|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-30 The angel shows Daniel the succession of the Persian and Grecian empires. The kings of Egypt and Syria are noticed: Judea was between their dominions, and affected by their contests. From ver. 5-30, is generally considered to relate to the events which came to pass during the continuance of these governments; and from ver. 21, to relate to Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a cruel and violent persecutor of the Jews. See what decaying, perishing things worldly pomp and possessions are, and the power by which they are gotten. God, in his providence, sets up one, and pulls down another, as he pleases. This world is full of wars and fightings, which come from men's lusts. All changes and revolutions of states and kingdoms, and every event, are plainly and perfectly foreseen by God. No word of God shall fall to the ground; but what he has designed, what he has declared, shall infallibly come to pass. While the potsherds of the earth strive with each other, they prevail and are prevailed against, deceive and are deceived; but those who know God will trust in him, and he will enable them to stand their ground, bear their cross, and maintain their conflict.
Verse 23. - And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. The rendering of the LXX. is, "And with the covenant and a people set in array he shall fabricate a lie, even against a strong nation with (ἐν) a small people." The rendering of Theodotion is somewhat difficult to comprehend, "By reason of leagues against him, he shall make a device, and shall ascend and master them with few people." The Peshitta is very like Theodotion, only the last clause of this verse is regarded as the first of the next. The Vulgate is closer to the Massoretic than are any of the other ancient versions, "And after friendships with him, he shall work fraud, and shall go up and conquer with a small number." The reference here is to the obscure events which attended the contest - if there was a con-test - that resulted in Epiphanes securing the throne. The alliance may refer to his league with Eumenes. Appian assigns as a reason for the help given to Epiphanes by Eumenes, that it was to gain his friendship. Only Appian mentions "Attains and Eumenes," as if they were separate sovereigns; but Attains was brother of Eumenes, and, at the time of the arrival of Epiphanes, his brother's envoy at Rome. There may be some foundation of fact, and this would explain the statement in the text. The hopes of Eumenes, if he wished to strengthen himself by an alliance with Epiphanes, were probably soon frustrated, as Epiphanes involved himself in conflict with Egypt.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And after the league made with him,.... The prince of the covenant; either Demetrius his nephew, or Ptolemy Philometor king of Egypt, with whom a league was made in the lifetime of Cleopatra, the sister of Antiochus, and mother of Ptolemy:
he shall work deceitfully; either with the princes and people of Syria, by good words and fair speeches, and by gifts and presents, to get the kingdom for himself, though he had covenanted with his nephew to hold it for him, and resign it to him at his return; and with the Romans, and among his friends in the senate, he artfully worked to detain him at Rome: or else with the king of Egypt, pretending great friendship to him, and to take the care and tuition of him during his minority; and at his coronation he sent one Apollonius to be present at it, and to congratulate him upon it; in the Apocrypha:
"Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the coronation of king Ptolemeus Philometor, Antiochus, understanding him not to be well affected to his affairs, provided for his own safety: whereupon he came to Joppa, and from thence to Jerusalem:'' (2 Maccabees 4:21)
for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people; either he went into the heart of Syria with a small number of men at first, and gathered together a large army; or into Phoenicia with a handful of men, where he ingratiated himself into the affections of the people by words and gifts, and became strong; or he went up into Egypt accompanied only with a few, lest, the Egyptians should be suspicious of him; but these it is said were valiant men, whom he placed in the forts of Egypt, and so became master of it, which is an instance of his deceitful working; and Sutorius, an ancient historian, as quoted by Jerom, says that he subdued Egypt to himself with a very small number of people.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. Tregelles notes three divisions in the history of the "vile person," which is continued to the end of the chapter: (1) His rise (Da 11:21, 22). (2) The time from his making the covenant to the taking away of the daily sacrifice and setting up of the abomination of desolation (Da 11:23-31). (3) His career of blasphemy, to his destruction (Da 11:32-45); the latter two periods answering to the "week" of years of his "covenant with many" (namely, in Israel) (Da 9:27), and the last being the closing half week of the ninth chapter. But the context so accurately agrees with the relations of Antiochus to Ptolemy that the primary reference seems to be to the "league" between them. Antitypically, Antichrist's relations towards Israel are probably delineated. Compare Da 8:11, 25, with Da 11:22 here, "prince of the covenant."
work deceitfully—Feigning friendship to young Ptolemy, as if he wished to order his kingdom for him, he took possession of Memphis and all Egypt ("the fattest places," Da 11:34) as far as Alexandria.
with a small people—At first, to throw off suspicion, his forces were small.
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