An Interpretation of the English Bible DANIEL and THE INTER_BIBLICAL PERIOD by B. H. CARROLL
An Interpretation of the English Bible
DANIEL and THE
by B. H. CARROLL
Late President of Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas
J. B. Cranfill
BAKER BOOK HOUSE
Grand Rapids, Michigan
New and complete edition
Copyright 1948, Broadman Press
Reprinted by Baker Book House
with permission of
First Printing, September 1973
PHOTOLITHOPRINTED BY GUSHING _ MALLOY, INC.
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I. Introduction to the Book of Daniel 1
II. The History in the first Chapter 16
III. The History of Nebuchadnezzar 28
IV. Daniel and Belshazzar 40
V. The History of Darius the Mede 52
VI. The Related Prophetic Sections of Daniel 60
VII. The Related Prophetic Sections of Daniel (Cont.) 72
VIII. The Related Prophetic Sections of Daniel (Cont.) 82
IX. The Marvelous Ninth Chapter of Daniel 92
X. The Marvelous Ninth Chapter of Daniel 102
XI. The Marvelous Ninth Chapter of Daniel 115
XII. The Glorious Vision of the Son of God 127
XIII. The Final Prophecies of the Book 138
XIV. The Inter-Biblical Period – Introduction 147
XV. The Persian Period 158
XVI. The Jews Under Greek Rule 167.
XVII. The Jews Under Antiochus III and Seleucus IV 177
XVIII. Antiochus Epiphanes 186
XIX. The Maccabees 196
XX. The Jews under the Romans and Herod 205
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF DANIEL
This first chapter on Daniel commences with a quadruple
Daniel in the Lions’ Den. – BIBLE.
Daniel in the Heathens’ Den. – ANONYMOUS
Daniel in the Critics’ Den. – SIR ROBERT ANDERSON
Daniel in the Crickets’ Den. – SOMEBODY
This quadruple heading is both logical and chronological.
It is a felicitous anticlimax and it suggests that Daniel’s ene_
mies are petering out – „growing smaller by degrees and beauti_
The lions were truly formidable wild beasts in their own
skins. The „Heathen” are only spiritual wild beasts in figura_
tive skins. The „Critics” are German rationalists in spliced
heathen and Christian skins. The „Cricketa” are English as_
aimilators in German skins.
In the jungle, when the lion roars, all animate nature be_
comes silent. When the lion is gone hyenas howl and jackals
bark. When hyenas and jackals pass on the crickets begin to
Since Daniel, on earth, trembled not at the roar,
Howl, bark, and chirp, he may well ignore.
I say that these four headings are both logical and chronolog_
ical. The lions of Darius belong to 521 B.C. The first attack
on the historical veracity of the book, on the reality of its mira_
cles and prophecy, quite naturally came from a heathen,
Porphyry, in the third century A.D. In a fifteen volume assault
on Christianity in general, he devotes the twelfth volume to an
attack on Daniel, originating the substance of all subsequent
hostile criticism. Centuries later he was somewhat timidly
followed by the apostate Dutch Jew, Spinoza, and still later by
the English infidel, Hobbes, and the deist, Collins.
So far, all these attacks on the book came from without, and
so coming were easily repulsed. But, in the nineteenth century
the German radical critics arose. The retention of the union
of church and state by Protestantism, notably in Germany and
England, let the world into the church, bringing about, among
many others, two monstrous and incalculable evils: First,
spiritual regeneration was no longer essential to church mem_
bership. Second, church dignitaries were appointed by the
political power. In this way the pulpits of churches and the
professorships in so_called Christian schools were filled not
only with unregenerate men, but with atheists and materialists.
Later, when the old time heathen philosophy of Epicurus,
Lucretius, and Democritus was revived in the modern hypothe_
sis of Evolution, and its principles applied to biblical criticism,
the radicals became more extreme and destructive. This specu_
lative philosophy had been smitten hip and thigh by Paul at
Athens, the home of its origin. But now, under the two evils
before cited, it comes not from without, in the open, and under
an honest flag, but from within and in the name of Christianity.
In heart and in belief they are at one with Epicurus, Lucretius,
Democritus, Porphyry, Spinoza, Hobbes, Collins, Bolinbroke,
Tom Paine, and Voltaire. Indeed, it is hardly fair to the deists
to be ranked with atheistical materialists. Tom Paine was far
and away above many who now occupy pulpits and professors’
chairs in so_called Christian schools. In the nineteenth century
these German radical critics attacked the book of Daniel. Then
the English assimilators, not imitators, of the Germans, came
to the front.
In citing authors on Daniel, I need not mention Porphyry,
the heathen, nor the apostate Dutch Jew, Spinoza, nor the in_
fidel, Hobbes, nor the deist, Collins, since in the main these
original fountains become the streams of the German ration_
alists of the nineteenth century. Then I need not cite the
German rationalists for several reason: Each later critic of
them knocks out or modifies the theory of his predecessors,
however much he may fail in exploiting his own. Moreover,
what one has facetiously said of the German language in gen_
eral may be more soberly applied to the radical biblical criti_
cism of that language, namely,
It has seven deadly sins:
1. Too many books in the language.
2. Too many volumes in a book.
3. Too many chapters in a volume.
4. Too many sentences in a chapter.
5. Too many words in a sentence.
6. Too many letters in a word.
7. Too much stroke in a letter.
Taken in mass it is as the chaos of Genesis, „without form
and void and darkness is on the face of the deep.” Or, like the
chaos of Ovid described in his Metamorphoses. If the reader
should count it worth while to explore fog banks, jungles and
dismal swamps, let him go in and lose himself; there will be
none to hinder. But to complete our survey in any thorough
way we would need the longevity of Methuselah and the
patience of Job.
So far as the book of Daniel is concerned we do not need to
study any one of these German radical critics, because we may
find in two accessible English books the assimilated substance
of the German rationalists: Farrar on Daniel in the „Exposi_
tor’s Bible,” and Driver on Daniel in the „Cambridge Bible.”
The „silly blunders,” the „cocksuredness,” the „hysteria,” the
„contradictions,” the „inveterate inaccuracies” and „the al_
ternate kisses and kicks” of Farrar will satisfy the most morbid
appetite. Driver is calmer, clearer and much more cautious in
spirit, while equally void of the judicial mind and equally in_
defensible in his conclusions. In Farrar and Driver, I say we
have the assimilated substance of all hostile criticism on the
book of Daniel.
In Knickerbocker, Washington Trying explains how the
Dutch burghers of old New York kept their rusty weather
vanes pointing right once a day. Every morning the governor
would send a little Negro to his roof to force his vane in line
with the wind and the burghers would then set theirs with the
governor’s. So about once a year some German resets the vane
of radical criticism; the next year the dependent Englishman
resets his by the German’s. The fact is humiliating and pro_
The presuppositions of this radical criticism vitiate all its
conclusions, but they are amusing! I cite some of them:
1. There is no real miracle or prophecy. If any prophecy be
verified by fulfilment then it must be dated after fulfilment
and counted history cast in the form of prophecy, or else ac_
counted a shrewd guess based on a careful study of probabili_
ties. Any explanation is preferable to the supernatural. What
cannot be accounted for on natural grounds must be rejected.
2. All statements by Bible authors must be corrected by
seemingly contrary statements of heathen authors. Any judg_
ment that finds not confirmation of the Bible in heathen
testimony must be classed as unscholarly and unscientific.
3. Any uninspired version must be allowed by its variations
to discredit the original.
4. Jewish punctuation of a messianic passage of the Hebrew
text, though adopted centuries after Christ and apparently
with a view to defeat the reference to Jesus of Nazareth, must
be accepted though it make nonsense of the passage. (See
punctuation of Daniel 9:25 followed by Canterbury Revisers
but corrected by American Revisers. Of course Leeser’s Mod_
em Jewish version accords with the Canterbury punctuation.
The nonsense made of the passage by this false punctuation
will be shown in the discussion on that chapter.)
5. The interpretations of Old Testament messianic passages
by Jews living subsequent to New Testament times must be
preferred to B.C. Jewish interpretations, or the interpretations
of Christ himself and his apostles. The semiradical critic
explains away our Lord’s interpretation by either attributing
ignorance to him because he had “emptied himself” or knowl-
edge, or that he merely used terms of popular belief without
6. The only criticism worth while is that of „the merest
handful of scholars,” and these must be of the type of Cheyne,
Driver, Farrar, and others. They safely damn all else by simply
applying epithets: „unscholarly,” „unscientific,” which dis_
position of adversaries is neat and cheap.
I do not say that these presuppositions would be expressed in exactly these terms by the radical critics themselves, but I do affirm that they are fairly deducible from their writings; that their spirit is irreverent and self_centered; that the souls of their readers are not stirred to penitence, to faith and sanctification, or to revival. They may be intellectual, but theyare not spiritual.
How mightily nearly all the old English commentaries
stirred the spiritual man! These radical criticisms may be
to natural sight as brilliant as the aurora borealis, but they
melt no arctic ice in sinners’ hearts. Their light is the „fox_
fire” of decaying wood, without heat and little visible even in
the dark. Yet at night, before the moon rises, a few lightning
bugs sticking their tails together on a mullein leaf may imagine
they are illuminating the world.
Sir Robert Anderson substantially makes this telling point,
citing the words of an eminent jurist: „An expert witness must
be confined to the witness box and to the one line of facts upon
which his testimony is competent. His place is never on the
bench nor on the jury. He has not the judicial mind.” The
very fact that he is an expert makes him too narrow to be able
to fairly weigh the other facts. He will magnify out of all just
proportion the relative value of his own testimony. Any man
of good common sense would make a better juryman. One in
a deep well sees only a spot of the sky. Ne sutor ultra crepi_
dam. Do not understand me to decry the value of textual
criticism. Its achievements have been great, though its work
is well nigh done. Nor do I deny an honorable place to his_
torical criticism. Every good expounder employs it and every
good commentator gives much valuable space to it. It is easy,
however, to overestimate the relative value of either. An ex_
position of any book of the Bible, however remarkable for
scholarship and learning in textual and historical criticism,
fails on the capital point of interpretation if it does not go to
the heart of the spiritual matter with awakening, illumining,
soul_stirring power that transforms life, molds character, and
uplifts to higher destiny.
On this account Spurgeon’s or Moody’s method of Bible ex_
position will save more souls than all the books ever written
pro or con on textual or historical criticism. On this account
the commentaries of Barnes and Matthew Henry will produce
better spiritual results than Meyer’s commentaries, evincing
greater scholarship. The historical criticism that, in my judg_
ment, is most poisonous is that which, in the name of Chris_
tianity, attempts to apply to biblical criticism the methods
and conclusions of an unverified heathen hypothesis, or a
merely speculative theory of philosophy. Though this hypothe_
sis, or theory, of evolution is both atheistic and materialistic,
and repugnant per se because unscientific, yet it is relatively
harmless coming from avowed atheists and materialists. It
genders poison when it comes in the name and guise of Chris_
tianity. In countries where church and state are united and
religious officers are appointed by political power and sup_
ported by the state purse, we may not be surprised to find
many church and theological dignitaries utterly unregenerate.
But yet their scepticism goes forth in the name of Christianity.
In this country they appear mostly as professors in so_called
Christian schools that are not responsible to any organized
religious bodies. Outside the Christian camp they are not for_
midable. But when atheists, deists, materialists, and pantheists
pose as the only reliable expounders of Christianity, then the
dishonesty of the masquerade smells unto heaven. The poison
is most shrewdly diffused in mixed topical dictionaries, en_
cyclopedias, and commentaries. As the articles of a dictionary
or encyclopedia or the comments on the several Bible books
are assigned to different authors (as in the „Cambridge” and
the „Expositors’ ” Bibles), there, side by side, appear rankest
infidelity and soundest orthodoxy. The poor young preacher,
unable to buy but one Bible dictionary, or religious encyclope_
dia, or set of commentaries, knows not what to do, and his
safest friends know not how to advise him. If he buys the
„Cambridge Bible” and the „Expositors’ Bible,” all the light
he will have on Daniel must come from Driver and Farrar,
and that light on vital points is darkness. When he turns to
his Pentateuch he may find the Moses of his Genesis unlike the
Moses of Deuteronomy, and the Moses of Leviticus no Moses
at all. These observations are stressed here because the radi_
cals claim their most assured results in treating the book of
Daniel. And if we meet what they say against the book of
Daniel we need not fear them on any other book.
The German conservative critics successfully grapple with
the German radical critics. For example, in Germany, Heng_
stenberg’s series of books on the kingdom of God in the Old
Testament, his series on the Christology of the Old
Testament, his series on the Psalms, his series on John’s Gos_
pel, his single volume on Ezekiel, his volume on Revelation are
all mighty and valuable in exposing the fallacies of the radical
criticisms of his brother Germans. Hengstenberg was the
favorite of a great German Emperor. He taught in the Uni_
versity of Berlin. So much for him in general. His volume on
Daniel, together with the pertinent parts of his Christology,
constitute a mine of information and an arsenal of conserva_
tive criticism. So when I talk about books on Daniel, I sum it
up this way, that one can find in the translation of Hengsten_
berg on Daniel a good reply to all the radical criticisms on
Daniel by his fellow Germans, and he can find in Dr. Pusey’s
lectures on Daniel (he occupied the chair of Hebrew in Oxford)
an answer to all of the radical criticisms of the English scholars
up to his time. Then in Sir Robert Anderson’s Daniel in the
Critics’ Den we have the most masterful reply to Driver and
Farrar to be found in any language. In the first place, Sir
Robert Andersen’s book looks at the matter as a judicial in_
quiry, and then he takes the main points and states them so
one can’t misunderstand them, and he pulverizes Farrar and
Driver both. That book, at any rate, ought to be in every
The book of Daniel is written in two distinct languages.
Commencing with chapter I and going to 2:4, it is written in
Hebrew; then from 2:5 to the end of chapter 7 it is written in
Chaldee, or Aramaic. In chapters 8_12 it is again in Hebrew.
So we may say that all of it is in Hebrew except the following
part: Commencing at 2:5, on to the end of chapter 7, is Ara_
maic, and we find about three chapters in Ezra in Aramaic
and one verse in Jeremiah. So as Dr. Sampey says in lecturing
to his Old Testament class, „Whoever wants to read the Bible
in the original must know Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.”
Let us now consider the position of the book of Daniel in the
Canon. In our version Daniel comes just after Ezekiel, but in
all the present Jewish Bibles there is a division into three
parts: the law, the prophets, and the holy writings, and Daniel
is put in the third class. The radical critics have rashly made
that an objection, saying, „It is not ranked with the prophets.”
They utterly ignore the principle of that Jewish classification.
The principle is to put among the prophets those books written
by men in the prophetic office, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and
Kings, for instance. Those are not prophecies, but their authors
were prophets. David was a prophet, but his office was king, and
hence the Psalms, containing many of the greatest prophecies
of the Old Testament, is put over in the third division like
Daniel. Daniel really prophesies nothing in the strict sense.
He simply records prophecies communicated to him by the
angel, and yet those communications are intensely prophetic.
There is nothing in the position that Daniel occupies in the
Jewish order of books to apeak against its inspiration, ita
canonicity, or the prophetical character of it.
Who was the author of the book of Daniel? For a long time
the radical higher critics tried to make it appear that there
must be at least two authors, one to write the Chaldee, or
Aramaic part, and the other the Hebrew part, but they have
about given that up, and it is now settled that whoever wrote
one part of Daniel wrote the other part. The unity of the book
is practically unassailable and inasmuch as one part of the
book is written in the first person, repeatedly saying, „I, Dan_
iel,” whoever wrote that part also wrote the other part. So
the author of the book of Daniel is Daniel himself.
Note the additions to the Hebrew text of Daniel in the
Septuagint. In the account of the three friends of Daniel that
were cast into the fiery furnace about the middle of the chap_
ter, the Septuagint version inserts a song of these three He_
brews – quite a long song. That song is incorporated in the
Romanist Bible. Then at the end of the book of Daniel, the
Septuagint has two extra chapters, one giving a story entitled,
„Bel and the Dragon,” and the other giving the story of Su_
I have referred, particularly, to Farrar’s book on Daniel in
the „Expositors’ Bible” series and to Driver’s book on Daniel
in the „Cambridge Bible” series. I now give the summary of
their indictment of the book of Daniel.
Farrar makes eight points:
1. There was no Daniel. The book is a historical novel com_
posed by some pious Jew after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
2. There was no deportation in the third year of Jehoiakim
as set forth in Daniel 1:1.
3. There was no king Belshazzar.
4. There was no Darius the Mede.
5. It is not true that there were only two Babylonian kings –
there were five.
6. Nor were there only four Persian kings – there were
7. Xerxes seems to be confounded with the last king of
8. All correct accounts of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes
seem to end about 164 B.C.
Driver divides his arraignment into three general grand
I. HISTORICAL ERRORS:
1. The position of the book in the canon is against its
2. The omission of Daniel’s name from the list of worthies
3. That the book of Kings is silent as to the siege mentioned
in Daniel 1:1.
4. The use of the term „Chaldean.”
5. Belshazzar is called „king” and he is called the son of
6. The mention of Darius the Mede as King of Babylon.
7. The mention of the „books” in Daniel 9:2 as if the Old
Testament Canon were already formed at that time which is
8. The incorrect explanation of the name, „Belteshazzar,”
9. The improbability that strict Jews would have accepted
a position among heathen wise men. These are what he calls
the chief historical errors.
II. PHILOLOGICAL. The language of the book does not suit
III. THEOLOGY OF THE BOOK:
1. That „the culmination of the book is in Antiochus Epiph_
anes,” which shows how little he knows about the book of
Daniel. The culmination of the book is in the first advent of
the Messiah, his sacrifice, his enthronement, and his second ad_
vent to resurrection and judgment.
2. „The book manifests little interest in the welfare of con_
temporary Jews.” As a sufficient answer to that, read Daniel’s
prayer in chapter 9, which shows how much he is interested.
3. „The minuteness of the predictions, embracing even
special events in the distant future, are out of harmony with
the analogy of prophecy.”
Note: These objections on the part of these two authors will
be answered in the exposition of the book.
I now come to the attestations of the book of Daniel. The
Old Testament references of course are few, as he is one of the
later writers of the Old Testament, but the following are very
clear: Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 expressly mention Daniel, and
then 28:3 gives another special reference to the wisdom of
Daniel. The second Old Testament book which I mention,
Nehemiah, records the prayer of Nehemiah, in chapter 9 of
that book, and is very much like Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9
of his book. Nehemiah copies Daniel’s prayer and shows ac_
quaintance with it. The third Old Testament reference is to
the visions of Zechariah, who came after Daniel. Zechariah
evidently had the visions of Daniel before him.
The interbiblical references (references between the close
of the Old Testament and the opening of the New Testament),
are, first, the first book of Maccabees (2:59_60), which ref_
erence is very express. Second, the apocalyptic literature
which arose after Daniel’s time is all imitative of Daniel’s and
Zechariah’s visions. The next fact I cite is that Daniel is in_
corporated in the Septuagint version which was prepared in a
period 250 B.C. down to 150 B.C. My fourth item is that Daniel’s
place in the canon of the Old Testament was not assailed by
Jews or Christians for 2,300 years. The fifth fact that I cite is,
that in our Lord’s time the book of Daniel is in the hands of
the people as a part of their sacred Scriptures. Josephus, who
was apparently a contemporary of Christ, and certainly lived
very close to his time, since he writes the history of the destruc_
tion of Jerusalem, is very express in his testimony of the posi_
tion of Daniel in the Hebrew canon and is careful in one of his books against Apion to prove from contemporary heathen
authors the confirmation of Old Testament books and their
general veracity as history.
When we come to New Testament references to the book, one alone ought to satisfy every man who claims to be a Christian, and that is the reference of our Lord in his great discourse on Mount Olivet, to the book of Daniel, the prophet, and to a specific prophecy of Daniel that is yet to be fulfilled. We see, too, that our Lord adopts the title of the Messiah given alone in the book of Daniel, „The Son of man,” and Daniel’s ref_
erence about him coming with the clouds of heaven. We find
also in the teachings of our Lord and of his apostles that Dan_
iel’s prophecy about the time of the kingdom, and Daniel’s
prophecy about the first advent of the Messiah, and the proph_
ecy about the second advent of the Messiah, are all endorsed
in the New Testament. We find also that Paul gets his idea of
the Man of Sin from a preceding Man of Sin in Daniel. We
find that Hebrews II, in citing the sufferings of the Old Testa_
ment saints, includes a special reference to „the stopping of the
mouths of lions,” which took place in Daniel’s case alone in
the Old Testament history. We find that the warp and woof
of the book of Revelation is founded upon the prophecy of
I now come to the analysis of the book and we observe two
I. THE HISTORY OF DANIEL
1. Daniel at Jerusalem
(1) Probable early history there in the reign of Josiah under Assyrian supremacy. (See Crockett’s Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles on the reign of Josiah, and the broader harmony of Kings and Chronicles including pertinent passages from Zephaniah and Jeremiah in Wood’s Hebrew Monarchy, and Dean’s Life and Times of Daniel, pp. 1-6).
(2) The subjection of Jerusalem to Egypt on the death of
Josiah. (See same authorities referred to above.)
(3) The invasion and subjection of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, co_regent of the new power, Babylon, with his father Nabopolassar. (See same authorities and note Daniel 1:1_2; 2 Chronicles 26:6; 2 Kings 24:1; Jeremiah 36:11; and the
Chaldean historian, Berosus, preserved in Josephus, contra
Apion, 1:19, and Appendix I of Sir Robert Anderson’s Daniel
in the Critics’ Den and passages 12_17 of same book.)
(4) Daniel with other princes led into exile.
2. Daniel at Babylon
(1) His royal descent, his beauty of person, his attainments in wisdom, and his fitness to appear in a king’s court, when carried to Babylon (1:3_4).
(2) The prescribed three years’ course and purpose of his
further education in Babylon (1:4_7).
(3) His fidelity to the Mosaic law in meats and drinks, while taking this course (1:8_14).
(4) His great attainments in the course (1:17_20; 5:12).
(5) Explanation of the chronological difficulties suggested by Daniel (1:1, 5, 18; 2:1; Jeremiah 25:1; 46:2).
(6) Daniel expounds Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concerning
the luminous composite image and, with his three friends, re_
ceives great promotion (2).
(7) The great trial of Daniel’s three friends and their
greater promotion (3).
(8) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concerning the Great Tree
and Daniel’s interpretation thereof, its subsequent fulfilment,
and Nebuchadnezzar’s resultant proclamation (4).
(9) Apparently Daniel is neglected after Nebuchadnezzar’s death, but has a vision on his bed in the first year of Belshazzar’s co_regency with his father Nabonidua (7:1), and another vision at Shushan in Belshazzar’s third year (8:1).
Then he interprets the handwriting on the wall at Belshaz_
zar’s feast (5). In this section we consider the historical prob_
lem of Belshazzar and the annalistic tablet of Cyrus.
10) Daniel in the days of Darius the Mede, and Cyrus (9;
Note: In this section we consider the historical problem of Darius the Mede
II. THE PROPHETIC ELEMENTS OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL
These elements in the book of Daniel are chronological,
connective, and developing. The first is the basis of all the
others and each subsequent one develops all foregoing ones by
1. Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic dream of the five world_em_
pires in the second year of his reign (2:31_45).
2. Daniel’s prophetic dream and vision of the four beasts
rising from the sea and of the enthronement and kingdom of
the Son of man (7), which parallels and elaborates Nebuchad_
nezzar’s dream, first year of Belshazzar.
3. Daniel’s prophetic vision of the Ram and the He_goat,
elaborating two points of the preceding two visions (8). This
was at Shushan, third year of Belshazzar.
4. The seventy weeks (9), elaborating a point in the Fifth
Empire concerning the first coming and sacrifice of its founder.
This was in the first year of Darius the Mede.
5. The revelation to Daniel on the Tigris, the third year of
Cyrus (10_11), which elaborates one point concerning the third
world_empire and passes to the fifth, culminating in the second
advent of its founder and the resurrection and judgment.
1. What the quadruple heading of Daniel I?
2. Show how it is both logical and chronological.
3, What attacks were made on the book from without and when?
4. Give an account of the hostile German criticism of this book.
5. What its seven deadly sins?
6. In what two English books may we find the substance of this criti_
cism and how is each characterized?
7. How does the author illustrate the relation between the German
and English criticism?
8. What the presuppositions of the radical critics?
9. What can you say of the spirit of the radial critics?
10. How do the old commentaries compare with this modern radical
II. What the telling point of Sir Robert Anderson on these critics, and
how does the author illustrate?
12. What says the author of textual and historical criticism, and what
the main point in the interpretation of any book of the Bible?
13. What discriminations does the author make on methods of inter_
14. What historical criticism is the most poisonous? Illustrate.
15. What three great works on Daniel commended, and what their
16. What the two original languages of Daniel, and what parts of the
book in each?
17. What the position of the book of Daniel in the canon? Discuss.
18. Who the author of the book of Daniel?
19. What the additions to the book of Daniel in the Septuagint?
20. What the sum of Farrar’s indictment?
21. What the sum of Driver’s indictment?
22. What the Old Testament references to the person or the book?
23. What the interbiblical references?
24. What the New Testament references?
25. What the author’s analysis of the book?
THE HISTORY IN THE FIRST CHAPTER
Having devoted chapter I to an introduction to the book of
Daniel we now come to its exposition. We closed chapter I
with an analysis which consists of two great divisions, namely:
1. The history of Daniel.
2. The grouped and correlated prophetic sections.
Following this analysis we will dispose of the historical sec_
tions before attempting to expound the related visions and
dreams. In chapter I some details belonging to introduction
were left to be considered in the exposition. The historical
character of this book depends, mainly, upon the accuracy of
its references to Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Da_
rius the Mede, and Cyrus. Of course, if there was no siege of
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of Jehoiakim,
no carrying away of the sacred vessels of the Temple at that
time, no deportation of captives to Babylon at that time, no
Daniel of that period, no Belshazzar, and no Darius the Medo,
and if the references to the fall of Babylon as connected with
Cyrus are radically out of harmony with the true history of
Cyrus, then we must abandon all ideas of the book as history
or as inspired.
The most important of all these references as bearing upon
the historical character of the book is contained in Daniel I,
which is intended as an introduction to the whole book. It be_
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, came
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand, with
part of the vessels of the house of God; and he carried them into the
land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the vessels
into the treasure_house of his god. And the king spake unto Asphe_
naz, the master of hia eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the
children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the noblea; youths
in whom was no blemish, but well favoured and skilful in all wis_
dom, and endued with knowledge and understanding science, and
such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should
then teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
This paragraph is fundamental, and decisive on the question
of historicity. It certainly affirms:
1. A siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year
of Jehoiakim) king of Judah.
2. The submission of the Jewish king.
3. The carrying away into Babylon of a part of the sacred
vessels of the Temple.
4. The deportation of a select few of the youths of the royal
seed and of the nobility (including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego, as named in verse 6).
5. It affirms also by implication the approximate age of these
youths by the requirement that they must already be „skilful
in all wisdom, and endued with knowledge, and understanding
science, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace.”
6. Again by implication (v. 4), connected with the strict ad_
herence to these youths to the Mosaic law of meats and drinks
(w. 8_16) must affirm an environment at Jerusalem when they
were born, and during their youth, to produce such education
and character as they possess when introduced into this story.
For example, such education of the royal seed and of the nobili_
ty, and such adherence to the Mosaic law would have been im_
possible in Manasseh’s reign.
7. Finally, the whole paragraph affinns a political situation
calling for its alleged facts.
In determining the historical veracity of these seven affirma_
tions we may look for confirmation or contradiction to the fol_
lowing sources of information:
1. The second book of Kings on the period.
2. The prophecies of Jeremiah, a contemporary.
3. The second book of Chronicles.
4. The book of Ezekiel, a later contemporary.
5. Any available Chaldean history of Nebuchadnezzar’s
In order of time we first consider affirmations 5_6; that is,
do we find in Kings and Chronicles a Jerusalem environment
that could produce such education and character as these royal
youths and nobles are said to possess in the third year of Je_
hoiakim? The answer is overwhelmingly in favor of the prob_
ability of the story in Daniel. Jehoiakim was a son of the good
king Josiah. Josiah had been dead but a little over three years.
It was in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign that the lost book
of Moses was found. The finding of this book brought about
the great reformation, the great revival of education, and the
purity of court life that distinguished his reign. Assuming from
the attainments (Dan. 1:4) that he possessed when led into
exile, Daniel could not well have been less than twenty years
old at that time, so that he was about four years old when the
book of the law was found, and grew up and was educated in
all the later glory of Josiah’s reign. This fact accounts for both
his attainments and character. (See Kings and Chronicles on
the reign of Josiah.)
We now seek for confirmation or contradiction of affirma_
tions 1_3, i. e., the siege of Jerusalem, the submission of the
Jewish king, the carrying away of part of the sacred vessels.
In 2 Kings 23:31_36 he tells how Pharaoh_Necho, after slaying
Josiah, deposed his son Jehoahaz after a three months’ reign
and set Eliakim, another son, on the throne, changing his name
to Jehoiakim and making him a dependent of Egypt. Then the
record thus continues:
In his days Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up, and
Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and re_
belled against him. And the Lord sent against him bands of the
Chaldeans, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites,
and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah
to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by
his servants the prophets.
On the same point the Chronicler says, „Against him came up
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters to carry
him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried off the vessels of the
house of the Lord to Babylon and put them in hia temple at Babylon.
These accounts corroborate Daniel thus far:
1. That Nebuchadnezzar did come up against Jerusalem in
the days of Jehoiakim.
2. He did receive the subjection of Jehoiakim, who had been
subject to Egypt.
3. He did carry away to Babylon a part of the sacred vessels.
4. Neither gives any other account of Nebuchadnezzar com_
ing up against Jerusalem nor of the deportation of the sacred
vessels in the days of Jehoiakim. While they do not date the
coming, nor refer to a deportation of youths of the royal family
and of the nobles, they say nothing against either. So far as
they testify they corroborate Daniel. This corroboration is en_
hanced in value by the fact that Kings and Chronicles both
testify that Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem three times:
(1) In the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chron. 36:6_
7), which Daniel dates in his third year (Dan. 1:1).
(2) In the reign of Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachim (2 Kings
24:10_17 and 2 Chron. 36:10).
(3) In the reign of Zedekiah, brother of Jehoiakim (2 Kings
25:1_12 and 2 Chron. 36:17_21).
And in every case there was a deportation of captives and
of the sacred furniture of the Temple; the second time the de_
portation of both was larger than the first and the third time
larger than the second. It was ever_increasing severity as the
rebellions were repeated. The corroboration is clinched by this
additional testimony: Jehoiakim, having in his third year sub_
mitted to Nebuchadnezzar, did not rebel against him until three
years later (2 Kings 24:1), and so there was no reason for a
siege of Jerusalem in the campaign following the battle of
Charchemish, which occurred in his fourth year (Jer. 46:2).
It was two years after the battle of Charchemish before Je_
hoiakim rebelled. As the power of Egypt was completely broken
by the Charchemish campaign, this rebellion could not have
been formidable. It continued, however, through the rest of his
reign. In the latter part of his reign Nebuchadnezzar prepares
to punish him. His armies arrive, however, after Jehoiakim’s
death in the three months’ reign of his son, and before the siege
is concluded Nebuchadnezzar himself arrives (2 Kings 24:10_
12), and one year after, the campaign following the battle waa
closed, for we find Nebuchadnezzar back in Babylon the next
year (Dan. 2:1).
We now turn to Jeremiah for confirmation or contradiction
of affirmations 1, 2, and 3. The only prophecy in the book of
Jeremiah directly against Jehoiakim is found in chapter 22:18_
23, which has no bearing on the matter in hand, unless (which
is barely possible) this expression, „The wind shall feed all thy
shepherds and thy lovers shall go into captivity,” refers to the
deportation in his third year. There is a prophecy against the
people: „in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim” (Jer. 26.
1). There are prophecies also dated in the fourth and fifth years
of his reign (Jer. 36). The only passage clearly in point is found
in Jeremiah 35:11. The chapter begins: „The word which came
unto Jeremiah from Jehovah in the days of Jehoiakim.” The
matter touches the Rechabites who thus account for their pres_
ence in Jerusalem: „But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar,
king of Babylon, came up into the land, that we said, come, and
let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans,
and for fear of the army of the Syrians; so we dwell at Jeru_
On this strong and pertinent testimony note:
(1) Its grouping. It is immediately followed by a prophecy
of the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:1), and that imme_
diately by an account dated in his fifth year (36:9).
(2) These Rechabites were already dwelling in Jerusalem.
(3) They had left their homes to seek safety there, fleeing
before an invasion led by Nebuchadnezzar with a combined
army of Chaldeans and Syrians. Compare the statement of the
Rechabites with 2 Kings 24:1_2, which refers first to Nebu_
chadnezzar’s invasion of Jehoiakim, and adds: „And the Lord
sent against him (Jehoiakim) bands of the Chaldeans, and
bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of
the children of Ammon,” from all which appears the quadruple
composition of Nebuchadnezzar’s forces in his first invasion of
The only way in which the assailants of Daniel I: I seek to
evade the decisive force of this testimony from Jeremiah is to
arbitrarily detach it from its grouping and assign it to the lat_
ter part of Jehoiakim’s reign, in which period no Bible authori_
ty puts an invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Moreover
and especially, an invasion in the latter part of Jehoiakim’s
reign would jam it up against the second invasion by Nebu_
chadnezzar, which occurred in the three months of Jehoiachin’8
reign (2 Kings 24:8_12; 2 Chron. 36:8_10). It is incredible that
there should be two such invasions by Nebuchadnezzar within
& few months. Armies could not have been twice mobilized
and moved such distances and with such transporation in such
short space of time. A military man with the maps before him
showing how a Babylonian army must first be moved up the
Euphrates to Charchemish, thence by Damascus to combine
with the Syrians, thence down the left bank of the Jordan to
combine with the Moabites and Ammonites, and thence to Je_
rusalem, and also having knowledge of the country to be passed
over and the transport system of that day, would not believe it
possible that two such expeditions could be conducted in the
time limits arbitrarily assigned by civilian critics.
Dr. Farrar, in a paragraph bristling with other blunders,
says, „It was only after the battle of Charchemish that any
siege of Jerusalem would have been possible.” Truth reverses
this statement. It was only after Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of
Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim that the battle of
Charchemish became possible. This is the reasoning:
1. Pharaoh_Necho was lord suzerain of Jehoiakim (2 Kings
23:34), having made him king.
2. In the third year of Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar invaded
Judah, took Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim became his servant. But
Nebuchadnezzar is called home by his father’s death, and him_
self becomes king of Babylon (Dan. 1:1; Jer. 25:1).
3. Nebuchadnezzar, being away and his armies withdrawn,
Pharaoh_Necho, who had been mobilizing his armies during
Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of his dependencies, marches rapid_
ly against Babylon the following year.
4. Nebuchadnezzar, now king, has time only to meet him at
Charchemish at the passage of the Euphrates, and there in the
fourth year of Jehoiakim gains a decisive victory (Jer. 25:1;
5. There could have been no siege of Jerusalem after the
battle of Charchemish, and in that campaign, because Je_
hoiakim, after his submission in his third year, did not rebel
until his sixth year (2 Kings 24:1_2), and the campaign com_
mencing with the battle of Charchemish in his fourth year
(Jer. 46:2) and in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 25:1),
was ended that very year, for we find Nebuchadnezzar back
at Babylon in his second year (Dan. 2:1).
6. What the united and unbroken Bible testimony declares
is confirmed in some of its details by the Chaldean historian
Berosus, as preserved in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities X, 11:1,
and Contra Apion 1:19. Berosus saysù
(1) Nebuchadnezzar was but a young man at the time of his
first westward campaign against Egypt and its dependencies,
and only represented his aged and infirm father Nabopolassar.
(2) While prosecuting this campaign he learned of his fa_
ther’s death and committing „the captives he had taken from
the Jews, Phenicians, and Syrians, and of the nations belong_
ing to Egypt to some of his friends, that they might conduct
that part of the forces that had on heavy armor to Babylonia
by the usual circuitous route, while he himself went in haste,
having but a few with him, over the desert to Babylon and
But Jeremiah (25:1) says that Nebuchadnezzar did not be_
come king until the fourth year of Jehoiakim, hence the pre_
ceding campaign in which he had taken „captives of Jews” was
in the third year of Jehoiakim and so harmonizes with Daniel
1:1. Only a desperate radical critic could put this rapid jour_
ney of Nebuchadnezzar’s „over the desert” after the battle of
Charchemish because (1) the straight road from Charchemish
to Babylon was down the Euphrates and outside of the desert;
(2) there was no occasion to return to Babylon after that
battle, as he was already king (Jer. 25:1) ; (3) he could not in
that battle have gained „captives of Jews” because they sub_
mitted the year before, and did not rebel until two years after
the battle (Dan. 1:1 and 2 Kings 24:1).
I do not affirm that Berosus or Josephus gives clear accounts
throughout. Both of them muddle and jumble matters as if
they were radical critics, particularly Josephus in his own ac_
count of Daniel. But Daniel, Jeremiah, Kings, and Chronicles
We have already said that Daniel I affirms by implication a
political situation to justify its statements. That political situa-tion we find in Kings, Jeremiah, and Chronicles. The kingdom of Judah in Josiah’s time was sandwiched between the two great powers, Egypt and Assyria. Judah was a dependence of Assyria. Pharaoh_Necho slew Josiah and broke the Assyrian power at the first battle of Charchemish and deposed one son of Josiah and set up another, Jehoiakim, tributary to himself. But in the meantime Nabopolassar had made Babylon a greater power than Assyria had been. He would not rest content while Egypt held all Syria and Palestine, blocking his way to the Mediterranean Sea. So, being himself old and infirm, he sends his young son, Nebuchad-nezzar, to follow the old line of invasion adopted by Chedorlao_
mer in the days of Abraham (Gen. 14) ; Syria, Ammon, Moab
and Jerusalem fall before him (2 Kings 24:1_2, and 2 Chron.
36:6_7; Jer. 35:11; Dan. 1:1). This the third year of Jehoia_
kim. News of his father’s death stops his victorious campaign.
His armies, with the prisoners, are sent back the long way they
had come, and he himself rapidly returns the short way across
the desert. Arriving he is made king. Pharaoh_Necho, aroused
by this conquest of his dependencies and encouraged by the
withdrawal of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, pushes his own army
rapidly to Charohemish, the strategical passage of the Eu_
phrates. Nebuchadnezzar, now king, meets him at Charchem_
ish, fourth year of Jehoiakim and first year of his own reign
(Jer. 46:1_12). The campaign is concluded in the year, and
the next year or second year of Nebuchadnezzar he is back in
Babylon examining into the proficiency of the captives taken
in his first invasion (Dan. 2:1). This same year (second of
Nebuchadnezzar’s and fifth of Jehoiakim’s), Jehoiakim pre_
pares to rebel against the solemn warnings of Jeremiah (Jer.
36:9_31), and the next year he does rebel (2 Kings 24:1), and
thus brings about the second invasion by Nebuchadnezzar in
the three months’ reign of his son (2 Kings 24:10_12).
We conclude the argument on this point with the testimony
of Ezekiel, a fellow exile and contemporary of Daniel, given
some years later, bearing upon the fact that Daniel was a well_
known historical personage, and bearing witness to his re_
markable righteousness and wisdom. In the days of Abraham
God promised to spare Sodom if ten righteous men could be
found in it. But, speaking concerning the awful back_sliding
of Israel both in Judea and in exile, God says twice to Ezekiel:
„Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it,
they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness”
(Ezek. 14:14, 20). And to the king of Tyre he says, „Art thou
wiser than Daniel?” It is not merely puerile to deny these
references of Ezekiel to the Daniel of this book and ascribe
them to some man unknown to history or tradition, but it sug_
gests an incorrigible aversion from the belief of the truth akin
to judicial blindness. Solomon’s fame for wisdom filled the
world when he was but a young man. And to decry this testi-
mony on account of Daniel’s youth ignores the fact that God
gave to Daniel his wisdom as he had given it to Solomon, and
that when Ezekiel wrote, Daniel was in his prime and occupied
a position of worldwide importance.
We have thus corroborated every historical particular in the
first chapter of Daniel. There was just the political situation
to call forth its alleged facts. Ezekiel, a contemporary, certi_
fies to the person, righteousness and wisdom of Daniel. There
is no other Daniel known to history or tradition to whom his
words can apply. The first book of Maccabees expressly
refers to the Daniel of this book. Our Lord expressly certi_
fies to his person and his prophecy. Zechariah borrows from
the symbolism of his visions and Nehemiah imitates his prayer.
Berosus, the Chaldean historian, corroborates the statement
(Dan. 1:1), that there was a deportation of Jewish captives in
Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion of Judea, and both Berosus
and Jeremiah confirm his statement (Dan 1:5) – „Three years”
– and Dan. 2:1) that Nebuchadnezzar was only vice_regent in
this first campaign, but became king at its close.
The current testimony of all the witnesses explains how this
first campaign roused Egypt and led to the battle of Char_
chemish, at which time Nebuchadnezzar was king and had no
occasion to return immediately thereafter to Babylon, but
finished the campaign the same year, completely breaking the
power of Egypt (2 Kings 24:7), and was back in Babylon in
his second year (Dan. 2:1), which was consonant with Jehoia_
kim’s fifth year. That Jehoiakim, against the repeated warn_
ings of Jeremiah, rebelled in his sixth year, though Egypt was
not now in position to help him, which rebellion led to Nebu_
chadnezzar’s second siege of Jerusalem three months after his
death. When, then, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Chronicles
corroborate the minute particulars of this first chapter, and
both inter_biblical records and traditions, and the whole weight
of New Testament authority confirm it, we cannot explain
Driver’s „doubt” of its accuracy, nor Farrar’s bold denial of
its truth on any theory of fairness, friendliness, and reverence
toward Old Testament books. If the reader will examine the
first appendix to Sir Robert Anderson’s Daniel in the Critics’
Den, he will find the statement of Daniel I: I confirmed by the
strictest test of chronology.
The statement in this first chapter that certain noble youths,
remarkable for physical beauty, education, wisdom, and court_
ly bearing, were led captive and trained in the language and
learning of their captors with a view to service in the palace,
is in line with all Oriental history, ancient or modern. The
attainments of Daniel in the learning of the Chaldeans finds a
parallel in both Joseph and Moses in Egypt under somewhat
similar conditions; so no allegation in this chapter has an air
Having thus examined at length and critically the historical
introduction to the book, we may advance more rapidly in
dealing with the rest of the historical sections of Daniel’s
life, which extended to the third year of Cyrus. Modern
archeological research has brought to light so much informa_
tion on the religion, laws, customs, learning, architecture, agri_
culture, commerce, business habits, and everyday life of the
of the ancient Babylonians that we may construct a mind pic_
ture of the great city and its people as Daniel saw them six
hundred years before Christ, that would be almost as faithful
in detail as a mental impression gained by a visit to Paris, Ber_
lin, or London. The reader will find just such a picture in tho
second chapter of Deane’s Daniel, His Life and Times. By all
means read it and extend your reading when you can to all
the authorities he cites. It does not lie within the purpose or
compass of these discussions to go into such details.
1. Upon what does the historical character of this book mainly depend and, in general, what the argument?
2. What the most important reference as bearing upon the historical
character of the book and what relation does the first chapter of Daniel bear to the whole book?
3. What the affirmations of Daniel 1:1_4?
4. To what sources may we look for confirmation or contradiction of
5. What the proof that there was an environment in Jerusalem con_
ducive to the education and character of the royal youths such as Daniel and his comrades are here said to have had?
6. What the proof of the siege of Jerusalem and the carrying away
captives in 2 _Kings and how confirmed by 2 Chronicles?
7. What the proof from Jeremiah?
8. How do assailants of Daniel 1:1 seek to evade the force of the
testimony of Jeremiah and what the reply?
9. What Dr. Farrar’s statement about the siege of Jerusalem, what is
really the truth of the matter, and what the arguments?
10. What the testimony of Berosus on this point and what its bearing?
11. What the testimony of Jeremiah on this point and what the argu_
ments here against the position of the radical critics?
12. What the proof that the political situation at that time justifies the
statements in Daniel I?
13. What the testimony of Ezekiel and its argument?
14. What the summary of the proof of a historical and personal
15. Give a restatement of the facts related to the battle of Charchemish.
16. What the circumstantial proof of the accuracy of the history in
Daniel I pertaining to the „youths” and what parallels in the Bible of
17. How have we in modern times become acquainted with all the de_
tails of life in Babylon in the times of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar?
THE HISTORY OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR
Daniel 2:1 to 4:37
The history contained and involved Daniel I, because it is
fundamental to the rest of the book, and because it is most con_
tested, hag been elaborately examined in the preceding chapter.
With the foundation thus firmly established, we may proceed
more rapidly in the consideration of the rest of the historical
sections of the book.
Chapter 2 commences with an important date, the second
year of Nebuchadnezzar. We have seen from the preceding
chapter that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, made its
king tributary, and led Daniel into captivity, in the third year
of Jehoiakim; that on this expedition he was only co_regent
with his father, but was called home suddenly by the news of
his father’s death, so that in the fourth year of Jehoiakim he
became sole king (Jer. 25:1), and the same year as king he_
defeated the invading Egyptians at the second battle of Char_
chemish near the fords of the Euphrates (Jer. 46:2). The vic_
tory was so decisive that he finished that year the campaign
which gave him all the Syrian and Palestinian country to the
river of Egypt. We say he finished the Charchemish campaign
that year, for this chapter (2:1) finds him back in Babylon
some time later, doubtless in his second year.
It is in this year he had the dream of the great image de_
stroyed by the little stone cut out of the mountain, or the suc_
cession of five great world empires which will be considered
carefully when we come to the exposition of the prophetic sec_
tions. Because of his interpretation of this dream Daniel and
his friends receive great honors. Our record says, „Then the
king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshiped Daniel,
and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet
odours to him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of
a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and
a revealer of secrets, seeing thou hast been able to reveal this
secret. Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many
great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of
Babylon, and to be chief governor over all the wise men of
Babylon. And Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed_nego over the affairs of the
province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king”
He is now not only the chief of all the wise men, a very in_
fluential body, but is prime minister of all the empire. As it is
a world empire, the governmental affairs of the known world
are in his hands. His purity of life and his incorruptible in_
tegrity in the administration of public affairs soon gives him
such a reputation for righteousness throughout the world as
later to call forth a tribute from his fellow captive and con_
temporary, Ezekiel, which associates him with the two men
most remarkable for righteousness at that date in the world’s
history (Ezek. 14:14,20).
Tyre, on the Phenician coast, had also become tributary to
Babylonia. But the king of Tyre, meditating the rebellion
which would soon bring Nebuchadnezzar to destroy his city,
imagined he knew more about politics and public administra_
tion of affairs than anybody else. This calls forth another
tribute to Daniel by Ezekiel when he ironically says to the
king of Tyre, „Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no
secret that is hidden from thee!” The reference here is very
obvious to Daniel’s God_given wisdom and his selection by the
Almighty to be a revealer of secrets set forth in Daniel 2. And
the pertinence of the allusion becomes more apparent when we
consider that it is Daniel’s wise administration of the world’s
affairs, including those of Tyre, against which the king of Tyre
proposes to rebel. There is nothing in the world’s literature
more exquisite as a classical gem than this prophecy of Ezekiel
against Tyre. (See Ezek. 26_28.)
When we consider the relation of Tyre to Daniel and Baby_
lon at this very juncture, nothing but the most incorrigible
perversity and wilful blindness could induce a radical critic
to refer these allusions of Ezekiel to a Daniel unknown to his_
tory or tradition, and to deny their reference to the well_known
Daniel of this bookùthe only man on earth at that time, be_
fore or since, whose relations to the matters in hand could
justify the allusions.
Attention is here called to the frequent instances in history
when alien Jews, on account of their capacity, have been pro_
moted to the management of national affairs: Joseph in
Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, Mordecai in Persia, Disraeli in
England, Judah P. Benjamin in the Southern Confederacy.
The history in Daniel 3 relates, not directly to him, but to
his three friends. And as the record is so plain we need not do
more than make clear a few points in the story. That Nebu_
chadnezzar, in his exaltation to the sovereignty of the world,
should be inflated with abnormal pride and count himself
worthy of divine honors is no strange thing, particularly when
we call to mind the existence of that evil spirit, the prince of
this world, at all times ready to tempt men to idolatry, or to
any form of worship that will deny the only true God. In our
Lord’s great prophecy which refers to the „abomination of des_
olation” spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, we find the Greek
word „Bdelugma” translated „abomination,” to mean an idol,
an image for worship, and therefore an „abomination.” Prob_
ably that idol, or image, was the effigy of Caesar on the Roman
standard which the soldiers worshiped by imperial command.
There is a thrilling account by Josephus, in Jewish Antiquities,
of the revolt of the Jews because Pilate had the legion from
Caesarea to bring these idol standards and to „introduce” them
by might into the holy city. Inasmuch as the desolation of
Jerusalem was to be accomplished by Roman armies, and as
these armies carried standards on which were idol effigies of
Caesar, we can see why Daniel would call the Roman standard
an abomination of desolation. If, much later in the world’s
history, all the Caesars assumed divine honors and demanded
worship of their images, we should not find it incredible that
Nebuchadnezzar should erect this image in the plain of Dura.
We may trust a radical critic, however, to find some ground
of objection against the history. Three of their objections I
now cite and answer, as follows:
1. The available gold of the world would not suffice for the
material of that colossal image, ninety feet high and nine feet
wide. Those who are familiar with the financial arguments of
Bryan’s first campaign for the presidency will recall „Coin’s”
dramatic description of the smallness of the room whose cubic
capacity would hold all the gold of the world. But these critics
ignore the fact that these images were not solid but hollow like
the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, and that probably
the component sections were not solid gold but only plated or
gilt. Gold is one of the most malleable of all metals. A single
grain of gold can be hammered out until it will cover fifty
square inches. It would not have strained Nebuchadnezzar’s
credit to gild or plate that image.
2. But the critics blow the trumpet of doubt when they find
among the names of the musical instruments enumerated in
verses 4 and 10, one or two Greek words, which they say could
not have been known in Babylon at this date and therefore the
author must belong to the times after Antiochus Epiphanes.
It is hardly worth while to notice this philological objection
since objections on the ground of philology have been either
virtually abandoned by many of the later critics or little stress
given to them. It is true the book of Daniel deals only with
the Greek Empire prophetically, commencing with Alexander
the Great, yet unborn, but Greek language and literature pre_
ceded Alexander very many years and were widely diffused
before Daniel’s time. The Greek name of an instrument of
music would naturally follow the instrument. From the time
that Nebuchadnezzar gained the Mediterranean coast, and long
before there was communication with Greece (not yet an em_
pire of course) through Pheonician ships and overland routes
of commerce (read particularly Ezekiel 27). But Dr. Pusey,
one of the ripest scholars of Europe, denies that there is even
one Greek word in the book of Daniel.
3. Of course they regard the miraculous preservation of the
three Hebrews in the fiery furnace as altogether incredible.
How their gorge rises in them when a miracle appears! A close
student of Bible miracles cannot fail to note that they appear
in groups of great epochs in the history of the kingdom of God
– the times of Moses, of Elijah and Elisha, of Isaiah and Dan_
iel, of our Lord and his apostles. And always the times call
for mighty demonstrations of divine power. I call attention
to the old heathen literary maxim: „Never introduce a god
into your story unless there be a necessity for a god, and when
introduced let his words and deeds be worthy of a god.” Of
course the author of the maxim is looking only to an artistic
standard of literary taste, and yet his words contain a principle
that justifies all biblical miracles. There is always an oc_
casion for them. They are never needless or out of harmony
with the conditions. And particularly in this instance as in
the memorable case of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, there
was a distinct issue between Jehovah and idolatry which called
for the divine interposition, as we see in verse 15. These three
Hebrews had openly refused to obey the king’s mandate to
worship the image. They were formally brought before him
in the presence of his people. The king once more peremptorily
demanded obedience and challenged any god to deliver from
his wrath if they again disobeyed.
Aesop, in one of his fables, justly rebukes a wagoner for
calling on the demigod, Hercules, when all that was needed
was to put his own shoulder to the wheel. No human power
could have helped these martyrs in that furnace, and only the
supernatural intervention could have brought Nebuchadnezzar
to his right mind. The New Testament certifies the miracle:
„By faith they quenched the violence of fire” (Heb. 11:34).
One incident of this preservation has impressed the world,
and teaches a lesson of transcendent importance to God’s
people: „Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and
rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors) Did
not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They
answered and said unto the king, True, 0 king. He answered
and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the
fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like
the Son of God.”
The great lesson is the actual presence of God with his people in all their trials and afflictions. This time the Presence was made visible. But whether visible to the natural eye or only to the spiritual eye, the fact of that Presence has been, through_
out the ages of unspeakable comfort to all persecuted for
righteousness’ sake or in sore straits from any cause. It has in_
spired lofty songs and given wings to praise. David, in that
matchless hymn concerning the good shepherd, sings:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
It is the glorious assurance of the great commission: „Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the world.” In the
absence of our Lord in heaven this doctrine of the Divine Pres_
ence prevents the sense and loneliness of orphanage. Says our
Lord, on the eve of his departure) „I will not leave you
orphans. I come unto you. . . . If any man love me, he will
keep my words: and my father will love him, and we will come
unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:18, 23).
Nebuchadnezzar, an outsider, and challenging God’s inter_
vention, needed natural sight to convince him. We need it not.
The manifestation of the Presence is more vivid, more realiz_
able) because made evident to the soul’s senses. Let us keep
on singing that grand old Baptist hymn:
Fear not; I am with thee; 0 be not dismayed I
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid:
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all_sufficient, shall be thy supply:
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy gold to refine.
To the end of time the reply of these three men to Nebuchad_
nezzar’s imperious demand will develop moral heroes: „Shad-rach, Meshach, and Abed_nego answered and said unto the king, 0 Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of thine hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known unto thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” The world would become corrupt as before the flood and evoke condign and sweeping wrath from heaven were it not that in every generation some heroes of faith, like these men, arise to save it by their sublime devotion to the paramount law of God. The whole book of Daniel breeds heroes.
More than once already have I called attention to the vari_
ant readings of the Septuagint, or Greek version. We must un_
derstand first, that a translation is not inspired. Then we
should understand that Ptolemy, king of Egypt, for whose
great library this version was made, was seeking literature, not
religion. Sometimes this version is a paraphrase, not a trans_
lation. Sometimes it incorporates traditions and even whole
books, belonging indeed to later Jewish literature, but not
found in the Hebrew nor reckoned by the Jews as canonical.
Hence we need not be surprised to find incorporated in this
third chapter of Daniel a section longer than the rest of the
chapter. It sandwiches between verses 23 and 24 sixty_seven
other verses, consisting of three parts:
1. After stating that these men had fallen down bound when
thrown into the furnace, it says that they arose and walked in
the flame. Then Azarias (i.e., Abed_nego) offered a prayer
much like Daniel’s prayer in chapter 8. Indeed, it is evidently
modeled on that prayer, but it contains one untrue statement,
which was true, however, in the time of the apochryphal book
from which it seems to be quoted.
2. It contains a brief statement to this effect: That
Nebuchadnezzar’s servants kept on adding fuel to feed the
flames of the furnace, but that God’s angel entered the furnace
with the martyrs and blew all the flames out of the furnace and
made all its interior as cool as if a gentle breeze circulated or
a dew were falling.
3. The consciousness of deliverance leads all three of them
to burst out in a long song of praise, which is little more than
quotations from some of the psalms.
It bears the marks of a later age, and unlike the reticence of
the Holy Scriptures, it seeks to explain the process of the mir_
acle. The inspired oracles record miracles in the simplest and
briefest language, never stopping to attempt an explanation,
or to offer an apology. The miracle stands naked before the
eye and is left unclothed.
Daniel 4 is a contribution by Nebuchadnezzar himself. It
consists of a proclamation which recites the events of eight
years. The time order of the events is as follows:
1. Nebuchadnezzar, though a great king and a pious one ac_
cording to his religion, was going far astray through pride in
consequence of his greatness and the exercise of his sovereignty
over the world.
2. God sends him a dream to rebuke him for his sins and to
warn him of punishment if there be no reformation.
3. This dream is interpreted by Daniel to signify the loss of
his reason for seven years and his expulsion from the throne
during that time, and his becoming as a beast of the field.
Daniel closes his interpretation with this exhortation: „Where_
fore, 0 king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break
off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing
mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.”
4. At the end of twelve months, the king’s heart being lifted
up with pride as he contemplates the greatness of his city and
the glory of his dominion, the dream is fulfilled.
5. On the recovery of his reason he blesses and praises Je_
hovah, the God of the Jews, and acknowledges his supremacy
over all governments and kings.
The dream in itself was a marvel:
Thus were the visions of mine head upon my bed: I saw, and, be_
hold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was
great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached
unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. The
leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was
food for all, the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the
birds of the heavens dwelt in the branches thereof, and all flesh was
fed from it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and be_
hold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven. He cried
alone and said, thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off its branches,
shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit: let the beasts get away from
under it, and the fowls from its branches. Nevertheless leave the
stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass,
in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of
heaven; and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the
earth; let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart
be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. The sentence
is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the
holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most
High ruleth in. the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he
will, and setteth up over it the lowest of men. – DANIEL 4:10_17.
The great lesson which the dream was designed to teach is
thus expressed: „To the intent that the living may know that
the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to
whomsoever he will; and setteth up over it the lowest of men.”
This chapter, as all of the rest of the book, is designed to affirm
and demonstrate the supremacy of the government of
God over the governments of men. On one occasion Dr.
Lyman Beecher preached a sermon on „The Government of
God.” The impression made by it was so profound that a friend
inquired, „Dr. Beecher, how long were you preparing that ser_
mon?” He replied, „Forty years, and the time was too short for
me to understand the comprehension of the divine rule.” The
dream was also intended to show that all kings and govern_
ments are under inspection of heavenly watchers, and when
the measure of their iniquity is full the divine judgment will
certainly fall. Any man who cannot, from the study of nature
and from the affairs of time) find out that there is a God who
rules over heaven and earth, classifies himself with the brutes
that perish. As this dream says, „Take away from him the
heart of a man and let the heart of a beast be given to him.”
In the days of my early ministry in Waco, Mr. Huxley’s
definition of an agnostic was becoming widely accepted and
the Darwinian theory of evolution as set forth by Charles
Darwin and advocated by Herbert Spencer, Huxley, and Tyn_
dall, was receiving great favor in literary circles in Waco. After
reviewing in a series of lectures the „First Principles” of Her_
bert Spencer, I preached a sermon on the text from this chap_
ter, „Take away from him the heart of a man and give him
the heart of a beast,” and used these expressions: „An atheist
is a fool; an agnostic is a beast,” following out the thought of
this chapter that one too ignorant to know God and his govern_
ment classified himself with the beasts. The evolutionists who
had confidently affirmed a brute ancestry, objected to classifi_
cation with their parents.
The disease which came upon Nebuchadnezzar was a disease
well known to medical authorities in which the subject,
through mental derangement on one point, imagines himself
to be some beast or fowl and acts as if it were true; that is, the
patient, if he imagines himself to be a rooster, flaps his arms
as if they were wings and crows; if he imagines himself to be a
dog he barks and growls and snarls like a dog; if he imagines
himself to be an ox he goes on all_fours instead of standing
erect and eats grass and herbs like an ox. The technical name
of the disease in Nebuchadnezzar’s case is „boanthropy.” A
Greek medical writer of the fourth century A.D. seems to be the
first to notice this disease. Doubtless during the seven years of
Nebuchadnezzar’s incompetency through mental disorder re_
gents ruled over Babylon for him.
Is it credible that a king of Babylon would issue such a proc_
lamation? In this book and in other books of the Bible, near
the times, for example Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, we find
kings prodigal in proclamations. It is also in line with the latest
discoveries of archeological researches, that kings made proc_
lamations or recorded inscriptions to memorialize the great
events of their own lives or of the history of their people. So
there is nothing incredible in the proclamation.
A certain sentence of this chapter in the Greek version has
been made to play a prominent part in the baptismal contro_
versy. See in the Greek version the rendering of „and his body
was wet with the dew of heaven” (v. 33) and see in Carson on
1. What the subject matter of chapter 2?
2. What promotion did Daniel and his three friends receive for the
interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image and little stone?
3. Daniel’s righteousness in his own life and in the administration of
the world’s affairs called forth what tribute from his contemporary,
4. How would his political position as prime minister bring him in
contact with Tyre?
5. How does his wisdom in administering world affairs call for another
tribute from Ezekiel and what its pertinence?
6. What other Jews have been called to high positions in foreign lands?
7. Show the naturalness of Nebuchadnezzar’s erecting an image of
himself for worship.
8. In what form did the Roman Caesars have themselves worshiped?
9. Give the account in Josephus of the revolt of the Jews because
these effigies of the Caesars were introduced into the holy city.
10. Why does Daniel, later, call these effigies „the abomination of
11. Give the size, height, and breadth of Nebuchadnezzar’s image.
12. What the objection of the critics to the golden material of the
image, and your reply?
13. What their objection to the names of the musical instruments that
introduced worship of the image, and your reply?
14. What their objection to the miracle of preservation in the fiery
furnace, and your reply?
15. What incident of the miracle (3:24_25) suggests a great doctrine
and how is it elsewhere taught?
16. What has been the moral effect of the reply of the three Hebrews
(Dan. 3:16_18) to Nebuchadnezzar?
17. Give full account of the Septuagint interpolation in this chapter –
just where it is placed, how much, and what.
18. How do you account for these extensive additions in that version?
19. Who is the author of chapter 4 and of what does it consist?
20. What the time order of the events?
22. What the lesson, or design of the dream, and what great sermon
cited on „The Government of God”?
23. What use was made of Daniel 4:16 by the author and what the
occasion of it?
24. What was the disease which came upon Nebuchadnezzar? Describe
the actions of on who has it.
25. Is it credible that a king of Babylon would issue such a proclama_
26. What sentence of this chapter in the Greek version has been made
to play a prominent part in the baptismal controversy and what the reply of immersionists?
DANIEL AND BELSHAZZAR
The title of this chapter is „Daniel and Belshazzar.” The
scripture is Daniel 5. It will be recalled that in the chapter on
the historical introduction to this book certain matters relating
to introduction were reserved for the exposition. Daniel 5 is a
case in point. We are here introduced to two names which have
occasioned much controversy, Belshazzar and Darius the
Mede. Moreover, there are variant readings in the texts and
versions. Usually the accepted Hebrew text, the Greek ver_
sion of Theodotion and the old Peshito Syriac version agree on
the text. The chief variations are found in the Septuagint ver_
sion. It is a safe rule to follow the three against the one when
we come to a variant reading. The Septuagint Daniel is by far
the most untrustworthy of the Old Testament books in that
Of this much we may be assured – that neither in the ac_
cepted Hebrew text, nor in the Theodotion, nor in the Peshito
Syriac, nor in the Septuagint do we find any support for the
contentions of the radical critics concerning Belshazzar and
Darius the Mede. No text or version supports any one of their
main contentions: (1) That the book of Daniel was written
by an unknown Jew after the days of Antiochus Epiphanes;
(2) that there was no king Belshazzar; (3) no king Darius
the Mede; (4) that Daniel 5_6 cannot be reconciled with the
discoveries of the latest archeological research on the history
Much has been made in this controversy of what is called the
„Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus,” brought to light by modern re_
search. This now famous tablet is very brief and is so much
broken that it must be reconstructed; even when reconstructed
there are gaps which cannot be supplied; and it is very difficult
to decipher what is inscribed, so difficult that the experts
themselves cannot agree on the rendering. But the most of
them, including Driver himself, support a rendering in substan_
tial accord with the book of Daniel.
The historians of the period such as Xenophon, Herodotus,
Rawlinston (Ancient Monarchies) furnish corroboration of
the statements in the book of Daniel, whatever may be the
merits of their testimony. But what is much more important,
the Daniel account of the fall of Babylon before the Medes
and Persians is in line with the prophecies of Isaiah and Jere_
miah concerning that event, and the several accounts by Isaiah,
Jeremiah, and Daniel are all endorsed in the book of Revela_
tion, giving an account of the fall of the mystical Babylon
based on the Old Testament analogue of the historical Babylon.
The reader will find Driver’s rendering of the Cyrus tablet
in his book on Daniel in the „Cambridge Bible Series.” Profes_
sor Sayce’s rendering may be found in Appendix II of Daniel
in the Critics’ Den and also the better rendering of Theo. G.
Pinches, by whom the tablet was brought to light, and the
rendering of St. Chad Boscawen. So that these men – Pinches,
Boscawen, and Driver – with others, agree in deciphering the
inscription: (1) In harmony with the book of Daniel; (2)
against the Sayce rendering.
If, then, we rightly regard this matter as a Judicial inquiry,
all its evidence to be compared, cross_examined and weighed
by judicial minds according to the laws of evidence; and if we
accept for our guidance the six fundamental rules of law
touching evidence laid down by Mr. Greenleaf in his Testimony
of the Evangelists, there will be no trouble in accepting the
book of Daniel as credible history. Mr. Greenleaf’s rules are as
1. „Every document apparently ancient coming from the
proper repository or custody and bearing on its face no evident
marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine and devolves
on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be other_wise.” Now under that law we have our document of the book of Dan-iel, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custodian and no evident marks of forgery on it, and that docu-ment before any law court would be pronounced genuine.
2. „In matters of public and general interest all persons
must be presumed to be conversant, on the principle that in_
dividuals are presumed to be conversant with their own af_
fairs.” Now apply that to Daniel living in Babylon at that
time, an observer of the transactions which he relates.
3. „In trials of fact by oral testimony the proper inquiry is
not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but
whether there is sufficient probability that it is true.” Now
apply that law to every statement made in the book of Daniel.
4. „A proposition of fact is proved when its proof is estab_
lished by competent and satisfactory evidence.”
5. „In the absence of circumstances which generate suspi_
cion, every witness is presumed to be credible until the con_
trary is shown. The burden of impeaching his credibility lies
on the objector.”
6. „The credulity due to the testimony of a witness depends
upon: (1) their honesty; (2) their ability; (3) their number
and the consistency of their testimony; (4) the conformity of
their testimony with experience; and (5) the conformity of
their testimony with collateral circumstances.”
We can then understand why such great authorities on evi_
dence as Mr. Greenleaf, and Lord Chancellors Hatherley,
Cairns, and Selborne are never disturbed by the arrogant
claims of the radical critics. They never forget that „no kind
of evidence more demands the test of cross_examination than
that of experts, whose proper place is the witness chair and not
the judgment seat” – (Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, History of
the Criminal Law, quoted by Sir Robert Anderson). They
never confound an expert’s real evidence with his logic or the
conclusions of his mind. On this very point Sir Robert Ander_
son most pertinently quotes Lord Hatherley, in his Continuity
of Scripture speaking of „the supposed evidence, on which are
based some very confident assertions of a self_styled higher
criticism! Assuming the learning to be profound and accurate
which has collected the material for much critical performance,
the logic by which conclusions are deduced from those materi_
als is frequently grievously at fault, and open to the judgment
of all who may have been accustomed to sift and weigh evi_
dence.” The book of Daniel, then, as a „document, apparently
ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and
bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law pre_
sumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the
burden of proving it to be otherwise.”
Its place in the canon of Hebrew inspired books was never
questioned in the ancient synagogue. Our Lord and his apos_
tles found it there and treated it as inspired history and
prophecy. Only one man, and he a heathen, ever assailed its
genuineness or authenticity for more than two thousand years.
The chief presupposition of modern assault upon it is purely
atheistical; namely, there can be no real miracle or prophecy
and therefore the book must be accounted for naturally (not
supernaturally) and must be dated and estimated accordingly,
which begs the whole question.
On the premises thus briefly set forth this author accepts
Daniel 8.9 a. competent witness of the matters relative to Bel_
shazzar and Darius coming under his own observation, and
our attention will now be given to that evidence. All its ref_
erences to Belshazzar apart from chapter 5 are these: „In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed” (Dan. 7:1). „In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me, Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first” (8:1). Chapter 5 commences: „Belshazzar the king made a great feast . _ . ” and closes thus: „In the night Belshazzar, the Chal-dean king, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about three score and two years old.”
While the book of Daniel does not say anything about Bel_
shazzar’s father, history shows that his father was still living
and that Belshazzar is called the king’s son. These three verses
then suggest that he was co_regent with his father, his father
being the first ruler, he the second ruler, and his proposition
to make whosoever would interpret that handwriting the third
ruler. The critics say it should be „the ruler of the third part,”
and the Septuagint version seems to support them, but the
Hebrew text and the Theodotion version and our common Eng_
lish version and our Revised Version and the English Version
of the Jewish text, all testify that the rendering should be, „the
third ruler in the kingdom.” I have before me the Jewish Bible,
that is, the English translation of the Jewish Bible, and on
Daniel 5 in each instance it renders those three verses that I
have just quoted exactly as I quoted them. It reads as follows:
„Whatsoever man will read this writing and tell me its mean_
ing shall be clothed with purple and shall have a chain of gold
about his neck and shall rule as third in the kingdom.” Verse
16 puts it this way, „and shall rule as the third in the king_
dom.” The next verse he interprets „that he should rule as the
third in the kingdom.” So that while the radical critic says
that the rendering, „the third ruler in the kingdom,” is un_
tenable, he puts himself against the very highest scholarship
in Germany and England, against the two English versions,
against the Jewish version, against the Theodotion Greek ver_
sion, and our common Hebrew text. We understand then that
Belshazzar was king, his father associating him with himself
in the kingdom. We learn from history that Nabonidus, his
father, was a man who preferred privacy and seclusion. He
had very little to do with public affairs. He was not even in
Babylon when it was invaded by the Medes and Persians. He
was not present when they took Babylon. He commanded no
armies. His son Belshazzar is represented as a warlike man,
a general, and whatever war there was was conducted by Bel_
shazzar. We look then at the next affirmation.
Daniel 5 says thus:
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords,
and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar while he tasted the
wine commanded to bring the gold and silver vessels which
Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which is in
Jerusalem, that the king and his lords and his wives and his concu_
bines might drink therefrom. Then they brought the golden vessels
that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at
Jerusalem, and the king and his lords and his wives and his concu_
bines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of
gold and silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
That is Daniel’s account of what was done on the night of
the awful catastrophe of the fall of Babylon. I want to com_
pare that with the prophecy of Isaiah and of Jeremiah concern_
ing the destruction of Babylon. In Isaiah 21:4_5, 9 we have
this account: „My heart fluttereth, horror hath frighted me;
the twilight that I desired hath been turned into trembling
unto me. They prepare the table, they set the watch, they eat,
they drink: rise up,_ye princes, anoint the shield.” Then he
goes on to give an account of the fall: „Fallen, fallen, is Baby_
lon, and all the graven images of her gods are broken unto the
ground.” So that Isaiah in his time, prophesying of the fall of
Babylon, makes the occasion of the fall the time when they
are at the table – when they are eating and drinking.
I take passages from Jeremiah 51: „The mighty men of
Babylon have forborne to fight, they remain in their strong_
holds; they are become as women; they have burned her dwell_
ing places; her bars are broken. One post shall run to meet
another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king
of Babylon that his city is taken on every quarter and the pas_
sages are seized, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and
the men of war are affrighted” (Jer. 51:30_32). „In their heat
I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that
they may rejoice, and sleep perpetual sleep, and not wake
saith the Lord. I will bring them down like lambs to the
slaughter, like rams with he_goats” (Jer. 51:39). „And I will
make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and
her rulers, and her mighty men; and they shall sleep a sleep
perpetual, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is Jeho_
vah of hosts” (Jer. 51:57).
We find then that both Isaiah and Jeremiah represent the
downfall of Babylon as coming when they are at a feast, eat_
ing, drinking, and drunken, and that feast ends with their sud_
den destruction, .so that Daniel’s account in that affirmation is
certainly sustained by the older prophets.
We now come to the next affirmation (Dan. 5:3_4, 18_24),
representing that this is a conflict with Jehovah himself. They
commence by insulting Jehovah, by using the sacred Temple
vessels for drinking their wine on such an occasion. They not
only drink their wine out of the sacred vessels, but they praise
the idols, and so when Daniel comes in he makes that point
against them when he comes to interpret the vision. Let us see
what he says on that point. Daniel 5:18: „Oh thou king, the
most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father the kingdom,
and greatness, and glory, and majesty: and because of the
greatness that he gave him, all of _the peoples, nations, and
languages trembled and feared before him: whom he would he
slew, and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would
he raised up, whom he would he put down. But when his heart
was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt
proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took
his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men,
and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was
with the wild asses; he was fed with grass like oxen, and his
body was wet with the dew of heaven; until he knew that the
most high God ruleth in the kingdom of men, and that he set_
teth up over it whosoever he will. And thou his son. 0 Bel_
shazzar, hast not humbled thy heart, though thou knewest all
this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven;
and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee,
and thou and thy lords, thy wives and thy concubines, have
drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver
and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which set not, nor
hear, nor know; and the God in whose had thy breath is, and
whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified. Then was the
part of the hand, sent from before him and this writing was
It is evident from Daniel 5 that the issues were between
Jehovah and Babylon as a nation in the person of its king,
Belshazzar. Let us compare that statement in Daniel 5 with
the parallel passages in Isaiah. Several chapters of Isaiah,
commencing with Isaiah 45, are devoted to that very point,
Isaiah foreshowing the destruction of Babylon and its reason,
and making it just as plain as Daniel makes it, that the issue
is that Babylon was set up by divine providence, that its kings
were the servants of God to do his will, that commencing with
Nebuchadnezzar and going through their history they had
failed to recognize the divine government of nations, in con_
sequence of which Isaiah is now prophesying the downfall of
this kingdom of Babylon. So that Daniel 5 stands in harmony
with the older prophet upon that point. There are two or three
chapters of Isaiah on this point too long for me to give here.
We now come to the next affirmation in this chapter, and
this relates to the miracle. It affirms that during that great
gathering, the thousand lords, the wives and concubines of the
king, the mad reveling, the impious resistance to Jehovah, that
just at that juncture part of a hand that was visible came out
and wrote on the wall these words: Mene, Mene, Tekel,
Upharsin. Now, of course, if a man takes the position that
there can be no miracle or anything supernatural, he will not
believe anything of this kind, but we are not of that class.
Everything that was written, as I will show you, when we come
to interpret it, is in full accord with everything else that is
written in the Bible. We want to know the effect upon Bel_
shazzar. The testimony is very striking on that. Let us see
what was the effect on Belshazzar when he saw that hand come
out there and write those words: „And the king saw the part
of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was
changed in him, and his thoughts troubled him; and the joints
of his loins were loosed and his knees smote one against an_
other.” What a vivid description of fear! Now when we turn
to Isaiah 13:7_8, we find there described the condition in
Babylon on the night of its fall: „The hands shall become
weak and the mortal heart shall melt: and they shall be af_
frighted ; pangs and pains shall seize on them; they shall have
throes) as a woman that travaileth: one at another shall they
look amazed; red like flames shall their faces glow.”
The next affirmation that I wish to consider is that Belshaz_
zar is represented as the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Now, says
the higher critic, „this is not true.” The Hebrew has no word
for grandson or grandfather, and it is one of the most common
things in the usage of the Hebrew to represent one as a father
who is not immediately the father of the one spoken of. I could
spend a half hour citing instances; so that criticism is puerile.
What it means is that Belshazzar is a descendant of Nebu_
chadnezzar, and we can very easily account for this usage of
the term, „father.”
We come now to the next affirmation, that is, as the agency
employed for the destruction of Babylon. Daniel 5, when it
comes to the interpretation, says that the agency employed is
that of the Medes and Persians. Not the Medes alone nor the
Persians alone, but they are spoken of conjointly and they are
so spoken of all through the book of Daniel, and we will need
that later on when we come to another criticism, that the Medes
and Persians all through this book are one government, two
governments in one. Isaiah and Jeremiah, (and I here cite,
Isa. 13:17; 21:2; Jer. 51:28) inform us that the agency by
which Babylon shall be destroyed is both the Medes and Per_
sians. So what Daniel says here is in full accord with the testi_
mony of the older prophets as to the means by which Baby_
lonia was to be overthrown.
And Just here I want to make this statement to which there
is no reference in Daniel. Xenophon says that when the city
was besieged, to account for the suddenness of the capture,
that the Babylonians, having twenty years of provisions in it
and resting behind their high impregnable walls, did not con_
cern themselves at all about the besieging army on. the outside,
and that Cyrus, finding it impossible to storm those walls,
diverted the waters of the Euphrates by canals going around
on each side throwing the water into the canals and leaving
bare the bottom of the river, and that his soldiers entered
through the bed of the river and came up into the city at night
and were in the city before anybody knew anything about it.
What Xenophon says is confirmed by the prophecy of Jere_
miah, that the waters of Babylon would be dried up in order to
its taking, and that very thought is repeated in Revelation 16,
where it speaks of the fall of the mystical Babylon: „I will dry
up the Euphrates.”
Then we can easily understand another thing said by Jere_
miah in telling how the city would fall, that the reeds were set
on fire – the reeds that grew along the banks of the river where
the bed of the river was dry. They entered that bed of the
river and came up on the inside of the walls, setting fire to
those reeds that were along both banks of the river on the in_
side of the city. All of that is thrillingly set forth in the
prophecy of Jeremiah. Daniel, however, does not refer to that.
All he refers to is the suddenness – the utter unexpectedness –
with which death and ruin came upon this assembly, but this
does make Daniel’s account in harmony with Xenophon, Jere_
miah, and Revelation, and when Jeremiah says that the Bab_
ylonians did not fight, that also accords with a part of that
celebrated Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus which says that the city
was entered without fighting. Isaiah also confirms the sud_
denness of the capture.
We take up the next affirmation. Daniel says that when that
handwriting was seen on the wall the enchanters and diviners
and soothsayers were called in and their interpretation sought.
Just in point Isaiah’s testimony (47:12) announces the pres_
ence of these enchanters and soothsayers and their powerless_
ness to help.
Let us now look at the interpretation. Daniel interprets it
this way, that the first word written and repeated, Mene,
Mene, means „numbered, numbered,” and he explains it to
mean this, „Your days are numbered, the days of your king_
dom are numbered; this the last day.” Tekel – that means
a weight, or weighed. He interprets that to mean, „Thou are
weighed in the balances and art found wanting.” „This is your
last day. This day has been long deferred. God has labored
with this kingdom, with its king not wishing to forsake Babylon
to ruin,” as Isaiah sets forth very pathetically, „but thy con_
stant ignoring of the government of God, thy filling up of the
measure of iniquity has brought you to sorrow.” „Numbered,
numbered! weighed in the balances and found wanting!” The
last word) Upharsin, means divisions. He interprets that to
mean, „Your kingdom is divided unto the Medes and unto the
Persians.” What a suggestion there! Divided unto the Medes
and Persians! When we commence the next chapter we find
that Darius the Mede received that kingdom and was made
king. Cyrus was the true leader and the true king, but it was
divided. The Medes constituted a large portion of this army
and his government, and Cyrus appoints this Mede now to take
the city of Babylon. He would remain as chief ruler over all
Persia and Media and Babylonia, but how striking the sig_
nificance of dividing! What a great text! Many times great
expounders of God’s Word have preached on that subject. One
man, a controversialist, has written a book called Tekel, in
which he says of his adversaries, „Thou art weighed in the
balances and art found wanting.” Some of the most thrilling
revival sermons ever preached have been preached upon the
interpretation of those words, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.
1. Apart from Daniel 5, what are the references in this book to Bel_
2. What verses in this chapter imply that Belshazzar was not the
chief ruler in the kingdom of Babylon, but held only second place, or was co_regent?
3. What historical and archaeologic evidence confirms this implication?
4. What can you say of the Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus, and according
to the best reading of its inscription, how does it confirm Daniel’s
account of the death of Belshazzar?
5. In their prophecies of the fall of Babylon show in what particulars
Isaiah and Jeremiah confirm Daniel 5.
6. How was Belshazzar a son of Nebuchadnezzar? Give other in_
stances of scripture,
7. Does chapter 5 say anything of the siege of Babylon? If so, what?
8. How in his feast does Belshazzar make an issue against Jehovah,
and how does Jehovah respond?
9. What means were employed, according to Xenophon, to obtain
an entrance into Babylon, and bow does Jeremiah and the book of
Revelation confirm it?
10. Give Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall.
THE HISTORY OF DARIUS THE MEDE
Daniel 5:31,6:1_28; 9:1
The testimony of Daniel concerning Darius the Mede is
found in Daniel 5:31; 6:1_28; 9:1. The Jewish Bible properly
places the last verse of chapter 5 at the beginning of chapter 6.
From these passages we gather the following facts:
1. Darius is here said to be the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed
of the Modes.
2. Darius, like Pharaoh and Caesar, is a title rather than a
3. He „received the kingdom,” i.e., from another. He „was
made king,” i.e., by another.
4. He was an old manù”about three score and two.”
5. Only one year of his reign is mentioned (9:1).
6. As elsewhere throughout the book, the Medes and Per_
sians are considered jointly as one government (6:8, 12, 15).
7. The reigns of Cyrus and of Darius were contemporaneous
On this testimony the following observations are submitted:
1. It is difficult from outside history, whether sacred or pro_
fane, to determine definitely the real name and place of this
Darius. If we adopt the Jewish method of dividing the chap_
ters so as to make the last verse of chapter 5 the first verse
of chapter 6 then there is nothing in Daniel’s account to con_
nect closely in time the death of Belshazzar with the accession
of Darius, king of Persia, so often named in the book of Ezra.
But while we may accept the chapter division, the conclusion
deduced, identifying this Darius with the Darius of Ezra, is
every way improbable, not to say impossible. The deduction
creates far greater difficulties than it removes – difficulties in
this book as well as in Ezra, and even greater difficulties in
Persian history. So our conclusion is that Darius the Mede,
the son of Ahasuerus, in this book, is not the Darius, the Per_
sian, the son of Hystaspes, so prominent in the book of Ezra.
The testimony of Daniel, even if wholly unsupported from the
outside, should be accepted as trustworthy unless better testi_
mony should show it to be impossible. A probable explanation
of this history when compared with others is all that we need
The famous Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus, upon which the
radical critics so confidently rely, itself alone furnishes the
probable explanation. That tablet shows that a certain general
of Cyrus, Gobryas by name, led the night assault in which Bel_
shazzar was slain, and was made governor of the province of
Babylon by Cyrus, and then as governor appointed all the
subordinate rulers in the realm, which harmonizes perfectly
with Daniel’s account that (1) Darius „received the kingdom,”
„was made king,” and (2) that „it pleased Darius to set over
the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps.” Professor Sayce,
though so adverse to the historicity of Daniel, thus reads a
part of the Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus: „Cyrus entered Bab_
ylon. Dissensions were allayed before him. Peace to the city
did Cyrus establish, peace to all the province of Babylon did
Gobryas, his governor, proclaim. Governors in Babylon he
(i.e., Gobryas) appointed.” Professor Driver thus renders
another part of the tablet: „Gubaru (same as Gobryas) made
an assault, and slew the king’s son.” The king’s son was Bel_
shazzar. Then the tablet goes on to show the national mourn_
ing for the king’s son.
Defenders of the historical trustworthiness of the book of
Daniel need not commit themselves irrevocably to this identi_
fication of Daniel’s Darius with the tablet’s Gobryas. It sug_
gests all that is necessaryùa probable explanation. Mr.
Pinches, who brought the Annalistic Tablet to light, and many
others are quite confident of this identity. Mr. Thomson („Pul_
pit Bible,” Daniel) adopts this theory in his exposition. There
are several other theories concerning the identity of Daniel’s
Darius most plausibly argued by learned men who fully ac_
cept the trustworthiness of the history in the book of Daniel.
It is not at all necessary to recite them here.
2. It is quite in line with all the probabilities in the case that
Cyrus, ruler over two united nations, Medes and Persians,
should appoint a Mede as subking over the conquered prov_
ince of Babylon, while he attended to the general affairs of the
whole empire. The reference to both Cyrus and Darius in
6:28 indicates a contemporaneous reignùDarius as subking
at Babylon, Cyrus as supreme king over the whole empire.
3. Darius, being an old man when he „received the king_
dom,” or „was made king,” did not probably reign long, Daniel
specifying only his first year (9:1).
4. The contention of the radical critics that, in Daniel’s
mind, the empire of the Medes precedes and is distinct from
the empire of the Persians is contradicted flatly by the whole
tenor of the book. While everywhere recognizing them as dia_
tinct peoples, the book throughout knows them only as a
conjoined nationùone government. The laws of the one gov_
ernment are the laws of the Medes and Persians (6:8, 12, 15).
This unity in duality is manifested in the symbolic features:
the silver beast and two arms of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (2:
32); the bear with one side higher than the other (7:5); the
ram with the two horns, one higher than the other (8:20). This
last symbol is expressly interpreted as a unity in duality and
named „Medes and Persians.”
This absurd contention of the radical critics is evidently in_
tended to hedge against any possible prophecy in the book
concerning Rome, as the fourth world empire, and so to make
the prophetic forecast of history culminate in Antiochus Epiph_
anes, and then by arbitrarily dating the book after his reign,
to deny all prophetic element in it. In no other radical criti_
cism do they so utterly betray their atheistic presuppositions,
and so clearly manifest their utter untrustworthiness as biblical
expositors. The very exploit which they regard as their great_
est achievement most overwhelmingly exposes their disqualifi_
cations and advertises their shame.
THE CONTENTS OF CHAPTER 6
1. On the fall of Babylon and the death of Belshazzar, Cyrus
appoints Darius the Mede, subking over the province of Babylon.
2. Darius districts the kingdom under his jurisdiction and
appoints 120 satraps over the several districts. Over these
satraps he appoints three presidents, Daniel, one of the three,
to whom all the satraps must give account of the king’s matters
in their several satrapies. This division of authority and
responsibility was common then and is yet common in Oriental
countries. The three presidents would constitute the king’s
cabinet. From this place Farrar gets his „board of three,” but
his arbitrary attempt to transfer it back to a preceding regime
in order to break the force of „third ruler in the kingdom”
(w. 8, 12, 15) is merely puerile and amusing. Daniel’s age,
wisdom, experience, administrative capacity and character so
easily make him the dominant spirit over the two other presi_
dents and over all the satraps that Darius purposes to set over
the whole realm a grand vizier.
3. And now comes a development so true to the life and
character of Oriental despotism, with their large delegation of
powers to subordinates, that its absence from the story would
have discounted its credibility. Envy, jealousy, and disap_
pointed greed on the part of the two other presidents and all
the satraps, lead them to conspire against Daniel. It was bad
enough, in their minds, to have him one of three presidents, but
if he be made grand vizier, then there would be no hope of suc_
cessful fraud and loot. Daniel here brings to mind that great
commoner, the elder William Pitt, who, as secretary, stood
alone in a corrupt age, whose spotless character and imperious
will dominated an unwilling king and a venal ministry, before
whom all fraud in politics and peculation in office fled af_
frighted. One such man in a thousand years is about all the
world can produce. And when he appears he is like a solitary,
huge, cloud_piercing granite mountain in an almost boundless
What a tribute to Daniel’s purity of life, official integrity
and sublimity of character, is their confession that nothing
could be found against him except his alien religion! But just
here these jackals were most sure of their lion. His record was
unequivocal and univocal. Not even the mighty Nebuchad_
nezzar could shake him in a matter of conscience and religion,
but rather bowed before him. On this point he was as God him_
self before the white_faced, pale_lipped, knee_shaking Belshaz_
zar. Hence the low scheme of cunning, the short_sighted trick
of engineering on the unsuspecting Darius the signing of a blas_
phemous law that for thirty days no man should offer prayer
or petition to any god, but to the king alone. To polytheistic
Orientals, or even to a Roman Caesar, who was ex officio not
only pontifex maximus, but was himself divine, such temporary
suspension of empty religious services except through the ruler
himself, was a light matter enough. But to a pious Jew recog_
nizing one only true God it was every way blasphemous and
In all the world history of legislative folly this statue stands
unique – „without a model and without a shadow.” The sus_
pension of the law of gravitation, the suspension of either the
centripetal or the centrifugal force, whose joint powers produce
the circling orbits of heavenly bodies, would not introduce more
confusion in the material universe than such a law, if capable
of execution, would produce in the moral and spiritual realm.
NO PRAYER TO GOD FOB THIRTY DAYS
All connection between the throne of mercy and grace and
helpless, hungering, thirsting, dying men, severed for thirty
days! For a whole month travailing mothers may not cry to
God; cradles must remain unblessed; youth helpless before temp-tation; widows and orphans at the mercy of oppressions and without appeal; human life unguarded in the presence of assas-sins; property at the mercy of the thief, the burglar and the incendiary; sinners dying unabsolved and unforgiven, an
earthly embargo against angel ministrations or heavenly mer_
cies – such a law, if enforcible, would be the climax of insanity.
What an ocean_sweeping dragnet to catch one fish!
How clearly the record brings out the weakness of Darius I
The mind instantly calls up, in association, Herod’s vain regret for his oath when called upon to surrender John the Baptist to the murderous woman, and Pilate vainly washing his hands as he surrenders Jesus to crucifixion, as if consistency were more than righteousness.
Daniel’s attitude was calm, inflexible. Though he knew that
the law was signed, and could not have been ignorant of either
its malicious purpose or its result to himself, he kept right on
praying to God at the three regular Temple hours of prayer,
morning, noon, and evening.
He kept his window open toward Jerusalem. How well he
bears in mind the words of Solomon’s great intercession at the
dedication of the Temple, preserved in the sacred history of his
If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If they sin against thee (for there is no man that sinneth not), and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication in the land of them that carried them captive, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; and so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, toward the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them. – 1 KINGS 8:44_50.
But by espionage on his private devotions in his own domi_
cile – the most accursed method of tyranny – his infraction of
human law is clearly established. Peter and John when charged
by human authority „not to speak at all nor teach in the name
of Jesus” boldly replied: „Whether it is right in the sight of
God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye: for
we cannot but speak the things we saw and heard” (Acts 4:19_
20). So Daniel here.
DANIEL IN THE LION’S DEN
This miraculous preservation of Daniel, though its miracle
sorely grieves the radical critics, is, like the preservation of his
three friends in the fiery furnace, certified in the New Testa_
ment book of Hebrews, which records among the achievements
wrought by Israel’s ancient worthies: „By faith they quenched
the violence of fire – by faith they stopped the mouths of lions.”
The fate of Daniel’s accusers when he was vindicated is fully
in line with the history of Oriental nations as well as the law
of Moses. The consequent proclamation of Darius is not in_
credible per se, because in keeping with his character, his
times, and his people. It is in line with other proclamations in
this book, in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
I must again call attention to this fact concerning the text:
The accepted Hebrew text, Theodotion’s Greek version in the
second century A.D., and the Peshito Syriac version of the same
century are generally agreed. The important variant readings
are in the Septuagint Greek version. That version, for example,
makes only the two other presidents (not the satraps) accuse
Daniel, and they alone, with their families (not the satraps)
are cast in the lions’ den when Daniel is vindicated. I have not
thought it necessary to give all the Septuagint variations.
1. What the affirmations in Daniel 5:31; 6; 9:1 concerning Darius
2. Is he the same as the Darius of the book of Ezra? What the proof?
3. State the archaeological proof that he was probably Gobryas.
4. Give the reply to the radical critic contention that, in Daniels
mind the kingdom of the Medea was distinct from the Persian kingdom and preceded it. .
5. By whom and why a conspiracy against Daniel, and what their
method of destroying him?
6. State the comparison of Daniel with William Pitt.
7. Show the folly of the statute Darius was induced to sign.
8. What the weakness of Darius and with whom compared?
9. From what texts and versions must we get a true text of Daniel,
and which of these are in agreement and which one variant?
10. State the most important variations in the Septuagint.
THE RELATED PROPHETIC SECTIONS OF DANIEL
Having completed the historical sections of this book, we now consider the related prophetic sections. It is here we find the
crux of the opposition of the atheistic critics. Their presuppo_
sition is: There can be no prophecy in any supernatural sense.
Therefore they refuse to see any reference in the book to mat_
ters beyond the times of Antiochus Epiphanes. He to them is
the culmination of the book. The unknown writer, as they
claimed, lived after his times, and cast well_known history into
the form of prophecy, attributing its authorship, through a li_
cense accorded to writers of novels, to a fictitious Daniel sup_
posed to be living in the period between Nebuchadnezzar and
A complete answer to both their premise and conclusion
would be the proof of even one real prediction in the book,
fulfilled after their own assigned date for the author. Any one
who really believes the New Testament will find that proof in
the words of our Lord: „When therefore ye see the abomination
of desolation which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
standing in the Holy Place (let him that readeth understand)
then let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
But as our purpose it to expound the prophetic sections of
this book, and not merely to reply to the contentions of athe_
ists, we now take up our work. These are the prophetic sec_
1. Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream of the great and luminous
image, or the five world empires (Dan 2_31_45).
2. Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream of the great tree, or what
befell the great king of the first world empire (Dan. 4:10_27).
3. The handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast, or
what befell the last king of the first world empire and how the
second empire comes to the front (Dan. 5:25_28).
4. The vision of the four great beasts arising from the sea,
representing in another form the four secular world empires
and the enthronement of the King of the fifth world empire
5. The vision of the ram and the he_goat, or the fortunes of
the second and third world empires (Dan. 8:1_27).
6. The seventy weeks, or the coming and sacrifice of the
Messiah, the King of the fifth world empire (Dan. 9:24_27).
7. The vision of the Son of man (Dan. 10).
8. Revelation of the conflicts between two of the divisions
of the third world empire) and the transition to the final advent
of the Messiah, the King of the fifth world empire (Dan. 11_12).
On these eight prophetic sections let us give careful atten_
tion to the following observations:
OBSERVATIONS ON THE EIGHT PROPHECIES TAKEN TOGETHER
1. The most casual glance at this grouping of the several
prophetic sections reveals both the unity of the book and the
relation of its prophetic parts and the design of all.
2. Any man who looks carefully at this group and finds its
culmination in Antiochus Epiphanes, a ruler of a fourth frag_
ment of the third world empire, either is devoid of common
sense and should receive the charity accorded to those unfor_
tunates afflicted with mental aberration, or is so blinded with
prejudice he cannot see. In the case of the latter alternative
this much of Paul’s words apply: „If our gospel be hid, it is hid
to them whom the god of this world has blinded lest they should
see,” or our Lord’s words, „Having eyes they see not.” An un_
biased child can see that the culmination of the book as to a
person is in the King of the fifth world empire, and the cul_
mination as to a fact is in the Messiah’s final advent for
resurrection and judgment.
3. Following the characteristic Bible method and plan,
secular governments in this book are considered only as they
relate to the supremacy of the divine government and to the
kingdom of God. All the rest concerning them is left in silence.
4. The relation between the parts of the prophecy is manifest
throughout: The first prophecy is the basis of all the following
sections. They only elaborate some detail concerning one or
the other of the five world empires set forth in the first dream
of Nebuchadnezzar, the four_pointed image and the conquering
stone. For example, the first prophecy tells in general terms of
four successive world empires to be followed by a fifth and
spiritual world empire. The second and third sections of proph_
ecy elaborate some details of the first great secular mon_
archy, telling us what befell its first and last king and the
transition to the second monarchy. The fourth prophecy
presents under different imagery the same five world empires,
but gives some detail of every one not stated in the general
terms of the first prophecy.
The fifth prophecy confines itself to details not before given
of the second and third monarchies, how sovereignty passes
from one to the other, how the third is dismembered, to pre_
pare the way for the fourth, and how both are related to the
kingdom of God.
The sixth prophecy speaks only of the King of the fifth
monarchy in his humiliation and sacrifice, as the third had
spoken of his glory and exaltation, and the seventh is the
vision of the Son of man.
The eighth deals only at first with the strifes between two
of the parts of the dismembered third monarchy, incidentally
alluding to the coming power of the fourth monarchy, glides,
by easy transition, from the first antichrist, Antiochus, to a
second antichrist in the far distant future, an antichrist
already foreshown in the little horn of the fourth beast, and
concludes with the final advent of the king of the fifth mon_
archy. No other book in all literature, sacred or profane, more
clearly evidences greater unity, one consistent plan, more order
in treatment, or a more glorious climax.
Of very great interest to us and to all who love God and his
cause is the development of the messianic thought as the hope
of the world. It concerns us much to fix in our minds this de_
The first prophecy tells of the divine origin and ultimate
prevalence of Messiah’s kingdom.
The sixth tells of Messiah’s first advent in his humiliation
The fourth tells of his exaltation and enthronement after the
The eighth tells of his final advent for resurrection and
And so we need to note the coming of the first antichrist.
Antiochus, in the little horn of the third beast (Dan. 8:9) and
the second antichrist in the little horn of the fourth beast
(Dan. 7:8) identical with John’s antichrist, (Rev. 13:1_8)
with its papal head (Rev. 13:11_18). And so we find reference
to the third antichrist in 11:34_45 who is not the same as
Paul’s man of sin. (2 Thess. 2:8 and Rev. 20:11), but this third
antichrist comes at the beginning of the millennium and wages
a conflict against the Jews, at which time they will be con_
verted and the millennium will be ushered in. Daniel does not
see Paul’s man of sin.
How clearly and with what precious comfort do all these
prophecies reveal the supreme government of God over nations
and men, the universal sweep of his providence, both general
5. Finally how well we can understand, in the light of these
great prophecies, the influence of the man and his book on all
subsequent ages. His apocalyptic style and symbolism re_
appear in Zechariah’s visions, and form the greater part of the
basis of John’s New Testament apocalypse.
His Son of man creates a messianic title which our Lord
adopts. His unique prophecy of the exact time of Messiah’s
first advent creates a preparation in the hearts of the pious to
expect him just then. We could not understand old Simeon at
all if Daniel hadn’t fixed the time. Other prophets had foretold
his lineage, the place of his birth, his great expiation and con_
sequent enthronement, but no other showed just when he would
come. His stress on „the kingdom of God and its certain com_
ing and prevalence” put the titles of this divine government in
the mouths of John the Baptist, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
and Paul. His sublime character as evidenced in his temper_
ance, wisdom, incorruptible integrity, audacity of faith,
indomitable courage, and inflexible devotion to God, has fired
the hearts of a thousand orators and created a million heroes.
His words have become the themes of a thousand pulpits. His
righteous administration of public affairs has created a thou_
sand reformers in politics and supplied the hope of all subse_
quent civic righteousness. „Dare to be a Daniel” has become
the slogan of the ages.
His distinction between duty to the human government and
duty to the divine government prepared the way for the re_
ception of our Lord’s great dictum, „Render unto Caesar the
things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are
God’s.” He laid the foundation of the doctrine that the state
cannot intrude into the realm of conscience, and so was the
pioneer, piloting a burdened world to its present great heritage
of religious liberty. This man was not a reed shaken by the
wind. He was no Reuben, unstable as water. We can’t even
think about him without wanting to sing:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent word.
Born in the reign of good Josiah, thy childhood remembering the
finding of the lost book of Moses, thy youth passed in the great
reformation and thy heart warmed in the mighty revival that fol_
lowed, student of Jeremiah, prime minister of two world empires and beloved of God – thou art a granite mountain, 0 Daniel, higher than Chimborazo, Mount Blanc or Dwa Walla Giri! Snarling little critics, like coyotes, may grabble their holes in the foot_hills that lean for support against thy solidity, but their yelping can never disturb thy calm serenity nor the dust they paw up can ever dim the eternal sunshine of the smiles of God that halo thy summit. – SELECTED.
Having now considered these eight prophetic sections in
group, let us give attention to their exposition in severalty.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S FIRST DREAM
God’s sovereignty extends to men asleep as well as to men
awake. Often his spirit has made revelation through dreams.
Dreams of indigestion are chaotic, without form, plan, or co_
herence. But dreams sent by the Spirit awaken after_thought,
appeal to the intelligence and vividly impress the dreamer. So
Jacob’s dream at Bethel of the ladder reaching from earth to
heaven, on which the angels of God ascended and descended, or
Pharaoh’s dreams interpreted by Joseph, and the dreams of
Nebuchadnezzar. No human system of psychology has ever
explained the subtle and direct impact of Spirit on spirit. It is
quite possible that there may have been some connection be_
tween Nebuchadnezzar’s waking thoughts and the dream
which follows. We can at least conceive of previous reflections
on his part full of questionings to which this dream would be
a pertinent answer.
He may well have meditated upon the worldwide empire
he had established and wondered if it would last, and if not
what other government would succeed, and would it last. He
may have pondered the causes of stability in human govern_
ment, or the elements of decay and disintegration, and have
wondered if human history would always be a record of the
successive rising and falling of nations, or would the time ever
come when the earth would know a universal and everlasting
kingdom, and if so, who would be its author and what the
principles of its perpetuity. Nebuchadnezzar was a truly great
man, a thinker and organizer, and he was a pious man accord_
ing to the requirements of his religion. So he may have been
the waking subject of thoughts and questionings to which God
sends an answer in a dream by night. Anyhow, he had the
dream, and this was the dream: He saw a great and terrible
image, a silent and luminous colossus in human form, standing
upon the level Babylonian plain. Its several parts were
strangely incongruous. The head was gold, the chest and arms
were silver, the lower body and thighs were brass, the legs were
iron, ending in feet with ten toes whose iron was mingled with
Did this image reveal the highest attainment of human
government and prophecy, its inevitable deterioration from
gold to silver, from silver to brass, from brass to iron, from iron
to crumbling clay? Or did it suggest a succession of govern_
ments, the first with the greatest unity and the greatest ex_
cellency, one head and that gold? The second dual
in composition with its two arms, third commencing one,
but dividing into two thighs, the fourth standing dual in
it he saw a little stone cut out of a mountain without human
hands, falling to the plain and intelligently rolling toward the
image, and rolling gathering bulk and momentum until it
smites the image on its feet of mixed iron and clay, overthrows
it, crushes it, pulverizes it, and rolling on in resistless power,
ever growing as it rolls, until it becomes a mountain in bulk
and fills the whole earth. Such the dream.
THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DREAM
The dream foretells five great world empires:
The first is identified as the Babylonian.
The second is identified in the prophecy as the Medo_Persian.
The third is identified in the prophecy as the Grecian.
The fourth by a suggestion in the eighth prophecy as the
The fifth is the kingdom of God set up by the God of heaven
and without hands in the days of the fourth empire.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THESE EMPIRES
This is the characteristic of the first:
Thou, 0 king, art king of kings unto whom the God of heaven
hath given the kingdom, the power, and the strength and the glory,
and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heaven hath he given into thine hands and hath
made thee to rule over them all, and thou art that head of gold.
The characteristic of the second one is, so far as this chapter
tells us, that it is inferior to the first. This chapter, in identi_
fying the second world monarchy, simply tells us that it suc_
ceeds the Babylonian, the first, but in the later prophetic
sections when this vision is elaborated it is expressly said to be
a kingdom of the Modes and of the Persians. I say that the
book of Daniel identifies the second world government as the
Medo_Persian Empire just as plainly and explicitly and exactly
as it identifies the first with the Babylonian.
Now when we come to the third, „another third kingdom of
brass which shall bear rule over all the earth,” is all this chap_
ter says about this one, but when we take up the subsequent
prophetic section it is explicitly said to be the Grecian Empire,
the thighs indicating subsequent division of the empire. One
man said to me, „If the third empire is unquestionably the
Greek Empire, how can it be represented as the lower body and
two thighs divided into four parts?” My answer is that this
book tells us that it did divide into four parts, but deals only
with the two parts which touched God’s people. This book has
nothing in detail to say about the divisions of Alexander’s
empire beyond the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, one of them
getting Syria and the other getting Egypt.
When he comes to speak of the fourth this is what he says:
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong aa iron forasmuch aa iron
breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things, and as iron that crusheth,
all these shall it break in pieces and crush. Whereas, thou sawest the
feet and the toes, a part of potter’s clay and part of iron, it shall be
a divided kingdom. But there shall be in it of the strength of the
iron forasmuch aa thou sawest iron mixed with the miry clay, and
aa the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so shall
the kingdom be partly strong and partly broken; and whereas, thou
eawest the iron mingled with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, but they shall not cleave one to another even as iron does not mingle with clay.
This book in this chapter does not name that fourth govern_
ment, but when we come to consider the visions of the four
beasts which is the same as this vision in another form, but
with other details, we get a still clearer idea of the characteris_
tics of this government; and when we come to chapter 2, when
we are considering the last prophetic revelation, we have a
suggestion where this fourth government comes in and holds
Antiochus Epiphanes at bay, that place where the representa_
tive of Rome made a little circle in the sand around Antiochus
and said, „You must answer before you step outside of that
circle.” We know it also to be Rome because Rome with two
legs divided into the Eastern and Western Empires, Constan_
tine establishing Eastern Rome at Byzantium on the Bosporus
while the Western Empire continues at Rome. We also know it
by its divisions into ten kingdoms as its imperial supremacy
Here is what he says about the last kingdom:
1. He gives its origin: „I saw a little stone cut out without
hands.” Those other four stood in the form of a man because
man was the author of them all. This fifth one is divine, this
fifth kingdom is set up by the God of heaven, and we should
never lose sight of that fact.
2. The second thought that he presents is as to the time
when the God of heaven would set up this kingdom; that it
would be in the days of the fourth monarchy – the Roman
monarchy: „In the days of these kings will the God of heaven
set up a kingdom.” So when a man asks when was the kingdom
of heaven set up, and that, of course, means in its visible form,
as the Babylonian kingdom was visible, the Medo_Persian
kingdom was visible, the Greek kingdom was visible, the
Roman kingdom was visible, and as God all the time had a
spiritual kingdom, but now he is to set up a visible kingdom
and it is to be just as visible as any of these others – then, as
a Baptist, I answer: Jesus set up the kingdom in his lifetime,
as the Gospels abundantly show.
3. The third thought in this description of this kingdom is its
beginning, its gradual progress, its prevalence over the whole
earth, Just a pebble falling, and as it falls getting bigger,
rolling, and as it rolls getting bigger, smiting these other
governments, becoming a mountain, becoming as big as the
world. And when we get to thinking about that progress of
this kingdom, we should remember what our Lord said, that in
its eternal working it is like leaven which a woman puts in
three measures of meal and ultimately it leavens the whole
lump; and when we think about its external development, it is
like a grain of mustard seed which a man planted and it grew
and grew and grew until it became a tree.
Whenever we hear a pessimist preaching an idea of a king_
dom like a tadpole, that commences big at first and tapers to a
very fine tail, getting smaller and smaller and worse and worse,
then that is not the kingdom Daniel spoke of.
His kingdom commences small and gets bigger and bigger,
and mightier and mightier, and I thank God that I don’t have
to preach concerning a kingdom that is continually „petering
out.” I am glad that I can preach a gospel that is growing in
power and extending in domain and that has the promise of
God that it shall fill the whole world and be everlasting. It
always did give me the creeps to hear one of those pessimists.
They get their ideas from an inexcusable misinterpretation
of certain passages of the Scriptures.
I heard one of them say, „Doesn’t our Lord say in answer to
the direct question, ‘Are there few that will be saved?’ that
‘Straight is the gate and narrow is the way and few there be
that find if ?” I said, „Yes, but to whom did he say that?” To
the Jews of his day, and then to prevent a misconstruction,
while only a few Jews of his day would be saved, he says, „But
I say unto you that many shall come from the east and the
west and the north and the south and shall recline at the table
with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.” The thought reappears in
Revelation where John sees the host of the redeemed. He intro_
duces us first to 144,000 Jews and then he shows us a line that
no man can see the end of: „I saw a great multitude that no
man could number out of every nation and tribe and tongue
and kindred.” So if the kingdom which Jesus Christ in the
days of his flesh set up on this earth is narrowing, that is cause
for sadness, but if it is spreading out, growing bigger and big_
ger, and has perpetuity, that is a cause for gladness.
This visible kingdom of Jesus Christ will be perpetual. Per_
petuity is its heritage.
We need not be afraid to preach its perpetuity and its
visibility, with visible subjects, with visible ordinances, with
a visible church charged with its administration. It will not be
sponged off the board, any of it, neither the kingdom nor its
gospel nor its church nor its ordinances. They will stand until
the rivers shall be emptied into the sea. As Dr. Burleson used to
say: „It will be standing when grass quits growing, and we
should not be afraid to preach perpetuity.” Let us not be too
sure that we can take a surveying chain and trace that per_
petuity through human agencies and human history, but we
may certainly stand on the declaration of God’s Word that this
kingdom is everlasting:
Forasmuch as thou sawest that a stone was cut out of the
mountain without hands, and that in the days of those kings shall
the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed,
nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people, but it
shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall
Over and over again in this book, Daniel holds out, as he
explains the thought of this first dream as a light that gets
bigger and bigger and brighter and brighter, that the saints
shall possess the kingdoms of the world.
I expect to see (in the flesh or out of the flesh – it matters
not – ) every mountain of this earth or mountain range and
every valley between and every plain, whether rich red land
like the Panhandle or dry sand like the Sahara Desert; and
every zone, Arctic, Temperate, or Torrid: every iceberg shiver_
ing in the Aurora Borealis around the North Pole or South
Pole, have floating over it the great white conquering banner
of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are to have every bit of it, and the time will come when
no fallen angel will flap his wing and make a shadow on any
part of it and when no wicked man shall crush beneath his feet
any of its beautiful or sweet flowers, but when the meek shall
inherit the earth, and throughout the whole earth, after its
regeneration, there shall dwell eternal righteousness.
1. Give, in order, the prophetic sections of the book of Daniel.
2. Show the unity of the book from these sections.
3. Show the culmination of the book in person and fact.
4. In what respect only are secular governments considered in this
book and throughout the Bible?
5. Show the relations of the prophetic sections to each other and
how all the rest are developments of the first.
6. Give, in order, all the developments of the messianic thought.
7. Give the several antichrists, citing passages for each.
8. What great doctrine of special comfort do all these prophecies
9. Give particulars to show the influence of the man and the book
on later ages.
10. Name the five world empires of Daniel 2.
11. What the characteristics of the fifth, who its author and when set up?
THE RELATED PROPHETIC SECTIONS OF DANIEL
In the preceding chapter were named, in order, all the
prophetic sections in this book, and it was shown that the
seven later sections were but developments of the first. In that
first section (Dan. 2:31_45), we found foreshown the rise, in
succession, of five empires – four human, one divine – all
visible, all universal, and the last everlasting. We found the
four human empires to be the Babylonian, Medo_Persian,
Grecian, and Roman, and the divine empire to be the ever_
lasting kingdom set up by our Lord while on earth.
Attention has already been called to the contention of the
radical critics that, in the mind of the author, the kingdom of
the Medes was conceived of as distinct from, and prior to, the
kingdom of the Persians, and therefore from the author’s
viewpoint, the four human empires, in succession, were the
Babylonian, the Median, the Persian, the Grecian; or as others
of them contended, the four empires were Assyrian, Baby_
Ionian, Medo_Persian, and Grecian.
It has already been shown that the first of these contentions
is every way untenable, being flatly contradicted by the whole
tenor of the book, and that the latter is expressly contradicted
by the declaration that the Babylonian is the first of series
That the mind may be fortified against the assertion that the
author regarded the Medes and Persians as distinct, consti_
tuting two of the four kingdoms, an assertion in order to make
the Grecian the last, and then by dating the book after Anti_
ochus Epiphanes, destroys its predictive character, the argu_
ment is here restated:
1. The book declares that the empire succeeding the Baby_
Ionian was that of the Medes and Persians (5:28), and not the
2. Their laws are the laws of one government (6:8, 12, 15).
3. The dual nature of the constituent parts of the one
government is set forth in all the symbols, namely (1) the
chest and arms of silver (2:32); (2) the lop_sided bear, one
side higher than the other (7:5) ; (3) the two_horned ram, one
horn higher than the other (8:3). To clinch matters this one
ram represents a single government whose horns are expressly
interpreted to be the kings of Media and Persia (8:20).
4. The he_goat is the Grecian, or third empire (8:21).
5. Antiochus Epiphanes is the little horn of the Grecian
Empire (8:9_12, 23_25), who is the first anti_christ.
6. But after this cometh a fourth beast, or government, with
ten horns, and later a little horn, which is the second anti_
christ (7:7_8, and Rev. 13:1_8). The ruler of this changed
beast_government is the pope (Rev. 13:11).
All these critics make Antiochus the little horn of this Greek
Government in chapter 8, but cannot dispose of another little
horn on the fourth beast.
It is impossible to make the fourth beast (7) with its tin
horns and later a little horn plucking up three of the ten horns,
the same as the he_goat (8), with first one horn, then four, then
a little horn. Only one blinded by a presupposition would at_
We have found a little stone of chapter 2 to be the kingdom
of God, with these characteristics:
1. It is a visible kingdom, like the others.
2. It is to be set up by the God of heaven, not man.
3. It is to be set up in the days of the fourth human empire.
4. It is to be progressive, growing larger and larger. It will
not be like a tadpole, big at the head and tapering into a small
tail, but like a river, small at its fountain but a sea at the last.
5. It will overturn all human governments.
6. It will be universal – fill the whole earth.
We have seen that Daniel’s kingdom of God and the time of
its appearing furnished the title of the new government to
John the Baptist, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul, and
prepared men to look for it just when it came, and the king’s
title, „Son of man” (Dan. 7:13) was adopted by our Lord.
Both of the next two prophetic sections (4:20_33; 5:25_28)
have been considered in the discussion of the historical sections
and are but elaborations of the first world empire of chapter 2,
merely showing what befell the first and last of its kings and
marking the transition to the second world empire. We need
to note here but a few things additional concerning them. The
prophecy in 4:14_17, and as interpreted in 4:24_26, is very re_
markable. None but God could have foreshown the coming
of such a disease upon the king of Babylon, and his restoration
to both mind and kingdom after seven years. The fulfilment
came in twelve months after his recovery.
The prophecy of the handwriting on the wall (5:25_28) was
fulfilled that very night.
So we pass on to the fourth prophecy (7). The date of the
prophecy is clear, the first year of Belshazzar. The correspond_
ence of this prophecy with the first in chapter 2 is very re_
markable, while additional details are very striking. The
prophet beholds a sea, the Mediterranean, which symbolizes
the nations here as in Psalm 65:7 and in the Revelation of
John. The four winds which break out on this sea signify the
angelic ministration in the development of nations. No nation
arises by chance.
This brings us to the consideration of Daniel’s doctrine of
the angels as related to the nations. The Septuagint version
renders Deuteronomy 32:8 thus: „He set the nations according
to the angels of God.” We will see later in the book that while
Michael, the archangel, is the angel of the elect nation, other
angels seem to have charge of other nations. We see in Revela_
tion 13:1 how Satan stood at the sea and called up the beast
nation of that chapter, corresponding to the fourth beast of
this chapter. And as Satan is the usurping prince of this world,
we may understand how his angels may be charged with the
development and guidance of evil nations, always, however,
subject to the limitations of God’s paramount and supreme
government. This will enable us to understand a later passage
(Dan. 10:13), wherein the Angel or Prince of Persia hindered
the favorable purposes of the Son of God toward the Jews and
how Michael, the angel of the elect nation, came to aid their
cause. The ministry of angels, both good and bad, and their
special interest in national movements appear abundantly in
the Old Testament books which precede Daniel and reappear
in New Testament books. We see how one tempted David to
number Israel and another is permitted to deceive Ahab. ID
the Psalms it is said, „He maketh his angels winds.”
What the reader should note particularly is that governments neither rise nor fall of themselves alone. The first beast or government to arise from the wind_whipped or angel_disturbed sea is thus described: „The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings; I beheld till the kings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it” (7:4). This winged lion is like the golden head of the image in chapter 2, a symbol of the Babylonian government, or first world empire. But a great change has come since the days of Nebuchadnezzar. The lion has lost his wings. He is now but a tame beast with the timid heart of a man. Aggressiveness and conquest have ceased. The histories and monumental inscriptions show the ever_increasing power of Persia and the decadence of Babylon.
The second beast is thus described: „And, behold, another
beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one
side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth
of it, and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh”
This, like the silver chest and arms of the image in chapter 2,
symbolizes Medo_Persia, one side higher than the other. But
there is a distinct advance in the thought. The three ribs repre_
sent the great governments this bear devoured, which were
Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt. They were the great governments
which historically touched Israel.
The third beast is thus described: „After this I beheld, and,
lo, another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it
four wings of a fowl: the beast had also four heads; and
dominion was given to it.” This leopard, like the brazen body
and thighs of the image in chapter 2, evidently refers to the
Grecian kingdom, whose four wings refer to the rapidity of its
progress, and whose four heads refer to its divisions in four
parts, as we shall particularly consider in the next prophetic
Evidently the interest of this vision centers in the fourth
beast or government, and in the crowning of the king of the
fifth empire. In the first vision (chapter 2) we found the
fourth government one of iron, but a division later into ten
parts, or toes, and a decadence indicated by the commingled
clay. Here there is a great advance in the thought:
After this I saw in the night visions, and, behold, a fourth beast,
dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron
teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with
the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before
it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there
came up among them another little horn before whom there were
three of the first horna plucked up by the roots and, behold, in this
horn were eyes like the eyea of a man, and a mouth speaking great
It is terrible and powerful. The iron appears in its teeth. The
divisions are no longer toes, but ten horns. The entirely new
idea is a little horn which plucks up three of the ten horns. The
little horn has the eyes of a man and speaks great things.
This is not only the Rome of the Caesars, in whose days the
kingdom of God was set up, but it is Rome after its destruction
as a political power and its division into the ten European
governments that constituted its element before its disintegra_
tion. It is not only that, but it is a Rome diverse. This diversity
appears in its latest transformation when the little horn com_
ing up that plucks up three of the ten horns or kingdoms and
having the eyes of a man, speaks great swelling things. The
nature of the diversity better appears in the Revelation of
John, where the same beast is under consideration:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea having ten horns and seven heads and on his horns ten diadems and on his heads names of blasphemy, and the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard and his feet were as the feet of a bear and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him hia power and his throne and his great authority, and I saw one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death, but his death stroke was healed and the whole earth wondered after the beast and they worshipped the dragon [Satan] because he gave his authority unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to war with him? And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and there was given to him authority to continue forty_two months and he opened hia mouth for blasphemies against God to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, even them that were in the heavens, and it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them and there was given unto him authority over every people, tribe, tongue, and nation and all that were upon the
earth shall worship him, everyone whose name hath not been
written from the foundation of the world in the book of the Lamb
that hath been slain. Every man that hath ears to hear let him hear.
And then he goes on to say to say, „I saw another beast with
two horns like a ram, but speaking like a dragon,” and he takes
charge of this other beast. It is perfectly evident that the diversity which is here spoken of is the change in the nature of the govern-ment. We have first the Rome of the Caesars, not diverse in poli-tical nature from the three preceding world empires – then the downfall of this mere political government, then a religio_polit-ical Roman Empire, a union of church and state, with the church on top, then in the lamb who speaks like a dragon, the papacy which rules this diverse government. Kings of political govern-ments came to put their necks under the heel of the pope that sat at the head of this holy Roman Empire, for example, Henry of Germany. It was to this former custom Bismarck referred when he said that his king of Germany would never come to Canossa.
In the book of Revelation, which is largely an elaboration
of Daniel, we find that this remarkable development of the
fourth beast is still at Rome. It still has somewhat universal
dominion over men, but it is a religio_political government. It
claims to get the two swords, secular and spiritual, and the two
keys, the key of this world and the key to the world to come.
No wonder that beast was dreadful and powerful, and
particularly diverse. We see him come in the Caesars, whose
legions conquered the world, trampled under foot everything
that opposed it, and with its iron teeth crushed the bones of its
enemies. Then in the book of Revelation we see political Rome
cast into the sea like a burning volcano, then rise up a new
Rome with the death stroke of the beast healed, with a new
head, a head that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon.
There is the little horn of this Rome.
We now come to what this chapter has to say about the fifth
world empire. In the first prophetic section we saw the king_
dom of God coming in the days of the Roman kings. Now a
new thing about that kingdom of God is introduced, an entirely
And I beheld till thrones were placed and one that waa the
Ancient of Days did sit. His raiment was white as snow; the hair of
his head like pure wool, and his throne was like the fiery flame and
wheels thereof burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth
before him. Thousands of thousands ministered unto him and ten
thousand times ten thousands stood before him.
When we read that and read the vision of glory in Isaiah 6
and in Ezekiel I and in Revelation 4, we can’t mistake the
import. It is the throne of grace. But I particularly call
attention to this:
I saw in the night visions and lo, there came with the clouds of
heaven one like unto the Son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of Days and they brought him near before him and there
was given unto him dominion and glory and a kingdom that all the
peoples, nations, and languages under heaven should serve him. His
dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away and
his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
When Daniel saw these things it greatly troubled him. His
very soul trembled at that diverse beast with the ten horns and
the little horn plucking up three horns and its awful power,
while he was thrilled at the exaltation of the king of the fifth
empire. And this section goes on to show how his mind puts
questions. What is the meaning of this fourth beast and the
meaning of that little horn, and what is the meaning of one
like the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven to the
Ancient of Days? I said that the first prophetic section showed
the kingdom of heaven as it was set up. How the gospel of it
commenced: „The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The King
came and was acknowledged at his baptism, and he was mani_
fested on Palm Sunday that preceded his crucifixion. But this
chapter shows his exaltation and enthronement. When he left
the earth after his crucifixion the last sight they had of him, he
was going up in the clouds. This chapter takes that thought
up: „I saw one like the Son of man coming in the clouds of
heaven to the Ancient of Days.” Peter saw him going up,
Daniel sees him after he gets there, and as he goes up, we find
the fulfilment of the Psalm:
Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting
doors; and let the King of Glory come in. Who is this King of
Glory? The Lord of hosts, mighty to save. Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? . . . Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. – PSALM 2:1,6.
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I
make thine enemies thy footstool.
Now it is this prophecy of Daniel which first of all shows the
exaltation and enthronement and mediatorial rule of the
Messiah. The Messiah’s work here on earth was preparatory to
his heavenly rule. His work here on earth was expiatory, but
when he rose from the dead he went up to take his seat at the
right hand of the majesty on high and there he sits as King,
reigns as King and judges the nations until the time of his
second advent. So what the theologians call the session of Jesus
Christ, the sitting of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the
Father on high, is all the time a session of judgments, of rul_
ings, of governments over the affairs of this world, reigning as
head over all things to his people, and causing all things to
work together for their good and bringing to pass the overturn_
ing of every obstacle that opposes the dissemination of his
truth and bringing the whole earth in subjection to him. That
is the clear teaching of this passage.
Here it is important for the reader to see Nebuchadnezzar
in the day of his greatest glory looking around upon the
brazen walls of Babylon, its terraced gardens in the skies, its
marvelous buildings and temples of its gods, and he feeling
that all the nations of the earth were subject to him and say_
ing, „This is that great Babylon which I have built.” Take a
look at the glory of that empire. Then we see Alexander com_
ing, conquering the world and weeping that there are no more
worlds to conquer, and there we have a high conception of
world power. We see Rome attaining the universal supremacy
under the Caesars, and that glory is great. Then the succeeding
Rome of the papacy has a peculiar glory, but the glory of the
King of the fifth empire as here described infinitely surpasses
all. It prepares us to understand how comforting was the vision
of this throne in glory (Rev. 4), after considering the confused
condition of the churches on earth (Rev. 2_3). The church
view on earth was depressing; the glory view in heaven was
cheering. The earth view of typical Israel was depressing to
Isaiah and Ezekiel; their heavenly view of the throne above
was cheering (Isa. 6; Ezek. 1).
To Daniel the vision of succeeding world empires, all op-pressing the saints, whether merely political, or religio_political,
was very depressing, but the vision of the session of Messiah
at the right hand of God as everlasting priest, and King of
kings, was cheering in its assurance that the saints would yet
possess the earth. A long time off, indeed, but coming. Many
centuries of intervening trials, indeed, yet temporary.
1. What is the meaning of the sea, and the winds in chapter 77
2. Show the correspondence of the four beasts of this vision with four
sections of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image in chapter 2, and then how the added details and changes of the first three here.
3. Particularly, what is the addition to the fourth world empire in the
vision, and wherein the diversity, and what the meaning of this transformation of the fourth government?
4. What supernatural ministry, good and bad, has to do with the
rise of nations?
5. Show from the corresponding part of Revelation what super_
natural force causes the rise of this fourth world empire and was the
mighty factor in its change into a diverse world empire.
6. According to Revelation 13, what and who was the head of this
diverse world empire?
7. What special advance in thought of the fifth world empire in this
8. When did this enthronement of the king of the fifth empire occur
and what Old Testament prophecies did it fulfil?
9. Show how a vision of this throne of grace cheered Isaiah, Ezekiel,
and Daniel, in their days of typical Israel, and how a similar vision
cheered John on Patmos, in the days of the antitypical Israel.
10. This session of the Messiah at the right hand of God as ever_
lasting priest and king, is for what and for how long, and to be followed by what?
THE RELATED PROPHETIC SECTIONS OF DANIEL
This chapter considers the fifth prophetic section of the book
of Daniel found in chapter 8. The theme of the chapter is the
overthrow of the Medo_Persian Empire by Alexander the
Great, the fourfold division of his empire, and the oppression
of Israel by Antiochus Epiphanes, a later king of one of the
The date of the prophecy is the third year of the reign of
Belshazzar, and if we had observed the order of time, both this
and the preceding chapter would have come before the history
in chapter 5.
The language of chapter 8 is Hebrew, that is, the Hebrew
language is resumed here and continued to the end. The middle
section of the book of Daniel is in Aramaic. The place of the
vision cannot be determined from the language of the book.
(I am quoting from the Jewish version for a particular reason
on this lesson).
In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared
unto me, to me, Daniel, after that which had appeared unto me at
the first [he had seen a vision the first year of Belshazzer’s reign],
and I saw in the vision and it came to pass in my seeing that I waa
at Shushan, the capital, which is in the province of Elam, and I saw
in the vision as though I was by the river Ulai.
It does not follow that Daniel was at Shushan (or Susa, as
the name is more generally called) in the body. It may only
mean that he was there in vision, just as in Ezekiel he says,
„In a vision, I was at Jerusalem,” though he never left the
place of his captivity in Babylon. Susa, or Shushan, which
later became the Persian capital under Cyrus, had long been
a noted place. We have a monumental inscription concerning it made by Asshur_banipal, the Assyrian king, who conquered Manasseh 668 B.C., at least sixty years before the Babylonian
Empire obtained its supremacy, and a century and a half before the Persian supremacy, to this effect: „Shushan, the great city, the seat of their gods, the place of their oracles, I captured”; that is, Assyria had its supremacy before Babylonia, and before the days of the Assyrian supremacy Susa was a great city and the capital of Elam. So we need not be disturbed by the contention of the radical critics that Daniel mentions the city and palace at Susa before the Persians came into power and made it their capital. In the later books of Nehemiah and Esther, Susa is the Persian capital, but long before Daniel’s day it was a great city and the capital of Elam. This vision presents the river Ulai. It was a small artificial river near Susa, connecting two other rivers, and Pliny, a Roman writer, calls it Eulaeris. Asshur-banipal boasts that he covered its waters with blood. We come now to the vision that he saw. First, the ram.
And I lifted up mine eyes and saw and behold there was a ram standing before the river and he had two horns and the horns were
high, but one was higher than the other, and the highest one came
up last. I saw this ram butting westward, northward, and southward.
[He comes from the east himself, and he dosen’t butt backward.
The directions of the progress of the empire are signified.] So that
no beast could stand before him, and no one was there to deliver
out of his hand, and he did according to hia will and became great. –
In Daniel 2:32 the symbol of the Medo_Persian Empire is
the breast and the two arms of silver; the breast indicates its
unity and the arms its duality. Its characteristic in that first
vision is its inferiority to the Babylonian Empire. In Daniel
7:5 (which we considered in the last chapter) the symbol is
the bear with one side higher than the other. The unity is in the
one animal and the duality is in the two sides, with this dis_
tinction, that one side is higher than the other. There it appears
with three ribs in its teeth, indicating extent of its power over
Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt, the great countries heretofore
related to Israel. Its characteristic is a devourer, but here the symbol of this second empire, the Medo_Persian, is a ram. The
unity is expressed in the one beast, its duality in the two horns;
the distinction is that one horn is higher than the other and a new distinction – it is the second horn which is the higher, that is, the rise of the Persian power was later than that of the Medes, but it went higher after it got started. Here also, instead of the three ribs of the bear, we have the true directions of its conquest, the ram coming from the east pushes westward, that is, from Baby-lon to the Mediterranean Sea; pushes northward, that is, to the old realm of Assyria, even up to the Caspian Sea, pushes south-ward, that is, to Egypt. So that these pushings agree with the three ribs we had in a preceding section. His characteristic here is that he is a conqueror, for our record says, „No beast could stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand, for he did according to his will and magnified himself.” I have several times called attention to these developments by an elaboration of details from the first vision in the second chapter of this book. These developments are obvious and evident. In like manner we may trace the developments in the third empire.
And as I was looking attentively at the ram, behold, there came a
shaggy he_goat from the west. [The ram was from the east, but the
goat is coming from the west.] He came from the west over the face
of the whole earth without touching the ground. [I suppose he
means, except in the high places.] And the goat had a sightly large
horn between his eyes and he came as far as the ram that had two
horns that I had seen standing before the river, and he ran at him
with furious power. [We can see with our imagination that goat.]
And I saw him coming closer unto the ram. [The old saying is that
we can never conquer until we shorten our sword, that is, by fighting
at close range. The goat believes in fighting at close range.] I saw
him coming closer unto the ram and he became highly enraged
against the ram and stuck the ram and broke his two horns, and
there was no power in the ram to stand before him, and he cast him
down to the ground and stamped upon him. And there was no one to
deliver the ram out of his hand, and the shaggy he_goat became
very great. – DANIEL 8:5_8.
In Daniel 2:32 the symbol of this third empire is the lower
part of the body of the image and the thighs, the body indi_
cating the unity, the thighs the duality, or only those two
divisions which touch the history of Israel. Its characteristic
there is the universality of its conquests, „which shall bear rule
over all the earth.” In 7:6, presented in our last chapter, the
symbol is the four_winged leopard, the wings indicating its
speed of conquest, just like that goat coming without touching
the ground; the one beast indicates the unity, the four heads
indicating its subsequent divisions and its characteristic, „and
dominion was given to it.”
In this chapter the symbol of the same empire is a he_goat
coming from the west, as the ram had come from the east, and
the characteristic is „over the whole earth and touched not the
ground,” which answers to the wings of the leopard and indicates the speed of his conquests. The one great horn indicates the unity of the kingdom under its first king, who magnifies himself ex-ceedingly; the fury and destructive power of his assault on the ram is very vividly imaged. The four notable horns that came up after the one great horn was broken off, indicates the division of his empire into four parts after the death of the first king, but with only two of these four parts is this book concerned. The symbolism now advances to an entirely new element.
And out of one of the four horns came forth a little horn „which
became exceedingly great toward the south and toward the east and
toward the glorious land, [That is, toward Egypt, toward the old
Persian realm, and toward Judea particularly.] And it became great
even up to the hosts of heaven, and cast down to the ground some
of the hosts and of the saints and trod them under his foot. Yea, it
magnified itself even up to the Prince of the hosts and by it the con_
tinual sacrifice was taken away and the place of his sanctuary was
cast down and the host is given up together with the continual sacri_
fice by reason of transgression and it casteth down the truth to the
ground and it doeth this and is prosperous. – DANIEL 8:9_12,
In the same chapter we have the interpretation:
The ram that thou sawest with the two horna signifieth the king
of the Medes and Persians, and the shaggy he_goat is the king of
Greece, and the great horn which is between his eyes is the first king
that is, Alexander the Great] but that it was broken [Alexander
died in Babylon] and that four others sprang up into its stead, signi_
fies that four kingdoms will spring up out of the nation, but not with
his power [that is, no one of these will equal the power of Alexander
the Great]. DANIEL 8:20_22.
Any schoolboy who is familiar with the history of Alexander
the Great knows that even at his death he made provision for
this division of his kingdom. The divisions were these: (1)
Macedonia, including Greece proper, was one, Cassander, the
king. Now with that we have very little to do in this book. (2)
Asia Minor went to Lysimachus. With that we have very little
to do. (3) Syria was assigned to Seleucus. With that we have
the most to do. (4) Egypt was given to Ptolemy. With that we
have much to do in this book.
This book, when referring to Syria, that division of Alexan_
der’s empire with its capital at Antioch, calls it the Kingdom
of the North, and Egypt is called the Kingdom of the South.
The rulers of Syria were called Seleucidae from Seleucus, the
general that obtained that kingdom; the Egyptian kings were
called Ptolemies from Ptolemy, that great general of Alexan_
der who obtained that kingdom.
We will now go on with the interpretation. „And in the latter
time of their kingdom,” that is, of the kingdom of these four
divisions later on in history, „when the transgressors have filled
their measure of guilt,” that is, the Jewish transgressors, „there
will arise a king [now we come to the little_horn man], of an
impudent face and understanding deep schemes, and his power
will be mighty, but not by his own power; and he will destroy
wonderfully, and he will prosper while he doeth this, and he
will destroy very many of the people of the saints, and through
his intelligence, and because he prospereth in craftiness in his
hand, and in his heart will he magnify himself and in peace
will he destroy many. He will also stand up against the Prince
of princes,” that is, the God of heaven himself, „but without
human hand will he be broken.” That is the interpretation.
When Daniel saw the vision of the ram with his two horns,
the he_goat with one horn, the destruction of the ram, the death
of the first king, or the breaking of the horn of the he_goat, the
rising up of four kingdoms in the place of Alexander’s kingdom
and later on in the Grecian history, that is to say, about 140
years, there comes to the throne of Syria by craftiness of his
own power a king known in history as Antiochus Epiphanes.
Some of his contemporaries call him Antiochus Epimanes,
which means, „mad man,” making a play upon the word.
This Antiochus Epiphanes [we find an account of what he
did, not only here in this book but in First Maccabees] makes
war with Egypt. His object is this: He wants to hedge against
the rising power of Rome, the fourth empire, before which
Macedonia and Asia Minor have already fallen. In order to
do this he seeks to unite the Egyptian division with the Syrian
division and half_way between him and Egypt is the Holy
Land, and in order to make his kingdom, as he lays it out in his
mind, homogeneous, he wants but one religion in it) just aa
Louis XIV said there could be but one religion in France, that
is, Roman Catholicism, deeming it necessary to the safety of
the state to have no troubles about religion. So after he had
defeated the king of Egypt in battle in the one hundred and
forty third year of the Grecian supremacy, he came to Jeru_
salem and took it, and took away its sacred vessels. A great
many of the apostate Jews had determined to unite with him
on this one religion. Men that would be called Sadducees in a
later day (and they started about this time), men that thought
religion should yield to political necessities, made a covenant
with him, and so he established in the city of Jerusalem the
idol worship of Jupiter, and these apostate Jews joined him in
it. He sacrificed a hog on the sacred altar and positively for_
bade any Jew to observe the Commandments of Moses’ law.
They were not to be circumcised, they were not to make an
offering in the Temple. The whole sacrifice should cease – that
continual offering every evening and every morning that they
had been used to since the days of Solomon. Ever since the
days of Moses in the wilderness that evening and morning
service had been kept up. He took away that continual sacri_
fice, and defiled the Temple. That put him against the God of
heaven himself. This erection of an idol in the holy place is
the first abomination of desolation. It was one of the most
blasphemous and wicked usurpations of power known to his_
tory, made him the first antichrist and handed down his name
to the execration of all succeeding generations. The first book
of Maccabees will ever be regarded as a glorious history of
this dark period.
The record now passes to a new theme, the voices of the
angels, showing heaven’s interest in these tragic earthly affairs:
„Then did I hear a certain holy one speaking, and a holy one
said unto the unknown one who was speaking. For how long
is the vision concerning the continual sacrifice, and the wasting
transgression, to give up both the sanctuary and host to be
trodden under foot?”
Well angels might be concerned. There had been no interrup_
tion of this continual sacrifice for many centuries. Paul says,
„Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.”
Daniel now hears the angels talking, and understands what
they say. One holy one says to another holy one, „How long is
this to last, this subjection of the host, that is, the people of
Israel, this cessation of the continued sacrifice; how long is it to
last? . . . And he said unto him, Until two thousand three hun_
dred evenings and mornings, when the sanctuary shall be jus_
tified,” that is, purified or cleansed. Two thousand and three
hundred days. I said that in the one hundred and forty_third
year of Greek history Antiochus took Jerusalem and in the one
hundred and forty_ninth year Antiochus died. By taking the
month dates in these years, the interval is six years and one
hundred and ten days. Counting a year 360 days, which the
Jews did, that makes 2,300 days from the day that he entered
Jerusalem and subjected the host of the Jews to him until
by his death their oppression ceased, so far as he was con_
cerned. It was not 2,300 days until Judas Maccabeus
recaptured Jerusalem and purified the sanctuary, but the ques_
tion covers more than the purification of the sanctuary; the
question propounded was this: „For how long is the vision
concerning the continual sacrifice and wasting transgression
to give up both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under
foot?” The answer is 2,300 days in the first book of Maccabees.
THE SON OF GOD
We now come to a still more marvelous thing – more marve_
lous than the voices of the angels to which Daniel has been
listening. Here is a new thing, verse 15: „And it came to pass
when I, even I, Daniel, saw the vision, and sought for under_
standing, that, behold, there was standing opposite to me
something like the appearance of a man.” Here we learn first
that Daniel did not understand his own vision, but sought to
understand it. The contention of the radical critics that a
prophet is conscious of the meaning of his prophecy and there_
fore limits his prophecy to the matters of his own time of which
he has information, is every way baseless. A passage from the
New Testament is very pertinent here:
Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched
diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you,
searching what time or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ
which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the
sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them. To
whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, did
they minister these things, which now have been announced unto
you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the Holy
Spirit sent forth from heaven, which things angels desire to look into.
Not only the prophets did not understand, but the angels_ in
heaven do not understand all the things foretold in symbol,
ceremonial, type, vision, and prophecy. They are themselves
instructed by the church in the events as they are fulfilled.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace
given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery
which for ages hath been hid in God, who created all things; to the
intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heaven_
ly places might be made known through the Church the manifold
wisdom of God. – EPHESIANS 3:8_11.
Daniel couldn’t understand what he saw, and angels, unless
instructed, cannot understand these future events. They have
no omniscience, but as the church in its history unfolds, unrolls
the wisdom of God, foretold for future ages, the onlooking
angels see and understand, „which things the angels desire to
look into,” and that curiosity of the angels is admirably ex_
pressed in the golden cherubim with outspread wings bending
over and looking intently down upon the blood_stained mercy
But the chief thing is: „There was standing opposite to me
something like the appearance of a man and I heard the voice
of a man.” This occurs between the banks of the Ulia, „and
it called and said, Gabriel, cause this one to understand this
vision.” That was a premanifestation of Christ. We will come
to another far more startling premanifestation when we get
to chapter 10, but Christ was there as the Son of God, and
Daniel felt his presence, saw the form like the form of the son
of man, which didn’t speak to Daniel, but he spoke to the
angel Gabriel, and tells Gabriel to explain to Daniel:
So he came close to where I stood and when he came I was terri_
fied. I fell on my face. But he said unto me. Oh son of man; for the
time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me
I fell down in amazement on my face to the ground but he touched
me and set me upright where I had been standing. – DANIEL.
In Genesis 15, Abraham sees in vision the Word of God.
That is the first time the phrase, „Word of God,” occurs. He
sees the Logos, and the Logos talks with him, and after a while
takes hold of his hand and leads him out of the tent and tells
him to look up and count the stars of heaven if he can, and to
know that his seed will be more numerous than they. We had
one premanifestation of the Son of God, a fourth one, walking
with them in the furnace. Thus the Son of God himself, through
Gabriel, gives the interpretation we have already considered.
THE DEATH OF AN1TOCHUS
The fortunes of this wicked king were fast becoming des_
perate. Egypt was lost on the south, Rome had checked him
there and was pressing him hard on the east. His affairs in
Judea, under his generals, were in bad shape through the
triumphs of Judas Maccabeus. He needed money to enlist and
support a larger army against the victorious Jews. In this ex_
tremity he determines to seize the rich city of Elmias, in
Persia, and rob its temple, stored with rich offerings under
Persian rule and still richer gifts from the liberality of Alexan_
der the Great. Its sturdy citizens, always jealous of the privi_
leges of the city, resisted and defeated him. This disaster was
followed by the news of the triumph of Judas’ Maccabeus over
his general Lysias, the recapture of Jerusalem and the purifi_
cation of the sanctuary. The unwelcome tidings completely
broke his spirit. He died in despair by the judgment of God.
The record says, „broken without hand.” The first book of
Maccabees, chapter 6, gives a thrilling account of his downfall,
and says that in his dying confession he attributed all his mis_
fortune to his persecution of the Jews and their religion. His
doom reminds us of the remorse and despair of Judas Iscariot.
1. What the date of this vision?
2. Where the scene of the vision?
3. How do you reply to the contention of the critics that reference to
Susa indicates a late origin of the book?
4. To which two world empires is the vision limited?
5. Show the conformity of the vision with the preceding visions (2, 7)
in their relation to these two empires, and what new details appear here?
6. Who is the „little born” of this vision and how is it distinguished
from the „little horn” in chapter 7?
7. What the most infamous deed of Antiochus?
8. What political reasons prompted him to destroy the religion of
Jehovah, and what parallel in later history for similar reasons?
9. What was the abomination of desolation he placed in the Temple?
10. What great hero overthrew his power in Judea and purified the
11. What Jewish inter_biblical book gives a thrilling history of this
12. Give an account of the death of Antiochus and its occasion.
13. How do you explain the time period, 2,300 evenings and mornings?
14. What interest in heaven was excited by the impiety of Antiochus?
15. What voices did Daniel hear? What desire did these voices excite
THE MARVELOUS NINTH CHAPTER OF DANIEL
This chapter contains the most marvelous prophecy of the
Old Testament. It is also the most remarkable in its messianic
features. More definitely than all others together, it fixes the
date of the first coming of the Messiah. Accordingly, its con_
firmation in the New Testament, especially when considered
with its cognate visions, goes beyond any other Old Testament
book except the Law. Our Lord himself attests it in a most ex_
traordinary way. Moreover, in every age since its publication,
it has exceptionally attracted the attention of Old Testament
students, and has called forth a vast volume of literature. For
2,500 years the scholars of the world, whether saints or sinners,
Jews or Gentiles, Christians or infidels, have devoted them_
selves to its exposition. In the efforts to defend, on the one
hand, or to discredit on the other, every word in it has been
under a thousand microscopes of criticism. An ordinary life_
time would hardly suffice for reading all the literature pro and
con that it has evoked. Let us, reverently and prayerfully, ad_
dress ourselves to its exposition.
I Commence by submitting this first and simplest outline
of the whole chapter.
I. THE DATE AND OCCASION, (9:1_2)
The date is the first year of Darius the Mede, about one
year after the capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians,
and about one year before the end of Jeremiah’s predicted
seventy years of Jewish servitude to Babylon. Daniel is
studying the Jewish Scriptures – all the books then extant Our
English word „books” in verse 2 translate a Hebrew term in
the plural that, in usage, signifies either all the Jewish Scrip_
tures collectively, or a group of them, as „the books of Moses,”
or merely an epistle, which is only a fragment of a book, as in
2 Kings 19:14 and Isaiah 37:14.
It is certain that Jeremiah had sent a letter to the Jews in
Babylon, which embodies much of the precise matter which
Daniel is studying, and to whose very peculiarities of
phraseology this ninth chapter refers several times. So far,
then, as one example of the usage may determine, it may be
that it is only Jeremiah’s letter that Daniel is studying. The
whole context, however, seems to require the meaning that the
more extended usage of the word justifies. The whole book of
Jeremiah was evidently before him, since the letter says
nothing of „desolation,” so specially clear in Jeremiah 25:11,
and so pointedly quoted in verse 2 of this chapter. Moreover,
the prayer specially cites the law of Moses, indicates
familiarity with the Psalms, cites not only the continuous his_
tory of the people as recorded by the prophets, but also the
messages of the prophets, so that we may conclude, fairly, that
Daniel possessed all the books of the canon then extant, that is
to say, all but Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, 2 Chronicles, Haggai,
Zechariah, and Malachi. At any rate, one of the particular
matters engaging his attention is Jeremiah’s prediction of the
seventy years’ servitude, which period he now understands to
be near its end. So that we need first to consider as an im_
portant element of the occasion of Daniel’s prayer:
1. Jeremiah’s seventy years. Some have supposed that
Jeremiah predicts two periods of seventy years – one of the
„servitude” and the other of the „desolation.” The three most
important passages in his book bearing on the matter are:
25:8_12; 27:16_22; 29:1_10. In these passages and elsewhere in
his book, the prophet foretells, with precision, the end of an
independent Jewish monarchy by the servitude of the kings
of Judah to Babylon, the deportation of certain captives, the
spoliation of a part of the sacred vessels of the sanctuary, and
finally, the total destruction of the city, with a larger deporta_
tion of Captives. The prophet then foretells that this servitude
shall last seventy years; that these captives and these cap_
tured vessels shall not return to Jerusalem before that time;
that this captivity is by the will of God, whose unconscious
servant Nebuchadnezzar is, and is meant for good and not evil,
since those led into captivity shall not only have a better fate
than is reserved for the remnant in Judah, but that the cap_
tives preserved in Babylon shall become the true seed of a
better nation in the future. He therefore urges the captives to
indulge in no vain hopes of speedy release, but to address
themselves to the cultivation of the land assigned to them in
Babylon, and to pray for the peace and prosperity of Babylon,
as for their own peace and prosperity. He then assures them
at the end of the seventy years they shall return to their native
land. This is the period of seventy years which furnishes the
first element of the occasion of Daniel’s prayer.
Following the general view of only one period of seventy
years, we now proceed to determine its beginning and end. The
period commences 606 B. c., in the third year of Jehoiakim,
king of Judah, as appears from 2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chronicles 36:
5_7; Daniel 1:1. On that date the independent Jewish mon_
archy ends, just 490 years after the coronation of Saul, the
first king, which itself was just 490 years after the entering
into Canaan. Thus the monarchy of the Chosen People died a
royal death with the good King Josiah at the battle of Megiddo
– a battle so disastrous that it became the type of the great
spiritual battle of Armageddon in John’s Apocalypse, to be
followed by the battle of Jehoshaphat and because of the sor_
rows of apostate Israel on beholding the Messiah whom they
have pierced. True, three members of Josiah’s family held the
throne for a very few years, but only as servants of the king
of Babylon. So in this case it is true that Jehoiakim, bound in
fetters, is temporarily released and retains a nominal authority
under Nebuchadnezzar by yielding to his spoiler a part of the
sacred vessels of the Temple and certain selected youths of the
royal family, including Daniel, who are to become servants
in the imperial household of Babylon. This was the first depor_
tation of the captives from Judea. With this beginning of the
period fixed, we find that it ends 536 B. c., according to the ex_
press statements of 2 Chronicles 36:24_25; and Ezra 1:1_3,
which is the year after Cyrus conquered Babylon. We may,
therefore, understand why this prediction of the seventy years
became an occasion for Daniel’s prayer – only one year re_
mains of the seventy. Babylon has fallen as Jeremiah pre_
dicted, but there is no sign in the political sky of the new
regime to intimate the return of the captive Jews. They remain
in bondage to the Medes and Persians, as they had been to
Babylon. Therefore, Daniel prays for the fulfilment of the
2. The second element in the occasion of the prayer is the
denunciation of the Levitical law, that for every seventh year
the Holy land was denied its sabbath of rest, the people should
remain one year in bondage (Lev. 25:2_4, 26:34_43; 2 Chron_
icles 36:24). From Saul, 1096 B. c., to Jehoiakim, 606 B. c.,–
just 490 years – the land had been robbed of seventy years of
rest – one_seventh of the 490ùso this is as precise as the pro_
phecy of Jeremiah in fixing the limit of the bondage.
3. The third element in the occasion of the prayer is the
curse and oath of Moses, set forth so vividly in the closing
chapters of Deuteronomy, to which the prayer so feelingly
refers. Indeed, the prayer itself recites as an occasion of the
troubles of the people their continuous sins through every
period of their history, whether under Moses, the judges, or
the kings – sins against both the Sinaitic covenant and the
repeated messages of God through the prophets.
4. A fourth occasion of the prayer may be fairly inferred
from the prayer itself, i.e., the prophet’s evident conscious_
ness that no real atonement had ever been made for the sins
of the people. Their ritualistic atonement had merely symbol_
ized the true remission of sins and passed them over to be
provided for in the great antitype of the ceremonial law.
5. Daniel’s previous visions also may well constitute an
an element of the occasion of this prayer. From his interpreta_
tion of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he evidently saw that it wag
only in the days of the fourth world empire that the God of
heaven would set up his gospel kingdom, and far, far beyond
its setting up, the stone becomes a mountain and fills the
whole earth. Again, in his vision of the four beasts rising up
out of the sea, he evidently understands that it is only in the
days of the fourth beast and in the time of the eleventh horn
of this beast, calling for a remote period after the establish_
ment of the fourth world empire, does the Son of man receive
his kingdom of judgments from the Ancient of Days, that is
to eventuate in putting the saints of the Most High in posses_
sion of the whole earth. And yet, again, in his visions of the two
beasts, representing respectively the second and third world
empires, he beholds his people near the close of the third em_
pire grievously oppressed and their restored sanctuary defiled.
Those considerations, taken together – the 70 weeks of
Jeremiah, the curse of the Levitical law concerning the land,
the curse and oath of Moses, the prophet’s consciousness that
the sins of their whole national history have never been really
expiated, but only passed over, and the far_off date of the set_
ting up of Messiah’s gospel kingdom, and the still more distant
date of his kingdom of judgments, and the still more distant
date of the prevalence of his millennium kingdom throughout
the earth – these constitute sufficient occasion to bow down on
his knees in fervent prayer the best and the wisest man. So far
the occasion. Let us now consider
II. THE PRAYER, (9:3_19)
This prayer consists of three parts: confession, adoration,
1. There is a heartbroken confession of the continuous sins
of the whole nation – judges, kings, and people – against both
the law and the prophets throughout every period of their history.
2. Over against these sins of the people, the prophet, by
adoration places in sharp contrast the attributes of God –
eternal righteousness, long_suffering, mercy, forgiveness,
truthfulness in both promises and threats, and a watching
providence that never sleeps and that never fails to bring
home a threatened curse or a promised blessing.
3. Supplication: How fervent, how pathetic, how importu_
nate his prayer! He prays for the holy, but desolate, city: „0
Lord, turn thine anger from Jerusalem;” he prays for the
Temple: „Shine upon thy sanctuary;” he prays for the forgive_
ness of the sins of the people. And all this, not for Jerusalem’s
sake, or the Temple’s sake, or the people’s sake, but for God’s
own sake, and for the sake of his great mercies. The prayer
closes in these burning words: „0 Lord, hear! 0 Lord, forgive!
0 Lord, hearken and do; defer not for thine own sake, 0 my
God! For thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”
III. THE ANSWER TO THE PRAYER, (9:20_27)
The answer is instant. As Daniel says, „While I was speak_
ing and praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my
people, Israel, and presenting my supplication before Jehovah,
my God, for the holy mountain of my God; yea, while I was
speaking in the prayer,” the answer came; or as the one who
brought the answer says: „At the beginning of thy supplica_
tions the commandment went forth) and I am come to tell
The answer was not only distant, but mediate, that is to say,
through the angel Gabriel: „The man Gabriel, whom I had
seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly,
touched me about the time of the evening oblation, and he in_
structed me and talked with me, and said, 0 Daniel, I am now
come forth to give thee wisdom and understanding.”
The answer to the prayer, as conveyed by the angel Gabriel,
is the great prophecy which we are now to expound, and which
is thus rendered in the American Standard Version:
Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city
to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make
reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness,
and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.
Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the com_
mandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one,
the prince, shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks; it
shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times.
And after the three score and two weeks shall the anointed one be
cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince that
shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end
thereof shall be with a flood, and even unto the end shall be war;
desolations are determined. And he shall make a firm covenant with
many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the
sacrifice and the obligation to cease; and upon the wing of abomina_
tions shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full
end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the
desolate. – DANIEL 9:24_27.
And now, before an attempt at exposition, attention is called
to a preliminary observation: There are many English ver_
sions of this Hebrew text, all worthy of consideration, but it is
needful for the present purpose to cite only four modern ones,
namely, (1) The common, or King James Version; (2) The
Canterbury revision; (3) The same revision with the render_
ings of the American corps of revisers substituted for the ren_
dering of the British corps where they differ; (4) Lessor’s
Jewish version. Now, when we compare their several transla_
tions of this prophecy, we find a marked difference in the
punctuation, which very greatly affects the sense, and neces_
sarily determines widely different lines of exegesis.
The exegesis now to be given will follow the punctuation of
the American revisers in the Standard Bible, with which the
King James Version agrees. The Canterbury revision and Lee_
ser’s modern Jewish version adopt a punctuation which
necessitates a certain beginning for the period, and necessitates
two Messiahs, and in other important respects make both
chronology and interpretation impossible on any theory con_
sistent with the inspiration of Daniel or of the New Testament
writers, or of the divinity of Jesus. Tremendous results to base
on punctuation alone, when the ancient Hebrew had no
punctuation? But here the modern Jew, the infidel, and the
destructive higher critic plant themselves together. As, how_
ever, this matter of punctuation comes up again when this dis_
cussion reaches the several theories of interpretation, it is
dismissed for the present, that we may proceed with the
For the better understanding of this remarkable answer to
Daniel’s prayer we need a new outline and a special analysis.
It cannot escape notice that 9:24, the first verse of the proph_
ecy, treats of the seventy weeks as a whole, enumerating, in
a general but strictly orderly way, the things to be accom_
plished in the period, while in the other three verses the
seventy weeks are first separated into three unequal sub_
divisions, namely, seven weeks, sixty_two weeks, and one
week, with the assignment to each of its appropriate events,
and, second, the one week is divided into two equal parts,
making the middle of the last week the climax of the prophecy.
Nor can it escape notice that the prophecy throughout is
designedly marked with order, precision, and definiteness of
statement on all points of chronology and fact. In any sensible
analysis, which combines the general and particular statements
of the prophecy, it is evident that all the great events specified
in verse 24, must, as to order, be assigned to the climax, the
middle of the last week. As covering, therefore, the whole
ground and properly correlating the several parts is now sub_
mitted the following
EXEGETICAL ANALYSIS OF DANIEL 9:24_27
I. God’s great decree concerning the Jews
II. Meaning, or duration, of the seventy weeks
III. When they begin, or terminus a quo
IV. Sixty_two weeks, or 434 years, with the preceding 49
years, making 483 years to the coming of Messiah, the King
V. The seven weeks, or 49 years, rebuilding Jerusalem
VI. One week, or seven years, as a whole, proclaiming the
new covenant (Jer. 31:31_34) and confirming it with many
VII. One week, or seven years, divided in the middle
1. The First Half –
(1) Confirming the new covenant with many Jews for three
and one_half years
(2) Finishing the transgression (Matt. 23:35)
(3) Messiah cut off by his people, and his people cut off by
Messiah for a long time
(4) Making an end of sin
(5) Making reconciliation for iniquity
(6) Bringing in everlasting righteousness
(7) Sealing up vision and prophecy
(8) Causing sacrifice and oblation to cease, or the rejecting
of the old, typical Temple and covenant (Matt. 27:51; Col.
2:14_17; Heb. 7 to 10)
(9) Anointing the most holy, or the consecration of the new,
antitypical temple (Acts 2).
2. The Second Half_
Confirming the new covenant with many Jews for three and
one_half years more, i.e., up to the times of the Gentiles,
which is the terminus ad quern.
VIII. After the 70 weeks (1) The coming prince – Titus. (2)
The abomination of desolation. (3) Destruction of the city and
sanctuary as with a flood. (4) The flood of wrath on the Jewish
people till the fulness of the Gentiles.
1. What the importance of Daniel 9?
2. What the first and simplest outline of it?
3. What the date of Daniel’s prayer?
4. What, in general, the occasion and what is the meaning of „the
books” in 9:2?
5. What the constituent elements of the occasion of this prayer?
6. Discuss Jeremiah’s seventy years,
7. Discuss the Levitical law of the land sabbath and its relation to
8. Discuss the curse and oath of Moses relating to this prayer.
9. Discuss the atonement as it relates to this prayer.
10. Discuss Daniel’s previous visions as they relate to this prayer.
11. What the contents of the prayer? Discuss each item.
12, What the three elements that constitute the character of the
answer to this prayer?
13. Cite four English versions and their variant punctuation of Daniel
9:25 and state the effect on the exegesis.
14. What the notable things of this prophecy (9:24_27)?
15. Give the critical (exegetical) analysis of the prophetic part of this
THE MARVELOUS NINTH CHAPTER OF DANIEL
In this chapter we consider seriatim the items of the
exegetical analysis already submitted._
I. God’s great decree concerning the Jewish nation. This de_
cree is the whole prophecy, and by its terms has all the force of
an inexorable judicial decision. It covers a long period of time,
subdivided into such particular sections, each to be filled with
its own appropriate events, these events of such number,
magnitude, order and correlation, the parts assigned to
particular nations so extraordinary as to defy the inventive
audacity of an impostor. On its face are registered the marks
of its divine origin. As a phenomenon it is easier to philo_
sophically account for it as a prophecy written by Daniel at
the time and under the circumstance claimed, than to stagger
credulity by attributing it to an impostor of the Maccabean
days An attribution of this prophecy to a pseudo Daniel of
the second century before Christ necessitates an incredible
II. Meaning or duration of the seventy weeks. This means
seventy weeks of years, a symbolism already familiar to the
Jewish mind, as it afterward became to both Greek and Latin
philosophers. It is weeks of years, not days. Laban .said to
Jacob, „Fulfil her week also,” meaning seven years, and
through Daniel’s contemporary, the delivery of the prophecy,
and necessarily after its fulfilment, if it be prophecy.
It is a characteristic of prophecy to both veil and reveal.
Its terms are not those of accomplished history, and there is
room for difference of opinion about the time when the matter
is to be fulfilled before this fulfilment comes, as is evident from
the history of all previous prophecies. But there is a law which
finally determines the genuineness of the prophetic element,
that is, it must be fulfilled. A prophecy that does not come to
pass is no prophecy. This is the definite test. We therefore
are acting strictly within the rules governing prophecy when
from our late standpoint we seek in the history of the past
for historical facts verifying the fulfilment of what is here
Hence we would be perfectly justified in rejecting any inter_
pretation as a reasonable exegesis of this prophecy which left
out the great matters set forth in verse 24, which is a summary
of the greater events of the period. And what are the items
of this summary? We must find a rounded and connected
period of 490 years. In this period must be located the rebuild_
ing of the city of Jerusalem, the finishing of the transgression
of the Jewish people, the making an end of sin, the making
reconciliation for iniquity, the bringing in of everlasting
righteousness, the sealing up of vision and prophecy and the
anointing of a most holy. These are all extraordinary events.
It was one of the matters that gravely troubled Daniel, as evi_
denced by his prayer, that the transgression of his people had
been continuous from the beginning of their history to his time.
He was not alone disturbed by the offenses immediately pre_
ceding the servitude to Babylon, but on his conscience was an
unbroken series of transgressions under Moses, under the
judges, under the kings, against the law, and against the mes_
sages of the prophets. There must be, in any correct interpre_
tation, a filling up of the measure, or a finishing of the trans_
gression of the Jewish people.
Moreover, up to his time no end to sins had been made by
atonement. They were merely passed over through typical
animal sacrifices. Yet again, this end of sins, not in figure,
but in fact, must be brought about by a real reconciliation for
iniquity, i.e., a genuine and permanent atonement. Following
this necessarily would be brought in an everlasting righteous_
ness Not a tattered patchwork, such as the best of their
worthies in ancient times offered in their lives, but a righteous_
ness whiter than snow and so flawless that not even the om_
niscience of God when holding it in the light of immaculate
holiness could find a spot on it – a righteousness that would
envelop its subject soul and body and would be impervious
to the thrust or stroke of the flaming sword of divine justice.
Moreover, a just interpretation would demand the coming of
a person on whom all the rays of past prophecy would focus,
so that it could be said that up to this date „were the law and
the prophets” and since that time a new order of things. More_
over, as the prophecy foretells the total abrogation of sacrifices
and offerings, the interpretation must find not some temporary
cessation of these offerings but a decree of final annulment, so
that an end is made to them forever. Yet again, as the proph_
ecy foretells the destruction of the city and sanctuary and the
rejection of the people, any thorough interpretation must find
the incoming of a new covenant, the anointing of a new most
holy place and a new and spiritual Israel.
All controversies about the terminus a quo and the terminus
ad quern are mere byplays, unless within these terminals can
be shown fulfilment of the great particulars of the prophecy.
That man’s views of the beginning of the period or of the end
of it are lighter than air unless within his terminal points he
can show the fulfilment of the great events which are to his
terminal points as the building is to the scaffolding. Not only
must the true interpretation find all of the great particulars
of the summary in verse 24, but it must find the particular
things for the subdivision of the period, something definite to
occur in forty_nine years, and something more important 434
years later, and again a continuous event for seven years, and
yet again the remarkable particulars of each half of the seven
years when divided in the middle. And as the prophecy fore_
tells the destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary some time
after the seventy weeks, or 490 years, and then a long period
of wrath upon the rejected people, the true interpretation must
find a binding relation between this doom and the cutting off
of the Anointed One in the last seven years of the period. This
must be the relation of cause and effect. The destruction of
the city and sanctuary and rejection of the people must be
the result of the cutting off. If an interpreter be unprepared
to show such fulfilment, then he ought to refrain from attempt_
ing any exposition of the passage. Yet again, two persons at
least, neither of them human, must have known about the
facts and the dates set forth in the prophecy. These two per_
sons are the angel Gabriel, who brought the prophecy to Dan_
iel, and the God of heaven, who sent it as an answer to Daniel’s
prayer. Their testimony as to the fulfilment would be in_
tensely valuable. An interpretation not corroborated by the
testimony of Gabriel or of God, the Father, who sent the
prophecy, could not stand by mere human argumentation.
One more point in this connection: It is not denied that this
book and, particularly, this prophecy, exercised a marvelous
influence on the subsequent periods of Jewish history. Some
definite impression was created by its language, and this im_
pression would naturally take the shape of expectation. We
ought to be able to find, therefore, a widespread expectation
of fulfilment, generated by the prophecy itself, in the day of
its fulfilment, or in the near time preceding its fulfilment. The
people generally, without any claims to special scholarship,
would receive impressions, ripening into expectation, from the
prophecy’s definite time revelation. A date of fulfilment, there_
fore, without antecedent expectations, would hardly meet the
conditions of this prophecy.
III. When the seventy weeks began, or the terminus a quo.
The beginning is thus expressed in the text: „Know therefore
and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment
to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Anointed One, the
Prince, shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks;
it shall be built again with street and moat, even in troublous
times.” Here begins the subdivision of the seventy weeks, with
appropriate events assigned to each section, namely, seven
weeks, sixty_two weeks, one week; and just here comes the bat_
tle on punctuation which determines the exegesis. According
to the radical higher critics, whom the Canterbury revision,
after much debate, consented to follow) the punctuation is
as follows: „Know therefore and discern, that from the going
forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem
unto the Anointed One, the Prince, shall be seven weeks; and
three score and two weeks, it shall be built again, with street
and moat, even in troublous times.” This punctuation assigns
the first subdivision of forty_nine years to the coming of the
Anointed One, the Prince. And the second subdivision, the
three score and two weeks, or 434 years, to the building of the
city, and logically necessitates that the Anointed One, who
comes at the end of the forty_nine years, shall live 434 years
through all the second subdivision, and afterward be cut off.
Here are two unspeakable absurdities that not even the
pseudo Daniel would perpetrate: (1) That 434 years are re_
quired for building Jerusalem, and (2) that the Anointed One
is 434 years old before he is cut off. No man in Maccabean
times, one degree removed from idiocy, would have made
either statement. It is a mere expedient to say that the
Anointed One of verse 26 must be a different person from the
Anointed One of verse 25. There is absolutely no warrant in
the text for making the Anointed One who is cut off a different
person from the Anointed One who comes. A very few words
only intervene, and no break in the sense or connection between
the Anointed One in verse 25 and the Anointed One in verse
26. The Anointed One who comes is the Anointed One who is
cut off. But what is served by this punctuation murder? It
seems to be an effort to make the Anointed One in verse 25
mean Cyrus, and to fix the beginning of the 434 years just
forty_nine years before the coming of Cyrus, which of course
requires the finding of some one to serve for another Anointed
One. True, indeed, in Isaiah 45:1, 176 years before his time,
Cyrus is called an anointed one, but the trouble with the
punctuation is to find a commandment to restore and build
Jerusalem just forty_nine years before Cyrus, whose first year
is 536 B.C., and then to find another anointed one who is cut
off just 434 years plus 3M years later, ie., in 98 or 99 B.C. In
other words, this absurd punctuation puts both ends of the
490 years out in the air with nothing to mark its coming or
exit. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not ignorant of the
various expedients of the radical critics in dealing with the
prophecy of Daniel, but have studied profoundly in many
books their attempts at its exposition. It would be impossible
to generalize their contentions, since they are as variant .as
the number of critics, but doubtless the best and strongest that
can be said on their part is to be found in Dr. Driver’s com_
mentary on Daniel in the „Cambridge Bible.” In order to be
as fair to him as a brief statement will permit, I will here
summarize his interpretation of the matter in hand:
1. He proceeds upon the theory that the book of Daniel was
written by some unknown person in the Maccabean days in
some part of the second century before Christ, and that the
book was written from the standpoint of history, shaped in
prophetic form and attributed to Daniel.
2. That the 490 years corrects, interprets, and paraphrases
Jeremiah’s seventy years. In other words, that Jeremiah’s
seventy years are explained to Daniel as meaning weeks of
years, that is to say, that the seventy weeks must commence
with Jeremiah’s seventy years.
3. His terminus a quo is Jeremiah 30:18, which contains a
promise to rebuild Jerusalem, which he dates, probably, 458
4. That it is only forty_nine years later, 409 B.C., until
Cyrus conquered Babylon, and therefore he is the anointed
one, the prince of verse 24.
5. That sixty_two weeks, or 434 years, are devoted to re_
building the city.
6. The anointed one of verse 26 is Onias, the high priest,
who, in the apocryphal book, 2 Maccabees, is said to have
7. That the coming prince of verse 26 is Antiochus
Epiphanes, who in the period of seven years sets up the abomi_
nation of desolation, takes away the daily sacrifice and
confirms a covenant with many Jews.
Dr. Driver frankly admits that the time of Onias and
Antiochus falls sixty_seven years short of the prescribed date
in the prophecy. Nor does he explain how a writer of that
very time, and who is simply shaping historical fact in a pro_
phetic form, should have made such an awful mistake in the
length of time. We might be willing to accept his probable
date of prophecy in Jeremiah 30:18, but must object to his
making the fifty_two years before Cyrus mean forty_nine
years, and we find it impossible to accept his 434 years as de_
voted to the building of the city and his trying to make the
time of Onias and Antiochus fit the end of the period. More_
over, it is impossible to find in the period of Antiochus any
expectation of the Coming One warranted by this and many
other prophecies. Nor do we find the temporary interruption
of the sacrifices by Antiochus at all equal to the total abroga_
tion implied in the terms of this prophecy. Indeed, no one of
the great particulars of the summary in verse 24 can be iden_
tified in the days of Antiochus. Not only does his exposition
put both terminal points in the air, without mark of begin_
ning or exit, but it furnishes no body of great extraordinary
events to fill in between the dates.
I thought it needful to call attention to this higher critic
method of dealing with Daniel, but for ourselves we feel con_
strained to seek an interpretation more accordant with the
terms of the prophecy. The text demands as a starting point,
the going forth of a commandment to restore and build
Jerusalem. The context clearly shows that the restoration here
expressed is the restoration from the destruction accomplished
by Nebuchadnezzar (605 B.C.)
„The commandment” cannot mean a divine decree, because
we have no means of dating God’s purposes. „The going forth”
of the commandment cannot refer to a mere prediction of the
restoration and rebuilding, for a prediction is not a command_
ment. It is true Dr. Driver so styles Jeremiah’s prediction
(30:18): „Behold, I will turn again the captivity of Jacob’s
tents and have compassion on his dwelling places; and the city
shall be builded up, her heap, and the palace shall remain after
the manner thereof.” But his is less definite than the predic_
tion in Isaiah 44:28: „That saith of Cyrus, he is my shepherd,
and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying of Jerusalem,
she shall be built; and to the temple thy foundation shall be
laid.” Both of these predictions are pertinent to the matter in
hand, and equally show that God’s purpose is the divine ori_
ginal of the commandment whenever and by whomsoever sent
forth. But Isaiah’s prediction (712 B.C.) precedes even the de_
struction of Jerusalem by more than one hundred years.
On this point Dr. Pusey well says, „The decree spoken of
was doubtless meant of a decree of God, but to be made known
through his instrument, man, who was to effectuate it. The
commandment went forth from God, like that, at which,
Gabriel had just said, using the same idiom, he himself came
forth to Daniel. But as the one was fulfilled through Gabriel,
so the other remained to be fulfilled through the Persian
monarch, in whose hands God had left for the time the outward
disposal of his people.”
When, therefore, we look for „the going forth of a command_
ment” of a Persian monarch we find four recorded in the Bible
1. The Decree of Cyrus (fulfilling Isa. 44:28), and recorded
in 2 Chron. 36:22_23; Ezra 1:1_2, a copy of which was found
later among the archives by Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 6:2_5).
The date of this decree was 536 B.C. The prediction in Isaiah
would lead us to expect some reference to the building of
Jerusalem, but all the records of it limit it to the building of
2. The decree of Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 6), reviving the
decree of Cyrus, which had been frustrated by the enemies of
the Jews and annulled by the Artaxerxes, who was the pseudo
Smerdis (Ezra 4). The date of this decree is 519 B.C. But the
record limits it also to the rebuilding of the Temple, which was
accomplished in the sixth year of Darius.
3. The first decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezra 7). The
date of this decree was the seventh year of Artaxerxes, 457 B.C.
The record shows here an enlargement of powers much beyond
the former decrees. This decree has nothing to say of building
the Temple (already accomplished) but of beautifying it,
nor in itself, as recorded, any reference to building the city,
yet in another place this latter is evidently a part of Ezra’s
work, but confers on Ezra extraordinary powers in restoring
the Jewish polity, both civic and ecclesiastical, according to
the law of Moses.
4. The second decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (Neb. 1_2).
The date of this decree is the twentieth year of Artaxerxes,
445 B.C. The terms of this decree are express in their reference
to building Jerusalem.
Now as a starting point for the beginning of the 490 years,
we are shut up to the acceptance of one of these four decrees.
And candor compels the concession that a priori any one of
the four meets the requirements of the terms of the prophecy.
While the record of the Cyrus decree seems limited to the
rebuilding of the Temple, the Isaiah prophecy (44:28) de_
mands the inclusion of the building of the city. Especially
must this be conceded when we read the letter sent to Artaxer_
xes, or the pseudo Smerdis, by the enemies of the Jews. (See
Ezra 4:11_14.) And as Darius Hystaspes, the author of the
second decree, distinctly revived and ratified the Cyrus decree,
which had been frustrated, this, too, would include the building
of the city.
For the third decree, the evidence is stronger still, the one
issued to Ezra by Artaxerxes Longimanus, 457 B.C. This re_
stores Jerusalem to a civil polity under their own laws and
included the country west of the river (Ezra 7:25). There are
two ideas in the prophecy, „to restore and to build,” and resto_
ration is more important than rebuilding.
The restoration of the civil polity was a necessary pre_
liminary to the entrance of the people on their new probation
of 490 years. Without it they could not be responsible. They
must be under their own judges and magistrates, with powers
of imprisonment, confiscation, banishment, and death, and
charged with the administration of their own Mosaic law, in
order to enter upon this probation or responsibility. This
restoration was more essential than the building of the walls
of the city, since it conferred a political status, while the walls
only conferred a defense.
The fourth decree (Neh. 1_2), 445 B.C., only carries on the
third as the second carried on the first. That is to say, if
Artaxerxes Longimanus confers restoration on Jerusalem, in
its civil polity, in his first decree, it was but a logical outcome
that the city must have walls to protect its status from the
encroachment of its bitter enemies. Those 490 years of proba_
tion are determined on both the people and on the city. It does
not seem that a just probation could commence until the
restoration of their civil polity, under their own magistrates
and judges, charged with the administration of their own
Mosaic law and empowered to enforce it with penalties of
confiscation, imprisonment, banishment, and death. These
powers came with the restoration of the city under Ezra, and
arose from a commandment going forth from Artaxerxes
Longimanus, 457 B.C.
Moreover, it is certain, from Ezra 6:14, that the obstruc_
tions to the building, general and special, continued to the time
of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and were removed at his com_
mandment. This building was not limited to the Temple, for
that was finished in the sixth year of Darius. The Artaxerxes
of 6:14, is Longimanus, who followed Darius, and not the
Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7_24, who preceded Darius and was
Gaumata, the pseudo Smerdis. This passage (6:14) directly
connects Ezra with both restoration and building, and confers
on this third decree additional probability as the one of the
four which best meets the terms of the prophecy. But if any
one of the four might reasonably meet the terms of the proph_
ecy, we are justified in allowing the fulfilment to designate
which one was intended. This is the final and critical test of
prophecy (Deut. 18:21_22). We have therefore, from our
viewpoint of 2,500 years after the prophecy, only to apply
the dates of these four decrees, in order to arrive at the coming
IV. Messiah, the Prince. To the decree of Cyrus, 536 B.C.,
we add the seven weeks and sixty_two weeks, or 483 years,
and it brings us to 53 B.C., and no „Messiah, the Prince” in
evidence. This might naturally be expected, since the Cyrus
decree was expressly annulled by Artaxerxes who was
Gaumata, the pseudo Smerdis (Ezra 4:17_24), and permission
to build the city expressly withheld until new commandment
To the Darius decree, 519 B.C. (which renewed the order of
Cyrus to build the Temple), we add the 483 years, and it
brings us to 36 B.C., with no „Messiah, the Prince,” in evidence,
because this decree does not restore civil polity, so necessary
To the first decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, 457 B.C.,
which dowered Ezra with such extraordinary powers (Ezra
7:25_26), including commandment to build the city (Ezra 6:
14), we add the 483 years and it brings us to the remarkable
scene at the baptism of Jesus, when he was anointed as
Prophet, Sacrifice, Priest and King by the Holy Spirit, and was
witnessed by the voice of the Father from heaven: „This is
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” By this anoint_
ing, John the Baptist recognizes the Messiah, and himself
witnesses: „Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the
sin of the world!” He is the Messiah that himself so remark_
ably verifies this very prophecy of Daniel (Matt. 24:15). His
is the one who so many times assumes the Daniel title, „Son
of man,” whose life and words and death so amazingly expound
this prophecy. It was Gabriel who carried the revelation of
the Messiah to Daniel, and it was this very Gabriel and other
angels who so remarkably identified this Jesus as the Messiah
(Luke 1:17_19, 26_38; Matt. 1:18_22; Luke 2:8_15; Matt. 2:
13_14). It was God the Father who sent Gabriel to carry the
revelation of the Messiah to Daniel, and it was the Father
who three times from the most excellent glory identified him
when he came.
We may therefore feel assured that we find the terminus a
quo, or beginning of the 490 years, in the going forth of the
commandment of Artaxerxes Longimanus, 457 B.C. And what
kind of Messiah does Dr. Driver find 483 years from his
terminus a quo? None whatever, by his own confession. But
allow him to arbitrarily strike off seventy years of his time,
and then who? Onias, a high priest, whose cutting off is un_
known to history, except in an apocryphal book whose testi_
mony on this point is flatly contradicted by Josephus.
When we come to apply the fourth decree (Neh. 1_2) we
have two notable explanations:
1. Sir Robert Anderson, who has two remarkable books on
Daniel, The Coming Prince and Daniel in the Critics’ Den,
and who accepts the usual date 445 B.C., insists that the Jews
reckoned by lunar years of 360 days, instead of 3651/4. In this
way, by a very precise calculation, he adds 483 years of 360
days each to 445 B.C., which culminates on the very Palm
Sunday when Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusa_
lem and is publicly received as Messiah the King. Sir Robert
Anderson’s argument is strong, and particularly his chrono_
logical arrangement evinces profound knowledge and skill. In
many respects his review of Farrar and Driver surpasses in
excellence any other contribution toward the defense of the
book of Daniel from the assaults of destructive criticism.
2. Hengstenberg, on the other hand, while agreeing with
Sir Robert Anderson in making the Nehemiah decree the
terminus a quo of the 490 years, controverts the theory of a
year of 360 days, and contests the date usually accepted, 445
B.C. By an elaborate historical argument of great plausibility
he seeks to prove that the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longi_
manus falls upon the date 455 B.C., and then by adding the
483 years he reaches his acknowledgment by the Father as
the true coming of Messiah, the Prince. Dr. Hengstenberg’s
dissertation on Daniel and his treatment of the Messianic ele_
ments of Daniel’s book in his great work, „The Christology
of the Old Testament,” are indispensable to the student of the
book of Daniel.
For the reasons already given, this author accepts the decree
of Artaxerxes Longimanus, in the seventh year of his reign,
as given to Ezra and with the date 457 B.C., as the terminus a
quo or beginning point of the 490 years, and that the coming
of the Messiah refers to his public entrance upon his messianic
office, which occurred at his baptism.
1. What the nature of God’s decree concerning the Jewish nation?
2. What the meaning of the seventy weeks? Illustrate.
3. What two other equal periods of Jewish probation?
4. What must be the characteristics of a satisfactory exposition?
5. What declaration marks the beginning of the seventy weeks?
6. What the punctuation, what the theory and what the difficulty of
the theory of the radical critics?
7. What a summary of Driver’s theory and wherein does it fail?
8. What the four decrees, from one of which we must date the be_
ginning of the 490 years, and which is accepted?
9. Test each one and show by adding 490 years its end.
10. What the views of Sir Robert Anderson and Hengstenberg respectively?
THE MARVELOUS NINTH CHAPTER OF DANIEL
This chapter concludes the exposition of Daniel 9:24_27.
Commencing where the last chapter ends, we now consider
V. The seven weeks, or forty_nine years. „From the going
forth of a commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto
the Anointed One, the Prince, shall be seven weeks and three_
score and two weeks: it shall be built again with street and
moat, even in troublous times.”
From this language we gather three things concerning
Jerusalem: (1) The issuance of a commandment to restore
and build. (2) It shall be built again in troublous times.
(3) The time assigned for the restoration and building. Had
the coming of the Messiah been the first great event of the
future, the language would have been, „It shall be sixty_nine
weeks (or 483 years) to Messiah, the Prince.” But the time
to the Messiah is subdivided into two periods, seven weeks
and sixty_two weeks, plainly setting apart the first period,
or forty_nine years, to the restoration and rebuilding of
In our work of verification, therefore, we have two condi_
tions to meet. (1) It devolves upon us to show that from the
terminus a quo, 457 B.C., the work of restoration and building
was accomplished in forty_nine years; and, (2) we must prove
that these were troublous times.
There is no difficulty in identifying the troublous times. The
books of Ezra and Nehemiah furnish abundant evidence.
There was trouble with the people themselves in keeping them
up to the necessary labor and sacrifice, and to the required
conformity in morals.
Their neighbors also were ceaseless in hostility and obstruc_
tions. The builder had to carry both trowel and sword, and
be ready at a moment’s notice for either war or work. Our
Colonial fathers had such a time, when every man carried his
rifle to the field and to the church.
But we cannot verify the time – forty_nine years – with such
exact precision, and yet the verification can be made reason_
ably certain. These are the items of the argument: In the
book of Ezra we have the statement that he had been in Je_
rusalem prosecuting the work thirteen years before Nehemiah
came. Again, it is stated explicitly that Nehemiah remained
in Jerusalem twelve years on his first visit, prosecuting the
work, thus making twenty_five years of the required time.
It is then shown that he returned to Babylon and remained
there a long time before returning to Jerusalem to complete
his work. The precise date of his absence in Babylon is not
given, but other circumstances are cited which enable us to
make out, with reasonable assurance, that this absence was
twenty years, during which time Ezra worked alone. This
brings up the time to forty_five years, which lacks four years
of the full period required. But the work of Nehemiah goes on
after his return for a short time, before all the items of the
restoration of the Jewish polity and all the regulations of the
city life are complete. If, then, we consider this work after
his return, and the loss of time from the going forth of the
commandment, consumed by Ezra in organizing and conduct_
ing his caravan from Babylon to Jerusalem, we need not be
troubled to account precisely for the four years needed to fill
up the period. The prophecy says forty_nine years, and forty_
nine years it must have been.
VI. One week, or seven years, as a whole, proclaiming a
new covenant (Jer. 31:31_34) and confirming it with many
Jews. There has been some difference of opinion with refer_
ence to the covenant referred to in this prophecy, some holding
that it is the old covenant, but this position is certainly un_
tenable. That covenant had long since been confirmed with
all the Jews. We take it, therefore, that the covenant in
question is the one predicted by Jeremiah in connection with
this whole subject.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new cov-enant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not
according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day
that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, _and their sin will I remember no more. – JEREMIAH 31:31_34.
That this is the covenant of our context is manifest by
Hebrews 8_9, where this text is cited from Jeremiah, with the
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a
greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to
say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves,
but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having
obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of
goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth
to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of
Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot
to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living
God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant, that
by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that
were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive
the promise of eternal inheritance, – HEBREWS 9:11_15.
The heading of the present division shows that Christ must
confirm this new covenant with many Jews for seven years, but the context also shows that he himself dies in the middle of the seven years, so that this confirmation as to the first half of the time is by Christ’s personal ministry. And that the confirmation of the covenant by him extends beyond his death is evident from the beginning of the Acts of the apostles, where Luke affirms that his Gospel was an account of what Jesus began both to do and to teach until the day in which he was taken up) with the intimation that Acts, or the second treatise by him, is to give an account of what Jesus began both to do and to teach after his ascent into heaven. So that it will remain for us to show, in proper connections later, that Christ, after his death, continued to confirm this covenant with many Jews for three and one_half years longer.
VII. One week, or seven years, divided in the middle. The
first half of the seven years, commencing with Christ’s bap_
tism, is crowded with the most of the great events foretold
in this prophecy of Daniel. The following particulars must
be made to fit into this time:
1. As we have already shown, during his public ministry,
which lasted three and one_half years, he did confirm the cove_
nant with many Jews.
2. The finishing of the transgression: This refers to the
transgression of the Jews as a people, and by „finishing” is
meant the filling up of the measure of their sins, just as the
Canaanites, their predecessors in the Holy Land, retained it
until the measure of their sins was full; so) according to Moses,
it would be with the Jews, that when the measure of their
iniquities is full, they shall be cut off, lose their title to the land,
and be scattered over the whole world.
It is evident from Daniel’s prayer that he realized the mag_
nitude and growing character of the national sins. Now, when
we turn to the New Testament, the evidence of the finishing
of the transgression is complete. This language of our Lord is
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up, then, the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily, I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation. 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not I Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
This is further evident by the two fig trees. Toward the
close of his ministry he publishes the parable concerning the
barren fig tree, closing with this language:
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, behold, these three
years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none; cut it
down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto
him. Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and
dung it; and if it bear fruit, well, and if not, then after that thou
shalt cut it down. – LUKE 13:7_9.
The signification of the parable finds its confirmation at
the end of his ministry. When he had entered the city in
triumph and had been publicly proclaimed as the Messiah,
and had a second time cleansed the Temple, the following
event took place:
Now, in the morning, as he returned into the city, he hungered.
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found
nothing thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow
on thee henceforth forever. And presently the fig tree withered
away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, how
goon ia the fig tree withered away! – MATTHEW 21:18_20.
This clearly shows that the day of probation for the Jewish
nation is about to end. This is further confirmed thus:
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the
things which belong unto thy peace I but now they are hid from thine
eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall
cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in
on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground and thy chil_
dren with thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon
another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. –
And still more notably confirmed by the parable of the
vineyard, which closes thus:
Then said the Lord of the vineyard, what shall I do? I will send
my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see
him. But when the husbandmen saw him they reasoned among
themselves, saying, this is the heir; come, let us kill him, that the in_
heritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and
killed him. What, therefore, shall the Lord of the vineyard do unto
them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give
the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God for_
bid – LUKE 20:13_16.
Language could not express more forcibly the culmination of the Jewish sins, and from the day these words were uttered to the present time there has been no suspension of the sentence against the Jews. Their last period of probation commenced with the baptism of Christ and closed three and one_half years later, when he entered the city as the Messiah, though for many elect the period lasted three and one_half years longer.
3. The cutting off of the Messiah. The crowning act of their
transgression was the cutting off of the Messiah. The language
of our prophecy is very significant: „Messiah shall be cut off and shall have nothing,” that is to say, when they betrayed, condemn-ed, and surrendered their Messiah to the ignominious death on the Roman cross, not only was he cut off, but they were cut off. From henceforth he was to have nothing in them or their city until after thousands of years; until they should, in fulfilment of other prophecies, say, „Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The city remained, indeed, for a little while, but sentence had been passed; the sanctuary remained for a, short period, but it was an empty and desolate house.
4. Making an end of sin. This language refers to the in_
efficient character of the Jewish sacrifices. Though for ages
hecatombs of victims had been sacrificed upon Jewish altars,
no sin was actually brought to an end. Because it was im_
possible, says the letter to the Hebrews, that the blood of
bullocks and goats could take away sin; they typified that
which would make an end of sin, and passed the transgressions
over until the antitype should come. In his prayer, Daniel
seems to have a keen sense of the fact that the sins from the
days of Moses to his time remained. While the penalty had not been executed, the account had been simply carried or passed over for the time being. He felt that no absolute end had been found for any of the offenses from the beginning of the world until his day. There had been many promises not yet fulfilled – many hopes that had not yet reached fruition, and therefore the intense agony of his prayer: „0 Lord, hear! 0 Lord, forgive; 0 Lord, hearken and do; defer not; for thine own sake, 0 my God, because thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” The letter to the Hebrews, in a remarkable way, shows the shadowy nature of the old covenant which could make nothing perfect, and particularly it could make no end of sin.
5. Making reconciliation for iniquity. The making an end
of sin was to be accomplished by a real and not a typical
atonement. There was to be an absolute expiation. This ex_
piation, as foreshadowed in the types, was to be through a
vicarious sacrifice. There would come a true Lamb of God to
take away the sin of the world. This atonement was not to
be affected by many offerings, but by one offering. As it is
expressed in the letter to the Hebrews, „But now, once in the
end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the
sacrifice of himself, and as it is appointed unto man once to
die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered
to bear the sins of many.” This bearing of sin is further set
forth in the prophecy of Isaiah:
He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our
iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with
his stripes we are healed; all we, like sheep, have gone astray; we
have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on
him the iniquity of us all. . . . He was cut off out of the land of the
living, for the transgression of my people was he stricken. It pleased
the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt
make his soul an offering for sin, he shall prolong his days and the
pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. . .. by his knowledge
shall my righteous servant justify many, and he shall bear their
iniquities. . . . he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered
with the transgressors; yet he bear the sin of many and made inter_
cession for the transgressors. – ISAIAH 53:5_12.
6. Bringing in everlasting righteousness. All the righteous_
ness that Daniel had ever seen was very imperfect, and all
the atonements were only shadows, but this coming Messiah,
according to Jeremiah, was to be called „The Lord, Our Right_
eousness.” In him alone was no deceit or guile ever found.
His life on earth was perfect from his conception by the virgin
to his ascent into heaven. The righteousness that he was to
bring in by his expiatory sacrifice of himself was to be a
righteousness for his people, and it would be perfect, spotless,
eternal! The goodness of the best of the Jews was like the
morning dew or the passing cloud, but this righteousness
brought in by him was to be so perfect that one justified by it
might stand under the unsheathed and flaming sword of divine
justice and challenge, „Who shall lay anything to the charge
of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. It is Christ that died.”
Hence the remarkable language in the letter to the Corin_
thians: „God made him to be sin who knew no sin, that we
might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
7. Sealing up vision and prophecy. This sealing up seems
to mean a closing up by fulfilment, and also to signify the
termination of the obligations of the covenant under which
these visions and prophecies were given. Therefore our Lord
uses the following language: „The law and the prophets were
until John and since that time the kingdom of heaven is
8. Causing sacrifice and oblation to cease, or the rejecting
of the old, typical Temple and covenant (Matt. 27:51, and
Col. 2:14_17; Heb. 7 to 10). The Temple was the house of
sacrifice and oblation, but it is recorded that at the very mo_
ment that Jesus cried, „It is finished!” and yielded up his
spirit – at that precise moment, by supernatural power, „The
veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.”
In that death he blotted out the handwriting of all Old Testa_
ment ordinances that were against us and contrary to us, and
took the whole covenant out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show
of them openly, triumphing over them. From that time on the
imperious regulations of the Jewish festivals lost their legal
force, hence it was said, „Let no man therefore judge you in
meat or in drink or in respect of the holy day or of the new
moon or of the sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to
come, but the body is of Christ.” The seventh day sabbath,
the monthly sabbath, the annual sabbath, the jubilee sabbath,
were all taken away, and the institutions of the new covenant
take their place. Upon this point let any interested student
carefully read the letter to the Hebrews, and particularly
9. Anointing the most holy, or the consecration of the new
antitypical temple (Acts 2): Upon this point commentators
have been hard pressed. They seem to think it necessary for
them to prove that this anointing is the anointing of a person,
and therefore labor to show that it was fulfilled at Christ’s
baptism when he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is possi_
ble to make a plausible showing in this direction) and the
Hebrew would admit, by strained argument, this application.
For many reasons, however, I am myself convinced that we
should follow the clearer meaning of the Hebrew that it was
the anointing of a holy place – not a person. When the taber_
nacle was built, Moses was required to anoint it. Now, as
both tabernacle and Temple are superseded, the question
arises, has God no temple on earth, no sanctuary? The New
Testament is clear that the antitype on earth of the Jewish
tabernacle and Temple is the church of Jesus Christ. Paul
says to the Corinthians: „Ye are God’s building; ye are the
temple of the living God.” And in the letter to the Ephesians
he says, with reference to every church: „In Christ each sev_
eral building fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple
in the Lord.” And concerning the church at Ephesus, he
says: „In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation
of God in the spirit.” Jesus himself instituted his church. He
took the material that John had prepared for him and added
to it other material prepared by himself in confirming the
covenant with many Jews during his ministry, established its
ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, ordained ita
apostles, set them in the church, gave to the church its laws,
but said to them, „Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye are endued
with power from on high.” Just as the tabernacle, when it was
completed by Solomon became also an habitation of God
through the infilling cloud, so now, having condemned and
emptied and made desolate the old Temple, it becomes neces_
sary to anoint a new most holy to take its place. This was
fulfilled, as recorded in Acts 2, when the church was anointed
by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Second half. – Confirming a new covenant with many Jews
for 3% years more, i.e., up to the time of the Gentile, which
is the terminus ad quern.
The prophecy would not be complete in its fulfilment unless
we were able to show that the confirmation of the new covenant
with many Jews continued for three and one_half years after
the death of Christ. But here the record is exceptionally clear.
On the day that the new most holy was anointed 3,000 Jews
were converted. In that three and one_half years it is stated
more than once that great multitudes of the Jews, including
the priests, were converted. In that three and one_half years
one might safely conclude that 100,000 Jews were converted
and brought to the knowledge of the truth in the remarkable
protracted meeting, which lasted from the day of Pentecost to
the persecution under Saul of Tarsus.
But now comes a most significant thing. With that perse_
cution the church is scattered abroad, leaving only the
apostles. They go in their dispersion to many lands and preach
the gospel of Christ. Philip leads multitudes of the Samaritans
to the acceptance of Christ. He also baptizes the Ethiopian
eunuch, and he in turn carries the gospel to his own country.
Some of them went as far as to Antioch, and there preached
the gospel to the Gentiles. From this time on there are no
records of great multitudes of Jews being converted. The
week is ended: the seven years have reached their terminus.
Since Christ’s public ministry commenced, after his baptism,
to the end of these seven years, a vast multitude of Jews have
been confirmed in. the new covenant. From this time on the
conversion of a Jew will be the exception, and not the rule. The
Bible history itself turns now to the Gentiles, and the close
of the three and one_half years of this wonderfully successful
Jewish evangelization is the terminus ad quern of Daniel’s
VIII. After the seventy weeks. It has been objected by
some critics that this prophecy of Daniel points to the destruc_
tion of Jerusalem, and that this destruction should be included
in the seventy weeks, or 490 years. The answer is obvious.
The sentence upon the Jewish people was passed at the death
of Christ, but the execution of the penalty upon the city and
the sanctuary is another matter, and will soon come. The
prophecy itself seems to put that execution in the future be_
yond the seventy weeks. It notes the fact that „the people of
the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanc_
tuary.” It does not say that this Prince will come in the sev_
enty weeks. We may notice, therefore, the following items of
the prophecy to be fulfilled after the seventy weeks:
1. The coming of the prince. This prince is Titus. Our Lord
himself directs the attention of the condemned Jews to his
coming. He tells them that Jerusalem shall be encompassed
with armies, and that the abomination of desolation spoken
of by Daniel, in this prophecy, shall be set up. He gives them
a detailed description of the destruction of their city and
sanctuary, and compares it, as does Daniel, to a flood: „As it
was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son
of man.” The flood came suddenly and took them all away.
2. The prophecy also shows that this flood of wrath on the
Jewish people is determined unto the end, i.e., until the times
of the fulness of the Gentiles. Nearly 2,000 years have passed
away. His words yet receive confirmation. Jerusalem is still
trodden under foot by the Gentiles. The kingdom of heaven,
taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles, is still pro_
sented in power by that missionary people, to whom the
oracles of the New Testament are committed. So that we may
agree that the marvelous ninth chapter of Daniel is the most
remarkable prophecy of the Old Testament.
1. Into what divisions is the seventy weeks apportioned?
2. What must be done in the seven weeks, or forty_nine years?
3. What the proof that this was done?
4. Who comes at the end of the sixty_two weeks following the seven,
what does he do, and what the proof?
5. How is the last week, or seven years, divided, and what the cul_
mination marking the division?
6. In the first half of the last week what, says the prophecy, is to be
7. What the meaning of „confirming the covenant with many Jews”
in this first half?
8. What the meaning of „finishing the transgression”? Proof?
9. What the meaning of „cutting off the Messiah”?
10. What the meaning of „making an end of sin”?
11. What the meaning of „making reconciliation for inquiry”?
12. What the meaning of „bringing in everlasting righteousness”?
13. What the meaning of „sealing up vision and prophecy”?
14. What the meaning of „causing the sacrifice, etc., to cease”?
15. What the meaning of „anointing the most holy”?
16. In the second half of the last week what is done, and when does it
17. What. events follow the seventy weeks?
THE GLORIOUS VISION OF THE SON OF GOD
This chapter begins the consideration of the seventh
prophetic section of Daniel, chapter 10. The theme of the
chapter is the glorious vision of the Son of God. In the first
discussion on chapter 9 we have seen the prophet in great dis_
tress because, though the seventy years of desolation foretold
by Jeremiah were about ended, and though Cyrus, the deliver_
er, according to Isaiah, had come, yet Israel remained in cap_
tivity. In this chapter we find the prophet in great distress
again, because, though Cyrus had issued his decree of restora_
tion, and though a number of the exiles had returned, yet the
work of restoration at Jerusalem was moving slowly, and in
the midst of great opposition.
To get a clear view of the last section of the book of Daniel
we must look at chapter 10 as a prologue; chapter II and
three verses of 12 as the prophecy, and the rest of chapter 12
as the epilogue.
The whole section of three chapters is a revelation concern_
ing a great war which opens first in the spiritual world between
contending angels, back of the nations, whose details are given
in chapter 10, and there opens on earth a war whose details
are given in chapter II. The date is the third year of Cyrus,
about the twenty_fourth day of the first month of the Jewish
year, that is, the twenty_fourth day of Nisan.
The occasion is the great mourning, fasting, and prayer of
Daniel lasting three weeks. How higher critics can object to
this book on the ground that Daniel shows little interest in
his countrymen is an amazing thing. When we study chapter
9 and see his very soul poured out to God in behalf of his
people; when we look at him here for three weeks bowed down
in mourning and prayer and in fasting on account of his peo_
ple, we can’t have any respect for the objection of a higher
The place is on the Tigris (Hiddekel), about sixty miles from
Babylon, the Tigris and Euphrates being connected with a
canal. I don’t know that Daniel went on the canal boat, but
there was connection, in Daniel’s time and before his time,
between these two rivers by a canal, just as the canal built
by the Chicago people connecting the Chicago River with the
Illinois, thus putting the waters of Lake Michigan and the
Mississippi River in touch with each other. The Tigris is to
Persia what the Euphrates was to Babylonia. Those present
are Daniel and a few companions.
Since the prophecy in chapter 9 great events have occurred,
but the results are so far disappointing. These events (that
come in between Daniel 9 and Daniel 10) are:
The first event.– The Cyrus decree, not only put in writing,
but preserved in the archives where it was found by Darius
Hystaspes many years later. (See Ezra 6:1_5.) It is in the
first chapter of Ezra:
Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of
Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah
stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, so that he made a proc_
lamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying. Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of Jehovah, the God of Israel (he is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever is left, in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, besides the free_will offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem. – EZRA 1:1_5.
That is the first event. Upon that event, note this remark:
We must not conclude too much from these words of Cyrus.
While he is the servant of Jehovah even more than he knows,
yet political rather than religious motives influenced him to
issue this proclamation. We know from an inscription brought
to light in 1879 that he was just as complimentary in his ref_
erences to the heathen gods as to Jehovah. His policy was
to leave all his subjects free to worship any god they chose,
without state interference, and that is a grand policy. His
further policy was to send back to their own places the cap_
tured idols or sacred vessels stored in Babylon by the preced_
ing government, the one which he overthrew. This inscription,
speaking of the various races dwelling between the Mediter_
ranean Sea and Persian Gulf) reads as follows:
The gods who dwelt among them to their places I restored, and I
assigned them a permanent habitation. All their pride I assembled,
and I increased their property; and the gods of Sumin and Akkad
whom Nabonidus had introduced at the festivals of the Lord of the
gods at Kal_anna by the command of Merodach the great Lord, I
assigned them an honorable seat in the sanctuaries, as was enjoyed
by all the other gods in their own cities. And daily I prayed to Bel
and Nebo that they would lengthen my days, and increase my good
fortune, and would repeat to Merodach my Lord that „Thy wor_
shipper, Cyrus, the king, and his son Cambyses, etc.”
This shows that Cyrus was a shrewd politician. He captured
Babylon largely by claiming to be the friend of the imprisoned
deities and priests that the Babylonians had gathered there from plundered nations, therefore a big crowd inside was in favor of his capturing Babylon, and when he got it he did send all these captured idols back home to their own places, as the allied armies when they defeated Bonaparte and captured Paris sent back the masterpieces of painting and sculpture appropriated by the French armies when they overran Italy and the other nations of the earth.
The second event. – In response to his decree concerning the
Jews, as we learn from the book of Ezra, only 42,600 Jews re-turned at that time. They were mainly of the tribe of Judah, but the record shows representatives of the tribes of Levi, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Of this number about one_tenth, 4,280, were priests. It speaks well for the priests that they were so large-ly represented, but there were only about 750 Levites, which is disparaging to them, as they constituted the bulk of the tribe of Levi. The civil leader was Zerubbabel, of the line of David, and the spiritual leader was Joshua, the high priest. It is noteworthy that on their return they make no attempt to restore the monar-chy. Zerubbabel is only a governor, and subject to the Persian viceroy of Syria. A council of twelve men, chiefs of the fathers, including Zerubbabel and Joshua, constitute their civil govern-ment. It took them seven months merely to clear away the rub-bish and get a level place for putting the Temple back on its old site, and so matters moved slowly. As the decree of restoration was in the first year of Cyrus, and this vision in his third year, we
do not have to go far to find out the cause of Daniel’s mourn_
ing and fasting. He is grieving at the small number who were
willing to return and restore Jerusalem and rebuild the Tem_
ple; he was grieving at the difficulties in the way of the re_
turned exiles and the oppositions obstructing their progress.
He couldn’t understand it, and so the first day of the first
month of the Jewish year he begins to fast and pray. He prays
two weeks, until the Passover comes, the fourteenth of Nisan,
and gets no answer. He continues to pray through the week
of the days of unleavened bread – seven days more, making
twenty_one days of mourning, fasting, and prayer. Let us
observe the kind of fasting, not absolute abstinence from food,
as in the forty days of Moses and Elijah, but as our record says,
„I ate no pleasant bread, neither flesh nor wine came into my
mouth.” From his position overlooking the whole world, and
having charge of its affairs, he knows that his brethren at Jeru_
salem are at this time keeping their first Passover after their
He receives no instant answer to his prayer as in chapter 9.
And then sets out on his visit to the Tigris River, sixty miles
away, and there, on the twenty_fourth day of the month, that
is, three days after he quit praying, attended by a few com_
panions, he gets an answer to his prayer that knocks him off
his feet: He sees the vision of the Son of God and obtains an
explanation of the delay in the answer to his prayer. When
centuries later Saul of Tarsus saw at midday near Damascus
a vision of the same glorious Person that Daniel sees here, the
„The men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing
a voice but seeing no man.” Now this record says (and let
us observe the likeness), verse 7: „I, Daniel, alone saw the
vision; for the men that were with me saw not the vision, but
a great quaking fell upon them and they fled to hide them_
selves.” How very much like that is the account of Saul’s
seeing the Lord! What Daniel saw was this: „I lifted mine
eyes and looked and beheld a man clothed in new linen whose
loins were girded with pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was
like the beryl and his arms and his feet like unto burnished
brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”
Now let us see how he looked when John saw him in the
island of Patmos, that we may note another remarkable like_
ness: „I saw one like unto the Son of man clothed with a gar_
ment down to the feet and girded about at the breast with a
golden girdle.” That tallies exactly with this account, „And
his head and his hair were white as snow and his eyes were
as a flame of fire.” In this account the eyes are „like flaming
torches,” „and his feet like unto burnished brass, aa if it had
been refined in a furnace, and his voice as the voice of many
waters.” The tally is perfect.
What Daniel saw was a pre_manifestation of the Son of
God. There are three pre_manifestations in this book. (Dan.
3:24; 8:15; 10:5_6). There are many others in the Old Testa_
ment. As the Son of God, or the Logos, he appeared to Abra_
ham, Moses, Job, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and always he appears
in the time of a great darkness and of great distress to his
people. The effect of the appearance on Daniel is very great.
Let us see: „So,” that is, when the companions went away,
„I was left alone and saw this great vision and there remained
no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned in me into
corruption and I retained no strength.” He refers to it again
in another place, showing that he fell into a trance of
It is both interesting and suggestive to compare the effect
on Daniel when he saw the glorious Son of God with the ex_
perience of others who saw him in glory, both before his in_
carnation and after his exaltation. It terrified all of them, took
away all human strength, humbled them in the very dust, made
them keenly conscious of their own sinfulness in the light of
the divine holiness, led them into most gracious experiences
of the divine condescension and to higher consecration and
Abraham was converted by it (Gen. 15), as also was Jacob
(Gen. 28:10_28), and later by another experience became a
prince, having power with God and man (Gen. 32:22_32). The
face of Moses was made to shine (Ex. 34:29_30), Paul fell to
the earth and was converted (Acts 9,22,26). Nebuchadnezzar
was startled and reformed (Dan. 3:24_30). John fell like one dead (Rev. 1:17). Ezekiel fell as if struck by lightning (1:28). Job, who could proudly maintain his righteousness and hold up his head before Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu, thus speaks when he meets the Almighty: „Behold, I am of small account, and what shall I answer thee? I laid my hand upon my mouth; once have I spoken. I will not answer, yea twice, but I will proceed no further.” The Almighty spoke to him again. Then Job said, „I know that thou canst do all things, that no purpose of thine can be thwarted. You ask who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge? I am the man, but therein I uttered that which I understood not, things too wonderful for me which I knew not, and I beseech thee and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Let us now see exactly how it affected Isaiah. We find it
in Isaiah 6:5. It is in the year that King Uzziah died. Here
is how it affected him: „Then I said, woe is me, for I am un_
done, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the
midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the
King Jehovah of hosts.” I repeat the statement of the last
chapter, that –
Only people very far off from God can ever appear unto
themselves to be perfect or sinless.
Those very near to God always behold themselves to be vile
and sinful. A garment supposed to be white, exhibited in a
dark cellar, may seem clean, but if we bring it out in the bright
light of day we can see how spotted and tarnished it is. In
Daniel’s case, three of his senses – sight, hearing, and touch –
took cognizance of this divine vision. In mercy this King of
Glory strengthened and cheered Daniel as he had strengthened
and cheered Isaiah and Ezekiel before. This is the way the
record puts the tenderness of the divine mercy (10) :
And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me on my knees and
upon the palms of my hands. And said unto me, 0 Daniel, thou man
greatly loved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and
stand upright; for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had
spoken these words unto me, I stood trembling. Then he said unto
me, Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thy
heart to understand, and to humble thyself before thy God, thy
words were heard; and I am come for thy word’s sake. – DANIEL
The Son of God leaves heaven and comes to earth in person
to answer prayer. He continues:
Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy
people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for many days. And
when he had spoken unto me according to these words, I set my face
toward the ground and was dumb. And, behold. One in the likeness
of the Son of man touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and
spake and said unto him that stood before me, 0 my Lord, by reason
of the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I retain no
strength. For how can the servant of this my Lord talk with this my
Lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me,
neither was there breath left in me. Then there touched me again
one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me. And he
said, 0 man, greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong,
yea be strong. And when. he spake unto me, I was strengthened, and
said, Let my Lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. – DANIEL
How tender that is! How sweet the word! And notice the
marvelous touch that reached out and took hold of that pros_
trate, benumbed man. The first touch rouses him from hie
trance, the second touch unseals his dumb lips, the third touch
gives him strength to stand before God and talk with him.
We come now to a doctrine of the angels hinted at more
than once before in this book:
The Ministry of the Angels in Human Governments. The
record says, „The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood
me one and twenty days.” „You have been praying one and
twenty days. I heard you when you first commenced to pray,
but the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one
and twenty days, but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes,
came to help me and I remained there with the king of Persia.”
Again he says, in the twentieth and twenty_first verses: „Then
said he, Knowest thou wherefore I am come unto thee? And
now will I return to fight the prince of Persia: and when I go
forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come. And there is none
that holdeth with me against thee but Michael your prince,”
that is, of all the angel princes of the nations there was only one
to stand with the Son of God, and that was the angel of the
Jewish nation (11:1): „And as for me, in the first year of
Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him.”
This language on its face teaches:
1. That Israel, Persia, and Greece had each an angel who
was charged particularly with the affairs of that nation, and
implies that it was so with other nations.
2. That these national angels would sometimes withstand
one another, which implies that the conflicting angels were not
appointed by one central power, else they would not conflict.
3. That the spiritual world is the background of the his_
4. That over the conflicting angels was, at the last analysis,
a supreme power that settled the conflicts.
The higher critics contend:
1. That the book of Daniel makes an advance in the doc_
trine of angel ministry far beyond the teaching of the preced_
ing Old Testament books.
2. That its doctrine of a guardian angel for each nation be_
longs to a much later period, namely, the inter_biblical times,
or early Christian times.
To which it may be answered: That an advance in doctrine
on any subject is characteristic of the Old Testament. Doc_
trines develop and are elaborated as the ages pass; for example,
the doctrine of the Messiah. But it cannot be successfully
urged that any teaching of Daniel on angel ministration is out
of harmony with the teaching on the same subject in either
the Old or New Testament books. The inter_biblical unin_
spired books only imitate Daniel’s ideas, but have not his
discreet reticence, and betray their purely human origin by
And yet the advance in Daniel on this subject is vastly over_
stated. From the beginning of revelation angel ministrations
appear in behalf of or against both individuals and nations.
In the book of Job, written, as I think, by Moses in Midian,
and further, as I think, the first Bible book written, we first
see clearly that the spiritual world is the background of the
historical world) and that there are angels good and bad
touching human affairs, and without a knowledge of which
we could not understand the age_long problem of the unde_
served afflictions of the righteous. From it also we learn the
limitations on evil angels, their subordination to one Supreme
Being, who, as well as good angels, must report statedly to
Jehovah, and whose evil work is only permissive and
From Genesis and the Psalms we learn not only when, but
why their interest in the history of men began. Throughout
the Old Testament history they touch both the individual man
and nations. It is true that the Septuagint translators of the
Pentateuch attribute the first conception of national angels
to Moses, rather than Daniel, in their rendering of Deuter_
onomy 32:8: „He set the bounds of the nations according to
the number of the angels of God.” But long before the days
of the Septuagint translators Isaiah had hinted at a kindred
thought to Daniel’s (Isa. 24:21).
In the great council of heaven, both good and evil spirits
present, seen by the prophet Micaiah (I Kings 22:19_23), an
evil spirit is permitted to mislead the wicked Ahab and his ally
as to the issue of the disastrous battle of Ramoth_Gilead.
Satan, as the usurping king of this world, naturally puts his
angels in charge of heathen governments and through them
moves their earthly kings to obstruct the progress of the king_
dom of God. Supernatural forces of evil were back of Jannes
and Jambres when they withstood Moses. A basis of real fact
underlies the perverted idea of the heathen, that each nation
or city had its special deity. In Ezra and Nehemiah we can
easily see the human forces obstructing the progress of the
restoration of Jerusalem. Edom, Moab, and Samaria, through
their misrepresentations at the Persian court, repeatedly
blocked the way, but this chapter tells us that back of the
Edomites and Moabites and Samaritans and Persians was the
devil, and the angel through whom he controlled this nation.
1. What the theme of Daniel 10?
2. What the relations of chapters 10, II, 12 to each other?
3. What the date of the vision?
4. What its occasion?
5. Why does Daniel mourn, fast and pray so long?
6, What contention of the critics do his prayers in chapters 9_10 refute?
7. Where the place of the vision?
8. Who present, human, and superhuman?
9. What the first great event that intervenes between chapters 9 and 10?
10. Does this decree prove that Cyrus was a monotheist, and how do
you prove that political reasons influenced him?
11. What the second intervening event?
12. What the distinction in time between the answer to this prayer
and the one in chapter 9, and why the delay here?
13. What similarity in the cases of the companions of Daniel and
Saul at the time of their visions?
14. State the likeness between the visions of Daniel and John.
15. What other pre_manifestations of the Son of God in this book?
16. What the effect of the vision on Daniel?
17. Compare this effect with that of others, in both Old and New
Testament, having similar visions.
18. What great lesson does this teach?
19. What four great lessons on angelology deducted from 10:13, 20
20. State the contention of higher critics on the angelology of the book
of Daniel, and your reply.
21. Who was the angel of the Jewish nation, and why did the angels
of other nations oppose him?
THE FINAL PROPHECIES OF THE BOOK
Daniel 11:1 to 12:13
We now come to the last discussion on the book of Daniel
and there are difficulties in interpreting the last two chapters
of this book, as follows:
1. The difficulty in determining the text is unusually great.
While the Hebrew text is authoritative, yet the several Greek
versions, particularly Septuagint and Theodotion, the Syriac
Peshito, and the Vulgate (Latin) are relied on in aiding to
determine the true text. These versions, however, on these
chapters do in some instances complicate rather than relieve
2. The section of chapter II treating of the „king of the
south and the king of the north,” (w. 5_45), introduces, by
far, the most serious difficulty in this, that most commentators
find it easy to refer verses 5_32 to the conflicts between the
Syrian and Egyptian divisions of Alexander’s empire, culmin_
ating in Antiochus Epiphanes. But no commentator is able
to apply verses 36_45 to that conflict without doing great vio_
lence to both the text and to history. There appears to be in
verses 33_35, if not at verse 21, a transition to events more
remote, and to a person more important than Antiochus Epiph_
anes, and directly connected with the final resurrection in
the beginning of chapter 12. So that in general terms we have
three theories of interpretation:
(1) The higher critics, plausibly agreeing from the appar_
ent continuity of the references to the kings of the north and
south from verse 5 to the end, apply the whole section to the
wars between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. Their only
escape from the obvious misfit of the latter part is that Daniel
was himself mistaken in that part, and also our Lord and his
(2) Some pre_millennialists, particularly Tregelles, seeing
plainly the misfit of the latter part to anything verifiable in
the history of the Seleucids and Ptolemies, ignore the obvious
verification in the first part arid deny any reference to them
at all in the chapter.
(3) Other interpreters (e.g., Luther, Calvin, and a host of
other Protestants) accept the reference of the first part to the
Seleucids and Ptolemies, but find a transition about verses
33_35 to more remote events and persons connected with the
last things of time. This theory is by far the best of the three
in harmonizing all the facts, and is in line with the perspective
of prophecy, which, like a view of distant mountains, one peak
behind another, but higher, from the viewpoint of the beholder,
gives a blended view as of but one peak. Only nearer approach,
or a side view from another point of observation, reveals the
distinction in the peaks. They cite many scriptural illustra_
tionsùfor example, Psalm 72, which gives a blended view of
Solomon and the remote Messiah in which it is hard to dis_
tinguish just what parts to limit to Solomon and what parts
to the Messiah. This is not, strictly speaking, giving a double
sense to the meaning of words. There has never been but one
objection, worth counting, to. this theoryùto wit, verse 40, evi_
dently in the latter part, names the king of the south and the
king of the north, as if plainly a continuation of the first part.
3. The third difficulty in the interpretation is to understand_
ingly apply the time numbers 1290 and 1335 in 12 : 11_12.
Now let us take up the interpretation of 11:2_4. The mean_
ing there is obvious: It is not in the author’s plan to enumerate
all the kings of Persia, but the number up to the great provo_
cation, which led to a union of the many independent Greek
states into one empire, and to their counterinvasion of Persia.
We may count it two ways:
1. The three kings to arise are Cambyses, the son of Cyrus.
not so friendly to the Jews as his father.
2. The Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7, who was the impostor,
Guamata, the pseudo Smerdis, reigning only seven months,
but in that time revoking the Cyrus decree; Darius Hystaspea,
who renewed the Cyrus decree (Ezra 6), and Xerxes the Great,
the Ahasuerus who divorced Vashti and married Esther (see
book of Esther).
Or we may omit the impostor and make Xerxes the fourth,
including Cyrus. But the part played by the impostor in Jew_
ish affairs (Ezra 4) favors the retention of him as one of the
three, and thus making Xerxes the fourth after the three and
the fifth, including Cyrus. Evidently the prophecy lays spe_
cial stress on Xerxes because of his great riches and because
of his stirring up all the world against the realms of Greece.
The word „realm” is plural in the versions, referring to the
many Greek states. Every schoolboy is familiar with the his_
tory of Xerxes the Great, whose wealth was incalculable, who
stirred up the world to invade the Grecian states, whose army
by some was reckoned 5,000,000, who crossed the Hellespont,
killed Leonidas of Sparta at the pass of Thermopylae, captured
Athens, when its citizens had embarked on their fleet, who was
disastrously defeated in the naval battle of Salamis by
Themistocles, and whose bridge of boats on the Hellespont was
destroyed by a storm, provoking his impotent wrath against
the sea, and his having the sea flogged with chains, and his
disgraceful return to his own land. (See schoolboy and legis_
lative oratory on Thermopylae, and Byron’s matchless poem,
„The Isles of Greece,” in Childe Harold. See also Herodotus
VII: 20_99; and Rollin’s Ancient History, for his immense
We are not to understand that Xerxes, except under the in_
stigation of Haman, was unfriendly to the Jews, but he is
made prominent here, because it was his invasion that led
largely afterward to the unification of the Greek states under
Philip of Macedon, with a view to invade Persia in return,
as was done under Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. We know
that Alexander justified his invasion as a retaliation for the
Xerxes invasion of Greece, and so this prophecy drops all
reference to later Persian kings in order to pass to the rise
of the third great monarchy. The great king of verse 3 is
Alexander, and in verse 4 we have a prophecy of the four_
fold division of his kingdom under Cassander, Lysimachus,
Seleucus, and Ptolemy, discussed in the exposition of chapter
8, only here it is shown that his heirs did not succeed him, nor
any of the divisions equaled his dominion. Diodorus Siculus
tells us that Cassander murdered his legitimate son by his
queen Roxana, named Alexander after himself, and caused to
be murdered his illegitimate son, Hercules.
Antiochus had about whipped out the eastern kings, had
conquered all Judea and Egypt and was besieging Alexandria
when some ships from Chittim came into the port, and history
tells us that from those ships came the Roman officer, Popilius,
and said to Antiochus, „Stop this siege and go home.” An_
tiochus replied that he would take time to think about it. The
Roman general drew a circle around him in the sand with a
stick, and said, „You answer before you get out of that ring,”
and he answered. That is a new detail.
It has been shown in previous discussions that all the pro_
phetic sections in the book after the first are but elaborations
of the first, and that each succeeding one gives some details
of some one of the five empires not previously given. In chap_
ter 8, we have an expansion of the third empire, giving an ac_
count of its fourfold division, just related, and particularly
showing the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes, the little horn, in
the latter days of the third empire, so now let us consider the
new details of this empire, given in 11:5_32, as follows:
1. We have here (w. 5_20) and not elsewhere in the book,
the details of the long series of conflicts between the kings of
the Syrian and Egyptian divisions of Alexander’s empire. As
Judea lies directly between Syria and Egypt, it became the
battleground and prey of the contending armies, passing in
subjection first to one, then to the other, as the fortunes of
war favored one or the other. The historical verification of
these verses can be found in any commentary. Driver, in
„Cambridge Bible,” is as good as any on these verses, if not
the best. It is brief and clear.
2. Verse 21 reads as follows: „And in his estate shall stand
up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of
the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably and obtain the
kingdom by flatteries.” Now that vile or contemptible person
is where we commence to learn about the last antichrist of
the Bible. In verses 21_32, if they refer at all to Antiochus
Epiphanes (which may be questioned), these are details not
given in 8:9_14) 23_25 (which unquestionably refer to him).
Among these details are (1) the reference to his prodigal gifts
(v. 24), (2) his check by the Romans (v. 30), (3) the varying
tides of his war with Egypt.
It may be questioned that this chapter refers at all to
Antiochus Epiphanes, because –
1. Chapter 8 has already given details of his relations to
the third empire and to Israel, and is therefore less necessary
here. We find nowhere else in the book a repetition of minute
details. The details of the war between the Seleucids and
Ptolemies are given in this chapter because not elsewhere
2. As he, the little horn of the third beast, was the first anti_
christ, and as the little horn of the fourth beast was the second
antichrist, harmonizing with Revelation 13, so this chapter,
from verse 21 to the end, may be explained to refer to the third
antichrist, not harmonizing with Paul’s man of sin (2 Thess.
2:3_12) who lasts to the final advent here (12:2). It is certain
that verses 36_45 cannot apply to Antiochus, and if verses
21_32 are concerning the same person, then the transition to
the last things commences at verse 21 and not at 33_35, ac_
cording to the third theory hereinbefore set forth. Daniel
never saw Paul’s man of sin.
3. The fact that there is an abomination of desolation here
(verse 31 and 12:11. as well as in 8:11. 13_14) does not prove
identity, but is squarely against any reference here to Anti_
ochus for the following reasons:
(1) The abomination of desolation in 9:26_27 is different
from the one in 8:11, 13_14, as our Lord in his great prophecy
clearly shows (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14).
(2) The abomination of desolation here (11:31; 12:11) is
not the same as 8:11, 13_14, because the time number, 2,300
days of chapter 8 is different from the time numbers here,
1,290 and 1,335.
(3) Because this deliverance connects with the resurrection
and judgment (12:2).
(4) Because John in Revelation refers Daniel’s „time,
times and a half time” as well as the great oath of God (12:7)
to a point of time yet future in A.D. 95.
(5) Because some things foretold (even in w. 21_32) can_
not be verified in the history of Antiochus, and none of the
great things foretold in 11:36_45 and in chapter 12.
The true point of the transition, therefore, to the third anti_
christ commences with the „vile person” (11:21) and not at
verses 33_35, as set forth in the third theory.
THE RESURRECTION IN 12:2
1. All commentators, radicals, and conservatives, pre_and
postmillennialists agree that Daniel here refers to a real and
final resurrection of the bodies of the just and the unjust.
2. The radical critics are mistaken in using this to prove a
late origin for the book of Daniel, in order to account for the
development of the doctrine. As our Lord says on this very
point to the Sadducees, who were the higher critics of his day,
„Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures,” and then proves that
the Pentateuch taught the resurrection. So also teaches Isaiah
before Daniel’s time, and so the Psalms, as Peter proved at
Pentecost. And so Ezekiel (37) uses the resurrection of the
body to illustrate the spiritual resurrection of the Jews.
3. The interpretation of Daniel 12:2 by Tregelles, the pre_
millennialist, separating by a long interval the resurrection
of the just from that of the unjust, finds no support in any
text or version, and so far as I know in any great commentary.
The curious mind wants the explanation of the time num_
bers 1,290 and 1,335 in chapter 12. Here the Son of God him_
self, who interprets this vision to Daniel, declines to answer
the question, bidding Daniel go his way and wait for the ful_
filment to demonstrate its meaning. So we pass on. But more
important are the great pulpit themes in this book as suggested
by it. Let us consider a few of them:
The supremacy of the divine government over individuals
And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine
eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me; and I
blessed the Most High; and I praised and honoured him that liveth
forever, whose domination is an everlasting dominion, and his king_
dom is from generation to generation; and all the inhabitants of the
earth are reputed as nothing: as he doeth according to his will in
the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and
none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? – DANIEL 4:34_35.
Now that is a great text on the supremacy of God’s govern_
ment of individuals and nations.
The second great text is found in the same chapter: „Take
away from him the heart of a man and give him the heart of
a beast.” And that is the theme for the agnostic, the one
who can’t know that there is a God and that he ruleth in
heaven. He classes himself with the beast, and he might as
well be a brute and go out and eat grass like an ox.
Another great subject is the distinction between duty to God
and to the state, based on Daniel 3:16_18:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed_nego answered and said to the king,
0 Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us out of thine
hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known unto thee, 0 king, that we will
not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast
Couple that with what is said of Daniel when he knew the
decree was signed that no man should pray to any god but the
king for thirty days (Dan. 6). He went to his room and prayed
as his custom was and he prayed three times a day just as he
had done before. Now in discussing that as a preacher it is
important to show that when human government clashes with
divine government we must make the law of God paramount:
„Render unto Caesar whatsoever is due Caesar, but render
unto God what is due to God.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar, the king, was astonished, and rose up in
haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, did not we cast three
men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto
the king. True, 0 king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men
loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and
the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. – DANIEL 3:24_25.
Now the great theme there is the presence of God with his
people in their afflictions.
Another theme is the patriotism of Daniel or his love for his
people as set forth in his prayer in chapter 9 and in his three
weeks’ prayer in chapter 10. Another great theme is the Mes_
siah in the book of Daniel, (1) in the coming of his kingdom
(2); (2) his great expiation (9:25); (3) the pre_manifestation
(10); (4) the presence of the Lord with his people in their
afflictions, (the text I have just given); (5) in his exaltation
after his expiation (7) ; and (6) in his final advent for resur_
rection and judgment (12). A great theme for the preacher
is, „The Messiah as Presented in the Book of Daniel.” An_
other great theme is the several antichrists and the several
abominations of desolation. First, Antiochus Epiphanes, the
little horn of the third beast, and the abomination is the setting
up of the statue of Jupiter and the sacrificing of a hog on the
altar. Then the abomination in chapter 9 fulfilled at the de_
struction of Jerusalem in the effigy of the Roman Emperor
on the standards of the soldiers. The second antichrist is the
little horn of the fourth beast and the abomination of desola_
tion that he sets up in claiming to be God and demanding
worship of men. The third antichrist, the atheistic, world
ruler who comes just before the millennium, and then the
last antichrist, the same as Paul’s man of sin who will be
destroyed at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and his
abomination will be that he himself will claim to be the re_
turned Messiah, the king, in his final advent and demand to
be worshiped. Several other themes are found in the book,
viz.: The Influence of a Great Man, and of his Book on After
Ages; The Wisdom and the Righteousness of Daniel as Seen
by Ezekiel; Keep Thy Window Open Toward Jerusalem When
You Pray; and „They That Be Wise Shall Shine as the Firma_
ment, and They That Turn Many to Righteousness as the Stars
1. What the first difficulty in interpreting the last two chapters of
Daniel, and what aids to its solution?
2. What the second difficulty, and what the three theories of interpre_
tation in this connection?
3. What the third difficulty?
4. On 11:2_4 answer:
(1) Who were the four kings of Persia here mentioned?
(2) How does Xerxes fill the description of the fourth?
(3) Who the mighty king that should stand up and rule, and how
does history prove that he fulfils the conditions here stated relative to his kingdom?
5. Relate the incident of Popilius and Antiochus Epiphanes.
6. What the new details of this empire given in 11:5~2?
7. Show the historical fulfilment of 11:5_20.
8. What question is raised with reference to 11:21_32?
9. If this passage refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, what the details?
10. Why may it be questioned that this chapter refers at all to
11. What of the resurrection in Daniel 12:2?
12. What is the explanation of the time numbers 1290 and 1335 in
13. What the great pulpit themes of this book aa suggested by it?
THE INTER_BIBLICAL PERIOD
We commence this study with an introduction to the period.
The Old Testament books written during the Babylonian exile
are, part of Jeremiah, all of Ezekiel, all of Daniel, and possibly
a few of the psalms. The Old Testament books written after
the Jews’ return from the Babylonian captivity are the fol_
lowing, in their order, as stated: Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra,
Esther, Nehemiah, Malachi – Nehemiah and Malachi having
been written about the same time. The Old Testament closes,
then, about 433 B.C. with the books of Nehemiah and Malachi.
The extent of the period between the Old and New Testa_
ments, in round numbers, is over 400 years, that is, from 433
B.C. to 4 B.C., the true date of Christ’s birth, four years before
the time it is usually given. We may learn the history of that
400 years: First, from the Jewish historian, Josephus, Jewish
Antiquities and the first part of his Wars of the Jews. Josephus
was a Jewish general in the war which led to the destruction
of Jerusalem under Titus, living forty and more years after
Christ died. Second, from a radical critic, Ewald, who has
written, perhaps, the most remarkable history of the Jewish
people. I do not very well see how we could do without it on
account of its great scholarship and research, though many
things in it cannot possibly be accepted on account of his radi_
cal criticisms. One volume of his history is devoted to this
period. As that book may not be accessible, I mention Stan_
ley’s Jewish Church, the third volume. He is something of a
radical critic himself, and follows Ewald just about as closely
‘ as Dr. Boyce, in his theology, follows Hodge. But better than
all of them for brevity and clearness is a little book of the
Temple Series of the Bible, entitled, „Connection Between Old
and New Testaments.” The author is Rev. George Milne Rea.
This is the shortest, clearest, and most forcible history of the
period that I know anything about. He is somewhat of a radi_
al critic, but there is little poison in it.
Then, for a great part of the period, we find I and 2 Mac_
cabees indispensable. They are apocryphal books of the Old
Testament. The first book of the Maccabees is good, great,
and spiritual. It is a fine history. It is not an inspired book,
but many uninspired books are very valuable. I have been
reading the first book of Maccabees ever since I was ten years
old. The second book of Maccabees is also good, but not quite
Daniel’s prophecies concerning the Persian, Grecian, and
Roman Empires, while prophecies are really a forecast of all
the history there is on the subject.
I will sum up the histories of the period: (1) Daniel; (2)
Josephus; (3) Ewald’s History of the Jewish People; (4)
Stanley’s Jewish Church; (5) Milne Rea’s Connection Between
the Testaments; (6) I and 2 Maccabees. In giving these his_
tories let me say that Josephus on that period sometimes gives
the chronology wrong – in one instance at least a hundred
years. The ancient Greek historians Herodotus, Xenophon,
Polybius, Appianus, Arrianus, and others, touched on the
period. The ancient Roman historians, Livy, Tacitus,
Diodorus, and others, touch the period. The great modern
histories of ancient times which cover the period are Rollin
Rawlinson’s Monarchies, Grotes’ History of Greece, and
Mommsen’s History of Rome.
We next notice the Jewish literature during this period, i.e.,
what the Jews wrote during this period. We get the literature
of this period to find out how the people were thinking, to
what their minds were being given. A large part of that litera_
ture appears in the Septuagint Old Testament, and is incor_
porated in the Roman Catholic Bible. In our Bible the Roman
Catholics make their insertions of the Jewish literature as fol_
lows: Just after Nehemiah they put in two books, Tobit and
Judith, neither one of them historically good, and a good deal
of Tobit is exceedingly silly. To the book of Esther they add
ten verses to the tenth chapter, and then add six more chap_
ters. That these additions were written in this period, and
after the inspiration closed, is evident from the reading of
them. Just after the Song of Solomon, they put two Apocryphal
books, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus. These books, while not
inspired, make very good reading, but they are written, as I
said, in that interval between the two Testaments, and rather
late in that interval. Just after the Lamentations of Jeremiah,
they put the book of Baruch. Baruch himself was the scribe
of Jeremiah and a good man. This book, some of it, is exceed_
ingly silly, and evidently not written by Baruch.
To our book of Daniel they make the following additions:
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed_nego were cast into the
fiery furnace, they put a long song of about sixty_six verses
into the mouths of these three men, and make them sing it in
that furnace. At the end of the book of Daniel they put two
stories: The story of Susanna, and the story of Bel and the
Dragon – good stories to tell the children. Just after Malachi
they put I and 2 Maccabees.
The Romanist Bible, Douay Version, has these additions
and shows just where they come in. All these books were
written during the period of which I speak, and in addition to
them the following which do not appear in the Romanist Bible:
the Prayer of Manasseh. He was the wicked son of the good
king, Hezekiah, and the record states that when he was a cap_
tive in Babylon he repented and prayed to God to forgive
him. It occurred to one of these inter_biblical Jews to write
out that prayer for him. It is a splendid prayer and I do not
see anything wrong in it.
A letter from Jeremiah to the Babylonian exiles. He had
written one that we find in the book of Jeremiah, but this is
. falsely attributed to Jeremiah. Then, during that period, they
wrote certain psalms and attributed them to Solomon, calling
them The Psalms of Solomon. Most of these are good reading.
But the greatest exploit of the Jewish mind during the
period of which I speak was the translation of the Old Testa_
ment into Greek, the Septuagint version. I will have a good
deal to say about it later.
I did not include in that period two other books written
by Jews, and sometimes classed in the period. One is the book
of Enoch. That is an apocalypse, an imitation of Daniel, and
a good deal like Revelation. Some of it is fine reading. It is
barely possible that part of it was written before Christ was
born, but it cannot be proved. The other books are I and 2
Esdras. They were certainly written after Christ, both of them,
and it is not yet clear whether a Christian Jew wrote them or
an unchristian Jew, but they are intolerable stuff, no matter
who wrote them.
I will now restate the literature of that period. I called at_
tention to the part of the literature incorporated in the
Romanist Bible, the following books in their order: Tobit,
Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, I and 2 Maccabees, then the
additions to Esther and Daniel. Apart from what is incor_
porated in the Romanist Bible I gave these: The Prayer of
Mannasseh, the Psalms of Solomon, the letter of Jeremiah, the
great work of translating the Old Testament into the Greek
language – the Septuagint. That commenced about 250 years
before Christ, and it was about 100 years before all of it was
The king of Persia at the time the Old Testament closed
was Artaxerxes Longimanus, and the book that mostly in_
fluenced the Jewish thought and hope during that period of
400 years was unquestionably the book of Daniel. Revelation
is the quickening book of the New Testament, as Daniel was
the quickening book to the Jewish mind, both of them
There are ten great preceding events which influenced this
period of 400 years, as follows:
1. The first event was 722 B.C. Sargon, king of Assyria, reign
ing at Nineveh captured the capital of the Northern Kingdom,
the kingdom of the ten tribes, deported the inhabitants into
the Far East) and colonized their territory with heathen peo_
ple from his own realm. As we go on, not only up to Christ,
but beyond Christ, we will see the tremendous significance of
that mixed population in Samaria – a heathen population set_
tled there to take the place of the deported Jews, intermarrying
with the remnant of Israelites left behind, and constituting
what later was called the Samaritan people.
2. The second great event was in 587 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar,
king of Babylon, captured and destroyed Jerusalem, the capi_
tal of the lower kingdom, the kingdom of Judah, and deported
the best and most influential of the inhabitants to Babylon.
All through the period comes the echo of that event.
3. The third great preceding event was in 538 B.C. Cyrus,
king of the Medo_Persian Empire, captures Babylon, and in
536 B.C., two years later, he issued a decree allowing the Jew_
ish captives in Babylon, so many as wished to do it, to go back
to their own country, instructing them to rebuild their Temple,
which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. This event, as we will
find, was mighty in influencing the inter_biblical period in
several respects. Heretofore the fortunes of the people of
Israel had been influenced by the Hamitic and Semitic nations,
who held them in subjection. Henceforward it is the Japhetic
nations that affect them. The Medo_Persians were descendants
of Japhet. The Babylonians and Assyrians were descendants
of Shem, as were also the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the
Esau_ites. The people of Egypt were the descendants of Ham,
and so were the Canaanites, including the Philistines and
Phoenicians. Now, with the coming of Cyrus to Babylon the
nations to affect the Jews are the descendants of Japhet.
The second respect, and a very remarkable one, was that
the policy of Assyria and Babylon had been to deport the
inhabitants of the countries that they conquered and colonize
them elsewhere. That had been the settled policy. The policy
of Cyrus was exactly the opposite – to send all the exiles home,
when conquering any people. Cyrus was not a Persian, but
an Elamite, and hence not a monotheist, but a polytheist. He
was a great man. A heathen, while he did not know God, God
knew him, and God raised him up to do the work that he did.
Aa Isaiah prophesied, „God says, I will raise up and guide
Cyrus, though he knows me not.” He not only sent home those
of the Jews that wanted to go, but any other captive nation.
The third respect was the policy of all the Hamitic and
Semitic nations that when they conquered the people of Israel
they destroyed their religion. Cyrus’ policy was exactly the
opposite; he did not want to interfere with the religion of any
conquered people. He even sent back all the captured idols in
Babylon and sent the people back to their native land. He
sent the Jews back and gave them all the Temple vessels, the
sacred vessels of the sanctuary. No Persian king ever inter_
fered with the religion of a conquered nation. At no time
during the subjection of the Jews to the Persians, while they
controlled the political end, did they interfere with their con_
sciences. They let them worship God in their own way.
The fourth respect was that the Medo_Persian policy al_
lowed a Jew, who was qualified, to be local governor, subject
to the satrap who controlled a district, and was like a viceroy.
The king appointed him and he had a great district under him.
For instance, the district of Syria was ruled by a satrap, with
headquarters at Damascus, but Judea was one province of
this district whose local governor might be a Jew; and we know
of two distinguished Jews who were local governors; Zerub_
babel was one – he was the first one, who belonged to the line
of David. He was not made king, but was the local governor
over all the territory reoccupied by the Jews. The high priest,
with a council of elders, attended to the religious matters.
Nehemiah also was a local governor, but I do not know that
any other Jew was local governor during that period. It is
somewhat doubtful, from an expression in Nehemiah and one
in Malachi, but those two were permitted to rule in civil
4. The fourth great event that affected the inter_biblical
period was in 535 B.C., when nearly 50,000 Jews returned to
their own country with Zerubbabel aa governor and Joshua
as high priest, with orders to rebuild their own Temple and
worship God according to their old forms. The question has
often been asked why no more returned. There were forty_two
thousand and some hundreds, besides some seven or eight
thousand servants and some singing people, but less than fifty
thousand Jews accepted the privilege conferred by Cyrus. One
reason that the number was so small is that they would not
allow anybody to go back – the Jews would not – who could
not prove his genealogy – his pure descent by the genealogical
tables. His pedigree had to be traceable all the way back to
Abraham. That let out a good many of them. Now, as less
than fifty thousand of them returned, that brings us to a new
word diaspora, the „dispersion.” The Jews who remained, from
that time on till now, are called the dispersion. We find that
language repeated in the New Testament. James and Peter
both write letters to the dispersion.
5. The fifth great event was that these Samaritans, not be_
ing permitted to help rebuild the Temple, though claiming that
they worshiped Jehovah, became bitter enemies to its re_
building. Zerubbabel and Joshua were not counting numbers,
but wanted a pure and homogeneous people. The Samaritans
were a mixed race, and they refused to allow them to be asso_
ciated in the work, whereupon they wrote letters back to Per_
sia, making all sorts of accusations against the Jews, and
finally securing an order for a discontinuance of the work of
rebuilding the Temple, and held it suspended for fifteen years,
until a new Persian dynasty received letters from the Jews
asking him to search the records of the reign of Cyrus and see
if he could not find that decree allowing the Jews to rebuild
6. Darius did have the records searched, and did find it, and
he used a pretty strong hand to help the Jews, and told them
to go on with the building of their Temple. So, protected by
him, the Temple was completed and dedicated m the year 516
B.C. The rebuilding of that Temple, the re_establishing of the
old Jewish worship, can hardly be overestimated as an event
bearing on the period we are discussing.
7. The seventh great preceding event was in 478 B.C. Esther,
a Jewess of the dispersion, living in Babylon, became the wife
of Xerxes the Great, he who is called Ahasuerus in the book
of Esther. She became his wife and saved the Jews of the dis_
persion from being destroyed by Haman. That Ahasuerus,
the husband of Esther, is the very Xerxes that invaded Greece
with so great an army, but that was before he married Esther.
I will tell all about it in a later chapter in showing the struggle
between Greece and Persia. The war really commenced under
Darius Hystaspis, and just about the time that Darius was
having that Temple completed he sent the Persian soldiers to
fight the battle of Marathon, just outside the city of Athens,
in which they were ingloriously defeated. When Xerxes the
Great came to the throne, he led an army of over two million
people against the Greeks. At the pass of Thermopylae, Le_
onidas and his three hundred Spartans died fighting for Greece.
Then in the great battle of Plataea his land forces were terribly
defeated. When Attica was invaded, Themistocles caused the
Athenians to take to their ships and let the city be burned, and
on the sea he fought and won the great battle of Salamis.
8. The seventh great event was in 458 B.C., when Ezra leads
another caravan of Jewish exiles to Jerusalem. This was in the
reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus. He was reigning when the
Old Testament closed. This was by far the most influential
factor in the future of the Jews; indeed, with Ezra comes the
rise of Judaism. The people are called Jews from his time on.
The great factors of Ezra’s coming were: first, he brought
back a copy of the Mosaic law, the Pentateuch; second, with
him commenced that remarkable body of people called the
scribes. Ezra was a notable scribe. They were the publishers
of the Bible, not indeed by printing, but they multiplied the
manuscript copies of it. We may credit the publication of the
Old Testament to Ezra and the scribes. These scribes, by giving
the people copies of their Bible, had more to do with the great
advance in the period of four hundred years that I am going to
tell about than anything else.
With Ezra also commenced the Jewish Council of Elders,
which afterward became the Sanhedrin, so well known in New
Testament times. With Ezra’s return from Babylon came also
the synagogue, and of all the potential things that preserved
the Jewish faith from that time on the synagogue takes the
lead. Up to that time they were temple ritualists. Theirs was a
sacrificial worship. From now on, wherever three or four Jews
could be found in a place, they would establish a proseuche,
or „prayer_chapel,” like the one that Paul found at Philippi.
Where there were more of them they established a synagogue. The synagogue is not a temple, but it is a place of public worship. Every sabbath day, throughout the world, they come up to these synagogues and read a part of the law, and a part of the prophets, and a part of the other writings, and then expound them just as a preacher now reads a portion of the Scriptures and expounds it. Then, that synagogue was a popular assembly. For the first time, anybody in the audience that wanted to, could get up and say what was in his mind.
When Christ went to the synagogue at Nazareth, they hand_
ed him the lesson to be read that day. He read it and expound_
ed it. When Paul entered a synagogue, the leader said to him,
seeing he was a visitor, a stranger, „Brother, if you have any_
thing to say, say on.” It was of tremendous importance that
the people should have Bibles and places of worship. The syn_
agogue more nearly embodies the idea of a New Testament
church than the temple does, and in the Greek Old Testament,
it is sometimes called ecclesia. With the return of Ezra, idolatry
by the Jews died forever. Up to that time God had scourged
them continually with other nations because of their idolatry.
.But from the time of Ezra throughout all their history to this
very hour in which I write) no Jew has been an idolater; they
ceased to worship idols. Well might the Jews call Ezra the sec_
9. The ninth, and last, great antecedent event is this: In 445
B.C., Nehemiah, the cupbearer to Artaxerxes Longimanus,
asked to be appointed governor of Judea, and the Persian
king, who loved him very much, made him governor. The
Babylonians would call him Pekher, the Turks would call him
Pasha, the Persian would say Tirshathe, but we say „gov_
ernor.” Nehemiah caused a wall to be built around Jerusalem
to protect it from the Samaritans and Arabians, and their other
enemies close by, and after staying twelve years he returned
to Persia. He remained there a while, then came back and
served as governor until 433 B.C.
I will briefly repeat these great events: first, the destruction
of the ten tribes by Sargon in 722 B.C. ; second, the destruction
of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.; third, the de_
struction of Babylon by Cyrus, king of the Persians, in 538
B.C., and the marvelous advantages of his policy; fourth, in
535 B.C., fifty thousand Jews returned with Zerubbabel as gov_
ernor and Joshua as high priest; fifth, the Samaritans opposed
the building of the Temple and obstructed it for fifteen years;
sixth, Darius Hystaspis, the head of the second Persian Dyn_
asty, in 516 B.C., ordered the finishing of the Temple; seventh,
Esther became Queen of Persia, 478 B.C. ; eighth, 458 B.C., Ezra led another caravan to Jerusalem; ninth, Nehemiah was made political governor.
We have now before us the books of the Bible that were writ_
ten in exile, the books of the Bible written after the exile, the
histories that cover this period, the literature of the Jews dur_
ing this period, and the great antecedent events influencing this
1. What Old Testament books were written during the Babylonian
2. What Old Testament books were written after the Jews’ return
from the Babylonian captivity?
3. What then the extent of the period between the two Testaments?
4. From what books may we learn the history of this period?
5. What Jewish literature written during this period?
6. Who was king of Persia at the close of the Old Testament canon?
7. What book mostly influenced the Jewish thought and hope during
the inter_biblical period? ,. ..
8. What the first great preceding event which influenced this period
9. What the second, and how? ..
10. What the third, and in what four respects was it mighty in in_
fluencing this period?
11. What the fourth, and how?
12. What the fifth, and how?
13. What the sixth, and how?
14, What the seventh, and how?
15. What the eighth, and how?
16. What the ninth, and how?
THE PERSIAN PERIOD, INCLUDING THE CONFLICT
BETWEEN THE GREEKS AND THE PERSIANS
The Medo_Persian Empire established by Cyrus lasted about
200 years – to be exact, 207 years. But from the close of the
Old Testament Judah was under the Persian rule about 100
The first great event of the inter_biblical period under Medo_
Persian rule was the building of the Samaritan temple on
Mount Gerizirn, and the establishment of a rival Jehovah wor_
ship. It was brought about in this wise: The last chapter of
Nehemiah says this (pretty vigorous language, too,) :
In these days also I saw that the Jews of the land had married
wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab; and their children spake
half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’
language, but according to the language of each people. And I con_
tended with them, and crushed them, and smote certain of them, and
plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons, or for yourselves. . . . And one of the sons of the high priest, Eliashib, was son_in_law to Sanballat, the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me. – NEHEMIAH 13:23_28.
That started the event that I am going to tell about. It ends
the Old Testament, but it started the event. The woman that
Eliashib had married was very beautiful, as famous in her day
as Helen of Troy. Eliashib went to his father_in_law, Sanballat,
and said, „I must give up either my priesthood or my wife, but
I do not want to lose either.” Sanballat says, „I will manage it
for you. I will build you a temple here on Mount Gerizirn, and
you shall be the high priest of that temple.” And he carried
out his promise. That temple was built. They worshiped Je_
hovah, and they had for their Bible the Pentateuch only,
though the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch does not agree
literally with the Hebrew Pentateuch, but nearly so. They ad_
mit, as historical value) the book of Joshua. Now, there was a
Jehovah religion, with its temple, with its high priest, and with
its Bible, within a few miles of Jerusalem. About 107 B.C., John
Hyrcanus, one of the descendants of the Maccabees, and next
to Judas Maccabeus one of the greatest of them, not only de_
stroyed that temple, but also destroyed the city of Samaria,
as he says: „So that a visitor could not even find where that
city had stood” – but we will learn all about that later. I am
just telling now what became of that rival temple. The destruc_
tion of the temple, however, did not stop the feud. It existed in
New Testament times. In John 4 we find our Lord talking with
a woman of Samaria, who insists that the worship of God ought
to be upon Mount Gerizirn. In the life of our Lord the Samari_
tans would always welcome the Jews passing through going
north, but would not give any shelter to a Jew going south to
worship at the temple. Because Christ was refused shelter in
passing south, that son of thunder, John, wanted to call down
fire from heaven on them. So that was a marvelous event as
bearing on the subsequent history of the Jews. It came about in
connection, as many things do, with a pretty woman.
The second great event of the inter_biblical period under
Persian rule was the union of civil and religious powers in one
person by the satrap of the district, making the high priest to
be also the governor. The duty of the governor was to collect
the tribute coming to the Persian Empire. In order to simplify
matters the satrap of Syria made the Jewish high priest gover_
nor. The evil consequences, the far_reaching consequences of
that act may be gathered, first, from a story in Josephus’
Antiquities, book XI, chapter 7. He shows that when Eliashib,
the high priest, died he left two sons, Johanan the elder and
Joshua the younger. Both of these wanted to be high priest,
because to be high priest was also to be governor. Johanan
was the one entitled to it, but a very influential general of the
Persian king, Bagoses, had promised the high priesthood to the
younger son whenever the vacancy occurred, whereupon, in
a row in the temple itself, Joshua the younger son was killed.
The Persian general came and started to enter the temple, and
they stopped him. He said, „Will I defile your temple any more
than the man you murdered here in the temple?” And he put
this kind of a tax on them: Fifty shekels for every lamb that
was offered in sacrifice. Of course, that was a great deal more
than the price of the lamb – it was 200 or 300 per cent more,
and as they offered thousands of lambs we can imagine only
what that tax was. It was a window tax that Victor Hugo went
wild over, France taxing light, that is, the poor people could
not have windows in their houses because, for every window
in the house they had to pay so much more tax. So to tax the
very offerings of religion was a tremendous innovation. Sup_
pose every time we gave a dollar to missions, the state should
tax us three dollars. That would dry up the source of contri_
bution pretty soon, wouldn’t it?
The first evil was in uniting the civil and the religious powers
in one person. And the second evil was, that whenever we begin
to unite church and state, the state may say, „I have the right
to tax all contributions of the church.” The third and greatest
evil that arose was that the state, from this precedent, began
to claim the right to appoint the high priest, claiming that the
leader of religion must be appointed by the state.
The next great evil was that the office of high priest became
a matter of barter and sale. The one who controlled the reve_
nues, just so he satisfied the central government, could keep
just as much as he pleased in his own pocket. For instance, if
the Persian governor needed a revenue, say $100,000 a year,
and this high priest were to tax them $300,000, he could send
the state $100,000 and keep $200,000. Later on in the history
this fearful precedent, established at this time, had evil effects
more far reaching. In Christ’s time, there were two living high
priests. Whoever was governor would claim the right to
appoint the high priest. Caiaphas and his father_in_law, Annas,
were both high priests. In order to illustrate the thought: What
if the Tarrant County judge claimed the right to appoint all
the pastors of the churches in the county? What if the governor
claimed the right to appoint our superintendent of missions)
or the president of our convention?
The third event of the inter_biblical period was the over_
throw of the Medo_Persian Empire by Alexander the Great,
consummated 330 B. c. The several periods of the struggle be_
tween the Greeks and the Persians were as follows:
Period the First: Before the Greeks were united into one
government under Phillip II, king of Macedonia. This period
extends from 500 B.C. to 336 B.C. The three Persian kings
most concerned were Darius I, son of Hystaspis, Xerxes the
Great, who married Esther; and Artaxerxes Mnemon, the last
only coming within the period. Under Darius I, as I briefly
discussed in the preceding chapters, came the defeat of the
Persians 200,000 strong by the Athenians under Miltiades,
20,000 strong, at the battle of Marathon, right under the walls
of Athens on the plain touching the sea.
Under Xerxes the Great, as I have already said, were
gathered an army of 2,000,000 men for the invasion of Greece.
There were 1,800,000 by measurement, not by counting. Ten
thousand were made to stand in the smallest square possible,
the space was marked off, and then, without any more
counting, was filled 180 times. The great battles of this in_
vasion were, first the defense of the pass at Thermopylae by
Leonidas and his Spartans; second, the decisive defeat of the
Persians in the great sea fight at Salamis by the Athenian gen_
eral, Themistocles; third, the decisive defeat of the Persian
land forces at Platea.
The battle of Marathon made such an impression on the
young men of Athens that when a man said to Themistocles:
„Why is it you cannot sleep? You are restless all night long,”
he said, „The honors of Miltiades will not let me sleep.” I have
often quoted that to show the inspiring effect of a great action
on the mind of young men; how an achievement by one will
suggest and stimulate a like achievement by others. The Per_
sian fleet was almost entirely destroyed.
Now, under Artexerxes Mnemon occurred a great battle east
of the Euphrates River, at Cunaxa, against his brother Cyrus
– Cyrus the younger. Cyrus rebelled against his brother,
Artaxerxes Mnemon. He wanted to be king of Persia, and
having found out how the Greeks could fight, he hired 11,000
Greeks for his army. In this great battle east of the Euphrates
River, in the first charge, Cyrus was killed and all of his army
defeated except the 11,000 Greeks. They swept away every_
body that stood in front of them, but when the fight was over,
there stood 10,000 Greeks with half a million men around them,
but they would not surrender. They were asked to parley, and
their generals, under a flag of truce, went to confer with the
Persians and the Persians killed them. And that body of
Greeks, now without officers, elected new officers, and the most
masterly retreat in any history is the retreat of that body of
10,000 Greeks. We find the history of it in Xenophon’s Anab_
asis. That column of Greeks on their march from the Euphra_
tes to the Black Sea, going over an entirely new country, and
without ever breaking ranks or being whipped in a fight, they
got safely back home. It was a great enterprise. The effect of
that battle was far greater than all the others I have men_
tioned. It left the impression on the Greek mind that the Per_
sians were very vulnerable, and that the Greeks could whip
them under any fair circumstances, and suggested the unity of
the Greek states with the view to the destruction of the Persian
Period the Second: The conquest of Alexander the Great
from 336 B. c. to 323 B. c. This is a very short time. Phillip II,
king of Macedonia, united the petty Greek states into one
government with himself as the commander_in_chief, and
made preparations to invade Persia, but was assassinated by
an enemy in 336 B.C. His nineteen_year_old boy, Alexander,
succeeded him, and he devoted about a year to continuing the
preparations of his father, and that same year the last Per_
sian king came to the throne, Darius III Codomannus. Here is
a world_ruling empire; there is a nineteen_year_old boy. In
the spring of 334 B. c., Alexander crossed the Hellespont. Soon
after crossing the Hellespont he met the Persian army at the
river Granicus. Indeed, he had to ford the river to get to them.
But his men, when he plunged into the stream himself, forded
the river and utterly routed the much larger Persian army on
the other side. That was the spring of 334 B. c. He devoted a
little over a year to conquering Asia Minor, and as he moved
eastward he safeguarded the seaports on the Mediterranean.
In 333 B. c., that is, the next year after he started, he met the
great army of Darius in a pass in the mountains between Cilic_
is and Syria, at Issus. It was a pass between the mountains;
the mountains went up on one side and the sea was on the
other. Alexander, with an equal front, cared nothing how many
deep the Persians were packed. The Persian army was almost
annihilated, and the mother, wife, daughter, and camp equip_
age of Darius were captured.
Instead of going right on to Babylon, he determined to make
all the Mediterranean coast safe, so he turned aside to con_
quer the city of Tyre, and all the coast cities to Gaza. Then he
turned to Jerusalem and received the submission of that city,
which I will tell more about directly. Then he went to Egypt
and conquered it, and built a city after his own name at the
mouth of the Nile, and called it Alexander, and it has been a
great city from that date to this.
Then, to give the next date, in 331 B.C., he crossed the Eu_
phrates River, and gave the final blow to the power of the
Persians in the great battle of Arbela. That is a little east of
where ancient Nineveh stood, and in that great battle the Per_
sian power was ground to fine dust. Darius fled, but was soon
assassinated. Alexander then turned south, and in 330 B. c. he
made his triumphal entrance into Babylon. But that did not
satisfy him. He marched out still into the Far East, conquering
and exploring, and building cities in Afghanistan and Bokhara,
crossed the great river, Indus, and conquered the Punjab sec_
tion of India, and would have gone on to the other ocean but
his old veterans said they did not want to go any further. So
he turned around, and in 324 B. c. he re_entered Babylon to
make it the capital of his empire – and the next year he died
from taking too big a drink of ardent spirits. There was an
immense cup called Hercules, and because somebody said that
no man could drink all that was in that vessel at one time, he,
believing himself a demigod, drank it all. He never recovered.
That was in 323 B.C. When he died he was just thirty_two
years old, and no man known to history had such a career –
no Caesar, no Hannibal, no Bonaparte – a boy conquered the
world in about six years, including much of the country that
England now holds in India.
I have given a brief account of his history, and now we come
to the important part about him – his touch with the Jews liv_
ing in Jerusalem during the inter_biblical period. I will follow
the account here given by Josephus. While Alexander was be_
sieging Tyre he wrote a letter to the high priest and governor
at Jerusalem, demanding that he send auxiliary troops and
supplies. Jaddua replied, „I have taken the oath of allegiance
to Darius. I cannot do it.” Alexander said nothing, but kept
it in his mind. The Samaritans sent the supplies. As soon as he
had conquered Gaza he determined to look in on that Jeru_
salem that would refuse him. When Jaddua heard that Alexan_
der was approaching, he formed a great procession of the
priesthood and himself in full regalia, according to the Aaronic
custom, marching at the head of it and holding the sacred
Scriptures, without a sword or spear, coming simply with the
Word of God.
The conqueror of the world and the high priest met. Alexan_
der’s generals expected him to order them all to instant
execution. Instead he leaped down from his horse, approached
and saluted the high priest with great respect, walked with
him back into the city, and paid for the sacrifices to be offered
according to the Jewish law, and then turned to the high priest
and said, „Ask me what you will.”
The high priest said, „Our people plant no crops the seventh
year; exempt us from tribute on the sabbatic year.”
He said, „Granted.”
„Our people want to enjoy our own religion in our own way.”
„Our brethren of the dispersion in Babylon and Media,
where you are going, want to enjoy their religion in their own
„Can we enter your army on a footing of equality?”
„Granted, and I will transport a number of you to Egypt
where I am going, and when I build a city there I will give you
a separate section of the city to be known as the Jewish quarter.”
[Subsequent histories of certain cities tell us of the Jewish
quarter. Tacitus, Paul, and the Roman poets tell us about it.]
„In your own quarter of the city you may elect your own
magistrates, and have your religion as you wish it.”
Parmenio, the leading general of Alexander, was astounded,
and in explanation Alexander said:
„While I was in Macedon) before I started on this expedition,
and was studying in my mind about this movement, one night
I slept, and in my dream I saw this very man in this very
dress he is wearing now, come to me and say, ‘Hesitate not;
cross the Hellespont; the Persians will fall before you.’ ”
And it is a remarkable fact that in Babylon and in every
part of the country that he swayed he gave many privileges to
Daniel represents the transition of empire from Persian to
Grecian as follows: In Daniel 2:32 he makes the body and
thighs of brass of that luminous image seen by Nebuchad_
nezzar represent Greece, and in 7:6 the vision of the leopard
with four wings, he makes Greece. And in 8:5 (we find all
Grecian history for centuries forecast in Daniel), he says,
And as I was considering, behold a he_goat came from the west
over the face of the whole earth and touched not the ground: and
the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the
ram that had the two horns, which I saw standing before the river,
and ran upon him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come
close unto the ram, and he was moved with anger against him, and
break his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand be_
fore him; but he cast him down to the ground, and trampled upon
him; and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
We will come to the four horns later, but just now I give the
account that relates to the breaking of the one horn, the notable
And the he_goat magnified himself exceedingly, and when he was
strong the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up
four notable horns toward the four winds of heaven.
1. How long lasted the Medo_Persian Empire established by Cyrus?
2. From the close of the Old Testament how long was Judah under
the Persian rule?
3. What the first great event of the inter_biblical period under Persian
rule, and how was it brought about?
4. When and by whom was this temple destroyed, and did the de_
struction of the temple end the feud?
5. What and when the second great event in the inter_biblical period
under Persian rule, how was it brought about, what its far_reaching developments, and what its evil?
6. What the third great event of the inter_biblical period, and how
and when brought about?
7. What the first period of the struggle between the Greeks and the
Persians, and who the Persian kings most concerned?
8. What the author’s experience in learning Greek history?
9. What the relative sizes of the Grecian and Persian armies in this
struggle, and what the great battles of the invasion of Xerxes?
10. Describe the battle of Cunaxa and the results.
11. What the second period of the struggle between the Greeks and
12. Describe the various conquests of Alexander the Great, and his
13. What the relation between Alexander and the Jews, how illus_
trated, and what Alexander’s own explanation of it?
14. How does Daniel represent the transition of empires from the
Persians to the Grecians?
THE JEWS UNDER GREEK RULE, FROM THE DEATH
OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT TO THE TIME
JUDEA PASSED FROM THE RULE OF THE
PTOLEMIES OF EGYPT TO THE RULE
OF THE SELEUCIDS AT ANTIOCH
323 B.C. to 198 B.C.
This chapter covers a period of 125 years. We have briefly
considered in the preceding chapter, first, the struggle between
the petty Greek states and the Persians, until the consolida_
tion of the Greek power under Phillip II, king of Macedonia,
who was assassinated 336 B.C.; and second, the consummation
of that struggle at the battle of Arbela, the overthrow of the
Persian Empire, and the conquest of the world by Alexander
the Great, who died at Babylon 323 B.C. We found Alexander
to be the greatest of all military conquerors in the annals of
time, whose greatness was largely attributable to one teacher,
Aristotle, who had charge of his education from thirteen to
sixteen years of age, and to one inspiring book, the greatest of
all epics, Homer’s Iliad, which he carried with him in all his
wars and explorations, putting it under his camp pillow every
What a lesson that is I The power of a great teacher and the
power of a great book, as reproduced in a student’s life I
Our concern with this marvelous ancient history is limited to
a single inquiry: How did the Greek conquest of the world
affect the kingdom of God? We have considered so much of
that inquiry as related to Alexander himself and the Jews. We
are now to continue the inquiry on the relation of the Jews
and Alexander’s successors. Here we are stopped from limiting
our investigation to the comparatively few Jews occupying
the small territory around Jerusalem, for that territory at this
time, and ever since their return from exile, was very small.
Later on in this inter_biblical period, we will see an expansion
of territory equal to David’s kingdom.
The first thought of the lesson is that with Alexander there
came into crystallized use a new term that will largely affect
Jewish history for hundreds of years. In fact, it is very promi_
nent during the New Testament period. This term was „Hel_
lenism,” or „Hellenists,” which was applied to the Jews of the
dispersion, in contrast with the Hebrews living in the Holy
Land. The Hellenists were Grecianized in foreign lands, many
of them so Grecianized that they could not even speak, either
the Hebrew or the Aramaic language. The modification was not
one of language only; the Greek cult influenced them in many
ways. We find in Acts 6 and many places elsewhere, that it waa
a problem in the apostolic church. Some of the New Testament
books are addressed exclusively to the Hellenists: James wrote
to the twelve tribes of the dispersion in Asia Minor, and the
letter to the Hebrews was to the same class. All the other letters
of Paul concerned the Hellenists more than the Hebrews of
Judea. The Jews of the dispersion constituted the overwhelming
majority of the Jewish race. There had been many forced de_
portations of Jews by conquerors into foreign lands, few of
whom ever returned to live in Palestine. Many colonies of Jews,
by their own consent, were planted in various parts of the
world by the rulers. Then their own restless migrations for the
purposes of trade and commerce carried them everywhere.
They all, however, regarded Jerusalem as their holy city, and
their restored Temple as their center of unity. They paid their
Temple tax, and thousands of them from every land went up
to the great annual feasts.
At the famous Pentecost, (Acts 2), they were present from
every nation under heaven, as that record saysùParthia,
Proconsular Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Cyrene, Rome,
Crete and Arabia. The Greek influence, mark you, was not
limited to the Jews of the dispersion. The small Judea about
Jerusalem was circled by Greek cities, multiplying points of
contact with the home Jews. In Alexander’s time these environ_
ing Greek cities were Gaza, Joppa, Ashkelon, Ashdod,
Samaria, Hyppus; east of the Jordan, Scythopolis and Gadara
in Galilee; Alexandria and others in Egypt; and under Ptolemy
Philadelphus, Ptolemais on the coast was added, and the
famous Rabbah of the Ammonites became the Greek Phila_
These Greek cities kept multiplying in the passing years,
until Jerusalem was ring_fired by them, and there was no
resisting the Greek culture. So powerful was it that it conquered
Rome after Rome had conquered the Grecian Empire.
Generally, under the Greek rule, as it had been generally under
the Persian rule, the Jews enjoyed great privileges, both at
home and abroad, under Alexander himself, under Ptolemies,
and for a part of the time under the Seleucida at Antioch.
Coele_Syria, that is, from Lebanon to Egypt, was a Greek
province, of which Judea was a part. We now come to
THE DIVISION OF ALEXANDER’S EMPIRE
For many years after Alexander’s death there were stormy
times in settling the succession. The various provinces were
under the most famous of the Greek generals, who battled with
each other for the supremacy. When all of Alexander’s chil_
dren died the issue lay between Antigonus, the old general, pn
one side, and four other generals combined on the other side,
namely: Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander. This
issue was settled in the great battle of Ipsus, in Phrygia, 301
B. c. Antigonus was defeated and slain, and the four conquer_
ing generals divided the empire among themselves, that is,
Lysimachus and Cassander getting the European part of the
empire and the Bosporus, while Ptolemy retained Coele_Syria,
which he had already held ever since the death of Alexander.
This included Judea. The Ptolemies held Egypt for 300 years,
succumbing to the Romans, 30 B. c. Seleucus got for his part all
of Asia except Coele_Syria, and built for his capital the famous
Antioch at the mouth of the Orontes. There the Seleucids
reigned for 250 years, until they were broken up by the
Romans, 80 B. c. This was the partition expressed in one verse
by Daniel (8:8), where he says the one notable horn being
broken off, there arose four other horns.
Now, because Judea lay directly between Egypt and
Antioch, occupying the most strategical position between Asia
and Africa – if not the most strategical position in the world –
it became a bone of contention between the Ptolemies and the
Seleucids, and thus connecting those monarchies with the king_
dom of God. The Ptolemies held Egypt and Coele_Syria, as I
have already said, before the original partition, and held it
until 198 B. c. They had already been holding it for twenty_two
years before the partition, and that partition merely confirmed
the position of the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies held Coele_Syria
until 198 B. c., which I will tell more particularly about a little
later. Then Judea passed under the reign of the Seleucids at
Antioch. That was brought about by a great battle near the
head of the Jordan River, Paneas, in which the sixth Seleucid,
Antiochus III, named the Great, overwhelmingly defeated the
general of the fifth Ptolemy, sumamed Epiphanes, and at_
tached Coele_Syria to his kingdom. From that date on the
Seleucids held Coele_Syria and Judea until it was freed under
the Maccabees – the most heroic part of the Jewish history,
which we will consider later.
JUDEA UNDER THE PTOLEMIES
We are now to consider Judea under the Ptolemies, from
323 B. c. to 198 B. c. The plan of administration was partly
according to the Greek method, and partly accommodated to
Jewish home rule. The high priest, assisted by a council, which
afterward became the Sanhedrin, was the local governor, who
collected all the taxes due the Ptolemies and remitted them to
Egypt. Ptolemy Lagus, surnamed Soter, or Savior, held Judea
and Coele_Syria when Alexander died, 323 B. c., and was con_
firmed in it after the battle of Ipsus, 301 B. c., as he had already
been holding it over twenty years. Five Ptolemies have to do
with this section, and I will cite only one great event in the
reign of each one.
1. The first event touching the Jews was an act of treachery
and inhumanity on Ptolemy’s ]iart, which called forth the most
sarcastic remarks from Josephus on the misfit of his name,
Savior. According to Josephus, he came to Jerusalem on the
sabbath day under the pretense of offering sacrifice to Jehovah,
and was received into the city. There installed, he disclosed
the purpose of his expedition to be a slave hunt on a large
scale. By unresisted violence there and elsewhere in Judea and
in the whole of the province, he enslaved many thousands of
the Jews, and transplanted them into Egypt.
Josephus quoted a reproach from a Greek historian that so
great a city should allow itself to be captured, while so well
fortified, on account of a silly superstition of nonresistance on
the sabbath day. The reproach was better justified on another
occasion in the later times of the Maccabees, and still later
when the Romans besieged Jerusalem. This injustice perpe_
trated by Ptolemy Soter occurred before the battle of Ipsus,
while the war of the four generals against Antigonus was going
on. After the partition following that battle, the rule of this
first Ptolemy was, on the whole, favorable to the Jews, in both
Egypt and Judea. There was no interference with their religion,
and they enjoyed many special privileges in the city of Alex_
andria. The first Ptolemy reigned forty years, that is, from
the death of Alexander, 323 B. c.
2. The second great event – and I count it one of the most
memorable in the annals of time – (or rather a series of events)
occurred in the reign of his successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus.
The story as given by Josephus is somewhat too marvelous,
though he publishes the original documents of correspondence
passing between Ptolemy and the high priest at Jerusalem.
This great event was the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures
into Greek – that famous version known to all subsequent ages
as the Septuagint. This was an event of worldwide importance.
Greek had become the vernacular of the world. No other
language has ever equaled it in expressing delicate shades of
thought. The world had now the Hebrew Bible, the Greek
Bible, and the Samaritan Bible. In later times there were other
Greek versions, but the Septuagint has easily held first place
among the versions in subsequent ages. Christ and the apostles
quoted the Greek text oftener than the Hebrew. The name is
derived from the number of the translators, seventy (or
strictly, 72). This version is an expression of the relation be_
tween Hellenism and Hebraism.
The history of the version is on this wise: The Greeks the
world over were noted for literature, arts, philosophy, rhetoric,
oratory, and architecture. And this Ptolemy Philadelphus had
gathered at Alexandria the world’s greatest library and
museum. Alexandria became the world’s greatest city of
learning. It was proposed to place in this famous li_
brary the Greek version of the Hebrew sacred books. But as
the Jews jealously guarded the manuscripts of their sacred
Scriptures, an expedient to gain their confidence was suggested,
to wit: That Ptolemy, out of his own revenues, redeem from
bondage, not only the great multitude of Jews enslaved by his
father, Ptolemy Soter, but all Jewish slaves in Egypt, whether
brought into bondage before or since that time, including their
children, to the number of more than 100,000. He paid cash to
the owners of the slaves and redeemed all of them. What a con_
trast with the Pharaoh ruling Egypt in Moses’ time!
Second, that he donate many precious utensils and priceless
jewels for the Temple furniture. Third, that he make a large
cash contribution for the purchase of sacrifices at Jerusalem.
Fourth, that he send an honorable embassy announcing his
generosities, and carrying a written petition from the king
addressed to the high priest, and all the translators to be his
honored guests in Alexandria while they were translating, and
then to be dismissed with great honors and precious gifts to
each of the scholars.
It is evident from the records that only a version of the
Pentateuch was originally contemplated, but once undertaken
it finally included all the sacred books, and other Jewish
literature besides. The translation began 250 B. c., and all the
Pentateuch was translated in a few days, but it was not com_
pleted in all its parts until seventy_five or 100 years later. The
latter part is very much inferior to the first work done, and it,
moreover, included Jewish literature never considered by the
Jews as a part of their sacred books. The Ptolemies were after
books for their library, whether profane or sacred. Josephus
makes a very clear distinction between the sacred Jewish books
and other Jewish literature.
If only half the details given by Josephus be true – if we
allow much for exaggeration – there is nothing in human his_
tory to compare with it. The story of Jerome’s Vulgate and
King James Version are tame beside it. Ptolemy Philadelphus
stands immortalized as a manumitter of slaves, and as a pro_
moter of learning, and is entitled to more enduring fame than
any Greek whatsoever.
But this great enterprise did not work altogether for good,
because it was through the Septuagint, followed by the Vul_
gate, that Romanists got their apocryphal additions to the
Old Testament, of which I gave an account in a preceding
chapter, and it was from the Septuagint that the Greek Catho_
lic Church got the same apocryphal additions. The Reforma_
tion restored the sanctity of the Hebrew Scriptures as the Jews
themselves held it. Yet to the Greeks are we indebted for that
beginning of translation which today gives to every nation our
Bible in its own tongue. The story of the versions is one of the
most thrilling in the annals of time.
One of the most pleasing parts of the story of Josephus is the
account of the impression made on the mind of the great king
by his reading of the Pentateuch in Greek. He was profoundly
stirred by the sublime and divine majesty of that holy law.
How incomparably superior to his Homer, Xenophon, Herodo_
tus, Thucydides, Demosthenes) Socrates, Plato, Zeno, Aristotle,
and Epicurus. So ever to great and dispassionate minds do
God’s holy words appear. If Socrates, without gospel light, was
a seeker after God, according to Acts 17:26_27, surely Ptolemy
Philadelphus, who walked in the light when he saw it, was
nigh the kingdom of God, and we may at least indulge the
hope that through God’s grace in Christ, both of these illustri_
ous heathen may appear in the heavenly kingdom.
3. The third great event, or series of events, of Jewish his_
tory under the rule of Egypt occurred in the reign of the third
Ptolemy, surnamed Euergetes, 247 B. c. to 222 B. c. The Jewish
high priest, Onias II, as Josephus says, was a man of „very
little soul,” obstinate as a mule, and a contemptible miser who
flatly refused to send any tribute to Ptolemy. In vain Ptolemy
threatened; in vain the people protested that they would lose
their nation and their holy city. This bull_headed priest said,
„I don’t care; let it bring ruin.” He was not going to pay out
any money to Ptolemy – and it was not his money, either. This
brought on a crisis in Jewish affairs. His nephew, Joseph, a son
of Tobias, was allowed to save the situation by an expedient
that was a bad precedent, and entailed many disasters. This
young Joseph went to Egypt, gained the favor of the king, and
modestly had himself appointed assessor and collector of the
king’s revenue in the whole province of Coele_Syria, which
included Judea, at a high fixed rental. Backed by an adequate
corps of Egyptian troops he returned, and by violent and op_
pressive methods farmed the revenue for twenty_two years.
He would go to a place and select the names of the wealthiest
citizens and confiscate their property until he got revenue from
that place. In this way he combined in himself absolute power,
both civil and ecclesiastical. Ptolemy got his revenue all right
from these abundant confiscations, and Joseph in the mean_
time feathered well his own nest.
4. The fourth notable event under the Ptolemies was the
alienation of the Jews from the Egyptian rule. There had been
a smouldering fire against Egypt on account of the methods of
Joseph, the son of Tobiah, in collecting revenue. Such methods
will always bring revolt, if not revolution, and this prepared
the way in the hearts of many Jews for swapping masters. An
opportunity was presented in the bitter war being waged be_
tween the sixth Seleucid, Antiochus III, surnamed the Great,
who reigned 223 B. c. to 187 B. c. and the Ptolemies. In the
great battle between them, fought at Raphia, near Gaza, 217
B. c., Antiochus was defeated. Ptolemy, resenting the favors
shown by some of the Jews to Antiochus, now thoroughly
alienated the whole Jewish nation by two acts:
1. He went up to Jerusalem and outraged their religious
feelings by thrusting himself into the most holy place of the
Temple, from which he fled, as Josephus says, in superstitious
terror as if he had seen some awful apparition.
2. On his return to Egypt he aggravated the general Jewish
resentment by cruelty and oppression of the Jews there – quite
an unusual thing for a Ptolemy to do. That is, all the ground
gained in the Jewish favor under Ptolemy Philadelphus was
5. The fifth and last series of events of the period of this
section was the damage done the Jews by Scopas, the general of
the fifth Ptolemy, surnamed Epiphanes. With fire and sword
and confiscation he swept the land. But in the decisive battle
of Paneas, near the head of the Jordan, 198 B. c., Antiochus
overwhelmingly defeated Scopas, and marched to Jerusalem,
received him with open arms. And so Judea was lost to Egypt
and passed under the rule of the Seleucids at Antioch.
1. What teacher and what book most shaped the character of
Alexander the Great?
2. What concern have we with all this ancient Greek history?
3. What the extent of Judea at this time?
4. Where the overwhelming majority of the Jews?
5 What new term came in with Alexander, and what the explanation of it.
6. Give some New Testament traces of it.
7. What cause had brought about the dispersion?
8. What their relation to .Jerusalem?
9. Explain how Judea itself was somewhat Hellenized.
10. What the extent of the province of Coele_Syria?
11. Under what Greek general was it when Alexander died, and how
long did his successors hold it?
12. Tell about the division of Alexander’s Empire, the battle that
decided it, and when and where fought.
13. How does Daniel in one verse foretell this partition?
14. Name the four Greek generals and the part of the empire each received.
15. With which two only are we concerned, and why?
16. How long did the Ptolemies hold Egypt, and to whom did its control pass?
17. How long did the Seleucids hold Antioch, and to whom did its control pass?
18. What the name of the first Ptolemy, and how long did he reign?
19. What great event of his reign touched Judea, and was it before or
after the battle of Ipsus?
20. What unjust reproach was cast upon the Jews and Jerusalem by a
Greek historian concerning this event?
21. What the second great event under the Ptolemiea, and what the
remarkable story as told by Josephus?
22. When did this work of translation commence, to what extent was
it originally limited, and how enlarged, and when completed?
23. What the effect on Ptolemy’s mind in reading the Pentateuch in Greek?
24. What place in history do these events give Ptolemy?
25. What the importance of this version?
26. Why were apocryphal books included?
27, What the subsequent evil of this inclusion?
28. What third great event under the Ptolemiea, and what evil consequences?
29. What notable event under the fourth Ptolemy, and bow brought about?
30. What the events under the fifth Ptolemy, and where and when was the decisive battle fought which transferred Judea to the rule of the Seleucida?
1. Tell the story of the fate of the great library at Alexandria.
2. Cite some corrupt doctrines taught in the apocryphal books, and
yet fostered by Romanists.
3. How does Josephus distinguish between the sacred books and
other Jewish literature? Quote the passage.
4. How does Josephus make out the twenty_two sacred books so as to include the whole Old Testament, and how do other Jews make them twenty_four?
5. What other translations of the Old Testament into Greek besides
6. Origen had in parallel column 6 texts called the Hexapla: What were they?.
THE JEWS UNDER ANTIOCHUS III, SURNAMED THE
GREAT, AND HIS SON SELEUCUS IV, SURNAMED
This period is only twenty_three years, that is, from the bat_
tle of Paneas, 198 B.C., to the beginning of the reign of Anti_
ochus Epiphanes, 175 B.C. In the preceding chapter we consid_
ered the Jews under the Ptolemies of Egypt, a period of 125
years, 323 B.C. to 198 B.C. We limited our discussion to one
notable event only, touching the Jews under each of the five
Ptolemies. First, the treacherous enslavement of many of the
Jews by Ptolemy 1) surnamed Soter. Second, the translation.
of the Scriptures into Greek, with the attendant generosities,
under Ptolemy II, surnamed Philadelphus. Third, the stupidity
and greed of the high priest, Onias II, resulting in the farming
of the revenue of Coele_Syria committed to Joseph, son of
Tobias, under Ptolemy III, surnamed Euergetes. Fourth, the
alienation of the Jews from Egyptian rule, caused by Ptolemy
IV, surnamed Philopater, after his victory at Raphia over
Antiochus III of Antioch, surnamed the Great. Fifth (and in
my discussion before I did not sufficiently touch this), the great
damage to the Jews done by Scopas, the general of Ptolemy V,
surnamed Epiphanes, terminating with the defeat of Scopas at
the battle of Paneas.
We are now to consider the fortunes of the Jews under
Antiochus the Great, and his son Seleucus IV. Throughout the
wars of the Ptolemies with the Seleucids for the province of
Coele_Syria, including Judea, the Jews were ground to powder
as between the upper and nether millstones. In such a brief
discussion of this period our trouble has been to condense from
such vast historical material, which enlarges as we go on. We
have been compelled to touch lightly the Greek historians, and
from this point are embarrassed with the riches of material in
the contemporaneous Roman historians – Livy, Tacitus, and
others, to say nothing of great modern histories – Rollin,
Rawlinson, and Brace, and Mommsen’s great History of Rome,
probably one of the greatest contributions to history of modern
times. The matter has been complicated by treaties between
the two powers, based on intermarriages. The most notable of
these, so far, was the marriage of Antiochus II to Bernice, the
daughter of Ptolemy Philadeipbus, and later to be followed by
a marriage between Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus the
Great, and Ptolemy V, surnamed Epiphanes. These political
marriages make a great deal of trouble in history.
As I have said before, the prophecies of Daniel constitute the
clearest guide to this period. If we want to understand the war
between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, we will find it in the
interpretation of the Daniel II, connecting Daniel 8:9_26 with
II: 2_20, as both of these refer to Antiochus Epiphanes. A com_
mentary on Daniel from the Cambridge Bible, by Driver, a
pronounced radical critic, has as much poison in much of the
book as there is meat in an egg. But his exposition of Daniel
II and that section of chapter 8 that touches this period is very
fine, very scholarly, and very clear. Josephus is hard to follow
because he makes such a mix_up of his historical matter,
particularly in his dates. Sometimes he gives a date a hundred
years wrong, except where he follows the Maccabees. When he
sticks to Maccabees he is generally right.
THE JEWS UNDER THE SELEUCIDS
We now consider the fortunes of the Jews under Antiochus
the Great. After the battle of Paneas and his welcome into
Jerusalem, after his annexation of the province of Coele_Syria,
he was as generous to the Jews as Ptolemy Philadelphus. When
he got to Jerusalem and received the joyful welcome in that
city, after he had defeated and captured the generals of the
Ptolemies, he was so impressed with their devotion to him and
the valuable service they had rendered, that he gave a signal
proof of his gratitude. I do not know just where we may find a
more signal testimony of gratitude, manifested in the letters he
wrote to the generals of his empire everywhere with reference
to the Jews.
First, he set apart a large pension for Temple sacrifice. He
used his treasury to furnish them food and supplies for a year,
and seeds for planting. Now) to me that is a very pleasant bit
of history to read. True, a selfish motive prompted him. He
wanted these faithful Jews as a buffer between him and dan_
gerous enemies. But even then this heathen did it more
gracefully than the prescriptive Episcopalians of Virginia
reluctantly endured the settlement of the Scotch_Irish Pres_
byterians in the Shenandoah Valley as a buffer against the
hostile Indian tribes.
I had not space in the preceding chapter to tell of the move_
ments of Antiochus after his defeat at Raphia. He had turned
his mind to the East) waging successful warfare and enriching
himself with spoils until he had re_established boundaries of
Alexander’s old empire. Hence, with largely increased resources
he returned to defeat the Ptolemies at Paneas and to annex
Coele_Syria. Now his thought is toward the West. He wants
to break or block the rising Roman Empire, and aspires to re_
store the western boundary of Alexander’s Empire, which had
been pushed east by the Romans. He intends also to absorb
Egypt, but just now wants peace with the Ptolemies, that he
may concentrate against Rome.
To this end he makes alliance with Philip of Macedon and
gives his daughter in marriage to Ptolemy, having two ends in
view by this marriage – to secure peace behind him while he
wars with Rome) and through his daughter to gain a quasi
title to Egypt when opportunity serves to enforce it. Daniel
foretells that marriage in these words:
And he shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole
kingdom, and with him equitable condition: and he shall perform
them: and he shall give them the daughter of women, to corrupt
her [i.e. – Egypt], but she shall not stand, neither be for him. After
this shall he turn his face into the isles, and shall take many: but
a prince shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; yea,
moreover, he shall cause his reproach to turn upon him. – DANIEL
In the phrase of Daniel „to corrupt her,” the pronoun „her”
does not refer to his daughter, but to Egypt. The thought is to
use his daughter to give him a hold on Egypt. But as Daniel
foreshows, the marriage, while it brought temporary peace to
the Jews, did not serve the purpose of Antiochus. Like a true
wife, Cleopatra stood by her husband, and she bears a glorious
name in Egyptian history. She determined that if she was to be
married off_hand that way, to suit the political need of her
father, she would make a true marriage of it. And she lived
and died in Egypt, beloved by all the people. It is refreshing to
come to the history of a woman of high mind and a high
standard of morals. That marriage, he thought, would enable
him to get possession of Egypt, and then, as he was going west,
to get all the rest of the old empire, but he made a mistake.
That marriage did not help him with the Romans, but it did
help Ptolemy. As Daniel says: „Then shall he turn his face
to the isles, and shall take many.” The islands here mean the
islands of the Mediterranean Sea, along the coast of Asia
Minor and Greece, following the track of all the conquerors.
He did strike out west with a great army and captured all of
Asia Minor. He then crossed the Hellespont, over into Mace_
donia. Three times he touches the Romans. The last crushes
At Lysimalacia the Roman legation met him in warning.
He gruffly replied, putting a reproach on them: „You have
no more right to inquire into what I do in Asia than I have to
inquire what you do in Italy.” The Romans never forgot a
thing of that kind. Antiochus pursued his march, following
the tracks of Xerxes the Great toward lower Greece. But in
the pass of Thermopylae he had a battle with the Romans, and
they whipped him. That is his second touch with them. He
then fled back to Ephesus in proconsular Asia. The Romans
after the Punic wars, that is, after they had captured
Cartilage, were looking East, and they had already annexed
the European part of Alexander’s Empire, and when Antiochus
came into Greece interfering with their eastward trend, they
determined to carry the war into his own country. He had
entered into an alliance with Philip V, king of Macedonia, to
fight the Romans. The Romans easily disposed of Philip, and
crossed the Hellespont, going after Antiochus. The third con_
tact was when the two armies came together in Phrygia at
Magnesia. The book of Maccabees gives a very exaggerated
account of the numbers engaged and of the war elephants em_
ployed, i.e.) if we may trust the more moderate estimates of
the Greek historian, Polybius. In this battle, 190 B.C., the
Romans entirely broke the power of Antiochus the Great, ex_
acting the following humiliating conditions of peace:
1. The cession of all Asia Minor west of the Taurus Moun_
2. The surrender of his floats and war elephants.
3. A crushing war indemnity that emptied his treasury and
whose annual payments kept it empty. This vast war indem_
nity was more crushing than that which Germany exacted of
France after the war of 1870. This empty treasury brought
on all the woes of succeeding Seleucids until the dynasty
4. They required him to give up his children and other
kindred as hostages. It became a proverb: „Antiochus the
Great was a king.” Or, as Virgil describes Troy: Illium fuit.
Mommsen comments: „Never, perhaps, did a great power fall
so rapidly, so thoroughly, so ignominiously, &s the kingdom of
the Seleucidae under the Antiochus the Great.
Daniel’s prophecy concludes the story: „Then he shall turn
his face toward the fortresses of his own land; but he shall
stumble and fall, and shall not be found” – fulfilled when he
„was attacked and slain by the inhabitants of Elymais whose
temple of Bel he sought to rob of its treasures to meet the war
indemnity exacted by Rome. „He was not found,” disappear_
ing as completely as Enoch and Elijah, but it was not a trans_
lation upward. Kings have to have money, especially when
they keep up armies, and it occurred to him that the best way
to get the money was to rob the temples.
In Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad is one of his quaint say_
ings: „When I passed over Italy and saw the poverty and
squalor of the people, without clothes, without food and with_
out money, and when I saw the wealth of the ages in the
churches and in the cathedrals, it was a wonder to me that they
never thought to rob the churches.” While the Italians never
thought of it, yet Antiochus the Great thought of it.
There was a very rich temple over in the East, at Elymais.
The temples were the banks of the country. They were the
sanctuaries – the one place one could keep money free from
the robber. The temple of Diana at Ephesus had all the wealth
of the East stored in it. Now, this temple was full of riches,
and when the priest who had charge of the temple (a heathen
priest) heard of the purpose for which Antiochus was coming,
he let him and a few of his men enter the temple, then shut
and barred the door, and killed them with rocks – all of them.
Well might Daniel say: „But he shall stumble and fall, and
shall not be found.” He left two sons, Seleucus, the rightful heir,
and Antiochus IV, called Epiphanes. Seleucus succeeded his
father. Daniel describes him: „Then shall stand up in his
place one that shall cause an exactor to pass through the glory
of the kingdom; but within few days he shall be destroyed,
neither in anger nor in battle.” That is his history; twelve
years he reigned. And in order to meet these annual payments
to Rome he had to become a tax collector. He sent into Coele_
Syria after taxes, and after gleaning all he could he still needed
much money. In the meantime Judea was prosperous from
the account of it in 2 Maccabees:
Now when the holy city was inhabited with all peace, and the
laws were kept very well, because of the godliness of Onias, the
high priest, and his hatred of wickedness, it came to pass that even
the kings themselves did honor the place, and magnify the temple
with their best gifts: and insomuch that Seleucus, king of Asia, of
his own revenue bare all the costs belonging to the service of the
sacrifice. [The reference here is to the grant of Antiochus III before
the Romans broke his power. But all the treasure cannot remain.
hidden when the impecunious son of Antiochus is exacting taxes.]
But a certain Jew, Simon, of the tribe of Benjamin, who was
made governor of the temple, fell out with the high priest about
disorder in the city. And when he could not overcome Onias, he
got him to Apollonius, the son of Thraseas, who then was governor
of Coele_Syria and Phenice, and told him that the treasury at Jeru_
salem was full of infinite sums of money, so that the multitude of
their riches which did not pertain to the account of the sacrifices
was innumerable, and that it was possible to bring all into the king’s
hand. Now when Apollonius came to the king and had showed him
of the money whereof he was told, the king chose out Heliodorus,
his treasurer [we will have more to say about him later], and sent
him with a commandment to bring the aforesaid money. So forth_
with Heliodorus took his journey, under color of visiting the cities
of Coele_Syria and Phenice, but indeed to fulfill the king’s purpose.
And when he was come to Jerusalem, and had been courteously
received of the high priest of the city, he told him what intelligence
was given of the money [what Simon had said about all that money
in the temple] and declared wherefore he came, and asked if these
things were so indeed. Then the high priest told him that there was
such money laid up for the widows and the fatherless children: that
some of it belonged to Hyrcanus, son of Tobias, a man of great dig-nity, and not as that wicked Simon has misinformed: the sum whereof was in all 400 talents of silver, and 200 of gold; and that it was alto-gether impossible that such wrong should be done unto them that had committed it to the holiness of the place, and to the majesty and inviolable sanctity of the temple, honored over all the world.
Heliodorus said: „All the same I have to have it.” The high
priest fell into a trance in which his face was marked; all of
the priests commenced praying, the women of the city ran out
into the streets, the children and the women, in view of such
sacrilege as was contemplated, and while the tears ran down
the high priest’s cheeks, he led this prayer: „Oh Lord God
Almighty, intervene, and prevent this horrible sacrilege.”
Whereupon, as Heliodorus entered the temple he met two
flaming angels, one of them on a horse, clothed with gold, that
struck him with his hoof and knocked him down. The shock
nearly took away his life. And lest Seleucus might misunder_
stand, the high priest then went into the temple and offered
sacrifice unto heaven for the sin of Heliodorus, and asked God
to forgive him and raise him up, and on the intercession of
the high priest he was restored, and returned to report to
Seleucua to this effect: „If you have any man in your kingdom
against whom you have a grudge – if you have a special enemy
– send him to get that money, for he will meet a doom from
God when he seeks to violate that Holy Place.”
I cited what Daniel said about Seleucus. He died in twelve
years by poison, and that brings us down to 175 B.C. When
he died his brother, Antiochus Epiphanes, succeeded him.
What a temptation it is to me when I come in touch with
all this ancient Jewish history and so many wonderful things
related concerning it, by Greek and Roman historians, both
ancient and modern, to switch off from the main point! But
I am trying to limit the history to its contact with the Jews,
and to do this I must condense two or three thousand pages
of history to make one chapter.
1. What the scope of this chapter?
2. Who are the ancient and modern historians of Rome covering
3. What complicates the history of the Ptolemies and Seleucida?
4. What prophet forecasts all the wars between these two Greek king_
doms, and what the sections of his book giving them?
5. What commentary on this part of Daniel is commended, notwith_
tanding the author’s objectionable radical criticism on other parts?
6. What great battle placed Judea under the Seleucids? When and
7. How did the Jews receive the new master?
8. How did Antiochus evince his gratitude?
9. Compare this heathen with Louis XIV of France and Philip II
10. Compare the settlement of the 2,000 Jewish families with the at_
titude of Episcopal Virginia toward the settlement of the Scotch_Irish Presbyterians in the Shenandoah Valley.
11. What the motives prompting Antiochus to give in marriage hi
daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy, and how did the marriage fail of its
12. Cite the three contacts of Antiochus with the Romans, and Momm_
een’s comment on the battle of Magnesia.
13. What terms did the Romans exact of Antiochus after the battle
of Magnesia, what parallel in modern times, and their effect on the subsequent fortunes of the Seleucids?
14. To what expedient did Antiochus III and his successors resort for
means to pay the Roman _war indemnity?
15. Why were temples made to serve as banks of deposit?
16. Give Daniel’s forecast of the fate of Antiochus III and a Jewish
account of its fulfilment.
17. Give Daniel’s forecast of Seleucus IV, successor of Antiochus HI.
18. Give substance of the story in 2 Maccabees of the treasure in the
temple, how Seleucus heard of it, and his failure to get it.
175 BC._164 B.C.
The prophecies of Daniel forecast Antiochus IV, surnamed
Epiphanes, first, in Daniel 8:9_14, interpreted by 8:23_26;
second, Daniel 11:2_20. The book of Daniel covers fairly
nearly all the inter_biblical period. We stop Daniel’s account
of Antiochus at 11:20, and do not go on to the end of that
chapter, as all radical critic commentaries do, because we are
unable to apply that part of the book of Daniel to the wars
of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. There is certainly no his_
torical verification of it in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes.
My theory of interpreting Daniel 11:21 to the end of the
chapter (12:2) is:
First, like many other prophecies, there is in this part of
Daniel reference to some things near at hand and some things
far distantùas when David’s prophecy of Solomon’s kingdom
glides into the far remote Messiah’s kingdom in Psalms 45
This blending of things near and remote arises from the
perspective in prophecy. It may be illustrated by the appear_
ance of a far distant mountain range. Far_off, it seems to be
one mountain, but as we approach nearer, the one mountain
becomes a range, and what seemed its high point is a succes_
sion of elevations, far apart if they are viewed laterally, but
blended into one peak if they are in one line of vision from the
Second, so here, seen from only one angle of prophetic vi_
sion, Antiochus, the antichrist of his day, enemy of the Jews,
is blended with a far more remote antichrist, an enemy of the
Jews, who shall try to destroy them after their final restora_
tion to their own land, and whose own destruction results in
the salvation of all the Jewish nation, which we have presented
in Revelation 19:11_21, collated with Isaiah 63:1_6; Ezekiel
36_37; Zechariah 12:8 to 14:11. Now, I am showing how to
study this chapter. First, study it in the light of the interpre_
tation of that passage in Daniel.
A certain part of the books of the Maccabees touches the
reign of AntiochusEpiphanes, viz: I Maccabees: l_6;2 Mac_
cabees: 4_9. There is nowhere a better statement of this dis_
cussion than in those chapters from the books of Maccabees.
However, I Maccabees is much more trustworthy as history
than 2 Maccabees, which was written much later.
Certain parts of Josephus should be read also to understand
the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, viz: Antiquity of the Jews,
Book XII, chapters 5_9. But I Maccabees is more reliable as
history than Josephus.
We now take up the most notable matters in connection
with the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. First, we will consider
the man himself. His father, Antiochus the Great, died leaving
him as hostage in Rome, after the great battle of Magnesia.
While in Rome, where he grew up, he became carried away
with the Roman fashion of admiring the Greek cult. The sec_
ond fact about the man himself is that he was not entitled to
the throne. His older brother, Seleucus, indeed had died, but
Seleucua had a son, Demetrius, a little fellow, also a hostage
in Rome, and that boy was the rightful king of Antioch. Dan_
iel tells how by flattery and treachery this Antiochus usurped
the place of his young nephew.
The next thing about him is to consider his character. Dan_
iel says he was a „vile person.” He is the little horn of Daniel
2. He had a very brilliant mind, but he was niore impressed
by the way things seemed than the way things were. He had
no conscience about sacred things at allùindeed, he defied him_
self. In the „Cambridge Bible” are photographic copies of
some of the coins he issued, and on those coins were these in_
scriptions: Antiochus Basilanos („king”) Theos Epiphanes
(„God manifest”), Nicephorus („victory bearer”). The last
is the title of Jupiter, „Victory bearer,” and he had the artist
who drew the plans for these coins to make his face on the
coins resemble the face of Jupiter, as presented in his statues.
It needed some change to make it look like that, but he did
not mind it.
So much for the man. We will now consider the events.
At the close of his brother’s reign, Onias III, the good high
priest, had gone to Antioch to remove the impression about
the temple treasury that had been made by Simon, and Onias
is in Antioch when Antiochus Epiphanes comes to the throne.
A brother of Onias, named Joshua, who had become an infidel
Jew and changed his name to Jason, then went to see Anti_
ochus, and convinced him that he would make a good deal more
money if he would depose Onias and make him, Jason, the
high priest; that he was already Hellenized and believed in
the Greek religion, and it would be a great help if Antiochus
would make him high priest. So Antiochus kept Onias there
until he died. He never saw his home any more, and this
renegade Jew, Jason, was made high priest.
I am glad to notice that a great while after that, a still
greater renegade Jew, Menelaus, being sent to Antioch by
Jason, persuaded Antiochus to depose Jason and make him
(Menelaus) the high priest, and he would get a better bargain
still. So one thief turns out another, and Menelaus was made
high priest. He made no pretensions to the observances of the
Jewish religion. Jason, to show how much he was Hellenized,
erected in the holy city, a Greek gymnasium. In these athletic
days, when the schools are all turning almost exclusively to
athletics, and the glory of a school is its athletics, we may
understand what a baleful influence that gymnasium would
have in Jerusalem, for both Jason and Menelaus, who suc_
ceeded him, persuaded the Jews that the best thing to do
would be to attend that Greek theater and let their Temple
alone. No Sunday moving picture show in modern times so
nearly breaks up worship as did that Greek theater in
The next event in connection with the reign of Antiochus
was his purpose to bring Egypt into his realm. His satrap,
Apollonius, informed him that two men in Egypt had charge
of the little king, the nephew of Antiochus. Cleopatra, a sister
of Antiochus, was sent over there to become the wife of one
of the Ptolemies. I have already shown what a good woman
she was. Now, her little son at this time was king of Egypt,
but those who had charge of the boy after his mother died
were renegades. This satrap persuaded Antiochus that if he
would make a demonstration in Egypt, be could easily capture
the whole country. Now in order to make everything clear
behind him, he made his first visit to Jerusalem, where the
renegade high priest received him with open arms, and made
great promises about what he was going to do for the Jews.
He then led his first expedition into Egypt and captured
Pelusium, a port of Egypt, on one of the mouths of the Nile.
The young king tried to flee, but his renegade tutor betrayed
him to Antiochus, who caught him and pretended to act in his
name. He subjugated nearly all Egypt, and issued some of
those coins I told about and had himself crowned there.
While he was over there, however, the report reached Jeru_
salem that he had been killed. Whereupon the superseded
Jason, whom I told about, and who had fled over the Jordan,
collected a thousand men, returned to Jerusalem and tried to
depose Menelaus. Antiochus hears of it, and thinks it to be a
revolt of the Jews against his authority. So he comes back
by Jerusalem, murders thousands of its people in cold blood,
enters the Temple, takes away the sacred vessels, and among
them the famous golden candlesticks, and robs the Temple
of its treasure, and Menelaus helps him in all of it. He then
made a second expedition into Egypt, 169 B.C., and recaptured
all of the country except Alexandria, which held out.
He returns again, continuing all this time his oppression
of the Jews, and makes a third expedition into Egypt. Cleo_
patra, that good woman I told about, had left two sons, and
these two boys had fled to Rome and appealed for help. Rome
sent an embassy to warn Antiochus to let the Egyptians alone.
When Antiochus was within four miles of Alexandria the
Roman embassy met him. The leader of it was Popilus. The
Roman had nothing but his staff in his hand. He lifted his
staff and said:
„In the name of the Senate of Rome I command you to go
back to your own country and let Egypt alone.” Antiochus
„I will call a council of my friends and take it into
The Roman stopped and drew a circle around him in the sand
„You will answer me before you get out of that circle, yea
Those Romans were stern fellows. Antiochus said:
„Yes,” and went home, but he went home mad.
The Romans made him abandon all his conquests in Egypt
and the Mediterranean islands. Being exceedingly mad, he
sent his general, Apollonius, to Jerusalem with instructions to
make all Geole_Syria adopt the Greek religion and particularly
required the Jews to abandon their religion.
The general captured Jerusalem, tore down its walls, and
erected a fortification that commanded the Temple. He erected
a Greek altar to Jupiter right on top of Jehovah’s brazen altar,
and sacrificed a sow, the abominable flesh to a Jew, and took
the broth and flung it all over the holy place, and had filth cast
into the most holy place, and commanded every Jew that had
a Bible to bring it to him, and he tore their holy books to pieces
and burnt their fragments. He issued an order that no child
should be circumcised, and when some of the women disobeyed
he had their babies killed and tied around their necks and then
murdered the women. He then made every one that professed
to be a Jew come up and eat swine’s flesh.
There was one old Jew named Eleazer, so devout and ven_
erable that, even the Hellenizing Jews loved him. They told
him they did not want to see him die, and to bring a piece of
other meat with him and eat that so that it would seem that
he had eaten the hog’s meat. But he said, „No, this is no time
for compromising; if I would even seem to eat the swine’s flesh
my name would be disgraced. I am an old man, and a few
days more or less matters nothing to me. Kill me. I will not
violate my law.” And so they murdered him.
A much more notable event we find in 2 Maccabees, con_
cerning a pious widow and her seven boys. I lift my hat to
them every time I think about them. This woman and her
seven sons were commanded to violate the laws. She exhorted
her boys to be faithful. They scalped the oldest one, and put
coals of fire on his head, after taking the skin off, and then
killed him, his mother looking on. But she exhorted the other
six to be faithful. They killed the second one by horrible tor_
ture, and she exhorted the other five to be faithful. And they
killed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth the same way. She
turned to her baby boy, her youngest, the pride and darling
of her heart, and told him that his mother was expecting him
to be true to his God and his religion, and they tortured him
to death, and she kept on praising Jehovah until they put her
I read that when I was ten years old, and it struck me &a
being one of the heroic things in history. It is to such events
that a certain passage in Hebrews II refers.
The old proverb is: „When you double the tale of the brick,
then comes Moses.” So now there arose in Judea an order
called Asideans, pious people who preferred religion to every_
thing else, and they entered into a solemn covenant to stand
by the faith. When they were attacked on Saturday, their
sabbath, because they would not fight on the holy day, they
submitted to death without defence; 1,000 were murdered at
one time as on another occasion their priests had been done
iii the Temple, who kept on offering incense and worshiping
God until they were slain at the altar.
There was a man named Asmon, from whom we get the
name Asmoneans. A descendant of Asmon, an old Jew, a per_
fect giant, named Mattathias, had five sons, vigorous men,
named John, Simon, Judah, Eleazar, and Jonathan, and the
history of this old man and his five sons is more memorable
than the history of the woman and her five sons. He deter_
mined that he would not be passive if they attacked him on
the sabbath, but that he would fight, and that he would not
consent to the destruction of the Jewish religion. When the
deputies of Antiochus came to Samaria with the demand to
adopt the Greek religion, they submitted at once, and dedi_
cated their temple to Jupiter and joined Antiochus in fighting
the Jews, as usual. Finally a deputy reached the little village
where Mattathias lived, and commanded him to obey the law.
He said, „I obey God’s law.” They then called up another
Jew who offered to obey the law, and when he started to do it
Mattathias killed him, and then killed the deputy, and tore
down the heathen altar. He and his sons went all over the
country tearing down the heathen altars.
The old man, seeing he was about to die, appointed his son
Judas to have charge of the armyùJudas, sumamed Mac_
cabeus. „Maccabeus” means hammerer; Judas the Hammerer.
Edward II of England, was called „the hammerer of the
Scots,” and in Westminster Abbey there is the inscription:
„Edward, Hammerer of the Scots.” In Jane Porter’s Scottish
Chiefs is given the history of William Wallace redeeming Scot_
land from the bondage to which Edward the Hammerer had
subjected it. I used to read it and cry. No hero of history
comes nearer being like William Wallace than Judas the Ham_
merer. His life, even as told by his enemies, and particularly
the account by the Jewish historians, surpass~ anything in
history, showing the heroic force of a man fighting for his
religion and his country.
I remember once, when I was a schoolboy, I had to recite
Fitz_Green Halleck’s poem, „Marco Boyario” – Greeks fight_
ing Turks (just as they are doing now) ; that part of it where
the Turk awoke to hear his sentry shriek: „To arms I They
cornel The Greek! The Greek!” when he awoke to hear
„Strike till the last armed foe expires!
„Strike for your altars and your fires I
„God and your native land,” may be given an original turn
by applying it to Judas Maccabeus. The reader should cover
the whole period, and even its approaches, by giving some ac_
count in order of the following battles:
1. Marathon, Salamis, Thermopylae, Plataea, Cunaxa.
2. Granicus, Issus, Arbela.
3. Ipsus, Raphia, Paneas, Magnesia.
4. Beth_horon, Emmaus, Beth_zur, Beth_Zecharias, Ca_
pharsalama, Adasa, Eleasa.
5. Pharsalia, Philippi, Actium.
These five series of battles give an outline of the period. The
fourth series names not all but the most of the great battles
fought by Judas Maccabeus. None of these, however, comes
within three of his greatest campaigns, to wit, the redemption
of Galilee, the conquests east of the Jordan, and the war
Judas then brought Esau back to Jacob. He conquered
Edom that had helped always in oppressing Judah, and from
that time on Esau and Jacob were together. He and his
brothers crossed the Jordan and drove the armies of Antiochus
out of that country; they redeemed Galilee, and brought back
to Jerusalem the persecuted Jews that were there. Antiochus,
in the meantime, had left a general to take charge of his army
and continue the war against the Jews, while he went on a
temple_robbing expedition, like his father before him, and the
same temple at Elymais. When he got there the gates were
shut against him and he could not rob that temple. While
there he heard the account of the overthrow of his army by
I will close this chapter by giving an account of Antiochus’
death, from I Maccabees, in the one hundred and forty_ninth
year (not of his age, but of the Greek Supremacy) :
Now, when the king heard these words [about the defeat of his
armies by Judas] he was astonished and sore moved; whereupon he
laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had
not befallen him as he looked for. And there he continued many
days: for his grief was ever more and more, and he made account
that he should die. Wherefore, he called for all his friends and said
unto them: „The sleep is gone from mine eyes, and my heart faileth
for very care. And I thought with myself into what tribulations
am I come, and how great a flood of misery it is, wherein now I am I for I was bountiful and beloved in my power. But now I remember
the evils that I did at Jerusalem, and that I took all the vessels of
gold and silver that were therein, and sent to destroy the inhabi_
tants of Judea without cause. I perceive, therefore, that these
troubles have come upon me, and behold I perish through great
grief in a strange land.” Then called he for Philip, one of his friends,
whom he made ruler over all his realm, and gave him the crown,
and his robe, and his signet, to the end he should bring up his son
Antiochus, and nourish him up for the kingdom.
The account of his death in 2 Maccabees, which is not as
good history as I Maccabees, is varied from the account in
the first book and less historical.
1. What the subject and period of this chapter?
2. What sections of Daniel refer to this man?
3. Why not apply Daniel 11:20 to 12:1 to the war of the Seleucids &Ptolemies?
4. What parts of the books of the Maccabees refer to Antiochus Epiphanes?
5. What parts of Josephus?
6. How was Antiochus a usurper? 7. Give his character,
8. How does his blasphemy appear on the coins issued by him?
9. Give, in order of time, the first relations of Antiochus to the Jews as present-ed in the history of three high priests, Onias, Jason, and Menelaus.
10, What the effect on Jewish temple worship of Jason’s Greek gym_
nasium? Illustrate by events of our day.
11. How and through whom was Antiochus persuaded to add Egypt
to his realm?
12. Tell of his first visit to Jerusalem and his promises.
13. What occurred at Jerusalem while he was in Egypt to inflame his mind against that city & what the result of his second visit returning from Egypt
14. Give the dramatic account of his retirement from Egypt on the third invasion.
15. In his fury against Jerusalem what fearful havoc was wrought there
by his general Apolloniua?
16. In this case what was the „Abomination of Desolation” spoken
of by Daniel the prophet?
17. In that case how do you explain Matthew 24:15?
18. How does Daniel give the time from this desecration of the temple by Anti-ochus to its cleansing by Judas Maccabeus, and what is the time in years?
19. What general policy looking to uniformity in religion did Antiochus
now adopt and its sweeping character toward the Jews?
20. How did Samaria respond to this religious demand?
21. Cite two notable instances of Jewish martyrdom from 2 Maccabees.
22. Who were the Asideans, and what their attitude toward this re_
23. What massacre of them occurred, and why did they not resist?
24. Tell about Mattathias and his sons, the commencement of their
revolt, and their policy of fighting on the sabbath.
25. Of whom was Mattathias a descendant, and what long line was named after this ancestor, and can you tell now the person of the line and her fate?
26. In view of death to whom did Mattathias commit the military
lead, and to whom the high priesthood?
27. What the meaning of „Maccabeus” and what English king bore
a similar cognomen?
28. To what Scottish hero may Judas Maccabeus be compared?
29. What great battles did he fight, and in which two was he defeated?
30. Can you name the most distinguished generals of Antiochus fought?
31. Describe some of his campaigns, particularly in Galilee, east of
the Jordan, and against Edom.
32. Up to what point in his conquests did all the pious Jews support
him, and for what was he striving beyond that point?
33. Where do we find two variant accounts of the death of Antiochus
and which the most historical?
34. Describe his horrible death,
35. What five series of battles give a battle history of the inter_biblical
period and its approaches?
36. At the close of the study of the period be ready to date and ana_
lyze these battles, and tell their leaders and the issues decided by them.
37. By the conquest of Edom Judas Maccabeus annexed Esau to
Jacob. How can you anticipate subsequent history by showing how this annexation ultimately resulted in placing both Esau and Ishmael on the throne of Jacob in one obnoxious person?
164 B.C._65 B.C.
We have about 100 years of exciting history to consider in
this chapter. Our last chapter closed with Judas Maccabeus
in power, and with Menelaus, the renegade Jew, as high priest
appointed by the Syrian king. Menelaus, having been driven
out by Judas, made an appeal to the king at Antioch, and a
number of the Jews sided with him – those who had gone into
copying the Greek spirit. He went to the king at Antioch and
told him that Judas had driven out all his friends and was
taking the country away from the Seleucids at Antioch, where_
upon the Syrian king sent against Judas the old general,
Lysias, who had served under Antiochus Epiphanes, with a
great army. They went down on the east side of the Jordan
and around the Dead Sea, and came up on the south. It was
a very strong army. Judas) at that time besieging the strong_
hold in Jerusalem still held by a garrison of the Syrian king,
had to rush hurriedly to meet this vast invasion with a very
inferior force, about 3,000 men. Many of the 3,000 advised him
not to fight – that it was impossible for 3,000 Jews to over_
come such a host as stood opposed to him. The battlefield was
at Beth_Zecharias. But Judas fought anyhow – he always
A great many elephants were in the army of Lysias, and one
of them being larger than the others and having more gorgeous
trappings, was supposed by Eleazar to carry the commander_
in_chief, Lysias. So he dashed forward alone and got under
the elephant and, stabbing upward, killed him. But the ele_
phant in falling crushed Eleazar and killed him. Judas was
defeated and fell back on Jerusalem. Lysias, when he got in
eight of Jerusalem and saw how formidable were the prepara_
tions made by Judas, and being very much disturbed by the
fear of the increasing Roman power, advised Antiochus to
make peace, and so peace was made on the condition that the
Jews were forever after to be free in their religion, but remain
subject to the Syrian government.
This peace secured the main thing for which the war was
undertaken by Judas’ father, Mattathias, and the Pharisees
from this time on were opposed to the war. That is, they cared
very little about political freedom. They were willing enough
to be subordinate to another government if they were allowed
to retain their religion. And about this time the renegade,
Menelaus, died. From this time on the war between the Mac_
cabees and Syria was a political rather than a religious war.
Just about this time the right heir to the throne at Antioch,
Demetrius I, surnamed Soter, came to Antioch, dethroned the
son of Antiochus Epiphanes, and killed him and Lysias, the
general. Now comes to the front Alcimus – a man as bad as
Menelaus or Jason. He wants to be high priest. He is thor_
oughly filled with the Hellenistic spirit, and in favor of Syrian
domination. Demetrius appoints him high priest, and sends
John Bacchides with an army to install him in office. The
Pharisees thought they could accept him as high priest, inas_
much as he was a descendant of Aaron, in spite of the warning
of Judas. But Alcimus, with Bacchides and his army to help
him, killed a portion of the noblest of the inhabitants of Jeru_
salem in cold blood. Judas comes and drives out Alcimus, who
makes a second appeal to Demetrius. Demetrius sends another
great army to meet this great host of Syrians at the battle of
Capharsalama, in Joshua’s old battlefield at Beth_horon. Judas
twice overwhelmingly defeats the Syrian general, kills him,
and brings such spoils to Jerusalem as had not been seen for
Just at this time Judas began to be depressed in mind, think_
ing how often he had to fight great armies with only a handful
of men, so he made an appeal to Rome – which was a mistake
on his part. Woe to the nation that ever appealed to Rome!
He made an appeal to Rome and sent an embassy empowered
to enter into a treaty of alliance with Rome) and also with
Sparta in Greece. That treaty was made, but Judas was dead
before the news came. The following is the treaty, from page
45 of I Maccabees:
Good success to the Romans, and to the people of the Jews, by
land and by sea forever; the sword also and enemy be far from them. If there comes first any war upon the Romans, or any of their confed-erates throughout all their dominion, the people of the Jews shall help them with victuals, vessels, money, or ships, as it hath seemed good unto the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants without taking anything therefor. In the same manner, also, if war come first upon the Jews, the Romans shall help them with all their hearts, according as the time shall be appointed them; neither shall victuals be given them that take part against them, or weapons, or money, or ships, as it hath seemed good to the Romans, but they shall keep their covenants, and that without deceit. According to these articles did the Romans make a covenant with the Jews. Howbeit if hereafter the one party or the other shall think meet to add or diminish anything, they may do it at their pleasures, and whatsoever they shall add or take away shall be ratified. And as touching the evils that Demetrius doeth to the Jews, we have written unto him, saying, wherefore hast thou made thy yoke heavy upon our friends and confederates, the Jews? If therefore they complain any more against thee, we will do them justice, and fight with thee by sea and by land.
Now that is what is called a treaty of alliance, offensive and
defensive. An embassy had been sent to Sparta as well as to
Rome, and here is the most singular document of history that
came from the Spartans:
Areus, king of the Lacedaemonians, to Onias, the high priest,
Greeting: It is found in writing that the Lacedaemonians and the Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham: now, there-fore, since this has come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity. We do write back again unto you that your cattle and goods are ours, and that ours are yours. We do com-mend, therefore, our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise,
If I had that king of the Spartans before me, I would ask for a sight of the document proving that the Spartans, like the Jews, were the descendants of Abraham. I would like to see how he makes out his case. I cannot do it. That is a singular claim.
Let us now consider the death of Judas, which took place be_
fore the knowledge of the Roman treaty came to him. Demetri_
u8 had sent a still greater army under Bacchides, and sent back
Alcimus, the high priest. Judas met him at Eleasa; Judas had
3,000 men, but Bacchides had 22,000 men. The men of Judas’
army could not stand to face such a multitude and they went
home and left him with only 800 men. He said, „It is not for
me to flee; what if I am killed, I perish for my country.” Never
did 800 men make a braver fight than they made at Eleasa; but
the little Jewish force was destroyed, except a very few, and
Judas was killed. His brothers, Simon and Jonathan, rescued
the body and buried it in the family cemetery, beside the aged
father and the other brother that had fallen. That was in
161 B.C.; Jonathan was then made both high priest and com_
mander_in_chief. We have seen two of Mattathias’ sons pass
away – Judas and Eleazar. Jonathan is now the commander_
in_chief, and about this time Alycimus died.
I must now refer to an event, one of the most important in
the inter_biblical period. It took place 160 B.C.: Onias IV, the
son of the good and pious Onias, whom Antiochus had killed,
went to Egypt. He was entitled to the priesthood, but he did
not believe there would ever be any chance to have regular
worship at Jerusalem, so he asked the Ptolemies to have a
temple built in Egypt. He read to him a verse from Isaiah
(19:19): „In that day shall there be an altar to Jehovah in
the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border
thereof to Jehovah.” Onias quoted that passage from Isaiah,
and a temple was erected at Leontopolis, or On, that stood as
long as the Temple at Jerusalem. So now there are three
temples: one at Jerusalem, the Samaritan temple, still stand_
ing, and the temple over in Egypt.
The next important event is that Bacchides, finding out that
Jonathan was as wise as Judas, and that the people were going
to stand by him, made a treaty of peace with Jonathan, agree_
ing that Jonathan should take the office of high priest which the
Jews had conferred upon him.
We now come to another very important event. In 153 B.C.
Alexander, a son of Antiochus Epiphanes, claimed to be the
legitimate ruler of Syria, and opposed Demetrius. Both of
them, Demetrius and Alexander, began to make bids for Jona_
than’s help. Jonathan is now the arbitrator of the war – he
has the ball at IMS feet and keeps it rolling between these two
and each one keeps raising his bid as to what he would do if
Jonathan would lead the Jews to support him. Jonathan ac_
cepted the proposition of Alexander. To further strengthen
himself, Alexander entered into a treaty of peace with Ptolemy
king of Egypt. This treaty was based upon a marriage be_
tween Alexander and Cleopatra, the daughter of the Ptolemies
and the Seleucids. But Ptolemy begins to change his policy
of friendship toward Alexander, wishing to make himself ruler
of the kingdom of the Seleucida. To this end he negotiates a
treaty with Demetrius, the contestant for the throne of the
Seleucids against Alexander, and promises to take his daughter
Cleopatra, away from Alexander and give her to Demetrius.
I wonder how the woman felt in being swapped off that way –
first to one man, then to another, for political reasons. The
daughters of kings have a hard time of it on the marriage ques_
tion, since they are disposed of for political reasons without
regard for their own will or affections.
I have not the space to continue the history of the Maccabees
in detail. It is sufficient to say that Jonathan, who succeeded
Judas, was not only a great general, but a great diplomatist.
He maintained his treaties of peace with the Romans and Lace_
daemonians; he won many important victories and established
himself thoroughly in the affections of the people, and enlarged
the territory of his country.
The tragic termination of his life was on this wise: A certain
Trypho, minister and general of Alexander, began to aspire
to be king at Antioch himself, and knowing that the most for_
midable adversary in his way was Jonathan and the Jewish
army, he ensnared Jonathan under false pretenses to visit at
Ptolemais. Jonathan accepted the invitation, taking with him
only a thousand men. As soon as they entered the city the
gates were closed, the thousand men were killed and Jonathan
placed in prison. Jonathan’s brother Simon raised an army to
rescue his brother, and Trypho, dreading the result of an en_
gagement, proffered to restore Jonathan for an immense sum
of money, and provided that Jonathan’s sons be left with him
as hostages. Simon sent the money and the boys. Trypho kept
the money and put Jonathan to death. Simon then succeeded
Jonathan as both high priest and commander_in_chief. We find
his great history set forth in detail in the first book of Macca_
bees. He brought the Jews into great prosperity; he expelled
the Syrian garrison from the tower in Jerusalem, and occupied
Joppa as a seaport. The territory of the Jews was greatly
enlarged. If Judas was the hero of the Maccabees, and Jona_
than was the diplomatist, surely Simon was the great
statesman. I have not space to tell of all his great deeds, but
will give from the first book of Maccabees a pleasing bit of his
Then did they till their ground in peace, and the earth gave her
increase, and the trees of the field their fruit. The ancient men sat all in the streets, communing together of good things, and the young men put on glorious and warlike apparel. He provided victuals for the cities, and set in them all manner of munition so that his honorable name was renowned unto the end of the world. He made peace in the land, and Israel rejoiced with great joy. For every man sat under his vine and fig tree, and there was none to fray them; neither was there any left in the land to fight against them; yea, the kings themselves were overthrown in those days. Moreover, he strengthened all his people that were brought low. He searched out the law, and every dissenter of the law and wicked person he took away. He beautified the sanctuary and all the temple, and multiplied its vessels. [He is the last of the Maccabean brothers. His brother John was killed by the Arabians.]
We now relate the tragic termination of Simon’s life. His
son_in_law, Ptolemy, was a governor of Jericho, and this son_
in_law aspired to occupy the priesthood and the generalship
held by Simon. He invited Simon to visit him. Simon went and
took his wife, his eldest son, Judas, and his youngest son,
Mattathias, with him. His most illustrious son, John Hyrcanus,
was, fortunately, not with him. Ptolemy infamously murdered
Simon and the two sons, and John Hyrcanus came with an
army to punish him. Ptolemy led John’s mother out on the
walls and threatened to put her to death if John did not retire
from his position. His mother implored him to storm the place
and not to mind her being killed. But he could not stand to
bring his mother to death, and turned away. Then Ptolemy
killed the mother anyhow and fled the country. I am sorry that
we have no record of his being hanged.
John Hyrcanus, the son of Simon, is now made the high
priest and commander_in_chief, and under him Judea wonder_
fully enlarged its territory. He destroyed the Samaritan temple
and the city so that one could not tell where the city ever
stood. He invaded Edom, the home of Esau, and annexed it to
Jacob. Little did he think that in thus uniting Esau with Jacob
he was arranging unwittingly for the placing of an Edomite
on the throne of Judea, Antipas, an Edomite, was made local
governor of Edom, to be succeeded by his son Antipater, whose
policy will be considered in the last chapter on this inter_bibli_
cal period. John was now at the height of his power and influ_
ence, but a quarrel was developed between him and the
I here stop to make some explanation of the three Jewish
sects – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The
Pharisees were derived from the scribes. The scribes originated
with Ezra, and the Pharisees were a development of the
scribes. They held as binding the written Bible and the oral
traditions. These oral traditions, as they claimed, were handed
down from Moses, and afterward were embodied in the Tal_
mud. Now, there are some good things about them. They be_
lieved in the resurrection of the dead, in the immortality of the
soul, in the existence of angels; they kept alive the hope of a
coming personal Messiah. But they became intense ritualists
Now, the Sadducees. The word means simply Zadokites, that
is, they claim to be the followers of the high priest, Zadok,
away back yonder in Solomon’s time. As the Pharisees were
derived from the scribes, the Sadducees were derived
from the priests. The Sadducees rightly held to the
written Bible only, and rejected all traditions. But they were
sceptics; they did not believe in angels, nor in spirits, nor in
the immortality of the soul, nor in the resurrection of the
body. In the next place, they were simply a political party;
they believed in religion as an institution, but not as an in_
spiration. Like many politicians now that think they should
hold on to religion to keep the people under control, but do not
believe in it for themselves.
The Essenes were neither a political nor an ecclesiastical
party. They were rather a monastic order. They abjured
marriages; they were vegetarians; they would not eat any
meat, and would not let a woman come into the settlement at
all. They perpetuated themselves by adopting children and
training them to be monks. They would not go into trade nor
commerce, and, like the Quakers, would not take an oath. They
were the Pharisees gone to seed. They prayed, but, like the
ancient Persians, they prayed toward the sun and not toward
I have not space to relate in detail the illustrious deeds of
John Hyrcanus. He was the last great Maccabee. The illus_
trious members of the family were as follows: Old Mattathias,
who led in the rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes; the
great Judas, who succeeded him; Jonathan, who followed
Judas; Simon, who followed Jonathan; and John Hyrcanus,
the son of Simon, who followed his father. John Hyrcanus died
about 105 B.C. His sons were the first to crown themselves as
kings. There were none of them equal to or worthy of
the five great Maccabees whose names have been given above.
While the sons of John were ruling, Rome comes upon the
scene and history rapidly develops until the coming of our
1. What the name and extent of the period discussed in this chapter?
2. At what point did the last chapter close?
3. Describe the occasion of the battle at Beth_Zecharias.
4. Tell of the death of Bleazar, the brother of Judas.
5. What prompted Lyaias to advise Antiochus to make peace with
Judas, and what the result of the peace?
6. .From this time on, what the nature of the war between the Mac_
cabees and Syria?
7. Tell how Demetrius I became king at Antioch.
8. Whom did he appoint to be high priest, and why did the Phari_
sees accept him?
9. What outrage was committed by this high priest which caused
Judas to drive him out of Jerusalem?
10. What the occasion of another invasion of Judea by the Syrians?
Describe the battle of Capharsalama.
11. What two noted embassies were sent out by Judas?
12. Give the treaty between the Romans and the Maccabees.
13. Give the transcript of the letter from the Lacedaemoniana.
14. Describe the battle of Eleasa and the death of Judas.
15. Who succeeded Judas aa high priest and commander_in_chief?
16. Give the history of the temple in Egypt at Leontopolis.
17. What new claimant for the throne at Antioch?
18. Describe the third marriage between the Ptolemies and the
Seleucids, and the ultimate result.
19. Toll of the tragic death of Jonathan, and who succeeded him.
20. What the fate of John, the brother of Simon?
21. What the relative excellencies of Judas, Jonathan, and Simon?
22. Give the quotation from I Maccabees showing a pleasant part
of the history of Simon.
23. Give an account of the tragic death of Simon.
24. What the great achievement of John Hyrcanus, son of Simon?
25. Give some account of the three Jewish sects – the Pharisees, Sad_
ducees, and Essenes.
26. About what time did John Hyrcanus die?
27. Which one of his sons first became king of the Jews?
28. What may we say of the Asmonaean kings in comparison with
the five preceding Maccabees?
THE JEWS UNDER THE ROMANS AND HEROD
65 B.C. – The Birth of Christ
I commence this chapter with these opening remarks:
First, I have not been able, in the space allowed, to even
name all of the Jewish books of the period, nor to distinguish
sufficiently between them. The classifications of that literature
are: The Wisdom literature, such as Wisdom and Ecclesiasti_
cus; the Romance literature, such as Tobit and Judith; and the
Apocalyptic literature, such as Baruch and Enoch – though it
is doubtful if any part of Enoch was written before Christ;
and the spurious prophetic literature, such as the Sibylline
books and the imitation Psalter literature; the philosophic
literature of the Alexandrian Jews; and the historical litera_
ture, such as I and 2 Maccabees; and the forged epistolary lit_
erature, such as the letter of Jeremiah; and the literature of
forged prayers, such as those attributed to Manasseh and
Second, There has not been space enough to examine criti_
cally the discrepancies between Jewish historians on the one
hand and the Greek and Roman historians on the other hand.
Third, There has been such condensation of names and dates
and little chance to differentiate enough to make Jiving pictures
before the mind.
It will, therefore, be understood that these seven chapters do
not constitute a full discussion on the inter_biblical period, but
are intended merely as a guide to a more extended study of this
I will now give a very brief summary of the preceding six
1. The names, „Jews” and „Judaism,” came into promi_
nence with Ezra, the scribe, called the Second Moses.
2. With him also rose the order of the scribes, who were the
copyists, multipliers, and expounders of the sacred Scriptures,
and the synagogues as places of worship and biblical instruc_
tion, and the council of the elders, which later became the
3. With him also came the revival of the law, the sanctity
of the sabbath, the sanctity of the marriage relation, the per_
manent renunciation of idolatry by the Jews, and ever_increas_
ing hopes of immorality and of the coming of the Messiah.
4. The Judea of the restoration, after the Babylonian exile,
was a small territory around Jerusalem, not as big as some of
the counties of Texas, to be vastly enlarged under the Maccabees.
5. Following the refusal to recognize the Samaritans as
Jews, and the strict construction of the marriage law, arose the
Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizirn, which stood until
destroyed by John Hyrcanus.
6. Judea was subject to Persia until annexed by Alexander
the Great, 332 B. c.
7. After his death it was subject to Egypt, from 323 B.C. to
8. The greatest events under the Ptolemies were the transla_
tion of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek and the rise of Hel_
lenism, distinguishing the Hebrews from the Hellenists.
9. From 198 B. c. to 128 B. c. Judah was subject to the Seleu_
cids of Antioch.
10. The events of this subjection were: First, the attempt
of Antiochus IV, surnamed Epiphanes, to utterly destroy the
Jews’ religion, bringing the kingdom of God into greater peril
than ever in human history except in the days of Noah and in
the days of Elijah when he stood alone against the world.
Second, the heroic resistance of Mattathias and his five sons,
John, Simon, Judas, Eleazar, and Jonathan, all of them dying
violent deaths in the violent struggle, continued by John
Hyrcanus, son of Simon.
11. In these Maccabean wars the following great results
were obtained: (1) religious liberty by Judas Maccabeus; (2)
political independence by his brothers Jonathan and Simon and
by John Hyrcanus, son of Simon; (3) great expansion of the
Jewish territory until it almost reached the old boundaries of
David’s kingdom – this expansion included Samaria, Perea,
Galilee, Gilead, lturea, ldumea, and Philistia; (4) that Aris_
tobulus, son of John Hyrcanus, was the first to put on the royal
diadem; (5) in this period came to the front the three noted
Jewish sects – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes;
(6) that a Jewish temple was established in Egypt, which
lasted until A.D. 70, when the Jerusalem Temple was also
12. The kings of the Asmonaean Dynasty were unworthy of
their illustrious Maccabean ancestry.
The foregoing remarks refer to the preceding chapters on the
inter_biblical period, and we are now to consider the last
section of the period, from 65 B.C. to the birth of Christ, in
which Judea is subject to the Romans, and the Asmonaean
Dynasty is succeeded by Herod, sometimes called the Great,
an Idumaean, whose mother was an Arabian. The countries
now to the front are Rome, Pontus under Mithridates, Par_
this, which Rome never conquered, and the dying kingdoms of
the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. Let us glance now for a mom_
At this time Rome, as a republic, had become utterly corrupt.
Indeed, it was no longer a republic in any true sense. There is
the distinction between a democracy and a republic. In a pure
democracy the people rule directly; in a republic they rule
representatively. The United States is a republic, ever ap_
proaching a democracy. The Baptist churches are the only pure
democracies in the world. The Presbyterians have a republi_
can form of government; they govern by representatives. The
senate of Rome constituted its republican feature, and had
become the most corrupt oligarchy in history. They appointed
the proconsuls who governed all the provinces, except those
ruled by military appointees of Caesar. The tribunes, elected
by the citizens, constituted the only democratic element – but
the elections became a mere farce. The lands of Italy were now
owned by a few corrupt landlords who used up the resources
of the farms to support a vicious city life. The overwhelming
majority of the inhabitants of Italy were slaves, captives of
foreign wars, who tilled all the farms, built all the imposing
edifices, constituted the entire class of mechanics, artisans,
scribes, and domestics. These slaves were not of an inferior
race, but were the nobles, patriots, the picked men and women
of the conquered nations from all over the world, and in thou_
sands of instances far superior to their masters in education
and nobility. They had no legal rights. Their labor, their per_
sons, their honor, their lives, were absolutely at the disposal of
their luxurious, and oftentimes vicious masters. The sturdy
yoemanry had passed away. Those who were counted citizens,
and could vote for the tribune, did not work, and lived on
gratuitous distribution of rations and free shows. Whoever
could most liberally supply them with „bread and circuses”
could command their votes. Only by the spoils of conquered
nations, or by the spoils of robbery of subject provinces could
one have means enough to thus feed and amuse the pampered
and fickle body of so_called Roman citizens. Goldsmith, in
The Deserted Village, well says,
Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.
About the beginning of our period, Cicero, the great orator,
was consul exposing the Cataline conspiracy, in those famous
orations which are studied as a preparation for college. Three
men, by combination, controlled the world. This was the first
Roman Triumvirate, that is. three_man power. or three_man
government – Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompey, and Publius
Crassus. There were two formidable enemies of Rome at this
time – Mithridates, king of Pontus, and the Parthians from
the shores of the Caspian Sea. Pompey conquered Mithridates,
and also overthrew the last of the Seleucids at Antioch, wind_
ing up this division of the Greek Empire, and this brought him
in touch with Judea. Pompey besieged and captured Jerusalem
and pushed his way into the holy of holies, and was astounded
at what he found. Tacitus tells what he found: „He found
within no images of the gods, a vacant mercy seat, and an
Thus passed away the Asmonaean kingdom. The Jews never
forgave this impiety of Pompey. While the Asmonaean king_
dom passed away, members of the family yet remained for
some years, with a kind of princely dignity. The Jews were
more tolerant to Pompey’s fellow triumvir, Crassus, who nine
years later (54 B. c.), when governor of Syria, robbed the tem_
ple of all its treasures, amounting in cash value to about $10,_
000,000. A year later, 53 B.C. Crassus was defeated by the
Parthians, his army annihilated, and himself slain at the battle
of Carrhae. This downfall of Crassus the Jews interpreted as
the vengeance of the Almighty for his robbery of the Temple.
At any rate, this victory of the Parthians, 53 B. c., brought
about two results:
1. It opened the way for them to come in touch with Judea,
which I will tell about later.
2. It opened a way for the rupture between Caesar and
Pompey (49 B.C.), the other triumvirs, and which led to the
famous civil war which was settled at the battle of Pharsalia,
in which Caesar with 22,000 of his veterans defeated and
captured Pompey’s army of 50,000 men. Caesar’s grim old
veterans were told that Pompey’s legions were „city dandies,”
and hence were instructed to strike at their faces, since they
prided themselves so much on their good looks that to hit at
their prettiness scared them worse than to hit at their hearts.
Pompey fled to Egypt, and was assassinated as soon as he
stepped ashore. Caesar followed him, and was temporarily
snared by the witchery of the famous Cleopatra. Caesar is
now the ruler of the world.
ESAU AND ISHMAEL ON THE THRONE OF JACOB
IN THE PERSON OF HEROD, THE IDUMAEAN, WHOSE MOTHER WAS AN ARABIAN.
In a former chapter was recounted the final conquest of
Idumaea, or Edom, by John Hyrcanus, and its incorporation
into Judea, thus forcibly uniting Jacob and Esau. Antipas, a
shrewd and powerful Idumaean, was left as local governor of
the conquered Edom. He left as his successor a greater and
more unscrupulous son, Antipater. This Antipater had sided
with Pompey against Caesar, but when he learned the result
of the battle of Pharsalia, he flopped over to Caesar in the snap
of the fingers. He hurriedly gathered an army and rushed to
Caesar’s help at Alexandria, where Caesar was having a time
of it trying to conquer that great city, and so says Milne Rea:
„The Idumaean mouse helped the Roman lion, and the lion
was grateful.” On the rupture with Pompey, Caesar had re_
leased Aristobulus, one of the contesting Maccabees, and
loaned him to legions to create a diversion in Judea against
Pompey. Pompey’s friends poisoned Aristobulus and executed
his brother Alexander. Now, for the help rendered him at Alex_
andria, Caesar made Antipater a Roman citizen and procurator
of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Hyrcanus II was made high
priest and a Roman senator, and also was made hereditary
ethnarch, that is, subordinate governor. Antipater at once be_
gan to advance his family, as fathers are wont to do. His son,
Phasael, was made governor of Jerusalem, and his greater eon,
known later as Herod the Great, then just twenty_five years
old, was sent into Galilee to put down bands of desperadoes,
robbers, and religious zealots, who as patriots, sheltered them_
selves in caves and warred against Rome.
Many years ago Harper’s Magazine gave a richly illustrated
account of Herod’s successful war against these devoted Jews,
who so desperately resisted the Roman supremacy. From the
mountaintops Herod let down huge boxes, as big as a flat car,
by chains, filled with Roman soldiers, until they were just level
with the mouth of the caves, and there, swung in the air, these
grim Roman soldiers gained an entrance by desperate fighting,
killing and capturing these so_called robbers. If they had suc_
ceeded they would have passed into history with the fame of
William Tell, Sir William Wallace, or Francis Marion, and we
must not think of these men as ordinary robbers. Barabbas,
who was preferred to Christ, was this kind of robber – not an
ordinary highwayman – and one of the apostles was Simon the
Zealot. We may, therefore, understand why the Sanhedrin
summoned Herod, in this case, to answer at its bar for murder_
ing „free Jews,” who counted themselves patriots, and why
they later preferred Barabbas to Christ. The two so_called
thieves crucified with Christ were also of this kind. When
summoned to appear before the Sanhedrin, Herod came
with an armed band and overawed the court. Only one mem_
ber, Shammai, dared to move his condemnation, and before
the motion could be put the weak old Hyrcanus, the high
priest, the mere tool of Herod’s father, adjourned the court.
Soon after this Rome was turned into a bedlam by
THE ASSASSINATION OF CAESAR IN THE ROMAN SENATE
(March 15,44 B.C.)
Bedlam is the name for a madhouse. There was an old Eng_
lish madhouse called Bedlam, and ever since a madhouse has
been called a bedlam. Sixty senators, led by Brutus and Cas_
sius, participated in the murder of Caesar. Read Shakespeare’s
Julius Caesar, Froude’s Sketch of Caesar, and Mommsen’s His_
tory of Rome at this period. The senate was far more corrupt
than Caesar. It was impossible, out of such material, to re_
construct a republic, and this led to the second Roman Trium_
virate, to wit: Octavius Caesar, a nephew of Julius, and his
adopted son, Mark Antony, and Lepidus. Antipater was rais_
ing an army to help Brutus and Cassius when, in 43 B. c. the
Jews poisoned him. Herod, his son, would have followed his
father’s course, but at the famous battle of Philippi the in_
cipient republic perished, where Octavius and Antony defeated
Brutus and Cassius, who both committed suicide, as did the
great Cato somewhat later, in Africa. Mark Antony also cap_
tured and slew Cicero, who also favored the republic, just as he
was about to get into a boat to escape. There is a great paint_
ing of Cicero stopping out of his litter to meet his murderer.
Herod now cajoled Mark Antony, who commanded in the
East, and who against all Jewish accusations made both Herod
and Phasael tetrarchs under the nominal sovereignty of the
Maccabee, Hyrcanus II. This was 41 B.C.. Antigonus, the
younger son of Aristobulos and brother of Hyrcanus, claimed
the throne, and was supported by the Parthians. They made
him king, and upheld him in power for three years, 40 B.C., to
37 B.C., and for this time Judea was under control of the Par_
thians. With their help Antigonus, the last of the Asmonaean
kings, captured Jerusalem and with it Phasael and Hyrcanus.
He cut off the ears of Hyrcanus, the mutilation barring him
from the priesthood, and sent him to Babylon. Phasael com_
mitted suicide, and Herod fled to Masada at the southern end
of the Dead Sea, and left his women folk there with his brother
Joseph, and he himself went first to Egypt, and then to Rome,
telling how Antigonus welcomed the Parthians, the enemies of
Rome, and so cajoling both Octavius and Antony, and by a
decree of the senate was made king of Judea. Thus passed
away the Asmonaean line – or Maccabee line – and thus Herod,
the descendant of Esau, whose mother was a descendant of Ish_
mael, takes his seat on the throne of Jacob. Herod returned
with two Roman legions, and swelled the number to about
100,000 by enlisting renegade Jews, and besieged and captured
Jerusalem on the twenty_sixth anniversary of its capture by
Pompey. He also captured Antigonus, whom the Parthians
had put in power, and sent him to Antony at Antioch, who ex_
ecuted him. Antonv railed him „Antierona.” which is the fe_
male name for Antigonus. He thus changed his name to a
woman’s name because he cried and whined, but I have known
some women who would neither whine nor cry. Antony ex_
ecuted him, and that was the first time in history that a sov_
ereign of a nation suffered death under the ax of the Roman
THE REIGN OF HEROD, 37_4 B.C.
We now take up the reign of Herod from 37 B.C. to the birth
of Christ. Before he captured Jerusalem he had married the
beautiful Asmonaean princess, Mariarnne, hoping to secure
thereby the support of the favorers of the Maccabean line. The
marriage was unfortunate for this beautiful woman, for she
was persecuted by Herod’s sister, Salome, and by Cypros, his
Arabian mother. In the end – for these two women never
stopped – Herod was induced to murder his beautiful wife, the
only woman he ever loved – and he married a great many wom_
en – and later to murder his two sons by this wife. Remorse
for murdering the woman that he loved kept biting him like an
undying worm, and kept stinging him like a scorpion as long as
Here we can do no more than summarize his reign.
1. When he captured Jerusalem he put to death forty_three
members of the Sanhedrin, which had once summoned him to
2. He made Ananel, an obscure Jew of Babylon, high priest,
and when this raised a clamor he yielded and appointed the
brother of his wife, Mariarnne, a boy seventeen years of age,
very popular and very much beloved of the people.
3. There was an appeal by the people, by the Maccabean
women, to Cleopatra, who had completely ensnared Antony.
Influenced by Cleopatra, Antony summoned Herod to appear
before him at Alexandria, but having heard him, notwithstand_
ing that Cleopatra was against him, he dismissed the charges
against him, and added Coele_Syria to his kingdom. Nearly
everybody would be willing to be put on trial if followed by
such a verdict as that.
4. When on the death of Lepidus civil war was waged be_
tween the two remaining triumvirs, Herod sided with Antony,
but the great sea battle at Actum decided the war in favor of
Octavius, 31 B.C.
5. Herod instantly flopped over to the other side, sought Oc_
tavius in the Island of Rhodes, cajoled him, was confirmed in
his kingdom, and in the next year Octavius enlarged his ter_
ritory by adding Gadara, Hyppo, Samaria, and the seaports of
Joppa, Anthedon, Gaza, and a place called Straton’s Tower,
which afterward became the Caesarea of the New Testament.
6. Soon after this, Herod, as I have said, put to death his
wife, the beautiful Maccabean princess, and mother of two
sons, 28 B. c., and one year later he executed her mother, Alex_
7. He began to Hellenize the country by erecting in Jeru_
salem a Grecian theater, and an enormous amphitheater, and
instituted Grecian games and gladiatorial combats. He erected
heathen temples in all the new cities that he built, particularly
Caesarea and old Samaria. Herod rebuilt that and called it
Sebaste, in honor of Augustus. He erected a splendid palace in
Jerusalem, which we read about in the New Testament, and
he also erected that famous tower of Antonia, which we also
read about in the New Testament, and which commanded the
approach of the Temple.
8. Feeling that he was hated of all men, he sought to regain
popularity by the Roman method of free distribution of bread,
and as this was in the time of both famine and pestilence, he
did thereby regain much popular favor.
9. But his greatest exploit in this direction was the restora_
tion and enlargement of the Temple built five centuries before
by Zerubbabel. This mighty enterprise, far superior to either
Solomon’s Temple or the one by Zerubbabel, was commenced
20 B.C., and was not finally completed until A.D. 65, which was
just live years before Titus destroyed it. This is the famous
temple whose huge stones excited the wonder of the apostles,
and called forth our Lord’s great prophecy in Matthew 24_25,
and which Christ twice purified, once at the beginning and once
at the end of his ministry.
10. Herod murdered his two sons by Mariarnne, where their
mother before them had been’ murdered.
11. He was now the subject of a loathsome disease, some_
what like what we now call the bubonic plague. His life was
12. He put to death his son, Antipater, by his first wife
Doris, which caused Octavius (now Augustus Caesar) to say,
„It is safer to be Herod’s swine than his son,” for a superstition
kept him from killing a hog.
13. In 4 B.C. he slaughtered the infants at Bethlehem, so
graphically told in Matthew 2:16_18, in an effort to destroy
him who was „born King of the Jews,” and for whom the angels
sang their great Christmas hymn. His own death was as horri_
ble as that of Antiochus Epiphanes, or that of his grandson,
Herod, told about in Acts 12, who died eaten up by worms,
while the word of God lived and prospered.
Just a glance at his character. He is not entitled to be called
„the Great.” He was a shrewd politician, easily cajoling greater
men than himself, as he did Julius Caesar and Antony, and
Augustus Caesar, and was never himself cajoled by Cleopatra,
though she tried her best on him, and she did captivate Julius
Caesar and Antony, though she failed when she tried her
charms on Augustus Caesar. Herod wanted to kill her in the
interest of Antony when she visited him some time before this
near Jerusalem. And he doubtless regretted that he allowed
his friends to overpersuade him not to kill her. He was a fear_
less man, and a really great soldier.
He was a great builder. Look at the great city he built up at
the source of the Jordan. Look at the city of Samaria. Look at
the city of Caesarea. Look at that great temple and the tower
of Antonia. He was an unscrupulous murderer. He was not a
persecutor of the Jews’ religion, like Antiochus Epiphanes,
though he had no religion himself, and had no respect for any
My last remark is concerning his descendants mentioned in
the New Testament. The tetrarch, Philip of Luke 3:1, the
Archelaus of Matthew 2:22, the Herod Antipas who murdered
John the Baptist (Mark 6:14) and who mocked Christ when
sent to him by Pilate – these were all his sons. The Herod who
murdered James (Acts 12) was his grandson. The Drusilla who
sat with Felix when Paul was tried (Acts 24), and the Agrippa
and Bernice, before whom Paul appeared, were his great_
1. Give the title and extent of the last section of the inter_biblical period.
2. Why may not these seven chapters constitute a full course on
the inter_biblical period?
3. Classify the Jewish literature of the period.
4. Give a summary of the six preceding chapters.
5, What nations to the front in this last section of the period?
6. State the conditions at Rome at the beginning of this section.
7. Who constituted the first great Triumvirate at Rome?
8. What the results of the war with Mithridates?
9. Describe the end of the Seleucids’ Empire at Antioch and its effect on Judea.
10. When did Pompey capture Jerusalem?
11. Of what sacrilege was he guilty, and how does Tacitus describe
what he found?
12. How many Jews did Pompey deport as slaves to Rome, and how
did this possibly affect the citizenship?
13. Who nine years later robbed the temple of all its treasures?
14. What the fate of the triumvir, Crassus, and what the two great
15. When and where was the issue between Caesar and Pompey de_
cided, and what the fate of Pompey?
16. What the last division of this section of the inter_biblical period?
17. When Edom was incorporated into Judea, what Idumaean was
made local governor?
18. Who his greater and more unscrupulous successor?
19. What the part played by Antipater in the war between Caesar and
Pompey, and by what rapid change and help extended did he secure
the friendship of Caesar?
20. State the honors conferred upon Antipater by Caesar.
21. State how Antipater advanced his family.
22. What magazine a few years ago gave a richly illustrated account
of Herod’s war against the Galilean Jews, and how was the war
conducted to a successful issue?
23. If these zealots and so_called robbers had been successful, with
what illustrious names would they have been classified?
24. What the result of the Sanhedrin’s summoning Herod to answer
for destroying these Galileans?
25. What great event March 15, 44 B.C., converted Rome into a bedlam?
26. Give the names of the second Roman Triumvirate.
27. What four illustrious Romans opposed the Triumvirate?
28. When and where was decided the great issue between the Repub_
licans and the Triumvirate?
29. What the fate of Brutus, Cassius, Cato, and Cicero respectively?
30. With what party did Antipater sympathize?
31. After the assassination of Antipater, how did Herod, who succeeded
his father, cajole Mark Antony, and what honors were received?
32. Show how the Parthians came in touch with Judea, and whom
they placed on the throne at Jerusalem.
33. When Antigonus became the governor of Jerusalem, what the result to the Herodian family?
34. By what experiment did Herod turn the scales? How did he
conquer Jerusalem, and what the fate of Antigonus.?
35. What the period of the reign of Herod?
36. Tell the story of Mariarnne, his Maccabean wife, and of her two
sons by Herod.
37. When Herod captured Jerusalem, how did he avenge on the San_
hedrin their once summoning him to trial?
38. Give the relations between Herod and Cleopatra, queen of Egypt.
39. When on the death of Lepidus civil war was waged between Oc_
taviua Caesar and Antony, with which side did Herod align himself?
40. What great sea battle decided the war in favor of Octavius, and
what its date?
41. After this battle, how did Herod cajole Octavius and what new
honors were conferred upon him?
42. How did Herod attempt to Hellenize the country?
43. By what two great expedients did Herod seek to placate the
hatred of the people?
44. What loathsome disease now came upon him?
45. What remark was made by Augustus Caesar when Herod put to
death his son Antipater, by his first wife Doris?
46. What his last murderous exploit, and where in the New Testament
do we find an account of it?
47. Give a summary of Herod’s character.
48. Give the proofs that he was a great builder.
49. Name his descendants and their part in New Testament history.