Daniel 10 - 12 Part 2
We left off part 1 with Alexander's death and the subsequent splitting of his kingdom into four parts. To make a long story short, the four kings that took over after Alexanders death fought against each other until the point that only two kings were left, Seleucus King of the North and Ptolemy King of the South. That is where we pick up.
Ultimately we are trying to work our way towards the life of Antiochus IV, but here is a quick overview of the two lineages of the Kings of the North and Kings of the South. The first King of the South Ptolemy, had a son named Ptolemy, who had a son named Ptolemy, who had a son named Ptolemy. And Seleucus had a son named Antiochus, who had a son named Antiochus, who had a son named Antiochus, who had a son named George.
Okay I'm kidding, his name was Antiochus.
Because many of the kings shared the same name, historians use the Roman numerals, I, II, III, and so forth to distinguish them, but their original name would not have contained this.
Now although I said each Antiochus had a son named Antiochus and so forth, the truth is, it was custom to name the eldest son Seleucus and the younger son Antiochus. So if you are actually tracing their lineage, you will see the firstborn called Seleucus and the second born called Antiochus, but for one reason or another we keep seeing the eldest son named Seleucus dying, and therefore the younger son named Antiochus would reign.
Antiochus The Great
We will be briefly discuss history before going through each set of the remaining verses in chapter 11, otherwise when I say 'well this guy married Berenice', you might think in your head "well good ole' Berenice, he could put any name in there and I wouldn't have a clue who or what he was talking about".
We also will not be going into history in too much detail, because we could spend weeks just reading history books, which could lead to exhaustion. With that said I will do my best to give you enough information to back up my statements, and make you feel the Bible is 'alive', while also moving through at a decent pace.
So when we pick up with Daniel 11:5 the kings in charge are Ptolemy II and Antiochus II. Antiochus II married his cousin Laodice, and had a son named Seleceus II, but in order to make a peace treaty with Ptolemy II, Antiochus divorced his wife Laodice, and married Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice. Antiochus and Berenice then had a baby.
Shortly after having a child with Berenice, Antiochus II dies. This is where the family drama comes into play, because Antiochus had a son with each of his wives, leading to an eventual struggle for the throne. We have Selecus II, Antiochus II's first son with his first wife Laodice. Antiochus II had divorced Laodice though, and although Berenice was Antiochus' current wife, the child they had together was just a baby. and then you have Berenice and a baby on the other.
Well Berenice and her child didn't last for long because Supporters of Laodice and Seleucus II, killed Berenice and her soon, leaving Seleucus II in charge.
Ptolemy II who had given his daughter Berenice to the King of the North, had a son, named....you guessed it, Ptolemy III who was also Berenice's brother. Upon hearing of Berenice's death, Ptolemy III, then being the current ruler of the southern kingdom went on a revenge mission. History tells us that Ptolemy III won many battles against Seleucus II but never killed him.
Ok before we continue with verse 5, we will have a quick surprise quiz. What comes first, the branch or the root?
Hopefully you said root. The root comes first in which many branches may follow. So when see 'a branch of her roots', mentioned in verse 7. The word her is Berenice. The root therefore of Berenice is her father Ptolemy II. The branch that comes after the root, is Ptolemy III, which was Ptolemy II's son, and Berenice's brother.
Now let's see if we can see that history in Daniel 11:5-9.
5And Ptolemy I the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes, his son Ptolemy II; and Ptolomey II (he) shall be strong above his father Ptolemy I (him), and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. 6And in the end of years of Ptolemy II they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south, named Berenice shall come to Antiochus II the king of the north to make an agreement: but Berenice (she) shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall Antiochus II (he) stand, nor shall Berenice's and Antiochus II's son stand (his arm): but Berenice (she) shall be given up, and they that brought her, and Ptolemy II (he) that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times. 7But out of a branch of her roots (which is Berenice's brother Ptolemy III) 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 for killing his sister, and shall prevail: 8And 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, or live more years than Seleucus II the king of the north. 9So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
So after learning a little bit of the history of Ptolemy II and Seleucus II, Daniel 11:5-9 appears to detail those events perfectly. Verse 8 also tells us the king of the south would continue or live more years than the king of the north. Well did he? Let's check.
Ptolemy III lived from 246–222 BC.
Seleucus II lived from 246 – 225 BC.
As we can see, the king of the south did 'continue' more years than the king of the north, just as God had said.
The King of Verse 9
So ending with Verse 9, according to the KJV, it sounds like the king of the south is the one returning to his own land. Let's read verse 9 again in the KJV.
9So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
So that sounds like the king of the south right? It does to me. The problem is that verses 10 through 11 seem to contradict verse 9, because it sounds like the King of the South mentioned in verse 11 is fighting the king mentioned in verse 9. If the King of the south is the king mentioned in verse 9 then why would the king of the south fight be fighting himself?
However, if we read other translations, verse 9 reads differently. Let's read the NASB version of verse 9. It reads:
9“Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land.
The latter king appears to be the King of the North.
That is the way most translations read. Although I do not like the NIV, the NIV plainly tells us Verse 9 is referring to the king of the north. The NIV reads:
9Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country.
This makes the most sense to me today, that verse 9 is probably referring to the King of the North, and history can back this point of view up, because Seleucus II did counterattack Ptolemy III but was unsucessful, so he returned to his own land.
Verse 10 then tells us that Seleucus' sons would be stirred up and ONE of them would pass through or be victorious. One of his sons were victorious, Antiochus III, also known as Antiochus the great.
If we agree that verse 9 is referring to the King of the North then we can read the following verses as:
9Then Seleucus II (the) king of the North will retaliate and invade the realm of Ptolemy III (the) king of the South but will retreat to his own country. 10But (his) Seleucus II's sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one of his sons Antiochus III shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. 11And the new king of the south, now Ptolemy IV shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and (he) Antiochus III shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into (his) Ptolemy IV's hand. 12And 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.13For Antiochus III 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.
14And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south, including Philip V of Macedon: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. 15So Antiochus the Great, 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. 16But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and (he) Antiochus III shall stand in the glorious land of Israel, which by his hand shall be consumed.
Did Antiochus the Great stand in the Glorious land of Israel? Let's read again.
Antiochus seemed to have restored the Seleucid empire in the east, which earned him the title of "the Great" (Antiochos Megas). In 205/204 BC the infant Ptolemy V Epiphanes succeeded to the Egyptian throne, and Antiochus is said (notably by Polybius) to have concluded a secret pact with Philip V of Macedon for the partition of the Ptolemaic possessions. Under the terms of this pact, Macedon was to receive the Ptolemaic possessions around the Aegean Sea and Cyrene, while Antiochus would annex Cyprus and Egypt.
Once more Antiochus attacked the Ptolemaic province of Coele Syria and Phoenicia, and by 199 BC he seems to have had possession of it before the Aetolian leader Scopas recovered it for Ptolemy. But that recovery proved brief, for in 198 BC Antiochus defeated Scopas at the Battle of Panium, near the sources of the Jordan, a battle which marks the end of Ptolemaic rule in Judea.
Once again, God's word proves true.