They somehow thought they would be better off as allies with Antiochus III than existing as a protectorate of Egypt and obligated to pay tribute. One must question the wisdom of those who would ally themselves with a serpent in order to escape the clutches of a rat.

"But they shall fall"

The Jews had visions of independence through an alliance with Antiochus III. Their plan met with monumental failure as their sufferings under the Seleucid Dynasty far exceeded anything they suffered as subjects of Egypt.

Verse 15

Dan 11:15

Daniel 11:15 So the kingH4428 of the northH6828 shall come,H935 and cast upH8210 a mount,H5550 and takeH3920 the most fencedH4013 cities:H5892 and the armsH2220 of the southH5045 shall notH3808 withstand,H5975 neither his chosenH4005 people,H5971 neitherH369 shall there be any strengthH3581 to withstand.H5975

Daniel 11:15

So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

Antiochus III, the king of the North, met an Egyptian general by the name of Scopas in battle at Paneas in 198 BC., near the mouth of the Jordan River. Scopas was defeated and fled to Sidon which was a heavily fortified city with massive walls. Ptolemy V sent Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus, his best military leaders to try and help Scopas but they failed. With the assistance of the Jews, Antiochus III captured Sidon and Scopas was forced to surrender.

Verse 16

Dan 11:16

Daniel 11:16 But he that comethH935 againstH413 him shall doH6213 according to his own will,H7522 and noneH369 shall standH5975 beforeH6440 him: and he shall standH5975 in the gloriousH6643 land,H776 which by his handH3027 shall be consumed.H3615

Daniel 11:16

But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.

Antiochus III was victorious in all his conquests against Egypt. Apparently nobody could resist him.

"And he shall stand in the glorious land"

The glorious land is of course Judea. Antiochus III, with help from the Jews, set Judea up as a buffer zone between him and Egypt and as a consequence, Judea was "consumed" or desolated by becoming the arena of conflict between the combatants Antiochus III and Ptolemy V.

Verse 17

Dan 11:17

Daniel 11:17 He shall also setH7760 his faceH6440 to enterH935 with the strengthH8633 of his wholeH3605 kingdom,H4438 and upright onesH3477 withH5973 him; thus shall he do:H6213 and he shall giveH5414 him the daughterH1323 of women,H802 corruptingH7843 her: but she shall notH3808 standH5975 on his side, neitherH3808 beH1961 for him.

Daniel 11:17

He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.

Seeking to establish Judaea as his buffer territory, Antiochus III made concessions to the Jews. He later gave his daughter Cleopatra (daughter of women), to Ptolemy V as the security of a peace treaty marriage. His goal was similar to the goal of Ptolemy II when he gave his daughter Berenice to Antiochus II. He wanted to gain some sort of political control of Egypt without any further battle through the influence of his daughter. This is not the same Cleopatra that was associated with Mark Antony. To seal the deal, Antiochus III promised Palestine and the hotly disputed southern region of Syria, Coele Syria, as the wedding dowry for marrying Ptolemy V. This marriage was arranged in 197 BC., but did not actually occur until 193 because Ptolemy V was only seven years old at the time.

This plan actually worked against the strategy of Antiochus III, as Cleopatra with her husband, Ptolemy V, would later temporarily rule as regent with her son Ptolemy VI as the Egyptian rival to Seleucid-Syria. The conflict arising because the land promise was broken when the son of Antiochus III invaded Egypt anew.

Verse 18

Dan 11:18

Daniel 11:18

After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.

After giving his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy V, Antiochus III turned his expansion interest to the West. He began invading and taking islands and coastlands around the Mediterranean Sea. He conquered and seized Asia Minor in 197 BC and then crossed the Aegean Sea to Thracia and Greece. Antiochus III encountered the Romans at Thermopylae in 191 BC. He was defeated by the Romans at Magnesia in 190 BC and was forced to seek a treaty with Rome.

"but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease"

Antiochus III was attacking allies of Rome and causing them much reproach among their protectorates. Lucius Scipio Asiaticus, a Roman general, defeated Antiochus III at Magnesia in 190 BC., thereby causing the reproach which he "offered" Rome by inflicting injuries on Rome’s allies, to cease. He did it for his own glory.

The victorious Romans imposed immense financial war compensations upon Antiochus III, taking his son Antiochus IV, as a security hostage and holding him in Rome. Antiochus III died in Persia far to the east. Seleucid Syria under Antiochus III had lost most of its’ Asian land mass and power but it was still intact, yet a weaker rival to Ptolemy-Egypt.

Rome was expanding and making protectorates of Greece, Macedonia, Thracia and portions of Asia Minor. Rome would later gain Syria (65-64 BC), Palestine (63 BC) and Egypt (31 BC). But lets not get ahead of ourselves. Antiochus III has not passed from Daniel’s vision yet.

Verse 19

Dan 11:19

Daniel 11:19 Then he shall turnH7725 his faceH6440 toward the fortH4581 of his own land:H776 but he shall stumbleH3782 and fall,H5307 and notH3808 be found.H4672

Daniel 11:19

Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

Antiochus III had been compelled by Rome to relinquish all his territory west of the Taurus, and to repay the expenses of the war. The Romans demanded a thousand talents in war indemnity which in today’s accounting comes to roughly eight hundred million dollars as a rough estimate. Needing to acquire a large sum of money on short notice, Antiochus III attempted to loot the temple of Jupiter at Elymais by night and was killed by the inhabitants of the temple in 187 BC. Thus ends the career of Antiochus III whom was also known as Antiochus the Great of the Seleucid - Syrian Empire.

Verse 20

Dan 11:20

Daniel 11:20 Then shall stand upH5975 inH5921 his estateH3653 a raiserH5674 of taxesH5065 in the gloryH1925 of the kingdom:H4438 but within fewH259 daysH3117 he shall be destroyed,H7665 neitherH3808 in anger,H639 norH3808 in battle.H4421

Daniel 11:20

Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

Antiochus III was succeeded by his brother, Seleucus IV Philopator, who reigned from 187 to 175 BC. The Roman war indemnity was crippling the Seleucid Syrian Empire so Seleucus IV tried to raise the money from the Jews. In about 178 BC., he sent his prime minister/ treasurer, Heliodorus to Palestine in order to try and collect tax money to help relieve the burden of the Roman war remuneration. The Jews did not like this arrangement at all and refused to cooperate with Heliodorus so with the help of a Jewish collaborator named Simon, he took money from the temple and the treasury in Jerusalem.

Upon the death of Antiochus III, his son, Antiochus IV was released from Rome and replaced by Demetrius I Soter who was the son of Seleucus IV. Rome was making sure they held the son of the king of the Seleucid - Syrian Empire in order to collect that war indemnity and to help prevent any further mischief on the part of the ruler of the Syrians. Seleucus IV had alienated the Jews who were friendly towards Antiochus III, and he was further politically compromised because of the vast sum of money he was trying to raise from his own subjects in order to keep his hostage son in Rome alive. Thus weakened, Heliodorus, his prime minister returned to Syria from Palestine and assasinated him. Heliodorus, after killing the king seized the throne for himself but it was not long at all before Antiochus IV moved to usurp him and take the throne for himself. Antiochus IV had Heliodorus killed, thus ending his brief reign "within a few days".

Verse 21

Dan 11:21

Daniel 11:21 And inH5921 his estateH3653 shall stand upH5975 a vile person,H959 toH5921 whom they shall notH3808 giveH5414 the honourH1935 of the kingdom:H4438 but he shall come inH935 peaceably,H7962 and obtainH2388 the kingdomH4438 by flatteries.H2519

Daniel 11:21

And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

Antiochus IV was infamous for his behavior which was not fitting the dignity of a king. He would carouse with harlots and other undesirables, even going so far as to bathe with them in the public baths. He would act foolishly and throw stones at people walking by. He was doing this in part to establish himself as a man of the people and to bolster his popularity among them. Demetrius I Soter was the son of the former king killed by Heliodorus and was therefore considered by many to be the rightful successor as king of the Seleucid - Syrian Empire. Many within the Empire certainly saw him as a more fitting personage of a king rather than the depraved and loathsome Antiochus IV who was taking full advantage of Demetrius I Soter’s captivity to seize the throne for himself.

"To whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries."

The Syrian Empire did not confer the kingdom to Antiochus IV by public act. Having been a captive in Rome for some years, he observed and learned the art of diplomacy by flattery. He used what we see today as campaigning strategies for elected officials to win the approval of enough people to get himself on the throne by hook or by crook, making all kinds of empty promises and gaining the favor of the people by whatever means he could contrive, even to the point of cavorting with them in public places such as the baths. With the support of Attalus of Pergamum and his adoptive father, Eumenes, Antiochus IV campaigned his way to the throne of the Seleucid - Syrian Empire.

We have now reached the date of 175 BC in the vision of the destiny of the Jews in their latter days. Problems for them are beginning to develop as the buffer nation between Syria and Egypt. We need to keep in mind the covenant made between Antiochus III and Ptolemy V with the marriage of his daughter, Cleopatra, and the dowry of land promises made which Antiochus IV would not honor. There was trouble brewing on the horizon for the Jews whose home was positioned between these two powers.

Verse 22

Dan 11:22

Daniel 11:22 And with the armsH2220 of a floodH7858 shall they be overflownH7857 from beforeH4480 H6440 him, and shall be broken;H7665 yea, alsoH1571 the princeH5057 of the covenant.H1285

Daniel 11:22

And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.

Antiochus IV was now on the throne and in power. The Seleucid - Syrian empire was a mere shadow of its former power but was still a formidable force. Antiochus IV had ambitions to restore the Syrian Empire to its full power and retake all the lands that had been taken from it. During all the uproar between Syria and Rome, Ptolemy V died and was succeeded by Ptolemy VI just five years earlier in 180 BC. Ptolemy VI was the son of Ptolemy V and Cleopatra who was the daughter of Antiochus III. Ptolemy VI was only about six years old when Ptolemy V died and his mother, Cleopatra, ruled as regent for a few years until she died in 176 BC., only four years after Ptolemy VI took the throne making him about ten years old. As things develop, we need to keep in mind that Antiochus IV and Cleopatra were brother and sister and that her son was Antiochus’ nephew. This young king who would be the king of Egypt was a direct descendant of not only the Ptolemaic Dynasty, but also the Seleucid Dynasty.

Antiochus IV had ambitions of restoring Syria to its’ former glory but he lacked one thing; resources with which to wage war. Antiochus IV, with no concern whatsoever for the covenant established between Ptolemy V and his father Antiochus III, he invaded Egypt with overwhelming force. Ptolemy VI, "the prince of the covenant", was just a young boy and his guardians sought to recover from Antiochus IV, Coelo-Syria and Palestine, which had been promised by Antiochus III as Cleopatra’s dowry in marrying Ptolemy V. Hence arose the war. Ptolemy VI’s generals were vanquished, and Pelusium, the key of Egypt was taken by Antiochus in 171 B.C. This was the first of three open invasions by Antiochus IV into Egypt. The vision re-visits this first invasion of Antiochus IV in verse 25.

Verse 23

Dan 11:23

Daniel 11:23 And afterH4480 the leagueH2266 made withH413 him he shall workH6213 deceitfully:H4820 for he shall come up,H5927 and shall become strongH6105 with a smallH4592 people.H1471

Daniel 11:23

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

Antiochus IV being the uncle of Ptolemy VI and the brother of Cleopatra deceived them prior to invading and looting them. Feigning friendship to young Ptolemy, he betrayed him and took possession of Memphis, and all Egypt as far as Alexandria. All who had made political leagues and concessions with Antiochus came to discover that they had been deceived even though they were assumed allies. This vile and deceitful man with a small people, having been reduced in mass and power by the Romans had full intentions of doing whatever was necessary to achieve his ambitions without regard to who it may affect.

Verse 24

Dan 11:24

Daniel 11:24 He shall enterH935 peaceablyH7962 even upon the fattest placesH4924 of the province;H4082 and he shall doH6213 that whichH834 his fathersH1 have notH3808 done,H6213 nor his fathers’H1 fathers;H1 he shall scatterH967 among them the prey,H961 and spoil,H7998 and riches:H7399 yea, and he shall forecastH2803 his devicesH4284 againstH5921 the strong holds,H4013 even forH5704 a time.H6256

Daniel 11:24

He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

The Hebrew word for "Peaceably" literally means, unexpectedly, securely or safely. It was under the guise of friendship that Antiochus IV seized Egyptian holdings under Ptolemy VI.

"And he shall do that which his fathers have not done"

The forefathers of Antiochus IV, the Seleucid kings of Syria, had always coveted Egypt but were unable to wrest it from the hands of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Antiochus IV, with his army almost utterly consumed it.

Antiochus IV launched his first attack against Egypt upon news of the death of Cleopatra who was reigning as regent for her young son, Ptolemy VI. Antiochus invaded Egypt claiming it as his protectorate and claiming Ptolemy as vassal ruler in the political trade-off. During this time, a revolt was stirring in Alexandria of Egypt and this brought Ptolemy VI’s brother, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II into the political picture. Ptolemy VIII was a vile individual who we will look at closer in the following verses. Both Ptolemies were recognized during the internal strife that was plaguing Egypt at this time. This internal strife allowed Antiochus IV the opportunity to gain a foothold in Egypt.

Yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds -

Antiochus IV formed a plan to incorporate Egypt into Seleucid-Syria’s anticipated domains. His plan included making himself the master of the Egyptian fortresses which guarded access to Egypt from the north. He gained them all except Alexandria, which successfully resisted him. Retaining to himself Pelusium. There was a rumor circulated which made it to Judea that Antiochus IV had been slain in battle. The Jews who had also experienced the deceit and treachery of Antiochus IV were overjoyed at this news. In particular was Jason who had been appointed as the Jewish High Priest by Antiochus IV but was replaced by Menelaus who promised Antiochus IV more money in exchange for the seat. Upon news of this rumor, he formed a revolt designed at replacing himself as the high priest. Many Jews were in favor of this arrangement and supported Jason’s bid for the seat. Antiochus IV heard of this and took revenge on the Jews who revolted against him for it. He then subdued Jerusalem by force.

"Even for a time"

Antiochus IV would not ravage Egypt and Judea forever. It was but for a time under the control of God.

Verse 25

Dan 11:25

Daniel 11:25 And he shall stir upH5782 his powerH3581 and his courageH3824 againstH5921 the kingH4428 of the southH5045 with a greatH1419 army;H2428 and the kingH4428 of the southH5045 shall be stirred upH1624 to battleH4421 with a veryH5704 H3966 greatH1419 and mightyH6099 army;H2428 but he shall notH3808 stand:H5975 forH3588 they shall forecastH2803 devicesH4284 againstH5921 him.

Daniel 11:25

"And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him."

This is a continuation of what was seen in the vision as recorded in Daniel 11:22-24. This is the first of three invasions by Antiochus IV into Egypt.

"Against the king of the south"

Against Ptolemy VI Philometor. Subsequently, Ptolemy VIII who was the brother of Prolemy VI. He was called Physcon (the Gross), or Euergetes II. He was made king by the Egyptians, as Ptolemy VI was in Antiochus’ hands.

"With a great army"

As distinguished from the "small people" with which he first came. Being emboldened by the success of his first incursion, he now launches his first full scale open invasion of Egypt. Antiochus entered Egypt with an overwhelming multitude, with chariots, war elephants, and cavalry.

"And the king of the south shall be stirred up"

Ptolemy VI was forced to react to his uncle’s invasion force in order to prevent Egypt being completely taken over by Antiochus IV in 170 BC. Ptolemy VI was about 16 years old at this time.

"But he shall not stand"

Antiochus IV defeated his young nephew, Ptolemy VI. In 168 BC, Antiochus IV was crowned as the king of Egypt but he had to later abandon his claim by orders of the Roman Senate or else risk a full scale war with Rome.

"For they shall forecast devices against him"

Ptolemy VI’s own nobles framed deceitful "devices" against him (see Daniel 11:26). The invasion of Antiochus IV was stopped at Alexandria. He left Ptolemy VI at Memphis as the king and fell back to his old game of subterfuge and craft by pretending that his whole purpose all along was to support Ptolemy VI against his younger brother, Ptolemy VIII.

Verse 26

Dan 11:26

Daniel 11:26 Yea, they that feedH398 of the portion of his meatH6598 shall destroyH7665 him, and his armyH2428 shall overflow:H7857 and manyH7227 shall fall downH5307 slain.H2491

Daniel 11:26

Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.

Those to whom young Ptolemy VI looked to for help turned against him, probably in self interest as they realized the futility of siding with him. His army was overwhelmed in defeat. At the battle between Ptolemy VI and Antiochus IV at Pelusium many were wounded and died. Antiochus IV emerged victorious and gained all of Egypt.

Verse 27

Dan 11:27

Daniel 11:27 And bothH8147 these kings’H4428 heartsH3824 shall be to do mischief,H4827 and they shall speakH1696 liesH3577 atH5921 oneH259 table;H7979 but it shall notH3808 prosper:H6743 forH3588 yetH5750 the endH7093 shall be at the time appointed.H4150

Daniel 11:27

"And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed."

Antiochus IV was a master of deception, speaking one thing and doing another whenever it suited his purpose. Both kings knew they couldn’t trust one another. Antiochus IV set Ptolemy VI up as his vassal sub-king of Egypt against his younger brother Ptolemy VIII who had gained a political following. Antiochus IV intended to entirely subjugate Egypt while Ptolemy VI, being fully well aware of this, was willing to agree to anything at this point to save his own skin and gain the time to maneuver himself into a position in hopes of prevailing against his uncle, Antiochus IV at a later time.

"but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed."

Each ruler had their own agenda but neither of them succeeded. Although the political ambitions intrigues, deals, concessions and lies were exchanged between these two powers their respective demise and passing were subject to the wishes of almighty God. It is important to note here that Daniel’s vision reveals, as is done in other places, that God is directing these affairs. God has set the appointed time for these things to take place. God is in complete control of these events and using them to bring about the fulfillment of his divine purpose for man on earth.

The Jews are destined for immense suffering at this time and it is on the horizon and fast approaching. God is using Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI as instruments to enable and facilitate his plans for the Jews. Neither Antiochus IV nor Ptolemy VI had any idea they were but pawns being used in the plans of the Almighty God. Their end and the end of all their plans was already appointed at a certain time and was inevitable.

Verse 28

Dan 11:28

Daniel 11:28 Then shall he returnH7725 into his landH776 with greatH1419 riches;H7399 and his heartH3824 shall be againstH5921 the holyH6944 covenant;H1285 and he shall doH6213 exploits, and returnH7725 to his own land.H776

Daniel 11:28

Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.

Antiochus IV plundered Ptolemy-Egypt and planned to force Hellenization on the Jerusalem Jews. Hellenization was the forced assimilation of a people into the Greek culture. The Greek culture was saturated with poly-theistic pagan worship and was completely incompatible with the Law of Moses which governed the Jews. By setting his heart against the religion of the Jews, Antiochus therefore had his heart against the Law of Moses. It is one thing to trample underfoot one’s self made God, but it is an entirely different matter indeed to trample underfoot the one true and living God and Antiochus IV was about to do that very thing.

Antiochus IV was still struggling to pay the old but continuing Roman war indebtedness which he inherited from his father, Antiochus III. He went back to Syria with his plunder with the intention of returning to Egypt at a later time to establish his control over Egypt. On his way home, he had to pass through Palestine and when he did this, he executed his plan for the Hellenization of the Jews into the Greek culture.

Verse 29

Dan 11:29

Daniel 11:29 At the time appointedH4150 he shall return,H7725 and comeH935 toward the south;H5045 but it shall notH3808 beH1961 as the former,H7223 or as the latter.H314

Daniel 11:29

At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.

Not realizing that he was involved in the overriding providence of the sovereign Almighty, Antiochus now returned to establish his control over Ptolemy-Egypt. While Antiochus IV was away, the Ptolemies petitioned Rome for help and Rome was more than willing to help. The Romans, not willing to allow anybody the chance to gain enough power to be a potential threat wanted to stop Antiochus IV’s advances and they were also interested in the vast grain resources of Egypt.

Verse 30

Dan 11:30

Daniel 11:30 For the shipsH6716 of ChittimH3794 shall comeH935 against him: therefore he shall be grieved,H3512 and return,H7725 and have indignationH2194 againstH5921 the holyH6944 covenant:H1285 so shall he do;H6213 he shall even return,H7725 and have intelligenceH995 withH5921 them that forsakeH5800 the holyH6944 covenant.H1285

Daniel 11:30

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

The Romans responded to the plea of Ptolemy-Egypt by sending ships of Chittim" (Cyprus), to bring a show of military might. "Chittim" refers to the Cyprians, so called from a Phoenician colony in Cyprus. The term came to be applied to the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean in general.

Ptolemy VI and VIII, realizing that Antiochus IV was a scoundrel, appealed to Rome for help against his tyranny. Antiochus IV again invaded Egypt with the intent of bringing them under absolute Syrian rule. However, Rome had other plans for Egypt and Antiochus IV. Egypt had a rich grain supply which the Romans could use so they were interested in helping the Ptolemies out in exchange for access to their abundant grain supplies.

In 168 BC Antiochus led his second attack on Egypt and also sent a fleet to capture Cyprus. Before reaching Alexandria, his path was blocked by a single, old Roman ambassador named Gaius Popillius Laenas, who delivered a message from the Roman Senate ordering Antiochus IV to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus, or consider themselves in a state of war with the Roman Republic. Antiochus IV, trying to stall for time, said he would discuss it with his council. The Roman envoy then drew a line in the sand around him and said, "Before you cross this circle I want you to give me a reply for the Roman Senate" - implying that Antiochus IV would face a full scale war with Rome if he did not agree to leave Egypt immediately. Antiochus IV was already struggling under the massive war indemnity accrued by his father from his unfortunate encounter with the Romans. Weighing his limited options, Antiochus IV wisely decided to withdraw and returned to Syria in defeat and humiliation. Judea lay in his path home and they were about to experience his wrath.

"therefore he shall be grieved, and return"

Antiochus IV was upset over this turn of events. He was looking to Egypt to help supply the resources for his expansion efforts elsewhere and they weren’t cooperating at all. His plans were being thwarted by the Romans who were already a thorn in his side from previous encounters. Being turned back by the Romans, he then has no recourse but to return to Syria through Judea which was positioned in a land locked bottleneck between the two super powers.

"and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return,"

When Heliodorus was sent to Judea to collect taxes, he was persuaded to attempt the plunder of the Temple treasury by a man named Simon the Benjamite. Onias III was the high priest in Jerusalem when this attempt took place and he was a faithful and dedicated Jewish high priest. He resisted the effort and succeeded in defending the temple treasury against the piracy of Heliodorus. Antiochus IV became king later and had Heliodorus put to death but he never forgot that Onias III was faithful to the Jewish law and would never support him.

Onias III had an ambitious younger brother named Jason who saw that an alliance with Antiochus IV would serve to elevate him in stature so he became a supporter of Antiochus IV and was instated as the high priest in the place of his brother who was imprisoned and removed by the Syrian king. In exchange for his appointment to the position of high priest, Jason agreed to pay a bribe and agreed to a vigorous program of Hellenization which would force the Jewish people to abandon the Levitical law in favor of Greek culture and law. Jason abandoned the ordinances defining the polity of the Jews according to the Levitical Law in favor of Greek culture and law.

In 172 BC, Jason sent his bribe money to Antiochus IV by way of Menelaus who when he arrived with the money, offered Antiochus IV a larger bribe and an even more rigorous program of Hellenization in exchange for Jason’s position of high priest. Antiochus IV, being the scoundrel he was and still laboring under the staggering war indemnity levied on Syria by the Romans, agreed to this and Jason was ousted from the position and fled Jerusalem to live in the land of the Ammonites.

Menelaus’ first act was to seize the sacred vessels in the Temple stores in order to meet the obligations he had incurred to Antiochus IV in exchange for his promotion as Jewish High Priest. This act came to the attention of the deposed high priest Onias III, who publicly accused Menelaus of robbing the Temple. Menelaus had Onias III murdered in order to silence him. he then went on to plunder the treasures of the temple until outrage by the faithful Jews caused an outbreak of violence.

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, Jason heard that Antiochus IV had been slain in battle. He had not abandoned his hopes of being high priest and while Antiochus IV was trying vainly to conquer Egypt, he managed to raise a following and challenge Menelaus in Jerusalem. Jason thought Antiochus IV was dead. Jason succeeded in overthrowing Menelaus and forced him to take refuge in Acra, the Syrian Citadel inside Jerusalem. When Antiochus IV passed through Judea on his way home, very much alive and bearing the anger and humiliation from his encounter with the Romans, he learned of the revolt of Jason against Menelaus.

Upon his arrival at Jerusalem, Antiochus IV presented himself as the manifestation of the Greek god Zeus, and calling himself by the title “Epiphanies”. He and his army arrived under the guise of peace but suddenly attacked Jerusalem on a Sabbath, slaughtered thousands, took women and children to be sold as slaves and then plundered the city, pulling down portions of its walls. His own fortress of Acra, within the city, was reinforced. Menelaus was reinstated as high priest and Jason was exiled where he fled to Egypt and then on to Sparta where he died.

"and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant."

Menelaus supported the forces of Antiochus IV in this massacre and revealed the location of the temple treasury to Antiochus IV who took full advantage of this information and plundered the temple unmercifully.

Verse 31

Dan 11:31

Daniel 11:31 And armsH2220 shall standH5975 on his part,H4480 and they shall polluteH2490 the sanctuaryH4720 of strength,H4581 and shall take awayH5493 the dailyH8548 sacrifice, and they shall placeH5414 the abominationH8251 that maketh desolate.H8074

Daniel 11:31

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Many of the Jews supported Antiochus IV. Menelaus and other Jews instigated Antiochus IV against their religion and country. Having taken up the false idea from Greek philosophy, that the main object of religion is to maintain political and social order, and that all religions are good enough to keep the masses in check, these apostate Jews had cast off circumcision and the law of Moses in favor of Greek culture. At their head stood Menelaus, who professed the utmost contempt for the religion of his fathers and was ready to commit any crime in order to support his ambition.

"and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength"

Menelaus escorted the leaders of Antiochus IV right into the temple, showing them around and even taking them behind the veil into the most holy of holies. The Syrians had the run of the temple, plundering the vessels from the hidden rooms which housed the treasures of the temple.

Antiocus IV imposed a law that all Jews be restricted from the practice of the Levitical worship. The Jews were forbidden to observe the weekly Sabbath, the annual festivals and circumcision. All available scripture was destroyed and it was made a capital offense to posses any. The daily burnt offerings were forbidden, Jews who would not renounce their monotheistic orthodoxy were severely punished, and hundreds were martyred. Antiochus IV had the temple dedicated to the pagan god, Zeus and swine was offered as a sacrifice upon the temple alter. The blood from the swine was taken and splashed on the alter and on the walls of the temple throughout as a demonstration of contempt and disdain for the Jewish religion and Menelaus the Jewish High Priest supported Antiochus IV during all of this.

"and shall take away the daily sacrifice"

The continual burnt offering at the temple, twice daily, which is described in detail in Exodus 29:36-43 was descended upon by the forces of Antiochus IV, led by Apollonius commanding a force of 22,000. The worshippers were attacked and killed, the constant fire on the alter was extinguished and the temple service was discontinued.

"and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate"

In both Biblical and rabbinical Hebrew abomination is a familiar term for an idol (1 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings 23:13). When Antiochus IV overran Jerusalem, cast down the daily sacrifice and stormed the temple, he had a statue erected of the pagan Greek God, Zeus over the top of the alter and he had the temple dedicated to him and swine were offered on the alter.

Verse 32

Dan 11:32

Daniel 11:32 And such as do wickedly againstH7561 the covenantH1285 shall he corruptH2610 by flatteries:H2514 but the peopleH5971 that do knowH3045 their GodH430 shall be strong,H2388 and doH6213 exploits.

Daniel 11:32

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

Antiochus IV, ever the flatterer by promises of favor to those who support him, swayed the apostate Jews led by Menelaus to profane the temple and agree to the forced Hellenization of the Jews and the throwing down of the Levitical worship at the temple.

"but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."

Not all of the Jews stood by and allowed this overthrow to take place unchallenged. Many faithful Jews were greatly offended and infuriated over the desecration of the temple. It was at this time that the Maccabean Revolt of 167-164 BC began to organize to lift up the Jewish national resistance against the Hellenization policies of Antiochus IV. The word Maccabee means "Hammer" which we will soon find to be an appropriate appellation.

A Maccabean Jewish priest named Mattathias had five sons, Judas, Jonathan, Simon, John and Eleazar. Initially, they fled to the country and while hiding out, they began to organize and deploy resistance forces, successfully engaging in the strategies and tactics of guerilla warfare. These faithful Jewish men did many exploits against both Antiochus IV and his allied apostate Jews in Judea.

Verse 33

Dan 11:33

Daniel 11:33 And they that understandH7919 among the peopleH5971 shall instructH995 many:H7227 yet they shall fallH3782 by the sword,H2719 and by flame,H3852 by captivity,H7628 and by spoil,H961 many days.H3117

Daniel 11:33

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

The faithful among the Jews tried diligently to instruct their kinsmen to stay faithful, to fear the Lord, keep the law and not to apostatize. The Hebrew writer alluded directly to the suffering which was inflicted upon the faithful Jews in Hebrews 11.

"Yet they shall fall by the sword "

Eleazar was forced to eat the flesh of swine. He spit it out choosing rather to die rather than to profane himself by eating it. Two women, who circumcised their infant boys, were cast down with their babies tied around their necks from the wall of Jerusalem. Hebrews 11:36-37, "And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented."

Seven brothers and their mother submitted to a cruel death by torture rather than deny their faith. Hebrews 11:32, "Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection"

The faithful Jews were driven out of their homes and they hid in caves in order to keep the sabbath. Antiochus IV forbad the Jewish observance of the Sabbath and the Jews refused to fight on the Sabbath. Antiochus took advantage of this and killed thousands of Jews on this day. They fled their homes and retired to nearby caves in order to be able to observe the Sabbath Day without being murdered for it.

"And by flame"

The forces under Antiochus IV discovered some of these caves where the faithful Jews were hiding and he caused them to be burned alive in these caves. The first of the seven brothers mentioned earlier who were tortured to death was killed by being fried in a heated pan after his tongue and extremities had been cut off. The atrocities inflicted upon the faithful Jews was overwhelmingly cruel.

"Many days"

Josephus recorded that this intense persecution lasted for three years.

Verse 34

Dan 11:34

Daniel 11:34 Now when they shall fall,H3782 they shall be holpenH5826 with a littleH4592 help:H5828 but manyH7227 shall cleaveH3867 toH5921 them with flatteries.H2519

Daniel 11:34

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

The faithful Jews who rebelled against Antiochus IV were being slaughtered unmercifully. They were helped by the Maccabees in their guerilla warfare tactics that they used against the forces of Antiochus IV. This guerrilla type warfare was so successful that they were able to help turn the tide against Antiochus IV.

"but many shall cleave to them with flatteries"

The faithful Jews were outnumbered and the forces of the Syrians was overwhelming in its power. The apostate Jews who allied themselves with Antiochus IV must have felt pretty secure in their union with him. Acting in anticipation of the favors of Antiochus IV they continued to support him as informants and allies to his forced Hellenization policies.

Verse 35

Dan 11:35

Daniel 11:35 And some ofH4480 them of understandingH7919 shall fall,H3782 to tryH6884 them, and to purge,H1305 and to make them white,H3835 even toH5704 the timeH6256 of the end:H7093 becauseH3588 it is yetH5750 for a time appointed.H4150

Daniel 11:35

And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

The forces against the faithful Jews appeared to be insurmountable. Many among them who had initially been faithful were persuaded by the promises of Antiochus IV to turn traitor. It must have been discouraging to see one’s relatives and friends being tortured and killed in the full scale war that had been launched against them by the Syrians. But there is another effect which takes place when one sees the staunch and deliberate resolve of faithful people who are willing to go to their deaths for their faith. One cannot behold the suffering and staunch faith of one’s family and countrymen without having feelings of guilt and remorse over their deaths. When we see here is the arousing of the national pride of apostate Jews who after witnessing the faith of their countrymen and their willingness to endure torture and death against all odds repented of their traitorous defection and rallied in support of the Jewish cause.

"even to the time of the end"

The Maccabees re-conquered Jerusalem in 165 BC and by December 164 BC, the temple had been purified and re-dedicated. Antiochus’ forces were now routed and defeated. He now was forced to make concessions to the now well-organized Jewish national resistance. Antiochus later died and was succeeded by six others to the time of Antiochus VII Sidetes (138-129 BC) and by this time following additional battles, the Jews became an independent state.

"because it is yet for a time appointed"

God is not going to allow this suffering to continue indefinitely. Keeping in mind that this is his faithful children who are suffering as a result of all this persecution. The purpose here being stated in the previous statement, the apostate Jews are either returning to the faith or being purged from their ranks. This vision by no means constitutes the first time Daniel has witnessed God’s workings in this manner. Daniel was a faithful Israelite caught up in a similar instance when he was imprisoned by Nebuchadnezzar during the overthrow and destruction of Judea in his lifetime. Daniel knew first hand that when God cleaned house, there could be grim and terrible consequences. Daniel, like everybody else had no choice but to remain faithful. Those who remain faithful will emerge triumphant in the end.

Verse 36

Dan 11:36

Daniel 11:36 And the kingH4428 shall doH6213 according to his will;H7522 and he shall exalt himself,H7311 and magnify himselfH1431 aboveH5921 everyH3605 god,H410 and shall speakH1696 marvellous thingsH6381 againstH5921 the GodH410 of gods,H410 and shall prosperH6743 tillH5704 the indignationH2195 be accomplished:H3615 forH3588 that that is determinedH2782 shall be done.H6213

Daniel 11:36

And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

Up to this point, we have been given a detailed vision of the events between the Syrian and the Egyptian Empires from the perspective of the Jews living between these two superpowers. We have just seen the incessant battles between the king of the north, the Seleucids and the king of the South, the Ptolemies over land and money. Antiochus IV has finally met his end and Judea has become an independent state.

The text of the vision appears to flow on with a continuation of Antiochus IV but the elements following do not line up with him at all. In history, the vision has now reached about 164 BC. Going back to Daniel 10:14, we observe that the vision is restricted to "what shall befall thy people in the latter days". Daniel’s vision is said to conclude with the scattering of the "power of the holy people" (Daniel 12:7), which was accomplished in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem.

To the perspective of those to whom the vision was given, this has to mean what shall befall the Israelite people in the years to follow. In 70 AD, the commonwealth standing of Israelites as the sole people of God was destroyed along with the temple. The faithful Christians (the holy people), at the time were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. The distinction between Jews and Gentiles was forever abolished by God and was punctuated with the utter destruction of the temple which forever removed the sacrificial system of the Levitical worship. Therefore in order to properly match the events of the vision as it starts in Daniel 11:26 within the historical context of the Jewish nation as the commonwealth of God, then we must look to the next "king", or kingdom which falls in between Antiochus IV and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

The Roman Empire was the next mighty world power to rise up and dominate the known world from the perspective of Judea. Keeping in mind, according to Daniel, this vision is all about the significant events in the lives of Daniel’s people as a nation, the king, kingdom, or power that had the next most significant impact on the Jews was the Roman Empire. And if we think about it, the Romans had as much of an impact on the Jews as any of the other kingdoms between Daniel and Jesus and in the end were an even more formidable source of persecution than any of their predecessors. Antiochus IV was a vile individual and he perpetrated the most hideous tortures imaginable on the Jews who resisted his Hellenization efforts but the suffering of the Jews and of Christians afterwards was just as horrific if not more so, and applied over a much more broader region of the earth than just Judea. Therefore, to leave the Roman Empire out of a vision which is said to cover Daniel’s people in their latter days, or last days, would be to leave out a significant player in their history. Moreover, if the vision jumped beyond the destruction of Jerusalem, then it effectively skipped over roughly 200 years of significant Jewish history to point to things that happened after the last days of the Jewish commonwealth of God. Such an understanding of the vision does not fit well with the either the context of who Daniel was told the vision pertained to or to historical facts as we know them. It is therefore this Bible student’s firm conviction that starting in verse 36, Daniel is given details of the next kingdom in line after the death of Antiochus IV and the independence of Judea from both the Syrians and the Egyptians.

Following the independence of Judea in 164 BC was a period of many years which saw the rise of the Roman Empire. After the death of Antiochus IV, the Syrian Empire became increasingly unstable. Frequent civil wars made governing the empire impossible. Antiochus V Eupator, was first overthrown by Seleucus IV’s son, Demetrius I Soter in 161 BC. Demetrius I attempted to restore Seleucid power in Judea particularly, but was overthrown in 150 BC by Alexander Balas, an impostor who claimed to be the son of Antiochus IV. He reigned until 145 BC, when he was overthrown by Demetrius I’s son, Demetrius II Nicator. Demetrius II was unable to control the whole of the kingdom. While he ruled Babylonia and eastern Syria from Damascus, the remnants of Balas’ supporters held out in Antioch.

Meanwhile, the decay of the Seleucid Empire’s territorial possessions continued rapidly. By 143 BC, the Jews had fully established their independence. Parthian expansion continued as well and was further eroding the Syrian holdings from that avenue. In 139 BC, Demetrius II was defeated in battle by the Parthians and was captured. The entire Iranian Plateau had been lost to Parthian control. Demetrius Nicator’s brother, Antiochus VII, was able to briefly organize the kingdom but was unable to resist the Parthians. He was killed in battle against them in 129 BC which led to the final collapse of the Seleucid hold on Babylonia. After the death of Antiochus VII, all effective Seleucid rule collapsed, as multiple claimants contested control of what was left of the Seleucid realm in almost unending civil war.

By 100 BC, the Syrian Empire encompassed little more than Antioch and some Syrian cities. Despite the clear collapse of their power, and the decline of their kingdom around them, nobles continued to play king on a regular basis, with occasional intervention from Ptolemaic Egypt and other outside powers who wished to bring some kind of stability to the region. The troublesome Seleucids existed solely because no other nation wished to absorb them, choosing rather to use them as a buffer between them and their other neighbors.

Tigranes the Great, king of Armenia, however, saw opportunity for expansion in the direction of what was left of the Seleucid empire and emboldened by their constant civil wars invaded Syria, and effectively put the Seleucid Empire to an end. Seleucid rulers were troublesome and refused to give up. In 69 BC, a remnant Seleucid kingdom was restored under Antiochus XIII. Civil wars between them could not be prevented, as another Seleucid, Philip II, contested rule with Antiochus XIII. The Romans became weary of constant source of instability in Syria under the Seleucids and in 63 BC, a Roman General by the name of Pompey crushed the remnant Seleucids and brought them finally under Roman rule as a province.

Daniel’s vision has now shifted from Antiochus IV and the Syrian Empire to the fourth world empire, Imperial Rome. We still have a “king of the north” in relation to the “king of the south” but the king of the “north” now becomes Imperial Rome. The “King of the south” remains as Egypt but both are seen in the eyes of the Jews from a Judean perspective. Daniel’s vision passes over several years and several Seleucid-Syrian kings after Antiochus IV “Epiphanes” (175-164 BC) and also passing beyond the time of 65-64 BC when Syria came under the control of Rome and it is now that the Jews address the issue of Judea being a protectorate of Rome in 63 BC.

"magnify himself above every god"

This is certainly a trait of the leaders of the Roman Empire. They built temples to themselves and underwent a process of self-deification where they were actually worshipped as gods on earth. This usually happened after their deaths but as time went on, at least one Emperor we know of insisted on being addressed as a god while still alive. The first Roman leader to be deified was Julius Caesar. The religious cult of Julius Caesar was officially organized in 42 BC, just 2 years after his death in 44 BC.

"and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods"

The Romans certainly accomplished this. Under their regime, they tried diligently to exterminate Christians and eliminate the worship of the God they and we serve.

"and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished:"

The Roman Empire did indeed prosper. It became the wealthiest and largest empire the world had ever known to date. The Roman Empire also persecuted Christians to a level that has henceforth never been surpassed. They not only persecuted the children of God, they promoted the worship of themselves as gods on earth placing their own leaders above God.

"for that that is determined shall be done."

The fate of the Roman Empire is a matter of history. We here learn that their fate was determined beforehand according to the divine plan of God. Nothing they did surprised God, nothing they did caught Him unaware. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire was conducted in accordance with the divine plan of God from the start to the finish.

Verse 37

Dan 11:37

Daniel 11:37 Neither shall he regardH5921 H3808 H995 the GodH430 of his fathers,H1 nor the desireH2532 of women,H802 nor regard anyH3605 H3808 H995 god:H433 forH3588 he shall magnify himselfH1431 aboveH5921 all.H3605

Daniel 11:37

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

The leaders of the Roman Empire were interested only in their own self success and power. They were willing to do whatever it took to achieve it. They disregarded the gods of their own fathers in their quest. They could not be swayed by the wiles of women. They followed after no god in their pursuit of power and they magnified themselves above all. They were willing to do anything, say anything, worship any god if it would help promote them in their quest for power.

In 42 BC, the Roman senate posthumously recognized Julius Caesar as a divinity of the Roman state, two years after his death. They also declared Augustus the adopted son of Julius Caesar. Augustus was able to further his cause by emphasizing the fact that he was the son of Julius Caesar thereby making him the "son of god". Augustus was not really the son of Julius Caesar, but he was his grand nephew by birth.

Verse 38

Dan 11:38

Daniel 11:38 But inH5921 his estateH3653 shall he honourH3513 the GodH433 of forces:H4581 and a godH433 whomH834 his fathersH1 knewH3045 notH3808 shall he honourH3513 with gold,H2091 and silver,H3701 and with preciousH3368 stones,H68 and pleasant things.H2530

Daniel 11:38

But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

The only god they served was the god of power. We are told in scripture that we are slaves to what we serve (Matthew 6:24). The Roman rulers were the slaves of their power hungry ambitious natures.

"and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things."

The Romans abandoned even the gods of their predecessors in their quest for power. Whatever god they could serve that would promote their political ambitions at the time was served. They built temples to their emperors, honoring them with all kinds of treasure and wealth but it was all a smokescreen designed to gain the support of the populace. The emperors thought that if the people worshipped them as gods, they would have their support. Emperor worship was an attempt to control the people. The ultimate goal of the leaders of the Romans was power. In their hearts, they strove for power and they would do whatever it took, worship whoever they had to worship and honor whoever they had to honor in order to achieve their goals.

Verse 39

Dan 11:39

Daniel 11:39 Thus shall he doH6213 in the most strong holdsH4013 H4581 withH5973 a strangeH5236 god,H433 whomH834 he shall acknowledgeH5234 and increase

H7235 with glory:H3519 and he shall cause them to ruleH4910 over many,H7227 and shall divideH2505 the landH127 for gain.H4242

Daniel 11:39

Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

The Roman Empire had to have money in order to function. They achieved this wealth by conquering and taxing the nations around them, adding them to the empire as a protectorate. They took their wealth and used it for the advance of power. Whoever would pay their taxes promptly and loyally was placed in positions of leadership over the provinces. The leaders of the Roman Empire appointed the boundaries of their protectorates and set leaders over them that were expected to be loyal to Rome. They did this in order to ultimately gain wealth, territory and power.

Verse 40

Dan 11:40

Daniel 11:40 And at the timeH6256 of the endH7093 shall the kingH4428 of the southH5045 pushH5055 atH5973 him: and the kingH4428 of the northH6828 shall come against him like a whirlwind,H8175 H5921 with chariots,H7393 and with horsemen,H6571 and with manyH7227 ships;H591 and he shall enterH935 into the countries,H776 and shall overflowH7857 and pass over.H5674

Daniel 11:40

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

Here the Ptolemies of Egypt move against Rome. Cleopatra and Mark Antony start moving against Rome under the reign of Augustus which resulted in Rome declaring war against Egypt.

"and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; "

After some initial success in the war against Rome, Cleopatra convinces Mark Antony to execute the war as a predominantly naval affair. While Mark Antony was opposed to this, he reluctantly acquiesced to Cleopatra’s demands. Augustus came at him with Rome’s significantly dominant naval fleet and gained the upper hand in the naval aspect of the war. Mark Antony’s land troops became demoralized and many of them defected to the Romans. Egypt was completely defeated and Mark Antony committed suicide.

"and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over"

Following the battle of Actium in 31 BC, Augustus invaded Egypt and the last stronghold of the Grecian kingdom fell to Roman rule. Egypt became one of the holdings of the Roman Empire.

Verse 41

Dan 11:41

Daniel 11:41 He shall enterH935 also into the gloriousH6643 land,H776 and manyH7227 countries shall be overthrown:H3782 but theseH428 shall escapeH4422 out of his hand,H4480 H3027 even Edom,H123 and Moab,H4124 and the chiefH7225 of the childrenH1121 of Ammon.H5983

Daniel 11:41

He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

Rome enters into Judea, now known in history as Palestine. Herod had been a supporter of Mark Antony but after his defeat and death, Herod decided it would be be a good political move to make amends with Augustus and invited him to enter into Egypt through Palestine which was by far the easiest land route to Egypt from the north. Herod showered all kinds of honors and glory on Augustus in order to retain his leadership in Palestine. Augustus was pleased with Herod’s show of support and allowed Herod to remain on the throne as a client king. Augustus used Palestine as a main access thoroughfare into Egypt. From there, Augustus sought to expand Roman control into the territories presently known as Arabia.

"but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon"

These three nations were related with Israel by descent and were their enemies. They made up the territory known as Arabia. Aelius Gallus, 2nd praefect of Roman Egypt, undertook an expedition at the command of Augustus to explore Arabia and its inhabitants in order to conclude treaties of friendship with the people, or to subdue them if they should oppose the Romans, for it was believed at the time that Arabia was full of all kinds of treasures. Aelius Gallus failed miserably and returned to Augustus with the majority of his force exterminated in 24 BC.

Verse 42

Dan 11:42

Daniel 11:42 He shall stretch forthH7971 his handH3027 also upon the countries:H776 and the landH776 of EgyptH4714 shall notH3808 escape.H1961 H6413

Daniel 11:42

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

Augustus invaded and took possession of Egypt which fell under Roman rule. Here we have a vital clue in the text of this vision. The king of the south is here positively identified as Egypt. This fact is further discussed in the commentary on the following verse.

Verse 43

Dan 11:43

Daniel 11:43 But he shall have powerH4910 over the treasuresH4362 of goldH2091 and of silver,H3701 and over allH3605 the precious thingsH2530 of Egypt:H4714 and the LibyansH3864 and the EthiopiansH3569 shall be at his steps.H4703

Daniel 11:43

But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.

With the conquest of Egypt, Rome took possession of Egypt’s vast treasures. Egypt is here mentioned by name. Historically this matches up with Daniel’s vision and lends credibility to Rome being the chief figure in this part of Daniel’s vision. It should be mentioned here that there are numerous interpretations of this vision. It is the firm conviction of this student of God’s word that the events of Daniel’s vision are limited to the Jewish people and the events in their history leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the holy people mentioned in Daniel 12:6-7.

"Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps."

With the annexation of Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia became the border nations of the Roman empire.

Verse 44

Dan 11:44

Daniel 11:44 But tidingsH8052 out of the eastH4480 H4217 and out of the northH4480 H6828 shall troubleH926 him: therefore he shall go forthH3318 with greatH1419 furyH2534 to destroy,H8045 and utterly to make awayH2763 many.H7227

Daniel 11:44

But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

Rome had enemies to the east and the north that they were never able to fully subjugate. As powerful as the Roman Empire became, it never completely conquered the Parthians from the east nor the Germanic tribes of the Goths from the north. In fact is was a combination of these two arch enemies of the Roman Empire that eventually brought the empire down. However it is not the end of the Roman Empire that is in view here. Here, the Roman Empire was able to cause great desolation with the kingdoms of the north and the east. This is a vision of Roman success against them at this time and history bears out that Rome did indeed wreak havoc among them which undoubtedly served to fuel the hatred that existed between them for centuries yet to come.

Verse 45

Dan 11:45

Daniel 11:45 And he shall plantH5193 the tabernaclesH168 of his palaceH643 betweenH996 the seasH3220 in the gloriousH6643 holyH6944 mountain;H2022 yet he shall comeH935 toH5704 his end,H7093 and noneH369 shall helpH5826 him.

Daniel 11:45

And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

The ASV renders the text thus: "And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea and the glorious holy mountain". Rome completely overthrew and subjugated Palestine. The glorious holy mountain cannot be anything but Jerusalem. The leader of the Roman Empire at the time was Augustus Caesar and during his reign he utterly subjugated and occupied Palestine, bringing it under direct Roman rule in 6 AD.

It is hard to determine here if the end that is in view here is the end of Augustus Caesar or the end of the Roman Empire as a world power. Both came to end with no help from anybody. It does no damage to the vision being strictly for the Jews by stating the inevitable demise of the Roman Empire. One does not necessarily have to jump forward in time to the downfall of Rome simply because it is stated that she will fall. Neither must we automatically assume that the following elements of Daniel’s vision must pick up from the downfall of Rome and go from there. The vision is limited by the inspired text to the Jewish people and there is no good reason to apply it to anything beyond that.

Daniel’s vision has thus far followed a more or less Chronological course through the history of Judah through the world powers that would arise and have significant influences on the Jews. The vision has now Chronologically reached a time of about 6AD. Chapter 12 is next and in it we will see the end of this vision with the final destruction of the temple and the end of the Jewish nation as the commonwealth of God. How ironic that Daniel’s life was forever changed with the overthrow of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. He lived his entire life as a faithful child of God and he was desirous of the liberation of his people and the rebuilding of the temple. Now, as an aged man nearing the end of his days on earth, he receives a vision which ends with the overthrow of his people and the final and permanent destruction of the temple, never to be rebuilt again.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Daniel 11". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/daniel-11.html.
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