I will be quoting Scripture, Rawlinson’s History and a few quotes from “The Middle East in Prophecy.” All other comments are my own.
Daniel 11 gives us the history from the four divisions of Alexander’s empire, particularly the history of the two main divisions of Syria-Babylon and Egypt, until Antiochus Epiphanes a type of the final king of the north; and then jumps from Antiochus to the end time kings of the North and South.
God confirms the rule of Darius the Mede through his angel Gabriel.
This makes it clear that there are spiritual forces working behind the scenes in the nations. God allowing Satan general rule, but within the limits set by God; and when God wants something, Satan always opposes God and God’s will is forced on Satan by God’s agents.
Daniel 11:1 Also I [Gabriel Daniel 10] in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
The last or fourth strong king over the Medo Persian empire was Xerxes, who was the richest of all and stirred up war with Greece.
11:2 And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth [the present king (Darius) plus three more; making four] shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
King Philip of Macedon made plans to unite the Greek kingdoms under himself and then to attack the Medo-Persian empire. Philip died suddenly and his son Alexander carried out his father’s plans of conquest, becoming the first king of a united Greece and defeating the Medo-Persian empire; taking over the Babylonian system as the brass of Daniel 2 and the leopard of Daniel 7.
11:3 And a mighty king [Alexander the Great] shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
Alexander himself died suddenly in 323 BC and after many years of infighting the kingdom was finally divided into four parts in about 280 B.C.
The prophecy is now concerned with the kings of Egypt / Judea the king of the south and Babylon / Syria the kings of the north; beginning with Antiochus the son of Seleucus Nicator [who became king about 280 or 279 B.C.] as king of Babylon-Syria [king of the north] and Ptolemy as king of Egypt-Palestine [king of the south].
11:4 And when he [Alexander] shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds [after much fighting was divided into four parts] 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.
Ptolemy I, called Soter, king of Egypt-Palestine became strong and powerful, sending one of his generals Seleucus Nicator to seize control over the northern kingdom of Syria-Babylon.
After successfully seizing Babylon Seleucus fell out with Ptolemy and declared himself the king of an independent Syria-Babylon often called Seleucid Syria by historians.
11:5 And the king of the south [Egypt/Palestine] shall be strong, and one of his princes [Seleucus Nicator would rise in power above the king of the south]; and he shall be strong above him, and have [a] dominion; his dominion [Seleucid Syria the kingdom of the north] shall be a great dominion.
After some 50 years Antiochus II of Syria-Babylon, called Theos. His wife was named Laodice. Rawlinson’s Ancient History, page 251, “Her influence … engaged him in a war with Ptolemy Philadelphus [king of the south; Egypt/Judea], B.C. 260, which is terminated, B.C. 252, by a marriage between Antiochus and Bernice, Ptolemy’s daughter.”
The prophecy says “he that begat her” shall be given up. Also that she shall not retain the power of the arm, neither shall the king of the north, whom she married, stand. All three are to come to their end. This came to pass.
Rawlinson’s History, pages 251 and 252: “On the death of Philadelphus II of Egypt [he that begat her], B.C. 247, Antiochus [Syria] repudiated Bernice, and took back his former wife, Laodice, who, however, doubtful of his constancy, murdered him to secure the throne for her son Seleucus (II) B.C. 246 … Bernice … had been put to death by Laodice.”
11:6 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.
“Out of a branch,” or “shoot,” of her roots. Her parents were her roots. Hence, this must be her brother, who next should occupy the throne of king of the south and fulfill this prophecy. Now listen to this accurate fulfillment, quoted word for word from the same page of Rawlinson’s work (p. 252):
“Ptolemy Euergetes [the III, eldest son of Philadelphus (p. 272) and therefore Bernice’s brother, Seleucus II; a branch of her roots] invaded Syria, B.C. 245, to avenge the murder of his sister, Bernice … . In the war which followed, he carried everything before him.”
11:7 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:
After a time Egypt shall rise up against the king of the north
11:8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt [the king of the South] 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.
Ptolemy III did seize the fortress of Syria, Seleucia, the port of Antioch, capital of the kingdom. Then he carried back to Egypt immense booty and 2,500 molten images and idolatrous vessels which, in 526 B.C. Cambyses had carried away from Egypt. He continued to rule until 222 B.C., while the king of the north, Seleucus II, died in 226 B.C.
11:9 So the king of the south [Egypt-Palestine] shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
When Seleucus II died, his two sons took over the kingdom of the north; first Seleucus III, 226-223 B.C., who ruled only three years, and then his brother Antiochus III, called “the Great,” 223-187 B.C. Both of these two sons of Seleucus II assembled immense forces to war against Egypt, avenge their father, and recover their port and fortress, Seleucia.
11:10 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.
Antiochus the Great, after 27 years, recovered his fortress, Seleucia, and he also conquered the territory of Syria, as far as Gaza, including Judea. But the young Egyptian king, now Ptolemy IV (Philopater), was roused, and with an army of 20,000 inflicted severe defeat on Antiochus the Great; and fulfilling verse 12, he killed tens of thousands and again annexed Judea to Egypt. But he was not strengthened, for he made a rash and speedy peace with Antiochus, and returned to dissipation [drunkenness and chambering] , throwing away the fruits of victory.
11:11 And the king of the south [Egypt-Palestine] shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north [Syria-Babylon]: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
11:12 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.
12 years later, in 205 B.C., Ptolemy Philopator the king of the south [Egypt-Palestine] died, leaving his throne to an infant son, Ptolemy Epiphanes. Then Antiochus king of the north assembled a greater army, and won great victories.
He then made a treaty allying Philip of Macedonia with him, and others, against Egypt, and they wrested Phoenicia and southern Syria from the king of the south. In this they were assisted by some of the Jews.
The Hellenized Jews sought to aid the king of the north in order to take over from the Mosaic Jews ruling Palestine from Ezra’s time. There was a continual rivalry between the Mosaic Jews from Ezra, with the Hellenized Jews who originated with the spread of Greek influence by Alexander.
11:13 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.
11:14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people [the Hellenized branch of Judaism, who were the roots of present day Rabbinic Judaism; tried to establish an independent kingdom at that time and failed] shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
11:15 So the king of the north [Syria-Babylon] shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south [Egypt-Palestine] shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
Those who fiought against this king of the north would be defeated and forced to do the will of the king of the north. “the glorious land,” of course, refers to Judea, the Holy Land.
Antiochus the Great [king of the north] besieged and took Sidon [Lebanon] from Egypt, ruined the interests of Egypt in Judea at the Battle of Mount Panium, 198 B.C., and then Antiochus took possession of Judea.
11:16 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.
The one he marries will not stand on his side. In 198 B.C., Antiochus arranged a marriage between his daughter, Cleopatra (not the Cleopatra of 31 B.C. in Egypt) and young Ptolemy Epiphanes, king of the south, by which he hoped subtly to gain complete possession of Egypt; but the plan failed.
Rawlinson, page 254, “Coele-Syria and Palestine promised as a dowry, but not delivered.” Cleopatra did not truly stand on the side of Antiochus, for it was only a trick to gain possession of Egypt.
11:17 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 [the king of the south shall give] shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
Antiochus then turned his attention in another direction and tried to conquer, 197 to 196 B.C., the islands and coasts of Asia Minor. But the Roman general, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, utterly defeated him at the Battle of Magnesia, 190 B.C.
11:18 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.
Antiochus next turned his attention to his own land, Seleucid Syria, But, attempting to plunder the temple of Belus, in Elymais, he was killed, 187 B.C.
11:19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
Seleucus IV Philopator (187-176), his son, in an effort to raise money, sent a tax collector, Heliodorus, through Judea. But he reigned only 11 years, when Heliodorus poisoned him.
11:20 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.
The king of the north left no heir. But his brother, a younger son of Antiochus the Great, named Epiphanes (Antiochus IV), a contemptible reprobate, came by surprise and through flattery took the kingdom. To his aid came his assistant, Eumenes. Rawlinson says, page 255, “Antiochus [Epiphanes], assisted by Eumenes, drives out Heliodorus, and obtains the throne, B.C. 176. He astonishes his subjects by an affectation of Roman manners” and “good-natured profuseness [flattery].”
11:21 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.
Next: Antiochus Epiphanes a type of the final king of the north.