Daniel 11:15
So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) The king of the north.—This prince attacks the fortress of his rival, who is unable to resist him. Here it is supposed that the allusion is to the capture of Sidon by Antiochus the Great. The troops of Ptolemy under Scopas had acquired possession of Jerusalem and of various portions of Syria during the absence of Antiochus. Scopas and the Egyptian troops under him fled to Sidon, where they were forced by famine to surrender to the Syrians (B.C. 198).

The arms of the south.—Comp. Daniel 11:31. The phrase means the armed force of the south.

Daniel 11:15-16. So the king of the north shall come and take the most fenced cities — It was in the absence of Antiochus that these advantages were obtained by the arms of Egypt; but his presence soon turned the scale, and changed the whole face of affairs: for being concerned to recover Judea, and the cities of Cœlosyria and Palestine, which Scopas had taken, he came again into those parts. Scopas was sent again to oppose him, but was defeated near the sources of Jordan, lost a great part of his army, and was pursued to Sidon, where he was shut up with ten thousand men, and closely besieged. Three famous generals were sent from Egypt to raise the siege; but they could not succeed, and at length Scopas was forced by famine to surrender, upon the hard conditions of having life only granted to him and his men; they were obliged to lay down their arms, and were sent away stripped and naked. Antiochus took also Gaza, and then all the other cities of that district, namely, Abila, Samaria, and Gadara; and afterward became master of the whole country. The arms of the south could not withstand him, neither his chosen people, neither Scopas nor the other great generals, nor the choicest troops who were sent against him; but he did according to his own will, and none was able to stand before him — Among others the Jews also readily submitted to him, went forth in solemn procession to meet him, received him splendidly into their city, supplied him with plenty of provisions for all his army and elephants, and assisted him in besieging the garrison which Scopas had left in the citadel. Thus he stood in the glorious land — And his power was established in Judea. Which by his hand shall be consumed — This clause, thus rendered, may be considered as referring to Antiochus’s maintaining his army with the provisions he drew from Judea, and thereby exhausting it; and to the distresses the country suffered, by the marching and counter-marching of hostile armies through it. Thus Josephus: “While Antiochus the Great was reigning in Asia, both the Jews and the inhabitants of Cœlosyria, by the laying waste of their countries, suffered many things. For when he carried on war against Ptolemy Philopater, and against his son, surnamed Epiphanes, it happened, that whether he was conqueror or conquered, they suffered alike: so that they were like a ship at sea in a storm, tossed by the waves on both sides; for whether Antiochus prospered, or met with a reverse, their sufferings were the same.” But then they could not be said to be consumed by the hand of Antiochus particularly; they were consumed as much, or more, by Scopas: and the Hebrew, כלה בידו, is capable of another interpretation; it may be translated, Which shall be perfected, or prosper, or flourish, in his hand; a sense which agrees as well with the truth of the text, and better with the truth of history. For Antiochus, to reward and encourage the Jews in their fidelity and obedience to him, gave orders that their city should be repaired, and the dispersed Jews should return and inhabit it; that they should be supplied with cattle and other provisions for sacrifices; that they should be furnished with timber and other materials for finishing and adorning the temple; that they should live all according to the laws of their country; that the priests and elders, the scribes and Levites, should be exempted from the capitation and other taxes; that those who then inhabited the city, or should return to it within a limited time, should be free from all tribute for three years, and that the third part of their tribute should be remitted to them for ever after; and also, that as many as had been taken and forced into servitude should be released, and their substance and goods be restored to them: see Bishop Newton. 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.So the king of the north - Antiochus the Great.

Shall come - Shall come again into these provinces. This occurred after he had vanquished the army of the Egyptians at Paneas. He then took Sidon and Patara, and made himself master of the whole country. - Prideaux, iii. 198. This happened 198 b.c. Scopas, a general of Ptolemy, had been sent by him into Coelo-Syria and Palestine, with a view of subjecting those countries again to Egyptian rule. He was met by Antiochus at Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, and defeated, and fled with ten thousand men to Sidon, where he fortified himself, but from where he was expelled by Antiochus.

And cast up a mount - A fortification. That is, he shall so entrench himself that he cannot be dislodged. The reference does not seem to be to any particular fortification, but to the general fact that he would so entrench or fortify himself that he would make his conquests secure.

And take the most fenced cities - Margin, "city of munitions" Hebrew, "city of fortifications." The singular is used here in a collective sense; or perhaps there is allusion particularly to Sidon, where Scopas entrenched himself, making it as strong as possible.

And the arms of the south shall not withstand - Shall not be able to resist him, or to dislodge him. The power of the Egyptian forces shall not be sufficient to remove him from his entrenchments. The Hebrew is, "shall not stand;" that is, shall not stand against him, or maintain their position in his advances. The word "arms" (זרעות zero‛ôth) is used here in the sense of "heroes, warriors, commanders," as in Ezekiel 30:22, Ezekiel 30:24-25.

Neither his chosen people - Margin, "the people of his choices." Those whom he had selected or chosen to carry on the war - referring, perhaps, to the fact that he would deem it necessary to employ picked men, or to send the choicest of his forces in order to withstand Antiochus. Such an occurrence is in every way probable. To illustrate this, it is only necessary to say that the Egyptians sent three of their most distin. guished generals, with a select army, to deliver Sidon - Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus. - Lengerke, in loc.

Neither shall there be any stregnth to withstand - No forces which the Egyptians can employ. In other words, Antiochus would carry all before him. This is in strict accordance with the history. When Scopas was defeated by Antiochus at Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, he fled and entrenched himself in Sidon. There he was followed and besieged by Antiochus. The king of Egypt sent the three generals above named, with a choice army, to endeavor to deliver Scopas, but they were unable. Scopas was obliged to surrender, in consequence of famine, and the chosen forces returned to Egypt.

15. king of … north—Antiochus the Great.

take … fenced cities—Scopas, the Egyptian general, met Antiochus at Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, and was defeated, and fled to Sidon, a strongly "fenced city," where he was forced to surrender.

chosen people—Egypt's choicest army was sent under Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus, to deliver Scopas, but in vain [Jerome].

Antiochus Epiphanes shall march on irresistibly and victoriously, besieging and taking fenced cities and strong holds, as Sidon, Samaria, &c., nor shall all the power of Egypt withstand him. So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities,.... That is, Antiochus the great, king of Syria, should come into Coelesyria and Phoenicia, which was the part of the kingdom of Egypt he was to have by the league with Philip king of Macedon; and this is a prophecy of his expedition into those parts, and the success of it. Scopas, a general of Ptolemy, being sent by him into Coelesyria, had took many of the cities of it, and the land of Judea; but Antiochus, coming into those parts with his army, beat Scopas at the fountains of Jordan, and destroyed great part of his forces, and retook the cities of Coelesyria that Scopas had made himself master of, and subdued Samaria; upon which the Jews voluntarily submitted to him, and received him into their city, as Josephus (t) relates; and Polybius (u), as quoted by him, says, that Scopas being conquered by Antiochus, he took Batanea, Samaria, Abila, and Godara, and that the Jews in a little time surrendered to him; and so Livy says (w), that Antiochus reduced all the cities that Ptolemy had in Coelesyria into subjection to him; and these are the most fenced cities pointed at in this prophecy, against which the king of Syria cast up mounts, in order to take them; or placed battering engines before them, as the word also signifies, as Kimchi observes (x), by which stones were cast into the besieged cities:

and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand; all the forces of the king of Egypt mustered together would not be able to withstand the power of Antiochus, who would, as he did, carry all before him; not their most powerful armies, nor most courageous generals, nor valiant soldiers, the choicest of them, nor any auxiliaries called in to their assistance; for when Scopas was beaten by Antiochus at Jordan, he fled to Sidon with ten thousand soldiers, where he was shut up in a close siege; and though Ptolemy sent his famous and choicest commanders to his relief, Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus, as Jerome relates; yet they were not able to raise the siege, but by famine were forced to surrender; and he and his men were dismissed naked.

(t) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 3. sect. 3.((u) Histor. l. 16. apud Joseph. ib. (w) Hist. l. 33. (x) Sepher Shorash. rad.

So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall {e} not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

(e) The Egyptians were not able to resist Stopas, Antiochus' captain.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 15. - So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. The version of the LXX. is, "And the king of the north shall attack and turn his spears, and shall take the fortified city, and the arms of the King of Egypt shall stand with his rulers, and there shall not be strength in them to resist them." It is difficult to imagine what Hebrew text was before the translator when he rendered, "turn his spears." Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic in the first portion, and with the LXX. in the latter. The Peshitta rendering is not unlike the Massoretic, "And the king of the north shall come and shall lay ambuscades, and shall conquer strong fastnesses; and the arms of the south shall not stand, because there is not in them might to stand; and his chosen people shall not stand, because there is not might in them to stand." The Vulgate, as usual, is closest to the Massoretic. The reference here is most probably to the capture of Sidon, into which Scopas, the general of Ptolemy, had thrown himself after his defeat at Paneas. Other strongholds and fortified cities were of necessity taken at the same time. The arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people. Ptolemy sent several successive armies to relieve Sidon, but was unable to compel Antiochus to give up the siege. Finally Scopas had to surrender. Neither shall there be any strength to withstand. Egypt was to all appearance helpless; there was neither wisdom in their counsels nor valour in their arms. Daniel rewarded, and the beginning of the fulfilment of the writing.

Belshazzar fulfilled the promise he had made to Daniel by rewarding him for reading and interpreting the writing. והלבּשׁוּ is not to be translated: (commanded) that they should clothe, - this meaning must be conveyed by the imperfect (cf. Daniel 2:49), - but: and they clothed him. The command was then carried out: Daniel was not only adorned with purple and with a golden chain, but was also proclaimed as the third ruler of the kingdom. The objection that this last-mentioned dignity was not possible, since, according to Daniel 5:30, Belshazzar was slain that very night, is based on the supposition that the proclamation was publicly made in the streets of the city. But the words do not necessitate such a supposition. The proclamation might be made only before the assembled magnates of the kingdom in the palace, and then Belshazzar may have been slain on that very night. Perhaps, as Kliefoth thinks, the conspirators against Belshazzar availed themselves of the confusion connected with this proclamation, and all that accompanied it, for the execution of their purpose. We may not, however, add that therewith the dignity to which Daniel was advanced was again lost by him. It depended much rather on this: whether Belshazzar's successor recognised the promotion granted to Daniel in the last hours of his reign. But the successor would be inclined toward its recognition by the reflection, that by Daniel's interpretation of the mysterious writing from God the putting of Belshazzar to death appeared to have a higher sanction, presenting itself as if it were something determined in the councils of the gods, whereby the successor might claim before the people that his usurpation of the throne was rendered legitimate. Such a reflection might move him to confirm Daniel's elevation to the office to which Belshazzar had raised him. This supposition appears to be supported by Daniel 6:2 (1).

Bleek and other critics have based another objection against the historical veracity of this narrative on the improbability that Belshazzar, although the interpretation predicted evil against him, and he could not at all know whether it was a correct interpretation, should have rewarded Daniel instead of putting him to death (Hitzig). But the force of this objection lies in the supposition that Belshazzar was as unbelieving with regard to a revelation from God, and with regard to the providence of the living God among the affairs of men, as are the critics of our day; the objection is altogether feeble when one appreciates the force of the belief, even among the heathen, in the gods and in revelations from God, and takes into consideration that Belshazzar perhaps scarcely believed the threatened judgment from God to be so near as it actually was, since the interpretation by Daniel decided nothing as regards the time, and perhaps also that he hoped to be able, by conferring honour upon Daniel, to appease the wrath of God.

(Note: "Non mirum, si Baltasar audiens tristia, solverit praemium quod pollicitus est. Aut enim longo post tempore credidit ventura quae dixerat, aut dum Dei prophetam honorat, sperat se veniam consecuturum." - Jerome.)

The circumstance, also, that Daniel received the honour promised to him notwithstanding his declining it (Daniel 5:17), can afford no ground of objection against the truth of the narrative, since that refusal was only an expression of the entire absence of all self-interest, which was now so fully established by the matter of the interpretation that there was no longer any ground for his declining the honours which were conferred upon him unsought, while they comprehended in themselves in reality a recognition of the God whom he served.

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