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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Daniel 11

 

 

Introduction

Daniel 11. The Final Vision.—This gives a summary of history from the beginning of the Persian era to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. The references to the earlier part of it are brief, but more details are given when the prophet reaches the period of the Greek supremacy, especially with regard to the relations between the Ptolemies and the Seleucidæ.


Verse 1

Daniel 11:1. This verse really belongs to Daniel 10, and should be taken as the final clause of the preceding paragraph.—first year of Darius: the mention of Darius is exceedingly difficult, as Daniel 10:1 dates the prophecy in the third year of Cyrus. The LXX reads Cyrus instead of Darius.—confirm and strengthen him: i.e. Michael, not Darius. If the translation is right, Daniel is represented as coming to the assistance of Michael in his contest with the other angels. But the LXX reads, "confirms and strengthens me." Charles emends Daniel 10:20 b - Daniel 11:1 f. thus: "When I go forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come, and there is none that holdeth with me against these, but Michael your prince, who standeth up to confirm and strengthen me. But I will tell thee that which is inscribed in the writing of truth. Behold, there shall stand up, etc."


Verse 2

Daniel 11:2. three kings: probably Cyrus (538-529 B.C.), Cambyses (529-522 B.C.), Darius Hystaspis (522-485 B.C.).—the fourth: Xerxes (485-465 B.C.) who invaded Greece. An account of the immense wealth and power of Xerxes is given by the Greek historian Herodotus (vii. 20-99).—stir up: an allusion to the well-known expedition of Xerxes against Greece.


Verse 3

Daniel 11:3. a mighty king: Alexander the Great.


Verse 4

Daniel 11:4. his kingdom shall be broken: an allusion to the division of Alexander's empire after his death (Daniel 8:8*).—not to posterity: Alexander left no children to succeed him, and the son born after his death was murdered before he reached manhood.


Verse 5

Daniel 11:5. the king of the south: the king of Egypt, Ptolemy I. The two chief divisions of the Greek Empire were (a) Egypt, which was ruled by the Ptolemies, (b) Syria, which was governed by the Seleucidæ. The following verses give an account of the relations between these two empires.—one of his princes: Seleucus, the founder of the rival empire.—he shall be strong above him: Seleucus shall be stronger than Ptolemy.


Verse 6

Daniel 11:6. they shall join themselves: refers to the attempt of Ptolemy II (285-247) and Antiochus II to form a matrimonial alliance between the two empires.—the king's daughter: Berenice. Ptolemy II, in order to bring the long and disastrous wars between Egypt and Syria to a close, gave his daughter Berenice in marriage to Antiochus II, on condition that he divorced his wife Laodice, and upon the understanding that if Berenice had a son, he should unite the two empires.—she shall retain: the arrangement did not succeed. After the death of Ptolemy, Antiochus dismissed Berenice and took back his previous wife, Laodice.—neither shall he stand: Antiochus was murdered by Laodice.—she shall be given up: Berenice was put to death at the instigation of Laodice.—they that bought her: i.e. Berenice's attendants.—he that begat her: Ptolemy II, but Charles emends the text and reads, "her son."


Verse 7

Daniel 11:7. out of a shoot: Ptolemy III, Berenice's brother.—come with an army: Ptolemy III, in order to avenge his sister, invaded Syria, seized Seleucia the fortified port of Antioch, and overran the country. He was obliged, however, to return to Egypt, before his conquest was complete, in order to quell a rebellion, but he took back immense spoil and booty.


Verse 9

Daniel 11:9. He shall come: Seleucus II. After the murder of Antiochus, his successor, Seleucus Callinicus, invaded Egypt but was defeated (240 B.C.).


Verse 10

Daniel 11:10. his sons: i.e. the sons of Seleucus II, Seleucus Keraunos who reigned for three years (226-223 B.C.), and Antiochus III, generally known as Antiochus the Great (223-187 B.C.). The two are joined together, though the former never made an attack upon Egypt. The campaigns alluded to are those of Antiochus the Great.—shall come on: many MSS. read, "shall attack him."—his fortress: probably Gaza, the strongest fortress in the S. of Palestine.

Daniel 11:11. he shall set forth: this sentence is very ambiguous, and may mean either he (Antiochus) will raise a great army and it will be given into his (Ptolemy's) hand, or he (Ptolemy) will raise a great army and it shall be put under his command.


Verse 12

Daniel 11:12. Read mg. "The multitude" refers to the army of Antiochus.—his heart: Ptolemy's.—shall not prevail: Ptolemy failed to follow up his victory.


Verse 13

Daniel 11:13. This verse refers to an attack made by Antiochus upon Egypt twelve years later (205 B.C.). In the meantime Ptolemy Philopator had died and been succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, a boy of five.—at the end of the times: a reference to the interval of twelve years since the previous campaign.


Verse 14

Daniel 11:14. many stand up: this phrase includes Antiochus, Philip of Macedon his ally, and certain rebellions which are said to have broken out in Egypt at this time.—children of the violent: certain turbulent spirits among the Jews who assisted Antiochus in his campaign against Egypt.—to establish the vision: to fulfil the prophecies.


Verse 15

Daniel 11:15. well-fenced city: Sidon, which was captured by Antiochus.


Verse 16

Daniel 11:16. He (Antiochus) that cometh against him (Ptolemy).—the glorious land: Palestine (cf. Daniel 8:9).


Verse 17

Daniel 11:17. upright ones: read mg., which is based on the text of the Versions, "shall make equitable conditions." Owing to the intervention of the Romans, Antiochus was unable to invade Egypt, and was compelled to make terms with Ptolemy.—the daughter of women: his daughter Cleopatra.—to destroy it (mg.): the real motive of the marriage was to obtain a hold over Egypt.—but it (mg.) shall not stand: the plan did not succeed. Cleopatra took the part of her husband rather than her father.


Verse 18

Daniel 11:18. turn his face to the isles: to the coast-lands of Asia Minor, referring to Antiochus' expedition into Asia Minor and Greece.—a prince: i.e. a commander (cf. mg.); Lucius Cornelius Scipio, who defeated Antiochus at the battle of Magnesia, is intended.


Verse 19

Daniel 11:19 b. refers to the murder of Antiochus in 187 B.C. by the inhabitants of Elymais, in revenge for his sacrilege upon the Temple of Bel.


Verse 20

Daniel 11:20. one: i.e. Seleucus IV (187-175 B.C)—shall cause an exactor: these words are supposed to refer to an attempt by Seleucus to plunder the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Maccabees 2:1).—within few days: after an inglorious reign of twelve years, Seleucus IV was murdered, as the result of a plot formed against him by his chief minister, Heliodorus.


Verse 21

Daniel 11:21. a contemptible person: Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164). The rest of the chapter is a description of Antiochus, who is regarded as the villain of the piece.—they had not given: Antiochus was not the natural heir. The throne should have passed to Demetrius, the son of the previous king.—in time of security: or "unawares" (see Daniel 8:25 and Daniel 11:24).—by flatteries: Antiochus made himself very popular with the people of Antioch. An inscription was discovered at Pergamum in 1885 recording a vote of thanks passed by them to Eumenes, king of Pergamum, and Attalus his brother, for the assistance which they had rendered to Antiochus in obtaining the crown. It is printed in CB, p. 207.


Verse 22

Daniel 11:22. The attack of Antiochus upon Palestine.—prince of the covenant: the high priest, Onias III, who is called "the anointed one" in Daniel 9:26.


Verse 23

Daniel 11:23. with a small people: an allusion probably to the paucity of the friends and supporters of Antiochus.


Verse 24

Daniel 11:24. the fattest places: the meaning is obscure. The phrase is generally taken to refer to fertile districts of Palestine or Egypt, but some scholars emend the text and render, "assail the mightiest men of the province."


Verse 25

Daniel 11:25. The reference is to the first Egyptian campaign of Antiochus in 170 B.C.—king of the south: Ptolemy Philometor, who was defeated by Antiochus near Pelusium.


Verse 26

Daniel 11:26. they that eat: the defeat of Ptolemy was largely due to the disaffection of his friends.


Verse 27

Daniel 11:27. they shall speak lies: after the defeat of their king, the Alexandrians raised his brother Ptolemy Physcon to the throne, whereupon Antiochus pretended to take Ptolemy Philometor under his protection.


Verse 28

Daniel 11:28. On his return from his first Egyptian campaign Antiochus attacked Palestine.—the holy covenant: the Jewish religion.


Verse 29

Daniel 11:29. he shall return: i.e. to Egypt, an allusion to the second Egyptian campaign in 168 B.C., which resulted in disaster for Antiochus.


Verse 30

Daniel 11:30. ships of Kittim: Kittim (Numbers 24:23 f.*) is the name of a town in Cyprus, but the expression was used by Jews to denote any maritime people in the West. Here it refers to the Roman navy, which, under the command of C. Popilius Lænas, compelled Antiochus to withdraw from Egypt.—have indignation: baffled in his attempt upon Egypt Antiochus invaded Palestine again.—that forsake the covenant: i.e. renegade Jews.


Verse 31

Daniel 11:31. arms shall stand: an armed force will attack at his instance.—profane the sanctuary: refers to Antiochus' attack upon the Temple (see 1 Maccabees 1:29 ff.).—the abomination that maketh desolate: i.e. the heathen altar which Antiochus built over the altar of burnt offering (see 1 Maccabees 1:54). This expression is quoted in the NT (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14).


Verse 32

Daniel 11:32. such as do wickedly: the apostates.—but the people that know: cf. 1 Maccabees 1:62, "And many in Israel were strong, and they chose to die rather than eat unclean meats or profane the covenant."


Verse 33

Daniel 11:33. they that be wise: the pious Israelites who were loyal to their faith.—fall by the sword, etc.: a reference to the various forms of persecution.


Verse 34

Daniel 11:34. many shall join: Charles, using the LXX as his basis, emends, "and there shall join them many in the city and many in their several homesteads," i.e. the country districts.


Verse 35

Daniel 11:35. some of them: i.e. some of the leaders would suffer martyrdom, but the effect would be to refine and purify the rest of the people.


Verse 36

Daniel 11:36. exalt himself above every god: the later coins of Antioch bore the inscription: "Of King Antiochus God made manifest."—the indignation: the wrath of God (see Daniel 8:19).


Verse 37

Daniel 11:37. the gods of his fathers: Antiochus abandoned his own national cult for the worship of the Greek deities.—the desire of women: the context shows that the phrase must refer to some deity, probably to the Phœnician god, Tammuz (pp. 631f. Ezekiel 8:14*), whose worship was extremely popular in Syria (see Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 446ff.).


Verse 38

Daniel 11:38. the god of fortresses: probably the Roman deity, Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom Antiochus erected a magnificent temple at Antioch.


Verse 39

Daniel 11:39. And he shall deal . . . strange god: many scholars emend this difficult sentence," And he shall procure for the fortresses of strongholds the people of a strange god," and think that the sentence refers to the heathen soldiers and colonists settled by Antiochus in the fortress at Jerusalem.


Verse 40

Daniel 11:40. At this point history ends and prophecy begins. The rest of the chapter relates to the future. As Driver says (CB, p. 197), "The author draws here an imaginative picture of the end of the tyrant king, similar to the ideal one of the time of Sennacherib in Isaiah 10:28-32." In this verse there is a forecast of a successful campaign against the "king of the south," i.e. Ptolemy Philometor.


Verse 41

Daniel 11:41. the glorious land: Palestine (Daniel 11:16).—Edom: three countries will escape attack, i.e. Edom, Moab, and Ammon.


Verse 43

Daniel 11:43. The conquest of Egypt is to be complete, so that even the border peoples, the Libyans on the W., and the Ethiopians on the S. will be subdued.


Verse 44

Daniel 11:44. tidings: as in the case of Sennacherib, the victorious career of Antiochus is to be interrupted by news of insurrections in his own land.


Verse 45

Daniel 11:45. between the sea and . . . mountain: the prophecy supposes that Antiochus will die in Palestine somewhere between the Mediterranean and Mt. Zion. As a matter of fact, he actually died at Tabs in Persia.

 


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Daniel 11:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/daniel-11.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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