The great Greek king (Dan 11:3-11:4)

“Then a warrior king

Shall arise.

He shall rule

With great dominion.

He shall take action

As he pleases.

While still rising

In power,

His kingdom

Shall be broken.

It shall be divided

Toward the four winds of heaven,

But not to his posterity,

Nor according to the dominion

With which he ruled.

His kingdom

Shall be uprooted.

It shall go to others

Besides these.”

This warrior king was Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), who had great power. He died while still young, only 32 years old. When he died, his great kingdom was divided into 4, like the 4 winds of heaven. Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy became the 4 rulers, none of whom were his children.

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Gabriel explains the vision (Dan 8:19-8:22)

“Gabriel said.

‘Listen!

I will tell you

What will take place later

In the period

Of wrath!

It refers

To the appointed time

Of the end.

As for the ram

That you saw

With the two horns,

These are the kings

Of Media and Persia.

The male goat is

The king of Greece.

The great horn

Between its eyes

Is the first king.

As for the horn

That was broken,

In place of which

Four others arose,

Four kingdoms

Shall arise

From his nation,

But not with his power.’”

Gabriel told Daniel to listen to what he was going to tell him. This all would take place at a later appointed end time, when the wrath of God would be displayed. Then he went into details about the vision. The ram with the two horns represented Media and Persia. The male goat was the king of Greece. His broken horn represented the 4 people who took over after the death of Alexander the Great, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander. However, these 4 kingdoms would not be as strong as the first kingdom of Greece under Alexander.

The great power of the goat decimated (Dan 8:8-8:8)

“Then the male goat

Grew exceedingly great.

But at the height

Of his power,

The great horn

Was broken.

In its place,

There came up

Four prominent horns

Toward the four winds

Of heaven.”

This male goat became exceeding great, Alexander the Great. However, at the height of his power, at the age of 32, he died. Thus, the great horn was broken. Instead of one leader, there were 4 horns or leaders, equivalent to the 4 winds of heaven. These were Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander.

Menelaus become the high priest (2 Macc 4:23-4:29)

“After a period of three years, Jason sent Menelaus, the brother of the previously mentioned Simon, to carry money to the king. He sent him to complete the records of essential business. But Menelaus, when presented to the king, extolled him with an air of authority. He secured the high priesthood for himself, outbidding Jason by three hundred talents of silver. After receiving the king’s orders he returned. He possessed no qualification for the high priesthood. He had the hot temper of a cruel tyrant and the rage of a savage wild beast. So Jason, who after supplanting his own brother, was supplanted by another man. He was driven as a fugitive into the land of Ammon. Menelaus held the office, but he did not pay regularly any of the money promised to the king. Sostratus, the captain of the citadel kept requesting payment, since the collection of the revenue was his responsibility. Two of them were summoned by the king on account of this issue. Menelaus left his own brother Lysimachus as deputy in the high priesthood, while Sostratus left Crates as the commander of the Cyprian troops.”

In 172 BCE, 3 years later, Jason the high priest and brother of Onias III sent Menelaus, a Benjaminite brother of Simon, the brother-in-law of Onias III, to King Antiochus IV with money on official business. However, this Menelaus decided that he was going to outbid Jason for the position of high priest by offering 300 talents of silver, about $180,000 USA. Although he was not qualified to be a high priest since he was not a Levite, the king gave him orders to become the high priest in Jerusalem. Obviously the position of high priest went to the highest bidder. Menelaus was cruel and full of rage. Jason was then driven into the land of Ammon, east of the Jordan River. Menelaus never kept his financial promise to the king, although he ruled as high priest for 10 years from 172-162 BCE. Meanwhile, Sostratus, the captain of the citadel troops was not getting any money. The king then called Sostratus and Menelaus to settle this money issue. In the meantime, Lysimachus, the brother of Menelaus, was the deputy high priest in Jerusalem, and Crates became the commander of the citadel troops.

Purim in Egypt (Greek text only)

“In the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus, who said that he was a priest and a Levite, and his son Ptolemy brought to Egypt the preceding Letter about Purim, which they said was authentic. It had been translated by Lysimachus son of Ptolemy, one of the residents of Jerusalem.”

In a curious note, this book or a letter about Purim was brought to Egypt. The time frame is very clear, during the reign of Ptolemy. However, the question is which Ptolemy? The original Ptolemy was a Macedonian guard of Alexander the Great who was the governor of Egypt in 323 BCE. He later declared himself king and thus established a Ptolemaic dynasty that lasted until 47 BCE. There were a number of kings and queens named Ptolemy and Cleopatra. The first mention of them would be Ptolemy V and Cleopatra I from (202-181 BCE). This would put this translation around the year 198 BCE, right in the middle of the Greek Septuagint work from around 250-132 BCE. We do not know anything about Dositheus but he may have been a Jewish Levite priest. There are 3 or 4 famous people with the name of Lysimachus in Egypt. If it was the son of one of the Ptolemy kings, he might have died around 181 BCE, as the brother of Ptolemy V, it would be a good fit for this translation.