Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 11:30

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him - Chittim is well known to mean the Roman empire. Antiochus, being now in full march to besiege Alexandria, and within seven miles of that city, heard that ships were arrived there from Rome, with legates from the senate. He went to salute them. They delivered to him the letters of the senate, in which he was commanded, on pain of the displeasure of the Roman people, to put an end to the war against his nephews. Antiochus said he would go and consult his friends; on which Popilius, one of the legates, took his staff, and instantly drew a circle round Antiochus on the sand where he stood, and commanded him not to pass that circle till he had given a definitive answer. Antiochus, intimidated, said, he would do whatever the senate enjoined; and in a few days after began his march, and returned to Syria. This is confirmed by Polybius, Livy, Velleius, Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, and Justin.

Therefore he shall be grieved - "Grieving and groaning," says Polybius; both mortified, humbled, and disappointed.

Have indignation against the holy covenant - For he vented his rage against the Jews; and he sent his general, Apollonius, with twenty-two thousand men against Jerusalem, plundered and set fire to the city, pulled down the houses round about it, slew much of the people, and built a castle on an eminence that commanded the temple, and slew multitudes of the poor people who had come up to worship, polluted every place, so that the temple service was totally abandoned, and all the people fled from the city. And when he returned to Antioch he published a decree that all should conform to the Grecian worship; and the Jewish worship was totally abrogated, and the temple itself consecrated to Jupiter Olympius. How great must the wickedness of the people have been when God could tolerate this!

In the transacting of these matters he had intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant; with wicked Menelaus the high priest; and the apostate Jews united with him, who gave from time to time such information to Antiochus as excited him against Jerusalem the temple, and the people. See 1 Maccabees 1:41, 62; 2 Maccabees 6:1-9; confirmed by Josephus, War, book 1 chap. 1, s. 1. The concluding reflection of Bp. Newton here is excellent: -

"It may be proper to stand a little here, and reflect how particular and circumstantial this prophecy is, concerning Egypt and Syria, from the death of Alexander to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. There is not so concise, comprehensive, and regular an account of their kings and affairs to be found in any authors of those times. The prophecy is really more perfect than any history, and is so wonderfully exact, not only to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, but likewise equally so beyond that time, that we may conclude in the words of the inspired writer, 'No one could thus declare the times and seasons, but he who hath them in his own power.'"

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him - The word rendered Chittim - כתים kı̂ttı̂ym - according to Gesenius, properly means “Cyprians,” so called from a celebrated Phoenician colony in the island of Cyprus. In a wider acceptation the name came to comprehend the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, especially the northern parts, and therefore stands for the islands and coasts of Greece and the AEgean Sea. See Gesenius, Lexicon, and compare Josephus, “Ant.” b. i. ch. vi. 1. The Egyptian government had called in the aid of the Romans, and Antiochus, therefore, was threatened with a war with the Romans if he did not abandon his enterprise against Egypt. The reference in the passage before us is to the embassage which the Romans sent to Antiochus in Egypt, requiring him to desist from his enterprise against Egypt. “When he had arrived at Leusine, about four miles from Alexandria, he met Caius Popilins Laenas, Caius Decimius, and Caius Hostilius, ambassadors, whom the Roman Senate had sent to him at the earnest request of Ptolemy Physcon. They were instructed to assure Antiochus that he must leave the kingdom of Egypt and the island of Cyprus in peace, or expect a war with the Romans. When Antiochus said that he would lay the affair before his council, Popilius, the head of the legation, with his staff drew a circle about the king in the sand on which they stood, and exclaimed, ‹Before you leave that circle, you must give me an answer which I can report to the Senate.‘ Antiochius was confounded, but on a little reflection, he said he would do whatever the Senate required.” - Jahn, “Heb. Commonwealth,” pp. 265,266; Polyb. “Legat.” Sections 90,92; Livy, xliv. 14,29, 41-46; xlv. 10,12. These ambassadors came by the way of Greece, and in Grecian vessels, and their coming might properly be described as “ships from Chittim.” They went from Rome to Brundusium, and then passed over to the Grecian shore, and from thence by the way of Chialcis, Delos, and Rhodes, to Alexandria. - Prideaux, iii. 237.

Therefore he shall be grieved - The word used here - כאה kâ'âh - means, properly, to become faint-hearted; to be frightened; to be dejected, sad, humbled, Job 30:8; Ezekiel 13:22; Psalm 109:16. The meaning here is, that he became dispirited, dejected, cast down, and abandoned his purpose. He saw that it would be vain to attempt to contend with the Romans, and he was constrained reluctantly to relinquish his enterprise.

And return - Set out to return to his own land.

And have indignation against the holy covenant - See the notes at Daniel 11:28. That is, he would be filled with wrath against Jerusalem and the Jews. Polybius says that he left Egypt in great anger, because he was compelled by the Romans to abandon his designs. In this condition he was, of course, in a state of mind to become irritated against any other people, and, if an occassion should be given, would seek to vent Iris wrath in sonic other direction. This habitual state of feeling toward Jerusalem and the Jews would make him ready to seize upon the slightest pretext to wreak his vengeance on the holy land. What was the immediate occasion of his taking this opportunity to attack Jerusalem is not certainly known, but in his marching back through Palestine, he detached from his army twenty-two thousand men, under the command of Apollonius, and sent them to Jerusalem to destroy it. - Prideaux, iii. 239; Jahn, “Heb. Commononwealth,” p. 266. Apollonius arrived before Jerusalem 167 b.c., just two years after the city had been taken by Antiochus himself.

So shall he do - That is, in the manner described in this and the following verses.

He shall even return - On his way to his own land.

And have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant - Have an understanding with them; that is, with a portion of the nation - with those who were disposed to cast off the religion of their fathers. There was a coonsiderable part of the nation that was inclined to do this, and to introduce the customs of the Greeks (compare Jahn,” Heb. Commonwealth, pp. 258-260); and it was natural that Antiochus should seek to have an understanding with them, and to make use of them in accomplishing his designs. It was very probably at the solicitation of this infidel and disaffected party of the Hebrew people that Antiochus had interfered in their affairs at all. Compare 1 Maccabees 1:11-15.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 253

Verse 30

The prophetic narrative still has reference to the power which has been the subject of the prophecy from the sixteenth verse; namely, Rome. What were the ships of Chittim that came against this power, and when was this movement made? What country or power is meant by Chittim? Dr. A. Clarke, on Isaiah 23:1, has this note: “From the land of Chittim, it is revealed to them. The news of the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, is said to be brought to them from Chittim, the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean; for the Tyrians, says Jerome, on verse 6, when they saw they had no other means of escape, fled in their ships, and took refuge in Carthage, and in the islands of the Ionian and Aegean Seas. So also Jochri on the same place.” Kitto gives the same locality to Chittim; namely, the coast and islands of the Mediterranean; and the mind is carried by the testimony of Jerome to a definite and celebrated city situated in that land; that is Carthage.DAR 253.2

Was ever a naval warfare, with Carthage as a base of operations, waged against the Roman empire? We have but to think of the terrible onslaught of the Vandals upon Rome under the fierce Genseric, to answer readily in the affirmative. Sallying every spring from the port of Carthage at the head of his numerous and well-disciplined naval forces, he spread consternation through all the maritime provinces of the empire. That this is the work brought to view is further evident when we consider that we are brought down in the prophecy to this very time. In verse 29, the transfer of empire to Constantinople we understand to be mentioned. Following in due course of time, as the next remarkable revolution, came the irruptions of the barbarians of the North, prominent among which was the Vandal war already mentioned. The years A. D. 428-468 mark the career of Genseric.DAR 253.3

“He shall be grieved and return.” This may have reference to the desperate efforts which were made to dispossess Genseric of the sovereignty of the seas, the first by Majorian, the second by Leo, both of which proved to be utter failures; and Rome was obliged to submit to the humiliation of seeing its provinces ravaged, and its “eternal city” pillaged by the enemy. (See on Revelation 8:8.)DAR 254.1

“Indignation against the covenant;” that is, the Holy Scriptures, the book of the covenant. A revolution of this nature was accomplished in Rome. The Heruli, Goths, and Vandals, who conquered Rome, embraced the Arian faith, and became enemies of the Catholic Church. It was especially for the purpose of exterminating this heresy that Justinian decreed the pope to be the head of the church and the corrector of heretics. The Bible soon came to be regarded as a dangerous book that should not be read by the common people, but all questions in dispute were to be submitted to the pope. Thus was indignity heaped upon God's word. And the emperors of Rome, the eastern division of which still continued, had intelligence, or connived with the Church of Rome, which had forsaken the covenant, and constituted the great apostasy, for the purpose of putting down “heresy.” The man of sin was raised to his presumptuous throne by the defeat of the Arian Goths, who then held possession of Rome, in A. D. 538.DAR 254.2

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The angel shows Daniel the succession of the Persian and Grecian empires. The kings of Egypt and Syria are noticed: Judea was between their dominions, and affected by their contests. From ver.
Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
is generally considered to relate to the events which came to pass during the continuance of these governments; and from ver. 21, to relate to Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a cruel and violent persecutor of the Jews. See what decaying, perishing things worldly pomp and possessions are, and the power by which they are gotten. God, in his providence, sets up one, and pulls down another, as he pleases. This world is full of wars and fightings, which come from men's lusts. All changes and revolutions of states and kingdoms, and every event, are plainly and perfectly foreseen by God. No word of God shall fall to the ground; but what he has designed, what he has declared, shall infallibly come to pass. While the potsherds of the earth strive with each other, they prevail and are prevailed against, deceive and are deceived; but those who know God will trust in him, and he will enable them to stand their ground, bear their cross, and maintain their conflict.