Daniel 11a
History Leads to the Final Crisis
Verses 1 to 35

    This chapter deals with much historical detail.  It covers the major part of Gabriel's discourse on the "Scripture of Truth."  His explanation begins at 10:21 and ends with 12:4. For many passages, some might prefer explanations focusing more on political events. I would not necessarily argue, except to say that any interpretation must fit the text and its broader purpose. In Matthew 24, Jesus told of the end of the age citing the then-future destruction of Jerusalem as a model of what would happen later. The first part of Daniel 11 is very literal. Later it is symbolic as the future is described.

Text Comments
 1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.    To confirm and to strengthen [Darius] See da0620 and on.
.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.
.3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
   Truth To better understand this "truth" see the note relating to da1021 and on da1114c below.
   Fourth king [strong and rich] See Esther 1:1-4 es01.
   Mighty king will stand To see what king followed those in Persia, we turn to the vision of chapter 8 da0821.
.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.    Broken . . .divided Alexander's kingdom was brief and was continued as divided by his generals after he died. They killed his brother and son da0808.
This image is part of a large mosaic discovered at Pompeii (with missing areas plastered over). It was a copy of a painting from much earlier and shows Alexander's encounter with the Persian monarch.
.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.
.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.
 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:
 8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels [vessels of their desire] of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.
 9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
   5 - King of the south The first to assume this role was Ptolemy. North and south directions associated with "kings" may be seen from the areas taken by the generals who assumed power after Alexander. From the perspective of the Hebrews, they are also directions of approach of invading armies. Babylonians actually ruled in the east but traveled northward to avoid the vast desert and would arrive from the north. Here Egypt would have been the king of the South. Conflict between the two kings is introduced here where the text is understood as literal. Later in the chapter, we see more symbolism and, perhaps with different nations inheriting the titles of the two kings.
   True and false kings of the North; kings of North and South. See note.
   We might say that the king of the North ultimately opposes God's people while the king of the South tempts them. The identity of the king of the North changes through our narrative from Babylon, Syria (the Seleucid empire), Rome, and the papacy (the new Rome).
 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.
.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.
 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.
 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 [or "at the end of the times, years"] with a great army and with much riches.
  10 - Pass through Image likely drawn from ex1212.
.13 - At the end of times, even years We may see a projection into the future. "Times"  here comes from eth. The word occurs frequently and is seen in "time of" phrases such as da1135.  Other examples are in ps119126; ps03719; and pr1523.  It may mean "years" as in our verse da0725, da1207. Note the literal translation inserted into the text.
   Then the king of the North would have great human and physical resources.
   14a 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.    In those times During the years while the resources of the king of the North are developing.  Apparently we will here look at a broader picture, and over an extended time.
   Many We may interpret this to indicate that the takeover of pagan governments would be a gradual process. History confirms that it was.
   14b And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people [or "sons of the violent ones of your people"] shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.   Robbers of thy people Or as shown in brackets in the verse. The blasphemy would be by those professing to represent the true God. The term "sons" shows that it would be in a future era.
   Comparison with da0924 helps us understand even better. You remember, in Chapter 9, the prophet had been praying for the sins of his people and for Jerusalem. We look at a phrase from God's response: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city. . . ."
   We saw for that verse that Daniel's people, the Jews, had been given seventy weeks of years (490 years) to turn from the sins that had allowed their captivity and the devastation of Jerusalem. The "sons" would then be in rebellion at a time after that. Indeed we saw such a rebellion in Chapter 8.
   Violent ones See Ezek. 18:4-13 where the same Hebrew word is used ez1810.
   Exalt themselves Under "Establish the vision" below, we identify the vision which Gabriel is here telling about. In da0809-11 we see the exalting process.
   14c And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people [or "sons of the violent ones of your people"] shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. .Establish the vision Two different Hebrew words are translated as "vision" da0801. Here it is chazon.
   Gabriel's discourse, of which this verse is a part, is not itself a vision. But reference to the "scripture of truth" in its introduction indicates that it is about the vision (chazon) which this chapter elaborates on. Notice how the whole discourse is introduced:
   "But I will show [tell] thee what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. . . .  And now I will show thee the truth.  Behold there shall. . . ." (Dan. 10:21; 11:2).
   Here is a passage from the vision referred to: "And out of one of them [the four winds] came a little horn which waxed [grew] exceeding great. . . .  And it grew up even to the host of heaven. . . .  Yea he magnified [exalted] himself even to the Prince of the host. . . . and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered." (Dan. 8:9-12).
   This points to the vision (chazon) (8:2-12 da0802) to which the revelation (mareh), about the 2300 days (8:13, 14 da0813) was applied. Gabriel had declared the revelation, and thus the vision, to be "true" da0826.  It was appropriately called a "scripture of truth" in that the final evil work of the horn was the casting down of truth da0812.
   The term "scripture" means writing. Gabriel is apparently referring to the scroll Daniel had written recording this vision (chazon) which he had been told to seal da0826. Also see da0701.
  Fall Discussed in the note on the notes page.
Text Comments
.15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.    King of the North We apparently return to the chronological narrative. After the natural change at verse 14, we may expect the next northern ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
   Fortified city Antiochus IV took the Egyptian city of Pelusium in 169 B.C. and set up his provincial government there. In contrast, the decisive battle of the second campaign of Antiochus III (whom many scholars see in this verse) occurred in a field in Northern Palestine. Already battered, the Egyptians finally went to Sidon and officially surrendered in the face of famine. If we see the violent ones as removed instead of exalted at the time of verse 14 (not the suggestion of this commentary), we may credit the decisive battle of Antiochus III. One oppressor was replaced by another.
    Another interpretation would have Jerusalem in 70 A.D. as the taken city.  It is a very significant action of the violent ones of the preceding verse, but it is not in the chronological order.
.16a But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed [or "with destruction in his hand," NASB].
   He who comes Following in the context of the previous verse, this contestant would be against the king of the South.  Also, taking the word "comes" to imply being new on the scene, we could not see the "he" as the king of the North. In fact, the king of the North is not mentioned again until verse 40 (where North and South may be seen with new identity). The king of the South appears in v25 and the direction, south, is mentioned in v29. This is consistent with the first part of v14.
    We could see a particular ruler here, but recognizing the "he" as the Roman power, to be elaborated on in succeeding verses, seems more in harmony with the text.
   His own will Notice that this phrase is coupled with the idea that none could stand against this king.  Thus we may see the particular political power as having come to universal dominance.  In previous visions, major powers arose as beasts from the sea da0703 or by a new part of the image da0239.  In this chapter, more of the conflicts are seen which were associated with rulers' rise to full power and later decline.  Coming to universal dominance is apparent in 8:4 (and context) where the phrase "according to his will" was introduced.  We may, therefore, see the use of this phrase here and in v4 and v36 as marking new world powers as it did in da0804.
   Compare Jesus instructions: lu1102.
.16b.But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed [or "with destruction in his hand," NASB].    Glorious land See on v11. Palestine, along with Egypt, was conquered by Rome in 63 B.C. Antiochus IV, whom some see in this verse, did stand for a time in Palestine, but the phrase here, "no one shall stand against him," is certainly not appropriate in his case. See on "fall" above v14c.
    We have been observing the kings of South and North v1104ff. After the division of the Greek power, the Roman empire developed in the west. The cross reference to "glorious" here  indicates where we are on the chapter 11 time line.
    "And out of one of them [the four winds] came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land" although "land" is not in the original text. da0809note.
    "And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." Dan. 9:26. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 A.D. Also see on da0926. As noted, the land would be subjugated a few years later – 63 B.C.
  Destruction / consumed See da0707. A description of imperial (or Pagan) Rome jn1910.
.17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him [or "belong to him"].   He See on "He who comes" in the previous verse.
  Enter with strength This may picture how Julius Caesar gained control.
   Upright ones Or "equitable things." On his way toward dictatorship, Julius Caesar gained broad popular support by agitating for government reform.  He later secured land for peasants and reduced taxes for the wealthy.
  Daughter of women The term may indicate something special about this woman.
  Corrupting her Caesar became interested in the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and supported her position as ruler against her husband and brother, Ptolemy XII.  Caesar lived with her for a time in Egypt and she apparently bore him a child.
  She shall not stand on his side Cleopatra accompanied Caesar back to Rome where he was shortly assassinated.  She returned to Egypt to protect her throne but died after a time bringing the Ptolemaic dynasty to an end.
 18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.
 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
  Turn his face Equivalent to "set his face" in v17 above.
  ReproachOr "insolence."
  Fall Julius Caesar was assassinated by his supposed friends whom he had forgiven and reinstated in office.
 20 Then shall stand up in his estate [or "place"] a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
.21 And in his estate [or "place"] 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.
  Raiser of taxes Or "one who shall send an exactor of tribute." –Amplified Bible. See lu0201ff.
  Destroyed, neither ... Augustus Caesar died of an illness in 14 A.D.
  Stand up That is, assume ruling power. Compare v2.
  Vile person Tiberius Caesar was cruel and unloved.
  Honor of the kingdom Tiberius was adopted and not recognized as heir until an adult.
  Peaceably There were no legitimate contenders.
  See the note for an additional interpretation of this verse. note.
.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.   Broken "In 37 the Praetorian Guard declared its support for Caligula and killed Tiberius when he was sick in bed." (The Britannica Concise, on line, 2001). He was monarch when Jesus was killed in 32.
  Prince Hebrew nagid which may also be translated, "ruler."  Compare 1sa2530.  It is used only three times in the book of Daniel. The other two are in 0925f. This linguistic tie indicates the same Prince and the same event. In 9:25 He is called "Messiah the Prince."
  The last part of this verse beginning "yea" is the keystone of the chiastic structure of this chapter and for chapters 10 through 12.
  The word, "covenant" appears three more times in this chapter (verses 28, 30, 32).  We may see an interesting comparison between breaking the prince of the covenant and breaking the covenant of the prince. The one (prince) is broken so that the other may be restored from its brokenness.
  Covenant God's plan of redemption based on our acceptance of His way of happiness summarized in the ten commandments. See note.
.23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
.24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places [or "into the peaceable and fat] of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
  League  Reference to a league (or alliance) would tie back to verse 17 where Julius Caesar came with "equitable terms" (NKJV, margin) or "terms of peace" (NRSV).  Is this a coincidence?
  Work deceitfully  We may also see here in v23 the expansion of a strange little phrase from v17. There we had casah, "thus shall he do," or literally "he shall act." Here we have casah mirmah, "he shall act deceitfully."  In the chiastic literary structure, verses 17-19 match 23, 24.  Julius Caesar may be seen as acting deceitfully in his alliance with Egypt (48-47 B.C.)
.25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.
 26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
 27 And both these kings' hearts [literally, "their hearts"] shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
.28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
   Continuing to move backwards in history, we can see reflections of three more of the rulers that have already appeared in our narrative.
   Verses 25 and 26 relate to Augustus, 27 to Tiberius (who ruled for a time with Augustus as his assistant) and 28 through 30 to Antiochus IV, Ephiphanes.
   A clear understanding of these verses is a challenge for further study.  Perhaps we should be looking beyond these rulers to issues and events of greater spiritual significance. My hypothesis is that the decline of the Roman Empire is shown correctly by our interpretation and that, on this side of the chiastic center, the rise or characteristics of the papacy matches it step by step.
.29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
.30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
.31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
  29 - Return The 7th crusade? See article.
  30 - Equivalent to da0811?
  31 - See on da1211. We see the rise of a power explained more as we continue here. This power is described several times. See chart.
  31 - Sanctuary Miqdash See note on 8:11.
.32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt [or "cause to dissemble"] by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.   Wickedly against the covenant Those who disregard God's law are flattered – made to feel good in their transgression. The church teaching is different from the Bible. Thus a change in God's law is attempted da0725. Here we begin the time, times and half a time of persecution. See chart.
  Exploits This word was added by translators. Those who refuse to be corrupted know God and act. Act how? Read these verses in succession ga0220, 1jo0408, 1jo0503.
.33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
  And those among the people who are wise shall make many understand though they shall fall . . . many days. (RSV)
  They that understand These who do keep the covenant and know truth will teach it but often pay with their lives. On "understand" see da1210 and da1203.
  Wise (alternative translation) Consider 2ti0315.
  Many days The time of oppression was 1260 symbolic days or 3½ times re1206. Also in 7:25 linked above at v32.
.34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen [helped] with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.   Or ". . . they shall help [and] be helped a little. . . ." The Reformation arose from those like Wycliffe and Luther who learned from the Scriptures.
  Helped See re1216.
  Flatteries Better, "hypocrisy." Not all who joined the Protestant movement were totally committed to Christ. The idea of religious freedom was not understood well after centuries of subjection. See note for this verse.
.35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge [or "try by them"], and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.   Fall to try them This sounds like a repetition of v33. It's a new source of oppression. Persecution arose from the hypocrites of the preceding verse. Protestant factions tried to force submission and extinguish ideas of advancing light. See note.
  Time of the end The time following the 1260 symbolic days, when Daniel's little book would be unsealed da1204. It would also follow the time of persecution re1005ff. re1206. The light began to shine on the prophecies of Daniel around 1798 and was essentially developed after the "end of the days" of chapter 12 when Daniel would stand in his place da1213.
  Time appointed This emphasizes that God had revealed the time when relief would come. It would be at the end of the "days" of v33. This is also a natural break where we go back for another look at the false religious power.

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