on Daniel 11 :23
He shall come up - From Rome, where he had been a hostage for the payment of the tax laid on his father.
Shall become strong with a small people - At first he had but few to espouse his cause when he arrived at Antioch, the people having been greatly divided by the many claimants of the crown; but being supported by Eumenes and Attalus, his few people increased, and he became strong.
on Daniel 11 :23
And after the league made with him - A treaty of peace and concord. The great subject of contention between the kings of Syria and Egypt was the possession of Coelo-Syria and Palestine. This they often endeavored to settle by conquest as each of them claimed that in the original partition of the empire of Alexander this portion of the empire fell to himself; and often they endeavored to settle it by treaty. Consequently this region was constantly passing from one to the other, and was also the seat of frequent wars. The "league" here referred to seems to have been that respecting this country - file successive promises which had been made to the king of Egypt that Coelo-Syria and Palestine should be made over to him. These provinces had been secured to Ptolemy Lagus by the treaty made 301 b.c., and they had been again pledged by Antiochus the Great, in dowry, when his daughter Cleopatra should be made queen of Egypt. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 260. Antiochus Epiphanes, however, was by no means disposed to confirm this grant, and hence, the wars in which he was involved with the Egyptians.
He shall work deceitfully - In reference to the covenant or treaty above referred to. He shall endeavor to evade its claims; he shall refuse to comply with its conditions; he shall not deliver up the provinces according to the terms of the compact. The history accords exactly with this, for he did not intend to comply with the terms of the treaty, but sought every means to evade it, and finally waged a succession of bloody wars with Egypt. In reference to the terms of this treaty, and to secure their respective interests, both parties sent ambassadors to Rome to urge their claims before the Roman Senate. - Polybius, "Legat." Sections 78, 82; Jerome, "Com. in loc." As soon as Ptolemy Philometor had reached his fourteenth year, he was solemnly invested with the government; and ambassadors from all surrounding countries came to congatulate him on His accession to the throne. "On this occasion Antiochus sent to Egypt Apollonius, the son of Mnestheus, apparently to congratulate the king on his coronation, but with the real intention of sounding the purposes of the Egyptian court. When Apollonius, on has return, informed Antiochus that he was viewed as an enemy by the Egyptians, he immediately sailed to Joppa to survey his frontiers toward Egypt, and to put them in a state of defense." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth" p. 260; 2 Macc. 4:21.
The purpose of Antiochus was undoubtedly not to surrender Coelo-Syria and Palestine according to the treaties which had been made; and yet he designed to secure them if possible without an open rupture, and hence, his arts of diplomacy, or his efforts to evade compliance with the terms of the compact. Even when he had invaded Egypt, and had obtained possession of the king, Ptolemy Philometor, he still "pretended that he had come to Egypt solely for the good of king Ptolemy, to set the affairs of his kingdom in order for him; and Ptolemy found it expedient to act as though he really thought him his friend. But he must have seen," says Jahn, "that Antiochus, with all his professions of friendship, was not unmindful of spoil, for he plundered Egypt in every quarter." - "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 263.
For he shall come up - Come upon Egypt. The result would be war. Rather than surrender the provinces according to the treaty, he would ultimately invade Egypt, and carry war into its borders.
And shall become strong with a small people - The meaning of this seems to be, that at first his own forces would be small; that he would go up in such a way as not to excite suspicion, but that, either by an increase of his forces there, by uniting himself to confederates, by alluring the people by the promise of rewards, or by gradually taking one town after another and adding them to his dominions, he would become strong. Jahn (Heb. Commonwealth, p. 263) says, "with a small body of troops he made himself master of Memphis, and of all Egypt as far as Alexandria, almost without striking a blow." Compare Diod. Sic. xxvi. 75, 77; Jos. "Ant." xii. 5, 2. The fact in the case was, that Antiochus pretended in his invasion of Egypt to be the friend of the Egyptian king, and that he came to aid him, and to settle him finaly on the throne. By degrees, however, he became possessed of one town after another, and subdued one place after another, until he finally became possessed of the king himself, and had him entirely in his powcr.
on Daniel 11 :23
11:23 After the league - For he made a league with Egypt, and came with a few, (but chosen men) and took the passes, and put all in subjection to him.