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Daniel 11:19

19. Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

19. Et vertet faciem suam ad munitiones terrae suae, et impinget, et cadet, neque invenietur.

 

Here either the base end of Antiochus is denoted, who was slain in a popular tumult while spoiling the temple of Belus, or else the event of the war between him and the Romans is described. This war was conducted under the auspices of Lucius Scipio, because Cneius Scipio, the conqueror of Africa, had offered himself as his brother’s lieutenant-general, and after his death that province was committed to him. But, as we have said, the resources of Antiochus had been cut off before this. He had lost, the cities of Asia, and if he had ceded them at first, he might have quietly retained the greater part of Asia Minor. But as he extended his wings over Greece, and hoped by this means to become completely master of the whole of Greece and Macedonia, he could not be induced to withdraw his garrisons from those cities, but at length was compelled to give up Asia Minor. In this way, then, the angel describes the progress of the war by saying, He will turn his face towards the fortifications of his own land; that is, when compelled to relinquish Greece, he will betake himself to fortified places. He was very safe there, and in a region sufficiently at peace; he had almost impregnable towns on all sides, and appeared to be free from warfare. Historians relate this to have been done by the skill of Cneius Scipio. For his son was then a captive under Antiochus, and he knew him to have greater authority than his brother, although he only possessed the title of lieutenant-general. They record his persuading Antiochus not to try his fortune by any decisive engagement. However it was, it is quite evident that he delayed fighting till he was compelled by a sense of shame, as all men accused him of cowardice in not daring to try the issue of an engagement, when he possessed so large an army. The Romans had scarcely ever taken the field against so strong a force, and yet, according to the narrative of Titus Livius, they never displayed less terror or concern. The extent of the forces of Antiochus is readily apparent from the slaughter which occurred; in one day 50,000 men perished; and this would be almost incredible, unless it were borne out by numerous and trustworthy testimonies. In this way the angel said, Antiochus should return, as he did not go forth to meet Lucius Scipio, but suffered him to pass on. Had he given the least sign of resistance, without doubt Philip had in iris hand and power the whole force of the Romans. Many indeed pronounced the conduct of L. Scipio to be rash, in daring to allow Philip such license, as he had been lately conquered, and was still exasperated in consequence of the loss and disgrace which he had suffered. For if Antiochus had been on the alert to restrain the enemy, it would have been all over with the Roman army in those narrow and rugged defiles; but, as we have stated, he kept his army in idleness and luxury among fortified towns. If another and a probable sense is preferred, the sentence applies to his base retreat to further Asia, where he fell, slain by the rustic population. He shall fall, and shall not be found Antiochus in truth continued to reign from the period of the destruction of his army and of his acceptance of the conditions which the Romans imposed. He obtained peace, but not without the payment of a heavy fine while he retained the name of king. Although he united with the Romans in an honorable treaty, yet he was forced to retire beyond Mount Taurus, to pay a large sum of money on account of the expenses of the war, to give hostages, and to divide the ships equally with the Romans. In this latter case he was grossly and fraudulently deluded, for L. Scipio commanded all the ships to be cut to pieces, and delivered the materials to Antiochus, to whom they were utterly worthless. He knew the man to be deceptive and restless, and so he treated him with barbarity, according to his deserts. As far as the hostages are concerned, we find Antiochus and Demetrius his sons as hostages at Rome even after his death. He was left in peace indeed, but was deprived of the cities of Asia Minor, and was ordered to betake himself beyond Mount Taurus. Those ravines were the boundary of his empire; a part of Asia was assigned to Eumenes, and many cities became independent. Antiochus, by way of concealing his disgrace, made a joke of it, saying he had managed cleverly, for the government of Asia Minor was a great trouble to him. He had another ample and opulent kingdom with which he might well be content: I have hitherto been but a steward in Asia, he used to say, and the Romans have relieved me of that encumbrance.

When, therefore, the angel says, After his fall, he should be no longer king; this may be understood of his ignominious death which followed shortly afterwards. His avarice was insatiable, and when compelled to pay a large tribute to the Romans, he pretended to be reduced to extreme poverty; then he wished to spoil the temple of Jupiter Dodoneus, and was slain there during a tumult. This last word ought properly to be referred to this event, for King Antiochus was not found, because these rustics slew him in the tumult which arose. Thus far concerning Antiochus the Great; Seleucus now follows, who was his first successor. He had three sons, Seleucus whom many call Ceraunus, then Antiochus Epiphanes, and Demetrius. Concerning Seleucus the angel speaks as follows, —

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