on Daniel 8 :23
When the transgressors are come to the full - When the utmost degradation has taken place, by the buying and selling of the high priesthood; for Onias was ejected for a sum of money, to make room for wicked Jason; and Jason again was supplanted for a greater sum by a worse man, if possible, than himself, Menelaus; and the golden vessels of the temple were sold to pay for this sacrilegious purchase. Thus transgressions were come to the full, before the Romans had commission to destroy Jerusalem and its temple, etc.
A king of fierce countenance - The Roman government, as before; for king is often taken for kingdom or empire.
Understanding dark sentences - Very learned and skillful in all things relating to government and its intrigues. The learning of Rome is proverbial to the present time.
on Daniel 8 :23
And in the latter time of their kingdom - When it shall be drawing to an end. All these powers were ultimately absorbed in the Roman power; and the meaning here is, that taking the time from the period of their formation - the division of the empire after the battle of Ipsus (see the notes at Daniel 8:8), until the time when all would be swallowed up in the Roman dominion, what is here stated - to wit, the rise of Antiochus - would be in the latter portion of that period. The battle of Ipsus was fought 301 b.c., and the Roman power was extended over all those regions gradually from 168 b.c. - the battle of Pydna, when Perseus was defeated, and Macedonia was reduced to a Roman province, to 30 b.c., when Egypt was subjected - the last of these kingdoms that submitted to the Roman arms. Antiochus began to reign, 175 b.c. - so that it was in the latter part of this period.
When the transgressors are come to the full - Margin, accomplished. That is, when the state of things - the prevalence of wickedness and irreligion in Judea - shall have been allowed to continue as long as it can be - or so that the cup shall be full - then shall appear this formidable power to inflict deserved punishment on the guilty nation. The sacred writers often speak of iniquity as being full - of the cup of iniquity as being full - as if there was a certain limit or capacity beyond which it could not be allowed to go. When that arrives, God interposes, and cuts off the guilty by some heavy judgment. Compare Genesis 15:16 : "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." Matthew 23:32 : "fill ye up then the measure of your fathers." 1 Thessalonians 2:16 : "to fill up their sins alway." The idea is, that there is a certain measure or amount of sin which can be tolerated, but beyond that the Divine compassion cannot go with safety to the universe, or consistently with the honor of God, and then the punishment may be expected; then punishment must come. This is true, doubtless, of individuals and nations, and this period had arrived in regard to the Jews when Antiochus was permitted to lay their temple, city, and country waste.
A king of fierce countenance - Stern and severe. This expression would be applicable to many who have held the kingly office, and no one can doubt that it may be applied with strict propriety to Antiochus.
And understanding dark sentences - Gesenius (Lexicon) explains the word here rendered "dark sentences" to mean artifice, trick, stratagem. This will better agree with the character of Antiochus, who was more distinguished for craft and policy than he was for wisdom, or for explaining enigmas. The meaning seems to be that he would be politic and crafty, seeking to make his way, and to accomplish his purpose, not only by the terror that he inspired, but by deceit and cunning. That this was his character is well known. Compare the notes at Daniel 8:25.
Shall stand up - Shall succeed, or there shall be such a king.
on Daniel 8 :23
8:23 In the latter time - When they were come to the height, and beginning to decline. When the transgressors - When the Jews were grown to an excess of wickedness, then God suffered Antiochus to persecute them. Dark sentences - Full of subtilty: such all histories declare Antiochus to be.