Daniel 8:25
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
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(25) Through his policy.—This is explained more fully in the next two sentences. Through his craft he succeeds, and becomes able to destroy many unexpectedly, and finally raises up himself against God.

Without hand.—Not by the hand of man (comp. Daniel 2:34), but by the act of God.

Daniel 8:25. Through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper — His craft and cunning shall succeed. And he shall magnify himself in his heart — Elated by his successes, he will always be aiming at more and more, and making further attempts; and by peace shall destroy many — Without making war, and without being a declared enemy, or receiving injuries from them, he shall destroy many. Under pretence of peace and friendship, he invaded and spoiled both Egypt and Judea. The character which Grotius gives of Antiochus may serve to throw light on these clauses of the verse. “He had no regard to piety or integrity, to any true or false God, but measured all things by the rule of his own convenience. He certainly deceived many nations, and by his flatteries and frauds obtained, as well as enlarged his dominion; and under the colour of peace, or pretended tranquillity, he oppressed the unwary, and destroyed multitudes:” see 1Ma 1:30. He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes — He shall exalt himself against the true God, the Lord of heaven and earth, abolishing his worship, and setting up idolatry in its stead. But he shall be broken without hand — By an immediate judgment of God. God struck him with a noisome disease, attended with horrible torments both of body and mind: see 1Ma 6:8-13; 2Ma 9:5-29. It is observable, that Polybius and Josephus both confirm the account which the authors of the books of Maccabees give of his death, in a state of madness, from the apparitions and reproaches of spectres and evil spirits.

8:15-27 The eternal Son of God stood before the prophet in the appearance of a man, and directed the angel Gabriel to explain the vision. Daniel's fainting and astonishment at the prospect of evils he saw coming on his people and the church, confirm the opinion that long-continued calamities were foretold. The vision being ended, a charge was given to Daniel to keep it private for the present. He kept it to himself, and went on to do the duty of his place. As long as we live in this world we must have something to do in it; and even those whom God has most honoured, must not think themselves above their business. Nor must the pleasure of communion with God take us from the duties of our callings, but we must in them abide with God. All who are intrusted with public business must discharge their trust uprightly; and, amidst all doubts and discouragements, they may, if true believers, look forward to a happy issue. Thus should we endeavour to compose our minds for attending to the duties to which each is appointed, in the church and in the world.And through his policy - The word rendered "policy" here (שׂכל s'êkel) means, properly, intelligence, understanding, wisdom; and then, in a bad sense, craft, cunning. So it is rendered here by Gesenius, and the meaning is, that he would owe his success in a great measure to craft and subtilty.

He shall cause craft to prosper in his hand - He shall owe his success in a great measure to a crafty policy, to intrigue, and to cunning. This was true in an eminent sense, of Antiochus. See his history in Prideaux, above referred to, and the books of Maccabees. Compare the notes at Daniel 11:21. The same character is given of him by Polybius, "Relig." lib. xxi. c. 5, tom. iv. p. 501, ed. Schweighauser; Appian, "de reb. Syr." xlv. t. 1, p. 604, ed. Schweigh. Compare 2 Macc. 5:24-26. He came to the kingdom by deceit (Prideaux, iii. 212), and a great part of his success was owing to craft and policy.

And he shall magnify himself in his heart - Shall be lifted up with pride, or esteem himself of great consequence.

And by peace shall destroy many - Margin, "prosperity." The Hebrew word (שׁלוה shalevâh) means, properly, tranquility, security, ease, carelessness. Here the phrase seems to mean "in the midst of security" (Gesenius, Lexicon); that is, while they were at ease, and regarded themselves as in a state of safety, he would come suddenly and unexpectedly upon them, and destroy them. He would make sudden war on them, invading their territories, so that they would have no opportunity to make preparation to meet him. Compare Daniel 11:21, Daniel 11:24. It would seem to mean that he would endeavor to produce the impression that he was coming in peace; that he pretended friendship, and designed to keep those whom he meant to invade and destroy in a state of false security, so that he might descend upon them unawares. This was his policy rather than to declare war openly, and so give his enemies fair warning of what he intended to do. This description agrees every way with the character of Antiochus, a leading part of whose policy always was to preserve the appearance of friendship, that he might accomplish his purpose while his enemies were off their guard.

He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes - Notes, Daniel 8:11. Against God, the ruler over the kings of the earth.

But he shall be broken without hand - That is, without the hand of man, or by no visible cause. He shall be overcome by Divine, invisible power. According to the author of the first book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 6:8-16), he died of grief and remorse in Babylon. He was on an expedition to Persia, and there laid siege to Elymais, and was defeated, and fled to Babylon, when, learning that his forces in Palestine had been repulsed, penetrated with grief and remorse, he sickened and died. According to the account in the second book of Maccabees (2 Macc. 9), his death was most distressing and horrible. Compare Prideaux, iii.-272-275. All the statements given of his death, by the authors of the books of Maccabees, by Josephus, by Polybius, by Q. Curtius, and by Arrian (see the quotations in Prideaux), agree in representing it as attended with every circumstance of horror that can be well supposed to accompany a departure from this world, and as having every mark of the just judgment of God. The Divine prediction in Daniel was fully accomplished, that his death would be "without hand," in the sense that it would not be by human instrumentality; but that it would be by a direct Divine infliction. When Antiochus died, the opposition to the Jews ceased, and their land again had peace and rest.

25. by peace—by pretending "peace" and friendship; in the midst of security [Gesenius], suddenly striking his blow (compare Note, see on [1096]Jer 15:8). "A spoiler at noon-day."

also … against the Prince of princes—not merely against the Jews (Da 8:11; 11:36).

broken without hand—by God's special visitation. The stone "cut out of the mountain without hands," that is, Christ is to smite the world power image on his feet (Da 2:34), that is, in its last development (compare Da 7:11). Antiochus' horrible death by worms and ulcers, when on his way to Judea, intending to take vengeance for the defeat of his armies by the Maccabees, was a primary fulfilment, foreshadowing God's judgment on the last enemy of the Jewish Church.

He shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; he shall contrive many devices, and most of them shall take; he shall be a great master of those kinds of artifices: all to circumvent and destroy, as beasts and birds of prey have a kind of craft to compass and then devour their prey.

He shall magnify himself in his heart; shall take a pride in his wicked devices and tricks.

By peace shall destroy many; under colour of kindness, and promising peace and amity, shall lull men asleep, so as to fear nothing from him.

He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes: all this you find verified of him in the Maccabees and Josephus. He fought against God in removing the high priest, affronting God’s laws, profaning God’s worship, name, and temple, and setting up the image and worship of Jupiter there. He shall be broken without hand, by a disease whereof he died, /APC 1Ma 6:8 2Ma 9:5.

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand,.... His schemes were laid in such deep policy, and he managed so artfully and craftily in the execution of them, that he commonly succeeded; as in getting the kingdom of Syria from his nephew; and, under a pretence of peace and friendship, and to defend Philometer king of Egypt, a minor, and by large promises to the nobles of the land, made himself master of it; and by deceitful methods he prevailed in Judea; see Daniel 11:21,

and he shall magnify himself in his heart; swell with pride, on account of success, through his policy, craft, and cunning, and think himself above all mortals, and equal to God himself; yea, as his antitype antichrist, exalt himself above all that is called God; fancy that he could command the seas, weigh the mountains in scales, and reach heaven itself, in the Apocrypha:

"And thus he that a little afore thought he might command the waves of the sea, (so proud was he beyond the condition of man) and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground, and carried in an horselitter, shewing forth unto all the manifest power of God.'' (2 Maccabees 9:8)

and by peace shall destroy many; under a pretence of peace enter into countries and destroy the inhabitants of them, as in Egypt and Judea; or, by leagues and treaties of peace, outwitting those he made peace with; so some political princes do themselves more service, and their enemies more hurt, by treaties than by battles: or "in peace" (w); when at peace with them, or while they are in peace and tranquillity; coming upon them unexpectedly at an unawares, when they did not so much as dream of war:

he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; not the high priest, as Grotius; nor Michael, as Aben Ezra; but God himself, as Saadiah and Jacchiades; who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, the only Pontentate, to whom all the princes above and below are subject; him Antiochus stood up against, when he profaned his temple at Jerusalem, forbid his worship, persecuted and destroyed his people, and set up the image of Jupiter in his house:

but he shall be broken without hand; alluding to his being a horn; it is expressive of his death, and the manner of it; that he should not die by the hand of an enemy in battle, nor be assassinated by the hand of a ruffian, but be cut off by the immediate hand of God. Jacchiades says, that by the providence of God he fell ill of a bad disease, and at the cry of one of his elephants his chariot was overturned, and he fell on the ground, and his bones were broken. Of his death, and the manner of it, in the Apocrypha:

"Now when the king heard these words, he was astonished and sore moved: whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for.'' (1 Maccabees 6:8)

"But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: or as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts;'' (2 Maccabees 9:5)

"So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army.'' (2 Maccabees 9:9)

which was much like that of Herod's, Acts 12:23, being stricken with a violent disorder in his bowels: his body covered with worms; his flesh flaked off, and emitted such a stench, as was intolerable to his army. Aben Ezra says, he fell from the roof of a house, and was broken, and died.

(w) "in pace", Calvin, Vatablus; "in tranquillitate", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis.

And through his {l} policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by {m} peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the {n} Prince of princes; but he shall be broken {o} without hand.

(l) Whatever he goes about by his craft, he will bring it to pass.

(m) That is, under pretence of peace, or as it were in sport.

(n) Meaning, against God.

(o) For God would destroy him with a notable plague, and so comfort his Church.

25. And through—properly, on (the basis of)—his understanding] or insight, cleverness,—usually in a good sense (1 Samuel 25:3, Job 17:4, al.), here in a bad sense = astuteness.

he (without ‘also’)[328] will cause deceit to prosper in his hand] his intrigues will prove successful (cf. Daniel 11:23, also of Antiochus). For ‘in his hand,’ cf. Genesis 39:3, Isaiah 53:10.

[328] See on the construction Ges.-Kautzsch, § 112. 5, or the writer’s Hebrew Tenses, § 123 γ. It is against the reading of lxx (followed by Grätz and Bevan), that שׂכל does not signify διανόημα, or ‘mind.’

and in his heart he will shew greatness] i.e. here (cf. on Daniel 8:4), devise proud, presumptuous schemes. Comp. the expression ‘greatness of heart’ Isaiah 9:9; Isaiah 10:12 (A.V. ‘stoutness,’ ‘stout’).

and in (time of) security he will destroy many] i.e. he will come upon them unawares, and destroy them while off their guard. Many modern scholars render indeed by unawares, supposing that the Heb. expression (בשלוה ‘in tranquillity’) is used with the force of a similar Aramaic idiom מן שלי suddenly, unawares, (lit. out of quiet): see e.g. Jeremiah 4:20, Pesh. The same expression recurs in ch. Daniel 11:21; Daniel 11:24 (LXX. both times ἐξάπινα), also of Antiochus. Comp. 1Ma 1:29-30, where it is related how Antiochus’s chief collector of tribute, Apollonius, came to Jerusalem, and ‘spake words of peace unto them in subtilty, and they gave him credence; and he fell upon the city suddenly (ἐξάπινα: Pesh. מן שלי),’ and killed many of its inhabitants (cf. 2Ma 5:23-26).

the Prince of princes] i.e. God, the ‘prince of the host’ of Daniel 8:11. Cf. Daniel 2:47; and the ‘Lord of lords’ of Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalm 136:3.

broken without hand] i.e. not by human means, but by a Divine intervention; cf. Daniel 2:34, with the note. Antiochus died suddenly, in b.c. 164, a few months after the re-dedication of the Temple (25 Chisleu [Dec.], 165), apparently from some mental disorder, such as might well suggest the idea of a Divine stroke, at Tabae in Persia (see p. 194 f.).

Verse 25. - And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. The versions here are at variance with each other and. with the Massoretic recension. The LXX. renders, "And against the saints shall his purpose be" - evidently reading, as suggested by Gratz, v'al qedosheem siklo - "and craft shall prosper in his hands, and his heart shall be lifted up, and by treachery he shall destroy many, and for the destruction of men shall he stand, and he shall make a gathering of power, and shall sell (it)." Theodotion is, in regard to the first clause, considerably more at variance with the Massorctic, "And the yoke of his collar (or chain) shall prosper." Evidently Theodotion had read עֹל (ol), "yoke," instead of עַל ('al), "upon," and probably סִבְלו (sib'lo), "his burden," instead of שִׂכְלו (sik'lo), "his thought." "And in his heart he shall be magnified, and by treachery shall he corrupt many. and for the destruction of many. shall he stand, and as eggs shall he crush (them) in his hand," reading k'baytzeem b'yad yishbar instead of be'eseph yad yishahabayr. The Peshitta has several points of peculiarity, "And in his might he shall prosper: he shall restrain with his hand, and his heart shall be lifted up, and by treachery shall he corrupt many. and against the Ruler of rulers shall he rise up, and with grasp of the hand shall be taken." Even Jerome,. who is usually in close agreement with the Massoretic text, translates at variance with their pointing. He begins this verse really with the last clause of the previous one, "And he shall slay strong ones and the people of the saints according to his will, and treachery shall be directed in his hand, and in plenty of all things he shall slay many, and against the Prince of princes shall he rise, and without hand shall be broken." The most singular thing is the omission by both the Greek versions of the phrase sar sareem, which both appear to have read yishhat rabbeem a variation of reading difficult to understand. On the whole, these varying versions seem to have sprung from a text originally not differing much from the Massoretic, save in the opening clause, in which the Septuagint appears to suit the succession of thought better. The return of Antiochus from his expedition to Egypt was the signal for his persecution of the saints; then his "purpose, was against the holy people." Craft shall prosper in his hand. The account we have in the First Book of the Maccabees shows the perpetual exercise by Antiochus and those under him of treachery. At first, at all events, his craft prospered (1 Macc. 1:30). And he shall magnify himself in his heart. Bevan thinks this hardly accurate, as the hiphil is ordinarily causative. Only Zephaniah 2:8 has this verb used in hiphil as reflexive. The sense, however, seems to be, not that he shall become proud, but that he has many great projects in his mind one (1 Macc. 1:42) being to unify all the various peoples that were under his sceptre, so that they should be one in religion and law. He further had the design of conquering Egypt and uniting it to his empire, and would have done so had the Romans not intervened. And by peace shall destroy many. The word translated "peace" means also "suddenly." The Greek versions both render it by δόλῳ. Schleusner suggests that the word was derived from another root. There dues not seem such a root in Levy. The probability is that the meaning passed from "tranquillity" to the notion of "treachery." The meaning assigned to the word by Jerome is inexplicable, copia rerum. It happens that both the meaning attached to the word shalvah by the Greek versions here, and that found in other passages, harmonize. The treachery of the chief collector of tribute lay in feigning peace, and then slaying the people (1 Macc. 1:29). He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes. The Greek versions, as above observed, have instead of this, ἐπὶ ἀπωλείας ἀνδρῶν στήσεται - a phrase that might be a rendering of לשחת רבבים. The Massoretic text here seems the preferable. Antiochus had certainly risen up against God, the "Prince of princes," or, as the Peshitta renders, "Ruler of rulers." He shall be broken without hand. The fact of Antiochus dying immediately after an ineffectual attempt to rob a temple in Elymais, and dying, not from the effect of wounds received, but from chagrin, is symbolized by this statement. The figure of a horn pushing in this direction and in that is resumed; hence Epiphanes is said to be broken. And that he was not overthrown in battle by any rival for the crown is shown by the statement that it was without hands that he was so broken. The Romans resisted his attempt to take possession of Egypt, so he was baulked in his pursuit after one object. He desired to unite his whole multifarious empire, so that it should be homogeneous; that was baulked by the victorious revolt of the Jews under Judas Maccabaeus. If he could have made his empire homogeneous, he might have expected to be able to defy the Romans. The defeat of his army by Judas might easily be remedied if he had money to pay his troops, so he attempted the plunder of the temple in Elymais, said to be that of Artemis. The inhabitants resisted so vehemently, that he had to retire baffled. This it was that caused his death. Polybius hints at madness inflicted by a Divine hand. Daniel 8:25In Daniel 8:25 the cunning and craftiness of his action and demeanour are depicted. שׂכלו על (through his craft) is placed first. שׂכל, sagacity, here sensu malo, cunning. On the ground of this cunning his deceit will be successful. מרמה without the article means "all kinds of deceit which he designs" (Hitzig). On that account his heart is raised in haughtiness, so that not only does he destroy many unexpectedly, but also raises himself against God. In the רבּים (many) are comprehended "the mighty and the holy people" (Daniel 8:24). בּשׁלוה does not mean in deep peace, but in careless security, and thus unexpectedly. An historical proof of this is found in 1 Macc. 1:10. שׂרים שׂר (Prince of princes) corresponds with אדני האדנים (Lord of lords) in Psalm 136:3. It is God; cf. Daniel 8:11. But the angel adds, "he shall be destroyed without hands," i.e., he shall be destroyed not by the hand of man, but by God.
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