The Syrian Wars in Daniel 11

One of the most impressive texts from the Bible is the book of Daniel, which contains several visions, usually concentrating on the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (picture). The most famous vision is that of the four animals in Daniel 7, representing the world empires, culminating in the coming of the Son of Man.

Daniel 11, however, is equally interesting. It contains an accurate description of the wars between two rulers, the King of the South and the King of the North, who can be identified with the Ptolemies and Seleucids. The wars described are the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Syrian Wars; the last one culminated in the near-capture of Alexandria by Antiochus IV, his humiliation by the Romans, and the beginning of the persecution of the Jews.

The prophecy is accurate until the year 166; after that it becomes a real prediction – and goes astray, enabling us to date this part of Daniel to the second half of the 160s. It is interesting to note that the author opposes the Maccabaean Revolt. The text and explanation are online here.

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