41. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Aremort.
41. Et veniet in terram desiderii, et multae, regiones scilicet, cadent, et hae evadent e manu ejus, Edom, Moab, et principium filiorum Ammon.
42. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
42. Et mittet, hoc est, extendet, manum suam in terras, et terra AEgypti non erit in evasionem. 1
The land of Judea is called the pleasant or desirable land, because God thought it worthy of his peculiar favor. He chose it for his dwelling-place, called it his resting-place, and caused his blessing to remain in it. In this verse also, regions are treated, and not merely cities, as the regions of Edom and of Moab. After the angel had briefly predicted the occurrence of the most grievous wars with the Romans, he now adds what he had briefly commenced in the last verse, -- namely their becoming conquerors of all nations. They shall come, he says, into the desirable land. This is the reason why the angel prophesies of the Roman empire, for he was not sent to explain to Daniel the history of the whole world, but to retain the faithful in their allegiance, and to persuade them under the most harassing convulsions to remain under the protection and guardianship of God. For this reason he states, -- they shall come into the desirable land. This would be a dreadful temptation, and might overthrow all feelings of piety, as the Jews would be harassed on all sides, first by the Syrians and then by the Egyptians. And we know with what cruelty Antiochus endeavored not only to oppress but utterly to blot out the whole nation. Neither the Syrians nor the Egyptians spared them. The Romans came almost from the other side of the globe; at first they made an alliance with these states, and then entered Judea as enemies. Who would have supposed that region under God's protection, when it was so exposed to all attacks of robbery and oppression? Hence it was necessary to admonish the faithful not to fall away through this utter confusion.
They shall come, then, into the desirable land, and many regions shall fall; meaning, no hope should remain for the Jews after the arrival of the Romans, as victory was already prepared to their hand. The angel's setting before the faithful this material for despair was not likely to induce confidence and comfort, but. as they were aware of these divine predictions, they knew also that the remedy was prepared by the same God who had admonished them by means of the angel. It was in his power to save his Church from a hundred deaths. This prophecy became an inestimable treasury, inspiring the faithful with the hope of the promised deliverance. The angel will afterwards add the promise intended to support and strengthen and revive their drooping spirits. But he here announces that God's aid should not immediately appear, because he would give the Romans full permission to exercise a cruel sway, tyranny, and robbery, throughout the whole of Asia and the East. He says, The lands of Edom, Moab, and a portion of Ammon should escape from their slaughter. This trial would in no slight degree affect the minds of the pious: What does he mean? He suffers the land that he promised should be at rest, to be now seized and laid waste by its enemies! The land of Moab is at peace and enjoys the greatest tranquillity, and the condition of the sons of Ammon is prosperous! We should here bear in mind what the prophets say of these lands: Esau was banished into the rugged mountains, and God assigned to the Moabites a territory beyond the borders of the land of blessings. (Malachi 1:3.) The Jews alone had any peculiar right and privilege to claim that territory in which the Lord had promised them perfect repose. Now, when Judea is laid waste and their foes according to their pleasure not only seize upon everything valuable in the city and the country, but seem to have a special permission to ravage the land at their will, what could the Jews conjecture? The angel therefore meets this objection, and alleviates these feelings of anxiety to which the faithful could be subject from such slaughters. He states that the territories of Edom and Moab, and of the children of Ammon, should be tranquil and safe from those calamities. By the expression, to the beginning of the children of Ammon, he most probably refers to that, retreat whence the Ammonites originated. For doubtless the Romans would not have spared the Ammonites unless they had been concealed among the mountains, for every district in the neighborhood of Judea was subject to the same distress. Those who interpret this passage of Antichrist, suppose safety to be extended only to that portion of the faithful who shall escape from the world and take refuge in the deserts. But there is no reason in this opinion, and it is sufficient to retain the sense already proposed as the genuine one. He afterwards adds, The Romans should send their army into the land, and even in the land of Egypt, they should not escape. The angel without doubt here treats of the numerous victories which the Romans should obtain in a short time. They carried on war with Mithridates for a long period, and then Asia was almost lost; but they soon afterwards began to extend their power, first over all Asia Minor, and then over Syria; Armenia was next added to their sway, and Egypt after that: meanwhile this was but a moderate addition, till at length they ruled over the Persians, and thus their power became formidable. Wherefore this prophet was fulfilled by their extending their power over many regions, and by the land of Egypt becoming a portion of their booty. It follows: