Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 4
We are moving along now in Daniel 11 and we’ve made some progress. If you just happened to come across this post and have not read the first three, I would recommend doing that before you read this one. You can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Last time, in Part 3, we made it through and including verse six of Daniel chapter eleven. We noted there how incredibly precise God’s Word is related to events that occurred with the rise of the king of the South (Ptolemy I Soter), the king of the North (Seleucus I Nicator), and the events that were outlined in verse six. These included the “alliance” between Ptolemy II and Antiochus II, which didn’t last. The woman Ptolemy II sent to marry Antiochus II was eventually murdered (along with her infant son) by Antiochus’ first wife, Laodice. This happened after Ptolemy II died. Living in those days was a real “game of thrones” for certain. There was always someone who wanted to gain a throne that someone else already possessed. Murder was usually the way to achieve that end.
Let’s continue with verse seven of Daniel 11.
“But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength.“
Who is the “her” in the first part of this verse? Well, going back to verse six, we know virtually all of verse six is referring to the daughter of Ptolemy I, Berenice. She is the “her” referred to here. It was to be one of her descendants. Dr. Constable explains it in the following way.
“Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III (246-222 B.C.)…succeeded his father and determined to avenge Berenice’s death. He attacked Seleucus II at Antioch in Syria and killed Laodice. He also conquered much adjacent territory and remained the foremost power in the region for the rest of his reign.“
This is one of the reasons God says that vengeance is His and He alone will repay (cf. Deuteronomy 32:35; see also Romans 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30). This is not to say that God contradicted Himself when He instituted the death penalty in Genesis 9. There is a judicial process in which people are put on trial and if found guilty, then punished. That includes the death penalty if warranted. What God is warning against is taking the law into your own hands and becoming a vigilante. Ptolemy III rose to power and set about to avenge his sister’s murder by attacking Seleucus II and also killing Laodice, who was the one directly responsible for the murder of Berenice and her infant son.
In spite of how things played out, events continue to move to put others in power and take others out of power. This will eventually bring us to Antiochus Epiphanes IV, of whom the Bible sees as a type of Antichrist.
Daniel 11:8 reads as follows.
” Also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years.“
The “he” here of course refers to Ptolemy III, who after enacting revenge for his sister’s murder and conquering areas to enlarge his kingdom, returns to his throne in the south (Egypt), taking with him the gods of his enemies, which were metal images dedicated to them. He also took other expensive vessels made (or overlaid) with silver and gold. By doing so, this is symbolic of conquering an enemy’s gods, which meant that the conqueror’s gods are more powerful. The verse also informs us that once Ptolemy III took vengeance on his sister, captured the gods and idols of the king of the North, he returned to Egypt and pretty much left the king of the north alone after that.
Interestingly enough though, verse nine points out that “Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land.” This verse is referring to the king of the North, Seleucus II, though Constable notes that this cannot be verified historically. It seems to me the verse is saying that Seleucus II tried to attack Ptolemy III down in Egypt, but failed. That would be the implication of the word “but” used in the verse. Nothing more is said likely indicating that Seleucus II’s plan to invade and overthrow Ptolemy III was unsuccessful.
Of course, in those days (much like areas of the world today), nothing stays the same. The only constant are wars and rumors of wars. Note verse ten states, “His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his very fortress.”
Of course, “his sons” here is referring to the subject of the previous verse, so it refers to Seleucus II’s sons. They decide to complete what their father started. According to history then, these sons include:
- Seleucus III Ceraunus
- Antiochus III the Great
Both of these sons attempted to bring Syria’s past glory back, in honor of their father. For the longest time here in chapter eleven, we’ve been hearing about the king of the South and the king of the North, but nothing really about Israel, even though Israel itself lies smack between these two kingdoms. Kind of odd, isn’t it, that these kings or their successors should be so determined to overcome the other and yet Israel stood in relative safety from the assaults. This was going to start changing with Antiochus III the Great.
While Seleucus III Ceranus (also sometimes simply referred to as Soter), attacked parts of Asia Minor, Antiochus III the Great focused his efforts on Egypt. According to history, during the years 219 to 217 BC, Antiochus attacked Egypt, but failed to gain control over that nation/empire. However, all was not lost (for him), because he did gain control of Israel at this time. Part of the reason that Israel hadn’t been mentioned up to this point is due to the fact that Egypt’s northern border extended all the way to Syria’s southern border. In essence then, these two kingdoms butted right up against the other. Israel was technically part of the southern kingdom controlled by Egypt.
With the efforts of Antiochus III the Great, he was able to push Egypt’s borders back below Israel or at least to the southern border of Israel from Syria. He fought against Ptolemy IV at this point in time. What is of course, fascinating is that the angelic messenger has been laying the groundwork to reveal specifics about the Holy Land to Daniel. All of this information is leading up to and including what would eventually befall Israel/Jerusalem and Daniel’s people, the Jews. Because God saw fit to provide Daniel with so much information that was extremely specific, we literally see the very rungs of the ladder that take us up to the events that impacted Israel. I hope you find that as amazing as I do.
This is a good stopping point for now because starting with verse eleven, we see even more military strategy and how it all works out. We’ll pick it up there next time.