Daniel 11:5
And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
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(5) The king.—This king of the south (see Daniel 11:8) is suddenly introduced to our notice. The vagueness of the language prevents us from asserting that the reference is to Ptolemy Soter, who assumed the title of king about B.C. 304. Equally obscure is the phrase “one of his princes.” Both the Greek versions interpret the passage to mean “that one of the princes of the king of the south shall be stronger than his former master.” It is hard to see how Seleucus Nicator can be called a “prince” of Ptolemy Soter. Any attempt at making the pronoun “his” refer to the mighty king mentioned in the last verse is opposed to the context, and to introduce any fresh sentence such as “shall arise” is an unwarrantable assumption. The obscurity of the Hebrew text is well reproduced in the English Version. It should be stated that Ptolemy took Jerusalem B.C. 320, and that these times must have been very critical to the Jews.

Daniel 11:5. And the king of the south, &c. — “Though the kingdom of Alexander was divided into four principal parts, yet only two of them have a place in this prophecy, Egypt and Syria. These two were by far the greatest and most considerable, and at one time were, in a manner, the only remaining kingdoms of the four; the kingdom of Macedon having been conquered by Lysimachus, and annexed to Thrace, and Lysimachus again having been conquered by Seleucus, and the kingdoms of Macedon and Thrace annexed to Syria. These two, likewise, continued distinct kingdoms after the others were swallowed up by the power of the Romans. But there is a more proper and peculiar reason for enlarging on these two particularly; because Judea, lying between them, was sometimes in the possession of the kings of Egypt, and sometimes of the kings of Syria; and it is the purpose of Holy Scripture to interweave only so much of foreign affairs as hath some relation to the Jews; and it is in respect of their situation to Judea, that the kings of Egypt and Syria are called the kings of the south and the north.” — Bishop Newton.

The king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes — That is, of Alexander’s princes. “There is manifestly either some redundance,” says Bishop Newton, “or some defect in the Hebrew copy, which should be rendered, as it is by the LXX., And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes shall be strong above him.” The king of the south, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, called Soter, that is, saviour, the first king of Egypt, and the first founder of the famous library at Alexandria, was indeed very strong: for his dominion extended over Libya, Cyrene, Palestine, Cyprus, some Grecian islands, and Asiatic provinces. His wealth and strength are celebrated by Theocritus in one of his idyls, and by Appian the historian. But still the king of the north, or Seleucus Nicator, that is, the conqueror, was strong above him: for having annexed, as we have seen, the kingdoms of Macedon and Thrace to the crown of Syria, he had become master of three parts out of four of Alexander’s dominions. All historians agree in representing him, not only as the longest liver, but likewise as the most powerful of all Alexander’s successors. Appian in particular, enumerating the nations which he subdued, affirms that, after Alexander, he possessed the largest part of Asia; for that all was subject to him from Phrygia to the river Indus, and beyond it. He built Seleucia on the Tigris, and many other very considerable cities in India, Scythia, Armenia, and various parts of his wide empire; so that his dominion was indeed a great dominion. He was also, according to Appian, a person of such great strength, that, laying hold on a bull by the horn, he could stop him in his full career: the statuaries, for this reason, made his statue with two bulls’ horns on his head. This prince, “having reigned seven months after the death of Lysimachus, over the kingdoms of Macedon, Thrace, and Syria, was basely murdered; and to him succeeded, in the throne of Syria, Antiochus Soter; and to him his son, Antiochus Theus. At the same time, Ptolemy Philadelphus reigned in Egypt after his father, the first Ptolemy. There were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and Syria, and particularly between Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theus, the third king of Syria.” See Bishop Newton and Wintle.

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 the king of the south - The angel here leaves the general history of the empire, and confines himself, in his predictions, to two parts of it - the kingdom of the south, and the kingdom of the north; or the kingdoms to the north and the south of Palestine - that of Syria and that of Egypt; or that of the Seleucidae, and that of the Ptolemies. The reason why he does this is not stated, but it is, doubtless, because the events pertaining to these kingdoms would particularly affect the Jewish people, and be properly connected with sacred history. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:7-8. The "king of the south" here is, undoubtedly, the king of Egypt. This part of the empire was obtained by Ptolemy, and was in the hands of his successors until Egypt was subdued by the Romans. Between the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria long and bloody wars prevailed, and the prospective history of these wars it is the design of the angel here to trace. As the remainder of the chapter refers to these two dynasties, until the death of the great persecutor, Antiochus Epiphanes, and as the events referred to were very important in history, and as introductory to what was to follow in the world, it may be useful here, in order to a clear exposition of the whole chapter, to present a list of these two lines of princes. It is necessary only to premise, that the death of Alexander the Great occurred 323 b.c.; that of his brother, Philip Aridaeus, b.c. 316; that of his son, Alexander AEgus, by Roxana, 309 b.c.; and that a short time after this (about 306 b.c.), the chief Macedonian governors and princes assumed the royal title. The following list of the succession of the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies - or the kings of the north and the south - of Syria and Egypt, is copied from Elliott "on the Apocalypse," iv. 123: -

Lines of Princes of Ptolemy and Seleucidae B.C. The Ptolemies B.C. The Seleucidae 323 Ptolemy Soter, son of Ptolemy Lagus, governor of Egypt. 323 Seleucus Nicator, governor of Babylon 312 Seleucus Nicator recovers Babylon, and the Era of the Seleucidae begins 306 Ptolemy Soter takes the title of king of Egypt 284 Ptolemy Philadelphus.(It wasunder him that the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament was made.) 280 Antiochus Soter 261 Antiochus Theus 246 Ptolemy Euergetes 246 Seleucus Callinicus 226 Seleucus Ceraunus 225 Antiochus the Great 221 Ptolemy Philopator 204 Ptolemy Epiphanes 187 Seleucus Philopator 180 Ptolemy Philometor 175 Antiochus Epiphanes 164 Antiochus Eupator, of the the Romans assume guardianship "After this, fourteen mere Syrian kings reigned, in reigns of short and uncertain power, until Syria was occupied and formed into a Roman province under Pompey, at which time the era of the Seleucidae properly ends; and six more Egyptian princes, to the death of Ptolemy Auletes, who dying b.c. 51, left his kingdom and children to Roman guardianship - one of these children being the 'Cleopatra' so famous in the histories of Caesar and Anthony." - Elliott, "ut supra."

Shall be strong - This is in accordance with the wellknown fact. One of the most powerful of those monarchies, if not "the" most powerful, was Egypt.

And one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him - The meaning of this passage is, that there would be "one of his princes," that is, of the princes of Alexander, who would be more mighty than the one who obtained Egypt, or the south, and that he would have a more extended dominion. The reference is, doubtless, to Seleucus Nicator, or the conqueror. In the division of the empire he obtained Syria, Babylonia, Media, Susiana, Armenia, a part of Cappadocia, and Cilicia, and his kingdom stretched from the Hellespont to the Indus. See the notes at Daniel 8:8. Compare Arrian, "Exp. Alex." vii. 22; Appian, p. 618; and Lengerke, in loc. The proper translation of this passage probably would be, "And the king of the south shall be mighty. But from among his princes (the princes of Alexander) also there shall be (one) who shall be mightier than he, and he shall reign, and his dominion shall be a great dominion." It was of these two dominions that the angel spake, and hence follows, through the remainder of the chapter, the history pertaining to them and their successors. Seleucus Nicator reigned from 312 b.c. to 280 b.c. - or thirty-two years. In his time lived Berosus and Megasthenes, referred to in the Introduction to Daniel 4.

5. Here the prophet leaves Asia and Greece and takes up Egypt and Syria, these being in continual conflict under Alexander's successors, entailing misery on Judea, which lay between the two. Holy Scripture handles external history only so far as it is connected with God's people, Israel [Jerome]. Tregelles puts a chasm between the fourth and fifth verses, making the transition to the final Antichrist here, answering to the chasm (in his view) at Da 8:22, 23.

king of … south—literally, "of midday": Egypt (Da 11:8, 42), Ptolemy Soter, son of Lagus. He took the title "king," whereas Lagus was but "governor."

one of his princes—Seleucus, at first a satrap of Ptolemy Lagus, but from 312 B.C. king of the largest empire after that of Alexander (Syria, Babylon, Media, &c.), and called therefore Nicator, that is, "conqueror." Connect the words thus, "And one of his (Ptolemy's) princes, even he (Seleucus) shall be strong above him" (above Ptolemy, his former master).

This king was Ptolemy the son of Lagus, the first king of Egypt after Alexander, who is brought in because he took Jerusalem by treachery, for the angel minds only those persons and things which related to the Jews, passing over many things that pertained not to them.

His dominion shall be a great dominion; his riches by land and sea, and his territory besides Egypt, that Theocritus takes notice of it in Idyllio, what this first Ptolemy, the father of Ptolemy Philadelphus, added, viz. Cyprus, Phoenicia, with many other countries, to Egypt, and left all to his son, with an incredible treasure and an invincible army.

One of his princes, i.e. either one of these Ptolemies, or Antiochus, or Nicanor, or Seleucus Nicanor, so called for his great victories, who overcame Demetrius, and added Asia to his empire; he overcame the king of Thrace, and a king of India, and built many cities; and Judea, lying in the midst of them, was much afflicted by him, and his antagonists and allies.

And the king of the south shall be strong,.... That is, the king of Egypt, which lay south to Syria, as Syria lay north to Egypt; and therefore the king of the one is called the king of the south, and the other the king of the north, throughout this prophecy; and by the king of the south, or Egypt, is here meant Ptolemy Lagus, one of Alexander's generals, who had Egypt for his share; and a very powerful king he was; for he reigned over Egypt, Lybia, Cyrene, Ethiopia, Arabia, Phoenicia, Coelesyria, Cyprus, and several isles in the Aegean sea, and many cities in Greece:

and one of his princes; not of Ptolemy king of Egypt, but of Alexander the great; and this is Seleucus Nicator, afterwards called king of the north, having Syria for his part, which lay to the north of Egypt, as before observed:

and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; that is, be a greater and more powerful prince than Ptolemy king of Egypt:

his dominion shall be a great dominion; even greater than the others; for he reigned over Macedonia, Greece, Thrace, Asia, Syria, Babylonia, Media, and all the eastern countries as far as India; even from Taurus to the river Indus, and so likewise from Taurus to the Aegean sea: these two are only mentioned, who shared the Persian monarchy, because the Jews were only affected by them, for the sake of whom this prophecy is delivered.

And the {l} king of the south shall be strong, and one of {m} his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.

(l) That is, Ptolemeus king of Egypt.

(m) That is, Antiochus the son of Seleucus, and one of Alexander's princes will be more mighty: for he would have both Asia and Syria.

5. Ptolemy I. (Lagi), 305–285, and Seleucus I. (Nicator), 312–280.

the king of the south] The ‘south’ (Heb. Negeb), when applied to a particular region, means commonly in the O.T., the southern part of Judah (Genesis 12:9, R.V. marg.); but in this chapter (as in Daniel 8:9) it denotes regularly Egypt, as opposed to Antioch (or Syria), which is signified by the ‘north.’ Ptolemy, son of Lagus, a Macedonian, one of Alexander’s most trusted and capable generals, who distinguished himself especially in his Indian campaigns, succeeded, in the partition of Alexander’s empire which was arranged immediately after his death, in securing for himself Egypt, which he ruled as satrap from b.c. 322 to 305, when he assumed the title of king. He died b.c. 285.

and one of his princes] or captains (2 Kings 9:5, &c.). Seleucus, an officer of Alexander’s ‘companions’ (ἑταῖροι), or distinguished corps of heavy cavalry, received at the convention of Triparadisus, in 321, the wealthy satrapy of Babylonia. Being in 316 taken to account for his administration by Antigonus (who had received in 323 Phrygia, Lycia, and Pamphylia, but increasing in power had presumed to control the provinces as he thought fit), he took refuge with Ptolemy in Egypt. Ptolemy appointed him his general; and he helped him to gain the battle of Gaza in 312. After this he induced Ptolemy to send him with a small force to recover Babylon. He was successful, and regained his satrapy; and the era of the Seleucidae (b.c. 312), by which in later times the Jews reckoned (1Ma 1:10), was fixed by the event.

and he (the latter, Seleucus) shall be strong above him[358] (the former, Ptolemy), and have dominion: his dominion shall be a great dominion] After the final defeat of Antigonus at Ipsus in 301 (which indeed was principally due to the large forces contributed by Seleucus), the empire ruled by Seleucus, reaching from Phrygia, Cappadocia, and Syria, on the W., almost to the Indus on the E., was much more extensive than that of Ptolemy, and commanded much larger resources. Seleucus is called by Arrian (Exped. Alex. vii. 22) the “greatest,” as well as the most “princely-minded,” of Alexander’s successors; and he deserves, more than any of his brother generals, to be regarded as the heir of Alexander. Antioch was founded by him as his capital, b.c. 300.

[358] The reading ‘but one of his captains shall be strong above him’ (LXX., Theod., Meinh., Kamph., Prince) would improve this verse, without altering the sense.

In the distribution of provinces, an ambiguous position was taken by Cœle-Syria, with Phœnicia, and Palestine; and this intermediate region remained a bone of contention between the kings of Syria and Egypt, and in the century and a half which followed the death of Alexander, repeatedly changed hands. At Triparadisus, in 321, Syria was assigned to Laomedon; but Ptolemy got possession of it in 320, only to lose it again in 315 to Antigonus, to recover at least the S. part of it after the battle of Gaza in 312, and to relinquish it a second time to Antigonus in 311. After the battle of Ipsus in 301, Ptolemy, as a matter of fact, obtained Cœle-Syria and Phœnicia; but his right to these provinces became a subject of protracted dispute between the later Ptolemies and Seleucidae. On the one hand, it was alleged that after the victory it had been distinctly agreed that Seleucus should have ‘the whole of Syria’; on the other, it was claimed that Ptolemy Lagi had only joined the coalition against Antigonus on the understanding that he should receive Cœle-Syria and Phœnicia (Polyb. v. 67; cf. also the quotation from Diodorus in Mahaffy, Empire of the Ptolemies, p. 66). Upon the whole, during the period here in question, Palestine remained, with short interruptions, in the hands of the Ptolemies till the battle of Paneion in 198, after which it was retained permanently by the kings of Syria.

Verse 5. - And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes: and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. The LXX. rendering differs from this," And he shall strengthen the kingdom of Egypt; and one of the rulers shall overcome him (κατισχύσει) and rule; and his power shall be a great power." Theodotion agrees with the Massoretic in sense. The Peshitta agrees verbally with the Massoretic, but, as it omits the preposition rain, the meaning the translator attached to the verse is difficult to ascertain. The Vulgate agrees with the Massoretic. The verse abruptly introduces the conflict between the Lagid and Seleucid princes. There is no indication in the preceding verses that the four winds of heaven are to be taken so rigidly as is implied by this verse. It is no answer to say that Egypt and Syria alone came into intimate relations with the Jews; it is not a question of fact, but a question of the necessities of composition. The appearance presented is that of a fragment existing separately, and inserted here. The intruded references to the truth which is to be shown have the took of being awkward attempts to prepare for the subjoined narrative. Whatever its origin, it is very difficult to explain to what it refers. The king of the south is certainly one of the Ptolemies, most probably Ptolemy Lagi. And one of his princes shall be strong above him. This is usually understood to mean Seleucus Nicator, who, when driven from Babylon, his original satrapy, by Anti-genus, took refuge with Ptolemy Lagi, and became a commander under him in his war against Antigonus. Ptolemy also gave him the few troops with which, after the battle of Gaza, he recovered possession of Babylonia. He certainly became by far the most powerful of the successors of Alexander. Indeed, he may be said to have had all the dominions of Alexander save Egypt and Syria on the south, and Macedonia and Greece on the west; for he had overthrown Lysimachus, and absorbed his dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion states accurately the extent of the dominions of Scleucus. Rosenmiiller would refer the prenominal suffix ו, "his," to Alexander, and understand Ptolemy as the prince in question; but this is improbable. It is impossible not to observe the abrupt introduction of this prince. Gratz would suggest that a clause has dropped out here, which declared that one of his (Alexander's) princes stood up in the north. Had this any manuscript authority, it would be plausible. More, however, would seem to be wanting. Daniel 11:5From the 5th verse the prophecy passes to the wars of the kings of the south and the north for the supremacy and for the dominion over the Holy Land, which lay between the two. Daniel 11:5 describes the growing strength of these two kings, and Daniel 11:6 an attempt made by them to join themselves together. חזק, to become strong. The king of the south is the ruler of Egypt; this appears from the context, and is confirmed by Daniel 11:8. שׂריו וּמן is differently interpreted; מן, however, is unanimously regarded as a partitive: "one of his princes," as e.g., Nehemiah 13:28; Genesis 28:11; Exodus 6:25. The suffix to שׂריו (his princes) does not (with C. B. Michaelis, Bertholdt, Rosenmller, and Kranichfeld) refer to גּבּור מלך, Daniel 11:3, because this noun is too far removed, and then also עליו must be referred to it; but thereby the statement in Daniel 11:5, that one of the princes of the king of Javan would gain greater power and dominion than the valiant king had, would contradict the statement in Daniel 11:4, that no one of the Diadochs would attain to the dominion of Alexander.

(Note: This contradiction is not set aside, but only strengthened, by translating עליו יחזק "he overcame him" (Kran.), according to which the king of Javan must be thought of as overcome by one of his princes, the king of the south. For the thought that the king of Javan survived the destruction of his kingdom, and that, after one of his princes had become the king of the south and had founded a great dominion, he was overcome by him, contradicts too strongly the statement of Daniel 11:5, that the kingdom of the valiant king of Javan would be destroyed, and that it would not fall to his survivors, but to others with the exception of those, for one to be able to interpret the words in this sense.)

The suffix to שׂריו can only be referred to the immediately preceding הנגב מלך: "one of the princes of the king of the south." But then וin וּמן cannot be explicative, but is only the simple copula. This interpretation also is not opposed by the Atnach under שׂריו, for this accent is added to the subject because it stands before separately, and is again resumed in ויחזק by the copula ,ו as e.g., Ezekiel 34:19. The thought is this: one of the princes of the king of the south shall attain to greater power than this king, and shall found a great dominion. That this prince is the king of the north, or founds a dominion in the north, is not expressly said, but is gathered from Daniel 11:6, where the king of the south enters into a league with the king of the north.

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