This 70th week of Daniel Bible study provides the study notes from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary for Daniel 11.
This one volume commentary was prepared by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown and published in 1871.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary of the Bible has stood the test of time and remains the preeminent evangelical expository commentary of the Scriptures. It provides verse-by-verse exposition of most Bible passages in insightful, accurate, succinct, and easy to understand articles.
What I want you to notice is that their explanation is about the kingdoms which were foretold in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7; Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome; and that they are not about the end times.
Their commentary is based on the King James Bible, so you can read each verse in the KJV and then his explanation.
This chapter is an enlargement of the eighth: THE OVERTHROW OF PERSIA BY GRECIA: THE FOUR DIVISIONS OF ALEXANDER’S KINGDOM: CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE KINGS OF THE SOUTH AND OF THE NORTH, THE PTOLEMIES AND SELEUCIDÆ: ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES.
1. I–the angel (Da 10:18).
first year of Darius–Cyaxares II; the year of the conquest of Babylon (Da 5:31). Cyrus, who wielded the real power, though in name subordinate to Darius, in that year promulgated the edict for the restoration of the Jews, which Daniel was at the time praying for (Da 9:1-2,21,23).
stood–implying promptness in helping (Ps 94:16).
strengthen him–namely, Michael; even as Michael (Da 10:21, “strengtheneth himself with me”) helped the angel, both joining their powers in behalf of Israel [ROSENMULLER]. Or, Darius, the angel “confirming him” in his purpose of kindness to Israel.
three kings in Persia–Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspes. (Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius, in Ezr 4:6-7,24). The Ahasuerus of Esther (see on Cmt. on Da 9:1) is identified with Xerxes, both in Greek history and in Scripture, appearing proud, self-willed, careless of contravening Persian customs, amorous, facile, and changeable (Da 11:2).
fourth . . . riches . . . against . . . Grecia–Xerxes, whose riches were proverbial. Persia reached its climax and showed its greatest power in his invasion of Greece, 480 B.C. After his overthrow at Salamis, Persia is viewed as politically dead, though it had an existence. Therefore, Da 11:3, without noticing Xerxes’ successors, proceeds at once to Alexander, under whom, first, the third world kingdom, Grecia, reached its culmination, and assumed an importance as to the people of God.
stir up all–Four years were spent in gathering his army out of all parts of his vast empire, amounting to two millions six hundred and forty-one thousand men. [PRIDEAUX, Connexion, 1.4. l. 410].
mighty king . . . do according to his will–answering to the he-goat’s “notable horn” (Da 8:6-7,21). Alexander invaded Persia 334 B.C., to avenge the wrongs of Greece on Persia for Xerxes’ past invasion (as Alexander said in a letter to Darius Codomanus, ARRIAN, Alexander. 2.14.7).
kingdom . . . divided toward . . . four winds–the fourfold division of Alexander’s kingdom at his death (Da 8:8,22), after the battle of Ipsus, 301 B.C.
not to his posterity–(See on Cmt. on Da 8:8; Cmt. on Da 8:22).
nor according to his dominion–None of his successors had so wide a dominion as Alexander himself.
others besides those–besides Alexander’s sons, Hercules by Barsine, Darius’ daughter, and Alexander by Roxana, who were both slain [MAURER]. Rather, besides the four successors to the four chief divisions of the empire, there will be other lesser chiefs who shall appropriate smaller fragments of the Macedonian empire [JEROME].
Here the prophet leaves Asia and Greece and takes up Egypt and Syria, these being in continual conflict under Alexander’s successors, entailing misery on Judea, which lay between the two. Holy Scripture handles external history only so far as it is connected with God’s people, Israel [JEROME]. TREGELLES puts a chasm between the fourth and fifth verses, making the transition to the final Antichrist here, answering to the chasm (in his view) at Da 8:22-23.
king of . . . south–literally, “of midday”: Egypt (Da 11:8,42), Ptolemy Soter, son of Lagus. He took the title “king,” whereas Lagus was but “governor.”
one of his princes–Seleucus, at first a satrap of Ptolemy Lagus, but from 312 B.C. king of the largest empire after that of Alexander (Syria, Babylon, Media, &c.), and called therefore Nicator, that is, “conqueror.” Connect the words thus, “And one of his (Ptolemy’s) princes, even he (Seleucus) shall be strong above him” (above Ptolemy, his former master).
in . . . end of years–when the predicted time shall be consummated (Da 11:13, Margin; Da 8:17; 12:13).
king’s daughter of the south–Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt. The latter, in order to end his war with Antiochus Theus, “king of the north” (literally, “midnight”: the prophetical phrase for the region whence came affliction to Israel, Jer 1:13-15; Joe 2:20), that is, Syria, gave Berenice to Antiochus, who thereupon divorced his former wife, Laodice, and disinherited her son, Seleucus Callinicus. The designation, “king of the north” and “of the south,” is given in relation to Judea, as the standpoint. Egypt is mentioned by name (Da 11:8,42), though Syria is not; because the former was in Daniel’s time a flourishing kingdom, whereas Syria was then a mere dependency of Assyria and Babylon: an undesigned proof of the genuineness of the Book of Daniel.
agreement–literally, “rights,” that is, to put things to rights between the belligerents.
she shall not retain the power of the arm–She shall not be able to effect the purpose of the alliance, namely, that she should be the mainstay of peace. Ptolemy having died, Antiochus took back Laodice, who then poisoned him, and caused Berenice and her son to be put to death, and raised her own son, Seleucus Nicator, to the throne.
neither shall he stand–The king of Egypt shall not gain his point of setting his line on the throne of Syria.
his arm–that on which he relied. Berenice and her offspring.
they that brought her–her attendants from Egypt.
he that begat her–rather as Margin, “the child whom she brought forth” [EWALD]. If English Version (which MAURER approves) be retained, as Ptolemy died a natural death, “given up” is not in his case, as in Berenice’s, to be understood of giving up to death, but in a general sense, of his plan proving abortive.
he that strengthened her in these times–Antiochus Theus, who is to attach himself to her (having divorced Laodice) at the times predicted [GEJER].
a branch of her roots . . . in his estate–Ptolemy Euergetes, brother of Berenice, succeeding in the place (Margin) of Philadelphus, avenged her death by overrunning Syria, even to the Euphrates.
deal against them–He shall deal with the Syrians at his own pleasure. He slew Laodice.
carry . . . into Egypt their gods, &c.–Ptolemy, on hearing of a sedition in Egypt, returned with forty thousand talents of silver, precious vessels, and twenty-four hundred images, including Egyptian idols, which Cambyses had carried from Egypt into Persia. The idolatrous Egyptians were so gratified, that they named him Euergetes, or “benefactor.”
continue more years–Ptolemy survived Seleucus four years, reigning in all forty-six years. MAURER translates, “Then he for several years shall desist from (contending with) the king of the north” (compare Da 11:9).
come into his kingdom–Egypt: not only with impunity, but with great spoil.
his sons–the two sons of the king of the north, Seleucus Callinicus, upon his death by a fall from his horse, namely, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great.
one shall . . . come–Ceraunus having died, Antiochus alone prosecuted the war with Ptolemy Philopater, Euergetes’ son, until he had recovered all the parts of Syria subjugated by Euergetes.
pass through–like an “overflowing” torrent (Da 11:22,26,40). Antiochus penetrated to Dura (near Cæsarea), where he gave Ptolemy a four months’ truce.
return–renew the war at the expiration of the truce (so Da 11:13).
even to his fortress–Ptolemy’s; Raphia, a border-fortress of Egypt against incursions by way of Edom and Arabia-Petræa, near Gaza; here Antiochus was vanquished.
the king of the south . . . moved with choler–at so great losses, Syria having been wrested from him, and his own kingdom imperilled, though otherwise an indolent man, to which his disasters were owing, as also to the odium of his subjects against him for having murdered his father, mother, and brother, whence in irony they called him Philopater, “father-lover.”
he shall set forth a great multitude–Antiochus, king of Syria, whose force was seventy thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry.
but . . . multitude . . . given into his hand–into Ptolemy’s hands; ten thousand of Antiochus’ army were slain, and four thousand made captives.
when he hath taken away–that is, subdued “the multitude” of Antiochus.
heart . . . lifted up–instead of following up his victory by making himself master of the whole of Syria, as he might, he made peace with Antiochus, and gave himself up to licentiousness [POLYBIUS, 87; JUSTIN, 30.4], and profaned the temple of God by entering the holy place [GROTIUS].
not be strengthened by it–He shall lose the power gained by his victory through his luxurious indolence.
return–renew the war.
after certain years–fourteen years after his defeat at Raphia. Antiochus, after successful campaigns against Persia and India, made war with Ptolemy Epiphanes, son of Philopater, a mere child.
many stand up against the king of the south–Philip, king of Macedon, and rebels in Egypt itself, combined with Antiochus against Ptolemy.
robbers of thy people–that is, factious men of the Jews shall exalt themselves, so as to revolt from Ptolemy, and join themselves to Antiochus; the Jews helped Antiochus’ army with provisions, when on his return from Egypt he besieged the Egyptian garrison left in Jerusalem [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 12:3.3].
to establish the vision–Those turbulent Jews unconsciously shall help to fulfil the purpose of God, as to the trials which await Judea, according to this vision.
but they shall fall–Though helping to fulfil the vision, they shall fail in their aim, of making Judea independent.
king of . . . north–Antiochus the Great.
take . . . fenced cities–Scopas, the Egyptian general, met Antiochus at Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, and was defeated, and fled to Sidon, a strongly “fenced city,” where he was forced to surrender.
chosen people–Egypt’s choicest army was sent under Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus, to deliver Scopas, but in vain [JEROME].
he that cometh against him–Antiochus coming against Ptolemy Epiphanes.
glorious land–Judea (Da 11:41,45).
by his hand shall be consumed–literally, “perfected,” that is, completely brought under his sway. JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 12:3.3] shows that the meaning is not, that the Jews should be utterly consumed: for Antiochus favored them for taking his part against Ptolemy, but that their land should be subjected to him [LENGKERKE]. GROTIUS translates, “shall be perfected by him,” that is, shall flourish under him.
English Version gives a good sense; namely, that Judea was much “consumed” or “desolated” by being the arena of conflict between the combatants, Syria and Egypt. TREGELLES refers (Da 11:14), “robbers of thy people,” to the Gentiles, once oppressors, attempting to restore the Jews to their land by mere human effort, whereas this is to be effected only by divine interposition: their attempt is frustrated (Da 11:16) by the wilful king, who makes Judea the scene of his military operations.
set his face–purpose steadfastly. Antiochus purpose was, however, turned from open assault to wile, by his war with the Romans in his endeavor to extend his kingdom to the limits it had under Seleucus Nicator.
upright one–Jasher, or Jeshurun (De 32:15; Isa 44:2); the epithet applied by the Hebrews to their nation. It is here used not in praise; for in Da 11:14 (see on Cmt. on Da 11:14) they are called “robbers,” or “men of violence, factious”: it is the general designation of Israel, as having God for their God. Probably it is used to rebuke those who ought to have been God’s “upright ones” for confederating with godless heathen in acts of violence (the contrast to the term in Da 11:14 favors this).
thus shall he do–Instead of at once invading Ptolemy’s country with his “whole strength,” he prepares his way for doing so by the following plan: he gives to Ptolemy Epiphanes his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, promising CSlo-Syria and Judea as a dowry, thus securing his neutrality in the war with Rome: he hoped through his daughter to obtain Syria, Cilicia, and Lycia, and even Egypt itself at last; but Cleopatra favored her husband rather than her father, and so defeated his scheme [JEROME]. “She shall not stand on his side.”
isles–He “took many” of the isles in the Ægean in his war with the Romans, and crossed the Hellespont.
prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach . . . to cease–Lucius Scipio Asiaticus, the Roman general, by routing Antiochus at Magnesia (190 B.C.), caused the reproach which he offered Rome by inflicting injuries on Rome’s allies, to cease. He did it for his own glory.
without his own reproach–with untarnished reputation.
Then he shall turn . . . toward . . . his own land–Compelled by Rome to relinquish all his territory west of the Taurus, and defray the expenses of the war, he garrisoned the cities left to him.
stumble . . . not be found–Attempting to plunder the temple of Jupiter at Elymais by night, whether through avarice, or the want of money to pay the tribute imposed by Rome (a thousand talents), he was slain with his soldiers in an insurrection of the inhabitants [JUSTIN, 32.2].
in his estate–in Antiochus’ stead: his successor, Seleucus Philopater, his son.
in the glory of the kingdom–that is, inheriting it by hereditary right. MAURER translates, “one who shall cause the tax gatherer (Heliodorus) to pass through the glory of the kingdom,” that is, Judea, “the glorious land” (Da 11:16,41). Simon, a Benjamite, in spite against Onias III, the high priest, gave information of the treasures in the Jewish temple; and Seleucus having reunited to Syria CSlo-Syria and Palestine, the dowry formerly given by Antiochus the Great to Cleopatra, Ptolemy’s wife, sent Heliodorus to Jerusalem to plunder the temple. This is narrated in 2 Maccabees 3:4, &c. Contrast Zec 9:8, “No oppressor shall pass through . . . any more.”
within few days . . . destroyed–after a reign of twelve years, which were “few” compared with the thirty-seven years of Antiochus’ reign. Heliodorus, the instrument of Seleucus’ sacrilege, was made by God the instrument of his punishment. Seeking the crown, in the absence at Rome of Seleucus’ only son and heir, Demetrius, he poisoned Seleucus. But Antiochus Epiphanes, Seleucus’ brother, by the help of Eumenes, king of Pergamos, succeeded to the throne, 175 B.C.
neither in anger, nor in battle–not in a popular outbreak, nor in open battle.
vile–Antiochus called Epiphanes, that is, “the illustrious,” for vindicating the claims of the royal line against Heliodorus, was nicknamed, by a play of sounds, Epimanes, that is, “the madman,” for his mad freaks beneath the dignity of a king. He would carouse with the lowest of the people, bathe with them in the public baths, and foolishly jest and throw stones at passers-by [POLYBIUS, 26.10]. Hence, as also for his crafty supplanting of Demetrius, the rightful heir, from the throne, he is termed “vile.”
they shall not give . . . kingdom: but . . . by flatteries–The nation shall not, by a public act, confer the kingdom on him, but he shall obtain it by artifice, “flattering” Eumenes and Attalus of Pergamos to help him, and, as he had seen candidates at Rome doing, canvassing the Syrian people high and low, one by one, with embraces [LIVY, 41.20].
shall they be overflown . . . before him–Antiochus Epiphanes shall invade Egypt with overwhelming forces.
prince of the covenant–Ptolemy Philometer, the son of Cleopatra, Antiochus’ sister, who was joined in covenant with him. Ptolemy’s guardians, while he was a boy, sought to recover from Epiphanes CSlo-Syria and Palestine, which had been promised by Antiochus the Great as Cleopatra’s dowry in marrying Ptolemy Epiphanes. Hence arose the war. Philometer’s generals were vanquished, and Pelusium, the key of Egypt, taken by Antiochus, 171 B.C.
TREGELLES notes three divisions in the history of the “vile person,” which is continued to the end of the chapter: (1) His rise (Da 11:21-22). (2) The time from his making the covenant to the taking away of the daily sacrifice and setting up of the abomination of desolation (Da 11:23-31). (3) His career of blasphemy, to his destruction (Da 11:32-45); the latter two periods answering to the “week” of years of his “covenant with many” (namely, in Israel) (Da 9:27), and the last being the closing half week of the ninth chapter. But the context so accurately agrees with the relations of Antiochus to Ptolemy that the primary reference seems to be to the “league” between them. Antitypically, Antichrist’s relations towards Israel are probably delineated. Compare Da 8:11; 11:22 here, “prince of the covenant.”
work deceitfully–Feigning friendship to young Ptolemy, as if he wished to order his kingdom for him, he took possession of Memphis and all Egypt (“the fattest places,” Da 11:34) as far as Alexandria.
with a small people–At first, to throw off suspicion, his forces were small.
peaceably–literally, “unexpectedly”; under the guise of friendship he seized Ptolemy Philometer.
he shall do that which his fathers have not done–His predecessors, kings of Syria, had always coveted Egypt, but in vain: he alone made himself master of it.
scatter among them . . . prey–among his followers (1 Maccabees 1:19).
forecast his devices against . . . strongholds–He shall form a studied scheme for making himself master of the Egyptian fortresses. He gained them all except Alexandria, which successfully resisted him. Retaining to himself Pelusium, he retired to Judea, where, in revenge for the joy shown by the Jews at the report of his death, which led them to a revolt, he subdued Jerusalem by storm or stratagem.
for a time–His rage shall not be for ever; it is but for a time limited by God. CALVIN makes “for a time” in antithesis to “unexpectedly,” in the beginning of the verse. He suddenly mastered the weaker cities: he had to “forecast his plans” more gradually (“for a time”) as to how to gain the stronger fortresses.
A fuller detail of what was summarily stated (Da 11:22-24). This is the first of Antiochus’ three (Da 11:29) open invasions of Egypt.
against the king of the south–against Ptolemy Philometer. Subsequently, Ptolemy Physcon (the Gross), or Euergetes II, was made king by the Egyptians, as Ptolemy Philometer was in Antiochus’ hands.
great army–as distinguished from the “small people” (Da 11:23) with which he first came. This was his first open expedition; he was emboldened by success to it. Antiochus “entered Egypt with an overwhelming multitude, with chariots, elephants, and cavalry” (1 Maccabees 1:17).
stirred up–by the necessity, though naturally indolent.
not stand–Philometer was defeated.
they shall forecast, &c.–His own nobles shall frame treacherous “devices” against him (see Da 11:26). EulSus and LenSus maladministered his affairs. Antiochus, when checked at last at Alexandria, left Ptolemy Philometer at Memphis as king, pretending that his whole object was to support Philometer’s claims against the usurper Physcon.
they that feed of . . . his meat–those from whom he might naturally have looked for help, his intimates and dependents (Ps 41:9; Joh 13:18); his ministers and guardians.
his army shall overflow–Philometer’s army shall be dissipated as water. The phrase is used of overflowing numbers, usually in a victorious sense, but here in the sense of defeat, the very numbers which ordinarily ensure victory, hastening the defeat through mismanagement.
many shall fall down slain–(1 Maccabees 1:18, “many fell wounded to death”). Antiochus, when he might have slain all in the battle near Pelusium, rode around and ordered the enemy to be taken alive, the fruit of which policy was, he soon gained Pelusium and all Egypt [DIODORUS SICULUS, 26.77].
both . . . to do mischief–each to the other.
speak lies at one table–They shall, under the semblance of intimacy, at Memphis try to deceive one another (see on Cmt. on Da 11:3; Cmt. on Da 11:25).
it shall not prosper–Neither of them shall carry his point at this time.
yet the end shall be–“the end” of the contest between them is reserved for “the time appointed” (Da 11:29-30).
(1 Maccabees 1:19, 20, &c.).
against the holy covenant–On his way back to Syria, he attacked Jerusalem, the metropolis of Jehovah’s covenant-people, slew eighty thousand, took forty thousand prisoners, and sold forty thousand as slaves (2 Maccabees 5:5-14).
he shall do exploits–He shall effect his purpose. Guided by Menelaus, the high priest, he entered the sanctuary with blasphemies, took away the gold and silver vessels, sacrificed swine on the altar, and sprinkled broth of the flesh through the temple (2 Maccabees 5:15-21).
At the time appointed–“the time” spoken of in Da 11:27.
return–his second open invasion of Egypt. Ptolemy Philometer, suspecting Antiochus’ designs with Physcon, hired mercenaries from Greece. Whereupon Antiochus advanced with a fleet and an army, demanding the cession to him of Cyprus, Pelusium, and the country adjoining the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile.
it shall not be as the former–not successful as the former expedition. Popilius LSnas, the Roman ambassador, met him at Eleusis, four miles from Alexandria, and presented him the decree of the senate; on Antiochus replying that he would consider what he was to do, Popilius drew a line round him with a rod and said, “I must have a reply to give to the senate before you leave this circle.” Antiochus submitted, and retired from Egypt; and his fleets withdrew from Cyprus.
or as the latter–that mentioned in Da 11:42-43 [TREGELLES]. Or, making this the third expedition, the sense is “not as the first or as the second” expeditions [PISCATOR]. Rather “not as the former, so shall be this latter” expedition [GROTIUS].
ships of Chittim–the Roman ambassadors arriving in Macedonian Grecian vessels (see on Cmt. on Jer 2:10). Chittim, properly Cyprian, so called from a PhSnician colony in Cyprus; then the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean in general.
grieved–humbled and dispirited through fear of Rome.
indignation against the holy covenant–Indignant that meantime God’s worship had been restored at Jerusalem, he gives vent to his wrath at the check given him by Rome, on the Jews.
intelligence with them that forsake the . . . covenant–namely, with the apostates in the nation (1 Maccabees 1:11-15). Menelaus and other Jews instigated the king against their religion and country, learning from Greek philosophy that all religions are good enough to keep the masses in check. These had cast off circumcision and the religion of Jehovah for Greek customs. Antiochus, on his way home, sent Apollonius (167 B.C.) with twenty-two thousand to destroy Jerusalem, two years after its capture by himself. Apollonius slew multitudes, dismantled and pillaged the city. They then, from a fortress which they built commanding the temple, fell on and slew the worshippers; so that the temple service was discontinued.
Also, Antiochus decreed that all, on pain of death, should conform to the Greek religion, and the temple was consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. Identifying himself with that god, with fanatical haughtiness he wished to make his own worship universal (1 Maccabees 1:41; 2 Maccabees 6:7). This was the gravest peril which ever heretofore threatened revealed religion, the holy people, and the theocracy on earth, for none of the previous world rulers had interfered with the religious worship of the covenant-people, when subject to them (Da 4:31-34; 6:27-28). Hence arose the need of such a forewarning of the covenant-people as to him–so accurate, that PORPHYRY, the adversary of revelation, saw it was hopeless to deny its correspondence with history, but argued from its accuracy that it must have been written subsequent to the event.
But as Messianic events are foretold in Daniel, the Jews, the adversaries of Jesus, would never have forged the prophecies which confirm His claims. The ninth chapter was to comfort the faithful Jews, in the midst of the “abominations” against “the covenant,” with the prospect of Messiah who would “confirm the covenant.” He would show by bringing salvation, and yet abolishing sacrifices, that the temple service which they so grieved after, was not absolutely necessary; thus the correspondence of phraseology would suggest comfort (compare Da 9:27; 11:30-31).
arms–namely, of the human body; not weapons; human forces.
they–Antiochus’ hosts confederate with the apostate Israelites; these latter attain the climax of guilt, when they not only, as before, “forsake the covenant” (Da 11:30), but “do wickedly against” it (Da 11:32), turning complete heathens. Here Antiochus’ actings are described in language which reach beyond him the type to Antichrist the antitype [JEROME] (just as in Ps 72 many things are said of Solomon the type, which are only applicable to Christ the Antitype); including perhaps Rome, Mohammed, and the final personal Antichrist.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON refers the rest of the chapter from this verse to the Romans, translating, “after him arms (that is, the Romans) shall stand up”; at the very time that Antiochus left Egypt, the Romans conquered Macedon, thus finishing the reign of Daniel’s third beast; so here the prophet naturally proceeds to the fourth beast. JEROME’S view is simpler; for the narrative seems to continue the history of Antiochus, though with features only in type applicable to him, fully to Antichrist.
sanctuary of strength–not only naturally a place of strength, whence it held out to the last against the besiegers, but chiefly the spiritual stronghold of the covenant-people (Ps 48:1-3,12-14). Apollonius “polluted” it with altars to idols and sacrifices of swine’s flesh, after having “taken away the daily sacrifice” (see on Cmt. on Da 8:11).
place . . . abomination that maketh desolate–that is, that pollutes the temple (Da 8:12-13). Or rather, “the abomination of the desolater,” Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Maccabees 1:29, 37-49). Compare Da 9:27, wherein the antitypical desolating abomination of Rome (the eagle standard, the bird of Jupiter, sacrificed to by Titus’ soldiers within the sacred precincts, at the destruction of Jerusalem), of Mohammed and of the final Antichrist, is foretold. 1 Maccabees 1:54, uses the very phrase, “the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty-fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation on the altar”; namely, an idol-altar and image of Jupiter Olympius, erected upon Jehovah’s altar of burnt offerings. “Abomination” is the common name for an idol in the Old Testament. The Roman emperor Adrian’s erection of a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus where the temple of God had stood, A.D. 132; also the erection of the Mohammedan mosque of Omar in the same place (it is striking, Mohammedanism began to prevail in A.D. 610, only about three years of the time when Popery assumed the temporal power); and the idolatry of the Church of Rome in the spiritual temple, and the final blasphemy of the personal Antichrist in the literal temple (2Th 2:4) may all be antitypically referred to here under Antiochus the type, and the Old Testament Antichrist.
(1 Maccabees 1:52).
corrupt–seduce to apostasy.
by flatteries–promises of favor.
people that . . . know their God–the Maccabees and their followers (1 Maccabees 1:62, 63).
they that understand–who know and keep the truth of God (Isa 11:2).
instruct many–in their duty to God and the law, not to apostatize.
yet they shall fall–as Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18, &c.). They shall be sorely persecuted, even to death (Heb 11:35-36,37; 2 Maccabees 6, 7). Their enemies took advantage of the Sabbath to slay them on the day when they would not fight. TREGELLES thinks, from comparison with Da 11:35, it is the people who “fall,” not those of understanding. But Da 11:35 makes the latter “fall,” not an unmeaning repetition; in Da 11:33 they fall (die) by persecution; in Da 11:35 they fall (spiritually) for a time by their own weakness.
flame–in caves, whither they had retired to keep the Sabbath. Antiochus caused some to be roasted alive (2 Maccabees 7:3-5).
many days–rather, “certain days,” as in Da 8:27. JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 12:7.6,7] tells us the persecution lasted for three years (1 Maccabees 1:59; 4:54; 2 Maccabees 10:1-7).
a little help–The liberty obtained by the Maccabean heroes for the Jews was of but short duration. They soon fell under the Romans and Herodians, and ever since every attempt to free them from Gentile rule has only aggravated their sad lot. The period of the world times (Gentile rule) is the period of depression of the theocracy, extending from the exile to the millennium [ROOS]. The more immediate reference seems to be, the forces of Mattathias and his five sons were originally few (1 Maccabees 2:1-5).
many shall cleave to them–as was the case under Judas Maccabeus, who was thus able successfully to resist Antiochus.
with flatteries–Those who had deserted the Jewish cause in persecution, now, when success attended the Jewish arms, joined the Maccabean standard, for example, Joseph, the son of Zecharias, Azarias, &c. (1 Maccabees 5:55-57; 2 Maccabees 12:40; 13:21). MAURER explains it, of those who through fear of the Maccabees’ severity against apostates joined them, though ready, if it suited their purpose, to desert them (1 Maccabees 2:44; 3:58).
to try them–the design of affliction. Image from metals tried with fire.
to purge–Even in the elect there are dregs which need to be purged out (1Pe 1:7). Hence they are allowed to fall for a time; not finally (2Ch 32:31; Lu 22:31). Image from wheat cleared of its chaff by the wind.
make . . . white–image from cloth (Re 7:9).
to . . . time of . . . end–God will not suffer His people to be persecuted without limitation (1Co 10:13). The godly are to wait patiently for “the end” of “the time” of trial; “for it is (to last) yet for a time appointed” by God.
The wilful king here, though primarily Antiochus, is antitypically and mainly Antichrist, the seventh head of the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of Re 13, and the “beast” of Armageddon (Re 16:13; 19:19). Some identify him with the revived French emperorship, the eighth head of the beast (Re 17:11), who is to usurp the kingly, as the Pope has the priestly, dignity of Christ–the false Messiah of the Jews, who will “plant his tabernacle between the seas in the holy mountain,” “exalting himself above every god” (2Th 2:4; Re 13:5-6). This last clause only in part holds good of Antiochus; for though he assumed divine honors, identifying himself with Jupiter Olympius, yet it was for that god he claimed them; still it applies to him as the type.
speak marvellous things against . . . God of gods–so Da 7:25, as to the “little horn,” which seemingly identifies the two (compare Da 8:25). Antiochus forbade the worship of Jehovah by a decree “marvellous” for its wickedness: thus he was a type of Antichrist. Compare Da 7:8, “a mouth speaking great things.”
indignation . . . accomplished–God’s visitation of wrath on the Jews for their sins (Da 8:19).
that . . . determined– (Da 9:26; 10:21).
Neither . . . regard . . . the desire of women–(Compare Eze 24:16,18). The wife, as the desire of man’s eyes, is the symbol of the tenderest relations (2Sa 1:26). Antiochus would set at naught even their entreaties that he should cease from his attack on Jehovah’s worship [POLANUS]. MAURER refers it to Antiochus’ attack on the temple of the Syrian Venus, worshipped by women (1 Maccabees 6:1, &c.; 2 Maccabees 1:13). NEWTON refers it to Rome’s “forbidding to marry.” ELLIOTT rightly makes the antitypical reference be to Messiah. Jewish women desired to be mothers with a view to Him, the promised seed of the woman (Ge 30:23; Lu 1:25,28).
nor regard any god– (2Th 2:4).
God of forces–probably Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom Antiochus began to erect a temple at Antioch [LIVY, 41.20]. Translate, “He shall honor the god of fortresses on his basis,” that is, the base of the statue. NEWTON translates, “And the god ‘Mahuzzim’ (guardians, that is, saints adored as ‘protectors’ in the Greek and Roman churches) shall he honor.”
honour with gold, &c.–Compare Re 17:4 as to Antiochus’ antitype, Antichrist.
NEWTON translates, “to be defenders of Mahuzzim (the monks and priests who uphold saint worship), together with the strange god whom he shall acknowledge, he shall multiply honor.” English Version is better: He shall do (exploits) in the most strongholds (that is, shall succeed against them) with a strange god (under the auspices of a god which he worshipped not before, namely, Jupiter Capitolinus, whose worship he imported into his empire from Rome). Antiochus succeeded against Jerusalem, Sidon, Pelusium, Memphis.
cause them–Antiochus “caused” his followers and the apostates “to rule over many” Jews, having “divided their land” (Judea), “for gain” (that is, as a reward for their compliance).
The difficulty of reconciling this with Antiochus’ history is that no historian but PORPHYRY mentions an expedition of his into Egypt towards the close of his reign. This Da 11:40, therefore, may be a recapitulation summing up the facts of the first expedition to Egypt (171-170 B.C.), in Da 11:22,25; and Da 11:41, the former invasion of Judea, in Da 11:28; Da 11:42-43, the second and third invasions of Egypt (169 and 168 B.C.) in Da 11:23-24,29-30.
AUBERLEN takes rather PORPHYRY’S statement, that Antiochus, in the eleventh year of his reign (166-165 B.C.), invaded Egypt again, and took Palestine on his way. The “tidings” (Da 11:44) as to the revolt of tributary nations then led him to the East. PORPHYRY’S statement that Antiochus starting from Egypt took Arad in Judah, and devastated all PhSnicia, agrees with Da 11:45; then he turned to check Artaxias, king of Armenia. He died in the Persian town Tabes, 164 B.C., as both POLYBIUS and PORPHYRY agree.
Doubtless, antitypically, the final Antichrist, and its predecessor Mohammed, are intended, to whom the language may be more fully applicable than to Antiochus the type. The Saracen Arabs “of the south” “pushed at” the Greek emperor Heraclius, and deprived him of Egypt and Syria. But the Turks of “the north” not merely pushed at, but destroyed the Greek empire; therefore more is said of them than of the Saracens. Their “horsemen” are specified, being their chief strength. Their standards still are horse tails.
Their “ships,” too, often gained the victory over Venice, the great naval power of Europe in that day. They “overflowed” Western Asia, and then “passed over” into Europe, fixing their seat of empire at Constantinople under Mohammed II [NEWTON].
Antiochus, according to PORPHYRY, marching against Ptolemy, though he turned from his course to wreak his wrath on the Jews, did not meddle with Edom, Moab, and Ammon on the side of Judea. In 1 Maccabees 4:61; 5:3; &c., it is stated that he used their help in crushing the Jews, of whom they were the ancient enemies. Compare Isa 11:14, as to Israel’s future retribution, just as the Maccabees made war on them as the friends of Antiochus (1 Maccabees 5:1-68).
Antitypically, the Turks under Selim entered Jerusalem on their way to Egypt, and retain “the glorious land” of Palestine to this day. But they never could conquer the Arabs, who are akin to Edom, Moab, and Ammon (Ge 16:12). So in the case of the final Antichrist.
Egypt . . . Libyans . . . Ethiopians–The latter two, being the allies of the first, served under Antiochus when he conquered Egypt. Antitypically, Egypt, though it held out long under the Mamelukes, in A.D. 1517 fell under the Turks. Algiers, Tunis, and other parts of Africa, are still under them.
at his steps–following him (Ex 11:8, Margin; Jg 4:10).
tidings out of the east and out of the north–Artaxias, king of Armenia, his vassal, had revolted in the north, and Arsaces, leader of the Parthians, in the east (1 Maccabees 3:10, &c., 1 Maccabees 3:37; TACITUS, Histories, 5.8). In 147 B.C. Antiochus went on the expedition against them, on the return from which he died.
great fury–at the Jews, on account of their successes under Judas Maccabeus, whence he desired to replenish his treasury with means to prosecute the war with them; also at Artaxias and Arsaces, and their respective followers. DE BURGH makes the “tidings” which rouse his fury, to be concerning the Jews’ restoration; such may be the antitypical reference.
plant . . . between the seas–the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.
tabernacles of . . . palace–his palace-like military tents, such as Oriental princes travel with. See on Cmt. on Da 11:40, as to the time of Antiochus’ attack on Judea, and his subsequent “end” at Tabes, which was caused by chagrin both at hearing that his forces under Lysias were overcome by the Jews, and at the failure of his expedition against the temple of Elymais (2 Maccabees 9:5).
holy mountain–Jerusalem and Mount Zion. The desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus, and also the desecration of the consecrated ground round Jerusalem by the idolatrous Roman ensigns, as also by the Mohammedan mosque, and, finally, by the last Antichrist, are referred to. So the last Antichrist is to sit upon “the mount of the congregation” (Isa 14:13), but “shall be brought down to hell” (compare Note, see on Cmt. on Da 7:26; 2Th 2:8).
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