The Egyptian campaign (Dan 11:25-11:28)

“He shall stir up

His power,

His determination,

Against the king of the south,

With a great army.

The king of the south

Shall wage war

With a much greater,

Stronger army.

But he shall not stand.

Plots shall be devised

Against him,

By those who eat

Of the royal rations.

They shall break him.

His army shall be swept away.

Many shall fall slain.

The two kings,

Their minds bent

On evil,

Shall sit

At one table.

They shall exchange lies.

But it shall not succeed.

There remains an end

At the time appointed.

He shall return

To his land

With great wealth.

But his heart shall be set

Against the holy covenant.

He shall work his will.

He shall return

To his own land.

King Antiochus IV determined to fight against the king of the south, in Egypt with a great army around 169 BCE. However, the king of the south, King Ptolemy VI (186-145 BCE), had a better stronger army. Nevertheless, King Antiochus IV prevailed, because there was some failure among the troops of King Ptolemy VI, as plots were devised by those who ate his royal rations. Many were killed. They seem to have come to some sort of agreement, but each was too devious to make it work. King Antiochus IV returned with great wealth. He apparently stopped off in Jerusalem and sacked it in 169 BCE, since his heart was against the holy covenant. There he worked his will before he returned to his own land.

The attack of the south (Dan 11:11-11:13)

“Then the king of the south,

Moved with rage,

Shall go out.

He shall do battle

Against

The king of the north.

He mustered

A great multitude,

That was defeated

By his enemy.

When the multitude

Has been carried off,

His heart shall be exalted.

He shall overthrow

Tens of thousands.

But he shall not prevail.

The king of the north

Shall again raise a multitude,

Larger than the former.

After some years,

He shall advance

With a great army,

With abundant supplies.”

The king of the south was King Ptolemy IV (221-204 BCE). He had a number of battles with the northern King Antiochus III (222-187 BCE). King Ptolemy IV won at Raphia (217 BCE), when he took over the Palestine Judean area. However, he lost other battles. The northern King Antiochus III enlarged his empire on all sides. later. He gathered together a great army with a lot of supplies, as he also made a pact with Philip V of Macedonia (221-179 BCE).

The confrontation (Isa 63:1-63:1)

“Who is this that comes from Edom?

Who comes from Bozrah

In garments stained in crimson?

Who is this so splendidly robed?

Who is marching in his great might?

‘It is I!

I announce vindication!

I am mighty to save!’”

The sentinel or the prophet is standing on the wall or guarding the city. Thus he wants to know who was coming from Edom and its capital city of Bozrah, that was south of Judah on the other side of the Jordan River. Here we have an unusual dialog. The people from Edom were wearing splendid stained crimson robes. They were marching with a great army. After these questions, there is a response. The response is in the first personal singular as if it is Yahweh himself announcing and seeking vindication, while trying to save his people.

Warning for the Philistines (Isa 14:28-14:31)

“In the year that King Ahaz died

This oracle came.

‘Do not rejoice!

All you Philistines!

The rod that struck you is broken.

From the snake’s root

Will come forth an adder.

Its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.

The firstborn of the poor will graze.

The needy will lie down in safety.

But I will make your root

Die of famine.

Your remnant,

I will kill.

Wail!

O gate!

Cry!

O city!

Melt in fear!

O Philistia!

All of you!

Smoke comes out of the north.

There is no straggler in his ranks.’”

Next Isaiah turned to the coastal Philistines. This oracle has a specific time frame, the year that King Ahaz died, which would have been about 716 BCE. The Philistines had been a common enemy of the Israelites, especially during the time of King Saul and King David in 1 Samuel and I Chronicles. The Philistine southwestern coastal 5 cities had been captured by the Assyrians. Thus with the destruction of Assyria, they should be free. However, another foe from the north would come to attack them. Yahweh reminded them that a small adder snake can come from the fallen snake like a fiery flying serpent. Although it will seem okay because there will be food to eat and the needy will be safe, Yahweh was going to send them a famine to kill those left over. The Philistines would cry and wail. They would melt with fear because a great army from the north was coming. The Philistines actually seemed to disappear after the Assyrian takeover.

King Antiochus V and Lysias and their army (2 Macc 13:1-13:2)

“In the one hundred and forty-ninth year, word came to Judas Maccabeus and his men that King Antiochus Eupator was coming with a great army against Judea. With him was Lysias, his guardian, who had charge of the government. Each of them had a Greek force of one hundred ten thousand infantry, five thousand three hundred cavalry, twenty-two elephants, and three hundred chariots armed with scythes.”

This is much the same as I Maccabees, chapter 6. In 162 BCE, King Antiochus V with his guardian Lysias was going to attack Judea. Clearly, the indication that the king is young is here since Lysias is called his guardian in charge of the government, not just a general. Here it says that each of them, the king and Lysias, had 110,000 infantry, 5,300 cavalry, and 22 elephants. While in 1 Maccabees, there were only 100,000 foot soldiers, but 20,000 cavalry, and 32 elephants. Obviously, these 2 different authors were using slightly different sources. Here there is the addition of the 300 chariots that had big blades like scythes that had been used since Persian times to cut down the foot soldiers. This was a bigger more dangerous force here.