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Dissertation 14.

HISTORICAL PROOFS. THREE KINGs OF PERSIA.

Daniel 11:2

“The speaker in this last vision is the Son of God himself. There are two things which in my judgment may be clearly proved; that the princes of Persia and Javan, as also Michael and Gabriel, are created angels; and that the speaker in this last vision is the angel of the covenant, the Son of God... The phrase, ‘to strengthen him,’ is also very significant. The word is mahoz, the same which occurs in the plural mahuzzim, at the close of the prophecy. Here it plainly denotes a tutelary or guardian power, exercised on behalf of Darius by the Son of God. At the close of the vision it must bear a similar meaning. The Mahuzzim are those tutelary powers, whether saints, angels, or demons, who are objects of great horror to the willful king.” — Birks, page 33. Herodotus is still a safe guide in the interpretation of this prediction. His narrative of Cambyses and Darius Hystaspes, amply illustrates and confirms it. The canon of Ptolemy agrees in the same account, only Smerdis is omitted, as usual, because his reign was less than a year. In the reign of Darius, the third successor of Cyrus, the rebuilding of the temple was renewed, under the exhortations of Haggai and Zechariah. “The fourth king,” who is far richer than all, and stirs up all against the realm of Greece, plainly answers to Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius. Those three reigns reach forward through fifty years of the world’s history, A.D. 534-485.

Daniel 11:2 The fourth king was Xerxes. The four last books of Herodotus, and the eleventh of Diodorus, are entirely occupied with his invasion of Greece. The Greek play of AEschylus, called the Persae, written within eight years to celebrate the triumph of the Greeks, is useful in conveying a vivid impression of this predicted invasion. Willet may be consulted, as he enters very fully into all the historical details, and gives his authorities in abundance; but his arrangement is very cumbrous; and his want of critical skill often renders his judgment valueless. He has raw materials in abundance, but seldom produces it “ready made to hand.” See Quest. 6, for various opinions on the identity of this fourth king, page 398, Edit. 1610.

Daniel 11:3-5 “The mighty king who shall stand up,” clearly refers to Alexander. The exposition of Calvin is substantially correct throughout this chapter; it will be sufficient to add a few dates and references.

Diodorus, lib. 18, chapter. 43, narrates the career of Ptolemy the son of Lagus, who received Egypt as his share, and successfully repelled the attacks of Perdiccas. Lib. 19, chapter. 79, continues the exploits of Ptolemy. Justin, lib. 13, chapter. 6, and 16, chapter. 2, confirms the statement of Diodorus.

Daniel 11:5 “One of his princes shall be great.” This refers to Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the kingdom of Syria. His strength is related by Appian, de Bel. Syr. sect. 164, who says he could stop a bull in his career by laying hold of him by the horn. The Arabs called the era of the Seleucidae Dilcarnain, two-horned. — See Prideaux, Connex., part 1, b. 8; Justin 19, chapter. 12, and 55, 56, 58, 62, 90, 91, 100; Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, chapter. 8; Grey on Hist. of the Seleucidae, 8:35

Daniel 11:6-9 We have here the marriage of Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus, with Antiochus Theus, the grandson of the great Seleucus. Birks has drawn up an elaborate list of each king of Syria and Egypt, from A.D. 323 to 164; and states the following monarchs as referred to in the corresponding verses of this chapter; viz.,

5. Ptolemy Soter, and Seleucus Nicator.

7, 8. Ptolemy Philadelphus, and Antiochus Theus.

9. Ptolemy Euergetes, and Scleucus Callinicus.

10. Seleucus Corarams, and Antiochus Magnus.

11, 12. Ptolemy Philopator.

14, 17. Ptolemy Epiphanes.

20. Seleucus Philopator.

21. Antiochus Epiphanes.

25. Ptolemy Philomotor.

He has also treated the details of the history so plainly, that we may satisfy ourselves by simply referring to chapters 6 to 11, pages 73-171. Wintles notes are also very explanatory; both these authors supply all the Historical Proofs which the reader of Calvin’s Daniel can require.

The annexed authorities will explain some of the historical allusions of the text.

Villius, page 298, was Publius Villius, the Roman ambassador to the court of Antiochus, who there held a conference with Hannibal.

P. Popilius Leanas, page 317. The narrative is founded on Valerius Maximus, 6, chapter. 5; Livy, 45, chapter. 12; Paterculus, 1, chapter. 10. Calvin probably adopted this anecdote from Jerome. See Fry, volume 2, page 55.

Valerius Soranus, page 349 — a Latin poet of the period of Julius Caesar.

Alexander, king of Syria, page 358. The events of his career are detailed by Josephus, Ant., 13, chapter. 9.

Physcon, page 359. See Josephus as before, and Athenaeus, 2, chapter. 23.

Carrae, page 364. For the death of Crassus there, see Lucan 1. verse. 10.5, and Pliny, lib. 5. c. 14.

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