2 “‘And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.’”
Chapter 11 continues the prophecy running from chapter 10 to chapter 12:4. Chapter 11 presents two phases of prophecy:
The near phase, 11:2-35 = prophecy about future events forward from Daniel’s day.
The far phase, 11:36-12:4 = prophecy preceding the Second Coming of Christ.
“And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.”
The interpreting angel now begins to give the prophecy of Israel’s near and far future. Cyrus is the reigning king of Babylon as this prophecy begins.
The prophecy of this verse begins with the second kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (chapter 2) and with the second of the four beasts of chapter 7 – Medo-Persia.
The “three more kings” that will arise in addition to Cyrus in Persia are Cambyses, son of Cyrus (530-522 B.C.), Pseudo-Smerdis (522 B.C.) and Darius I Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.). Darius tried to conquer Greece with 100,000 troops, but Miltiades defeated him with a small Greek army of 10,000 at the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.
The fourth king is Xerxes I (486-465 B.C. – Ahasuerus in the book of Esther). Xerxes attacked Greece in 480 B.C. but suffered defeat 150 years before Alexander the Great came to power. Xerxes was stupendously wealthy. He sought to avenge the defeat at Marathon (490 B.C.) by gathering a great army and a great fleet to attack Greece again. The Greek historian Herodotus gives the combined strength of Xerxes’ land and naval forces an incredible 2,641,610 fighters, although the actual number may have been more like 300,000. The Greeks defeated Xerxes at Salamis. He never crossed the Hellespont to fight again.
“Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.”
The third and fourth verses set forth the rise and fall of the powerful Greek general, Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.). There are several other references to Alexander in Daniel (2:32, 39; 7:6; 8:5-8, 21). His attack on the Persian Empire under Darius III was in retaliation to Xerxes’ attack on Greece. He fought the Persians first at the Granicus River near Constantinople in 334 B.C. and finally conquered the Persians at Gaugamela, northeast of Nineveh (Iraq), in 331 B.C. He defeated the Persian army of 250,000 with 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry. This battle opened the East to the Greeks. Alexander’s reign marked the beginning of the Hellenistic Age.
Alexander lived 356-323 B.C. and reigned as King of Macedonia from 336-323 B.C. He conquered Asia Minor (western Turkey), Syria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Persia. In twelve brief years, he went as far as the Punjab and conquered eastern Asia. Alexander’s army would go no further.
Aristotle, the great philosopher, was Alexander’s personal tutor. He instructed Alexander in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy.
“And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.”
After conquering most of the civilized world, Alexander died prematurely in Babylon in 323 B.C. Alexander’s uncle murdered Alexander’s two sons, Hercules and Alexander, and his Greek generals divided his kingdom between them (7:6; 8:8,22). Lysimachus ruled Thrace-Asia Minor and Seleucus took the rest of Asia except for lower Syria and Palestine. Cassander governed Macedonia-Greece. Ptolemy ruled over Palestine and Egypt.
Biblical prophecy has incredible specificity and accuracy.
The first four verses give us the immediate future from Daniel’s day, covering about ninety-five years. Daniel predicts four kings following Cyrus, the king of Medo-Persia (who was known to Daniel). These kings were unknown to him at the writing of the book of Daniel: Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, Pseudo-Smerdis (fake Smerdis), Darius Hystaspes, and Xerxes the Great. Xerxes raided Greece, which ultimately brought on the rise of Alexander the Great, who conquered the Persians.
Daniel anticipates this struggle between nations 215 years before it began. The prophecy covered a period of about 375 years after prediction. The incredible accuracy of the prophecy of this entire chapter staggers the mind.