Daniel 11

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Post  A Bible Student on Sat May 09, 2015 2:53 pm

Daniel 11 is probably the most studied prophesy in the bible, but it isn't without debate.  I will attempt to show the historical fulfillments to the chapter as well as the various arguments.

Daniel 10 sets the stage for the contents of the prophesy in chapter 11.  Here Daniel records that the giving of the prophesy occurred during the 3rd year of Cyrus king of Persia by an unnamed angel.

Daniel 11

1Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.Grandfather or uncle of Cyrus.  Ruled Babylon for 2 years with permission of Cyrus who conquered it.  This statement is relating a past event, since we're in the 3rd year of the reign of Cyrus.539 - 538 BC
2And 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.Since Cyrus is king at the time the prophesy is given, there needs to be 4 after him that arise.539 - 530 BC
1 - Cambyses II, the son of Cyrus, reigned after the death of Cyrus.530 - 522 BC
2 - Gaumata/Smerdis claimed the throne very briefly, before being put down as an imposter by Darius the Persian.522 BC
3 - Darius the Persian aka Daruis the Great522 - 486 BC
4 - Xerxes I, the son of Darius the Persian, is the Persian king famous for the stand against the 300 Greek Spartans at Thermopylae.  This event and his burning of Athens united all of Grecia in their hatred of Persia.486 - 465 BC
3And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.The prophecy skips over the remaining Persian kings and goes straight to Alexander the Great, who began his reign in Macedonia after the death of his father in 336 BC.  He defeated the Persian Empire around 328 BC and had conquered pretty much the entirety of the known world before his death in 323 BC. (Map)336 - 323 BC
4And 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.After Alexander's death, his empire fell to his generals (amongst others), called the Diadochi. (Map)323 BC
5And 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.Egypt (south) was given to Ptolomy I Soter.  Seleucus I Nicator was given Babylon, but fled to Egypt for protection when Antigonus Monophthalmus invaded.  He became one of Ptolomy's generals before eventually regaining not only his original region but also that of Antigonus (north), therefore endng with the lion's share of Alexander's empire. (Map)323 - 281 BC
6And 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.After the death of Ptolomy I Soter in 282 BC, his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus reigns in Egypt (282 - 246 BC).

In the north the successors of Seleucus I Nicator were his son Antiochus I Soter (281 - 261 BC) and then grandson Antiochos II Theos  (261 - 246 BC).

In 253 BC Antiochus II Theos divorces his wife, Laodice I, to marry the daughter of Ptolemy, Berenice Phernephorus to secure peace between the two kingdoms.  As soon as Ptolemy II Philadelphus dies, Antiochus II Theos divorces Bernice and returns to his first wife.  Laodice poisons him and has Bernice's son killed.  Laodice's first son Seleucus II Callinicus (246 - 225 BC) is immediately recognized as king (of the north).

Bernice's brother Ptolemy III Euergetes  (246 - 222 BC), now ruler in Egypt, invades to avenge the murder of his nephew, but is unable to save Bernice from the same fate.  His campaign into the north met with little to no resistance.  He was able even to secure the return of many Egyptian relics that had been plundered by the Persians in the past before returning south.
253 - 245 BC
7But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
8And 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.
9So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.The ASV's translation, equivalent to the Septuagint and numerous other versions, has this verse as "And he shall come into the realm of the king of the south, but he shall return into his own land.".   This is also how it reads in the Hebrew Interlinear.  Grammatically, it flows better with the following verse which must be about the sons of the king of the north since the king of the south retaliates in verse 11.  History also is in agreement with this rendering of the text.  In 242/241 BC Seleucus II Callinicus unsuccessfully attacks Ptolemy and quickly retreats to his own land.242 - 241 BC
10But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.The sons of Seleucus II Callinicus, Seleucus III Keraunos  (225 - 222 BC) and Antiochus III the Great (222 - 187 BC), both try to recover territories lost to them in the past, but only Antiochus III the Great is successful in recapturing areas from the Ptolemies.225 - 217 BC
11And 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.The son of Ptolemy III Euergetes, Ptolemy IV Philopator (222 - 204 BC), now the king of the south, defeats Antiochus III the Great at Raphia.219 - 217 BC
12And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.The peace treaty made in October of 217 BC allowed Antiochus III the Great to keep areas newly won back from Ptolemaic control.  Therefore, although Ptolemy IV Philopater won, he actually lost territory from the terms of the truce.217 BC
13For 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.After the death of Ptolemy IV Philopator, his son and successor, Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205 - 180 BC), is only 5 years old.  While Egypt is in  turmoil, Antiochus III the Great and his allies attack the outer Egyptian strongholds described as the Fifth Syrian War.  He recaptures Judea and other territories taken by Ptolemy III Euergetes.  In 195 BC, the young Ptolemy and Antiochus III the Great make peace with Ptolemy agreeing to marry Antiochus' daughter Cleopatra Syra and accepts the loss of all possessions outside Egypt, except for Cyprus and Cyrenaica.202 - 195 BC
14And 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.
15So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
16But 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.
17He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
18After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.Antiochus III the Great gets involved in a war against Rome in Greece known as the the Syrian War (192 - 188 BC).  His former ally in the Fifth Syrian War, Philip V of Macedonia, sides with Rome which defeats Antiochus III the Great and demands he pay a heavy retribution to Rome for the war.192 - 188 BC
19Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.Antiochus III the Great is allowed to return to his own land, but in July of 187 BC he is killed in an attempt to sack a temple in Susa to help make payment to Rome.187 BC
20Then 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.The successor of Antiochus III the Great was his son, Seleucus IV Philopator (187 - 175 BC).  He attempts to secure funds to repay Rome but is killed by his own commander, Heliodrus, in an apparent power struggle.187 - 175 BC
21And 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.This verse and following, Bullinger (Companion Bible Daniel 11:21) puts in the future with the vile person being the final ruler of the beast empire.  All other commentaries I've read continue on, identifying the vile person as the successor of Seleucus IV Philopator, his brother Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175 - 164 BC) as a type-cast of the future evil ruler.  He is also the subject of much of the books of the Maccabees.  A son of Seleucus IV Philopator should have been king, but Antiochus IV Epiphanes gains the thrown through flattery and intrigue.175 BC
22And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.With the help of Eumenes II Soter of Pergamon, Antiochus IV Epiphanes is able to secure his throne from Heliodorus, who killed his brother and predecessor, Seleucus IV Philopator.  Seleucus IV Philopator had 2 sons: Demetrius, who was at this time being held hostage in Rome, and another also named Antiochus who was too young to rule.  The young Antiochus is killed on the behalf of Antiochus IV Epiphanes by Andronicus.  Through the aid of a few allies, Antiochus IV Epiphanes is able squash any resistance to his reign.

The identify of the "prince of the covenant" here is a matter of some debate.  Some say that the covenant referred to here is God's covenant with Israel and thus the prince (also translated as leader) would be the high priest Onias who was deposed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (174 BC).  Weight is added to this since God's covenant is expressly referred to in later verses in this chapter and Daniel would have certainly understood this to be the case.

There are two other covenants referred to in Daniel 11, either explicitly (17 - the son of Ptolemy V Epiphanes and Cleopatra Syra) or implied (21 - the surviving son of his predecessor, Demetrius I Soter).  However, the young Ptolemy, being now the king of Egypt, would normally be referred to as the king of the south and neither Ptolemy nor Demetrius were ultimately "broken" by Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  Even so, I will explore all three of these possible fulfillments to this and the following verse.
175 - 170 BC
23And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.In the case of Onias being the prince of the covenant in the previous verse, all commentaries that put forth this as the fulfillment now have the "he" who had  a league with Antiochus IV Epiphanes being someone else other than Onias.  Some go an entirely different direction and identify him with the young Ptolemy.  The commentator, Benson, identifies him as Jason, the brother of Onias, who Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up as high priest instead of Onias, being that he later replaced him with yet another man who could pay him more.  But most switch the focus of attention to Egypt in the second half of the verse.  Benson points out that the word 'for' doesn't denote a reason for the first half of the verse, but, as in Young's Literal Translation, the word should be translated 'and', that is to say, he betrayed Jason, the new high priest (171 BC), and became great in his kingdom with the help of a small group of people.

Those that identify the young Ptolemy VI Philometor as the prince of the covenant, view Antiochus IV Epiphanes's entrance into Egypt during Ptolemy's coming of age ceremony where he would be able to rule without regents.  He brought with him a small force, so not to rouse suspicion, but left key personnel at the forts of Egypt.  Later he was able to take control of large portions of Egypt with a very small force, under the guise of helping the young king from his rival relatives.

Those that identify the young Demetrius I Soter, the rightful heir now being held prisoner in Rome, as the prince of the covenant, identify Antiochus IV Epiphanes's actions within the kingdom itself, going to various territories with a small number of men, and giving gifts and fair speeches to secure his power, all the while subtly using his influence to make sure Demetrius would remain in the hands of the Romans.
175 - 170 BC
24He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.During the first five years of Antiochus IV Epiphanes's reign, after his allies successfully put him in power, whether in his own kingdom or in Egypt's, this was his modus operandi.  While scheming on how to secure the power he had or obtain more power, he would enter under the guise of peace and lavish gifts.

1 Maccabees 3:30
He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings.
175 - 170 BC
25And 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.Antiochus IV Epiphanes attacked Egypt openly in what is called the Sixth Syrian War.  Although Ptolemy VI Philometor had been preparing for war, Antiochus was able to capture key Egyptian cities.  Ptolemy's advisors (Lenaeus and Eulaeus), conflict with his brother Ptolemy VIII Physcon, and the betrayal of Ptolemy Macron in Cyprus contributed to the defeat.  Antiochus presents himself as protector of young Ptolemy king against his brother all the while having ambitions to keep the two brothers fighting against one another.  Ptolemy professes gratitude for his uncle's concern while attempting to reconcile with his brother so they can unite against him.169 BC
26Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
27And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
28Then 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.1 Maccabees 1:16-24
And the kingdom was well ordered in the sight of Antiochus, and he thought to reign over Egypt, that he might reign over the two kingdoms.  And he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and with elephants, and with horsemen, and with a great navy; and he made war against Ptolemy king of Egypt; and Ptolemy was put to shame before him, and fled; and many fell wounded to death.  And they got possession of the strong cities in the land of Egypt; and he took the spoils of Egypt.  And Antiochus, after that he had struck Egypt, returned in the hundred and forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, and entered presumptuously into the sanctuary, and took the golden altar, and the candlestick of the light, and all that pertained thereto, and the table of the show bread, and the cups to pour withal, and the bowls, and the golden censers, and the veil, and the crowns, and the adorning of gold which was on the face of the temple, and he scaled it all off.  And he took the silver and the gold and the precious vessels; and he took the hidden treasures which he found.  And when he had taken all, he went away into his own land, and he made a great slaughter, and spoke very presumptuously.
169 BC
29At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.Antiochus IV Epiphanes once again invades Egypt, laying seige to Alexandria, but is ordered by the Romans to leave.  This ends the Sixth Syrian War.168 BC
30aFor the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return,

All of my quotes are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

A Bible Student

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