Daniel 11:34
Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall join to them with flatteries.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) Now when they shall fall.—Referring to those who suffer during this persecution, to whichever class they belong. (See last Note). These will not be entirely without help, but there will be some small assistance given them. It will be small, either compared with their present needs, or contrasted with the great help which will be given them when the tribulation attains its greatest severity. In the Maccabee persecutions help was given to the sufferers by Judas and his brethren (1 Maccabees 3:11, &c., 1 Maccabees 4:14, &c.). This prevented the faithful from disappearing entirely.

Many shall cleave. . . .—Dissimulation will cause some to declare themselves upon the side of “those that understand.” This is a feature which will be noticed in religious persecutions; according as one party or the other gains in power, as its prospects brighten, it gains fresh adherents. This held true in the days of Antiochus. (See 1 Maccabees 6:21, &c., 9:23.)

Daniel 11:34. Now when they shall fall — When they shall lie quite overcome and oppressed with these great miseries; they shall be holpen with a little help — This was fulfilled by Mattathias and his five sons, who, in the height of their misery, stood up with most wonderful zeal and courage, to oppose these cruelties of Antiochus by force of arms; and several times overthrew, with great slaughter, Antiochus’s parties who were employed in harassing Judea. But many shall cleave to them with flatteries — That is, shall be pretended friends only. Such were Joseph and Azarias, who engaged in the common cause out of ambition and a desire of fame, 1Ma 5:56; 1Ma 5:62. Such were they who, after their death, were found with idols consecrated under their clothes, 2Ma 12:40. Such was Rhodocus, who disclosed their secrets to the enemy, chap. 2Ma 13:21.11:31-45 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.Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help - By small accessions to their forces. The armies of the Maccabees were never "very" numerous; but the idea here is, that when they should be persecuted, there would be accessions to their forces, so that they would be able to prosecute the war. At first the numbers were very few who took up arms, and undertook to defend the institutions of religion, but their numbers increased until they were finally victorious. Those who first banded together, when the calamities came upon the nation, were Mattathias and his few followers, and this is the little help that is here referred to. See 1 Macc. 2.

But many shall cleave to them - As was the case under Judas Maccabeus, when the forces were so far increased as to be able to contend successfully with Antiochus.

With flatteries - Perhaps with flattering hopes of spoil or honor; that is, that they would not unite sincerely with the defenders of the true religion, but would be actuated by prospect of plunder or reward. For the meaning of the word, see the notes at Daniel 11:21. The sense here is not that Judas would flatter them, or would secure their cooperation by flatteries, but that this would be what they would propose to their own minds, and what would influence them. Compare 1 Macc. 5:55-57: "Now what time as Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Galaad, and Simon his brother in Galilee before Ptolemais, Joseph the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, captains of the garrisons, heard of the valiant acts and warlike deeds which they had done. Wherefore they said, Let us also get us a name, and go fight against the pagan round about us." Compare 2 Macc. 12:40; 13:21. There can be no doubt that many might join them from these motives. Such an event would be likely to occur anywhere, when one was successful, and where there was a prospect of spoils or of fame in uniting with a victorious leader of an amy.

34. a little help—The liberty obtained by the Maccabean heroes for the Jews was of but short duration. They soon fell under the Romans and Herodians, and ever since every attempt to free them from Gentile rule has only aggravated their sad lot. The period of the world times (Gentile rule) is the period of depression of the theocracy, extending from the exile to the millennium [Roos]. The more immediate reference seems to be, the forces of Mattathias and his five sons were originally few (1 Maccabees 2:1-5).

many shall cleave to them—as was the case under Judas Maccabeus, who was thus able successfully to resist Antiochus.

with flatteries—Those who had deserted the Jewish cause in persecution, now, when success attended the Jewish arms, joined the Maccabean standard, for example, Joseph, the son of Zecharias, Azarias, &c. (1 Maccabees 5:55-57; 2 Maccabees 12:40; 13:21). Maurer explains it, of those who through fear of the Maccabees' severity against apostates joined them, though ready, if it suited their purpose, to desert them (1 Maccabees 2:44; 3:58).

i.e. God in their affliction, when it is great, wherein he never leaves himself without witness, shall raise up some succour, to be witnesses to this truth, to vindicate his honour and save his people from utter destruction, viz. by the Maccabees. Read what Mattathias and his sons did at Modin, /APC 1Mac 2, read the chapter, who would not be flattered out of their religion. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help,.... When the Jews shall be thus harassed and distressed by Antiochus and his armies, to the ruin of many, by the several sorts of punishments inflicted on them; they should be helped and eased a little by Mattathias, a priest of Modin, and his five sons, commonly called the Maccabees; Porphyry himself interprets this of Mattathias: the help and assistance which he and his sons gave to the Jews was but "little"; if we consider they were persons of a small figure, began with a handful of men, and could do but little, especially at first; and though great exploits were done by them, considering their number and strength, yet they were not able to restore the land to its former glory and liberty; nor did this help of theirs last long, but the enemy returned with great fierceness and cruelty, and sadly afflicted the people of the Jews. Cocceius understands this of the help the Christians had under Constantius Chlorus, and Constantine the great; and so does Sir Isaac Newton, who agrees with him in interpreting this and the preceding verse: he interprets "arms", in Daniel 11:31, of the Romans, and so Jacchiades; and makes this to be the beginning of the fourth kingdom that should "stand", "after him"; that is, after Antiochus; so the particle, he observes, is used in Daniel 11:8, and it must be owned this is the sense in which it is sometimes used, of which Noldius (l) has given instances: and this seems to agree with the thread of history, and introduces the Romans, who must have a place in this prophecy, in a very proper manner; and carries on the account of things, through the times of Christ, his apostles, the first ages of Christianity under persecution, until the rise of antichrist, Daniel 11:36 and throws light upon the text in Matthew 24:15, the language of which seems best to agree with Daniel 11:31, and, if so, must respect something to be done, not in the times of Antiochus, but after the times of Christ.

But many shall cleave to them with flatteries; seeing Mattathias and his sons succeed, some of those, who had been apostates from their religion, or not heartily friends to it, joined them, but not sincerely; pretended to be on their side, and commended their bravery and courage; and being ambitious of honour and fame, took with them, in order to share the glory of their actions; such were Joseph the son of Zachariah, and Azarias, in the Apocrypha:

"56 Joseph the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, captains of the garrisons, heard of the valiant acts and warlike deeds which they had done. 57 Wherefore they said, Let us also get us a name, and go fight against the heathen that are round about us.'' (1 Maccabees 5)

and those under whose clothes were found idols, or what belonged to them, at Jamnia, when they were slain, in the Apocrypha:

"Now under the coats of everyone that was slain they found things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain.'' (2 Maccabees 12:40)

and Rhodocus, a soldier of the Jewish army, who betrayed their secrets, in the Apocrypha:

"But Rhodocus, who was in the Jews' host, disclosed the secrets to the enemies; therefore he was sought out, and when they had gotten him, they put him in prison.'' (2 Maccabees 13:21)

Cocceius applies this to antichrist and his followers pretending to be for Christ and his church, but were not.

(l) Concord. Part. Ebr. p. 557.

Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a {p} little help: but many shall cleave to them {q} with flatteries.

(p) As God will not leave his Church destitute, yet he will not deliver it all at once, but help in such a way that they may still seem to fight under the cross, as he did in the time of the Maccabees, of which he here prophesies.

(q) That is, there will even be among this small number many hypocrites.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. In the midst of their trials a ‘little help’ will arise, to assist them. The allusion is to the rising of the Maccabees. First of all, Mattathias, either alone or assisted only by his sons, resisted openly Antiochus’ demands, and slew one of the officers sent to enforce them (1Ma 2:15-28): then others gradually joined themselves to him, and carried the resistance further (ib. 1Ma 2:39-48): finally, after Mattathias’ death, his son Judas Maccabaeus carried on the struggle. His first victory was gained over Apollonius, who invaded Judah with a considerable army; and shortly afterwards, Seron, commander of the host of Syria, coming to avenge Apollonius’ defeat, was routed with the loss of 800 men, by Judas at the head of a ‘small company’ (Ἰούδαςὀλιγοστός), 1Ma 3:10-24. After this, further successes were gained by Judas over Antiochus’ generals Lysias and Gorgias (ib. 1Ma 3:38 to 1Ma 4:35), the result of which was that, by the end of b.c. 165, the Jews recovered possession of Mount Zion, and the Temple was re-dedicated (ib. 1Ma 4:36-37). The occasion was celebrated by a festival, lasting eight days (1Ma 4:59), which was observed annually afterwards, and is referred to in John 10:22 (τὰ ἐγκαίνια).

but many shall join themselves (Isaiah 14:1; Isaiah 56:3) unto them with flatteries] or smooth sayings, i.e. plausible, but insincere, protestations of loyalty. In consequence of the severity shewn by Judas, and the leaders of the patriotic party, many joined them from mere terror, and were ready, if a favourable opportunity offered itself, to turn traitors. On the severity of Judas and the patriots towards the Hellenizing Jews, comp. allusions in 1Ma 2:44; 1Ma 3:5 a, 8, Daniel 6:21-27, Daniel 7:5-7; Daniel 7:24 (where Judas, it is said, ‘took vengeance on the men that had deserted from him’), Daniel 9:23.Verse 34. - Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. The Septuagint rendering is, "And when they are crushed many shall be gathered to them in (ἐπί) the city, even many as in distribution by lot (κληροδοσία)." This phrase is rendered by Paulus Tellensis (poolog pesa), "the division of the lots;" wrongly rendered by Bugati, in hereditate. The reading here is due to dropping of the reduplication in heltqluqoth. The Peshitta generally agrees with the Massoretic, only it renders the last clause, "Many shall add themselves to them in division, (palgootha)," which, however, Castelli renders in this one case as simulatio. When success crowned the arms of Judas and his brethren, many of the Sadducean party joined themselves to them, although formerly they belonged to the Hellenizers. This association rendered the Assidaeans dissatisfied, and resulted in disaster. Probably the reference is to nothing so far down history. When Judas began to be successful, many would join him, hoping, by a limited amount of treachery to Judas, to secure safety if the king ultimately prevailed, while at the same time, their presence with the Maccabees would save them from the vengeance of their own countrymen if Judas were successful and the Syrian yoke thrown off. After Daniel had been thrown into the lions' den, its mouth was covered with a flat stone, and the stone was sealed with the king's seal and that of the great officers of state, that nothing might change or be changed (בּּדּניּאל צבוּ) concerning Daniel (צבוּ, affair, matter), not that the device against Daniel might not be frustrated (Hv., v. Leng., Maur., Klief.). This thought required the stat. emphat. צנוּתא, and also does not correspond with the application of a double seal. The old translator Theodot. is correct in his rendering: ὅπως μὴ ἀλλοιωθῇ πρᾶγμα ἐν τῷ Δανιήλ, and the lxx paraphrasing: ὅπως μὴ απ ̓αὐτῶν (μεγιστάνων) αρθῇ ὁ Δανιήλ, ἤ ὁ βασιλεύς αὐτὸν ἀνασπάσῃ ἐκ τοῦ λακκοῦ. Similarly also Ephr. Syr. and others.

The den of lions is designated by גּבּא, which the Targg. use for the Hebr. בור, a cistern. From this v. Leng., Maur., and Hitzig infer that the writer had in view a funnel-shaped cistern dug out in the ground, with a moderately small opening or mouth from above, which could be covered with a stone, so that for this one night the lions had to be shut in, while generally no stone lay on the opening. The pit also into which Joseph, the type of Daniel, was let down was a cistern (Genesis 37:24), and the mouth of the cistern was usually covered with a stone (Genesis 29:3; Lamentations 3:53). It can hence scarcely be conceived how the lions, over which no angel watched, could have remained in such a subterranean cavern covered with a stone. "The den must certainly have been very capacious if, as it appears, 122 men with their wives and children could have been thrown into it immediately after one another (v. 25 [Daniel 6:24]); but this statement itself only shows again the deficiency of every view of the matter," - and thus the whole history is a fiction fabricated after the type of the history of Joseph! But these critics who speak thus have themselves fabricated the idea of the throwing into the den of 122 men with women and children - for the text states no number - in order that they might make the whole narrative appear absurd.

We have no account by the ancients of the construction of lions' dens. Ge. Hst, in his work on Fez and Morocco, p. 77, describes the lions' dens as they have been found in Morocco. According to his account, they consist of a large square cavern under the earth, having a partition-wall in the middle of it, which is furnished with a door, which the keeper can open and close from above. By throwing in food they can entice the lions from the one chamber into the other, and then, having shut the door, they enter the vacant space for the purpose of cleaning it. The cavern is open above, its mouth being surrounded by a wall of a yard and a half high, over which one can look down into the den. This description agrees perfectly with that which is here given in the text regarding the lions' den. Finally, גּבּא does not denote common cisterns. In Jeremiah 41:7, Jeremiah 41:9, גּוּבא (Hebr. בור) is a subterranean chamber into which seventy dead bodies were cast; in Isaiah 14:15, the place of Sheol is called גּוב. No reason, therefore, exists for supposing that it is a funnel-formed cistern. The mouth (פּוּם) of the den is not its free opening above by which one may look down into it, but an opening made in its side, through which not only the lions were brought into it, but by which also the keepers entered for the purpose of cleansing the den and of attending to the beasts, and could reach the door in the partition-wall (cf. Hst, p. 270). This opening was covered with a great flat stone, which was sealed, the free air entering to the lions from above. This also explains how, according to Daniel 6:20 ff., the king was able to converse with Daniel before the removal of the stone (namely, by the opening above).

Daniel 6:19-21 (Daniel 6:18-20)

Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were any of his concubines brought before him; and this sleep went from him. The king spent a sleepless night in sorrow on account of Daniel. טות, used adverbially, in fasting, i.e., without partaking of food in the evening. דּחוה, concubina; cf. The Arab. dahâ and dahâ equals , subigere faeminam, and Gesen. Thes. p. 333. On the following morning (v. 20 [Daniel 6:19]) the king rose early, at the dawn of day, and went to the den of lions, and with lamentable voice called to him feebly hoping that Daniel might be delivered by his God whom he continually served. Daniel answered the king, thereby showing that he had been preserved; whereupon the king was exceeding glad. The future or imperf. יקוּם (Daniel 6:19) is not to be interpreted with Kranichfeld hypothetically, he thought to rise early, seeing he did actually rise early, but is used instead of the perf. to place the clause in relation to the following, meaning: the king, as soon as he arose at morning dawn, went hastily by the early light. בּנגהא, at the shining of the light, serves for a nearer determination of the בּשׁפרפּרא, at the morning dawn, namely, as soon as the first rays of the rising sun appeared. The predicate the living God is occasioned by the preservation of life, which the king regarded as possible, and probably was made known to the king in previous conversations with Daniel; cf. Psalm 42:3; Psalm 84:3; 1 Samuel 17:36, etc.

Daniel 6:22-24 (Daniel 6:21-23)

In his answer Daniel declares his innocence, which God had recognised, and on that account had sent His angel (cf. Psalm 34:8; Psalm 91:11.) to shut the mouths of the lions; cf. Hebrews 10:33. ואף, and also (concluding from the innocence actually testified to by God) before the king, i.e., according to the king's judgment, he had done nothing wrong or hurtful. By his transgression of the edict he had not done evil against the king's person. This Daniel could the more certainly say, the more he perceived how the king was troubled and concerned about his preservation, because in Daniel's transgression he himself had seen no conspiracy against his person, but only fidelity toward his own God. The king hereupon immediately gave command that he should be brought out of the den of lions. The Aph. הנסקה and the Hoph. הסּק, to not come from נסק, but from סלק; the נis merely compensative. סלק, to mount up, Aph. to bring out; by which, however, we are not to understand a being drawn up by ropes through the opening of the den from above. The bringing out was by the opened passage in the side of the den, for which purpose the stone with the seals was removed. To make the miracle of his preservation manifest, and to show the reason of it, v. 24 (Daniel 6:23) states that Daniel was found without any injury, because he had trusted in his God.

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