Daniel 11:2 Index
"And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia."
Research Material

"...I shew thee the truth..."

  • The substance of the fourth great revelation in Daniel begins with this verse. All that precedes, from Daniel 10:1 to Daniel 11:1, is background and introduction. (4BC 864)

"...three kings in Persia; and the fourth..."

  • The four kings that followed Darius were Cambyses, Gaumata, Darius I and Xerses, also known as Ahasuerus, of the book of Esther. Ahasuerus was proud of his wealth and position, and attacked the Greek city-state. They united and saved their freedom. (KC 123)
  • Inasmuch this vision was given to Daniel in the third year of Cyrus (Daniel 10:1), the reference is doubtless to the three kings who followed Cyrus on the throne of Persia. These were: Cambyses (530-522 B.C.), the False Smerdis (a usurper 522 B.C.) and Darius I (522-486 B.C.).... Commentators generally agree that the context points to Xeres as "the fourth" king (486-465 B.C.). (4BC 864)
  • Satan had witnessed the workings of the Spirit of God on the hearts of men at the very center of the government he claimed as his own. It was due to his influence that the Jews did not make a grand entry into Jerusalem. Cyrus struggled between two influences, but was restrained by Gabriel from doing any act of violence. Cambyses, his son, reigned nearly eight years, but most of his time was spent in useless and expensive warfare in Egypt and Ethiopia. Cambyses is the Ahasuerus of Ezra 4:1-6. (Esther 3:6, 13-15); To him the Samaritans wrote letters of complaint against the Jews at Jerusalem. But Cambyses was too busy with his foreign wars to give heed to this matter, and hence no action was taken either for or against the work at Jerusalem. The Jews were still at liberty to leave Babylon, but such a time of national quiet was not conducive to great activity on their part, and they remained where they were. The time came when they wished with all their hearts that they had gone out during those peaceful years. (SNH 188)
  • Cambyses was slain while in Egypt; and before the report was circulated throughout the Medo-Persian empire, an impostor took the throne which belonged to Smerdis, the son of Cambyses. The impostor, known in history as Pseudo- Smerdis (the false Smerdis), is the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7. He reigned only seven months, but that gave him time to consider complaints from the Samaritans and the tribes about Jerusalem, and to issue a commandment for the building of Jerusalem to cease until further word should come from the throne. This letter of the false Smerdis is found in Ezra 4:18-22. This is the only act which the divine historian mentions in the life of this Persian monarch. (Ezra 4:7, 18-24). (SNH 189)
  • Although very little is said about him, God knew every move he made. That is seen as we follow the history of the decrees. As soon as the Jews at Jerusalem heard the reading of the letter from the false Smerdis, all work ceased. "For," reasoned they, "how can we go on?" After they ceased to build, God raised up two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, and from these we gain a knowledge of the condition of affairs in Jerusalem. (Ezra 5:1). (SNH 189)
  • The people ceased to build the temple, and turned to building houses for themselves, they complained that money was scarce. They sowed seed, but the harvest was less than the amount sown; their trees bore little or no fruit; there was drought, and the cattle died; men cold not pay their rent or taxes, and became slaves because of debt, and sold their children into bondage. Then they complained to God. But all the time God was working for them, and they knew it not. (Haggai 1:1-6). (SNH 189-190)
    • This is the way He [God] worked: In the city of Babylon, six of the chief men of the empire suspected that the reigning king was not the rightful heir, and they banded themselves together to find out (Proverbs 17:11). Forcing their way into the presence of Smerdis, they recognized the impostor, and slew him, and Darius, the chief of the band, was made king. This is the man in history known as Darius Hystaspes, and is Darius the Persian spoken of in Ezra 4:24. (SNH 190)
    • Gabriel still guarded the throne of the Persians, and while the weak-hearted Jews left off building the temple because of a little opposition, God was bringing a man to the throne who would carry forward the work of Cyrus. Haggai and Zechariah gathered the people together and urged them to resume the work of building, giving the word of the Lord that their poverty was the direct result of their own refusal to build in the face of difficulties. The Jews took up the burden, but presently Tatnai and others, governors of tribes in Palestine, came to Jerusalem and warned the Jews to cease. Haggai, Zechariah, Zerubbabel, and Jeshua quoted the decree of Cyrus. Tatnai then wrote to Darius, expecting, of course, that he would put an end to the work. Darius, however, caused a search to be made, and found the decree of Cyrus, with all its particulars concerning the building, the sacrifices, and the order for money for the same from the king's treasury. (Ezra 5:7-17). (SNH 190)
    • Here is a manifestation of God's goodness and mercy. That which in the eyes of men looked like defeat was turned into a glorious victory. Darius issued a decree which covered all that was contained in the decree of Cyrus, and more also. Tatnai and the men who had entered complaint were commanded to help forward the work at Jerusalem by giving their own money to bear the expense. (Ezra 6:1-12). (SNH 190-191)
    • Watch those men, Tatnai, Shethar-boznai, and their companions, the accusers went with great speed to the Jewish leaders. Seeming defeat was turned into signal victory, because God was directing in the affairs of men (Proverbs 21:1). Bitter enemies became friends, or at least assistants, when the breath of Jehovah confounded their worldly policy. Again God especially favored Israel. (SNH 191)
    • The warnings of Jeremiah were still heard: "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity;" (Jeremiah 51:6). "We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country:" (Jeremiah 51:9). "The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God." (Jeremiah 51:10). (SNH 191)
    • "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." (Luke 24:25). Israel heeded not. For thirty-six years - think of it, over a quarter of a century - Darius reigned, and Gabriel stood at his right hand to keep his heart tender toward the chosen people. (Zechariah 2:28). (SNH 191-192)
    • The angels of heaven watched intently to see Israel return and build Jerusalem. To the prophet Zechariah, in the days of Darius, was given a wonderful view of the future history of the people of God (Zechariah 2:9-12). Jerusalem was given an opportunity in those days to build so as to become an everlasting city. Said one angel to another in the hearing of Zechariah, "Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein" (Zechariah 2:4). Instead of walls of stone, such as Jerusalem and the cities of the world had hitherto been accustomed to build, God promised to be a wall of fire round about it. "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north (Zechariah 2:6).... Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon (Zechariah 2:7). (SNH 192)
    • Abounding love, like the love of a mother for her firstborn (Isaiah 49:15), is heard in the words of Jehovah: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD" (Zechariah 2:10; Psalm 48:2, 3). Christ's first and His second coming were both promised them, and would doubtless have followed in quick succession had Israel heeded. (SNH 192)
    • Throughout all the world the glory of the Lord should be seen upon Zion, daughter of the living God. "I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth" (Zechariah 8:3), "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee" (Zechariah 9:9; Haggai 2:7-9). (SNH 192-193)
    • To those who mourned because the new temple seemed less glorious than the former one, Christ, looking forward to the time when He Himself should enter there with the words of life for His people, said, by the prophet Haggai, "I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory..." (Haggai 2:7). "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former... in this place will I give peace..." (Haggai 2:9). This He said referring to His personal visit in the form of humanity. (Haggai 2:15-19). (SNH 193)
    • And again, by the same prophet, He asked them to witness to the fact that from the very day they began to build, the land yielded abundantly; the silver and the gold flowed in, and there was general prosperity. (Deuteronomy 11:12, 13; Leviticus 26:3-12; James 5:8) (SNH 193)
    • By Zechariah the latter rain was promised to Jerusalem (Proverbs 16:15; Zechariah 10:1; Deuteronomy 32:2; Job 29:23; Joel 2:23); great clouds of His glory should overshadow them (Psalm 72:6; Hosea 10:12; Isaiah 44:3-6; Revelation 21:17). In Jerusalem the weak should be as David, and David as the angel of the Lord (Zechariah 12:8). All this He told them by the prophet Zechariah. Read the entire prophecy for its glorious promises. If we had lived in Babylon in the days of Darius, would we have hearkened (Amos 4:7-8)? The prophet as he looks still farther into the future , sees the Lord coming and all His saints with Him to crown Jerusalem, the city of our God, the bride of the Apocalypse (James 5:8). It should be an eternal city, with sin and iniquity blotted from the earth (Zechariah 14:4-9). (SNH 193)
    • Zechariah saw these things in the days of Darius, king of Persia; and had the Jews come out of Babylon, and followed where God would have led, such would have been the history of the world. They heeded not His voice, and after a lapse of nearly twenty-five hundred years, the people of to-day themselves heirs to exactly the same promise under precisely the same conditions. If the church of to-day follows the instruction of the prophets, every promise of Zechariah shall be theirs. If not, the history of the Jews during the reign of the king who followed Darius, will be repeated. (Luke 14:16-24). (SNH 193-194)
    • The angel Gabriel, after stating that he had stood in the first year of Darius to confirm and strengthen him, turns his attention to the future. Darius was dead, and Cyrus was now reigning. Three kings would yet stand up, or reign, in Persia, doubtless the immediate successors of Cyrus. These were Cambyses, son of Cyrus; Smerdis, an impostor; and Darius Hystaspes. (US 233)

"...the fourth shall be far richer than they all..."

  • Xeres is to be identified with the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther (Esther 1:1). Of him it is recorded that he was particularly proud of "the riches of his glorious kingdom" (Esther 1:4, 6, 7). Herodotus, who wrote at length of Xeres, leaves a vivid, detailed account of his military might (vii. 20, 21, 40, 41, 61-80). (4BC 864)
  • In giving this history to Daniel, these details were omitted, and Daniel did not live to see them carried out. To him the angel said, speaking in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, "And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all."(SNH 194)
  • The three kings who followed Cyrus were Cambyses, Pseudo- Smerdis and Darius. These, and their part in the history of the Jews, we have already considered. The fourth king of Persia after Cyrus the Great was noted for his wealth (Ecclesiastes 5:10, 11; Proverbs 10:2), and the great army he raised against the Greeks. This king was Xerxes, who came to the throne on the death of Darius. Our interest lies in the record of his dealings with the Jews, and to that history one entire book of the Bible is devoted. Xerxes is supposed to be the Ahasuerus of Esther, and the book of Esther is the record of the acts of this king with reference to the people of God who were still living in the kingdom of Babylon, over which Xerxes was sole monarch. (SNH 194)
    • The Medo-Persian kingdom was at its height during the reign of this king. He held in subjection one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, extending from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1). His capital was at Shushan, in the province of Elam (Esther 1:2). Some estimate of the wealth at the disposal of this ruler may be gained from the fact that for six months the princes, rulers, and governors of all the provinces, representing the power of the Persian king in all parts of the realm, were entertained at the royal palace (Esther 1:3, 4); and that when this gathering was over, the palace of Shushan was thrown open for a full week, during which time all the people were feasted in the gardens (Esther 1:5). There was drinking of wine and reveling. It was similar to the time when Belshazzar feasted with a thousand of his lords (Daniel 5:1 and Daniel 5:2). The furnishings of the palace, with its marble walls and floors, its rich curtains and draperies of many colors, hanging by silver rings to the lofty pillars, told of the gratification of pride. The beds and couches were of gold and silver, and they drank from wine cups of gold (Esther 1:6, 7). Truly Medo-Persia was the daughter of Babylon. (SNH 194-195)
  • The story of Vashti is a familiar one. Ahasuerus commanded her to appear before his half-drunken company, and she refused. Then she was set aside (Esther 1:9-2:1; Ecclesiastes 8:4), and a Jewish maiden, her nationality being unknown, became queen of the Persian kingdom (Esther 2:2-. This was Hadassah, known as Esther, an orphan of the house of Saul, whose parents had been among the royal captives in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. She had lived always with a cousin by the name of Mordecai, who treated her as his own daughter. Little did Mordecai and his wife think, when they took the helpless infant Hadassah, that she would one day stand for her people in the presence of the king. She was an obedient child, and consequently became an obedient woman. She was simple-hearted and unassuming, requiring little and demanding nothing. She loved her own people, although to be true to them meant that she must look death in the face. (Esther 2:2-20). (SNH 195-196)
    • Daniel was no longer living, and there were few if any to represent the worship of the true God in the court of the godless king. Mordecai sat at the king's gate, it is true, and in time of a conspiracy he reported the matter to the king (Esther 2:21-23); but there were few occasions when he could mingle with those in authority. Wickedness and injustice abounded, and Mordecai refused to countenance such principles, and would not bow before the haughty Haman, one of the king's counselors (Esther 3:2). This was prefect enough for the enemies of the Jews to work upon, for they were now a hated race throughout the empire. They had failed to take advantage of the time of national favor, and Persia had turned against them. (SNH 196)
    • For about forty years mercy had been extended to Israel, and that people had turned a deaf ear to all entreaty (Zechariah 7:11). Forty years has often been called the allotted time for a generation to settle its destiny either for or against the truth. Moses was forty years in the wilderness, unlearning the things of Egypt, and bring taught in the things of God (Acts 7:23-30); Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness, when only eleven days were necessary to make the journey form the Red Sea to the border of Canaan (Psalm 95:10; Hebrews 3:17; Deuteronomy 1:2); forty days Christ endured severe temptation (Matthew 4:1-11); forty years sealed the fate of the Reformation in Germany; and it was forty years from the preaching of the sealing message until the time of the loud cry. (SNH 196)
  • So Israel was given forty years in Babylon while angels held the winds of strife. At the end of the time Xeres yielded to the suggestion of Haman, and issued a decree against that "certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among he people in all the provinces." (Esther 3:8-12). If entreaty would no longer attract the attention of the Jews, God would in His mercy let persecution come, that they might be compelled to flee to His side for protection. But when persecution and hardship are approaching, the love of God is so great that He prepares the deliverer beforehand. (SNH 196-197)
    • The angel of God had guarded Hadassah, and directed in her education. He had brought her to the kingdom "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:4). When there was no man to represent His cause, Jehovah used a woman, and she, a young woman (Psalm 144:12). Her very beauty was consecrated to the Lord, and He made use of that. God loves the young people, as the history of the Jews certifies. (SNH 197-198)
    • Messengers were sent by post to carry the king's decree to every province in the vast empire. It was sealed with the king's signet, and the laws of the Medes and Persians were unchangeable. On a set day, every Jew in the kingdom was to be put to death by the sword; old, young, men, women, and little children - none were exempted. Satan triumphed in the thought that at last Israel was in his hand, and the cause of God should fall. "The king and Haman," two of Satan's servants, "sat down to drink." (Esther 3:13-15). (SNH 198)
    • The city of Shushan first heard of the decree, and consternation filled the hearts of the Jews. There was distress in every home. "The city of Shushan was perplexed" (Esther 4:1-3). Scarcely one year from the date of the decree, and death would be their lot. There was seemingly no way of escape. Years before they might have gone up to Jerusalem, but now it was forever too late. A bitter wail of agony reached heaven, and as those messengers of the king sped on, the cry grew louder. The voices of the Jews at Shushan were strengthened by sounds of mourning from thousands of Jews in all the provinces. (SNH 198)
    • Esther, in the king's palace, was ignorant of the decree, but Mordecai made known to her the universal distress, and sent her a copy of the king's command. (Esther 4:8). The crucial moment had come to her. Should she, could she, be true to her God? The Hebrews of Shushan put on sackcloth, and for three days fasted for the queen. Then she came forth in the strength of her God. Queenly, beautiful, trusting, she stood in the inner court over against the king's house (Esther 5:1), awaiting the recognition of the monarch of earth, to cross whose will meant death. On one hand she saw death at the hand of Xerxes; on the other, the approval of her God. "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16), she said, and God accepted her sacrifice. (Esther 4:1-17). (SNH 198-199)
    • God had prepared from afar for her deliverance. The very act of kindness done years before by Mordecai wrought in the deliverance of his people. Who says there is no record kept of man's acts, or that man performs any deed of kindness unprompted by heavenly beings? God used Esther to save His people; He also used Mordecai. (Esther 2:21-25). (SNH 199)
    • Haman, the one who proposed the decree, was hung on a gallows built for Mordecai (Esther 2:21-25), Mordecai was promoted to the position of chief counselor of Xeres; and a decree was issued that on the day appointed for the slaughter of the Jews, every Jew should bear arms and defend himself against the Persians (Esther 8:11-14). And the fear of the Jews fell upon all the people. Again God defeated the schemes, not of men only, but of the arch-enemy. Truth triumphed in spite of the waywardness of His people. This decree of Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, is the counterpart of the decree which will soon be issued by the beast of Revelation 13 against the followers of God. It will find a people situated as were the Jews in Babylon; it will find others who have withdrawn from Babylon, and as the enemy rushes upon this latter class to slay them, the swords will fall like broken straws, for angels of God will fight for His people. (SNH 199-200)
  • This record, given in the book of Esther, is preserved in Bible history that men may know the future. God's dealings with the Jews reveal the principles of His government, and in this history is a graphic description of the sins and deliverance of spiritual Israel. (SNH 200)

"...he shall stir up all against..."

  • Xeres would stir up the nations of the world against Greece... is a well-known fact of history. By the time of Xeres, the Greek peninsula remained the only important area in the eastern Mediterranean not under Persian domination. In 490 B.C., Darius the Great, predecessor of Xerxes, while attempting to subdue the Greeks, had been stopped at Marathon. With the accession of Xerxes, new plans on a lavish scale were laid for the conquest of Greece. Herodotus (vii. 61-80) enumerates over 40 nations that furnished troops for Xerxes' army. Included in the vast army were soldiers from such widely separated lands as India, Ethiopia, Arabia, and Armenia. Even the Carthaginians seem to have been induced to join in the assault by attacking the Greek colony of Syracuse in Sicily. (4BC 864-865)
  • By 480 B.C., the Greeks had the vast Persian Empire in arms against them. The Greek city-states, so often at war with one another, rallied to save their freedom. At first they suffered a series of setbacks. They were defeated at Thermopylae, and Athens was taken and partially burned by the Persians [in both instances the Persians we denied a military victory]. Then the tide turned. The Greek navy, under Themistocles, found itself bottled up by superior Persian squadrons in the Bay of Salamis, on the coast of Attica not far from Athens. Soon after battle was joined it became evident that the Persian ships were in too tight [a] formation for effective maneuvering. Under persistent Greek onslaughts many were sunk, and only a fraction of the navy escaped. With this Greek victory the Persian sea forces were eliminated from the struggle for Greece. The following year, 479 B.C., the Greeks decisively defeated the troops of Persia at Plataea and drove them from ever from Greek soil. (4BC 865)
  • Xerxes was a cruel, arrogant man, and his character is shown not only in his dealings with the Hebrew race, but with other peoples as well. Not content with the extent of territory under his control, he mustered an immense army - over five million, historians state - and crossed the Hellespont to subdue Grecia. Defeat and disaster accompanied the effort, however, and he returned unto his own kingdom. (SNH 200)
  • The Spirit of God was not yet withdrawn from the Medo-Persian court, and although Xerxes is the last king mentioned in the vision which Daniel saw, yet God was still holding out mercy to the Israelites; and it was during the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, the successor of Xerxes, that the final decree for the return of the Jews was issued. In like manner the grand jubilee will immediately follow Satan's last effort to destroy the people of God (Revelation 13:16 and Revelation 13:17). (SNH 200)
    • In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, the heart of Ezra was stirred by the Spirit of God, and he appealed to the king for assistance. In response to the appeal Artaxerxes issued the commandment recorded in Ezra 7:11-26. (Ecclesiastes 3:15). This is the decree of the year 457 B.C., ... and is the date from which to reckon the beginning of the two thousand three years of Daniel 8:14, and the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24. The decree of Artaxerxes included all that was contained in the decrees of Cyrus and Darius, and gave further commandment to build the wall and establish a government. (SNH 200-201)
    • Eighty years had passed since the decree of Cyrus - eighty years of forbearance; but even after the experience of the days of Esther and Xerxes there was little interest manifested in the rebuilding of Zion, and the company who went with Ezra was small compared with what it should have been (Ezra 7:6). The condition in Jerusalem was discouraging, for there the Jews had inter mar re id with the Canaanites, bringing in iniquity and confusion (Ezra 9:1, 2; Nehemiah 13:23-24). The Sabbath was desecrated, and the services of the Lord's house were neglected. It was not until the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, after Ezra had labored for Israel thirteen years, that Nehemiah came from Babylon and stirred the people into activity (Nehemiah 2:1-6). Then, and not till then ,were the walls rebuilt. Even then it was fighting with one hand and building with the other, because of a multitude of enemies (Nehemiah 4:13-21). It was only then that they began to pay tithe (Nehemiah 13:10-13), and to cease from ordinary traffic on the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:10-13); it was then that they put away their heathen wives; but they did it only because threatened with God's wrath (Micah 2:2-3). (SNH 201)
    • Truly, Israel was stiff-necked and rebellious. A remnant was saved from Babylon, but it was only a remnant; and that remnant, after years of struggling and much halting, was as a brand snatched from the burning. (SNH 201-202)
  • Jerusalem (Micah 7:18, 19), which might have been the glory of the earth, fell a prey to each succeeding kingdom (Ezekiel 21:25-27). Daniel's mind turned to the rising power of the kingdom of Grecia, and Gabriel next spoke of the mighty one who would rule with great dominion. Medo-Persian sank into a state of weakness, and the angel withdrew his sheltering wings; probation was passed for another nation. It, too, had been numbered and found wanting (Daniel 5:26); and its name is dropped by the inspired penman (Daniel 10:20). (SNH 202)
  • The history of the Persian empire, until it passed its zenith, is the history of the decrees; and when that nation ceased to help forward the people upon whom God was still bestowing light, it is lost sight of by the divine historian. (Jeremiah 46:15). (SNH 202)
  • Time waits for neither man nor nation (Jeremiah 46:17). The life of each individual may be read in the history of the years of Medo-Persian supremacy. Let us hasten our steps toward the New Jerusalem. (SNH 202)
  • The fourth king after Cyrus was Xerxes, son of Darius Hystaspes. He was famous for his wealth, a direct fulfillment of the prophecy stating that he should be "far richer than they all." He was determined to conquer the Greeks, therefore he set about organizing a mighty army, which Herodotus says numbered 5,283,220 men. (US 233)
    • Xerses was not content to stir up the East alone. He also enlisted the support of Carthage in the West. The Persian king fought Greece successfully at the famous battle of Thermopylae; but the mighty army was able to overrun the country only when the three hundred brave Spartans who held the pass were betrayed by a traitor. Xerxes finally suffered disastrous defeat at the battle of Salamis in the year 480 B.C., and the Persian army made its way back again to its own country. (US 234)