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Daniel 11: 5 “‘Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion. 6 And at the end of some years they shall join forces, for the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North to make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her in those times. 7 But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail. 8 And he shall also carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North. 9 Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land. 10 However his sons shall stir up strife, and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come and overwhelm and pass through; then he shall return to his fortress and stir up strife.’”

11 “‘And the king of the South shall be moved with rage, and go out and fight with him, with the king of the North, who shall muster a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy. 12 When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail. 13 For the king of the North will return and muster a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with a great army and much equipment.’”

14 “‘Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall. 15 So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist. 16 But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power. 17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or be for him. 18 After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him. 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.’”

        20 “‘There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.’”

 

11:5

Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion.”

The angel now gives prophecies in 11:5-20 of the conflicts between the Greek Seleucid (Syria) and Ptolemy (Egypt) empires. 

The expressions “king of the North” and “king of the South” repeatedly occur throughout the remainder of chapter 11.  The king of the North (Syria, Asia Minor and lands extending to India) refers to the Seleucid king, and the king of the South (Egypt) refers to the Ptolemaic king. These references are not to two specific kings, but to the kings who are in power in these kingdoms at any given time. 

We can identify the specific king at a given time by comparing intertestimental, extra-biblical records.  Second-century B.C. Greek historian Polybius, the apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees, Diodorus Siculus (first century B.C. writer), the Roman historian Livy (59 B.C.- A.D. 17), Josephus (second century A.D.), Appian (second century writer) and historian Porphyry are primary sources. 

The first “king of the South” (south of Palestine) is Ptolemy I Soter, who served as a general under Alexander (323-285 B.C.). He had authority over Egypt.  “One of his princes” is a reference to Seleucus I Nicator, also a general under Alexander (311-280 B.C.).  He ruled Babylon, Media and Syria.  The phrase “and he shall gain power” refers to Seleucus I Nicator. 

11:6

And at the end of some years they shall join forces, for the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North to make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her in those times.”

Ptolemy I died in 285 B.C.  His son, Ptolemy II, ruled Egypt after him.  Seleucus was murdered and his son, Antiochus I Soter, ruled until 262 B.C.  Seleucus’ grandson, Antiochus II Theos, ruled Syria from 262-246 B.C. 

Ptolemy II and Antiochus II were nasty enemies but joined forces about 250 B.C.  The phrase “they shall join forces” refers to Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) and Antiochus II Theos (262-246 B.C.).  The “daughter” is Berenice who married Antiochus II Theos to seal the alliance between Syria and Egypt. 

Antiochus II divorced Berenice (queen of the North) and remarried his former wife, Laodice.  Laodice poisoned him and put Berenice to death.  Laodice installed her son, Seleucus II Callinicus (246-227 B.C.), as the Seleucid king. 

11:7

But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail.”

The phrase “branch of her roots” refers to Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221 B.C.).  Ptolemy avenged the death of his sister Berenice and attacked Seleucus II at Antioch in Syria killing Laodice.  He also conquered adjacent territory extending his kingdom. 

11:8

And he shall also carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North.”

Ptolemy III returned to Egypt from Antioch with idols, princes and precious articles of silver and gold.  He later signed a peace treaty with Seleucus II in 240 B.C., which brought temporary reconciliation between them. 

11:9

Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land.”

Seleucus II Callinicus, king of the North, later unsuccessfully invaded Egypt.  He died by a fall from a horse. 

11:10

However his sons shall stir up strife, and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come and overwhelm and pass through; then he shall return to his fortress and stir up strife.”

The “sons” here are the sons of Seleucus II Callinicus, Seleucus III Ceraunus (227-223 B.C.) and Antiochus III the Great (223-187 B.C.).  Seleucus III succeeded his father in 227 B.C.  He died shortly after in 223 B.C. and his brother, Antiochus III, became king of the North. 

Both sons sought to restore the glory of Syria by military conquest.  Seleucus III invaded Asia Minor.  Antiochus III attacked Egypt.  He failed in conquering Egypt but gained domination over Israel (219-217 B.C.).  This changed the border of Egypt from Syria to the southern borders of Israel.  All this prediction anticipates history by hundreds of years. 

11:11

And the king of the South shall be moved with rage, and go out and fight with him, with the king of the North, who shall muster a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy.”

The “king of the South” in this verse refers to Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204 B.C.).  He attempted to recapture lost territory to the north by attacking the southern borders of Israel in 217 B.C. at Raphia and crushed the Seleucid army.  Ptolemy raised an army of 70,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry and 73 elephants.  The king of the South (Ptolemy) defeated the king of the North (“given into the hand of his enemy”). 

11:12

When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail.”

The “he” of this verse is the king of the South, Ptolemy IV.  Ptolemy did not pursue the victory of verse 11, so he did not obtain all of Palestine.  Ptolemy did not “prevail” because Antiochus in the end prevailed over him. 

11:13

For the king of the North will return and muster a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with a great army and much equipment.”

Antiochus III proceeded to other conquests to the east and north.  He returned to Egypt about 203 B.C. with a much larger army and put down the Egyptians under Ptolemy V.  He also took Palestine to Gaza. 

11:14

Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall.”

The king of the South in this verse is Ptolemy V Epiphanes (203-181 B.C.).  Philip V of Macedonia and the Jews of Israel joined Antiochus III in attacking the Egyptians under Ptolemy V. 

11:15

So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist.”

The “fortified city” is Sidon on the coast of Palestine on the Mediterranean Sea.  Antiochus (III) the Great captured it from the Ptolemies around 200 B.C.  He defeated the Egyptian General Scopas at Paneas (Dan) at the headwaters of the Jordan.  This was a strategic conquest for the Seleucid kingdom. 

11:16

But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power.”

Antiochus III enhanced his control over Israel by defeating the Egyptians under Scopas. 

11:17

He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or be for him.”

In the phrase “he shall give him,” the “him” is the king of the South.  The “daughter” is Cleopatra, the daughter of Antiochus.  Cleopatra married Ptolemy V. 

Antiochus III initiated peace with Egypt by offering his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy V in marriage.  Cleopatra did not remain loyal to Syria, however, so her father did not gain dominance over Egypt.  Cleopatra sided with her husband against her father although Ptolemy V was only a young man of seventeen. 

11:18

After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him.”

The “ruler” here is the Roman commander Lucius Cornelius Scipio.  Antiochus III directed his attention toward Asia Minor (197 B.C.) and Greece (192 B.C.) where the Romans had authority.  He did not succeed because Scipio defeated him in 190 B.C. in the Battle of Magnesia near Smyrna.  Scipio crossed the Hellespont to pursue Antiochus and forced the Syrian to surrender all his European and Asiatic possessions as far as the Taurus Mountains, to pay 15,000 talents over a period of twelve years, and to surrender Hannibal (who escaped). 

11:19

Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.”

Antiochus III returned from Greece to Antioch and died in 187 B.C.  He wanted to reunite Alexander’s Empire but failed because he did not assess the power of the Roman Empire correctly. 

11:20

There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.”

The one who “imposes taxes” was Seleucus IV Philopator (187-176 B.C.).  Antiochus’ elder son Seleucus IV succeeded the throne.  He taxed his people heavily to pay for the 15,000 talents.  This put a heavy burden on the Jews under his reign.  His Jewish tax collector, Heliodorus (2 Macc 3:7), poisoned him because of this burden as this verse predicted.  He did not die in battle.  This caused great persecution on the Jews in years to come. 

PRINCIPLE: 

History is His story. 

APPLICATION: 

True prophecy is replete with detail. It is one of the tests for genuine prophecy.  God’s sovereignty in history is patently clear.  History is “His story.” 

The landmass of Palestine was between the two kingdoms of Ptolemy and Seleucid.  They fought over Israel many times, ravaging and sacking the nation.  The importance of these two kingdoms revolves around Israel. 

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