Daniel 11:4
And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
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(4) Broken.—The shortness of the king’s reign is implied; the moment that he has arisen he will come to nothing. As in Daniel 8:8, the great horn was broken, so here the kingdom is broken and dismembered. This has been explained to mean the sudden collapse of the Greek empire after the death of Alexander.

Not to his posterity.—The kingdom disappears without the members of the king’s family reaping any benefit from it. It is “plucked up for others besides these”—i.e., to the exclusion of his lawful heirs—and strangers shall possess the fragments of his empire. This is explained of the partition of Alexander’s empire among his generals, and of the murder of his two sons, Hercules and Alexander, but the language is too indefinite to make any such identification certain. The revelation directs our attention to a self-willed king, whose large empire is to come to a sudden and unexpected end; the ruins of it are not to benefit his posterity, but apparently two strangers, who are designated king of the north and king of the south respectively.

11:1-30 The angel shows Daniel the succession of the Persian and Grecian empires. The kings of Egypt and Syria are noticed: Judea was between their dominions, and affected by their contests. From ver. 5-30, is generally considered to relate to the events which came to pass during the continuance of these governments; and from ver. 21, to relate to Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a cruel and violent persecutor of the Jews. See what decaying, perishing things worldly pomp and possessions are, and the power by which they are gotten. God, in his providence, sets up one, and pulls down another, as he pleases. This world is full of wars and fightings, which come from men's lusts. All changes and revolutions of states and kingdoms, and every event, are plainly and perfectly foreseen by God. No word of God shall fall to the ground; but what he has designed, what he has declared, shall infallibly come to pass. While the potsherds of the earth strive with each other, they prevail and are prevailed against, deceive and are deceived; but those who know God will trust in him, and he will enable them to stand their ground, bear their cross, and maintain their conflict.And when he shall stand up - In the might and power of his kingdom. When his power shall be fully established. I understand this, with Rosenmuller and Havernick, as meaning, when he shall be at the height of his authority and power, then his kingdom would be broken up. The reference is, undoubtedly, to the sudden death of Alexander; and the sense is, that his empire would not "gradually" diminish and decay, but that some event would occur, the effect of which would be to rend it into four parts.

His kingdom shall be broken - To wit, by his death. The language is such as is properly applicable to this, and indeed implies this, for it is said that it would not be "to his posterity" - an event which might be naturally expected to occur; or, in other words, the allusion to his posterity is such language as would be employed on the supposition that the reference here is to his death.

And shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven - Into four parts. For the remarkable fulfillment of this prediction, see the notes at Daniel 8:8.

And not to his posterity - See also the notes at Daniel 8:8.

Nor according to his dominion which he ruled - This was literally true of the division of the empire. No one of his successors ever obtained as wide a dominion as he did himself.

For his kingdom shall be plucked up - By his death. This does not naturally mean that it would be by "conquest," for it is said that it would be "divided toward the four winds of heaven" - language which is not properly expressive of conquest. All that is implied is met by the supposition, that at his decease the kingdom which had been founded by him, and which had been sustained by his valor and political wisdom, would fall to pieces.

Even for others beside those - That is, to others beside those to whom it should be at first divided. Literally, "exclusively, or to the exclusion of" - מלבד mı̂llebad. The word "those" refers to his posterity; and the meaning is, that the process of division would not stop with them, or that the four portions of the empire, as thus divided, would not remain in their hands, or pass to their posterity. There would be other changes and other divisions; and it was not to be expected that just four, and no more, empires would grow out of the one which had been founded, or that when that one should be divided into four parts, that partition would always continue. There would be other divisions, and other princes besides those who first obtained the empire would come in, and the process of division would ultimately be carried much farther. It is unnecessary to say that this occurred in the empire founded by Alexander. It was, soon after his death, separated into four parts, but at no distant period this arrangement was broken up, and all traces of the empire, as established by him, or as divided among his four successors, wholly disappeared.

4. kingdom … divided toward … four winds—the fourfold division of Alexander's kingdom at his death (Da 8:8, 22), after the battle of Ipsus, 301 B.C.

not to his posterity—(See on [1102]Da 8:8; [1103]Da 8:22).

nor according to his dominion—None of his successors had so wide a dominion as Alexander himself.

others besides those—besides Alexander's sons, Hercules by Barsine, Darius' daughter, and Alexander by Roxana, who were both slain [Maurer]. Rather, besides the four successors to the four chief divisions of the empire, there will be other lesser chiefs who shall appropriate smaller fragments of the Macedonian empire [Jerome].

When he shall stand up; when he is come to his highest, as monarch of the world, &c. After he had enjoyed that title a little while, his kingdom was broken, as the text saith. So it was, into four pieces, whereof we have spoken, Da 7 Da 8.

Not to his posterity, but to four of his chief commanders, who should reign in the four quarters of the world, i.e. Alexander’s conquest, though here he only mentions two of them, Egypt and Syria, i.e. the south and the north. Alexander had a brother, named Aridaeus, and two sons, Alexander and Hercules, besides others of his blood, but the nobles destroyed them all; and so the whole race of Alexander was rooted out to fulfil this prophecy; but judicially, for his great cruelty, pride, and luxury.

Nor according to his dominion; they did not reign as kings at first, but only as captains; and as to the extent of their dominion, it was far less than Alexander’s, yea, all four fell short of his.

For others beside those; some lesser commanders shared several parts of that empire, as Eumenes, Philotes, with many more, at least ten; as histories tell us. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken,.... When Alexander was risen up to his highest pitch of grandeur, was sole monarch of the world, in the height of his ambition, in the prime of his days, he was cut off by death; his kingdom remained no more one, but became many, was seized by different persons, his generals, and so broke to pieces:

and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; which seem to have respect to the four horns or kings, which came up in his place, Daniel 8:8, and among whom his kingdom was parted; Ptolemy reigned in Egypt to the south; Antigonus in Asia to the north; Seleucus in Babylon and Syria to the east; and Cassander in Macedonia to the west:

and not to his posterity; for though he had two sons, one by Barsine, whose name was Hercules, who was living at his death; and another by Roxane, born after his death, whose name was Alexander; yet they were both destroyed by Cassander, or his means, that he might enjoy Macedonia (p):

nor according to his dominion which he ruled; their dominion was not so large and powerful as Alexander's was, being divided into several parts; see Daniel 8:22, for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others besides those; either besides his posterity, who had no share in it, and so, with respect to his family, was like a tree plucked up by the roots, and, as to their concern in it, withered away at once; or, besides the four governors before mentioned, there were others that had, at least for a while, some lesser shares in the kingdom, as Eumenes, Philotas, Leonnatus, and others; but, at length, all were reduced to the kings of Egypt and Syria, the Lagidae and Seleucidae, which the following part of the prophecy chiefly concerns; and, besides these, for the Romans also, to whom this kingdom came.

(p) Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 19. p. 739. & l. 20. p. 761.

And when he shall stand up, {e} his kingdom shall be broken, {f} and shall be divided toward the {g} four winds of heaven; and not to his {h} posterity, nor according to {i} his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside {k} those.

(e) For when his estate was most flourishing, he overcame himself with drink, and so fell into a disease: or as some write, was poisoned by Cassander.

(f) For his twelve chief princes first divided his kingdom among themselves.

(g) After this his monarchy was divided into four: for Seleucus had Syria, Antigonus had Asia minor, Cassander had the kingdom of Macedonia, and Ptolemeus had Egypt.

(h) Thus God avenged Alexander's ambition and cruelty, in causing his posterity to be murdered, partly by their father's chief friends, and partly by one another.

(i) None of these four will be able to be compared to the power of Alexander.

(k) That is, his posterity having no part of it.

4. The disruption of Alexander’s empire, after his death.

when he shall stand up] or, at the time of his standing up. The expression, if correct, will be intended to emphasize the short-lived duration of Alexander’s empire (his reign extended from 336 to 323; his conquests in Asia from 334 to 323). But in view of Daniel 8:8, Grätz’s emendation, ‘when he shall become strong’ (וכעצמו for וכעמדו), is a probable one; the reference will then be to the manner in which Alexander was suddenly struck down in the midst of his successes.

be broken] The word is, no doubt, suggested by Daniel 8:8, where it is used of the ‘great horn,’ which symbolizes Alexander.

toward the four winds of heaven] So also Daniel 8:8. Alexander’s empire, after his death, was broken up; and in the end the four kingdoms of Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy arose upon its ruins (see on Daniel 8:8).

but (it shall) not (belong) to his posterity] Alexander, the conqueror’s youthful son by Roxana, and Herakles, an illegitimate son, were both murdered in 310 or 309, the former by Cassander directly, the latter by Polysperchon at Cassander’s persuasion (Diod. Sic. xix. 105, xx. 28).

nor (be) according to his dominion, wherewith he ruled] The divided kingdom would not, in any of its parts, retain the power and prestige which Alexander enjoyed. Cf. Daniel 8:22, ‘but not with his power.’

pluckt up] The figure is that of a tree: it is common in Jeremiah, as Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 18:7, Jeremiah 31:28.

and (it shall be) for others besides these] besides Alexander’s generals,—with allusion to the independent petty dynasties which arose gradually in Cappadocia, Armenia, and other countries, during the century and a half that followed upon the death of Alexander (Jerome, von Leng., Bevan).

From this point onwards the author confines himself to the kingdoms of the north and of the south, i.e. of the Seleucidae (in Syria), and of the Ptolemies (in Egypt),—these being the two dynasties which during the period that elapsed from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, successively dominated Palestine.Verse 4. - And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those. The LXX. rendering is, "And when he is risen up, his kingdom shall be broken, and divided to the four winds of heaven; not according to his might, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: because his kingdom shall be taken away, and he shall teach these things to others." It is difficult to see what reading the LXX. translator had when he rendered, "his might," for no word meaning "might" is at all like ahareetho, "his posterity." In the last clause he must have read, not milbad, but melamayd. Theodotion resembles the Massoretic more closely; he renders, "But when his kingdom stood (shall stand), it shall be broken, and shall be scattered to the four winds of heaven; and to his latter end (ἔσχατα), nor according to his rule which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be rooted out, and (let) for others besides these." The Peshitta agrees generally with this, only that when in the English we have, "not to his posterity," it has, "not to his sword (siphoh)" The last clause is somewhat paraphrastic, "And his kingdom shall be rooted, and shall not be to others save these." The Vulgate agrees with the Massoretic. The description here given of the empire of Alexander the Great is strictly accurate; his empire did not go to his posterity, nor did any of his successors possess a dominion as extensive as his. For others beside those. This has been thought to refer to the successors of those who first divided the empire among them. It seems more natural to regard "those" as referring to the posterity of Alexander, as the nearest antecedent. The address, Thou, O king, is here an absolute clause, and is not resumed till Daniel 5:22. By this address all that follows regarding Nebuchadnezzar is placed in definite relation to Belshazzar. The brilliant description of Nebuchadnezzar's power in Daniel 5:18 and Daniel 5:19 has undeniably the object of impressing it on the mind of Belshazzar that he did not equal his father in power and majesty. Regarding וגו עממיּא, see under Daniel 3:4, and with regard to the Kethiv זאעין, with the Keri יעין, see under Daniel 3:3. מחא is not from מחא, to strike (Theodot., Vulg.), but the Aphel of חיא (to live), the particip. of which is מחי in Deuteronomy 32:39, contracted from מחיא, here the part. מחא, in which the Jod is compensated by the lengthening of the vowel a4. Accordingly, there is no ground for giving the preference, with Buxt., Ges., Hitz., and others, to the variant מחא, which accommodates itself to the usual Targum. form. The last clause in Daniel 5:19 reminds us of 1 Samuel 2:6-7. In Daniel 5:20 and Daniel 5:21 Daniel brings to the remembrance of Belshazzar the divine judgment that fell upon Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4). רם is not the passive part., but the perf. act. with an intransitive signification; cf. Winer, 22, 4. תּקף, strong, to be and to become firm, here, as the Hebr. חזק, Exodus 7:13, of obduracy. העדּיו, 3rd pers. plur. imper., instead of the passive: they took away, for it was taken away, he lost it; see under Daniel 3:4, and Winer, 49, 3. שׁוּי is also to be thus interpreted, since in its impersonal use the singular is equivalent to the plur.; cf. Winer. There is no reason for changing (with v. Leng. and Hitz.) the form into shewiy, part. Piel. The change of construction depends on the rhetorical form of the address, which explains also the naming of the ערדין, wild asses, as untractable beasts, instead of בּרא חיות (beasts of the field), Daniel 4:20 (23). Regarding the Kethiv עליה, see under Daniel 4:14; and for the subject, cf. Daniel 4:22 (25), 29 (32).
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