And in the latter time of their kingdom
Toward the close of the kingdom of the four kings that divided Alexander's kingdom; for though they were four distinct kings, and had four separate kingdoms, yet these all belonged to one kingdom or monarchy, the Grecian empire; and when that was decreasing, and coming into the hands of the Romans, there rose up, stood, and flourished awhile, King Antiochus, afterwards described, who began to reign in the hundred and thirty seventh year of the Seleucidae,
``And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.'' (1 Maccabees 1:10)and 166 B.C., and the same year that he set up the abomination of desolation in the temple at Jerusalem, as Mr. Mede F16 has observed, Aemilius the Roman consul conquered Perseus king of Macedon, whereby all Greece came into the hands of the Romans; so that this king may be truly said to arise and stand in the latter part of the Grecian empire, when that was declining, and the Roman empire was taking place: when the transgressors are come to the full;
many among the Jews, who apostatized from their religion, turned Heathens, even some of the priests, when their number was completed, and they had filled up the measure of their iniquities; in the Apocrypha:
``In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. &c.'' (1 Maccabees 1:11)a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall
meaning Antiochus; as is generally agreed, both by Jewish and Christian interpreters, and to whom these characters agree: he was "hard of face" F17, as it may be rendered; an impudent brasen faced man, who had no shame nor fear in him; regarded neither God nor man; committed the most atrocious crimes in the most public manner; and particularly was daring and impudent in his blasphemy against God and the true religion; and it may also signify that he was cruel, barbarous, and inhuman, especially to the Jews, as his persecution of them abundantly proves: and his "understanding dark sentences", or "riddles" F18, which he could both propose and answer, shows him to be sagacious and cunning, well versed in wicked craft and policy; he had the art of inveigling and deceiving men; it was by deceit and cunning he got the kingdom from his nephew; and, by the wicked art of persuasion he was master of, he seduced many of the Jews to relinquish their religion, and embrace Heathenism; and so well skilled he was in wicked politics, that he could cover his own designs, and penetrate into the secrets of others; according to Jacchiades, he was skilful in the art of magic and astrology. This is the little horn that was to rise out of one of the four horns or kingdoms; as Antiochus did from that of Seleucus, and stood and reigned more than twelve years.
F16 Works, B. 3. c. 11. p. 654.
F17 (Mynp ze) "durus facie", Calvin, Piscator; "validus facie", Michaelis.
F18 (twdyx) "aenigmata", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Calvin, Piscator, Polanus.