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3. Silver Tetradrachm. Head of Antiochus, as Zeus, with laurels.
Reverse : Zeus, wearing himation over shoulder, seated on throne: holds Nike (Victory), who crowns Inscription; and rests on sceptre. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ NIKH OPOY (“Of King Antiochus, God Manifest, Victory-bearer ').
4. Copper Pentechalcon. Head of Zeus-Serapis, wearing laurel. wreath, ending above in cap of Osiris.
Reverse : Eagle, with closed wings, standing on thunderbolt. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ (Of King Antiochus, God Manifest'). This coin was struck in Egypt, and illustrates Antiochus' conquest of that country (cf. Babelon, p. c).
(From casts taken from coins in the British Museum. The descriptions from Gardner's Coins of the Seleucid Kings of Syria, XI. 2, XI. 13, XI. 9, XII. II.)
And the king shall do according to his will ; and he 36 shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, discipline: cf. Is. i. 25, 'and smelt away as with lye thy dross'; Jer. vi. 29, 'in vain the smelter smelteth, for the evil are not separated'; ix. 6 'Behold, I will smelt them, and try them'; Zech. xiii. 9.
until the time of the ent] the fall of the maskîlîm will continue till the final end of the present order of things (viii. 17), which the author pictures as coinciding with the close of Antiochus' reign (v. 40).
for (it is) yet for the time appointed] the end has not come yet; it has still to wait for the moment fixed in the counsels of God : cf. v. 27 end.
36-39. The presumptuousness and impiety of Antiochus. Many of the older expositors supposed that at this point there was a transition from Antiochus to the future Antichrist, and that vv. 36—45 related exclusively to the latter; but whatever typical significance might be legitimately considered to attach to the character and career of Antiochus as a whole, it is contrary to all sound principles of exegesis to suppose that, in a continuous description, with no indication what. ever of a change of subject, part should refer to one person, and part to another, and that 'the king' of v. 36, and 'the king of the south of V. 45 should be a different king from the one whose doings are described in vv. 21-35. The fact that traits in the N.T. figure of Antichrist are suggested (apparently) by the description in vv. 36-39, does not authorize the inference that these verses themselves refer to Antichrist (cf. the Introd. p. xcvii).
36. according to his will] as viii. 4, xi. 3 (of Alexander); xi. 16 (of Antiochus the Great).
magnify himself] Is. X. 15. So v. 37.
above every god] Antiochus acquired a reputation for piety among the Greeks by his splendid presents to temples (cf. on v. 24); but by the manner in which he patronized, and selected for honour, particular deities (as Zeus Olympios, or Jupiter Capitolinus), he might be said, especially from an Israelitish point of view, to set himself above them all.
Antiochus, moreover, assumed divine honours. This is particularly evident, as Babelon has pointed out?, on his coins. His best portraits appear to be those on the coins of his early years, which bear simply the inscription 'King Antiochus.' At a later period of his reign a star appears on his forehead, implying that he has assumed divine honours. Then in coins with the legend, King Antiochus, God' (or God Manifest' [Epiphanes]), the star disappears, but the portrait is idealized, the features approximating in type to those of Apollo. Other coins of the same type exhibit the head surrounded by a diadem with rays, another mark of divine rank. Lastly, on coins with the legend "King Antiochus, God Manifest, Victory-bearer,' the head approximates even to that of Zeus Olympios, whose distinctive epithet Neknoópos (“Victorybearer') the king himself assumes. See the accompanying Plate.
1 In the instructive Introduction to Les Rois de Syrie (Catalogue of Coins in the National Library at Paris), 1891, p. xcii-iv.
3 Babelon states that Antiochus Epiphanes is the first Seleucid king who is represented constantly on his coins with a crown of
and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods,
and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: 37 for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women,
and against the God of gods (the God of Israel : cf. ii. 47) he shall speak marvellous things] i.e. extraordinary impieties : cf. (also of Antiochus) vii. 8 'a mouth speaking great things,' 25 'shall speak words against the Most High.'
until indignation be accomplished] or, be finished, exhausted, i.e. until God's wrath on Israel has worked itself out. The words are borrowed from Is. X. 25. For accomplished,' see also Ez. v. 13, vi. 12, vii. 8, xiii. 15, xx. 8, 21.
for that that is determined shall be done] the Divine decree must take effect. The expression, as in ix. 27 (where see the note), from Is. X. 23.
37. And the gods of his fathers he will not regard] The honours paid by him to foreign deities implied a depreciation of the gods of his own country. He was particularly devoted to the cult of Jupiter Capitolinus, or Zeus Olympios. Even before he became king, while halting at Athens on his way home from Rome, he contributed largely to the restoration of the Olympieion in that city; afterwards, he built in Daphne, the suburb of Antioch, a temple to Zeus Olympios, with a colossal statue of the god, modelled on the famous one of Pheidias at Olympia, and began, though he did not live to complete it, a yet more magnificent temple to him in Antioch itself (Livy xli
. 20). His coins also exhibit constantly (on the obverse) the head of either Zeus Olympios or Apollo; and, as was just remarked, in those belonging to the latter part of his reign the king himself bears the title Nexnpópos, an epithet belonging properly to Zeus.
and neither the desire of women, nor any god, will he regard] The desire of women 'must, from the context, be the designation of some divinity-most probably (Ewald, Bevan) Tammuz, a celebrated Syrian and Phoenician deity, known to the Greeks as Adonis, whose rites were popular among women.
Adonis in the legend was a beautiful youth, the dearly loved spouse of Aphroditè, snatched from her by a cruel fate, and bitterly bewailed by her. The festival of Adonis consisted largely in an imitation of the mourning of Aphrodite, and hence was specially observed by women; cf. Ez. viii. 14 (where the prophet sees in vision, in the precincts of the Temple, the women weeping for Tammuz'); Jerome on Ez. l. c. 'plangitur a mulieribus quasi mortuus, et postea reviviscens canitur atque laudatur?'; Aristoph. Lysistr. 389 ff.; and Theocritus' Idyll i Cf. Milton, P. L. I. 456 ff. :
Tammuz came next behind,
nor regard any god : for he shall magnify himself above
But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces : 38 and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with 39 a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, (xv.) entitled 'Adwriášovoal, or Women keeping festival to Adonis.' According to Hippolytus, Refut. Hær. v. 9, the 'Assyrians' (? Syrians) called him the thrice-desired (TpLr6OnTos) Adonis': cf. Bion, in his 'Επιτάφιος 'Αδώνιδος, 11. 24, 58.
nor any god] While there were some gods whom Antiochus honoured by erecting to them costly temples, he was ready enough, if in need of funds, to rob other temples of their treasures. Polybius (xxxi. 4. 10) expressly says that he plundered very many temples (ιεροσυλήκει δε και Tà allora Twv lepw) in order to obtain money for his extravagances. He made an unsuccessful attempt to pillage a wealthy temple in Persia shortly before his death (ib. xxxi. 11; 1 Macc. vi. 1-4: see below).
But in his place he will honour the god of strongholds] it is not certain who is meant by the god of strongholds': possibly the reference is to some deity (? Mars) of whose worship by Antiochus we have no other notice ; more probably, however, the name is simply an alternative designation of Jupiter Capitolinus.
and a god whom, &c.] No doubt, Zeus or Jupiter (cf. on v. 37). It is true, the first three Seleucidae, as their coins testify, recognized Zeus Olympios,-not, as Behrmann (misunderstanding a sentence of G. Hoffmann, Einige Phön. Inschr., p. 29) states, Zeus Polieus,- -as their patron; but Zeus was not, of course, a native Syrian deity. pleasant things] better, costly things : lit. things desired. Cf. on
('precious' cannot be used here; as the word is needed for yềkārāh, in precious stones').
39. And he will do to the fortresses of strongholds with (the help of) a foreign god] i.e. will conquer them by his aid. But the Heb. is strange; and the sense obtained connects badly with what follows. Hitz., Meinh., and Bevan, changing a point, render, ' And he shall procure for the fortresses of strongholds the people of a strange god,' supposing the reference to be to the heathen soldiers and colonists settled by Antiochus in the citadel in Jerusalem, and other parts of Judah (1 Macc. i. 33, iii. 36, 45). The rendering 'procure' for noy is, however, not very probable here, 2 Sam. xv. 1, 1 Ki. i.
which are quoted in support of it, being hardly parallel. For foreign god (733 71%x), cf. Gen. xxxv. 4, Jer. v. 19 (738), Ps. lxxxi. 9 (5x).
strange) i.e. (from Lat. 'extraneus ') foreign, as regularly in A.V.
he whom he recognizes, will increase glory) his favourites will be loaded by him with honours. Recognize' (ion), as Ruth ii. 10 ('take knowledge of '); Jer. xxiv. 5 (' regard ').
shall cause them to rule over the many, and shall divide land for a
price] he will give them posts as governors, and grant them estatesseized, probably, from their rightful owners—for a bribe. An allusion to Antiochus' methods of government, and to the means by which he filled his empty treasuries ; perhaps, also, in particular, to renegade Jews who had been thus rewarded for their apostasy. Jason, and after him, Menelaus, both purchased the high-priesthood from Antiochus (2 Macc. iv. 8—10, 24); and Bacchides (ib. ix. 25) chose out the ungodly men, and made them lords over the country. No doubt other similar instances were known to the author.
40–45. The end of Antiochus. Antiochus, being attacked by the king of Egypt, will again conduct an expedition into Egypt, passing through Judah on the way; he will gain great successes, till interrupted by rumours from the East and North; and starting from Egypt on a fresh career of conquest and destruction will perish on the way between Jerusalem and the sea-coast. How far the events here described correspond to the reality is a very doubtful point. Our principal authorities mention no expedition into Egypt after the one of B.C. 168. What we know from other sources of the closing events of Antiochus' life is as follows. In 167 B.C. he instituted at Daphne (near Antioch), in rivalry with those just celebrated by Aem. Paullus in Macedonia, a magnificent series of games, lasting 30 days. Soon after this, the Roman Senate, entertaining suspicions of his loyalty, sent Tiberius Gracchus to ascertain whether their suspicions were wellfounded. Antiochus shewed himself quite master of the situation. He “received Tiberius so dexterously and amicably (ούτως επιδεξίως και piloppóvws) that the latter not only suspected no designs on his part, and could detect no trace of hostility on the score of what had happened at Alexandria, but even condemned those who made such allegations, on account of the extreme courtesy of his reception. For, besides other things, he gave up his palace, and almost even his crown, to the ambassadors, at least in appearance ; for in reality, he was anything but prepared to make concessions to the Romans, and was, in fact, as hostile to them as possible”. (Polyb. xxxi. 5). Although, however, Tiberius was satisfied of Antiochus' sincerity, the suspicions of the Senate were not allayed : for reports reached it from other quarters that he was conspiring secretly with Eumenes of Pergamum against the Romans (Polyb. xxxi. 4—6, 9). In 166 he started on the expedition, in the course of which he met his death. Leaving Lysias to take charge of his provinces between Egypt and the Euphrates and to carry on the contest with Judas Maccabaeus, he crossed the Euphrates in this year for the East (1 Macc. iii. 31-37), according to vv. 28—31, because he was in need of funds, and intended to take the tributes of the countries, and to gather much money, according to the condensed statement in Tac. Hist. v. 8 to war against the Parthians'. It was probably on this expedition that he subjugated Artaxias, king of Armenia, who had revolted (Diod. Sic. xxxi. 17 a, App. Syr. 45). While in Elymais (E. of Babylonia) he attempted unsuccessfully to pillage a temple; and soon afterwards died, after a short illness, at
1 'Rex Antiochus, demere superstitionem et mores Græcorum dare adnisus, quo minus teterrimam gentem in melius mutaret, Parthorum bello prohibitus est.'