16.—Paraphrase of the Eleventh of Daniel to the Thirty-fifth Verse Inclusive
Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia, namely, Ahasuerus, Smerdis, and Darius; and the fourth, or Xerxes, shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And Alexander the Macedonian, a mighty King, shall stand up, ruling with great dominion and doing according to his will. And when he shall stand up, having suffered no defeat, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided into four horns or kingdoms toward the four winds of heaven: and their glory and power shall fall not to his posterity, nor according to the extent of his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for other rulers besides those of his family. And the King of the South shall be strong, and shall be one of his, Alexander the Great’s, princes or generals; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion, extending over Egypt, Libya, Cyrenaica, Arabia, Palestine, Cœle-Syria, and most of the maritime provinces of Asia Minor, with the island of Cyprus, and several others in the Ægean Sea, and even some cities of Greece, as Cicyon and Corinth. Such was the dominion of Ptolemy Soter, the first Macedonian King of Egypt.
Verse 6. And in the end of 52 years from b.c. 301, they, the Kings of Egypt, and of the Assyro-Macedonian Horn of the north shall, associate themselves together; for Berenice, the king’s daughter of the south, shall come, or be conducted, to Antiochus Theos, the king of the north, to make a marriage agreement; but she shall not retain the power of the arm of her father Ptolemy Philadelphus. Neither shall he her husband Antiochus stand; for Laodice his repudiated wife, whom he shall receive again when he divorces Berenice after her father’s death, shall cause him to be poisoned. Nor shall his arm, Berenice, stand; but she shall be given up to suffer death; and they, the Egyptians also that brought her to Syria; and he, her son, whom she brought forth, and he that strengthened her in these times, shall die; and thus leave her to the mercy of Laodice, which will be treachery and death.
Verse 7. But out of a branch of her parent roots, Ptolemy Euergetes her brother, shall stand up in his estate, or kingdom, and come with an army, and shall enter into Antioch the capital, and the fortress of the King of the north, and shall deal, or make war, against them, even against Laodice and her son Seleucus, and shall prevail: and Euergetes shall also carry captive into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and gold: and he shall continue to reign nine more years than the King of the north, who shall die a prisoner in Parthia five years before the King of Egypt. So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land, b.c. 244.
Verse 10. But his Seleucus Callinicus’ sons, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus, shall be stirred up to war; and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one of them, even Antiochus the Great, shall certainly come and overflow through the passes of Libanus, and pass through into Galilee, and possess himself of all that part of the country which was formerly the inheritance of the tribes Reuben and Gad, and of the half tribe of Manasseh. Then, the season being too far advanced to prolong the campaign, shall he return to Ptolemais, where he shall put his forces into winter-quarters. But early in the spring, b.c. 217, Ptolemy Philopater shall march with a large army to Raphia, by which Antiochus shall be stirred up again to war, and defeated with great slaughter, so that he shall retreat to his fortress. Thus shall the king of the south he moved with choler, and come forth and fight with the king of the north; and the King of the north shall set forth a great multitude, even 72,000 foot and 6,000 horse; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of the King of Egypt.
And when he, the King of the south, had taken away the multitude by a signal defeat of Antiochus, his heart shall be lifted up, for he will desire to enter the Most Holy Place of the temple. But while he was preparing to enter, he was stricken and carried off for dead. In his victory over Antiochus, he shall cast down ten thousands, even 10,000 foot and 300 horse. But not following up his advantages, Philopater, shall not be strengthened by his victory. For Antiochus the king of the north shall return and shall set forth a multitude of troops greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain, that is nineteen years after the battle of Raphia, or b.c. 198, with a great army and with much riches, and shall subjugate all the Holy and Cœle-Syria.
Verse 14. And in those times when Ptolemy Epiphanes shall reign over Egypt, many shall stand up against the infant king of the south, even the kings of Macedonia, and of Syria, and Scopas, the general of his deceased father. But the Deputies of the Breakers of thy people Judah, O Daniel, that is, of the Romans, shall interfere to establish the vision. The Romans became the guardians and protectors of Epiphanes during his minority. They appointed three deputies, who were ordered to acquaint the Kings with their resolution, and to enjoin them not to infest the dominions of their royal pupil; for that otherwise they should be forced to declare war against them. The Deputy Emilius, one of the three, after delivering the message of the Roman Senate, proceeded to Alexandria, and settled everything to as much advantage as the state of affairs in Egypt would then admit. In this way the Romans began to mix themselves up with the affairs of Egypt, Syria, and the Holy; and in a few years established themselves as lords paramount of the East, being thus constituted a Power in Asia, which is symbolized in this relation by the Little Horn on the Northern Horn of the Grecian Goat; and in the 36th verse of this chapter, styled, “The King”. But, though destined to be “the Breakers of Judah”, the assurance was given to Daniel, saying, they shall fall.
So the king of the north, being checked by the Roman Deputies, shall come into the Holy, and cast up a mount against Sidon, where he shall besiege the forces of the Egyptians; and he shall take Jerusalem, the city of munitions, from the castle of which he shall expel the Egyptian garrison; and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand Antiochus. But Antiochus who cometh against Ptolemy Epiphanes shall do according to his own will in Cœle-Syria and the Holy Land, and none shall stand before him: and he shall make a permanent stand in the land of glory which by his hand shall be consumed. He shall also set his face to enter into Greece with the strength of his whole kingdom, and Israelites with him. Thus shall he do to incorporate Greece with his dominion, by which the Romans who had recently proclaimed it free, would be stirred up against him. Therefore, to secure the neutrality of their Egyptian ally he shall give Cleopatra, the daughter of women, or princess royal, to Epiphanes to wife, corrupting her to betray him by resigning to him Cœle-Syria and Palestine as her dower; but on condition that he should receive half the revenue. Thus the land of Judah was given over as a bribe to bind Cleopatra to her father’s interests, that she might influence Epiphanes either to remain neutral, or to declare against the Romans, his protectors. But she shall cleave to her husband, and not stand, neither be for him, but shall join with her husband in congratulating the Roman Senate on the victory they had gained over her father at Thermopylæ.
After this shall Antiochus, at the earnest solicitation of the Ætolians, turn his face unto the isles of Greece, and shall take many: but a chieftain (kotzin), L. Scipio, the Roman Consul, shall cause the reproach offered to him to cease: without his own disgrace he, Scipio, shall cause it to turn upon Antiochus, by defeating him at Mount Sipyllus, and repulsing him from every part of Asia Minor. As the condition of peace, the Romans required him to pay 15,000 talents—500 down, 2,500 on the ratification of the treaty, and the rest in twelve years at 1,000 talents per annum. These terms being acceded to, he shall turn his face toward the fortress, or capitol, of his own land, being much at a loss how to raise the tribute. While in the province of Elymais, he heard of a considerable treasure in the temple of Jupiter Belus. He accordingly broke into it in the dead of night, and carried off all its riches. But he shall stumble, and fall, and not be found; for the provincials, exasperated at the robbery, rebelled against him, and murdered him and all his attendants, b.c. 187.
Verse 20. Then shall stand up in Antiochus’ estate or kingdom, his son Seleucus Philopater, one who causeth an exactor to pass over the glory of the kingdom; the business of his reign being to raise the tribute for the Romans. But within few days, that is twelve years, he shall be destroyed, neither in anger nor in battle, being poisoned by Heliodorus, his prime minister, having reigned long enough to pay the last instalment to the Romans.
Verse 21. And in his, Seleucus Philopater’s, place shall stand up Heliodorus, a vile person, being both a poisoner and usurper, to whom they, the authorities of the nation, shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but Antiochus Epiphanes shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries bestowed on the adherents of Heliodorus.
Verse 22. And with the arms of a flood, by which they shall be formidably invaded, shall they, the Egyptians, be overflown from before Antiochus, whom they excite to war, by demanding the restitution of Cœle-Syria and Palestine. And they shall be broken, or subdued, yea, also, Onias, the High Priest, or Prince of the Mosaic Covenant, shall be murdered, as it came to pass b.c. 172. And after the league made with Ptolemy Philometer, Antiochus shall work deceitfully after his second invasion of Egypt, b.c. 170; for he shall come up to Alexandria, and he shall become strong with a small people, or army. By his deceit, he shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province to which he reduces Egypt; and he, Antiochus, shall do that which his fathers, or predecessors on the throne, have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; namely, he shall scatter among his followers the prey, and spoils, and riches: yea, he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds of Egypt, even for a time. 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 the Alexandrians seeing him in the hands of Antiochus, and lost to them, shall forecast devices against him, and place the crown of Egypt on the head of his brother, Euergetes II. Yea, they that feed of the portion of Philometer’s meat, even his courtiers, shall separate, or renounce, him; and his Antiochus’ army shall overflow Egypt; and many of the Egyptians shall fall down slain. And the hearts of both these kings shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table, but shall not prosper; for the end is still at the time appointed.
Then shall Antiochus return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the Covenant of the Holy; and he shall do terrible things against Jerusalem, taking it by storm, butchering 80,000 men, making 40,000 prisoners, and causing a like number to be sold for slaves. And then shall he return to his own land, laden with the spoils of the Temple, amounting to 1,800 talents, or £270,000, about $1,315,000.
At the time appointed, under pretence of restoring Philometer to the throne, he shall return and come towards the south, against Alexandria to besiege it. But it, this fourth invasion, shall not be as the former or as the latter. He raised the siege and marched towards Memphis, where he installed Philometer as king. As soon, however, as he had departed, Philometer came to an understanding with Euergetes, and they agreed to a joint reign over Egypt. This coming to the ears of Antiochus, he led a powerful army against Memphis, for the purpose of subduing the country. Having nearly accomplished his project, he marched against Alexandria, which was the only obstacle to his becoming absolute master of Egypt. But the Roman Embassy, sent at the request of the Ptolemies, met him about a mile from the city. They had left Rome with the utmost diligence. When they arrived at Delos they found a fleet of Macedonian, or Greek, ships, on board of which they embarked for Alexandria, where they arrived at the crisis of his approach: Popilius delivered to Antiochus the decree of the Senate, and demanded an immediate answer. Sorely against his will he agreed to obey its mandate, and draw off his army from Egypt. Thus, his invasion terminated very differently from the former and the latter; for the ships of Chittim shall come against him, and prevent him from incorporating Egypt into his Assyrian dominion of the north. Thus, the prophecy of Balaam, that “ships from the coast of Chittim shall come and afflict Asshur”, began to show itself; a more complete fulfilment remains for the latter days, when “Asshur shall perish forever”.
All Antiochus’ wrath was kindled at this interference; therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the Covenant of the Holy; for in his return-march, through Palestine, he detached 20,000 men under Apollonius with orders to destroy Jerusalem, b.c. 168. So shall he do; he shall even return and have intelligence with them that for sake the Covenant of the Holy.
Verse 31. And arms shall stand on his part under Apollonius; and they, the Assyro-Macedonian troops, shall penetrate the temple, ham-mikdosh, the stronghold, and they shall remove the Daily, and they shall place a statue of the Olympian Jupiter in the temple, and a strong garrison in the castle to command it, as the abomination making desolate its courts, and overawing the nation.
As soon as Antiochus Epiphanes was returned to Antioch, he published a decree by which all his subjects were required to conform to the religion of the State. This was aimed chiefly at the Jews, whose religion and nation he was resolved to extirpate. Atheneus, a man advanced in years, and extremely well versed in all the ceremonies of Grecian idolatry, was commissioned to carry the edict into effect in Judea and Samaria. As soon as he arrived at Jerusalem he began by suppressing the Daily, or evening-morning sacrifice, and all the observances of the Mosaic Law. He caused the sabbaths and other festivals to be profaned; forbade the circumcision of children; carried off and burned all copies of the Law and the Prophets wherever they could be found; and put to death whoever acted contrary to the decree of the king. To establish it the sooner in every part of the nation, altars and chapels filled with idols were erected in every city, and sacred groves were planted. Officers were appointed over these, who caused the people generally to offer sacrifice in them every month, on the day of the month on which the king was born, who made them eat swine’s flesh and other unclean animals sacrificed there. The temple in ’Jerusalem was dedicated to Jupiter Olympius, whose statue was placed in it. Thus he did in his great indignation against the Covenant of the Holy Nation and its Land.
Verse 32. And such of the Jews as do wickedly against the covenant shall Antiochus, by flatteries, cause to dissemble. These not only “forsook the covenant of the holy”, but “had intelligence” with the king, and aided him all they could in the desolation with which he was over-spreading their country. But the Maccabees and their adherents, people who do know their God shall be strong, and do valiantly in war. And they, even Mattathias and his five sons, and others with them, that understand among the people, shall instruct and encourage many; yet they, of the Maccabean party; shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, evils incident to the war, for days, that is, seven years from the ninth of Antiochus, the Era of the Asmoneans, to the third of Demetrius Soter, b.c. 161.
Now, when they shall fall by these seven years’ calamities, they shall be holpen with a little help; for while Antiochus was amusing himself in celebrating games at Daphne, Judas Maccabæus had raised the standard of independence, and was helping his countrymen in Judea. He levied a small army, fortified the cities, rebuilt the fortresses, threw strong garrisons into them, and thereby awed the whole country. He defeated and killed Apollonius, and made great slaughter of the troops. With 3,000 men he defeated Lysias with 47,000; and another army of 20,000 under Timotheus and Bacchides; and in the year before Christ 170, he gave Lysias a second defeat at Bethsura, by which he dispersed 65,000 of the enemy. The “little help” they received at this crisis was mingled with the supernatural, which will account for the extraordinary victories of the Jews over such powerful armies of Greeks with such unequal forces. In the battle with Timotheus near Jerusalem, it is related, that, “When it waxed strong there appeared in sight of the enemy, from heaven, five comely men upon horses with bridles of gold, and two of them led the Jews, and took Maccabæus betwixt them, and covered him on every side with their weapons, and kept him safe, but shot arrows and lightnings against the enemies; so that being confounded with blindness, and full of trouble, they were killed” (2 Mac. 10:29–30). Also, in the battle against Lysias, near Bethsura, with his 80,000 Greeks, Maccabæus and the Jews prayed that Yahweh would send a good angel to deliver Israel. In answer to this, as they were marching from Jerusalem, “there appeared before them, on horseback, one in white clothing, shaking his armour of gold … Thus they marched forward in their armour, ready not only to fight with men, but with most cruel beasts, and to pierce through walls of iron, having an helper from heaven: for Yahweh was merciful to them. And giving a charge upon their enemies like lions, they slew 11,000 footmen, and 1,600 horsemen, and put all the others to flight” (2 Mac. 11:8–11). Thus were “they holpen with a little help” from heaven, and their struggle for independence crowned with success. Yet, in that struggle many did cleave to them with flatteries: trial was, therefore, necessary that the approved might be manifested to the Deity. Hence, it was determined that the party of the wise shall be weak, to try them, and to purify, and make them white for the time of the end; for then their services will be needed to assist in overthrowing the Kingdom of Babylon, and in taking the kingdom under the whole heaven, as shown to Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar. The Era of the Asmoneans was not that end; for, having particularized the events of the era, the revelator added, it is still for a time appointed.
We have now arrived at the end of the thirty-fifth verse, the events of which bring us down to the conclusion of 430 years from the destruction of the city and temple in the 19th of Nebuchadnezzar. There is here a change of topic in the prophecy. No more is said about Judah’s warfare with the Greek Powers of the north or south. History, but not the prophecy, informs us that Judah became a kingdom, under princes of the Asmonean family, until it passed under the sceptre of Herod the Idumean, in the 39th year of whose reign Jesus Christ was “born King of the Jews”. Not long after this event the sceptre of Judah was transferred to the Romans, whose emperor became the reigning king (John 19:15). But the sceptre was only temporarily departed; and its return is earnestly desired and expected by all who believe the gospel of the Kingdom of God. When Jesus was 26 years old, the things revealed by Gabriel (Dan. 9:24, 27), in relation to the seventieth heptade, began to be accomplished. During that seven years Judah’s heart was stirred up from its lowest depths. John the Baptist and Jesus, the greatest personages of the time, turned all minds to that great kingdom, which, in the hands of the Prince Royal and the Saints, is to rule over all. But even then, “the end was still for a time appointed”. About 1,835 years have passed since the expiration of the seventieth heptade. Judah has been broken, but their “breakers” have not been “ground to powder” by the Stone. The time, however, fast approaches; and the nearer it arrives, the more important do all questions become bearing upon Judah’s land, and Zion, the city of their king.
About 95 years after the end of the 430 years previously indicated, the Asiatic kingdom of the north, which had so terribly afflicted Judah, was annexed by Pompey to the empire of the Romans, which, by the absorption of Greece, had now become Romano- or Latino-Greek; and in about thirty-five years after that, Egypt experienced the same fate. The kingdom of the Jews still survived. Two powers alone existed. The Four Horns of the Goat had disappeared; and nothing of the symbol remained but that which answered to the Romano-Greek Asiatic Power, waxing exceeding great toward the east, and looking with a fierce and threatening countenance upon the little kingdom of Judea. What shall this power be called? Gabriel styled it “a Little Horn” budding forth out of one of the four horns of the Goat—“little” in its Asiatic beginning, but “exceeding great” when it had ceased to grow. In relation to the Holy Land it appeared as a power, first in the north. History therefore shows, that the horn of the north was the one of the four upon which Daniel beheld it. But it did not content itself with merely looking fiercely at Judah. It fought against Judea and conquered; and so firmly had it established itself in the Holy, that when Jesus was arraigned before it, Judah clamoured for his death, crying, “We have no king but Cæsar”.
From the annexation of the Holy Land to the Roman empire by Pompey until the present time, it has been mainly subject to Rome and Constantinople—to Rome until the throne of the empire was transferred by Constantine the Great to the city called by his name. Because, therefore, the Holy Land and city have been in the main possessed by the Romano-Constantinopolitan power; and because that power crucified the King of the Jews, and destroyed the holy soon after the seventieth heptade; and because it is the same (though administered by a different race and generation, that is, the Moslem) that will stand up against heaven’s Commander in Chief in the approaching consummation—the power is represented by one and the same symbol, which is styled “the Little Horn” of the Grecian Goat, or nation.
But before dismissing the interpretation of the first section of the revelator’s discourse, I would add some further remarks concerning the end of the Maccabean Heptade.