The death of King Antiochus IV (Dan 11:44-11:45)

“But reports from the east,

Reports from the north,

Shall alarm him.

He shall go out

With great fury

To bring ruin,

To bring complete destruction

To many.

He shall pitch

His palatial tents

Between the sea and

The beautiful holy mountain.

Yet he shall come

To his end,

With no one

To help him.”

It is not clear where King Antiochus IV died. However, in 2 Maccabees, chapter 9, there was a vivid description of the illness that led to his death. Here it takes place between the coast and the holy mountain of Jerusalem. Apparently, this king had problems in the east and north. Thus, he set out to ruin and destroy them. Then he pitched his palatial tent before he died. 1 Maccabees, chapter 6, and 2 Maccabees, chapter 9, have this dreadful king have a deathbed conversion to the God of Israel. Here, that is not mentioned.

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The disputes and the resistance (Dan 11:32-11:35)

“He shall seduce,

With flattery,

Those who violate

The covenant.

But the people

Who are loyal

To their God

Shall stand firm.

They shall take action.

The wise among the people

Shall give understanding

To many.

For some days,

However,

They shall fall

By the sword,

By the flame.

They shall suffer

Captivity,

As well as plunder.

When they fall victim,

They shall receive

A little help.

Many shall join

Them insincerely.

Some of the wise

Shall fall.

Thus,

They may be

Refined,

Purified,

Cleansed,

Until the time

Of the end.

There is still an interval

Until the time appointed.

As indicated in 1 Maccabees, chapter 2, King Antiochus IV seduced some of the Hellenizing Judeans to abandon the covenant. However, there were many who remained loyal to their God. They stood firm and sided with the wise ones of Jerusalem. However, they also fell by the sword and the flames. They suffered captivity and plunder, but they received a little help. Some of these people were insincere. Even some of the wise ones fell, so that they could be refined, purified, and cleansed until the end times. Nevertheless, there was going to be an interval until this appointed time came.

The second campaign against Egypt (Dan 11:29-11:31)

“At the time appointed,

He shall return.

He shall come

Into the south.

But this time,

It shall not be

As it was before.

The ships of Kittim

Shall come against him.

He shall lose heart.

He shall withdraw.

He shall be enraged.

He shall take action

Against the holy covenant.

He shall turn back.

He shall give heed

To those who forsake

The holy covenant.

Forces sent by him

Shall occupy the temple.

They shall profane

The temple.

They shall occupy

The fortress.

They shall abolish

The regular burnt offering.

They shall set up

The abominations

That make it desolate.”

The second time that King Antiochus IV attacked Egypt, he was not as successful as the first time. The ships of Kittim, or the ships of the Romans, came against him. Kittim was the name for Cyprus and thus applied to all western troops. Once again, on his way home, in 167 BCE, he attacked Jerusalem. This time, there was a clear explanation of what he did. He turned against the people of the covenant. He even helped those who had forsaken the covenant, taking sides in a dispute there as explained in 2 Maccabees, chapters 3 and 4. He occupied the Temple and the fortress citadel in Jerusalem. He even profaned the Temple by abolishing the regular burnt offerings. These invaders even set up abominations in the Temple to make it a desolation.

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 new leader (Dan 11:19-11:20)

“Then he shall turn back

Toward the fortresses

Of his own land.

But he shall stumble.

He shall fall.

He shall not be found.

Then shall arise

In his place,

One who shall send

An official

For the glory

Of the kingdom.

But within a few days,

He shall be broken,

But not in anger,

Nor in battle.”

King Antiochus III turned back to Syria. However, he stumbled and fell. In other words, he died. Then, his son, Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE), took over as king of Syria and Babylon. However, he sent one of his officials, Heliodorus, to take money from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. However, this official was not successful. He died, not in anger or battle, but was a broken man. Actually, Heliodorus assassinated King Seleucus IV in 175 BCE.

Darius the Mede (Dan 11:1-11:1)

“As for me,

In the first year

Of Darius the Mede,

I stood up

To support him,

To strengthen him.”

Once again, there is a reference to Darius the Mede, also mentioned in chapter 9. As far as we can tell, there was no such person. Somehow, he comes between the Babylonian King Belshazzar and the Persian Cyrus the Great. Perhaps, he was the first Persian general who entered Babylon after its fall in 539 BCE, but there are no indications of that. He appears to be a literary fiction, perhaps based on the later Persian King Darius I, the 3rd ruler after Cyrus, from 522-486 BCE, who acted very favorably towards the returning Jews to Jerusalem. This time it is the angel Gabriel referring to how he helped Darius the Mede in his first year as the ruler, by supporting and strengthening him.

The anointed one was cut off (Dan 9:26-9:27)

“After the sixty-two weeks,

An anointed one

Shall be cut off.

He shall have nothing.

The troops

Of the prince,

Who is to come,

Shall destroy

The city.

He shall destroy

The sanctuary.

Its end shall come

With a flood.

To the end,

There shall be war.

Desolations are decreed.

He shall make

A strong covenant

With many

For one week.

For half

Of the week,

He shall make

Sacrifices cease.

He shall make

Offerings cease.

In their places,

There shall be an abomination

That desolates,

Until the decreed end

Is poured out

On the desolator.”

Well, that was a simple explanation by Gabriel! After 62 weeks, the anointed one would be cut off. In fact, there is some agreement that this anointed one was the high priest Onias III, who was deposed in 175 BCE. The prince coming to destroy him was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary. It is unclear what the flood was about. Obviously, there was a war and the Maccabees uprising. The covenant for one week might mean 7 years, and ½ a week might mean 3 ½ years, the time when the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple. Instead, they had the terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols. Finally, this all came to an end.