Daniel 11

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Daniel 11 is the eleventh chapter in the Book of Daniel. It describes a series of conflicts between the unnamed King of the North and King of the South. The dream narrative begins in Chapter 10 and concludes in Chapter 12.


The date of composition as in the 2nd century BC was first drawn by the philosopher Porphyry of Tyros, a 3rd-century pagan and Neoplatonist, whose fifteen-volume work Against the Christians is only known to us through Jerome's reply. The identification of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel, however, is a much older[1] interpretation which seems to be reflected, for example, in 1 Maccabees 1:54 (c100 BC), where an idol of Zeus set up upon the altar of burnt offering under Antiochus is referred to as an "abomination of desolation" (cf. Dan. 9:27, 11:31).[2] This identification is made explicit in Josephus' exposition of Daniel chapter eight (Antiquities 10:11, c94 AD) where he almost certainly cites a common Jewish interpretative tradition by identifying the "little horn" as Antiochus. According to British historian Bryan Rennie, the conclusion that the Book of Daniel was written at the time of the profanation of the Temple by Antiochus IV would explain why the author is not very precise about 6th century events, why he is so precise about the time of Antiochus, and why he was never counted among the prophets.[3] Scholars are virtually unanimous in regarding the Book of Daniel as a message of encouragement to those people suffering for their faith (hasidim)[4] under the oppression of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.


The narrative setting takes place during the third year of Cyrus king of Persia on the twenty-fourth day of the first month. The prophet Daniel was on the banks of the Tigris River. When he looked up, he saw the figure of a man standing before him dressed in white linen. Although his companions fled in terror, they saw nothing. Daniel faints and has a dream where the angel Gabriel speaks of conflicts between the King of North and King of the South.

"King of the North" and "King of the South"[edit]

Coin of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The reverse shows Zeus(King of the Gods) enthroned carrying the Goddess Nike(Victory). The legend reads: "King Antiochus. God Manifest, Bearing Victory." In turning to Zeus Olympios, Antiochus neglected his ancestral god Tammuz/Adonis(cf Dan. 11:36-38, Eze 8:14)[13][14]

Critical scholars have asserted that the prophecies in the Book of Daniel reflect the persecutions of the Jews by the Greek Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled the Jews from 175–164 BC, and his desecration of the altar in the temple at Jerusalem, and consequently they date its composition to that period.[citation needed] In particular, the vision in Chapter 11, which focuses on a series of wars between the "King of the North" and the "King of the South", is generally interpreted as a record of Levantine history from the time of Alexander the Great down to the era of Antiochus IV, with the "Kings of the North" being the Seleucid kings of Syria and the "Kings of the South" being the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt.[citation needed]

In Hebrew numerology, the name Nebuchadnezzar contains a veiled reference to Antiochus Epiphanes sharing a numerical value in Gematria. Nebuchadnezzar's name in cuneiform is Nabû-kudurri-uṣur which is transliterated into Hebrew as נבוכדנאצר or Nebuwkadne'tstsar(as in Jeremiah 46:2; 39:11). When the numbers represented by "Nebuwkadne'tstsar" are added up, the result is (423) the same exact value for the numbers in the name "Antiochus Epiphanes".[3][15]


The Seleucid Empire in 200 BCE

Daniel 11:2,40-45 is considered non-historical by most scholars, who generally agree that the vaticinia ex eventu ceases at Daniel 11:39and that the remaining verses are genuine predictions, which do not accurately describe the events of the time.[28] After describing the "desecration of the Temple (Daniel 11:31) and the Maccabean revolt, the author predicts another attack from Egypt in which Antiochus will be victorious and capture the entire territory along with Libya and Ethiopia (Daniel 11:40-43).There is however no historical evidence for this. Instead, Antiochus went to Armenia, Babylonia, and Susa.[6]

The Hellenistic period of Jewish history began in 332 BCE when Alexander the Great defeated the last Persian king Darius III and conquered Persia.[29] Upon his death in 323 BCE, his empire was divided among his generals("Diadochi"). The entire region of Judea was heavily contested between the successor states of Alexander's empire, the satrapies of the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt, during the six Syrian Wars of the 3rd-1st centuries BCE: "After two centuries of peace under the Persians, the Hebrew state found itself once more caught in the middle of power struggles between two great empires: the Seleucid state with its capital in Syria to the north and the Ptolemaic state, with its capital in Egypt to the south...Between 319 and 302 BCE, Jerusalem changed hands seven times."[30]


In Christian historicism, Daniel's vision has been linked to events that occurred in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC concerning the struggle between the Ptolemies (the king of the south, cf 11:7-8) and the Seleucids (the king of the north) for the control of Judea, in which the Seleucids were eventually victorious.[45] Daniel 11:21-35 is devoted to the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes(the ruler of the Jews from 175-164 BCE), his rise to power, wars against Egypt, and his subsequent actions against Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jewish people. Daniel 11:3-39 is considered very accurate.[46] All major conflicts are mentioned, and the Sixth Syrian War is described in great detail.[6]

In Evangelicalism, the interpretation of the king mentioned in Daniel 11:36-45 is not the King of the North, but a fourth king who is identified as the Antichrist.[47] This one engages in the military conquests of verses 40-45 where he targets the land of Israel[v.41] The time of this attack is stated to be in the "end time". Some Evangelicals place this event during the first half of the Great Tribulation. They also link the identity of the kings to Isaiah 19:24, 25, which mentions Egypt and Syria (Assyria). Daniel 11:45 explains that after doing battle with Syria, the King of the North will return to Israel to establish his royal palace at "the beautiful Holy Mountain". This is interpreted to mean that the Antichrist will establish his headquarters on the Temple Mount.[48]


Chapter Parallel sequence of prophetic elements as understood by Historicists[49][50]
The Past Present The Future
Daniel 2 Head
Chest & 2 arms
Belly and thighs
2 Legs
2 Feet with toes
Clay & Iron
God's unending kingdom
left to no other people
Daniel 7 Winged Lion Lopsided Bear 4 Headed/4 Winged
Iron toothed beast
w/Little Horn
Judgment scene
Beast slain
A son of man comes in clouds
Given everlasting dominion
He gives it to the saints.[51]
Daniel 8 2-horned Ram
Uni- / 4-horned Goat
4 Winds (Greece)
Little Horn
A Master of Intrigue
Cleansing of Sanctuary
Leads to:
(Kingdom of God)
Daniel 11-12 Kings
North & South Kings
4 Winds (Greece)
North & South Kings
A Contemptible
Person of Intrigue
Pagan & Papal Rome
North & South Kings
End Times
Global religio-political
Michael stands up
Many dead awake
To everlasting life


  1. ^ Casey P.M, Porphyry and the origin of the Book of Daniel, Journal of Theological Studies, 1976, pp. 15-33
  2. ^ Horrible abomination: šiqqǔṣ šômēm in the original Hebrew, a contemptuous pun on the title 'baal hashshamayim' (Lord of heaven), title of the Semitic storm god Hadad with whom Zeus Olympius had been identified. cf. e.g., J.A. Montgomery, Daniel, p. 388
  3. ^ a b The Dating of the Book of Daniel, Bryan Rennie
  4. ^ Interpreting the Bible: a handbook of terms and methods, W. Randolph Tate, [1]
  5. ^ a b Swearingen 2006, p. 96.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Livius.org:Daniel 11 in Context
  7. ^ Stefanovic 2007, pp. 398-399.
  8. ^ Swearingen 2006, p. 98.
  9. ^ a b Stefanovic 2007, p. 399.
  10. ^ a b Swearingen 2006, p. 99.
  11. ^ Swearingen 2006, pp. 99,100.
  12. ^ Swearingen 2006, p. 101.
  13. ^ The Collegeville Bible commentary: based on the New American Bible, p. 568
  14. ^ Women in scripture: a dictionary of named and unnamed women in the Hebrew, p. 344
  15. ^ Introduction to the Bible By John Haralson Hayes, pp 285-286
  16. ^ Swearingen 2006, pp. 104.
  17. ^ a b c Swearingen 2006, pp. 105.
  18. ^ Grainger 1997, pp. 55–56.
  19. ^ a b c Swearingen 2006, pp. 106.
  20. ^ a b Swearingen 2006, pp. 107.
  21. ^ Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D p.144
  22. ^ a b c Swearingen 2006, pp. 108.
  23. ^ a b Swearingen 2006, p. 109.
  24. ^ Swearingen 2006, p. 110.
  25. ^ Swearingen 2006, pp. 110-111.
  26. ^ Swearingen 2006, pp. 111-112.
  27. ^ Swearingen 2006, pp. 112-113.
  28. ^ The Classification, Stages of Growth, and Changing Intentions in the Book of Daniel, John G. Gammie, p. 194, 1976
  29. ^ A contemporary account of the battle of Gaugamela, Livius.org
  30. ^ Hooker, Richard. "Yavan in the House of Shem. Greeks and Jews 332-63 BCE".  World Civilizations Learning Modules. Washington State University, 1999.
  31. ^ Swearingen 2006, p. 112.
  32. ^ Swearingen 2006, pp. 117-118.
  33. ^ a b c Swearingen 2006, p. 120.
  34. ^ a b c Swearingen 2006, p. 121.
  35. ^ Swearingen 2006, p. 122.
  36. ^ a b c Swearingen 2006, pp. 123-124.
  37. ^ Swearingen 2006, p. 126.
  38. ^ Philo of Alexandria, On the Embassy to Gaius II.10.
  39. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Caligula
  40. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Tiberius 75.
  41. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LIX.1.
  42. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Life of Caligula 15.
  43. ^ Pliny 5.1–5.2, Cassius Dio, 60.8, 60.9
  44. ^ Scramuzza, Chap. 9
  45. ^ New American Bible
  46. ^ H. H. Rowley, The Growth of the Old Testament, Harper: 1950, p. 158
  47. ^ editor, Tim LaHaye, Ed Hindson ; Wayne A. Brindle, managing (2006). The popular Bible prophecy commentary. Eugene, Or.: Harvest House Publishers. p. 259. ISBN 9780736916905. 
  48. ^ LaHaye, 2006, p. 262
  49. ^ Smith, U., 1944, Daniel and Revelation, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN
  50. ^ Anderson, A., 1975, Pacific PRess Pub. Assoc., Unfolding Daniel's Prophecies, Mountain View, CA
  51. ^ Daniel 7:13-27 see verses 13, 14, 22, 27
  52. ^ After table in Froom 1950, pp. 456–7
  53. ^ After table in Froom 1950, pp. 894-75
  54. ^ a b After table in Froom 1948, pp. 528–9
  55. ^ After table in Froom 1948, pp. 784–5
  56. ^ After table in Froom 1946, pp. 744–5