Alexander is dead and now we have four generals struggling for power. At the end of this power struggle, two will remain, but one seems to take central focus as it integrates the Assyrian empires, and has interactions with the Roman empire, and battles with the South - the Egyptian/Ptolemaic empire.
The four generals: Lysimachus; Cassander; Ptolemy Lagidae; Seleucus I.
Daniel 11:5 AMPC+ Then the king of the South (Egypt) shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he is and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
One of the most powerful of those monarchies, if not “the” most powerful, was Egypt.
- the king of the South (Egypt) shall be strong. - This was Ptolemy l
- “but one of his princes shall be stronger than he is and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.”Albert Barnes commentary indicates: “The meaning of this passage is, that there would be “one of his princes,” that is, of the princes of Alexander, who would be more mighty than the one who obtained Egypt, or the south, and that he would have a more extended dominion. The reference is, doubtless, to Seleucus Nicator, or the conqueror. In the division of the empire, he obtained Syria, Babylonia, Media, Susiana, Armenia, a part of Cappadocia, and Cilicia, and his kingdom stretched from the Hellespont to the Indus.”
- This is Seleucus Nicator, also known as, the king of the north.
The league between Egypt, the south, and Syria, the north, through the marriage of Bernice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus, to Antiochus Theos, the third king of Syria.
Verse 7: A branch of her roots; a brother, Ptolemy Euergetes.
Daniel 11:6,7 AMPC+ At the end of some years they [the king of the North, Syria, and the king of the South, Egypt] shall make an alliance; the daughter of the king of the South shall come to the king of the North to make [a just and peaceful marriage] agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her might, neither shall he and his might endure. She shall be handed over with her attendants, her child, and him who strengthened her in those times. (7) But out of a branch of the [same ancestral] roots as hers shall one [her brother] stand up in his place or office, who shall come against the [Syrian] army and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the North and shall deal against them and shall prevail.
- “At the end of some years they [the king of the North, Syria, and the king of the South, Egypt] shall make an alliance;”This was done through marriage.
- “the daughter of the king of the South shall come to the king of the North to make [a just and peaceful marriage] agreement”“These prophecies seem to have been fulfilled many years later in the Seleucid wars between Egypt and Syria. In 252 B.C., Ptolemy II of Egypt ("the south") gave his daughter Berenice in marriage to Antiochus II of Syria ("the north") to finalize a peace treaty between their two lands.
- “but she shall not retain the power of her might, neither shall he and his might endure”But Berenice was murdered in Antioch by Antiochus II's former wife, Laodice.
- “She shall be handed over with her attendants, her child, and him who strengthened her in those times”Berenice's brother, Ptolemy III, ascended the Egyptian throne and declared war against the Seleucids to avenge his sister's murder.” Life Application Study Bible
- “But out of a branch of the [same ancestral] roots as hers shall one [her brother] stand up in his place or office, who shall come against the [Syrian] army and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the North and shall deal against them and shall prevail.”
Daniel 11:8 AMPC+ And also he (Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221)) shall carry off to Egypt their [Syria's] gods with their molten images and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold, and he shall refrain for some years from [waging war against] the king of the North.
Ptolemy III ascended the Egyptian throne and declared war against the Seleucids to avenge his sister's murder.
Pay attention to the phrase: “And also he shall carry off to Egypt their [Syria's] gods with their molten images” Both the north and the south had their select gods. Soon we will see Antiochus Epiphanes substituting other gods from Rome and Greece.
Why is this a problem; I thought Alexander was Greek? The problem is that all of the northern empires up to Antiochus IV were distinctly Syrian. Look at a map of this time period and you will see territories covering from Asia Minor to the furthest reaches of Babylon and South to Palestine.
Daniel 11:9 AMPC+ And he [the king of Syria -Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226)] shall come into the kingdom of the king of the South but shall return to his own land.
- Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226). Laodice's son, Seleucus II, emerged the beneficiary of all of the treachery and intrigue of his mother. In 243 he attempted to gain control of southern Syria and Palestine. Not only was he unsuccessful, but the momentum turned against him and he ended up losing territory. IVPBBC
A question: What is Israel doing while all this is going on? Hanging by a thread.
The defeat of Antiochus the Great by Ptolemy lll of Egypt (the south.)
Daniel 11:10 AMPC+ But his sons shall be stirred up and shall prepare for war and shall assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall come on and overflow and pass through and again shall make war even to the fortress [of the king of the South].
- Seleucus III (226-223). For the last fifteen years of his reign, Seleucus II was engaged in an ongoing struggle with his brother, Antiochus Hierax. Both died about the same time, and Seleucus III came to the throne. Verse ten telescopes the events of the next ten years. Seleucus III was killed in a campaign against Pergamum in Asia Minor. He was succeeded by his brother, Antiochus III, who began mustering troops for the Fourth Syrian War (221-217) against Ptolemy IV. IVPBBC
- Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-203). For most of the years of the Fourth Syrian War, Ptolemy IV had little success militarily against Antiochus (lll) the Great and only forestalled his progress south through repeated diplomatic initiatives. Many of Antiochus's successes were carried out with the help of traitors rather than through military power or genius. In fact, his lackadaisical tactics allowed Ptolemy to gather, train and field a significant armed force by 217. IVPBBC
Antiochus the Great (III)(Syria/the north), renews the war after fourteen years and defeats Ptolemy V (Egypt/the south.)
Daniel 11:11-13 AMPC+ And the king of the South (Egypt) shall be moved with anger and shall come forth and fight with the king of the North (Syria); and he [the Syrian king] shall set forth a great multitude, but the multitude shall be given into his [the Egyptian king's] hand. 12) When the multitude is taken and carried away, the heart and mind [of the Egyptian king] shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 13) For the king of the North shall raise a multitude greater than [he had] before, and after some years shall certainly return, coming with a great army and much substance and equipment.
- Fourth and Fifth Syrian Wars. In 217 Ptolemy IV engaged Antiochus III at the Battle of Raphia for what would turn out to be the climactic battle of the Fourth Syrian War. Raphia was a traditional dividing line between Palestine and Egypt, about twenty miles southwest of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast. Antiochus claimed an army of seventy thousand, but even with the superior size of his armies, he was beaten badly by the Egyptians. This victory restored Syro-Palestine to the control of the Ptolemies. This status was maintained until the death of Ptolemy IV in 204 (13 years). The suspicious circumstances of the death of Ptolemy IV (still in his thirties) brought his six-year-old son, Ptolemy V Epiphanes (204-180), to the throne of Egypt. Antiochus took the opportunity of conflict over who was in charge to initiate the Fifth Syrian War (202-200), allied with Philip V of Macedon. IVPBBC
Daniel 11:14-16 NIV "In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15) Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. 16) The invader [Antiochus the Great] will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.
- He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.The beautiful land = Jerusalem.
- Antiochus III's occupation of Palestine. The Battle of Gaza in 201 gained Antiochus temporary control of Palestine, but he was pushed back again by Egyptian forces under the command of Scopas. In the next year, however, at the Battle of Panion (at one of the sources of the Jordan; the New Testament Caesarea Philippi, modern Banias), Antiochus defeated the Egyptians and took control of Palestine from them for the last time. At the same time, the Romans were getting a foothold in Greece in the Second Macedonian War. IVPBBC
At this point in time we have a member of the Seleucid family Antiochus III / aka Antiochus the Great, a Syrian (hold that idea loosely), standing at the Southern boundary of the Seleucid empire, what they are calling Palestine. We know it as Jerusalem.
Daniel 11:14 speaks of violent men. The book of 3 Maccabees records a visit of Ptolemy IV to Jerusalem after the Battle of Raphia in which he was treated very badly when he wished to enter the temple. There is a question concerning the historicity of the account. There were pro-Seleucid (led by Onias II, the high priest) and pro- Ptolemaic factions (from the powerful Tobiad family, competitors for the office of high priest) within Judea at this period. Sources do not provide enough information to determine which party might be alluded to in this verse.
- Violent men. - The Hebrew word is per-eets' and means violent, that is, a tyrant: - destroyer, ravenous, robber.Jeremiah 7:11 NASB "Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," declares the LORD.
Here the word per-eets' was translated as robber.Ezekiel 7:20-22 NASB 'They transformed the beauty of His ornaments into pride, and they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things with it; therefore I will make it an abhorrent thing to them. 21) 'I will give it into the hands of the foreigners as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they will profane it. 22) 'I will also turn My face from them, and they will profane My secret place; then robbers will enter and profane it.
Once again the word per-eets' was translated as robber instead of violent
- “He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.”
The Hebrew word ‛āmaḏ carries a variety of meanings with a range emotions; such as: abide (behind), appoint, arise, cease, confirm, continue, dwell, be employed, endure, establish.
The NASB states that he has destruction in his hand. I suppose that is another way of saying Jerusalem was at his mercy. The word for destruction is kâlâh and seems to be an adversarial word since completion; can be the absolute opposite of destruction.
Daniel 11:15 NASB "Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand.
Antiochus III's occupation of Palestine. The Battle of Gaza in 201 gained Antiochus temporary control of Palestine, but in the next year at the Battle of Panion Antiochus defeated the Egyptians and took control of Palestine from them for the last time.
11:14 speaks of violent men and I believe that theme holds true when we consider, not only Antiochus III but the Antichrist persona that is coming.
While the book of 3 Maccabees records a visit of Ptolemy IV to Jerusalem after the Battle of Raphia in which he was treated very badly when he wished to enter the temple. This is nothing in comparison to what we see in scripture.
Daniel 11:16 NASB "But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.
As you saw in verse fifteen, there will be no strength to make a stand.
- “ But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him;”Antiochus III – also known as Antiochus the Great, is a forerunner and interchangeable with the Antichrist that is coming.
- “he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.”The Revised Version translates the verse this way, “and he shall stand in the glorious land, and in his hand shall be destruction.”This is indicative of what will happen to Israel at the hand of Antichrist.