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He 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).


Antiochus 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 Madman.

Epiphanes 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.

The 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.


The 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:


That 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.


But, 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.

In 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 chapter 5.




At 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).


At 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:


Antiochus 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.




So 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).


These 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.

In verse 30 we see Epiphanes returning in rage against the holey covenant and doing damage.


For 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!


The prophecy says that Epiphanes will show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.


In 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.


Verse 31 speaks of the defiling of the sanctuary. The Classic Commentary draws the picture for us.


With 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.


It 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 time.

Verse 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.”

Verse 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.

The 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.

Verse 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 go.