Daniel 11:35
And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
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(35) Some of them.—The reason of this persecution is revealed. Whilst in Daniel 11:33 it appears that the sufferings of “those that understand” would instruct others, it appears that they would themselves profit by their sufferings. These gradations are mentioned (1) “to try “—i.e., to refine, as a precious metal is refined by fire; (2) “to purge “—i.e., to separate the bad from the good; (3) “to make white”—i.e., to cause them to become completely purified. (Comp. Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18). In this way the dissemblers are made known. The patient example of the sufferers is followed by others who are faithful, while the “flatterers” become open apostates.

Daniel 11:35. Some of them of understanding shall fall — Some of the principal men for piety and knowledge shall fall under this persecution, and suffer grievous miseries and torments: see Daniel 11:33. To try them, and to purge, &c. — For the trial of their faith and patience, and to purge them from those corruptions which are the usual effects of prosperity: compare 1 Peter 1:7 : and to make it the more evident how sincere they were in their profession, and that no temptations or sufferings could induce them to violate God’s law, and act contrary to their duty. The persecutions which were to befall the church under antichrist were and are designed for the same purpose, as appears by comparing Daniel 12:10 with the words here; Antiochus’s persecution being a type and figure of that under antichrist. Even to the time of the end — Namely, the time appointed by God for the ending of these calamities. Because it is yet for a time appointed — It will be still some time before a deliverance will be granted: or, these calamities are appointed to last for some time. Mr. Mede refers the latter part of this sentence to the following verse, and so connects the following prophecy with what went before, thus: “This persecution shall last to the time of the end; for as yet, for a time appointed, a king shall do according to his will.”

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 some of them understanding shall fall - Some of those who have a correct understanding of religion, and who have joined the army from pure motives. The idea seems to be that on some occasion they would meet with a temporary defeat, in order that the sincerity of the others might be tested, or that it might be seen who adhered to the cause from principle, and who from selfish purposes. If they should not always be successful; if they should be temporarily defeated; if some of the most eminent among them should fall among the slain; and if the cause should at any time look dark, this would serve to try the sin cerity of the remainder of the army, and would be likely to "thin it off" of those who had joined it only from mercenary motives.

To try them - Margin, "or, by them." So the Hebrew - בהם bâhem. The meaning perhaps is, that it would be "by" them, as it were, that the army would be tried. As they would fall in battle, and as the cause would seem to be doubtful, this would test the fidelity of others. The word "try" here (צרף tsâraph) means, properly, "to melt, to smelt" - as metals; then to prove anyone; and then to purify.

And to purge - To purify; to test the army and to make it pure.

And to make them white - To wit, by thus allowing those who had joined the army from mercenary motives to withdraw. Compare 2 Macc. 12:39-41.

Even to the time of the end - The end of the war or the conflict. There would be an end of these persecutions and trials, and this process had reference to that, or tended to bring it about. The act of freeing the army from false friends - from those who had joined it from mercenary motives, would have a tendency to accomplish the result in the best way possible, and in the speediest manner.

Because it is yet for a time appointed - See the notes at Daniel 11:27. This seems to be designed for an assurance that the calamity would come to an end, or that there was a limit beyond which it could not pass. Thus it would be an encouragement to those who were engaged in the struggle, for they would see that success must ultimately crown their labors.

35. to try them—the design of affliction. Image from metals tried with fire.

to purge—Even in the elect there are dregs which need to be purged out (1Pe 1:7). Hence they are allowed to fall for a time; not finally (2Ch 32:31; Lu 22:31). Image from wheat cleared of its chaff by the wind.

make … white—image from cloth (Re 7:9).

to … time of … end—God will not suffer His people to be persecuted without limitation (1Co 10:13). The godly are to wait patiently for "the end" of "the time" of trial; "for it is (to last) yet for a time appointed" by God.

To try them: we see hereby that the best of men have some dross, which makes afflictions, yea, fiery trials, necessary for them, for the word signifies all kind of examination and trials, either as founders try metals to purge them, or as corn is winnowed to cleanse it from chaff, or as fullers that wash and scour to take out spots, Malachi 3:1-3.

Even to the time of the end: now mark here the Spirit of God seems to slide into the Roman monarchy, for this began in the reign of Antiochus, so that he did begin that which the Romans afterward in process of time acted more highly against the Jews and Christians too. For Antiochus is made by all a type of antichrist; as Maldonate confesseth. And thus you find the prophets, and our Saviour too. David brings in Christ; Psalm 72:8, when the rest is spoken of Solomon. So Psalm 16 Isa 49 Isa 44 Isa 60. So our Saviour, speaking of the temple, speaks with it of the end of the word. And thus the end of this chapter is clearly of antichrist, and this prophecy of Daniel cads with the world’s end. Therefore Antiochus is a type of antichrist, in his pride, covetousness, craft, and cruelty against the people of God, and blasphemies and idolatries to the reproach of Christ. Therefore it is here added,

because it is yet for a time appointed.

And some of them of understanding shall fall,.... Not into sin, or from the religion they profess; and the doctrines they have an understanding of, and have instructed others in; but into distresses and calamities for their steadfast adherence to the word, worship, and ordinances of God:

to try them, and purge and make them white; to try their faith, patience, and other graces, and whether they would hold fast their profession, and persevere in the good ways of God; and to purge and separate them from others, that were like chaff, hypocrites, that so they might be manifest, both the one and the other; and these good men appear to be sincere and upright: moreover, the best of men have their dross, and chaff, and spots, to be removed from them; and this is one way of doing it, even by afflictions: the allusion, in the first word, is to the melting, purifying, and refining of metals, gold and silver; the second to the winnowing of a grain floor, and separating the chaff from the wheat; and the third to the cleansing and whitening of cloths, and taking the spots out of them by the fuller. Afflictions are the furnace in which the Lord refines and purifies his people; the fan with which he purges his floor; and the fuller's soap with which he makes his people white; by all this the iniquity of Jacob is purged, and the fruit of it is to take away sin, Isaiah 27:9, so that afflictions are not hurtful, but beneficial to the saints, even those more violent ones, severe persecutions.

Even to the time of the end; because it is yet for a time appointed; these distresses, calamities, and persecutions, would have an end, and the time for it was appointed of God; as yet it was not come, but quickly would, and then an end would be put to the third or Grecian monarchy; a hint of the Roman power over that being given, Daniel 11:30, hence we have no further account of Antiochus or his sons. Very remarkable are the words of Aemilius Sara (m),

"the Assyrians first were possessors of monarchy; then the Medes; afterwards the Persians; then the Macedonians; from that time the kings, Philip and Antiochus, who sprung from the Macedonians, being conquered, not long after Carthage was subdued, the supreme power of empire came to the Roman people;''

of whom, under one character or another, the following part of the prophecy is chiefly to be understood. So another historian says (n), Antiochus being drove out of Asia, the Romans first set footing there; and another (o) observes, that Antiochus being defeated by L. Cornelius Scipio, he took the name of Asiaticus, because he had conquered Asia; as his brother was called Africanus, from his subduing Africa: wherefore Asia and Africa being now in the hands of the Romans, the supreme power might well be said to be with them; and therefore, henceforward, are only spoken of, and particularly the Roman antichrist.

(m) De annis populi Romani apud Velleii Paterculi Hist. Roman. l. 1. c. 6. (n) "Festi Breviarium, prope initium". (o) Eutropii Hist. Rom. l. 4. So Plutarch. in Vita Scipionis Africani.

And some of them {r} of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

(r) That is, of those that fear God and will lose their life for the defence of true religion. Signifying also that the Church must continually be tried and purged, and ought to look for one persecution after another: for God has appointed the time, and therefore we must obey.

35. And some of them that be wise (Daniel 11:33) shall fall, to refine among them (among the people at large), and to cleanse, and to make white] The martyrdom of some of the godly leaders in the struggle would have the effect of testing the faith of the people at large, and of confirming and perfecting the character of those who were loyal. Cf. Daniel 12:10.

to refine] the word means properly to smelt gold or silver ore (or alloy), so as to free the noble metal from impurities; it is then often used figuratively, sometimes of testing, sometimes of purifying, by severe discipline: cf. Isaiah 1:25, ‘and smelt away as with lye thy dross’; Jeremiah 6:29, ‘in vain the smelter smelteth, for the evil are not separated’; Daniel 9:6 ‘Behold, I will smelt them, and try them’; Zechariah 13:9.

1. Silver Tetradrachm. Head of Antiochus, with diadem (in other coins of this type a star is seen distinctly on the forehead: Babelon, Les Rois de Syrie, xii. 3, 4).

Reverse: Apollo, seated on omphalos, holding arrow and bow. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΕ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ (‘Of King Antiochus’).

2. Silver Drachm. Head of Antiochus, radiate.

Reverse: Eagle, with closed wings, standing on thunderbolt. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ (‘Of King Anthichus, God Manifest’).

3. Silver Tetradrachm. Head of Anthiochus, as Zeus, with laurels.

Reverse: Zeus, wearing himation over shoulder, seated on throne: holds Nike (Victory), who crowns Inscription; and rests on sceptre. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΥ (‘Of King Antiochus, God Manifest, Victory-bearer’).

4. Copper Pentechalcon. Head of Zeus-Serapis, wearing laurel-wreath, ending above in cap of Osiris.

Reverse: Eagle, with closed wings, standing on thunderbolt. Inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ (‘Of King Antiochus, God Manifest’). This coin was struck in Egypt, and illustrates Antiochus’ conquest of that country (cf. Babelon, p. c).

(From casts taken from coins in the British Museum. The descriptions from Gardner’s Coins of the Seleucid Kings of Syria, xi. 2, xii. 13, xi. 9, xii. 11.)

until the time of the end] the fall of the maskîlîm will continue till the final end of the present order of things (Daniel 8:17), which the author pictures as coinciding with the close of Antiochus’ reign (Daniel 11:40).

for (it is) yet for the time appointed] the end has not come yet; it has still to wait for the moment fixed in the counsels of God: cf. Daniel 11:27 end.

Verse 35. - And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end; because it is yet for a time appointed. The rendering of the LXX. is, "And some of those of understanding shall consider to purify themselves beth to be chosen and to be purified to the time of the end, for the season is for hours." The translator must have read יִשְׂכְלוּ, instead of יִכָּשְׁלוּ. The reading of the Massoretes is to be preferred. Theodotion's, while closer to the Massoretic text,' is not identical with the sense as represented by the Authorized and Revised Versions, "And some of those of understanding shall be weak to try them, that they may be chosen out and revealed at the end of time, for it yet is for a season." Both Greek versions, as will be seen, render barar, "choose" - a meaning it has in the pual - and both omit one of the clauses. In this the Greek versions have the support of the Peshitta, which renders, "And (some) of the wise shall be overthrown to choose among them, and that they may understand to the end, because it is again protracted for a season." Here, too, the last of the clauses descriptive of the effect of the fall of the wise is omitted. Although the Vulgate supports the Massoretic in this, we feel it suspicious. And some of them of understanding shall fall. Though marvellously successful, yet Judas and his comrades suffered some reverses; the reference may be to those that fell in battle. The rendering in Theodotion would seem to point to some apostatizing. We have no record of any such cases, yet it is not impossible that some would fall away. This would be a greater trial than defeat and the death in battle of such heroes as Eleazar, surnamed Avaran, or even of Judas Maccabaeus himself. To try them, and to purge, and to make them white. The death of teachers and of military leaders would be a severe test of the zeal and enthusiasm of the faithful. All the fearful and insincere would fall off from the ranks of the faithful. Those zealous for the Law of God would be at once tried and purified by these untoward events. This has been the experience of the Christian Church in every age. Because more a trial, therefore more purifying would be the failure of some to maintain the faith under trial. Even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. It is in perfect accordance with the view that the purpose of the death of teachers and leaders, even their failure, is the purification of the saints, that the time of the trial should be fixed and definite. This view is frequent in the Apocalypse. Daniel 11:35Such has been the experience in all periods of the church's history. Therefore does the church need to pass through the purifying process of affliction, in which not only the lukewarm fall away in the time of conflict, but also many even מן־המּשׂכּילים. מן is here partitive. יכּשׁלוּ (they shall fall) is to be understood (cf. Daniel 11:33, בח נכשׁלוּ) not merely of death in battle, but of other calamities, such as being imprisoned, plundered, etc. בּהם לצרוף to melt, i.e., to purify by them, not as to them; for ב rof ;meht does not represent the accusative, as Kranichfeld thinks, referring in confirmation to Ewald, 282. The use of ב there spoken of is of a different nature. The suffix in בּהם refers neither to "those that understand" alone (Hv.), nor to the "many," Daniel 11:33 (v. Leng.), still less to the flatterers in Daniel 11:34 (Maurer), but to all of these together, or to the whole company of the people of God in the sum of their individuals. The verbs וללבּן לברר serve to strengthen the expression (ללבּן for ללבּין on account of the assonance). קץ עד־עת (to the time of the end) is connected with יכּשׁלוּ, the chief idea of the passage. The stumbling and falling of "those who understand" (the pious) shall continue to the time of the end, to bring about the purification of the people for their glorification in the time of the end. For the end stretches itself out yet to the time appointed (cf. Daniel 11:27); i.e., it does not come in with the "little help" which Israel received by the rising up of "those who understand" against the hostile king, thus not with the afflictions that came upon them by Antiochus, but it shall come afterwards at the time appointed by God. The assertion that "the end is connected with the death of king Antiochus Epiphanes" (Hitzig, Bleek, and others) is founded on a misunderstanding of the following section, Daniel 11:36-45. On the contrary, Kranichfeld has rightly remarked, that "the statements made in Daniel 11:36-39 incl. regarding the king of the north, now fall, in accordance with the context, into the period which shall expire at that time of the end are then to be prophesied.
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