11:1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I 1 stood to strengthen him and to provide protection for him.) 11:2 Now I will tell you the truth.
“Three 2 more kings will arise for Persia. Then a fourth 3 king will be unusually rich, 4 more so than all who preceded him. When he has amassed power through his riches, he will stir up everyone against 5 the kingdom of Greece. 11:3 Then a powerful king 6 will arise, exercising great authority and doing as he pleases. 11:4 Shortly after his rise to power, 7 his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky 8 – but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these.
11:5 “Then the king of the south 9 and one of his subordinates 10 will grow strong. His subordinate 11 will resist 12 him and will rule a kingdom greater than his. 13 11:6 After some years have passed, they 14 will form an alliance. Then the daughter 15 of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to make an agreement, but she will not retain her power, 16 nor will he continue 17 in his strength. 18 She, together with the one who brought her, her child, 19 and her benefactor will all be delivered over at that time. 20
11:7 “There will arise in his 21 place one from her family line 22 who will come against their army and will enter the stronghold of the king of the north and will move against them successfully. 23 11:8 He will also take their gods into captivity to Egypt, along with their cast images and prized utensils of silver and gold. Then he will withdraw for some years from 24 the king of the north. 11:9 Then the king of the north 25 will advance against the empire of the king of the south, but will withdraw to his own land. 11:10 His sons 26 will wage war, mustering a large army which will advance like an overflowing river and carrying the battle all the way to the enemy’s 27 fortress. 28
11:11 “Then the king of the south 29 will be enraged and will march out to fight against the king of the north, who will also muster a large army, but that army will be delivered into his hand. 11:12 When the army is taken away, the king of the south will become arrogant. 30 He will be responsible for the death 31 of thousands and thousands of people, 32 but he will not continue to prevail. 11:13 For the king of the north will again muster an army, one larger than before. At the end of some years he will advance with a huge army and enormous supplies.
11:14 “In those times many will oppose 33 the king of the south. 34 Those who are violent 35 among your own people will rise up in confirmation of 36 the vision, but they will falter. 11:15 Then the king of the north will advance and will build siege mounds and capture a well-fortified city. 37 The forces of the south will not prevail, not even his finest contingents. 38 They will have no strength to prevail. 11:16 The one advancing against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to stand before him. He will prevail in the beautiful land, and its annihilation will be within his power. 39 11:17 His intention 40 will be to come with the strength of his entire kingdom, and he will form alliances. 41 He will give the king of the south 42 a daughter 43 in marriage in order to destroy the kingdom, but it will not turn out to his advantage. 11:18 Then he will turn his attention 44 to the coastal regions and will capture many of them. But a commander 45 will bring his shameful conduct to a halt; in addition, 46 he will make him pay for his shameful conduct. 47 11:19 He will then turn his attention to the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall, not to be found again. 11:20 There will arise after him 48 one 49 who will send out an exactor 50 of tribute to enhance the splendor of the kingdom, but after a few days he will be destroyed, 51 though not in anger or battle.
11:21 “Then there will arise in his place a despicable person 52 to whom the royal honor has not been rightfully conferred. He will come on the scene in a time of prosperity and will seize the kingdom through deceit. 11:22 Armies 53 will be suddenly 54 swept away in defeat 55 before him; both they and a covenant leader 56 will be destroyed. 57 11:23 After 58 entering into an alliance with him, he will behave treacherously; he will ascend to power with only a small force. 59 11:24 In a time of prosperity for the most productive areas of the province he will come and accomplish what neither his fathers nor their fathers accomplished. He will distribute loot, spoils, and property to his followers, and he will devise plans against fortified cities, but not for long. 60 11:25 He will rouse his strength and enthusiasm 61 against the king of the south 62 with a large army. The king of the south will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to prevail because of the plans devised against him. 11:26 Those who share the king’s fine food will attempt to destroy him, and his army will be swept away; 63 many will be killed in battle. 11:27 These two kings, their minds 64 filled with evil intentions, will trade 65 lies with one another at the same table. But it will not succeed, for there is still an end at the appointed time. 11:28 Then the king of the north 66 will return to his own land with much property. His mind will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action, and then return to his own land. 11:29 At an appointed time he will again invade the south, but this latter visit will not turn out the way the former one did. 11:30 The ships of Kittim 67 will come against him, leaving him disheartened. 68 He will turn back and direct his indignation against the holy covenant. He will return and honor 69 those who forsake the holy covenant. 11:31 His forces 70 will rise up and profane the fortified sanctuary, 71 stopping the daily sacrifice. In its place they will set up 72 the abomination that causes desolation. 11:32 Then with smooth words he will defile 73 those who have rejected 74 the covenant. But the people who are loyal to 75 their God will act valiantly. 76 11:33 These who are wise among the people will teach the masses. 77 However, they will fall 78 by the sword and by the flame, 79 and they will be imprisoned and plundered for some time. 80 11:34 When they stumble, they will be granted some help. But many will unite with them deceitfully. 11:35 Even some of the wise will stumble, resulting in their refinement, purification, and cleansing until the time of the end, for it is still for the appointed time.
11:36 “Then the king 81 will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of 82 wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur. 83 11:37 He will not respect 84 the gods of his fathers – not even the god loved by women. 85 He will not respect any god; he will elevate himself above them all. 11:38 What he will honor is a god of fortresses – a god his fathers did not acknowledge he will honor with gold, silver, valuable stones, and treasured commodities. 11:39 He will attack 86 mighty fortresses, aided by 87 a foreign deity. To those who recognize him he will grant considerable honor. He will place them in authority over many people, and he will parcel out land for a price. 88
11:40 “At the time of the end the king of the south will attack 89 him. Then the king of the north will storm against him 90 with chariots, horsemen, and a large armada of ships. 91 He 92 will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river. 93 11:41 Then he will enter the beautiful land. 94 Many 95 will fall, but these will escape: 96 Edom, Moab, and the Ammonite leadership. 11:42 He will extend his power 97 against other lands; the land of Egypt will not escape. 11:43 He will have control over the hidden stores of gold and silver, as well as all the treasures of Egypt. Libyans and Ethiopians 98 will submit to him. 99 11:44 But reports will trouble him from the east and north, and he will set out in a tremendous rage to destroy and wipe out many. 11:45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas 100 toward the beautiful holy mountain. But he will come to his end, with no one to help him.
1 sn The antecedent of the pronoun “I” is the angel, not Daniel. The traditional chapter division at this point, and the presence of a chronological note in the verse similar to ones used elsewhere in the book to position Daniel’s activities in relation to imperial affairs, sometimes lead to confusion on this matter.
2 sn Perhaps these three more kings are Cambyses (ca. 530-522
3 sn This fourth king is Xerxes I (ca. 486-465
4 tn Heb “rich with great riches.”
5 tn The text is difficult. The Hebrew has here אֶת (’et), the marker of a definite direct object. As it stands, this would suggest the meaning that “he will arouse everyone, that is, the kingdom of Greece.” The context, however, seems to suggest the idea that this Persian king will arouse in hostility against Greece the constituent elements of his own empire. This requires supplying the word “against,” which is not actually present in the Hebrew text.
6 sn The powerful king mentioned here is Alexander the Great (ca. 336-323
7 tn Heb “and when he stands.”
8 tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
9 sn The king of the south is Ptolemy I Soter (ca. 323-285
10 tn Heb “princes.”
11 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the subordinate prince mentioned in the previous clause) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
12 tn Heb “be strong against.”
13 tn Heb “greater than his kingdom.”
14 sn Here they refers to Ptolemy II Philadelphus (ca. 285-246
15 sn The daughter refers to Berenice, who was given in marriage to Antiochus II Theos.
16 tn Heb “the strength of the arm.”
18 tn Heb “and his arm.” Some understand this to refer to the descendants of the king of the north.
19 tc The present translation reads יַלְדָּה (yaldah, “her child”) rather than the MT יֹלְדָהּ (yolÿdah, “the one who begot her”). Cf. Theodotion, the Syriac, and the Vulgate.
20 sn Antiochus II eventually divorced Berenice and remarried his former wife Laodice, who then poisoned her husband, had Berenice put to death, and installed her own son, Seleucus II Callinicus (ca. 246-227
21 sn The reference is to the king of Egypt.
22 tn Heb “the stock of her roots.”
sn The reference to one from her family line is probably to Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III Euergetes (ca. 246-221
23 tn Heb “will deal with them and prevail.”
24 tn The Hebrew preposition מִן (min) is used here with the verb עָמַד (’amad, “to stand”). It probably has a sense of separation (“stand away from”), although it may also be understood in an adversative sense (“stand against”).
25 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king of the north) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
26 sn The sons of Seleucus II Callinicus were Seleucus III Ceraunus (ca. 227-223
27 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the enemy of the king of the north) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
28 tn Heb “and he will certainly come and overflow and cross over and return and be aroused unto a fortress.” The translation has attempted to simplify the syntax of this difficult sequence.
29 sn This king of the south refers to Ptolemy IV Philopator (ca. 221-204
30 tn Heb “his heart will be lifted up.” The referent (the king of the south) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
31 tn Heb “cause to fall.”
32 tn Heb “of myriads.”
33 tn Heb “stand against.”
34 sn This was Ptolemy V Epiphanes (ca. 203-181
35 tn Heb “sons of violence.” “Son(s) is sometimes used idiomatically in Hebrew to indicate that someone is characterized by a certain quality. So the expression “sons of violence” means that these individuals will be characterized by violent deeds.
36 tn Heb “to cause to stand.”
37 sn This well-fortified city is apparently Sidon. Its capture from the Ptolemies by Antiochus the Great was a strategic victory for the Seleucid kingdom.
38 tn Or “choice troops” (BDB 104 s.v. מִבְחָר), or “elite troops” (HALOT 542 s.v. מִבְחָר).
39 tn Heb “hand.”
41 tc The present translation reads מֵישָׁרִים (mesharim, “alliances”) for the MT וִישָׁרִים (viysharim, “uprightness”).
42 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the king of the south) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
43 tn Heb “the daughter of the women.”
sn The daughter refers to Cleopatra, the daughter of Antiochus, who was given in marriage to Ptolemy V.
45 sn The commander is probably the Roman commander, Lucius Cornelius Scipio.
46 tn The Hebrew here is difficult in that the negative בִּלְתִּי (biltiy, “not”) is used in an unusual way. The sense is not entirely clear.
47 tn Heb “his shameful conduct he will return to him.”
48 tn Heb “on his place.”
49 sn The one who will send out an exactor of tribute was Seleucus IV Philopator (ca. 187-176
50 sn Perhaps this exactor of tribute was Heliodorus (cf. 2 Maccabees 3).
51 tn Heb “broken” or “shattered.”
52 sn This despicable person to whom the royal honor has not been rightfully conferred is Antiochus IV Epiphanes (ca. 175-164
53 tn Heb “arms.”
54 tc The present translation reads הִשָּׁטֹף (hishatof), Niphal infinitive absolute of שָׁטַף (shataf, “to overflow”), for the MT הַשֶּׁטֶף (hashetef, “flood”).
55 tn The words “in defeat” are added in the translation for clarification.
56 tn Heb “a prince of the covenant.”
57 tn Heb “broken” or “shattered.”
58 tn The preposition מִן (min) is probably temporal here (so BDB 583 s.v. 7.c; cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV), although it could also be understood here as indicating means (so J. Goldingay, Daniel [WBC], 279, n. 23a; cf. TEV, NLT).
59 tn Heb “nation.”
60 tn Heb “and unto a time.”
61 tn Heb “heart.”
62 sn This king of the south was Ptolemy Philometer (ca. 181-145
63 tc The present translation reads יִשָׁטֵף (yishatef, passive) rather than the MT יִשְׁטוֹף (yishtof, active).
65 tn Heb “speak.”
66 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king of the north) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
67 sn The name Kittim has various designations in extra-biblical literature. It can refer to a location on the island of Cyprus, or more generally to the island itself, or it can be an inclusive term to refer to parts of the Mediterranean world that lay west of the Middle East (e.g., Rome). For ships of Kittim the Greek OT (LXX) has “Romans,” an interpretation followed by a few English versions (e.g., TEV). A number of times in the Dead Sea Scrolls the word is used in reference to the Romans. Other English versions are more generic: “[ships] of the western coastlands” (NIV, NLT); “from the west” (NCV, CEV).
68 sn This is apparently a reference to the Roman forces, led by Gaius Popilius Laenas, which confronted Antiochus when he came to Egypt and demanded that he withdraw or face the wrath of Rome. Antiochus wisely withdrew from Egypt, albeit in a state of bitter frustration.
69 tn Heb “show regard for.”
70 tn Heb “arms.”
71 tn Heb “the sanctuary, the fortress.”
72 tn Heb “will give.”
73 tn Or “corrupt.”
74 tn Heb “acted wickedly toward.”
75 tn Heb “know.” The term “know” sometimes means “to recognize.” In relational contexts it can have the connotation “recognize the authority of, be loyal to,” as it does here.
76 sn This is an allusion to the Maccabean revolt, which struggled to bring about Jewish independence in the second century
77 tn Heb “the many.”
78 tn Heb “stumble.”
79 tn Or “by burning.”
80 tn Heb “days.”
81 sn The identity of this king is problematic. If vv. 36-45 continue the description of Antiochus Epiphanes, the account must be viewed as erroneous, since the details do not match what is known of Antiochus’ latter days. Most modern scholars take this view, concluding that this section was written just shortly before the death of Antiochus and that the writer erred on several key points as he tried to predict what would follow the events of his own day. Conservative scholars, however, usually understand the reference to shift at this point to an eschatological figure, viz., the Antichrist. The chronological gap that this would presuppose to be in the narrative is not necessarily a problem, since by all accounts there are many chronological gaps throughout the chapter, as the historical figures intended by such expressions as “king of the north” and “king of the south” repeatedly shift.
82 tn The words “the time of” are added in the translation for clarification.
83 tn Heb “has been done.” The Hebrew verb used here is the perfect of certitude, emphasizing the certainty of fulfillment.
84 tn Heb “consider.”
85 tn Heb “[the one] desired by women.” The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
86 tn Heb “act against.”
87 tn Heb “with.”
88 tn Or perhaps “for a reward.”
89 tn Heb “engage in thrusting.”
90 tn The referent of the pronoun is most likely the king of the south, in which case the text describes the king of the north countering the attack of the king of the south.
91 tn Heb “many ships.”
92 tn This most likely refers to the king of the north who, in response to the aggression of the king of the south, launches an invasion of the southern regions.
93 tn Heb “and will overflow and pass over.”
94 sn The beautiful land is a cryptic reference to the land of Israel.
95 tn This can be understood as “many people” (cf. NRSV) or “many countries” (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT).
96 tn Heb “be delivered from his hand.”
97 tn Heb “hand.”
98 tn Or “Nubians” (NIV, NCV); Heb “Cushites.”
99 tn Heb “Libyans and Cushites [will be] at his footsteps.”
100 sn Presumably seas refers to the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.