Daniel 11:22
And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflowed from before him, and shall be broken; yes, also the prince of the covenant.
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(22) With the arms.—More correctly, and the arms in a flood; that is, the overwhelming forces of invading armies are swept away by the troops of this terrible king. But besides the enemy, the “prince of the covenant” is to be destroyed also. This expression is most readily explained by observing that it stands in contrast with the hostile armies mentioned in the first clause. It is an expression similar to “men of covenant,” “lords of covenant,” and means “those who were at peace with him,” “prince” being used as a collective noun (see Daniel 11:18). This has been supposed to refer to the murder of Onias III. (2 Maccabees 4:1, &c., 2 Maccabees 4:33, &c.); but there is no reason for supposing that the high priest was ever called by such a title as “prince of the covenant.”

Daniel 11:22-24. And with the arms of a flood, &c. — By arms here is signified force, or strength, and by an inundation, or flood, a great army. By which is here to be understood the forces of Attalus and Eumenes, who favoured Antiochus: by these they should be overflown, and broken, who were his competitors for the crown, namely, Heliodorus, the murderer of Seleucus, and his partisans, as well as those of the king of Egypt, Ptolemy Philometor, who had formed some designs upon Syria. Yea, also the prince of the covenant — That is, the high-priest of the Jews was broken. Thus Theodoret: “He speaks of the pious high-priest, Onias, the brother of Jason, and foretels that even he should be turned out of his office.” As soon as Antiochus was seated in his throne, he removed Onias from the high-priesthood, and preferred Jason, Onias’s brother, to that dignity, not for any crime committed against him by the former, but for the great sums of money which were offered to him by the latter. For Jason offered to give no less than three hundred and sixty talents of silver for the high- priesthood, besides eighty more upon another account: and good Onias was not only displaced to make way for a wicked usurper, but after a few years, living at Antioch, he was, with as great treachery as cruelty, murdered by the king’s deputy. But though Antiochus had made a league with Jason the new high-priest, yet he did not faithfully adhere to it, but acted deceitfully; and substituted his brother Menelaus in his room, by means of an armed force, because he offered him three hundred talents more than that which he had received from Jason. For — Or rather, And he shall come up, (for the words do not assign a reason for any thing that precedes,) and shall become strong with a small people — Antiochus had been many years a hostage at Rome; and, coming from thence with only a few attendants, he appeared in Syria little at first, but soon received a great increase. He shall enter peaceably into the fattest places of the province — By the friendship of Eumenes and Attalus he entered peaceably upon the upper provinces, and likewise upon the provinces of Cœlosyria and Palestine. And wherever he came he outdid his fathers, and his fathers’ fathers, in liberality and profusion. He scattered among them the prey, and spoil, and riches — The prey of his enemies, the spoil of temples, and the riches of his friends, as well as his own revenues, were expended in public shows, and bestowed in largesses among the people. In the first book of Maccabees, chap. Daniel 3:30, it is affirmed, that in the liberal giving of gifts he abounded above the kings that were before him. Polybius relates, that sometimes, meeting accidentally with people whom he had never seen before, he would enrich them with unexpected presents; and sometimes, standing in the public streets, he would throw about his money, and cry aloud, “Let him take it to whom fortune shall give it.” His generosity was the more requisite, to fix the provinces of Cœlosyria and Palestine in his interest, because they were claimed as of right belonging to the king of Egypt. Antiochus rejected this claim, and foreseeing that these demands would prove the occasion of a new war between the two crowns, came to Joppa to take a view of the frontiers, and to put them into a proper posture of defence. In his progress he came to Jerusalem, and, as it was evening, he was ushered into the city by torch-light with great rejoicing. From thence he went to Phenicia to fortify his own strong holds, and to forecast his devices against those of the enemy; the LXX. and Arabic read, against Egypt. Thus he acted even for a time, and employed some years in his hostile preparations.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.And with the arms of a flood - The refercnce here is to some mighty invasion of some country by Antiochus, which would sweep everything before him. There seems to be some confusion of metaphor in the phrase, "the arms of a flood." The idea in the mind of the writer appears to have been this: He saw an invasion of some country by hosts of men under the command of Antiochus. This it was not unnatural to compare with an "inundation of waters" spreading over a land. See Isaiah 8:8. Nor was it altogether unnatural to speak of an inundation as having "arms" extending far and near; sweeping everything to itself, or carrying it away. Thus we speak of an arm of the sea, an arm of a river, etc. In this manner the inundation - the invasion - seemed to spread itself out like waters, sweeping all away.

Shall they be overflown, from before him - The prophet does not specify "who" they would be that would thus be overthrown. Some have supposed that the reference is to the Hebrews, but the more correct interpretation is what refers it to Egypt, See the notes at Daniel 11:25. As a matter of fact, the forces of Heliodorus, the forces of the Hebrews, and the forces of the Egyptians, were alike broken and scattered before him. The eye of the prophet, however, seems rather here to be on the invasion of Egypt, which was one of the earliest and most prominent acts of Antiochus, and into the history of which the prophet goes most into detail.

Yea, also the prince of the covenant - He also shall be broken and overcome. There has been some diversity of opinion as to who is meant by "the prince of the covenant" here. Many suppose that it is the high priest of the Jews, as being the chief prince or ruler under the "covenant" which God made with them, or among the "covenant" people. But this appellation is not elsewhere given to the Jewish high priest, nor is it such as could with much propriety be applied to him. The reference is rather to the king of Egypt, with whom a covenant or compact had been made by Antiochus the Great, and who was supposed to be united, therefore, to the Syrians by a solemn treaty. See Lengerke, in loc. So Elliott, "Rev." iv. 133.

22. shall they be overflown … before him—Antiochus Epiphanes shall invade Egypt with overwhelming forces.

prince of the covenant—Ptolemy Philometer, the son of Cleopatra, Antiochus' sister, who was joined in covenant with him. Ptolemy's guardians, while he was a boy, sought to recover from Epiphanes Cœlo-Syria and Palestine, which had been promised by Antiochus the Great as Cleopatra's dowry in marrying Ptolemy Epiphanes. Hence arose the war. Philometer's generals were vanquished, and Pelusium, the key of Egypt, taken by Antiochus, 171 B.C.

They shall be overflown, i.e. the Egyptian force near Pelusium, where they fell by the power of Antiochus, with a great slaughter; and it was near the river Nilus, to which the Holy Ghost alludes here by the phrase,

arms of a flood.

The prince of the covenant, i.e. the high priest with his place and honour, for he put out Onias, and set up in his stead Jason his brother, ambitious of that honour. Thus he opposed the people and worship of God with the same stratagems as he did the king of Egypt. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken,.... That is, by the help of the forces of Eumenes and Attalus, which were like an inundation of water, the party that were on the side of Heliodorus the usurper were bore down, crushed, and destroyed; and thereby Antiochus had a peaceable settlement in the kingdom: or, "the arms of a flood shall be overflowed from before him, and be broken" (r); either the arms of Heliodorus, the forces he had got together; or the armies of the Egyptians, which, like an overflowing flood, had used to run over Judea, Coelesyria, Phoenicia, and other places, and carry all before them, now should be overflowed, and bore down themselves; of which see more on Daniel 11:25,

yea, also the prince of the covenant; which some understand of Judas Maccabaeus, as Jerome and Jacchiades; others more probably of Onias the high priest, whom Antiochus deposed in the first year of his reign, and sold the priesthood to Jason his younger brother for four hundred and forty talents of silver; and who also promised to give him one hundred and fifty more for a license to erect a place of exercise for the training up of youth, according to the fashion of the Greeks; which Antiochus greedily embraced, the public treasury being empty through the large tribute paid to the Romans the last twelve years; in the Apocrypha:

"7 But after the death of Seleucus, when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias laboured underhand to be high priest, 8 Promising unto the king by intercession three hundred and threescore talents of silver, and of another revenue eighty talents: 9 Beside this, he promised to assign an hundred and fifty more, if he might have licence to set him up a place for exercise, and for the training up of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to write them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians. 34 Wherefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus apart, prayed, him to get Onias into his hands; who being persuaded thereunto, and coming to Onias in deceit, gave him his right hand with oaths; and though he were suspected by him, yet persuaded he him to come forth of the sanctuary: whom forthwith he shut up without regard of justice. 35 For the which cause not only the Jews, but many also of other nations, took great indignation, and were much grieved for the unjust murder of the man.'' (2 Maccabees 4)

Others think Seleucus Philopator his brother is meant, which is not probable, his death being before described; rather Demetrius his nephew, with whom he covenanted to hold the kingdom for him, or through whom the covenant and peace with the Romans was continued so long, he being an hostage at Rome; though others are of opinion that Trypho, a peer of the realm of Egypt, is designed, who was the principal person concerned in a covenant made between Antiochus and Ptolemy Philometor king of Egypt; though it is more likely that Ptolemy himself is the person intended.

(r) "et brachia inundationis inundabantur", Cocceius, Michaelis "brachia inundantia", Piscator.

And with the {t} arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the {u} covenant.

(t) He shows that great foreign powers will come to help the young son of Seleucus against his uncle Antiochus, and yet will be overthrown.

(u) Meaning Ptolemais Philopater's son, who was this child's cousin, and is here called the prince of the covenant, because he was the chief, and all others followed his conduct.

22. And the arms of the flood] fig. for opposing forces. The metaphor is a mixed one: for ‘arms,’ cf. Daniel 11:15; for the fig. of the flood, Daniel 11:10; Daniel 11:26; Daniel 11:40; Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 28:15; Jeremiah 47:2. The reference is ambiguous: it might of course be to the forces of Ptolemy Philometor; but more probably the domestic or other enemies who opposed Antiochus’ rise to power are meant. According to Jerome there was a party in Syria which favoured the claims of Philometor.

shall be flooded (or swept) away from before him] he will prevail against them.

be broken] cf., of an army, 2 Chronicles 14:12.

and also the prince of the covenant] most probably the high-priest, Onias III., who was deposed from his office by Antiochus in 175, and whose death was at least an indirect consequence of action taken by Antiochus (see above, on Daniel 9:26). The words might, however, be also rendered a confederate prince (cf. Genesis 14:13; Obadiah 1:7; Heb.): the reference would then be to Ptolemy Philometor; but it is an objection to this view that the king of Egypt is regularly throughout the chapter called the ‘king of the south’; nor are the relations which (so far as we know) subsisted between Antiochus and Philometor such as would be described naturally as a ‘covenant’ or ‘league.’

22–24. General description of Antiochus’ character and dealings. The verses have often (from Jerome onwards) been referred to Antiochus’ first Egyptian campaign; but though occurrences in that campaign may be alluded to in them, they cannot, as a whole, be understood naturally as a description of it[378]. Observe also that the ‘king of the south’ is for the first time mentioned explicitly in Daniel 11:25.

[378] The terms in which Jerome (p. 713) describes the campaign (though the facts, he says, are derived from Porphyry) are manifestly coloured by the phraseology of these verses of Daniel.Verse 22. - And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. The rendering of the LXX. is very wide of this, "And the broken arms he shall break from before him." Although this is much shorter than the Massoretic text, yet the contradictory assertion that arms already broken are broken before him is conclusive against accepting the evidence of the Septuagint absolutely. Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic, not with the English versinns, "And the arms of the overflowing shall be overflowed from before him, and be broken, even the leader of the covenant." The Peshitta is widely different, alike from the Massoretic text and that of the Septuagint, ";And their mighty ones of the city he shall carry away, and they shall be broken from before him, even the leader of the covenant." The Vulgate stands in a closer relation with the above than with the Massoretic text or the Greek versions, "The arms (brachia) of one fighting shall be driven out (expugnabuntur) from his face, and shall be broken besides, and (insuper et) the leader of the covenant." The reference here seems to be to the campaign' - if there was a campaign - by which Epiphanes secured possession of the throne of Syria. The prince of the covenant. Who this can be it is impossible to say. The idea supported by Hitzig, Bevan, Behrmann, that Onias III. is referred to, is founded on the utterly unhistorical narrative in 2 Macc. 4. The view of Moses Stuart is that it is some sovereign who had a league of amity with Epiphanes. The reference thus might be to Eumenes or Attalus, who supported the claims of Anthochs. Negeed bereeth may be explanatory of the prenominal suffix in milpanayo, "before him." As Stuart acutely remarks, had the reference in bereeth been to the Divine covenant with the Jews, we should have had habbeereth. In this situation Daniel excelled all the presidents and satraps. אתנצּח, to show one's self prominent. Regarding his excellent spirit, cf. Daniel 5:12. On that account the king thought to set him over the whole kingdom, i.e., to make him chief ruler of the kingdom, to make him למּלך משׁנה (Esther 10:3). עשׁית for עשׁת, intrans. form of the Peal, to think, to consider about anything. This intention of the king stirred up the envy of the other presidents and of the satraps, so that they sought to find an occasion against Daniel, that he might be cast down. עלּה, an occasion; here, as αἰτία, John 18:38; Matthew 27:37, an occasion for impeachment, מלוּתא מצּד, on the part of the kingdom, i.e., not merely in a political sense, but with regard to his holding a public office in the kingdom, with reference to his service. But since they could find no occasion against Daniel in this respect, for he was מהימן, faithful, to be relied on, and no fault could be charged against him, they sought occasion against him on the side of his particular religion, in the matter of the law of his God, i.e., in his worship of God.
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