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A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Daniel 10-12
Part 2: Daniel 11

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore
Published on 22 March 2019 *



Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Daniel 10-12 Timeline

Fig. 1


Introduction

In Part 2 of this 3-Part study, we treat Daniel 11 as a cryptochiasmus in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text. In Part 3, we will show that parts of this passage form a cryptochiasmus with chapter 12, so that we get four interwoven prophecies from Ch 11&12. In Part 1, we pointed out the Janus connecting Daniel 10 to Daniel 11-12 and commented on Daniel 10.

Text that is structured as a cryptochiasmus must be rearranged based on certain principles to be correctly interpreted. A cryptochiasmus is a new concept; see definition in [1]. If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Section 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

Although scholars have been able to convincingly interpret most of this extraordinarily detailed prophecy in Daniel 11, some verses towards the end of the chapter have remained under a cloud of confusion because of its cryptochiastic structure.


Note:
We will use the term "Judahite" to refer to the Israelites - primarily those of the tribe of Judah and their descendants - that remained after the Assyrian exile of the Northern Tribes; we will try to avoid the term "Jew" to avoid the confusion it introduces.



Discussion

1. Presuppositions

We base our parse on Daniel 11 on the assumption that it refers to 3 periods:
  1. The period from the third year of Cyrus the Great of Medo-Persia (534BC) to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Greek Seleucid Empire (c. 164BC). Most of the chapter is devoted to this period. (We set the beginning of the period to the third year of Cyrus based on Ch. 10:1).
  2. The first half (66AD–70AD) of The First Jewish–Roman War (66AD–73AD).
  3. The reign of the Antichrist (shortly after 2017AD).

2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use the NIV translation for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing the text into three categories as above. We will call the period from Cyrus to Antiochus Epiphanes Period 1, the time of the First Jewish-Roman War Period 2 and the time of the Antichrist Period 3.

Categorizing vs 2-45

Vs 2-30a belong to Period 1. The period from Cyrus of the Medo-Persian empire to Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire. This passage has detailed prophecies on the time of the six Syrian wars fought between the Syrian and Egyptian kingdoms of the Greek Empire - the Kings to the North and South of Israel.

Vs 30b appears to belong to Period 3. The Antichrist will show favor to those who reject Christianity - the only relevant holy covenant extant at the time.

Vs 31 belongs to Period 2. The period from the start of the war with the cessation of the daily sacrifice in 66AD, to the Roman army (abomination that causes desolation) at Jerusalem in 70AD, the midpoint of the war.

Vs 32-36 belong to Period 3. During his reign, the Antichrist will persecute Christians. He will have complete authority over the world but only for a short time.

Vs 37-45 belong to Period 1. Details on Antiochus' religious beliefs, a summary of Antiochus' war with Syria and his last days. (We believe that vs 37-39 are not about the Antichrist because the specifics mentioned - gold, silver, precious stones, fortresses - conform better to the time of Antiochus.)



Original text

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, blue for Period 2, green for Period 3.

Chapter 11 2 “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.
5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power.
...
(Vs 6-24 omitted here)
...
25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. 26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. 27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. 28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.
29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30a Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.

30b He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.
31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.
37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.



3. Building the reconfigured text

From this parse, it appears that verses 2-45 form a cryptochiasmus as below:

A1   2-30a Period 1. Medo-Persian empire...Kings of the North and South.
  B1   30b Period 3. Antichrist against the holy covenant (Christianity).
    X   31 Period 2. End of sacrifice...abomination that causes desolation.
  B2   32-36 Period 3. Antichrist's reign.
A2   37-45 Period 1. Last days of Antiochus Epiphanes.


We now reconstruct the phrases in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a cryptochiasmus [1].

We usually lead with the pivot point but for this reconstruction we place the central pivot point 'X' at the end so that we get a multiply-applied chiasmus with chapter 12 (the rules of cryptochiasmi [1] allow this). The corresponding subunits (For ex., subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For ex., A1,A2 is a unit) so that we get a list of such units.

The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

[A1,A2]  [B1,B2]  X       (1)


Translating (1) into verse numbers, we get:

[2-30a, 37-45]  [30b, 32-36]   [31]       (2)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (2).



4. Daniel 11 Reconfigured

Period 1. The third year of Cyrus of Medo-Persia (534BC) to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire (c. 164BC) (vs. 2-30a, 37-45)

2 “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.
5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. 6 After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.
7 “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. 8 He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. 9 Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. 10 His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.
11 “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. 12 When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. 13 For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.
14 “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15 Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. 16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. 17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. 18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. 19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.
20 “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.
21 “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. 22 Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. 23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. 24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.
25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. 26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. 27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. 28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.
29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30a Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.

37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

Period 3 The reign of the Antichrist (after 2017AD) (vs. 30b, 32-36)

30b He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.

Period 2 The first half (66AD–70AD) of The First Jewish–Roman War (66AD–73AD) (vs 31)

31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.




5. A commentary on the reconfigured text.

We will only comment on Period 1 here in Part 2. Commentary on the other two Periods is deferred to Part 3, which has a reconfiguration of Chapter 12 and parts of Chapter 11.

5.1 Period 1. The third year of Cyrus of Medo-Persia (534BC) to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire (c. 164BC) (vs. 2-30a, 37-45)

5.1.1 The Medo-Persian empire after Cyrus (c. 530BC-333BC)

2 “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.


The three kings after Cyrus were Cambyses II (530-522 BC), Pseudo-Smerdis (522 BC), and Darius Hystaspes (522-486 BC). They were followed by the wealthy and mighty Xerxes the Great (486–465BC), who attacked and destroyed the Greek city of Athens (480BC) with a vast army but was ultimately defeated and forced to retreat. The other Persian kings between the times of Xerxes and Alexander are not mentioned, probably because it was Xerxes attack on Greece that prompted Alexander's retaliatory invasion of Persia we see in the next verse.



5.1.2 Alexander the Great and the establishment of Hellenistic Syria and Egypt (c. 333BC-280BC)

3 Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.


Alexander invaded Persia in 333BC, and under him, the Greek empire grew rapidly so that it extended from Greece and Egypt in the west to India in the east, but on his sudden death in 323BC, his generals (the Diadochi) warred over his empire as he had left behind no clear successor. After the battle of Ipsus in 301BC, the empire was permanently divided into 4 kingdoms: to the west, Cassander ruled Greece and Macedonia; to the north, Lysimachus ruled Thrace and Asia Minor; to the south, Ptolemy Soter controlled Egypt and Palestine; and to the east Seleucus Nicator controlled Syria, Babylonia and regions farther east up to India.



5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power.


Ptolemy I Soter (305-282BC) became the first king of the Egyptian arm of the Greek empire and the founder of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Seleucus I Nicator (305-281BC), originally a general under Alexander became king of the larger Syrian arm of the Greek empire and the founder of the Seleucid empire. (We take the phrase "one of his commanders will become even stronger than he" to mean that one of Alexander's generals will become stronger that the King of the South.)



The rest of the verses on this Period focus on these two of the Greek empire's four kingdoms: The kingdom to the North of Israel (the Syrian Seleucid kingdom) and the kingdom to the South of Israel (the Egyptian Ptolemaic kingdom). The primary theme of the prophecy below seems to be the wars between these two nations, commonly referred to as the six Syrian Wars [6]. The last half of the prophecy on this Period (from vs. 21) focuses on the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.


5.1.3 The failed Berenice marriage alliance (253-246BC) after the First and Second Syrian wars

6 After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.


After the two founding kings died c. 282 - during a gap of about 30 years ("after some years") in this prophecy - the First and Second Syrian wars took place.

Soon after the Second Syrian war, an attempt was made at peace through a marriage alliance (253 BC) between Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt (283-246 BC) and Antiochus II Theos of Syria (261-246BC) - Antiochus divorced his wife at the time, Laodice. The alliance did not have the intended effect. A few years later, in 246BC, Ptolemy II Philadelphus died and Antiochus II Theos took back his previous wife, Laodice. Laodice killed Antiochus soon after. When Berenice tried to claim the throne for her son, Laodice killed Berenice, Berenice's son (the word translated as "father" can also mean offspring), and presumably Berenice's aides. Laodice then raised her own son, Seleucus II Callinicus (246-225 BC), to the throne.



5.1.4 The Third Syrian War or the Laodicean War - The war to avenge Berenice's Death. (246–241 BC)

7 One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. 8 He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone.


Ptolemy III Euergetes (246–222 BC), brother of Berenice, avenged her death by defeating Seleucus II Callinicus (246-225 BC), overrunning Syria, even its fortified cities, all the way to the Babylon. According to Porphyry, Ptolemy III Euergetes returned with forty thousand talents of silver, precious vessels, and twenty-four hundred images, including Egyptian idols, which Cambyses had carried from Egypt into Persia. In exchange for a period of peace, in 241 BC, Ptolemy III Euergetes was awarded new territories on the northern coast of Syria.



[(KJV)9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.]


Verse 9 appears to be a summary of vs 7-8. That is, Ptolemy III Euergetes, the king of the South, entered Syria to avenge his sister's death and returned victorious with the spoils of war. Ptolemy was forced to abandon his plans to permanently occupy Syria by a revolt at home in Egypt.



5.1.5 Antiochus III the Great (222-187 BC)

5.1.5.1 The Fourth Syrian War (219–217 BC) and the Battle of Raphia (217 BC)

10 His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.


The revanchist sons of Seleucus II Callinicus, Seleucus Ceraunus (225-223 BC) and Antiochus III the Great (222-187 BC), began preparations to retake lost territory by gathering a mighty army. Seleucus Ceraunus was killed, and so young Antiochus became king and prosecuted a war against Ptolemy IV Philopator (221–204 BC) by himself until he had recovered all the parts of Syria subjugated by Ptolemy III Euergetes. But Antiochus was ultimately defeated in the battle at the fortress of Raphia, one of the largest battles of the ancient world.



11 “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. 12 When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant.


Ptolemy IV Philopator, in anger at having lost territory, defeated the mighty army of Antiochus the Great at the battle of Raphia and retook some of his lost territory. According to Polybius, Ptolemy massacred about 10,000 of Antiochus' army and took 4,000 captives, but his victory was to be short-lived as we see in the next verse.



5.1.5.2 The Fifth Syrian War (202–195 BC)

13 For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.


Fourteen years after his defeat at Raphia, Antiochus the Great made war with Ptolemy V Epiphanes (204–180 BC), a mere child, with an even larger army of about 70,000 (he had 68,000 at Raphia). He convinced Philip V of Macedon to join the war to conquer the Ptolemy's territories in Asia Minor.



14 “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success.


Apart from Philip V of Macedon, rebels from Egypt itself and from Judea rose to fight against young Ptolemy V Epiphanes in support of Antiochus the Great. The Judean rebels acted as predicted by this prophecy but their efforts did not get them permanent independence from Egypt or Syria.



5.1.5.3 Fifth Syrian War: Battle of Panium (200BC)

15 Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand.


Scopas, the Egyptian general, was defeated by Antiochus the Great at the battle of Panium. Scopas fled to Sidon, a strongly "fenced city," where he was forced to surrender by a siege induced famine. Ptolemy sent Egypt's choicest armies successively under Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus to deliver Scopas, but in vain.



16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.


The Ptolemaic Kingdom never recovered from its defeat at Panium and ceased to be an independent great power, and so there was no one in the region to oppose Antiochus the Great (though he was hemmed in by the Romans). He had complete control over Judea and Jerusalem but did little harm to its people because of their support for his campaign.



5.1.5.4 Fifth Syrian War: The Cleopatra alliance (195 BC)

17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.


Antiochus the Great then set his eyes on the Ptolemaic regions of Asia Minor, but the Romans were opposed to any invasion of Egypt. In an effort to gain control of Egypt by cunning, he gave his daughter Cleopatra I Syra in marriage to Ptolemy V Epiphanes c. 195 BC. The marriage treaty ended the war, but his designs on Egypt did not bear fruit because Cleopatra favoured her husband over her father.



5.1.5.5 Roman–Seleucid War (192–188 BC) and death of Antiochus the Great (187 BC)

18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him.


Antiochus entered Greece in 192 BC with a 10,000-man army with audacious plans to "liberate" it from the mighty Romans. The Roman general, Scipio Asiaticus, however, routed Antiochus at Thermopylae in 191 BC, forcing him to withdraw to Asia Minor. The Romans followed up their success by invading Anatolia; their decisive victory at Magnesia ad Sipylum (190 BC) gave them control of Asia Minor.



19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.


By the Treaty of Apamea (188 BC), Antiochus had to abandon all the country north and west of the Taurus and pay 15,000 talents (450 tonnes) of silver as a war indemnity. He retreated to the garrisoned cities left to him, too indebted to attempt any further expansions of his territory. He was killed while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 BC.



5.1.6 Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 BC) and the tax collector

20 “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.


Seleucus IV Philopator, son of Antiochus III the Great, was compelled by financial necessities, created in part by the heavy war-indemnity exacted by Rome, to pursue an ambitious policy. In an effort to collect money, he sent his minister Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the Jewish temple treasury. On his return from Jerusalem, Heliodorus assassinated Seleucus and seized the throne for himself.



5.1.7 Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC), the vile person

The rest of this passage goes into some detail on the exploits and strategies of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and we believe this is because Antiochus is a type of the Antichrist. We will try to point out any parallels between the two as we see them in the passage below.


5.1.7.1 Antiochus IV Epiphanes seizes power

21 “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. [(KJV) 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]. 23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power.


Antiochus Epiphanes - Seleucus Philopator's brother - a vile, contemptible person, on seeing that his brother's throne had been usurped by Heliodorus (vs. 20), made his way to Syria from Athens accompanied by the forces of Eumenes II of Pergamum (Antiochus, who had been a prisoner of Rome as part of a treaty arrangement, had just been freed in exchange for Philopator's son, Demetrius). Eumenes' army stopped at the border of Syria so that they would not be invading the country, and Antiochus continued to the capital with his retinue (the word translated "when its people feel secure" can also mean "peaceably"). Heliodorus fled on seeing that Antiochus, a potential heir to the Seleucid line, had the backing of Pergamum's forces (the "arm of a flood"?). The legitimate heir to the throne, Demetrius I Soter - Seleucus Philopator's son - was a hostage in Rome as agreed by the Treaty of Apamea (Demetrius may be the "prince of the covenant/treaty"). Antiochus Epiphanes effectively seized the throne from Heliodorus and Demetrius but made an infant son of Seleucus co-regent to appease those faithful to Seleucus. Antiochus murdered his nephew a few years later, and with that, he became the sole Seleucid ruler using intrigue and deceit instead of a large invading army.

The Antichrist will also grab world power that does not legitimately belong to him using deception (see Dan. 8:23,24), but he will be backed by a mighty army (the beast of Rev 13).



5.1.7.2 Antiochus IV Epiphanes military tactics

24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.

Since there is no mention of the "King of the North/South" in this verse, we will treat it as a general description of Antiochus' military tactics. He invaded wealthy provinces through deception and without warning, and he used some of his plunder to to earn the support of the people he conquered. According to Polybius, Antiochus gave a gold piece to every Greek citizen in Naucratis, Egypt, presumably to earn their support. This was something his father or grandfather could not do because of their large debts to Rome by the Treaty of Apamea (1 Maccabees 3:30). We believe the phrase "only for a time" indicates that the residents of fortresses were given a short period of notice of his plans to invade.

The Antichrist will also attack people without warning when they feel secure (see Dan. 8:25). He will be generous to the people he conquers, with the wealth he looted from their nations, in order to earn their support (see vs 30b in Part 3).



5.1.7.3 Sixth Syrian War (170–168 BC): Antiochus invades Egypt in 169 BC

25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him.

The guardians of young Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 BC) of Egypt, in an effort to retake Coelesyria, started war preparations against Syria in 170 BC, but, in 169 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes launched an unexpected pre-emptive strike against Egypt with an overwhelming multitude. He defeated Ptolemy Philometor's army to seize the strategically important town of Pelusium.



26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle.

After the battle, using the cover of a peace treaty whereby he promised to help his young nephew Ptolemy Philometor rule Egypt, Antiochus Epiphanes managed to gain effective control of Egypt. Seeing Ptolemy Philometor was controlled by Antiochus, the Egyptian leadership made Philometer's brother Ptolemy VIII Physcon king in Alexandria through a palace coup. Enraged that his plan to rule Egypt had failed, Antiochus extended his campaign into the heart of Egypt, defeating the large Egyptian army to conquer Memphis. (He also attacked Alexandria, but he was unable to mount an effective siege against the capital city.)



27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time.

Antiochus installed his nephew Ptolemy VI Philometor in Memphis and negotiated another treaty of friendship with him. But both parties behaved treacherously; by the treaty, Antiochus reduced Ptolemy to a Seleucid client, but within two months Ptolemy VI Philometor reneged on the treaty by reconciling with his brother, so that the two became co-regents again with their sister Cleopatra II. In spite of all the scheming by the two kings, the results will be as and when ordained by God.



28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.


After his attack on Egypt, Antiochus IV Epiphanes returned with great wealth from his plunder of the country. On the way back to Syria, believing that the Jews had revolted, Antiochus attacked Jerusalem. He killed around 80,000 of its residents, took 40,000 prisoners into slavery, and plundered and desecrated the temple.



5.1.7.4 Sixth Syrian War (170–168 BC): Antiochus invades Egypt again in 168 BC

29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30a Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.


Antiochus IV Epiphanes invaded Egypt up to Memphis a second time because the Egyptians violated the treaty of the previous year by recruiting new troops, but this time the Romans opposed him. At Eleusis, on the outskirts of the capital, Alexandria, he met Popilius Laenas, who offered the king an ultimatum from the Senate: he must evacuate Egypt and Cyprus immediately. Antiochus begged to have time to consider but Popilius drew a circle round him - a line in the sand - with his cane and told him to decide before he stepped outside it. Antiochus chose to obey the Roman ultimatum. The "Day of Eleusis" ended the Sixth Syrian War and Antiochus' hopes of conquering Egyptian territory

On the way back from this humiliation, Antiochus chose to vent his wrath on the Judahites and Jerusalem again. He sent 22,000 men under Apollonius to massacre the Judahites, desecrate the temple and stop the temple service.



5.1.7.5 Antiochus Epiphanes and religion

37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.


Antiochus believed that he was a manifestation of the king of Greek gods, Zeus (Epiphanus means "god manifest"), and so considered himself superior to all other Greek gods. The Persian goddess Nansea (considered an equivalent of goddesses like Venus, Aphrodite, Ishtar), a goddess of maternal productiveness, may be the "one desired by women". Antiochus showed a complete disregard for Nansea when he tried to plunder a temple dedicated to the goddess.

Antiochus built a temple in honor of the Roman god Jupiter, a god of protection and war. Jupiter was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Zeus and Antiochus believed he was an incarnation of Zeus/Jupiter (he had spent some time in Rome as prisoner, during which, he developed a taste for Roman culture and religion). In the name of this god, that he honored with lavish offerings, he attacked many fortresses. Antiochus bought the loyalty of his supporters by rewarding those who acknowledged him as god with wealth and power (see also vs 24).

The Antichrist will also exalt himself above all gods (2 Thess. 2:4, Dan 8:25) and try to steer worship to another god by rewarding those who strayed (see vs 32, Rev. 13:11-15).



5.1.7.6 Recapitulation of the Sixth Syrian war

Verses 40-43 appear to be a recapitulation of Antiochus Epiphanes' war with Egypt - we often see rephrased repeats of information in cryptochiasmi. Note that vs 40-43 are arranged in the form of a single-unit regular chiasmus (no rearrangement required) with the text "He will also invade the Beautiful Land" forming the central pivot point. This chiastic pivot is one of the central points of the chapter: to show how Jerusalem was affected by the actions of these mighty empires. The section up to the pivot summarize Antiochus' actions, and the section after the pivot seem to summarize the results of his actions.



40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships.He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.


The Egyptians were about to invade Syria, when Antiochus Epiphanes retaliated with a mighty army and navy and defeated the Ptolemaic army. He also swept through many smaller neighbouring countries.

The phrase "at the time of the end" may indicate that the passage, which summarizes the exploits of Antiochus and his last days, also represents the final, declining years of the Greek empire as the Roman Empire gradually rose to take its place.



41a He will also invade the Beautiful Land.


Antiochus raided the temple in Jerusalem, stealing its treasures, setting up an altar to Zeus, and sacrificing swine on the altar. When the Judahites expressed their outrage over the profaning of the temple, Antiochus responded by slaughtering a great number of the Judahites and selling others into slavery.



41b Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.


Edom, Moab and Ammon were spared perhaps because they were Antiochus' allies previously. (Verses 41b-43 summarize the results of Antiochus' actions.)



42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission


He established his dominance over many countries, including wealthy parts of Egypt, and took with him large quantities of Egyptian treasures as war booty. The Libyans and the Cushites or Ethiopians are mentioned here probably because they were neighbours of Egypt and intimately linked to it.



5.1.7.7 The death of Antiochus Epiphanes (164 BC)

44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many


Reports of rebellion by Armenians to the north and the Parthians from the east worried him, so he led the main Seleucid army on a campaign to the eastern part of his empire, where he had some initial success.



45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.


Antiochus, being busy on the eastern front, sent his commander, Lysias, to quell the rebellion in Judea. Lysias pitched his battle tents at Emmaus, between the Mediterranean and Dead seas, close to Jerusalem. He was preparing for an assault on Judea when he was defeated by the guerilla attacks on his camp by the Maccabees at the Battle of Emmaus (166BC). Antiochus Epiphanes was humiliated at the defeat of his army by the small Judean province. According to the "Scroll of Antiochus", when Antiochus heard that his army had been defeated in Judea, he boarded a ship and fled to the coastal cities. Wherever he went the people rebelled and called him "The Fugitive," so he drowned himself in the sea.



5.2 Period 3. The reign of the Antichrist (after 2017AD) (vs. 30b, 32-36)

30b He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.

We will show that this passage forms a cryptochiasmus with chapter 12, and comment on it in our paper on Daniel 12 in Part 3.



5.3 Period 2 The first half (66AD–70AD) of The First Jewish–Roman War (66AD–73AD) (vs 31)

31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.

We will show that this passage forms a cryptochiasmus with chapter 12, and comment on it in our paper on Daniel 12 in Part 3.




Conclusion

With this chiastic reconfiguration, we have shown that this passage contains three interwoven prophecies, and we have commented on Period 1 of the prophecy (Cyrus to Antiochus). This chapter builds up to a detailed account of Antiochus Epiphanes reign, probably to indicate that he is a type of the Antichrist who is described in detail in the Period 3 section. Antiochus' desecration of the temple at Jerusalem may serve as a type of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD - the subject of Period 2 of this prophecy.

This detailed history of the time gives us an inkling of the depth to which God knows the future. Not only are the broad outlines of historical events mentioned here but also the smaller things like palace intrigues, failed plans, and the state of mind of the actors. We also see that God controls even those nations in which the leaders and people worship other gods.



Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

References

[1] A Definition of Cryptochiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"
[3] First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE) by Wikipedia.
[4] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 12
[5] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Daniel 8
[6] The Syrian wars by Wikipedia





* Updated 7/8/2020 with the correct interpretation of the 1290 days, and parsing changes. Updated 31/10/2020 with a more precise final days date and event.








Related pages

Daniel 9
Mark 13
Luke 21
Luke 17:22-37
Cryptochiasmus