Daniel 11:36
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) The king.—He raises himself by his thoughts and deeds, not only above the heathen deities, but above the true God. Though there can be no doubt that the northern king is still spoken of, it must be remarked that the features of Antiochus are gradually fading away from the portrait. In no sense can Antiochus be called an Atheist; nor does the language of the writer of 2 Maccabees 9:12, “think of himself as if he were God,” correspond with the words of this verse. Antiochus’ main object was to Hellenise the Jewish religion, and to force the Greek gods upon the Jews. The character of the northern king, on the contrary, finds a parallel in St. Paul’s description of Antichrist (2Thessalonians 2:4).

Marvellous things.—That is, his utterances and blasphemies against the true God will be astounding. (Comp. Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:11; Daniel 7:20.) This will continue till God’s indignation against His people is accomplished.

Daniel 11:36. The king shall do according to his will — He shall act arbitrarily; or, all things shall succeed for a time according to his wish; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god — Antiochus, as heathen authors have recorded, plundered almost all the temples of the gods which he came near, to whomsoever dedicated. And he shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods — Shall speak boasting and reproachful words against the true God. Antiochus is called a blasphemer, 2Ma 9:28; and frequent mention is made in these books of blasphemies committed in Judea and Jerusalem at that time. Till the indignation be accomplished — Till the anger of God, namely, for the sins of the people, is at an end, and he sees fit to put a stop to those punishments which his wisdom and justice induced him to inflict. For that that is determined shall be done — For the time that these evils shall last is fixed by the divine providence; and they shall not be prevented, nor put an end to till that time. Many of the things that follow may be applied, by way of accommodation, to antichrist, of whom Antiochus was an eminent type; but they seem principally to refer to Antiochus himself.

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 the king shall do according to his will - Shall be absolute and supreme, and shall accomplish his purposes. This refers, it seems to me, beyond question, to Antiochus Epiphanes, and was exactly fulfilled in him. He accomplished his purposes in regard to the city and temple in the most arbitrary manner, and was, in every respect, an absolute despot. It should be said, however, here, that most Christian interpreters suppose that the allusion here to Antiochus ceases, and that henceforward, it refers to Antichrist. So Jerome, Gill, Bp. Newton, and others; and so Jerome says many of the Jews understood it. The only reason alleged for this is, that there are things affirmed here of the "king" which could not be true of Antiochus. But, in opposition to this, it may be observed

(a) that the allusion in the previous verses is undoubtedly to Antiochus Epiphanes.

(b) There is no indication of any "change," for the prophetic narrative seems to proceed as if the allusion to the same person continued.

(c) The word "king" is not a word to be applied to Antichrist, it being nowhere used of him.

(d) Such a transition, without anymore decided marks of it, would not be in accordance with the usual method in the prophetic writings, leaving a plain prediction in the very midst of the description, and passing on at once to a representation of one who would arise after many hundreds of years, and of whom the former could be considered as in no way the type. The most obvious and honest way, therefore, of interpreting this is, to refer it to Antiochus, and perhaps we shall find that the difficulty of applying it to him is not insuperable.

And he shall exalt himself - No one can doubt that this will agree with Antiochus Epiphanes - a proud, haughty, absolute, and stern monarch, the purpose of whose reign was to exalt himself, and to extend the limits of his empire.

And magnify himself above every god - That is, by directing what gods should or should not be worshipped; attempting to displace the claim of all those who were worshipped as gods at his pleasure, and establishing the worship of other gods in their place. Thus he assumed the right to determine what god should be worshipped in Jerusalem, abolishing the worship of Jehovah, and setting up that of Jupiter Olympius in the stead; and so throughout his whole dominion, by a proclamation, he forbade the worship of any god but his, 1 Macc. 1:44-51; Jos. Ant. b. xii. ch. v. Section 4, 5. One who assumes or claims the right to forbid the adoration of any particular god, and to order divine homage to be rendered to anyone which he chooses, exalts himself above the gods, as he in this way denies the right which they must be supposed to claim to prescribe their own worship.

And shall speak marvelous things - The Hebrew word נפלאות nı̂pelâ'ôth would properly denote things wonderful, or fitted to excite astonishment; things that are unusual and extraordinary: and the meaning here is, that the things spoken would be so impious and atrocious - so amazing and wonderful for their wickedness, as to produce amazement.

Against the God of gods - The true God, Jehovah; he is supreme, and is superior to all that is called God, or that is worshipped as such. Nothing could be better descriptive of Antiochus than this; nothing was ever more strikingly fulfilled than this was in him.

And shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished - Referring still to the fact that there was an appointed time during which this was to continue. That time might well be called a time of "indignation," for the Lord seemed to be angry against his temple and people, and suffered this pagan king to pour out his wrath without measure against the temple, the city, and the whole land.

For that that is determined shall be done - What is purposed in regard to the city and temple, and to all other things, must be accomplished. Compare Daniel 10:21. The angel here states a general truth - that all that God has ordained will come to pass. The application of this truth here is, that the series of events must be suffered to run on, and that it could not be expected that they would be arrested until all that had been determined in the Divine mind should be effected. They who would suffer, therefore, in those times must wait with patience until the Divine purposes should be brought about, and when the period should arrive, the calamities would cease.

36. The wilful king here, though primarily Antiochus, is antitypically and mainly Antichrist, the seventh head of the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of Re 13:1-18, and the "beast" of Armageddon (Re 16:13, 16; 19:19). Some identify him with the revived French emperorship, the eighth head of the beast (Re 17:11), who is to usurp the kingly, as the Pope has the priestly, dignity of Christ—the false Messiah of the Jews, who will "plant his tabernacle between the seas in the holy mountain," "exalting himself above every god" (2Th 2:4; Re 13:5, 6). This last clause only in part holds good of Antiochus; for though he assumed divine honors, identifying himself with Jupiter Olympius, yet it was for that god he claimed them; still it applies to him as the type.

speak marvellous things against … God of gods—so Da 7:25, as to the "little horn," which seemingly identifies the two (compare Da 8:25). Antiochus forbade the worship of Jehovah by a decree "marvellous" for its wickedness: thus he was a type of Antichrist. Compare Da 7:8, "a mouth speaking great things."

indignation … accomplished—God's visitation of wrath on the Jews for their sins (Da 8:19).

that … determined—(Da 9:26, 27; 10:21).

The king, i.e. the Roman government, whether by the senate, or by emperors, or by the bishop of Rome, who shall shove out the imperial power not only from Rome, but from Italy and all the western empire, as far as he could, by striking in with the barbarous nations that invaded it, who are called ten kings. Read for all this Revelation 17:10-13, as all the seven or eight governments of Rome are called horns, and the horns kings, Daniel 11:10,11. The sum is this: Though it is granted some of these things are applicable to Antiochus, yet the angel speaks of him here and henceforward but by the by and very lightly; his main scope is antichrist, as will appear in the interpretation.

Shall do according to his will; Antiochus did according to his will: he shall be arbitrary in his actions, notwithstanding any checks of Divine and human laws: the cause follows.

Shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods: this is true of the Romans, who would deify what they please, and defy it or ungod it; most true of the persecutors of Christ and Christians in the time of the emperors, but most notoriously of the Roman antichrist. See how this agrees with that prophecy, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 Revelation 17:3.

And shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; then shall antichrist continue long and prevail; read for this, Re 13.

For that that is determined shall be done; that which God hath decreed to be done by him against the saints shall be done, and that which God hath purposed to be done upon him shall be executed also to his destruction.

And the king shall do according to his will,.... Not Antiochus, for he could not do as he would, being curbed by the Romans, as has been observed; and there are many things which follow that cannot be applied to him; rather the Roman people, under the name of a king or kingdom, rising up to universal monarchy, upon the decline of the Grecian empire, are meant; and who did what they would, subdued kingdoms at pleasure, and gave laws to the whole world; and particularly in the little horn, or Rome Papal, antichrist, Daniel 7:8, of which Antiochus was a type, and is called by the same name, Daniel 8:9 and the transition is easy from the type to the antitype, with whom everything said agrees: for the pope of Rome, claiming infallibility, does, or has done, whatsoever he pleases; regarding neither the laws of God nor man, but dispensing with both at his pleasure; coining new doctrines; appointing new ordinances; setting himself up above councils and princes; taking upon him a power to depose kings and set them up as he pleases; with many other things done by him in an arbitrary and despotic way, both civil and religious; and with none does the character agree as with him, as well as what follows:

and magnify himself above every god; that is so called, whether angels whom he commands, or the kings of the earth he claims an authority over, those gods in heaven, and gods on earth; which is the exact description of antichrist, as given by the apostle, who has manifestly a reference to this passage; see Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:4,

and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods; the true God, to whom angels and civil magistrates are subject, being his creatures, and acting under him; but such is the arrogance of the man of sin, that he takes upon him to speak against God, and such things as are astonishing; and it may be extremely wondered at that he should dare to speak them, as to call himself God on earth; to take such things to himself, which only belong to God, as by claiming all power in heaven, earth, and hell; power to bind the consciences of men, and impose what he pleases on them; to make new articles of faith; to pardon the sins of men; to open and shut the gates of heaven when he pleases; with other blasphemies against God, his mouth, given him to speak, utters; see Revelation 13:5,

and shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished; the wrath of God upon the Jewish nation for their rejection of the Messiah; until the time of their conversion is come; and then antichrist shall be destroyed, to make way for it; till that time he shall prosper and flourish, more or less, until the 1260 days or years are ended, the date of his reign, Revelation 11:2,

for that that is determined shall be done; all the decrees and purposes of God shall be accomplished; all respecting the state and condition of the people of God under antichrist, particularly the people of the Jews, and concerning the reign and ruin of antichrist.

And the {s} king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation {t} be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

(s) Because the angels purpose is to show the whole course of the persecutions of the Jews until the coming of Christ, he now speaks of the monarchy of the Romans, which he notes by the name of a king, who were without religion and condemned the true God.

(t) So long the tyrants will prevail as God has appointed to punish his people: but he shows that it is but for a time.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. according to his will] as Daniel 8:4, Daniel 11:3 (of Alexander); Daniel 11:16 (of Antiochus the Great).

magnify himself] Isaiah 10:15. So Daniel 11:37.

above every god] Antiochus acquired a reputation for piety among the Greeks by his splendid presents to temples (cf. on Daniel 11:24); but by the manner in which he patronized, and selected for honour, particular deities (as Zeus Olympios, or Jupiter Capitolinus), he might be said, especially from an Israelitish point of view, to set himself above them all.

Antiochus, moreover, assumed divine honours. This is particularly evident, as Babelon has pointed out[386], on his coins. His best portraits appear to be those on the coins of his early years, which bear simply the inscription ‘King Antiochus.’ At a later period of his reign a star appears on his forehead, implying that he has assumed divine honours. Then in coins with the legend, ‘King Antiochus, God’ (or ‘God Manifest’ [Epiphanes]), the star disappears, but the portrait is idealized, the features approximating in type to those of Apollo. Other coins of the same type exhibit the head surrounded by a diadem with rays,—another mark of divine rank[387]. Lastly, on coins with the legend ‘King Antiochus, God Manifest, Victory-bearer,’ the head approximates even to that of Zeus Olympios, whose distinctive epithet Νικηφόρος (‘Victory-bearer’) the king himself assumes, see also the evidence collected from inscriptions by E. R. Bevan, Journ. of Hellenic Studies, 1900, pp. 26–30, respecting the worship of the Seleucidae in different cities of the East. See the accompanying Plate.

[386] In the instructive Introduction to Les Rois de Syrie (Catalogue of Coins in the National Library at Paris), 1891, p. xcii–iv.

[387] Babelon states that Antiochus Epiphanes is the first Seleucid king who is represented constantly on his coins with a crown of rays.

and against the God of gods (the God of Israel: cf. Daniel 2:47) he shall speak marvellous things] i.e. extraordinary impieties: cf. (also of Antiochus) Daniel 7:8 ‘a mouth speaking great things,’ 25 ‘shall speak words against the Most High.’

until indignation be accomplished] or, be finished, exhausted, i.e. until God’s wrath on Israel has worked itself out. The words are borrowed from Isaiah 10:25. For ‘accomplished,’ see also Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 6:12; Ezekiel 7:8; Ezekiel 13:15; Ezekiel 20:8; Ezekiel 20:21.

for that that is determined shall be done] the Divine decree must take effect. The expression, as in Daniel 9:27 (where see the note), from Isaiah 10:23.

36–39. The presumptuousness and impiety of Antiochus. Many of the older expositors supposed that at this point there was a transition from Antiochus to the future Antichrist, and that Daniel 11:36-45 related exclusively to the latter; but whatever typical significance might be legitimately considered to attach to the character and career of Antiochus as a whole, it is contrary to all sound principles of exegesis to suppose that, in a continuous description, with no indication whatever of a change of subject, part should refer to one person, and part to another, and that ‘the king’ of Daniel 11:36, and ‘the king of the south’ of Daniel 11:45 should be a different king from the one whose doings are described in Daniel 11:21-35. The fact that traits in the N.T. figure of Antichrist are suggested (apparently) by the description in Daniel 11:36-39, does not authorize the inference that these verses themselves refer to Antichrist (cf. the Introd. p. xcvii).

Verse 36. - And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done. The LXX. does not differ greatly from this, "And the king shall do according to his will, and shall be enraged, and be exalted above every god, and against the God of gods shall he speak marvellous things (ἔξαλλα) and shall prosper until the wrath be accomplished; for on him (εἰς αὐτόν) there is an end." The difference in the last clause is considerable between the LXX, and not easily explicable. Theodotion differs somewhat more, "And he shall do according to his will; and the king shall be exalted, and be magnified, and he shall speak marvellous things, and he shall prosper until the wrath is ended; for it is to a determined end (συντέλειαν)." The Peshitta is closely related to the Massoretic, even in the last clause, where a difference is manifested in the others. The Vulgate affords no occasion of remark. The question that has to be settled here is - Who is the king who shall do according to his pleasure? Aben Ezra maintained the reference was to Constantine the Great. Rashi, followed by Calvin, would make it the Roman Empire personified. He notices the Rabbins' referring this to Titus and Vespasian. As above mentioned, his own view is that the 'Monarchia Romana' is here intended. Jephet-ibn-Ali sees in this a prophecy of Mohammed; others, Wordsworth and Rule, following Jerome and Luther, think the reference here is to the antichrist of the New Testament. For our own part, we see no necessity for supposing any other monarch than Epiphanes is referred to. While Livy and Polybius remark on the piety of Epiphanes, it may seem strange to refer what is said here to him; but his ruthless plundering of temples proved that his piety was merely a political expedient. Speak marvellous things against the God of gods. We have no record of any proclamations of Antiochus which exactly suit this; but then we must bear in mind that we have only compendious accounts of what he did proclaim. To the heathen, moreover, as to Polybius and Livy, words of contempt against Jehovah would seem nothing worse than impolitic; but to the Jew, blasphemous words would be so horrible that they would not be recorded, as being a contamination: hence it is not extraordinary that we hear nothing of blasphemy in the history of Antiochus. The forbidding of sacrifices and of circumcision, while clearly enough dishonouring to God and to the Jewish nation, do not contain enough to justify the statement. Shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished. If by the indignation (זעם, za'am) is meant the sufferings endured by the Jewish people, then the prosperity of Epiphanes - his life, indeed - did not last so long as the sufferings inflicted on the Jews; for these continued for some time after his death. There is probably here an indication that the writer's horizon did not reach to the death of Antiochus. Certain, by his faith in God, that Antiochus would perish, he thinks that until that time he may prosper. For that that is determined shall be do,to. There is considerable difficulty as to the text here, but all the various forms convey the same meaning - a definite limit to oppression. Daniel 11:36The Hostile King Exalting Himself above All Divine and Human Ordinances at the Time of the End - Daniel 11:36-39

This exaltation of the king is here introduced by the formula כרצנו ועשׂה, which expresses the self-will and the irresistible might of his proceeding; cf. Daniel 3:16 and Daniel 8:4 - "a feature common to Antiochus and Antichrist" (Klief.). He shall raise himself above every god, not merely "subjectively in his lofty imagination" (Hitzig), but also by his actions. כּל־אל, every god, not merely the God of Israel, but also the gods of the heathen. This does not agree with Antiochus. The ἰσόθεα φρονεῖν ὑπερηφανῶς which is said of him, 2 Macc. 9:12, is not an exalting of himself above every god. "Antiochus was not an ἄθεος; he even wished to render the worship of Zeus universal; and that he once spoiled the temple does not imply his raising himself above every god" (Klief.). Of Antiochus much rather, as is said by Livy (41:20), in duabus tamen magnis honestisque rebus fere regius erat animus, in urbium donis et deorum cultu. On the contrary, these words before us are expressly referred to Antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Yet further, in his arrogance he shall speak נפּלאות, wonderful, i.e., impious and astonishing things, against the God of gods, i.e., the true God. This clause expounds and strengthens the מלּל רברבן (speaking great things), which is said of the enemy at the time of the end, Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:20. In this he will prosper, but only till the anger of God against His people (זעם as Daniel 8:19) shall be accomplished. Regarding כלה see at Daniel 9:27. This anger of God is irrevocably determined (נחרצה), that His people may be wholly purified for the consummation of His kingdom in glory. The perf. נעשׂתה does not stand for the imperf. because it is decreed, but in its proper meaning, according to which it represents the matter as finished, settled. Here it accordingly means: "for that which is irrevocably decreed is accomplished, is not to be recalled, but must be done."

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