There shall stand up yet three kings - Gabriel had already spoken of Cyrus, who was now reigning; and after him three others should arise. These were,
Cambyses reigned seven years and five months; Smerdis reigned only seven months; and Darius Hystaspes reigned thirty-six years.
The fourth shall be far richer than they all - This was Xerxes, the son of Darius, of whom Justin says. "He had so great an abundance of riches in his kingdom, that although rivers were dried up by his numerous armies, yet his wealth remained unexhausted."
He shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia - His military strength was such, that Herodotus, who lived in that time, informs us that his army amounted to five millions, two hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty men. Besides these, the Carthaginians furnished him with an army of three hundred thousand men, and a fleet of two hundred ships. He led an army against the Greeks of eight hundred thousand men, and twelve hundred and seven ships, with three banks of rowers each. As he marched along, he obliged all the people of the countries through which he passed to join him.
And now will I show thee the truth - That is, the truth about events that are to occur in the future, and which will accord with what is written in “the scripture of truth,” Daniel 10:21.
Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia - The phrase “stand up means that there would be so many kings in Persia; that is, there would be three before the fourth which he mentions. The same Hebrew word here rendered “stand up” (עמד ‛âmad ) occurs in Daniel 11:3-4, Daniel 11:6-8, Daniel 11:14-16 (twice), Daniel 11:17, Daniel 11:20, Daniel 11:21, Daniel 11:25, Daniel 11:31; also in Daniel 12:1, Daniel 12:13. In Daniel 11:8 it is rendered “continue;” in Daniel 11:15, “withstand;” in the other cases, “stand up,” or simply stand. Gesenius says it is a word used particularly of a new prince, as in Daniel 8:23; Daniel 11:2-3, Daniel 11:20. He does not say that there would be none afterward, but he evidently designs to touch on the great and leading events respecting the Persian empire, so far as they would affect the Hebrew people, and so far as they would constitute prominent points in the history of the world. He does not, therefore, go into all the details respecting the history, nor does he mention all the kings that would reign. The prominent, the material points, would be the reign of those three kings; then the reign of the fourth, or Xerxes, as his mad expedition to Greece would lay the real foundation for the invasion of Persia by Alexander, and the overthrow of the Persian empire; then the life and conquests of Alexander, and then the wars consequent on the division of his empire at his death. The “three kings” here referred to were Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis. As this communication was made in the third year of Cyrus Daniel 10:1, these would be the next in order; and by the fourth is undoubtedly meant Xerxes. There were several kings of Persia after Xerxes, as Artaxerxes Longimanus, Darius Nothus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, Ochus, and Darius Codomanus, but these are not enumerated because the real ground of the invasion of Alexander, the thing which connected him with the affairs of Pcrsia, did not occur in their reign, but it was the invasion of Greece by Xerxes.
And the fourth shall be far richer than they all - That is, Xerxes - for he was the fourth in order, and the description here agrees entirely with him. He would of course inherit the wealth accumulated by these kings, and it is here implied that he would increase that wealth, or that, in some way, he would possess more than they all combined. The wealth of this king is mentioned here probably because the magnificence and glory of an Oriental monarch was estimated in a considerable degree by his possessions, and because his riches enabled him to accomplish his expedition into Greece. Some idea of the treasures of Xerxes may be obtained by considering,
(a) That Cyrus had collected a vast amount of wealth by the conquest of Lydia, and the subjugation of Croesus, its rich king, by the conquest of Asia Miner, of Armenia, and of Babylon - for it is said respecting him, “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places,” Isaiah 45:3: see the note at that passage.
(b) That Cambyses increased that wealth which he inherited from Cyrus by his victories, and by his plundering the temples wherever he came. A single case occurring in his conquests may illustrate the amount of wealth which was accumulated. On his return from Thebes, in Egypt, he caused all the temples in that city to be pillaged and burned to the ground. But he saved from the flames gold to the amount of three hundred talents, and silver to the amount of two thousand and five hundred talents. He is also said to have carried away the famous circle of gold that encompassed the tomb of king Ozymandias, being three hundred and sixty-five cubits in circumference, on which were represented all the motions of the several constellations. - Universal History, iv. 140.
(c) This was further increased by the conquests of Darius Hystaspis, and by his heavy taxes on the people. So burdensome were these taxes, that he was called by the Persians, ὁ κάπηλος ho kapēlos - the “merchant,” or “hoarder.” One of the first acts of Darius was to divide his kingdom into provinces for the purpose of raising tribute. “During the reign of Cyrus, and indeed of Cambyses, there were no specific tributes; but presents were made to the sovereign. On account of these and similar innovations, the Persians call Darius a merchant, Cambyses a despot, but Cyrus a parent.” - Herodotus, b. iii. lxxxix. A full account of the taxation of the kingdom, and the amount of the revenue under Darius, may be seen in Herodotus, b. iii. xc. - xcvi. The sum of the tribute under Darius, according to Herodotus, was fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty talents. Besides this sum received from regular taxation, Herodotus enumerates a great amount of gold and silver, and other valuable things, which Darius was accustomed to receive annually from the Ethiopians, from the people of Colchis, from the Arabians, and from India. All this vast wealth was inherited by Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius, and the “fourth king” here referred to.
Xerxes was full four years in making provision for his celebrated expedition into Greece. Of the amount of his forces, and his preparation, a full account may be seen in Herodotus, b. vii. Of his wealth Justin makes this remark: “Si regem, spectes, divitias, non ducem, laudes: quarum tanta copia in regno ejus fuit, ut cum flumina multgtudine consumerentur, opes tamen regioe superessent.” - Hist. ii. 10. Compare Diod. Sic. x. c. 3; Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxiii. 10; AEl. xiii. 3; Herod. iii. 96; vii. 27-29. In the city of Celaenae, Herodotus says, there lived a man named Pythius, son of Atys, a native of Lydia, who entertained Xerxes and all his army with great magnificence, and who farther engaged to supply the king with money for the war. Xerxes on this was induced to inquire of his Persian attendants who this Pythius was, and what were the resources which enabled him to make these offers. “It is the same,” they replied, “who presented your father Darius with a plane-tree and a vine of gold, and who, next to yourself, is the richest of mankind.” - Herod. vii. 27.
And by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia - That is, all his kingdom. He was enabled to do this by his great wealth - collecting and equipping, probably, the largest army that was ever assembled. The expedition of Xerxes against Greece is too well known to need to be detailed here, and no one can fail to see the applicability of this description to that invasion. Four years were spent in preparing for this expedition, and the forces that constituted the army were gathered out of all parts of the vast empire of Xerxes, embracing, as was then supposed, all the habitable world except Greece. According to Justin, the army was composed of seven hundred thousand of his own, and three hundred thousand auxiliaries. Diodorus Siculus makes it to be about three hundred thousand men; Prideaux, from Herodotus and others, computes it to have amounted, putting all his forces by sea and land together, to two million six hundred and forty-one thousand six hundred and ten men; and he adds that the servants, eunuchs, suttlers, and such persons as followed the camp, made as manymore, so that the whole number that followed Xerxes could not have been less than five million. - Connexions, pt. i. b. iv. vol. i. p. 410. Grotius reckons his forces at five million two hundred and eighty-two thousand. These immense numbers justify the expression here, and show with what propriety it is applied to the hosts of Xerxes. On the supposition that this was written after the event, and that it was history instead of prophecy, this would be the very language which would be employed.
Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1Read in context »
But who reads the warnings given by the fast-fulfilling signs of the times? What impression is made upon worldlings? What change is seen in their attitude? No more than was seen in the attitude of the inhabitants of the Noachian world. Absorbed in worldly business and pleasure, the antediluvians “knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away.” Matthew 24:39. They had heaven-sent warnings, but they refused to listen. And today the world, utterly regardless of the warning voice of God, is hurrying on to eternal ruin. 9T 14.1
The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the prophecies will take place. 9T 14.2
“Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.... Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.... The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.” Isaiah 24:1-8. 9T 14.3Read in context »