Daniel 11:14
And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
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(14) In those times.—It must be noticed that at this verse—the earliest in which there is any reference to Daniel’s people and to the vision (Daniel 10:1; Daniel 10:7-8)—we appear to be approaching the great crisis. We appear to be within “a very few days” (see Daniel 11:20) of the vile-person who corresponds to the little horn of the fourth beast. At this period the king of the south suffers from many hostile opponents, while certain others, more closely connected with the Jews, become prominent for a while, but then fail. The obscurity of the Hebrew text was felt by the LXX., and distinct historical allusions can be found by those only who are determined to find them. These are stated to be some insurrections during the early years of Ptolemy Epiphanes, and a league which some of the Jews made with Antiochus the Great against Ptolemy.

Robbers of thy people.—This difficult expression occurs only in five other passages (Psalm 17:4; Isaiah 35:9; Jeremiah 7:11; Ezekiel 7:22; Ezekiel 18:10). The words in this passage can only refer to certain Jews who committed various violent breaches of the Law, and on this occasion revolted against the king of the south.

To establish the vision.—The meaning is, the result of their acts is to bring about the accomplishment of the vision (Daniel 10:14). The significant part of the verse is the “falling” of the robbers. It seems to mean that the conduct of these men shall bring them just the reverse of what they had expected.

Daniel 11:14. There shall many stand up against the king of the south — “Antiochus was not the only one who rose up against young Ptolemy: others also confederated with him. Agathocles was in possession of the young king’s person; and he was so dissolute and proud in the exercise of his power, that the provinces which before were subject to Egypt rebelled, and Egypt itself was disturbed by seditions; and the people of Alexandria rose up in a body against Agathocles, and caused him, his sister and mother, and their associates, to be put to death. Philip too, the king of Macedon, entered into a league with Antiochus, to divide Ptolemy’s dominions between them, and each to take the parts which lay nearest and most convenient to him.” Also the robbers of thy people — Hebrew, ובני פריצי עמךְ, literally, the sons of the breakers, or, of the revolters, the factious and refractory ones, of thy people. The LXX. read it, οι υιοι των λοιμων του λαου σου, the sons of the pestilent ones of thy people. In the Vulgate it is translated, the sons also of the prevaricators of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision — The Jews were at that time broken into factions, part adhering to the king of Egypt, and part to the king of Syria; but the majority were for breaking away from their allegiance to Ptolemy, and thereby contributed greatly, without their knowing it, toward the accomplishment of this prophecy concerning the calamities which should be brought upon the Jewish nation, by the succeeding kings of Syria. But they shall fall — For Scopas came with a powerful army from Ptolemy, and, Antiochus being engaged in other parts, soon reduced the cities of Cœlosyria and Palestine to their former obedience. He subdued the Jews in the winter season, placed a garrison in the castle of Jerusalem, and returned with great spoils to Alexandria. — Bishop Newton.

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 in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south - Against the king of Egypt. That is, not only Antiochus the Great, who was always opposed to him, and who was constantly waging war with him, but also others with whom he would be particularly involved, or who would be opposed to him. The reference is especially to Philip, king of Macedon, and to Agathocles, who excited a rebellion against him in Egypt. See Jerome on Daniel 11; Polybius, xv. 20; Lengerke, "in loc.;" and Prideaux, iii. 198. Antiochus and Philip of Macedon entered into an agreement to invade the dominions of Ptolemy Epiphanes, and to divide them between themselves. At the same time a treasonable plot was laid against the life of Ptolemy by Scopas the AEtolian (Polyb. xvii.), who had under his command the army of the Egyptians, and who designed to take advantage of the youth of the king, and seize upon the throne. This project was defeated by the vigilance of Aristomenes, the prime minister. - Prideaux, iii. 181. See also the account of the conspiracy of Agathocles, and his sister Agathoclea, against Ptolemy, when an infant, in Prideaux, iii. 168, seq. These facts fully accord with what is said in the passage before us.

Also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves - The angel here turns to Daniel, and states what would be done in these circumstances by his own people - the Jews. It is to be remembered that, in these times, they were alternately under the dominion of the Egyptian and the Syrian monarchs - of Ptolemy and of Antiochus. The principal seat of the wars between Syria and Egypt was Palestine - the border land between them and Judea, therefore, often changed masters. Ptolemy Philopater had subdued Coelo-Syria and Palestine, and Ptolemy Epiphanes came into possession of them when he ascended the throne. But the angel now says that a portion of his people would take occasion, from the weakness of the youthful monarch of Egypt, and the conspiracies in his own kingdom, and the foreign combinations against him, to attempt to throw off his authority, and to become independent. That part of the people who would attempt to do this is designated in the common translation as "the robbers of thy people."

This, however, is scarcely a correct version, and does not properly indicate the persons that would be engaged in the plot. The marginal reading is, "children of robbers." The Latin Vulgate, "filii quoque proevaricatorum populi tui." The Greek renders it οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν λοιμῶν τοῦ λαοῦ σοῦ hoi huioi tōn loimōn tou laou sou - "the sons of the pests of thy people." Lengerke renders it, "the most powerful people of thy nation " - die gewaltsam sten Leute deines Volkes. The Hebrew word (פריץ pârı̂yts) means, properly, "rending, ravenous" - as of wild beasts, Isaiah 35:9; and then "violent, rapacious; an opressor, robber." - Gesenius, Lexicon The reference here seems to be to the mighty ones of the nation; the chiefs, or rulers - but a name is given them that would properly denote their character for oppression and rapacity.

It would seem - what is indeed probable from the circumstances of the case - that the nation was not only subject to this foreign authority, but that those who were placed over it, under that foreign authority, and who were probably mainly of their own people, were also themselves tyrannical and oppressive in their character. These subordinate rulers, however, preferred the authority of Antiochus to that of Ptolemy, and on the occasion of his return from the conquests of Coelo-Syria and Samaria, they met him, and professed submission to him. - Josephus, "Ant." b. xii. ch. iii. Section 3. "The Jews," says Josephus, "of their own accord, went over to him, and received him into the city (Jerusalem), and gave plentiful provision to his army, and to his elephants, and readily assisted him when he besieged the garrison which was in the citadel of Jerusalem." On this occasion, Josephus says that Antiochus bestowed many favors on the Jews; wrote letters to the generals of his armies commending their conduct; published a decree respecting the piety of the Jewish people, and sent an epistle to Ptolemy, stating what he had done for them, and what he desired should be further done. See these statments and letters in Josephus, "ut supra."

To establish the vision - That is, to bring to pass what is seen in the vision, and what had been predicted in regard to the Hebrew people. Their conduct in this matter shall have an important bearing on the fulfillment of the prophecy pertaining to that people - shall be one of the links in the chain of events securing its accomplishment. The angel does not say that it was a part of their "design" to "establish the vision," but that that would be the "result" of what they did. No doubt their conduct in this matter had a great influence on the series of events that contributed to the accomplishment of that prediction. Lengerke supposes that the "vision" here refers to that spoken of in Daniel 9:24.

But they shall fall - They shall not succeed in the object which they have in view. Their conduct in the affair will indeed promote the fulfillment of the "vision," but it will not secure the ends which "they" have in view - perhaps their own aggrandizement; or the favor of Antiochus toward themselves; or the permanent separation of the nation from the Egyptian rule, or the hope that their country might become independent altogether. As a matter of fact, Antiochus subsequently, on his return from Egypt (198 b.c.), took Jerusalem, and killed many of the party of Ptolemy, who had given themselves up to him, though he showed particular favor to those who had adhered to the observance of their own law, and could not be prevailed on by the king of Egypt to apostatize from it. - Prideaux, iii. 198; Jos. "Ant." b. xii. ch. v. Section 3.

14. many stand up against the king of the south—Philip, king of Macedon, and rebels in Egypt itself, combined with Antiochus against Ptolemy.

robbers of thy people—that is, factious men of the Jews shall exalt themselves, so as to revolt from Ptolemy, and join themselves to Antiochus; the Jews helped Antiochus' army with provisions, when on his return from Egypt he besieged the Egyptian garrison left in Jerusalem [Josephus, Antiquities, 12:3.3].

to establish the vision—Those turbulent Jews unconsciously shall help to fulfil the purpose of God, as to the trials which await Judea, according to this vision.

but they shall fall—Though helping to fulfil the vision, they shall fail in their aim, of making Judea independent.

i.e. Many of the Grecians, Arabians, Edomites, &c., and some add, many of the profane, apostate Jews, shall join with the rest for plunder and spoil, whereby they fulfil what was foretold of them by Moses and the prophets.

And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south,.... The king of Egypt, Ptolemy Epiphanes being a minor; and while he was such, Antiochus king of Syria, and Philip king of Macedon, joined in alliance together, as before observed, to seize upon his kingdom, and divide it between them; and accordingly Antiochus began the war in Coelesyria and Phoenicia, and Philip went against Egypt and Samos, or Caria, according to Polybius (q). Agathocles and Agathoclea, favourites of the former king of Egypt, laid a scheme of taking the regency into their hands during the minority of the young king; and these, being persons of dissolute lives, were hated by the Egyptians, which caused insurrections and seditions among themselves; and Scopas, a principal general in the army of the king of Egypt, formed a design of taking the government to himself:

also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision: this is directed to the Prophet Daniel, and respects the Jews his countrymen, at least some of them, refractory persons that broke through all laws of God and men; seditious men, disturbers of the public peace, and who lived upon the spoil and plunder of others; these either took the advantage of the disturbances in Egypt, and went thither, and plundered what they could, in a bold and audacious manner, and so helped to fulfil this prophecy; or during the troubles in their own land, through the kings of Egypt and Syria, took the opportunity of committing thefts and robberies in a very daring manner, whereby they brought upon them those evils threatened in the law to such persons; and particularly when the Egyptians prevailed, they sided with them against Antiochus, especially such who apostatized from their religion to please the king of Egypt; but were afterwards punished by Antiochus, as it follows:

but they shall fall: be cut off and destroyed, as those apostates that were of Ptolemy's party were by Antiochus, when he invaded Judea, and became master of Jerusalem; see third Maccabees chapter one. Some understand this of the apostate Jews, who fled with Onias the high priest to Egypt, and were there honourably received by Ptolemy, and obtained leave to build a temple there, under pretence of fulfilling the vision or prophecy in Isaiah 19:19, which continued many years to the times of the Romans, by whom it was destroyed; but this does not agree with the reign of this king of Egypt; for it was in the times of Ptolemy Philometor that this affair happened, as Josephus (r) relates. Sir Isaac Newton interprets it of the Samaritans (s).

(q) Hist. l. 3. in initio. (r) Antiqu. l. 13. c. 3. sect. 1.((s) Vid. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 12. c. 4. sect. 1.

And in those times there shall {c} many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy {d} people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.

(c) For not only Antaiochus came against him, but also Philip King of Macedonia, and these two brought great power with them.

(d) For under Onies, who falsely alleged that place of Isa 19:19, certain of the Jews retired with him into Egypt to fulfil this prophecy: also the angel shows that all these troubles which are in the Church, are by the providence and counsel of God.

14. there shall many stand up, &c.] Alluding to Antiochus, to Philip of Macedon, his ally, and also (according to Jerome) to rebellions which broke out in the provinces subject to Egypt, and insurrections in Egypt itself, through dissatisfaction with the haughty and dissolute Agathocles, Ptolemy Philopator’s chief minister and favourite (see Polyb. xv. 25–34 [Mahaffy, pp. 276–287], where a graphic account is given of the assassination of Agathocles in a popular tumult, immediately after the accession of the infant king, Ptolemy V.).

also the children of the violent among thy people shall lift themselves up to establish (the) vision; but they shall be overthrown] The allusion is apparently to a faction among the Jews, who, for the purpose of fulfilling certain prophecies, took the part of Antiochus against Ptolemy, but were unsuccessful.

Antiochus the Great, in the invasion referred to on Daniel 11:13, had, it seems, obtained possession of Palestine: shortly afterwards, however, in 200, the guardian of the young Ptolemy Epiphanes sent Scopas, an Aetolian mercenary, to recover it: he was successful, ‘subdued the nation of the Jews’ (Polyb. xvi. 39 ap. Jos. l. c.), and left a garrison in the citadel at Jerusalem. Within a year or two, as soon as his war with Attalus of Pergamum was over, Antiochus marched against Scopas, and defeated him with great loss at Paneion, by the sources of the Jordan (cf. Polyb. xvi. 18 f.), so that he was obliged to retreat, with 100,000 men, into Sidon, where Antiochus besieged him, and, though Ptolemy sent him assistance, compelled him to surrender (b.c. 198). After this Antiochus recovered Batanaea, Samaria, Abila and Gadara: he then entered Jerusalem, where the people received him gladly, provided his army with food, and assisted him to expel the garrison left in the citadel by Scopas; in return for this friendliness, Antiochus afterwards granted the Jews remission of many taxes, and contributed liberally to both the services and the repair of the Temple[365]. Only Gaza remained loyal to Ptolemy; and withstood a siege from Antiochus rather than join the Syrian side (Polyb. xvi. 40). We do not know particulars: but the allusion in this part of Daniel 11:14 can hardly be to anything except to a party in Jerusalem which (perhaps before the expedition of Scopas: notice Polybius’ phrase ‘subdued,’ as though there had been some rebellion) supported Antiochus, and in some way was broken up.

[365] Jos. Ant. xii. iii. 3 (Mahaffy, p. 293 f.); Jerome on Daniel 8:15; Ewald, Hist. v. 284.

violent] properly, breakers down (or breakers through): the word denotes a robber, Jeremiah 7:11 (‘a den of robbers’); Ezekiel 7:22; Ezekiel 18:10; and is used of a destructive wild-beast, Isaiah 35:9. The author chooses a strong term for the purpose of expressing his disapprobation of a party who were instrumental in bringing Judah under the rule of the Seleucidae, Antiochus the Great being the father of the hated Antiochus Epiphanes.

be overthrown] lit. stumble: see Proverbs 24:16.

15 a. And the king of the north shall come, and throw up earth-works, and take a city of fortifications] Sidon, in which Scopas was shut up, and which Antiochus took (see on Daniel 11:14).

cast up a mount] i.e. throw up (lit. pour out, viz. from the baskets used for collecting the earth) earth-works, the expression often used in the O.T. of a besieging army (2 Samuel 20:15; 2 Kings 19:32; Jeremiah 6:6; Ezekiel 4:2 al.). Mount is simply the old form of mound, the two words being really the same, though now differentiated in meaning. W. A. Wright (Bible Word-Book, s.v.) quotes from North’s Plutarch (1595), Alexander, p. 748, ‘all the army in their armour did cast up a mount of earth fashioned like a tombe.’

15 b–16. The final collapse of the Egyptian power in Syria.

15 b. and the arms of the south shall not stand] shall make no stand (Daniel 11:25; Amos 2:15) against Antiochus. The arm (of the body) is often fig. for strength (Psalm 71:18; Psalm 79:11; Psalm 83:8; Ezra 4:23; Jdt 9:7); here, the plur. is fig. for forces: cf. Daniel 11:22; Daniel 11:31.

and as for his chosen people (i.e. his chosen warriors: cf. Exodus 15:4; Jeremiah 48:15), there shall be no strength (in them) to stand] so the Heb. accents. Scopas, and the three “duces inclyti” (Jerome) sent to assist him, could not resist the forces of Antiochus.

Verse 14. - And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. The versions here differ from this, which represents the Massoretic with fair accuracy. The LXX. renders, "And in those times thoughts (διάνοιαι) shall rise against the King of Egypt, and he shall build again that which has fallen down of thy people " - reading וּבָנָה (oobanah), "and he shall build," instead of וּבְנֵי (oobenee), "and sons of;" he has read also peratzee, "breaches," instead of peritzee, "robbers," - "and he shall raise himself up" - reading singular instead of plural - "to fulfil the prophecy, and they shall stumble." This confusion indicates that the reading of the LXX. is mistaken. Theodotion is as much removed from the Massoretic as is the above, "And in those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the sons of the plagues (λοιμῶν) of thy people shall be exalted to establish the vision, and they shall become weak." If there were any trace of uncertainty in the reading at this point, we might be tempted to read λῃστῶν instead of λοιμῶν, written ΛΗΙΞΤΩΝ for ΛΟΙΜΩΝ. The reading of Nestle (λοιπῶν) is no improvement. The Peshitta renders, "And many shall rise against the king of the north, and the sons of the perversity of thy people shall be raised up to fulfil the vision, and shall be cast down." The change from "king of the south" to "the king of the north" must be noted, probably simply the result of blunder. The Vulgate renders פרצי pre-varieatorum, And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south. Ptolemy Epiphanes was not only exposed to the assault of the confederates Antiochus and Philip of Macedon; but there were intrigues and conspiracies in the palace. Also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves; literally, the sons of the oppressors. Commentators of all varieties have assumed that these are Jews. Hitzig maintains that they were the Jews that sided with Antiochus's rule ('Historical Exposition of Daniel'); that they were the separatists, those who had gone down to Egypt (Calvin; Behrmann, 'Die Stiirmische Jugend'); Keil, "violent men who break through Divine law." So Kranichfeld and Wordsworth. Stuart, "the violent of thy people;" Ewald, "young high-handed men." Fuller thinks the word prizzeem is used as "rulers." Griitz would render, "to establish the vision, to make the law to totter " - an attempt to get, by addition to the text, an explanation. The Hebrew text does not bear out this meaning. Gratz here implies הזיון (hazion), "vision," to be equivalent to תורה (torah), "law;" but this is never the case. But the oppressors of the people do not necessarily belong to it. To establish the vision (comp. Acts 4:28). It may be that here there is a portion of the original vision of Daniel, which has been overlaid with what we have before us. It is a summary of the whole history of the Jews under the Greek domination. But they shall fall. A general statement true of all the oppressors of Israel. Daniel 11:14In those times shall many rise up against the king of the south (על עמד as Daniel 8:20); also עמך פריצי בּני, the violent people of the nation (of the Jews), shall raise themselves against him. פריצים .mih ts בּני are such as belong to the classes of violent men who break through the barriers of the divine law (Ezekiel 18:10). These shall raise themselves חזון להעמיד, to establish the prophecy, i.e., to bring it to an accomplishment. ha`amiyd equals qayeem, Ezekiel 13:6, as עמד equals קוּם in Daniel, and generally in the later Hebrew. Almost all interpreters since Jerome have referred this to Daniel's vision of the oppression under Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel 8:9-14, Daniel 11:23. This is so far right, as the apostasy of one party among the Jews from the law of their fathers, and their adoption of heathen customs, contributed to bring about that oppression with which the theocracy was visited by Antiochus Epiphanes; but the limiting of the חזון to those definite prophecies is too narrow. חזון without the article is prophecy in undefined generality, and is to be extended to all the prophecies which threatened the people of Israel with severe chastisements and sufferings on account of their falling away from the law and their apostasy from their God. ונכשׁלוּ, they shall stumble, fall. "The falling away shall bring to them no gain, but only the sufferings and tribulation prophesied of" (Kliefoth).
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