Daniel 11:39
Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39). A strange god.—By this help he carries out his schemes, and all who acknowledge him are rewarded. (Comp. Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:16-17.)

Divide the land.—This is evidently done as a reward offered to those who join his ranks. No such conduct of Antiochus is recorded. Bribery, however, was not an unusual mode of persuasion adopted by him. (See 1 Maccabees 2:18; 1 Maccabees 3:30.)

Daniel 11:39. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds — Or, fortresses of Mahuzzim; with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge — The temple of Jerusalem, called the sanctuary of strength, (Daniel 11:31, where the same word Mahuz is used: see also Psalm 27:5,) seems to be here intended by the most strong holds, or fortresses of Mahuzzim, that is, of munitions, or protections, as it is signified that he should set up the strange god there. Some read it, He shall commit the munitions of strength, that is, the city of Jerusalem, to a strange god: or, he shall put it under the protection of Jupiter Olympus. This god he shall not only acknowledge, but shall increase with glory — Setting his image even upon God’s altar. And he shall cause them — That minister to this idol; to rule over many — Shall put them into places of power and trust; and they shall divide the land for gain — Shall be maintained richly out of the profits of the country. Thus we find Antiochus’s officers promising Mattathias, that if he would do according to the king’s commandment, he and his house should be in the number of the king’s friends, and should be honoured with silver and gold, and many rewards, 1Ma 2:18. The learned Mr. Mede, Bishop Newton, and many other interpreters, think that St. Paul refers to this prophecy, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; and 1 Timothy 4:1-3. And it must be acknowledged that much of what is here said is very applicable to antichrist, or the Papacy, termed by the apostle, the man of sin, that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, forbidding to marry, pretending not to regard the desire of women, and honouring saints and angels, whom his followers take for their protectors, (as the heathen of old depended on their demons,) making them presidents of several countries. But however applicable this may be to the idolatry, superstition, and tyranny of the Church of Rome, and however Antiochus might be intended to be a type of that antichristian power, the prophecy does not appear to have been primarily designed to be understood of it, but to have been meant of Antiochus himself, that great enemy of God’s ancient church. For it would be a vast transition, and not at all according to the regular series or order of time, for the prophecy to pass at once from Antiochus to antichrist. And as these prophecies, or visions, are expressly said by the angel who was sent to explain them, (Daniel 11:10; Daniel 11:14,) to relate to the Jewish people, or to be concerning WHAT SHOULD BEFALL THEM, and antichrist does not concern them in particular, therefore it seems most consistent with reason to interpret what is said here of Antiochus, as there is not the least appearance of the subject of the prophecy being changed. Every one, who reads this chapter without prepossession, must conclude, that the very same person is intended in this paragraph that is spoken of from Daniel 11:21; and that there is no intimation in any one of these verses that any other person is primarily intended.

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.Thus shall he do in, the most strong holds - Margin, "fortresses of munitions." The reference is to strongly fortified places; to those places which bad been made strong for purposes of defense. The idea is, that he would carry on his purposes against these places, as it were, under the auspices of this strange god. It was a fact, that in his wars Antiochus came into possession of the strong places, or the fortified towns of the nations which he attacked - Jerusalem, Sidon, Peluslum, Memphis - then among the strongest places in the world.

With a strange god - A foreign god whom his fathers did not acknowledge; that is, according to the supposition above, and according to the fact, with the god whom he had adored at Rome, and whose worship he was ambitious to transfer to his own empire - the Jupiter of the Capitol. He seemed to be acting under the auspices of this foreign god.

Whom he shall acknowledge - By building temples and altars to him. "And increase with glory." That is, with honor. He would seem to increase or extend his dominion in the world, by introducing his worship in his own county and in the lands which he would conquer. Before, his dominion appeared to be only at Rome; Antiochus sought that it might be extended farther, over his own kingdom, and over the countries that he would conquer.

And he shall cause them to rule over many - That is, the foreign gods. Mention had been made before of only one god; but the introduction of the worship of Jupiter would be naturally connected with that of the other gods of Rome, and they are, therefore, referred to in this manner. The conquests of Antiochus would seem to be a setting up of the dominion of these gods over the lands which he subdued.

And shall divide the land for gain - Margin, "a price." The reference here is, probably, to the holy land, and the idea is that it would be partitioned out among his followers for a price, or with a view to gain; that is, perhaps, that it would be "farmed out" for the purpose of raising revenue, and that with this view, as often occurred, it would be set up for sale to the highest bidder. This was a common way of raising revenue, by "farming out" a conquered province; that is, by disposing of the privilege of raising a revenue in it to the one who would offer most for it, and the consequence was, that it gave rise to vast rapacity in extorting funds from the people. Compare 1 Macc. 3:35, 36, where, speaking of Lysias, whom Antiochus had "set to oversee the affairs of the king from the river Euphrates unto the borders of Egypt," it is said of Antiochus that he "gave him (Lysias) charge of all things that he would have done, as also concerning them that dwelt in Judea and Jerusalem: to wit, that he should send an army against them, to destroy and root out the strength of Israel, and the remnant of Jerusalem, and to take away their memorial from that place; and that he should place strangers in all their quarters, 'and divide their land by lot. '"

39. Newton translates, "to be defenders of Mahuzzim (the monks and priests who uphold saint worship), together with the strange god whom he shall acknowledge, he shall multiply honor." English Version is better: He shall do (exploits) in the most strongholds (that is, shall succeed against them) with a strange god (under the auspices of a god which he worshipped not before, namely, Jupiter Capitolinus, whose worship he imported into his empire from Rome). Antiochus succeeded against Jerusalem, Sidon, Pelusium, Memphis.

cause them—Antiochus "caused" his followers and the apostates "to rule over many" Jews, having "divided their land" (Judea), "for gain" (that is, as a reward for their compliance).

A confirmation and ingemination of what he said before, he shall use all art and authority to propagate this idolatrous worship. We have laid by the interpretation of these things of Antiochus, though Polanus, Junius, and others apply all to him; but the angel speaks of the Romans, and it is plainly verified of antichrist, who did not only take upon him to dispose of kingdoms and provinces by usurped power, for his profit, drawing incredible masses of money from them, but upon a pretended religious account appointing tutelar saints over them.

Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god,.... Or, "in the strong holds of Mahuzzim" (w) that is, in the temples, churches, and chapels, dedicated to angels and departed saints; deck and adorn their images with gold, silver, precious stones, and with desirable things, which is notorious; as well as commit the grossest idolatries with this strange breaden god; which they hold up in such places, cringe and bow to, and pay all religious worship and adoration to it:

whom he shall acknowledge, and increase with glory; as really God; the wafer being transubstantiated into the very body and blood of Christ, as is said; and own it as such, as very God, and heap religious honour and glory upon it, which is due to Christ:

he shall cause them to rule over many; that is, the Mahuzzim, the departed saints; one shall rule over England, and be the patron and defender of it, as St. George; another over Scotland, as St. Andrew; another over Ireland, as St. Patrick; another over France, as St. Dennis; another over Spain, as St. James:

and shall divide the land for gain; or "price" (x); the whole Romish jurisdiction, all antichristian states, which are divided among those tutelar saints; each of them have their proper country assigned them they are to defend; but this is not done without gain arising to the pope of Rome from those countries, as by firstfruits, annates, Peter's pence, &c.

(w) "munitionibus Mahuzim", Pagninus, Montanus. (x) "pro pretio", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Thus shall he do in {a} the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

(a) Even though in their hearts they had no religion, yet they did acknowledge the gods, and worshipped them in their temples, lest they should have been despised as atheists. But this was to increase their fame and riches, and when they gained any country, they made others the rulers of it in such a way that the profit always came to the Romans.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
39. And he will do to the fortresses of strongholds with (the help of) a foreign god] i.e. will conquer them by his aid. But the Heb. is strange; and the sense obtained connects badly with what follows. Hitz., Meinh., and Bevan, changing a point, render, ‘And he shall procure for the fortresses of strongholds the people of a strange god,’ supposing the reference to be to the heathen soldiers and colonists settled by Antiochus in the citadel in Jerusalem, and other parts, of Judah (1Ma 1:33; 1Ma 3:36; 1Ma 3:45). The rendering ‘procure’ for עשׂה is, however, not very probable here, 2 Samuel 15:1, 1 Kings 1:5, which are quoted in support of it, being hardly parallel. For foreign god (אלוהּ נכר), cf. Genesis 35:4, Jeremiah 5:19 (אלהי), Psalm 81:9 (אל).

strange] i.e. (from Lat. ‘extraneus’) foreign, as regularly in A.V.

he whom he recognizes, will increase glory] his favourites will be loaded by him with honours. ‘Recognize’ (הִכִּיר), as Ruth 2:10 (‘take knowledge of’); Jeremiah 24:5 (‘regard’).

shall cause them to rule over the many, and shall divide land for a price] he will give them posts as governors, and grant them estates—seized, probably, from their rightful owners—for a bribe. An allusion to Antiochus’ methods of government, and to the means by which he filled his empty treasuries; perhaps, also, in particular, to renegade Jews who had been thus rewarded for their apostasy. Jason, and after him Menelaus, both purchased the high-priesthood from Antiochus (2Ma 4:8-10; 2Ma 4:24); and Bacchides (ib. 2Ma 9:25) ‘chose out the ungodly men, and made them lords over the country.’ No doubt other similar instances were known to the author.

Verse 39. - Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. The version of the LXX. is somewhat difficult to render intelligibly, "By desires of cities he shall act, and to a strong fortress shall he come with a strange god whom he will acknowledge; he will increase his glory, and shall master him much, and shall divide his territory freely." The first words of this belong to the previous verse, and at the same time there has been some confusion with the opening words of the present verse according to the Massoretic division. Theodotion is not much closer to the received text, "And he shall act in strongholds of refuge with a strange god, and shall increase glory, and subject many to them, and shall divide the land in gifts." The sense of this last, as given in the Greek versions, is illustrated by Psalm 16:4. The Peshitta renders, "He shall pass over to the strong cities, on account of ('al) the strange gods which he shall see, and he shall rule over many, and the land he shall divide for gain" The Vulgate renders more in accordance with Theodotion than with the Massoretic yet independently, "And he shall do (faciet) that he may fortify Maozim with a foreign god, whom he knew not, and shall multiply glory, and shall give to them power in many (things), and shall divide the land gratuitously" This verse as it stands is nearly unintelligible. The suggestion of Hitzig and yon Lengerke, followed by Bevan, that we should read עַם ('am), "people," instead of עִם (eem), "with," is very plausible. The only objection is that none of the versions have it. As, however, it seems to us the only way out of the difficulty, we shall take this reading, and render, with Professor Bevan, "He shall procure for the strong fortresses the people of a strange god." For this use of עשׂה Professor Bevan refers to 2 Samuel 15:1, "Absalom procured for himself chariot and horses;" 1 Kings 1:5, so of Adonijah. Whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory. This we should render, "who have acknowledged him," making the antecedent to the relative, not the king, but "the people of the strange god;" the reference being to the mercenaries of the Syrian army, who were the people of a god strange to the Israelites, and not impossibly made less difficulty in giving up their national gods, and recognizing the gods of Greece as their gods. The K'thib here is the preterite instead of the imperfect, which occurs in the following clause, the reading which we accept here. He shall increase with glory; or rather, he shall multiply in glory. These mercenaries of his he would increase, and give ever more honour to them. And he shall cause them to rule over many. These mercenaries placed in fenced cities were formed into Hellenic communities, and received many of the natives as subjects. The reference is not merely to garrisons being placed in fortresses, but to a chain of Hellenic cities, which, in imitation of the Romans, Antiochus placed in Palestine. And shall divide the land for gain. As will be seen, the Greek versions and the Vulgate reverse the idea here, and render - the LXX., δωρεάν, "gratuitously;" Theodotion, ἐν δώροις, "in gifts;" the Vulgate, gratuito, which is due to reading מְחִיר (meheer) instead of מְהִיר (meheer). The word may mean, as it is taken by the English versions and the Peshitta to mean, "for a price;" as in 2 Samuel 24:24, David purchased the threshing-floor of Araunah bimeheer, "at a price;" but it also means "wages," as in Micah 3:11, "Her priests teach for hire wages (bimeheer)." The reference, then, is to the fact that in the deplenished state of his treasury, Antiochus divided the land of Palestine to his mercenaries, in lieu of the wages he could not pay. Daniel 11:39With the help of this god, who was unknown to his fathers, he will so proceed against the strong fortresses that he rewards with honour, might, and wealth those who acknowledge him. This is the meaning of the verse, which has been very differently rendered. The majority of modern interpreters separate the two parts of the verse from each other, for they refer the first hemistich to the preceding, and in the second they find a new thought expressed. Hvernick and v. Lengerke supply a demonstrative כּה, thus: - thus shall he do to the armed fortresses together with the strange gods, i.e., fill the fortified temples with treasures, and promote their worship. But the supplement כּה is here just as arbitrary as is the interpreting of the armed fortresses of temples. Hitzig misses the object to עשׂה, and seeks it by changing עם into עם: he prepares for the armed fortresses a people of a strange god; but apart from the fact that the change of the text is arbitrary, the use of the expression "people of a strange god" for colonists is most singular. Ewald translates the expression thus: "he proceeds with the strong fortresses as with the strange god," and explains: "he loves the fortresses only just as a god;" but he has given no proof that ל עשׂה means to love. The missing object to ועשׂה follows in the second hemistich, just as in Deuteronomy 31:4; Joshua 8:2; Isaiah 10:11. עשׂה means simply to do anything to one (Kran., Klief.). נכר אלוהּ עם, with the help of the strange god (עם of assistance, as in 1 Samuel 14:45), not: in the mind of the strange god (Kliefoth). מעזּים מבצרי, fortified, i.e., strong fortresses, are not the fortified walls and houses, but the inhabitants of the fortified cities. With these he does according to his will with the help of his god, i.e., of war, namely in this, that he rewards with honour and power only those who acknowledge him. הכּיר אשׁר, who acknowledges, sc. him, the king who made war his god. Hitzig has incorrectly interpreted: whom he acknowledges. The Keri יכּיר for the Kethiv הכּיר is an unnecessary emendation here, as in Isaiah 28:15 with עבּר. The verb הכּיר is chosen to reflect upon the word נכר. It means to recognise, properly to acknowledge him as what he is or wishes to be; cf. Deuteronomy 21:17. Such an one he shall increase with honour, confer upon him sovereignty over many, and divide the land. בּמחיר is not for payment, for recompense, as the contrast to חנּם (gratuitously) (Kran.). That is not a suitable rendering here. The word rather means pro praemio, as a reward (Maur., Klief.), as a reward for the recognition accorded to him. The Vulgate renders it rightly according to the sense, gratuito. In this most modern interpreters find a reference to the circumstance that Antiochus occupied the Jewish fortresses with heathen garrisons, and rewarded his adherents with places of honour and with possessions of land (2 Macc. 4:10, 24; 5:15). But this is what all conquerors do, and it was not peculiar to Antiochus, so that it could be mentioned as characteristic of him. The words contain the altogether common thought that the king will bestow honour, power, and possessions on those who acknowledge him and conduct themselves according to his will, and they accord with the character of Antichrist in a yet higher degree than with that of Antiochus.
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