Daniel 11:33
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
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(33) They that understand.—This is the name by which those are called who were spoken of in the last verse as “knowing their God.” (Comp. Daniel 12:10; Psalm 111:10.)

Shall instruct many.—That is, their example shall give instruction to “the many” who yield to the flatteries mentioned in the last verse. They show them whither they are drifting. For illustration, see 1 Maccabees 2:1, &c.; 2 Maccabees 6:18. Others may be found in the history of any religious persecution.

Yet they shall fall.—The prophecy obviously refers to martyrdom, but whether to the sufferings of “those who understand” or of “those who are instructed” is not clear. Probably both are intended, as appears from Daniel 11:35. The deaths mentioned in 1 Maccabees 1:57, &c., 3:41, 5:13, may be taken as typical of the sufferings of the Church in the last times.

Daniel 11:33. They that understand, &c., shall instruct many — They that know their duty, and are zealous in doing it, that are holy in heart and life, shall instruct many in the righteous ways of God, and keep them from apostacy when others fall off. Such were Mattathias and his family, 1Ma 2:1, &c., the good old scribe Eleazar, and the mother and her seven children mentioned above. Yet they shall fall by the sword, &c. — This is descriptive of the sufferings which those who adhered to the divine law should undergo, through the persecution of Antiochus, who ordered them, as Josephus relates, to be put to death with most horrid torments; for some of them, when they had had their bodies torn to pieces by cruel scourgings, were nailed to crosses, to expire there in the most intolerable agonies. Other cruelties of different kinds, but not less severe, were executed upon others; many days — This cruel persecution continued three years and a half, as the time is computed by Josephus, reckoning from the first beginning of it till the sanctuary was cleansed.11:31-45 The remainder of this prophecy is very difficult, and commentators differ much respecting it. From Antiochus the account seems to pass to antichrist. Reference seems to be made to the Roman empire, the fourth monarchy, in its pagan, early Christian, and papal states. The end of the Lord's anger against his people approaches, as well as the end of his patience towards his enemies. If we would escape the ruin of the infidel, the idolater, the superstitious and cruel persecutor, as well as that of the profane, let us make the oracles of God our standard of truth and of duty, the foundation of our hope, and the light of our paths through this dark world, to the glorious inheritance above.And they that under stand among the people - Among the Hebrew people. The allusion is to such as, in those times of so general corruption and apostasy, should have a proper understanding of the law of God and the nature of religion. There were such in the days of Judas Maccabeus, and it is reasonable to suppose that they would endeavor to inculcate just views among the people.

Shall instruct many - In the nature of religion; in their duty to their country and to God. See Prideaux, "Con." iii.265.

Yet they shall fall by the sword - They shall not be immediately nor always successful. Their final triumph would be only after many of them had fallen in battle, or been made captives. Matrathins, the father of Judas Maccabeus, who began the opposition to Antiochus (1 Macc. 2:1), having summoned to his standard as many as he could induce to follow him, retired for security to the mountains. He was pursued, and refusing to fight on the Sabbath, his enemies came upon him, and killed many of his followers, 1 Macc. 2:14-37. The author of the book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 2:38) says of this: "So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people."

And by flame - By fire. That is, probably, their dwellings would be fired, and they would perish in the flames, or in caves where they fled for shelter, or by being cast into heated caldrons of brass. See 2 Macc. 6:11: "And others that had run together into caves near by" (when Antiochus endeavored to enforce on them the observance of pagan laws and customs), "to keep the sabbath-day secretly, being discovered to Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honor of the most sacred day." 2 Macc. 7:3-5: "Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot: which immediately being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him, being yet alive, to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan," etc.

By captivity - 1 Macc. 1:32: "But the women and children took they captive." See also 2 Macc. 5:24.

And by spoil - By plunder, to wit, of the temple and city. See 1 Macc. 1:20-24.

Many days - Hebrew, "days." The time is not specified, but the idea is that it would be for a considerable period. Josephus says it was three years. - "Ant." b. xii. ch. vii. Sections 6, 7; 1 Macc. 1:59; 4:54; 2 Macc. 10:1-7.

33. they that understand—who know and keep the truth of God (Isa 11:2).

instruct many—in their duty to God and the law, not to apostatize.

yet they shall fall—as Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18, &c.). They shall be sorely persecuted, even to death (Heb 11:35, 36, 37; 2 Maccabees 6, 7). Their enemies took advantage of the Sabbath to slay them on the day when they would not fight. Tregelles thinks, from comparison with Da 11:35, it is the people who "fall," not those of understanding. But Da 11:35 makes the latter "fall," not an unmeaning repetition; in Da 11:33 they fall (die) by persecution; in Da 11:35 they fall (spiritually) for a time by their own weakness.

flame—in caves, whither they had retired to keep the Sabbath. Antiochus caused some to be roasted alive (2 Maccabees 7:3-5).

many days—rather, "certain days," as in Da 8:27. Josephus [Antiquities, 12:7.6,7] tells us the persecution lasted for three years (1 Maccabees 1:59; 4:54; 2 Maccabees 10:1-7).

Such as Eleazar, that old scribe, /APC 2Ma 6:18, and some others learned in the laws of God, and holy in heart and life, shall instruct many in the righteous ways of God, and retain them from apostacy when others fall off: yet many of the people shall fall, yea, of their pious and learned teachers, as well as their disciples, /APC 1Ma 1:52,56; 2Mac 6 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many,.... Such as had a better understanding of divine things than others, had more light and knowledge in the sacred Scriptures, in the law of God, and in his mind and will, and were capable of teaching others; and such as these the Lord raises up among his people in the worst of times, in the times of the greatest apostasy and declension; and these are enabled to perform their duty, to instruct the people in theirs, teach them what they should do, and how they should behave; exhort them to retain the doctrines and ordinances of their holy religion, and not embrace the doctrines and inventions of men, will worship, superstition, and idolatry; and so they instructed the ignorant, strengthened the weak, and established the wavering; such were Mattathias the priest of Modin, and Eleazar, one of the chief scribes, in the Apocrypha:

"In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin.'' (1 Maccabees 2:1)

"Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a well favoured countenance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine's flesh.'' (2 Maccabees 6:18)

Auk applies this to the times of the apostles, who he thinks are here meant; so Sir Isaac Newton:

yet they shall fall by the sword; by the sword of Antiochus and his soldiers; as multitudes of the Jews did, even both the instructors and the instructed, who would not comply with his orders:

and by flame; some were burnt alive in caves, where they fled for shelter; and others as the mother and her seven sons, were cast into heated caldrons of brass; in the Apocrypha:

"And others, that had run together into caves near by, to keep the sabbath day secretly, being discovered by Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honour of the most sacred day.'' (2 Maccabees 6:11)

"3 Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot: 4 Which forthwith being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. 5 Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him being yet alive to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan: and as the vapour of the pan was for a good space dispersed, they exhorted one another with the mother to die manfully, saying thus,'' (2 Maccabees 7)

by captivity; so it is expressly said of Antiochus, that he carried captive women and children and at another time ordered the women and children to be sold for slaves, in the Apocrypha:

"Insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them: whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those that were born in her; and her own children left her.'' (1 Maccabees 1:38)

"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)

and by spoil many days; being plundered of their substance, their houses rifled, and their goods carried away; and this distress lasted "days", a short time only; Josephus (k) reckons it at three years and a half. All this Cocceius interprets of the persecutions of the Christians by the Romans; and likewise Sir Isaac Newton.

(k) De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 7.

And they that understand among the {n} people shall instruct many: {o} yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

(n) Those that remain constant among the people will teach others by their example, and edify many in the true religion.

(o) By which he exhorts the godly to constancy, even though they should perish a thousand times, and even though their miseries endure ever so long.

33. And they that be wise] as the same word is rendered in A.V. of Daniel 12:3; Daniel 12:10. The verb means properly to shew understanding and discernment, such as may lead a man to act judiciously and bring him success; hence it is sometimes rendered prosper, or have good success, &c. See examples of the word in Joshua 1:7-8, 1 Samuel 18:5, Psalm 2:10, Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 10:19 ‘he that refraineth his lips sheweth understanding,’ i.e. ‘acts judiciously,’ Isaiah 52:13. Here it is used, as a term of approbation, to denote those who, in a time of severe trial, shewed wisdom, by choosing the right course, and strenuously refusing to give up their faith. The name given to the loyal party in the Maccabees is the Hasidaeans, i.e. ḥasîdîm, or ‘godly’: see 1Ma 2:42, ‘Then were gathered together unto them (i.e. unto Mattathias and his friends, who appear to have been the first to assume the aggressive against Antiochus’ decree) a company of Hasidaeans (συναγωγὴ Ασιδαίων), mighty men out of Israel, every one that offered himself willingly (= מִתְנַדֵּב, Jdg 5:2; 2 Chronicles 17:16; Nehemiah 11:2) for the law. And all they that fled from the evils were added to them, and became a stay unto them’; 1Ma 7:13; 2Ma 14:6.

shall cause the many to understand] The ‘wise’ (maskîlîm), the leaders of the patriotic party, will, by their influence and example, teach the masses, especially such as were halting between two opinions, to understand their duty.

yet they shall fall, &c.] alluding to the persecutions and martyrdoms in which many of the loyal Jews perished; see 1Ma 1:60; 1Ma 1:63; 1Ma 2:31-38; 2Ma 6:10-11; 2Ma 6:18-31 (the aged scribe Eleazar), 7 (the mother and her seven sons). ‘Fall,’ here and Daniel 11:34-35, is properly stumble (Daniel 11:14).

many days] viz. till an effectual stand was made by the Maccabees.Verse 33. - And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet, they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. The LXX. rendering is, "The prudent of the people shall understand in multitudes (εἰς πολλούς), and they shall push against them with the sword, and shall grow old with it (παλαιωθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ)." We should feel inclined to read ἐπάλαισαν, had Paulus Tellensis not read as the text, "And by bondage and by plunder of days they shall be disgraced." The mysterious clause, "shall grow old with it," is due to the translation of שְׁבִי (shevee), "captivity," as if it had been שִׂיבָה (seebah),"oldage." Theodotion is obscure also, "The understanding of the people shall understand in regard to many things, and they shall suffer (ἀσθενήσουσιν) by the sword, and with fire, and by captivity, and in plunder of days." The Peshitta renders, "The dispersed of the people shall instruct many, and they shall fall by the sword, and by fire, by captivity, and by spoil, a thousand days." The Vulgate does not supply any point worthy of remark. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many. In 1 Macc. 2:27 we have an account of a multitude instructed in the Law and determined to keep it, who, with their wives, children, and cattle, retired into the desert. Yet they shall fall by the sword, etc. After the multitude pursued the army of King Antiochus, which was at Jerusalem, and overtook them, the fugitives would not submit to sacrifice to idols. The army assailed them on the sabbath day; from a superstitious reverence for the clay of rest, they did not even defend themselves, and therefore fell an easy prey to their enemies (1 Macc. 2:38, "They slew them with their wives, and children, and their cattle to the number of a thousand people"). While we would not be held as regarding as literally historical the sufferings of Eleazar and the seven brethren and their mother, as related in 2 Marc. 6. and 7, and more fully in 4 Maccabees, yet it can only have been an exaggeration of what must have actually occurred. But the king, who knew and highly valued (cf. v. 2[[1]) Daniel's fidelity to the duties of his office, was so sore displeased by the accusation, that he laboured till the going down of the sun to effect his deliverance. The verb באשׁ has an intransitive meaning: to be evil, to be displeased, and is not joined into one sentence with the subject מלכּא, which stands here absolute; and the subject to עלוהי באשׁ is undefined: it, namely, the matter displeased him; cf. Genesis 21:11. בּל שׂם corresponds to the Hebr. לב שׁית, Proverbs 22:17, to lay to heart. The word בּל, cor, mens, is unknown in the later Chaldee, but is preserved in the Syr. bālā̀ and the Arab. bâlun.

Daniel 6:16-17 (Daniel 6:15-16)

When the king could not till the going down of the sun resolve on passing sentence against Daniel, about this time his accusers gathered themselves together into his presence for the purpose of inducing him to carry out the threatened punishment, reminding him that, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, every prohibition and every command which the king decreed (יהקים), i.e., issued in a legal form, could not be changed, i.e., could not be recalled. There being no way of escape out of the difficulty for the king, he had to give the command that the punishment should be inflicted, and Daniel was cast into the den of lions, v. 17 (Daniel 6:16). On the Aphel היתיו, and the pass. from (Daniel 6:17) היתית, see at Daniel 3:13. The execution of the sentence was carried out, according to Oriental custom, on the evening of the day in which the accusation was made; this does not, however, imply that it was on the evening in which, at the ninth hour, he had prayed, as Hitzig affirms, in order that he may thereby make the whole matter improbable. In giving up Daniel to punishment, the king gave expression to the wish, "May thy God whom thou servest continually, deliver thee!" not "He will deliver thee;" for Darius could not have this confidence, but he may have had the feeble hope of the possibility of the deliverance which from his heart he wished, inasmuch as he may have heard of the miracles of the Almighty God whom Daniel served in the days of Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar.

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