Evidence regarding Daniel 11 & Antiochus IV

by Bobcat 24 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Bobcat

    I was doing research on Daniel 8 and 11. What I was wondering was if there was any evidence that the Jews saw Daniel 8 and 11 fulfilled in Antiochus IV.

    The explained fulfillments (re: Antiochus; non-WT explanations) make a lot of sense, but what specifically I was wondering was if the Jews (after the time of Antiochus IV) saw the Daniel prophecies as being fulfilled in him? Or if there are any threads that discuss this, a link would be appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    Take Care

  • Rob Crompton
    Rob Crompton

    Josephus (Antiquities 10.10.4) reflects the fairly widely held belief that Daniel 11 describes events both at the time of Antiochus IV and during the first century.

    It seems to have been widely accepted that up to verse 35 of chapter 11 the reference is to Antiochus but whilst the rest of the chapter appears to predict the eventual outcome of his campaigns, the fact that nothing else from that period fits gives two options:

    Either, the rest of the chapter was yet future and open to speculation.

    Or, at this point the writing switches from reporting dressed up as prophecy, to (failed) prediction.

    The latter option gives us a clear date for the writing of Daniel in the form that has come down to us - and, indeed, is the clearest and most precise indication of the date of writing of any of the books of scripture.

    Rob Crompton

  • Phizzy

    Thanks Rob, so Daniel is certainly not earlier than Antiochus 1V time, and is not prophetic in any real sense . (it is of the genre that dresses itself as prophecy).

  • Bobcat


    Thank you for the Josephus reference.

    I was using the New American Commentary on Daniel for reference. It is a 1993 commentary but it often cites other commentaries as well. I was also following the Society's Daniel's Prophecy book. With regard to Daniel 11, it is precisely at verse 20 that the WT commentary departs from the other commentaries. Verses 21 - 35 are typically said to describe Antiochus IV. But the Society lumps Selucus IV and Antiochus IV into verse 19 and suddenly jumps down to the Romans 160 years later. The whole prophecy before this is one king after the other as they ruled. But the slick WT commentary just eases you into a sudden 160 year jump. This is why they depend on you not reading any other literature.

    I also noticed that they reworked Daniel 11:22, namely the phrase, "the Leader of [the] covenant." In the Hebrew, both "Leader" (or "prince") and "covenant" are anarthrous. ("A leader of a covenant") The NWT makes it easier to think that this refers to Jesus. This makes sense since F Franz was the main translator as well as the main driver of WT prophecy understanding.

    Take Care and thanks again for the Josephus reference.

  • Leolaia

    Also 1 Maccabees 1:54 (late second century BC) refers to the pagan altar installed in the Temple as the "abomination of desolation", using the same language found in Daniel.

    Bear in mind that the author expected the king to die in a different way than what really happened, nor did the resurrection and destruction of earthly kingdoms happen soon afterward either. When political supremacy passed from Greece to Rome, readers of Daniel came to identify the fourth kingdom with Rome, not Greece, and thus postponed the fulfillment of the "little horn" (formerly a king of Greece, as in ch. 8) into the future, as the final king of Rome who would bring mass apostasy and destruction. This is the interpretive project that the author of Revelation pursues, basically updating the prophetic scheme from Daniel to better fit what was for him the present situation.

  • Leolaia
    I was using the New American Commentary on Daniel for reference. It is a 1993 commentary but it often cites other commentaries as well. I was also following the Society's Daniel's Prophecy book. With regard to Daniel 11, it is precisely at verse 20 that the WT commentary departs from the other commentaries. Verses 21 - 35 are typically said to describe Antiochus IV. But the Society lumps Selucus IV and Antiochus IV into verse 19 and suddenly jumps down to the Romans 160 years later. The whole prophecy before this is one king after the other as they ruled. But the slick WT commentary just eases you into a sudden 160 year jump. This is why they depend on you not reading any other literature.

    Okay, I've commented on this ridiculous interpretative approach before....Let me cut and post.....

    Chapter 11 of Daniel tells in exquisite detail the history of the Seleucid and Lagid dynasties of Syria and Egypt from 333 BC to about 168/7 BC, starting with Alexander the Great and ending with Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Most space is devoted to Antiochus III (11:20-30) and Antiochus IV (11:21-45). Thus, the author relates the Battle of Raphia (v. 11), Antiochus III's weakness among his subjects at home (v. 12), his attack on Ptolemy V Epiphanes (v. 13), the seige of Gaza (v. 15), the Egyptian counter-offensive that followed (v. 15-16), his marriage to Cleopatra, daughter of Ptolemy V, in 194 BC (v. 17), his attacks on colonies in Asia Minor and the Aegean (v. 18a), his defeat by Magnesia consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio in 190 BC (v. 18b), his death at Elymais in 187 BC (v. 19), and the efforts by his successor Seleucus IV Philopator to secure the treasures of the Jerusalem Temple through Helidorus and the man Helidorus later had murdered (v. 20). The detail is even more exquisite when we come finally to the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes IV (175-164 BC), the central figure of the second half of Daniel ("the little horn" of ch. 7-8, the "prince who is to come" in ch. 9, and the "wretch" of ch. 11). Thus the accession of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 175 BC is mentioned in 11:21, followed by the assassination of high priest Onias III in 171 BC (cf. 9:26, 1 Enoch 90:8). Then Antiochus' victorious invasion of Egypt in November 170 BC is related in v. 25 (cf. 1 Maccabees 1:16-19, 2 Maccabees 5:1), and the demise of Ptolemy VI Philopator's advisors Eulaeus and Lenaeus in v. 26. Then Antiochus went to the capital Memphis to negotiate with Philopator (v. 27) but tricked Philopator's nephew as to his intentions. Then Antiochus left a garrison in Pelusium and on his way home plundered the Jerusalem Temple before returning to Syria (v. 28; cf. 1 Maccabees 1:21-28). Then in 168 BC Antiochus made a second expedition against Egypt (v. 29; cf. 2 Maccabees 5:1), but this time the Romans prevent Antiochus from waging war against Egypt (v. 30; cf. Polybius 29.27, Josephus, Wars of the Jews 1.1.4). After the defeated Antiochus returned to Syria, he attacked Judea and made an alliance with Hellenizers who "forsake the holy covenant" (v. 30). His forces were led by the myarch Apollonius, who attacked and razed Jerusalem in the fall of 168 BC and in December they installed a heathen altar in the Temple (v. 31; cf. 1 Maccabees 1:29-54, 2 Maccabees 5:24-26, 6:1-11), and those who maintain Jewish religious practices were persecuted (v. 32-35), tho the military successes of Judus Maccabaeus brought some relief (v. 34). If you check most commentaries of Daniel, you will find much the same thing.

    Thus, most commentaries will say that the "ships of Kittim" in 11:30 are the Roman allies of Egypt (who also were allied with Judas Maccabaeus and his guerilla army) who prevented King Antiochus IV Epiphanes from carrying out his second Egyptian campaign in 168 BC. Specifically, it refers to Popilius Laenas, the Roman envoy, who handed Antiochus a senatus consultum as the Syrian king attempted to besiege Alexandria, and Laenas also humiliated Antiochus by marking a circle in the sand around the king and demanded to have an answer before Antiochus left the circle (cf. Polybius 29.27, Diodorus Siculus 31.2; Livy 45.12.3-6). After this defeat, the king sent his mysarch Apollonius to Jerusalem and devestated the city as related in 1 Maccabees 1:29-40, and this is what is discussed in the second half of Daniel 11:30. By the second century BC (when Daniel was written), Kittim had become the general Jewish name for the Romans. The mid-second century BC translator of the Daniel into Greek thus renders the Hebrew "Kittim" as Romaioi "Romans" (Daniel 11:30 LXX), and the Latin Vulgate renders it as Romani. There is also, of course, the Commentary on Habakkuk (1QpHab) in the Dead Sea Scrolls that repeatedly refers to the Romans as "Kittim", and the Targums of Numbers 24:24 also identify them with the Romans (which the author of Hebrew Daniel seems to be doing as well, viewing that oracle as being fulfilled in Antiochus IV). That it no longer meant just "Cyprus" is indicated by Josephus (Antiquities 1.6.1) who claims that the Jews use the term "for all islands and most maritime countries" in the Mediterranean, including Italy but also Macedonia (as it is in 1 Maccabees 1:1). The Society however claims that the "ships of Kittim" refer not to second-century BC Romans but to twentieth-century AD naval vessels during World War I!:

    ***dp chap. 15 p. 264 The Rival Kings Enter the 20th Century ***
    In Daniel’s time Kittim was Cyprus. Early in the first world war, Cyprus was annexed by Britain. Moreover, according to The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, the name Kittim "is extended to include the W[est] in general, but esp[ecially] the seafaring W[est]." The New International Version renders the expression "ships of Kittim" as "ships of the western coastlands." During the first world war, the ships of Kittim proved to be mainly the ships of Britain, lying off the western coast of Europe.

    Here is what the Society is doing here: They want to stretch Daniel 11 into the twentith century and thus arbitrarily take the whole section that applies to Antiochus IV Epiphanes and apply it to kings throughout history that came AFTER him. Note in particular how they follow Seleucid history for most of ch. 11 and agree that v. 13-19 refers to Antiochus III, but then instead of continuing with Seleucid history and recognizing that v. 21-39 OBVIOUSLY refers to Antiochus IV, they lump Antiochus IV somehow into the end of v. 13-19 and suddenly launch forth outside of Seleucid history, taking v. 20 to refer to Tiberius Caesar, v. 21-24 to refer to the Roman Empire, v. 25-26 to refer to the break down of the Roman Empire and Queen Zenoba (WTF?), and then the rest of the chapter zips centuries ahead to the twentieth century. The funny thing about all of this is that the bits they do talk about Antiochus IV embarrassingly correspond to the very sections of the vision that the Society wants to apply to the twentieth century. So for instance, concerning Antiochus IV (which the Society is unable to find a clear reference to him in the prophecy), they write:

    ***dp chap. 14 p. 231 The Two Kings Change Identities ***SYRIAN monarch Antiochus IV invades Egypt and crowns himself its king. At the request of Egyptian King Ptolemy VI, Rome sends Ambassador Caius Popilius Laenas to Egypt. He has with him an impressive fleet and orders from the Roman Senate that Antiochus IV renounce his kingship of Egypt and withdraw from the country. At Eleusis, a suburb of Alexandria, the Syrian king and the Roman ambassador come face-to-face. Antiochus IV requests time for consultation with his advisers, but Laenas draws a circle around the king and tells him to answer before stepping across the line. Humiliated, Antiochus IV complies with Roman demands and returns to Syria in 168 B.C.E. Thus ends the confrontation between the Syrian king of the north and the Egyptian king of the south.

    Now doesn't that sound A LOT like what is described in Daniel 11:29-30? "In due time he will make his way southwards again but this time the outcome will not be as before. The ships of Kittim will oppose him, and he will be intimidated. He will retire and take furious action against the holy covenant..." But noooooo! This verse cannot refer to Antiochus IV, it has to refer to British ships in WWI!! Same thing applies to Antiochus IV's attack on the Temple, razing of Jerusalem, and installation of the Abomination of Desolation: "On the fifteenth day of Chislev in the year one hundred and forty-five [i.e. 167 BC] the king erected the abomination of desolation above the altar" (1 Maccabees 1:54). The Society also describes this event in the Daniel book, but fails to match it with any corresponding verse in Daniel 11:

    ***dp chap. 13 p. 227 Two Kings in Conflict ***The new king of the north, Antiochus IV, sought to show himself mightier than God by trying to eradicate Jehovah’s arrangement of worship. Defying Jehovah, he dedicated Jerusalem’s temple to Zeus, or Jupiter. In December 167 B.C.E., a pagan altar was erected on top of the great altar in the temple courtyard where a daily burnt offering had been made to Jehovah. Ten days later, a sacrifice to Zeus was offered on the pagan altar. This desecration led to a Jewish uprising under the Maccabees.

    This pagan altar was called "the abomination of desolation" by the Maccabees. This event is clearly described in 11:31: "Forces of his will come and profane the sanctuary citadel; they will abolish the perpetual sacrifice and install theabomination of desolationthere". But the Society cannot have this refer to such a historical event (which Josephus regarded as a fulfillment of this prophecy). Nooooo... it has to refer to the United Nations established after WWII!!

  • Pterist




    The Book of Ruth, in which a foreign woman enters the community of Israel and becomes great-grandmother to none other than King David, expresses a view of gentiles entirely opposed to that of Ezra and Nehemiah. Other prophets of the Restoration period are discussed, including Third Isaiah who also envisions other nations joining Israel in the worship of Yahweh. This period also sees the rise of apocalyptic literature in works like Zechariah, Joel and Daniel. Written during a period of persecution in the 2 nd c. BCE the book of Daniel contains many features and themes of apocalyptic literature, including an eschatology according to which God dramatically intervenes in human history, destroying the wicked (understood as other nations) and saving the righteous (understood as Israel).


    (1) Isaiah 56-66
    (2) Introduction to Joel (JSB pp. 1166-7), Joel 1-4
    (3) Introduction to Daniel (JSB pp. 1640-42), Daniel 1-12

    Lecture Chapters
    1. The Book of Ruth [ 00:00:00 ]
    2. The Last Prophetic Books [ 00:11:58 ]
    3. Features of Apocalyptic Literature [ 00:23:05 ]
    4. Apocalyptic Passages in Post-Exilic Books [ 00:29:11 ]
    5. The Book of Daniel, Chapters 1-6 [ 00:35:21 ]
    6. The Book of Daniel, Chapters 7-12 [ 00:42:36 ]
    Course Media
    mov [100MB]
    mov [500MB] </form>
  • Pterist

    Thanks for the info Leolaia

  • Bobcat

    Thank you, Leo, from me too.

    And thank you Pterist.

    I had to print this out so I could digest this at lunch at work tomorrow. Thanks again.

  • mP

    Daniel was written after Antiochus which is how he got so many interesting details correct. Unfortunately for Daniel, he guessed the wrong side of the Jordan where A would die. I cant recall but Daniel said West while he actually died east or vice versa. Scholars have noted the time by various means including the use of the Greek form of Nebuchadnezzar as opposed to the older form which is found in Ezra. Its much easy to write prophecies one they happen.

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