on Daniel 11 :20
Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes - Seleucus Philopater succeeded his father Antiochus. He sent his treasurer Heliodorus to seize the money deposited in the temple of Jerusalem, which is here called the glory of the kingdom, see 2 Maccabees 9:23. He was so cramped to pay the annual tax to the Romans, that he was obliged to burden his subjects with continual taxes.
He shall be destroyed, neither in anger - fighting against an enemy, nor in battle - at the head of his troops; but basely and treacherously, by the hand of Heliodorus his treasurer, who hoped to reign in his stead.
on Daniel 11 :20
Then shall stand up in his estate - Margin, "or, place." The word used - כן kên - means, properly, "a stand, station, place" (see the notes at Daniel 11:7), and the idea here is simply that he would be succeeded in the kingdom by such an one. His successor would have the character and destiny which the prophecy proceeds to specify.
A raiser of taxes - One who shall be mainly characterized for this; that is, whose government would be distinguished eminently by his efforts to wring money out of the people. The Hebrew word נגשׂ nâgas' means, properly, to urge, to drive, to impel, and it is then applied to one who urges or presses a debtor, or who exacts tribute of a people. The word is used with reference to "money" exactions in Deuteronomy 15:2-3 : "Every creditor that lendeth aught unto his neighbor, he shall not exact it of his neighbor or of his brother. Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again." So in 2 Kings 23:35, Jehoiakim taxed the land "to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land." In Zechariah 9:8 - "And no oppressor shall pass through them anymore" - the same word is used. Here it denotes one who would be mainly characterized by his extorting tribute of his people, or using means to obtain money.
In the glory of the kingdom - The word "in" here is supplied by our translators. Lengerke renders it, "who shall suffer the tax-gatherer (eintreiber) to go through the glory of the kingdom." This is evidently the meaning. He would lay the richest and most productive parts of his kingdom under contribution. This might be either to pay a debt contracted by a former monarch; or to carry on war; or to obtain the means of luxurious indulgence; or for purposes of magnificence and display.
But within few days - A comparatively brief period. Compare Genesis 27:44; Genesis 29:20. It is impossible from this to determine the precise period which he would live, but the language would leave the impression that his would be a short reign.
He shall be destroyed - Hebrew, "shall be broken. That is, his power shall be broken." he shall cease to reign. It would not be certainly inferred from this that he would be put to death, or would die at that time, but that his reign then would come to an end, though it might be in some peaceful way.
Neither in anger - Hebrew, "angers." Not in any tumult or excitement, or by any rage of his subjects. This would certainly imply that his death would be a peaceful death.
Nor in battle - As many kings fell. The description would indicate a reign of peace, and one whose end would be peace, but who would have but a brief reign. The reference here is, undoubtedly, to Seleucus Philopator, the oldest son of Antiochus the Great, and his immediate successor. The fulfillment of the prediction is seen in the following facts in regard to him:
(a) As an exactor of tribute. He was bound to pay the tribute which his father had agreed to pay to the Romans. This tribute amounted to a thousand talents annually, and consequently made it necessary for him to apply his energies to the raising of that sum. The Jewish talent of silver was equal to (in the 1850's) about 1,505 of American money (about 339 British pounds), and, consequently, this thousand talents, of the Jewish talent of silver here referred to, was equal to (in 1850's) about a million and a half dollars. The Greek talent of silver was worth (in 1850's) 1,055 of American money (about 238 British pounds), and, if this was the talent, the sum would be about one million dollars. To raise this, in addition to the ordinary expenses of the government, would require an effort, and, as this was continued from year to year, and as Seleucus was known for little else, it was not unnatural that the should be characterized as the "raiser of taxes."
(b) Especially would this be true in the estimation of the Jews, for no small part of these taxes, or this revenue, was derived from Palestine. Seleucus, taking advantage of the disturbances in Egypt, had reunited to the Syrian crown the provinces of Coelo-Syria and Palestine, which his father Antiochus the Great had given in dowry to his daughter Cleopatra, who was married to Ptolemy Epiphanes. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 255. In the year 176 b.c., Simon, a Benjamite, who became governor of the temple at Jerusalem, the farmer of the revenues of the Egyptian kings, attempted to make some innovations, which were steadily resisted by the high priest Onias III Simon, in anger, went to Apollonius, governor of Coelo-Syria under Seleucus, and informed him of the great treasures contained in the temple. "The king," says Jahn ("Heb. Commonwealth," p. 255), "through a friend to the Jews, and though he had regularly made disbursements, according to the directions of his father, toward sustaining the expenses of the sacrifices at Jerusalem, determined to apply to his own use the treasures of the temple, for the annual payment of one thousand talents to the Romans had reduced his finances to a very low ebb. With the design, therefore, of replenishing his exhausted treasury, he sent Heliodorus to Jerusalem to plunder the temple." Compare Appian, "Syriac." xlv. 60-65. See also Prideaux, "Con." iii. 208; 2 Macc. 3. Besides this, the necessity of raising so much revenue would give him the character of a "raiser of taxes."
(c) This was done in what might properly be termed "the glory of his kingdom," or in what would, in the language of an Hebrew, be so called - Coelo-Syria and Palestine. To the eye of a Hebrew this was the glory of all lands, and the Jewish writers were accustomed to designate it by some such appellation. Compare the notes at Daniel 11:16.
(d) His reign continued but a short time - answering to what is here said, that it would be for a "few days." In fact, he reigned but eleven or twelve years, and that, compared with the long reign of Antiochus his father - thirty-seven years - was a brief period.
(e) The manner of his death. He did not fall in battle, nor was he cut off in a popular tumult. He was, in fact, poisoned. In the eleventh year of his reign, he sent his only son Demetrius as hostage to Rome, and released his brother Antiochus, who had resided twelve years in that city. As the heir to the crown was now out of the way, Heliodorus sought to raise himself to the royal dignity, and for this purpose he destroyed the king by poison. He attached a large party to his interests, and finally gained over those who were in favor of submitting to the king of Egypt. Antiochus Epiphanes received notice of these transactions while he was at Athens on his return from Rome. He applied himself to Eumenes, king of Pergamos, whom, with his brother Attalus, he easily induced to espouse his cause, and they, with the help of a part of the Syrians, deprived Heliodorus of his usurped authority. Thus, in the year 175 b.c., Antiochus Epiphanes quietly ascended the throne, while the lawful heir, Demetrius, was absent at Rome. Appian, "Syriac." lxv. 60-65; Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," ch. ix. Section 91. The remainder of this chapter is occupied with a detail of the crimes, the cruelties, and the oppressions of Antiochus Epiphanes, or Antiochus IV.
on Daniel 11 :20