New Defender's Study Bible Notes
11:2 shew thee the truth. The detailed prophecies in Daniel 11, meticulously fulfilled later over several centuries, constitute one of the chief arguments of liberals against the traditional authorship of Daniel. Critics argue that such intricate fulfillments are not possible. But the Angel of the Lord, who dictated these prophecies to Daniel, called them “the truth.”
11:2 three kings in Persia. The three kings and their reigns that succeeded Cyrus (Daniel was writing in the first year of Cyrus and his deputy king Darius—Daniel 11:1), were: Cambyses (529–522 B.C.), known also in terms of his title Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6); Smerdis (522–521 B.C.), also known by the title Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:7); and Darius Hystapses (521–485 B.C.), mentioned in Ezra 4:24.
11:2 realm of Grecia. The fourth king was Xerxes (486–465 B.C.), notorious for his great army and navy campaigns against Greece, only to suffer bitter defeat. He is probably the same as the Ahasuerus who was king in the days of Esther (Esther 1:1).
11:3 with great dominion. This mighty king is none other than Alexander the Great (334–323 B.C.). After more than another century of Persian power, and Graeco-Persian wars, Alexander decisively defeated the Persians and swiftly conquered the other nations of his day. He was the “he-goat” of the prophecies of Daniel 8:5-7,21.
11:4 four winds of heaven. The rapid division of Alexander’s dominion after his death into four parts is noted again here (see on Daniel 8:8, 22), because these divisions are directly involved in the subsequent history.
11:5 king of the south. Here begins a detailed prophecy of the future conflicts that would develop between two of the divisions of Alexander’s empire—the descendants of Ptolemy I in Egypt and those of Seleucus I in Syria. These are identified as “the king of the south” and “the king of the north,” in view of their geographical relations to the land of Israel. Their conflicts are outlined because of their impact on Israel, located directly between them.
11:5 great dominion. The king of the north, Seleucus, became stronger than Ptolemy. Each line continued through many successors, only the more important of which are enumerated in the prophecy. Thus, a number of generations are ignored, but the major developments and trends are clearly outlined.
11:6 king’s daughter. This reference was fulfilled in Bernice, daughter of Ptolemy II (Ptolemy Philadelphus), who was married to Antiochus Theos, third king of Syria. Many intrigues, including many assassinations and many battles, marked the ensuing histories.
11:7 branch of her roots. The brother of Bernice, Ptolemy Energetus, the successor of Ptolemy Philadelphus, invaded and sacked Syria in revenge for the assassination of Bernice.
11:10 his sons. These are sons of the northern king, including the one who would soon become known as Antiochus the Great, king of Syria. He passed through Israel to get to Egypt.
11:11 king of the south. Ptolemy Philopater gathered his own army and defeated the approaching Syrians.
11:15 king of the north. Antiochus the Great returned with a larger army. In order to reach Egypt, he had to go through Israel, which was then under Egyptian control.
11:16 glorious land. The “glorious land” is Israel (see also Daniel 11:41), which was repeatedly overrun and devastated by the Egyptian and Syrian armies in their ongoing wars.
11:17 daughter of women. The “daughter of women” was the first Cleopatra, then a child and still under the care of her mother and a nurse. She was the daughter of Antiochus, and he espoused her to the young Ptolemy Epiphanes, son of the Egyptian king, who had enlisted the Romans to help him in opposing Antiochus. When the wedding was eventually consummated, however, Cleopatra sided with her husband against her father.
11:18 a prince. Scipio Asiaticus, leader of the Roman army in Asia Minor, defeated the large naval forces brought against him by Antiochus. The latter was later slain in trying to raise the tribute laid on him by the Romans.
11:21 vile person. The “vile person” was Antiochus Epiphanes, the second son of Antiochus the Great, and he was indeed one of the most morally degraded of men. He usurped the Syrian throne from his brother’s son by trickery (his brother, Seleucus Philopater, had been assassinated while trying to “raise taxes”—note Daniel 11:20—to pay the tribute the Romans had imposed on his father).
11:29 come toward the south. Antiochus Epiphanes had carried out one successful invasion and plundering of Egypt (Daniel 11:25), and had also plundered Israel in the process. This second foray into Egypt, however, would be repelled by the Romans.
11:31 abomination that maketh desolate. Antiochus Epiphanes here becomes a type of the final Antichrist (compare Matthew 24:15, where Christ emphasized that the prototypical “abomination of desolation” was still to come). It is believed that Epiphanes, aided by traitorous Jews, sacrificed a sow on the altar and erected a statue of Zeus in the temple at Jerusalem. The motive behind this was his ambition to unify the great empire left him by his father (extending all the way to India) by compelling all the people to adopt the Graeco/Roman system of culture and pantheistic religion.
11:32 do know their God. These blasphemous acts of Antiochus Epiphanes stirred the faithful Jews to revolt. Led by an aged priest, Mattathias, and his sons—especially Judas—a successful war of independence was waged against Antiochus, ending in 165 B.C., a date still commemorated annually in the Jewish feast of Hanukkah. These men became known as the Maccabees (a word meaning “hammer”) and their descendants ruled Israel until it was conquered by the Romans in 65 B.C.
11:33 many days. Just as in the seventy weeks prophecy, in which a very long time gap was implied in the little phrase, “and unto the end” (Daniel 9:26), so here a similar gap is indicated by the phrase “many days.” In the first a long period of wars and desolations was predicted; here, a long period was foretold in which the Jews would “fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil.” The whole period of the church-age is passed over, because the subject of the prophecy is centered only upon God’s dealings with the nation of Israel in relation to the other nations.
11:35 time of the end. The prophecies of chapter 11 up to this point in the chapter have all been fulfilled, in much more specific detail than covered in these footnotes, constituting a most remarkable testimony to supernatural inspiration of the Scriptures. Now, however, the prophetic vision and message leap over the centuries to “the time of the end,” and the rest of Daniel focuses once again on the last days.
11:36 the king. This king, appearing at the time of the end, is clearly that “king of fierce countenance” (Daniel 8:23) of whom Daniel had learned in a vision several years earlier. He is also “the prince that shall come” of whom Gabriel had prophesied that same year (Daniel 9:1,26; 11:1).
11:36 against the God of gods. Claiming to be the greatest of all men, representing the highest attainment of the cosmic evolutionary process, and energized by Satan himself, this man, the final Antichrist, will briefly attain world dominion, but only until God’s “indignation be accomplished”—that is the “day of God’s wrath,” the great tribulation, the seventieth week of the prophetic calendar.
11:37 God of his fathers. This phrase, “the God of his fathers,” would indicate that the Antichrist would come from a national heritage that once was Christian. Daniel 8:9 indicated, also, that he would come from one of the four divisions of the Greek empire; and Daniel 9:26, that he would be from one of the nations that developed out of the Roman Empire. These nations are all part of “Christendom.”
11:38 God of forces. Worship of the “god of forces” can only refer to some form of evolutionary pantheism, and any such system must ultimately lead to Satanism. Satan will give this king his power (Revelation 13:2), enabling him to require that all men worship him as the great man-god of the world.
11:40 king of the south. The king of whom these verses speak is obviously neither “the king of the south” nor “the king of the north,” for both will fight him. From Daniel 11:4-32, the king of the south had been the Egyptian empire and the king of the north the Syrian empire, but both of these will have been reduced to relatively minor kingdoms by the time of the end (see notes on Ezekiel 29:14-16; 38:1-23; and Psalm 83). Therefore, these terms as used here—especially “the king of the north”—must evidently refer to future alliances of some kind. Whoever they are, they will soon be defeated, giving the Satanic king full control of all their “countries.”
11:41 glorious land. Israel is the “glorious land;” it will probably be at this time that the evil king will break his covenant with Israel, making his “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, “stand in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15).
11:41 Ammon. Edom, Moab, and Ammon no longer exist as nations, but their former regions, now largely mountainous desert wilderness, may well serve as the refuge for the faithful Jews at this time (Revelation 12:6, 14-16).
11:43 precious things of Egypt. The control of the king over the riches of Egypt confirms that, in the context of these end-times, the “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40) involves more than Egypt.
11:43 Ethiopians. Libya and Ethiopia seem to be associated with Egypt during this climactic seven-year period of the end-times. This may suggest that other African and Moslem nations also associated together comprise “the king of the south” along with Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. The latter two were affiliated with the Gog-Russian confederacy (Ezekiel 38) which will have been recently decimated in its attempted invasion of Israel. Evidently the remnants of their armies, combined with Egypt and other Muslims, will unite to oppose the Beast-king, possibly because of his seven-year treaty with Israel. Nevertheless, they will be defeated.
11:44 out of the east. Apparently, the “king of the east” and the “king of the north” represent the latter-day developments in the regions that once were the eastern and northern divisions of the empire of Alexander the Great. Thus, the “king of the north” would probably involve at this future date Turkey and the other northern remnants of Gog’s confederacy, as well as Syria and Iraq. The “kings of the east” probably includes Iran, as well as India, China and Japan (note also Revelation 16:12). The “west” is not mentioned in these verses because probably the western nations are where the fierce king has first had his base of power and operations.
11:45 holy mountain. It seems that, at this time, the Beast, having defeated the kings of the south, east and north, will break his treaty with the Jews, set up his image in the temple at Jerusalem and (probably) his capital at rebuilt Babylon (see notes on Revelation 17, 18; Zechariah 5:5-11; etc.), ruling essentially the whole world for the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week (note Revelation 13:5).