Daniel Eleven

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Daniel 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

Daniel 11:2 And now will I show 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.

shew thee the truth. The detailed prophecies in Daniel 11, meticulously fulfilled later over several centuries, constitute one of the chief arguments of liberals against the traditional authorship of Daniel. Critics argue that such intricate fulfillments are not possible. But the Angel of the Lord, who dictated these prophecies to Daniel, called them “the truth.”

three kings in Persia. The three kings and their reigns that succeeded Cyrus (Daniel was writing in the first year of Cyrus and his deputy king Darius—Daniel 11:1), were: Cambyses (529-522 b.c.), known also in terms of his title Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6); Smerdis (522-521 b.c.), also known by the title Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:7); and Darius Hystapses (521-485 b.c.), mentioned in Ezra 4:24.

realm of Grecia. The fourth king was Xerxes (486-465 b.c.), notorious for his great army and navy campaigns against Greece, only to suffer bitter defeat. He is probably the same as the Ahasuerus who was king in the days of Esther (Esther 1:1).

Daniel 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

with great dominion. This mighty king is none other than Alexander the Great (334-323 b.c.). After more than another century of Persian power, and Graeco-Persian wars, Alexander decisively defeated the Persians and swiftly conquered the other nations of his day. He was the “he-goat” of the prophecies of Daniel 8:5-7, 21.

Daniel 11:4 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.

four winds of heaven. The rapid division of Alexander's dominion after his death into four parts is noted again here (see on Daniel 8:8, 22), because these divisions are directly involved in the subsequent history.

Daniel 11:5 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.

king of the south. Here begins a detailed prophecy of the future conflicts that would develop between two of the divisions of Alexander's empire—the descendants of Ptolemy I in Egypt and those of Seleucus I in Syria. These are identified as “the king of the south” and “the king of the north,” in view of their geographical relations to the land of Israel. Their conflicts are outlined because of their impact on Israel, located directly between them.

great dominion. The king of the north, Seleucus, became stronger than Ptolemy. Each line continued through many successors, only the more important of which are enumerated in the prophecy. Thus, a number of generations are ignored, but the major developments and trends are clearly outlined.

Daniel 11:6 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.

king's daughter. This reference was fulfilled in Bernice, daughter of Ptolemy II (Ptolemy Philadelphus), who was married to Antiochus Theos, third king of Syria. Many intrigues, including many assassinations and many battles, marked the ensuing histories.

Daniel 11:7 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:

branch of her roots. The brother of Bernice, Ptolemy Energetus, the successor of Ptolemy Philadelphus, invaded and sacked Syria in revenge for the assassination of Bernice.

Daniel 11:8 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 11:9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.

Daniel 11:10 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.

his sons. These are sons of the northern king, including the one who would soon become known as Antiochus the Great, king of Syria. He passed through Israel to get to Egypt.

Daniel 11:11 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.

king of the south. Ptolemy Philopater gathered his own army and defeated the approaching Syrians.

Daniel 11:12 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 11:13 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 11:14 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 11:15 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.

king of the north. Antiochus the Great returned with a larger army. In order to reach Egypt, he had to go through Israel, which was then under Egyptian control.

Daniel 11:16 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.

glorious land. The “glorious land” is Israel (see also Daniel 11:41), which was repeatedly overrun and devastated by the Egyptian and Syrian armies in their ongoing wars.

Daniel 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, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.

daughter of women. The “daughter of women” was the first Cleopatra, then a child and still under the care of her mother and a nurse. She was the daughter of Antiochus, and he espoused her to the young Ptolemy Epiphanes, son of the Egyptian king, who had enlisted the Romans to help him in opposing Antiochus. When the wedding was eventually consummated, however, Cleopatra sided with her husband against her father.

Daniel 11:18 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.

a prince. Scipio Asiaticus, leader of the Roman army in Asia Minor, defeated the large naval forces brought against him by Antiochus. The latter was later slain in trying to raise the tribute laid on him by the Romans.

Daniel 11:19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

Daniel 11:20 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 11:21 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.

vile person. The “vile person” was Antiochus Epiphanes, the second son of Antiochus the Great, and he was indeed one of the most morally degraded of men. He usurped the Syrian throne from his brother's son by trickery (his brother, Seleucus Philopater, had been assassinated while trying to “raise taxes”—note Daniel 11:20—to pay the tribute the Romans had imposed on his father).

Daniel 11:22 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 11:23 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 11:24 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 11:25 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 11:26 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 11:27 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 11:28 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 11:29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.

come toward the south. Antiochus Epiphanes had carried out one successful invasion and plundering of Egypt (Daniel 11:25), and had also plundered Israel in the process. This second foray into Egypt, however, would be repelled by the Romans.

Daniel 11:30 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 11:31 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.

abomination that maketh desolate. Antiochus Epiphanes here becomes a type of the final Antichrist (compare Matthew 24:15, where Christ emphasized that the prototypical “abomination of desolation” was still to come). It is believed that Epiphanes, aided by traitorous Jews, sacrificed a sow on the altar and erected a statue of Zeus in the temple at Jerusalem. The motive behind this was his ambition to unify the great empire left him by his father (extending all the way to India) by compelling all the people to adopt the Graeco/Roman system of culture and pantheistic religion.

Daniel 11:32 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.

do know their God. These blasphemous acts of Antiochus Epiphanes stirred the faithful Jews to revolt. Led by an aged priest, Mattathias, and his sons—especially Judas—a successful war of independence was waged against Antiochus, ending in 165 b.c., a date still commemorated annually in the Jewish feast of Hanukkah. These men became known as the Maccabees (a word meaning “hammer”) and their descendants ruled Israel until it was conquered by the Romans in 65 b.c.

Daniel 11:33 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.

many days. Just as in the seventy weeks prophecy, in which a very long time gap was implied in the little phrase, “and unto the end” (Daniel 9:26), so here a similar gap is indicated by the phrase “many days.” In the first a long period of wars and desolations was predicted; here, a long period was foretold in which the Jews would “fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil.” The whole period of the church-age is passed over, because the subject of the prophecy is centered only upon God's dealings with the nation of Israel in relation to the other nations.

Daniel 11:34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.

Daniel 11:35 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.

time of the end. The prophecies of chapter 11 up to this point in the chapter have all been fulfilled, in much more specific detail than covered in these footnotes, constituting a most remarkable testimony to supernatural inspiration of the Scriptures. Now, however, the prophetic vision and message leap over the centuries to “the time of the end,” and the rest of Daniel focuses once again on the last days.

Daniel 11:36 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.

the king. This king, appearing at the time of the end, is clearly that “king of fierce countenance” (Daniel 8:23) of whom Daniel had learned in a vision several years earlier. He is also “the prince that shall come” of whom Gabriel had prophesied that same year (Daniel 9:1, 26; 11:1).

against the God of gods. Claiming to be the greatest of all men, representing the highest attainment of the cosmic evolutionary process, and energized by Satan himself, this man, the final Antichrist, will briefly attain world dominion, but only until God's “indignation be accomplished”—that is the “day of God's wrath,” the great tribulation, the seventieth week of the prophetic calendar.

Daniel 11:37 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.

God of his fathers. This phrase, “the God of his fathers,” would indicate that the Antichrist would come from a national heritage that once was Christian. Daniel 8:9 indicated, also, that he would come from one of the four divisions of the Greek empire; and Daniel 9:26, that he would be from one of the nations that developed out of the Roman Empire. These nations are all part of “Christendom.”

Daniel 11:38 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.

God of forces. Worship of the “god of forces” can only refer to some form of evolutionary pantheism, and any such system must ultimately lead to Satanism. Satan will give this king his power (Revelation 13:2), enabling him to require that all men worship him as the great man-god of the world.

Daniel 11:39 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 11:40 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.

king of the south. The king of whom these verses speak is obviously neither “the king of the south” nor “the king of the north,” for both will fight him. From Daniel 11:4-32, the king of the south had been the Egyptian empire and the king of the north the Syrian empire, but both of these will have been reduced to relatively minor kingdoms by the time of the end (see notes on Ezekiel 29:14-16; notes on Ezekiel 38:1-23; and notes on Psalm 83). Therefore, these terms as used here—especially “the king of the north”—must evidently refer to future alliances of some kind. Whoever they are, they will soon be defeated, giving the Satanic king full control of all their “countries.”

Daniel 11:41 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.

glorious land. Israel is the “glorious land;” it will probably be at this time that the evil king will break his covenant with Israel, making his “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, “stand in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15).

Ammon. Edom, Moab, and Ammon no longer exist as nations, but their former regions, now largely mountainous desert wilderness, may well serve as the refuge for the faithful Jews at this time (Revelation 12:6, 14-16).

Daniel 11:42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

Daniel 11:43 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.

precious things of Egypt. The control of the king over the riches of Egypt confirms that, in the context of these end-times, the “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40) involves more than Egypt.

Ethiopians. Libya and Ethiopia seem to be associated with Egypt during this climactic seven-year period of the end-times. This may suggest that other African and Moslem nations also associated together comprise “the king of the south” along with Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. The latter two were affiliated with the Gog-Russian confederacy (Ezekiel 38) which will have been recently decimated in its attempted invasion of Israel. Evidently the remnants of their armies, combined with Egypt and other Muslims, will unite to oppose the Beast-king, possibly because of his seven-year treaty with Israel. Nevertheless, they will be defeated.

Daniel 11:44 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.

out of the east. Apparently, the “king of the east” and the “king of the north” represent the latter-day developments in the regions that once were the eastern and northern divisions of the empire of Alexander the Great. Thus, the “king of the north” would probably involve at this future date Turkey and the other northern remnants of Gog's confederacy, as well as Syria and Iraq. The “kings of the east” probably includes Iran, as well as India, China and Japan (note also Revelation 16:12). The “west” is not mentioned in these verses because probably the western nations are where the fierce king has first had his base of power and operations.

Daniel 11:45 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.

holy mountain. It seems that, at this time, the Beast, having defeated the kings of the south, east and north, will break his treaty with the Jews, set up his image in the temple at Jerusalem and (probably) his capital at rebuilt Babylon (see notes on Revelation 17; 18; notes on Zechariah 5:5-11; etc.), ruling essentially the whole world for the second half of Daniel's seventieth week (note Revelation 13:5).