Daniel 11:10-11

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.

10. Et filii ejus provocabuntur, et congregabunt multitudinem copiarum magnarum: et veniendo veniet, inundabit et transibit: revertetur et incitabitur usque ad munitionem ejus.

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.

11. Tum exacerbabitur rex austri, et egressus pugnabit adversus eum, adversus regem aquilonis, et stare faciet, statuet, multitudinem magnam, tradeturque multitudo illa in manum ejus.


Here the angel passes to the third war, namely, that which the son of Callinicus stirred up against Ptolemy Philopator. After the death of Euergetes, the two sons of Callinicus united their forces, and endeavored to recover Syria, and especially that part of it of which they had been deprived. When they were already on their expedition, and their forces were on their march, the elder Seleucus died, and his surviving brother was Antiochus, called the Great. Ptolemy, called Philopator, which means a lover of his father, was then alive. He was so called in consequence of the parricide of which he was guilty, having put to death both parents, together with his brother. The word is used by way of ridicule, and a sense the opposite to that expressed is implied by this epithet, which is honorable in itself, and expresses the virtue of filial piety. But he slew his father, mother, and brother, and on account of all these impious murders, the name of Philopator was applied to him as a mark of disgrace. As, therefore, he was so thoroughly hated by his own people, the sons of Callinicus, namely, Seleucus Ceraunus the elder, and Antiochus the Great, thought the time had arrived for the recovery of the lost cities of Syria. For he was detested and despised in consequence of his numerous crimes. They therefore anticipated little trouble in recovering their possessions, when their enemy was thus branded with infamy, and had many domestic foes. This is the reason why the angel says of the sons of Callinicus, They shall be provoked, and shall lead a multitude of great armies; it may mean "great forces," as some historians relate the collection of two very strong armies. Unless I am mistaken, Antiochus the Great had 70,000 foot and 5000 horse. Ptolemy excelled in cavalry as he had 6000 horse but only 62,000 foot, as Polybius informs us in his fifth book. 1 They were nearly equal in forces, but the confidence of the two sons of Callinicus, of whom alone the angel now speaks, was increased when they beheld their wicked enemy so greatly detested in consequence of his parricide. He afterwards says, He shall come. He changes the number, since the elder brother, being the eldest son of Callinicus, namely, Seleucus Ceraunus, died while they were preparing for the war, and they say he was slain by his attendants in passing through Asia Minor. Whether this was so or not, all historians unite in stating that Antiochus the Great alone carried on the war with Philopator. He shall come so as to overflow and pass through. He recovered that part of Syria which he had lost, and when he approached Egypt, then Philopator met him. Profane historians state him to have been a coward, and never to have obtained power by open bravery, but by fear alone. He was too late in preparing his forces for resisting his enemy.

This is the reason why the angel says, The king of Syria, or of the north, should come, even to the citadels, or fortifications; for at length Philopator roused himself from slumber, for he never put on his arms to repel an enemy except when compelled by the direst necessity. Hence he adds, The king of the south shall be irritated, or exasperated. He uses the word "exasperated," because, as I have just said, he would never have opposed himself to his enemy Antiochus except lie had perceived his own kingdom placed in great jeopardy. He might have taken patiently the loss of Syria, so long as Egypt had been safe; but when his life and all his possessions were in danger, he became sufficiently exasperated to attack his foe; and yet he prevailed, as we shall afterwards see. I cannot complete this subject to-day, and so I shall draw to a close. Philopator became victorious, and yet he was so sluggish that he distrusted his friends and foes alike, and was forced by this very fear to make peace with his enemy, although he was really the conqueror. Not only could he have driven back his enemy whom he had vanquished, but he might have taken possession of his territories; but he did not dare to do this. he was conscious of being a parricide, and knew to his cost how hateful his name was among all men. Hence, although superior in strength, and actually the conqueror of his enemy in battle, he dared not proceed further. But we will explain the remainder another time.


Grant, Almighty God, as thou hast deigned to set before our eyes as in a glass that peculiar providence of thine by which thou defendest thy Church: Grant, that being confirmed by these examples, we may learn to repose entirely upon thee. Amidst the numerous disturbances by which the world is at this time agitated, may we remain quiet under thy protection. May we so commit our safety to thee as never to hesitate, whatever may happen, as to our future safety and security. Whatever we may suffer, may it all issue in our salvation, while we are protected by thy hand; thus will we call upon thy name with sincerity of mind, and thou wilt in return shew thyself as our Father in thine only-begotten Son. -- Amen.

Lecture Fifty-Eighth

In our last Lecture we explained why the angel mentions the exasperation of King Ptolemy. Unless he had been dragged into the war, his disposition was so sluggish that he would have suffered many cities to be wrested from him, and he would never have been moved by either the disgrace or the loss. But at length he took up arms, on seeing with what a stern and bold enemy he had to deal. he afterwards adds, He shall go out to battle against the king of the North, meaning Antiochus king of Syria. And he shall set in array a large multitude. This may be referred to either of them, for Antiochus then brought into the field a large army; he had 5000 horse and 70,000 foot. Ptolemy was superior in his cavalry, which amounted to 6000 men. This clause will suit the case of Antiochus. He shall bring into the field a great multitude, and the multitude shall be given into his hand, meaning Ptolemy's. The context seems thus to flow on more easily: yet if any one prefers considering it as applicable to Ptolemy himself, I will not contend the point. It is not of much consequence, because the angel simply pronounces the superiority of Ptolemy in this battle, in which he conquered Antiochus the Great. Besides, we must notice, that he was not the conqueror by his own industry, or valor, or counsel, or military skill; but because the Lord, who regulates the events of battles, wished at that time to subdue the pride of Antiochus the Great. It now follows, --

1 Calvin quoting from memory has not stated the numbers accurately. See Polyb., lib. 5, p. 421, edit. Casaubon. Paris; also the Dissertations at the end of this volume. -- Ed.