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The Great Empires of Prophecy, from Babylon to the Fall of Rome

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    Lysimachus Takes Macedonia—The Two Divisions—The Kingdom of Pergamus—“The King’s Daughter of the South”—Berenice’s Hair—The Battle of Gaza—Ptolemy and the Jews—The Romans Appear

    THOUGH the dominion of the world had been amicably divided among the four great commanders,—Seleucus, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Cassander,—neither the spirit nor the practise of war was in any wise diminished. They all warred as long as they lived; and when they were dead, their war spirit as well as their dominions was inherited by those who succeeded them.GEP 200.1

    2. Seleucus built for his capital, Antioch on the Orontes in Syria, about twenty miles from the sea. It soon became of so great note as to acquire the title “Queen of the East,” and will necessarily be often mentioned in the course of the coming history. He broke down Antigonia, which had been the capital of Antigonus, farther up the river Orontes, and removed all the inhabitants to his new city of Antioch.GEP 200.2

    3. Lysimachus, to strengthen himself, made a close alliance with Ptolemy, and cemented it by marrying Ptolemy’s daughter Arsinoe. This offended Seleucus, who, therefore, forthwith formed an alliance with Demetrius, and married his daughter Stratonice the niece of Cassander (299 B. C.). When Demetrius went to Antioch to take his daughter to Seleucus, he made a descent upon Cilicia and took possession of the whole province. After the battle of Ipsus, Demetrius had sailed with his fleet to Ephesus, and shortly afterward to Greece; but Athens refused to receive him. He then made a descent on the dominion of Lysimachus, and obtained sufficient booty to enable him to pay each of his troops a handsome sum, and so to re-encourage them. Next, he also formed a treaty with Ptolemy, and received in marriage Ptolemy’s daughter Ptolemais, and received with her the gift of the island of Cyprus, and the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Having already made the conquest of Cilicia, this great gift which Ptolemy now made to him elevated him once more to the position of a power in the world.GEP 200.3

    4. Cassander died in 298 B. C., and was succeeded by his son Philip, who himself soon died, leaving two brothers, Antipater and Alexander, to contend for the kingdom. Antipater, the elder, murdered his mother because she favored his brother for the crown. Alexander called to his aid Pyrrhus king of Epirus, and Demetrius, who had again been deprived of all his eastern possessions, and was in Greece besieging its cities. Pyrrhus established Alexander in the kingship, reconciled Antipater, and returned to his own dominion before Demetrius arrived in Macedonia (294 B. C.). When Demetrius did arrive, Alexander informed him that his services were not now needed. However, Demetrius lingered, and before long compassed the death of Alexander. Then, as the Macedonians would not have Antipater to be king, because he had so foully murdered his mother, Demetrius persuaded them to accept himself as their king. Antipater fled into Thrace, where, soon afterward, he died, and Demetrius reigned seven years as king of Macedonia, 294-287 B. C.GEP 201.1

    5. In those seven years Demetrius built up an army of one hundred thousand men, and a fleet of five hundred galleys. At this, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Seleucus became alarmed, and set about to check his further progress. They secured the alliance of Pyrrhus, whose dominions bordered Macedonia on the west, and who, of course, could not consider himself safe in the presence of Demetrius in possession of such an army as that. Lysimachus invaded Macedonia from the east, and Pyrrhus from the west. The troops of Demetrius all deserted him and joined Pyrrhus. Demetrius made his escape in disguise; and Lysimachus and Pyrrhus divided between them the dominion of Macedonia (287 B. C.). However, Lysimachus soon succeeded in sowing such distrust among the soldiers who had lately gone over from Demetrius to Pyrrhus, that they now went over from Pyrrhus to Lysimachus. This so weakened Pyrrhus that, rather than to contend against the power of Lysimachus, he with his own Epirotes and original allies retired to his own country of Epirus. This left the whole of Macedonia to Lysimachus, who formally took possession of it and added it to his dominions.GEP 201.2

    6. Demetrius succeeded in raising another army of ten thousand men and a fleet to carry them, and made a descent on Asia Minor. He landed at Miletus, marched inland to Sardis and captured it; but was compelled by Agathocles the son of Lysimachus to abandon it. Demetrius then started for the east; but Agathocles pressed him so closely that he was obliged to take refuge in Tarsus, whence he sent a message to Seleucus begging for help. Instead of helping him, Seleucus opposed him; and when he tried to force his way into Syria, Seleucus captured him (286 B. C.) and kept him a prisoner, though not in close confinement, till his death, three years afterward, at the age of fifty-four years.GEP 202.1

    7. Ptolemy had now (285 B. C.) reigned twenty years in Egypt with the title of king,—nearly thirty-nine years from the death of Alexander the Great,—and was eighty years old. To make his kingdom secure to the successor of his own choosing, he this year crowned his son Ptolemy Philadelphus king, and abdicated in his favor all the dominion. The coronation was celebrated with one of the most magnificent spectacles ever seen in the world. Ptolemy founded a library at Alexandria, which was much enlarged by Philadelphus, and which finally became the greatest in the ancient world, and one of the greatest that have been in all the world. That Demetrius Phalereus who ruled Athens for Cassander, and in whose honor the Athenians set up the three hundred and sixty statues which they afterward broke down, was the first librarian of this famous library. Ptolemy died two years after the coronation of Philadelphus (283 B. C.).GEP 202.2

    8. Lysimachus and Seleucus were now all who remained of the mighty men left by Alexander at his death; and, true to the prevailing instinct, these two now made war on each other. Lysimachus and his son Agathocles had married sisters, the daughters to Ptolemy. Each of these sisters carried on an intrigue against the other in favor of her own children. Finally the wife of Lysimachus persuaded him to kill Agathocles; whereupon the widow of Agathocles, her children, her brother Ceraunus, and a son of Lysimachus, all took refuge at the court of Seleucus. Several of the officers of Lysimachus went over to Seleucus at the same time. These refugees and deserters easily persuaded Seleucus to make war on Lysimachus.GEP 202.3

    9. Seleucus immediately invaded Asia Minor, took Sardis, and, with it, all the treasure of Lysimachus. The two great commanders with their armies met at Cyropedion in Phrygia, 281 B. C. Lysimachus was defeated and slain, at the age of seventy-four, and “Seleucus, without the smallest opposition, seized all his dominions.” And then, Seleucus, at the age of seventy-seven years, exceedingly proud that he was the sole survivor of all the thirty-six great generals of the greater Alexander, bestowed upon himself the title “Conqueror of Conquerors.”GEP 203.1

    10. The division of the Alexandrian Empire which had been the portion of Lysimachus, was now added to the already wide-extended domain of Seleucus. And though the dominion of the Ptolemies—“the king of the south”—was strong, yet that of Seleucus—“the king of the north”—was strong above him,” and his dominion was a “great dominion.” 1[Page 203] Daniel 11:5. For though the realm of the Ptolemies—“the king of the south”—embraced Egypt and Ethiopia, Libya, Arabia, Palestine, Phenicia, Lycia, Caria, Pamphylia, Cilicia, and Cyprus, yet that of the Seleucidae—“the king of the north”—was of far wider extent, for it embraced Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, all Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Media, Susiana, Persia, and all of central Asia to the river Indus. These two divisions—the north and the south—include all of the Alexandrian Empire except only the States of Greece proper, and between these lay the center of action,—the small remaining portion of the west playing to these two only an incidental part, until, through it, there rose from the west the mighty power that overwhelmed all.GEP 203.2

    11. Seleucus was not allowed long to enjoy his pleasing dignity of sole survivor of such a mighty company of warriors, and his chosen title of “Conqueror of Conquerors.” Seven months after his triumph over the death of Lysimachus, he passed over to Macedonia, intending to spend the remainder of his days in his native country, which he had not seen since that day, fifty-seven years before, when with Alexander he had marched away to the conquest of the world; and there he was basely assassinated (280 B. C.) by that Ceraunus, the son of Ptolemy, whom he had befriended and protected. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus.GEP 203.3

    12. Ceraunus immediately seized the possessions that had formerly belonged to Lysimachus; and the more firmly to fix his hold, he proposed to marry the widow of Lysimachus, though she was his own sister. He made such grand representations, and professed such great love and such tender solicitude for her in her hard lot, that she finally abandoned her suspicions, and consented. But as soon as he had succeeded in this, he murdered her two sons and cast herself out of his sight, in banishment to the island of Samothracia. But vengeance overtook him within about a year; a great host of Gauls, having made their way through the countries along the Danube, overran Thrace and entered Macedonia. Ceraunus met them in battle. His army was utterly defeated, and he himself, covered with wounds, was captured and beheaded (279 B.C.). Shortly afterward Sosthenes, a citizen of Macedonia, rallied his countrymen and delivered his country from the Gaulish scourge.GEP 204.1

    13. The Gauls then made their way eastward and overran all the Thracian peninsula. They next separated, one part crossing the Bosporus, and the other part crossing the Hellespont, into Asia. They again met in Asia and hired themselves to Nicomedes to help him to secure to himself the kingdom of Bithynia. When this had been accomplished, Nicomedes rewarded them by giving to them for their own habitation that part of the country of Asia Minor which from them was for ages afterward called Galatia.GEP 204.2

    14. About this time, 275 B. C., died Sosthenes, who had delivered Macedonia from the Gauls and restored order there. And affairs in Asia Minor being now quieted by the settlement of the Gauls, Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, decided to pass over to Macedonia to take possession of it. But he learned that Antigonus Gonatas, the son of Demetrius, had already seized it, upon the claim that his father had once possessed it. On both sides great preparation was made for war. Nicomedes of Bithynia espoused the cause of Antigonus Gonatas, which caused Antiochus to lead his army into Bithynia to make that country the scene of action. After much loss of time in maneuvering for advantage, a treaty was made and a peace concluded, without any fighting, the basis of which was that Antiochus gave his sister to be the wife of Antigonus Gonatas, and, under cover of a dowry with her, resigned to Antigonus Gonatas the country of Macedonia. Meantime the Gauls had become such a terror to the peoples round their newly acquired Galatia, that it became necessary for Antiochus to give aid to his afflicted subjects. He chastised the Gauls so severely, and so completely delivered the people from their incursions, 275 B. C., that out of gratitude the people bestowed upon him the title of Soter (Savior), from which fact his name stands in the history, Antiochus Soter.GEP 204.3

    15. A certain Philetaerus, who had been treasurer for Lysimachus and also governor of the city of Pergamus, had established for himself, during these unsettled times after the death of Lysimachus, the little kingdom of Pergamus, composed of the city and its surrounding country. Philetaerus died in 262 B. C., and Antiochus Soter came down with an army to seize his dominions. But a nephew of Philetaerus named Eumenes, who stood as successor to the little throne of Pergamus, raised a fine army, and met Antiochus near Sardis and utterly defeated him. Antiochus Soter returned to Antioch, his capital, where he died about the end of the year 261 B. C.GEP 205.1

    16. Antiochus, surnamed Theos, the son of Antiochus Soter, succeeded that king upon the throne of the “king of the north.” The people of Miletus were sorely oppressed by the tyranny of Timarchus, the governor of Caria, who had revolted from the king of Egypt, to whom Caria belonged, and had set up for himself as ruler of Caria. The Miletians at last appealed to Antiochus to deliver them from the tyranny of Timarchus. Antiochus responded, and came with an army, and in a battle defeated and slew Timarchus. The Miletians out of gratitude for their deliverance bestowed upon Antiochus the title of Theos—God.GEP 205.2

    17. Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt,—“the south,”—in the interests of his great library at Alexandria, conceived the design of obtaining a copy of the sacred writings of the Jews. He sent an embassy “with magnificent presents” to Jerusalem to present his request to the high priest. In return a complete and authentic copy of the Scriptures was sent to Philadelphus, with six elders from each of the twelve tribes of Israel authorized to translate the Scriptures into the Greek language. This translation has always been called the Septuagint, “for the sake of the round number seventy,“ though with direct reference to the seventy-two translators. This was accomplished in the year 277 B. C.GEP 206.1

    18. A brother of Ptolemy Philadelphus, Magas by name, was king of Libya and Cyrene. There had been bitter enmity between them, though by unforeseen events they had twice been prevented from engaging in actual war with each other. In the year 258 B. C. Magas proposed to end all differences by having his only daughter married to the eldest son of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and giving to her all his dominions as a dowry. This overture was accepted, and a peace was concluded accordingly. However, Magas died before the marriage was celebrated, and his widow determined to defeat the plan, because it had been formed without her consent. She therefore sent to Macedonia and invited a certain Demetrius to come to her, assuring him that her daughter and the kingdom should be his. Demetrius came; but when the widow saw him, she was herself so captivated with him that she determined to have him for herself. Demetrius was perfectly willing to have it so, and feeling perfectly sure of his position, he began to put on kingly airs, and lord it over the young princess as well as over the ministers of the kingdom and the officers of the army. He did it, too, in such an insolent and overbearing way that they determined not to endure it, and formed a conspiracy and killed him. Then the young princess went straight to Egypt, and was married to the son of Ptolemy. This all occurred in the year 257 B. C.GEP 206.2

    19. The widow was sister to Antiochus Theos, and was therefore sent to his court at Antioch. There she so artfully presented her case and magnified her troubles, that by it she induced her brother, Antiochus Theos, to declare war against Ptolemy Philadelphus. Theos gathered all his forces from Babylon and the east to join his forces in the west, that with all his power he might meet the great army of Philadelphus, 256 B. C. No decisive battle was fought, however, nor was any special advantage gained on either side; except that it was a real advantage to Philadelphus to be able to hold at bay the army of Theos, and so prevent him from invading Egypt itself.GEP 206.3

    20. The withdrawal of his armies from the east by Theos, was taken advantage of there to throw off his yoke entirely. The revolt began in Parthia, and was caused by the brutality of the governor of that province. A certain Arsaces with a few supporters killed this governor. Theos and his power being both so far away and so fully engaged, Arsaces found himself free in a province where there was now no governor. Very naturally it occurred to him that in such a juncture he might as well assert his own authority in that province. He did so, and in a very short time he found himself so strong as to be able to expel the few soldiers of Theos that remained in the province, and thus so firmly to establish his power there that the province was lost forever to Theos and his successors. And thus originated the kingdom, and later the empire, of the Parthians. This in the year 250 B. C.GEP 207.1

    21. In Bactria the governor himself revolted and made himself master of all the province, which likewise was forever lost to Theos. This example of Parthia and Bactria was followed almost at once by all the other provinces in that region, so that the end of the matter was that all of that part of the empire which lay east of Media and Persia was, with the exception of a single brief interval, lost forever to Theos and his successors.GEP 207.2

    22. The news of these great losses in the east caused Theos very much to desire peace with Ptolemy. Accordingly, peace was made between them. The conditions of this peace were that Theos should divorce his queen and disinherit his children of their title to the royal succession, and take Berenice the daughter of Ptolemy to be his queen, with the royal succession secured to the children whom he might have by her. Theos put away his queen and his two sons by her. “Ptolemy then embarked at Pelusium, and conducted his daughter to Seleucia, a maritime city near the mouth of the Orontes. Antiochus came thither to receive his bride, and the nuptials were solemnized with great magnificence. Ptolemy had a tender affection for his daughter, and gave orders to have regular supplies of water from the Nile transmitted to her, believing it better for her health than any other water whatever, and therefore he was desirous she should drink none but that.”—Rollin. 2[Page 208] “Ancient History,” book xvii, sec. viii, par. 25. This occurred in 249 B. C.GEP 207.3

    23. In the year 247 B. C. Philadelphus died. Theos had no sooner learned of the death of Philadelphus than he put away Berenice, and restored Laodice, his former wife, to her place. Laodice determined not to risk being put through such an experience again, and therefore killed Theos, and secured the kingdom to her son Seleucus Callinicus. Nor did she stop with this: she persuaded this son to destroy Berenice and her infant son, with all the Egyptian attendants who had accompanied her to the kingdom (246 B. C.). And thus though the king’s daughter of the south came to the king of the north as the seal of “an agreement,” yet she did not retain the power of his arm; neither did he himself stand, nor his arm; but she was “given up, and that brought her, and he whom she brought forth, and he that strengthened her in these times.” 3[Page 208] Daniel 11:6, with margin.GEP 208.1

    24. Ptolemy, the son of Philadelphus, had succeeded his father in the kingdom of Egypt; and he now determined to avenge the wrongs of his sister Berenice. The course of Laodice and Callinicus in the murder of Berenice and all hers, awoke such resentment among their own people, that a number of the cities of Asia Minor raised a considerable body of troops which joined the army of Ptolemy that had marched out of Egypt to make war against Callinicus. Ptolemy with this army was so successful that 246 B. C., without a single check, he took Syria and Cilicia, and indeed all the countries eastward to Babylon and the river Tigris.GEP 208.2

    25. In the taking of Babylon, Ptolemy secured about thirty million dollars in clear gold, untold quantities of gold and silver vessels; twenty-five hundred statues, among which were the gods which Cambyses of Persia had carried away when he had invaded Egypt. When Ptolemy had brought back these gods to their own land, the people of Egypt expressed their gratitude by bestowing upon him the title of Euergetes—Benefactor. And thus out of a branch of the roots of Berenice the daughter of Philadelphus, there reigned one who came “with an army” and entered “into the fortress of the king of the north,” and dealt against him and prevailed; and also carried “captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold.” And so the king of the south came into his kingdom and returned into his own land. 4[Page 209] Daniel 11:7-9; Rollin’s “Ancient History,” book xvii. chap 2, sec. i, pars. 1-6.GEP 208.3

    26. Before Ptolemy had started on this great expedition, his wife, who was also named Berenice, being solicitous for his welfare and safe return, vowed that if he should return safely, she would consecrate her hair to the gods in one of the chief temples of the country. When he did return so triumphantly, she did according to her vow. Not long afterward, however, the hair was by accident or theft lost from the temple; at which Ptolemy was so greatly offended that the priests were in danger of being punished. But there happened to be just then at the king’s court a certain “Conon of Samos, an artful courtier and also a mathematician,” who “took it upon him to affirm that the locks of the queen’s hair had been conveyed to heaven; and he pointed out seven stars near the lion’s tail, which till then had never been part of any constellation, declaring at the same time that those were the hair of Berenice. Several other astronomers, either to make their court as well as Conon or that they might not draw upon themselves the displeasure of Ptolemy, gave those stars the same name [Coma Berenices], which is still used to this day.”—Rollin. 5[Page 209] Id. par. 8. Thus the heavens to-day bear testimony to the faithfulness of the word of God; for that constellation—Coma Bereniees bears its name from this incident of the hair of Berenice. This incident of the hair of Berenice, grew out of that vow of Berenice for the return of her husband from his expedition against the king of the north. And that expedition of his against the king of the north with its victorious return was recorded in the Scripture two hundred and eighty-eight years before it occurred. “The name Coma Berenices applied to a constellation, commemorates this incident.”—Encyclopedia Britannica, latest edition, art., Berenice I.GEP 209.1

    27. Seleucus Callinicus, as soon as he learned that Ptolemy Euergetes had returned to Egypt, started with a considerable fleet to reduce and punish the revolted cities and people of Asia Minor; but he was overtaken by a terrible storm which swept to destruction the whole fleet, very few escaping besides Callinicus himself and his personal attendants. This calamity, 245 B. C., so stirred the pity of the revolted cities that they all restored to him their allegiance. This so encouraged him that he raised an army and undertook an expedition to recover the provinces that Euergetes had taken from him. The first battle, however, proved as disastrous to his army as the late storm had to his fleet. He then invited his brother, who had an army in Asia Minor, to join him in his efforts against Euergetes. Ptolemy heard of this, and, not desiring to meet both commanders at once, offered terms to Callinicus, which were accepted, 243 B. C., and a truce was agreed upon for ten years.GEP 210.1

    28. The terms upon which Callinicus had engaged his brother to assist him against Euergetes were that he should have the sovereignty of Asia Minor. But when his quarrel with Euergetes was settled without the assistance of his brother, Callinicus did not consider himself bound to bestow upon him this dignity. His brother, however, not only insisted that this should be done just the same as though he had made the expected campaign, but had formed a secret purpose to dethrone Callinicus and possess himself of the whole kingdom. Callinicus soon discovered this secret purpose, and war was the result. Callinicus marched into Asia Minor, and the battle was fought near Ancyra in Galatia, 242 B. C. Callinicus was defeated, but escaped and returned to his capital.GEP 210.2

    29. The brother of Callinicus had hired for his army a large number of the Gauls who inhabited Galatia; and these, upon a rumor that Callinicus had been slain in the battle, decided that if they could now destroy his brother, they could easily possess themselves of all the dominions of both. But just at this juncture Eumenes of the little city-kingdom of Pergamus came upon them with an army and dispersed both parties, by which he himself became the chief power in Asia Minor; and the aspiring brother of Callinicus became a wanderer till at last he sought refuge with Euergetes, who imprisoned him, and as he was escaping he was killed by a band of robbers. Callinicus, in endeavoring to recover the provinces east of the Tigris, was defeated and taken prisoner by Arsaces, king of the Parthians, who kept him in honorable confinement “five or six years,” till his death in 226 B. C.GEP 210.3

    30. Callinicus left two sons—Seleucus and Antiochus. Seleucus succeeded his father in the kingdom, and gave himself the title of Ceraunus—the Thunderer. He reigned but about three years. He was poisoned in 223 B. C., and was succeeded by his brother—GEP 211.1

    31. Antiochus the Great. As soon as he had become settled in the kingdom, he sent two brothers to be the governors of the two most important provinces of the east—Molo to be governor of Media, and Alexander to be governor of Persia. When these two men had taken the places assigned them, each one set himself up as independent. Antiochus sent an army against them, but it was defeated. He sent a second army, and it was annihilated. He then went himself with an army, and was so successful that the two rebels killed themselves to avoid being captured (220 B. C.).GEP 211.2

    32. Ptolemy Philopator had come to the throne of Egypt in 221 B. C., on the death of his father Euergetes. During the reign of the father of Antiochus, the father of Philopator had made himself master of a goodly portion of Syria, and had taken even Seleucia, at the mouth of the Orontes, the harbor of Antioch. And now Antiochus decided to take from Philopator as much as possible of this territory. He was successful. He recovered not only Syria, but also Phenicia, except the city of Sidon; and part of Palestine, including Galilee, and all the country beyond Jordan as far south as the river Arnon and the border of Moab. Establishing garrisons to hold the country, he led the main part of his army back into Phenicia and put them in winter quarters at Ptolemais, 218 B. C. Thus one certainly came, and overflowed, and passed through; then he returned, even to his fortress. 6[Page 211] Daniel 11:10.GEP 211.3

    33. As soon as the spring of 217 B. C. opened, Ptolemy Philopator with an army of seventy-five thousand men and seventy-three elephants marched out of Egypt to do battle with Antiochus wherever they might meet. Antiochus was also early in the field with seventy-eight thousand men and one hundred and two elephants. The battle was fought at Gaza. Antiochus was defeated with a loss of ten thousand killed and four thousand taken prisoners; upon which he abandoned all his late conquests, and with the remains of his army returned to his capital. Those countries which Antiochus had the year before overrun, now gladly returned to the protectorate of Philopator. Thus “the king of the south” was “moved with choler” and came forth and fought with the king of the north. And the king of the north “set forth a great multitude; but the multitude” was “given into his hand.” 7[Page 212] Daniel 11:11.GEP 211.4

    34. This great success caused Philopator to become so elated that in honor of himself he made a pompous “progress” through all the provinces that had been recovered. As he passed through Palestine, he visited Jerusalem, and at the temple “offered sacrifices to the God of Israel, making at the same time oblations, and bestowing considerable gifts.” But not content with this, he attempted to force his way into the temple itself; but suddenly, as in the like instance of Uzziah king of Judah, “he was smitten from God with such a terror and confusion of mind that he was carried out of the place in a manner half-dead. On this he departed from Jerusalem, filled with great wrath against the whole nation of the Jews for that which happened to him in that place, and venting many threatenings against them for it.”—Prideaux. 8[Page 212] “Connexion,” under 217 B.C.GEP 212.1

    35. On his return to Alexandria, Philopator resolved to be revenged upon the Jews who dwelt there, for his repulse and disgrace at the temple in Jerusalem. Accordingly he published a decree, 216 B. C., that none should be allowed to enter the palace gates who did not sacrifice to the gods. There were three ranks of people of the inhabitants of Alexandria, and by both Alexander the Great and the first of the Ptolemies, the Jews there were enrolled in the first rank. Philopator decreed that they should all be reduced to the third, or lowest, rank. This required them to be enrolled anew; and he decreed that when they presented themselves for enrolment, they should have the badge of Bacchus—an ivy leaf—impressed upon them with a hot iron, and that all who should refuse this badge should be made slaves, and that if any refused to be slaves, they should be put to death. He did grant, however, that all who would renounce the worship of Jehovah, and accept initiation into the Egyptian religion, should retain their original rank and privileges.GEP 212.2

    36. There were three hundred who adopted the heathen religion. These were at once cut off from all communication of any kind whatever with the rest of the Jews. Philopator took this as a further insult to himself and his religion, and in further vengeance decided to destroy all the Jews in all his dominions, beginning with all Egypt. He therefore commanded that all the Jews that could be found in Egypt should be brought in chains to Alexandria. There he shut them up in the hippodrome,—a large place where the games and races were celebrated,—and appointed a day when they should be made a spectacle, and should be destroyed by elephants maddened and drunk with mingled wine and frankincense.GEP 213.1

    37. As a matter of course the devoted Jews were calling upon God, as in many a crisis in their history before. The great day came. The destruction was to be accomplished under the eye of the king himself. The great crowd was assembled in the hippodrome. The hour came; but the king had not arrived. The officers and the crowd waited; but still the king came not. Messengers were sent to inquire why the king delayed, and they found that he had got so drunk the night before that it was long after the hour appointed for the great spectacle before he awoke from his drunken stupor.GEP 213.2

    38. The spectacle was postponed till the next day. But he got drunk again; and when his officers wakened him the next day in time for the spectacle, he was still so drunk that they could not convince him that there was any such thing appointed; he thought the men out of their wits who were trying to convince him that any such thing was ever planned.GEP 213.3

    39. The spectacle was therefore postponed again till the next day. Then at the appointed hour the king came. When all was ready, the signal was given, and the drunken and maddened elephants were let loose. But lo! instead of rushing upon the Jews as was expected, the elephants “turned their rage upon all those who came to see the show, and destroyed great numbers of them; and besides, several appearances were seen in the air, which much frightened the king and all the spectators. All which manifesting the interposal of a divine power in the protection of those people, Philopator durst not any longer prosecute his rage against them, but ordered them to be all again set free. And fearing the divine vengeance upon him in their behalf, he restored them to all their privileges, rescinding and revoking all his decrees which he had published against them.”—Prideaux. 9[Page 214] “Connexion,” under B. C. 216; Philopator, 6.GEP 213.4

    40. Three years afterward, however (213 B. C.) there was an insurrection of the Egyptians, of which Philopator made occasion to wreak his wrath against the Jews, slaying forty thousand of them. Thus he “cast down tens of thousands.” 10[Page 214] Daniel 11:12, R. V. After this Philopator gave himself up wholly to dissipation: “drinking, gaming, and lasciviousness, were the whole employments of his life.” He was ruled by his concubines, and the country was ruled by their favorites.GEP 214.1

    41. In the year 212 B. C., Antiochus made an expedition into the east to check the growing power of the Parthians, who had become so strong that they had added even Media to their possessions. Antiochus was wonderfully successful. In that same year he recovered Media, and fixed it firmly again under his own power. In 211 he drove Arsaces completely out of Parthia into Hyrcania. In 210 he marched into Hyrcania, and there battled with Arsaces for two years. In 208 he concluded a peace with Arsaces, upon the agreement that Arsaces should possess Parthia and Hyrcania, and become his confederate against all the other provinces of the east, and aid him in bringing them again under his power. In 207 and 206 he recovered Bactria, and marched over the mountains into India, and made a league with the king of that country, and then returned through Arachosia and Drangiana into Carmania, where he spent the winter of 206-5. In 205 he marched from Carmania through Persia, Babylonia, and Mesopotamia, and returned to his capital at Antioch, having in seven years of uninterrupted success covered the larger part of Alexander’s eastern campaign, and so earned for himself the title of Magnus—the Great. “By the boldness of his attempts, and the wisdom of his conduct through this whole war, he gained the reputation of a very wise and valiant prince, which made his name terrible through all Europe and Asia. And thereby he kept all the provinces of his empire in thorough subjection to him; and thus far his actions might well have deserved the name of the Great, which was given unto him; and he might have carried it with full glory and honor to his grave, but that he unfortunately engaged in a war with the Romans.”—Prideaux. 11[Page 215] “Connexion” under B. C. 205; Philopator 17.GEP 214.2

    42. In 204 B.C., Ptolemy Philopator died, at the age of thirty-seven, having worn himself out by debauchery in a reign of seventeen years. His heir was a son only five years old, named Ptolemy Epiphanes. Seeing that the kingdom and the dominions of Egypt had thus fallen to an infant, Antiochus the Great and Philip king of Macedon formed a league to take the whole realm and divide it between them. Philip was to have Caria, Libya, Cyrene, and Egypt; and Antiochus Magnus was to take all the rest. If successful, this would give to these two men the dominion of all the Eastern world, from the Adriatic Sea to the river Indus. They entered at once upon their enterprise. Antiochus Magnus led out his great and veteran army, and speedily took all the countries up to the very borders of Egypt. Thus “the king of the north” returned and “set forth a multitude greater than the former,” and certainly came “after certain years with a great army and with much riches.” 12[Page 215] “Daniel 11:13.GEP 215.1

    43. The guardians of the infant king in Egypt, seeing that all the powers round about were against him, and that these would certainly succeed, determined in the year 202 B. C., to send an embassy to the Romans to ask them for help in this crisis. “Scipio having beaten Hannibal in Africa, and thereby put an end to the second Punic War with victory and honor, the name of the Romans began to be everywhere of great note, and therefore the Egyptian court, finding themselves much distressed by the league made between Philip and Antiochus against their infant king, and the usurpations which had thereon been made by them on his provinces, sent an embassy to Rome to pray their protection, offering them the guardianship of their king and the regency of his dominions during his minority.... The Romans, thinking this would enlarge their fame, complied with what was desired, and took on them the tuition of the young king.”—Prideaux. 13[Page 216] “Connexion,” under 202 B. C.GEP 215.2

    44. “The Romans having complied with the request of the Egyptian embassy to them, sent three ambassadors to Philip king of Macedon and Antiochus king of Syria, to let them know that they had taken on them the tuition of Ptolemy king of Egypt during his nonage, and to require them that they therefore desist from invading the dominions of their pupil, and that otherwise they should be obliged to make war upon them for his protection. After they had delivered this embassy to both kings, M. AEmilius Lepidus, who was one of them, according to the instructions he had received from the Senate at his first setting out, went to Alexandria to take on him, in their names, the tuition of the young king; where, having regulated his affairs as well as the then circumstances of them would admit, he appointed Aristomenes, an Acarnanian, to be his guardian and chief minister, and then returned to Rome.”—Prideaux. 14[Page 216] Id. under 201 B. C.GEP 216.1

    45. And thus “in those times many stood up against the king of the south;” but just at the juncture when the king and the kingdom of “the south” would have been swallowed up, “the children of robbers exalted themselves,” saved “the king of the south,” and “established the vision.” 15[Page 216] “Daniel 11:14.GEP 216.2

    46. As at this point we are brought to the entrance of Rome into the field of history, we must now turn our attention to the rise and reign of that mighty, world-famed, and deeply interesting power.GEP 216.3

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