Online Bible Commentary
The Omniscience of God
Daniel 11:1 "Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.) 2 And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these. 5 "Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion. 6 And at the end of some years they shall join forces, for the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North to make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her in those times. 7 But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail. 8 And he shall also carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North. 9 Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land. (NKJV)
The time is 536 B.C. Daniel is about 84 years old. In this passage Daniel is treated to yet another vision from the Lord. Daniel is on the bank of the Tigris River, not far from his home in Babylon.
The vision is that of “a certain man” (10:5) who has the appearance of the Lord Jesus, as described in Revelation 1:13-16. Some scholars believe this was a preincarnate visit of Jesus, while others believe the “man” was an angel. Since the description of the “man” in 10:5-6 appears to match the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:13-16 this writer believes that this is a preincarnate visit of Jesus.
In this chapter, Jesus continues to minister to Daniel, through foretelling the history of Israel. He begins by telling the events from 539 B.C., until the temple is rededicated by Judas Maccabeus in 164 B.C., which was the first celebration of Hanukkah. This encompasses Daniel 11:1-35, and 375 years. Daniel 11:36-12:13, the end of the book, foretell of the end times.
In this passage, Jesus foretells the events of 539-226 B.C., covering 313 years. He relates that He, God Himself, confirmed and strengthened Darius when he was made king of Babylon, after the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon on October 12, 539 B.C. (v. 1). Darius then, in 538 B.C., released the Jews, who were held captive in Babylon for seventy years, so that they could return home to Israel.
Then four kings succeed Darius, aka Cyrus the Great, who dies on December 4, 530 B.C (v. 2). The four kings are Cambyses (530-522 B.C., Pseudo-Smerdis (522 B.C.), Darius I (Hystaspes) (522-486 B.C.), and Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) (486-465 B.C.). Then “a mighty king” arises, Alexander the Great of Greece (336-323 BC.), who reigns over much of the known world, including Israel (v.3).
Upon Alexander’s death, in June 10/11, 323 B.C., forty days short of his thirty-third birthday, his kingdom is divided among his four generals, not his sons (v. 4). The four generals are” Cassander over Greece; Lysimachus over Asia Minor; Seleucus over Syria, including Babylon; and Ptolemy over Egypt, including Israel.
The rest of this passage concerns Egypt (including Israel) and Syria. The “king of the South”, Ptolemy of Egypt (323-285 B.C.), becomes “strong” (v. 5a). “One of his princes”, the king of the North, Seleucus of Syria (311-280 B.C.), grows his kingdom greater than Ptolemy’s (v.5).
Some years later Ptolemy II of Egypt (285-246 B.C.) gives his daughter, Berenice, in marriage to Antiochus II of Syria (261-246 B.C.) to seal an alliance between the southern (Egypt) and northern (Syria) kingdoms (v. 6a). Berenice does “not retain the power of her authority” and all is lost when Antiochus’ former wife, Laodice, murders Berenice, Antiochus, and their son (v. 6b).
Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III (246-221 B.C.) avenges the murders by overthrowing Syria and killing Laodice (v. 7). He seizes their “gods” and valuables, carrying them back to Egypt (v. 8). In this way, he comes to “the kingdom of the king of the South”, and then returns to Egypt (v. 9).
This extraordinarily detailed prophecy illustrates the omniscient, all knowing, quality of God. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He knows the future even before it happens. Nothing surprises Him. He is in control of all things. He is sovereign. He is all knowing. He is Omniscient.