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be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto 20 thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the 21
be strong...was strengthened] as in v. 18. Cf. 2 Sam. x. 12, A.V., R.V. 'be of good courage, and let us play the man'; Heb., exactly as here, be strong, and let us strengthen ourselves (or be strengthened)'; Ezr. vii. 28.
20-xi. 1. Before, however, the speaker proceeds to disclose the future to Daniel (xi. 2 ff.), in accordance with the promise of v. 14, he acquaints him with certain facts relating to the celestial world, calculated to inspire him with confidence: in himself, and Michael, the people of Israel have two champions able to defend them effectually against the assaults of heathen powers.
20. Knowest thou, &c.] A rhetorical question, designed to recall to Daniel what had been said in vv. 12, 14, and to indicate to him its importance.
and now will I return, &c.] to carry on and complete the successes begun in v. 13. Now' must mean, as soon as possible, as soon as I have given thee this revelation (xi. 2 ff.): I cannot tarry here longer than is necessary, as I have still to contend in heaven against the enemies of Israel.
and when I go forth (viz. from the contest with the prince' of Persia), lo, the prince of Greece (Heb. Javan, as viii. 21) will come in] As soon as the conflict with Persia is ended, one with Greece will begin: 'go forth' and 'come in,' as 2 Ki. xi. 5, 7. It would be more in accordance with the usual sense of go forth in such a connexion as the present, to understand it of going forth to the contest with the prince of Persia (cf. of going forth on a military expedition, with to battle expressed, Deut. xx. I, xxi. 10; without it, Jud. ix. 29, 2 Sam. xi. 1, xviii. 2 (end), 3, 6, 2 Ki. ix. 21, &c.); but unless the future is greatly foreshortened, or 'go forth" is understood not of proceeding to, but of continuing in, the conflict (so Keil), this interpretation agrees hardly with the history; for the empire of Alexander and his successors did not arise till two centuries after the time of Cyrus.
21. Howbeit] 'but' is not strong enough: cf. v. 7. It is difficult to be sure what the thought tacitly opposed is: it may be, 'Howbeit (though I cannot stay long, v. 20a), I can nevertheless tell thee this (xi. 2 ff.) about the future'; or 'Howbeit (though the contest, v. 20b, may seem to be an endless one), I will tell thee about the future, for it contains, at least towards the end, an outlook of hope and consolation.'
I will declare (ii. 2) unto thee that which is inscribed in the writing
scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me 11 in these things, but Michael your prince. Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
of truth] i.e. the book in which God has inscribed beforehand, as truly as they will be fulfilled, the destinies of mankind: cf. Ps. cxxxix. 16. The figure is meant as a concrete expression of the truth that the future is pre-determined by God. The later apocalyptic writers often speak, in the same sense, of the 'heavenly tables,' in which the deeds and events of the future stand recorded; see e.g. Enoch lxxxi. 1, 2, xciii. 2, 3, ciii. 2, 3, cvi. 19, cvii. 1; and cf. the note in Charles' ed. p. 132 f.
inscribed] as in Aram. (v. 24, 25, vi. 8, 10) and New Hebrew. The word implies a more formal act than written.' Noted in Old Engl. has the force of inscribed: cf. note in Is. xxx. 8 for PPM, ' cut in,' 'engrave.'
and there is not one that strengtheneth himself with me against these, except Michael your prince] in my contest with the 'princes' of Persia and Greece (v. 20), only Michael supports me. The words seem to connect with the end of v. 20, rather than with the first part of v. 21, which is perhaps to be regarded as parenthetical.
strengtheneth himself with me] i.e. shews himself to be my valiant ally: cf. Ch. xi. 10, 2 Ch. xvi. 9 (where in the behalf of' is lit. with, as here), xvii. 1.
xi. 1. And as for me, in...I stood up to be a supporter and a stronghold unto him] I myself, also, in the first year of Darius, came forward to support Michael. As soon as 'Darius the Mede' (v. 31, ix. 1) 'received the kingdom,' there was need for the defenders of Israel to co-operate on its behalf; and (it seems to be implied) it was through this angelic intervention that the natural hostility of Persia to Israel was turned to friendliness.
I stood up] The Heb. is peculiar, lit. my standing (was). One or two parallels can be quoted (as Jud. xix. 9; Job ix. 27); but the addition of a letter would give the normal Hebrew for I stood
.(עמדי for עמדתי) 42
a supporter] prop, one holding strongly or firmly: see Is. xli. 9, 13; Ez. xxx. 25.
stronghold] vv. 7, 10, 19, 31, 38, 39; Is. xxiii. 4, 11: here in a figurative sense, as often of Jehovah (e.g. Ps. xxvii. 1, xxviii. 1).
(2) xi. 2-xii. 4. The revelation given to Daniel.
This consists of a survey of the history from the beginning of the Persian period down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, followed by a description of the Messianic age, to begin afterwards. The description is brief and general in its earlier part, more detailed in the later parts. The angel first refers briefly to the doings of four Persian kings (v. 2), and of Alexander the Great (v. 3), with the division of his empire after his death (v. 4); then narrates more fully the leagues and conflicts between the kings of Antioch ('the kings of the north'), and of Egypt ('the kings of the south'), in the centuries following (vv. 5—20); and finally,
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.
most fully of all, describes the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (vv. 21-45), including his conflicts with Egypt, and the persecution of the Jews (vv. 30b-39). The death of Antiochus is followed by a resurrection (of Israelites), and the advent of the Messianic age (xii. 1-3). The revelation is intended to shew that the course of history is in God's hands, and that though it may bring with it a period of trial for His people, this will be followed, at the appointed time, by its deliverance. It is thus designed particularly for the encouragement of those living in the season of trial, i.e. under the persecution of Antiochus; it is accordingly to be 'sealed up' by Daniel until then (xii. 4).
As is usual in apocalyptic literature (Enoch, Baruch, 2 Esdras, &c.), no names are mentioned; the characters and events referred to being described in veiled language, which sometimes leaves the interpretation uncertain. The Commentary of Jerome is important in this chapter, on account of its preserving notices from writers no longer extant.
2. And now will I declare truth unto thee ] something which will be verified by the event (cf. x. 21).
The four kings of Persia.
stand up] i.e. arise, as viii. 23, and below, vv. 3, 4, 7, 20, 21.
three kings] the three kings following Cyrus (x. 1) are Cambyses (B.C. 529-522), Gaumâta (Pseudo-Smerdis) 522 (for 7 months), and Darius Hystaspis (522-485). Gaumâta, however, might easily be disregarded by the writer: in this case, the third king would be Xerxes (485-465).
in Persia] to, belonging to, Persia: the construction, as Deut. xxiii. 2, 3 [3, 4]; Jer. xiii. 13 (see R.V. marg.); and frequently.
the fourth] the fourth, following the 'three'? or the fourth, including Cyrus (who is reigning at the time, x. 1), i.e. the last of the three'? The latter interpretation is the more probable one: otherwise, why was not 'four kings shall stand up' said? In either case, the fourth king is Xerxes, Gaumâta being counted in the former case but not in the latter. On Xerxes' wealth and strength, see Hdt. vii. 20-99 (the account of the immense armament prepared by him against Greece).
and when he is waxed strong] The same expression (in the Heb.) as 2 Ch. xii. I, xxvi. 1.6.
he shall stir up all (in conflict) with, &c.] he will set in motion (v. 25; Is. xiii. 17; Jer. 1. 9) all the men and forces of his vast empire. The allusion is to the well-known expedition against Greece, to which Xerxes devoted all his treasures and all his energies, and which ended in the disastrous defeat at Salamis, B.C. 480. The description of Greece as a 'realm' or kingdom, is, of course, inexact: Greece, in the age of Xerxes, consisted of a number of independent states, democracies or oligarchies; a Greek 'kingdom' did not arise till the days of Philip and Alexander of Macedon.
3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with 4 great dominion, and do according to his will. 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 pluckt up, even for others besides those.
3. Alexander the Great (B.C. 336-323). The writer, passing over the intermediate Persian rulers, hastens to the period when the course of events begins to affect the Jews, limiting what he has to say respecting the whole of the Persian empire, and the founder of the Greek empire, to a single verse in each case.
a warrior king] The regular meaning of gibbōr (mighty man') in Heb. e.g. 2 Sam. i. 9, xxiii. 8, 1 Ki. i. 8, 10, Is. xlii. 13, &c.
do according to his will carry out whatever he wishes: an expression implying the possession of irresistible and irresponsible power. Cf. Quintus Curtius x. 5, 35, 'Huius [fortunae] beneficio agere videbatur gentibus quidquid placebat.' Comp. on viii. 4; and below vv. 16, 36.
4. The disruption of Alexander's empire, after his death.
when he shall stand up] or, at the time of his standing up. The expression, if correct, will be intended to emphasize the short-lived duration of Alexander's empire (his reign extended from 336 to 323; his conquests in Asia from 334 to 323). But in view of viii. 8, Grätz's emendation, 'when he shall become strong' (IDYY) for 1DVI), is a probable one; the reference will then be to the manner in which Alexander was suddenly struck down in the midst of his successes.
be broken] The word is, no doubt, suggested by viii. 8, where it is used of the great horn,' which symbolizes Alexander.
toward the four winds of heaven] So also viii. 8. Alexander's empire, after his death, was broken up; and in the end the four kingdoms of Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy arose upon its ruins (see on viii. 8).
but (it shall) not (belong to his posterity] Alexander, the conqueror's youthful son by Roxana, and Herakles, an illegitimate son, were both murdered in 310 or 309, the former by Cassander directly, the latter by Polysperchon at Cassander's persuasion (Diod. Sic. xix. 105, xx. 28).
nor (be) according to his dominion, wherewith he ruled] The divided kingdom would not, in any of its parts, retain the power and prestige which Alexander enjoyed. Cf. viii. 22, 'but not with his power.
pluckt up] The figure is that of a tree: it is common in Jeremiah, as i. 10, xviii. 7, xxxi. 28.
and (it shall be) for others besides these] besides Alexander's generals, with allusion to the independent petty dynasties which arose gradually in Cappadocia, Armenia, and other countries, during the century and a half that followed upon the death of Alexander (Jerome, von Leng., Bevan).
And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of 5 his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. And 6
From this point onwards the author confines himself to the kingdoms of the north and of the south, i.e. of the Seleucidae (in Syria), and of the Ptolemies (in Egypt),-these being the two dynasties which during the period that elapsed from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, successively dominated Palestine.
5. Ptolemy I. (Lagi), 305—285, and Seleucus I. (Nicator), 312— 280.
the king of the south] The 'south' (Heb. Negeb), when applied to a particular region, means commonly in the O.T., the southern part of Judah (Gen. xii. 9, R.V. marg.); but in this chapter (as in viii. 9) it denotes regularly Egypt, as opposed to Antioch (or Syria), which is signified by the north.' Ptolemy, son of Lagus, a Macedonian, one of Alexander's most trusted and capable generals, who distinguished himself especially in his Indian campaigns, succeeded, in the partition of Alexander's empire which was arranged immediately after his death, in securing for himself Egypt, which he ruled as satrap from B.C. 322 to 305, when he assumed the title of king. He died B.C. 285.
and one of his princes] or captains (2 Ki. ix. 5, &c.). Seleucus, an officer of Alexander's 'companions' (éraîpo), or distinguished corps of heavy cavalry, received at the convention of Triparadisus, in 321, the wealthy satrapy of Babylonia. Being in 316 taken to account for his administration by Antigonus (who had received in 323 Phrygia, Lycia, and Pamphylia, but increasing in power had presumed to control the provinces as he thought fit), he took refuge with Ptolemy in Egypt. Ptolemy appointed him his general; and he helped him to gain the battle of Gaza in 312. After this he induced Ptolemy to send him with a small force to recover Babylon. He was successful, and regained his satrapy; and the era of the Seleucidae (B.C. 312), by which in later times the Jews reckoned (1 Macc. i. 10), was fixed by the event.
and he (the latter, Seleucus) shall be strong above him1 (the former, Ptolemy), and have dominion: his dominion shall be a great dominion] After the final defeat of Antigonus at Ipsus in 301 (which indeed was principally due to the large forces contributed by Seleucus), the empire ruled by Seleucus, reaching from Phrygia, Cappadocia, and Syria, on the W., almost to the Indus on the E., was much more extensive than that of Ptolemy, and commanded much larger resources. Seleucus is called by Arrian (Exped. Alex. vii. 22) the "greatest," as well as the most "princely-minded," of Alexander's successors; and he deserves, more than any of his brother generals, to be regarded as the heir of Alexander. Antioch was founded by him as his capital, B.C. 300.
1 The reading 'but one of his captains shall be strong above him' (LXX., Theod., Meinh., Kamph., Prince) would improve this verse, without altering the sense.