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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Daniel 11

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. XI.

The overthrow of Persia by the king of Grecia. Leagues and conflicts between the kings of the south and of the north. The invasion and tyranny of the Romans.

Before Christ 534.

THIS and the following chapter contain the substance of Daniel's last vision, or a series of prophetical history from the third year of Cyrus to the end of time. The dominion is soon made to pass from the Persians to the Grecians: the state of the Greek empire is continued through various changes and revolutions, and particularly with respect to Syria and Egypt, till at length it yields to the Romans. Several particulars afterwards follow which must relate to the church of Christ; and the last chapter has a peculiar respect to the time of the end of all prophesy, or to the grand consummation of all things.


Verse 1

Daniel 11:1. Also I, in the first year It is the usual method of the Holy Spirit, to make the later prophesies explanatory of the former; and revelation is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The four great empires shewn to Nebuchadnezzar under the symbol of a great image, were again more particularly represented to Daniel under the forms of four great wild beasts. In like manner, the memorable events which were revealed to Daniel in the vision of the ram and he-goat, are here more clearly revealed in this last vision by the angel: so that this latter prophesy may not improperly be said to be a comment upon the former. It comprehends many signal events; but the types, symbols, and figures of the things, are not exhibited in this, as in most other visions, and then expounded by the angel; but the angel relates the whole; and not by way of vision, but only by a narration informs Daniel of that which is noted in the Scripture of truth, chap. Daniel 10:21 as if future events were noted in a book by God; and the prophesy therefore, being taken from the Scripture of truth, deserves our strictest attention. See Bishop Newton, vol. 2: p. 63. 65.


Verse 2

Daniel 11:2. There shall stand up yet three kings They were to stand up yet; that is to say, after Cyrus, the founder of the empire, who was then reigning. These three kings, were Cambyses, the son of Cyrus; Smerdis the Magian, who pretended to be another son of Cyrus, but was really an impostor; and Darius, the son of Hystaspes, who married the daughter of Cyrus. The fourth, who shall be far richer than they all, was Xerxes, the son of Darius, of whom Justin remarks, that "He had so great an abundance of riches in his kingdoms, that though rivers were dried up by his numerous armies, yet his wealth remained unexhausted." Herodotus informs us, that Pythius the Lydian entertained Xerxes and all his army, and offered him two thousand talents of silver, and three millions nine hundred and ninety-three thousand pieces of gold, with the stamp of Darius, towards defraying the charges of the war; but the king, so far from wanting supplies, rewarded Pythius for his liberality, and presented him with seven thousand darics, to make his number a complete round sum of four millions. Each of these darics was worth more than a guinea of our money. See Newton.

And by his strength, &c.— Herodotus, who lived in that age, assures us, that Xerxes' army, which was collected from various parts of the continent, amounted to five millions two hundred and eighty-three thousand two hundred and twenty men: and, not content with stirring up the east, he engaged the Carthaginians in his alliance, who raised an army of Africans and mercenaries from Spain, Gaul, and Italy, which consisted of three hundred thousand men, besides a fleet of two hundred ships. Xerxes was the principal author of the long wars between the Greeks and Persians; and, being the last king of Persia who invaded Greece, is mentioned last. The Grecians in their turn invaded Asia: and, Xerxes' expedition being the most memorable on one side, as Alexander's was on the other, the reigns of these two kings are not improperly connected together, though no less than nine kings intervened betwixt them. See Newton. Houbigant renders this clause, And, relying on his riches, he shall stir up all things against the kingdoms of Greece.


Verse 3

Daniel 11:3. A mighty king shall stand up, &c.— Afterwards, &c. Houbigant. This is the character of Alexander. That he was a mighty king and conqueror, that he not only ruled with great dominion over Greece and the whole Persian empire, but likewise added India to his conquests; and that he did according to his will,—none daring to contradict or oppose him, or if they did, like Clytus and Callisthenes, paying for it with their lives—are facts too well known to require any particular proof. See Newton.


Verse 4

Daniel 11:4. When he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken When he shall have stood up. These particulars have been illustrated before, chap. Daniel 8:8-22. Alexander died at Babylon, at the age of thirty-two years and eight months only, of which he reigned twelve years and eight months. In so short a time did this sun of glory rise and set! And in the space of about fifteen years after this, his family and posterity became extinct. His wife Statira was murdered soon after his death by his other wife Roxana. His brother Aridaeus, who succeeded him, was killed, together with his wife Eurydice, by the command of Olympias, the mother of Alexander, after he had been king six years and some months; and not long after, Olympias herself was slain by the soldiers in revenge. Alexander AEgus, a son by Roxana, in the fourteenth year of his age was privately murdered, together with his mother, by order of Cassander; and, two years after, Hercules, the other son of Alexander, by Barsine, was also, with his mother, privately murdered by Polysperchon. Such was the miserable end of Alexander's family! After which the governors assumed each in his province the title of king. Thus was Alexander's kingdom broken, and divided, not to his posterity; but was plucked up even for others; and divided towards the four winds of heaven; for four of his captains prevailed over the rest, as was before observed on chap. Daniel 8:8. But though the kingdom of Alexander was divided into four principal parts, yet only two of them, Egypt and Syria, have a place in this prophesy. These two were by far the greatest and most considerable; and these two at one time were in a manner the only remaining kingdoms of the four. These two likewise continued distinct kingdoms after the others were swallowed up by the Romans. But there is a more proper and peculiar reason for enlarging upon these two particularly; because Judges, lying betwixt them, was sometimes in the possession of the kings of Egypt, and sometimes of the kings of Syria: and it is in respect of their situation to Judea, that the kings of Egypt and Syria are called kings of the south and the north. See Newton. Houbigant renders the latter part of this verse thus, But not to his posterity; nor shall it be of so great power as was his: for his kingdom shall be disjointed even among others, and those four.


Verse 5

Daniel 11:5. The king of the south, &c.— The LXX render the words, And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes shall be strong above him; or perhaps it may be better rendered thus, And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and the king of the north shall be strong above him, and have dominion: His dominion shall be a great dominion. [Houbigant reads, Afterwards the king of the south shall be powerful; but yet one of his princes shall be more powerful than he, and shall have a dominion far greater than his dominion.] The king of the south was indeed very strong: for Ptolemy had annexed Cyprus, Phoenicia, Caria, and many islands, cities, and regions, to Egypt. He had likewise enlarged the bounds of his empire by the acquisition of Cyrene; and was now become so great, as not so much to fear his enemies, as to be feared by them. But still the king of the north, or Seleucus Nicator, was strong above him; for, having annexed the kingdom of Macedon and Thrace to the crown of Syria, he was become master of three parts in four of Alexander's dominions. After Alexander, he possessed the largest part of Asia; for all was subject to him, from Phrygia up to the river Indus, and beyond it. Seleucus Nicator, having reigned seven months after the death of Lysimachus, was basely murdered; to him succeeded in the throne of Syria, his son Antiochus Soter, and to Antiochus Soter, his son Antiochus Theus: at the same time Ptolemy Philadelphus reigned in Egypt. There were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and Syria; particularly between Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theus, the third king of Syria. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 6

Daniel 11:6. And in the end of years After these wars had long lasted between Ptolemy and Antiochus Theus, they agreed to make peace; upon condition, that the latter should put away his former wife Laodice and her sons, and marry Berenice, Ptolemy's daughter; accordingly, he brought her to Antiochus, with an immense treasure, and thence received the appellation of dowry-giver. She did not, however, long retain her interest and power with Antiochus; for, after some time, in a fit of love he brought back his former wife with her children to court again. But neither did he stand, nor his arm, nor his seed; for Laodice, fearing the fickle temper of her husband, lest he should recal Berenice, caused him to be poisoned; and managed matters so as to fix her eldest son Callinicus on the throne: and, not content with this, she caused Berenice also to be murdered, and them that brought her; for her Egyptian women and attendants, endeavouring to defend her, were many of them slain with her: and he that begat her, or rather, he whom she brought forth; the son being murdered as well as the mother, by the order of Laodice: and he that strengthened her, &c. her husband Antiochus, or those who took her part, or rather her father, who died a little before, and who was excessively fond of her. See Bishop Newton.


Verses 7-9

Daniel 11:7-9. But out of a branch, &c.— Rather, as in the Vulgate, Out of the branch of her root, shall stand up a plant; and he shall come, &c. This branch which sprung out of the same root with Berenice was Ptolemy Euergetes, her brother, who no sooner succeeded his father, than he came with a great army, and entered into the provinces of the king of the north; that is, of Seleucus Callinicus, who, with his mother Laodice, reigned in Syria; and he acted against them, and prevailed so far as to take Syria, Cilicia, the upper parts beyond the Euphrates, and almost all Asia. And when he had heard that a sedition was raised in Egypt, he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus, and took forty thousand talents of silver and precious vessels, and images of the gods two thousand and five hundred; and, had he not been recalled by a domestic sedition, would have subdued the whole kingdom of Syria. Thus the king of the south came into the kingdom of the north, and then returned, &c. He likewise continued more years than the king of the north; for Seleucus died in exile, by a fall from his horse, and Ptolemy survived him about four or five years. See Newton.


Verse 10

Daniel 11:10. But his sons shall be stirred up, &c.— The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus and Antiochus; the elder of whom, Seleucus, succeeded him; and, to distinguish him from others of the same name, was denominated Ceraunus, or the thunderer. Seleucus Ceraunus was indeed stirred up, and assembled a multitude of forces, to recover his father's dominions; but, being destitute of money, and unable to keep his army in obedience, was poisoned by two of his generals after an inglorious reign of two or three years. Upon his decease his brother Antiochus Magnus was proclaimed king. The prophet's expression is very remarkable, that his sons should be stirred up, and assemble a great multitude of forces; but then the number is changed, and only ONE should certainly come and overflow, &c. Accordingly, Antiochus came with a great army, retook Seleucia, and by the means of Theodotus recovered Syria. Then, after a truce, wherein both sides treated of peace, but prepared for war, Antiochus returned, and overcame Nicolaus the Egyptian general, and had thoughts of invading Egypt itself. See Newton.


Verse 11

Daniel 11:11. And the king of the south shall be moved, &c.— The king of the south, at that time, was Ptolemy Philopater, who succeeded his father Euergetes: he was, no doubt, moved with choler for the losses that he had sustained, and for the revolt of Theodotus and others. And he came forth; he marched out of Egypt with a numerous army, and encamped not far from Raphia, the nearest town of Egypt after Rhinocorura. And there he fought with—the king of the north; for thither likewise came Antiochus with his army, and a memorable battle was fought there by the two kings. And he, the king of the north, set forth a great multitude; amounting to sixty-two thousand foot, six thousand horse, and one hundred and two elephants. But yet the multitude was given into his hand; that is to say, into the hand of the king of the south; for Ptolemy obtained a complete victory. Upon this defeat, Raphia and the neighbouring towns contended which should be the most forward to submit to the conqueror; and Antiochus was forced to retreat with his scattered army to Antioch, and thence sent ambassadors to solicit a peace. See Newton.


Verse 12

Daniel 11:12. When he hath taken away, &c.— Had Ptolemy pursued his blow, he might probably have deprived Antiochus of his kingdom: but his heart was lifted up with success: being delivered from his fears, he more freely indulged his licentious desires; and, after a few menaces and complaints, granted peace to Antiochus, that he might be no more interrupted in the gratification of his passions. What availed it to have conquered enemies from without, while thus overcome by vices from within? Indeed, he was so far from being strengthened by his success, that his subjects, offended at his inglorious peace, and more inglorious life, rebelled against him. But the prophet, in this passage, alludes more particularly to the case of his own countrymen. After the retreat of Antiochus, Ptolemy visited the cities of Coelo-Syria and Palestine; and in his progress came to Jerusalem, where he offered sacrifices, and attempted in the insolence of pride to enter into the holy of holies. His curiosity was with difficulty restrained, and he departed in heavy displeasure against the whole nation of the Jews. At his return, therefore, to Alexandria, he began a cruel persecution upon the Jewish inhabitants there, and cast down many ten thousands; for it appears, that sixty thousand, or forty thousand at least, were slain about this time. No king could be strengthened by the loss of such a number of useful subjects; but if we add to this loss the rebellion of the Egyptians, we shall evidently own, that his kingdom must have been much weakened, and in a very tottering condition. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 13

Daniel 11:13. The king of the north shall return, &c.— The following events were not to take place till after certain years; and the peace continued between the two crowns about fourteen years. In that interval Ptolemy Philopater died, and was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, a child of four or five years old. Antiochus too, having taken and slain the rebel Achaeus, and reduced the eastern parts, was at leisure to prosecute any enterprize. He had acquired great riches, and collected many forces in this eastern expedition; so that he was enabled to set forth a greater multitude than the former; and he doubted not to have an easy victory over an infant king. See Newton.


Verse 14

Daniel 11:14. There shall many stand up Agathocles was in possession of the young king's person; but so dissolute and proud in the exercise of his power, that the provinces which before were subject to Egypt rebelled; Egypt itself was disturbed by seditions; and the people of Alexandria rose against Agathocles, and caused him, his sister, mother, and their associates, to be put to death; while Philip king of Macedon and Antiochus entered into a league, and divided Ptolemy's dominions between them as they thought proper. The phrase robbers of the people, is literally, the sons of the breakers, the sons of the revolters, the factious, profligate, and refractory ones of the people; for the Jews at that time were broken into factions, part adhering to the king of Egypt, and part to the king of Syria; but the majority were for their breaking away their allegiance to Ptolemy. In the Vulgate it is rendered, the sins also of the prevaricators of thy people; in the Greek, the sons of the pestilent ones of the people. What shall they do?—They shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; shall revolt from Ptolemy, and thereby shall contribute greatly, without their knowing it, towards the accomplishment of this prophesy concerning the calamities which should be brought upon the Jewish nation by the succeeding kings of Syria. But they shall fall; for Scopas came with a powerful army from Ptolemy, and, Antiochus being engaged in other parts, soon reduced the cities of Coelo-Syria and Palestine, subdued the Jews in the winter season, placed a garrison in the coasts of Jerusalem, and returned with great spoils to Alexandria. See Newton.


Verse 15-16

Daniel 11:15-16. So the king of the north shall come, &c. and take the most fenced cities Antiochus, being desirous to recover Judaea, and the cities which Scopas had taken, came again into those parts. Scopas was sent to oppose him; but was defeated near the sources of Jordan, lost a great part of his army, and was pursued to Sidon, where he was shut up with ten thousand men, and closely besieged. Three famous generals were sent from Egypt to raise the siege; but were defeated of their purpose, and Scopas was forced by famine to surrender, upon the hard conditions of having life only granted to him and his men; after which they were obliged to lay down their arms, and were sent away stripped and naked. This event is supposed to be principally intended by his casting up a mount, and taking the city of munitions; for Sidon was an exceeding strong city in its situation and fortifications. But if we take the phrase more generally, Antiochus, after the success of this battle and siege, reduced other countries, and took other fenced cities. The arms of the south could not withstand him, neither his chosen people; neither Scopas, nor the other great generals, nor the choicest troops who were sent against him: but he did according to his own will, and none was able to stand before him; for he soon rendered himself master of Coelo-Syria and Palestine; the Jews meeting him in a solemn procession, supplying him with provisions, and assisting him to besiege the garrison which Scopas had left in the citadel. Thus he stood in the glorious land, and his power was established in Judaea. The next clause may be rendered, which shall be perfected, prosper, or flourish, in his hand. The original will admit of this sense, and the event confirms it; for Antiochus, to reward and encourage the Jews in their fidelity and obedience to him, ordered their city to be repaired, and the dispersed Jews to return and inhabit it; commanded them to be supplied with provisions for sacrifices, and with materials for finishing the temple; and that they should all live according to the laws of their country; exempted the priests and elders, scribes and Levites, from the capitation and other taxes; and ordered that those who returned within a limited term should be free from all tribute for three years, and have a third part of the tribute thenceforward to become due remitted to them for ever: and also, that as many as had been taken and forced into servitude, should be released, and their substance restored to them. What is said about finishing the temple, answers exactly to the word perfected, or consummated, in the Hebrew; and so it is rendered and explained by Theodoret and the LXX. See Newton.


Verse 17

Daniel 11:17. He shall also set his face, &c.— Rather, He shall also set his face to enter by force the whole kingdom: for Antiochus, not contented with having rent the principal provinces from Egypt, was forming schemes for that purpose. If the next words be rightly translated, the upright ones are the Jews, who marched under the banners of Antiochus, and are so denominated to distinguish them from the idolatrous soldiers. The LXX and Vulgate, however, give a more probable rendering; he shall set things right, or make agreement with him, as the phrase is used, Daniel 11:6. Antiochus would have seized upon Egypt by force; but, as he was meditating a war with the Romans, he judged it better to proceed with Ptolemy by stratagem. For this purpose, we read, he shall give him the daughter of women, his daughter, so called, as being one of the most eminent and beautiful women: and accordingly he proposed a treaty of marriage to Ptolemy, betrothed his daughter Cleopatra to him in the seventh year of his reign, married her to him in the thirteenth, conducted her himself to Raphia, where the solemnity was performed; and gave Ptolemy the provinces of Coelo-Syria and Palestine, on condition that the revenues should be equally divided between the two kings: and all this he transacted with a fraudulent intention to corrupt her, and to induce her to betray her husband's interests. But his designs did not take effect; she shall not stand on his part, &c. Ptolemy and his generals, aware of his artifices, stood upon their guard, and Cleopatra herself affected more the cause of Ptolemy than of her father; insomuch that she joined with him in an embassy to the Romans, to congratulate them upon their victories over her father, and to exhort them, after they had expelled him out of Greece, to prosecute the war in Asia, assuring them of her husband's and her concurrence and compliance with the commands of the senate. See Newton.


Verse 18

Daniel 11:18. After this shall he turn his face unto the isles Antiochus fitted out one hundred large ships, and two hundred lesser vessels, with which he turned his face unto the isles of the Mediterranean, subdued most of the maritime places on the coast of Asia, Thrace, and Greece, and took Samos, Euboea, and many other islands. This was a great indignity and reproach offered to the Romans. But a prince, or rather a leader, or general (meaning the Roman generals) repelled the injury, and caused his reproach to cease. Acilius routed Antiochus at the straits of Thermopylae, and expelled him from Greece. Livius and AEmilius beat his fleets at sea, and Scipio obtained a decisive victory over him in Asia, near the city Magnesia. Upon this defeat, Antiochus was necessitated to sue for peace, and obliged to submit to very degrading conditions; not to set foot in Europe; to quit all Asia on this side mount Taurus; to defray the whole charges of the war, and to give twenty hostages for the performance of these articles, one of whom was his own son Antiochus, afterwards called Epiphanes. By these means, he and his successors became tributary to the Romans: so truly did they not only cause the reproach offered by him to cease, but, greatly to their own honour, caused it to turn upon him. See Newton.


Verse 19

Daniel 11:19. Then he shall turn his face towards the fort Antiochus, after the battle, fled away at night to Sardis, thence to Apamea; and the next day came into Syria, to Antioch, the fort of his own land. Thence he sent ambassadors to sue for peace; and within a few days after it was granted, sent part of the money demanded, and the hostages, to the Roman consul at Ephesus. Being under the greatest difficulties how to raise the stipulated sums, he marched into the eastern provinces to collect the arrears of tribute; and attempting to plunder the temple of Jupiter Belus at Elymais, he was resisted by the inhabitants, and slain, together with his attendants. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 20

Daniel 11:20. Then shall stand up—a raiser of taxes Or, according to the original, One who causeth an exactor to pass over the glory, &c. Seleucus Philopater succeeded his father Antiochus the Great in Syria. He had an inclination to throw off the Roman yoke, but had not courage to effect it. He raised an army, with an intent to assist Pharnaces, king of Pontus; but his fear of the Romans was so great, that he disbanded his forces almost as soon as he had levied them. The annual tribute of 1000 talents was a grievous burden to him and his kingdom; and he was little more than a raiser of taxes all his days. Being informed of the money deposited in the temple of Jerusalem, he sent his treasurer Heliodorus to seize it. This was literally causing an exactor to pass over the glory of the kingdom, that temple, over which even kings did honour, and magnify with their best gifts, 2 Maccabees 3:2. But within a few days, or rather years, according to the prophetic style, he was destroyed, and his reign was of short duration in comparison of his father's, being only twelve years, and his father's thirty-seven. Or perhaps it may be better expounded thus; that within few days, or years, after his attempt to plunder the temple of Jerusalem, he should be destroyed: and, not long after that, he was destroyed, neither in anger nor in battle; neither in rebellion at home, nor in war abroad; but by the treachery of Heliodorus, who, in the absence of Demetrius and Antiochus, the king's sons, thought that he had a fair opportunity to usurp the throne. See Newton. Houbigant renders this verse, Then shall one succeed into his place, who shall send a raiser of taxes to the place honoured by kings; but, &c.


Verse 21

Daniel 11:21. In his estate shall stand, &c.— Antiochus, in his return from Rome, was at Athens in Syria, when his brother died by the treachery of Heliodorus; and the honour of the kingdom was not given to him; for Heliodorus attempted to get possession of it for himself. Another party declared in favour of Ptolemy Philometor, king of Egypt, whose mother Cleopatra was the daughter of Antiochus the Great; and neither was Antiochus the right heir, but his nephew Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, who was then a hostage at Rome. However, he obtained the kingdom by flatteries. He flattered Eumenes, king of Pergamus, and Attalus his brother, and engaged their assistance. He flattered the Syrians, and gained their concurrence. He flattered the Romans, and sent ambassadors to court their favour, to pay them the arrears of their tribute, to present them besides with golden vessels of five hundred pounds weight, and to desire their friendship and alliance. Thus he came in peaceably; and as he flattered the Syrians, the Syrians flattered him again, and bestowed upon him the title of Epiphanes, or the Illustrious; but the epithet of vile, or rather despicable, here given by the prophet, agrees better with his true profligate character; and indeed a contemporary writer, and others after him, instead of Epiphanes, more rightly called him Epimanes, or the mad-man. See Newton.


Verses 22-24

Daniel 11:22-24. And with the arms of a flood, &c.— Or rather, more agreeably to the Hebrew, And the arms of the overflower shall be, &c. The arms which were overflown before him, were those of his competitors for the crown. They were vanquished by the forces of Eumenes and Attalus, and were dissipated by the arrival of Antiochus, whose presence disconcerted all their measures. The prince also of the covenant, that is, the high-priest of the Jews, was broken. As soon as Antiochus was seated on the throne, he removed Onias from the priesthood, and preferred Jason the brother of Onias for the great sums of money offered by him. But though Antiochus had made a league with Jason, yet he did not faithfully adhere to it, but acted deceitfully, and substituted his brother Menelaus in his room by means of an armed force; because he offered him a greater sum than that which he had received from Jason. As what follows in Daniel 11:23 does not assign a reason for any thing that preceded, it might have been translated, And he shall come up, &c. Antiochus Epiphanes had been many years a hostage at Rome; and coming thence with few attendants, he appeared little in Syria at first; but soon received a great increase, and became strong with a small people. By the friendship of Eumenes and Attalus, he entered peaceably upon the upper provinces: he likewise entered peaceably upon the provinces of Coelo-Syria and Palestine; and wherever he came he outdid his father, and his father's father in liberality and profusion. He scattered among them the prey, and spoil, and riches. The prey of his enemies, the spoil of temples, and the riches of his friends, as well as his own revenues, were expended in public shows, and bestowed in largesses among the people. We are told, 1 Maccabees 3:30 that in the liberal giving of gifts, he abounded above all the kings that were before him. He enriched with presents people whom he had never seen before; and sometimes, standing in the streets, would throw about his money, and cry aloud, "Let him take it, to whom fortune shall give it." His generosity was the more requisite to fix the provinces of Coelo-Syria and Palestine in his interest, because they were claimed as belonging to the king of Egypt. Ptolemy Epiphanes and his queen Cleopatra were now dead. Eulaeus and Lenaeus, who were administrators of the kingdom for the young prince Ptolemy Philometor, demanded restitution of these provinces. Antiochus rejected their claim; and, foreseeing that these demands would prove the grounds of a new war between the two crowns, came to Joppa, to take a view of the frontiers, and put them in a proper state of defence. In his progress he came to Jerusalem, and was ushered into the city by torch-light with great rejoicing. Thence he went into Phoenicia, to fortify his own strong-holds, and to forecast his devices against those of the enemy. The LXX and Arabic read, To forecast his devices against Egypt. This he did even for a time, and employed some years in his hostile preparations. See Newton.


Verse 25-26

Daniel 11:25-26. He shall stir up, &c.— Antiochus marched against Ptolemy, his sister's son, with a great army. The king of the south too, that is to say, the generals of Ptolemy, were stirred up to war, with very many and exceeding strong forces; and yet could not resist the fraudulent counsels of Antiochus. The two armies engaged between Pelusium and mount Casius; and Antiochus obtained the victory. In the next campaign he had greater success, routed the Egyptians, took Memphis, and made himself master of all Egypt, except Alexandria. These transactions are recorded, 1 Maccabees 1:16-19. The misfortunes of Ptolemy are by the prophet ascribed to the treachery and baseness of his own ministers and subjects, Daniel 11:26.; and it is certain, that Eulaeus was a very wicked minister, and bred up the king in effeminacy, contrary to his natural inclination. Ptolemy Macron, governor of Cyprus, revolted, and delivered up that island to Antiochus; nay, even the Alexandrians, seeing the distress of Philometor, renounced their allegiance; and taking his young brother Euergetes, or Physcon, proclaimed him king in his stead. See Bishop Newton. Instead of shall overflow, Daniel 11:26 we may read, shall be routed.


Verse 27

Daniel 11:27. Both these kings' hearts, &c.— After Antiochus was come to Memphis, he and Philometor frequently ate and conversed together at one table; but, notwithstanding, their hearts were really bent to do mischief, and they spoke lies the one to the other. Antiochus pretended to take care of his nephew's interest, and promised to restore him to the crown, at the same time that he was plotting his ruin, and contriving to weaken the two brothers in a war against each other. On the contrary, Philometor laid the blame of the war upon his governor Eulaeus, and professed great obligations to his uncle; at the same time that he resolved, on the first opportunity, to break the league, and be reconciled to his brother. Accordingly, as soon as Antiochus was withdrawn, he made proposals of accommodation; and by the mediation of their sister Cleopatra a peace was made between them, and they agreed to reign jointly in Egypt and Alexandria. But still these artifices did not prosper on either side; for neither did Antiochus obtain the kingdom, nor did Philometor utterly exclude him, as each intended; for these wars were not to have an end till the time appointed, which was not yet come. See Newton.


Verse 28

Daniel 11:28. Then shall he return, &c.— Antiochus did indeed thus return; for the spoils which he took in Egypt were of immense value. See 1 Maccabees 1:19-24. On his return too from Egypt, he set his heart against the holy covenant. For while he was absent there, a false report was spread of his death; and Jason, thinking this a favourable opportunity for recovering the high-priesthood, marched with forces to Jerusalem, took it, drove Menelaus into the castle, and exercised great cruelties upon the citizens. Antiochus hearing of this, and being informed that the people made great rejoicings at the report of his death, he determined to take a severe revenge, and went with a great army against Jerusalem. He besieged and took the city by force, slew forty thousand of the inhabitants, sold as many more for slaves, polluted the temple and altar with swine's flesh, broke into the Holy of Holies, took away the golden vessels, and other sacred treasures, to the value of one thousand eight hundred talents, restored Menelaus to his office, and constituted one Philip, a Phrygian, governor of Judaea. See 1 Maccabees 1:24. 2 Maccabees 5:21 and Bishop Newton.


Verse 29-30

Daniel 11:29-30. At the time appointed he shall return, &c.— Antiochus perceiving that his policy was detected, and that the two brothers had provided for their mutual safety, was so offended, that he prepared war much more eagerly and maliciously against both, than he had before against one of them. Early in the spring he set forward with his army; and, passing through Coelo-Syria, came into Egypt; and the inhabitants of Memphis submitting to him, he came by easy marches down to Alexandria. But this expedition was not so successful as his former ones. The reason of which follows, Daniel 11:30. The ships of Chittim came against him; those ships of Chittim which brought the Roman ambassadors to command a peace between the contending kings. See the account of this matter in the note on chap. Daniel 8:23. The reason of the Romans acting in this imperious manner, and of Antiochus's ready obedience, was, the total conquest which Paulus AEmilius the consul had just made of the kingdom of Macedonia. It was a great mortification to Antiochus, to be thus humbled and disappointed of his prey: therefore he grieved and returned. "He led back his forces into Syria, says Polybius, grieving and groaning:" and had indignation against the holy covenant; for he vented all his anger upon the Jews; he detached Apollonius with twenty-two thousand men; who, coming to Jerusalem, slew great multitudes, plundered and set fire to the city, pulled down the houses and walls round it, and built a strong fortress on an eminence which commanded the temple: then issuing thence, they fell on those who came to worship, and shed innocent blood on every side the sanctuary, defiling it so that the temple was deserted, the whole service omitted, and the city entirely forsaken by the natives. So he did; and after his return to Antioch, he published a decree, which obliged all persons to conform to the religion of the Greeks; insomuch that the Jewish law was abrogated, the heathen worship was set up in its stead, and the temple itself consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. In the transacting of these matters, he had intelligence with them that forsook the covenant; with Menelaus and the other apostate Jews of his party, who were the king's chief instigators against their religion and country. This is asserted by the writer of 1 Maccabees 1:41, &c. 2 Maccabees 6:1; 2 Maccabees 6:9 and confirmed by Josephus de Bell. Jud. lib. 1 cap. 1: sect. 1. It may be proper to pause a little here, and reflect how particular and circumstantial this prophesy is concerning the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. There is not so concise, comprehensive, and regular an account of their kings and affairs to be found in any authors of those times. The prophesy is really more perfect than any history; and is so wonderfully exact, not only to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, but likewise equally so beyond that time, that we may conclude in the words of the inspired writer, "No one could thus know the times or the seasons, but he who hath them in his own power." See Acts 1:7 and Bishop Newton.


Verse 31

Daniel 11:31. And arms shall stand on his part, &c.— After Antiochus, arms, that is, the Romans, shall stand up. As ממלךֶ mimelech, signifies after the kings in Daniel 11:8 so ממנו mimennu, may here signify after him. See also Nehemiah 13:21 and Daniel 11:23 of this chapter, in the original. Arms, says Sir Isaac Newton, are every where in this prophesy put for the military power of a kingdom; and they stand up, when they conquer and grow powerful. Hitherto Daniel had described the actions of the kings of the north and south; but upon the conquest of Macedon by the Romans, he left off describing the actions of the Greeks, and began to describe those of the Romans in Greece; who conquered Macedon, Illyricum, and Epirus, in the year of Nabonassor 580. Thirty-five years after this, by the will of Attalus, they inherited all Asia westward of mount Tartarus; sixty-nine years afterwards they conquered the kingdom of Syria, and reduced it into a province; and thirty-four years after that they did the like to Egypt. By all these steps the Roman arms stood up over the Greeks; and after ninety-five years more, by making war upon the Jews, They polluted the sanctuary of strength [the temple, so called by reason of its fortifications], and took away their daily sacrifice; and then placed the abomination of desolation: for that this abomination was thus placed after the days of Christ, appears from Matthew 24:15. In the 16th year of the emperor Adrian, and of our Lord 132, they placed the abomination by building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, where the temple of God in Jerusalem stood; upon which the Jews, under the conduct of Barchocab, rose up in arms against the Romans, and in the war had fifty cities demolished, nine hundred and fifty of their best towns destroyed, and five hundred and eighty thousand men slain by the sword; and in the end of the war, in the year 136, were banished Judaea on pain of death; and thenceforward the land remained desolate. See Sir Isaac Newton's Observations on Daniel, and Bishop Newton.


Verse 32-33

Daniel 11:32-33. Such as do wickedly, &c.— All these things are applicable to the Christian Jews; for now the daily sacrifice was taken away, the temple was given to desolation, and the Christian church had succeeded in the place of the Jewish; the new covenant in the room of the old. The Roman magistrates and officers, that power who took away the daily sacrifice, made use of the most alluring promises, as well as the most terrible threats to corrupt, and prevail upon the primitive Christians to renounce their religion, and offer incense to the statues of the emperors, and images of the gods: but the true Christians, the people who knew their God was strong, remained firm to their religion. It may also with the strictest propriety be said of these primitive Christians, that being despised every where, and preaching the Gospel in all parts of the Roman empire, they instructed many, and gained a great number of converts to their religion: yet they fell by the sword, and by shame, and by captivity, and by spoil many days; for they were exposed to the malice and fury of ten persecutions, and suffered all manner of afflictions and tortures, with little intermission, for the space of three hundred years. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 34-35

Daniel 11:34-35. When they shall fall, &c.— The church had laboured under long and severe persecutions from the civil power. The tenth and last was begun by Dioclesian; it raged ten years, and was suppressed entirely by Constantine, the first Roman emperor who embraced Christianity; and then the church was protected and favoured by the civil arm. But this is called only a little help; because, though it added much to the temporal prosperity, yet it contributed little to the spiritual graces and virtues of Christians: it enlarged their revenues, but proved the fatal means of corrupting the doctrine and relaxing the discipline of the church. It was attended with this peculiar disadvantage, that many clave to them with flatteries; many became Christians only because the emperor was so. Moreover, this is called a little help, because the temporal peace and prosperity of the church lasted but a little while. The spirit of persecution presently revived; and no sooner were the Christians delivered from the fury of their adversaries, than they began to quarrel among themselves, and to persecute one another. Such, more or less, has been the fate of the church ever since; and generally speaking, those of understanding have fallen a sacrifice to others; some of the best and wisest, to some of the worst and the most ignorant in divine things. These calamities were to befal Christians, to try, and to purge, and to make them white, not only at that time, but even to the time of the end, even to the latter days; because it is yet for an appointed time. And it is not a great while since we have seen, not to allege other instances, how the poor protestants were persecuted, plundered, and murdered in the southern parts of France; and we have also seen the just retaliation of a holy and jealous God. See Newton.


Verse 36

Daniel 11:36. The king shall do, &c.— The prophet was speaking of the persecutions which should be permitted for the trial of the church after the empire was become Christian; and now he proceeds to describe the principal author of them. A king or kingdom, as we have before observed, signifies any government, state, or potentate; and the meaning of this verse we conceive to be, that after the empire was become Christian, there should spring up in the church an antichristian power, which should act in the most arbitrary manner, exalt itself above all laws, divine and human, dispense with the most solemn and sacred obligations, and in many respects enjoin what God had forbidden, and forbid what God had commanded. This power began in the Roman emperors, who summoned councils, and directed their determinations as they pleased. After the division of the empire, this power increased, and was executed principally by the Greek emperors in the East, and by the bishops of Rome in the West. This power too was to continue in the church, and prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. This is the same as what was called in chap. Daniel 8:19 the last end of the indignation; and chap. Daniel 9:27 the consummation; and means the last end and consummation of God's indignation against the Jews; and this seems more clearly expressed, chap. Daniel 12:7. So long is this anti-christian power to continue! We see it still subsisting in the church of Rome; and it was an ancient tradition among the Jewish doctors, that the destruction of Rome and the restoration of the Jews shall fall out about the same period. It is a saying of Rabbi David Kimchi, "When Rome shall be laid waste, there shall be redemption for Israel." See note on chap. Daniel 8:14 and Bishop Newton.


Verse 37

Daniel 11:37. Neither shall he regard the god, &c.— The prophet's intention is, to blame the power here mentioned for apostatizing in some measure from the religion of his Christian fathers, as he actually did both in the Greek and Latin church by worshipping Mahuzzim, instead of the true God. Another property of the power here described is, that he should not regard the desire of women. The interpretation is easy of Antichrist, that he should therefore counterfeit chastity, that he might deceive many. The Vulgate reads, And he shall regard, &c. But this is plainly contrary to the original, and most other versions. The word used for women, properly signifies wives, as desire does conjugal affection. The meaning, therefore, of not regarding the desire of women is, neglecting and discouraging marriage, as both the Greeks and Latins did, to the great discredit of the Christian religion. The Julian and Papian laws were enacted in favour of those who were married and had children. Constantine repealed them, and allowed equal or greater immunities to those who were unmarried and had no children. Nay, he held those in the highest veneration who devoted themselves to a monastic life; and almost adored the company of perpetual virgins, from a persuasion, that the God to whom they were consecrated did in a most peculiar or supereminent manner dwell in their minds. His example was followed by his successors; the married clergy were discountenanced, the monks were honoured, and in the fourth century first overran the Eastern church, and afterward the Western, like a torrent. This was evidently not regarding the desire of wives, or conjugal affection. At first, only second marriages were prohibited; but in time the clergy were absolutely restrained from marrying at all. So much did the power here described magnify himself above all, even God himself, by contradicting the primary law of God and nature; and making that dishonourable which the Scripture hath pronounced honourable in all; Hebrews 13:4. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 38

Daniel 11:38. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces The original word rendered forces, is מעזים mauzzim, which is taken personally, and retained in the versions of the LXX and Vulgate. It is derived from the radical verb עוז oz, signifying he was strong; and its proper meaning is munitions, bulwarks, fortresses: but, the Hebrews often using abstracts for concretes, it signifies equally, protectors, defenders, and guardians. This being the derivation and signification of the word, the verse may be literally translated, And the god Mahuzzim, in his estate shall he honour; even a god whom, &c. But if it be thought requisite to separate the word God and Mahuzzim, and to express the force of the Hebrew particle ל lamed, then the verse may be translated, And with God, or instead of God, Mahuzzim in his estate shall he honour; even with God, or instead of God, those whom his fathers knew not, shall he honour with gold, &c. However it be translated,'the meaning evidently is, that he should establish the worship of Mahuzzim, of protectors, defenders, and guardians. He should worship them as God, or with God; and who is there so little acquainted with ecclesiastical history, as not to know that the worship of saints and angels was established both in the Greek and Latin church? They were not only invocated and adored as patrons, intercessors, protectors, and guardians, but miracles were ascribed to them; their very relics were worshipped, and their shrines and images adorned with the most costly offerings, and honoured with gold and silver, with precious stones, and desirable things. And what renders the completion of the prophesy more remarkable is, that they were celebrated and adored under the very title of Mahuzzim, of bulwarks and fortresses, of protectors and guardians; as appears from various striking passages in the writings of Basil, Chrysostome, Hilary, Gregory Nyssen, Eucherius, Theodoret, and others. This superstition began to prevail in the fourth century; and in the eighth, in the year 787, the worship of images, &c. was fully established by the seventh general council,—the second that was held at Nice. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 39

Daniel 11:39. Thus shall he do—with a strange god, &c.— The worship of Mahuzzim was indeed the worship of a strange God, both to those who imposed it, and to those who received it in the church. But, for the better understanding this part of the prophesy, it may be proper to propose a more literal translation. Thus shall he do; to the defenders of Mahuzzim, together with the strange God whom he shall acknowledge, he shall multiply honour, and he shall cause them to rule over many; and the earth he shall divide for a reward. In our Bible translation it is, Thus shall he do in the most strong holds; or, as we read in the Margin, In the fortresses of munitions, with a strange god: but here Mahuzzim is not taken personally, as it was in the foregoing verse, Whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory, says our version; but there is no conjunction like and before increase, and no preposition like with before glory in the original. The latter part is nearly the same in all translations; but in our Bible version there is nothing to which them can be referred:—and he shall cause them to rule over many: for it cannot well be said, that he shall cause the strong holds to rule over many. Let us now consider how these inconveniences may be wholly avoided by a new translation. Thus shall he do;—so the same words are rendered Daniel 11:30 but then here a stop is to be made. To the defenders of Mahuzzim, or to the priests of Mahuzzim. Here the force of the Hebrew particle is expressed; here again the abstract is used for the concrete, as in the foregoing verse; holds or fortresses for defenders, and supporters for priests, as it may be translated. It is manifest that persons must be meant, because they are said afterwards to rule over many.—Together with the strange god whom he shall acknowledge: this is the most usual signification of the preposition; and if Mahuzzim be not considered as the strange god, it is difficult to say who the strange god is. He shall multiply honour: there is no conjunction or preposition inserted without authority from the original. He shall multiply honour: the noun is as the verb in the preceding verse, he shall honour. He shall multiply honour to the defenders and champions of Mahuzzim, as well as to Mahuzzim themselves. Deifying Mahuzzim, he shall glorify their priests and ministers; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and the earth he shall divide for a reward. The prophesy thus expounded, the completion becomes obvious. The defenders and champions of Mahuzzim were the monks, priests, and bishops of the Roman church; and of them it may most truly be said, That they were increased with honour, and ruled over many, and divided the land for gain. That they have been honoured, reverenced, and almost adored in former ages; that their authority and jurisdiction have extended over the purses and consciences of men; that they have been enriched with noble buildings and large endowments, and have had the choicest of the lands appropriated for church lands, are points of such public notoriety, that they require no proof. See Newton.


Verse 40

Daniel 11:40. At the—end shall the king of the south push, &c.— The kings of the south, and of the north, are to be explained according to the times of which the prophet is speaking. As long as the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria were subsisting, so long the Egyptian and Syrian kings were kings of the south, and of the north: but when these kingdoms were swallowed up in the Roman empire, other powers became the kings of the south and north. At the time of the end, that is to say, in the latter days of the Roman empire, shall the king of the south push at him; that is to say, the Saracens, who were of the Arabians, and came from the south; and under the conduct of their false prophet Mahomet, and his successors, made war upon the emperor Heraclius, and with amazing rapidity deprived him of Egypt, Syria, and many of his finest provinces. They were only to push at; and sorely wound the Greek empire; they were not to subvert and destroy it.—And the king of the north shall come, &c. that is, the Turks, who were originally of the Scythians, and came from the north; and, after the Saracens, seized on Syria, and assaulted the remains of the Grecian empire, and in time rendered themselves absolute masters of the whole. The Saracens dismembered and weakened the Greek empire, but the Turks totally ruined and destroyed it; and for this reason much more is said of the Turks than of the Saracens. Their chariots and their horsemen are particularly mentioned, because their armies consisted chiefly of horse, especially before the institution of the janissaries; and their standards are still horse tails. Their ships too are said to be many; and indeed without many ships they could never have got possession of so many islands and maritime countries, nor have so frequently vanquished the Venetians. What fleets, what armies, were employed in besieging and taking Constantinople, Negropont or Euboea,

Rhodes, Cyprus, and Candy, or Crete! The words, shall enter into the countries, and overflow and pass over, give us an exact idea of their passing over into Europe, and fixing the seat of their empire at Constantinople, as they did under their seventh emperor, Mahomet II. See Bishop Newton.


Verse 41

Daniel 11:41. He shall enter also into the glorious land The same expression was used in Daniel 11:16 and in both places is rendered by the Syriac, the land of Israel. Now it is well known, that the Turks took possession of the Holy Land, and remain masters of it to this day; Selim entered into Jerusalem in his way to Egypt. Many countries shall be overthrown: Aleppo, Damascus, Gaza, and the neighbouring cities, were forced to submit, and receive the yoke of the conqueror. But these shall escape, &c. These, were some of the people who inhabited Arabia: and the Arabians and Turks have never been able, with all their forces, to subdue it entirely. Selim subdued the neighbouring countries, but could not make a complete conquest of the Arabians. Ever since his time the Ottoman emperors have paid them an annual pension of 40,000 crowns in gold, for the safe passage of the caravans and pilgrims going to Mecca. This pension was not paid for some years on account of the war with Hungary; and what was the consequence?—One of the Arabian princes, in the year 1694, attacked and plundered the caravan going on pilgrimage to Mecca, and made them all prisoners. Among the captives was the cham of Tartary, whom the Arabians dismissed upon his parole, that he should carry their complaints to the sultan, and procure the continuance of the pension. He stood to his engagement, and never ceased importuning the Ottoman court, till the arrears of the pension were paid. But, notwithstanding this pension, the Arabs, as often as they find a lucky opportunity, rob and plunder the Turks, as well as other travellers. An instance of which kind happened in December 1758; so constantly have the Arabs maintained the same spirit in all ages! Armies have been sent out against them, but without success. They have commonly been too cunning for their enemies; and when it was thought that they were well nigh surrounded and taken, they have still escaped out of their hands. So well does this particular prediction agree with that general one in Genesis 16:12 concerning the main body of the nation. See Newton.


Verse 42-43

Daniel 11:42-43. He shall stretch forth his hand also The proper application of this passage is to the Ottoman emperor. This stretching forth his hand implies, that his dominion should be of large extent; and he has stretched forth his hand upon many, not only Asian and European, but likewise African countries. Egypt, in particular, fell under his yoke; and the conquest of that and the neighbouring countries follows next in order after the conquest of Judaea. Selim, having routed and slain Gauri, sultan of Egypt, became master of all Syria and Judaea. He then marched into Egypt against Tumanbai, the new sultan, whom he took prisoner, and ordered to be hanged; thus putting an end to the government of the Mamelucs, and establishing that of the Turks in Egypt. The prophet says particularly, that he should have power over the treasures, &c. of Egypt. And history informs us, that when Cairo was taken, "the Turks rifled the houses, and suffered nothing to be kept from them; and that Selim caused 500 of the best families of the Egyptians to be transported to Constantinople, as likewise a great number of the Mamelucs, besides the sultan's treasure, and other vast riches." And since that time it is impossible to say what treasures have been drained from this rich and fertile, but oppressed and wretched country. The prophesy says farther, that some other of the African nations should submit to the conqueror; the Lybians and the Ethiopians should be at his steps: and we read in history, that, after the conquest of Egypt, "the terror of Selim's many victories spreading wide, the kings of Africa, bordering upon Cyrenaica, sent their ambassadors with proffers to become his tributaries; and that other more remote nations also were easily induced to join in amity with the Turks." One thing more is observable, with regard to this prophetic history of Egypt,—that the particular prophesy coincides exactly with the general one, as it did before in the instance of Arabia. In Ezekiel 29:14; Ezekiel 30:12 it is foretold, that Egypt should become a base kingdom, and subject to strangers; and here it is foretold, that in the latter times it should be a province of the Turks, as we see at this day. See Newton.


Verse 44-45

Daniel 11:44-45. But tidings—shall trouble him These two verses, probably, remain yet to be fulfilled. Instead of palace, Daniel 11:45 we may read camp; and for glorious holy mountain—the mountain of delight of holiness. The Hebrew word אפדנו apadno, translated, his palace, or camp, occurs in Jonathan's Targum; on Jeremiah 43:10 and there signifies pavilion; to which same purpose it might be here rendered, He shall plant the tabernacles of his camp, between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain. In the application of this prophesy to the Ottoman empire, as these events are yet future, we cannot pretend to point them out with any certainty. The tidings from the east and north, may be those of the return of Judah and Israel from those quarters; for Judah was carried captive at first: into the east, and Israel by the Assyrians into the north. Concerning the reduction of the north, see Jeremiah 16:14-15; Jeremiah 23:8; Jeremiah 31:8. Or, if the tidings from the north may be some other thing, yet those from the east may be applied to the Jews' return, from Revelation 16:12 where the waters of the great river Euphrates are dried up, to prepare the way of the kings of the east. If this application be not admitted, yet it is universally known, that the Persians are seated to the east of the Ottoman dominions, and the Russians to the north. Persia has, indeed, of late been miserably torn by intestine divisions; but if it should unite again under one sovereign, it may become a dangerous rival to the Ottoman empire. The power of Russia is growing daily; and it is a current tradition among the common people in Turkey, that their empire shall be destroyed by the Russians. However this may be, the Porte is at all times jealous of the junction of the two powers of Persia and Russia, and exerts all its policy to prevent it. Whatever may be the motive and occasion, the Turk shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. Between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain, must denote some part of the Holy Land. There the Turk shall encamp, with all his power; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him; none shall help him effectually, or deliver him. See Bishop Newton.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The first verse properly belongs to the foregoing chapter, and declares how instrumental Gabriel had been already in farthering the restoration of the Jewish people: he stood to confirm and to strengthen Darius as soon as he had ascended the throne, in conjunction with Cyrus, in his purpose of releasing the captive Jews, when, probably, many opposed it. God's people often have friends that they little think of; and more and mightier are with them than can be against them.

2nd, The angel, as he had promised, here leads the prophet into futurity.

1. He begins with the Persian monarchy, which had just arisen: three others should succeed Darius, then on the throne; see the annotations: and a fourth, richer than all the rest, should arise, Xerxes, who by his strength and riches should stir up all his own provinces and confederates, to raise an army the most numerous that probably was ever assembled, in order to invade the Grecian territories. Of which expedition, and of his shameful defeat, heathen historians are full.

2. He passes on to the Grecian monarchy: to avenge this attack, a mighty king should arise, even Alexander; who, having subdued the Persian empire, should set up his own despotic throne, and govern with absolute sway: but his kingdom should be quickly broken and divided, not among his posterity, but among others, his four great generals; who neither ruled such extensive dominions, nor with so absolute a sway, as Alexander had alone. So poor and transitory are human possessions: he that layeth up riches, cannot tell who shall gather them!

3rdly, The angel proceeds with the account of those events in two of these divided kingdoms, with which the people of the Jews were more nearly concerned. But see the annotations. Note; The kingdoms of this world are transitory indeed; blessed be God for that which never fadeth away, where no wars disturb, nor enemies enter; but an eternal rest remaineth for the faithful.

4thly, We have a long prophesy concerning Antiochus Epiphanes, the inveterate persecutor of the Jewish people.

He is described as a vile person. He had been a hostage at Rome, and by his immoralities, debaucheries, and extravagancies, had rendered himself despicable, and gained the title of Epimanes, the Madman, though on his coming to the crown he assumed that of Epiphanes, the Illustrious. But God in his due time brought to a shameful end this great enemy of him and his people. See the annotations.

From the whole we may most justly infer, that God will interpose for his people in the time of need; and, however their enemies may seem for a while to prevail, they shall be rooted out at last.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Daniel 11:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/daniel-11.html. 1801-1803.

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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