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KINGS OF THE SOUTH AND NORTH, PART 4
REIGN OF ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES
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 they shall devise plans
against him. Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy
him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. Both these
kings’ hearts shall be bent on
evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for
the end will still be at the appointed time. While returning to his land with great
riches, his heart shall be moved
against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land. (Daniel 11:25–28).
Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus the Great, is now the king of the Seleucids. He
came to the throne by means of craft and murder. He is a man of low morals and
no scruples who does whatever he feels necessary to get what he wants. He has no
loyalty other than to himself. While he thought of himself as “Epiphanes,”
the Illustrious One, behind his back people called him “Epimanes,” the
was able to take control of Egypt for a while; but, even with that victory under
his belt, he realized he would yet be involved in another war with the Ptolemies.
He restarts the was in 470 b.c. by advancing on Egypt with a “great army.”
In Egypt, particularly in the city of Alexandria, Ptolemy Philometer was
renounced as king and his younger brother Ptolemy Euregetes (Physcon) was
accepted in his place.
low character and the deceit of Epiphanes were again used to his advantage. The
prophecy says concerning Ptolemy, the king of the South, “those who eat of the
portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away and
many shall fall down slain.” Adam Clarke confirms the history of this:
. . the intrigues of Antiochus, corrupting the ministers and officers of
Ptolemy, were the cause of all the disasters that fell on the Egyptian king.
They that fed of the portion of his meat—who were in his confidence and pay,
and possessed the secrets of the state, betrayed him; and these were the means
of destroying him and his army, so that he was defeated, as was before observed.
two kings mentioned in verse 27 are Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemy Philometer.
Philometer was actually the nephew of Epiphanes through Cleopatra. Epiphanes
used this relationship to turn Philometer against his brother, Euregetes.
“Both these kings’ hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies
at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the
appointed time.” Who can be trusted? Adam Clarke explains for us:
is, Antiochus, and Ptolemy Philometer, who was nephew to the former, and whose
interest he now pretended to have much at heart, since the Alexandrians had
renounced their allegiance to him, and set his younger brother Euergetes upon
the throne. When Antiochus came to Memphis, he and Philometer had frequent
conferences at the same table; and at these times they spoke lies to each other,
Antiochus professing great friendship to his nephew and concern for his
interests, yet in his heart designing to ruin the kingdom by fomenting the
discords which already subsisted between the two brothers. On the other hand,
Philometer professed much gratitude to his uncle for the interest he took in his
affairs, and laid the blame of the war upon his minister Eulaeus; while at the
same time he spoke lies, determining as soon as possible to accommodate matters
with his brother, and join all their strength against their deceitful uncle.
this result is that this alliance does not prosper as neither succeeded in
accomplishing what he wanted for the prophetic reason, “for the end will still
be at the appointed time;” meaning was would break out again because God had
not yet ordained that it should come to an end.
169 b.c. Epiphanes returned from Egypt marching through Judea. It had been
reported that he had been killed and for this reason there was much rejoicing in
Jerusalem over this news. This enraged Epiphanes and he turned against the Jews,
putting down an insurrection lead by the high priest, Jason. He also took the
opportunity to plunder the Temple, called “the holy covenant” in the
prophecy. This event is recorded in 1 Maccabees 1:20–40 and 2 Maccabees
the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be
like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him;
therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and
do damage. (Daniel 11:29–30a).
the appointed time, two years later, Antiochus launches a new attack against
Egypt. The New King James Version speaks of the ships from Cyprus whereas the
King James Version calls the place Chittim. The Hebrew word for this place is kit-tee.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance gives as the definition of the word:
patrial from an unused name denoting Cyprus (only in the plural); a Kittite
or Cypriote; hence an islander in general, i.e. the Greeks or Romans on
the shores opposite Palestine. Matthew Henry briefly relates the events recorded
in verses 29 and 30:
did not succeed this time as he had done the two previous times. Ships from
Cyprus, the Roman Navy, or an envoy from Rome came to the aid of Egypt.
Ptolemaeus Philometer now was in an alliance with Rome. Antiochus had laid siege
to the city of Alexandria and the Roman Senate ordered him to stop the siege. He
asked for time to consider the matter but Popilius, one of the ambassadors, drew
a circle around him in the sand and told him that he must give him a positive
answer before he could leave the circle. Fearing reprisal from the Romans, he
complied and ordered his army to retreat out of Egypt.
TAKES OUT HIS WRATH ON THE JEWS
he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And
forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress;
then they shall take away the daily sacrifices,
and place there the abomination
of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with
flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great
exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet
for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity
and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but
many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify
them, and make them
white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:30b–35).
verses appear to be the focal point of the entire prophecy. The Jews in Judea
had a long line of misery from the later Ptolemies and the Seleucids. What could
be worse? The prophecy gives the answer to that question: Antiochus Epiphanes.
Let us ask Adam Clarke to lead us through these verses.
verse 30 we see Epiphanes returning in rage against the holey covenant and doing
he vented his rage against the Jews; and he sent his general, Apollonius, with
twenty-two thousand men against Jerusalem, plundered and set fire to the city,
pulled down the houses round about it, slew much of the people, and built a
castle on an eminence that commanded the temple, and slew multitudes of the poor
people who had come up to worship, polluted every place, so that the temple
service was totally abandoned, and all the people fled from the city. And when
he returned to Antioch he published a decree that all should conform to the
Grecian worship; and the Jewish worship was totally abrogated, and the temple
itself consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. How great must the wickedness of the
people have been when God could tolerate this!
prophecy says that Epiphanes will show regard for those who forsake the holy
the transacting of these matters he had intelligence with them that forsake the
holy covenant; with wicked Menelaus the high priest; and the apostate Jews
united with him, who gave from time to time such information to Antiochus as
excited him against Jerusalem the temple, and the people.
31 speaks of the defiling of the sanctuary. The Classic Commentary draws
the picture for us.
his armies camped nearby, Antiochus sent Apollonius (167 b.c.)
with 22,000 soldiers to destroy Jerusalem, just two years after he had captured
it himself. While pillaging and destroying the city, Apollonius killed most of
the inhabitants. The defenders built a fortress near the temple, but they were
soon attacked and killed. The sanctuary was the last place of strength. God's
people protected the area as the spiritual stronghold against invaders.
Apollonius polluted it with altars to idols and heathen sacrifices of swine.
Antiochus dedicated the temple to Jupiter Olympius and decreed that at the pain
of death, all must conform to his brand of Greek religion. He then identified
himself with his god, hoping to make his worship universal. No other world ruler
had interfered with the religious worship of God's covenant people.
was not just the army of Epiphanes that defiled the temple, the apostate Jews
also were involved in its desecration. It was at this time that Epiphanes took
away the daily sacrifices, which were the evening and morning sacrifices
prescribed by the Law of Moses. The abomination of desolation was the statue of
Zeus Epiphanes had set up in the temple. It is interesting to note that Jesus
referred to the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet
standing in the holy place as an indication of the impending destruction of
Jerusalem in 70 a.d. It is shameful to the human race that we can defy so
heinously the God of creation and think we can get away with it. We cannot and
will not get away with it. Remember the flood of Noah’s day; the obliteration
of Israel, the northern kingdom; the Babylonian captivity of Judah, the southern
kingdom; the disaster under Epiphanes; the destruction of Jerusalem at the hand
of Titus; and finally, that Great Day of the Lord soon to come at the end of
32 contrasts the behavior of the corrupt Jews with the Jews who know God. These
last will “be strong and carry out great exploits.” Many chose to endure and
suffer persecution and torture rather than to give up their faith in God. The
suffering of some of those devout souls as be recorded in history. One example
was Eleazar, a principle scribe, who had pig flesh stuffed in his mouth; he spit
it out knowing it would cost him his life. (2 Maccabees 6:19). Another was a
mother who saw her seven sons put to death for staying true to their religion.
(2 Maccabees 7). An unnamed host is honored in Hebrews 11:35, “Women received
their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting
deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
33 tells that some stood and encouraged the others by their example of faith.
Epiphanes had these people tortured and put to death, showing them no mercy
whatsoever. Women were put to death because they had their male babies
circumcised with the bodies of their dead babies hung around their necks while
they themselves were being killed. (1 Maccabees 1:60–61.
atrocities committed by Antiochus Epiphanes incited the Maccabean Revolt. Judas
Maccagees and his followers stood up for their religion and fought back. In
verse 34 we read “when they fall.” The ones that fall are the Seleucids. The
Maccabees initially were successful in stopping the reign of terror imposed on
the Jews by the Seleucids. The prophecy goes on to say there were aided “with
a little help.” It was not the Maccabees that were helped, additional troops
were sent to put down the revolt and in time it was the Romans along with the
Herodians that gained control over Judea.
35 is a summary overview of the events of the revolt. There was a series of
successes and setbacks that eventually lead to the Seleucids retaining control
over Judea at the time. The verse speaks of the time of the end and that it was
still for the appointed time. This may sound like doublespeak, but it actually a
tribute to the sovereignty of God. God allowed Antiochus Epiphanes to rule and
to do the horrible things he did. However, God set a limit on how long he could
to those things. God appointed a time of the end past which Antiochus could not