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coin indiscriminately around him, and call aloud to
and his courage against the king of the south with a great army : and the king of the south should be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall forecast devices against him; yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow : and many shall fall down slain. Ver. 25, 26.
The right of the possession of Cælo-Syria and Palestine, was a fertile source of disunion between the kings of Syria and Egypt. Into these provinces Antiochus Epiphanes had entered peaceably, and had fortified himself in the actual possession of them, by a timely preparation against any attempt on the part of the Egyptians to recover them. And having thus forecast his devices for a time, instead of waiting to be assaulted, he became the assailant ; and not only did he excel, in an indiscriminate liberality, the kings that were before him, but in obtaining for a time the entire mastery over the rival kingdom, he did that which his fathers have not done nor his father's fathers, but which they had attempted in vain. All love of justice and all regard to natural affection being alike set aside by a mad ambition, he entered the kingdom of his sister's son, Ptolemy Philomater, defeated him in successive battles, took Pelusium, the key of Egypt, together with the celebrated city of Memphis, and with the exception of Alexandria, reduced to his dominion the greater part of that country. The young king, previously corrupted by governors and tutors, who pandered to his passions, that the real government might rest in their own hands, was dethroned by the remaining portion of his subjects, who nominated bis brother called Psychon, in his stead. The wily Antiochus then affected to espouse the cause of Philometer, and professed his desire to reinstate him in the kingdom. Between these kings, however nearly related, and however close their seeming intimacy, there could be no sincerity on the one hand, nor confidence on the other. If Epiphanes had had the interests of Philometer at heart, the throne of the latter would not have been in jeopardy; and had Philometer plainly told his feelings and his purposes, their seeming harmony would have been at an end in a moment. Their mutual communing, with whatever fair, but hollow, show of zeal and confidence, formed but a system of double deception. And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table ; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. Ver. 27. The mutual deception became soon apparent. No sooner had Antiochus Epiphanes withdrawn from Egypt, than Ptolemy Philometer, having united with
his brother against their common foe, was again proclaimed king at Alexandria, and the anger of their unnatural uncle only showed the falsehood of his professions. The hollow compact, or false promises, between the two kings was broken. The two brothers, together with their sister, looked eagerly to Rome for aid, and that foreign power was thus called in to defend the oppressed and to vindicate their rights against a neighbour and a relative, which, at the time ap
pointed, was not only to put an end to the treachery and usurpations of the vile Antiochus, but to render these mighty kingdoms of Syria and Egypt the provinces of an Italian republic.
Then shall he return into his land with great riches, and his heart shall be against the holy covenant : and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. Ver, 28. Instead, as he had promised, of preserving the kingdom for Ptolemy Philometer, he despoiled the cities of Egypt of their wealth and treasure, and, loaded with booty, returned into Syria. On a false report of his death, the Jews openly manifested the highest exultation ; and Onias was reinstated as high priest. Antiochus, vindictive, as vile, entered Judea to suppress the revolt, besieged and took Jerusalem, polluted the temple, and despoiled it of the golden vessels and of the treasures, profaned the Holy of Holies with bis presence, replaced the high priest who had bought of him the office, slew forty thousand of the Jews, and sold into slavery twice that number. Having by such acts inanifested how his heart was set against the holy covenant, he returned to Antioch, to his own land.
At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south : but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him : therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and hive indignation against the holy covenant : so shall he do; he shall even return and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. Ver. 29, 30. At first he had come into Egypt with a small army, and had prevailed by craftiness. Next he had invaded it with a great army, and having routed the Egyptians, had obtained possession of the greater part of the kingdom, and thought to retain the power over it by keeping Ptolemy as his vassal under the name of king. The union of the brothers having rendered this scheme abortive, on the expiry
of two years, or at the time appointed when the Roman authority was more directly to interpose, he returned undisguisedly, at the head of a great army, to reconquer Egypt, which, without foreign aid, would easily have become his prey as before. But it was not as the former or the latter. On his last expedition into Egypt, neither fraud nor force could avail him. Ambassadors arrived by sea from Rome, with injunctions from the senate, to forbid his entrance into Egypt, or; if he had entered it, to order his immediate departure. The Romans were not wont to parley with an enemy, either in conference or in battle. Popilius, one of the Roman ambassadors, had been a boon companion of the prince of Syria, when, in his youth, a hostage at Rome: and Antiochus, long used to dissemble, no sooner saw Popilius approaching, than he hastened to salute him as a friend. The stern Roman, rejected the courtesies of the king, till his duties to the senate should first be discharged. And, telling Antiochus to take counsel of his friends, with the rod in his hand, he drew a circle around the spot on which Antiochus Epiphanes stood, ample enough for his counsellors to surround him, and imperiously commanded him not to stir a step beyond it, before deciding by his answer to their demand, the question of peace or war with the Roman people. Yielding to necessity the baffled monarch retired from Egypt, as Polybius relates, grieved and groaning; but having been disappointed of one prey, he seized the more fiercely upon another, and wreaked his wrath and vengeance on the helpless Jews, as we learn from a Jewish historical record. “ He fell suddenly upon Jerusalem, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side," He decreed that all, under the penalty of death, should conform to the idolatrous worship of the Greeks. And in league with Menelaus and other apostate Jews, he abrogated the worship of God in the temple of Jerusalem, and by the severest persecutions manifested his indignation against the people of Israel.
The history of the kings of Syria and Egypt is thus prophetically traced down to the time of the introduction of the Roman power, which, in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, exercised a high control over the destinies of the kingdoms of the east. Macedon, the original and patrimonial kingdom of Alexander the Great, from which the rest took their rise, became a province of the Roman empire during the very year in which the firm remonstrance of the Roman ambassador drove the mortified and indignant Antiochus from Egypt. The third great kingdom, the Macedonian or Grecian, was thus, in its order, subverted at that period. The previous prophecies of Daniel leave no room for doubt that it was to be supplanted by the Romans. They not only subdued Macedon, but stretched their arms into Asia. And, as in the commencement of the vision, the angel passed over, without noting, the successive kings of Persia from the days of Xerxes to those of Alexander, and took up the history of his kingdom, so soon as ever the connecting link between the history of Persia and Greece was formed by the first great collision of these empires, which ultimately terminated in the subversion of the one, and the establishment of the other; so, in like manner, the same heavenly messenger, on the anicipated extirpation of the kingdom of Macedon, and the extension of the Roman influence and authority over Syria and Egypt, quits the history of the kings of the north and of the south, and marks the standing up of a new power, which had already been ushered