on Daniel 11 :17
He shall also set his face to enter - Antiochus purposed to have marched his army into Egypt; but he thought it best to proceed by fraudulence, and therefore proposed a treaty of marriage between him and his daughter Cleopatra, called here the daughter of women, because of her great beauty and accomplishments. And this he appeared to do, having "upright ones with him." Or, as the Septuagint have it και ευθεια παντα μετ' αυτου ποιησει, "and he will make all things straight with him;" that is, he acted as if he were influenced by nothing but the most upright views. But he intended his daughter to be a snare to Ptolemy, and therefore purposed to corrupt her that she might betray her husband.
But she shall not stand on his side - On the contrary, her husband's interests became more dear to her than her father's; and by her means Ptolemy was put upon his guard against the intentions of Antiochus.
on Daniel 11 :17
He shall also set his face - Antiochus. That is, he shall resolve or determine. To set one's face in any direction is to determine to go there. The meaning here is, that Antiochus, flushed with success, and resolved to push his conquests to the utmost, would make use of all the forces at his disposal to overcome the Egyptians, and to bring them into subjection to his sway. He had driven Scopas from Coelo-Syria, and from Sidon; had subjected the land of Palestine to his control; and now nothing seemed to prevent his extending his conquests to the utmost limits of his ambition. The reference here is to a "purpose" of Antiochus to wage war with Egypt, and to invade it. From that purpose, however, he was turned, as we shall see, by his wars in Asia Minor; and he endeavored, as stated in the subsequent part of the verse, if not to subdue Egypt and to bring it under his control, at least to neutralize it so that it would not interfere with his wars with the Romans. If his attention had not been diverted, however, by more promising or more brilliant prospects in another direction, he would undoubtedly have made an immediate descent on Egypt itself.
With the strength of his whole kingdom - Summoning all the forces of his empire. This would seem to be necessary in invading Egypt, and in the purpose to dethrone and humble his great rival. The armies which he had employed had been sufficient to drive Scopas out of Palestine, and to subdue that country; but obviously stronger forces would be necessary in carrying the war into Egypt, and attempting a foreign conquest.
And upright ones with him - Margin, "or, much uprightness, or, equal conditions." The Hebrew word used here (ישׁר yâshâr) means, properly, "straight, right;" then what is straight or upright - applied to persons, denoting their righteousness or integrity, Job 1:1, Job 1:8; Psalm 11:7. By way of eminence it is applied to the Jewish people, as being a righteous or upright people - the people of God - and is language which a Hebrew would naturally apply to his own nation. In this sense it is undoubtedly used here, to denote not the "pious" portion, but the nation as such; and the meaning is, that, in addition to those whom he could muster from his own kingdom, Antiochus would expect to be accompanied with large numbers of the Hebrews - the "upright" people - in his invasion of Egypt. This he might anticipate from two causes,
(a) the fact that they had already rendered him so much aid, and showed themselves so friendly, as stated by Josephus in the passage referred to above; and
(b) from the benefits which he had granted to them, which furnished a reasonable presumption that they would not withhold their aid in his further attempts to subdue Egypt.
The Jews might hope at least that if Egypt were subjected to the Syrian scepter, their own country, lying between the two, would be at peace, and that they would no more be harassed by its being made the seat of wars - the battlefield of two great contending powers. It was not without reason, therefore, that Antiochus anticipated that in his invasion of Egypt he would be accompanied and assisted by not a few of the Hebrew people. As this is the natural and obvious meaning of the passage, and accords entirely with the sense of the Hebrew word, it is unnecessary to attempt to prove that the marginal reading is not correct. "Thus shall he do." That is, in the manner which is immediately specified. He shall adopt the policy there stated - by giving his daughter in marriage with an Egyptian prince - to accomplish the ends which he has in view. The reference here is to another stroke of policy, made necessary by his new wars with the Romans, and by the diversion of his forces, in consequence, in a new direction. The "natural" step after the defeat of the Egyptian armies in Palestine, would have been to carly his conquests at once into Egypt, and this he appears to have contemplated. But, in the meantime, he became engaged in wars in another quarter - with the Romans; and, as Ptolemy in such circumstances would be likely to unite with the Romans against Antiochus, in order to bind the Egyptians to himself, and to neutralize them in these wars, this alliance was proposed and formed by which he connected his own family with the royal family in Egypt by marriage.
And he shall give him - Give to Ptolemy. Antiochus would seek to form a matrimonial alliance that would, for the time at least, secure the neutrality or the friendship of the Egyptians.
The daughter of women - The reference here is undoubtedly to his own daughter, Cleopatra. The historical facts in the case, as stated by Lengerke (in loc.), are these: After Antiochus had subdued Coelo-Syria and Palestine, he became involved in wars with the Romans in Asia Minor, in order to extend the kingdom of Syria to the limits which it had in the time of Seleucus Nicator. In order to carry on his designs in that quarter, however, it became necessary to secure the neutrality or the cooperation of Egypt, for Ptolemy would naturally, in such circumstances, favor the Romans in their wars with Antiochus. Antiochus, therefore, negotiated a marriage between his daughter Cleopatra and Ptolemy Epiphanes, the son of Ptolemy Philopater, then thirteen years of age. The valuable consideration in the view of Ptolemy in this marriage was, that, as a dowry, Coelo-Syria, Samaria, Judea, and Phoenicia were given to her. - Josephus, "Ant." b. xii. ch. 4, Section 1. This agreement or contract of marriage was entered into immediately after the defeat of Scopas, 197 b.c. The contract was, that the marriage should take place as soon as the parties were of suitable age, and that Coelo-Syria and Palestine should be given as a dowry. The marriage took place 193 b.c., when Antiochus was making preparation for his wars with the Romans. - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," ch. ix. Section 89, p. 246. In this way the neutrality of the king of Egypt was secured, while Antiochus prosecuted his work against the Romans. The appellation here bestowed on Cleopatra - "daughter of women" - seems to have been given to her by way of eminence, as an heiress to the crown, or a princess, or as the principal one among the women of the land. There can be no doubt of its reference to her.
Corrupting her - Margin, as in Hebrew, "to corrupt." There has been some doubt, however, in regard to the word "her," in this place, whether it refers to Cleopatra or to the kingdom of Egypt. Rosenmuller, Prideaux, J. D. Michaelis, Bertholdt, Dereser, and others, refer it to Cleopatra, and suppose that it means that Antiochus had instilled into her mind evil principles, in order that she might betray her husband, and that thus, by the aid of her arts, he might obtain possession of Egypt. On the other hand, Lengerke, Maurer, DeWette, Havernick, Elliott ("Apocalypse," iv. 130), and others, suppose that the reference is to Egypt, and that the meaning is, that Antiochus was disposed to enter into this alliance with a view of influencing the Egyptian government not to unite with the Romans and oppose him; that is, that it was on his part an artful device to turn away the Egyptian government from its true interest, and to accomplish his own purposes.
The latter agrees best with the connection, though the Hebrew will admit of either construction. As a matter of fact, "both" these objects seem to have been aimed at - for it was equally true that in this way he sought to turn away the Egyptian government and kingdom from its true interests, and that in making use of his daughter to carry out this project, it was expected that she would employ artifice to influence her future husband. This arrangement was the more necessary, as, in consequence of the fame which the Romans had acquired in overcoming Hannibal, the Egyptians had applied to them for protection and aid in their wars with Antiochus, and offered them, as a consideration, the guardianship of young Ptolemy. This offer the Romans accepted with joy, and sent M. Aemilius Lepidus to Alexandria as guardian of the young king of Egypt. - Polybius, xv. 20; Appian, "Syriac." i. 1; Livy, xxxi. 14; xxx. 19; Justin, xxx. 2, 3; xxxi. 1. The whole was, on the part of Antiochus, a stroke of policy; and it could not be accomplished without what has been found necessary in political devices - the employment of bribery or corruption. It accords well with the character of Antiochus to suppose that he would not hesitate to instil into the mind of his daughter all his own views of policy.
But she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him - That is, she would become attached to her husband, and would favor his interests rather than the crafty designs of her father. On this passage, Jerome remarks: "Antiochus, desirous not only of possessing Syria, Cilicia, and Lycia, and the other provinces which belonged to Ptolemy, but of extending also his own scepter over Egypt itself, betrothed his own daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy, and promised to give as a dowry Coelo-Syria and Judea. But he could not obtain possession of Egypt in this way, because Ptolemy Epiphanes, perceiving his design, acted with caution, and because Cleopatra favored the purposes of her husband rather than those of her father." So Jahn ("Heb. Commonwealth," p. 246) says: "He indulged the hope that when his daughter became queen of Egypt, she would bring the kingdom under his influence; but she proved more faithful to her husband than to her father."
on Daniel 11 :17