Daniel 11 - The Latter Day Wars Of The Jewish Nation

The Daniel 11 prophecy is an amazing prophecy that accurately predicts the political maneuvering and events of the powers that fought over and ruled Judea and the Jews starting with the Medo-Persian Empire and finishing through to the time just as Christ arrives on the scene. This prophecy has been 100% fulfilled in the literal sense. I believe that the point of this prophecy is to show that God is in control. He tells us what will happen and it happens. We can be confident in future events to come because of the accuracy of fulfilled prophecy from the past such as in Daniel 11 and many others. Before we do a verse by verse analysis of Daniel 11, let's make a quick summary of the power struggle of Judea between the old and new testament time periods:

1)The old testament leaves off with the Medo-Persia empire in power.
2)Alexander the Great of Greece defeats the Medes and Persians. Greece is now the dominant power.
3)Alexander the Great dies and his kingdom is divided into 4 divisions.
4)The two primary divisions of Greece, being Egypt in the south and Syria in the north, fight many battles back in forth in an ongoing power struggle.
5)The Roman Empire comes onto the scene and eventually becomes the dominant power.
6)Antiochus Epiphanes loots and desecrates the temple.
7)The Maccabean revolt rededicates the temple, and this is celebrated as Hanukkah.
8)John Hycranus defeats the Edomites and forces their conversion to Judaism.
9)The Edomites absorb into Jewish culture and become Jewish leaders.
10)Herod the Great, an Edomite, becomes king of Judea and tries to kill the promised seed of the Messiah. He fails and the new testament takes over from here.

That was a summary, now Daniel 11 breaks down some of these events into greater detail, amazingly before they occur. Just keep in mind that these are very brief descriptions of these events as there is much more detail in the historical record that breaks these events down further. This is just to show the accuracy of the prophecy and the sovereignty of God that brings the prophesies to pass.

Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. Daniel 11:1 (The start of this prophecy begins with the Medo-Persian Empire after they took over Babylon.)

And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. Daniel 11:2 (The 3 Persian kings that followed were Cambyses II, Smerdis, and Darius I the Great. The 4th king was Xerxes, who went to battle against Greece and lost around 480bc.)

And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. Daniel 11:3 
(This mighty king of Greece was Alexander the Great, who finally put the death blow on the Medo-Persian Empire in 333bc.)

And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those. Daniel 11:4 (Alexander the Great fell ill and died in 323bc. After much fighting and political maneuvering, his kingdom was divided into 4 divisions. 1. Greece; 2. Asia Minor; 3. Syria; 4. Egypt.)

And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. Daniel 11:5 (The 'King of the South' at this point was Ptolemy I of Egypt. The one of his princes who became strong was Seleucus Nicator who had been an officer under Ptolemy I. He became king of Syria, the most powerful of Alexander's successors, and he added huge additional territories to his domain. So now only two dynasties remained in Alexander's old empire – the Seleucid kings in the north and the Ptolemaic kings in the south.)

And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times. Daniel 11:6 (Fulfilled in every detail. The “daughter” was Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II (285-246BC). She was given in marriage to Antiochus II, but was murdered. The plan had been an arranged marriage in order to achieve political gains for Egypt but it failed miserably. So discord and enmity ensued between Egypt and Syria. Antiochus II Theos of Syria was now the 'King of the North.')

But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: Daniel 11:7 ('A branch of her roots' refers to Ptolemy III Euergetes of Egypt (246-221BC) who was apparently the brother of Berenice. He attacked and entered parts of Syria.)

And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. Daniel 11:8 (Ptolemy III enjoys a great victory and the Egyptians return home with great 'spoils of war.')

So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land. Daniel 11:9 (A reprisal raid by Syria on Egypt takes place after some considerable delay but it fails. Check other translations that describe this better than the kjv.)

But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. Daniel 11:10 ('His sons' widely believed to be a reference to Seleucus III (226-223BC) and Antiochus III (the Great) (223-187BC) of Syria. The 'fortress' mentioned here is understood to be Ptolemy's fortress at Raphia in the Holy Land.)

And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. Daniel 11:11 (The 'King of the South' is now Ptolemy IV Philopater (221-203 BC) of Egypt. The 'King of the North' is Antiochus III who was defeated with great loss at Raphia in 217 BC - just as this verse prophesied.)

And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it. Daniel 11:12 (According to the historian Polybius, Antiochus lost nearly 10,000 infantrymen at Raphia.)

For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches. Daniel 11:13 (After 14 years Antiochus III returned with a great and well-equipped army. Fulfilled in the great victory of Antiochus the Great (III) over Egypt, circa 200BC.)

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. Daniel 11:14 (In verse 14, the King of the South became Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt (203-181 BC). 'Violent men among your own people' is a reference to some Jews who joined with the army of Antiochus but without success – the Ptolemaic general Scopas crushed the rebellion in 200 or 199 BC.)

So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. Daniel 11:15 (The 'fortified city' was the Meditteranean port of Sidon which was seiged and captured by the Syrians at this time.)

But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed. Daniel 11:16 (The Syrian armies also sweep into the Holy Land. Antiochus the Great took the Holy Land away from the Egyptians for good. Judea and Jerusalem had passed from the king of the South to the king of the North.)

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, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him. Daniel 11:17 (Again, clearly fulfilled in history: Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra I in marriage to Ptolemy V in 194 BC. The idea was, apparently, to gain continual ongoing control of Egypt; this plan backfired and Cleopatra came to stand with the Egyptians against Syria!)

After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him. Daniel 11:18 (The 'he' here is Antiochus. The 'coastlands' refer to Asia Minor and possibly also Greece. The 'prince' here is the Roman consul Lucius Scipio Asciaticus who defeated Antiochus in Asia Minor in 190 BC.)

Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. Daniel 11:19 (Antiochus died in 187 BC while attempting to plunder a temple in the province of Elymais.)

Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. Daniel 11:20 (The successor of Antiochus the Great was Seleucus IV (187-175 BC). The 'tax collector' believed to be his finance minister, Heliodorus. '..However, he will be destroyed' - Seleucus was the victim of a conspiracy believed to be engineered by Heliodorus.)

And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. Daniel 11:21 (The 'vile person' was Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus IV) (175-164 BC), the son of Antiochus the Great. '..Whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom.' - Because he seized power since the rightful heir to the throne was still too young.)

And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. Daniel 11:22 ('The prince of the covenant will be destroyed' – Onias III, the high priest, was murdered in 170 BC probably through the intriguing of Antiochus.)

And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. Daniel 11:23 (Several meanings are possible but probably best not to speculate.)

He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time. Daniel 11:24 ('Richest provinces' (NIV) probably the area of the Holy Land. Antiochus always sought to make his comparatively small band of supporters and cohorts rich and he saw no problem in stealing and plundering for that purpose.)

And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. Daniel 11:25 (The 'King of the South' was Ptolemy VI of Egypt – meanwhile another Syrian/Egyptian clash looms....)

Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. Daniel 11:26 (This verse appears to speak of the Egyptian king and his betrayal by those who shared his table and hospitality. Fulfilled when Ptolemy VI, son of Cleopatra and nephew of Antiochus was defeated by the treachery of some of his own leaders.)

And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. Daniel 11:27 (Ptolemy VI – who is in captivity to Antiochus at this point – meets with Antiochus Epiphanes but, under the pretense of a determination to forge a new understanding between them, they continue to plot against each other. But the Lord's purposes will not be thwarted.)

Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. Daniel 11:28 (There now follow some of the most despicable acts in history: Firstly, in returning to Syria, Antiochus decides to attack Jerusalem. In 169 BC he plunders the temple, setting up a garrison there and he massacres up to 80,000 Jews and sends up to another 40,000 into captivity. More can be learned of this terrible period in Jerusalem's history by consulting 1 Maccabees 1:20-28)

At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. Daniel 11:29-30 (But Antiochus is not yet finished with his evil and despicable behaviour, he returns to the south for a second campaign two years later but now there are major differences because Rome – not Syria – is now the truly dominant power. The Roman historian Polybius tells us much more about this period. Even a fleet of ships from Cyprus is able to give Antiochus serious problems, though these were almost certainly under Roman control. He feels really 'cut down to size' and takes out his fury by once again attacking Jerusalem! But he shows favor to those who 'forsake the holy covenant.' – referring to apostate Jews.)

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. Daniel 11:31 (What was 'The abomination which causes desolation'? The altar to the pagan god Zeus was set up by Antiochus Epiphanes in the very temple of God at Jerusalem in 168 BC.)

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Daniel 11:32 
(After venting his anger upon the Jews and desecrating the Temple, Antiochus IV decreed that his entire kingdom should become one people, each giving up his own customs. The other peoples under his rule accepted Antiochus IV's command. Because of his flattering approach, many of the people of Israel also forsook the Law and adopted his religion. 
Antiochus IV commanded a change in all the ordinances of God. No sacrifices were to be offered in the sanctuary, the Sabbaths and feasts were to be profaned, and that the Jews were not to circumcise their sons. Upon pain of death, they were commanded to profane the true religion so that eventually the Law would be forgotten. Antiochus IV appointed inspectors to watch the Jews and commanded the cities of Judah to offer pagan sacrifices. Yet many in Israel stood firm and rejected the innovations of the king of the North.)

And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Daniel 11:33 (Whenever Antiochus IV's men found copies of the Torah, they tore them to pieces and burned them. Whoever was found in possession of a Torah was put to death. According to Antiochus IV's decree, women who had their children circumcised were put to death, along with their entire families and those who had circumcised them. Still, many in Israel chose to die rather than to break the holy covenant.)

Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. Daniel 11:34 ('A little help' – As the historical book of I Maccabees shows, the decrees of Antiochus IV eventually led to a rebellion started by the priest Mattathias and his five sons, including Judas Maccabee. This Maccabean revolt allowed the Jews to reclaim the temple, the celebration of this event is the celebration of Hanukkah.)

And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. Daniel 11:35 (Many Jews died as the Maccabean Hasmonean dynasty came to its eventual end. "The time of the end" refers to the end of the age, which is "yet for a time appointed," meaning that it is not yet here.)

And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. Daniel 11:36-39 (These verses accurately describe Herod the Great as the prophecy advances past the time periods of the Syrian kings, Egyptian kings, and the Maccabean Hasmonean dynasty.)

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 
He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. Daniel 11:40-43 (These verses show the unfolding wars and events that lead to the end of the Greek empires of Syria and Egypt and how Rome now comes onto the scene as the dominant power of the region. Also notice that Egypt's vast treasures were looted. This is an indicator that we are dealing in the time of Egypt's prime and riches, not it's poverty stricken state as it is today.)

But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. Daniel 11:44 (The news that angers him is the birth of the Messiah along with being deceived by the Magi. Herod then orders the death of all the males in Bethlehem 2 years old and under.)

And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. Daniel 11:45 (Herod had many palaces throughout Judea between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Herod dies in 4BC soon after the birth of Christ.)