We now come to perhaps the most difficult part of the Bible, chapters 10, 11, and 12 of the book of Daniel. There are probably no other prophecies where the interpretations differ more than they do here, and one more imaginative explanation after another has been given for the last 150 years. One of the reasons for this is that they do not base their interpretations on the Bible, but suck it out of their own chest, and interpret the Bible in the light of current events – today’s news to put it this way.
Reading the Bible with the glasses of prejudice is also a quality we humans have. What we read is easy to be coloured by the vision we have before we begin. It is therefore important to take off these glasses of prejudice and read the text with an open mind and let the Bible be the only one who explains the text to us.
Then there are some things we have to think about, which the Bible does not help us with, and that is that our traditions and our language are totally different from what they had who wrote it. The Bible was written over a period of more than 1500 years, from 1450 BC to 100 AD. Furthermore, we must add the cosmic conflict, the struggle between God and Satan, as well as the other sound principles of interpretation that have already been mentioned a few times, (How we can understand the prophecies in the book of Daniel and Revelation). In other words, we have to put it in the right context.
Furthermore, we must take into account that when the Bible was written, punctuation did not exist as it does today, and the various books were not divided into chapters and verses. This is something that has come in recent times. This was done to make it easier to find the Bible. There is no doubt that it is easy to look up a particular verse when we have this division. But it can also seem destructive in a way, because when you divide a text into chapters and verses, many people seem to think that there are different parts. An example of this we have here in the book of Daniel where the end of the book is divided into three chapters. The fact that three chapters have been made here is partly destructive to the story because the prophecy that begins in chapter 10 and verse 1 does not end in chapter 10 and verse 20 but extends throughout chapter 11 and out chapter 12. Many are then seduced into to believe that it is a new vision Daniel gets in chapter 11, which it is not. This is one prophecy from Daniel and is an extension and explanation of previous views in Daniel 2, 7 and 8.
In KJV, chapter 11,1 begins with Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, [even] I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. Also I refer to the angel who comes to Daniel in chapter 10. Daniel gets the vision in the third year of Cyrus’ reign (Daniel 10,1), but the angel refers to the year when Babylon was conquered (Daniel 11,1). It is the angel that say also I about himself that continues to explain to Daniel the visions he has had before.
Chapters 10, 11 and 12 thus continue the story we find in chapters 2, 7 and 8 in the book of Daniel, and in the same way that the story was developed further in chapters 7 and 8, the story continues to develop here as well, and we get new and more detailed information. We still find the little horn, but new in this part is that a new king appears. The wars we saw between the different kingdoms in the other chapters continue here as well, and now we find that this war will continue between the little horn, which is called the king of the north, and the new king which here is called the king of the south. We will thus be taken to a war between two kings; the king of the north and the king of the south, something we will return to later. However, there are many who doubt the claim that the king in the north and the king in the south as two real powers that will dominate the world in the end times, but Daniel himself titles the two powers that in the end times will fight a war just like the king of the north and the king of the south. They are therefore two real, and in our time highly relevant powers that we must take seriously, and it is therefore important to understand what and who these are.
This chapter takes us on a journey where we find both the type and the antitype, therefore the following, in addition to How we can understand the prophecies in the book of Daniel and Revelation must form the basis for the interpretation:
The battle between Jesus and Satan is one of the main themes in this chapter as in the rest of the book of Daniel. God the Creator is the ruler of the universe, and Satan imitates this through the little horn. Satan wants to take God’s place, that is, Satan wants to take God’s position in the north to take over God’s throne and to receive the worship God alone is worthy to receive. North is also an image of worship. This chapter is about the king of the north and the king of the south, and as in chapter 8, the story begins with Medo-Persia and King Darius, and in that way the lines are drawn from the previous chapters (2, 7 and 8), and we get new information about the development of history. The conflicts in this chapter thus start as a physical war between different kingdoms and kings, but eventually turn into a war on the intellectual plane, taking us from a physical war between two military powers to an intellectual war between two different philosophical systems. The transition between the various powers or kingdoms is not always as easy to spot, but it seems as if there is a fluid transition from the Greek Empire to the Roman Empire, and between the two phases that the Roman Empire shows us, the military-political phase, and the religious-political phase.
The battlefield on which this war is eventually fought is thus our minds. The physical war that began in chapter 10 develops into a spiritual war, and the choice we make in this conflict will have consequences for you and me and will follow us into eternity. Therefore, let us try all the doctrine that is preached with a Thus saith the Lord, as Jeremiah 6,16 says: Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein]. (see also Exodus 31,12-18).
We have three conflict scenarios in Chapter 11.
1) The conflict between north and south. 2) The alliance between north and south, as a result of the king of the north defeating the king of the south, see Daniel 11.42. 3) The conflict between God’s faithful people and the king of the north, which here has become the alliance between the king of the north and the king of the south, see Daniel 11,42; 11,45a (and Revelation 12,17).
The purpose of point 1 and point 2 is to set up a mindset, and a mentality in all people throughout the world, and then use this collective mentality towards God’s faithful remnant in the end times, who are those who do not submit to the system that the conflict and the later alliance between north and south eventually set up.
After the king of the north has defeated the king of the south (Daniel 11,42), there are only two groups left on earth……
a) the large group consisting of the alliance between north and south which includes all fallen denominations, pagan religions, and all secular organizations b) God’s little remnant that clings to God’s Word (Revelation 14,12; 12,17; 19,10).
Typology and Merism.
Typology sets up two events, type, and antitype, at each end of a time axis where the second occurrence reflects the first, such as the animal sacrifice in Old Testament times and Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. The sacrificial animal, the lamb, that had to be without blemish, because it was a picture of Jesus Christ, and when Jesus died on the cross, he was the antitype of the Old Testament type.
An example: 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. 11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. 12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it. 13 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof [is] toward the north. 14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. Jeremiah 1,10-14,(se også Jeremiah 6,1; 10,22; 46,10; 47,2; 50,3; Isaiah 14,12-13.)
t was just before Judea was conquered by Babylon in 605 that Jeremiah received this prophecy. It is also the type of a future event. The type is as follows: Judah had for many years fallen away from the true faith in God, and despite many warnings over the years, they did not repent. Finally, God sends a punishment on Judah in the form of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar. But, you might say, Babylon is not north of Jerusalem, but east. That is right, Babylon is east of Jerusalem. But at that time the soldiers could not march through the desert between Babylon and Judah, they had to follow what is called the Fertile Crescent, which eventually led them to Jerusalem from the north. The antitype of this story will be Jesus’ return, where he comes from the real east, and punishes those who have not repented and received salvation.
In Ezekiel 28,2 and 26,7 we find the same story, and here Tyrus represents the king of the north, who will face his downfall in the end times when God will deliver his people. Babylon, or King of Babylon, is actually a picture of Christ here. About Tyrus, God says in Ezekiel 28,2: Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart [is] lifted up, and thou hast said, I [am] a God, I sit [in] the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou [art] a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God.
Here it must be added that the prince of Tyrus is not the king of the north but is the type of the power that lies behind (see verses 11 – 19), the power that gives the four kingdoms in the book of Daniel their power. It is clear from these very verses that it is the devil who is the prince of Tyrus.
About the punishment of Tyrus, God says in Ezekiel 26,7: For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and many people. Regarding Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel says in 2,37: Thou, O king, [art] a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
Chapter 11 begins with a description we are familiar with from chapters 2, 7 and 8, and the story begins in Medo-Persia with King Darius (Cyrus, see Isaiah 45,1), followed by Cambyses, Darius I, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. A few years later, Medo-Persia is conquered by a powerful king who will rule with great dominion and do as he please. This is Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great dies, and his kingdom is divided between four of his 12 generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. This division of the Greek empire does not give rise to a new empire, it is an external, cosmetic change, inside it is still the Greek empire. Then the story goes over to the king of the north vs. the king of the south. Based on the fact that Daniel see the kings in the north and in the south we can understand this in two ways.
1) It can be understood in light of Jerusalem’s geographical location, where the two opponents are literally north and south of Jerusalem, or … 2) … we can understand it in a figurative sense so that the king of the North wants to take the throne of God, which is in the North, and then the opponent to the North must be the South (this is merism; see below).
We can therefore forget Cassander and Seleucus, and concentrate first on Lysimachus north of Jerusalem, and Ptolemy south of Jerusalem, because the next verses are about these two kings and their successors. The story of Lysimachus and Ptolemy is what we might call the model or the type for the rest of the chapter, which will later revolve around the antitype of these two kings. We will soon see that the king of the south is explained as Egypt (verse 8). That the king of the south is Egypt is beyond any doubt, but this also has a spiritual significance, because we know that the real Egypt was the first nation to reject God, and we must also add this as to the basis for how we understand the prophecy. Furthermore, it is important to know that there is a principle called merism, poorly translated there are extremes, contradictions, or opposites. Chapter 11 is full of merism, north – south is such a merism.
Merism can be explained in two different ways, and it is 1) as two diametrically opposite parts, extremes or 2) as different parts that express a whole, such as day and night, heaven and earth or north and south. Day and night form a whole – a day (24 hours). The term lock, stock and barrel describes what merism is about, because this term originally refers to the most important parts of a pistol, so when lock, stock and barrel is used in everyday speech it simply means an object that consists of several components. When the Bible says that God created heaven and earth, it means that God created both heaven and earth and everything else that exists – and not least that this belongs to God. This is merism. Therefore, the devil will do the same. He will gather everything between the extremes north and south and say that this is his property.
Daniel himself called Egypt the king of the south, which is clear from the context in Daniel chapter 11. Egypt was a secular power that did not want to know anything about God, and Pharaoh refused to acknowledge the existence of God, and Egypt became the first the nation in history that denied the existence of God. Instead of accepting God’s sovereignty, Pharaoh challenged God by saying: … … … Who [is] the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. (Exodus 5,2.)
To understand what this means in the conflict between the king of the north and the king of the south, we have to look at historical Egypt. Egypt was, as we know, the first nation to oppress God’s people when they enslaved Israel. The king of the south as Egypt, is therefore used as a type of all forms of wickedness, and develops here in Daniel 11 to become a secular alliance representing atheism, philosophy, evolution, secularism, humanism, existentialism, etc. In other words all secular ideas that have the same goal as the king of the North, to prevent God’s people from worshiping the one true God. Both kings want to introduce a mindset, a collective mentality, that goes against God. It is a struggle to control every single individual and thereby gain full control of the world, and in that way to put an end to all true worship. When the king of the south represents an atheistic, secular power, and we read this as merism, the north must therefore be the opposite – a theistic, or religious power, but there are always fluid transitions between the real kingdoms, types and antitypes, but it looks like the military Rome is introduced in verse 16, and the religious Rome in verse 21.
The conflict between north and south that we find in verses 5 – 39 is traditionally interpreted to be a conflict between two powers that control north and south. And as merism suggests, these two powers eventually unite, despite being apparently enemies, to destroy their common enemy, the faithful people of God. In this section we see the conflict unfold, first south against north, then it is north against south, and then south against north again.
The prophecy is not given with named, specific kings, but is given as an overview of the course of history and the struggle behind the scenes. The fact that only four of the ten kings who were to follow Darius/Cyrus are mentioned also indicates that chapter 11 does not intend to cover every single year between Daniel and the end times. It sheds light on the broad lines and skips what is less important. We get the main features of the story, and only the most important events are mentioned.
There are many theories as to which nation the king of the north represents. Uriah Smith launched Turkey as the king of the north but met with opposition from James White. James White said of Uriah Smith’s interpretation of Daniel 11 and Turkey as King of the North:It is a plausible interpretation, but; If the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay in Chapter 2 represents Rome, and if the little horn in Chapter 7 represents Rome, and if the little horn that grows immensely in Chapter 8 represents Rome, then the king of the north must also represent Rome. These are four parallel prophecies that all lead to the second coming of Jesus.
The north-south conflict as merism:
Merism is explained as two extremes that express a whole. To be able to see the merism, we must understand the history. In principle, there cannot be two powers fighting against each other as here, but we see that there is a certain pattern of conflict that leads to a final union of the two powers who are apparently enemies, but who have a common interest (see verse 27 ). If we take this into account, we will be able to see the merism clearly. The merism in this section will not be properly visible until the two opponents, north and south, through their common interest, have united against their common enemy. In this case, their common interest is to annihilate God’s faithful people.
This chapter we can divide it into three parts. Verses 1-4, verses 5-39 and verses 40-45. The first four verses draw the parallels to the previous chapters, 2, 7 and 8 so that we are also loud and clear shown the connection here. The conflict in verses 5-39 has the following pattern: A1) North attacks South, verse 9. B1) South attacks North, verse 11. C1) North attacks South again, verse 13. Then the opposite is repeated: C2) North attacks South verse 15 a, B2) South attacks North verse 15 b, and finally A2) North attacks South again verse 25. In verses 40-45 the conflict has the following pattern: D) South attacks north (thesis) verse 40. E) North attacks south verse 42, (antithesis), followed by F) South allies with North (synthesis) verse 43 before G) North makes his final outburst against God’s faithful remnant verses 44-45, followed by God’s final victory over the united evil forces, Dan 12,1.
As mentioned earlier, merism is a principle that unites two diametrically opposed points, and we see in verse 43 that the north has defeated the south and in that way they have been united. Genesis states that God created the heavens and the earth. Heaven and earth here indicate that God created the whole universe, (see also Psalm 89,11-12 and Ezekiel 21,3-4). In the merism of Daniel 11, the North and the South are extremes, not only geographically but also ideologically, and form a totality.
The king of the north and the king of the south.
This is a war, first between two real kingdoms fighting this war on the real battlefield, but eventually it turns into a spiritual war to gain control of every human being. Who we should worship is at the core of this conflict.
This is a fascinating chapter and gives us first and foremost more complementary information related to the prophecies Daniel has had before, and that this chapter gives us many details about the invisible battle that takes place in the spiritual world. This chapter gives us the latest information we need to get a comprehensive history dating from 605 BC. when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and until Jesus’ return.
We clearly see that the legs of iron in Daniel 2, the terrible beast in Daniel 7 and the little horn in Daniel 8 are the same power factor as in Daniel 11 is called the king of the north. In chapter 11 we will get more information about what the little horn will do over time, and we will see that the little horn’s efforts to seduce and entice God’s faithful remnant to fall only get stronger and stronger the closer we get the absolute end-time. Then a question forces itself forward:
Does God’s faithful remnant have any chance of surviving this war raging around us?
As I said, the chapters 10, 11 and 12 are a unit, and that the division into chapters can be more destructive than it is helpful. This is important to keep in mind. Chapter 10 begins with establishing the time for the prophecies to the third year of the reign of the Medo-Persian king, which is 537. Medo-Persia conquered Babylon 539, and this is the first year of the king’s reign.
General about Daniel chapter 11.
When we now dive into chapter 11, it is also very important here to remember that the battle is between Jesus and Satan. The cosmic conflict must be the basis for our understanding. Then it can certainly be asked what the cosmic conflict really is about: Is it a struggle for territories – a physical war, or is it a struggle for worship – a spiritual war? The answer is obvious because it is all about worship. But here in chapters 10, 11 and 12 we also see a physical war, and precisely the first part of chapter 11 is about physical wars between two kingdoms called the king of the north and the king of the south. Then the struggle turns to the spiritual war, which has always been a backdrop in history, where Satan wants to take the place that God the Creator alone is entitled to. Satan thus wants God’s place and thereby receive the worship that God the Creator alone is worthy to receive. Consequently, this war is not fought on the battlefield, but in the minds of men. To all intents and purposes, the two powers that fight the spiritual battle are also called the king of the north and the king of the south.
Chapter 11, as already mentioned, is also about the spiritual conflict. The first 20 verses take us from Medo-Persia in the time of Darius to the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire. Verse 21 thus begins the religious era of the Roman Empire, which emerges from the text: 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.
Is it possible to give a more accurate description of how history develops? This is exactly how the bishop of Rome came into position. Christianity and Christians were not very highly valued by most people in Rome due to its strong connection to Judaism. They were simply despised and were seen as bad people – they were considered vile. This was also the case from the middle of the fourth century when the Aryan tribes began to ravage the Roman Empire, and until the final fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The church never received, nor was it given the kingdom, (read the Roman Empire), but by cunning and manipulation, the bishop of Rome, albeit with the blessing of the Eastern Roman emperor, managed to fill the political vacuum that arose when the emperor moved to Constantinople, and the bishop took over the emperor’s old throne and title. Suddenly the Catholic Church had seized all power in Rome. The bishop had seized the kingdom by cunning. From now on, the conflict between the king of the north and the king of the south moves for good from the battlefield and to the minds of the people.
Uriah Smith has had a great influence on the development of Adventism and has contributed with a lot. But in a few areas he has chosen solutions that are not entirely in line with what the Bible teaches, and which unfortunately many today still consider to be correct. As mentioned above, Uriah Smith explained Turkey as the king of the north, but as mentioned received opposition from James White. In his book on Daniel and Revelation, he has some statements that do not comply according to the Bible.
- … for as we have seen, the papacy was then overthrown by the French and has never since been able to exercise the power it had before.
- In connection with verse 38, Uriah Smith connects the god of fortresses to France during the revolution.
- He has also given Turkey, by the Ottoman Empire, the honour of being the king of the north.
I choose to respond to these statements in this way.
1) In a commentary on verse 35, Uriah Smith says:… for as we have seen, the papacy was then overthrown by the French and has never since been able to exercise the power it had before. This is a truth with certain modifications because Uriah Smith ignores what the prophecy says. He should certainly have seen this if he was really interested in finding the correct answer, especially since we know that it says in Revelation 13,3 that the papacy should restore its religious and political power fully: And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Now, more than 100 years after Uriah Smith, we see that the Roman Catholic Church is on its way back to full strength as it had before 1798, and beyond. However, it is no surprise all the time John in Revelation 13 tells us that this will happen. The fact that all religious organizations, with the exception of a few, today recognize the pope as the world’s religious and spiritual head, and papal statements such as: Religious fanatics, although not violent, are terrorists, and it is only an appropriate punishment for them … confirms this prophecy and proves the fact that the papacy is on its way to the pinnacle of power again.
2) In connection with verse 38, Uriah Smith connects the god of fortresses to France during the revolution. The expression the god of fortresses must, however, be read in the light of the cosmic conflict, because it is this conflict that is at stake all the time. It is a fact that the first opposition to God comes from Babylon and the Tower of Babel. Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and Babylon was the Fortress. That Nimrod was in opposition to God is clearly expressed in Genesis 10,9, where it is said that: He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. In other words, Nimrod was the god of fortresses, which is a picture of Satan.
Nimrod became a powerful man. He became so famous that in later times he became the type of power and dominion, and a saying was made about him; Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. The term mighty hunter before the LORD must be understood here in an evil sense. Nimrod defied God, and hunter here means fighter or warrior. Nimrod founded an empire on the Euphrates – later called Babel, and his influence extended throughout the whole region. His power extended all the way to Assyria, and here he founded Nineveh, which later became known as the exceeding great city. There were three other cities mentioned in the same connection with Nineveh. These three cities were so close to Nineveh that they eventually grew into one city. In Jonah it is said of Nineveh was a city of three days journey, (Jonah 3,3; 4,11).
3) To call Turkey the king of the north, and thus let Turkey fulfil the prophecies in chapter 11 is a mockery of the book of Daniel, and a direct untruth, because the book of Daniel chapter 2, which must be the basis for the interpretation of the prophecies omits Turkey. Uriah Smith’s interpretation of Daniel chapter 11 is therefore incorrect.
Medo-Persia and Greece:
Verse 1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, [even] I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
The first verse of this chapter draws the lines back to chapters 2, 7 and 8, and shows the connection between all these chapters. This verse also sets the time for us. We are in the Medo-Persian Empire, and in Darius’ reign, and in the year 537, Darius was king between 539 BC. and 530 BC. The basic text is in Hebrew, and then we can assume that Daniel also uses the Hebrew method of calculation. When then chapter 10 begins to time the prophecies to 537, and the extension in chapter 11 times it all to 539 it grinds, and not just a little. I mean we must read verse 1 as additional information that does not set the time for chapter 11, because this chapter is obviously the same prophecy as chapter 10. What the angel is really saying is that he – the angel in the year 539 when Darius (Cyrus) conquered Babylon, stood up to help and protect King Cyrus, because God had a plan for Cyrus to conquer Babylon just at this time.
I in this verse refer to the angel who in the previous chapter came to Daniel to explain to him the prophecies. It is this word that links the two together, and that tells us that this is the same prophecy.
Verse 2 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.
We must read this text carefully. In the NASB Lexicon the verse has the following wording: And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches then all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece. It clearly means that the prophecy says it would come, not three kings, but three kings plus one king, that is, four kings in addition to Darius.
There were in fact eleven kings in the Medo-Persian Empire, but here only five of them are mentioned, as history says were the greatest kings.
The eleven kings were: 1) Darius/Cyrus II the Great, 539 – 530, who became king of Medo-Persia in the year 550 BC. In addition to Cyrus/Darius who conquered Babylon, these are the other ten kings: 2) Smerdis, only a short time in 521 3) Kambyses, 530 – 521, 4) Darius I 521 – 486, 5) Xerxes I 486 – 465 also referred to by the epithet the great and 6) Artaxerxes I 463 – 424. 7) Darius II 424 – 404 (as well as Sogdianus 424 – 423 and Xerxes II 424 – 423, who were both rivals of Darius II), 8) Artaxerxes II 404 – 358, 9) Artaxerxes III 358 – 338, 10) Arses 338 – 336, 11) Dareios III 336 – 331.
Those highlighted in bold are those mentioned in the prophecy, the others are the six other kings who ruled in the Medo-Persian Empire.
Sogdianus and Xerxes II were rivals of the real king who was Darius II. According to the Judeo-Roman historian Josephus, Artaxerxes I is the same person as Ahasuerus in the book of Esther and is the last of these great kings to stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
As for the expression… to stir up all against the realm of Grecia … it can also be translated as… he should stir up the whole Greek territory … This must be seen in light of the fact that the Greek city-states were still at war with each other and had not yet been united in a Greek nation.
Verse 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
Verse 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.
This king is Alexander the Great who ruled from 336 BC. to 323 BC. and who in the short time he reigned conquered more than the whole known world and was as far east as India.
He died June 10, 323 in Babylon. When Alexander the Great died, four of his 12 generals, Casandro, Lysimachus (north), Seleucus, and Ptolemy (south), divided the kingdom. These are the ones called not to his posterity. Admittedly, Alexander the Great had a son, Alexander IV Aegus, who was born a few months after the death of Alexander the Great, in August 323, and consequently could not claim the kingdom. Alexander IV Aegus, however, was proclaimed co-regent with his uncle Philip III of Macedonia, but neither of them gained any political influence. Alexander IV Aegus died at the age of 149 in 309.
The next verses 5 – 15 are undoubtedly about Lysimachus and Ptolemy and their kingdoms, but it builds up to a change of scene. We can divide these verses into two sections, 5-6 and 7-15. In verses 5 and 6, focus is a marriage to try to unite North and South.
The two kings from North and South.
Verse 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. Verse 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.
Here in verse 5 we encounter the king of the south for the first time, and it emerges from the context that it is Egypt as the king of the south. The scene we now come to will last until verse 15, where we get a scene change. The Hellenistic Empire perishes, and the Roman Empire takes over the hegemony. It is first under the domination of the Roman Empire that the physical war turns into a spiritual war.
The Greek translation, the Septuagint, actually calls the power that the KJV calls the king of the south the king of Egypt. This can also be defended from historical sources. One of the most famous southern Arab traditions from this time (Glossary 1155) refers to the war between Persia (north) and Egypt (south) as the war between (the Lord) the king of the north and (the Lord) the king of the south. At this time, the king of the south was Ptolemy I Soter. The phrase … one of his princes … refers to one of Ptolemy’s I Soter successors, Seleucus I Nicator. The Hebrew word here translated into prince can also be translated literally into general.
The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some other texts into what is called Koine Greek. Koine Greek is characterized as an Alexandrian dialect, which is a common Attic or Hellenistic Greek, which was the Greek language that developed in the wake of Alexander the Great’s conquests.
The King of the North is used for the first time in the prophecy in verse 6. (See Isaiah 41,25). The daughter of Ptolemy, the king of the south, is Berenice who married Antiochus II Theos of Syria, but Berenice was soon killed because Antiochus’ first wife, Laodicea I, took revenge and killed both Antiochus and his new queen. In verses 7-15, the conflict between the king of the north (still Greece) and the king of the south (still Egypt) continues, until Rome is introduced in verses 15-16.
Verse 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: Verse 8 Dan 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.
This branch of her roots is probably Ptolemy Euergetes, brother of the slain Berenice, who attacks the king of the north and defeats him. Ptolemy Euergetes conquers large parts of the kingdom of the king of the north, he also takes with him the precious idols as booty. Instead of taking advantage of the military advantage that the king of the south achieved with this victory, he instead allows the king of the north to have peace for a few years to rebuild his military force.
Verse 9 So the king of the south shall come into [his] kingdom and shall return into his own land. Verse 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. Verse 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. Verse 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].
Seleukes II Callinicus, or Pogon, 246 – 225 BC. embarks on a campaign against the king in the south, but this fails totally. We have now entered the part of chapter 11 where we find the north/south conflict as merism. We now see A1) north attacking the south.
This is Antiochus III the Great, Callinicus´ youngest son. At first there will be a ceasefire and peace negotiations, but the peace negotiations will fail. Antiochus attacks again and comes all the way to the Egyptian fortress Rafia. Now Ptolemy mustered all his forces and repulsed the king from the north, Antiochus. Antiochus loses almost everything he only retains Seleucia by the Tigris. This is B1) south which attacks north. The king of the south also does not take advantage of the advantage he gained by defeating the king of the north by Rafia, and therefore the battle does not end here.
Verse 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.
For the king of the north shall return and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former. This is an extension of history in verse 12, showing C1) north attacking the south again.
Verse 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.
It is a common belief that those who are to rise up against the king of the South in this verse are the Maccabees, and if we look at how the verse begins in those times, it clearly refers to verse 13 where it is implicit that it is about the time when a new kingdom will enter the stage. We see here the first indication of the Roman Empire, although the transition is fluid, we can count verses 14 – 16 as the transition from the Greece Empire to the Roman Empire.