Commentary on Daniel
receives a minute account of the vicissitudes of the
Greco-Egyptian and Greco-Syrian dynasties until the rise of
1 – Also
I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm
and to strengthen him.
six, we learned that Darius acceded to the throne of Chaldea and
set one-hundred and twenty princes over the realm; over these,
he placed three presidents, of whom Daniel was first.
Daniel’s advancement and preferment excited the envy of
other men, who laid a trap for him.
Recognizing that Daniel was a good, God-fearing man,
Darius labored to free him.
Unable to secure Daniel’s acquittal, Darius spent the
night fasting on his behalf.
Later, Darius condemned Daniel’s accusers to suffer the
very death they had plotted for the prophet.
We infer from this that Darius was sympathetic to the
Hebrew religion, perhaps even an actual proselyte.
At the very least, he was a man of shining moral
character, unwilling to countenance evil traducers about his
qualities made Darius valuable to heaven; a man who would
protect God’s people and advance his cause, and no doubt account
for the angel’s labors to strengthen and confirm him in his
faith and government.
The Persian Monarchy
2 – And
now will I shew thee the truth.
Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia;
and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his
strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the
realm of Grecia.
of Persia until the conquest by Alexander were: 1) Cyrus, 2)
Cambyses, 3) Pseudo-smerdis, 4) Darius (the Great) Hystapis, 5)
Xerxes; 6) Artaxerxes I Longimanus, 7) Darius II (Ochus), 8)
Artaxerxes II, 9) Artaxerxes
In a great
show of power and ostentation, Xerxes caused a canal a mile and
a half long to be dug at Mount Athos, wide enough for two
triremes with oars extended to pass without touching, even
though they might have been carried over land with small effort
and expense. He
also caused a bridge almost a mile long to be constructed across
the Hellespont at Abydos, a feat undertaken more for effect than
However, man proposes, but God disposes.
Notwithstanding so great a host and so great trouble and
expense, Xerxes’ expedition can only be characterized as an
Although Xerxes managed to burn Athens, the Persian navy
suffered defeat at Salmis, and Xerxes was forced to retreat
across the Hellespont lest the Greeks destroy the bridge,
trapping him in Europe.
In his retreat, Xerxes lost much of his army to famine
and pestilence. The net result of the expedition was the
destruction of the better part of his army and the loss of all
holdings beyond Asia Minor.
Philip and Alexander
3 – And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
During the years of Persian decline, the power of Greece was delayed in arriving at the apex of world power by almost a hundred years of Greek civil war. The Peloponnesian war raged for twenty-seven years (431-404 B.C.), followed by nine years of peace, only to break out again by the policy and intrigue of the Persians, who gave Athens and Thebes money to make war against Sparta, resulting in almost continuous war until the unification of Greece under Philip and Alexander. Philip began his conquest of Greece by seizing Amphipolis (357 B.C.), followed by Pydan, and Potidaea (356 B.C.). In 355 B.C., he took Methone, where he lost an eye in the siege. In 347 B.C., Philip captured Olynthus, giving him control of the European coast north of the Aegean. At the encouragement of Demosthenes, Athens determined to remain independent. In 338 B.C., Athens put together an army and marched north to meet Philip in battle at Chaeronea. Thebes joined on Athens’ side but both were defeated, and the following year, at an assembly in Corinth, Philip was unanimously chosen commander of all Greek forces to free Asia from Persian dominance. However, before he could face the Persians, Philip was murdered, and his son Alexander acceded to his throne. In nine years, Alexander conquered the known world from Egypt in the west to India in the east, the Danube in the north and Arabia in the south. This is the meaning of “he shall do according to his will” (said also of “the king” in v. 36); viz., it signifies the ability to overcome all resistance and conquer whomever he willed.
Division of Alexander’s Empire
4 – And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
Like the man to whom God said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Lk. 12:20), Alexander no sooner conquered the world than he died (323 B.C.). Having conquered much of India, he proposed to push further east and to conquer the people dwelling beyond the Ganges, but his army rebelled, tired of ceaseless war and its attendant dangers. Alexander was thus forced to abandon his adventures. Returning to Babylon, which he proposed to make the seat of his empire, there he gave himself up to drinking and reveling with the captains of his army. After a drinking bout one night, Alexander took ill (some believe from poison), and died several days afterward. He was succeeded by a half brother, Philip Aridaeus, an illegitimate son named Hercules, and a pregnant wife, Roxana, in her sixth month, who later gave birth to Alexander’s only legitimate heir, a son whom she named Alexander. Although the common soldiers declared Alexander’s posthumous son king, actual power was held by Perdiccas, to whom Alexander had committed his signet in the hour of his death. The empire was ruled by Perdiccas and distributed to Alexander’s generals, who were appointed governors over various regions and cities. This is the meaning of the prophetic decree that the kingdom would be divided “not to his posterity;” viz., none of Alexander’s descendents would enjoy his dynasty. That Alexander’s kingdom should be “plucked up, even for others beside those,” seems to indicate the instability that would mark the initial division of his empire and how, through many battles and assassinations, the dynasty eventually devolved into four kingdoms: Lysimachus received Thrace; Cassander, Macedon; Seleucus “Nicantor” (“Victor”), Mesopotamia and portions of Iran, and Ptolemy I, called by the people of Rhodes “Soter” (Saviour or Deliverer), Egypt and the Levant.
5 – And
the king of the south shall become strong,
attention is focused upon the kingdoms of the south and north.
“North and south” should probably be understood initially
in relation to Judea and the Jews; for the prophecy was given to
the Jewish nation to serve as a type of geo-political timeline
until the Messiah and destruction of their earthly kingdom.
The kingdoms of the north and south represent Egypt and
Syria, betwixt whom Judea was situated.
These two great dynasties, foreshown in Nebuchadnezzar’s
dream by the legs of brass, were ultimately assimilated into the
Roman Empire; Pompey the Great subdued Syria and Jerusalem;
Julius Caesar obtained control of Egypt, followed by Marc
Antony, and, finally, Octavian (Augustus). Hence, before the vision concludes, “north” and “south”
lose all reference to Judea, and come to reflect instead the
contesting powers of the Mediterranean theatre of which Rome
will emerge sole victor.
of his princes shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his
dominion shall be a great dominion.
The king of
the south refers to Ptolemy Soter, the son of Lagus; “one of his
princes” to Seleucus Nicator, who became the most powerful of
Alexander’s successors, and founder of the Seleucid dynasty that
reigned over all Syria and the regions east of the Euphrates
river. In the
original distribution of Alexander’s empire, Seleucus was made
governor of Babylon, but was forced by Antigonus to flee to
the meanwhile having died, Antigonus gained possession of all
the region of Babylon, Mesopatamia, and all the countries from
Media to the Hellespont.
Envious that Antigonus should have so large a realm, a
league was formed by Seleucus, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and
Cassander, the son of Antipater, who demanded Antigonus share
the realm he had gained possession of.
When he scoffed at their demands, they made war jointly
upon Antigonus. Ptolemy gave Seleucus a thousand footmen and
three-hundred horsemen, sending him to Babylon. With this small
force Seleucus took the city and became king of Babylon.
Following the defeat of Antigonus, the latter’s lands
were divided between the kings in league with Seleucus, who
received all Syria from the Euphrates to the sea, and inland
Phrygia. He later
added to his empire the whole region from
Ptolemy Philadelphus, Bernice,
and Antiochus Theos
6 – 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 “end of
years” does not look to the eschaton, but is used in the
relative sense to signify the “at the end some years” (cf.
The first recorded marriage between the dynasties of the
north and south was between Bernice, daughter of Ptolemy
Philadelphus, given in marriage to Antiochus “Theos,” the
grandson of Seleucus, the third ruler in succession of the
Philadelphus, wishing to put an end to the bloody contentions
between their kingdoms, gave Bernice in marriage to Theos, who
was already married to Laodice who had borne him two sons.
Theos removed Laodice from being queen, but kept her as
one of his concubines, and made Bernice queen in her stead.
However, after the death of Philadelphus, Theos’ love for
Laodice caused him to send Bernice away (“she shall be given
up”) and take Laodice again as his wife and queen.
Fearing Theos’ fickleness, Laodice poisoned her husband
lest his attentions return to Bernice and the crown depart from
Philadelphus was a great lover of learning and literature; it
was he who caused the great library at Alexandria to be built.
He also had the Hebrew scriptures translated into Greek for
inclusion in his library.
This translation is known as the “Septuagint,” so-called
after the seventy-two men of the Jews commissioned for the work.
To secure cooperation of the Jews in translation of the
sacred books, Philadelphus manumitted all Jewish slaves among
the Egyptians, sent fifty talents of gold for making large
basins, vials, and
cups, an immense quantity of precious stones, and a solid gold
table, together with one hundred talents for sacrifices and
other uses about the temple. Additionally, after the translation
was completed, he made numerous gifts to the translators and to
Eleazar the High Priest.
Philadelphus was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy Euergetes.
7 – 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
murder of her husband, Laodice secured the accession of her son,
Antiochus Callinicus, to the throne.
To eliminate potential rivals, Laodice took steps to
secure the murder of Bernice and her tender son.
However, Bernice shut herself up in Daphne, a citadel of
Antioch; and many cities of Asia rallied to her defense. Fearful
for his sister’s safety, Ptolemy Euergetes invaded Syria.
However, before he arrived, Bernice was slain.
Ptolemy avenged his sister by slaying Laodice.
The cities of Asia that had revolted from Seleucus joined
Ptolemy, who thus seized Syria, Cilicia, and the remoter regions
beyond the Euphrates, together with almost all of Asia.
8, 9 –
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.
So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and
shall return into his own land.
absence, a rebellion broke out in Egypt.
Ptolemy thus hastened home, committing Cilicia to his
friend Antiochus, and the regions beyond the Euphrates in the
control of Xanthippus.
Euergetes plundered the kingdoms of Seleucus, carrying
off as booty forty thousand talents of silver and precious
vessels and images of their gods to the amount of two and a half
Among them were the very images which Cambyses had brought to
Persia after he had conquered Egypt.
For returning the images of their gods after so many
years, the Egyptian people surnamed Ptolemy “Euergetes,”
“Benefactor” or “well-doer.”
Euergetes “continued more years” than Seleucus, his reign
exceeding the latter’s by five years.
Ptolemy Philopater and Antiochus
10 – 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
The sons of
Callinicus, to avenge their father’s disgrace, assembled a great
multitude of forces against Ptolemy Philopater, the son of
the eldest son of Callinicus, made war against Egypt in Asia
Minor where Egypt had holdings, but perished in the third year
of his reign, having been poisoned by Apatarias and Nicator, two
of his friends.
Antiochus the Great then assumed the throne and regained
Coelesyria through the betrayal of Theodotius, the governor
under Ptolemy. At
length, Antiochus brought the battle to the fortress in Raphia,
at the gates of Egypt.
– 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.
Syria through the betrayal of Theodotius, Ptolemy Philopator
gathered a great multitude against Antiochus; the two kings
joined battle near Raphia. Ptolemy had seventy-five thousand,
When Antiochus seemed to be winning, Arsinoe, Ptolemy’s
wife (and sister), went about with her hair loosed and hanging
down, encouraging the soldiers to defend the liberty of their
wives and children, and promised that if they won they would
each be given two minas in gold. The soldiers’ morale thus piqued, they turned the battle
and won the day; Antiochus lost his entire army and was almost
captured as he fled through the desert.
Philopater’s Rage against God
he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up;
to refer to Ptolemy Philopater after his defeat of Antiochus.
Philopater grew proud and insolent from his victory.
Visiting the cities throughout Syria, he made gifts to
their temples to secure their good will; he also visited
Jerusalem, where he attempted to enter the Holy of Holies, but
was stricken with paralysis and had to be carried from the
temple half dead.
However, rather than repent of his wickedness, Philopater grew
worse and attempted to completely suppress the Jewish religion
in Alexandria; he compelled all Jews in Alexandria to be
registered and to sacrifice; those that resisted were killed;
the rest were branded with a hot iron upon the face with the
symbol of Dionysus, and lost their civil rights.
When the Jews of Alexandria ostracized their fellow
countrymen who apostatized from the faith by obeying the king,
Philopater’s fury was blown into a rage and he sought to put the
whole nation of the Jews in Egypt to death.
The Jews were thus brought to the hippodrome, where they
were to be crushed to death by elephants made mad with wine
mingled with frankincense and myrrh.
However, when the elephants turned upon the soldiers and
trampled them rather than the Jews, the king repented and
acknowledged his error and feasted the Jews for seven days
and he shall cast down many ten
The Egyptians grew insolent against Philopater because of their victory against Antiochus. They sought another leader who might free them from Philopater’s rule. Philopater was thus compelled to suppress a revolt of his own people.
“As for Ptolemy, his war against the Egyptians followed immediately on these events. This king, by arming the Egyptians for his war against Antiochus, took a step which was of great service for the time, but which was a mistake as regards the future. The soldiers, highly proud of their victory at Raphia, were no longer disposed to obey orders, but were on the lookout for a leader and figure-head, thinking themselves well able to maintain themselves as an independent power, an attempt in which they finally succeeded not long afterwards.”
war, sixty thousand Jews perished fighting on behalf of
shall not be strengthened by it.
Philopater was a weak and indolent ruler; he failed to follow up
on his victory, and was content merely to regain his possessions
Philopater led an abandoned and immoral life, spending his time
in banqueting and revelry as if every day were a festival.
He was called Philopater (“lover of his father”) by way
of sarcasm, for it was believed that he had murdered both his
father and mother to obtain the throne.
After Philopater defeated Antiochus, he separated from
his wife and queen, Arsinoe, and fell in love with a man named
Agathocles and his sister, a lute player, named Agathoclea.
Together with their mother, Oenanthe, the three
completely dominated Ptolemy and his government.
Ptolemy retained Agathocles as a concubine, and made him
his chief of state; the two women handed out the offices of
state and military positions to whomever they willed.
When Ptolemy Philopater died (204 B.C.), Agathocles and
Sosibius concealed his death long enough to murder Arsinoe, and
forge a will naming themselves guardians of young Epiphanes.
Yet, so hated were the three that a popular revolt
promptly broke out.
The Macedonian soldiers delivered the family to the will of the
mob who tore them to pieces:
long Agathocles was led along in fetters, and as soon as he
appeared some of the crowd ran up and immediately stabbed him.
This in reality was a compassionate rather than a hostile
act, for the consequence was to save him from the hideous death
which he deserved.
Next Nicon was brought in, and then Agathoclea, who with her two
sisters had been stripped naked, and after them all the rest of
her relatives. Last
of all they dragged Oenanthe from the Thesmophorium, placed her
on a horse and led her naked to the stadium.
All of them were then handed over to the fury of the mob,
whereupon some began to tear them with their teeth, others to
stab them, others to gouge out their eyes.
As soon as any of them fell, the body was torn limb from
limb until they had dismembered them all, for the savagery of
the Egyptians is truly appalling when their passions have been
13 – 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.
advantage of the tumultuous state of affairs following the death
of Philopater, Antiochus the Great moved against Philopater’s
tender son, Ptolemy Epiphanes.
He made peace with Philip
14 - 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.
At the very
apex of power and wealth, Antiochus led his armies into
Coelesyria, gaining control of Judea.
Epiphanes sent Scopas as general of his forces to regain
his lost dominion.
In the winter of 199 B.C., Scopas regained control of many cites
of Syria, including those of the Jews.
However, at length, Antiochus overcame Scopas at a battle
fought at the fountains of the Jordan (198 B.C.), and thus set
about conquering anew those cities Scopas had taken from him.
Then it was that the Jews went over to Antiochus of their
own accord, and received him into Jerusalem, and gave plentiful
provision to all his army, and to his elephants, and readily
assisted him when he besieged the garrison which was in the
citadel of Jerusalem.
The term “robbers” carries negative connotations and
signifies the Jews’ treachery in voluntarily receiving Antiochus
into their city and helping fight against the garrison there,
for Judea had been an acknowledged part of Ptolemy’s dominions
for above one hundred years.
Antiochus the Great Invades
Syria and Egypt
15 - So
the king of the north shall come up, and cast up a mount, and
shall 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.
expands upon the exploits mentioned in verse 13.
Antiochus would come, and capture many cities of Syria,
wresting them from Ptolemy’s power.
However, young Epiphanes dispatched Scopas to retake the
cities Antiochus had conquered.
Although initially successful, the following summer
Scopas was defeated in a battle at the fountains of the Jordan,
as previously noted.
Scopas thus fled to Sidon, where Antiochus besieged him
with ten thousand troops.
Ptolemy sent three famous captains – Menocles, Damozenus,
and Europus – to assist Scopas and raise the siege, but they
Scopas was forced to surrender due to famine. Antiochus granted
them their lives, permitting them to leave stark naked.
16 – 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.
provides the most detail of these days:
happened that in the reign of Antiochus the Great, who ruled
over all Asia, that the Jews, as well as the inhabitants of
Coelesyria, suffered greatly, and their land was sorely
harassed; for while he was at war with Ptolemy Philopater, and
with his son, who was called Epiphanes, it fell out that these
nations were equally sufferers, both when he was beaten and when
he beat the others: so that they were very like to a ship in a
storm, which is tossed by the waves on both sides: and just thus
were they in their situation in the middle between Antiochus’s
prosperity and its change to adversity.
But at length, when Antiochus had beaten Ptolemy, he
seized upon Judea: and when Philopater was dead, his son sent
out a great army under Scopas, the general of his forces,
against the inhabitants of Coelesyria, who took many of their
cities, and in particular our nation; which, when he fell upon
them, went over to him.
Yet was it not long afterward when Antiochus overcame
Scopas, in a battle fount at the fountains of Jordan, and
destroyed a great part of his army.
But afterward, when Antiochus subdued those cities of
Coelesyria which Scopas had gotten into his possession, and
Samaria with them, the Jews, of their own accord, went over to
him, and received him into their city.”
17 – He
shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole
kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do:
Antiochus made war in Coelesyria and Phoenicia, Philip began a
campaign of aggression, attacking various cities and kingdoms in
Europe and Asia, including Rhodes, Pergamum, Prinassus, Abydus,
and Athens. Rome
was uneasy with the growing power of Philip and Antiochus, and
agreed to make war against Philip.
When Philip was defeated, it was decreed that the Greeks
in Europe and Asia should be free; moreover, Antiochus was told
not to meddle with any free city in Asia, and to abandon any
places that had formerly belonged to Philip or Ptolemy.
Further, he was told not to enter Europe nor send forces
there. A rumor was
then current that Ptolemy was dead.
Hence, Antiochus hastened to Egypt to seize the country
while bereft of a ruler.
While on his journey, Antiochus was met by Hannibal at
Ephesus, who magnificently received the famous Carthaginian
Antiochus planned to make war on Greece and to begin a
war against the Romans there.
Hannibal advised that the Romans could be defeated only
in Italy, and sought a hundred warships from Antiochus, planning
to instigate a fresh revolt at Carthage or, if this failed, to
land in Italy and make war there, freeing Antiochus to make war
in Greece and Asia.
Marriage of Ptolemy and
shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she
shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
preparation for his war with Rome, Antiochus sought to league
himself by marriages and alliances with as many kings as
possible. He thus
gave his daughter, Cleopatra to Egypt to marry Ptolemy, giving
Ptolemy as dowry all of Coelesyria and Judea.
However, Cleopatra did not side with her father, but was
faithful to Ptolemy.
determining no longer to conceal his intended war with the
Romans, he formed alliances by marriage with the neighboring
kings. To Ptolemy in Egypt he sent his daughter Cleopatra,
surnamed Syria, giving with her Ceolesyria as a dowry, which he
had taken away from Ptolemy himself, thus flattering the young
king in order to keep him quiet during the war with the Romans.”
After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take
began a naval campaign against the isles of Rhodes, Samos,
Colophon, Phocea, and others, as part of his bid to defeat Rome
and control all of Asia.
Antiochus the Great Defeated by
prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by
him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn
generally interpreted in reference to the Roman consul Marcus
Acilius Glabrio, who defeated Antiochus first at Thermoplyae and
then at Magnesia, turning back upon Antiochus the ignominy of
defeat. His army
destroyed, Antiochus sued for peace; the terms offered by Rome
were that he abandon Europe and all of Asia west of the Taurus,
pay the cost incurred in the war, amounting to fifteen thousand
Euboic talents, five hundred to be paid at once, twenty-five
hundred more upon ratification of the treaty by the Roman
senate, and twelve thousand in equal payments over twelve years.
Antiochus was also to surrender twenty hostages and
Hannibal the Carthaginian. The defeat of Antiochus
Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but
he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
all of Asia, Antiochus returned to the upper provinces of his
Naming his son, Seleucus Philopater, his successor, Antiochus
attacked Elymais where he heard that the temple of Zeus Belus
had immense quantities of gold and silver, which he hoped to
plunder to help pay the Roman tribute.
He raided the temple at night with his army, but when
word of this spread through the county, the people set upon him,
killing Antiochus and his entire army (187 B.C.).
Rise and Fall of Seleucus -
Death of Ptolemy Epiphanes
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.
son, Seleucus, acceded to the kingdom, but could accomplish
little that was noteworthy because his kingdom was prostrated by
the heavy tribute incurred by his father’s defeat to Rome.
II Maccabees relates that Seleucus paid the cost for the
public administration of the temple service in Jerusalem:
when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the laws
were kept very well, because of the godliness of Onias the high
priest, and his hatred of wickedness, it came to pass that even
the kings themselves did honour the place, and magnify the
temple with their best gifts; insomuch that Seleucus king of
Asia of his own revenues bare all the costs belonging to the
service of the sacrifices.”
Seleucus was soon turned to another mind when he was informed by
quarrelling factions among the Jews that there were immense
treasures laid up within the temple.
He thus sent his treasurer, Heliodorus, to seize the
money, but the latter was smitten by the Lord and carried from
the temple half dead for his presumption.
About this time, Ptolemy Epiphanes was poisoned and
succeeded by Ptolemy Philometer (178 B.C.).
Heliodorus, who survived the event at the temple,
murdered Seleucus soon after (175 B.C.), planning to seize the
kingdom for himself.
Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes
21 - 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 (Epiphanes).
Antiochus came into the kingdom upon the death of
Seleucus. Under the
terms of peace imposed upon Antiochus the Great, twenty hostages
were retrained at Rome, who were exchanged every three years.
Seleucus thus sent his son, Demetrius, in place of his
brother, Antiochus, at the conclusion of three years.
About the time Antiochus arrived in Athens on his way
home, Seleucus was assassinated by Heliodorus, who sought to
possess the kingdom himself.
Eumenes II, king of Pergamum, helped depose Heliodorus
and installed Epiphanes as king, because he was suspicious of
the Romans and wanted Antiochus for his friend and ally.
nicknamed for his actions Epimanes (the Madman),
is supposed by many to be a type of the antichrist.
This was the belief of Jerome, and many have since
followed in his opinion.
Unfortunately, those who hold this view misunderstand
what they read, supposing there is yet a figure to appear in
history shortly before the world’s end.
The motivation for taking this approach is the prophecy’s
language concerning the “time of the end” and the resurrection
of the dead (Dan. 11:27, 35, 40;
which events are supposed to correspond with the end of the
However, this misconstrues the scope of the prophecy, which the
angel specifically restricts in terms of time to the fall of the
Jewish nation (Dan. 10:14;
However, if it be understood that the antichrist was
Nero, then the idea that Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of
the antichrist is perhaps correct.
Jerome all but concedes the point:
events were typically prefigured under Antiochus Epiphanes, so
that this abominable king who persecuted God’s people
foreshadows the Antichrist, who is to persecute the people of
Christ. And so
there are many of our viewpoint who think that Domitius Nero was
the Antichrist because of his outstanding savagery and
Overview of Antiochus Epiphanes’
22 - And
with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before
him, and shall be broken;
verses are best understood as an overview of Antiochus
Epiphanes’ reign. The image here is of a rushing, mighty flood
that meets another even mightier, and is engulfed and lost
within its overwhelming current and power.
This speaks to the superior strength of Syria vis-à-vis
Egypt during the reign of Epiphanes: However many forces Egypt
mustered against the dominion of the north, Antiochus prevailed
according to the purpose of heaven.
also the prince of the covenant.
of the covenant” should probably be interpreted in reference to
the high priest, Onias
23 - And
after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he
shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
brother Jason labored underhandedly to become high priest,
promising Antiochus above five hundred talents if the king would
give him the rule.
But, having thus swept Onias from office and broken the power
and sanctity of the high priesthood, Antiochus dealt deceitfully
with Jason, for after three years Menelaus obtained the
priesthood by offering three hundred talents more than Jason.
24 - He
shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the
As with the
two preceding verses, this is best understood as a general
summary of Antiochus Epiphanes’ whole reign and his designs upon
Egypt and its holdings.
His entrance peaceably upon the fattest parts of
the province likely refers to his annexation of Coelesyria,
which he wrested from young king Ptolemy upon the death of his
father, and his ready reception into Joppa and Jerusalem, to
secure their obedience against the coming war with Ptolemy.
when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for
the coronation of Ptolemy Philometer, Antiochus, understanding
him not to be well affected to his affairs, provided for his own
safety: whereupon he came to Joppe, and from thence to
Jerusalem: where he was honourably received of Jason, and of the
city, and was brought in with torch light, and with great
shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’
Rome was at
the brink of war with Perseus, king of Macedon.
Thinking Rome’s occupation with affairs in Macedonia
afforded opportunity to make war upon Ptolemy, despising the
youth of the king and the sloth of his guardians, Antiochus used
the dispute over Coelesyra as pretext for war and an invasion of
He succeeded where his fathers did not, gaining control
not only of Coelesyria, but almost all Egypt.
scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea,
distributed the spoils of his conquests throughout his realm.
Livy reports “in two important and honorable activities
he showed a truly royal disposition – in benefactions to the
cities and in tributes to the gods…Furthermore, in the
magnificence of his entertainment of every sort he outdid the
states that Epiphanes “abounded above the kings that were before
him” in gifts and liberalities.
shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a
probably refers to Antiochus’ designs upon the strongholds of
Egypt, perhaps Alexandria and Pelusium, which figured
prominently in the history of his campaigns.
Pelusium, on the side of Syria, is deemed one of two
“keys” to control of the kingdom, the other being the island of
Pharos, toward the sea.
His Campaign into Egypt
25 - 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.
had been given in dower to Egypt when Cleopatra, Antiochus’
sister, was given in marriage to Ptolemy Epiphanes, but was
seized by Antiochus when Cleopatra died. Ptolemy Philometer,
Antiochus’ nephew by his sister, Cleopatra, was still a child
when Antiochus Epiphanes took the throne of Syria; his kingdom
was managed by Eulaeus, the eunuch who was the king’s tutor, and
by Lenaeus. Eulaeus
persuaded the young king to demand the return of Syria.
However, Antiochus so much as denied that there was ever
an agreement or that the land had been given to
Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy
him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down
Egyptian court of the young king, Ptolemy Philometer, teemed
with treachery and intrigue; at the center was the king’s
Defeat of Ptolemy is generally supposed to have been
attributable to treachery by members of his court who betrayed
him to Antiochus.
27 - And
both of 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 time appointed.
feigned concern for his nephew’s interest, and Ptolemy feigned
gratitude in return.
Antiochus raised the siege at Alexandria, but left a
garrison at Pelusium that he might reenter the country at will.
His intention was for the two Ptolemies to wear down
their kingdoms by civil war, at which time he would then return
and seize the whole.
“Time of the end” is taken by some in relation to the end
of the things concerning these two kings and their dynasties.
But the better view is that the destruction of Jerusalem,
which serves as the focal point of the prophecy, is intended.
Ptolemy wanted to regain control of Coelesyria and
Jerusalem, which had been part of the Egyptian dynasty for
almost two hundred years; doubtless the Jews’ open reception of
Antiochus in revolt against Egyptian rule had earned Ptolemy’s
wrath and he looked to avenge himself upon them.
Antiochus on the other hand was in need of money to pay
the heavy tribute imposed by Rome upon his father, and eyed the
great wealth deposited in the temple.
On his return from Egypt, Antiochus plundered and robbed
Jerusalem and made a great massacre.
However, the wrath of the two kings was limited by
heaven; the time appointed for the final indignation could not
arrive before the Jews’ crucifixion of Christ; then the end
He Plunders the Temple
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.
raised the siege of Alexandria, Antiochus returned to his land,
but stopped to loot the temple and vent his wrath against the
Jews. I Maccabees
provides the best commentary on this verse:
after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the
hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and
Jerusalem with a great multitude, and entered proudly into the
sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick
of light, and all the vessels thereof, and the table of the
showbread, and the pouring vessels, and vials, and the censers
of gold and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornaments
that were before the temple, all which he pulled off.
He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious
vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found.
And when he had taken all away, he went into his own
land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.”
His Subsequent Campaign into
Egypt; Intervention of Rome
29 - At
the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south;
but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
Physcon was king in Alexandria; Ptolemy Philometer was king in
Memphis. The civil unrest caused by Egypt having two kings was
much to Antiochus’ advantage; Philometer and Physcon, perceiving
their situation, agreed for the time to share the royal power
and cooperate in their mutual defense.
Antiochus, aggrieved by the two Ptolemies joining
together, began to prepare for a renewal of the war.
Physcon and his sister Cleopatra sent envoys to Rome
seeking Rome’s intercession against Antiochus.
The Senate being informed that Antiochus had become
master of Egypt, and all but taken Alexandria, and conceiving
that the aggrandizement of that king was a matter affecting
Rome, appointed Gaius Popilius and others to go as ambassadors
to put an end to the war.
30 - For
the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall
be grieved, and return,
Chittim here refers to Rome, as witnessed by the Septuagint version of the Qumran community and the Vulgate in this place. When Antiochus had advanced to attack Ptolemy in order to possess himself of Pelusium, he was met by the Roman legate Gaius Popilius Laenus. Popilius handed Antiochus tablets containing the decree of the Senate, ordering him to cease his war with Ptolemy. Upon reading these, Antiochus expressed a desire to confer with his friends. Popilius drew a circle about Antiochus in the sand and bade him give his answer before he stepped from the circle. After a moment of awkward silence, Antiochus replied that he would do whatever the Romans demanded. Accordingly, a stated number of days were allowed him, within which he withdrew his army into Syria.
indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall
even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the
Maccabees indicates that a false rumor reached Judea that
Antiochus was slain.
Jason, who had purchased the high priesthood, only to
have it sold to Menelaus, seized the moment.
Taking a thousand men, he made an assault upon the city,
and made a great slaughter of its inhabitants, as if they had
been his enemies, but was forced at length to flee.
Antiochus, thinking Judea was in revolt, marched upon the
city and took it by force.
He ordered his soldiers to slay whomever they met,
sparing neither young nor old, man or woman.
In the space of three days forty thousand were slain, and
an equal number sold as slaves.
Antiochus was then led by Menelaus into the temple where
he carried off a thousand eight hundred talents, and returned to
his own land, leaving governors to keep the land: Philip at
Jerusalem, Andronicus at Garizim, and Menelaus as high priest.
Doubtless it is to Menelaus and his party this verse refers when
it says Antiochus had intelligence with them that forsake the
Maccabees says Menelaus, “worse than all the rest, bare an heavy
hand over the citizens, having a malicious mind against his
countrymen the Jews.”
Desecration of Temple; Places
Image of Jupiter
31 - And
arms shall stand on his part,
sent Apollonius with an army of twenty-two thousand, commanding
him to slay all those who were in their best age, and to sell
the women and younger sort.
Apollonius thus came upon the city pretending peace,
where he waited until the Sabbath, then attacked, slaying
they had taken the spoils of the city, they set it on fire, and
pulled down the walls on every side, taking the women and
They next built a garrison with great towers in the city of
David and made it a stronghold where they stored armor and
provisions, and brought together the spoil of the city, using it
as a place to guard the king’s interest and retain control of
the sanctuary and nation.
shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the
As part of
an overall policy throughout his realm to conform religious
worship to a single model, Antiochus compelled all peoples to
abandon their local rites and gods; he wrote letters to his
whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and every one
should leave his laws.
The king forbade the Jews to keep the Sabbath, circumcise
their children, or keep the law.
He changed the temple’s name to Jupiter Olympius, set an
idol upon the altar therein, and sacrificed swine’s flesh and
shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
usually interpreted in reference to the idol Antiochus caused to
be placed in the temple, and, certainly, this was the
understanding of the author of I Maccabees: “Now on the
fifteenth day of the month Cauleu, in the hundred forty and
fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the
altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Judah on
every side; and burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and
in the streets…on the five and twentieth day of the month they
did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of
However, the Lord
used this phrase in reference to the Roman armies that desolated
the land and city of Jerusalem, as may be seen by comparing
Matthew’s account of the Olivet discourse with that of Luke:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains…For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
when ye shall see
reference is to Dan. 9:27
and 12:11, 12.
The reading given by the translators Dan. 9:27 is “and
for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it
marginal reading is “with abominable armies” he shall
make it desolate.
This seems to accord most with the intended sense, as witnessed
by the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke.
Hence, the abomination of desolation cannot refer to an
idol in the Jerusalem temple, or to the Roman standards, as is
Rather it refers to the armies of foreigners,
which denuded the land of men and cities, leaving it desolate.
(See comments at 12:11, 12.)
Hence, placing the abomination of desolation is better
interpreted in reference to the army sent into the land by
Antiochus, by which Jerusalem was made desolate.
I Maccabees relates “Now Jerusalem was laid void as a
wilderness, there was none of her children that went in or out:
the sanctuary also was trodden down, and aliens kept the
stronghold; the heathen had their habitation in that place.”
Judas Maccabeus and his Brethren
32 - And
such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by
flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be
strong, and do exploits.
to Judas Maccabeus and his brethren who rose up to defend Israel
in those days.
Judas slew Apollonius in battle, and took his sword.
He defeated Seron, captain of the Syrian host, which fled
Antiochus, seeing the revolt was strong, but lacking
sufficient money to sustain his forces, led an expedition into
Persia to gather tribute.
He committed half of his forces to Lysias, with
instructions to completely destroy the Jews and resettle the
land with other peoples.
33 - And
they that understand among the people shall instruct many:
refer to the Assideans (Hasidim), a religious reform group of
the time of the Maccabean revolt that joined themselves to Judas
and his brethren, from which the Pharisees are thought to have
sprung: “Then came there unto him a company of Assideans, who
were mighty men of Israel, even all such as were voluntarily
devoted unto the law.”
At all events, it signifies those that adhered to God and
the holy covenant, teaching the people by word and example to
resist unto death apostasy from the law.
shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by
spoil, many days.
period during which Antiochus IV Epiphanes vexed Israel was just
over six years (169-163 B.C.), of which Judas and his brethren
led the nation three years (160-163 B.C.).
Judas’ career spanned the reigns of Antiochus Epiphanes
(175-164 B.C), Antiochus Eupator (164-161 B.C.), and Demetrius,
the son of Antiochus the Great (161-149 B.C.). He died in the
one hundredth and fifty-second year of the Greeks (160 B.C.),
and was followed in the government by his brother, Jonathan.
The whole book of I Maccabees covers a period of forty
years, until the priesthood of John Hyrcanus.
“Many days” therefore manifestly embraces more than the
period of the Maccabees, reaching instead unto the “time of the
end” (v. 35), and the destruction of the nation by the
34 - Now
when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help:
but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
rendered the nation sufficient help to sustain the faithful, but
permitted its oppressions to continue in punishment of its sins.
Antiochus’ successors were a source of constant suffering
to the Jews, but contests for the throne of Asia gave the Jews
periodic relief as the competing claimants courted the nation’s
good will and allegiance.
Those that cleaved to the Jews with flattery during this
time, in the first instance, were likely Alexander and Demetrius
whose competing claims to the throne caused them to seek the
Jews’ alliance and so granted them various favors.
Later, when Alexander’s son Antiochus
Anticipation of A.D. 70 and the
35 - 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 time appointed.
period from Antiochus until the destruction of the nation by
Rome was marked by a time of national suffering and oppression
as the dominate power of the region shifted about, and the Jews
came under the dominion of the Egyptian, Syrian, and Roman
calamities served the double purpose of punishing the nation for
its sin, and purifying and refining the faithful.
The image of purging and making white may speak to the
refining of silver whereby the dross is burned and skimmed off,
leaving the metal white and pure.
Conversely, it may also refer the whitening of laundered
garments, which represents in scripture the righteousness of the
saints (Rev. 3:4;
be emphasized that the end here is not the end of the
material world, or the persecutions of Antiochus, or even the
kingdom of the Greeks, but the end of national Israel, for so
the angel expressly states (Dan. 10:14;
This end corresponded in time and event with the
destruction of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and the
beast and little horn of chapter seven. These events were
eschatological in nature, and were clearly confined to the days
of the Roman Empire.
They marked both the end of the Jewish nation and Gentile
world-dominion by the restoration of the Davidic throne over
earth’s peoples in Christ, and the coming of his kingdom in
power. The Jews,
because they rejected Christ, fell within the sweep of these
were accomplished in the fall of Jerusalem and the cataclysmic
events that overtook the Roman Empire in the first century.
For Jesus now reigns at the right hand of God, and all
nations are subjected to him; the saints share in the dominion
of the world through the reign of the victorious Christ.
Identity of “the king”
interpretum of the verses thirty-six through thirty-nine is
the identity of the individual or government initially nominated
“the king” (v. 36), and whether the same individual or
government is intended by the “king of the north” in verses
forty through forty-five, which follow.
Some, like Porphyry, hold it to be Antiochus Epiphanes;
others, like Jerome, see it in reference to the Antichrist;
Calvin saw it as an abstract of the Roman Empire in general.
Taking the second question first, we conclude that the
king of the north in verses forty through forty-five cannot
be Antiochus because 1) it describes an invasion of Egypt
impossible for Antiochus to have made; and 2) the events
described belong to the time of the end, which can apply only to
describes an invasion by the king of the north into Egypt at the
time of the end.
History is silent concerning an Egyptian invasion by Antiochus
following the orders of the Roman envoy, Gaius Popilius, to
desist from molesting the dominion of the Ptolemies.
Porphyry (cited by Jerome) asserts that, in the eleventh
year of his reign, Antiochus undertook a campaign against Egypt.
But this is surely wrong.
Neither Polybius nor Livy, nor yet Josephus or Maccabees,
which are our sources for this period, make mention of such an
was aware of this discrepancy, and did not allow Porphyry’s
assertions to go unchallenged, saying that he was “unable to
furnish any historical source” substantiating his claims.
Nor should we wonder that history is silent about these
eleventh year of Antiochus (165 B.C.) marked his campaign
against Persia, returning from which he was injured in a fall
from his chariot, contracted a gangrenous disease in his
members, and died the following year (164 B.C.), having reigned
not quite twelve years.
Hence, it is plainly impossible that Antiochus undertook
the invasion described.
Similar objections may be interposed against his sons and
successors, none of whom invaded Egypt.
Regnal Yrs. of
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
164 B.C. died
twenty-seven specifically limits the power of the Ptolemies and
Seleucids in their desolations of Jerusalem, reserving the
ultimate destruction until the time of the end.
Similarly, verse thirty-five looked beyond the time of
Antiochus and the Maccabean revolt unto the end, stating
that the Jews would suffer intermittent war and oppression until
the final calamity that desolated the nation.
This end is then described in Dan. 12:7, saying,
“When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the
holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Isaiah
prophesied of the destruction of the city and temple, and did
also the Lord (Isa. 66:5, 15;
Matt. 23, 24).
Both were cited by Stephen as about to be fulfilled (Acts
Furthermore, the eschatological crisis that would
overtake the saints in the persecution of the “little horn”
(Nero) that rose out of the fourth beast (Rome) is alluded to
later in Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 12:1),
where it is set as a forerunner of the nation’s destruction, and
was referred to the by the Lord in that context (Matt. 24:21;
see comments at 12:1, below).
Hence, when verse forty mentions the time of the end, we
necessarily understand that the time of the Romans has come into
only to decide the identity of the king or government in verses
thirty-six through thirty-nine.
A review of Antiochus’ successors will show that,
although a source of suffering to the nation, they cannot in
fairness be accused of many of the things described in these
immediate successors, Eupator, his son, and Demetrius, his
nephew, meet some of the description, but not all.
The same is true of the Romans.
Although in general terms the Caesars meet the
description of these verses, there are items too specific to
have more than a single individual in view, and for which we
search in vain among the Caesars.
For example, while it may be said in a general way that
the Caesars, and Nero in particular, magnified themselves
above every god, and spoke marvellous things against the God of
gods (v. 36), it cannot be said that any of them (vv.
38, 39) honoured with gold, and silver, and with precious
stones, and pleasant things a strange god in most strong holds.
Yet, these things describe perfectly Antiochus, and
accord with all that we know about him.
Hence, the approach taken here is that verses thirty-six
through thirty-nine provide a recapitulation and general
description of this king. Verses forty through forty-five we
take in reference to Gaius Julius Caesar.
36 - And
the king shall do according to his will; and shall prosper till
the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined
shall be done.
had been carried into captivity in Assyria and Babylon because
of its sins and obstinate refusal to repent or obey God’s
God in his clemency had returned the nation to its land, it had
not repented, or produced the fruits of repentance.
Heaven’s wrath was thus provoked.
Antiochus was the implement in God’s hand to punish the
Antiochus would prosper in the task heaven ordained him to
shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and
shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods,
did not merely attempt to suppress the Jews’ obedience to the
law and worship of God, his policy extended to all the local
cults within his kingdom; he attempted to unify his expansive
dominion by worship of a single god. I Maccabees states “king
Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one
people, and everyone should leave his laws: so all the heathen
agreed according to the commandment of the king.
Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his
religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath.”
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire
of women, nor regard any god:
did not regard the Greek pantheon of his fathers, nor the
traditional gods of
shall magnify himself above all.
expedition to Persia was a failure; he was repulsed in his
attempt to spoil the temple at Elymais.
Returning from Persia, he contracted a disease in his
bowels that tormented him greatly.
Hearing that Lyias was defeated by the Jews, Antiochus
hastened home to pursue his vengeance upon the Jews, but fell
from his chariot, and was severely wounded.
He died a horrible, lingering death; his body bred worms
and stank so bad none could endure to even carry him upon a
attributed his disease to his persecution of the Jews.
Before he died he is reported to have said “It is meet
to be subject unto God, and that a man that is mortal should not
proudly think of himself, as if he were God.”
Epiphanes succumbed to death in the one hundred and forty
ninth year of the Greeks (164 B.C.). He was succeeded in the
government of Syria by his son, Antiochus Eupator, who followed
his father’s evil example, having Lysias as his counselor.
38 - 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.
ascending power of the Romans made them the people to imitate
and their customs fashionable to follow.
The chief god among the Romans was Jupiter Optimus
Maximus, whose temple served as the capital of Rome. It was the
greatest temple in the world after the temple in Jerusalem; both
were destroyed in A.D. 70 in Christ’s coming in his kingdom in
power. The name
Jupiter is a contraction of Jove and Pater (“father Jove”).
This god was the chosen object of Antiochus’ veneration,
which he honored with temples and gifts throughout his dominion.
Thus shall he do in the most strongholds with a strange god,
whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory:
(viz., “alien”) god is Jupiter.
Antiochus attempted to enforce the worship of Jupiter
Olympus at Jerusalem, and Jupiter Xenios at Samaria, setting up
his image and compelling their inhabitants to sacrifice.
He honored Jupiter throughout the great cities (here
called strongholds) of his realm, building temples and adorning
his places of worship with gifts.
evidence of the magnificence of his ideas in relation to the
gods one may cite the temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens, the
only temple in the world planned (though it was not finished) on
a scale proportionate to the greatness of the god; besides this,
he adorned Delos with splendid altars and an abundance of
statues, and he promised at Antioch a magnificent temple to
Jupiter Capitolinus, not merely with a ceiling paneled with
gold, but with its walls also covered with gold leaf; but this
temple, like many other works he promised in other places, he
did not succeed in finishing, because his reign was so short a
shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land
them to rule over many,
probably refers to those who cooperated in Antiochus’ attempts
to reform his kingdom’s religion.
Matthias was promised many favors and to be among the
king’s intimate friends if he pronounced in favor of worshipping
Antiochus’ habits of vast expenditure and the tribute
imposed upon his father by Rome forced him to ever be in need of
money. Hence, he
divided the land for gain, selling the priesthood to Jason
and later Menelaus.
The Roman Power and the Time of
prophecies regarding Antiochus Epiphanes were expressly stated
not to reach to the time of the end (vv. 27, 35).
Verse forty thus becomes the turning point of the
prophecy, bringing us to the introduction of the Roman power in
the land; the days of the fourth world empire (the feet and toes
of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream), which would witness the kingdom and
coming of Christ in power against the world of disobedient men.
Beginning with verse forty-two, the exploits of Julius
Caesar are described, including 1) His capture of Egypt; 2)
Caesar’s departure from Egypt to Syria and Pontus; 3) his
appointment of the government over Syria and Judea; and 4) his
40 - And
at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him:
This and the following verse appear to describe in general terms the eruption of the Roman power in the south and east. One hundred years have passed since the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (164 B.C.). The powers of the world have shifted and taken new forms. The legitimate line of the Ptolemies failed with the death of Alexander II, and an illegitimate son of Soter II has been placed upon the throne (80 B.C.) (see below). The kingdom of the Ptolemies, once consisting of Egypt, Cyrene, Cyprus, Phoenicia, Arabia, Syria, Libya, Ethiopia, Pamphlyia, Cilicia, Lycia, Caria, and the isles of the Cyclades is now almost nonexistent. The Jews had gained independence during the Maccabean period (142 B.C.); Cyrene has been bequeathed to Rome by Ptolemy Apion (96 B.C.); Syria is mostly occupied by Tigranes, king of Armenia; Cyprus is destined to be declared a Roman province in 58 B.C.; all that remains of the “kingdom” of the Ptolemies is (or shortly would be) Egypt itself. Hence, “king (viz., “kingdom”) of the south” is probably best no longer understood in reference to the Ptolemaic dynasty, but to the power that had risen up in its place. Similarly, by now the king of the north was not the Seleucid dynasty, but Rome. “Pushing” at the kingdom of the north therefore likely refers to attempts to restrain or prevent Roman expansion in the south and east, most likely by Mithridates, king of Pontus, who was the major power in the region, and for over forty years challenged Roman arms for control of the east. Appian describes the greatness of Mithridates:
“Many times Mithridates had over 400 ships of his own, 50,000 cavalry, and 250,000 infantry, with engines and arms in proportion. For allies he had the king of Armenia and the princes of the Scythian tribes around the Euxine and the Sea of Azov and beyond, as far as the Thracian Bosphorus. He held communication with the leaders of the Roman civil wars, which were then fiercely raging, and with those who were inciting insurrections in Spain. He established friendly relations with the Gauls for the purpose of invading Italy. From Cilicia to the Pillars of Hercules he also filled the sea with pirates, who stopped all commerce and navigation between cities, and caused severe famine for a long time. In short, he left nothing within the power of man undone or untried to start the greatest possible movement, extending from the Orient to the Occident, to vex, so to speak, the whole world, which was warred upon, tangled in alliances, harassed by pirates, or vexed by the neighborhood of the warfare. Such and so diversified was this one war against Mithridates, but in the end it brought the greatest gain to the Romans; for it pushed the boundaries of their dominion from the setting of the sun to the river Euphrates.”
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.
conquered most of the world,
the Romans, having conquered King Mithridates at the end of
forty-two years, reduced to subjection
41 - He
shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries
shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand,
defeating Mithridates, Pompey deposed Antiochus Asiaticus, the
last of the Seleucids (64 B.C).
The Jews were governed at the time by Antigonus, who had
deposed his brother, Hyrcanus, thrust him from the high
priesthood, and put on the royal diadem.
When Antigonus’ party shut the gates of
having cleaned out the robber dens, and prostrated the greatest
king then living, in one and the same war, and having fought
successful battles, besides those of the Pontic war, with
Colchians, Albanians, Iberians, Armenians, Medes, Arabs, Jews,
and other Eastern nations, extended the Roman sway as far as
Egypt. But he did
not advance into
Gaius Julius Caesar
42 - He
shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the
shows that “king of the south” contemplates more than
later, Caesar’s civil war against the Roman Senate (49 B.C.)
brought him to
43 - But
he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver,
and over all the precious things of
44 - 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 take away many.
- followed by Mauro and Jordan - argues that Herod,
been appointed consul of
Alexandria he crossed to Syria, and from there went to Pontus,
spurred on by the news that Pharnaces, son of Mithridates the
great, had taken advantage of the situation to make war, and was
already flushed with numerous successes; but Caesar vanquished
him in a single battle within five days after his arrival and
four hours after getting sight of him, often remarking on
Pompey’s good luck in gaining his principal fame as a general by
victories over such feeble foemen.
Then he overcame Scipio and
45 - 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.
his tabernacles in the glorious holy mountain” appears to refer
to Caesar’s settlement of the government of
Europe, consisting of and countries bordering the Thrace Black Sea.
Craterus: the region beyond
, including Thrace and Macedonia . Greece
Ptolomy, the son of
, Egypt , and parts of Cyrene, Libya Arabia. In Asia Minor, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and regions abutting the Black Seawere committed to Eumenes Cardianus.
, Lycanonia, and Greater Phmphylia, Lycia Phrygia.
- Leonnatus: Lesser Phyrgia.
, and parts of Lydia Ioniaand Aeolia, including the sea coast.
Cassander, son of
and Syria . Phoenicia
Mesopotamia, . Babylon
- Atropates: Media (this was later assigned to Pithon).
and Sogdiana. Bactria
- Tlepolemus: Carmania.
- Oxyartes: Parapamisus.
Stasanor: Aria and
Drangiane, bordering the
from Parpanisus and the junction of the Acesines and India to the ocean. Indus Rivers
- Eudemus: Oxydracans and Mallians.
remained under the rule of the petty kings granted by Alexander. Cyprus
- King Porus, Taxiles, and the son of Abisares, those parts of India Alexander had assigned.
, consisting of Scynus, Arachoia, Gedrosia, and Sibyrtius, with the governors Alexander assigned. See Ussher at §§2375-2381. Susa
 Appian, XI, ix, 52-55
 Appian, XI, xi, 65
 Josephus, Antiquities, XII, ii, 5, 15
 Jerome, Daniel, in loc
 Jerome, in loc
 Polybius V, cvii, 1-3
 Ussher §§ 2938, 2939
 Ussher §§ 2874, 2878
 Polybius, XV, xxxiii
 Polybius, XV, xx; Jerome, in loc
 Polybius, XVI, xxxix
 Appian, The Syrian Wars, XI, i, 5
 II Macc. 3:4
 Ibid, vv. 3-40
 Appian, XI, viii, 45
 Polybius, XXVI, i
 Jerome, ad 11:30
 II Macc. IV:7, 23; cf. Clarke in loc
 II Macc. IV:21
 Livy, XLII, xxix
 Livy XLI, xx
 Caesar, Alexandrian War, XXVI
 Livy, XLIV, xix
 Livy, XLV, xi
 I Macc. 1:20-24; Brenton ed.
 Polybius, XXIX, xxvi; cf. Livy XLV, xi
 Polybius, XXIX, ii; cf. Livy XLIV, xix
 Cf. Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke in loc
 Polybius, XXIX, 27; cf. Livy XLV, xi
 II Macc. IV:5-14
 I Macc. 1:54-59
Worship of the Roman soldiers of their standards after
the fall of the temple would be too late for the Lord’s
instruction to flee when
 I Macc. 3:45
 I Macc. 3:10-12
 I Macc. 3:13-26
 I Macc. ; II Macc. 7:8-
 I Macc. 2:42; cf. 7:13; II Macc. 14:6
 I Macc. 9:1-10:47
 I Macc. 13:1-46
 Jerome, ad 11:44, 45
 Appian, XI, LXVI
 Demetrius II attacked Pelusium, but this was at the instance of Cleopatra, who was making war against her brother, Physcon (Eurgetes II). Ussher § 3796, p. 492
 I Macc. 1:41, 42
J.E.H. Thomson, Daniel (The Pulpit Commentary), in loc; cf. Moses Stuart, in loc
 II Mac.
 Livy, XLI, xxii
 I Macc. 1:17, 18
The dominions of Ptolemy Soter included
 E. R. Bevan, The House of Ptolemy (Methuen, London, 1927), pp. 342-353
 Appian, XII, xvii, 119, White ed.
 Appian, XII, xvii, 118, White ed.
 Appian, XII, xvii, 114, White ed.
 E. R. Bevan, The House of Ptolemy, pp. 342-354
 Caesar, Alexandrian War, XXXIII; Suetonius, The Deified Julius, XXXV
 Suetonius, The Deified Julius, LXXIX, iii
Caesar, The African War, 85.
 “We cannot discover, however, that the terms in the 44th verse are predictions of anything Augustus did.” James Farquharson, Daniel’s Last Vision and Prophecy (London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, 1838), p. 137; Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation (1922), pp. 135-162; James B. Jordan, Handwriting on the Wall (American Vision, 2008), pp. 593-614
Caesar, Civil Wars, I, vi;
Antiquities, XIV, viii, 4. Antigonus was the
surviving claimant to the Hasmonean throne.
Aristobulus, whom Pompey had sent prisoner to
 Caesar, Alexandrian War, LXV
same Pharnaces obtained the throne by murdering his
father, Mithidates, about the time Pompey captured
 Suetonius, The Deified Julius, XXXV
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