Jerome on Daniel 11

[Translated by Gleason L. Archer – in Public Domain]


Verse 1. “And from the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up that he might be strengthened and confirmed.” Daniel implies, “From the first year of the reign of Darius, who overthrew the Chaldeans and delivered me from the hand of my enemies to the extent of his ability (for even his sealing of the pit of lions with his signet ring was for my protection, lest my adversaries should slay me), I for my part stood before God, and I besought God’s mercy upon him, in view of the man’s love for me, in order that either he or his kingdom might be strengthened and confirmed. And since I persevered in my prayer, I was answered by God and given to understand the following information. After all, it is a customary thing (p. 558) with the prophets to bring in new speakers abruptly and without warning. So it is in Psalm Thirty-one [i.e., Thirty-two]: for when the prophet has petitioned God and said: “Thou art my refuge from my tribulation (B) which compassed me about; O Thou, who art my rejoicing, deliver me from those who now encompass me,” then God is abruptly brought in as the speaker, replying, “I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way in which thou shalt go; I will fasten Mine eyes upon thee” (verses 7 and 8). So also here, as the prophet relates, “From the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up and interceded that he might be strengthened and that his rule might be confirmed,” God suddenly responds:

Verse 2. “And now I shall proclaim the truth to thee.” And the meaning is this: “Because thou desirest to know what shall befall the kings of Persia, hearken thou to the order of events and hear the answer to thy request.”

“And behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be enriched exceedingly above them all, and when he shall have grown mighty through his wealth, he shall stir up all men against the kingdom of Greece.” He states that four kings shall arise in Persia after Cyrus, namely Cambyses, |119 the son of Cyrus, and the Magus named Smerdis, who married Pantaptes, the daughter of Cambyses. Then, when he was slain by seven Magi and Darius had succeeeded to his throne, the same Pantaptes married Darius, and by him gave birth to Xerxes, who became a most powerful and wealthy king, and led an innumerable host against Greece and performed those deeds which are related by the Greek historians. For in the archonship of Callias he destroyed Athens by fire, and about that same time waged the war at Thermopylae and the naval battle at Salamis. It was in his time that Sophocles and Euripides became famous [hardly Euripides, whose first play was given in 455, nine years after Xerxes’ death], and Themistocles fled in exile to Persia, where he died as a result of drinking the blood of a bull. And so that writer [apparently Tertullian, cf. p. 550] is in error who records as the fourth king that Darius who was defeated by Alexander, for he was not the fourth king, but the fourteenth king of the Persians after Cyrus. It was in the seventh year of his rule that Alexander defeated and slew him. Moreover it should be observed that after he has specified four kings of Persia after Cyrus, the author [i.e., Daniel] omits the nine (C) others and passes right on to Alexander. For the Spirit of prophecy was not concerned about preserving historical detail but in summarizing only the most important matters. (703)

Verses 3, 4. “But there shall rise up a strong king and shall rule with great power, and he shall do whatever he pleases. And when he shall have arisen, his kingdom shall be broken.” He clearly refers to Alexander the Great, king of the Macedonians, and son of Philip. For after he had overcome the Illyrians and Thracians, and had conquered Greece and destroyed Thebes, he crossed over into Asia. And when he had routed Darius’s generals and taken the city of Sardis, he afterwards captured India and founded the city of Alexandria. And then, when he had attained the age of thirty-two and the twelfth year of his reign, he died of poison.

“And it shall be divided towards the four winds of heaven, but not unto his own posterity nor according to his power with which he had borne rule.” After Alexander his kingdom was divided towards the four (p. 559) winds, namely to the east, the west, the south, and the north. In Egypt, that is in the south, |120 Ptolemy the son of Lagos was the first to become king. In Macedonia, that is in the west, the Philip who was also called Aridaeus, a brother of Alexander, became king. The king of Syria and Babylon and the remoter regions, that is, the east, was Seleucus Nicanor. Antigonus was king of Asia Minor and Pontus and of the other provinces in that whole area, that is, in the north. So much for the various regions of the world as a whole; but from the standpoint of Judea itself, the north would be Syria and the south would be Egypt. And as for the statement, “But not unto his own posterity,” the implication is that Alexander would have no children, but rather, his kingdom would be rent asunder and fall to others who were not of his family, except of course for Philip, who kept Macedonia. Nor would it be according to the power of him who had borne rule, for the kingdom became feebler by division into four parts, for they constantly fought among themselves and raged with internecine fury.

“For his kingdom shall be rent in pieces (variant: destroyed), and that too among strangers besides these.” Besides the four kingdoms of Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, the kingdom of the Macedonians was torn asunder among other rulers of less prominence and among petty kings. The reference here is to Perdiccas and Craterus and Lysimachus, for Cappadocia, Armenia, Bithynia, Heracleia, Bosphorus and various other provinces withdrew themselves from the Macedonian power and set up various kings for themselves.

Verse 5. “And the king of the South shall be strengthened.” The reference is to Ptolemy, son of Lagos, who was the first to become king in Egypt, and was a very clever, mighty and wealthy man, and possessed such power that he was able to restore Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, to his kingdom after he had been driven out, and also to seize Cyprus and Phoenicia. And after he had conquered Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, he restored to Seleucus that portion of his kingdom which Antigonus had taken away from him. He also acquired Caria and many islands, cities, and districts unnecessary to detail at this time. But no further notice is taken of the other kingdoms, Macedonia and Asia Minor, because Judaea lay in a midway position and was held now by one group of kings and now by another. And it is not the purpose of Holy Scripture to cover external history |121 apart from the Jews, but only that which is linked up with the nation of Israel.

“And one of his princes shall prevail over him, and he shall rule with great power, for his dominion shall be great.” The person mentioned is Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt and the son of the former Ptolemy. It was in his reign that the Seventy (Septuaginta) translators are said to have translated the Holy Scripture into Greek. He also sent many treasures to Jerusalem for the high priest Eleazar, and votive vessels for the Temple. The curator of his library was Demetrius of Phalerum, a man of reputation among the Greeks as an orator and philosopher. Philadelphus is reported [reading narratur instead of the inappropriate narrantur] to have possessed such great power as to surpass his father Ptolemy. For history relates that he possessed two hundred thousand infantrymen, twenty thousand cavalry, and even two thousand chariots and four hundred elephants, which he was the first to import from Ethiopia. He also had a thousand five hundred (p. 560) war galleys of the type now known as Liburnian, and a thousand others for the transporting of military provisions. So great was his treasure of gold and silver that he received a yearly revenue from Egypt amounting to fourteen thousand eight hundred talents of silver, as well as grain in the amount of five or ten hundred thousand artabae (a measure containing three and a half modii [a modius being about three and a half pecks]).

Verse 6. “And at the end of the years they shall be leagued together (or, as Theodotion renders: And after his years they shall be united). And the daughter of the king of the South shall come to the king of the North in order to make friendship, but she shall not obtain strength of arm nor shall her seed endure. And she herself shall be handed over, as well as her young men (Vulgate: youths) who brought her and who were strengthening her in (these) times.” As we have already said, it was Seleucus, surnamed Nicanor, who first ruled over Syria. The second king was Antiochus, who was called Soter. The third was Antiochus himself, (705) who was called Theos, that is the Divine. He was the one who waged numerous wars with Ptolemy Philadelphus, who was the second ruler in Egypt, and he also fought with all the Babylonians and the men of the East, And so after |122 many years Ptolemy Philadelphus wished to have done with this vexatious struggle, and so he gave his daughter, named Berenice, in marriage to Antiochus, who had already had by a previous wife, named Laodice, two sons, namely Seleucus, surnamed Callinicus, and the other, Antiochus. And Philadelphus conducted her as far as Pelusium and bestowed countless thousands of gold and silver by way of a dowry, from which circumstance he acquired the nickname of phernophoros or Dowry-giver (dotalis). But as for Antiochus, even though he had said he would regard Berenice as his royal consort and keep Laodice in the status of a concubine, he was finally prevailed upon by his love for Laodice to restore her to the status of queen, along with her children. But she was fearful that her husband might in his fickleness restore Berenice to favor once more, and so she had him put to death by her servants with the use of poison. And she handed over Berenice and the son whom she had born by Antiochus to Icadio and Genneus, princes of Antiochus, and then set up her elder son, Seleucus Callinicus, as king in his father’s place. And so this is the matter referred to in this passage, namely that after many years Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antiochus Theos would conclude a friendship, and the daughter of the king of the South, that is Ptolemy, would go to the king of the North, that is Antiochus, in order to cement friendly relations between her father and her husband. And the text says that she will not be able to gain her end, nor shall her posterity remain upon the throne of Syria, but instead both Berenice and the men who had escorted her thither shall be put to death. And also the king, Antiochus, who had strengthened her, that is, through whom she could have obtained the mastery, was killed by his wife’s poison.

Verses 7-9. “And a plant of the bud of her roots shall arise, and he shall come with an army and shall invade the province of the king of the North. And he shall abuse them and shall prevail. And he shall also carry away captive into Egypt their gods and their sculptures and their precious vessels of gold and silver; he shall prevail against the king of the North. And the king of the South shall enter into the kingdom and shall return to his own land.” After the murder of Berenice and the death of her father, Ptolemy Philadelphus, in Egypt, her brother, who was also named Ptolemy |123 and surnamed Euergetes, succeeded to the throne as the third of his dynasty, being in fact an offshoot of the same plant and a bud of the same root as she was, inasmuch as he was her (p. 561) brother. He came up with a great army and advanced into the province (706) of the king of the North, that is Seleucus Callinicus, who together with his mother Laodice was ruling in Syria, and abused them, and not only did he seize Syria but also took Cilicia and the remoter regions beyond the Euphrates and nearly all of Asia as well. And then, when he heard that a rebellion was afoot in Egypt, he ravaged the kingdom of Seleucus and carried off as booty forty thousand talents of silver, and also precious vessels and images of the gods to the amount of two and a half thousand. Among them were the same images which Cambyses had brought to Persia at the time when he conquered Egypt. The Egyptian people were indeed devoted to idolatry, for when he had brought back their gods to them after so many years, they called him Euergetes (Benefactor). And he himself retained possession of Syria, but he handed over Cilicia to his friend, Antiochus, that he might govern it, and the provinces beyond the Euphrates he handed over to Xanthippus, another general.

Verse 10. “And his sons shall be provoked, and they shall assemble a multitude of great armies, and he shall come with haste like a flood. And he shall return and be stirred up, and he shall join battle with his army.” After the flight and death of Seleucus Callinicus, his two sons, the Seleucus surnamed Ceraunus and the Antiochus who was called the Great, were provoked by a hope of victory and of avenging their father, and so they assembled an army against Ptolemy Philopator and took up arms. And when the elder brother, Seleucus, was slain in Phrygia in the third year of his reign through the treachery of Nicanor and Apaturius, the army which was in Syria summoned his brother, Antiochus the Great, from Babylon to assume the throne. And so this is the reason why the present passage states that the two sons were provoked and assembled a multitude of very sizable armies. But it implies that Antiochus the Great came by himself from Babylon to Syria, which at that time was held by Ptolemy Philopator, the son of Euergetes and the fourth king to rule in Egypt. And after he had successfully fought with his generals, or rather had by the betrayal of Theodotius obtained |124 possession of Syria (which had already been held by a succession of Egyptian kings), he became so emboldened by his contempt for Philopator’s luxurious manner of life and for the magical arts which he was said to employ, that he took the initiative in attempting an invasion of Egypt itself.

Verses 11, 12. “And the king of the South, being provoked, shall go forth and shall prepare an exceeding great multitude, and a multitude shall be given into his hand. And he shall take (707) a multitude, and his heart shall be lifted up, because (Vulgate: and) he shall cast down many thousands. But he shall not prevail.” The Ptolemy surnamed Philopator, having lost Syria through the betrayal of Theodotius, gathered together a very great multitude and launched an invasion against (p. 562) Antiochus the Great, who now bears the title of king of the North, at the region where Egypt borders upon the province of Judaea. For owing to the nature of the region, this locality lies partly to the south and partly to the north. If we speak of Judaea, it lies to the north of Egypt and to the south of Syria. And so when he had joined battle near the town of Raphia at the gateway of Egypt, Antiochus lost his entire army and was almost captured as he fled through the desert. And after he had conceded the loss of Syria, the conflict was finally brought to an end upon the basis of a treaty and certain conditions of peace. And this is what the Scripture means here by the statement that Ptolemy Philopator “shall cast down many thousands” and yet shall not prevail. For he was unable to capture his adversary. The sequel now follows.

Verses 13, 14. “And the king of the North shall return and shall prepare a much greater multitude than before, and in the end of times and years he shall come in haste with a large army and great resources. And in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South.” This indicates that Antiochus the Great, who despised the worthlessness of Ptolemy Philopator (for he had fallen desperately in love with a lute-player named Agathoclea and also her brother, retaining Agatho-cles himself as his concubine and afterwards appointing him as general of Egypt), assembled a huge army from the upper regions of Babylon. And since Ptolemy Philopator was now dead, Antiochus broke his treaty and set his army in motion against |125 Philopator’s four-year-old son, who was called Epiphanes. For so great was the dissoluteness and arrogancy of Agathoclea, that those provinces which had previously been subjected to Egypt rose up in rebellion, and even Egypt itself was troubled with seditions. Moreover Philip, King of Macedon, and Antiochus the Great made peace with each other and engaged in a common struggle (708) against Agathocles and Ptolemy Eprphanes, on the understanding that each of them should annex to his own dominion those cities of Ptolemy which lay nearest to them. And so this is what is referred to in this passage, which says that many shall rise up against the king of the South, that is, Ptolemy Epiphanes, who was then a mere child.

“Moreover the children of the transgressors of thy people shall lift themselves up, that they may fulfil the vision, and then fall to ruin (Vulgate: and they shall fall to ruin).” During the conflict between Antiochus the Great and the generals of Ptolemy, Judaea, which lay between them, was rent into contrary factions, the one group favoring Antiochus, and the other favoring Ptolemy. Finally the high priest, Onias, fled to Egypt, taking a large number of Jews along with him, and was given by Ptolemy an honorable reception. (A) He then received the region known as Heliopolis, and by a grant of the king, he erected a temple in Egypt like the temple of the Jews, and it remained standing up until the reign of Vespasian, over a period of two hundred (B) and fifty years. But then the city itself (C), which was known (p. 563) as the City of Onias, was destroyed to the very ground because of the war which the Jews had subsequently waged against the Romans. There is consequently no trace of either city or temple now remaining. But as we were saying, countless multitudes of Jews fled to Egypt on the occasion of Onias’s pontificate, and the land was filled with a large number from Cyrene as well. For Onias affirmed (A) that he was fulfilling the prophecy written by Isaiah: “There shall be an altar of the Lord in Egypt, and the name of the Lord shall be found in their territories” (Isa. 19:19). And so this is the matter referred to in this passage: “The sons of the transgressors of thy people,” who forsook the law of the Lord and wished to offer blood-sacrifices to God in another place than what He had commanded. They would be lifted up in pride and would boast that they were fulfilling the |126vision, that is, the thing which the Lord had enjoined. But they shall fall to ruin, for both temple and city shall be afterwards destroyed. And while Antiochus held Judaea, a leader of the Ptolemaic party called Scopas (B) Aetholus was sent against Antiochus, and after a bold campaign he took Judaea and took the aristocrats of Ptolemy’s party back to Egypt with him on his return. (709)

Verses 15, 16. “And the king of the North shall come, and shall cast up a mound and capture the best fortified cities, and the arms of the South shall not withstand. And his chosen ones shall rise up to resist, and they shall have no strength. And he shall come upon him and do according to his own desire, and there shall be none to stand against his face. And he shall stand in the glorious land and it shall be consumed by his hand.” Purposing to retake Judaea and the many cities of Syria, Antiochus joined battle with Scopas, Ptolemy’s general, near the sources of the Jordan near where the city now called Paneas was founded, and he put him to flight and besieged him in Sidon together with ten thousand of his soldiers. In order to free him, Ptolemy dispatched the famous generals, Eropus, Menocles and Damoxenus (Vulgate: Damoxeus). Yet he was unable to lift the siege, and finally Scopas, overcome by famine, had to surrender and was sent away with his associates, despoiled of all he had. And as for the statement, “He shall cast up a mound,” this indicates that Antiochus is going to besiege the garrison of Scopas in the citadel of Jerusalem for a long time, while the Jews add their exertions as well. And he is going to capture other cities which had formerly been held by the Ptolemaic faction in Syria, Cilicia and Lycia (variant: Lydia). For at that time Aphrodisias, Soloe, Zephrion, Mallos, Anemurium (variant: Anemurum), Selenus, Coracesium, Coricus, Andriace, Lymira, Patara (variant: Patra), Xanthus, and finally Ephesus were all captured. These things are related by both Greek and Roman historians. And as for the statement, “And he shall stand in the glorious land, and it shall be consumed (or, finished) by his hand,” the term “glorious land,” or, as the Septuagint interprets it, “the land of desire” (that is, in which God takes pleasure) signifies Judaea, and particularly Jerusalem, to which Antiochus pursued those men of Scopas’s party who had been honorably (C) received there. Instead of the |127 phrase, “glorious land,” as (p. 564) Aquila rendered it, Theodotion simply puts the Hebrew word itself, (D) Sabin; instead of that Symmachus translated it “land of bravery.”

Verses 17-19. “And he shall set his face to come and possess all his kingdom, and he shall make upright conditions with him. And he shall give him the daughter of women, that she may overthrow him” (Vulgate: it). That is to say, the intention is to overthrow him, that is, Ptolemy, or else to overthrow it, that is, his kingdom. Antiochus not only wished to take possession of Syria, Cilicia, and (710) Lycia, and the other provinces which had belonged to Ptolemy’s party, but also to extend his empire to Egypt. He therefore used the good offices of Eucles of Rhodes to betroth his daughter, Cleopatra, to young Ptolemy in the seventh year of his reign; and in his thirteenth year she was given to him in marriage, professedly endowed with all of Coele-syria and Judaea as her marriage-portion. By pleonasm she is called a daughter of women, just as the poet says:

. . .Thus she spake with her mouth.
. . .And with these ears did I drink in her voice.

[The second line is quoted from Vergil’s Aeneid, iv, 359; the first line I have not been able to locate; neither seems to be particularly appropriate to the context.]

“And she shall not stand, neither shall she be for him. And he shall turn his face to the islands and shall capture many; and she shall cause the prince of her reproach to cease, and his reproach shall be turned upon him. And he shall turn his face to the empire of his own land; and he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.” For he was unable to take possession of Egypt, because Ptolemy Epiphanes and his generals detected the strategem and followed a cautious policy. And besides, Cleopatra inclined more to her husband’s side than to her father’s. And so he turned his attention to Asia Minor, and by carrying on naval warfare against a large number of islands, he seized Rhodes, Samos, Colophon (variant: Colophonia and Bocla), Phocea and many other islands. But he was opposed by Lucius Scipio Nasica and also his brother, Publius Scipio Africanus, who had vanquished Hannibal. For since the consul Nasica, the brother of Africanus, was of a somewhat sluggish disposition, the Roman senate was unwilling to entrust to him a |128 war against so mighty a king as Antiochus. Africanus therefore offered to assume the post of deputy on a voluntary basis, in order to obviate any damage that his brother might cause. Consequently Antiochus was vanquished and commanded to confine his rule to the other side of the Taurus range. And so he took refuge in Apamia and Susa and advanced to the easternmost cities of his realm [reading regni for regi]. And during a war against the Elymaeans he was destroyed together with his entire army. And so this is what the Scripture refers to in this passage, when it states that he would capture many islands, and yet because of the Roman conqueror he would lose the kingdom of Asia; and that the disgrace he had inflicted would come back upon his own head; and that in the end he would flee from Asia Minor and return to the empire of his own land, and would then stumble and fall, so that his place would not be found.

Verse 20. “And there shall stand up in his place one most vile and unworthy of kingly honor, and in a few days he shall be destroyed, not in rage nor in a battle.” The reference is to the Seleucus surnamed Philopator, (711) the son of Antiochus the Great, who during his reign performed no deeds worthy of Syria or of his father, but (p. 565) perished ingloriously without fighting a single battle. Porphyry, however, claims that it was not this Seleucus who is referred to, but rather Ptolemy Epiphanes, who contrived a plot against Seleucus and prepared an army to fight against him, with the result that Seleucus was poisoned by his own generals. They did this because when someone asked Seleucus where he was going to get the financial resources for the great enterprises he was planning, he answered that his financial resources consisted in his friends. When this remark was publicly noised abroad, the generals became apprehensive that he would deprive them of their property and for that reason did him to death by nefarious means. Yet how could Ptolemy be said to rise up in the place of Antiochus the Great, since he did nothing of the sort? This is especially improbable since the Septuagint translated: “And there shall stand up a plant from his root,” that is, “of his issue and seed,” who should deal a severe blow to the prestige of the empire; “and within a few days he shall be destroyed without wrath or battle.” The Hebrews claim that it is Trypho who was intended by the man who was most |129 vile and unworthy of kingly honor, for as the boy-king’s guardian he seized the throne for himself.

Verse 24. “And there shall stand up in his place one despised, and the kingly honor shall not be given him; and he shall come privately and shall obtain the kingdom by fraud. And the arms of the fighter shall be overcome before his face and shall be broken, and the prince of the covenant as well. And after friendly advances he shall deal deceitfully with him, and shall go up and shall overcome with a small people. And he shall enter into rich and prosperous cities, and shall do things which his fathers never did, nor his fathers’ fathers. He shall scatter their spoil and their booty and their wealth, and shall undertake plots against the best fortified cities, and shall continue thus for a time.” Up to this point the historical order has been followed, and there has been no point of controversy between Porphyry and those of our side (variant: and us). But the rest of the text from here on to the end of the book he interprets as applying to the person of the Antiochus who was surnamed Epiphanes, the brother of Seleucus and the son of Antiochus the Great. He reigned in Syria for eleven years after Seleucus, and he seized Judaea, and it is under his reign that the persecution of God’s Law is related, and also the wars of the Maccabees. But those of our persuasion believe all these things are spoken prophetically of the Antichrist who is to arise in the end time. But this factor appears to them as a difficulty for our view, namely the question as to why the prophetic discourse should abruptly cease mention of these great kings and shift from Seleucus to the end of the world. The answer is that in the earlier historical account where mention was made of the Persian kings, only four kings of Persia were presented, following after Cyrus, and (712) many who came in between were simply skipped over, so as to come quickly to Alexander, king of the Macedonians. We hold that it is the practice of Scripture not to relate all details completely, but only to set forth what seems of major importance. Those of our school insist also that since many of the details which we are subsequently to read and explain are appropriate to the person of Antiochus, he is to be regarded as a type of the Antichrist, and those things which happened to him in a preliminary way are to be completely fulfilled in the case of the Antichrist. We hold that it is the habit of Holy |130 Scripture to set forth by means of types the reality of things to come, in conformity with what is said of our Lord and Savior in the Seventy-first [i.e Seventy-second] Psalm, a psalm which is noted at the beginning as being Solomon’s, and yet not all the statements which are made concerning can be applied to Solomon. For certainly he neither endured “together with the sun and before the moon from generation to generation,” nor did he hold sway from sea (p. 566) to sea, or from the River unto the ends of the earth; neither did all the nations serve him, nor did his name endure before the sun; neither were all the tribes of earth blessed in him, nor did all races magnify him. But in a partial way these things were set forth in advance, by shadows as it were, and by a mere symbol of the reality, in the person of Solomon, in order that they might be more perfectly fulfilled in our Lord and Savior. And so, just as the Savior had Solomon and the other saints as types of His advent, so also we should believe that the Antichrist very properly had as a type of himself the utterly wicked king, Antiochus, who persecuted the saints and defiled the Temple. Let us therefore follow along with the explanation point by point, and let us briefly observe in the case of each item what it signifies to those of the other school of thought and what it signifies to those of our school, in accordance with each of the two explanations. Our opponents say that the one who was to “stand up in the place of” Seleucus was his brother, Antiochus Epiphanes. The party in Syria who favored Ptolemy would not at first grant him the kingly honor, but he later secured the rule of Syria by a pretense of clemency. And as Ptolemy fought and laid everything waste, his arms were overcome and broken before the face of Antiochus. Now the word arms implies the idea of strength, and therefore also the host of any army is known as a hand [i.e. manus, “hand,” may also signify a “band of armed men”]. And not only does the text say that he conquered Ptolemy by fraud, but also the prince of the covenant he overcame by treachery, that is, Judas Maccabaeus. Or else this is what is referred to, that after he had secured peace with Ptolemy and he had become the prince of the covenant, he afterwards devised a plot against him. Now the Ptolemy meant here was not Epiphanes, who was the fifth Ptolemy to reign in Egypt, but Ptolemy (713) Philometor, the son of Antiochus’ sister, Cleopatra; and so Antiochus was his |131 maternal uncle. And when after Cleopatra’s death Egypt was ruled by Eulaius, the eunuch who was Philometor’s tutor, and by Leneus, and they were attempting to regain Syria, which Antiochus had fraudulently seized, warfare broke out between the boy Ptolemy and his uncle. And when they joined battle between Pelusium and Mt. Casius, Ptolemy’s generals were defeated. But then Antiochus showed leniency towards the boy, and making a pretense of friendship, he went up to Memphis and there received the crown after the Egyptian manner. Declaring that he was looking out for the lad’s interests, he subjected all Egypt to himself with only a small force of men, and he entered into rich and prosperous cities. And so he did things which his father had never done, nor his fathers’ fathers. For none of the kings of Syria had ever laid Egypt waste after this fashion and scattered all their wealth. Moreover he was so shrewd that he even overcame by his deceit the well-laid plans of those who were the boy-king’s generals. This is the line of interpretation which Porphyry followed, pursuing the lead of (A) Sutorius with much redundancy, discoursing of matters which we have summarized within a brief compass. But the scholars of our viewpoint have made a better and correcter interpretation, stating that the deeds are to be performed by the Antichrist at the end of the world. It is he who is destined to arise from a small nation, that is from the Jewish people, and shall be so lowly and despised that kingly honor will not be granted him. But by means of intrigue and deception he shall secure the government and by him shall the arms of the fighting nation of Rome be overcome and broken. He is to effect this result by pretending to (p. 567) be the prince of the covenant, that is, of the Law and Testament of God. And he shall enter into the richest of cities and shall do what his fathers never did, nor his fathers’ fathers. For none of the Jews except the Antichrist has ever ruled over the whole world. And he shall form a design against the firmest resolves of the saints and shall do everything [he wishes] for a time, for as long as God’s will shall have permitted him to do these things.

Verses 25, 26. “And his strength and his heart shall be stirred up against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the South shall be aroused to war with many and very strong auxiliary forces; and they shall not stand, for they |132 shall form designs against him. And they that eat bread with him shall destroy him, and his army shall be crushed, (714) and many shall fall down slain.” Porphyry interprets this as applying to Antiochus, who set forth with a great army on a campaign against his sister’s son. But the king of the South, that is the generals of Ptolemy, were also roused to war with many and very powerful auxiliary forces, but they could not stand against the fraudulent schemes of Antiochus. For he pretended to be at peace with his sister’s son and ate bread with him, and afterwards he took possession of Egypt. But those of our view with greater plausibility interpret all this as applying to the Antichrist, for he is to be born of the Jewish people and come from Babylon, and is first of all going to vanquish the king of Egypt, who is one of the three horns of which we have already spoken earlier.

Verses 27—-30. “And the heart of the two kings shall be to do evil, and they speak falsehood at one table, and they shall not prosper, because as yet the end is unto another time. And he shall return into his land with much riches.” There is no doubt but what Antiochus did conclude a peace with Ptolemy and ate at the same table with him and devised plots against him, and yet without attaining any success thereby, since he did not obtain his kingdom but was driven out by Ptolemy’s soldiers. But it cannot be proved from this set of facts that the statement of this Scripture was ever fulfilled by past history, namely that there were two kings whose hearts were deceitful and who inflicted evil upon each other. Actually, Ptolemy was a mere child of tender years and was taken in by Antiochus’ fraud; how then could he have plotted evil against him? And so our party insist that all these things (A) refer to the Antichrist and to the king of Egypt whom he has for the first time overcome.

“And his heart shall be against the holy covenant, and he shall succeed and return into his own land. At the time appointed he shall return and shall come to the South; but the latter time shall not be like the former. And the galleys shall come upon him, and the Romans, and he shall be dealt a heavy blow.” Or, as another has rendered it, “… and they shall threaten him with attack.” Both the Greek and the Roman historians relate that after Antiochus had (p. 568) been expelled from Egypt and had gone back once more, he came to Judaea, that is, against |133 the holy covenant, and that he despoiled the Temple and removed a huge amount of gold; and then, having stationed a garrison in the citadel, he returned to his own land. And then two years later he gathered an army against (715) Ptolemy and came to the South. And while he was besieging his two nephews, the brothers of Ptolemy and sons of Cleopatra, at Alexandria, some Roman envoys arrived on the scene, one of whom was Marcus (B) Popilius Laenas. And when he had found Antiochus standing on the shore and had conveyed the senatorial decree to him by which he was ordered to withdraw from those who were friends of the Roman people and to content himself with his own domain, then Antiochus delayed his reply in order to consult with his friends. But Laenas is said to have made a circle in the sand with the staff which he held in his hand, and to have drawn it around the king, saying, “The senate and people of Rome give order for you to make answer in this very spot as to what your decision is.” At these words Antiochus was greatly alarmed and said, “If this is the good pleasure of the senate and people of Rome, then I must withdraw.” And so he immediately set his army in motion. But he is said to have been dealt a heavy blow, not that he was killed but that he lost all of his proud prestige. As for the Antichrist, there is no question but what he is going to fight against the holy covenant, and that when he first makes war against the king of Egypt, he shall straightway be frightened off by the assistance (C) of the Romans. But these events were typically prefigured under Antiochus Epiphanes, so that this abominable king who persecuted God’s people foreshadows the Antichrist, who is to persecute the people of Christ. And so there are many (D) of our viewpoint who think that Domitius Nero [actually Domitius was the name of Nero’s father, Ahenobarbus] was the Antichrist because of his outstanding savagery and depravity.

“And he shall return and shall be angry at the covenant of the sanctuary, and he shall succeed; and he shall return and take thought concerning(Vulgate: against) those who have abandoned the covenant of the sanctuary.” We read of these matters at greater length in the exploits of the Maccabees (I Macc. 1), where we learn that after the Romans expelled him from Egypt, he came in anger against the covenant of the sanctuary and was welcomed by those who had forsaken the law of God and |134 taken part in the religious rites of the Gentiles. But this is to be more amply fulfilled under the Antichrist, for he shall become angered at the covenant of God and devise plans against those whom he wishes to forsake the law of God. And so Aquila has rendered in a more significant way: (716) “And he shall devise plans to have the compact of the sanctuary abandoned.”

Verse 31. “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall defile (Vulgate: that (?) they may defile) the sanctuary of strength, and they shall take away the continual sacrifice, and shall place there the abomination unto desolation.” Instead of “arms,” (E) another writer has rendered it as “seed,” so as to imply (p. 569) descendants and progeny. But those of the other viewpoint claim that the persons mentioned are those who were sent by Antiochus two years after he had plundered the Temple in order to exact tribute from the Jews, and also to eliminate the worship of God, setting up an image of Jupiter Olympius in the Temple at Jerusalem, and also statues of Antiochus himself. These are described as the abomination of desolation, having been set up when the burnt offering and continual sacrifice were taken away. But we on our side contend that all these things took place in a preliminary way as a mere type of the Antichrist, who is destined to seat himself in the Temple of God, and make himself out to be as God. The Jews, however, would have us understand these things as referring, not to Antiochus Epiphanes or the Antichrist, but to the Romans, of whom it was earlier stated, “And war galleys shall come,” whether Italian or Roman, “and he shall be humbled.” Considerably later, says the text, a king, Vespasian, shall emerge from the Romans themselves, who had come to Ptolemy’s assistance and threatened Antiochus. It is his arms or descendants who would rise up, namely his son Titus, who with his army would defile the sanctuary and remove the continual sacrifice and devote the temple to permanent desolation. By the terms siim (Siyyim) and chethim (Kittiym), which we have rendered as “galleys” and “Romans,” the Jews would have us understand “Italians” and “Romans.”