A Comparison Chart of the Prophecy of Daniel 11 with the History of the Greek World



Daniel 11

Historical Fulfillment


And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. (Daniel 11:1).

There is some disagreement as to the identity of Darius the Mede.  Some think it to be another name for Cyrus the Great who was both a Mede as well as a Persian.  Others feel it to be a reference to a Mede governor who ruled under Cyrus.


And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece. (Daniel 11:2).

Cyrus the Great captured Babylon in 539 B.C.

    • Cambyses II, Cyrus’ son (530‑522)

    Smerdis, Cambyses alleged brother (522)

    • Darius I the Great (521‑486)

The fourth king was Xerxes (486‑465).  He brought the strength of the Persian Empire against Greece, burning Athens to the ground and attempting to push into the southern peninsula before suffering the defeat at Salamis.


And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. 4 But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded; for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them. (Daniel 11:3-4).

The prophecy now jumps forward to the rise of a great king who would accomplish all within his will.  This is the story of Alexander the Great, the young king of Macedon who conquered all the Persian Empire and marched his armies all the way to the borders of India before turning back.

Alexander died in Babylon in the summer of 323 B.C., a mere month before his 33rd birthday.  His death plunged the newly found empire into war as one and then another of these generals attempted to take a portion for himself.


Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed. (Daniel 11:5).

Ptolemy I Soter was one of Alexander’s generals who took control of Egypt.  One of his own generals was Seleucus who eventually rose to ascendancy over Mesopotamia and Syria.


And after some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in, and the one who sired her, as well as he who supported her in those times. (Daniel 11:6).

Ptolemy I died in 285 and his son, Ptolemy II Philadelphus eventually arranged an alliance with the Seleucid king Antiochus II Theos in which Antiochus II was to marry Bernice, the daughter of Ptolemy II.  However, Antiochus II already had a wife named Laodice and she did not take kindly to being divorced.  She conspired to have both Bernice and her infant son assassinated.  Antiochus II was subsequently poisoned.

Laodice ruled as regent until her own son, Seleucus II Callinicus, was old enough to assume the throne of the Seleucid Empire.


But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength. (Daniel 11:7).

Ptolemy III Euergetes organized a campaign to avenge the murder of his sister.  He captured Antioch and marched all the way to Bactria and also defeated the Seleucid navy in the Aegean, recapturing the former conquests of his father in Asia Minor.


And also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years. 9 Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land. (Daniel 11:8-9).

Ptolemy III went on to recapture the treasures that had been looted from Egypt in the days of Cambyses.

Ptolemy III and Seleucus II eventually made a treaty in 240 B.C. and Ptolemy III returned home to Egypt where he was given the title by the Egyptians of Euergetes – “Good worker.”


And his sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his very fortress.  (Daniel 11:10).

Seleucus II was succeeded by his son Seleucus III who only lived three years before being followed by his younger brother, Antiochus III (the Great).

Antiochus III set out on a battle of conquest, marching to the borders of Egypt where he was met by Ptolemy IV.


And the king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North. Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former.  12 When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail.  (Daniel 11:11-12).

Antiochus III was defeated by Ptolemy IV at the Battle of Raphia in 218 B.C.  Antiochus III had to give up Palestine and Phoenicia to Egypt.

Over the next 15 years, Antioch III was busy fighting elsewhere and his conquests took him all the way to the Caspian Sea in the north and to the Indus River in the east.


For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment. (Daniel 11:13).

Antiochus III returned to take up arms once more against Egypt, taking Gaza in 201 B.C.


Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down. (Daniel 11:14).

A pro-Seleucid party rose up in Jerusalem, but it was put down by the Egyptian general Scopas who pushed up to the area north of Israel that would be known as Caesarea Philippi.


Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege mound, and capture a well‑fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand. (Daniel 11:15).

As Antiochus III counterattacked, Scopas retreated to Sidon and found himself under siege at that city by the Seleucid King, finally losing the city to him.


But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand. (Daniel 11:16).

Antiochus III moved southward into Palestine, taking Jerusalem in 198.


And he will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand for him or be on his side. (Daniel 11:17).

Antiochus III entered into an alliance with the young Ptolemy V who was still a boy.  The alliance was sealed by Ptolemy V marrying Cleopatra, the daughter of Antiochus III.

Rather than being an influence on behalf of her father, Cleopatra became an ardent supporter of Egypt, even reigning a regent after the death of her husband in 181.


Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn. (Daniel 11:18).

Antiochus III had invaded Thrace and was now asked by a league of city states in central Greece to aid them in their fight against Macedonia and the Peloponnesians.  Meanwhile, the Romans threw in their weight against Antiochus III and he was forced to withdraw from Greece. 


So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more. (Daniel 11:19).

The Romans under Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, the brother of Scipio Africanus, followed Antiochus III into Anatolia and met him in battled.  Though the Romans were greatly outnumbered, they won a victory.  Antiochus III had to give up all of Anatolia as well as his son, Antiochus IV who went as a hostage to Rome.


Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though neither in anger nor in battle. (Daniel 11:20).

Antiochus III was killed by an enraged mob when he attempted to rob the temple of Bel in Elymais to pay the Roman demands.

Seleucus IV Philopator succeeded to the throne and sought to take funds from the temple in Jerusalem (2 Maccabees 3:7‑40).  Seleucus IV was eventually poisoned.


Verses 21-35 are to be understood as describing the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.


And in his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. (Daniel 11:21).

When Seleucus IV was murdered, his son Demetrius was the next in line for the throne, but the realm was instead taken by Antiochus IV, the second son of Antiochus III.  He took for himself the title Epiphanes Theos—God Manifest—and therefore becomes a type of antichrist.


And the overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant. (Daniel 11:22).

Ptolemy VII Philometor became of age and attempted to regain the lands of Palestine from the Seleucids, but was eventually defeated and captured by Antiochus IV.


And after an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people (Daniel 11:23).

The Egyptians responded by taking Physcon, the brother of Ptolemy VII and making him the new king of Egypt.  Antiochus IV responded by invading Egypt with the stated purpose of placing Ptolemy VII back on the throne.

In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty, and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time. (Daniel 11:24).

This is a summary of the accomplishments of Antiochus IV.  By this time, he had gained control of everything from the Mediterranean to India.


And he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. (Daniel 11:25).

Ptolemy VII eventually worked out an agreement with his brother, Physcon, in which they would split the kingdom of Egypt into two parts and reign jointly.  They now unified themselves against Antiochus IV, but he entered Egypt and laid siege to Alexandria.


And those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain. (Daniel 11:26).

Ptolemy VII had supposedly been under the protection of Antiochus IV, but now they found themselves at odds.


As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time. (Daniel 11:27).

Negotiations continued and Ptolemy VII and his brother, Physcon, seemed to come to an agreement, though the intrigues between them would continue for some time.


Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land. (Daniel 11:28).

Antiochus IV returned from Egypt with great plunder.  Several years earlier, he had accepted a bribe from a Jewish priest named Jason to remove the current high priest and put Jason in his place.  Jason was eventually removed when another priest, Menelaus, offered a still higher bribe.  When Jewish representatives came before the king with their complaint, Antiochus IV put them to death.


At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. (Daniel 11:29).

Antiochus IV invaded Egypt again, trapping the two Ptolemaic kings in Alexandria.


For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened, and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:30).

Gaius Popillius Laenas, a representative of Rome, met with Antiochus IV and ordered him out of Egypt on the authority of Rome.  Antiochus IV agreed.  Coming to Jerusalem, he found the Jews in revolt where Jason, acting on the rumor that Antiochus IV had been killed in Egypt, had raised a force to remove Menelaus from the priesthood.


And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31).

Antiochus IV desecrated the temple, stopped the regular temple sacrifices, and set up a statue of Zeus in the temple whose features were made to resemble Antiochus IV.


And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant... (Daniel 11:32a).

1 Maccabees 1:11-15 describe how certain of the Jews accepted the changes of Antiochus IV and went so far as to build a gymnasium in Jerusalem and to seek to have their circumcisions reversed.  Verse 43 goes on to say that “many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath.”


...but the people who know their God will display strength and take action (Daniel 11:32b).

There were those Jews who refused to turn from their observance of the Law.  This turned into open revolt when the Maccabees took up arms against the Seleucids.


And those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder, for many days (Daniel 11:33).

Since they were fighting in order to retain their Torah observances, the Maccabees initially took a stance of not fighting on the Sabbath day.  The Seleucids took advantage of this by attacking on the Sabbath and slaughtering many.  After this, the priest Mattathias (father of the Maccabees) explained to the people that it would be permissible to defend themselves on the Sabbath.


Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy (Daniel 11:34).

The Maccabees were joined by a company of Hasideans, mighty warriors of Israel, all who offered themselves willingly for the law (1 Maccabees 2:42).  As a result, many who had previously gone along with the changes imposed by Antiochus IV now joined the revolt.


And some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge, and make them pure, until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time (Daniel 11:35).

The priest Mattathias died shortly thereafter.  Eventually, the Maccabees managed to retake the temple and to purify it and restore the worship.  This is celebrated today by Hanukkah.

The attention of the prophecy now returns to Antiochus IV and summarizes his career without regard to a chronological sequence.

Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. (Daniel 11:36).

So Antiochus carried off eighteen hundred talents from the temple, and hurried away to Antioch, thinking in his arrogance that he could sail on the land and walk on the sea, because his mind was elated (2 Maccabees 5:21).

Furthermore, he eventually adopted the title, “King Antiochus, God Manifest.”

And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all (Daniel 11:37).

Speaking of Antiochus IV, we read the following report in 2 Maccabees 9:2.  He had entered the city called Persepolis and attempted to rob the temples and control the city. Therefore the people rushed to the rescue with arms, and Antiochus and his army were defeated, with the result that Antiochus was put to flight by the inhabitants and beat a shameful retreat.

It is noteworthy that the coins of his era have the image of Zeus rather than the more customary Apollos.

But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones, and treasures (Daniel 11:38).

And he will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him, and he will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price (Daniel 11:39).

Antiochus IV sold the priesthood to the highest bidder, first to Jason, and later to Menelaus.

The “strongest of fortresses” seems to be a reference to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which Antiochus IV determined to convert to a temple to Zeus.

And at the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through. (Daniel 11:40).

We have no records of any final war with Egypt, though Jerome quotes Porphyry as stating that this took place in the eleventh year of the reign of Antiochus IV (Commentary on the Book of Daniel, Moses Stuart, 1850, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, Page 355).


It is more likely that we are to understand this as a summarization of the career of Antiochus IV and his invasions of Egypt and Israel.

He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon (Daniel 11:41).

Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape (Daniel 11:42).

A summary of the conquests of Antiochus IV in Egypt.

But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels (Daniel 11:43).

Prior to his departure from Egypt, Antiochus IV had thoroughly looted the country.

But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many (Daniel 11:44).

Antiochus IV left Israel upon hearing the news of revolts in Parthia and Anatolia.

And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him (Daniel 11:45).

Though he had successfully conquered Jerusalem and the Holy Mountain, Antiochus IV eventually met his defeat and death.


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