Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Exegesis of the Book of Daniel 11:2-13

I.                   Introduction
The book of Daniel stands apart from the rest of the book which make up the Old Testament. Though it is found in our English Bibles among the prophets, it does not contain proclamations in the name of the Lord as other prophets do; nor is it historical in the sense that the book if Kings are Historical, though it begins from a point in history and is clearly concerned with history.
II.                Authorship of the book
The question of Daniel’s authorship of the book still remains undecided. The book of Daniel are much the story of Daniel rather than by Daniel. There has been much comment about who or what particular groups within Second Temple Judaism may then have been responsible for compiling and collecting the stories. The matter of authorship of the visions is somewhat more complex. Although they are largely implied in the first person, there is evidence of some edited material in the third person (7:1 and 10:1).  Again, this means that the visions themselves have probably been collected and perhaps edited by another person or group, even if they are basically a set of visionary memories composed by Daniel himself.However, it is important whatstand that we adopt towards it rather than who we think wrote the material and when. We are called to receive the words of cp. 7-12 as authoritative scripture however imperfectly we may understand some of them.[1]
III.             Form
The book of Daniel is normally characterized as apocalyptic literature, and in the process is sometimes set slightly apart for other biblical literature as a unique phenomenon in the Old Testament canon. It is evident from the shape of the book of Daniel that apocalyptic literature arises to some extent out of the wisdom tradition, there is also evidence that part of the seed bed of apocalyptic is the prophetic literature. So we see Daniel as an example as an example of literature which brings together the forces of apocalyptic thought with the great Hebrew traditions of wisdom and prophecy.[2]
IV.             Structure
The main address opens by recapitulating this point and by emphasizing the reliability of what is to follow. Its announcement of events to come begins with a series of with a series of kings who seem to have the capacity to achieve much, but eventually fail or fall (11:2-9). There follows one- not clearly distinguished form his predecessors- whose two campaigns against the southern king, his being checked by a third force, his receiving support among Daniel’s own people, and his campaigning in the fairest land foreshadow acts of the last northern king (11:10-19).[3]
This security grows increasingly important as Daniel 11-12 unfolds. Though space does not permit a full description of the events descried in 11:1-39, the text predicts historical details that transpire between the Persian period and Antiochus’ death. As in previous visions, this passage promises that evil will not triumph.[4]
V.                Analysis of the keyword: Truth
The understanding of the biblical view of the truth encounters special difficulties on account of the long and intricate history of the terminology. The English word “truth” is the common rendering of “aleteia” in the NT and the LXX. However, in both of them the term corresponds frequently to Hebrew “’mt”, a noun derived from the verb “’mn”, which means “to sustain, to support.” The basic meaning of the root is most clearly seen in the adjectival Niph‘al participle “n‘mn”, which is rendered “firm, solid, reliable” (Gen. 42:16), “faithful, tested” (Deut. 7:9; Isa. 1:21), “perceptible”, “true”, and “lasting”.[5]
Since according to the OT everything in this world is created by God and has its destination through the divine purpose, for which it has been brought into being, God’s “truth” is to reflect itself in man’s life.[6]
VI.             Exegetical outline
The tribulation under Antiochus IV and Antichrist
A.    Form the  Persian Empire to the Death of Antichrist (vv. 2-4)
B.     South vs North (vv. 5-9)
C.     The fall of South (vv. 10-13)

VII.          Expository explanation
The tribulation under Antiochus IV and Antichrist
A.    From the Persian Empire to the Death of Antichrist (vv. 2-4)
The offer to tell… the truth recalls the “Book of Truth” in 10:21 where the same vocabulary is used. The verb translated “tell” almost always relates to some kind of divine revelation. And the phrase I tell you the truth is a final reminder that the angel is conveying all of this to Daniel. From here on the narrative becomes a chronicle of events, without further evidence of this background relationship until we rich chapter 12.[7]
There are only fleeting references to Persia and Greece. Having said that, it is not entirely clear who the three more kings… in Persia, and then a fourth might be. In the first place, the Hebrew phraseology is ambiguous as to whether the fourth king is additional to the other three or the culmination of them. In these verses God’s hand is seen in the information that the empire of Alexander is to be “parceled out”, with on reference to who may be doing the parceling. This is a typical example of the “apocalyptic passive”. Another hint of God at work behind the scenes. Even at such a time as this, God is still sovereign over the nations of his world.[8]
B.     South vs North (vv. 5-9)
At first it is the king of the south (negeb) who dominates the scene. Our interpretation of south and north must be governed by the setting of the chapter, and not go beyond the boundaries of the world empires of the time. Though the king of Egypt is at first in control, one of his princes is to gain power. “His” means Alexander’s generals, and the verse indicates that Egypt’s king will face a rival whose empire will outstrip his own.[9]
Verse 7 sets forth subsequent reprisal. Ptolemy Philadelphus died in 247 B.C., soon after the tragedy that had overtaken his daughter Berencie. But his capable son Ptolemy III (Euergetes) organized a great expeditionary force against Syria, in order to avenge his sister’s death. This war raged from 246 to 241, in the course of which Ptolemy captured and pillaged the Seleucid capital of Antioch and invaded its eastern domains as far as Bactria.[10]
C.    The Fall of South (vv. 10-13)
“His sons will commit themselves to war…”:Seleucus II was succeeded by his sons, Seleucus III and on his murder during a campaign in Turkey- Antiochus III. The latter attempted to turn the tide of aggressive power between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, beginning in 219 by recapturing Seleucia. He was content with victory and the regaining of Palestine and Phoenicia, and did not press his advantage, making peace with Antiochus.[11]
VIII.       Application
This passage, read simply within the narrative as we have it, claims to be history told beforehand in fairly well defined detail. As we have seen, often the kings referred to can be named, and the incidents delineated can be traced to actual happening. If we are to take the Bible seriously as a whole, we must maintain the view that God is God of the individual as well as of communities, and that he controls history in such a way as to give free play to human decision, and opportunity for genuine human repentance.
If we believe, therefore, that the account of the Seleucids and Ptolemies in our present chapter is a predictive prophecy, we must hold God worked his purpose out through the interaction of all these kings and these families. Daniel helps us to see the nonsense of trying to have faith unless at the same time we have hope in what is going to be at the time of the end. As writer of Ecclesiastes warns us in 7:15; 8:14.
IX.             Conclusion
In a time when Israel was suffering in exile, God gave Daniel comforting good news about God’s sovereignty, God’s providence, and the certainty of God’s glorious coming kingdom. God has been active in the history and he was sovereign over the kingdoms during the days of Daniel. He raised, whom he wanted and He demolished whom he willed. The whole book of Daniel show the sovereignty of YHWH. He is still working through the history and comforting the one in need. We just have to trust and have faith in Him that all things will work for the good of those who love God.
The book of Daniel consist of the history and visions to render a world. His vision creates radically different world that makes continuing life in this world possible on the basis of its not being the only world, or in the End the most important one. Daniel as a whole invites us to live this life in the light of such conviction that life.

[1] Tim Meadowcroft and Nate Irwin, The Book of Daniel (Singapore: Asian Theological Association, 1984), 12-13.
[2]Ibid., 15-16.
[3]John E. Goldingay, Word Biblical Commentary: Daniel, (USA: Word Books, 1989), 287.
[4] Paul R. House, Old Testament Theology (USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998), 507.
[5] O. A. Piper, “Truth”, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (USA: Abingdon Press, 1986), 713-714.
[7]Tim Meadowcroft and Nate Irwin, The Book of Danie, 220.
[8]Ibid., 221-223.
[9] Joyce G. Baldwin, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Daniel, (USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1978), 186.
[10] Gleason L. Archer, Jr. “Daniel”, the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds., Frank E. Gaebelein, (USA: Zondervan, 1985), 130.
[11] John E. Goldingay, Word Biblical Commentary: Daniel, (USA: Word Books, 1989), 296-297.

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