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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Daniel 11

 

 

Verses 1-4

Daniel 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

Daniel 11:1Comments- Note that an angel also strengthened Jesus in Luke 22:43, "And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."

Daniel 11:2-4 — Alexander the Great's Rise to Power - Daniel 11:2-4 describes Alexander the Great's rise to power.

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.

Daniel 11:2 — "And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia" - Comments - John Gill, Adam Clarke, and Albert Barnes name the three kings of Persia spoken of in Daniel 11:2 who followed Darius the Mede. 126]

126] John Gill, Daniel , in John Gill's Expositor, in OnLine Bible, v 20 [CD-ROM] (Nederland: Online Bible Foundation, 1992-2005), notes on Daniel 11:2; Adam Clarke, Daniel , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Daniel 11:2; Albert Barnes, Daniel , in Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Daniel 11:2.

(1) Cyrus the Great (559-530 B.C), nephew to Darius - This is the Cyrus who founded the Persian Empire and made the edict for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus ruled 29 years over Persia, 11years over Media, and 9 years over Babylon and Assyria.

or, (2) Cambyses (529-522 B.C.) - Cambyses was the son of Cyrus. He is the Ahasuerus that we read about in the book of Ezra.

(3) Smerdis the Magician (522 B.C.) - After the rule of Cambyses, Smerdis the Magician usurped the throne for seven months, but he was overthrown and the throne given to Darius Hystaspes. He was the Artaxerxes of Exra Daniel 4:7. Some scholars do not reckon his reign in Daniel's prophecy. However, others count the three kings as Cambyses, Smerdis and Darius Hystaspes, calling them Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius.

or, (3) Darius Hystaspes (521-486 B.C.) - Darius was called Hystaspes because he was the son of a Persian king named Hystaspis. This is the King Darius that is referred to in Ezra 4:5, Haggai 1:1, and Zechariah 1:1. He is the king who enabled Jeshua and Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem.

There were other kings who reigned over Persia until the empire was overthrown by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C, but none benefited the Jews as did these three kings. John Goldingay lists the Achaemenid kings who ruled the Persian Empire from 560-330 B.C.

"[T]he Achaemenid kings were Cyrus (560/59-530 b.c.), Cambyses (530-522), Smerdis (522), Darius I (522-486), Xerxes I (486-465), Artaxerxes I (465-424), Xerxes II (424), Sogdianos (424-423), Darius II (423-405/4), Artaxerxes II (405/4-359/58), Artaxerxes III (359/58-338/37), Artaxerxes IV (338/37-336), Darius III (336-330) (Cook, Persian Empire, 266)." 127]

127] John E. Goldingay, Daniel , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 30, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Daniel 11:2b. See also John Manuel Cook, The Persian Empire (London: Dent, 1983), 266.

Daniel 11:2 — "and the fourth shall be far richer than they all" - Comments- The fourth king that arose over the Persian Empire was Xerxes (485-465 B.C.), the son of Darius Hystaspes. He exceeded his predecessors in wealth because of the riches that had been hoarded up by them. Cyrus had collected much wealth from the nations he had conquered, especially Babylon. Cambyses increases these riches. Darius, the father of Xerxes, was known by the Persians as "the Hoarder" because of the heavy taxes he placed upon the people while hoarding it up. 128]

128] Albert Barnes, Daniel , in Barnes" Notes, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1997), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Daniel 11:2.

Daniel 11:2 — "and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia" - Comments - John Gill says having this great wealth at his disposal, Xerxes I marked the first three or four years of his reign by preparing to march into Greece, having been moved to do so by a Mardonius, a relative of his who wanted to be commander of his army. Having hired forces from all of the known world, Xerxes I embarked on a military campaign into Greece beginning in 483 B.C. Justin says that his army consisted of 700 ,000 of his own, and 300 ,000 auxiliaries. Others count around 2 ,641 ,000 men. 129]

129] John Gill, Daniel , in John Gill's Expositor, in OnLine Bible, v 20 [CD-ROM] (Nederland: Online Bible Foundation, 1992-2005), notes on Daniel 11:2.

Having marched into Greece and performed much damage, the people of this region rose up together against him and defeated him at Salamis in 480 B.C. Xerxes I immediately withdrew himself from this campaign and returned to Persia. This campaign was called off a year later. Xerxes I seems to have spent the rest of his reign in Persia in a simple lifestyle, which in which he is known to have been a cruel monarch. He was finally murdered by his own officer in 465 B.C. 130]

130] Burton Scott Easton, "Xerxes," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

John Gill says the phrase may read, "he shall stir up all, even the realm of Grecia," referring to the fact that the Grecians came together to defeat Xerxes I, and to the fact that they never forgot his evil deeds against them, until Alexander the Great is raised up and destroys the Persian Empire. In his Letter to Darius, Alexander writes, "Your ancestors invaded Macedonia and the rest of Greece and did us much harm, though we had done none to them; I have been duly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Greeks, and invaded Asia desiring to take vengeance on Persia; but it was you who began the mischief." (Arrian, Anabasis 2144) 131]

131] Arrian, Arrian With an English Translation, vol 1, trans. E. Iliff Robson, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, W. H. D. Rouse, L. A. Post, and E. H. Warmington (London: William Heinemann Ltd, c 1929, 1967), 177.

Daniel 11:2Comments - The prevailing view is that Daniel 11:2 refers to the first four individuals who ruled the Persian Empire (Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius). However, John Goldingay offers an alternative view, explains how this verse may refer to the Achaemedid kings collectively and to their accumulated riches. 132] If the statement "three kings…and the fourth" is interpreted as a numerical collection, as found in ( Job 5:19; Job 33:14, Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 30:1-33, Ecclesiastes 11:2, Amos 1-2), then Daniel 11:2 may refer collectively to the thirteen kings who rule Persia from 560 to 330 B.C.

132] John E. Goldingay, Daniel , in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 30, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Daniel 11:2.

Daniel 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

Daniel 11:3Comments- The "mighty king" referred to in Daniel 11:3 was Alexander the Great, who came to power in 336 B.C. No one was able to stand up to him in battle. John Gill says Jerome describes his rule of great dominion by saying "having conquered the Illyrians, Thracians, Greece, and Thebes, he passed into Asia; and, having put to flight the generals of Darius, he took the city of Sardis, and afterwards India." 133] Alexander the Great dominated much of the known world of his day. Thus, he did according to his own will.

133] John Gill, Daniel , in John Gill's Expositor, in OnLine Bible, v 20 [CD-ROM] (Nederland: Online Bible Foundation, 1992-2005), notes on Daniel 11:3.

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.

Daniel 11:4 — "And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken" - Comments- At the peak of his power Alexander the Great dies of sickness, leaving a kingdom that was seized by his military generals.

Daniel 11:4 — "and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven" - Comments- Four generals divided up the kingdom. Ptolemy reigned in Egypt to the south; Antigonus in Asia to the north; Seleucus in Babylon and Syria to the east; and Cassander in Macedonia to the west.

Daniel 11:4 — "and not to his posterity" - Comments- Alexander the Great bore two sons. At his death he had one son named Hercules by Barsine, the daughter of Darius. After his death, there was born to him a son named Alexander by Roxane, but neither son was destined for their father's throne.

Daniel 11:4 — "nor according to his dominion which he ruled" - Comments- None of these four generals ruled an empire as big as Alexander the Great had ruled, for it was now divided into parts.

Daniel 11:4 — "for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those" - Comments- Alexander the Great's two sons were slain and his kingdom given to others. There were later lesser kings who took dominion over parts of his domain.


Verses 5-20

The Syrian Wars between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Kingdoms - Daniel 11:5-20 describes the on-going power struggles between Egypt and Syria, or the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms referred to in this passage of Scripture as the kings of the South and the kings of the North. This passage will cover the period from the time of the division of Alexander the Great's empire (323 B.C.) until the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, who ruled the Seleucid kingdom from 175 to 164B.C.


Verses 21-45

The Reign of Antiochus Epiphanes - Daniel 11:21-45 describes the wicked reign of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid Kingdom in Syria. His reign is marked by the most aggressive oppression of the Jewish people during the inter-biblical period. Many scholars believe the latter part of this passage of Scripture serves as a dual prophecy of the Antichrist because Daniel 11:31 refers to an event called the "abomination of desolation" mentioned by Jesus in His Eschatological Discourse ( Matthew 24:14) and because Daniel 12:1-3 alludes to events of the last days, such as the Tribulation Period and the resurrection of the saints.

Matthew 24:15, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)"

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.

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.

Daniel 11:32-33Comments - God's People Will Do Mighty Exploits- Daniel 11:32-33 suggests that there will be a great team of bold Christians who will be witnessing during the Great Tribulation with a mighty anointing. They will testify of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and perform many miracles to support their testimony. However, along with this mighty revival will come a great persecution against these bold Christians.

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.

Daniel 11:37 — "Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers" - Comments- In the Hebrew phrase "the God of his fathers" ( אֱלֹהֵ֤י אֲבֹתָיו), the word translated "God" is actually in the plural form in Daniel 11:37. For this reason many modern translations render this phrase "the gods of his fathers" (ASV, NIV, RSV, etc.).

Daniel 11:37 — "nor the desire of women" - Comments- Some scholars interpret this phrase to mean that the antichrist that is to rise to power will be a homosexual without the desire for women. Others suggest that the phrase "the desire of women" refers to child birth. Thus, he will be for abortions and even forced birth control. Note that most countries in the world today have embraced some form of legalized abortion, and in China today the government controls the size of the family by controlling how many children a woman is allowed to have.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Daniel 11:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/daniel-11.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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