Daniel 11:10
But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
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(10) His sons.—The pronoun refers to the subject of Daniel 11:9, which is the northern king (though, according to the LXX. and English Version, it must be his rival). There is a marginal alternative in the Hebrew “son.” The LXX. supports the text. If the king of the north last mentioned is Seleucus Callinicus, his sons must be Seleucus Ceraunus, a man of no importance, and Antiochus the Great. It is here stated of the sons that they are stirred up; that they collect a vast army, which advances steadily, overflowing like a torrent, while its masses pass through the land; that they shall return and carry on the war up to the frontier of the southern king. Considering the uncertainty of the readings in the Hebrew text, and the ambiguity of the language, this is anything but a definite statement. However, it has been explained to refer to the wars of Antiochus and Ptolemy Philopator, in course of which they took Seleucia, Tyre, and Ptolemais, besieged the Egyptians in Sidon, and actually took possession of Gaza.

One shall certainly come.—Not the king, but the multitude just spoken of. The words “overflow,” “pass through” “return,” all refer to the ebbing and flowing of the tide of war.

Daniel 11:10. But his sons shall be stirred up — “The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus and Antiochus, the elder of whom, Seleucus, succeeded him in the throne, and, to distinguish him from others of the same name, was denominated Ceraunus, or the thunderer. He was indeed stirred up, and assembled a multitude of great forces, in order to recover his father’s dominions: but, being destitute of money, and unable to keep his army in obedience, he was poisoned by two of his generals, after an inglorious reign of two or three years. Upon his decease, his brother, Antiochus the Great, was proclaimed king. The angel’s expression is very remarkable, that his sons should be stirred up, &c.; but then the number is changed, and only ONE (he says) shall certainly come and overflow, &c. — Accordingly Antiochus came with a great army, retook Seleucia, and, by the means of Theodotus the Ætolian, recovered Syria. Then, after a truce, wherein both sides treated of peace, but prepared for war, Antiochus returned, and overcame in battle Nicolaus the Egyptian general, and had thought of invading Egypt itself.” He was stirred up even to his fortress — He made an attack on Raphia, a strong fortified town near the borders of Egypt.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.But his sons shall be stirred up - Margin, "or, war." The Hebrew word (יתגרוּ yı̂theggârû - from גרה gârâh) means, to be rough; then, in Piel, to excite, stir up; and then, in Hithpa, to excite one's self, to be stirred up to anger, to make war upon .... Here it means, according to Gesenius (Lexicon), that they would be excited or angry. The reference here, according to Lengerke, Maurer, Gill, and others, is to the son of the king of the north, Seleucus Callinicus. He was killed, according to Justin (lib. xxvii. c. 3), by a fall from his horse. The war with Egypt was continued by his two sons, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great, until the death of the former, when it was prosecuted by Antiochus alone. See Prideaux, iii. 136. Seleueus Ceraunus succeeded his father - assuming the name of Ceraunus, or the Thunderer; but, dying soon, he left the crown to his brother, Antiochus the Great, then only fifteen years of age, by whom the war with Egypt was successfully prosecuted.

And shall assemble a multitude of great forces - Against Egypt. In such a war they would naturally summon to their aid all the forces which they could command.

And one shall certainly come - There is a change here in the Hebrew from the plural to the singular number, as is indicated in our translation by the insertion of the word "one." The fact was, that the war was prosecuted by Antiochus the Great alone. Seleucus died in the third year of his reign, in Phrygia; being slain, according to one report (Jerome), through the treachery of Nicanor and Apaturius, or, according to another, was poisoned. See Prideaux, iii. 137. Antiochus succeeded to the empire, and prosecuted the war. This was done for the purpose of recovering Syria from the dominion of Ptolemy of Egypt, and was conducted with various degrees of success, until the whole was brought under the control of Antiochus. See Prideaux, "Con." iii. 138, following.

And overflow - Like a torrent.

And pass through - Through the land - not the land of Egypt, but every part of Syria.

Then shall he return - Margin, "be stirred up again." The margin is the more correct rendering - the Hebrew word being the same as what is used in the first part of the verse. The idea would seem to be, that he would be aroused or stirred up after a defeat, and would on the second expedition enter into the strongholds or fortresses of the land. This was literally true. Ptolemy marched into Syria with an army of seventy thousand foot, five thousand horse, and seventy-three elephants, and was met by Antiochus with an army of sixty-two thousand foot, six thousand horse, and one hundred and two elephants. In a great battle, Antiochus was defeated, and returned to Antioch (Prideaux, Con. iii.-151-153); but the following year he again rallied his forces, and invaded Syria, took Gaza and the other strongholds, and subdued the whole country of Syria (including Palestine) to himself. - Prideaux, "Con." iii. 176, 177.

Even to his fortress - The singular for the plural; perhaps using the word "fortress" by way of eminence, as denoting his "strongest" fortress, and, therefore, including all the others.

10. his sons—the two sons of the king of the north, Seleucus Callinicus, upon his death by a fall from his horse, namely, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great.

one shall … come—Ceraunus having died, Antiochus alone prosecuted the war with Ptolemy Philopater, Euergetes' son, until he had recovered all the parts of Syria subjugated by Euergetes.

pass through—like an "overflowing" torrent (Da 11:22, 26, 40; Isa 8:8). Antiochus penetrated to Dura (near Cæsarea), where he gave Ptolemy a four months' truce.

return—renew the war at the expiration of the truce (so Da 11:13).

even to his fortress—Ptolemy's; Raphia, a border-fortress of Egypt against incursions by way of Edom and Arabia-Petræa, near Gaza; here Antiochus was vanquished.

His sons shall be stirred up; he means the sons of the king of the north, i.e. Antiochus, and Seleucus Ceraunus, shall be incensed with the deeds of Ptolemy Euergetes, and his son Ptolemy Philopater.

One shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through; he means Antiochus the Great, because the other, viz. Seleucus Ceraunus, is taken off by poison at the beginning; he shall pass through Syria, and recover what the king of Egypt took from his father.

To his fortress, i.e. to the entering of Egypt Raphia, which was check to any irruptions from Arabia or Idumea, besides many other places. The cause of which success was partly the Egyptian king’s luxury, and the hatred his people had against him for his cruelty in slaying his father, mother, and sister; called Philopater ironically and reproachfully. But his sons shall be stirred up,.... Not of the king of the south, or Egypt, but of the king of the north, or Syria; the sons of Seleucus Callinicus, who died, as Justin (f) says, by a fall from his horse; these were Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus, who was afterwards called the great: these being irritated and provoked by what Ptolemy Euergetes had done in revenge of his sister, taking part of their father's kingdom from him, and carrying off so rich a booty, joined together, and exerted themselves to recover their dominions from him:

and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: or, "a multitude of men, even large armies" (g); which they put themselves at the head of, in order to make war with the king of Egypt:

and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through; this is to be understood of Antiochus; for Seleucus dying in the third year of his reign, being slain in Phrygia, through the treachery of Nicator and Apaturius, as Jerom relates; or, as others, poisoned; Antiochus succeeded him, and alone headed the armies they had collected; and with which, like an inundation of water, to which armies are sometimes compared, he attacked Seleucia, and took it; and entered into Coelesyria, and overran it, being delivered into his hands by the treachery of Theodotus, who governed there for Ptolemy, whom he had offended: after this he came to Berytus, entered the province by a place which the countrymen called "the face of God"; and which Grotius, not improbably, takes to be Phanuel: took the town of Botris, and set fire to Trieres and Calamus, or Calene: he next invaded Palestine, and took several places in it; went as far as Rabata Massane, or Rabatamana, a city in Arabia, the same with Rabbathammon, which surrendered to him (h):

then shall he return, and be stirred up even to his fortress: the spring following he returned with a numerous army, and came to Raphia, a fortified city in Egypt, which lay between that and Palestine; where, as Strabo (i) says, Ptolemy the fourth (i.e. Philopator) fought with Antiochus the great.

(f) Ibid. (Justin, l. 27.) c. 3.((g) "multitudinem, copias amplas", Junius & Tremellius. (h) Vid. Polybium, l. 5. p. 256, 260, 261, 262. and Universal History, vol. 9. p. 216, 218, 219. (i) Geograph. l. 16. p. 522.

But his {x} sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one {y} shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he {z} return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.

(x) Meaning Seleucus and Antiochus the great, the sons of Calinicus, will make war against Ptolemais Philopater, the son of Philadelphus.

(y) For his older brother Seleucus died, or was slain while the armies were preparing for war.

(z) That is, Philopater, when he will see Antiochus take great dominions from him in Syria, and also ready to invade Egypt.

10. his sons] Seleucus Ceraunos and Antiochus the Great, the two being grouped together, because (probably) the campaign of Seleucus in Asia Minor was the first stage in an organized plan of hostilities against Egypt.

shall stir themselves up] viz., as the word used implies, for war or combat (cf. ἐρεθίζω): so. Daniel 11:25; Deuteronomy 2:5; Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:19; Deuteronomy 2:24 [R.V. contend]; 2 Kings 14:10 (properly, ‘Why shouldest thou stir thyself up against—i.e. advance against, challenge—calamity?’).

and he (or it) shall come on] i.e. either Antiochus, or his army (the ‘multitude’ just spoken of). The attack upon Egypt, planned originally by the two brothers, was, after the death of Seleucus, carried out by Antiochus.

and flood up and flow over] viz. in the campaigns of 219 in Cœle-Syria, and of 218 in Palestine (as described above). The words are borrowed from Isaiah 8:8 : the advancing hosts of Antiochus (as in Is. those of the Assyrians) are compared to a flood of waters inundating a land. Cf. Jeremiah 47:2.

and he (or it) shall return] Antiochus, after wintering in Ptolemais, ‘returned’ to the attack upon Egypt in 217.

and they (his forces) shall stir themselves up (advancing) as far as his stronghold] Probably Gaza, which was the most important fortress of Palestine on the south, and a play upon the name of which (עזה) is perhaps intended by the Heb. word here used (מעזה). The strength of Gaza may be estimated by the fact that it resisted Alexander the Great for two months.

10–19. Seleucus III. (Ceraunos), 226–223, and Antiochus III. (the Great), 223–187: Ptolemy IV. (Philopator), 222–205, and Ptolemy V. (Epiphanes), 205–181.

Seleucus Callinicus left two sons, Seleucus Ceraunos and Antiochus. The former succeeded him, but was murdered, after two years, in the course of an expedition in Asia Minor (Polyb. v. 40). Antiochus, who then came to the throne, determined to resume the war with Egypt, hoping, in view of Ptolemy Philopator’s effeminacy and supineness, that an easy task lay before him (Polyb. v. 42)[360]. First, acting on the advice of his friend, the physician Apollophanes, he recovered the important fortress of Seleukeia (Polyb. v. 58–60, see above, on Daniel 11:7); then Theodotus, Ptolemy’s præfect in Cœle-Syria (v. 40), invited him treacherously to take possession of that province, and enabled him further to secure Tyre, Ptolemais, and other neighbouring towns (v. 61). Meanwhile Ptolemy, roused from his lethargy by the loss of Cœle-Syria, had advanced his troops as far as Pelusium; and his ministers, wishing to gain time for further warlike preparations, succeeded in obtaining from Antiochus an armistice for four months. Antiochus accordingly retired for the winter to Seleukeia, leaving garrisons in Phœnicia and Cœle-Syria, which (being ignorant of Ptolemy’s real intentions) he hoped he had now finally secured (v. 62–66). However, in the following spring (218), a large Egyptian army, which had meantime been organized, marched under Nicolaus through Palestine as far as a spot between Lebanon and the sea, where it was met by Antiochus and completely defeated (v. 68–69). After this Antiochus advanced into Palestine, takes Philoteria, Scythopolis (Beth-shean) and Atabyrium, as also Abila, Gadara, and Rabbath-Ammon, on the E. of Jordan, leaves a governor, with 8000 soldiers, in Samaria, and retires into winter-quarters at Ptolemais (v. 70–71).

[360] The events summarized in Daniel 11:10-12 are narrated at length in Polyb. v. 58–71, 79–87 (v. 62–68, 79–87, are translated in Mahaffy, l.c., pp. 250–263).

In the next spring (217) Antiochus and Ptolemy both take the field, with armies of 60,000 or 70,000 men each (v. 79). Ptolemy, starting from Alexandria, advances to within 50 stadia of Raphia (the border-fortress of Palestine, in the direction of Egypt); Antiochus first marches to Gaza, then by slow stages, passing Raphia, to within five stadia of the spot on which the army of Ptolemy was encamped (v. 80). In the battle which ensued (v. 82–85), Antiochus was defeated (with the loss of 10,000 infantry, 300 cavalry, besides 4,000 prisoners), and fell buck upon Gaza, retiring afterwards to Antioch (v. :86). He then sent to Ptolemy to ask terms of peace, which Ptolemy, satisfied with his victory, and with its natural consequence, the recovery of Cœle-Syria, granted for one year (v. 87).

The second part of Daniel 11:12 refers plainly to Ptolemy’s victory at Raphia; but it is impossible to feel certain which of the events just described are referred to in Daniel 11:10 b–12 a. The sequence of events as described in these verses seems, in fact, not to agree with that of the narrative of Polybius.Verse 10. - But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. The version of the Septuagint differs from this, "And his son shall both be stirred up, and shall assemble (συνάξει συναγωγὴν) a great multitude, and, ravaging with it (κατασύρων), he shall enter, and pass by and return." The K'thib here supports this to the extent at least that it has "his son," not "his sons;" but the verbs are plural. The last clause of this verse in the Massoretic text is transferred by the Septuagint to the next; Theodotion, while, as usual, more closely in agreement with the Massoretic text, is not quite identical with it, "And his sons shall assemble a multitude moderately numerous (ἀνὰ μέσον πολλῶν), and he that cometh and overfloweth shall come and shall pass by, and shall enter, and shall struggle hard (συμπροσπλακήσεται), even to his fortress (ἱσχύος)." The Peshitta and the Vulgate are in close agreement with the Massoretic text. But his sons shall be stirred up. The natural inference is that it is the sons of the king of the south who thus are stirred up, but, historically, it can only refer to the sons of Seleucus Callinicus, who, one after the other, succeeded him on the throne: Seleucus Ceraunus, who died after a short reign of rather more than two years; and Antiochus III., Magnus. Certainly Seleucus did little in this conflict, although he undertook a campaign to Asia Minor, in the course of which he was assassinated. It may be that this campaign was intended as a preparation for a great campaign against Egypt. On the death of Ceraunus, he was succeeded by Aatiochtus Magnus. This prince was very warlike. He began to assail Syria, which was in the possession of Philopotor, but was interrupted by news of war in the far East. After a successful campaign in Media and Persia, he wrested first Seleucia from the hands of Ptolemy Philopator; and then proceeded on his invasion of Coele-Syria and Palestine. And one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through. This describes in a compendious way the campaigns of Antiochus Magnus. And be stirred up, even to his fortress. This is supposed to refer to the recovery of Seleucia. Some think that this rather states that he pierced nearly to Pelusium, the frontier fortress of Egypt. Daniel now turns to Belshazzar. The words: forasmuch as thou, i.e., since thou truly knowest all this, place it beyond a doubt that Belshazzar knew these incidents in the life of Nebuchadnezzar, and thus that he was his son, since his grandson (daughter's son) could scarcely at that time have been so old as that the forgetfulness of that divine judgment could have been charged against him as a sin. In the דּי קבל כּל, just because thou knowest it, there is implied that, notwithstanding his knowledge of the matter, he did not avoid that which heightened his culpability. In Daniel 5:23 Daniel tells him how he had sinned against the God of heaven, viz., by desecrating (see Daniel 5:2 and Daniel 5:3) the vessels of the temple of the God of Israel. And to show the greatness of this sin, he points to the great contrast that there is between the gods formed of dead material and the living God, on whom depend the life and fortune of men. The former Belshazzar praised, the latter he had not honoured - a Litotes for had dishonoured. The description of the gods is dependent on Deuteronomy 4:28, cf. with the fuller account Psalm 115:5., Psalm 135:15., and reminds us of the description of the government of the true God in Job 12:10; Numbers 16:22, and Jeremiah 10:23. ארחת, ways, i.e., The destinies. - To punish Belshazzar for this wickedness, God had sent the hand which wrote the mysterious words (Daniel 5:24 cf. with Daniel 5:5).
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