Daniel 11:24
He shall enter peaceably even on the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yes, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Peaceably.—The subject continues to be the perfidious conduct of the king mentioned in the last two verses. While the inhabitants are expecting nothing of the sort, he enters the richest parts of the province, and while he scatters largesses with profuseness and in apparent friendship, he is really planning attacks against the fortresses of the district, endeavouring to reduce them into his power.

This has been referred to the conduct of Antiochus Epiphanes, mentioned in 1 Maccabees 3:27-30, after the defeat of the Syrian army by Judas Maccabæus. According to another interpretation, the meaning is that he will scatter or disperse the accumulated wealth of the different provinces “among them”—that is, to their hurt. The former explanation appears to be most in accordance with the deceit and craft which the prophecy attributes to the king.

For a time.—That is, the end of the time decreed by God. (Comp. Daniel 11:35, Daniel 8:17; Daniel 8:19; Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:6.)

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.He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province - The margin is, "or, into the peaceable and fat." The version in the text, however, is the more correct, and the sense is, that he would do this "unexpectedly" (Lengerke, uvermuthet); he would make gradual and artful approaches until he had seized upon the best portions of the land. Compare Genesis 27:28, Genesis 27:39. The history is, that he went there with different professions than those of conquest, and one after another he took possession of the principal towns of Egypt. In his first invasion of that country, Diodorus Siculus and Josephus both say that Antiochus "availed himself of a mean artifice," without specifying what it was. Jahn says that probably it was that he pretended to come as the friend of Ptolemy. It was to this that the allusion is here, when it is said that he would "enter peaceably" - that is, with some pretence of peace or friendship, or with some false and flattering art. Josephus (Ant. xii. ch. v. Section 2) says of Antiochus, that "he came with great forces to Pelusium, and circumvented Ptolemy Philorector "by treachery," and seized upon Egypt." The fact stated by Diodorus and Josephus, that he took possession of Memphis and of all Egypt, as far as Alexandria, fully illustrates what is said here, that he would "enter upon the fattest places of the province." These were the most choice and fertile portions of Egypt."

And he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers - Which none of his predecessors have been able to do; to wit, in the conquest of Egypt. No one of them had it so completely in his possession; no one obtained from it so much spoil. There can be no doubt that such was the fact. The wars of his predecessors with the Egyptians had been mostly waged in Coelo-Syria and Palestine, for the possession of these provinces. Antiochus Epiphanes, however, at first took Pelusium, the key of Egypt, and then invaded Egypt itself, seized upon its strongest places, and made the king a captive. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 263. Compare 1 Macc. 1:16.

He shall scatter among them the prey ... - Among his followers. He shall reward them with the spoils of Egypt. Compare 1 Macc. 1:19: "Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt, and he took the spoils thereof.

And he shall forecast his devices - Margin, "think his thoughts." The margin is in accordance with the Hebrew. The meaning is, that he would form plans, or that this would be his aim. He would direct the war against the strongly-fortified places of Egypt.

Against the strongholds - Antiochus took possession of Pelusium, the key of Egypt; he seized upon Memphis, and he then laid siege to Alexandria, supposing that if that were reduced, the whole country would be his. - Jos. "Ant." b. xii. ch. v. Section 2.

Even for a time - Josephus (ut sup.) says that he was driven from Alexandria, and out of all Egypt, by the threatenings of the Romans, commanding him to let that country alone. There were other reasons also which, combined with this, induced him to retire from that country. He was greatly enraged by the effect which a report of his death had produced in Judea. It was said that all the Jews rejoiced at that report, and rose in rebellion; and he therefore resolved to inflict revenge on them, and left Egypt, and went to Jerusalem, and subdued it either by storm or by stratagem.

24. peaceably—literally, "unexpectedly"; under the guise of friendship he seized Ptolemy Philometer.

he shall do that which his fathers have not done—His predecessors, kings of Syria, had always coveted Egypt, but in vain: he alone made himself master of it.

scatter among them … prey—among his followers (1 Maccabees 1:19).

forecast his devices against … strongholds—He shall form a studied scheme for making himself master of the Egyptian fortresses. He gained them all except Alexandria, which successfully resisted him. Retaining to himself Pelusium, he retired to Judea, where, in revenge for the joy shown by the Jews at the report of his death, which led them to a revolt, he subdued Jerusalem by storm or stratagem.

for a time—His rage shall not be for ever; it is but for a time limited by God. Calvin makes "for a time" in antithesis to "unexpectedly," in the beginning of the verse. He suddenly mastered the weaker cities: he had to "forecast his plans" more gradually ("for a time") as to how to gain the stronger fortresses.

He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; he shall come in upon the Egyptians under pretence of peace, and in time of peace, to a secure people in a plentiful and delicious country, and among a mass of treasures which the kings successively had heaped up, the greatest part of which this Antiochus took and distributed among his chiefest confidants, whereby he obliged them the faster to him, for he was large-hearted and liberal. He did herein (saith the text.)

what his fathers had not done, the kings of Syria before him could never attain to this success over Egypt. as he did.

He shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, i.e. having succeeded thus far in the lesser places of the country, he shall proceed to the most important cities and places of greatest strength in that kingdom. Even for a time; that is, till God put a stop to his career; for he held Egypt not long, the Egyptians found means to deliver themselves from his yoke when their king grew to riper years; yet against this did Antiochus forecast his devices, as saith the text. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province,.... Or, "into tranquillity, and the fattest places of the province" (s); that is, into such places as were in great tranquillity, and men thought themselves safe and secure, and had no suspicion of his designs upon them, and which abounded in wealth and riches: these were either the principal cities in the kingdom of Syria, which he visited in order to establish himself in their good opinion of him; or the chief places of the province of Phoenicia, where he endeavoured to make himself acceptable by his munificence; or it may be the best parts of the kingdom of Egypt are meant, the richest of them, such as Memphis, and the places about it; where, as Sutorius in Jerome says, he went; and which places being fat, producing a large increase, and abounding in wealth, invited him thither; and which wealth he took, and scattered among his friends and soldiers, as in a following clause:

and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; none of his ancestors, more near or more remote; not Antiochus the great, nor Seleucus Ceraunus, nor Seleucus Callinicus, nor Antiochus Theos, nor Antiochus Soter, nor Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the Syrian empire; for, however greater these might be in power or riches, they were inferior to him in success; though they all, or most of them, however, had their eye upon Egypt, and would gladly have been masters of it; yet none of the kings of Syria prevailed over it, as Antiochus did; and this may also refer to what follows:

he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches; which he took from the places or rich cities he entered into; and these he plentifully and liberally dispersed among his followers, his soldiers, "the small people" he became strong with, Daniel 11:23, whereby he gained their affections, and attached them to his interest; and in this his liberality and munificence he is said to abound above all the kings that were before him, in the Apocrypha:

"He feared that he should not be able to bear the charges any longer, nor to have such gifts to give so liberally as he did before: for he had abounded above the kings that were before him.'' (1 Maccabees 3:30)

and the character Josephus (t) gives of him is, that he was a man of a large and liberal heart:

yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds; the fortresses of Egypt; as he got into the fat and richest parts of it, and distributed the wealth of them among his favourites and followers, which answered a good purpose; so he had his eye upon the fortified places of the kingdom, and contrived ways and means to get them into his possession, as Pelusium, and other places; and how to keep them when he had got them, which he did:

even for a time; till Ptolemy Philometor was at age, and freed himself from him; or till the Romans (u) put a stop to his power.

(s) "in quietem et in pinguia", Montanus; "in tranquillitatem et opima", Cocceius; "in tranquillitatem et in pinguissima", Michaelis. (t) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 7. sect. 2.((u) Vid. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 19. c. 5. sect. 2.

He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers {z} have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a {a} time.

(z) Meaning, in Egypt.

(a) He will content himself with the small strongholds for a time, but will always labour by craft to attain to the chiefest.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. In (time of) security (Daniel 11:21) and upon the fattest places (cf. Genesis 27:28, Heb.) of the province shall he come] The Heb. is unusually harsh; though the fact in both A.V. and R.V. is most successfully concealed. ‘In security’ is probably accidentally out of place, and should follow ‘come’ (in the Heb. ובמשמני מדינה בשלוה יבוא for בשלוה ובמשמני מדינה יבוא). Cf. Daniel 8:25 (also of Antiochus) ‘and in (time of) security he shall destroy many.’ Again, the allusion is uncertain: it may be to Antiochus’ acquisition of power over Syria; it may be to his attacks upon Judah, or to his invasions of Egypt.

prey and spoil and substance he shall scatter unto them] to his followers, or it may be to his people generally (for the vague use of the pron., cf. Daniel 11:7; Daniel 11:25). The allusion is, no doubt, to Antiochus’ lavish prodigality, in which he differed from most of the previous Syrian kings (‘his fathers,’ and ‘his fathers’ fathers’), who were usually in lack of surplus money. Cf. 1Ma 3:30, ‘and he feared that he should not have enough as at other times for the charges and the gifts which he used to give aforetime with a liberal hand, and he abounded above the kings which were before him’; also his liberality at Naukratis (above, p. 180), and the anecdotes of his lavish gifts to boon-companions, and even to strangers, in Polyb. xxvi. 10. 9–10, and Athen. x. 52 (p. 438). He was also very munificent in gifts to cities and temples, and in public shows (Liv. xli. 20, who cites examples[379]). Naturally, the funds for such purposes were obtained largely from the ‘prey’ and ‘spoil’ of plundered provinces: cf. 1Ma 1:19, ‘and he took the spoils of Egypt,’ iii. 31; Polyb. xxxi. 4. 9 (the cost of the games given by him in rivalry with those of Aem. Paullus in 167, defrayed in part out of the plunder of Egypt).

[379] For instance, he promised and partly bore the cost of, a city-wall at Megalopolis in Arcadia: he contributed largely to the restoration of the temple of Zeus Olympios at Athens; he presented gold vessels to the Prytaneum at Cyzicus, and beautified Delos with altars and statues; and at home he not only made many improvements in his capital, but also, what in Syria was an innovation, gave frequent gladiatorial shows. The words ‘spectaculorum quoque omnis generis magnificentia superiores reges vicit’ (cf. Polyb. xxvi. 10. 11) illustrate especially 1Ma 3:30, cited above.

against fortresses, also, he shall devise his devices] frame warlike plans,—whether successfully, as against Pelusium and the other places in Egypt which he secured (cf. 1Ma 1:19, of his first campaign in Egypt, ‘and they took the strong cities in the land of Egypt’), or unsuccessfully, as against Alexandria (see p. 180): perhaps, more particularly, the latter (‘devise,’—as though ineffectually).

and that, until a time] until the time fixed, in the counsels of God, as the limit of such enterprises: cf. Daniel 11:27; Daniel 11:35.Verse 24. - He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time. The rendering of the LXX. is," Suddenly he shall desolate the city, and he shall do such things as his fathers have not done, nor his father's fathers, and he shall give captives (προνομή, Deuteronomy 21.)and spoils and riches to them; and against the strong city a device shall be forecast (διανοηθήσεται), and his reasonings are in vain." In the first clause, וְשָׁמַם seems to have been read instead of וּמְשִׁמִנֵּי. Medeena is taken in its Syriac meaning. It is difficult to see what reading could produce both the Massoretic and the Septuagint renderings. Theodotion differs alike from this and from the Massoretic, "And in plenty, and in the fat places he shall corn and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; and he shall disperse among them captives (προνομήν), and spoil and possessions, and against (ἐπ) Egypt he shall devise devices, even for a season." The Peshitta is like the Massoretic. It joins what is reckoned the last clause of ver. 23 to the present verse, and omits "peaceably;" the last words of this verse are transferred to the next. The Vulgate is more related to Theodotion than to the Massoretic text, "And he shall enter plenteous (abundantes) and rich cities." The remaining part of the verse agrees with the Massoretic text The events here indicated are somewhat difficult to identify. The histories of this period are scanty, and, with the exception of Polybius, whose work has come to us in a fragmentary condition, not very trustworthy. Moreover, the readings are uncertain in a portion of the verse. It is generally held to describe the first entrance of Epiphanes into Palestine or Egypt - more generally the latter - an opinion shared by Theodotion. The English versions do not bring out the probable meaning, although their rendering agrees with the Massoretic pointing, "That which his fathers have not done," etc. The repeated triumphant invasions of Egypt are probably referred to. Forecast devices against the strong holds. This may refer to the siege of Alexandria, which he was on the eve of commencing when he was compelled by the Roman envoy, Popilius Lena, to desist; but this is evidently the subject of the later verse. We can most easily understand this verse if we regard it as a summary of the whole reign of Antiochus. מלוּתא סרכי כּל does not denote the three presidents named in v. 3((2), but all the prefects of the kingdom, of whom there were four classes, as is acknowledged by Chr. B. Michaelis, though Hitz. opposes this view. Such an interpretation is required by the genitive מלוּתא, and by the absence of כל, or at least of the copula ו, before the official names that follow; while the objection, that by this interpretation just the chief presidents who are principally concerned are omitted (Hitz.), is without foundation, for they are comprehended under the word סגניּא. If we compare the list of the four official classes here mentioned with that of the great officers of state under Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:2, the naming of the סגניּא before the אחשׁדּרפּניּא, satraps) (which in Daniel 3:2 they are named after them) shows that the סגניּא are here great officers to whom the satraps were subordinate, and that only the three סרכין could be meant to whom the satraps had to render an account. Moreover, the list of four names is divided by the copula וinto two classes. To the first class belong the סגניּא and the satraps; to the second the הדּברין, state councillors, and the פּחותא, civil prefects of the provinces. Accordingly, we will scarcely err of by סגניּא we understand the members of the highest council of state, by הדּבריּא the ministers or members of the (lower) state council, and by the satraps and pechas the military and civil rulers of the provinces. This grouping of the names confirms, consequently, the general interpretation of the מלוּתא סרכי כּל, for the four classes named constitute the entire chief prefecture of the kingdom. This interpretation is not made questionable by the fact that the סרכין had in the kingdom of Darius a different position from that they held in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar; for in this respect each kingdom had its own particular arrangement, which underwent manifold changes according to the times.

The infinitive clause וגו קים לקיּמא presents the conclusion arrived at by the consultation. מלכּא is not the genitive to קים, but according to the accents and the context is the subject of the infinitive clause: that the king should appoint a statute, not that a royal statute should be appointed. According to the analogy of the pronoun and of the dimin. noun, the accusative is placed before the subject-genitive, as e.g. Isaiah 20:1; Isaiah 5:24, so as not to separate from one another the קים קיּמא (to establish a statute) and the אסר תּקּפה (to make a firm decree). Daniel 6:9 requires this construction. It is the king who issues the decree, and not his chief officers of state, as would have been the case if מלכּא were construed as the genitive to קים ot evit. קים, manifesto, ordinance, command. The command is more accurately defined by the parallel clause אסר תּקּפה, to make fast, i.e., to decree a prohibition. The officers wished that the king should issue a decree which should contain a binding prohibition, i.e., it should forbid, on pain of death, any one for the space of thirty days, i.e., for a month, to offer any prayer to a god or man except to the king. בּעוּ is here not any kind of request or supplication, but prayer, as the phrase v. 14 (Daniel 6:13), בּעוּתהּ בּעא, directing his prayer, shows. The word ואנשׁ does not prove the contrary, for the heathen prayed also to men (cf. Daniel 2:46); and here the clause, except to the king, places together god and man, so that the king might not observe that the prohibition was specially directed against Daniel.

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