Daniel 11:30
For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
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(30) Ships of Chittim.—On Chittim, see Genesis 10:4; comp. Numbers 24:24. The LXX. explain this of the Romans, referring to the story in Livy, xlv. 11.

He shall be grieved.—Literally, he shall lose heart. Compare the words of Livy, which describe the feelings of Antiochus at the peremptory demands of Popilius: “Obstupefactus tam violento imperio.” Theodotion apparently imagined that the Cyprians came as allies to the aid of Antiochus.

Return.—That is, to Palestine, where he will indulge his anger.

Have intelligencei.e., pay attention to them. These persons are such as those who are mentioned in 1 Maccabees 1:11-16, who were anxious to Hellenise all their institutions, not only forsaking the outward sign of the covenant, but actually taking Greek names.

On the manner in which Antiochus treated the apostates, see 2 Maccabees 4:14, &c., and comp. Daniel 11:39.

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.For the ships of Chittim shall come against him - The word rendered Chittim - כתים kı̂ttı̂ym - according to Gesenius, properly means "Cyprians," so called from a celebrated Phoenician colony in the island of Cyprus. In a wider acceptation the name came to comprehend the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, especially the northern parts, and therefore stands for the islands and coasts of Greece and the AEgean Sea. See Gesenius, Lexicon, and compare Josephus, "Ant." b. i. ch. vi. 1. The Egyptian government had called in the aid of the Romans, and Antiochus, therefore, was threatened with a war with the Romans if he did not abandon his enterprise against Egypt. The reference in the passage before us is to the embassage which the Romans sent to Antiochus in Egypt, requiring him to desist from his enterprise against Egypt. "When he had arrived at Leusine, about four miles from Alexandria, he met Caius Popilins Laenas, Caius Decimius, and Caius Hostilius, ambassadors, whom the Roman Senate had sent to him at the earnest request of Ptolemy Physcon. They were instructed to assure Antiochus that he must leave the kingdom of Egypt and the island of Cyprus in peace, or expect a war with the Romans. When Antiochus said that he would lay the affair before his council, Popilius, the head of the legation, with his staff drew a circle about the king in the sand on which they stood, and exclaimed, 'Before you leave that circle, you must give me an answer which I can report to the Senate.' Antiochius was confounded, but on a little reflection, he said he would do whatever the Senate required." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 265, 266; Polyb. "Legat." Sections 90, 92; Livy, xliv. 14, 29, 41-46; xlv. 10, 12. These ambassadors came by the way of Greece, and in Grecian vessels, and their coming might properly be described as "ships from Chittim." They went from Rome to Brundusium, and then passed over to the Grecian shore, and from thence by the way of Chialcis, Delos, and Rhodes, to Alexandria. - Prideaux, iii.237.

Therefore he shall be grieved - The word used here - כאה kâ'âh - means, properly, to become faint-hearted; to be frightened; to be dejected, sad, humbled, Job 30:8; Ezekiel 13:22; Psalm 109:16. The meaning here is, that he became dispirited, dejected, cast down, and abandoned his purpose. He saw that it would be vain to attempt to contend with the Romans, and he was constrained reluctantly to relinquish his enterprise.

And return - Set out to return to his own land.

And have indignation against the holy covenant - See the notes at Daniel 11:28. That is, he would be filled with wrath against Jerusalem and the Jews. Polybius says that he left Egypt in great anger, because he was compelled by the Romans to abandon his designs. In this condition he was, of course, in a state of mind to become irritated against any other people, and, if an occassion should be given, would seek to vent Iris wrath in sonic other direction. This habitual state of feeling toward Jerusalem and the Jews would make him ready to seize upon the slightest pretext to wreak his vengeance on the holy land. What was the immediate occasion of his taking this opportunity to attack Jerusalem is not certainly known, but in his marching back through Palestine, he detached from his army twenty-two thousand men, under the command of Apollonius, and sent them to Jerusalem to destroy it. - Prideaux, iii. 239; Jahn, "Heb. Commononwealth," p. 266. Apollonius arrived before Jerusalem 167 b.c., just two years after the city had been taken by Antiochus himself.

So shall he do - That is, in the manner described in this and the following verses.

He shall even return - On his way to his own land.

And have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant - Have an understanding with them; that is, with a portion of the nation - with those who were disposed to cast off the religion of their fathers. There was a coonsiderable part of the nation that was inclined to do this, and to introduce the customs of the Greeks (compare Jahn," Heb. Commonwealth, pp. 258-260); and it was natural that Antiochus should seek to have an understanding with them, and to make use of them in accomplishing his designs. It was very probably at the solicitation of this infidel and disaffected party of the Hebrew people that Antiochus had interfered in their affairs at all. Compare 1 Macc. 1:11-15.

30. ships of Chittim—the Roman ambassadors arriving in Macedonian Grecian vessels (see on [1107]Jer 2:10). Chittim, properly Cyprian, so called from a Phœnician colony in Cyprus; then the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean in general.

grieved—humbled and dispirited through fear of Rome.

indignation against the holy covenant—Indignant that meantime God's worship had been restored at Jerusalem, he gives vent to his wrath at the check given him by Rome, on the Jews.

intelligence with them that forsake the … covenant—namely, with the apostates in the nation (1 Maccabees 1:11-15). Menelaus and other Jews instigated the king against their religion and country, learning from Greek philosophy that all religions are good enough to keep the masses in check. These had cast off circumcision and the religion of Jehovah for Greek customs. Antiochus, on his way home, sent Apollonius (167 B.C.) with twenty-two thousand to destroy Jerusalem, two years after its capture by himself. Apollonius slew multitudes, dismantled and pillaged the city. They then, from a fortress which they built commanding the temple, fell on and slew the worshippers; so that the temple service was discontinued. Also, Antiochus decreed that all, on pain of death, should conform to the Greek religion, and the temple was consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. Identifying himself with that god, with fanatical haughtiness he wished to make his own worship universal (1 Maccabees 1:41; 2 Maccabees 6:7). This was the gravest peril which ever heretofore threatened revealed religion, the holy people, and the theocracy on earth, for none of the previous world rulers had interfered with the religious worship of the covenant-people, when subject to them (Da 4:31-34; 6:27, 28; Ezr 1:2, 4; 7:12; Ne 2:18). Hence arose the need of such a forewarning of the covenant-people as to him—so accurate, that Porphyry, the adversary of revelation, saw it was hopeless to deny its correspondence with history, but argued from its accuracy that it must have been written subsequent to the event. But as Messianic events are foretold in Daniel, the Jews, the adversaries of Jesus, would never have forged the prophecies which confirm His claims. The ninth chapter was to comfort the faithful Jews, in the midst of the "abominations" against "the covenant," with the prospect of Messiah who would "confirm the covenant." He would show by bringing salvation, and yet abolishing sacrifices, that the temple service which they so grieved after, was not absolutely necessary; thus the correspondence of phraseology would suggest comfort (compare Da 9:27 with Da 11:30, 31).

The ships of Chittim shall come against him, i.e. the Romans out of Italy, and parts of the Archipelago, under them, shall come with force, and they shall vex and afflict him; for the Romans had harbours for their ships and galleys in Cilicia, Macedonia, and other parts of those coasts; whereby, after they had subdued Greece, they pursued Antiochus in Asia, and sent into Egypt to prevent his going into Alexandria. — Liv. 1. 45. This grieved and fretted him; for when he lingered and framed excuses, Popilius the Roman ambassador made a circle about him with his rod, commanding he should not stir thence till he gave him a positive present answer, by which, sore against his will, he was fain to pack away out of Egypt, and withdraw his garrisons and navy thence. This made his heart boil with rancour, which he spit out all against the Jews; therefore it is said,

he shall be grieved and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant; especially being solicited to it by Jason first, and Menelaus after, who were apostates, and betrayers of their brethren, and the true worship of God, /APC 2Ma 4:26,27, &c. Because Onias was in power, this they envied, therefore went to Antiochus.

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him,.... Ptolemy king of Egypt, and his brother, being come to an agreement, sent an embassy to the senate of Rome, to implore their help and assistance against Antiochus, who was preparing to besiege them in Alexandria; upon which they sent their ambassadors Caius Popilius Laenas, Caius Decimus, and Caius Hostilius, in ships from Macedonia (z), or Greece, to Antiochus, to require him to desist from making war upon Ptolemy, and that he quit the land of Egypt; see Numbers 24:24. Macedonia is called the land of Cittim, in the Apocrypha:

"And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,'' (1 Maccabees 1:1)

"Beside this, how they had discomfited in battle Philip, and Perseus, king of the Citims, with others that lifted up themselves against them, and had overcome them:'' (1 Maccabees 8:5)

Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Saadiah, and Jacchiades, interpret it of the Romans; and, according to Gorionides (a), Cittim are the Romans; and Jerom here interprets them of them; and Bochart has proved at large (b) that they are meant. The word seems to be used both of Grecians and Romans, and here of Romans in Grecian ships:

therefore he shall be grieved, and return; being obliged to it, sore against his will: as soon as he saw Popilius, with whom he had contracted a friendship while he was an hostage at Rome, he offered his hand to kiss; but Popilius refused it, and observed that private friendship should give way to public interest; and then produced the decree of the senate, and delivered it to him, and required his answer; but Antiochus delaying, telling him he would consult his friends, Popilius, with a rod in his hand, drew a circle round him, and bid him consult his friends directly; adding that he should not stir from that circle till he had given a positive answer; which roughness struck him, and, hesitating a little, he replied he would obey the senate, as Justin (c), Livy (d), Velleius Paterculus (e), and other historians, relate; and upon which he at once departed with his army, though fretted and vexed to the last degree:

and have indignation against the holy covenant; the Jews, God's covenant people; on whom he gratified his revenge, sending Apollonius, with an army of twenty two thousand men, to whom he gave orders to slay the men, and sell the women and children; and who committed many outrages in the city and temple: now it was the daily sacrifice was made to cease, and the abomination of desolation set up, as in the following verse, and all that done predicted in Daniel 8:10, this was two years after his former expedition into Egypt, and the havoc he made upon his return from thence, and in the eighth year of his reign, and one hundred and forty fifth of the Seleucidae; in the Apocrypha:

"And spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel.'' (1 Maccabees 1:30)

"He sent also that detestable ringleader Apollonius with an army of two and twenty thousand, commanding him to slay all those that were in their best age, and to sell the women and the younger sort:'' (2 Maccabees 5:24)

so shall he do; such wicked deeds as before declared, in his wrath and fury against the Jews, being provoked at his disappointment in Egypt:

he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant: apostate Jews, who had renounced their religion, forsook the law of God, and the ordinances of his worship, and turned Heathens; of whom it is said, agreeably to the language of this prophecy, and seemingly with a view to it,

that they made themselves uncircumcised, and departed from the holy covenant, in the Apocrypha:

"And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.'' (1 Maccabees 1:15)

with these Antiochus kept an intelligence, and held a correspondence, in order not only to know the affairs of the Jews from time to time, but to draw them off from their religion, and propagate Heathenism among them; such as Jason, Menelaus, and others; in the Apocrypha:

"12 So this device pleased them well. 13 Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen: 14 Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen: 15 And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief. 43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath. 44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land, 45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days:'' (1 Maccabees 1)


For the ships {h} of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, {i} and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

(h) That is, the Roman power will come against him: for P. Popilius the ambassador appointed him to depart in the Romans' name, which he obeyed, although with grief, and to avenge his rage he came against the people of God the second time.

(i) With the Jews who will forsake the covenant of the Lord: for first he was called against the Jews by Jason the high priest, and this second time by Menelaus.

30. For Kitian ships shall come against him] The allusion is to C. Popillius Laenas and the other Roman legates, who, as described above (p. 181), obliged Antiochus, when within sight of Alexandria, to withdraw his forces unconditionally from Egypt. Kittim, properly the Kitians, or people of Kitti (in Phœn. Inscriptions כתי), a well-known town in Cyprus, the Greek Kition; hence in the O.T. the name of the inhabitants of Cyprus, Genesis 10:4; Isaiah 23:1; Isaiah 23:12; somewhat more widely, in Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:6, ‘isles (or coast-lands) of the Kitians,’ of the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. By the later Jews it was used still more generally for any western maritime people (cf. Jos. Ant. i. i. 1); thus in 1Ma 1:1; 1Ma 8:5 it denotes the Macedonians, and here ‘Kitian ships’ means Roman ships (so LXX. καὶ ἥξουσι Ῥωμαῖοι). The expression is suggested by the terms of Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:24 (where, however, it is not certain what exactly is denoted by it).

and he shall be cowed, and return] ‘cowed’ (a rare word: Psalm 109:16, A.V., R.V., badly, ‘broken in heart’), viz. by the summary manner in which Popillius treated him[382]. Cf. the terms used by Polyb. (xxix. 11), ‘Antiochus accordingly withdrew his forces to Syria, βαρυνόμενος καὶ στένων, εἵκων δὲ τοῖς καιροῖς κατὰ τὸ παρόν’; and Livy ‘Obstupefactus tam violento imperio’ (the demand of Popillius).

[382] The word (נכאה) might possibly, however, have here its Syriac sense of rebuked: cf. LXX. ἐμβριμήσονται αὐτῷ, a word which in Matthew 9:30 is represented in the Pesh. by כאא.

have indignation &c.] a stronger expression than was used in Daniel 11:28; he will this time be incensed against it.

and he shall do] viz. his pleasure, as Daniel 11:28.

and he shall return (viz. home to Antioch), ana have regard unto (Daniel 11:37 Heb.) them that &c.] After his return home he will fix his attention upon the apostate Jews, and use them as his agents, for the purpose of carrying out his designs. Shortly before the time of Antiochus there had arisen a party among the Jews, whose object was to Hellenize their nation, and obliterate its distinctive characteristics (1Ma 1:11-15,—in Daniel 11:15 ‘and they made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the Gentiles, and sold themselves to do evil’). Jason, the renegade high-priest (see on Daniel 9:26), was one of the leaders of the movement; and he and others obtained Antiochus’ sanction and authority to construct in Jerusalem a ‘gymnasium,’ or exercise-ground, after the Greek model, and introduce other Greek customs. The result was that Greek fashions became popular; even the priests, we read, neglected the services of the Temple for the purpose of amusing themselves in the palaestra. See 1Ma 1:11-15, 2Ma 4:4-17.

30–39. Antiochus’ retreat from Egypt, (Daniel 11:30 a), and the measures adopted by him shortly afterwards against the Jews (Daniel 11:30 b–39).

Verse 30. - For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. As the LXX. do not obscure the reference to Egypt, so they here call the ships of Chittim Ῥομαῖοι. The rendering is, "And the Romans shall come, and shall drive him out, and shall make him wroth, and he shall return and be enraged against the covenant of the holy, and shall do and return and plot against those on account of whom they left the covenant of the holy." Theodotion renders in a slightly different way, "Those who come from Chittim shall assail, and he shall be humiliated, and he shall return and be enraged against the covenants of the holy. And he shall do and return, and have understanding against those who have been left to the holy covenant." The Peshitta renders more in harmony with the Massoretic text, "Those who come against them from the lines of Chittim, even they shall break him, and he shall turn and be enraged against the holy covenant, and shall have understanding with them that forsake the holy covenant." The rendering of the Vulgate is singular, "And there shall come against him trieres (ships of war, τριηρεῖς) and Romans, and he shall be, beaten, and shall return, and shall be enraged against the testament (testamentum, covenant) of the holy place and shall do, he shall even return and shall devise against those who have left the testament (testamebtum) of the holy place." The ships of Chittim are the Roman ships, bearing the envoys of the Senate with C. Popilius Laenas at their head. He delivered to Anti,bus the tablets on which were inscribed the wishes of the Senate. Antiochus was then on the eve of commencing the siege of Alexandria, and completing the conquest of Egypt. Having read that the Senate of Rome desired him to refrain from attacking the allies of the Republic, Antiochus said he would answer after con-suiting with his friends. Lsenas drew a circle round him with his staff on the sand, and demanded that he should give his answer before he left the circle. Antiochus had to submit. Shall have indignation against the holy covenant. It is not certain whether Antiochus was present personally at the plunder of Jerusalem or superintended the massacre of the Jews; but it is practically certain that at this time began the systematic attempt to put down Judaism. And have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. It is not improbable that Antiochus was encouraged to make the attempt he did, by the fact that so many persons high in position were Hellenizers (1 Macc. 1:11-15, in which there is reference to those that forsook the holy covenant). The desire of Antiochus was probably to make his empire more homogeneous. The Jews, he would see by the fact that they had a national unity apart from his empire, might at times be thorns in his side - might become allies of Rome if he were compelled to engage in war with the Republic. It was their religion that was the bond which united the nation; let that be broken, then there would be a chance of the Jews blending harmoniously with the other races that made up the Syrian Empire. Those that forsook the holy covenant made him think it an easy task. Daniel 11:30In order that he might bring Egypt wholly under his power, he undertook a new expedition thither (וּבא ישׁוּב, he comes again). But this expedition, like the first, was not successful (כ־כ, as-so, cf. Joshua 14:11; Ezekiel 18:4). For the ships of Chittim come against him. כּתּים ציּים, ships the Chittaei, for כּתּים מיד צים, Numbers 24:24, whence the expression is derived כּתּים is Cyprus with its chief city Κίττιον (now Chieti or Chitti); see under Genesis 10:4. Ships coming from Cyprus are ships which come from the west, from the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean. In 1 Macc. 1:1 and 8:5 כּתּים is interpreted of Macedonia, according to which Bertholdt and Dereser think of the Macedonian fleet with which the Roman embassy sailed to Alexandria. This much is historically verified, that the Roman embassy, led by Popillius, appeared with a fleet in Alexandria, and imperiously commanded Antiochus to desist from his undertaking against Egypt and to return to his own land (Liv. xlv. 10-12). The lxx have therefore translated these words by: καὶ ἥξουσι ̔Ρηωμαῖοι καὶ ἐχώσουσιν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐμβριμήσονται αὐτῷ, and correctly, so far as the prophecy has received the first historical accomplishment in that factum. ונכאה, he shall lose courage, is rightly explained by Jerome: non quod interierit, sed quod omnem arrogantiae perdiderit magnitudinem.

(Note: The historical facts have been briefly and conclusively brought together by Hitzig thus: "On the complaint of the Alexandrians the Roman senate sent an embassage, at the head of which was C. Popillius Laenas (Polyb. xxix. 1; Liv. xliv. 19). After being detained at Delos (Liv. xliv. 29), they set sail to Egypt after the battle at Pydna (Liv. xlv. 10). Here he met Antiochus four Roman miles from Alexandria, and presented to him the message of the senate. When Antiochus explained that he wished to lay the matter before his counsellors, Popillius described with the staff he carried on his hand a circle round the king, and commanded him to give his answer before he left this circle. Antiochus, confounded by the circumstance, submitted and withdrew from Egypt (Liv. xlv. 12; Polyb. xxix. 11; Appian, Syr. c. 66; Justin. xxxiv. 3).")

וזעם ושׁב, not: he was again enraged, for nothing is said of a previous זעם. ושׁב, and he turned round (back) from his expedition against Egypt. Since he was not able to accomplish anything against the נגב (the south), he turns his indignation against Judah to destroy the covenant people (cf. Daniel 11:28). The ושׁב in Daniel 11:30 resumes the ושׁב in Daniel 11:30, so as further to express how he gave vent to his anger. Hitzig's interpretation of the first ושׁב of the return to Palestine, of the second, of the return from Palestine to Antiochus, is not justified. ויבן, he shall observe, direct his attention to the Jews who forsook the holy covenant, i.e., the apostate Jews, that he might by their help execute his plans against the Mosaic religion - partim ornando illos honoribus, partim illorum studiis ad patriam religionem obliterandam comparatis obsecundando, as C. B. Michaelis excellently remarks; cf. 1 Macc. 1:11-16 with 2:18.

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