Daniel 11:28
Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Then shall he return.—He returns, apparently bringing abundant spoils with him, and while on the journey sets his heart against the holy covenant.

Great riches.—The prophecy points distinctly to Antiochus after his return from Egypt. (See 1 Maccabees 1:19-28; 2 Maccabees 5:11-17.) This was the occasion of his first attack upon the theocracy. The typical character of Antiochus is drawn in Daniel 11:30, &c., with still greater clearness.

He shall doi.e., prosper in his undertakings against the covenant. (See the passages from the Books of Maccabees referred to in the last Note.)

Daniel 11:28. Then shall he return into his land with great riches — Namely, with the spoils taken in Egypt, which were of immense value. And his heart shall be against the holy covenant — “While he was absent in Egypt a false report was spread of his death; and Jason, thinking this a favourable opportunity for recovering the high-priesthood, marched to Jerusalem with a thousand men, assaulted and took the city, drove Menelaus into the castle, and exercised great cruelties upon the citizens. Antiochus, hearing of this, concluded that the whole nation had revolted; and being informed that the people had made great rejoicings at the report of his death, he determined to take a severe revenge, and went up with a great army, as well as with great indignation, against Jerusalem. He besieged and took the city by force of arms, slew 40,000 of the inhabitants, and sold as many more for slaves, polluted the temple and altar with swines’ flesh, profaned the holy of holies by breaking into it, took away the golden vessels, and other sacred treasures, to the value of eighteen hundred talents, restored Menelaus to his office and authority, and constituted one Philip, by nature a Phrygian, in manners a barbarian, governor of Judea. When he had done these exploits he returned to his own land.” — 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.Then shall he return into his land with great riches - Enriched with the spoils of Egypt. Having taken Memphis, and the fairest portions of Egypt, he would, of course, carry great wealth to his own country on his return. Thus it is said in 1 Macc. 1:19: "Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt, and he took the spoils thereof." The meaning here is, that he would "set out" to return to his own land. As a matter of fact, on his way he would pause to bring desolation on Jerusalem, as is intimated in the subsequent part of the verse.

And his heart shall be against the holy covenant - The words "holy covenant" are a technical expression to denote the Jewish institutions. The Hebrew people were called the "covenant people," as being a people with whom God had entered into covenant. All their privileges were regarded as the result of that covenant, and hence, the word came to be applied to all the institutions of the nation. When it is said that his heart Was against that covenant, the meaning is, that he was enraged against it; and determined to bring calamity upon the place and people connected with it. The reason of this was the following: When he was in Egypt, a report was spread abroad that he was dead. In consequence of this rumour, Jason took the opportunity of recovering the office of high priest from his brother Menelaus, and with a thousand men took Jerusalem, drove Menelaus into the castle, and killed many whom he took for his enemies. Antiochus, hearing of this, supposed that all the Jews had revolted, and determined to inflict summary chastisement on them on his way to his own land. See Jahn, "Hebrew Commonwealth," p. 263.

And he shall do exploits, and return to his own land - The word "exploits" is supplied by the translators. The Hebrew is, simply, "he shall do;" that is, he shall accomplish the purpose of his heart on the covenant people. In this expedition he took Jerusalem, whether by storm or by stratagem is not quite certain. Diodorus Siculus, and the author of the second book of Maccabees, and Josephus (Jeweish Wars, i. 1, 2, and vi. 10, 1), say that it was by storm. The account which he gives in his "Antiquities" (b. xii. ch. v. Section 3) is, that he took it by stratagem, but the statement in the "Jewish Wars" is much more probable, for Antiochus plundered the city, killed eighty thousand persons, men, women, and children, took forty thousand prisoners, and sold as many into slavery, 2 Macc. 5:5, 6, 11-14. As if this were not enough, under the guidance of the high priest Menelaus, he went into the sanctuary, uttering blasphemous language, took away all the gold and silver vessels he could find there, the golden table, altar, and candlestick, and all the great vessels, and that he might leave nothing behind, searched the subterranean vaults, and in this manner collected eighteen hundred talents of gold. He then sacrificed swine on the altar, boiled a piece of the flesh, and sprinkled the whole temple with the broth, 2 Macc. 5:15-21; 1 Macc. 1:21-28; Diodorus Sic. xxxiv. 1; Jahn, "Hebrew Commonwealth," p. 264.

28. (1 Maccabees 1:19, 20, &c.).

against the holy covenant—On his way back to Syria, he attacked Jerusalem, the metropolis of Jehovah's covenant-people, slew eighty thousand, took forty thousand prisoners, and sold forty thousand as slaves (2 Maccabees 5:5-14).

he shall do exploits—He shall effect his purpose. Guided by Menelaus, the high priest, he entered the sanctuary with blasphemies, took away the gold and silver vessels, sacrificed swine on the altar, and sprinkled broth of the flesh through the temple (2 Maccabees 5:15-21).

Antiochus shall depart with his booty gotten in Egypt into his kingdom of Syria, and be content with the bounds of that, leaving Egypt behind him.

And his heart shall be against the holy covenant; against the law and covenant of God, with the people that worshipped God according to his rule and will. He shall do exploits, and return to his own land; he shall greatly afflict and vex the people of God; yet was it a mercy they had this warning of this sore trial. Antiochus was a fit instrument of the devil for this work, being rich and proud, and thought he might take this in his way: God permitting this horn to push and gore, for his people’s sins, and for a preparation to his own ruin.

Then shall he return into his land with great riches,.... That is, Antiochus, with the spoils of Egypt, and the gifts and presents he had received there; so the author of the first book of Maccabees says,

"20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, 21 And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof,'' (1 Maccabees 1)

that is, of the era of the Selucidae, and the fifth or sixth year of his reign:

and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; not the covenant he had made with Ptolemy, which was a fraudulent one; but the covenant between God and the Jews; whereby they became a distinct and peculiar people, having a religion, laws, and ordinances, different from all others; for which reason they were hated by other nations, and particularly by Antiochus; and his heart was the more enraged against them at this time, for the following reason; a false rumour being spread in Judea that Antiochus was dead, Jason took the opportunity to recover the office of high priest from his brother Menelaus; and, with a thousand men, took the city of Jerusalem, drove his brother into the castle, and slew many he took for his enemies. Antiochus, hearing of this, concluded the whole nation of the Jews had revolted from him; and therefore took Judea in his way from Egypt, in order to suppress this rebellion; in the Apocrypha:

"5 Now when there was gone forth a false rumour, as though Antiochus had been dead, Jason took at the least a thousand men, and suddenly made an assault upon the city; and they that were upon the walls being put back, and the city at length taken, Menelaus fled into the castle: 6 But Jason slew his own citizens without mercy, not considering that to get the day of them of his own nation would be a most unhappy day for him; but thinking they had been his enemies, and not his countrymen, whom he conquered. 11 Now when this that was done came to the king's ear, he thought that Judea had revolted: whereupon removing out of Egypt in a furious mind, he took the city by force of arms,'' (2 Maccabees 5)

and he shall do exploits; in Jerusalem, very wicked ones indeed! he ordered his soldiers to slay all they met, without mercy, old and young, women and children, virgins and young men; and in three days' time eighty thousand were slain, forty thousand bound, and no less sold: he went into the temple, and took all the vessels in it, and all the gold and silver, and hidden treasures of it, to the value of a thousand and eight hundred talents, in the Apocrypha:

"12 And commanded his men of war not to spare such as they met, and to slay such as went up upon the houses. 13 Thus there was killing of young and old, making away of men, women, and children, slaying of virgins and infants. 14 And there were destroyed within the space of three whole days fourscore thousand, whereof forty thousand were slain in the conflict; and no fewer sold than slain. 15 Yet was he not content with this, but presumed to go into the most holy temple of all the world; Menelaus, that traitor to the laws, and to his own country, being his guide: 16 And taking the holy vessels with polluted hands, and with profane hands pulling down the things that were dedicated by other kings to the augmentation and glory and honour of the place, he gave them away. 21 So when Antiochus had carried out of the temple a thousand and eight hundred talents, he departed in all haste unto Antiochia, weening in his pride to make the land navigable, and the sea passable by foot: such was the haughtiness of his mind.'' (2 Maccabees 5)

"23 He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found. 24 And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. 25 Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were;'' (1 Maccabees 1)

and return to his own land; having done these exploits, he made what haste he could to Antioch, with the spoils of Egypt, and the plunder of the temple at Jerusalem, in the Apocrypha:

"And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.'' (1 Maccabees 1:24)

"So when Antiochus had carried out of the temple a thousand and eight hundred talents, he departed in all haste unto Antiochia, weening in his pride to make the land navigable, and the sea passable by foot: such was the haughtiness of his mind.'' (2 Maccabees 5:21)

Then shall he return into his land with great {g} riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.

(g) Which he will take from the Jews in spoiling Jerusalem and the temple, and this is told them before to exhort them to be patient, knowing that all things are done by God's providence.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. Then] And. A chronological sequence is not expressed in the Heb.; and is perhaps (see the beginning of the last note) not intended by the writer.

he shall return to his own land] in 170, at the close of his ‘first’ Egyptian campaign,—in whatever sense this may be understood (see on Daniel 11:27). The clause anticipates what really took place only after what is described in the two following clauses; and hence, it is repeated, in its proper place, at the end of the verse.

with great substance] the ‘spoils of Egypt’ (1Ma 1:19): the word, as Daniel 11:13; Daniel 11:24. Cf. the allusion in Orac. Sib. iii. 614–5.

against the holy covenant] alluding to Antiochus’ hostile visit to Jerusalem, in which he ‘entered presumptuously into the sanctuary,’ and carried away the golden vessels, and other treasures, belonging to the Temple, besides massacring many of the Jews (1Ma 1:20-24).

and he shall do] in the pregnant sense explained on Daniel 8:12 : R.V. ‘do (his pleasure).’

and return to his own land] 1Ma 1:24; 2Ma 5:21.

Verse 28. - Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. The Greek versions and the Vulgate are in close agreement with the Massoretic text. The Peshitta differs only by omitting the last clause, which certainly seems a redundance. On his return from his Egyptian campaign, Epiphanes, we learn from 1 Macc. 1:20-23, plundered the temple of all its treasures. On the somewhat suspicious authority of 2 Macc. 4. some have referred to the report spread that Antiochus was dead, and that, taking advantage of this, Jason seized the city and drove Menelaus into the citadel; and that, bearing of this uproar, Antiochus, imagining that Judaea had revolted, retired from Egypt, and wreaked vengeance on Jerusalem, taking it by assault. The slaughter inflicted is confirmed by other authorities; but the resistance implied in the assertion that he took the city by force of arms (δορυάλωτον) is contradicted by Josephus and 1 Maccabees. Daniel 11:28The success gained by the crafty king of the north in his war against the king of the south (Daniel 11:25.) increases his endeavours after the enlarging of his dominions. Returning from Egypt with great riches, i.e., with rich spoil, he raises his heart against the holy covenant. By the potentialis ישׁב (he shall return) this new undertaking is placed in the point of view of a divine decree, to denote that he thereby brings about his own destruction. קדשׁ בּרית signifies not the holy people in covenant with God (v. Lengerke, Maurer, and many older interpreters), but the divine institution of the Old Covenant, the Jewish Theocracy. The Jews are only members of this covenant, cf. Daniel 11:30. Calvin is right when he says: Mihi simplicior sensus probatur, quod scilicet bellum gerat adversus Deum. The holy covenant is named instead of the covenant people to represent the undertaking as an outrage against the kingdom of God, which was founded in Israel. ועשׂה, and he shall do, perform, that which his heart thinks, or that which he has in his mind against the holy covenant. The historical fulfilment is narrated in 1 Macc. 1:22-29. לארצו ושׁב resumes ארצו וישׁב, and teaches us that Antiochus undertook the first assault against the holy covenant on his return from Egypt into his kingdom (to Antioch), as is expressly stated in 1 Macc. 1:20.
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