Daniel 11:37
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(37) Neither shall they.—A further description is now given of the godlessness of this king, but the people of Israel are no longer mentioned in their relation to him. The northern king appears twice again in Palestine (Daniel 11:41; Daniel 11:45), and apparently dies there. He discards his hereditary religion, he has no regard to that natural affection which women look upon as most desirable, but exalts himself over all.

Desire of women.—The language used by Isaiah (Isaiah 44:9), “delectable things,” has led some commentators to think that an idol is here intended. It has been stated that the allusion is to the Asiatic goddess of nature, Mylitta, who, again, has been identified with the “queen of heaven” (Jeremiah 7:18, where see Notes). The context, however, leads us rather to think of human affection, or some other thing highly prized by women, for the words “neither shall he regard any god” would be unmeaning if a god were designated by “the desire of women.” It should be remembered that according to Polybius xxvi. 10, sec. 11, Antiochus exceeded all kings in the sacrifices which he offered at the gates, and in the honours which he paid to the gods.

In his estate—i.e., in the place of the God whom he has rejected, he will worship the “god of forces.” There is no reason for taking this to be a proper name, as is done by the Syriac translator and Theodotion. It can only mean “fortresses” (see margin), so that the whole religion of this king is the taking of fortresses. To him war is everything, and to war everything else must give way. To war, as if it were a god, he does honour with all his wealth.

Daniel 11:37. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers — The god or gods worshipped in his own native country, namely, Syria. He made laws to abolish the religion of his country, and to bring in the idols of the Greeks. And though his predecessors had honoured the God of Israel, and given great gifts to the temple at Jerusalem, (2Ma 3:2-3,) he did the greatest indignities to God and his temple. Nor the desire of women — This, as some think, means, nor the god that is loved and adored by women; and, taking the clause in connection with the context, this seems the most natural sense of it; for the whole verse speaks of the impiety, or irreligion, of Antiothus, that he had no regard to any god whatever. What god this was that was the desire of women, cannot be certainly said; it is probable it was the moon, (the queen of heaven, as they used to call her,) or some other of the heavenly luminaries; for the Syrian women are described in Scripture as particularly attached to these. Or the expression may refer to his barbarous cruelty, and be intended to signify that he should spare no age nor sex, and should have no regard to women, however lovely or amiable. In fact, the author of the Maccabees informs us, that by his command mothers were killed with their children; and that there was killing of young and old, men, women, and children, slaying of virgins and infants, 2Ma 5:13. Nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all — He shall not regard the gods of any country whatsoever, but think himself above them, and treat them as if he were so. He was so proud, that he thought himself above the condition of a mortal man; that he could command the waves of the sea, and reach the stars of heaven, as his insolence and haughtiness are expressed 2Ma 9:8; 2Ma 9:10.11:31-45 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.Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers - The God that his fathers or ancestors had worshipped: That is, he would not be bound or restrained by the religion of his own land, or by any of the usual laws of religion. He would worship any God that he pleased, or none as he pleased. The usual restraints that bind men - the restraints derived from the religion of their ancestors - would in this case be of no avail. See the notes at Daniel 11:36. This was in all respects true of Antiochus. At his pleasure he worshipped the gods commonly adored in his country, or the gods worshipped by the Greeks and Romans, or no gods. And, in a special manner, instead of honoring the god of his fathers, and causing the image of that god to be placed in the temple at Jerusalem, as it might have been supposed he would, he caused the altar of Jupiter Olympius to be set up there, and his worship to be celebrated there. In fact, as Antiochus had been educated abroad, and had passed his early life in foreign countries, he had never paid much respect to the religion of his own land. The attempt to introduce a foreign religion into Judea was an attempt to introduce the religion of the Greeks (Jahn, Heb. Commonwealth, p. 267); and in no instance did he endeavor to force upon them the peculiar religion of his own nation. In his private feelings, therefore, and in his public acts, it might be said of Antiochus, that he was characterized in an eminent degree by a want of regard for the faith of his ancestors. The language used here by the angel is what would properly denote great infidelity and impiety.

Nor the desire of women - The phrase "the desire of women" is in itself ambiguous, and may either mean what they desire, that is, what is agreeable to them, or what they commonly seek, and for which they would plead; or it may mean his own desire - that is, that he would not be restrained by the desire of women, by any regard for women, for honorable matrimony, or by irregular passion. The phrase here is probably to be taken in the former sense, as this best suits the connection. There has been great variety in the interpretation of this expression. Some have maintained that it cannot be applicable to Antiochus at all, since he was a man eminently licentious and under the influence of abandoned women. Jerome, in loc., John D. Michaelis, Dereser, Gesenius, and Lengerke suppose that this means that he would not regard the beautiful statue of the goddess Venus whose temple was in Elymais, which he plundered.

Staudlin and Dathe, that he would not regard the weeping or tears of women - that is, that he would be cruel. Bertholdt, that he would not spare little children, the object of a mother's love - that is, that he would be a cruel tyrant. Jerome renders it, Et erit in concupiscentiis faminarum, and explains it of unbridled lust, and applies it principally to Antiochus. Elliott, strangely it seems to me (Apocalypse, iv. 152), interprets it as referring to what was so much the object of desire among the Hebrew women - the Messiah, the promised seed of the woman; and he says that he had found this opinion hinted at by Faber on the Prophecies (Ed. 5), i.-380-385. Others expound it as signifying that he would not regard honorable matrimony, but would be given to unlawful pleasures. It may not be practicable to determine with certainty the meaning of the expression, but it seems to me that the design of the whole is to set forth the impiety and hard-heartedness of Antiochus. He would not regard the gods of his fathers; that is, he would not be controlled by any of the principles of the religion in which he had been educated, but would set them all at defiance, and would do as he pleased; and, in like manner, he would be unaffected by the influences derived from the female character - would disregard the objects that were nearest to their hearts, their sentiments of kindness and compassion; their pleadings and their tears; he would be a cruel tyrant, alike regardless of all the restraints derived from heaven and earth - the best influences from above and from below.

It is not necessary to say that this agrees exactly with the character of Antiochus. He was sensual and corrupt, and given to licentious indulgence, and was incapable of honorable and pure love, and was a stranger to all those bland and pure affections produced by intercourse with refined and enlightened females. If one wishes to describe a high state of tyranny and depravity in a man, it cannot be done better than by saying that he disregards whatever is attractive and interesting to a virtuous female mind.

Nor regard any god - Any religious restraints whatever - the laws of any god worshipped in his own land or elsewhere - in heaven or on earth. That is, he would be utterly irreligious in heart, and where it conflicted with his purposes would set at nought every consideration derived from reverence to God. This harmonizes well with the previous declaration about women. The two commonly go together. He that is unrestrained by the attractive virtues of the female mind and character; he that has no regard for the sympathies and kindnesses that interest virtuous females; he that sees nothing lovely in what commonly engages their thoughts; and he that throws himself beyond the restraints of their society, and the effects of their conversation, is commonly a man who cuts himself loose from all religion, and is at the same time a despiser of virtuous females and of God. No one will expect piety toward God to be found in a bosom that sees nothing to interest him in the sympathies and virtues of the femme mind; and the character of a woman-hater and a hater of God will uniformly be found united in the same person. Such a person was Antiochus Epiphanes; and such men have often been found in the world.

For he shall magnify himself above all - Above all the restraints of religion, and all those derived from the intercourse of virtuous social life - setting at nought all the restraints that usually bind men. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:10-11.

37. Neither … regard … the desire of women—(Compare Eze 24:16, 18). The wife, as the desire of man's eyes, is the symbol of the tenderest relations (2Sa 1:26). Antiochus would set at naught even their entreaties that he should cease from his attack on Jehovah's worship [Polanus]. Maurer refers it to Antiochus' attack on the temple of the Syrian Venus, worshipped by women (1 Maccabees 6:1, &c.; 2 Maccabees 1:13). Newton refers it to Rome's "forbidding to marry." Elliott rightly makes the antitypical reference be to Messiah. Jewish women desired to be mothers with a view to Him, the promised seed of the woman (Ge 30:23; Lu 1:25, 28).

nor regard any god—(2Th 2:4).

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers; he shall so far degenerate from the rule of Christ, and from primitive Christianity, that he shall be the head of that apostacy, 1 Timothy 4:1 2 Thessalonians 2:3: mark those places, the first whereof is so fully opened by Mr. Joseph Mede in his Doctrine of Demons. The other by Bishop Jewel in his comment on that place.

Nor the desire of women, i.e. the desire of wiving, i.e. forbidding to marry, forbidding priests marriage. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,.... Of the apostles of Christ, from whom he pretends to descend, and whose successor he would be thought to be: now their God was the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they worshipped and adored, believed in, embraced, professed, and preached; but whom antichrist disregards, though he would be thought to be his vicar on earth; yet slights him, yea, opposes and acts contrary to him, in his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, and therefore is rightly called antichrist:

nor the desire of women; or "wives" (p); not desirous of having wives, or enjoying women in lawful marriage; but forbidding his priests to marry, as is notoriously a tenet of antichrist, and foretold by the apostle, in agreement to this prophecy, 1 Timothy 4:3, otherwise, none more lustful or desirous of women in an unlawful way than the Romish priests:

nor regard any god; either the true God, and his laws, or any god in a metaphorical sense, any king or potentate on earth; showing no respect to any authority, or to any laws, divine or human:

for he shall magnify himself above all; above all gods, real or nominal, as in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

(p) "conjuges", Gejerus.

Neither shall he regard the {u} God of his fathers, nor the desire {x} of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

(u) The Romans will observe no certain form of religion as other nations, but will change their gods at their pleasures, indeed, they will condemn them and prefer themselves to their gods.

(x) Signifying that they would be without all humanity: for the love of women is taken for singular or great love, as 2Sa 1:26.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
37. And the gods of his fathers he will not regard] The honours paid by him to foreign deities implied a depreciation of the gods of his own country. He was particularly devoted to the cult of Jupiter Capitolinus, or Zeus Olympios. Even before he became king, while halting at Athens on his way home from Rome, he contributed largely to the restoration of the Olympieion in that city; afterwards, he built in Daphne, the suburb of Antioch, a temple to Zeus Olympios, with a colossal statue of the god, modelled on the famous one of Pheidias at Olympia, and began, though he did not live to complete it, a yet more magnificent temple to him in Antioch itself (Livy xli. 20). His coins also exhibit constantly (on the obverse) the head of either Zeus Olympios or Apollo; and, as was just remarked, in those belonging to the latter part of his reign the king himself bears the title Νικηφόρος,—an epithet belonging properly to Zeus.

and neither the desire of women, nor any god, will he regard] The ‘desire of women’ must, from the context, be the designation of some divinity—most probably (Ewald, Bevan) Tammuz, a celebrated Syrian and Phœnician deity, known to the Greeks as Adonis, whose rites were popular among women.

Adonis in the legend was a beautiful youth, the dearly loved spouse of Aphroditè, snatched from her by a cruel fate, and bitterly bewailed by her. The festival of Adonis consisted largely in an imitation of the mourning of Aphroditè, and hence was specially observed by women; cf. Ezekiel 8:14 (where the prophet sees in vision, in the precincts of the Temple, ‘the women weeping for Tammuz’); Jerome on Ez. l. c. ‘plangitur a mulieribus quasi mortuus, et postea reviviscens canitur atque laudatur[388]’; Aristoph. Lysistr. 389 ff.; and Theocritus’ Idyll (xv.) entitled Ἀδωνιάζουσαι, or ‘Women keeping festival to Adonis.’ According to Hippolytus, Refut. Hær. Daniel 11:9, the ‘Assyrians’ (? Syrians) called him the ‘thrice-desired (τριπόθητος) Adonis’: cf. Bion, in his Ἐπιτάφιος Ἀδώνιδος, ll. 24, 58.

[388] Cf. Milton, P. L. 1. 456 ff.:—

Tammuz came next behind,

Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured

The Syrian damsels to lament his fate

In amorous ditties all a summer’s day;

While smooth Adonis from his native rock

Ran purple to the sea—supposed with blood

Of Tammuz yearly wounded. The love-tale

Infected Zion’s daughters with like heat.

nor any god] While there were some gods whom Antiochus honoured by erecting to them costly temples, he was ready enough, if in need of funds, to rob other temples of their treasures. Polybius (xxxi. 4. 10) expressly says that he plundered very many temples (ἱεροσυλήκει δὲ καὶ τὰ πλεῖστα τῶν ἱερῶν) in order to obtain money for his extravagances. He made an unsuccessful attempt to pillage a wealthy temple in Persia shortly before his death (ib. xxxi. 11; 1Ma 6:1-4 : see below).Verse 37. - Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. The Septuagint rendering is, "And to the gods of his fathers he will not have respect, and to the desire of women he will not have respect, because in everything he shall be exalted, and by him strong nations shall be subdued." The last clause belongs really to the next verse, of the first clause of which it is a variant reading. Theodotion is nearly identical in sense with this, "And no god of his fathers will he regard (συνήσει) and a desire of women." "This clause stands thus incomplete, as if the translator would have finished it with (αὐτῷ) "to him" - "he regards no god, because over all he is exalted." The Peshitta rendering is, "And to the god of his fathers he shall not have regard; nor to the desire of women, nor any god, will he have respect; but over all he shall exalt himself." It is to be noted that the Peshitta renders as does the English Version, and has the singular, "the God of his fathers," not as the Greek versions, "the gods of his." The Hebrew might be either. The Vulgate agrees here with the Syriac. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers. Antiochus is looked upon, not as a man of Macedonian or Greek descent, but as a Syrian, and certainly he had no reverence for the ancient gods of Syria. His opposition to the theocracy and to the worship of Jehovah was but a portion of a wide policy, the object of which was the abolition of all local cults. The desire of women. It might mean that he was not lustful; but there is no evidence that, like Charles XII., he was abstinent. On the ether hand, he never neglected war for luxury, as did some of the Hellenic kings. Moreover, it is almost imperative that it be an object of worship that is here referred to. Taking "the desire of women" as an object of worship, there is an interpretation which has come down to us from Ephrem Syrus and Jerome, that Beltis or Nanaea is here referred to; and the fact that in an attempt to plunder the temple of this goddess, in Elymais, Antiochus lost his life, supports this view. The worship is said to have been very lascivious. On the other hand, it was a worship that would not naturally be prominent to a Palestinian Jew. The suggestion of Ewald, that it was the worship of Adonis or Tammuz which Antiochus despised, is more likely to be meant here. For he shall magnify himself above all. Claiming the right of annulling worship, and taking the sacred utensils from the temple treasures, he allowed himself to be addressed by the Samaritans as a god. Antiochus was probably utterly without faith in the Divine; worship was merely policy. 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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