Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 11

Outline and Background - Daniel 11

Two Empires - Medo-Persia - Daniel 11:1-4

Two Empires - Egypt and Syria - Daniel 11:5-20

Two Princes - Antiochus IV Epiphanes - Daniel 11:21-35

Two Princes - The Willful King - Daniel 11:36-39

Two Events - Mid-Tribulation Crisis - Daniel 11:40-45

Two Events - Final Deliverance of Israel - Daniel 12:1-3

Application of Daniel 11

Two Empires - Egypt and Syria - Daniel 11:5-20

At this point, prophecy narrows its scope, from the four divisions of Alexander the Great’s empire, down to two. Egypt (South) appears first, then Syria (North). see chart below

Historically, the division ruled by the Ptolemies was headquartered in Egypt, and the division ruled by the Seleucids was headquartered in Syria. These two proved to be the most significant divisions of the Greek Empire. However, that is not the only reason the vision focuses on Egypt and Syria. These two divisions of the Greek Empire were involved in a great conflict for dominion over Israel. The land between Asia Minor, Africa and Arabia became the marching ground of armies.Behind the scenes of this great conflict for the land of Israel, God’s sovereignty ruled over the rise of princes (rulers), as demonstrated by His foretelling of the future.

The Ptolemy and the Seleucid Princes in Daniel 11:5-32

Chart of Ptolemy and Seleucid princes

Verse 5: The first King of the South was Ptolemy Lagus, called “Soter,” who ruled Egypt from 323 to 280 B.C. General Seleucus Nicator, who was the stronger than Soter, defeated Antigonus at Gaza in 312 B.C. Seleucus Nicator built the Seleucid Empire of Syria (North), which greatly exceeded that of the Ptolemies, reaching from Phrygia to India.

Verse 6: Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus (King of South (KS) from 280-247 B.C.), married Antiochus II (King of the North (KN), who ruled from 261-246). This was a political marriage. Antiochus II was forced by Ptolemy to divorce his wife Laodicea in order to marry
Berenice. Two years later, Ptolemy died. After his death, Laodicea, a powerful and influential woman, poisoned Antiochus II, and managed to have Berenice and the couple’s infant son assassinated. This alliance ended in complete failure.

Verses 7-8: Literally, out of a branch (run netser) of her roots (parents) rose Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy Energetes III to become KS from 246-222. He succeeded Ptolemy Philadelphus. To avenge his sister’s murder, Ptolemy invaded Syria. His invasion climaxed with great success against Seleucus Callinicus (KN 246-226). Jerome recorded that Ptolemy III took back to Egypt 40,000 talents of silver, 4,000 talents of gold and 2,000 costly idol statues. Verses 9-10: Seleucus Callinicus (KN) invaded Egypt (c. 240), but was unsuccessful and returned home. His fleet perished in a storm. His two sons, Seleucus Caraunus (227-224) and Antiochus the Great III (224-187), stirred themselves to war. After Caraunus was killed in Asia Minor, Antiochus moved through Egypt and captured the Egyptian fortress at Gaza. Ptolemy Philopator (KS 222-205) offered no resistance at that time. By 219, Antiochus the Great had conquered parts of Israel and the Transjordan.

Verses 11-12: Ptolemy Philopator (KS) raised a large army of 73,000 soldiers, 5,000 cavalry, and 73 elephants. He overcame Antiochus the Great (KN) and destroyed his entire army of 70,000 at Raphia in 217. He did not press his victory but resumed his reprobate life.

Verses 13-14: In 203, Antiochus the Great (KN) raised an even greater army after his defeat at Raphia and came a second time against Egypt. Ptolemy Philopator and his wife had died that year. Ptolemy Epiphanes became the KS at age four or five. Realizing a weakness in Egypt, many rebelled against the KS, including Antiochus the Great who had formed a league with Philip of Macedonia. Even some Jews allied themselves with Antiochus, against Egypt, fulfilling the prediction: “The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success.” The Jews thought their alliance would aid Israel, but instead it brought their nation into Syria’s grasp and made it subject to the horrors that Antiochus IV Epiphanes would bring upon it years later. God’s prophets had consistently warned Israel against making alliances with other powers. Israel was to trust in God, not military might!

Verses 15-16: The Egyptian General Scopas was sent to offer a counteroffensive against Antiochus the Great (KN), but he was defeated when Antiochus captured the city of Sidon. Antiochus then turned his attention to Palestine (“the Beautiful Land”), but treated the Jews with
favor because they were aiding him against the Egyptians.

Verse 17: At this time, Rome began to exert its power in the eastern Mediterranean. This exertion prompted an alliance between Antiochus the Great and Ptolemy Epiphanes, which involved the marriage of Antiochus’ daughter, Cleopatra to Ptolemy in 197. The marriage did not take place until 193 since Ptolemy was only ten years old in 197. Cleopatra is identified as Myvnh tbw ('ishshah bath, “daughter of women”), an Aramaic idiom, possibly indicating she was still a child under the care of women. Antiochus’ scheme to gain control of Egypt through his daughter backfired. Cleopatra loved her husband more than she loved her father; so when Antiochus engaged the Romans, Egypt aided Rome.

Verses 18-19: Antiochus the Great turned his attention to the Mediterranean coastlands and islands, bringing him into conflict with the Romans. He invaded several Aegean Sea islands, portions of Asia Minor, and Trace, while Rome was seeking to control these areas. Antiochus
boasted about what he was doing to Roman interests, so Rome sent General Lucius Cornelius Scipio to deal with him. Antiochus was defeated at Magnesia in 190 B.C.; his boasting came back upon his own head. Antiochus abandoned further conquests. In 188, Antiochus was compelled to sign the Treaty of Apamea, surrendering all claims to Europe, and the greater part of Asia Minor, and making his boundary the Taurus Range. The following year, Antiochus the Great was killed trying to plunder the temple of Belus in Elymais.

Verse 20: Seleucus Philopator (KN 187-176), the eldest son of Antiochus succeeded his father and had the unpleasant task of being a raiser of taxes. Seleucus had inherited his father’s tremendous debts and he was forced to pay the Romans an enormous, annual tribute of 1,000 talents. He dispatched his foster brother and finance minister, Heliodorus, as a tax collector. Heliodorus seized the funds of the Temple treasury at Jerusalem (2 Maccabees 3:1-40). Shortly afterward in 176, Seleucus was mysteriously removed, probably poisoned by Heliodorus.

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