Daniel 11:23
And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
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(23) He shall work.—Apparently this verse explains more fully the means by which the king succeeds in maintaining his influence. He has already destroyed those who are at peace with him. From the time that he first becomes their confederate, he works deceitfully, coming up with hostile intent, accompanied only by a few people, and in this way throwing off their guard those whom he would destroy.

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 after the league made with him - A treaty of peace and concord. The great subject of contention between the kings of Syria and Egypt was the possession of Coelo-Syria and Palestine. This they often endeavored to settle by conquest as each of them claimed that in the original partition of the empire of Alexander this portion of the empire fell to himself; and often they endeavored to settle it by treaty. Consequently this region was constantly passing from one to the other, and was also the seat of frequent wars. The "league" here referred to seems to have been that respecting this country - file successive promises which had been made to the king of Egypt that Coelo-Syria and Palestine should be made over to him. These provinces had been secured to Ptolemy Lagus by the treaty made 301 b.c., and they had been again pledged by Antiochus the Great, in dowry, when his daughter Cleopatra should be made queen of Egypt. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 260. Antiochus Epiphanes, however, was by no means disposed to confirm this grant, and hence, the wars in which he was involved with the Egyptians.

He shall work deceitfully - In reference to the covenant or treaty above referred to. He shall endeavor to evade its claims; he shall refuse to comply with its conditions; he shall not deliver up the provinces according to the terms of the compact. The history accords exactly with this, for he did not intend to comply with the terms of the treaty, but sought every means to evade it, and finally waged a succession of bloody wars with Egypt. In reference to the terms of this treaty, and to secure their respective interests, both parties sent ambassadors to Rome to urge their claims before the Roman Senate. - Polybius, "Legat." Sections 78, 82; Jerome, "Com. in loc." As soon as Ptolemy Philometor had reached his fourteenth year, he was solemnly invested with the government; and ambassadors from all surrounding countries came to congatulate him on His accession to the throne. "On this occasion Antiochus sent to Egypt Apollonius, the son of Mnestheus, apparently to congratulate the king on his coronation, but with the real intention of sounding the purposes of the Egyptian court. When Apollonius, on has return, informed Antiochus that he was viewed as an enemy by the Egyptians, he immediately sailed to Joppa to survey his frontiers toward Egypt, and to put them in a state of defense." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth" p. 260; 2 Macc. 4:21.

The purpose of Antiochus was undoubtedly not to surrender Coelo-Syria and Palestine according to the treaties which had been made; and yet he designed to secure them if possible without an open rupture, and hence, his arts of diplomacy, or his efforts to evade compliance with the terms of the compact. Even when he had invaded Egypt, and had obtained possession of the king, Ptolemy Philometor, he still "pretended that he had come to Egypt solely for the good of king Ptolemy, to set the affairs of his kingdom in order for him; and Ptolemy found it expedient to act as though he really thought him his friend. But he must have seen," says Jahn, "that Antiochus, with all his professions of friendship, was not unmindful of spoil, for he plundered Egypt in every quarter." - "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 263.

For he shall come up - Come upon Egypt. The result would be war. Rather than surrender the provinces according to the treaty, he would ultimately invade Egypt, and carry war into its borders.

And shall become strong with a small people - The meaning of this seems to be, that at first his own forces would be small; that he would go up in such a way as not to excite suspicion, but that, either by an increase of his forces there, by uniting himself to confederates, by alluring the people by the promise of rewards, or by gradually taking one town after another and adding them to his dominions, he would become strong. Jahn (Heb. Commonwealth, p. 263) says, "with a small body of troops he made himself master of Memphis, and of all Egypt as far as Alexandria, almost without striking a blow." Compare Diod. Sic. xxvi. 75, 77; Jos. "Ant." xii. 5, 2. The fact in the case was, that Antiochus pretended in his invasion of Egypt to be the friend of the Egyptian king, and that he came to aid him, and to settle him finaly on the throne. By degrees, however, he became possessed of one town after another, and subdued one place after another, until he finally became possessed of the king himself, and had him entirely in his powcr.

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.

For he made a league with Egypt, and came with a few in comparison, (but they were chosen men,) and he took the passes, and set garrisons, and put all in subjection to him. 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.

And after {x} the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a {y} small people.

(x) For after the battle, Philometor and his uncle Antiochus made a league.

(y) For he came upon him by surprise, and when he did not suspect his uncle Antiochus at all.

23. And from the time when he (or any) joins himself unto him—viz. in a league (2 Ch. 30:35, 37; cf. above, Daniel 11:6)—he shall work deceit] he will immediately scheme to overreach his ally. The reference is again ambiguous. The allusion might be specially to Antiochus’ insincere friendship with Philometor, or to the manner in which he treated his allies in general.

and he shall come up] i.e., probably, rise to power (cf. Deuteronomy 28:43). The explanation ‘go up (the Nile to Memphis)’ (Jer. ascendit Memphim) is not natural. (The comma after up in A.V. should be transferred to follow strong.)

with a little (Daniel 11:34) nation] alluding apparently (Bevan) to the partisans of Antiochus, ‘by whose help he was able to rise to power and overcome his rivals.’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. For this end they induced the king to sanction and ratify with all the forms of law a decree, which they contrived as the result of the common consultation of all the high officers, that for thirty days no man in the kingdom should offer a prayer to any god or man except to the king, on pain of being cast into the den of lions, and to issue this command as a law of the Medes and Persians, i.e., as an irrevocable law. הרגּשׁ, from רגשׁ to make a noise, to rage, in Aphel c. על, to assail one in a tumultuous manner, i.e., to assault him. "These presidents and satraps (princes)," v. 7 (Daniel 6:6), in v. 6 (Daniel 6:5) designated "these men," and not the whole body of the presidents and satraps, are, according to v. 5 (Daniel 6:4), the special enemies of Daniel, who wished to overthrow him. It was only a definite number of them who may have had occasion to be dissatisfied with Daniel's service. The words of the text do not by any means justify the supposition that the whole council of state assembled, and in corpore presented themselves before the king (Hvernick); for neither in v. 5 (Daniel 6:4) nor in v. 7 (Daniel 6:6) is mention made of all (כּל) the presidents and satraps. From the fact also that these accusers of Daniel, v. 25 (Daniel 6:24), represent to the king that the decree they had framed was the result of a consultation of all the prefects of the kingdom, it does not follow that all the satraps and chief officers of the whole kingdom had come to Babylon in order, as Dereser thinks, to lay before the three overseers the annual account of their management of the affairs of their respective provinces, on which occasion they took counsel together against Daniel; from which circumstance Hitzig and others derive an argument against the historical veracity of the narrative. The whole connection of the narrative plainly shows that the authors of the accusation deceived the king. The council of state, or the chief court, to which all the satraps had to render an account, consisted of three men, of whom Daniel was one. But Daniel certainly was not called to this consultation; therefore their pretence, that all "presidents of the kingdom" had consulted on the matter, was false. Besides, they deceived the king in this, that they concealed from him the intention of the decree, or misled him regarding it. אתיעט means not merely that they consulted together, but it includes the result of the consultation: they were of one mind (Hitz.).
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