DANIEL - Chapter 11 Commentary
This chapter has the explanations by the man with Daniel of chapter 10. This was the moment of Daniel understanding the "scripture [writing] of truth" (Dan. 10:21). The last two chapters 11 and 12 are the last recorded communications with Daniel. This chapter again recounts in amazing detail the history of the warring Gentile kingdoms after the passing of the Persian and Alexandrian states. The chapter follows the following periods:
The chapter concerns itself with prophecies concerning various nations. This is a very good place to make sure the flow diagram of Egyptian/Syrian power is in front of you. This is the information in the "Egypt/Syria Leadership Breakdown" found from the Daniel Table of Contents under "Additional Information". The general breakdown of the chapter is as follows:
Cambyses (529-522 B.C.)
Pseudo-Smerdis (522-521 B.C.)
Darius I Hystaspis (521-486 B.C.)
Xerxes (486-465 B.C.)
|Alexander the Great (Greece)
|Ptolemies and Seleucids (Egypt and Aram)
Here we go again with the first year of Darius the Mede. This is the third year of Cyrus. See the commentary on Dan. 9:1.
The person "I" speaking is the angel (see the explanation in the commentary of chapter 10 of who the person is). It is a continuation of chapter 10. It appears the rest of the verse refers to the person giving support to head of Persia. After all, if Darius were not there, there would not have been any permission to continue the renovation and rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Aramaic OT Bible says the angel encouraged and strengthened Daniel. Either one of these could be true without hurting in any way the sense of the verse. Darius needed the help to help the Hebrews. Daniel had just finished a major prayer for the help of his people. The Aramaic Bible is said to be a more literal translation of the OT to the old documents called the Peshita.
The angel is now going to tell Daniel "the truth" (absolute accuracy) of the future. The three more kings are Cambyses (son of Cyrus - reigned 7-1/2 years), Pseudo-Smerdis (pretended to be son of Cyrus - reigned 7 months), and Darius (son of Hystaspis - reigned 36 years). The fourth is Xerxes. In some translations of the book of Esther he is known as Ahasuerus. See Information on Persons/Places for details about these kings.
Xerxes was to have had a gigantic army and very much riches. The historian Herodotus says the army was 5,283,220 men. Justin says he had 700,000 men of his own and 300,000 of other supporting countries. Prideaux says the number of men was 2,641,610 men. Which ever one believes, they all follow the idea that the army was gigantic. With this size army and his wealth, he could afford to attack Greece. The great wealth was inherited by the power and activities of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius (son of Hystaspis). This Darius added to the wealth by very high taxation. Xerxes studied and planned for four years for the invasion of Greece.
Note that scripture does not say that the mighty king fights Xerxes. Alexander the Great did not even live until about 100 years later. As a matter of fact, so far the scripture does not even say whether the powerful king would be Persian, Greek, or otherwise. The way to understand this is the context of more scripture. We find out who it is by the next verse.
The reference of a mighty king is identifying Alexander the great. As soon as he has risen to the top, he dies. Remember, Alexander the large horn in Dan. 8:8 and 8:22 was broken. Alexander died at age 32. After his death, his kingdom was divided among his four generals: Cassander took Macedonia; Thrace and much of Asia Minor went to Lysimachus; Seleucus took Syria; and Ptolemy claimed Egypt. Seleucus and Ptolemy are detailed in verses 5-20. The leaders would come from his army. There would only be the four kingdom divisions. It says that none of his family or even to any from Greece would inherit his power. There was no family left. His family was a catastrophe:
The angel now concentrates on only the kings of the north and the kings of the south. This verse discusses the kings of the "South" (the Ptolemies of Egypt). The king of the South in verse 5 is Ptolemy I (323-285 B.C.), who ruled Egypt and "one of his princes" was Seleucus (Nicator, whose kingdom eventually stretched from Palestine to India, i.e. territories north of Judea). This was a very powerful duo. However, the two sides fought bloody wars until an alliance was made.
This alliance included a marriage. Around 250 B.C., the Syrian division of the Hellenistic (Greek) Empire, the Seleucids, attempted an alliance by marriage with the Egyptian Empire (the south). This would stop the bloody war. However, Antiochus had to put away (not kill; essentially divorce) with Laodice his wife and her children. He agreed. The Egyptian princess Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II, married Antiochus II Theos of the North. Antiochus apparently wanted back Laodice. It is said that Berenice was eventually murdered by Laodice and Antiochus was poisoned. Laodice then put her son Callinicus into power. Those "that brought her", Berenice's servants were all killed. Ptolemy, Berenice's father died a few years later.
The words “her roots” refers to her family; that from which she sprang. We use the "roots of Jesse" as Christmas to refer to the background of Jesus. We speak of the root or “stem” of a family or house; not that one of her “descendants,” or one that should “spring from her,” would come, but a branch of the same family; a branch springing from the same root or stem. The fact in the case is that her revenge was undertaken by Ptolemy III Euergetes, her brother. He came out of Egypt and slowly took over all of the empires that Seleucus Callinicus had. Callinicus did not even offer and resistance.
Ptolemy took some of Callinicus' best places: all Asia, from Mount Taurus to India. Ptolemy returned to Egypt with an immense booty. Jerome, the historian, says the booty included forty thousand talents (75-85 pounds per talent) of silver, precious vessels, and two thousand five hundred images of their gods. Seleucus Callinicus died as an exile by a fall from his horse; and Ptolemy Euergetes lived four or five more years. The "refrain from attacking" (NASB) can mean to survive without attacking because of death. The KJV says it clearer "and he shall continue more years than the king of the north".
This verse is a little confusing in some Bible versions. The king of the south, Ptolemy Euergetes, enters the king of the north's, Seleucus Callinicus, territory. The most apparent reason for going to the north again was to continue razing the north territory in revenge for his sister's death. Then the king hears of a problem in his land. So he returns to the south, his home Egypt. Ptolemy finds out that some type of illegal action which was inciting resistance to lawful authority was causing a disruption or overthrow of his government.
This is another scripture clarification. The two sons, Seleucus III Ceraunus and Antiochus III, of the dead Seleucus Callinicus were not happy with the taking over by Ptolemy. So they were developing a large army to take back the empire. Seleucus Ceraunus, who succeeded Callinicus did not have the money to pay the army. Two of his generals eventually poisoned him. Now Antiochus III "the Great" rose in power in the north and was appointed king in 223 BC. He and his family had lost Syria and Seleucia to Egypt. So now he overflowed "like a torrent" and took back "passed through" Seleucia and Syria. He then returned and defeated Nicolaus the Egyptian general. He eventually took Gaza and other strongholds. He subdued the whole country of Syria (which included Palestine) all for himself. The fortress belonged to Ptolemy and was located at Raphia which was on the border of Egypt to protect her from attackers coming through Edom and Arabia Petrea, near Gaza.
The king of the south was now Ptolemy Philopater who succeeded his father Euergetes. Philopater was enraged with the rise and warring of Antiochus the Great. There was a terrible fight between Ptolemy and Antiochus. “The king of the South will be enraged ["moved with choler" (KJV)] and go forth and fight a with the king of the North." Antiochus raised a great army. The two powers warred in Raphia (on the border of Egypt near Gaza). Ptolemy claimed this victory. "Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former."
At this time, Ptolemy could have wiped Antiochus off the map. However, he was soft. He made a kind of alliance with Antiochus. Ptolemy was very confident and proud "his heart would be lifted up". He killed many thousands of the army and was overly proud of that. He surrendered himself to enjoyment of his pleasures.The people Ptolemy controlled were very dissatisfied at him and revolted. So he was not strengthened by the win; he was weakened within. He was naturally lazy and rather effeminate. This was adding to his downfall.
After about 14 years, Antiochus returned. Philopater was dead and his son Ptolemy Epiphanes was leader. Antiochus had been fighting east and had won battles. He generated a very big and strong army. Now he was going to get back to the Ptolemys.
Antiochus and Philip the king of Macedon (Macedonia - northern province of Greece) combined to overrun Egypt( "many will rise up against the king of the South"). Jews, who abandoned the Jewish religion in Jerusalem, were in Egypt ["violent men of your people" or "children of the violent among thy people" or "the children of robbers of thy people"]. Scopas from Aetolia [an ancient region of central Greece north of the Gulfs of Corinth and Calydon (Patras).] was apparently a military leader under Ptolemy. The "Egyptian" Jews were going to try to have a Temple in Egypt. So some scholars believe the "vision" refers to a reference to Isaiah that seems to indicate the Jews and Egyptians should be one people. (Isa. 20:18-25). Scopas with a great Egyptian army attacked Palestine subduing the Jews. They returned to Egypt with great wealth. Antiochus soundly defeats the Egyptians. The Jews in Jerusalem then accepted Antiochus. All this is the beginning of the calamities to come about to the Jews. Antiochus will be part of that .
Antiochus came over to recover Judea. In 198 BC Scopas was sent for Ptolemy to defeat Antiochus. Instead, Antiochus III (the Great) defeated the Egyptian army in Sidon. The words "cast up a siege ramp" (NASB) or "cast up a mount" (KJV) or "set up ramparts" (Aramaic Bible) do not refer to a specific foundation. It refers to a protective mound or barrier that protects something or someone of value. The terms "capture a well-fortified city" or "take the most fenced cities" refer to “city of munitions” Hebrew, “city of fortifications.”. These were areas put away by armies for storage and protection of weapons and other supplies. The power of the Egyptian forces was not enough to turn Antiochus. His choicest troops or chosen people were probably the special leaders Generals Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus. Even they were not enough. Scopas had to surrender.
Note the clarification of the persons in the script “but he [Antiochus] who comes against him [Scopas]". Antiochus will have total control. No one will be able to stand up against him. The "beautiful land" or "glorious land" is the land of Israel and Judea. He shall ravage the land only as much as war might. Antiochus did not appear to wantonly destroy the Holy Land. As a matter of fact, he gave some concessions to the Hebrews. He brought back those that were dispersed, and reestablished them in the land; freed the priests and Levites from all tribute, and did other things.
Josephus not only states that the Jews were oppressed; but, he also he also says that Antiochus gave the Jews privileges and considerations because of their suffering (Josephus, “Antiquities” book. xii. chapter. iii. Section 3)
Antiochus in a very determined, planned manner ("set his face") decided to enter Egypt. He decided to soften the overthrow. He came to terms with Ptolemy V and gave Ptolemy his daughter in marriage. From 198-195 B.C., Antiochus attempted to control Egypt. A treaty was arranged between Antiochus and Ptolemy Epiphanes in which the Antiochus' daughter, Cleopatra (a "daughter of women" since she was still so young as to be under the control of her mother), was espoused to Ptolemy. The treaty was not successful. Cleopatra decided to stick by her husband. So she revealed information to Ptolemy about what Antiochus was planning.
Now Antiochus turned his attentions to taking the isles. These were the islands off Greece some of which were Rhodes, Samos, Euboea, and Colophon. He annexed the coastlands of Asia Minor and then unsuccessfully tried to invade Greece. Acilius Glabrio stopped Antiochus' attack on Greece. Antiochus was deeply humiliated. Acilius made the agreement with Antiochus to have Antiochus pay the costs for the war. This was estimated to be about 15,000 talents (approx. 75-85 pounds of gold per talent). He had to pay 500 on the spot, 2500 when the agreement was accepted by the Senate, and 1000 per year for the next 12 years.
As explained in verse 18, Antiochus was defeated by the Romans at Magnesia in 190 B.C., was forced to pay tribute. Antiochus fled to Sardis and eventually ended up in Antioch, his own fortress. He was very desperate to pay the tributes to Greece. He started taking over smaller provinces to the east of Antioch. He then heavily taxed all possessions he had to get the payments. He was attempting to plunder Jupiter Belus at Elymais; the people revolted and killed his army and Antiochus. There is also another story that he may have been assassinated by some people who he had severely punished for being drunk.
Antiochus' son Seleucus IV (Philopator) succeeded him. He heavily taxed the people of Israel. Seleucus Philopater (187-170 B.C.) was universally hated by the Jews because of his policy of taxation. He also sent his treasurer to the Temple to extract money. The words "Jewel of his kingdom" or "glory of the kingdom" refer to the Temple in Jerusalem. He was in deep need of money because of the tax money required by Rome. Seleucus was not destroyed in battle, nor in anger, but was poisoned by his tax collector Heliodorus who wanted the throne.
|Antiochus IV Epiphanes (21-35)
These verses provide greater detail for the miserable reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175B.C.-164 B.C.), a type of the Antichrist. Although there will be two ideas presented in some paragraphs, the main direction of most scholars of prophecy put the emphasis on these chapters being related to the actions and philosophy of Antiochus Epiphanes.
In place of Seleucus Philopater came a most despicable, vile man. His name was Antiochus IV (Epiphanes). He did not get the kingdom through hereditary ways. He came to the throne by intrigue or possibly better description is by charisma. He was in Athens when his father died. Many people tried to take over leadership. He obtained the kingdom by flatteries. He flattered Eumenes, king of Pergamus, and Attalus his brother, and got their assistance. He promised riches and position. He flattered the Romans, and sent ambassadors to court their favor, and pay them the arrears of the tribute. He flattered the Syrians, and gained their concurrence; and as he flattered the Syrians, so they flattered him, giving him the descriptive name of Epiphanes - "the Illustrious". He would fraternize with the poor and in taverns. He slithered into leadership by having one of his flatterees (probably Eumenes) to request assistance. This would persuade Demetrius, his nephew and true heir to the throne, to go to help. Demetrius was not there to take the throne. He was so despised later in life that he was called Antiochus Epimanes (the insane).
Because of his alliances, he was able to overcome all threats to the throne. The prince of the covenant was Onias, the high priest. Antiochus had Onias removed and had Jason put in his place. He had received a great deal of money from Jason. He then put Menelaus in the place because he offered Antiochus more money. So he double-crossed Jason. This was just the start of what we know about his character.
There was always a contest for ownership of Palestine and Syria. This is sometimes called the "league" (KJV). The argument was over the ownership of these countries. These countries were supposed to be controlled in accordance with the desires Alexander the great after the death. He divided up the lands to four generals of his. The people could not agree. There were wars for the ownerships. There were also treaties. Antiochus The Great pledged these countries as part of the dowry when his daughter was given to wed Ptolemy Philopater. HOWEVER, Antiochus Epiphanes in no way was honor that agreement. He waged a series of bloody wars with Egypt over not keeping that agreement.
When Ptolemy Philopater was 14 years old, he officially moved up to king. He was less than 14 when his father died. That is why he had the guardians, Eulaeus and Lenaius. On this occasion Antiochus sent to Egypt Apollonius, apparently to congratulate the king on his coronation. However, his real intention was to sound out the Egyptian court. When he returned, Apollonius informed Antiochus that he was viewed as an enemy by the Egyptians. Antiochus immediately sailed to Joppa to survey his preparations toward war with Egypt. He was going to put them in a state of defense. Antiochus was going to try to use diplomacy first. He was not going to pay the tributes ordered by Antiochus the Great. Even when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered Ptolemy Philometor (VI), Antiochus went in with diplomacy with the excuse that he just took over to set the affairs of the kingdom in order. Philometor thought it would be best if he acted like he believed Antiochus. Pretty good talker; isn't he?
He went in with a relatively small army so he would not raiseas much suspicion.
This was Antiochus' plan. He would enter provinces peacefully and at a time of peace. He would move into the parts of the kingdom that were the richest. Then he would do something that no one in his lineage had ever done. He spread a lot of his wealth around He gave away to people some of his spoils from other war campaigns. He spent much on the public (1 Maccabees 3:30). He would even go in to the streets and throw money around. However, all this was for a planned length of time.
Eulaeus and Lenaius, guardians of the young King Ptolemy Philometer, still demanded that Antiochus pay the war costs that Antiochus the Great incurred in Greece. Antiochus Epiphanes refused. He knew this could end up with a war between Ptolemy and Antiochus. He worked various plans to prevent a war. For a few years he planned to take Egypt. Using his cunning, he visited Egyptian strong holds to find out their power.
Antiochus took possession of Pelusium, the key of Egypt; he seized Memphis, and he then laid siege to Alexandria.If that were reduced, the whole country would be his. (Josephus “Antiquities” book xii. chapter. v. Section 2.)
In the previous verse, Antiochus was setting up his alliances for the great move on Egypt. Any person who studies ancient history and religion cannot take away the drive this man had to conquer Egypt. He made several expeditions into Egypt. Now was the time. He got all his strength and power together against the king of the South, who by now was Ptolemy Physcon of Egypt. They both mobilizing large armies to fight. They met between Pelusium and Mount Caius. The king of Egypt could not stand. The Egyptians were defeated. He routed the Egyptian army and took Memphis. He made himself master of all Egypt, except Alexandria (1 Maccabees 1:16-19). He then headed for Alexandria. They did not tarry. No plans of Egypt would withstand the onslaught of Antiochus. Antiochus' plans will prevail. The scripts "he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him" (NASB) and "he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him" (KJV) say that Antiochus will forecast or devise.
Now comes the actions of some of Antiochus' "friends". "Those who eat his choice food" or "they that feed of the portion of his meat" refer to those people that were Egyptians and were supposed to supporting Antiochus. However, many of them did not stay with Antiochus. They tried by in-fighting to resist Antiochus. The armies of Egypt grew larger; but, many of them were killed. Ptolemy was afraid of Antiochus so he fled (1 Maccabees 1:18).
Both kings, Antiochus and Ptolemy Philometer, nephew of Philopater, conferenced. Many times they converenced on Alexandria. They both spoke lies to each other. Antiochus feigned great friendship to his nephew. Philomaeter professed much gratitude the uncle took in the affairs of Egypt. In actuality, they both wanted to destroy each other. Neither was successful at the table. The time appointed by God to changed the world. It was not yet.
Antiochus returned home after the plundering of Egypt. He had much riches from Egypt (1 Maccabees 1:19). He had taken Memphis and many other areas of Egypt. He would even pass through Jerusalem on the way home and desolated it. Apparently someone had started a rumor that Antiochus was dead. The people of Jerusalem were rejoicing. That was not a good idea. He was going to take revenge.
Recall that Jason had been deprived of high priesthood. When he heard that Antiochus had been killed, he raised an army and marched against Jerusalem and took it. Menelaus (priest who got the job because he could pay more) shut himself up in fear. The war against the covenant means Antiochus was enraged about the news of his death. So he brought a great army in and took Jerusalem. He slew 80,000 inhabitants (accounts say 40,000 to 80,000). He sold even more for slaves. He boiled swine's flesh and sprinkled the Temple and the altar with the broth. He broke into the Holy of Holies. He took away the golden vessels, the golden table, altar, and candlestick, and other sacred treasures (value about 1800 talents). He restored Menelaus to his office. He made a Philip a Phrygian, governor of Judea (1 Maccabees 1:24; 2 Maccabees 5:21).
Josephus says (Jewish Wars, i. 1, 2, and vi. 10, 1) that it was like or by storm. The account which he gives ( “Antiquities” b. xii. ch. v. Section 3) that he took it by stratagem, but the statement in the “Jewish Wars” is much more probable, for Antiochus plundered the city, killed men, women, and children, and sold as many as 40,000 into slavery. On top of that, he went into the sanctuary, uttering blasphemous language.(2 Maccabees 5:5, 6, 11-14)
We are back to the "appointed time". Antiochus found out the two brothers Ptolemy and Physcon made an alliance to share the government between themselves and resist Antiochus. They hired highly specialized and rough troops from Greece. Now Antiochus was REALLY mad. He prepared to invade Egypt. Antiochus was successful in the last two attempts to take parts of Egypt. However, this time, because of the outside forces, they were able to oppose Antiochus.
There are two general interpretations of Chittim (KJV) and Kittim (NASB). One interpretation is the term refers to the Roman empire. The other is the term refers to the area, specifically around the island of Cyprus. The primary reason for the difference is that the word can mean an islander derived from areas of islands such as off the island of Cyprus and off Greece shores. Therefore, the local Greeks or Romans in the island areas could be referred to in the word. A decision can be made with high confidence to understand by looking at the history and contest.
When Antiochus gets close to Alexandria, he heard there were ships from Chittim/Kittim. By this time the Romans had taken over a lot of territory of the world. Therefore, they were a powerful force with which to reckon. The Egyptian government had asked for help in dealing with Antiochus. So the Romans, as represented by Roman Senators Caius Popilins Laenas, Caius Decimius, and Caius Hostilius made a showing and met Antiochus. They made a request not to make war against Egypt or else the Romans would be disturbed. Apparently Antiochus said he would consult others or think about it. But that was not good enough for the Senate. Therefore, Popilins, one of the Senators, drew a circle in the ground around Antiochus. They said he could not leave the circle until he agreed. He agreed. However, one can just understand the humiliation he went through during this encounter. Antiochus then returned to Syria. This interaction is confirmed by quite a few historians.
After the humiliation he just went through, he wanted to take it out on someone. So he vented his anger on the Jews. He sent his general Apollonius and 22,000 men against Jerusalem "holy covenant".
The "arms" almost always refers to military power such as, in this case, the Roman power army. From this point on, there is a question whether the following verses are relating to actions the Romans did or actions Antiochus did. Some feel the actions were so bad they could be referred as Antiochus as a type of antichrist. If the Romans are of reference here, the descriptions may be related to later times when there were Christians. See what you think as you read. Therefore, some give the Romans the dubious "credit" for the rest of the chapter and referencing Christians. By your reading and analyses, consider the differences you might see to the end of the chapter.
The most likely reference is a follow-on of Antiochus. He had just be mortified by the Roman senators. He did not believe in the religion of the Jews. He had to put his anger on something. So it appears the most likely history is Antiochus causing the problems in the remainder of the chapter.
The army plundered the city and set it on fire. They destroyed the houses and killed many of the people. They built a gymnasium in a holy place. All Temple worship was outlawed . When Antiochus returned to Antioch, he then put out decrees. All people would conform to Greek (gentile) worship. The Temple was consecrated or dedicated to Jupiter Olympius. He built an altar of Zeus. The "sanctuary of strength" and "sanctuary fortress" is the Jewish Temple. There was a time when the walls of the city of Jerusalem were not enough. A "fortress" was built around the Temple for added protection; hence the term "fortess" in the Bible. With the chief priest Menelaus and the apostate (knowing what the truth is but turning their backs on it) Jews working with him, Antiochus would know a lot of the actions of the Jews. (1 Maccabees 1:11-15; 2 Maccabees 6:1-9; Josephus War, book 1, chapter 1, section 1)
The phrases "the abomination that maketh desolate" and "the abomination of desolation" have become quite famous. What does this actually mean? This is also used in the study of Revelation. What does the word abomination mean? It is a term used by God in the OT for something that is hated, detested, loathed, with great disgust. It comes from the Hebrew base word ba'ash which means stink or odius as for rotten fish. For this usage, then, an abomination is something that, putting it mildly, God hates. The word desolation means to fully destroy or decay. It comes from the Hebrew word shomem which means “to be desolated, ravaged” or “to be appalled, astounded”. In those days it was especially appropriate to use the term to include the use of idols, which, of course, is detestable to God. The entire phase is used in the OT and NT. See also Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 16:15; Revelation 17:4, 5; 21:27.
Smooth words or flattery will be used to try to convince Jews to convert to pagan idol worship. This is an ideal time now because there are no Temples or places of worship. The sacrifices were taken away. However, those strong in the spirit, knowledge, and love of God will prevail.
If understood to be Christians, the new Jews (Christians) have now succeeded the old Jews.The Jewish rituals have been abolished for the new.The Roman power did all he could to corrupt the new.
If understood from a Antiochus timing viewpoint, among the Hebrew people, there were many who understood the prophets and the true God. There was so much corruption and apostasy at that time, it might have been difficult to find a lot of Jews with the spirit of God. There was quite a bit of effort to change the views of the Jews to the pagan style. Those that were so gifted to hold to God, were required, as we are through Christ's Great Commission, to instruct and make known the truth. Those Jews that resisted were beat, tortured, and were killed (martyred). Matrathins, the father of Judas Maccabeus, started the opposition to Antiochus Epiphanes. (1 Maccabees 2:1) He went to the mountains with his followers for security and to plan. During a Sabbath, Antiochus had a raid in the mountains. Matrathins refused to fight because it was the Sabbath. Because of his faith in God many of his followers were killed (1 Maccabees 2:14-38) Much of the destruction was by fire. their houses were burned down. Some would die in fires or in the caves. or by being cast into heated cauldrons of brass (yes, boiled alive). They would retreat to the caves to celebrate the Sabbath since they were not allowed in the towns and cities of Antiochus. That's where Antiochus liked to catch the Jews; in a cave to burn them as they accumulated in the caves. They took the women and children captive (1 Maccabees 1:32; 2 Maccabees 5:24). The plundered the city (1 Maccabees 1:20-24). This continued for "days". This is another use of the word "day" to mean "year". Josephus the historian said it lasted 3 years (Josephus, "Antiquities", Book XII, Chapter VII, Sections 6, 7; 1 Maccabees 1:59; 4:54; 2 Maccabees 10:1-7)
If understood from a Antiochus timing viewpoint, the armies of the Maccabees never were very big. They would be stumble and be feeble without help ("fall"). The thought is by the Jews being oppressed, this would develop sympathies to the point that men would come to the aid of the Maccabees and join his army. This joining, of course, would be not based on fighting for the religion or God ("hypocrisy" or "flatteries"). It would be primarily for the rewards, the excitement of the plunder, and the defeat of Antiochus.
If understood from the Christian timing viewpoint, this moves into the reign of one of the cruelest emperors, Diocletion. His reign lasted about 10 years (284-295 AD) ("fall"). He created a great deal of oppression on the Christians. Constantine (306-337 AD) corrected much of the oppression. He made Christianity the "Roman state" religion. Although it was rather questionable whether he bought Christianity, he caused the persecution to stop ("hypocrisy" or "flatteries"). Now anyone against Christianity was automatically against the emperor.
If understood from a Antiochus timing viewpoint, the strong believers in God were supporting the Maccabees in the fight against Antiochus. The verse says that the appointed time is yet to come and is fixed with God. The times of Jewish strife with Antiochus, are being used by God as a refining (testing, forming) and purification to make them white (pure).
If understood from the Christian timing viewpoint, there were disputes on certain points of religion in the Christian church. This was the history, and still is, of the early church. It started soon after Christ's resurrection. Since Constantine stopped Christian persecution, the Christians could not be happy with that. So they began fighting among themselves on the correctness of beliefs. Many great men and women fell to the pressures and were ignored. However, different than the last years, under Constantine it was allowed to disagree with basic doctrine and not die. This was a time of trying the strong believers, purging out the weak believers, and making those white or pure.
This could be applicable to Antiochus or a power that fights the Christians (Anti-christian). The strong opinion is that the following verses follow, historically, Antiochus Epiphanes. After all, Antiochus began calling himself god. He demanded all the people to worship him. Those that did not were put to death. However, most believe the belief and truth in prophecy directs us toward projecting to the time of the Antichrist. The primary reason it is not thought to be Antiochus from here on is because of the use of the word "king". He was not defined as a king. The end times will bring a king that also calls himself god; who demands others worship him; profaned the Jews and Temple; etc.
This "prosper till the indignation" refers to the fact that there will continue to be problems until the appointed time. That time is called a time of “indignation,” because the Lord would be angry against his Temple and people. He allowed this pagan king to pour wrath without stop or thought against the Temple, the city, and the whole land. God decrees and it will be done.
There will be no regard for any previous father's God and religion. By "father" is meant the fathers of history, ancestors. No regard or respect will be given to God. Women will be of no value in the scheme of things. Keep in mind that the Antichrist will be in full power for 7 years (per Revelation). So there was no need to find a value of women for pro-creation either. There will be some kind of a thought for chastity because of his being god. He will show no respect or acknowledge any other god because he will believe he is god. He is going to put himself higher than any body or any gods.
The Antichrist would honor the god of the place which he occupied, or, as it were, on his own throne and in his own temple. The correct interpretation is, that he would honor this “god of forces,” in the stead of honoring the god of his fathers, or any other god. The general idea is clear, that he would show disrespect or contempt for all other gods, and pay his devotions to this god alone. The god he would worship would be a god of power. To the Antichrist, that is Satan. The words "the gods of his fathers" refer to the Antichrist having no respect for religion or religious heritages. The phrase does not mean that Antichrist would be a Jew. He will honor his god with earthly riches. These would be in the temple and on the god's image. This tradition, riches for the temple and images, prevailed from about the fourth century and is still in force with some churches.
With the help of a "strange" or "foreign" god (Satan - the god the fathers or ancestors did not know), the Antichrist took actions against the strong "fortresses". The "fortresses" are strongholds of munitions or people. The fortresses were made for protection. He will give treat things for those who honor (worship) him. These honors might me honorable mentions, wealth, property, etc. Those that are on the Antichrist's "side" will be given ruling powers in the empire and will be given land. The "parceling" or "dividing" out of "land" is probably referring to Jerusalem. This prime property after being divided was being sold.
The king of the south appears to take some aggressive action against the Antichrist. This will happen at the "end time" or "time of the end". What is this "time"? We have to look at the context of time the angel is explaining to Daniel. This is not the end of the time about which we sometimes think (end of life and Second Coming of Christ). This appears to be referencing a particular time at which an empire might be ending. Probably the end would be the empire of the south that apparently made an attack.
There is a division of opinion of whether the verse is referring to Antiochus, the Antichrist, or some other relationship. The majority opinion is with the Antichrist. One strong explanation is the following. Although the kings of the north and south that we know (Syria and Egypt) existed at "their" time, they did not exist at the time about which Daniel is speaking. Therefore, there must be another north and south at this time.
Who is the king of the south? One possibility for the king of the south is in the Saracens. These were, historically, nomadic people of the Syrian and Arabian deserts at the time of the Roman Empire. They were also Muslims who opposed the crusades. They were most likely Arabians who came from the south headed by the false prophet Mohammed. They made war on Greek emperor Heraclius. They took Egypt, Syria, and many other provinces.
Who is the king of the north? The king of the north appear to the be Turks. They were originally Scythians. These were people of the ancient region of Eurasia extending from the mouth of the Danube River on the Black Sea to the territory east of the Aral Sea. They seized what was left of the Greek empire. They have been represented historically as coming down like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and cavalry. These wars ended up with taking the possission of many islands and countries on the water. Obviously, this would lead to their getting possession of their ships.
It appears when the Antichrist hears of this invasion, he moves his army from Europe into the Middle East sweeping through many countries like a flood.
Entering into the "beautiful" or "glorious" land means the army enters Judea. Scripture says many countries will be overthrown. Such countries probably were as Aleppo (city in northwestern Syria), Damascus, Gaza, and others. However, the Hebrew is not exactly the word for "countries". The Hebrew word "raboth" means "many things". The scripture, therefore, means cities, houses, institutions, worship areas, etc. will be damaged and overthrown. The Arabian countries around Edom, Moab, and Ammon are not able to be subdued. They still inhabit these geographical areas. They receive annual compensation to allow caravans and Mecca pilgrims free passage.
Now the warring factions continue taking more land. Egypt does not escape the wrath anymore.
He will gain more and more land and power. he will take the hidden treasures of gold and silver and other precious things of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia.
Many scholars believe this part of the prediction is yet to come. Much of this is in very much detail with the study of Revelation. It appears there will be some troublesome rumors or news that factions from the East and North will come forth. With great anger, he will go and totally annihilate those factions. The Persians will come from the east, and the Russians will come from the north.
The Antichrist will make his last stand. The threat of these armies will cause Antichrist to return to Palestine, making his headquarters between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean. But he will come to his end at the hands of the victorious, returning Christ (Rev. 19:11-21). He will be ultimately defeated and slain without help or sympathy.
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