on Daniel 11 :31
And arms shall stand on his part - After Antiochus, arms, that is, the Romans, shall stand up: for arms in this prophecy every where denote military potter, and standing up, the power in activity and conquering. Both Sir Isaac Newton and Bp. Newton agree, that what follows is spoken of the Romans. Hitherto Daniel has described the actions of the kings of the north and of the south, that of the kings of Syria and Egypt; but, upon the conquest of Macedon by the Romans, he has left off describing the actions of the Greeks, and begun to describe those of the Romans in Greece, who conquered Macedon, Illyricum, and Epirus, in the year of the era of Nabonassar, 580. Thirty-five years after, by the will of Attalus, they inherited all Asia westward of Mount Taurus; sixty-five years after they conquered the kingdom of Syria, and reduced it into a province; and thirty-four years after they did the same to Egypt. By all these steps the Roman arms stood up over the Greeks; and after ninety-five years more, by making war upon the Jews, they polluted the sanctuary of strength, - the temple, (so called by reason of its fortifications), and took away the daily sacrifice and placed the abomination that maketh desolate, or of the desolator; for that this abomination was thus placed after the time of Christ, appears from Matthew 24:15.
In the sixteenth year of the Emperor Adrian, a.d. 132, they placed this abomination by building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, where the temple of God in Jerusalem stood; upon which the Jews, under Barchocab, rose up against the Romans. But in this war they had fifty cities demolished, nine hundred and fifty of their best towns destroyed, and eighty thousand men were slain by the sword; and in the end of the war, a.d. 136, were banished Judea on pain of death; and thenceforth the land became desolate. See Observations on Daniel, and Bp. Newton on the Prophecies.
on Daniel 11 :31
And arms shall stand on his part - Up to this verse there is a general agreement among commentators, that the reference is to Antiochus Epiphanes. From this verse, however, to the end of the chapter, there is no little diversity of opinion. One portion suppose that the description of Antiochus and his deeds continues still to be the design of the prophet; another, that the Romans are here introduced, and that a part of the predictions in the remainder of this chapter are yet to be fulfilled; another, as Jerome, and most of the Christian fathers, suppose that the reference is to Antiochus as the type of Antichrist, and that the description passes from the type to the antitype. In this last class are found Bishop Newton, Gill, Calvin, Prideaux, Wintle, Elliott (Apocalyapse, iv. 137, following), and others; in the former, Grotius, Lengerke, Bertholdt, Maurer .... In this same class is found the name of Porphyry - who maintained that the whole referred to Antiochus, and that the allusion was so clear as to prove that this portion of the book was written "after" the events had occurred.
The reason suggested for the change in the supposed reference, as alleged by Bishop Newton "on the Prophecies," p. 296, is, substantially, that what follows can be applied only in part to Antiochus. Whether this portion of the chapter can be shown to refer to him, we shall be able to determine as we proceed. Nothing can be clearer than the allusion up to this point. The word rendered "arms," in the verse before us (זרעים zero‛ı̂ym - singular זרוע zerôa‛), means, properly, the arm - especially the lower arm below the elbow; and then comes to denote strength, might, power; and thence, is applied to a military force, or an army. See Daniel 11:15. Such is undoubtedly the meaning here, and the reference is to the military force which Antiochus would employ to wreak his vengeance on the Jews - particularly by the instrumentality of Apollonius. Others would apply this to the Romans, and suppose that they are introduced here; but this construction is forced and unnatural, for
(a) the reference in the previous verses was, undoubtedly, to Antiochus, and the narrative seems to proceed as if there were no change.
(b) There is nothing in the statement which does not agree with what was done by Antiochus.
As a matter of fact, as attested by all history, he detached Apollonius with twenty-two thousand men, on his mortified return to his own land, to attack and lay waste Jerusalem, and Apollonius did all that is here said would be done. Bishop Newton concedes (p. 294) that "this interpretation might be admitted, if the other parts were equally applicable to Antiochus; but," says he, "the difficulty, or rather impossibility of applying them to Antiochus, or any of the Syrian kings, his successors, obliges us to look out for another interpretation." Accordingly, he says that Jerome and the Christians of his time contend that these things apply to Antichrist; and he himself adopts the view proposed by Sir Isaac Newton, that it refers to the Romans, and that the allusion is to the fact that, at the very time when Antiochus retreated out of Egypt, the Romans conquered Macedonia, "putting an end to the reign of Daniel's third beast," and that the prophet here leaves off the description of the actions of the Greeks, and commences a description of those of the Romans in Greece. As, however, all that is "here" said is strictly applicable to what was done by Antiochus, such an interpretation is unnecessary.
And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength - The "sanctuary of strength" seems to refer to the fortifications or defenses that had been set up to protect Jerusalem, or the temple. At various points the temple was defended in this manner, not only by the walls of the city, but by fortifications erected within, and so as to prevent an army from approaching the temple, even if they should penetrate the outer wall. Compare 1 Macc. 1:36. The temple itself might thus be regarded as fortified, or as a place of strength - and, as a matter of fact, when Titus ultimately destroyed the city, the chief difficulty was to obtain possession of the temple - a place that held out to the last. When it is said that they would "pollute the sanctuary of strength," the reference is to what was done by Apollonius, at the command of Antiochus, to profane the temple, and to put an end to the sacrifices and worship there.
Compare 1 Macc. 1:29, 37-49; Jos. "Ant." b. xii. ch. v. Section 4. The account in the book of Maccabees is as follows: "Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary and defiled it, insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them, wherefore the city was made a habitation of strangers, and became strange to those who were born in her, and her own children left her. Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, and her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, her honor into contempt. As had been her glory, so was her dishonor increased, and her excellency was turned into mourning. Moreover, king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and every one should leave his laws; so all the pagan agreed, according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath. For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, that they should follow the strange laws of the land, and forbid burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and drink-offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days, and pollute the sanctuary and holy people; set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh and unclean beasts; that they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation, to the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances."
And shall take away the daily sacrifice - That is, shall forbid it, and so pollute the temple and the altar as to prevent its being offered. See the quotation above. This occurred in the month of June, 167 b.c. See Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," p. 267.
And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate - Margin, or, "astonisheth." The Hebrew word משׁמם meshomēm will bear either interpretation, though the usage of the word is in favor of the translation in the text. The passage will also admit of this translation - "the abomination of desolation of him who makes desolate," or "of the desolater." See Gesenius, "Lexicon" 3. The idea is, that somehow the thing here referred to would be connected with the "desolation," or the laying waste of the city and temple; and the sense is not materially varied whether we regard it as "the abomination that makes desolate," that is, that "indicates" the desolation, or, "the abomination of the desolater," that is, of him who has laid the city and temple waste. On the meaning of the phrase "abomination of desolation," see the notes at Daniel 9:27. The reference here is, undoubtedly, to something that Antiochus set up in the temple that was an indication of desolation, or the result of his having laid the temple in ruins.
The very expression occurs in 1 Macc. 1:54: "Now, the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred and forty-fifth year, they set up the "abomination of desolation" upon the altar, and builded idol-altars throughout the cities of Judah on every side." This would seem, from 1 Macc. 1:59, to have been an idol-altar erected "over" or "upon" the altar of burnt-offerings. "They did sacrifice upon the idol-altar, which was upon the altar of God." "At this time an old man, by the name of Athenaeus, was sent to Jerusalem to instruct the Jews in the Greek religion, and compel them to an observance of its rites. He dedicated the temple to Jupiter Olympius; and on the altar of Jehovah he placed a smaller altar, to be used in sacrificing to the pagan god." - Jahn, "Heb. Commonwealth," pp. 267, 268. The reference here is, probably, to this altar, as being in itself and in the situation where it was located an "abominable" thing in the eyes of the Hebrews, and as being placed there by a "desolater," or "waster." The same "language" which is used here is applied in Daniel 9:27, and in the New Testament, with great propriety to what the Romans set up in the temple as an indication of its conquest and profanation; but that fact does not make it certain that it is so to be understood "here," for it is as applicable to what Antiochus did as it is to what was done by the Romans. See the notes at Daniel 9:27.
on Daniel 11 :31
11:31 And arms - Not only of his own army, but many Jews. The sanctuary - Even the holy of holies. The abomination - The statue of Jupiter placed in the temple.