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Daniel 11:6

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 all 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 beget her, and he that strengthened her in these times.

6. Et in fine annorum sociabuntur, convenient inter se, et filia regis austri veniet ad regem aquilonis ut faciat recta: et non retinebit vires brachii, et non stabit ipse, neque semen ejus, et dabitur ipsa, et qui adduxerit eam, et qui genuerit ipsam, et roborabit eam temporibus illis, vel, roboraverit.

 

As to the explanation of the words, the king of the south, we have stated to be the king of Egypt, and that of the north, of Syria. To do right things, means to make mutual peace; he shall not retain the strength of his arm, is, his arm shall not retain its strength; he shall not stand refers to his father Ptolemy, or Antiochus Theos, as we shall afterwards see. And then we must take the ו, vau, negatively, and read, nor his seed, which some translate his arm. She shall be delivered up, implies being given up to death, while some understand her parent, to be her mother or her nurse. Here, then, the angel prophesies the state of the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria; and still he has respect to the Church of God, as we stated yesterday, which was placed in the midst of these two nations. We must always strive to ascertain the intention of the Holy Spirit. He wished to support the pious under those convulsions by which they would be agitated and afflicted. Their confidence might have been utterly subverted unless they had been persuaded that nothing happens at random, since all these events were proclaimed beforehand. Again, God had sent his angel to Daniel, which proved both his power and his determination to defend his Church, and he would accomplish this, because he wished the faithful admonished beforehand neither rashly nor yet without profit. But we must first relate the history — the angel says, At the end of the times two kings should enter into covenant and friendship He had announced the superiority of the king of Syria; for when Antigonus was conquered, and his son was dead, Seleucus the first king of Syria far surpassed Ptolemy in his power and the magnitude of his dominion. But a mutual rivalry arose between them, and there were some slight skirmishes on both sides, till the condition of Ptolemy became weakened, and then Seleucus rushed tumultuously, with the ferocity of a robber rather than the magnanimity of a king. After they had continued the contest for some time, Berenice the daughter of the second Ptolemy, named Philadelphus, was given in marriage to Antiochus Theos. She is also called Beronice and Bernice. He was so blinded with pride, as to take the name of Theos, which means God; he was the third of that name, the former king being called Soter, meaning preserver For, as Seleueus had acquired so many and such mighty possessions, his sons did not consider their authority fully established, and so they assumed these magnificent titles for the sake of inspiring all nations with the terror of their frame. Hence the first Antiochus was called Sorer, and the second Theos. Now the second Ptolemy, named Philadelphus, gave his daughter in marriage to Antiochus Theos. By this bond peace and friendship were established between them, just as at Rome, Pompey married Julia the daughter of Caesar. And we daily observe similar occurrences, for when one king has in his power a daughter, or niece, or other relatives, another king finds himself possessed of male and female relations, by whose intermarriage they confirm a treaty of peace. It was so in this case, although historians attribute some degree of craft to Philadelphus in bestowing his daughter on Antiochus Theos. He supposed this to be a means by which he might ultimately acquire the dominion over all Syria, and over the other provinces under the sway of Antiochus. Whether this really was so or not, profane historians prove the fulfillment of the angel’s prediction. Without the slightest doubt, God, in his wonderful counsels, dictated to these historians what we read at the present time, and made them witnesses of his own truth. This thought, indeed, never entered their minds, but when God governs the minds and tongues of men, he wishes to establish clear and convincing testimony to this prophecy, for the purpose of shewing the real prediction of every occurrence. At the end of the years, says he, they shall become united.

He next states, And the daughter of the king of the south, meaning Bernice, whom we have mentioned, shall come to the king of the north, meaning the king of Syria, Antiochus Theos. This alliance was contracted in defiance of justice. For Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice, who was the mother of two sons whom she had born to Antiochus; namely, Seleucus Callinicus, and Antiochus the younger, named Hierax, a hawk, on account of his rapacity. We perceive, then, how he contracted a second marriage, after an unjust and illegal divorce of his first wife. Hence it is not surprising if this alliance was cursed by the Almighty. It turned out unhappily for both the kings of Egypt and Syria. Ptolemy ought not to have thrust his daughter upon Antiochus, who was already married, nor yet to have allowed her to become a second wife, while the king’s real wife was divorced. We perceive, then, how God became the avenger of these crimes, while the plans of Antiochus and Philadelphus turned out in. Some think that Antiochus was fraudulently poisoned by his first wife, but as the point is doubtful, I pronounce no opinion. Whether it was so or not, Antiochus had a son by Bernice, and died immediately after being reconciled to his former wife. Some historians state, that after she had recovered her dignity and rank as queen, having once experienced her husband’s fickleness and perfidy, she took sure means of preventing another repudiation. When Antiochus was dead, this woman was enflamed with vengeance, and in the perverseness of her disposition, she impelled her son to murder her rival, especially stimulating Seleucus Callinicus who succeeded to his father’s throne. Hierax was then prefect of Asia Minor; hence she stimulated her son with fury to murder her rival. For, although Antiochus Theos had been reconciled to her, yet some degree of rank and honor still attached to Bernice the daughter of Ptolemy. And her son perpetrated this murder with the greatest willingness, and with the basest cruelty and perfidy; for he persuaded her to entrust herself to his care, and then he murdered both her and her son.

The angel now says, When the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north, his arm shall not retain his strength The language is metaphorical, as that marriage was line a common arm to both sides; for the king of Egypt stretched forth his hand to the king of Syria for mutual protection. That arm, then, did not retain its strength; for Bernice was most wickedly slain by her stepson, Seleucus Callinicus, as we have stated. He says, also, she should come to make alliances Here, by way of concession, the angel calls that conjugal bond מישדים, misrim, rectitudines,” “conditions of agreement,” because at first all parties thought, it would tend to that result. But. Antiochus had already violated his marriage vow, and departed from his lawful alliance. Nothing, therefore, was right on his side. Without the slightest doubt he derived some advantage from the plan, as kings are always in the habit of doing. And with respect to Ptolemy, many historians, as we have already mentioned, suppose him to have longed for the kingdom of Syria. Whether or not this was so, their mutual transactions were not sincere, and so the word signifying “rectitude” is used, as we have said, only by concession. The angel does not speak in their praise, or excuse the, perfidy of either, but he rather enlarges upon their crime, and from this we gather how they abused the sanctity both of marriage and of treaties, which God wished to be held sacred by all mankind. Hence, though the word is honor-able in itself, yet it is used in a disgraceful sense, to shew us how the angel condemned King Ptolemy for this base prostitution of his daughter, and Antiochus for rejecting his wife, and marrying another who was not a real wife, but only a concubine. And, perhaps, God wished to use the lips of his angel to point out the tendency of all royal treaties. They always have the most specious appearances — national, quiet public peace, and similar objects which can be dexterously made prominent. For kings always court favor and praise for themselves from the foolish vulgar, whenever they make treaties of peace. Thus all these alliances have no other tendency than to produce social deception, and at length they degenerate into mutual perfidy, when one party plots insidiously and wickedly against another.

The angel adds next, He shall not stand; using the masculine gender, and most probably referring to Antiochus, as well as to Ptolemy his father-in-law. Neither he nor his seed shall stand, meaning his son by Bernice the daughter of Ptolemy. I dare not translate it “arm,” because in my opinion the letter ו, vau, is needed in the word for “arm;” so I take it to denote “seed.” He afterwards adds, And she shall be delivered up — thus returning to Berenice — either by treachery or to death; and those who led her forth — meaning her companions. Whenever any incestuous marriage is contracted, some persons of disgraceful character are sure to be concerned in bringing his new wife to the king. And very probably there were factions in the palace of Antiochus; one party being more attached to Seleucus and his brother, and his mother Laodice; while others desired a change of government, according to the usual state of affairs. The advisers of the marriage between Antiochus and Bernice were sent as a guard of honor to attend them to Syria, and the angel states all these to have been delivered up together with the queen. He afterwards adds, And those who were her parents From the absence of a grammatical point under the letter ה, he, many think the noun to be of the feminine gender. And as it may mean mother, they treat it as if her nurse was intended, but I leave the question in doubt. He now adds, and those who strengthened her at those times He, doubtless, intends to designate all those who wished to curry favor with the king, and thus took part in this marriage between him and the daughter of the king of Egypt. The whole of that faction perished, when Berenice was slain by Seleucus Callinicus. If, then, he did not spare his stepmother, much less would he spare the faction by which he was deprived of his hope of the kingdom, and through whom his mother Laodice had suffered the disgrace of a divorce. It now follows, —

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