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. Daniel 11:23In these verses there is a fuller statement of the manner in which he treats the princes of the covenant and takes possession of their territory. The וat the beginning of Daniel 11:23 is explicative, and the suffix in אליו, pointing back to נגיד ב, is also to be interpreted collectively. אליו מן־התחבּרוּת, literally, "from the confederating himself with them" (התחבּרוּת is infin. formed in the Syriac manner), i.e., from the time when he had made a covenant with them, he practised deceit. This was done by his coming (עלה of a warlike coming) and gaining strength with a few people, namely (Daniel 11:24), by his coming unexpectedly into the fattest and richest places of the province, and there doing unheard-of things - things which no previous king, no one of his predecessors, had ever done, scattering among them (his followers) spoil and prey and riches. Thus rightly, after the Syriac and the Vulgate (dissipabit), Rosenmller, Kranichfeld, and Ewald; while, on the contrary, v. Leng., Maurer, Hitzig, and Kliefoth interpret בּזר in the sense of to distribute, and refer the words to the circumstance that Antiochus Epiphanes squandered money lavishly, and made presents to his inferiors often without any occasion. But to distribute money and spoil is nothing unheard of, and in no way does it agree with the "fattest provinces." The contest decidedly refers to conduct which injured the fat provinces. This can only consist in squandering and dissipating the wealth of this province which he had plundered to its injury (להם [to them], dativ. incommodi). An historical confirmation is found in 1 Macc. 3:29-31. To bring the provinces wholly under his power, he devises plans against the fortresses that he might subdue them. ועד־עת, and indeed (he did this) even for a time. We cannot, with Klief., refer this merely to the last preceding passage, that his assaults against the fortresses succeeded only partly and for a time. The addition ("and that for a time") denotes a period determined by a higher power (cf. Daniel 11:24 and Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:6), and relates to the whole proceedings of this prince hitherto described; as C. B. Michaelis has already rightly explained: nec enim semper et in perpetuum dolus ei succedet et terminus suus ei tandem erit.
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