Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Confirmed. Gabriel assisted Michael to comply with God’s orders, chap. x. 21. (Calmet) — The angel continues his speech, and informs us that he had prayed for Darius after the fall of Babylon, seeing that he was well inclined towards the Jews, as his successor Cyrus (who liberated them) was also. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Three, &c. Cambyses, Smerdis magus, and Darius the son of Hystaspes. (Challoner; Worthington) — Cyrus had been mentioned before, chap. x. 13, 20. Smerdis, or Artaxerxes, (1 Esdras iv. 7.) was the chief of the seven magi, and usurped the throne for six months after the death of Cambyses. (Calmet) — He had been declared king before (Haydock) by Patizites, his own brother. The news excited the fury of Cambyses, who mounting on horseback gave himself a mortal wound in the thigh. (Herod. iii. 21.) See Ezechiel xxxviii. 21. (Haydock) — Fourth: Xerxes. (Challoner) — He invaded Greece with an immense army, forcing those on the road to join him. (Just. i. 10.; Herod. vii. and viii.; Calmet)
Ver. 3. A strong king: Alexander. (Challoner) — The sequel clearly points him out. Before fifteen years had elapsed, his mother, brother, and children were slain. Arideus, his brother, was declared regent till it should be seen what Roxana should bring forth. After the death of those who might be heirs of Alexander, four generals took the title of kings. Others governed in different places, but were destroyed by degrees.
Ver. 4. These four; Ptolemy, Seleucus, Antigonus, and Antipater, kings of Egypt, Syria, Asia, and Greece, chap. vii. 6., and viii. 22. Besides the other generals, (Calmet) foreigners began to erect new kingdoms in what had formed the empire of Alexander. (St. Jerome; Livy xlv.; Calmet)
Ver. 5. South: Ptolemeus, the son of Lagus, king of Egypt, which lies south of Jerusalem. (Challoner) —St. Irenæus (iv. 43.) observes, that all prophecies are obscure till they be fulfilled. History shews that this relates to Ptolemy. The kingdoms of Egypt and of Syria are more noticed, as they had much to do with the Jews. (Worthington) — Ptolemy took Cyprus (Calmet) and Jerusalem. (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities xii. 12.) — His princes (that is, one of Alexander’s princes) shall prevail over him; that is, shall be stronger than the king of Egypt. He speaks of Seleucus Nicator, king of Asia and Syria, whose successors are here called the kings of the north, because their dominions lay to the north in respect to Jerusalem. (Challoner) — Nicator means a “conqueror.” (Haydock) —This king was master of all from Media and Babylonia to Jerusalem. (Appian, &c.; Calmet) —Philadelphus was more powerful than his father. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. South. Bernice, daughter of Ptolemeus Philadelphus, given in marriage to Antiochus Theos, grandson of Seleucus, (Challoner) and king of Syria. She brought a great “dowry,” and was therefore styled Phernophoros. Antiochus agreed to repudiate Laodicea; but he soon took her back. Fearing his inconstancy, she poisoned him, and slew his son by Bernice. This lady in a rage mounted her chariot, and having knocked down the cruel minister of such barbarity, trampled upon his body. The rest pretended that the infant was still living, and delivered up a part of the palace to Bernice, yet slew her as soon as they had an opportunity. (St. Jerome; Usher, year of the world 3758; V. Max. ix. 10. &c; Calmet) — Young. Hebrew, “her conductors, her child, and he that,” &c. (Haydock) — Her physician, Aristarchus, persuaded her to enter the palace. Her women and Egyptian guards defended her for some time. (Polygæn. Strat. viii.; Calmet)
Ver. 7. A plant, &c. Ptolemeus Evergetes, the son of Philadelphus. (Challoner) — Three of Bernice’s maids of honour (Haydock) covered her body, and pretended that she was only wounded, till her brother Evergetes came and seized almost all Asia, Callinicus not daring to give him battle. (St. Jerome, &c.; Vaillant. A. 79. Lagid.; Calmet) — He laid waste Syria. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Gods. He took back what Cambyses had conveyed out of Egypt; and it was on this account that the people styled him “benefactor.” (St. Jerome; Calmet) — North. Seleucus Callinicus. (Challoner) — If Evergetes had not been recalled into Egypt by civil broils, he would have seized all the kingdom of Seleucus. (Just. xvii.) — As he passed by Jerusalem (ver. 9.) he made great presents, and caused victims of thanksgiving to be offered up. (Josephus, contra Apion ii.)
Ver. 10. His sons. Seleucus Ceraunius and Antiochus the great, the sons of Callinicus. (Challoner) — The former was poisoned after three years’ reign, as he marched against Attalus. (Just. xxix.) — Antiochus the great reconquered many provinces from Egypt, but was beaten at Raphia, on the confines, and lost Cœlo-syria. (Calmet) — He shall, &c. Antiochus the great. (Challoner) — He prosecuted the war, as his brother was prevented by death. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. South. Ptolemeus Philopator, son of Evergetes. (Challoner) — He was an indolent prince; but his generals gained the victory. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Prevail. Many fell on both sides. (Haydock) — But Antiochus did not prevail; (Worthington) or rather Philopator neglected the opportunity of dethroning his rival, (Calmet) as he might have seized all his dominions, if he had not been too fond of ease. (Just. xxx.) — He followed the suggestions of his proud heart, when he attempted to enter the most holy place of the temple; and though he was visibly chastised by God, he would have vented his resentment on the Jews, if Providence had not miraculously protected them. (3 Machabees; Calmet) See Ecclesiasticus l. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Times, seventeen years after the battle of Raphia. When Philopator was dead, and his son Epiphanes not above five years old, Antiochus and Philip of Macedon basely attempted to divide his dominions. Scopas engaged Antiochus, but lost the battle, and all that Philopator had recovered. (Calmet) — Many revolted in Egypt on account of the arrogance of Agathocles, who ruled in the king’s name, ver. 14. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 14. Vision. Many Jews, deceived by Onias, erected a temple in Egypt, falsely asserting that they fulfilled the prophecy of Isaias, xix. 19. (Worthington) — This Onias was the son of Onias III, who was slain at Antioch, chap. ix. 25. (Haydock) — The temple of Onion was called after him. All allow that he transgressed the law, by offering sacrifice there after God had pitched upon Jerusalem. But this was done (Calmet) under Philometor, forty-seven years (Usher) or longer after those times, when Epiphanes fought against Antiochus. The rebellion of the Jews against Egypt may therefore be meant. It was decreed that they should be under Antiochus, that his son might cause them to fall, (Calmet) and punish them for their crimes. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Cities; Sidon, Gaza, and the citadel of Jerusalem, &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Upon him. Antiochus shall come upon the king of the south. — Land: Judea. (Challoner) — Consumed, or “perfected.” Antiochus was very favourable to the Jews; (Calmet) invited all to return to Jerusalem, and furnished what was requisite for the sacrifices. (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities xii. 3.)
Ver. 17. Kingdom, viz. all the kingdom of Ptolemeus Epiphanes, son of Philopator. (Challoner) — The Romans interrupted Antiochus, who resolved to lull the young prince asleep, till he had subdued these enemies. (Calmet) — Of women. That is, a most beautiful woman, viz. his daughter Cleopatra. — It, viz. the kingdom of Epiphanes; but his policy shall not succeed; for Cleopatra shall take more to heart the interest of her husband than that of her father. (Challoner) — He came with her to Raphia, and gave her Judea, &c. for her dowry, reserving half of the revenues. Hebrew and Greek have, “to corrupt her;” (Calmet) Vulgate eam; as he wished his daughter to act perfidiously, that he might seize the whole kingdom. (Haydock) — Epiphanes and his generals were on their guard, and Cleopatra took part with her husband. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 18. Islands, near Asia. He also went into Greece, and was master of that country when the Romans declared war against him. (Calmet) — Of his reproach. Scipio, the Roman general, called the prince of his reproach, because he overthrew Antiochus, and obliged him to submit to very dishonourable terms, before he would cease from the war. (Challoner) — Protestants, “for 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.” (Haydock) — Being defeated at Magnesia, he chose the wisest plan of avoiding fresh reproach, by making peace, though (Calmet) the terms were very hard. (Livy xxxvii.) — He jokingly observed, that he was obliged to the Romans for contracting his dominions. (Cicero, pro Dejot.)
Ver. 19. Found. Antiochus plundered the temple of the Elymaites to procure money; but they, (St. Jerome) or the neighbouring barbarous nations, rose up and slew him. (Just. xxxii.)
Ver. 20. One more vile. Seleucus Philopator, who sent Heliodorus to plunder the temple; and was shortly after slain by the same Heliodorus. (Challoner) — He reigned about twelve years; and had sent his own son, Demetrius, to be a hostage at Rome instead of Epiphanes, whom he designed to place at the head of an army to invade Egypt. Hebrew, “one who shall cause the exactor to pass over the glory of the kingdom,” the temple, 2 Machabees iii. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. One despised; viz. Antiochus Epiphanes, who at first was despised and not received for king. What is here said of this prince, is accommodated by St. Jerome and others to antichrist, of whom this Antiochus was a figure. (Challoner) — He lived and died basely; as the origin and end of antichrist will be ignominious. (Worthington) — All that follows, to the end of chap. xii., regards Epiphanes. He had no title to the crown, which he procured by cunning, and held in the most shameful manner. He canvassed for the lowest offices, so that many styled him Epimanes, :”the madman.” (Diod. in Valesius, p. 305.; Calmet)
Ver. 22. Fighter. That is, of them that shall oppose him, and shall fight against him. (Challoner) — Heliodorus, who had murdered his brother and usurped the throne, and Ptolemy Epiphanes, were discomfited. The latter was making preparations against Seleucus, and said that his riches were in the purses of his friends, upon which they poisoned him. (St. Jerome) (Calmet) — Covenant, or of the league. The chief of them that conspired against him; or the king of Egypt, his most powerful adversary. (Challoner) — This title belongs to antichrist, who will join the Jews, and be received as their Messias. (St. Irenæus v. 25.; St. Jerome, &c. Jo. 543.) (Worthington)
Ver. 23. People. Ephiphanes pretended to be tutor of Philometor. But the nobles of Egypt distrusted him; whereupon he came to a battle, near Pelusium, and the young king surrendered himself. His uncle thus took possession of Egypt with surprising facility. Yet the people of Alexandria crowned Evergetes, which occasioned a civil war. (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Places. Theodotion reads, “Egypt,” omitting the b, (Haydock) which gives a good sense. — (Calmet)
Ver. 25. The king. Ptolemeus Philometor. (Challoner) — Epiphanes came under the pretext of restoring Philometor, and gained a victory over Evergetes; but returned in Syria, that the two brothers might weaken each other, (Calmet) while the Syrians formed designs against both. (Haydock)
Ver. 26. Slain. This was the perfidious policy of Epiphanes, who expected that the two brothers would destroy each other, so that he might easily seize Egypt, of which he kept the key, retaining the city of Pelusium. They were however reconciled, and reigned together. The Scripture often represents that as done which is only intended.
Ver. 27. Two kings: Epiphanes and Philometor. — Time. Epiphanes, vexed that he should thus be duped, returned again into Egypt, ver. 21.(Calmet)
Ver. 28. Riches, taken in Egypt (Calmet) and in Jerusalem. (Haydock) — The people had refused to receive Jason; and Epiphanes treated them in the most barbarous manner, profaned the temple, &c., 1 Machabees i. 23., and 2 Machabees v. 21. (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Galleys. Hebrew, “ships of Chittim.” (Haydock) — The ambassadors probably came in vessels belonging to Macedonia, (Calmet) which they found at Delos. (Livy xliv.) — Romans. Popilius and the other Roman ambassadors, who came in galleys, and obliged him to depart from Egypt. (Challoner) — He was only four or seven miles from Alexandria, and went to meet the ambassadors, who gave him the senate’s letter, ordering him to desist from the war. He said he would consult his friends: but Popilius formed a circle round him with his wand, requiring an answer before he went out of it. Hereupon the king withdrew his forces. (Polyb. xcii.; V. Max. vi. 4.) — Succeed. Apollonius massacred many Jews on the sabbath, 1 Machabees i. 30. — Against. Hebrew, “respecting.” Protestant: “have intelligence with them,” &c. (Haydock) — These wretches prompted him to make such edicts, for he was attached to no religion, 2 Machabees iv. 9.
Ver. 31. Arms, (brachia) or strong men, Apollonius, Philip, &c., (2 Machabees vi.) and likewise the senator from Antioch, who executed his decrees. (Calmet) — Abomination. The idol of Jupiter Olympius, which Antiochus ordered to be set up in the sanctuary of the temple, which is here called the sanctuary of strength, from the Almighty that was worshipped there. (Challoner) — Other idols were set up, and the people were compelled to sacrifice. (Calmet) — Yet even in the hottest persecutions some remain faithful. (Worthington)
Ver. 32. Dissemble. Thus acted the officers and apostate Jews. — Know. Such were the Assideans, Eleazar, and the Machabees.
Ver. 33. Learned; the priests, Matthathias, &c., Malachias ii. 7.
Ver. 34. Help. The victories of the Machabees were miraculous. — Deceitfully, like those who took the spoils of idols, and were slain. Hebrew may imply, “secretly.” (Calmet)
Ver. 35. Fall, or become martyrs. (Haydock) — Such were Eleazar, &c. (Calmet) — Another time, after death; (Haydock) or the perfect deliverance shall take place later, ver. 27.
Ver. 36. Every god. “He plundered many (Calmet or most; pleista.; Haydock) temples.” (Polyb. Athen. v. 6.) — The Samaritans, and even the priests of the Lord, obeyed the impious decree; so that the king looked upon himself as a sort of god. — Accomplished against the Jews, when Epiphanes shall be punished.
Ver. 37. God. He laughed at religion, yet sometimes offered splendid presents and victims, which shewed his inconstancy. (Calmet) — Women. He kept many concubines, (Diod.) and committed the greatest obscenities publicly: mimis et scortis. (St. Jerome) — Hebrew may have quite a different sense. He had no regard for the sex, (Calmet) killing all indiscriminately. (Grotius)
Ver. 38. The god Maozim. That is, the god of forces or strong holds. (Challoner) — Mahuzzim denotes “strong ones,” (Haydock) guardians, &c. Dr. Newton (Diss.) explains, the king (ver. 36) of the Roman state; and supposes that here the guardian saints and angels are meant, whose worship he shews “began in the Roman empire, very soon after it became Christian. This exposition seems far preferable to that which interprets” Jupiter or the heavens, and understands the idol set up by Epiphanes. See Univ. Hist. x. Parkhurst. — If these authors speak of the inferior veneration shewn to saints and angels in the Catholic Church, it had a much earlier commencement, being coeval with religion itself. But only the blindest prejudice can represent this as idolatrous, and of course this system must fall to the ground. (Haydock) — Others suppose that Mars, Hercules, Azizus, or Jupiter, may be designated. Hebrew, “He will rise up against all, (38) and against the strong God (of Israel, ver. 31., and chap. viii.. 10.; Calmet) he will, in his place, worship a strange god, ” &c. (Junius) — None of the ancestors of Epiphanes had ever adored Jupiter on the altar of holocausts. (Calmet) — He and antichrist adore either the great Jupiter or their own strength. (Worthington)
Ver. 39. To. Hebrew, “in the most strong holds, with,” &c. (Haydock) — He built a fortress near the temple, styled Maoz, (Ezechiel xxiv. 25.) on account of its strength. (Calmet) — Glory. He shall bestow honours, riches, and lands, upon them that shall worship his god. (Challoner) — He will entrust the strong places to them.
Ver. 40. Fight. Epiphanes made war on Egypt, till the Romans forced him to desist. The prophet explains his preceding attempts, to which he only alluded, ver. 29, 30.
Ver. 41. Land; Egypt, or rather Judea. (Calmet) — Ammon. He will not divide his forces. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 43. Ethiopia. Hebrew, “the Lubim and Cushim shall be at his steps.” Theodotion reads, “in their fortresses.” He had troops form these nations, or Egypt was guarded by them.
Ver. 44. North. Judas continued victorious. Armenia (Calmet) and Parthia rebelled. (Tacitus v. 8.) — Many. Epiphanes left three generals and half his army to destroy the Jews. (Calmet)
Ver. 45. Apadno. Some take it for the proper name of a place; others, from the Hebrew translate it, his palace. (Challoner) — He fixed his royal tent between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. (Worthington) —Porphyrius explains this of the march beyond the Euphrates, which St. Jerome does not disapprove. Apadno may denote Mesopotamia, which is styled Padan Aram. — Glorious. Hebrew Zebi, (Calmet) or Tsebi, (Haydock) may allude to Mount Taba, where the king perished, without help, 1 Machabees vi. 11., and 2 Machabees ix. 9. St. Jerome and many others explain all this of antichrist, and no doubt he was prefigured. The like events will probably take place again towards the end of the world. But as the particulars cannot be ascertained, we have adhered to the history of Antiochus. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:The angel declares to Daniel many things to come, with regard to the Persian and Grecian kings: more especially with regard to Antiochus, as a figure of antichrist.
1 And from the first year of Darius, the Mede, I stood up, that he might be strengthened, and confirmed.
2 And now I will shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand yet three kings in Persia, and the fourth shall be enriched exceedingly above them all: and when he shall be grown mighty by his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece.
3 But there shall rise up a strong king, and shall rule with great power: and he shall do what he pleaseth.
4 And when he shall come to his height, his kingdom shall be broken, and it shall be divided towards the four winds of the heaven: but not to his posterity, nor according to his power with which he ruled. For his kingdom shall be rent in pieces, even for strangers, besides these.
5 And the king of the south shall be strengthened, and one of his princes shall prevail over him, and he shall rule with great power: for his dominions shall be great.
6 And after the end of years they shall be in league together: and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make friendship, but she shall not obtain the strength of the arm, neither shall her seed stand: and she shall be given up, and her young men that brought her, and they that strengthened her in these times.
7 And a plant of the bud of her roots shall stand up: and he shall come with an army, and shall enter into the province of the king of the north: and he shall abuse them, and shall prevail.
8 And he shall also carry away captive into Egypt their gods, and their graven things, and their precious vessels of gold and silver: he shall prevail against the king of the north.
9 And the king of the south shall enter into the kingdom, and shall return to his own land.
10 And his sons shall be provoked, and they shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and he shall come with haste like a flood: and he shall return, and be stirred up, and he shall join battle with his forces.
11 And the king of the south being provoked, shall go forth, and shall fight against the king of the north, and shall prepare an exceeding great multitude, and a multitude shall be given into his hands.
12 And he shall take a multitude, and his heart shall be lifted up, and he shall cast down many thousands: but he shall not prevail.
13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall prepare a multitude much greater than before: and in the end of times, and years, he shall come in haste with a great army, and much riches.
14 *And in those times many shall rise up against the king of the south, and the children of prevaricators of thy people shall lift up themselves to fulfil the vision, and they shall fall.
15 And the king of the north shall come, and shall cast up a mount, and shall take the best fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, and his chosen ones shall rise up to resist, and they shall not have strength.
16 And he shall come upon him, and do according to his pleasure, and there shall be none to stand against his face: and he shall stand in the glorious land, and it shall be consumed by his hand.
17 And he shall set his face to come to possess all his kingdom, and he shall make upright conditions with him: and he shall give him a daughter of women, to overthrow it: and she shall not stand, neither shall she be for him.
18 And he shall turn his face to the islands, and shall take many: and he shall cause the prince of his reproach to cease, and his reproach shall be turned upon him.
19 And he shall turn his face to the empire of his own land, and he shall stumble, and fall, and shall not be found.
20 And there shall stand up in his place one most vile, and unworthy of kingly honour: and in a few days he shall be destroyed, not in rage nor in battle.
21 And there shall stand up in his place one despised, and the kingly honour shall not be given him: and he shall come privately, and shall obtain the kingdom by fraud.
22 And the arms of the fighter shall be overcome before his face, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
23 And after friendships, he will deal deceitfully with him: and he shall go up, and shall overcome with a small people.
24 And he shall enter into rich and plentiful cities: and he shall do that which his fathers never did, nor his fathers’ fathers: he shall scatter their spoils, and their prey, and their riches, and shall forecast devices against the best fenced places: and this until a time.
25 And his strength, and his heart, shall be stirred up against the king of the south, with a great army: and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with many and very strong succours: and they shall not stand, for they shall form designs against him.
26 And they that eat bread with him, shall destroy him, and his army shall be overthrown: and many shall fall down slain.
27 And the heart of the two kings shall be to do evil, and they shall speak lies at one table, and they shall not prosper: because as yet the end is unto another time.
28 And he shall return into his land with much riches: and his heart shall be against the holy covenant, and he shall succeed, and shall return into his own land.
29 At the time appointed he shall return, and he shall come to the south, but the latter time shall not be like the former.
30 And the galleys and the Romans shall come upon him, and he shall be struck, and shall return, and shall have indignation against the covenant of the sanctuary, and he shall succeed: and he shall return, and shall devise against them that have forsaken the covenant of the sanctuary.
31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall defile the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the continual sacrifice, and they shall place there the abomination unto desolation.
32 And such as deal wickedly against the covenant shall deceitfully dissemble: but the people that know their God shall prevail and succeed.
33 And they that are learned among the people shall teach many: and they shall fall by the sword, and by fire, and by captivity, and by spoil for many days.
34 And when they shall have fallen, they shall be relieved with a small help: and many shall be joined to them deceitfully.
35 And some of the learned shall fall, that they may be tried, and may be chosen, and made white, even to the appointed time: because yet there shall be another time.
36 And the king shall do according to his will, and he shall be lifted up, and shall magnify himself against every god: and he shall speak great things against the God of gods, and shall prosper, till the wrath be accomplished. For the determination is made.
37 And he shall make no account of the God of his fathers: and he shall follow the lust of women, and he shall not regard any gods: for he shall rise up against all things.
38 But he shall worship the god Maozim, in his place: and a god whom his fathers knew not, he shall worship with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and things of great price.
39 And he shall do this to fortify Maozim with a strange god, whom he hath acknowledged, and he shall increase glory, and shall give them power over many, and shall divide the land gratis.
40 And at the time prefixed the king of the south shall fight against him, and the king of the north shall come against him like a tempest, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with a great navy, and he shall enter into the countries, and shall destroy, and pass through.
41 And he shall enter into the glorious land, and many shall fall: and these only shall be saved out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the principality of the children of Ammon.
42 And he shall lay his hand upon the lands: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
43 And he shall have power over the treasures of gold, and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt: and he shall pass through Lybia, and Ethiopia.
44 And tidings out of the east, and out of the north, shall trouble him: and he shall come with a great multitude to destroy and slay many.
45 And he shall fix his tabernacle, Apadno, between the seas, upon a glorious and holy mountain: and he shall come even to the top thereof, and none shall help him.
14: Isaias xix. 1.