|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:31-45 The remainder of this prophecy is very difficult, and commentators differ much respecting it. From Antiochus the account seems to pass to antichrist. Reference seems to be made to the Roman empire, the fourth monarchy, in its pagan, early Christian, and papal states. The end of the Lord's anger against his people approaches, as well as the end of his patience towards his enemies. If we would escape the ruin of the infidel, the idolater, the superstitious and cruel persecutor, as well as that of the profane, let us make the oracles of God our standard of truth and of duty, the foundation of our hope, and the light of our paths through this dark world, to the glorious inheritance above.
Verse 44. - But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him; there. fore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. The version of the Septuagint is very like this, "A rumour out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him, and he shall come out in great rage to lay waste with the sword, and to slay many." The version of Theodotion is somewhat briefer, "Rumours and disturbances out of the east and from the north shall trouble him, and he shall come in much wrath to destroy many." The Syriac is closer than any other version to the Massoretic text. The Vulgate renders, "A rumour out of the east and north shall trouble him, and he shall come with a great multitude that he may beat down and slay many." The word חֵמָא (hayma) may mean either "wrath" or "multitude." It is difficult to identify the rumours that recalled Antiochus from his conquests. The account given by Porphyry (quoted by Jerome) of his receiving news that led him to ravage the coasts of Phoenicia and march against Armenia are unsupported by other historians. A phrase in Tacitus ('Hist.,' 5:8) seems to throw light on this, "After the Macedonians held the supremacy, King Antiochus, when he was endeavouring to change the superstition of this people, i.e. the Jews, into the manners of the Greeks, was hindered by a Parthian war." There is, however, no record of such a Parthian war; but such a war may have arisen, and not be recorded, as the histories for the period before us are very incomplete. Should we regard these verses as giving another account of the war between Epiphanes and Ptolemy, the tidings out of the north might mean the arrival of the Roman envoys, headed by Popilius Lsenas. If there were also a threat of a Parthian invasion, we should then have, "tidings put of the east and north." Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. Certainly Antiochus did return furious from the expedition in which he was stayed by the Romans; and certainly also he set himself thereafter to compel the Jews to become Greeks in religion, punishing with death refusal to yield to his demands (1 Macc. 1:24-28; Josephus, 'Ant.,' 12:05. 3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him,.... This and the following verse respect times and things yet to come, and the interpretation of them is not so certain: perhaps this clause may have a regard to the news brought to the Turk, of the Jews, upon their conversion, being about to return to their own land, from the eastern and northern parts of the world, where they chiefly are at this day; which will greatly alarm him, since their land is part of his dominions: or it may be, out of the east may come tidings of some commotions and disturbances in the eastern part of the world, as Tartary, &c. which he may fear would be of bad consequence to the Ottoman empire; and news out of the north, of the northern Christian princes preparing to assist the Jews in the repossession of their country; all which may give him great uneasiness.
Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many; hearing the Jews are preparing to return to their own country, or that they have got possession of it, he will be provoked to the last degree, and raise a prodigious army, and march out of his own land with them to Judea;
and will come like a storm, with the utmost rage and fury, and like a cloud for number, and threaten utter ruin and destruction to the nation of the Jews; this will be his end in view in coming out, but he will not be able to accomplish it; of all which see Ezekiel 38:2, where the Turk, and this expedition of his, are prophesied of, and where he goes by the name of Gog.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
44. tidings out of the east and out of the north—Artaxias, king of Armenia, his vassal, had revolted in the north, and Arsaces, leader of the Parthians, in the east (1 Maccabees 3:10, &c., 1 Maccabees 3:37; Tacitus, Histories, 5.8). In 147 B.C. Antiochus went on the expedition against them, on the return from which he died.
great fury—at the Jews, on account of their successes under Judas Maccabeus, whence he desired to replenish his treasury with means to prosecute the war with them; also at Artaxias and Arsaces, and their respective followers. De Burgh makes the "tidings" which rouse his fury, to be concerning the Jews' restoration; such may be the antitypical reference.
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