At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)At the time appointed—i.e., in God’s own time. According to 1 Maccabees 1:29, it was after two years were fully expired since his return to Syria that Antiochus made another attack upon Jerusalem. This attack was made after his return from Egypt.
But it shall not be.—No such success attended him at the latter as at the former invasion.Daniel 11:29-30. At the time appointed — Namely, by God. At the time determined by the divine providence, he shall return and come toward the south — He shall march into Egypt again. Antiochus perceiving that his fine-woven policy was unravelled, and that the two brothers, Philometor and Euergetes, instead of wasting and ruining each other in war, had laid aside their mutual dissensions, and provided for their common safety and interest by making peace, and agreeing to reign jointly, was so offended, that he prepared war much more eagerly and maliciously against both than he had before against one of them. Early, therefore, in the spring he set forward with his army, and passing through Cœlosyria, came into Egypt; and the inhabitants of Memphis submitting to him, he came by easy marches down to Alexandria. But it shall not be as the former — That is, this expedition shall not be so successful as his former ones: for the ships of Chittim shall come against him — That is, the ships which brought the Roman ambassadors, namely, Popilius Lænas and his companions; who came from Italy, touched at Greece, and arrived in Egypt, at the supplication of the Ptolemies, to command a peace between the contending kings: see an account of this matter in the note on Daniel 8:23. The reason of the Romans acting in this imperious manner, and of Antiochus so readily obeying, was, as Polybius suggests, the total conquests that Æmilius the Roman consul had just made of the kingdom of Macedonia. Therefore he shall be grieved and return — It was a great mortification to Antiochus to be so humbled, and so disappointed of his expected prey. He led back his forces into Syria, says Polybius, grieved and groaning, but thinking it expedient to yield to the times for the present. And have indignation against the holy covenant — Or, the law of God. Antiochus being disappointed in his designs upon Egypt, vented all his fury upon the Jews; for he detached Apollonius with an army of twenty-two thousand men, who coming to Jerusalem slew great multitudes, plundered the city, set fire to it in several places, and pulled down the houses and walls round about it. Then they built, on an eminence in the city of David, a strong fortress, which might command the temple; and issuing from thence they fell upon those who came to worship, and shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it; so that the temple was deserted and the whole service omitted; the city was forsaken of its natives, and became a habitation of strangers. So shall he do, he shall even return, &c. — After his return to Antioch, he published a decree which obliged all persons, upon pain of death, to conform to the religion of the Greeks; and so the Jewish law was abrogated, the heathen worship was set up in its stead, and the temple itself was consecrated to Jupiter Olympus. In the transacting of these matters he had intelligence with them that forsook the holy covenant — Namely, Menelaus and the other apostate Jews of his party, who were the king’s chief instigators against their religion and country: see 1Ma 1:41-64; 2Ma 6:1-9. “It may be proper to stop here, and reflect a little, how particular and circumstantial this prophecy is concerning the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. There is not so complete and regular a series of their kings; there is not so concise and comprehensive an account of their affairs, to be found in any author of those times. The prophecy is really more perfect than any history. No one historian hath related so many circumstances, and in such exact order of time, as the prophet hath foretold them; so that it has been necessary to have recourse to several authors, Greek and Roman, Jewish and Christian; and to collect something from one, and something from another, for the better explaining and illustrating the great variety of particulars contained in this prophecy. The prophecy indeed is wonderfully exact, not only to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, but beyond that time.” So that we may conclude in the words of the inspired writer; No one could thus declare the times and seasons but He who hath them in his own power: see Acts 1:7; and Bishop Newton.Daniel 11:27. That is, at the time when God shall design to accomplish his own purposes in regard to him. The idea is, that there was a definite period in the Divine Mind in which all this was to be done, and that when this should occur Antiochus would return again to invade Egypt.
He shall return, and come toward the south - With an intention of invading Egypt. The occasion of this invasion was, that after the departure of Antiochus, leaving Ptolemy in possession of Egypt, or having professedly given up the kingdom to him, Ptolemy suspected the designs of Antiochus, and came to an agreement with his brother Physcon, that they should share the government between them, and resist Antiochus with their united power. To do this, they hired mercenary troops from Greece. Antiochus, learning this, openly threw off the mask, and prepared to invade Egypt again, 167 b.c. He sent his fleet to Cyprus to secure possession of that island, and led his army toward Egypt to subdue the two brothers, designing to annex the whole country to his dominions.
But it shall not be as the former, or as the latter - At the first invasion or the second. In these he was successful; in this he would not be. The reason of his want of success is stated in the following verse - that by the aid which the two brothers had obtained from abroad, as expressed in the next verse, they would be able to oppose him.
return—his second open invasion of Egypt. Ptolemy Philometer, suspecting Antiochus' designs with Physcon, hired mercenaries from Greece. Whereupon Antiochus advanced with a fleet and an army, demanding the cession to him of Cyprus, Pelusium, and the country adjoining the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile.
it shall not be as the former—not successful as the former expedition. Popilius Lœnas, the Roman ambassador, met him at Eleusis, four miles from Alexandria, and presented him the decree of the senate; on Antiochus replying that he would consider what he was to do, Popilius drew a line round him with a rod and said, "I must have a reply to give to the senate before you leave this circle." Antiochus submitted, and retired from Egypt; and his fleets withdrew from Cyprus.
or as the latter—that mentioned in Da 11:42, 43 [Tregelles]. Or, making this the third expedition, the sense is "not as the first or as the second" expeditions [Piscator]. Rather "not as the former, so shall be this latter" expedition [Grotius].Come toward the south, i.e. Egypt, to fight against Ptolemy and his wife Cleopatra, sister to Antiochus.
But it shall not be as the former, or as the latter; this shall not be so prosperous as the two former expeditions, but shall fail of his victory and booty.
but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter; this expedition should not succeed so well as the two former, as it did not; he could not carry his point, neither subdue Egypt, nor get any of the two brothers into his hands, as he had done before; the reason of which follows:At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)29. Antiochus’ ‘third’ Egyptian expedition (b.c. 168).
the time appointed] the time fixed in the counsels of God.
but it shall not be in the latter time as in the former] this expedition will not be as successful as the previous one.Verse 29. - At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. The LXX. does not differ from this materially, save that it has Egypt, as usual, for south, and asserts that the king of the north entered Egypt. Theodotion is also in practical agreement with the Massoretie text. The Peshitta is much shorter, and differs very much from the above, as well as from all the other versions, "And he shall do in the former and in the latter." There seems to have been something omitted, The Vulgate gives a different rendering of the last clause, "The last shall not be like the former." The reference is to the second expedition of Antiochus into Egypt. His two nephews, whose quarrels and rivalries he had hoped to utilize for his own purposes, were now to appearance reconciled; they agreed to a joint occupation of the throne. It is supposed this second expedition was intended, if possible, to break up this agreement. Daniel 6:7, to rush forward, to press in eagerly, here "shows the greatness of the zeal with which they performed their business" (Kran.).
They immediately accused him to the king. Reminding the king of the promulgation of the prohibition, they showed him that Daniel, one of the captive Jews, had not regarded the king's command, but had continued during the thirty days to pray to his own God, and thus had violated the law. In this accusation they laid against Daniel, we observe that his accusers do not describe him as one standing in office near to the king, but only as one of a foreign nation, one of the Jewish exiles in Babylon, in order that they may thereby bring his conduct under the suspicion of being a political act of rebellion against the royal authority.
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