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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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    The tenth and eleventh chapters of Daniel furnish us with a detailed prediction of all the great leading events of Medo-Persian, Grecian, Roman, and finally of the papal history; closing up with the French revolution, the career of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the reign of Jesus Christ, at the resurrection of the just, and the glorification of all his saints, forever and ever. Then follows, from the fourth verse of chapter twelfth, a supplement of directions, questions and answers, which closes with the assurance that Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the 1335 days.PREX2 3.1

    As the prophecy is extraordinarily explicit, and full, I shall enter more fully into an explanation, of the historical detail it presents, than I have in other parts of this work.PREX2 3.2

    And as I can see no way in which it can be materially improved, I shall give Bishop Newton’s exposition of this prophecy entire, or at most with some slight alteration in the phraseology, to verse 14:—PREX2 3.3

    “It is the usual method of the Holy Spirit to make the latter prophecies explanatory of the former; and revelation is (Proverbs 4:18) ‘As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ The four great empires of the world, which were shown to Nebuchadnezzar in the form of a great image, were again more particularly represented to Daniel in the shape of four great wild beasts. In like manner, the memorable events, which were revealed to Daniel in the vision of the ram and he-goat, are here again more clearly and explicitly revealed in his last vision by an angel; so that this latter prophecy may not improperly be said to be a comment and explanation of the former. This revelation was made, (10:1,) ‘in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia,’ when Daniel was very far advanced in years. For the third year of Cyrus was the seventy-third of Daniel’s captivity; and being a youth when he was carried captive, he cannot be supposed now to have been less than ninety; and not long after this, it is reasonable to believe that he died. Old as he was, he set his heart to understand the former revelations which had been made to him, and particularly the vision of the ram and he-goat, as I think we may collect from the sequel: and for this purpose he prayed, and fasted three weeks. His fasting and prayers had the desired effect, for an angel was sent, and said unto him, verse 12: ‘Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God; thy words are heard, and I am come for thy words.’ And whoever would attain the same ends, and excel in divine knowledge, must pursue the same means, and habituate himself to study, temperance, and devotion. The angel declares the design of his coming, verse 14: “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days.” This prophecy therefore contains the fate and fortune of the people of God for many years. As it was said before, verse 1: ‘The thing was true, but the time appointed was long:’ and consequently this prophecy must extend farther than from the third year of Cyrus to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, which was not above three hundred and seventy years. In reality it comprehends many signal events after that time to the end of the world: but the types and figures of the things are not exhibited in this as in most of the other visions, and then expounded by the angel; but the angel relates the whole, and not by way of vision, but only by narration, informs Daniel of that which is noted in the Scripture of truth. Verse 21: ‘I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth;’ as if future events were noted in a book before God: and this prophecy being taken from the Scripture of truth, is therefore deserving of our strictest attention; and we may depend upon the certainty of all the particulars contained therein, if we can but rightly understand and expound them.PREX2 3.4

    “The angel first prophesies of the Persian empire, which was then subsisting. 11:2: ‘Behold there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all; and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.’ There shall stand up yet; that is, after Cyrus, the founder of the empire, who was then reigning. Three kings in Persia; these were Cambyses, the son of Cyrus; Smerdis the Magian, who pretended to be another son of Cyrus, but was really an impostor; and Darius, the son of Hystaspes, who married the daughter of Cyrus. And the fourth shall be far richer than they all. The fourth after Cyrus was Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius; of whom Justin truly remarks: “If you consider this king, you may praise his riches, not the general; of which there was so great abundance in his kingdom, that when rivers were dried up by his army, yet his wealth remained unexhausted.” Pythius, the Lydian, was at that time the richest subject in the world. He generously entertained Xerxes and all his army, and proffered him two thousand talents of silver, and three millions nine hundred ninety-three thousand pieces of gold with the stamp of Darius, towards defraying the charges of the war. But Xerxes was so far from vanting any supplies, that he rewarded Pythius for his liberality, and presented him with seven thousand Darics, to make up his number a complete round sum of four millions. Each of these Darics was worth better than a guinea of our money. And by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all, both subjects and allies, against the realm of Grecia. Xerxes’ expedition into Greece, is one of the most memorable adventures in ancient history. Herodotus affirms that Xerxes, in raising his army, searched every place of the continent, and it was the greatest army that ever was brought into the field; for what nation was there, says he, that Xerxes led not out of Asia into Greece? Herodotus lived in that age, and he recounts, with great exactness, the various nations of which Xerxes’ army was composed, and computes that the whole number of horse and foot, by land and sea, out of Asia and out of Europe, soldiers and followers of the camp, amounted to five millions two hundred eighty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty men. Nor was Xerxes content with stirring; up the east, but was for stirring up the west likewise, and engaged the Curthagenians in his alliance, that while he with his army overwhelmed Greece, they might fall upon the Greek colonies in Sicily and Italy: and the Carthagenians for this purpose not only raised all the forces they could in Africa, but also hired a great number of mercenaries in Spain, and Gaul, and Italy; so that their army consisted of three hundred thousand men., and their fleet of two hundred ships. Thus did Xerxes stir up all against the realm of Grecia: and after him no mention is made of any other king of Persia. ‘It is to be noted,’ saith Jerome, ‘that the prophet having enumerated four kings of the Persians after Cyrus, slippeth over nine, and passeth to Alexander; for the prophetic spirit did not care to follow the order of history, but only to touch upon the most famous events.’ Xerxes was the principal author of the long wars and inveterate hatred between the Grecians and Persians: and as he was the last king of Persia who invaded Greece, he is mentioned last. The Grecians then in their turn invaded Asia; and Xerxes’ expedition being the most memorable on one side, as Alexander’s was on the other, the reigns of these two are not improperly connected together.PREX2 5.1

    “Alexander is thus characterized, verse 3: ‘And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.’ That Alexander was a mighty king and conqueror; that he ruled with great dominion, not only over Greece and the whole Persian empire, but likewise added India to his conquests; and that he did according to his will, none daring, not even his friends, to contradict and oppose him, or if they did, like Clitus and Callisthenes, paying for it with their lives; are facts too well known to require any particular proof or illustration.PREX2 7.1

    “But his kingdom was soon to be broken and divided. Verse 4: ‘And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided towards the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up even for others besides those.’ These particulars were in good measure suggested before; 8:22: ‘He waxed very great, and when he was strong, the great horn was broken: and for it came up four notable ones towards the four winds of heaven. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.’ Alexander died in Babylon, having lived only thirty-two years and eight months, of which he reigned twelve years and eight months. In so short a time did this sun of glory rise and set: and in the space of about fifteen years afterwards his family and posterity became extinct, and chiefly by the means of Cassander. It was soon after Alexander’s death, that his wife Statira, the daughter of Darius, was murdered out of jealousy, by his other wife Roxana; and her body was thrown into a well, and earth cast upon it. His natural brother, Aridæus, who succeeded him in the throne, by the name of Philip, was, together with his wife Eurydice, killed by the command of Olympias, the mother of Alexander, after he had borne the title of king six years and some months; and not long after Olympias herself was slain in revenge by the soldiers of Cassander. Alexander Ægus, the son of Alexander by Roxana, as soon as he was born was joined in the title of king with Philip Aridæus; and when he had attained to the fourteenth year of his age, he and his mother were privately murdered in the castle of Amphipolis, by order of Cassander. In the second year after this, Hercules, the other son of Alexander by Barsine, the widow of Memnon, was also with his mother, privately murdered by Polysperchon, induced thereto by the great offers made to him by Cassander. Such was the miserable end of Alexander’s family; and then the governors made themselves kings, each in his province, from which title they had abstained as long as any just heir of Alexander was surviving. Thus was Alexander’s kingdom broken and divided not to his posterity, but was plucked up even for others beside those: and it was divided toward the four winds of heaven; for four of his captains, as it hath been shown in former dissertations, prevailed over the rest, and Cassander reigned in Greece and the west, Lysimachus in Thrace and the north, Ptolemy in Egypt and the south, and Seleucus in Syria and the east.PREX2 8.1

    “But though the kingdom of Alexander was divided into four principal parts, yet only two of them have a place allotted in this prophecy, Egypt and Syria. These two were by far the greatest and most considerable: and these two at one time, were in a manner the only remaining kingdoms of the four; the kingdom of Macedon having been conquered by Lysimachus and annexed to Thrace; and Lysimachus again having been conquered by Seleucus, and the kingdoms of Macedon and Thrace annexed to Syria. These two likewise continued distinct kingdoms, after the others were swallowed up by the power of the Romans. But there is a more proper and peculiar reason for enlarging upon these two particulars; because Judea, lying between them, was sometimes in the possession of the kings of Egypt, and sometimes of the kings of Syria; and it is the purpose of the holy Scripture, to interweave only so much of foreign affairs, as hath some relation to the Jews: and it is in respect of their situation to Judea, that the kings of Egypt and Syria are called the kings of the south and the north. Verse 5: ‘And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes,’ that is, of Alexander’s princes, ‘and he shall be strong above him.’ There is manifestly either some redundance, or some defect in the Hebrew copy; which should be rendered as it is by the Seventy, And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of His princes shall be strong above him: or perhaps may be better rendered thus, And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and the king of the north shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. The king of the south was indeed very strong; for Ptolemy had annexed Cyprus, Phoenicia, Caria, and many islands, and cities, and regions to Egypt, as Jerome here commemorates out of the ancients. He had likewise enlarged the bounds of his empire, as Justin testifies, by the acquisition of Cyrene, and was now become so great, that he was in a condition not so much to fear, as to be feared by his enemies. But still the king of the north, or Seleucus Nicator, was strong above him; for having annexed, as we have seen, the kingdoms of Macedon and Thrace to the crown of Syria, he was become master of three parts out of four of Alexander’s dominions. All historians agree in representing him not only as the longest liver of Alexander’s successors, but likewise as the conqueror of the conquerors. Appian in particular enumerates the nations which he subdued, and the cities which he built, and affirms, that after Alexander he possessed the largest part of Asia; for all was subject to him from Phrygia up to the river Indus, and beyond it; and afterwards he denominates him expressly ‘the greatest king of Alexander.’PREX2 9.1

    “Seleucus Nicator, having reigned seven months after the death of Lysimachus, over the kingdoms of Macedon, Thrace, and Syria, was basely murdered; and to him succeeded in the throne of Syria, his son, Antiochus Soter, and to Antiochus Soter succeeded his son, Antiochus Theus. At the same time Ptolemy Philadelphus reigned in Egypt after his father, the first Ptolemy, the son of Lagus. There were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and Syria. There were so; particularly between Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theus, the third king of Syria. Verse 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 an 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 begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.’ And in the end of years; that is, after several years, for these wars lasted long; Jerome reports out of the ancients, ‘and Antiochus Theus fought against Ptolemy Philadelphus with all the forces of Babylon and the east.’ They shall join themselves together, or shall associate themselves: at length they agreed to make peace upon condition that Antiochus Theus should put away his former wife Laodice and her two sons, and should marry Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus. For the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make rights, or an agreement: and accordingly, Ptolemy Philadelphus brought his daughter to Antiochus Theus, and with her an immense treasure, so that he received the appellation of the dowry-giver. But she shall not retain the power of the arm, that is, her interest and power with Antiochus; for after some time, in a fit of love, he brought back his former wife, Laodice, with her children, to court again. Neither shall he stand, nor his arm, or his seed; for Laodice, fearing the fickle temper of her husband, lest he should recall Berenice, caused him to be poisoned; and neither did his seed by Berenice succeed him in the kingdom, but Laodice contrived and managed matters so as to fix her elder son, Seleucus Callinicus, on the throne of his ancestors. But she shall be given up; for Laodice, not content with poisoning her husband, caused also Berenice to be murdered. And they that brought her; for her Egyptian women and attendants, endeavoring to defend her, were many of them slain with her. And he that begat her, or rather as it is in the margin, he whom she brought forth; for the son was murdered, as well as the mother, by order of Laodice. And he that strengthened her in these times; her husband, Antiochus, as Jerome conceives; or those who took her part and defended her; or rather her father, who died a little before, and was so very fond of her, that he took care continually to send her fresh supplies of the water of the Nile, thinking it better for her to drink of that than of any other river, as Polybius relates.PREX2 11.1

    “But such wickedness should not pass unpunished and unrevenged. Verses 7, 8, 9: ‘But out of a branch of her root shall one stand up in his estate’, or rather as it is translated in the vulgar Latin, ‘out of a branch of her root shall stand up a plant; and he shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress,’ or the fenced cities, ‘of the king of the north, and shall deal’, shall act, ‘against them, and shall prevail; and shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes,’ or rather ‘their gods, with their molten images, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north,’ or more literally, he shall continue some years after the king of the north. ‘So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.’ This branch which sprung out of the same root with Berenice, was Ptolemy Euergetes, her brother, who no sooner succeeded his father, Ptolemy Philadelphus, in the kingdom, than he came with a great army, and entered into the provinces of the king of the north, that is, of Seleucus Callinicus, who with his mother, Laodice, reigned in Syria: and he acted against them, and prevailed so far, that he took Syria and Cilicia, and the upper parts beyond the Euphrates, and almost all Asia. And when he had heard that a sedition was raised in Egypt, he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus, and took forty thousand talents of silver and precious vessels, and images of the gods, two thousand and five hundred: among which were also those which Cambyses, after he had taken Egypt, had carried into Persia. And for thus restoring their gods, after many years, the Egyptians, who were a nation much addicted to idolatry, complimented him with the title of Euergetes, or the benefactor. This is Jerome’s account, extracted from ancient historians; but there are authors still extant, who confirm several of the same particulars. Appian informs us, that Laodice having killed Antiochus, and after him both Berenice and her child, Ptolemy, the son of Philadelphus, to revenge these murders, invaded Syria, slew Laodice, and proceeded as far as to Babylon. From Polybius, we learn that Ptolemy, surnamed Euergetes, being greatly incensed at the cruel treatment of his sister, Berenice, marched with an army into Syria, and took the city of Seleucia, which was kept for some years afterwards by the garrisons of the kings of Egypt. Thus did he enter into the fortress of the king of the north. Polyænus affirms that Ptolemy made himself master of all the country from mount Taurus, as far as to India, without war or battle; but he ascribes it, by mistake, to the father instead of the son. Justin asserts, that if Ptolemy had not been recalled, by a domestic sedition, into Egypt, he would have possessed the whole kingdom of Seleucus. So the king of the south came into the kingdom of the north, and then, returned into his own land. He likewise continued more years than the king of the north; for Seleucus Callinicus died in exile, of a fall from his horse, and Ptolemy Euergetes survived him about four or five years.PREX2 13.1

    “But his sons, that is, the sons of the king of the north, should endeavor to vindicate and avenge the cause of their father and their country. Verse 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.’ The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus and Antiochus; the elder of whom, Seleucus, succeeded him in the throne, and to distinguish him from others of the same name, he was denominated Ceraunus, or the thunderer. Where, by the way, one cannot help observing the ridiculous vanity of princes in assuming or receiving such pompous appellations without deserving them. Seleucus, the father, was surnamed Callinicus, or the famous conqueror, though he was so far from gaining any considerable victory, that he was shamefully beaten by the Egyptians in the west, and was made a prisoner by the Parthians in the east. In like manner Seleucus, the son, was called Ceraunus, or the thunderer, though he was so far from performing anything worthy of the name, that he was a poor and weak prince in all respects, in mind and body and estate. Great and splendid titles, when improperly applied, are rather a satire and insult upon the persons, than any honor or commendation. Seleucus Ceraunus was indeed stirred up, and assembled a multitude of great forces, in order to recover his father’s dominions: but being destitute of money, and unable to keep his army in obedience, he was poisoned by two of his generals, after an inglorious reign of two or three years. Upon his decease, his brother, Antiochus Magnus was proclaimed king, who was more deserving of the title of great, than Seleucus was of that of the thunderer. The prophet’s expression is very remarkable, that his sons should be stirred up and assemble a multitude of great forces; but then the number is changed, and only one should certainly come, and overflow, and pass through. Accordingly, Antiochus came with a great army, retook Seleucia, and, by the means of Theodotus the Ætolian, recovered Syria, making himself master of some places by treaty, and of others by force of arms. Then, after a truce, wherein both sides treated of peace hut prepared for war, Antiochus returned, and overcame in battle Nicolaus, the Egyptian general, and had thoughts of invading Egypt itself.PREX2 15.1

    The king of Egypt at that time was Ptolemy Philopater, who was advanced to the crown upon the death of his father Euergetes not long after Antiochus Magnus succeeded his brother in the throne of Syria. This Ptolemy was a most luxurious and vicious prince, but was roused at length by the near approach of danger. Verse 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.’ Ptolemy Philopater was, no doubt, moved with choler for the losses which he had sustained, and for the revolt of Theodorus and others. And he came forth; he marched out of Egypt with a numerous army to oppose the enemy, and encamped not far from Raphia, which is the nearest town to Egypt from Rhonocorura. And there he fought with him, even with the king of the north; for thither likewise came Antiochus with his army, and a memorable battle was fought by the two kings. And he, the king of the north, set forth a great multitude. Polybius hath recited the various nations of which Antiochus’s army was composed, and altogether it amounted to sixty-two thousand foot, six thousand horse, and one hundred and two elephants. But yet the multitude was given into his hand, that is, into the hand of the king of the south; for Ptolemy obtained a complete victory; and of Antiochus’s army, there were slain, not much fewer than ten thousand foot, more than three thousand horse, and above four thousand men were taken prisoners: whereas of Ptolemy’s, there were killed only fifteen hundred foot and seven hundred horse. Upon this defeat, Raphia and the neighboring towns contended who should be most forward to submit to the conqueror; and Antiochus was forced to retreat with his shattered army to Antioch, and from thence sent ambassadors to solicit a peace.PREX2 16.1

    Ptolemy Philopater was more fortunate in gaining a victory, than prudent in knowing how to make a proper advantage of it. Verse 12: ‘And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up, and he shall cast down many ten thousands; but he shall not be strengthened by it.’ If Ptolemy had pursued the blow that he had given, it is reasonably presumed that he might have deprived Antiochus of his kingdom: but his heart was lifted up by his success. Being delivered from his fears, he now more freely indulged his lusts; and after a few menaces and complaints, he granted peace to Antiochus, that he might be no more interrupted in the gratification of his appetites and passions. He had before murdered his father, and his mother, and his brother; and now he killed his wife, who was also his sister, and gave himself up entirely to the management of Agathoclea, his harlot, and her brother, Agathocles, who was his Catamite, and their mother, Œnanthe, who was his bawd. And so, forgetful of all the greatness of his name and majesty, he consumed his days in feasting, and his nights in lewdness; and became not only the spectator, but the master and leader of all wickedness. And what availed it to have conquered his enemies, when he was thus overcome by his vices? He was so far from being strengthened by it, that even his own subjects, offended at his inglorious, peace, and more inglorious life, rebelled against him. But the prophet in this passage alluded more particularly to the case of his own countrymen. After the retreat of Antiochus, Ptolemy visited the cities of Cœle-Syria and Palestine, which had submitted to him; and among others in his progress, he came to Jerusalem. He there offered sacrifices, and was desirous of entering into the holy of holies, contrary to the custom and religion of the place, being, as the writer of the third book of Maccabees says, greatly lifted up by pride and confidence. His curiosity was restrained with great difficulty, and he departed with heavy displeasure against the whole nation of the Jews. At his return therefore to Alexandria, he began a cruel persecution upon the Jewish inhabitants of that city, who had resided there from the time of Alexander, and enjoyed the privileges of the most favored citizens. And he cast down many ten thousand; for it appears from Eusebius, that about this time forty thousand Jews were slain, or sixty thousand as they are reckoned in Jerome’s Latin interpretation. No king could be strengthened by the loss of such a number of useful subjects. The loss of so many Jews, and the rebellion of the Egyptians, added to the male-administration of the state, must certainly very much weaken, and almost totally ruin the kingdom.PREX2 17.1

    “Peace was to continue between the two crowns of Egypt and Syria for some years, and then the king of the north should attempt another invasion. Verse 13: ‘For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come, after certain years,’ (at the end of times, that is, years,) ‘with a great army, and with much riches.’ The following events, you see, were not to take place till after certain years; and the peace continued between the two crowns about fourteen years. In that time Ptolemy Philopater died of intemperance and debauchery, and was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy Epiphanes, a child of four or five years old; Antiochus; too, having taken and slain the rebel Achæus, and having also reduced and settled the eastern parts in their obedience, was at leisure to prosecute any enterprise, and could not let slip so favorable an opportunity of extending his dominions. He had acquired great riches, and collected many forces in his eastern expedition: so that he was enabled to set forth a greater multitude than the former, and he doubted not to have an easy victory over the infant king. Polybius expressly informs us, that from the king of Bactria and from the king of India he received so many elephants as made up his number one hundred and fifty, besides provisions and riches. Jerome, out of ancient authors, affirms that he gathered together an incredible army out of the countries beyond Babylon: and contrary to the league, he marched with this army, Ptolemy Philopater being dead, against his son, who was then four years old, and was called Ptolemy Epiphanes, or the illustrious. Justin also says, that Ptolemy Philopater, king of Egypt, being dead, in contempt of the childhood of his son, who, being left heir to the kingdom, was a prey even to his domestics, Antiochus, king of Syria, resolved to take possession of Egypt, as if the thing were as easily executed as resolved.PREX2 19.1

    But Antiochus was not the only one who rose up against young Ptolemy, Others also confederated with him. Verse 14: ‘And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision, but they shall fall.’ Agathocles was in possession of the young king’s person; and he was so dissolute and proud in the exercise of his power, that the provinces which before were subject to Egypt, rebelled, and Egypt itself was disturbed by seditions; and the people of Alexandria rose up against Agathocles, and caused him, and his sister, and mother, and their associates to be put to death. Philip, too, the king of Macedon, entered into a league with Antiochus, to divide Ptolemy’s dominions between them, and each to take the parts which lay nearest and most convenient to him. And this is the meaning, as Jerome concludes, of the prophet’s saying, that many shall rise up together against the king of the south.”—[Newton’s Dissertations, pp. 221-234.]PREX2 20.1

    “The robbers of thy people,“—“It is literally,” says Bp. Newton, “the breakers of thy people”—were the Romans, who, at the time here spoken of, interposed in the behalf of the infant king of Egypt, to protect him from the ruin proposed by Antiochus and Philip. As this was one of the first important interferences of the Romans with the affairs of Syria and Egypt, and formed, so to speak, the stepping-stone to their future conquests and dominion, it will be proper to give the account Rollin has furnished us of it:—PREX2 21.1

    “Antiochus, king of Syria, and Philip, king of Macedonia, during the reign of Ptolemy Philopater, had discovered the strongest zeal for the interest of that monarch, and were ready to assist him on all occasions. Yet, no sooner was he dead, leaving behind him an infant, whom the laws of humanity and justice enjoined them not to disturb in the possession of his father’s kingdom, than they immediately joined in a criminal alliance, and excited each other to shake off the lawful heir, and divide his dominions between them. Philip was to have Caria, Libya, Cyrenaica, and Egypt; and Antiochus all the rest. With this view the latter entered Cœle-Syria and Palestine; and, in less than two campaigns, made an entire conquest of those two provinces, with all their cities and dependencies. Their guilt, says Polybius, would not have been quite so glaring, had they, like tyrants, endeavored to gloss over their crimes with some specious pretence; but so far from doing this, their injustice and cruelty were so barefaced, that to them was applied what is generally said of fishes, that the larger ones, though of the same species, prey on the lesser. One would be tempted, continues the same author, at seeing the most sacred laws of society so openly violated, to accuse Providence of being indifferent and insensible to most horrid crimes; but it fully justified his conduct, by punishing those two kings according to their deserts; and made such an example of them, as ought, in all succeeding ages, to deter others from following their conduct. For, whilst they are meditating to dispossess a weak and helpless infant of his kingdom, by piecemeal, Providence raised up the Romans against them, who entirely subverted the kingdoms of Philip and Antiochus, and reduced their successors to almost as great calamities as those with which they intended to crush the infant king.”—[Rollin, vol. VI., p. 232.]PREX2 21.2

    “Aristomines was appointed by the Romans, guardian of the young monarch, and prime minister of Egypt.”—[Ibid., p. 237.]PREX2 22.1

    “To establish the vision.” The Romans being one of the principal subjects of Daniel’s prophecy, their first interference with the affairs of these kingdoms is here noted, as the first point of their prophetic history; and as being the establishment or demonstration of the truth of the vision which predicted the existence of that power.PREX2 22.2

    “But they shall fall.” The “many” who shall stand up against the king of the south, shall fall by the interposition of the Romans in behalf of Egypt. For Rome from that time continued to encroach on those Grecian kingdoms, until they fell, and left Rome an universal monarchy.PREX2 23.1

    Verse 15: “So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.”PREX2 23.2

    “Antiochus, being willing to recover Judea, and the cities of Cœle-Syria and Palestine, which Scopas had taken, came again into those parts. Scopas was sent again to oppose him, and Antiochus fought with him near the sources of the river Jordan, destroyed a great part of his army, and pursued him to Sidon, where he shut him up with ten thousand men, and closely besieged him. Three famous generals were sent from Egypt to raise the siege; but they could not succeed, and at length Scopas was forced by famine to surrender, upon conditions of having life only granted to him and his men; they were obliged to lay down their arms, and were sent away stript and naked. This event, I conceive, was principally intended by his casting up a mount, and taking the city of munition; for Sidon was an exceeding strong city in its situation and fortifications. But if we take the phrase more generally, as our translators understand it, Antiochus, after the success of this battle and of this siege, reduced other countries and took other fenced cities, which are mentioned by Polybius, and recited by Jerome out of the Greek and Roman historians. The arms of the south could not withstand him, neither his chosen people, neither Scopas, nor the other great generals, nor the choicest troops who were sent against him.”PREX2 23.3

    Verse 16: “But he that cometh against him, shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him; and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.”PREX2 24.1

    Although Egypt had no power to resist Antiochus, the king of the north, yet “he that cometh against him,” and who is to be the instrument of the overthrow of Syria, the Romans, “shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him.” He shall conquer Syria, and add it to his own dominions. This was done B. C.65, when “Pompey,” a Roman general, “deprived Antiochus Asiaticus of his dominions, and reduced Syria into a Roman province.”—[Rollin’s Chronology.]PREX2 24.2

    “And he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.” On Pompey’s return from his expedition against Mithridates, into Syria, he took cognizance of the quarrel between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, two competitors for the crown of Judea. He sent for them to meet him in Syria; they went, and also a great number of the Jews, who represented that they ought not to be ruled either by one or the other.PREX2 24.3

    “They represented that they ought not to be ruled by kings; that they had long been accustomed to obey only the high-priest, who, without any other title, administered justice according to the laws and constitutions transmitted down to them from their forefathers: that the two brothers were indeed of the sacerdotal line; but that they had changed the form of the government for a new one, which would enslave them, if not remedied.PREX2 24.4

    “Hyrcanus complained that Aristobulus had unjustly deprived him of his birthright, by usurping everything, and leaving him only a small estate for his subsistence.PREX2 25.1

    “Pompey heard enough to discern that the conduct of Aristobulus was violent and unjust: but he would not, however, pronounce immediately upon it, lest Aristobulus, out of resentment, should oppose his designs against Arabia, which he had much at heart: he therefore politely dismissed the two brothers; and told them, that at his return from reducing Aretas and his Arabians, he should pass through Judea, and that he would then regulate their affairs, and settle everything.PREX2 25.2

    “Aristobulus, who fully penetrated Pompey’s sentiments, set out suddenly for Damascus, without paying him the least instance of respect, returned into Judea, armed his subjects and prepared for a vigorous defence. By this conduct, he made Pompey his mortal enemy.PREX2 25.3

    * * * * * * * *PREX2 25.4

    “Aristobulus, incensed at the violence which had been offered him, as soon as he was released, made all haste to Jerusalem, and prepared everything for the war. His resolutions to keep the crown made him the sport of two different passions, hope and fear. When he saw the least appearance that Pompey would decide in his favor, he made use of all the arts of complaisance to incline him to it. When, on the contrary, he had the least reason to suspect that he would decide against him, he observed a directly opposite conduct. This was the cause of the contrariety visible in the different steps he took throughout this affair.PREX2 25.5

    “Pompey followed him close. The first place where he encamped, in his way to Jerusalem, was Jericho; there he received the news of Mithridates’ death.PREX2 26.1

    “He continued his march towards Jerusalem. When he approached, Aristobuius, who began to repent of what he had done, came out to meet him, and endeavored to bring him to an accommodation, by promising an entire submission, and a great sum of money to prevent the war. Pompey accepted his offers, and sent Gabinius, at the head of a detachment, to receive the money: but when that lieutenant-general arrived at Jerusalem, he found the gates shut against him; and, instead of receiving the money, he was told from the top of the walls, that the city would not stand to the agreement. Pompey thereupon, not being willing that they should deceive him with impunity, ordered Aristobulus, whom he had kept with him, to be put in irons, and advanced with his whole army against Jerusalem. The city was extremely strong by its situntion and the works which had been made; and had it not been for the dissensions that prevailed within it, was capable of making a long defence.PREX2 26.2

    “Aristobulus’s party was for defending the place; especially when they saw that Pompey kept their king prisoner. But the adherents of Hyrcanus were determined to open the gates to that general. And as the latter were much the greater number, the other party retired to the mountain of the temple, to defend it, and caused the bridges of the ditch and valley which surrounded it to be broken down. Pompey, to whom the city immediately opened its gates, resolved to besiege the temple. The place held out three whole months, and would have done so three more, and perhaps obliged the Romans to abandon their enterprise, but for the superstitious rigor with which the besieged observed the sabbath. They believed, indeed, that they might defend themselves when attacked, but not that they might prevent the works of the enemy or make any for themselves. The Romans knew how to take advantage of this inaction upon the sabbath-days. They did not attack the Jews upon them, but filled up the fosses, made their approaches, and fixed their engines without opposition. They threw down at length a great tower, which carried along with it so great a part of the wall, that the breach was large enough for an assault. The place was carried sword in hand, and a terrible slaughter ensued, in which more than 12,000 persons were killed.PREX2 26.3

    “During the whole tumult, the cries, and disorder of this slaughter, history observes that the priests, who were at that time employed in divine service, continued it with surprising calmness, notwithstanding the rage of their enemies, and their grief to see their friends and relations massacred before their eyes. Many of them saw their own blood mingle with that of the sacrifices they were offering, and the sword of the enemy make themselves the victims of their duty; happy and worthy of being envied, if they had been as faithful to the spirit as the letter of it!PREX2 27.1

    “Pompey, with many of his superior officers, entered the temple, and not only into the sanctuary, but into the holy of holies, into which, by the law, the high-priest alone was permitted to enter once a year, upon the solemn day of expiation. This was what most keenly afflicted the Jews, and enraged that people so bitterly against the Romans.”—Rollin, col. VII, pp. 288-291.PREX2 28.1

    This for the first time placed Jerusalem, by conquest, in the hands of that power who “consumed” the “glorious land.” For Pompey, having put an end to the war, demolished the walls of Jerusalem, and dismembered several cities from the kingdom of Judea and added them to Syria, and imposed tribute on the Jews.PREX2 28.2

    Verse 17: “He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her; but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.”PREX2 28.3

    Having previously conquered Macedon and Thrace, and now also Syria and Judea, only Egypt remained of all the empire of Alexander, before the Romans would be left in possession of universal empire.PREX2 28.4

    “To enter with the strength of his whole kingdom;” “or rather,” says Bp. Newton, “he shall also set his face to enter by force, the whole kingdom.” The whole kingdom of Alexander, which the possession of Egypt would give him; that being ail that remained unconquered by Rome.PREX2 28.5

    After the death of Ptolemy Auletes, which happened B. C. 51, having left his crown and kingdom to his eldest son and daughter, and ordered by his will that they should marry together, and govern jointly; and because they were both young, he left them under the guardianship of the Romans, Pompey, the Roman general, was appointed by the people the young king’s guardian.PREX2 29.1

    Not long after, a quarrel having broken out between Julias Cæsar and Pompey, the great battle of Pharsalia was fought between the two generals. Cæsar was victorious, and Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was basely murdered by the order of Piolemy, whose guardian he had been appointed. Cæsar followed him into Egypt, and found him dead. He went to Egypt with a small army, 800 horse and 3200 foot; but confiding in his reputation and success at Pharsalia, he made no scruple of landing at Alexandria with what few men he had. But Egypt was in commotion from intestine wars, Ptolemy and Cleopatra having fallen, out, and Cleopatra was deprived of her share in the government. Cæsar took cognizance of the quarrel, and undertook its settlement. The troubles of Egypt every day increasing, Cæsar found his small number of troops to be insufficient; and being unable to leave Egypt, on account of the north winds which blew at that season, sent immediately for all the troops he had in Asia, to march thither as soon as possible. The Egyptians were finally incensed and took arms against him, by the haughtiness with which he ordered both Ptolemy and Cleopatra to appear before him, for the settlement of their difficulty. He decreed that both should disband their armies and appear before him for an adjudication of the difficulty, and submit to his sentence. This was an affront to Egypt, as being an interference with the royal dignity of Egypt, an independent kingdom. But Cæsar replied that he only acted by virtue of their father, Auletes, who had, by his will, put his children under the guardianship of the senate and people of Rome, the whole authority of which was vested in his person, as consul; that, as guardian, he had a right to arbitrate between them.PREX2 29.2

    The affair was brought before him, and advocates appointed to plead the cause.PREX2 30.1

    “But Cleopatra, who knew Cæsar’s foible, believed that her presence would be more persuasive than any advocate she could employ with her judge. She caused him to be told, that she perceived that those whom she employed in her behalf betrayed her, and demanded his permission to appear in person. Plutarch says it was Cæsar him self who pressed her to come and plead her cause.PREX2 30.2

    “That princess took nobody with her, of all her friends, but Apollodorus the Siclian; got into a little boat, and arrived at the bottom of the walls of the citadel of Alexandria, when it was quite dark night. Finding that there were no means of entering without being known, she thought of this stratagem. She laid herself at length in the midst of a bundle of clothes. Apollodorus wrapped it up in a cloth, tied up with a thong, and in that manner carried it through the gate of the citadel to Cæsar’s apartment, who was far from being displeased with the stratagem. The first sight of so beautiful a person, had all the effect upon him she had desired.”—[Rollin, vol. VIII., pp. 118, 119.]PREX2 30.3

    Being thus charmed with Cleopatra, he at length decreed, as guardian and abitrator, that Ptolemy and Cleopatra should reign jointly, according to the intent of the will. Pothinus, the chief minister of state, and who had been the principal agent in expelling Cleopatra from the throne, fearing the result of her restoration, began at once to excite jealousy in the public mind, and renewed hostilities against Cæsar; alleging that the Romans had only placed the brother and sister on the throne through fear of the populace, but that the true design was, as soon as it could be done, to set Cleopatra alone on the throne. Achillas, at the head of 20,000 men, advanced to drive Cæsar out of Alexandria. But Cæsar so disposed his small body of men in the streets and avenues, that he found no difficulty in resisting the attack. The Egyptians then attempted to take his fleet; but he defeated them by burning theirs, and possessing himself of the tower of Pharos and garrisoning it. By this conflagration of the fleet, the vessels driving so near the quay, some of the houses took fire, and the famous Alexandrian library was burned, containing near 400,000 volumes.PREX2 31.1

    Cæsar, seeing so dangerous a war on his hands, sent into all the neighboring countries for help. A large fleet came from Asia Minor, an army under Mithridates, which had been raised by him in Syria and Cilicia; Antipater, the Idumean, joined him with 3000 Jews, [upright ones] and had engaged several neighboring cities to send him help. The Jews, who had possession of the passes into Egypt, gave them up for the passage of the army without interruption, without which the whole plan must have miscarried. The arrival of this army decided the contest. A battle was fought near the Nile, which proved decisive; the victory turning in favor of Cæsar. Ptolemy, attempting to escape in an open boat, was drowned in the Nile. Alexandria and all Egypt submitted to the victor.PREX2 31.2

    And upright ones with him.” The Jews, without whose assistance Cæsar must have fallen; but by whose assistance, Egypt fell into his hands, B. C. 47.PREX2 32.1

    He shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her.” Cleopatra, after being corrupted by Cæsar, was placed alone, virtually, on the throne of Egypt; as the creature of Cæsar.PREX2 32.2

    “Cæsar returned to Alexandria about the middle of our January; and not finding any further opposition to his orders, gave the crown of Egypt to Cleopatra, in conjunction with Ptolemy her other brother. This was, in effect, giving it to Cleopatra alone; for that young prince was only eleven years old. The passion which Cæsar had conceived for that princess, was properly the sole cause of his embarking in so dangerous a war. He had by her one son, called Cæsarion, whom Augustus caused to be put to death when he became master of Alexandria. His affection for Cleopatra kept him much longer in Egypt than his affairs required. For though everything was settled in that kingdom by the end of January, he did not leave it till the end of April, according to Appian, who says he stayed there nine months. Now he had arrived there only about the end of July the year before.PREX2 32.3

    “Cæsar passed whole nights in feasting with Cleopatra. Having embarked with her upon the Nile, he carried her through the whole country with a numerous fleet, and would have penetrated into Ethiopia, if his army had not refused to follow him. He had resolved to bring her to Rome, and to marry her; and intended to have caused a law to pass in the assembly of the people, by which the citizens of Rome should be permitted to marry such and as many wives as they thought fit. Helvius Cinna, the tribune of the people, declared, after his death, that he had prepared a harangue, in order to propose that law to the people, not being able to refuse his assistance upon the earnest solicitation of Cæsar.”—[Rollin, vol. VIII., p. 124.]PREX2 33.1

    She shall not stand, neither be for him.” She afterwards devoted herself to Antony, the enemy of Augustus Cæsar, and lent her whole power against Rome, as we shall see hereafter.PREX2 33.2

    Verse 18: “After this shall he turn his face unto the isles and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.”PREX2 33.3

    “What at length made him quit Egypt, was the war with Pharnaces, king of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and son of Mithridates, the last king of Pontus. He fought a great battle with him near the city of Zela, defeated his whole army, and drove him out of the kingdom of Pontus. To denote the rapidity of his conquest, in writing to one of his friends, he made use of only these three words, Veni, vedi, vici; that is to say, I came, I saw, I conquered.”—[Rollin, vol. VIII., p. 125.]PREX2 33.4

    Verse 19: “Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble, and fall, and not be found.”PREX2 34.1

    After the conquest of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, he returned to Rome, the fort of his own land, where, on his being elected by the senate to imperial power, he was murdered in the senate chamber, by Brutus and Cassius, with other conspirators. He stumbled and fell, and was not found.PREX2 34.2

    Verse 20: “Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom; but within those days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.”PREX2 34.3

    The successor of Julius Cæsar, was Augustus Cæsar. He was nephew of Julius Cæsar; and had been ADOPTED by him as his successor. On hearing of his uncle’s death, at the age of 19 he placed himself at the head of an army and marched to Rome; combining with Mark Antony and Lepidus, to avenge the death of Cæsar, they formed what is called the Triumvirate government. He publicly announced his adoption by Julius, and took his uncle’s name, to which he added that of Octavianus. He soon found himself firmly established in the empire, and the senate gave him the title of Augustus.—[See Rollin’s Hist., and Durioage’s Cyclopedia of History, article Augustus.]PREX2 34.4

    At the time of the birth of Christ, there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.—[Luke 2:1. Josephus, Ant, book 17, chap. 5, sec. 2.]PREX2 34.5

    In the glory of the kingdom.” The reign of Augustus was in the height of the glory of the Roman empire, when they had gained universal ascendancy, and the earth was at peace and acknowledged their power, so that the temple of Janus was closed, signifying that universal peace prevailed. Rome never saw a brighter hour. It was emphatically “the glory of the kingdom.” He died peaceably in his bed. Two conspiracies were formed against him, which miscarried.PREX2 35.1

    Verse 21: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”PREX2 35.2

    The successor of Augustus Cæsar was Tiberius Cæsar. He was raised, through the influence of his mother over Augustus, at an early age, to the command of an expedition against some revolted Alpine tribes, in which he displayed much ability; in consequence of which he was raised to the consulate in his twenty-eighth year. Circumstances afterwards occurred which induced him to retire from public life to the isle of Rhodes. “At Caius’s permission,” says Usher, “Tiberius was recalled” from his exile in Rhodes, “but on condition that he should bear no office in the common-wealth. After the death of Lucius, Augustus would have ADOPTED Tiberius; but he vehemently refused it, fearing the envy of Caius.” “They shall not give him the honor of the kingdom.” How strikingly is this fact illustrated above. The emperor “would have adopted him, but he vehemently refused it.” “But he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by FLATTERIES.” This will be illustrated by an extract from the Encyclopedia Americana, article Tiberius:—PREX2 35.3

    “During the remainder of the life of Augustus, he [Tiberius] behaved with great prudence and ability, concluding a war with the Germans in such a manner as to merit a triumph. After the defeat of Varus and his legions he was sent to check the progress of the victorious Germans, and acted in that war with equal spirit and prudence. On the death of Augustus, he succeeded, without opposition, to the sovereignty of the empire; which, however, with his characteristic dissimulation, he affected to decline, until repeatedly solicited by the servile senate.”PREX2 36.1

    Such is the prophecy, and such the history; he came in peaceably, and obtained the kingdom by dissimulation on his part, and flattery on the part of the servile senate.PREX2 36.2

    “A vile person.” The following sketch, also from the Encyclopedia Americana, will show the vileness of his character:—PREX2 36.3

    “Tacitus records the events of this reign, including the suspicious death of Germanicus, the detestable administration of Sejanus, the poisoning of Drusus, with all the extraordinary mixture of tyranny with occasional wisdom and good sense, which distinguished the conduct of Tiberius, until his infamous and dissolute retirement (A. D. 26) to the isle of Capreæ, in the bay of Naples, never to return to Rome. On the death of Livia, in the year 29, the only restraint upon his actions, and those of the detestable Sejanus, was removed, and the destruction of the widow and family of Germanicus followed. At length the infamous favorite extending his views to the empire itself, Tiberius, informed of his machinations, prepared to encounter him with his favorite weapon, dissimulation. Although fully resolved upon his destruction, he accumulated honors upon him, declared him his partner in the consulate, and, after long playing with his credulity, and that of the senate, who thought him in greater favor than ever, he artfully prepared for his arrest. Sejanus fell deservedly and unpitied; but many innocent persons shared in his destruction, in consequence of the suspicion and cruelty of Tiberius, which now exceeded all limits. The remainder of the reign of this tyrant is little more than a disgusting narrative of servility on the one hand, and of despotic ferocity on the other. That he himself endured as much misery as he inflicted, is evident from the following commencement of one of his letters to the senate: ‘What I shall write to you, conscript fathers, or what I shall not write, or why I should write at all, may the gods and goddesses plague me more than I feel daily that they are doing, if I can tell.’ What mental torture, observes Tacitus, in reference to this passage, which could extort such a confession!”PREX2 36.4

    Josephus says of him, (Ant., book 18, chap. 6, sec. 10,) that “this Tiberius had brought a vast number of miseries on the best families of the Romans, since he was easily inflamed with passion in all cases, and was of such a temper as rendered his anger irrevocable, until he had executed it, although he had taken hatred against men without reason.”PREX2 37.1

    “Seneca remarks concerning Tiberius, that he never was intoxicated but once in his life; for he continued in a state of perpetual intoxication from free from the law of sin and death. And while his faith continues in exercise, by which he is united to Christ, he has victory over all sin and does not commit sin. Tempted we always shall be; a war with nature we always shall have; but the victory, through the power of an indwelling Christ, is certain. The love of God dwells in the believer, because the Holy Ghost dwells there; and is a spirit of love. Where God dwells, love dwells; “for God is love.” The love of God dwelling in us, it will be the moving motive power of all our acts. An action flowing from love may be erroneous, wrong in itself, but it cannot be imputed to the believer as sin, nor can he be condemned for that ignorant violation of God’s law. He rests, not in his own obedience for justification, but in Christ alone; and through him has a continual justification, and the witness abiding of his sonship. God is both faithful and just to cleanse from all unrighteousness all whom he forgives. We cannot obtain forgiveness until we confess our sins; when we do that, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is only unbelief which says he is not thus faithful.PREX2 37.2

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