1. What truth did the Lord of Daniel (Daniel 10:15-21) reveal in the first year of Darius the Mede?
A fourth king would arise in Persia that would go against Grecia. At that point, a mighty king would arise and the kingdom of the Medes and Persians would be plucked up: “(1) Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. (2) And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. (3) And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. (4) And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those” (Daniel 11:1-4).
- As we begin this chapter, I am going to be giving many secular history references. I am doing so for the purpose of study and confirmation of prophesies. I am not saying they are definitive or that secular history is our source of truth. The word of God stands alone, on its own as the truth (John 17:17) and is all sufficient (II Timothy 3:15-17). By such historical references, I am just trying to provide helpful context since the inspired Scriptures do not include the time of Grecian rule. ALSO, I am not saying that this references prove the text wherein I put them. The main point of this chapter is that the Jews were going to suffer again under Grecian rule.
- The one that Daniel called Lord in the previous chapter is saying he stood to confirm and make strong Darius the Mede (Daniel 5:31). This is not the Darius after Cyrus (Ezra 4:5, Nehemiah 12:22, and Haggai 1:1; 1:15), but the one before.
- The fact that the Lord either directly or indirectly strengthened this ruler is confirmation of His approval of this leader at that moment (Proverbs 10:29 and Nahum 1:7).
- Darius the Mede is mentioned in the Book of Daniel as king of Babylon between Belshazzar and Cyrus the Great, but there is not much of a historical record to be found in his time of reign. This revelation discusses what will happen under Persian rule in the future after Darius the Mede. History says: The Persian Empire entered a period of decline after a failed invasion of Greece by Xerxes I in 480 BC. The costly defense of Persia’s lands depleted the empire’s funds, leading to heavier taxation among Persia’s subjects. The Empire finally fell to the invading armies of Alexander the Great of Macedon in 330 B.C. (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/persian-empire). Darius III was on the throne when Alexander the Great of Macedon led his powerful army into Asia (see Alexander the Great). In the decisive battle of Issus in 333 BC, Alexander captured the western half of the Persian Empire. Darius fled from the battlefield. He met Alexander again at Arbela, in 331 BC, and fled once more. Soon afterward one of Darius' own followers murdered him. Alexander went on to conquer other lands, but Persia remained under his control until his death in 323 BC. While Persia continued to flourish as a nation, the days of the great Persian Empire were over (http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/persia.html).
- What we learn about this fourth king is that his wealth will promote his inflated mindset wherein he will be emboldened to take on Greece. Think about what wealth most often, not always, does to people. It is not wise to trust in one’s material wealth (Psalms 49:6-12, Proverbs 15:16, Proverbs 16:16, Proverbs 23:5, Luke 12:13-21, and Revelation 3:14-22).
- We discussed the Grecian king in Daniel 8:1-21. His kingdom divided into four (Daniel 8:22).
2. Between the king of the south and the king of the north, who prevailed?
In a battle that goes back and forth, the northern king prevails: “(5) And 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) And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times. (7) But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: (8) And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. (9) So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land. (10) But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. (11) And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. (12) And 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. (13) For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches. (14) And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. (15) So 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. (16) But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed” (Daniel 11:5-16).
- History says: “In the mid-fourth century B.C., the Persians again attacked Egypt, reviving their empire under Ataxerxes III in 343 B.C. Barely a decade later, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated the armies of the Persian Empire and conquered Egypt. After Alexander’s death, Egypt was ruled by a line of Macedonian kings, beginning with Alexander’s general Ptolemy and continuing with his descendants. The last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt–the legendary Cleopatra VII– surrendered Egypt to the armies of Octavian (later Augustus) in 31 B.C.” (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/ancient-egypt). So, Egypt here really was a sub-division of the Grecian Empire.
- The king of the south is Egypt (vs. 8), again as history states, this would likely be Alexander’s general Ptolemy and continuing with his descendants. Intermarriage and allegiance is formed between these Grecian kings, but is not lasting (vs. 6). In this case, for we shall see a different event in this context, it is an Egyptian woman being sent north. Maybe this is Berenice Syra (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/berenice-syra-c-280-246-bce). Even during Babylonian rule, God didn’t allow the Egyptians to prevail (Ezekiel 30:20-26).
- This context appears to fit Antiochus III the Great, by name Antiochus the Great, Greek Antiochus Megas (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antiochus-III-the-Great).
- Think about this, what happens to a divided kingdom (Mark 3:24)?
3. When the king of the north gave the daughter of women to the king of the south in an attempt to strengthen his kingdom, did it work?
No: “He 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” (Daniel 11:17).
- His plan was to strengthen his kingdom. His plan included the “upright ones”. This could very well mean the remnant of the faithful Jews. Being upright was/is a guide and protection (Proverbs 2:21 and Proverbs 11:3; 11:6).
- Arranged marriages between opposing kingdoms were not new. We saw it from the southern king to the northern, now it is reversed. We even saw such alliances during Solomon’s reign (I Kings 3:1; 9:16).
- This plan did not work though. The phrase “the daughter of women” or “daughter of a woman”. She was sent to be a corrupting [destroying] force. Antiochus III the Great was a Greek king that ruled over Syria. Secular History records: “Daughter of Antiochus III the Great of the Syrian Empire, Cleopatra was married to Ptolemy V in 193 as part of the Peace of Lysimacheia, concluding warfare and border conflicts between Syria and Egypt. She brought as her dowry the revenues (but apparently not the ownership) of Coele-Syria, a land that Egypt had long sought to recover; and the total agreement helped to ensure Egypt’s neutrality in Syria’s continuing struggles with the Romans” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cleopatra-I-Syra). She became more effective for her husband than her father: “Although Antiochus clearly intended for Cleopatra I to effectively link Ptolemy V's interests to his own, it is equally clear that she quickly assumed a more Egyptian perspective on affairs, much to the delight of the Greeks in Egypt. So well did she come to identify with Ptolemy instead of her father, that when the Romans ejected Antiochus from Greece in 190, Cleopatra with her husband sent an embassy to congratulate the Romans on their victory. Ptolemy V came to value Cleopatra's insight and strength of character, even if these were incapable of overcoming all vestiges of his well-documented cruelty. (Especially noteworthy in this regard was the torture he mandated as punishment for an unsuccessful Egyptian rebellion in 184–183 bce.) Iconographically represented as an equal of her husband, Cleopatra I received many honorific titles on his approval. She and her husband produced three offspring: Ptolemy VI Philometor, Cleopatra II , and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II” (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cleopatra-i-c-210-176-bce).
4. As the king of the north turned to take the islands and took many, what happened to him?
A prince turned the tables on him so that he returned to his own land, stumbled, and fell not to be found: “(18) After 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.
(19) Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found” (Daniel 11:18-19).
- “Antiochus then moved to Asia Minor, by land and by sea, to secure the coast towns which belonged to the remnants of Ptolemaic overseas dominions and the independent Greek cities. This enterprise earned him the antagonism of the Roman Republic, since Smyrna and Lampsacus appealed to the Republic, which at the time acted as a defender of Greek freedom” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_III_the_Great). “However, In 191 BC, however, the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio routed him at Thermopylae” (same reference).
- “By the Treaty of Apamea (188 BC) Antiochus abandoned all the country north and west of the Taurus, most of which the Roman Republic gave either to Rhodes or to the Attalid ruler Eumenes II, its allies (many Greek cities were left free). As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the outlying provinces of the empire, recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh eastern expedition in Luristan, where he died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 BC.” (Same reference).
- What happens to the proud and haughty (Proverbs 16:18; 18:12)?
5. How did the vile person obtain the kingdom from the one who raised taxes?
Through flatteries: “(20) Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. (21) And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:20-21).
- One who raised taxes came next in power. Seleucus IV Philopator (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucus_IV_Philopator). His reign was short. The aforementioned reference said he taxed the Jews, stole from the temple.
- After him, one obtained the kingdom by flatteries. This fits a historical description of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, (Greek: “God Manifest”) (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antiochus-IV-Epiphanes). Such a person is dangerous (Job 17:5 and Proverbs 26:24-28).
6. When this vile person faced the arms of a flood, did he become weak?
No, he becomes strong: “(22) And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. (23) And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. (24) He 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” (Daniel 11:22-24).
- According to historical accounts, this continues to fit Antiochus IV Epiphanes. It is something we talked about in Daniel 8:10-11.
- He was deceptive in forming leagues, etc. This speaks volumes (Proverbs 11:18).
- When we read he “shall become strong with a small people” means he was not popular. History also calls him Antiochus Epimanes [the Mad] (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antiochus-IV-Epiphanes).
- Unlike his fathers, he went where there was prosperity and peace and overturned it scattering the people and devising against strong holds. This says a lot too (Proverbs 16:12).
7. Though he did not succeed against the king of the south or the ships of Chittim, what did this king prosper until?
Until the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done: “(25) And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. (26) Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. (27) And 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. (28) Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. (29) At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. (30) For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. (31) And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. (32) And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (33) And they that understand 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 holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. (35) And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (36) And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:25-36).
- Forget the alliances, battle starts again. What’s this say about this king (Proverbs 15:18 and Proverbs 28:25). It was said that Antiochus invaded Egypt multiple times with some success and failures during his reign. He persecuted the Jews and battled them too (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes).
- These kings sit and talk with each other, acting friendly, and lying all along. What’s that tell you of these Grecian rulers (Psalms 55:21; 57:4)?
- The fighting against God’s people is clarified in the language of verses 32-33; 35. There may have been a covenant of peace between he and Jerusalem, but that was no more. We see here, like in all times of suffering, there are lights shining among God’s people even if persecution and apostasy abound (II Kings 19:30, Proverbs 4:11-19, Acts 8:1-4, Acts 11:19-24, I Peter 1:3-7, and Revelation 2:10). “In 167 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He also banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the Temple” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Temple). More on Zeus and this man at notes on vs. 36.
- Like many times, few helped God’s people. They just spoke flatteries to them. Wicked people do not care when the righteous suffer (Isaiah 57:1).
- Those of understanding were tried during this time (James 1:1-3).
- There is a lot to consider in what is stated in verse thirty-five. For one, there is a possibly a pointing forward to some language in the next chapter (Daniel 12:1-4). This COULD be a looking forward to Paradise for those that fought faithfully to the end (Psalms 116:15, Luke 16:19-31, Luke 23:39-43, and Revelation 2:10).
- We will talk about verse 36 in the next question.
8. Did this king desire to serve the Lord God of Heaven?
No, he spoke against God and exalted himself and honored the “god of forces”: “(36) And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. (37) Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (38) But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. (39) Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain” (Daniel 11:36-39).
- It was never wise for a man to exalt himself above God (Isaiah 2:11, Isaiah 10:1-16, Isaiah 13:1-14:23, Isaiah 37:21-38, Ezekiel 28:1-10, and Acts 12:20-24).
- God “breaks” such ones without hand (Daniel 8:24-25).
- He is so full of himself that he rejected his own gods and even women. He simply did not care about anyone’s view of him. This kind of pride is like a chain (Psalms 73:6).
- “But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces…”: “Even before he had begun his reign he had contributed to the building of the temple of Zeus in Athens and to the adornment of the theatre” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antiochus-IV-Epiphanes).
9. What brought about the end of this vile king?
“(40) And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at 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 over. (41) He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. (42) He shall stretch forth his hand also upon 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 tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. (45) And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:40-45).
- This fits history and his last stand against Judea: “King Mithridates I of Parthia took advantage of Antiochus' western problems and attacked from the east, seizing the city of Herat in 167 BC and disrupting the direct trade route to India, effectively splitting the Greek world in two. Antiochus recognized the potential danger in the east but was unwilling to give up control of Judea. He sent a commander named Lysias to deal with the Maccabees, while the King himself led the main Seleucid army against the Parthians. Antiochus had initial success in his eastern campaign, including the reoccupation of Armenia, but he died suddenly of disease in 164 BC…” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes).
- We conclude simply with this, the wicked fell (Proverbs 10:28) and there is hope in that (Proverbs 28:28).
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.