Jewish Destiny in their
Latter Days (Daniel 11)
Chapters 10 through 12 all
consist of Daniel's vision of Jewish latter days. Chapter 10
was an account of the events and circumstances leading up to the
vision. Chapter 11 begins with the actual vision of prophecy
which deals with the Destiny of the Jewish people as the
commonwealth of God. Upon the fulfillment of this prophecy,
all people, from all nations, from all across the earth will have
the power to become the chosen people of God. The temple
in Jerusalem, which at the reception of this vision, had previously
lain in ruins for several decades, was in a laborious process of
being rebuilt in the face of great opposition from without.
Daniel's distress over this resistance is most likely what compelled
him into a period of fasting and mourning which culminated in the
reception of this vision. Daniel wanted to know what lay
in store for his people in the immediate future. He received a
prophetic vision of what would befall his people until they were no
longer a chosen people of God.
Chapter 11 starts with the
actual vision of the Jewish latter days from the overthrow of
Babylon and continues on until a few years preceding the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to
confirm and to strengthen him.
The individual speaking
here is the heavenly visitor who came to give Daniel this vision.
The identity of this visitor is uncertain and was discussed
throughout the study on the preceding chapter. The first year
of Darius the Mede coincides with the overthrow of Babylon and the
rise of the Medo-Persian Empire which was dominated by the Persians
upon the death of Darius the Mede. The initial overthrow of
the Babylonian Empire was a cooperative effort between the Persians
and the Medes. Interestingly, the Medians played a large role
in the Babylonian overthrow of Assyria. Recall that
Nebuchadnezzar's wife was a Median princess.
The Medians were ancient
Iranians who entered the region in the second millennium BC.
By the 6th century BC, after having together with the Babylonians
defeated the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Medes were able to establish
their own empire, the largest of its day, lasting for about sixty
years, from the defeat of Nineveh in 612 BC until 549 BC when Cyrus
the Great established the Achaemenid Empire by defeating his
overlord and grandfather, Astyages, king of Media.
Astyages is commonly regarded as the last king of the Medes.
Darius was the name of
several kings of Media and Persia. At least three and possibly
four kings bearing this name are mentioned in the writings of the
Old Testament. The exact identity of this king named Darius is
not certain. This is most likely the same
Darius who loved Daniel and
was coerced into throwing him into the Lion's Den. An
exhaustive treatment of this individual's identity is contained in
the study of
chapter 9. The International Standard Bible
Encyclopaedia has this to say about the word "Darius":
In the original Persian it is spelled "Darayavaush"; in Babylonian,
usually "Dariamush"; in Susian (?), "Tariyamaush"; in Egyptian "Antaryuash";
on Aramaic inscriptions, d-r-y-h-w-sh or d-r-y-w-h-w-sh; in Hebrew,
dareyawesh; in Greek, Dareios; in Latin, "Darius." In meaning it is
probably connected with the new Persian word Dara, "king." Herodotus
says it means in Greek, Erxeies, coercitor, "restrainer,"
Thus the name Darius is
as much a designation as it is a proper name. Calling a man
"Darius" at the time was the equivalent of referring to him as
"even I, stood to
confirm and to strengthen him."
Daniel's heavenly visitor
declared that he supported Michael, the prince of Israel. This
verse goes with chapter 10 much better than chapter 11.
Starting the chapter with this verse makes it appear as if this
heavenly visitor was confirming and strengthening Darius. Such
is not the case. Upon going back to review the context of
chapter 10 it is obvious that Michael was the one referred to in
this verse as "him".
Daniel would have known
who this Darius was in reference to, especially when he was
identified as a Median. Obviously the agenda of Darius the
Mede worked in favor of the overall plan of God for the
accomplishment of His purpose through the Israelites. God made
a promise with Abraham and with king David that together assured the
arrival of the Messiah through their bloodlines. This of
course had to be accomplished by preserving the Israelite bloodline
throughout the process. We learn from the declarations of this
heavenly visitor in the preceding chapter that there are affairs
being handled beyond our perception. It is obvious that God
did not make these promises with the Patriarchs and then leave the
affairs of the world to happenstance, rather, God had a system of
support and guidance for world affairs in place that operated to
sustain His overall plan and purpose and to bring it to a satisfactory
conclusion. It is obvious that Michael, the arch angel, played
a significant leadership role in the execution of this plan and had
been active in it at least from the time of Darius the Mede.
There is more said about
this in the preceding study and for those who may be picking this
study up at this point, I recommend going back to the study of
chapter 10 and reviewing the information there in regards to the
spiritual warfare being carried out beyond the perception of man.
Before we get into the
details of this prophecy, we need to be aware of the fact that
without recorded history, it would be impossible to compare all of
the elements of this vision with actual facts. Let's keep in
mind that this is an overall history lesson by prophecy. It's
not going to be exact in every detail but the overall picture we
draw as we compare it to historical facts undoubtedly ties it to the
history of the Israelite nation. There can be no reasonable
doubt raised against this fact. As with all apocalyptic
language, it is vitally important to keep our eyes on the big
picture and try not to get bogged down in the minute details.
Before we launch into the
daunting task of trying to accurately pinpoint every single verse of
scripture with a known historical fact, lets take the time to
consider this vision from the perspective of Daniel and those who
would be reading it and living through the events as they unfolded.
The vision is unquestionably a prophetic vision about Jewish
destiny. The Jews who read it and were familiar with it
throughout the centuries would be able to make the connections as
they unfolded. They would see the events unfolding around them
and upon reflection, make associations from this vision to their
general circumstances wherever they fit. Key elements such as
events associated with Antiochus, Egypt and Alexander the Great
would be obvious to those living at the time who were familiar with
Daniel's writings and were perceptive enough to recognize them and
make the connection.
This is the same as those
living during the time of the Revelation. They could have
looked at the elements of John's vision and made the connections
with the events going on around them. They would make
associations from the vision that directly applied to their
circumstances. This is going on even today. People who
believe the Revelation is yet to be fulfilled make all kinds of wild
comparisons with catastrophes and events of today with elements of
the Revelation. It's human nature so we have to believe the
people living in Daniel's time would do the same. They would
look at the atrocities perpetrated by Antiochus IV and associate him
with the king in Daniel that best fit the model.
Let's keep in mind as we
study through and consider this vision, that it was written to them.
Our task is to understand it in light of what it represented to
them. We must keep in mind that what we know of history is all
that we know. We are limited in our comparison of this vision
to what we have available to compare it to. We have no way of
knowing how complete our knowledge of history is. What cannot
know what we do not know. What is important to keep in mind is
that we know enough of history that we can confidently assert that
it is accurate to a degree that is nothing short of astounding.
Where there are blanks and uncertainties, we can be assured that the
events unfolded as they were foretold whether we know about them or
not. The historical accuracy we do have is sufficient enough
to validate that which we can not know.
Another thing to keep in
mind is that this prophecy is written in apocalyptic language.
Apocalyptic language is designed to reveal things to the readers
through signs and symbols which have a specific meaning to them.
Those who are unfamiliar with the symbolism would be at a loss to
understand the message. Apocalyptic language is rarely
chronological and rarely exhaustive, meaning it covers all the
details. Generally, only enough about something is revealed in
order for those who are familiar with it to be able to understand
the message. In short, apocalyptic language is hard to
understand by design. It is meant to communicate a message to
an intended audience while leaving the unintended readers out of the
Daniel's intended readers
are going to be the Israelites from that point until the destruction
of Jerusalem. This vision covers centuries of what is now
Jewish history in their latter days. They had a lot of enemies
to contend with throughout this period of time. Many nations
and many kings were going to come and go and the faithful Israelites
were going to have to cope with all the circumstances that would
arise as a consequence of the things yet to come. For them to
be found with a vision which foretold the death of Alexander, and
the splitting up of his empire, and the rise and fall of numerous
nasty kings such as Antiochus would incriminate them and bring
additional suffering and hardship to the faithful if their enemies
could understand the language. Stop and think for a moment
just how devastating such a piece of literature would be in the
wrong hands. What if Antiochus knew before he set out on
certain conquests whether they would be successes or failure?
What if Alexander knew his empire would be split up four ways?
What if Antiochus knew the Maccabeans were going to be such a thorn
in the flesh for him? What would these leaders do if they had
possession of such a document that accurately foretold their future?
The language is designed to be hard to understand. In fact, it
is so hard to understand that unless one has an accurate
understanding of history and is familiar with the symbolism and
structure of the language, it can't be understood at all. To
someone unfamiliar with the imagery, it looks like nonsensical text.
It's supposed to be that way. This explanation of apocalyptic
language is meant to serve as a broad application. This vision
does not contain the elements of imagery one finds in Revelation 9,
but it is veiled and difficult to understand, especially for those
living before there were any historical events to match them up
This prophecy is one of
the most remarkable evidences of the divine inspiration of scripture
that we have available. The evidence of the divine
foreknowledge of God is overwhelming to the degree that it cannot be
reasonably denied by anyone who is willing to look at it honestly
and accept it for what it is. Critics of the Bible who try and
use this prophecy as a means of discrediting the authenticity of
scripture need to take a long hard look at what they are willing to
accept or deny within themselves in order to believe what they want
And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up
yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than
they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up
all against the realm of Grecia.
Daniel's heavenly visitor bookended the starting point of this
vision from the first year of Darius the Mede and then in two words
jumps forward to the very moment in history when he was standing in
front of Daniel. There was no need for this heavenly visitor
to say anything about the events between Darius and then because
Daniel lived through that and knew all he needed to know. This
heavenly visitor had no reason to expound on things already known
and chose not to do so.
"Behold, there shall
stand up yet three kings in Persia"
From this point forward there will be three more kings over Persia
with the fourth one, counting Cyrus, who had enough prominence to
receive more than a passing mention which makes it possible for us
today to pinpoint his identity from the historical accounts.
At the time of this vision Cyrus the Great was in his third year as
the supreme king of the Persian empire (Daniel 10:1). The
three Persian kings yet to rise to power are:
II, reigned from 530 to 522 BC. He was the son of Cyrus the
Great (r. 559-530 BC), founder of the Persian Empire and its first
dynasty. His grandfather was Cambyses I, king of Anshan. Following
Cyrus' conquests of the Near East and Central Asia, Cambyses further
expanded the Persian empire into Egypt before his death in 522 BC.
2) Darius I (Darius
the Great), who reigned from 522 to 486 BC. He was the third
Zoroastrian king of kings of the Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire. Darius held the
empire at its peak which included Egypt, and parts of Greece. Darius
ascended the throne by assassinating Bardiya who was a son of Cyrus
the Great and was seeking the throne of Persia himself.
Darius expanded the Persian empire by moving against what is modern
Europe today. In history this is known as the
First Persian invasion of Greece.
Starting with the Scythians, Darius
conquered Scythia, Thrace and many cities of the northern Aegean,
while Macedonia submitted voluntarily. The Asiatic Greeks and Greek
islands had submitted to Persian rule by 510 BCE.
There were certain Greeks who were
pro-Persian which were largely grouped at Athens. This improved
Greek-Persian relations as Darius opened his court and treasuries to
the Greeks that wanted to serve him. These Greeks served as
soldiers, artisans, statesmen and mariners for Darius. However,
Greek fear of the Persians becoming strong and overpowering
them led them to distrust and to resist Darius.
Aristagoras organized the
Ionian revolt, Eretria and Athens supported him by sending ships
to Ionia and burning Sardis. Persian forces were sent to end the
revolt by force and resulted in the the Persian reoccupation of
Ionian and Greek islands. However, anti-Persian parties gained power
in Athens expelled the pro-Persian leaders. Darius responded by
sending a group of troops led by his son-in-law across the
Hellespont. However, the battle was lost due to a violent storm and
harassment by Thracians.
Darius was determined to punish the
anti-Persian forces in Athens and he sent a second army consisting
of 20,000 men under
who captured Eretria and moved onwards to Marathon. In 490, at the
Battle of Marathon, the Persians were defeated by a heavily armed
Athenian army with 9,000 men who were supported by 600 Plataeans and
10,000 lightly armed soldiers led by Miltiades. The defeat at
Marathon marked the end of the First Persian invasion of Greece.
This happened late in the reign of Darius and before he set out on
this effort, he was required by Persian law to name his successor,
Xerxes 1 who was his son by
who was a daughter of Cyrus the Great.
Darius organized the empire, by dividing it
into provinces and placing governors to govern it. He organized a
new monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language
of the empire. Darius also worked on construction projects
throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Babylon, and Egypt. Darius
also created a codification of laws for Egypt.
This Darius is the king who finally put an
end to the opposition against the rebuilding of the temple and
re-issued the original decree of his grandfather Cyrus to build the
house of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 6). Darius released the
remaining temple vessels from the Persian treasury which had
originally been confiscated by Nebuchadnezzar and he further
assisted in financing the rebuilding by pledging some of the tax
Tattenai, the Persian governor of the provinces in Samaria.
These were the same Samarians who were heading the resistance
against the Jews in the rebuilding of the temple and now their
tribute money was ordered to be used to help finance the rebuilding
Darius died in October of 486 BC and was
buried in an elaborate cliffside tomb at modern day Naqsh-e Rustam,
Iran. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes I.
3) Xerxes I
(Ahasuerus of Esther and son of Darius the Great) who reigned from
486 until his assassination in 465 BC. Ahasuerus was the third
king yet to stand up and the fourth king in the Persian empire under
the dynasty established by Cyrus the Great. These four kings
are known in history as Zoroastrian
kings of the
Achamenid Empire. The word "Zoroastrian" relates to their
religion which is called "Zoroastrianism".
These were Persian kings at the height of the Persian empire as a
Ahasuerus was a king of
vast wealth. When he rose to power, his father, Darius, had
already initiated efforts to conquer Greece and had run into major
difficulties. When Ahasuerus took power, he was determined to
carry out his father's initiative against Greece and he began the
Second Invasion of Greece. Ahasuerus spent 10 years
organizing and planning this invasion which involved the cooperation
of some 70 city-states in the campaign. He prepared an
enormous army and navy, invaded Greece and encountered total
failure. He suffered great
losses at Thermopylae,
Salamis (480 BC) and at
Battle of Thermopylae was the site of the famous Spartan
soldiers who with 700
Thebans, fought face to face with the Persian army which
supposedly numbered close to a million men strong.
With these defeats at the
hands of the Greeks, the invasion was ended and Persian power in the
region was broken. The Greeks, motivated by the threat of future
invasions moved to the
offensive and eventually expelled the Persians from Europe
completely in about 449 BC.
"and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his
strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm
No king of the Persian
Empire better fits this description than Ahasuerus. He was
wealthy, he used his wealth and his strength to amass a huge force
against the realm of the Greeks and he was the fourth great Persian
king after the overthrow of Babylon when Persia became a world
power. Daniel's vision has now made it to the time when
Ahasuerus was "stirring up all against the realm of Grecia".
This is roughly 470 to 480 BC.
As is normal with
apocalyptic language, we arrive at a significant jump through
history. Apocalyptic language rarely lays all the elements out
in Chronological order and it also makes skips in time which is the
case here. There is no accounting of history between Ahasuerus
and Alexander the Great. Ahasuerus was not the last king of
the Persian empire to be followed immediately by Alexander. So
between verse 2 and verse three, we skip ahead in time till 336 BC
when Alexander "stood up" or came to power.
And a mighty king shall
stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to
Great was one of the most famous of all ancient conquerors.
The son of Philip II of Macedon, he amassed the largest empire the
world had ever known. He was only 32 years old when he died
and he had appointed no heir, and no regent for his unborn son by
his wife Roxane. Upon his death, the Greek empire he had
forged was split apart into four separate realms. This mighty
king corresponds with the leopard nation of the Grecian Empire in
vision of the four kingdoms that he received in the first year
of the last king of the Babylonian Empire.
"shall rule with great
Philip had brought most of the city-states of mainland Greece under
Macedonian rule. Upon Philip's death, Alexander inherited a
strong kingdom and an experienced army. He succeeded in rising to
power after the death of his father and continued the military plans
for expansion left by his father. He invaded Persia and began a
series of campaigns lasting ten years. Alexander overthrew the
Persian king Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian
Following his desire to reach the "ends of the world and the
Great Outer Sea", he
invaded India, but was eventually forced to turn back because
his army was tired and wanted to return home. Alexander died
before he had a chance to expand any further in that direction.
His dominion included almost all of Europe and the entire Persian
And when he shall stand
up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the
four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his
dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even
for others beside those.
Alexander the Great died
of a fever in 323 BC at the age of 32. He was married to
Roxane who was pregnant with Alexander IV. The empire had been
newly forged and was still unstable so with the death of Alexander
and no apparent heir to replace him, and with no regent appointed to
reign in his heir's stead, the leadership of the vast empire fell
into dispute and was broken into four separate kingdoms. Macedon and Greece came under the rule
of Cassander. Thrace and Bithynia were under the reign of
Lysimachus, Egypt under Ptolemy, and Syria under Seleucus.
This dividing of Alexander's kingdom corresponds with the four horns
of the leopard beast in
vision of the four kingdoms, Alexander himself being the broken
Important to keep in mind
with the dividing of Alexander's kingdom is that it was anything but
a calm and orderly process. There was a confusing flurry of
ambitious, power hungry men who served under Alexander the Great.
There was everything one would expect from such a situation as an
empire the size of Alexander's which was suddenly left without its
leader and without a living heir. There was murder, war,
deceit, deception, treachery and assassination at every turn.
This Bible student has read numerous accounts of the wars which
ensued immediately after the death of Alexander and every single one
of them have been a quagmire of confusing facts that will make one's
head spin. These power struggles were called the
wars of the Diadochi. The word Diadochi means
successors, so the conflicts over Alexander's kingdom came to be
known as the wars of the successors. There were four major
conflicts which spanned a period of time from 322 to 301 BC.
And after that, the conflicts continued as the territories were
constantly disputed and the power hungry kings struggled to seize
more land for themselves.
To make the events more
easy to understand and keep straight in our minds, we're going to
focus on the events of this vision from the perspective of the Jews.
There were two major powers in view. This was the kingdom of
the north and the kingdom of the south. Jerusalem was caught
in the middle between the two and were naturally going to get caught
up in the power struggle between the king of the north and the king
of the south. The kings of the north were of Seleucid dynasty
who ruled over the territories associated with Babylon, otherwise
known as Syria. The kings of the south were of the Ptolemaic
Dynasty who ruled over the territories of Egypt. Recall from
the study of Nebuchadnezzar's initial overthrow of Jerusalem that he
accomplished this on his way to Egypt. Jerusalem suffered a
great deal as a consequence of being between Babylon and Egypt and
the consequences of their location was going to further plague them
in the centuries to come.
Jews of Palestine lay as the buffer between Syria and Egypt and were
therefore destined to suffer in the conflicts between these two
"and not to his
The kingdom was not
divided according to Alexander's design. It was more like the
plundering of a dead man's possessions rather than the orderly
administration of one's holdings. The wars that raged over the
Greek Empire lasted for centuries and their lack of unity and
constant warring among themselves facilitated their eventual
overthrow by the Roman Empire. Had the Greek empire not been
ravaged by war and divided from within by internal power struggles,
it is unlikely the Roman Empire would have been able to rise to
power and overthrow the Greeks. As it was, the Roman Empire
grew in strength slowly while the major powers which were the old
Greek Empire fought among themselves.
"nor according to his
dominion which he ruled"
The kingdom was not
divided according to any law of the empire. It was divided up
among the most powerful generals of Alexander according to who
had the power to take and defend what they could seize.
And the king of the
south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be
strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great
The "King of the South”
was Ptolemy I Soter who had eventually established himself in Egypt.
Ptolemy was a Macedonian Greek general under Alexander the Great who
became ruler of Egypt from 323 to 283 BC. He was the founder
of both the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
He took the title of pharaoh of Egypt in about 305 BC.
He was the son of Arsinoe
of Macedon. He was described in ancient times as either the
son of Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or that he was an illegitimate
son of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.
This would make Alexander his half brother and would account for the
close friendship they shared. Ptolemy was a few years older
than Alexander and one of his closest friends since childhood.
As a result of this, he became one of Alexander's most trusted
generals. He was with Alexander from his first
campaigns, and played a leadership role in the later campaigns in
Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324,
Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Artakama.
"and one of his
princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his
dominion shall be a great dominion."
Ptolemy's prince was
Seleucus I Nicator of Syria, who had fled to him in temporary exile
from the power threats of Antigonus of Asia Minor. Antigonus was one
of Alexander's generals who ended up with all of Asia Minor under
his authority after a number of conflicts. Antigonus then
entered Babylon, of which Seleucus I Nicator of Syria was governor.
Seleucus fled to Ptolemy and entered into a league with him.
After serving as an officer to Ptolemy for four years (316-312 BC),
he returned to Syria and established himself as ruler and
established the Seleucid Dynasty and as a result, rose in power to
rule a kingdom larger and more powerful than Egypt, however, it was
Egypt that was the more stable of the two. This alliance did
not last long as their respective successors, Antiochus I Soter
and Ptolemy II Philadelphus waged territorial wars among themselves
which served to drastically deplete their respective resources.
The great dominion spoke of in this vision was the Seleucid Empire
which encompassed Babylon. At the height of its power it
included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's
Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.
And in the end of years
they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the
south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but
she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand,
nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her,
and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
The successors of
Seleucus I and Ptolemy I warred over territories. The first
major conflict which lasted from 274 to 271 BC was between Antiochus
I Soter of the Seleucus Empire and Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt.
Ptolemy II emerged victorious in this war but it was not to last.
In 260 BC, Ptolemy II went to war against Antiochus II Theos, who
had succeeded Antiochus I of the Seleucus Empire. Another king
meant another war for Ptolemy II which he really did not want.
So in order to forge some kind of alliance between himself and
Antiochus II, he gave his daughter, Berenice, to Antiochus II as a
truce marriage. Antiochus II was all for this arrangement but
he was already married to Laodice so he expelled her to make a place
"but she shall not retain the power of the arm"
The truce marriage
between Antiochus II and Berenice only lasted four years and then
Antiochus expelled Berenice in favor of his former wife, Laodice in
246 BC. Antiochus II and Berenice had a child together who
would have been heir to the throne of the Seleucid Empire.
Laodice had other plans however, and after poisoning her adulterous
husband, Antiochus II, moved to have her son placed on the throne
instead of the son of Antiochus and Berenice. In order to
expedite this venture of hers with little opposition, she had
Berenice and her son killed.
"neither shall he stand, nor his arm"
The infant son of
Antiochus II and Berenice was slain along with his mother. Berenice’s
infant son and the anticipated kingly linage which was planned did
not come to pass. Ptolemy II figured that with a line of kings
on the throne of the Seleucid Empire who was related to him, the
hostilities between them would cease and he would have an advocate
on the throne. This plan failed miserably when Laodice
returned to the favor of Antiochus II and had them all killed, thus
extinguishing any hope of a Ptolemaic line on the throne of the
"but she shall be given up, and they that brought her"
Antiochus II expelled
Berenice in favor of his former wife who he had earlier expelled.
This did not work out well for Antiochus II at all. His
first wife, Laodice, killed him with poison and had everybody else
involved in the plot to place a Ptolemaic king on the Seleucid
"and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these
Ptolemy II had a great
deal riding on this arrangement. He was the father of Berenice
thus he was the one who "begat her". He was also the
one that strengthened her in that before Berenice and her infant son
were killed by Laodice, Berenice had requested her brother Ptolemy
III Euergetes of Egypt to support her being regent for her infant
son to succeed the late Antiochus II who had been killed by Laodice.
The support did not come in time so the plan to place a Ptolemy on
the Seleucid throne failed.
But out of a branch of
her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an
army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north,
and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
Berenice was the daughter
of Ptolemy II. Ptolemy II was succeeded by his son Ptolemy III,
brother of Berenice, which made them branches from the same root.
Ptolemy III was furious over the assassination of his sister and his
nephew and he set out to avenge them. Syria
and Babylon were plundered and territory was gained by Egypt of
which a portion was held for about thirty years.
And shall also carry
captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their
precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more
years than the king of the north.
Egypt is named by name
here. This naming makes it possible to positively match the
elements of the vision to actual historical facts. This is in
reference to the plundering of Syria and Babylon by Ptolemy III.
The king of the north at this time was Seleucus II who died in 225
BC from a fall off his horse, while Ptolemy III died in 222 BC.
Ptolemy III therefore continued more years than the king of the
north. It is also a fact that when kings are referred to in
apocalyptic language it is also in reference to the kingdoms in view
and not just the kings. Historically, Egypt which was the
kingdom of the south, stood against the Roman Empire longer than any
other territory of Alexander. Egypt was the last holdout, so
if one views the kings in verse 8 as the respective kingdoms, then
history aligns with this view as well.
So the king of the
south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own
After the plundering of
Syria and Babylon by Ptolemy III, he returned to Egypt and with him
he took great treasures and spoil.
But his sons shall be
stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one
shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he
return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
Verse 11 makes it clear
that these sons are the from the northern kingdom and not the
southern kingdom of Egypt. There were two of them who were the
sons of Seleucus II who died in 225 BC in an accident where he was
thrown from a horse. His two sons
were Seleucus III Ceraunus and Antiochus III who
was called great. Seleucus III was the successor to the throne
in 222 when his father, Seleucus II died. Seleucus III reigned
until 223 BC when he was assassinated by members of his own army.
His younger brother, Antiochus III replaced him on the throne of the
Both of these rulers were
quite upset with Egypt over the loss of territory under Ptolemy III
who had since died and been replaced by Ptolemy IV Philopater.
They came against Egypt with a vast host of forces and recovered all
the territories of Syria which had been taken by Ptolemy III.
"and one shall
Only one of the two sons
of Seleucus II would "certainly come" because the other one, Seleucus III, died
leaving Antiochus III on the throne and solely in charge of the war
"and pass through"
Antiochus III penetrated
Egypt with his forces almost as far as Caesarea which was in Jewish
territory. Keeping in mind here that Palestine was caught in
the middle of these two empires and served as a buffer between the
two. Antiochus III passed through Jewish territory on his
vengeful quest against Egypt.
"then shall he return"
Antiochus III ceased his
hostilities against Ptolemy IV for a period of about four months and
returned to renew the war.
and be stirred up,
even to his fortress.
This fortress was at
Raphia which was a border fortress of Egypt guarding against attacks
by way of Edom and Arabia. Antiochus III had penetrated well
into the territory of Egypt and appeared to be on his way to victory
but was soundly defeated at the
Battle of Raphia in 217 BC.
And the king of the
south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight
with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a
great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
Ptolemy IV was "moved
with choler". This means he was motivated because of his great
loss, in this case towards Antiochus III. Ptolemy IV was
historically known as an indolent man who was really more interested
in the pursuits of the flesh than he was in the defense of Egypt.
But with Antiochus III coming like he was, Ptolemy IV finally got
his head in the game and dealt with the seriousness of the issue
The force that Ptolemy IV
sent to meet Antiochus III at the Battle of Raphia consisted of
3,000 Hypaspists under Eurylochus the Magnesian, 2,000 peltasts
under Socrates the Boeotian, 25,000 Phalangites under Andromachus
the Aspendian and Ptolemy, the son of Thraseas, and 8,000 Greek
mercenaries under Phoxidas the Achaean and 2,000 Cretan and 1,000
Neocretan archers under Philon the Cnossian. He had another 3,000
Libyans under Ammonius the Barcian and 20,000 Egyptians under his
chief minister Sosibius. Apart from these he also employed 4,000
Thracians and Gauls from Egypt and another 2,000 from Europe under
Dionysius the Thracian.
Ptolemy IV was concerned enough that he
even sent his household cavalry to fight in this conflict which
numbered 700 horsemen with an additional 2,300 foot soldiers.
Ptolemy's force was also supplemented by the presence of 73 African
"but the multitude
shall be given into his hand."
At the Battle of Raphia,
10,000 of Antiochus III' army were slain and 4000 were taken
And when he hath taken
away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast
down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
Ptolemy IV was feeling
good about his victory at Raphia. He figured Antiochus III
would return to Syria with his tail between his legs and give up the
conflict over territory. Ptolemy IV did not pursue Antiochus
III and returned to his life of
indolence and pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh. But his
illusions over his victory were short lived. Antiochus III did
not return home and forget all about his defeat at Raphia.
Ptolemy IV died in 205 BC leaving the consequences of his poor
decision to his son Ptolemy V Epiphanes.
For the king of the
north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the
former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great
army and with much riches.
In 202 BC, 14 years after
his defeat at Raphia, Antiochus III returned with a bigger force and
attacked Ptolemy V Epiphanes who was very young and had taken the
throne of Egypt just two years earlier in 204 BC. Antiochus
III had been successful after campaigns against Persia and India and
was refortified from these conquests with the means to conduct a war.
And in those times
there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the
robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the
vision; but they shall fall.
Philip V king of Macedon, and
rebels in Egypt
itself, combined with Antiochus III
all opposed Egypt under Ptolemy
"also the robbers of thy
people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision"
Many Jews desired to be free
of Egyptian subjugation and sought to ally themselves with Antiochus
Jews helped by supplying provisions for Antiochus' army, when on his
return from Egypt he besieged the Egyptian garrison which was
located within the city of Jerusalem. The vision they had was
short sighted indeed. They somehow thought they would be
better off as allies with Antiochus III than existing as a
protectorate of Egypt and obligated to pay tribute. One must
question the wisdom of those who would ally themselves with a
serpent in order to escape the clutches of a rat.
"But they shall fall"
The Jews had visions of
independence through an alliance with Antiochus III. Their
plan met with monumental failure as their sufferings under the
Seleucid Dynasty far exceeded anything they suffered as subjects of
So the king of the
north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced
cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his
chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
Antiochus III, the king
of the North, met an Egyptian general by the name of Scopas in
battle at Paneas in 198 BC., near the mouth of the Jordan River. Scopas
was defeated and fled to Sidon which was a heavily fortified city
with massive walls. Ptolemy V sent Eropus, Menocles, and
Damoxenus, his best military leaders to try and help Scopas but they
failed. With the assistance of the Jews, Antiochus III
captured Sidon and Scopas was forced to surrender.
But he that cometh
against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand
before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his
hand shall be consumed.
Antiochus III was victorious in all his
conquests against Egypt. Apparently nobody could resist
"And he shall stand in the glorious land"
The glorious land is of course Judea.
Antiochus III, with help from the Jews, set Judea up as a buffer
zone between him and Egypt and as a consequence, Judea was "consumed"
or desolated by becoming the arena of conflict between the
combatants Antiochus III and Ptolemy V.
He shall also set his
face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright
ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter
of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side,
neither be for him.
Seeking to establish Judaea as his buffer
territory, Antiochus III made concessions to the Jews. He later
gave his daughter Cleopatra (daughter of women), to
Ptolemy V as the security of a peace treaty marriage. His goal
was similar to the goal of Ptolemy II when he gave his daughter Berenice to Antiochus II. He wanted to gain some sort of
political control of Egypt without any further battle through the
influence of his daughter. This is not the same Cleopatra that
was associated with Mark Antony. To seal the deal, Antiochus
III promised Palestine and the hotly disputed southern region of
Coele Syria, as the wedding dowry for marrying Ptolemy V.
This marriage was arranged in 197 BC., but did not actually occur
until 193 because Ptolemy V was only seven years old at the time.
This plan actually worked against
the strategy of Antiochus III, as Cleopatra with her husband,
Ptolemy V, would later temporarily rule as regent with
her son Ptolemy VI as the Egyptian rival to Seleucid-Syria.
The conflict arising because the land promise was broken when the
son of Antiochus III invaded Egypt anew.
After this shall he
turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for
his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease;
without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.
After giving his
daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy V,
Antiochus III turned his expansion interest to the West. He
began invading and taking islands and coastlands around the
Mediterranean Sea. He
conquered and seized Asia Minor in 197 BC and then crossed the Aegean
Sea to Thracia and Greece. Antiochus III encountered the
Romans at Thermopylae in 191 BC. He was defeated by the
Romans at Magnesia in 190 BC and was forced to seek a treaty with
"but a prince for his
own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease"
Antiochus III was attacking
allies of Rome and causing them much reproach among their
Lucius Scipio Asiaticus, a Roman general, defeated Antiochus III
at Magnesia in 190 BC., thereby causing the reproach which he "offered"
Rome by inflicting injuries on Rome's allies, to cease. He did it
for his own glory.
The victorious Romans imposed immense financial war compensations upon
taking his son Antiochus IV, as a security hostage and holding him
in Rome. Antiochus III died in Persia far to the east. Seleucid Syria
under Antiochus III had lost most of its' Asian land mass and power but it was still
intact, yet a weaker rival to Ptolemy-Egypt.
Rome was expanding and making
protectorates of Greece, Macedonia, Thracia and portions of Asia
Minor. Rome would later gain Syria (65-64 BC), Palestine (63 BC)
and Egypt (31 BC). But lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Antiochus III has not passed from Daniel's vision yet.
Then he shall turn his
face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall,
and not be found.
Antiochus III had been
compelled by Rome to relinquish all his territory west of the
Taurus, and to repay the expenses of the war. The Romans
demanded a thousand talents in war indemnity which in today's
accounting comes to roughly eight hundred million dollars as a rough
estimate. Needing to acquire a large sum of money on short
notice, Antiochus III attempted to loot the temple of Jupiter at
Elymais by night and was killed by the inhabitants of the temple in
187 BC. Thus ends the career of Antiochus III whom was
also known as Antiochus the Great of the Seleucid - Syrian Empire.
Then shall stand up in
his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within
few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
Antiochus III was
succeeded by his brother, Seleucus IV Philopator, who reigned from
187 to 175 BC. The Roman war indemnity was crippling the
Seleucid Syrian Empire so Seleucus IV tried to raise the money from
the Jews. In about 178 BC., he sent his prime minister/
Heliodorus to Palestine in order to try and collect tax money to
help relieve the burden of the Roman war remuneration. The
Jews did not like this arrangement at all and refused to cooperate
with Heliodorus so with the help of a Jewish collaborator named
Simon, he took money from the temple and the treasury in Jerusalem.
Upon the death of
Antiochus III, his son, Antiochus IV was released from Rome and
replaced by Demetrius I Soter who was the son of Seleucus IV.
Rome was making sure they held the son of the king of the Seleucid -
Syrian Empire in order to collect that war indemnity and to help
prevent any further mischief on the part of the ruler of the
Syrians. Seleucus IV had alienated the Jews who were
friendly towards Antiochus III, and he was further politically
compromised because of the vast sum of money he was trying to raise
from his own subjects in order to keep his hostage son in Rome
alive. Thus weakened, Heliodorus, his prime minister returned
to Syria from Palestine and assasinated him. Heliodorus,
after killing the king seized the throne for himself but it was not
long at all before Antiochus IV moved to usurp him and take the
throne for himself. Antiochus IV had Heliodorus killed, thus
ending his brief reign "within a few days".
And in his estate
shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour
of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the
kingdom by flatteries.
Antiochus IV was infamous for
his behavior which was not fitting the dignity of a king. He
would carouse with harlots and other undesirables, even going so far
as to bathe with them in the public baths. He would act
foolishly and throw stones at people walking by. He was doing
this in part to establish himself as a man of the people and to
bolster his popularity among them. Demetrius I
Soter was the son of the former king killed by Heliodorus and was
therefore considered by many to be the rightful successor as king of
the Seleucid - Syrian Empire. Many within the Empire
certainly saw him as a more fitting personage of a king rather than
the depraved and loathsome Antiochus IV who was taking full
advantage of Demetrius I Soter's captivity to seize the throne for
"To whom they shall not
give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and
obtain the kingdom by flatteries."
The Syrian Empire did not
confer the kingdom to Antiochus IV by public act. Having been
a captive in Rome for some years, he observed and learned the art of
diplomacy by flattery. He used what we see today as
campaigning strategies for elected officials to win the approval of
enough people to get himself on the throne by hook or by crook,
making all kinds of empty promises and gaining the favor of the
people by whatever means he could contrive, even to the point of
cavorting with them in public places such as the baths. With the support
Attalus of Pergamum and his adoptive father,
Eumenes, Antiochus IV campaigned his way to the throne of the
Seleucid - Syrian Empire.
We have now reached the date
of 175 BC in the vision of the destiny of the Jews in their latter
days. Problems for them are beginning to develop as the buffer
nation between Syria and Egypt. We need to keep in mind the
covenant made between Antiochus III and Ptolemy V with the marriage
of his daughter, Cleopatra, and the dowry of land promises made
which Antiochus IV would not honor. There was trouble brewing
on the horizon for the Jews whose home was positioned between these
And with the arms of a
flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken;
yea, also the prince of the covenant.
Antiochus IV was now on the
throne and in power. The Seleucid - Syrian empire was a mere
shadow of its former power but was still a formidable force.
Antiochus IV had ambitions to restore the Syrian Empire to its full
power and retake all the lands that had been taken from it.
During all the uproar between Syria and Rome, Ptolemy V died and was
Ptolemy VI just five years earlier in 180 BC. Ptolemy VI
was the son of Ptolemy V and Cleopatra who was the daughter of
Antiochus III. Ptolemy VI was only about six years old when
Ptolemy V died and his mother, Cleopatra, ruled as regent for a few
years until she died in 176 BC., only four years after Ptolemy VI
took the throne making him about ten years old.
As things develop, we need to keep in mind that Antiochus IV and
Cleopatra were brother and sister and that her son was Antiochus'
nephew. This young king who would be the king of Egypt was a
direct descendant of not only the Ptolemaic Dynasty, but also the
Antiochus IV had ambitions of
restoring Syria to its' former
glory but he lacked one thing; resources with which to wage war.
Antiochus IV, with no concern whatsoever for the covenant
established between Ptolemy V and his father Antiochus III, he
invaded Egypt with overwhelming force. Ptolemy VI, "the
prince of the covenant", was just a
young boy and his guardians sought to recover from Antiochus IV, Coelo-Syria and Palestine, which had been promised by Antiochus III
as Cleopatra's dowry in marrying Ptolemy V. Hence arose the war.
Ptolemy VI's generals were vanquished, and
Pelusium, the key of Egypt was taken by Antiochus in 171 B.C.
This was the first of three open invasions by Antiochus IV into
Egypt. The vision re-visits this first invasion of Antiochus
IV in verse 25.
And after the league
made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and
shall become strong with a small people.
Antiochus IV being the uncle
of Ptolemy VI and the brother of Cleopatra deceived them prior to
invading and looting them. Feigning friendship to young
Ptolemy, he betrayed him and took possession of Memphis, and all
Egypt as far as Alexandria. All who had made political leagues
and concessions with Antiochus came to discover that they had been
deceived even though they were assumed allies. This vile and
deceitful man with “a small people”, having been reduced in
mass and power by the Romans had full intentions of doing whatever
was necessary to achieve his ambitions without regard to who it may
He shall enter
peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall
do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers;
he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea,
and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for
The Hebrew word for
"Peaceably" literally means, unexpectedly, securely or safely.
It was under the guise of friendship that Antiochus IV seized
Egyptian holdings under Ptolemy VI.
"And he shall do that which
his fathers have not done"
The forefathers of Antiochus IV,
the Seleucid kings of Syria, had always coveted Egypt but were
unable to wrest it from the hands of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
Antiochus IV, with his army almost utterly consumed it.
Antiochus IV launched his first
attack against Egypt upon news of the death of Cleopatra who was
reigning as regent for her young son, Ptolemy VI. Antiochus
invaded Egypt claiming it as his protectorate and claiming Ptolemy
as vassal ruler in the political trade-off. During this time, a
revolt was stirring in Alexandria of Egypt and this brought Ptolemy
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II into the political picture.
Ptolemy VIII was a vile individual who we will look at closer in the
following verses. Both Ptolemies were recognized during the
internal strife that was plaguing Egypt at this time. This internal
strife allowed Antiochus IV the opportunity to gain a foothold in
Yea, and he shall forecast his
devices against the strong holds
Antiochus IV formed a plan to
incorporate Egypt into Seleucid-Syria’s anticipated domains.
His plan included making himself the master of the Egyptian
fortresses which guarded access to Egypt from the north. He gained
them all except Alexandria, which successfully resisted him.
Retaining to himself Pelusium. There was a rumor circulated
which made it to Judea that Antiochus IV had been slain in battle.
The Jews who had also experienced the deceit and treachery of
Antiochus IV were overjoyed at this news. In particular was
Jason who had been appointed as the Jewish High Priest by Antiochus
IV but was replaced by Menelaus who promised Antiochus IV more money
in exchange for the seat. Upon news of this rumor, he formed a
revolt designed at replacing himself as the high priest. Many
Jews were in favor of this arrangement and supported Jason's bid for
the seat. Antiochus IV heard
of this and took revenge on the Jews who revolted
against him for it. He then subdued Jerusalem by force.
"Even for a time"
Antiochus IV would not ravage
Egypt and Judea forever. It was but for a time under the
control of God.
"And he shall stir up
his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great
army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a
very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall
forecast devices against him."
This is a continuation of
what was seen in the vision as recorded in Daniel 11:22-24.
This is the first of three invasions by Antiochus IV into Egypt.
"Against the king of
Against Ptolemy VI
Philometor. Subsequently, Ptolemy VIII who was the brother of
Prolemy VI. He was called Physcon (the Gross), or Euergetes
II. He was made king by the Egyptians, as Ptolemy VI was in
"With a great army"
As distinguished from the "small
people" with which he first came. Being emboldened by the
success of his first incursion, he now launches his first full scale
open invasion of Egypt. Antiochus entered Egypt with an
overwhelming multitude, with chariots, war elephants, and cavalry.
"And the king of the south
shall be stirred up"
Ptolemy VI was forced to
react to his uncle's invasion force in order to prevent Egypt being
completely taken over by Antiochus IV in 170 BC. Ptolemy VI
was about 16 years old at this time.
"But he shall not stand"
Antiochus IV defeated his
young nephew, Ptolemy VI. In 168 BC, Antiochus IV was crowned
as the king of Egypt but he had to later abandon his claim by orders
of the Roman Senate or else risk a full scale war with Rome.
"For they shall forecast
devices against him"
Ptolemy VI's own nobles framed
deceitful "devices" against him (see Daniel 11:26). The
invasion of Antiochus IV was stopped at Alexandria. He left
Ptolemy VI at Memphis as the king and fell back to his old game of
subterfuge and craft by pretending that his whole purpose all along
was to support Ptolemy VI against his younger brother, Ptolemy VIII.
Yea, they that feed of
the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall
overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
Those to whom young
Ptolemy VI looked to for help turned against him, probably in self
interest as they realized the futility of siding with him. His
army was overwhelmed in defeat. At the battle between Ptolemy
VI and Antiochus IV at Pelusium many were wounded and died.
Antiochus IV emerged victorious and gained all of Egypt.
"And both these kings'
hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one
table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the
Antiochus IV was a master
of deception, speaking one thing and doing another whenever it
suited his purpose. Both kings knew they couldn't trust one
another. Antiochus IV set Ptolemy VI up as his
vassal sub-king of Egypt against his younger brother Ptolemy VIII
who had gained a political following. Antiochus IV intended to
entirely subjugate Egypt while Ptolemy VI, being fully well aware of
this, was willing to agree to
anything at this point to save his own skin and gain the time to
maneuver himself into a position in hopes of prevailing against his
uncle, Antiochus IV at a later time.
"but it shall not
prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed."
Each ruler had their own
agenda but neither of them succeeded.
Although the political ambitions intrigues, deals, concessions and
lies were exchanged between these two powers their respective demise
and passing were subject to the wishes of almighty God. It is
important to note here that Daniel's vision reveals, as is done in
other places, that God is directing these affairs. God has set
the appointed time for these things to take place. God is in
complete control of these events and using them to bring about the
fulfillment of his divine purpose for man on earth.
The Jews are destined for
immense suffering at this time and it is on the horizon and fast
approaching. God is using Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI as
instruments to enable and facilitate his plans for the Jews.
Neither Antiochus IV nor Ptolemy VI had any idea they were but pawns
being used in the plans of the Almighty God. Their end and the
end of all their plans was already appointed at a certain time and
Then shall he return
into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the
holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
Antiochus IV plundered
Ptolemy-Egypt and planned to force Hellenization on the Jerusalem
Jews. Hellenization was the forced assimilation of a people
into the Greek culture. The Greek culture was saturated with
poly-theistic pagan worship and was completely incompatible with the
Law of Moses which governed the Jews. By setting his heart
against the religion of the Jews, Antiochus therefore had his heart
against the Law of Moses. It is one thing to trample
underfoot one's self made God, but it is an entirely different
matter indeed to trample underfoot the one true and living God and
Antiochus IV was about to do that very thing.
Antiochus IV was still struggling
to pay the old but continuing Roman war indebtedness which he
inherited from his father, Antiochus III. He went back to
Syria with his plunder with the intention of returning to Egypt at a
later time to establish his control over Egypt. On his way home, he
had to pass through Palestine and when he did this, he executed his
plan for the Hellenization of the Jews into the Greek culture.
At the time appointed
he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as
the former, or as the latter.
Not realizing that he was
involved in the overriding providence of the sovereign Almighty,
Antiochus now returned to establish his control over Ptolemy-Egypt.
While Antiochus IV was away, the Ptolemies petitioned Rome for help
and Rome was more than willing to help. The Romans, not willing to
allow anybody the chance to gain enough power to be a potential
threat wanted to stop Antiochus IV’s advances and they were also
interested in the vast grain resources of Egypt.
For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and
return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he
do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that
forsake the holy covenant.
The Romans responded to
the plea of Ptolemy-Egypt by sending “ships of Chittim"
(Cyprus), to bring a show of military might. "Chittim" refers
to the Cyprians, so called from a Phoenician colony in Cyprus.
The term came to be applied to the islands and coasts of the
Mediterranean in general.
Ptolemy VI and
VIII, realizing that Antiochus IV was a scoundrel, appealed to Rome
for help against his tyranny. Antiochus IV again invaded Egypt
with the intent of bringing them under absolute Syrian rule.
However, Rome had other plans for Egypt and Antiochus IV. Egypt had a rich grain supply which the Romans
could use so they were interested in helping the Ptolemies out in
exchange for access to their abundant grain supplies.
In 168 BC Antiochus led
his second attack on Egypt and also sent a fleet to
capture Cyprus. Before reaching Alexandria, his path
was blocked by a single, old Roman ambassador named
Gaius Popillius Laenas, who delivered a message from
the Roman Senate ordering Antiochus IV to withdraw his
armies from Egypt and Cyprus, or consider themselves
in a state of war with the Roman Republic. Antiochus
IV, trying to stall for time,
said he would discuss it with his council. The Roman envoy
then drew a line in the sand around him
and said, "Before you cross this circle I want you
to give me a reply for the Roman Senate" - implying
that Antiochus IV would face a full scale war with Rome
if he did not agree to leave Egypt
immediately. Antiochus IV was already
struggling under the massive war indemnity accrued
by his father from his unfortunate encounter with
the Romans. Weighing his limited options, Antiochus
decided to withdraw and returned to Syria in defeat
and humiliation. Judea lay in his path home
and they were about to experience his wrath.
he shall be grieved, and return"
Antiochus IV was
upset over this turn of events. He was looking
to Egypt to help supply the resources for his
expansion efforts elsewhere and they weren't
cooperating at all. His plans were being
thwarted by the Romans who were already a thorn in
his side from previous encounters. Being
turned back by the Romans, he then has no recourse
but to return to Syria through Judea which was
positioned in a land locked bottleneck between the
two super powers.
have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall
he do; he shall even return,"
When Heliodorus was
sent to Judea to collect taxes, he was persuaded to
attempt the plunder of the Temple treasury by a man
named Simon the Benjamite.
Onias III was the high priest in Jerusalem when
this attempt took place and he was a faithful and
dedicated Jewish high priest. He resisted the
effort and succeeded in defending the temple
treasury against the piracy of Heliodorus.
Antiochus IV became king later and had Heliodorus
put to death but he never forgot that Onias III was
faithful to the Jewish law and would never support
Onias III had an
ambitious younger brother named
Jason who saw that an alliance with Antiochus IV
would serve to elevate him in stature so he became a
supporter of Antiochus IV and was instated as the
high priest in the place of his brother who was
imprisoned and removed by the Syrian king. In
exchange for his appointment to the position of high
priest, Jason agreed to pay a bribe and agreed to a
vigorous program of Hellenization which would force
the Jewish people to abandon the Levitical law in
favor of Greek culture and law. Jason
abandoned the ordinances defining the polity of the
Jews according to the Levitical Law in favor of
Greek culture and law.
In 172 BC, Jason sent
his bribe money to Antiochus IV by way of
Menelaus who when he arrived with the money,
offered Antiochus IV a larger bribe and an even more
rigorous program of Hellenization in exchange for
Jason's position of high priest. Antiochus IV,
being the scoundrel he was and still laboring under
the staggering war indemnity levied on Syria by the
Romans, agreed to this and Jason was ousted from the
position and fled Jerusalem to live in the land of
Menelaus' first act
was to seize the sacred vessels in the Temple stores
in order to meet the obligations he had incurred to
Antiochus IV in exchange for his promotion as Jewish
High Priest. This act came to the attention of the
deposed high priest Onias III, who publicly accused
Menelaus of robbing the Temple. Menelaus had
Onias III murdered in order to silence him. he
then went on to plunder the treasures of the temple
until outrage by the faithful Jews caused
an outbreak of violence.
Meanwhile, back in
Jerusalem, Jason heard that Antiochus IV had been
slain in battle. He had not abandoned his
hopes of being high priest and while Antiochus IV
was trying vainly to conquer Egypt, he managed to
raise a following and challenge Menelaus in
Jerusalem. Jason thought Antiochus IV was
dead. Jason succeeded in overthrowing
Menelaus and forced him to take refuge in Acra, the
Syrian Citadel inside Jerusalem. When
Antiochus IV passed through Judea on his way home,
very much alive and bearing the anger and
humiliation from his encounter with the Romans, he
learned of the revolt of Jason against Menelaus.
Upon his arrival at
Jerusalem, Antiochus IV presented himself as the
manifestation of the Greek god Zeus, and calling
himself by the title “Epiphanies”. He and his
army arrived under the guise of peace but suddenly
attacked Jerusalem on a Sabbath, slaughtered
thousands, took women and children to be sold as
slaves and then plundered the city, pulling down
portions of its walls. His own fortress of Acra, within the
city, was reinforced. Menelaus was reinstated as high priest
and Jason was exiled where he fled to Egypt and then
on to Sparta where he died.
have intelligence with them that forsake the holy
the forces of Antiochus IV in this massacre and
revealed the location of the temple treasury to
Antiochus IV who took full advantage of this
information and plundered the temple unmercifully.
And arms shall stand
on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and
shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the
abomination that maketh desolate.
Many of the Jews
supported Antiochus IV.
Menelaus and other Jews instigated Antiochus IV against their religion and
country. Having taken up the false idea from Greek philosophy, that
the main object of religion is to maintain political and social
order, and that all religions are good enough to keep the masses in
check, these apostate Jews had cast off circumcision and the law of
Moses in favor of Greek culture.
At their head stood Menelaus, who professed the utmost contempt for
the religion of his fathers and was ready to commit any crime in
order to support his ambition.
"and they shall
pollute the sanctuary of strength"
the leaders of Antiochus IV right into the temple, showing them
around and even taking them behind the veil into the most holy of
holies. The Syrians had the run of the temple, plundering the
vessels from the hidden rooms which housed the treasures of the
Antiocus IV imposed
a law that all Jews be restricted from the practice of the Levitical
worship. The Jews were forbidden to observe the weekly Sabbath, the
annual festivals and circumcision. All available scripture was
destroyed and it was made a capital offense to posses any. The
daily burnt offerings were forbidden, Jews who would not renounce
their monotheistic orthodoxy were severely punished, and hundreds
were martyred. Antiochus IV had the temple dedicated to the pagan
god, Zeus and swine was offered as a sacrifice upon the temple
alter. The blood from the swine was taken and splashed on the
alter and on the walls of the temple throughout as a demonstration
of contempt and disdain for the Jewish religion and Menelaus the
Jewish High Priest supported Antiochus IV during all of this.
"and shall take away
the daily sacrifice"
The continual burnt
offering at the temple, twice daily, which is described in detail in
Exodus 29:36-43 was descended upon by the forces of Antiochus IV,
led by Apollonius commanding a force of 22,000. The
worshippers were attacked and killed, the constant fire on the alter
was extinguished and the temple service was discontinued.
"and they shall place
the abomination that maketh desolate"
In both Biblical and rabbinical Hebrew
abomination is a familiar term for an idol (1 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings
23:13). When Antiochus IV overran
Jerusalem, cast down the daily sacrifice and stormed the temple, he
had a statue erected of the pagan Greek God, Zeus over the top of
the alter and he had the temple dedicated to him and swine were
offered on the alter.
And such as do
wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but
the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Antiochus IV, ever the
flatterer by promises of favor to those who support him, swayed the
apostate Jews led by Menelaus to profane the temple and agree to the
forced Hellenization of the Jews and the throwing down of the
Levitical worship at the temple.
the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."
Not all of the Jews stood
by and allowed this overthrow to
take place unchallenged. Many faithful Jews were greatly
offended and infuriated over the desecration of the temple. It
was at this time that the Maccabean Revolt of 167-164 BC began to
organize to lift up the Jewish national resistance against the
Hellenization policies of Antiochus IV. The word Maccabee
means "Hammer" which we will soon find to be an appropriate
A Maccabean Jewish priest
Mattathias had five sons,
Eleazar. Initially, they fled
to the country and while hiding out, they began to organize and
deploy resistance forces, successfully engaging in the strategies
and tactics of guerilla warfare. These faithful Jewish men did
many exploits against both Antiochus IV and his allied apostate Jews
And they that
understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall
by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
The faithful among the
Jews tried diligently to instruct their kinsmen to stay faithful, to
fear the Lord, keep the law and not to apostatize. The Hebrew
writer alluded directly to the suffering which was inflicted upon
the faithful Jews in Hebrews 11.
"Yet they shall fall by the
Eleazar was forced to eat the
flesh of swine. He spit it out choosing rather to die rather
than to profane himself by eating it. Two women, who
circumcised their infant boys, were cast down with their babies tied
around their necks from the wall of Jerusalem. Hebrews
11:36-37, "And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,
yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were
sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered
about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted,
Seven brothers and their
mother submitted to a cruel death by torture
rather than deny their faith. Hebrews 11:32, "Women
received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured,
not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better
The faithful Jews were driven
out of their homes and they hid in caves in order to keep the
sabbath. Antiochus IV forbad the Jewish observance of the
Sabbath and the Jews refused to fight on the Sabbath.
Antiochus took advantage of this and killed thousands of Jews on
this day. They fled their homes and retired to nearby caves in
order to be able to observe the Sabbath Day without being murdered
"And by flame"
The forces under Antiochus IV
discovered some of these caves where the faithful Jews were hiding
and he caused them to be burned alive in these caves. The
first of the seven brothers mentioned earlier who were tortured to
death was killed by being fried in a heated pan after his tongue and
extremities had been cut off. The atrocities inflicted upon
the faithful Jews was overwhelmingly cruel.
Josephus recorded that this
intense persecution lasted for three years.
Now when they shall
fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave
to them with flatteries.
The faithful Jews who rebelled
against Antiochus IV were being slaughtered unmercifully. They
were helped by the Maccabees in their guerilla warfare tactics that
they used against the forces of Antiochus IV. This guerrilla
type warfare was so successful that they were able to help turn the
tide against Antiochus IV.
"but many shall cleave to
them with flatteries"
The faithful Jews were
outnumbered and the forces of the
Syrians was overwhelming in its power. The apostate Jews
who allied themselves with Antiochus IV must have felt pretty secure
in their union with him. Acting in anticipation of the favors
of Antiochus IV they continued to support him as informants and
allies to his forced Hellenization policies.
And some of them of
understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make
them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a
The forces against the
faithful Jews appeared to be insurmountable. Many among them
who had initially been faithful were persuaded by the promises of
Antiochus IV to turn traitor. It must have been discouraging
to see one's relatives and friends being tortured and killed in the
full scale war that had been launched against them by the Syrians.
But there is another effect which takes place when one sees the
staunch and deliberate resolve of faithful people who are willing to
go to their deaths for their faith. One cannot behold the
suffering and staunch faith of one's family and countrymen without
having feelings of guilt and remorse over their deaths. When
we see here is the arousing of the national pride of apostate Jews
who after witnessing the faith of their countrymen and their
willingness to endure torture and death against all odds repented of
their traitorous defection and rallied in support of the Jewish
"even to the time of the
re-conquered Jerusalem in 165 BC and by December 164 BC, the temple
had been purified and re-dedicated. Antiochus’ forces were now
routed and defeated. He now was forced to make concessions to the
now well-organized Jewish national resistance. Antiochus later died
and was succeeded by six others to the time of Antiochus VII Sidetes
(138-129 BC) and by this time following additional battles, the Jews
became an independent state.
"because it is yet for a
God is not going to allow this
suffering to continue indefinitely. Keeping in mind that this
is his faithful children who are suffering as a result of all this
persecution. The purpose here being stated in the previous
statement, the apostate Jews are either returning to the faith or
being purged from their ranks. This vision by no means
constitutes the first time Daniel has witnessed God's workings in
this manner. Daniel was a faithful Israelite caught up in a
similar instance when he was imprisoned by Nebuchadnezzar during the
overthrow and destruction of Judea in his lifetime. Daniel
knew first hand that when God cleaned house, there could be grim and
terrible consequences. Daniel, like everybody else had no
choice but to remain faithful. Those who remain faithful will
emerge triumphant in the end.
And the king shall do
according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify
himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against
the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be
accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
Up to this point, we have
been given a detailed vision of the events between the Syrian and
the Egyptian Empires from the perspective of the Jews living between
these two superpowers. We have just seen the incessant battles
between the king of the north, the Seleucids and the king of the
South, the Ptolemies over land and money. Antiochus
IV has finally met his end and Judea has become an independent
The text of the vision
appears to flow on with a continuation of Antiochus IV but the
elements following do not line up with him at all. In history,
the vision has now reached about 164 BC. Going back to Daniel
10:14, we observe that the vision is restricted to "what shall
befall thy people in the latter days". Daniel's
vision is said to conclude with the scattering of the "power of the
holy people" (Daniel 12:7), which was accomplished in 70 AD with the
destruction of Jerusalem.
To the perspective
of those to whom the vision was given, this has to mean what shall
befall the Israelite people in the years to follow. In 70 AD,
the commonwealth standing of Israelites as the sole people of God
was destroyed along with the temple. The faithful Christians (the
holy people), at the time were scattered throughout the Roman
Empire. The distinction between
Jews and Gentiles was forever abolished by God and was punctuated
with the utter destruction of the temple which forever removed the
sacrificial system of the Levitical worship. Therefore in
order to properly match the events of the vision as it starts in
Daniel 11:26 within the historical context of the Jewish nation as
the commonwealth of God, then we must look to the next "king", or
kingdom which falls in between Antiochus IV and the destruction of
Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The Roman Empire was the
next mighty world power to rise up and dominate the known world from
the perspective of Judea. Keeping in mind, according to
Daniel, this vision is all about the significant events in the lives
of Daniel's people as a nation, the king, kingdom, or power that had
the next most significant impact on the Jews was the Roman Empire.
And if we think about it, the Romans had as much of an impact on the
Jews as any of the other kingdoms between Daniel and Jesus and in
the end were an even more formidable source of persecution than any
of their predecessors. Antiochus IV was a vile individual and
he perpetrated the most hideous tortures imaginable on the Jews who
resisted his Hellenization efforts but the suffering of the Jews and
of Christians afterwards was just as horrific if not more so, and
applied over a much more broader region of the earth than just
Judea. Therefore, to leave the Roman Empire out of a vision
which is said to cover Daniel's people in their latter days,
or last days, would be to leave out a significant player in their
history. Moreover, if the vision jumped beyond the destruction
of Jerusalem, then it effectively skipped over roughly 200 years of
significant Jewish history to point to things that happened after
the last days of the Jewish commonwealth of God. Such an
understanding of the vision does not fit well with the either the
context of who Daniel was told the vision pertained to or to
historical facts as we know them. It is therefore this Bible
student's firm conviction that starting in verse 36, Daniel is given
details of the next kingdom in line after the death of Antiochus IV
and the independence of Judea from both the Syrians and the
independence of Judea in 164 BC was a period of many years which saw
the rise of the Roman Empire. After the death of Antiochus IV,
the Syrian Empire became
increasingly unstable. Frequent civil wars made governing the empire
Antiochus V Eupator, was first overthrown by Seleucus IV's son,
Demetrius I Soter in 161 BC. Demetrius I attempted to restore
Seleucid power in
particularly, but was overthrown in 150 BC by
an impostor who claimed to be the son of Antiochus IV. He
reigned until 145 BC, when he was overthrown by Demetrius I's son,
Demetrius II Nicator. Demetrius II was unable to control
the whole of the kingdom. While he ruled Babylonia and eastern
Syria from Damascus, the remnants of Balas' supporters held
out in Antioch.
Meanwhile, the decay of the Seleucid
Empire's territorial possessions continued rapidly. By
the Jews had fully established their independence.
Parthian expansion continued as well and was further eroding the
Syrian holdings from that avenue. In 139 BC, Demetrius II was
defeated in battle by the Parthians and was captured. The entire
Iranian Plateau had been lost to Parthian control. Demetrius
Antiochus VII, was able to briefly organize the kingdom but was
unable to resist the Parthians. He was killed in battle
against them in 129 BC which led to the final collapse of the
Seleucid hold on Babylonia. After the death of Antiochus VII,
all effective Seleucid rule collapsed, as multiple claimants
contested control of what was left of the Seleucid realm in almost
unending civil war.
By 100 BC, the Syrian Empire encompassed
little more than Antioch and some Syrian cities. Despite the clear
collapse of their power, and the decline of their kingdom around
them, nobles continued to play king on a regular basis, with
occasional intervention from Ptolemaic Egypt and other outside
powers who wished to bring some kind of stability to the region. The
troublesome Seleucids existed solely because no other nation wished
to absorb them, choosing rather to use them as a buffer between them
and their other neighbors.
Great, king of Armenia, however, saw opportunity for expansion
in the direction of what was left of the Seleucid empire and
emboldened by their constant civil wars invaded Syria, and
effectively put the Seleucid Empire to an end. Seleucid rulers
were troublesome and refused to give up. In 69 BC, a remnant
Seleucid kingdom was restored under
Antiochus XIII. Civil wars between them could not be
prevented, as another Seleucid,
Philip II, contested rule with Antiochus XIII. The Romans
became weary of constant source of instability in Syria under the
Seleucids and in 63 BC, a Roman General by the name of Pompey
crushed the remnant Seleucids and brought them finally under Roman
rule as a province.
Daniel's vision has now
shifted from Antiochus IV and the Syrian Empire to the fourth world
empire, Imperial Rome.
We still have a “king of the north” in relation to the “king of the
south” but the king
of the “north” now becomes Imperial Rome.
“King of the south” remains as Egypt but both are seen in the eyes
of the Jews from a Judean perspective.
Daniel's vision passes over several years and several Seleucid-Syrian kings after
Antiochus IV “Epiphanes” (175-164 BC) and also passing beyond the
time of 65-64 BC when Syria came under the control of Rome and it is
now that the Jews address the issue of Judea being a protectorate of
Rome in 63 BC.
above every god"
This is certainly a trait
of the leaders of the Roman Empire. They built temples to
themselves and underwent a process of self deification where they
were actually worshipped as gods on earth. This usually
happened after their deaths but as time went on, at least one
Emperor we know of insisted on being addressed as a god while still
alive. The first Roman leader to be deified was Julius Caesar.
The religious cult of Julius Caesar was officially organized in 42
BC, just 2 years after his death in 44 BC.
"and shall speak marvellous
things against the God of gods"
The Romans certainly
accomplished this. Under their regime, they tried diligently
to exterminate Christians and eliminate the worship of the God they
and we serve.
"and shall prosper
till the indignation be accomplished:"
The Roman Empire did
indeed prosper. It became the wealthiest and largest empire
the world had ever known to date. The Roman Empire also
persecuted Christians to a level that has henceforth never been
surpassed. They not only persecuted the children of God, they
promoted the worship of themselves as gods on earth placing their
own leaders above God.
"for that that is
determined shall be done."
The fate of the Roman
Empire is a matter of history. We here learn that their fate
was determined beforehand according to the divine plan of God.
Nothing they did surprised God, nothing they did caught Him unaware.
The rise and fall of the Roman Empire was conducted in accordance
with the divine plan of God from the start to the finish.
Neither shall he
regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard
any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
The leaders of the Roman
Empire were interested only in their own self success and power.
They were willing to do whatever it took to achieve it. They
disregarded the gods of their own fathers in their quest. They
could not be swayed by the wiles of women. They followed after
no god in their pursuit of power and they magnified themselves above
all. They were willing to do anything, say anything, worship
any god if it would help promote them in their quest for power.
In 42 BC, the
Roman senate posthumously
recognized Julius Caesar as a divinity of the Roman state, two years
after his death. They also declared Augustus the adopted son
of Julius Caesar. Augustus was able to further his cause
by emphasizing the fact that he was the son of Julius Caesar thereby
making him the "son of god". Augustus was not really the son
of Julius Caesar, but he was his grand nephew by birth.
But in his estate
shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew
not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones,
and pleasant things.
The only god they served
was the god of power. We are told in scripture that we are
slaves to what we serve (Matthew 6:24). The Roman rulers were
the slaves of their power hungry ambitious natures.
"and a god whom his
fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones,
and pleasant things."
The Romans abandoned even
the gods of their predecessors in their quest for power.
Whatever god they could serve that would promote their political
ambitions at the time was served. They built temples to their
honoring them with all kinds of treasure and wealth but it was all a
smokescreen designed to gain the support of the populace. The
emperors thought that if the people worshipped them as gods, they
would have their support. Emperor worship was an attempt to
control the people. The ultimate goal of the leaders of
the Romans was power. In their hearts, they strove for power
and they would do whatever it took, worship whoever they had to
worship and honor whoever they had to honor in order to achieve
Thus shall he do in
the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge
and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many,
and shall divide the land for gain.
The Roman Empire had to
have money in order to function. They achieved this wealth by
conquering and taxing the nations around them, adding them to the
empire as a protectorate. They took their wealth and used it
for the advance of power. Whoever would pay their taxes
promptly and loyally was placed in positions of leadership over the
provinces. The leaders of the Roman Empire appointed the
boundaries of their protectorates and set leaders over them that
were expected to be loyal to Rome. They did this in order to
ultimately gain wealth, territory and power.
And at the time of the
end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the
north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and
with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the
countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
Here the Ptolemies of
Egypt move against Rome. Cleopatra and Mark Antony start
moving against Rome under the reign of Augustus which resulted in Rome declaring
war against Egypt.
"and the king of the
north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and
with horsemen, and with many ships; "
After some initial
success in the war against Rome, Cleopatra convinces Mark Antony to
execute the war as a predominantly naval affair. While Mark
Antony was opposed to this, he reluctantly acquiesced to Cleopatra's
demands. Augustus came at him with Rome's significantly
dominant naval fleet and gained the upper hand in the naval aspect
of the war. Mark Antony's land troops became demoralized and
many of them defected to the Romans. Egypt was completely
defeated and Mark Antony committed suicide.
"and he shall enter
into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over"
battle of Actium in 31 BC, Augustus invaded Egypt and the last
stronghold of the Grecian kingdom fell to Roman rule. Egypt
became one of the holdings of the Roman Empire.
He shall enter also
into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but
these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the
chief of the children of Ammon.
Rome enters into Judea,
now known in history as Palestine. Herod had been a supporter
of Mark Antony but after his defeat and death, Herod decided it
would be be a good political move to make amends with Augustus and
invited him to enter into Egypt through Palestine which was by far
the easiest land route to Egypt from the north. Herod showered
all kinds of honors and glory on Augustus in order to retain his
leadership in Palestine. Augustus was pleased with Herod's
show of support and allowed Herod to remain on the throne as a
client king. Augustus used Palestine as a main access
thoroughfare into Egypt. From there, Augustus sought to expand
Roman control into the territories presently known as Arabia.
"but these shall
escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the
children of Ammon"
These three nations were
related with Israel by descent and were their
enemies. They made up the territory known as Arabia.
Aelius Gallus, 2nd praefect of Roman Egypt, undertook an expedition at the command of Augustus to
explore Arabia and its inhabitants in order to conclude treaties of
friendship with the people, or to subdue them if they should oppose
the Romans, for it was believed at the time that Arabia was full of
all kinds of treasures. Aelius Gallus failed miserably and
returned to Augustus with the majority of his force exterminated in
He shall stretch forth
his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not
Augustus invaded and took
possession of Egypt which fell under Roman rule. Here we have
a vital clue in the text of this vision. The king of the south
is here positively identified as Egypt. This fact is further
discussed in the commentary on the following verse.
But he shall have
power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the
precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall
be at his steps.
With the conquest of
Egypt, Rome took possession of Egypt's vast treasures. Egypt
is here mentioned by name. Historically this matches up with
Daniel's vision and lends credibility to Rome being the chief figure
in this part of Daniel's vision. It should be mentioned here
that there are numerous interpretations of this vision. It is
the firm conviction of this student of God's word that the events of
Daniel's vision are limited to the Jewish people and the events in
their history leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the
scattering of the holy people mentioned in Daniel 12:6-7.
"Libyans and the
Ethiopians shall be at his steps."
With the annexation of
Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia became the border nations of the Roman
But tidings out of the
east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go
forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
Rome had enemies to the
east and the north that they were never able to fully subjugate.
As powerful as the Roman Empire became, it never completely
conquered the Parthians from the east nor the Germanic tribes of the
Goths from the north. In fact is was a combination of these
two arch enemies of the Roman Empire that eventually brought the
empire down. However it is not the end of the Roman Empire
that is in view here. Here, the Roman Empire was able to cause
great desolation with the kingdoms of the north and the east.
This is a vision of Roman success against them at this time and
history bears out that Rome did indeed wreak havoc among them which
undoubtedly served to fuel the hatred that existed between them for
centuries yet to come.
And he shall plant the
tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy
mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
The ASV renders the text
thus: "And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea
and the glorious holy mountain". Rome completely
overthrew and subjugated Palestine. The glorious holy mountain
cannot be anything but Jerusalem. The leader of the Roman
Empire at the time was Augustus Caesar and during his reign he
utterly subjugated and occupied Palestine, bringing it under direct
Roman rule in 6 AD.
It is hard to determine
here if the end that is in view here is the end of Augustus Caesar
or the end of the Roman Empire as a world power. Both came to
end with no help from anybody. It does no damage to the vision
being strictly for the Jews by stating the inevitable demise of the
Roman Empire. One does not necessarily have to jump forward in
time to the downfall of Rome simply because it is stated that she
will fall. Neither must we automatically assume that the
following elements of Daniel's vision must pick up from the downfall
of Rome and go from there. The vision is limited by the
inspired text to the Jewish people and
there is no good reason to apply it to anything beyond that.
Daniel's vision has thus
far followed a more or less Chronological course through the history
of Judah through the world powers that would arise and have
significant influences on the Jews. The vision has now
Chronologically reached a time of about 6AD.
Chapter 12 is next and in it we will see the end of this vision with
the final destruction of the temple and the end of the Jewish nation
as the commonwealth of God. How ironic that Daniel's life was
forever changed with the overthrow of Jerusalem and the destruction
of the temple. He lived his entire life as a faithful child of
God and he was desirous of the liberation of his people and the
rebuilding of the temple. Now, as an aged man nearing the end
of his days on earth, he receives a vision which ends with the
overthrow of his people and the final and permanent destruction of
the temple, never to be rebuilt again.