So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and
take the most fenced cities
That is, Antiochus the great, king of Syria, should come into Coelesyria and Phoenicia, which was the part of the kingdom of Egypt he was to have by the league with Philip king of Macedon; and this is a prophecy of his expedition into those parts, and the success of it. Scopas, a general of Ptolemy, being sent by him into Coelesyria, had took many of the cities of it, and the land of Judea; but Antiochus, coming into those parts with his army, beat Scopas at the fountains of Jordan, and destroyed great part of his forces, and retook the cities of Coelesyria that Scopas had made himself master of, and subdued Samaria; upon which the Jews voluntarily submitted to him, and received him into their city, as Josephus F20 relates; and Polybius F21, as quoted by him, says, that Scopas being conquered by Antiochus, he took Batanea, Samaria, Abila, and Godara, and that the Jews in a little time surrendered to him; and so Livy says F23, that Antiochus reduced all the cities that Ptolemy had in Coelesyria into subjection to him; and these are the most fenced cities pointed at in this prophecy, against which the king of Syria cast up mounts, in order to take them; or placed battering engines before them, as the word also signifies, as Kimchi observes F24, by which stones were cast into the besieged cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen
people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand;
all the forces of the king of Egypt mustered together would not be able to withstand the power of Antiochus, who would, as he did, carry all before him; not their most powerful armies, nor most courageous generals, nor valiant soldiers, the choicest of them, nor any auxiliaries called in to their assistance; for when Scopas was beaten by Antiochus at Jordan, he fled to Sidon with ten thousand soldiers, where he was shut up in a close siege; and though Ptolemy sent his famous and choicest commanders to his relief, Eropus, Menocles, and Damoxenus, as Jerome relates; yet they were not able to raise the siege, but by famine were forced to surrender; and he and his men were dismissed naked.