Daniel - 11:1-45

The Man of Sin

      1 "As for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him. 2 Now will I show you the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and when he has grown strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. 3 A mighty king shall stand up, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 When he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of the sky, but not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others besides these. 5 The king of the south shall be strong, and (one) of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. 6 At the end of years they shall join themselves together; and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the strength of her arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm; but she shall be given up, and those who brought her, and he who became the father of her, and he who strengthened her in those times. 7 But out of a shoot from her roots shall one stand up in his place, who shall come to the army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail. 8 Also their gods, with their molten images, (and) with their goodly vessels of silver and of gold, shall he carry captive into Egypt; and he shall refrain some years from the king of the north. 9 He shall come into the realm of the king of the south, but he shall return into his own land. 10 His sons shall war, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall come on, and overflow, and pass through; and they shall return and war, even to his fortress. 11 The king of the south shall be moved with anger, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north; and he shall set forth a great multitude, and the multitude shall be given into his hand. 12 The multitude shall be lifted up, and his heart shall be exalted; and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 13 The king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former; and he shall come on at the end of the times, (even of) years, with a great army and with much substance. 14 In those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the children of the violent among your people shall lift themselves up to establish the vision; but they shall fall. 15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mound, and take a well-fortified city: and the forces of the south shall not stand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to stand. 16 But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him; and he shall stand in the glorious land, and in his hand shall be destruction. 17 He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and with him equitable conditions; and he shall perform them: and he shall give him the daughter of women, to corrupt her; but she shall not stand, neither be for him. 18 After this shall he turn his face to the islands, and shall take many: but a prince shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; yes, moreover, he shall cause his reproach to turn on him. 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found. 20 Then shall stand up in his place one who shall cause a tax collector to pass through the kingdom to maintain its glory; but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. 21 In his place shall stand up a contemptible person, to whom they had not given the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in time of security, and shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22 The overwhelming forces shall be overwhelmed from before him, and shall be broken; yes, also the prince of the covenant. 23 After the treaty made with him he shall work deceitfully; for he shall come up, and shall become strong, with a small people. 24 In time of security shall he come even on the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them prey, and spoil, and substance: yes, he shall devise his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. 25 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 war in battle with an exceeding great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they shall devise devices against him. 26 Yes, they who eat of his dainties shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow; and many shall fall down slain. 27 As for both these kings, their 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. 28 Then shall he return into his land with great substance; and his heart (shall be) against the holy covenant; and he shall do (his pleasure), and return to his own land. 29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come into the south; but it shall not be in the latter time as it was in the former. 30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and shall return, and have indignation against the holy covenant, and shall do (his pleasure): he shall even return, and have regard to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and shall take away the continual (burnt offering), and they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32 Such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he pervert by flatteries; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and do (exploits). 33 Those who are wise among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by spoil, (many) days. 34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help; but many shall join themselves to them with flatteries. 35 Some of those who are wise shall fall, to refine them, and to purify, and to make them white, even to the time of the end; because it is yet for the time appointed. 36 The king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his place shall he honor the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers didn't know shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god: whoever acknowledges (him) he will increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price. 40 At the time of the end shall the king of the south contend with him; and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass through. 41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many (countries) shall be overthrown; but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch forth his hand also on the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. 44 But news out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him; and he shall go forth with great fury to destroy and utterly to sweep away many. 45 He shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Daniel 11.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

Analysis of the Chapter
This chapter contains a portion of those things which the angel said were written in "the scripture of truth," and which he came to disclose to Daniel. The revelation also embraces the twelfth chapter, and the two comprise the last recorded communication that was made to Daniel. The revelation which is made in these chapters not only embraces a large portion of history of interest to the Jewish people of ancient times, and designed to give instruction as to the important events that would pertain to their nation, but also, in its progress, alludes to important periods in the future as marking decisive eras in the world's history, and contains hints as to what would occur down to the end of all things.
The chapter before us embraces the following definitely marked periods:
I. The succession of kings in Persia to the time of a mighty king who should arouse all the strength of his kingdom to make war on Greece - referring doubtless to Xerxes, Daniel 11:1-2. Of those kings in Persia there would be three - three so prominent as to deserve notice in the rapid glance at future events - Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis.
II. After this succession of kings, one would stand up or appear who would be characterized as ruling "with great dominion," and "'according to his will," Daniel 11:3. The dominion evidently would pass into his hand, and he would be distinguished from all that went before him. There can be no doubt, from the connection, and from what is said in Daniel 11:4, that the reference here is to Alexander the Great.
III. The state of the empire after the death of this mighty king, Daniel 11:4. His kingdom would be broken, and would be divided into four parts - referring doubtless to the division of the empire of Alexander after his death.
IV. The history then proceeds to notice the events that would pertain to two of these portions of the empire - the conflicts between the king of the south, and the king of the north - or between Egypt and Syria, Daniel 11:5-19. This portion of the history embraces, in detail, an account of the policy, the negotiations, and the wars of Antiochus the Great, until the time of his death. These kingdoms are particularly referred to, probably because their conflicts would affect the holy land, and pertain ultimately to the history of religion, and its establishment and triumph in the world. In the notice of these two sovereignties, there is considerable detail - so much so that the principal events could have been readily anticipated by those who were in possession of the writings of Daniel. The destiny of the other two portions of the empire of Alexander did not particularly affect the history of religion, or pertain to the holy land, and therefore they are not introduced. In a particular manner, the history of Antiochus the Great is traced with great minuteness in this portion of the prophecy, because his doings had a special bearing on the Jewish nation, and were connected with the progress of religion. The commentary on this portion of the chapter will show that the leading events are traced as accurately as would be a summary of the history made out after the transactions had occurred.
V. A brief reference to the successor of Antiochus the Great, Seleucus IV, Daniel 11:20. As he occupied the throne, however, but for a short period, and as his doings did not particularly affect the condition of the Hebrew people, or the interests of religion, and his reign was, in every respect, unimportant, it is passed over with only a slight notice.
VI. The life and acts of Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel. 11:21-45. There can be no doubt that this portion of the chapter refers to Antiochus, and it contains a full detail of his character and of his doings. The account here, though without naming him, is just such as would have been given by one who should have written after the events had occurred, and there is no more difficulty in applying the description in this chapter to him now than there would have been in such a historical narrative. The revelation is made, evidently, to prepare the Jewish people for these fearful events, and these heavy trials, in their history; and also to assure them that more glorious results would follow, and that deliverance would succeed these calamities. In the troubles which Antiochus would bring upon the Hebrew people, it was important that they should have before them a record containing the great outlines of what would occur, and the assurance of ultimate triumph - just as it is important for us now in the trials which we have reason to anticipate in this life, to have before us in the Bible the permanent record that we shall yet find deliverance. In the twelfth chapter, therefore, the angel directs the mind onward to brighter times, and assures Daniel that there would be a day of rejoicing.

This chapter gives a more particular explanation of those events which were predicted in the eighth chapter. The prophet had foretold the partition of Alexander's kingdom into four parts. Two of these, in which were included Egypt and Syria, the one to the north, the other to the south, in respect of Judea, appear to take up the chief attention of the prophet, as his people were particularly concerned in their fate; these being the countries in which by far the greatest number of the Jews were, and still are, dispersed. Of these countries he treats (according to the views of the most enlightened expositors) down to the conquest of Macedon, A.M. 3836, b.c. 168, when he begins to speak of the Romans, vv. 1-30; and then of the Church under that power, Daniel 11:31-35. This leads him to speak of Antichrist, who was to spring up in that quarter, Daniel 11:36-39; and of those powers which at the Time of the end, or the latter days of the Roman monarchy, (as this term is generally understood), were to push at it, and overthrow many countries, Daniel 11:40-43. By the king of the South, in the fortieth verse, the dominion of the Saracens, or Arabs, is supposed to be intended, which was an exceeding great plague to the Roman empire in the east, and also to several papistical countries, for the space of one hundred and fifty years, i.e. from a.d. 612, when Mohammed and his followers first began their depredations, to a.d. 762, when Bagdad was built, and made the capital of the caliphs of the house of Abbas, from which epoch the Saracens became a more settled people. By the king of the North in the same verse the prophet is supposed by some to design that great scourge of eastern Christendom, the Ottoman or Othman empire, by which, after about a hundred and fifty years of almost uninterrupted hostilities, the Roman empire in the east was completely overturned, a.d. 1453. The chapter concludes with a prediction of the final overthrow of this northern power, and of the manner in which this great event shall be accomplished, Daniel 11:44, Daniel 11:45. But it should be observed that, notwithstanding the very learned observations of Bishop Newton and others upon this chapter, their scheme of interpretation presents very great and insurmountable difficulties; among which the very lengthy detail of events in the Syrian and Egyptian histories, comprising a period of less than two hundred years, and the rather uncouth transition to the incomparably greater transactions in Antichristian times, and of much longer duration, which are passed over with unaccountable brevity, are not the least. On all these subjects, however, the reader must judge for himself. See the notes.

In this chapter the angel makes good his promise to Daniel, that he would show him what was written in the Scripture of truth, concerning the monarchies of the earth, and what would befall his people the Jews in the latter days; and after he had observed that he had strengthened and confirmed Darius the Mede, who was the first king of the then present flourishing monarchy, Daniel 11:1, he foretells the number of the kings of Persia, and particularly describes the fourth, Daniel 11:2 predicts the rise of the Grecian monarchy under Alexander the great, and the disposition of it after his death, Daniel 11:3 and then proceeds to give an account of the two principal kingdoms of that monarchy, into which it was divided, the Seleucidae and Lagidae; and of their kings, the king of Egypt, and the king of Syria, under the names of the king of the south, and the king of the north, and of their power and agreement, Daniel 11:5 and then of their various wars between themselves and others, and the success of them, Daniel 11:7, and particularly of Antiochus, his character and manner of coming to the kingdom, and of his wars with the king of Egypt, and the issue of them, Daniel 11:21 and of his persecution of the Jews, and the distress he should bring on them, and the use it should be of to the godly among them, Daniel 11:30, and then his antitype, antichrist, is described; the western antichrist, his character and actions, Daniel 11:36 then the eastern, his power, wealth and riches, hail and rain, Daniel 11:40.

The vision of the Scriptures of truth.

The Revelation of the Future - Daniel 11:2-12:3
Proceeding from the present, the angel reveals in great general outlines the career of the Persian world-kingdom, and the establishment and destruction, which immediately followed, of the kingdom which was founded by the valiant king of Javan, which would not descend to his posterity, but would fall to others (Daniel 11:2-4). Then there follows a detailed description of the wars of the kings of the south and the north for the supremacy, wherein first the king of the south prevails (Daniel 11:5-9); the decisive conflicts between the two (Daniel 11:10-12), wherein the south is subjugated; and the attempts of the kings of the north to extend their power more widely, wherein they perish (Daniel 11:13-20); finally, the coming of a "vile person," who rises suddenly to power by cunning and intrigue, humbles the king of the south, has "indignation against the holy covenant," desolates the sanctuary of God, and brings severe affliction upon the people of God, "to purge and to make them white to the time of the end" (Daniel 11:21-35). At the time of the end this hostile king shall raise himself above all gods, and above every human ordinance, and make the "god of fortresses" his god, "whom he will acknowledge and increase with glory" (Daniel 11:36-39). But in the time of the end he shall pass through the countries with his army as a flood, enter into the glorious land, and take possession of Egypt with its treasures; but, troubled by tidings out of the east and the north, shall go forth in great fury utterly to destroy many, and shall come to his end on the holy mountain (Daniel 11:40-45). At this time of greatest tribulation shall the angel-prince Michael contend for the people of Daniel. Every one that shall be found written in the book shall be saved, and the dead shall rise again, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:1-3).
This prophecy is so rich in special features which in part have been literally fulfilled, that believing interpreters from Jerome to Kliefoth have found in it predictions which extend far beyond the measure of prophetic revelation, while rationalistic and naturalistic interpreters, following the example of Porphyry, from the speciality of the predictions, conclude that the chapter does not contain a prophetic revelation of the future, but only an apocalyptic description of the past and of the present of the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel. Against both views Kranichfeld has decidedly declared himself, and sought to show that in these prophetic representations "the prediction does not press itself into the place of historical development, i.e., that it does not concern itself with such future dates as do not connect themselves with the historical present of the prophetic author (Daniel), as the unfolding of religious moral thought animated by divine influence." This is on the whole correct. Here also the prophecy does not become the prediction of historical dates which do not stand in inner connection with the fundamental idea of the book, which is to announce the unfolding of the heathen world-power over against the kingdom of God. This vision, also, as to its contents and form, is accounted for from the circumstances of time stated in Daniel 10:1, and contains much which a supposed Maccabean origin makes in the highest degree improbable, and directly contradicts. First, it is "against the nature of a fictitious production which should be written in the time of the greatest national commotion, that the great repeated victories of the people over the Syrian power should have been so slightingly spoken of as is the case here (Daniel 11:34)," i.e., should be designated only as "a little help." Then the prophetic representation over against the historical facts of the case is full of inaccuracies; and these historical inconveniences are found not only in the description which had reference to the history of the times preceding the author, but also, above all, in the history of the times of the Maccabees themselves. Thus, e.g., in Daniel 11:40-45 an Egyptian expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes shortly before his death is prophesied, for which, besides Porphyry, no voucher and, in general, no historical probability exists (Kran.).
Kranichfeld, however, goes too far when he holds all the special features of the prophetic revelation to be only individualizing paintings for the purpose of the contemplation, and therein seeks to find further developed only the fundamental thoughts of the great inner incurable enmity of the heathen ungodly kingdom already stated in Daniel 2:41-43; Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20,Daniel 7:24; Daniel 8:8, Daniel 8:22, Daniel 8:24. The truth lies in the middle between these two extremes.
This chapter contains neither mere individualizing paintings of general prophetic thoughts, nor predictions of historical dates inconsistent with the nature of prophecy, but prophetic descriptions of the development of the heathen world-power from the days of Cyrus to the fall of the Javanic world-kingdom, as well as of the position which the two kingdoms (arising out of this kingdom) of the north and south, between which the holy land lay, assumed toward each other and toward the theocracy; for by the war of these two kingdoms for the sovereignty, not merely were the covenant land and the covenant people brought in general into a sorrowful condition, but they also were the special object of a war which typically characterizes and portrays the relation of the world-kingdom to the kingdom of God. This war arose under the Seleucidan Antiochus Epiphanes to such a height, that it formed a prelude of the war of the time of the end. The undertaking of this king to root out the worship of the living God and destroy the Jewish religion, shows in type the great war which the world-power in the last phases of its development shall undertake against the kingdom of God, by exalting itself above every god, to hasten on its own destruction and the consummation of the kingdom of God.
The description of this war as to its origin, character, and issue forms the principal subject of this prophecy. It is set forth in the revelation of the angel from Daniel 11:21 to the end (Daniel 12:3), while the preceding description, as well of the course of the Persian and Javanic world-kingdoms as of the wars of the kings of the north and the south (Daniel 11:2-20), prepares for it. But this preparatory description is not merely individualizing pictures of the idea of the incurable hostility of the heathen ungodly kingdom, but a prophetic delineation of the chief lines of the process which the heathen world-power shall pass through till it shall advance to the attempt to destroy the kingdom of God. These chief lines are so distinctly laid down, that they contain their concrete fulfilment in the historical development of the world-power. In like manner are so described the appearance and the wars of the enemy of God, who desolates the sanctuary of God and takes away the daily sacrifice, that we can recognise in the assault of Antiochus Epiphanes against the temple and the worship of the people of Israel a fulfilling of this prophecy. Yet here the foretelling (Weissagung) does not renounce the character of prophecy (Prophetie): it does not pass over into prediction (Praediction) of historical facts and events, but so places in the light of the divine foresight and predetermination the image of this enemy of God, and his wickedness against the sanctuary and the people of God, that it brings under contemplation, and places under the point of view of the purification of the covenant people for the time of the end (Daniel 11:35), the gradual progress of his enmity against God till he exalts himself above all divine and human relations.
From the typical relation in which Antiochus, the O.T. enemy of God, stands to Antichrist, the N.T. enemy, is explained the connection of the end, the final salvation of the people of God, and the resurrection from the dead, with the destruction of this enemy, without any express mention being made of the fourth world-kingdom and of the last enemy arising out of it; from which the modern critics have drawn the erroneous conclusion, that the Maccabean pseudo-Daniel expected the setting up of the Messianic kingdom in glory along with the overthrow of Antiochus Epiphanes. At the foundation of this conclusion there lies an entire misapprehension of the contents and object of this prophecy, namely, the idea that the prophecy seeks to furnish a historical sketch, clothed in an apocalyptic form, of the development of the world-kingdoms from Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes. In support of this error, it is true that the church interpretation given by Jerome is so far valid, in that it interprets the prophecy partially considered under the point of view of the very special predictions of historical persons and events, and from this view concludes that Daniel 11:21-35 treat of Antiochus Epiphanes, and Daniel 11:36-45 of Antichrist; according to which there would be in Daniel 11:36 an immediate passing from Antiochus to the Antichrist, or in Daniel 12:1 a sudden transition from the death of Antiochus to the time of the end and the resurrection from the dead. But the prophecy does not at all correspond to this representation. The Angel of the Lord will reveal to Daniel, not what shall happen from the third year of Cyrus to the time of Antiochus, and further to the resurrection of the dead, but, according to the express declaration of Daniel 10:14, what shall happen to his people בּאחרית היּמים, i.e., in the Messianic future, because the prophecy relates to this time. In the אחרית takes place the destruction of the world-power, and the setting up of the Messianic kingdom at the end of the present world-aeon. All that the angel says regarding the Persian and the Javanic world-kingdoms, and the wars of the kings of the north and the south, has its aim to the end-time, serves only briefly to indicate the chief elements of the development of the world-kingdoms till the time when the war that brings in the end shall burst forth, and to show how, after the overthrow of the Javanic world-kingdom, neither the kings of the north nor those of the south shall gain the possession of the dominion of the world. Neither by the violence of war, nor by covenants which they will ratify by political marriages, shall they succeed in establishing a lasting power. They shall not prosper, because (Daniel 11:27) the end goes yet to the times appointed (by God). A new attempt of the king of the north to subjugate the kingdom of the south shall be defeated by the intervention of the ships of Chittim; and the anger awakened in him by this frustration of his plans shall break forth against the holy covenant, only for the purifying of the people of God for the time of the end, because the end goes yet to the appointed time (Daniel 11:35). At the time of the end his power will greatly increase, because that which was determined by God shall prosper till the end of the indignation (Daniel 11:36); but in the time of the end he shall suddenly fall from the summit of his power and come to his end (Daniel 11:45), but the people of God shall be saved, and the wise shall shine in heavenly glory (Daniel 12:1-3).
Accordingly the revelation has this as its object, to show how the heathen world-kingdoms shall not attain to an enduring stability, and by their persecution of the people of God shall only accomplish their purification, and bring on the end, in which, through their destruction, the people of God shall be delivered from all oppression and be transfigured. In order to reveal this to him (that it must be carried forward to completion by severe tribulation), it was not necessary that he should receive a complete account of the different events which shall take place in the heathen world-power in the course of time, nor have it especially made prominent that their enmity shall first come to a completed manifestation under the last king who should arise out of the fourth world-kingdom. For that the Javanic world-kingdom shall not form the last embodiment of the world-power, but that after it a fourth more powerful kingdom shall arise - this was already revealed to Daniel in Daniel 7. Moreover, in Daniel 8 the violent enemy of the people of Israel who would arise from the Diadoch-kingdoms of the Javanic world-monarchy, was already designated as the type of the last enemy who would arise out of the ten kingdoms of the fourth world-kingdom. After these preceding revelations, the announcement of the great tribulation that would come upon the people of God from these two enemies could be presented in one comprehensive painting, wherein the assault made by the prefigurative enemy against the covenant people shall form the foreground of the picture for a representation of the daring of the antitypical enemy, proceeding even to the extent of abolishing all divine and human ordinances, who shall bring the last and severest tribulation on the church of God, at the end of the days, for its purification and preparation for eternity.

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